Cold Snap Chicken Soup with Sweet Potatoes and Broccoli

May 18, 2014 Comments off

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The past couple of days have brought a rare mid-May cold snap to Atlanta. After the winter of 2014 that just wouldn’t end, I thought we were home free, but walking out of my place to go to dinner last night, I realized I need a coat! In mid-May! Argghhhh. I returned home only to get into a bed made with sheets as cold as ice, and I ended up sleeping in a sweatshirt with a space heater on. I mean, I know I’ve gotten more cold-natured since I lost weight, but this was ridiculous. Did I mention already it’s mid-May?????

Anyhow? Today as I literally chilled in my apartment, I decided it was a soup or stew kinda day. So I went to the kitchen and looked around to see what I could throw together with what I had on hand. I came up with a chicken soup that has just a little sweet potato, onion, and broccoli, with frozen chicken breasts and broccoli and stock from a carton making it easy and convenient, and a touch of sherry giving it an elegant and balanced richness (the sherry is really the secret weapon in this quick and easy, yet ultra-flavorful soup).

I wasn’t expecting it going in, but this Cold Snap Chicken Soup is the best soup I’ve ever made! The flavors were just perfectly balanced, the chicken was exceptionally tender, and it was perfect on a chilly day. I also had a chance to use my brand new red, white, and blue “Fireworkfetti” Temp-tations stoneware that I recently bought from QVC (click here to take a look)! If I was going to eat soup on a cold day in mid-May, I at least wanted it to look, summer-y! I served this with sourdough that I bought from Costco that you then reheat in your own oven for a fresh-baked effect. Yum. I thought I’d share my recipe for the soup with you in case you have a cold snap, or just want a nice bowl of quick and easy chicken soup. You can see it by clicking more. Enjoy! Read more…

Should Size Matter? – Not the Same Person, but Human All the Same

May 13, 2014 6 comments
Ready to Ride! In a size medium shirt!!!

Before my horseback ride on the beach in Amelia Island!

Many of you who followed this blog when I was in the heyday of my weight loss also know me in real life or via social media, so we’ve continued to stay in touch, even though I haven’t been blogging here since I hit 100 pounds lost.  It struck me though that there may be a few people who only followed the blog, and I thought I’d give you a brief update.  My weight loss continued past the 100 pounds, and right now I maintain about a 130 pound weight loss, with my weight being anywhere between 185 and 190 on any given day.  I’ve maintained in that range for almost a year now, and I’m pretty sure the lifestyle changes I made are now permanent.  So it can be done!

The photos here are from a true bucket list item of mine!  Amelia Island, Florida is one of the few places left in the U.S. where you can go horseback riding on the beach.  We’ve been going down there since I was a kid, but I always exceeded the weight limit for the ride.  This past summer, I finally did it.  My horse’s name was Sky (fitting given how much I love sky blue, flight, etc.), and it was absolutely amazing!  Part of the thrill was shopping for a new shirt for the ride, and finding that this size MEDIUM fit me perfectly!!!  Depending on the shirt now, I’m either in a medium or a large; a far cry from the 3x I wore back in the day.  I was going for a beach cowboy look, and when I tried the shirt on and asked my mom if I had gotten it right, she told me, “Yes, definitely!  A GAY beach cowboy!”  If the shoe fits, I guess…  :-)  I love my mom.   Checkout my friends at Kelly Seahorse Ranch if you’d like to go for a beach ride, too.

So why would I come back to this blog today, after more than a year away, to give this update?  Well I had an experience today that

Chad and Sky

A bucket list item crossed off the list! Horseback riding on the beach at Amelia Island

reminded me that I still have a few things to say, even if I have been maintaining this weight loss for a while now.  This morning, I ran across a guy I went out on a date with a few years ago.  At the time, I had lost probably 65 or 70 pounds, and with the 60 or 65 pounds I’ve lost since then I know my appearance has changed pretty dramatically.  This guy, after our date, wasn’t rude, but clearly wasn’t really interested in a second date.  When I said hello today, he didn’t recognize me.  I told him who I was, and he couldn’t have been friendlier.  And all of a sudden, after quite a bit of trying on my part after our first date, to no avail, he was suggesting going out again, telling me how wonderful I looked and how proud of myself I should be, etc.

So here’s the thing – he’s not a bad guy, and I’m not even faulting him. We’re all either attracted to people or not for a whole variety of reasons, physical and otherwise.  I get that.  His renewed interest today was flattering, but also showed me he may be a little bit superficial for my taste.  Again, I’m not faulting him, and that’s not why I’m posting.  What the experience did for me, however, was to get me thinking about how people treat me now versus when I was obese.

When I weighed 315 pounds, I was almost invisible.  I could walk into a store and

Read more…

100 Pounds Lost – Meaningfully Marking a Milestone

February 11, 2013 5 comments
Chad and Greta - February 2013

Chad and Greta – February 2013

This past Friday it finally happened, I stepped onto my scales, and I weighed in at 214.9 pounds.  A 100 pound weight loss!!!!!!!!!  Three years ago when I started seeing Rachel, my nutritionist, and I took my life back into my hands on my thirtieth birthday, I didn’t really think it possible that I’d end up here.  But the more I lost, the more I learned about nutrition, about my body, and about myself, losing 100 pounds became a more and more reachable goal.  I shed bad habits, and I shed the shackles of trying to be someone I wasn’t that caused me to cling a suit of

February 2013

February 2013 – Looking Slim!

armor – fat – for most of my adult life.  As I lost the weight, I embraced myself for who I really was.  For those who are wondering, yes, it involved coming out as a gay man, but it also involved just getting comfortable with me – on all levels.  And no longer needing to hide behind a physical barrier.  With that mental weight lifted, the physical weight followed.  I still have a ways to go, but the idea of losing 35 – 40 more pounds is really nothing at this point.

When I look at myself in photos from when I was well over 300 pounds, I recognize the man in the pictures, but I see a lot of pain.  When I look at me now, I see hope and confidence and freedom.  The highest I ever weighed on a

Christmas, likely 2006 or 2007, well over 300 pounds.

Christmas, likely 2006 or 2007, well over 300 pounds.

set of scales was about 304 pounds.  This was on an old set of scales that weighed me about 3-4 pounds lighter than my current scales, therefore the highest I weighed (when I began this journey on my thirtieth birthday) was about 307-308 pounds.  BUT – that weigh in was after a good month of trying hard to lose weight prior to even stepping on the scales, so I’m sure I had lost at least 7 or eight pounds when I weighed in then, which is how I estimate my highest weight to have been 315.  In all honesty, I think it’s likely it may have been higher than that. When I look at pictures

With Dad and Granddaddy for Law School Graduation - 2005 - between 280 and 290 pounds.

With Dad and Granddaddy for Law School Graduation – 2005 – between 280 and 290 pounds.

of myself from when I lived in Houston after law school, I’m almost certain 315 may be a conservative number for my highest weight.  I was not weighing at all for a period of years, and I think the likelihood I was much higher than that is great, but 315 is the number I’m comfortable marking – and saying confidently I’ve now lost 100 pounds.

 

So – being confident that I finally reached 100 pounds lost, some of the people in my life made me feel really special.  Rachel, a couple of co-workers, lots of Facebook friends and church friends, and on Saturday, my parents, when I went to visit them.  And it was during that visit that I ended up marking my 100 pound loss in a most unexpected, but incredibly meaningful way, having to do with a tangible connection to my grandparents.   Read more…

100 Pounds – Such a Tease…

February 2, 2013 2 comments
Looking into the distance - pondering how CLOSE I am to that 100 pound mark! :-)

Looking into the distance – pondering how CLOSE I am to that 100 pound mark! :-)

Well yesterday was weekly weigh-in day, and I posted a loss, albeit a small one, from last week.  I weighed in at 217.4 pounds yesterday.  That’s down .4 pounds from last week, and still leaves me 2.4 elusive pounds shy of the century mark and losing 100 pounds!  I can taste that victory, and yes, it’s a measly couple of pounds, but the psychological significance of having lost 100 pounds is really huge.   I remember when I first started this journey a few years ago, I’d watch the people on the Today show, or read the success stories in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution who had lost 100 pounds, and for the first time, I thought, “They’re no different than me.  I can do this, too!”

And I almost have achieved that goal!  A. L. M. O. S. T…..  I was kind of disappointed this week because I did really well with exercise again for the first time in a long time, and I was good with my food.  My nutritionist reminded me yesterday when I told her rather disappointedly about my small loss that when you first begin exercise (which for all intents and purposes, this week was a restart), your muscles retain water, and the loss may not come immediately.  So busting through this plateau will take a little bit yet.

What’s keeping me going until I hit this huge milestone along my road to a final goal weight are the changes I’ve undergone.  Health, energy, and petty as it may seem, appearance.  I actually really like the way I look now!  I got a haircut this morning and snapped a photo with my phone today to see it from the side (see above).  A few years (or even a few months) ago, a side shot of my face/head would’ve been something that made me cringe and reflexively delete the photo.  But when I saw this one, I had to stop for a minute.  It didn’t even look like me!  I didn’t have a ridiculous double (or triple chin), there was no fat roll on the back of my head, and damn if I didn’t even see some of the muscles/tendons in my neck!  I actually thought I looked…well…kinda cute!  So that satisfaction – knowing I’ve changed my life for the better – that’s what’s going to propel me through until I’ve lost 100 pounds (hopefully very soon!), and then past that, to get below 200 pounds, and ultimately to reach a good final goal weight and maintain it with a healthy lifestyle that never stops.

Doubling Down on Dedication…and Fiber…

January 30, 2013 1 comment

Wow – it’s been a hot minute since I’ve written a blog post!  I kind of noticed the same pattern when I lost my first big chunk of weight back in 2010.  Once I got my weight down a good bit, the time I had devoted to blogging became devoted more and more to living life to the fullest!  And that’s happened this time around, too, to some extent.  My goal since July has really been to blog about once a week, as opposed to a few times a week, so blogging hasn’t really made that big of a dent in  my time.  Meaning, I really have no excuse to have been MIA for the past month.

Rest assured, I’ve been keeping up with my healthy diet!  Exercise has been trickier in the winter, though I’m starting to break through with that, too.  Details on all that and more, but first…  a quick primer to bring you up to date on my last few weeks’ weigh-ins.  When I weighed in on December 31, 2012 – the last time I posted to the blog, I was at 221.8, and I was thrilled!  But my loss has continued, even if the pace has slowed a bit.  Here are my weights from my weekly Friday weigh-ins this year, with the loss from the week before, and my total loss from 315, my estimated highest weight:

1/4/13:     220.5 / -3.9wk / -94.5tot

1/11/13:    217.4 / -3.1wk / -97.6tot

1/18/13:    218.5 / +1.1wk / -96.6tot

1/25/13:    217.8 / -0.7wk / -97.3tot

So you can see I had a significant loss at the beginning of the month, and that’s been followed by what I would describe as a plateau.  My weight since mid-month has really hovered within the 217.5-218.5 range.  That’s not bad at all, if I were looking to maintain that weight, but I still have more losing to do!!!  So what explains that plateau?  A couple of different things, I think.

First, I made a couple of changes to my diet.  I got a great deal on KIND bars, and I began to eat them as an afternoon snack in place of my typical apple and cheese.  I also heard about a new breakfast biscuit called Belvita.  It’s delicious, and I guess it’s a good option if you’re on the go and just need to grab something to tide you over.  But at 230 calories a packet, it’s pretty high calorie compared to my normal single packet of plain oatmeal and an apple.  I was combining it with an apple or banana, and a Danactive yogurt…  Lots more calories.  So I cut the fruit, and it was more in line with my calorie expectations for myself (and probably a little lower in sugar, too).

View from the top of Stone Mountain.  In the distance you can see the Atlanta skyline!

View from the top of Stone Mountain. In the distance you can see the Atlanta skyline!

But I think something else happened – without those fruits in my diet – I was losing a good bit of fiber.  I ended up – get ready – constipated.  I’m nothing if not honest.  And quite frankly I’ve been struggling with it for the past couple of weeks.  I haven’t been irregular since childhood, so this was a shock to my system.  The lack of exercise probably contributed, as well.  So I took matters into my own hands this week.  I’ve hit exercise hard.  I started by climbing Atlanta’s Stone Mountain for the past two weekends in a row (the view at the top, on the left, is spectacular)!  It feels awesome to be able to do this spur of the moment.  A few years ago, I couldn’t have.  I would’ve ended up having to be rescued as I clung to a rogue mountaintop pine tree, whimpering softly (okay maybe not that bad – but it would’ve been hell).  This week, I’ve also doubled down on my efforts at also getting in two weekday jogs at Piedmont Park!  One was after work yesterday (as it’s now staying light just long enough to do that without almost certainly being mugged), and another was today.  There was horrific weather here today (tornadoes in other parts of northern Georgia), but once that threat passed, I decided that since I had taken the day off work today anyway and didn’t need to look cute for anything, I’d go for a run in the rain.  I felt bad-ass!  That’s how I’m gonna bust this plateau, baby!!!  I actually felt great, but I guess my face tells on me being a little cold and wet (see below right).  Between that and modifying my diet to make sure I’m adding back in lots of fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, you’ll be happy to know, the irregularity seems to be gone.  I know I’m happy.  :-)  And I’m hopeful that this week’s weigh-in may bring me back in line for a serious losing trend that will get me to 215 and 100 pounds lost soon!!!

A rainy run at Piedmont Park - sitting on the sidelines for a little rain isn't going to bust this plateau!

A rainy run at Piedmont Park – sitting on the sidelines for a little rain isn’t going to bust this plateau!

One other important development this month is that I had my annual physical.  My blood pressure has been normal since I started losing weight a couple of years ago, but last year, my cholesterol was borderline high (at 202), and my triglycerides were definitely high.  This year, my triglycerides were perfectly normal, and my cholesterol was a really healthy 158!  With HDL and LDL levels also being really good!!!  That was exciting to know.  And my insulin resistance that I was struggling with when I was over 300 is now completely resolved.  To the point we don’t even need to test my A1c levels again, according to my doctor!!!

So that’s a quick catch up from the past month.  I’m going to get back on board with weekly posts – I promise!  And this weekend, be on the lookout for a delish recipe for roasted butternut squash that I came up with this past week!  It’s a wonderful, easy source of fiber, and tastes like an absolute treat!

Ending the Year by Closing a Chapter

December 31, 2012 Comments off
My "too big" wardrobe - ready for donation to a charity helping Atlanta's LGBT youth.

My “too big” wardrobe – ready for donation to a charity helping Atlanta’s LGBT youth.

Today was the greatest day yet of this weight loss journey.  To begin, I weighed this morning, as I do everyday, and I was at my lowest weight yet of my adult life: 221.8 pounds.  A 93+ pound loss from my highest weight of about 315!!!  It’s not an “official” Friday weigh-in for me, but I’ll take it.  So I decided that as I finish up my holiday vacation from work, I’d use part of the day to do something I’ve known for a while now that I should do – clean out my closet and dresser.

I knew I needed to do this for a couple of reasons.  First, I needed to get the clothes that I wore t my higher weights out of my house.  As long as they’re available to me, there is a safety net of sorts in my mind.  The idea that if I were to balloon back up to a higher weight, at least it wouldn’t require great expense, as I’d have a built-in wardrobe to fall back on.  This…is incredibly flawed thinking.  Getting rid of that safety net of “fat clothes” is an acknowledgement and proclamation to yourself that you HAVE changed your life, and that change is here to stay.  NO TURNING BACK!

The other reason I needed to do this is that I had a ton of perfectly good, and actually really nice, clothes that were going unused.  There are plenty of people out there who are on hard times for one reason or another that could be putting these clothes to use as opposed to having them hang in my closet as an unhealthy mental block to my total reconstruction.  As I began trying everything on and sorting everything in piles of what to donate and what to keep, I was overtaken with a completely irrational fear.  What if I were to lose my job/get sick/otherwise fall on hard times and end up homeless?  I might need these clothes, if for no other reason than to use as blankets to keep myself alive when I would undoubtedly be living in a cardboard box under the interstate with all my belongings in a hijacked shopping cart!

Again…flawed thinking.  I mean, Read more…

Top 10 Body Changes to Get Me Through the Holidays

December 29, 2012 Comments off

So I have a couple of weeks of catching up to do with regards to reporting my weigh-ins.  In order to do it, I’ve returned to the bestest coffee shop in all the land, which I’ve often blogged from and about before.  Ground zero for my studying for the bar exam (and hence making a major career change), coming out of the closet, and various other life events.  I couldn’t take a week’s vacation and note spend some time here!  The news is good overall, and I’m proud of getting through the holidays without a complete debacle or meltdown of efforts.  In fact, the way I’ve been handling this year’s holidays makes me think that maybe, just maybe, I’ve finally made the switch in my head from being on a diet/eating plan/program to living a healthier lifestyle.

All that said, the weeks surrounding Christmas have not been a time for continued weight loss, and perhaps that’s not what I should have expected this time of year.  On the Friday before Christmas, I weighed in at Read more…

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