Archive

Posts Tagged ‘reconstructing thirty’

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.

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…

Minor Setbacks :-/ and Lentil Soup :-)

December 2, 2012 1 comment
French Lentil Soup with Multi-Grain French Bread and Steamed Green Beans

French Lentil Soup with Multi-Grain French Bread and Steamed Green Beans

My weigh-in this past Friday was my first post-Thanksgiving, and it didn’t go quite how I would’ve liked.  I didn’t gain a ridiculous amount of weight, but I did gain.  I weighed in at 228.8 pounds on Friday, up 1.7 pounds from my last weigh in on Thanksgiving morning.  Honestly, it’s not that bad.  I had hoped to keep my weight steady, and maybe even post a modest loss, but gaining less than 2 pounds and staying below 230 really isn’t terrible.  It’s no excuse, but I also wrenched my back on the Friday after Thanksgiving, which hindered my exercise going forward.  I went for a walk today for the first time since last Saturday, and I hated not being able to jog, and the fact that my back hurt when I finished.  This too shall pass, though!

I should really be doubling down on nutrition, with exercise being problematic right now, but this weekend wasn’t great with that either.  I didn’t binge or eat too much or anything like that.  I just didn’t make the most clean choices.  A new relationship ended, I got a migraine headache, and I just wasn’t as careful with my food as I should be.  I went for Chinese last night (yeah – I had an eggroll…), and a greasy spoon today after church for eggs, bacon, hashbrowns, and a pancake.  Portions were modest, but still…  So this afternoon and evening I tried to get clean with my eating again.  My snack was a banana and pecans, and my dinner?  Scratch made lentil soup…mmmmmmm…  🙂

I’ve mentioned Rachel Brandeis, my dietitian, here before.  She is all kinds of awesome, and I honestly don’t know where I’d be without her.  Scratch that – I do know where I’d be.  Either a) two years post bariatric surgery and possibly still not knowing how to eat, or b) dead or nearly dead.  I’m so glad I ended up doing all this without surgery, and just by learning to eat right and exercise!  Anyway, click Rachel’s name above to visit her website and get her help if you’re an Atlanta local.  I promise you won’t regret it.  Even if you don’t feel like you need a consult, you can look her up and follow her on Facebook for great tips and recipes.

Facebook is where Rachel linked to this recipe on Epicurious.com for French Lentil Soup that intrigued me.  It’s so simple.  I really wasn’t sure it would taste that good, but Read more…

‘Tis the Season: Five Tips for Taming Holiday Weight Gain

November 11, 2012 Comments off

I’m sitting here as I type watching a Hallmark Christmas movie.  Yes, it’s saccharin and laden with fantasy…and I love it.  These will become a weekend staple for the next six weeks or so.  And as the holidays are about to kick into high gear, it’s time to strategize for all the amazing, rich food that will be tempting us.  But first, an update on the last week…

A week ago, I weighed in at 232.1 pounds.  This was a gain over the week before, and honestly for the few weeks prior, I had kind of felt like I was at a bit of a plateau.  Exercise has definitely become more challenging with the time change, and I do plan to break down and join a gym soon.  But this week, I was back on track!  I weighed in at 229.3!!!  That’s a 2.8 pound loss from last week, and a 29.6 pound loss from when I re-started my weight loss efforts in July.  From my all time high of 315, it’s about an 86 pound loss now!  Being out of the 230’s is truly uncharted territory for me…  I think it’s been pre-high school since I’ve been this light!  That’s great motivation!!!

My goal is to reach 215 pounds by New Year’s.  That would be a 100 pound loss for me.  That’s about 14 more pounds in the next 7 weeks, or a two-pound a week loss.  With Thanksgiving and Christmas thrown in, along with my trip to New York in early December for the Cyndi Lauper Holiday concert, and the various parties I’ll be attending, I will NOT be beating myself up if I don’t reach my goal exactly on time.  However, I do want to ensure that I continue a downward trend, and certainly not gain any weight.  So here’s how I’m planning to do that – with my five tips for taming holiday weight gain: Read more…

Healthy Cooking: Chicken Eggplant Marinara with Whole Wheat Rotini

November 3, 2012 3 comments

Chicken Eggplant Marinara with Whole Wheat Rotini

This week I thought I’d share with you a staple recipe in my kitchen.  Cooking something healthy and delicious at home can be easy and rewarding, and this recipe for Chicken Eggplant Marinara incorporates protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains in a quick and satisfying way that has become a weekly part of my nutrition routine.  It makes four servings, so for a single guy like me, I cook once, and have four lunches and dinners!  But first, let me give you an update on the last week.  I weighed in yesterday at 232.1 pounds.  This was a gain of 1.3 pounds from the week before.  I was disappointed, but I also know why it happened.  I was sick with a cold/allergies for the first part of the week, and I also had plans after work almost every night between my birthday and Halloween this week.  This led to zero exercise this week, a homemade apple cake my mom made me for my birthday, and a couple of high calorie meals that may have included onion rings.  Oh well.  It was one week.

By the way, my 33rd birthday on Tuesday marked 3 years of being on this health and fitness journey!  It was on that day that I stepped into the office of a nutritionist, and began to take the reigns of my life.  What a three years it’s been!  Not only have I lost about 85 pounds, I’ve gained the confidence to change careers, to come out of the closet and begin living authentically, and to live my life with greater purpose and vision.  Reconstructing my life at 30 really took off and became a lasting theme for me!

Del Grosso’s Sunday Marinara

So below is my recipe for Chicken Eggplant Marinara with Whole Wheat Rotini (pictured above).  This recipe uses clean ingredients and whole grains, but also takes advantage of a healthy store-bought jarred marinara.  When choosing a marinara, I like to look for something with no added sugar.  This can be difficult as most mass-marketed brands do add sugar as a way to cut the acidity of the tomatoes.  For me, I don’t like the flavor, and I don’t want the extra calories and carbs. My absolute  favorite brand and flavor of jarred marinara is La Famiglia Del Grosso’s Aunt Mary Ann’s Sunday Marinara (pictured at right).  It is SOOOOO good!!!  The ingredients list is all natural with no sugar, everything can be pronounced by a five year old, and it tastes like it’s been simmering on an Italian grandmother’s stove all day.  It’s a little pricey at $6-7 a jar, but I promise you it’s worth every penny, and for Atlanta locals, I actually found it on sale at Publix this week as a Buy-One-Get-One-Free deal – It made my day, and I stocked up!  So here’s the recipe; I hope you enjoy!

Chicken Eggplant Marinara with Whole Wheat Rotini

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 medium to large eggplant

2 medium onions

1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 teaspoon dried basil

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder or 1 clove fresh garlic, finely chopped

1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce

1 jar marinara with no added sugar (typical size, 24-30oz, I use Del Grosso Sunday Marinara)

8 ounces whole wheat rotini (measured dry, approximately 3 cups)

Freshly grated parmigiano reggiano as a topping, optional

Begin by peeling your onions and then cutting them in half lengthwise.  Lay the flat sides down, and slice each onion half into thin (1/4 inch) half moon slices (This gives your sauce a more interesting texture than diced onions).  Take the ends off the eggplant, and then slice into three planks lengthwise.  Cut each plank into three or four strips, and then chop into approximately 1 inch pieces, leaving the skin on.  Also chop your chicken breast into bite size pieces (3/4 to 1 inch), and toss the chopped chicken in 1 teaspoon of reduced sodium soy sauce.  This small amount of soy sauce will not add an Asian or soy flavor to the dish, it will simply give the bland chicken a richness as it cooks that will add to the depth of flavor of the entire dish – almost like a quick and easy brine.  Don’t worry – the flavors are Italian, through and through!

Heat a large pot over medium-high heat, and when it is hot, add the olive oil.  Begin boiling your pasta water/preparing your pasta during this time, as well, according to package directions.  (As a side note, I use a microwave pasta cooker called the Fasta Pasta.  If you follow their cooking chart it really does come out al dente every time, and there’s no waiting for water to boil, or cleanup of a separate pot and colander, etc.)

To the olive oil add the sliced onions and chopped eggplant, seasoning with the salt pepper and dried herbs.  The eggplant will absorb the olive oil at this point, which is why it is important to use a non-stick pan.  As the eggplant cooks down, it will release the oil into the sauce once again.  Sautee, stirring frequently, until the eggplant is cooked through and tender and has a little color.  At this point, add the chopped chicken breasts that have been tossed in the soy sauce, as well as the garlic powder or chopped fresh garlic, and sautee until the chicken is white with a little color on the outside and just cooked through.

When the chicken is cooked through, add the jarred marinara, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer for 10-15 minutes.  Just before serving, add the cooked whole wheat rotini and toss gently until well combined.  This makes four approximately 2 cup servings.  Top with a sprinkling of freshly grated parmigiano reggiano, if desired.