A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

I now twit, er... or tweet. Anyway, you can follow me on twitter @Aeon1202

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Status Report: 1 lb. lost, 45 lbs. total

I know this is starting to sound repetitive but: another week, another pound.  I'm chipping away at myself like a sculptor with a gigantic block of petrified wood.

On one hand it's tempting to think that I'm currently only losing about four pounds per month, on the other hand at this rate in the course of a year there will be 52 lbs. less of me - it's nothing to sneeze at (well, unless you happen to have a cold).

My primary thought for this week is that working out six days a week means that you're pretty much sore somewhere all the time.  I know this means my muscles are getting stronger, but ouch.  Since it's grown cold I've started indoor power walking, a workout designed by Leslie Sansone.  Aside from the music being horrible these are really good workouts - lots of sweat, lots of movement, no hard impacts and plenty of calories burned.

And tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

My plan is a workout, no second helpings, no dessert, skip the bread basket, and have what I truly want and will most enjoy.  I've got a mean spinach, sausage and asiago quiche baking in the oven right now and I intend to enjoy it for breakfast tomorrow.  My sister makes unbelievable stuffing with craisins in it and I plan to enjoy that too.  I don't really expect to stay perfectly within calories, but nor do I expect to go over by a lot.

Saturday we're celebrating my birthday, which brings cake-related problems.  Since I don't really eat desserts anymore - it's okay to have some cake on my birthday... right?  I mean, it's my birthday.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Come to Dinner, my DEER

Yup.  We ate Bambi.

One of my best friends is married to an avid hunter, which means that when he killed a deer recently they graciously shared some with us, giving us our first opportunity to cook and taste venison burger.

I’ve had venison previously - as a roast, a meatloaf and some fabulous jerky – but this was our first time trying it out in burger form.  Also our first time tasting sans any marinade or other additives since I make hamburgers Alton Brown style: meat solo with no extras.

As always, Ted did the actual raw meat handling for me.  Although I do eat meat a few times a week I greatly dislike handling it so that’s part of his cooking duties as my sous-chef de cuisine.  Let me tell you, that man makes a mean hand thrown meatcake.

As you can see the meat is really red, even after being frozen and thawed out again.  Beef that you purchase in the grocery store has a nasty chemical additive that maintains the bright red color it normally has.  However since this animal went from the park to my friend’s garage to the freezer without ever seeing the inside of even a Butcher shop I have to assume it’s richness is simply due to the meat being very well oxygenated and uber-fresh.  The ground meat has had some fat added since my friends knew we planned to turn it into burgers, but unfortunately I neglected to ask what kind.  Since the deer itself is such a lean animal I’m guessing it’s perhaps a bit of pork fat.

I most often make turkey burgers since they’re so calorie friendly and we often have access to fresh ground turkey from a nearby Amish market, so I used the same cooking technique with these.  That involves rubbing a thin layer of canola oil onto the pan, then heating it thoroughly to just over medium heat, putting in the patties and letting them sit undisturbed for seven minutes per side.

Using that technique on the deer turned out to be a slight error on my part.  Poultry needs to be very carefully cooked through to avoid bacterial contamination whereas deer can be rare, so on the first batch of burgers my cook time was a tiny bit too long.  They weren’t ruined, just a little too close to well done.  I think we nailed it on the second batch by reducing the heat to straight up medium and cook time to six minutes per side.

As you can see, the boys were eagerly anticipating dinner.

I decided to have my venison burger with Dijon mustard, for that refined wild game eating experience.

The taste is definitely recognizable from beef.  It’s rich, flavorful, slightly crumbly, with a hint of minerals to it.  Calorie-wise it was higher than I expected, coming in at around 200 calories for a 4 oz. burger with 8 grams of fat, although opinions on how many calories game animals contain does vary a great deal via internet research so I could be wrong there.  It’s absolutely healthier than beef, or any mega-store purchased animal as it was never mass farmed, genetically manipulated or injected with chemicals.

Overall I very much enjoyed it.  Many thanks to my friends for sharing their tasty catch!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Status Report: 1 lb. lost, 44 lbs. total

At my group meeting they gave me a ribbon for ten pounds lost. On one hand I was like, “Whee! Ribbon!” On the other hand I was like, “Dude – I lost forty four, not ten!” Sadly they don’t count what came off from my previous program, BUT I KNOW THE TRUTH.

It’s slow and difficult going right now with less than two pounds off cumulatively in the last two weeks. That makes it feel as though I’m working pretty hard for really mild results. I’ve been eating an average of 1,400 to 1,600 calories per day and maintaining a slightly hectic six workouts per week regimen. Walks with Ted are an hour minimum, but my solo workouts are a lot more intense. Usually I do a kettlebell/dance combo for 40 to 45 minutes or one of my 45 minute cardio routines on You Tube. If I’m super low on energy it will be only a half hour, but that hasn’t happened in awhile.

It helps a lot to have that small snack when I get home from work and before beginning my workout. The snack boosts my energy and keeps me from feeling too ravenous afterward. Being a creature of habit I stick to the same couple of things in a rotation. If it’s helpful to anyone, here’s my afternoon snack list:

Wasa cracker with laughing cow cheese wedge (95 calories)
18 raw almonds (70 calories)
Chobani yogurt mini – coffee flavor with dark chocolate chips (100 calories)
1-2 oz. of beef jerky (80-160 calories)

Sometimes I’ll have a banana, but I find that something with more protein is really a better choice.

Last Friday I deliberately took the whole day off and ate what I wanted when I wanted it. Since avoidance of the truth helps no one, I still kept track of every bite and came in at the end of the day at around 3,000 calories. I also felt really sick by the end of the day thus teaching me that a full day off is really, really not worth it. A single dinner off plan now and then is really more than enough.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Status Report: .2 lbs. lost, 43 lbs. total

Yes - that is point two, NOT two pounds you see up there.

I admit that since last weeks loss was big I was fearfully expecting to gain this week, particularly since now it's only been five days since my last weigh in.

So yeah, I'll take that less than one pound drop thankyouverymuch.

I am now in the "scary zone".  In the last decade or so, I've managed to get to about the weight I'm at right now, but no further, before I lost heart and began the upward climb again.  As a result I'm on edge these days, dreading that I will wake up one day awash in apathy and utterly unable to continue any further and boomeranging right back to my old habits (and former weight).

Once I break down into the 230's I hope to feel a bit safer because then I'll officially be farther along the path than I've been in as long as I can remember.  Until then, I'm just trying to hang on and focus on one day at a time.  Sometimes one meal at a time.  Sometimes, just the next five minutes.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


This is exactly why I write down what I'm going to eat BEFORE I eat it and why I have been routinely skipping any and all desserts.

I went to an Indian buffet for lunch, had a single plate of food and two triangles of naan which I knew would total around 650 calories.  Then like a total moron I got some of my favorite Indian desert: these little doughnut balls called gulab jamun.  I ate them blithely guessing that one of them had maybe around 50 calories.

No, those teeny tiny doughnut holes are 150 calories EACH which means I spent 600 calories on FOUR measly bites of food that were not worth it and I am now at 1,260 calories total for the day after having only eaten ONE meal - lunch.

Crap crap crappitty crap crap.

That's how freaking easy it is to eat too much, and that's yet another reason why people have a hard time not being fat.


What 600 freaking calories looks like

Friday, November 8, 2013

Status Report: 5.4 lbs. lost, 42.8 lbs. total

A couple of things went through my mind simultaneously when I got weighed in this week.
The first was: YES I’m finally over the 40 lbs. lost mark!
The second was: YIKE that’s too fast!

However I wasn’t able to make my normal meeting time on Wednesday, so the 5.4 lbs. I lost this past week was the cumulative amount of nine days worth of work, not just my usual seven. Additionally I’m coming off of the two week period before and after high tide so the water I was retaining must have shed.

Either way, I’m trying not to make too big a deal out of it.

I felt particularly hungry and out of control this past week, as though the stomach shrinkage caused by being on a liquid diet has totally reversed. I didn’t do terrible though, just had a few days when I was closer to 1,600 calories than the 1,300 I desire. Maybe being slightly higher really did stave off a starvation-induced metabolic shutdown?

Who knows. Good week though, I know that much. Good enough that I sang all the way home from my meeting – I really only do that when I’m feeling particularly super heroic.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Conquering my Fear of Bleach

Anyone who’s seen me close up is aware that I’m a big fan of non-traditional hair color. I am happiest when my head most closely resembles an azalea bush in springtime. A few years back now, for various reasons, I stopped being afraid of what other people thought about my hair and started asking myself what I most wanted with regards to how I looked. Rainbow Brite hair color has been the result, and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier at least with regards to the appearance of my head.

In order to achieve these colors my natural, light dirty-dishwater brown color must first be exorcized like a pesky, unwanted poltergeist. This takes chemicals. Scary, scary chemicals. This means that in the past I’ve gone to a swanky professional salon to receive double processing: having all my natural pigmentation first removed, then replaced with the bright candy colors that I adore. This process is excruciatingly expensive.

Since I frequent the stores that sell salon grade hair products I knew that the actual items required to perform this procedure would cost maybe twenty to thirty bucks, so for a while now I’ve been kicking around the idea of conquering the task at home. What decided me was this tutorial by my favorite You Tube beauty-Guru, Cora from Vintage or Tacky (you should check out her site by the way, she is all forms of awesome at what she does).

And dangit if she didn’t make the whole thing look so easy, I had to give it a shot. Going it alone, however, did not seem wise on my first time out, so I brought in an intrepid team of hair dyeing assistants:

Jr. Assistant left, Sr. Assistant Right

My friend, the Sr. Assistant, is an Environmental Engineer (and she was nice enough not to fine me when I dumped excess bleach down the sink). I figured what the heck, if you don’t have access to a Stylist – go with a Scientist instead. Her adorable daughter, our Jr. Assistant, provided moral support, and also brought the Kinex for us to play with while we waited for our dye to set. Sweet!

Here I am before we began. The night previous I had scrubbed with a clarifying shampoo and then gone to bed on wet hair, so I started out sporting the ever seductive finger-in-electrical-socket look. As you can see I had roots – sad, sad looking roots.

First we bleached. I got a kind of bleach that claimed to have a “fresh green apple” scent. I suppose there was a faint apple-like whiff to it, assuming you were currently soaking your apples in lye. We kept the bathroom window open for ventilation, so nobody passed out and we stayed refrigerator fresh in the process.

Then, we wait. We put a couple streaks in the Jr. Assistant’s hair as well – because Sr. Assistant also doubles as awesome Mom who lets kid have pink and purple streaked hair.

After twenty minutes I hopped into the shower to rinse, thinking it would be simplest to remove bleach in the normal showering fashion rather than my trying to hang my head over the side of the tub. It only occurred to me after I was shampooing to stop the chemical reaction that I’d just rinsed bleach all down my naked back, so I quickly scrubbed with soap as well. I don’t seem to have suffered any negative reaction to the bleach though – no chemical burns whatsoever.

Next a quick blow dry, and I sadly neglected to get a shot of myself with yellow-white hair. It’s a bad look with my skin color, but entertaining at least. Sr. Assistant then painted on three layers of color: a dark plum for the bottom layer, bright candy pink for the crown of the head, and I added a few bright purple streaks right in the front. Then we stuck a bag over my head. According to our instructions, you shouldn’t let the bleach dry if possible and the bag does the trick nicely. Plus it allows your husband and friend a laugh when they get to refer to you as “bag-head” for the next hour or so.  Ah the irony of how silly we make ourselves look along the road to finding beauty.

After foiling in some streaks on Jr. Assistant’s hair we stuck a bag on her as well so that I wouldn’t have to suffer alone.

Now we get to play with Kinex!

As a side note, this is why one should always wear gloves when applying hair dye.  Sr. Assistant's hand wound up resembling blueberries, which horrified me and which she found very amusing.

Don't try this at home!

Half a movie later (Paranorman via Netflix) we were ready to rinse, dry, and view our result!

I’m beyond happy with this! It’s only our first attempt and we managed to annihilate my dark root problem and bring up a really fun pink color on top with that playful purple accent in front that I just adore! The plum under layer shows from the back, but it’s subtle because I don’t have a haircut that really displays it well. When I go in for my trim on Friday I believe it will show through better afterward.

My heartfelt thanks to Jr. Assistant, Sr. Assistant and Vintage or Tacky for helping me to conquer my fear of bleaching at home! With a little research, a lot of help and an adventurous attitude I am pleased to discover that this is an entirely doable process without painfully expensive salon trips!