Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sunday November 29th, 2009 - Heartburn

The turkey gave me heart burn. I thought it might upset my stomach or make me nauseas, but I haven't had heartburn since I started the vegan diet. Good thing I didn't eat a steak or a hamburger. They would certainly make me sick. I've heard that eating meat after not having it for so long would make you sick. I'm not sure and I don't want to find out. On Thanksgiving I only had a small portion of turkey. It wasn't special and it didn't feed some craving because I don't crave meat or dairy. Maybe cheese. Good strong stinky cheese. I could have easily skipped the turkey. I think that may have been my last meat. At least on purpose. The American society, in general, eats so much meat and dairy that they don't think twice about adding it into the food they're making. What kind of weirdo cares about an egg or hamburger in something? I do, but some things can't be avoided. I usually claim to be 98% vegan because I occasionally eat prepared food that you can just taste the butter in and, perhaps, bread made with eggs. Can't avoid it, but you can try.

On Saturday I worked down at the museum because they thought it might be busy in the learning lab (Idea Box), but it wasn't. I had about 38 people walk through and ask questions, but no one sat down to do a project. So I made my own "Post card" project. I enjoy having all of those materials around and the quiet time to channel my creativity. I actually enjoy making art. I can't draw well, but I do great at conceptual pieces. I didn't get the chance to exercise, but I did make up for the lost day by working out for an hour today. Sunday's are usually my rest day, but I got up early and had time to do my chores and go to the gym before the football games started. Tomorrow all three boys are back in school so I can go back to my normal routine of working and writing in the morning and spending an extended lunch break at the gym. I'd like to increase all of my workouts to two hours even if it means getting up early and missing evening television. I only like a couple of cable shows anyway. No big loss, but the added workout time could mean a big weight loss.

Friday, November 27, 2009

November 27th, 2009 - Thanksgiving Amnesty

I turned vegan on July 5th, 2009. On the 4th, I had my last hot link. For the most part, probably 98% of the time, I was true to the vegan diet. Every once in a while you taste garlic bread or vegetables with butter on it. It's impossible to completely avoid food ingredients that exclude all dairy. Sometimes you just need to be reasonable. It's not like I order a hamburger or steak. I've even cut out hot wings and cheese cake. So, I decided to give myself one day of vegan amnesty. After all, if you're going to eat meat, turkey isn't the worst type. It would be better if you had organic or wild turkey and avoid the factory farm turkeys.

Anyway, as he steps off the soap box, Thanksgiving dinner was great. I didn't have much, but I did get some dark meat and yes, it tasted great. I also had some cream cheese with jalapeno jelly on a cracker as an appetiser, but that was about it. One day of Turkey Amnesty. Now, it's the 27th and amnesty has been revoked.

Not only is my vegan diet back in full force, but I also resumed exercise. Okay, I only skipped one day. Today, I chose to ride the virtual bike and skip the weights. They looked heavy today. There is this older man who, I kid you not, looks exactly like Santa. I don't think he liked it when I tried to sit on his lap. He was benching weight at the time. LOL (laugh out loud). Actually, he's never really talked to me before and I have quietly grown to call him grumpy Claus, but today he decided to visit. Of course, I was near the end of my first pass on the "Oh Mama" trail and I was sweating and panting when he decided to talk. He started asking about the virtual bike and I showed him how the programs work and how they look. He asked me if you could run over deer, but I know he meant reindeer. He wouldn't even take my list. Something about not being a pimp. Whatever, watch out for Santa Claus. He has something diabolical in mind.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tueday November 24th, 2009 - Maxed Out

This morning I weighed 318. Now we are headed in the right direction. I went to the gym and rode the "Outlaw Pass" and the "Oh Mama." Both are level three "difficult" trails. When I finally finished, after 1 1/2 hours sprinting on the virtual bike, I felt like I was going to collapse. Not really; I was just spent. I looked over at the weights and just said no. I am going to try to hit the gym tomorrow afternoon. I think they are open on Thanksgiving morning for a few hours, so I'll go then if I can sneak out of the house.

This morning I went to the cardiologist for a lipids test. And my blood is in better than perfect shape, except for the platelet count. A few months ago I went in and had high cholesterol. I couldn't figure that one out because I don't eat much cholesterol at all. At least for me, my cholesterol comes from my liver and not my food. Go figure. So they had given me 20mg of Crestor and that seems to have taken care of it.

My father-in-law had to go to the hospital because of a possible heart attack. We'll find out in the morning if he needs a bypass. I can't imagine what we would do without him. He takes care of his mother and my monster-in-law. JUST KIDDING! I know she reads this, so I better back peddle quick. Actually, we get along fine and she always means well. Special prayers for Jerry.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Monday November 23rd, 2009 - Obvious Dilemma

My wife swears that I'm losing the love handles and tummy. My war with the scale doesn't show that kind of progress, however, I compared body measurements and I have indeed lost some inches. How can this be? Actually, it's quite obvious. I plateaued for a while; which really isn't all that bad. Your body does need to get used to the reduced weight, but I have really tried to lose weight this month so I could make my New Year's goal and it has been frustratingly slow.

While my caloric intake has improved, I have also been pushing the protein with every meal and supplementing with additional soy protein drinks. I like to mix the soy powder with V-8 Fusion or Naked Superfoods drink, thus, killing several birds with one drink. I can feel the effects of the additional protein in my workouts. I have doubled if not tripled the intensity of my bike riding as well as my weights. I can see and feel an increase in muscle mass. My legs, arms, and core muscles are like rock. Herein lies the answer; I have been replacing fat with muscle and muscle weighs more than fat. I'm still going to make my New Year's goal of 300 pounds, but it's going to require additional diligence.

Today, I rode the "oh Mama" twice and really laid into the weights. It was a monstrous two hour ordeal, but pretty much the same as last week. My caloric intake has been quite satisfactory. I believe I will see a significant improvement when I climb on the scale tomorrow.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday November 22nd, 2009 - Ditto

I am having a real hard time losing weight right now. I'm trying to take it one day at a time. I didn't touch the scale for several days to see if I could surprise myself. I had forgotten one important aspect of my weight loss success routine and that is to get to bed on time. This week will be a particular challenge because all of my boys are on Thanksgiving break.

I enjoy my space during the week. It allows me to work online without interference. I will be looking forward to the gym this week. And, of course, Thanksgiving. It will be my first vegan holiday. I'm not a huge fan of turkey anyway so it will probably not be that hard. Things cooked with butter maybe a challenge. I just hope my extended family doesn't try to make me vegan dishes. It's okay if my wife does, but I don't want to have to eat someone's vegan experiment. Just serve me veggies and salad, thank you. Maybe this will also be the first year I don't overeat on Thanksgiving.

I DID make it to the gym this morning before the football games. I was still feeling guilty about missing the gym on Friday so I did another double run at the "oh Mama" trail. I think the elevation indicator looks like someone having a heart attack. Way up; way down and everything in between. Yes, that's appropriate, a heart attack EKG. I also worked on as many weight machines as I could before the start of the Colts game. Today was great as far as calories are concerned. One day at a time.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Saturday November 21, 2009 - Double Oh Mama!

On Wednesday I work at the museum and ran errands. It was my scheduled day off from the gym. On Thursday, I only had time to ride the "Oh Mama" trail. By itself, it is a great workout and it takes less than an hour. On Friday, I took my mom to see "Men who stare at goats." It was as exciting as its title, but my mom liked it.

Today I was determined to make up for lost workout time. I rode the "Oh Mama" trail twice. I had to stretch my hamstrings out repeatedly after the ride to keep them from pulling. I also lifted weights for about an hour. I did, indeed, make an awesome workout. I may try to hit the gym before football tomorrow morning.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Tuesday November 17th - Mellow Day

On Monday was pretty busy on the internet and email and running errands. I did go to the gym. I rode one "Oh Mama" trail, and lifted weights. The added protein drinks are helping with the muscle build up. The problem is that it has put a dent into losing weight. I am losing fat, but I am also gaining for muscle mass. I already look like a linebacker, accept for the spare tire. I'm slowly losing some weight. I have to shoot for 5 pounds a week. I probably shouldn't look at my weight everyday. I should just stick to the program and the weight will follow. I weighed 322 this morning.

Tuesday was mellow day. I returned a few business emails and went to the gym. Today I rode the "Oh Mama" trail and played basketball for 30 minutes. I like the "Oh Mama" trail because its hard, challenging, very sweaty, and comfortable. I know every twist and turn and that can sometimes be very comforting. It's like my affection for the trails I ride to Downtown Denver on. I like knowing what hill or straightaway is ahead of me. I am being successful with my exercise and my calorie count. Maybe I shouldn't eat to many of them after dinner. That always makes a difference. Making exercise and the vegan diet routine has helped too.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Sunday November 15th, 2009 - Catch up post

I can't believe Thursday was my last post. On Friday, I worked out in the morning completing 10 miles on the "Oh Mama" trail. I also went in to the Museum of Contemporary Art to help with some school groups. I had 90 6th graders come through and work on my film frame project for 2 1/2 hours solid. I understand the kids were pretty noisy in the rest of the museum, but they were creative and engaged when I worked them through the project. Some of them got very conceptual and abstract. I liked those drawings the best. They may not know it, but those "abstract" kids have huge potential.

Later, on Friday evening, Cheri and I met up with some friends we've both had since the second grade. We had a lot of fun talking about our adventures in high school. Once again, I am reminded about just how good my boys are and how grateful I am that they don't know that much about my high school behavior. Oh well, I had a lot of fun and emerged without a record :-)

On Saturday, I went back to the gym and worked out hard. I rode the "Oh Mama" trail twice. Talk about sweat. I like that trail because it's mostly long 35% inclines with quick drops. It took me a little over an hour. It's good training for my next mountain biking adventure and I know I won't have any trouble on the rode bike. I may have gotten even stronger legs during my time off of the regular bikes. My wrist feels strong enough for a ride to Denver when the weather gets nice again. I also went through my entire weight lifting workout. Sunday was football day as usual and my day off from the gym. I did manage to workout 5 days last week and my calories management has been great. However, this morning I was all backed up. My stomach and intestines hurt so bad that I eventually took a vicodin for some relief. It may have been Saturday's consumption of powdered soy protein. I drank enough, but maybe I didn't have enough fiber. Either way, this has to correct itself today. I'm feeling good about my chances to hit 300 by the end of the year.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday November 12th, 2009 - 70 degrees

Seriously, it's 70 degrees outside at 3:45pm. Tomorrow it will be 32 degrees with frozen rain and then snow for the next couple of days. Welcome to Colorado weather. The weather fluctuates by 30 degrees often in the Denver winter season. At least the snow is kind enough to melt once in a while. When we lived in Buffalo, NY the snow never melted. It just compacted until the late spring thaw.

The day was so perfect I really should have tried to ride my road bike, but I am still a little cautious about my wrist. However, I did ride 14.5 miles (one hour) on the virtual bike and I lifted weights for 45 minutes. I never could have handled anything close to this workout last year. I remember when I bought my mountain bike last spring and I could only ride two miles. It was also hard to walk through Sam's club. How sad is that? Now, I'm stronger and I have more endurance than I've ever had in my adult life. If I can afford the lift tickets, maybe I will take up skiing again.

I was disappointed with my weight loss, so I tried to make a nutrient rich diet, but it didn't go far enough. At least for a few weeks I'm going to abstain from any alcohol or candy. I was drinking to much beer with my buddies. Very fattening. Halloween candy was too available and yummy. My current diet is mostly V-8's, protein smoothies, protein bars, and a small vegan dinner. I did that yesterday and I shed a pound. We'll see how it goes. The added protein in my diet is helping with muscle repair and hopefully some additional building.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wednesday November 11th, 2009 - MCA

Yesterday, Tuesday the 10th, I just rode the virtual bike for one hour on the "Gut Buster" run. No kidding, this ride was meant to wipe you out. I got a great sweat on and I was so tired by the end I just went home. Today is my relaxed day. The weather has been beautiful. I may try to ride my road bike. We'll see.

Wednesday is my Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) day. We have had this "fart" project for months. It's a side line project to coincide with Jim Greens' locational whoopy cushion exhibit. Today I was determined to come up with a different activity to coincide with Matthew Buckingham's exhibit about time perspectives. Matt used two 16mm film loops for his exhibit. I thought that the use of the film was special to kids and visitors because you just don't see film projectors that often. In honor of film, I drew a three frame film outline so kids could draw pictures or tell a visual story with the three frames. I made several examples today; one of three solid pastels; one more pastel with some blobs; and one more collage of different female ethnicities. Greg dropped by and made an incredible three frame piece with a mountain frame; a cowboy on a bucking horse; and another nature frame. His project turned out very good, but he didn't finish. On Friday, we are going to go back to direct several scheduled school groups on the film frame project. I encourage students to think outside of the box. It's always fun to see what they come up with. I'm excited to see my project idea come to life.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Monday November 9th, 2009 - Fighting Back

This morning I weighed 323. I'm not losing weight right now. My year end goal is 300. My scheduled days off from the gym are Wednesdays (Museum day) and Sunday (Football), so I didn't work out yesterday. But, I did today. I decided to get giggy with it. I ate protein with every meal and snack today.

The doctor told me it would be okay to start using my hand, but hold off for a while on the beating it gets from mountain or even road cycling. I went to the gym today determined to start a fight with my weigh stagnation. I went through my weight machine workout for about 45 minutes and the wrist felt okay, so I went and shot hoops for 45 minutes. I was trying to run around the court as much as possible to get a good sweat going. It worked. I was huffing and puffing by the time I finished. I still had a half hour to burn so I went and rode the virtual bike. It felt good to really push myself. Tomorrow is another scheduled gym day, but I might try a short bike ride too.

My eating and nutrition is good during the day, but dinner time is my enemy. I eat vegan, but I eat normal instead of losing weight controlled. I will kick my butt working out and try to control at night. This blog is about losing weight, but it's also about getting healthy and not giving up. I'm not giving up. I choose to fight.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Saturday November 7th, 2009 - Vegan Kids

Oh man. I am in pain. I rode a virtual trail called "Oh Mama" twice. The first time was serous enough, but I thought I could push another couple miles of 30% inclines and then I thought I could give it another 15 minutes and then I was too close to stop. Overall 1 1/2 hours of torture. It felt good until I got off to walk. The back of my thighs felt like they were going to cramp at any second. I guess I overworked the gracilis and semimembranosus muscles (hamstrings). The rest of my thighs and calves feel fine. I'm trying to stretch between sentences. I'm supposed to go bowling tonight. Not only is my right wrist sore as a mad dog, now I don't think I can walk. I hope they give me a 200 handicap LOL. This week I rode the virtual bike 5 times for 360 minutes. Not bad. I can't wait until I can resume my normal exercise routine. On beautiful warm days like today, I would like nothing more than a nice 40 mile ride to and from Denver. Not to mention my upper body. I lust for free weights.

My friend, Lisa (same friend as last night), has asked about vegan kids. My kids eat meat and dairy, so I haven't really thought about it. Kids can be vegans, but they are growing and it becomes imperative that their diets and supplements are measured continuously. They absolutely need tons of protein and calcium. And, as a parent, you have to overcome the normal resistance to anything green. You can almost substitute soy products for dairy, so that's easy to slide by, but garden burgers are not even close to a cheese burger hot off the grill.

The hardest part for vegan kids has to be psychological. Kids don't like to be different. Pizza, hamburgers, ice cream, anything with dairy in it. It would be difficult to attend the typical birthday party. It's possible if the kids are into the political side of vegan. If they are militant about the treatment of animals, they can handle being vegan. Maybe that's where I would start. Educate the kids on the beef, poultry, and fish industries. If they're not completely grossed out, then they must never get grossed out by anything. Once you have their attention, I would introduce vegan.

Another strong argument for vegan is "climate change." The kids get hit with this reality everyday. Being vegan is being "green." In 2006, the UN reported that the meat industry produces more greenhouse gases than all the SUVs, cars, trucks, planes, and ships in the world combined. Kids can't buy electric cars, but they can make an individual contribution by going vegan.

The actual vegan diet can be kid friendly. Just work around the meat and dairy issue by feeding them things that every kid likes. Here's a sneaky way to get the vegetable and fruit servings in. Have them drink smoothies like Jamba Juice or Naked Juices, or Odwalla. One of my biggest problems around the house is that my health food tastes great and my carnivore teenagers eat all of it. Juice, protein bars, granola, nuts, fruit, and even soy milk disappears. If they like V-8 you're all good. They will need to take vitamins and supplements. At least for me, the best way to get enough protein is through soy protein powder. I get a double hit by mixing my powder with Odwalla "Superfood" smoothy. It's nutritionally superior to anything you eat and it tastes great. My boys like the juices and smoothies, but they think the addition of my powder looks gross. Good, I don't want to share my soy mix anyway.

There is a wealth of vegan education on the net. Try it for a week; try it for a month. It's so easy to remember what you can and can't eat. If it has a face, don't eat it. Kids usually don't like oysters and other faceless sea creatures, so you're probably safe. If you can make it a month, you can make it permanent. If they get cravings, just take a bite and savor it. No one is going to revoke your vegan membership card. I may have been apprehensive about vegan kids when I started thinking about this, but the more I think about it, it makes sense. Maybe it's not about being different. Maybe it's about being really cool.

Friday, November 6, 2009

November 6th, 2009 - Vegan for life... a longer life

I was just chatting with a high school friend, Lisa (happy birthday again), and thinking about the whole vegan thing. I became vegan to lose weight. Then, I discovered that abstaining from meat and dairy makes you feel "clean." And then there is the whole antibiotics and hormones and living conditions of our "food." We grow animal products; we hardly ever raise them. I do miss some meats like hot wings, hot links, filet mignon, and smoked salmon, but not enough to eat them. I've heard that eventually vegans can't eat meat without getting sick. I'll leave that for others to find out. I like to say that abstaining from meat and dairy is the easy part of being vegan. The hard part is qualifying and quantifying the food you put in your mouth. It's all an education, but the reward is substantial. Did you know that vegans have a longer life span? Seriously, I've read anywhere from 7 to 14 years. That's an extra 7 to 14 years that I would like to spend with my grand children... when I have them.

I went to the gym again today. I rode the virtual bike around this chase game. It's like a video game, but you have to peddle hard to catch the "dragons." After 45 minutes, I thought I would try a track called the "buster." It has 24% inclines and big drops. It's up and down and up and down... you get the picture. I thought maybe I could handle a mile or so, but then I went the distance. 12 miles of pouring sweat. It felt good. I'm going to do it again tomorrow. I can't wait to get back on my road bike, but I can tell my wrist needs at least a few weeks more healing time.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Thursday November 5th, 2009 - Strict diet time

I was 322 pounds this morning. I rode the virtual bike for 40 mins, 10 miles, black diamond difficulty, many 26% climbs, 143 heart, 14.7/25.6 miles/hour, and I beat the pace rider by five minutes. Ate a bean and salsa burrito for breakfast (not horrible, but not great). Time to clamp down and lose 22 pounds before Christmas.

New structured routine-
*Increase workouts to 5 days a week minimum.
*Eat vegan as usual.
*Continue with vitamins and supplements (flaxseed oil, Mega Men's Sport packets and alternate with Maximum Greens packets, and Burn 60 on heavy workout days).
*Breakfast - Eat granola with high nut, seed, fruit content with soy milk, and banana.
*11am - drink green machine slush with soy protein mix (30 grams Protein)
*2pm - " " "
*Dinner - rate dinner 1 to 5 on content and calories. Salad, greens, veggie, carbs.
*8pm - Drink protein drink or eat protein bar.
*Snacks - raw fruit and nuts.

This will meet the Vegan Recommended foods servings:
3 cups grains
2 1/2 cups nuts/soy/beans
2 cups vegetables
1 cup fruit
2 table spoons fat from oil
(calcium, protein, b-12 (monthly shots), and all other vitamins covered with suppliments)

"That'll do pig" (Babe)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Monday November 2nd, 2009 - Black Diamond

I got my wires crossed and went to the hand surgeon a day early. My appt is tomorrow morning. This is the first time I've lost my appt card, but at least I didn't miss the appointment. I made it to the gym again today and rode on "Monkey Pass." It's an 11 mile black diamond (difficult) course on the virtual bike. I'm going to try to get some riding in everyday even if its just 20 minutes. Today was 40 minutes and I barely beat the pace rider. Usually I beat him by 4-5 minutes, but this course was the hardest I've been on. I still averaged 15.4 miles per hour with a max of 25.8. I have better rides if I'm still a bit sore.

I'm bipolar. My dad was bipolar and his mom was bipolar ect... They both committed suicide at age 50. There is a long history of suicides in my family. Scary, but I have much better meds and treatment than they had. I am not suicidal. It's such a waste. I recently read an article about the challenges of being a bipolar parent. I've had to "deprogram" a few times, but I didn't really connect the dots with general parenting. Sometimes, I operate on emotion and I get myself in trouble with my boys. It's like sticking your foot in your mouth and not being able to get it out. It's like I can see it happening, but I can't control it. Most of the time I think I'm a pretty good father, but there are times I wish I could get back. I never really attributed it to my bipolar disorder, but it makes a lot of sense. It's not a cop out. It's a realization that might help me manage my sudden stress onset. Sometimes it better just to walk away for a while. Yet another example of being mentally and physically healthy. It's all about the whole picture.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NFL Sunday November 1st, 2009 - Virtual bike

I went to the gym and rode on the virtual bike and the treadmill for 90 minutes during the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota game. There wasn't too many people there so I got to exercise right in front of the game on TV. I borrowed their wireless earphones. The workout felt good, but I wasn't very enthusiastic when I left my house. Sometimes you just have to force yourself. Tomorrow the surgeon will re-xray my wrist to see if I need another cast or if the wrap is cool for a few weeks. I hope my hand feels better soon because I'm really missing my bike. I forgot to weigh myself this morning.