Saturday, January 27, 2018

265 - First day in my new job

Approx. 12 lbs lost in January (so far)
Well, it's the same job that I was doing before, Customer Service Supervisor in a large grocery store, just in a different city - Missoula. My work schedule is more regular now. I'll be working from 4.00 pm until midnight, Saturday through Wednesday, with Thursdays and Fridays off. Nice!

The chart on the left shows how I dropped from about 277 lbs at the beginning of the year to 265 lbs this morning, with a couple of little (pizza-induced) blips along the way. Seriously, I've learned that for me, on a low carb diet, pizza is as bad as eating pure sugar. As soon as I get into a place where I can do it, I want to learn how to make a really good cauliflower-based pizza crust.

It'll be interesting to see what effect the increased amount of walking will have because I'm temporarily living a lot further away from my workplace (2.7 miles) than before (1.2 miles) and there is a 135 ft elevation change now.

Fantastic trails and recreation areas really close to town
Also, once my housing situation is resolved and I have easier access to all of my gear, I'm looking forward to exploring the recreation areas nearby; Pattee Canyon, Blue Mountain and Rattlesnake, as well as the South Hills and the downtown Riverfront.

There are lots of exciting changes and opportunities coming my way soon. I hope you can join me for them, either in person or by following the blog.

Friday, January 26, 2018

The future is looking bright

I moved back to my "home" city of Missoula yesterday. The only thing I wasn't able to bring with me immediately, because of the icy roads and cold temperatures, was my motorbike. At least "Red" is safely tucked up in a warm garage now until I can go and retrieve her in a few weeks time.

I was telling a friend earlier today that it feels really good to be back in Missoula, even though I don't have my own place to live yet. My "stuff" is still in storage and I'm living "out of a suitcase", in a manner of speaking. But that's okay (for a couple of weeks anyway). I know that I'll find somewhere suitable very soon, and then the next stage of my journey can begin.

Along the way (while I was in Belgrade), I was able to make a few new friends and share the address of my website and blog with them. They will be my accountability partners as I strive towards my target weight of 178 lbs (80.7 kg). Just as important, I want to tone and shape my body and build up the musculature.

So, I'm in a new city (in the sense that I just moved), a new job (in the sense that my co-workers are all new to me - it's the same job title, just a different location). I'll have a new house or apartment soon. It's a new start, and the future is looking bright. 

Sunday, January 21, 2018

265 - getting fresh

As I was looking at the website of a popular online shopping company last night, it occurred to me that I really couldn't use most of their food offerings. My cupboards will contain a few standbys for emergencies, sure, but the bulk of the food I'll be preparing and eating will be fresh produce. Fortunately for me, I work in a grocery store and have easy access to some good quality produce, including some exotic things like dragon fruit, jackfruit and kiwano melons (and everyday things like nopales, a.k.a. cactus paddles).

265.2 lbs (120.3 kg) this morning
You've seen and heard it be said elsewhere, I'm sure, that you should shop the perimeter of your grocery store, not the center aisles, because those contain all the packaged "convenience" foods that are full of artificial additives and preservatives and unpronounceable ingredients.

Food writer and journalist Michael Pollan says in his book "Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual": "Processed food products dominate the center aisles of the store, while the cases of mostly fresh food—produce, meat and fish, dairy—line the walls. If you keep to the edges of the store you’ll be much more likely to wind up with real food in your shopping cart."

This morning I tipped the scales at 265 lbs. I had to buy myself a new belt yesterday because the old one was literally hanging together by a single thread and was incapable of doing its job of holding my pants up. It's only a cheap Chinese belt because at the moment that's all I can afford (since I'm saving up to move house again) but I will allow myself something nice-looking once I'm more settled.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

I spent the day thinking about food and cooking

With just a few days to go until I move 😃, I had a day off work today and I spent a large part of it thinking about food. As the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates said, "Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food". I also spent more than an hour on the phone with my daughter talking about her diet. She has been a vegan for quite a while now and has enjoyed excellent health as a result.

As I contemplated what kinds of foods I would be buying, preparing and eating in the near future (and also which ones I would be avoiding altogether) I came up with this list, almost a manifesto (in no particular order): spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, lettuce (not iceberg), kale, artichokes, asparagus, avocado, zucchini, chard, kohlrabi, tomatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, cauliflower, broccoli, butternut squash, spaghetti squash, cabbage (red, green and white), cucumber, fennel, okra, green beans, turnips, rutabaga (swede), carrots (particularly purple ones, not baby ones), snow peas, Brussels sprouts, jicama, radishes. Also, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, nuts and seeds, lots of garlic and mushrooms.

Keen nutritionists will notice that these foods are largely low carb, high in vitamins and minerals, and have a low glycemic index. The list specifically doesn't include potatoes, corn or peas and avoids most fruits. Not that I'm opposed to things like apples, grapefruits, strawberries, cherries, plums, dried apricots or pears. I would just eat them in very small quantities. I would use citrus fruits like oranges, lemons and limes as garnishes and freshly-squeezed for a little bit of juice, but will definitely NOT be drinking orange juice or other fruit juices by the glass.

There will also be plenty of red (chili) pepper, turmeric, cumin, cinnamon, and ginger.

My list of things to avoid includes: refined sugar in any form, wheat and corn in its many forms (therefore, very little bread and no breakfast cereal), processed foods, rice and pasta and (for ethical/moral reasons more than nutritional ones) any products made by Nestlé ** or Kraft Foods ***.

I'll be looking to substitute zucchini noodles and spaghetti squash for wheat-based pasta; making "bread" and "pizza crust" with cauliflower instead of wheat; using rutabaga and turnips instead of potatoes in potato salads and French fries. I'll be adding nutritional yeast to some dishes that normally require cheese, and checking out Lighlife's Fakin' Bacon and Smart Ground products as well as Field Roast's vegan sausages, deli slices and Chao slices.

I don't think I'm ready to go full-bore vegan just yet because I want to still have eggs and fish and real cheese and yogurt from time to time, just a lot less than in my past. 

I've been thinking about adding a Recipes section to the main ERGOOB website (http://www.ergoob.org) where I can include step-by-step photo and video directions on how to make and adapt recipes so that they are "healthier". As I experiment, I'll post the results in this blog first, but I'd like to have a repository of tried and tested, tasty, healthy dishes that are easy to prepare and fun to share.


** Including brands such as Nescafe and Nesquick, Carnation, Haagen-Dazs, Buitoni, Maggi, CoffeeMate, and Cheerios.
*** Including brands such Grey Poupon, Gevalia, Planters, Jell-O, Maxwell House, Oscar Mayer, Velveeta, Kool-Aid, Philadelphia cream cheese and Claussen pickles.

Monday, January 15, 2018

267 - A good weekend in Missoula

267.2 lbs (121.2 kg) this morning

I spent a couple of days last weekend visiting my new home city (my "spiritual home") of Missoula, prior to moving back there permanently on January 25th. I was very careful about eating a low carb diet, opting for green salads most of the time. It paid off. At this morning's weigh-in, I was three pounds lower than at any time in the past few months.

One good discovery that I made was a new chain of fast-casual Brazilian restaurants called Five on Black (http://www.fiveonblack.com) with two locations in Missoula, one in Bozeman, plus one each in Denver and Boulder. You get to pick a base, a protein, a side, a sauce and a topping (hence the Five) in whatever combination you like. I opted for mixed greens of Romaine lettuce and spinach, with oven roasted beets, jicama and sweet potatoes, accompanied by steamed collard greens covered in a fantastic spicy coconut sauce, topped with a chimichurri verde (with cilantro, parsley, minced garlic, oregano and chili pepper flakes). For me, it had the perfect amount of 'heat' and was very tasty.

Sunday, January 07, 2018

270 - a stunningly good start to the new year

I did finally dig out my bathroom scales yesterday and was delighted to learn that my "gut" feeling was correct.
I've managed to get down to 270 lbs (122.5 kg), a loss of twelve pounds in a week and a half and 18 lbs lower than my recent high of 288 lbs (about three weeks ago). I'm very happy about that.

"Success begets success" goes the phrase and so I plan to continue what I have been doing (eating fewer carbs and less overall) at least until I get myself settled into a new home and a new job in Missoula. Then it will be time to re-evaluate.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

282 - gained nearly 40 lbs in the past year - and will lose the final 100 lbs this coming year, you just watch me!

Looking back a year at my first blog post of 2017 (a year when I posted only eight times altogether, versus 107 blog posts in 2016) I see I weighed 243 lbs. Events at the end of 2017 were a bit chaotic but the last "official" weigh-in had me at 282 lbs. My ultimate goal is to reach 178 lbs by the end of this year. Based on past performance (losing about ten pounds a month) I think it's totally possible.

My friends who are familiar with my story know that I am currently in the process of moving back from Belgrade to my "spiritual home" of Missoula. I am already feeling more optimistic about the future, and about regaining 100% control of my diet and exercise. Sadly, my bathroom scales are packed away at the bottom of a cardboard box. It'll be another three weeks before they see the light of day again. In the meantime, I am sticking more closely to my former low carb diet and avoiding (as much as possible) sugar and wheat and corn. My new pants (the ones I had to grudgingly buy from the "Big & Tall" [a.k.a. fat people's] store a couple of weeks ago) feel like they're a bit loose now.

I'm looking forward to plenty of four-season hiking in the Missoula area on Mount Sentinal and Mount Jumbo, the Rattlesnake trails, Pattee Canyon, the Riverfront trail and the Blue Mountain trails. As the warmer weather returns, I'll be taking my motorbike with me on backpacking trips further afield. I'll also be scouting out sections of the ACA Lewis & Clark route (Highway 12) from Lewiston, Idaho, back to Missoula, in preparation for my 600-mile bicycle ride from Portland, Ore., in 2019. I'll be taking my camera(s) with me a lot more this year too.

I anticipate that there will be more opportunities for me to share the details of my progress and more news and photos in 2018 than in the year before. I'll be doing a lot more reading about the evils of added sugar and the virtues of a heavily plant-based (more vegetarian) diet. With so much of our body's energy expenditure (70%) going towards maintaining our basal metabolic rate, the marginal amount of extra energy burned through vigorous exercise is so small as to make extra exercise far less important than diet in our quest to lose weight. Exercise does have many other positive benefits though - it's just that it doesn't directly affect weight loss so much ("Abs are made in the kitchen, not the gym!")