Giving thanks…

For as long as I can remember Thanksgiving has been my favorite holiday.  Certainly as a child I remember Christmas as being magical and the excitement of Santa visiting and leaving toys under the tree.  As I aged I became a little jaded with the commercial aspect of Christmas.  I enjoy giving gifts and it is truly better to give than to receive.  On the other hand, Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to spend with friends and family void of the stress of shopping or trying to determine the right gift for someone.  Afterall, when was the last time someone cared if the turkey was a Butterball, Jennie-O or Safeway.

I know it’s a cliché, but often Thanksgiving is a time for sitting around the table and giving thanks for the many blessings we have been given.  I’m thankful for my wife and daughter.  They are my joy.  I don’t know what I would have done without my wife helping me to recuperate from my recent surgery.  It was incredibly difficult.  She was there every step of the way and having to help me in ways that I know had to be difficult for her.  It was difficult for me.  I felt so helpless at times.  One of the most tender moments while in the hospital was when she shaved my face.  It was about 4 days after surgery and I know I looked like a mess.  She gently helped me out of the bed and to the chair.  I remember being weak and in pain.  I was provided a pain pump but I tried not to use much pain medication unless it was necessary.   She was afraid of hurting me but she did a fantastic job.  Afterwards I felt human again.  When I came home from the hospital she went on short walks with me to help gain my strength back and when infection set in, she packed the wound trying to be as gentle as possible to keep from hurting me.  I love her dearly.

I’m reminded of a story of a father and daughter who, while hiking, came upon a bear.  The bear charged the daughter and in an effort to protect her, the father attacked the bear.  The bear began mauling him, ripping him to pieces.  Remarkably every time the bear began to turn his sights on the daughter, the father found the strength to get the bear to attack him again.  The daughter was able to get help and miraculously the father lived.  I watched the interview on television and the father was bandaged from head to toe.  I can identify with the love of a father for his daughter.  My daughter is my joy and there is no question I would lay my life down for her.

Given the difficulty of attempting to eat right on a holiday, this was my free day.  It began with the Sachse Turkey Trot 5k which was my cardio workout.  My wife walked / ran the 1 mile.  The remainder of the day was spent with wonderful food with my family and friends and football.


No rest for the weary…

It’s been a while since the last time I posted.  A very, very busy several days between work, hockey practices and scorekeeping games has kept me from making any entries.  I’m not exactly sure where the days have gone.  I do know that I on Friday I missed an upper body workout and on Saturday I missed a cardio workout.  Food wise I’ve been able to stick to the plan for the most part other than probably missing one of the six meals and having a near diet melt down.  I find the weekends being the most difficult at sticking to the meal plan.  It’s mostly because of the lack of structure and not from cheating.  I’ll end up missing one of the meals because the day just seems to get away.


I’m averaging about a pound a week and I’m in the midst of the 6th week on Body for Life.  There are some small noticeable changes.  I’m down another notch in my belt.  It’s amazing how the body fluctuates.  One day I’ll weigh myself and it will show I’ve gained a couple of pounds and another day it may show I’ve shed 3 but when the smoke clears it is still on average a pound a week which is safe weight loss.  While I’ve lost size in my waist, neck and thighs, I’ve also gained size in my chest, biceps and triceps.


I remember this past Saturday I was on the verge of having a major melt down on the plan.  I was pretty irritated about a few things.  First of all, I took a licensing exam back on November 8 and I had hoped to have already received the results.  Second, I was having some computer issues and was about ready to chunk the machine out the window.  Finally, I was a little bummed that I’m not getting results on Body for Life as I had hoped.  So I’m thinking to myself, “What’s the point?”  I ended up eating a small package of chips that is actually considered a single serving and not 2 ½ if you read the fine print of the nutritional information.  I’m happy to announce that is as far as it went.  I didn’t scarf down ice cream or chocolate or anything like that.  I took a deep breath and kept on with the plan.  I promised myself I’d give this a good 12 weeks and that is my intention.


As far as workouts go, I’m not completely sold on using resistance bands.  I’m not getting the burn I would like from them.  Some muscle groups it makes a great deal of sense such as biceps, shoulders and triceps.  However, using resistance bands for leg groups does not seem to be as much of a positive experience.  I think part of the issue at hand is in order to get the tension high enough to get decent resistance; there is a fair amount of “recoil” the body experiences which decreases the efficiency of the workout.  For instance, there is a standing chest press exercise in which I have to set the resistance so high to get a good burn that the tension causes my body to deflect backward.  In another 6 weeks I may look into joining the fitness club at work which is only $20 a month or I might look at purchasing a used set of dumbbells and a workout bench and ditch the resistance bands.  I’m trying to keep this all on the inexpensive side to prove a point a person does not have to spend a great deal in order to be and stay fit.


Thursday, if the weather holds out, I will be participating in my first 5k run ever.  The only thing what will stop me is if it rains.  I’m not one of those die-hard runners.  It’s supposed to be in the low 40’s on Thanksgiving, but if it rains that’s all she wrote.  I won’t run in the rain in those kinds of temperatures.  At any rate, Thanksgiving will obviously be my Body for Life free day.  Once again I hope not to go too hog wild.  On the other hand, I’m not going to stress myself out either.  I will enjoy the food in moderation and on Friday resume the plan…which will include a hockey tournament in which my daughter is playing in and a few games I will be scorekeeper. 


Once again, no rest for the weary…


I’ve always been proud of my daughter, but more so lately.  She came back from a hockey tournament in New York and had loads of homework to finish.  Unfortunately, it was nearing the end of the six weeks so there was no room for error.  When she came home she dilligently spent her time getting her work done instead of visiting with friends and was able to turn in the assignments on time. 

She also plays the clarinet in middle school and has been preparing for an audition to be admitted into the International Baccalaureate Program in high school under Fine Arts.  She has worked incredibly hard each and every night practicing her clarinet.  She produced one recording to include with her application, but decided it wasn’t good enough and kept working until she had a recording she felt was her best.  In the past she might have been willing to settle for the first recording, but to see her take the initiative to keep working until she produced the best she could really makes me proud of her.

I see that level of competition on the ice rink.  She gets visibly frustrated when she is unable to perform at the level she should.  She has broken a few sticks out of frustration if the shot she takes in practice doesn’t hit its mark.  She gets irritated when teammates goof off during practice.  With the expense that comes with travel hockey, it is incredibly refreshing to see her maturing and taking it seriously.

The next time I’m struggling with one of my workouts or having trouble with a craving, she will be my inspiration to work a little harder and to be a little tougher.  My experience on BFL is that it doesn’t always take a great deal of will power to over come a craving.  Sometimes all it takes is a little adjustment in thought.  Redirecting. 

Sometimes it takes personal examination.  I know on a recent run I was almost finished when I felt like I wanted to stop.  I was so close to the end of the workout…why stop now?  I began to focus on what was wrong.  I realized I was tense.  My hands were clinched and my shoulders were tense.  I relaxed and was able to finish the rest of the workout.

In as much as a person can talk themselves into a craving, a person can talk themselves out of it as well.  I remember standing in front of the vending machine at work trying to rationalize the need for a package of cookies.  It was right after lunch and I wanted something sweet.  I finally told myself I didnt need the cookies and turned and walked away. 

This evening when I get home I will perform my lower body workout and then peel and throw some shrimp on the barbie.

My menu for the day:

Meal 1: shredded wheat cereal, two turkey sausage links, protein shake

Meal 2: plain non-fat yogurt and turkey breast

Meal 3: baked chicken and grilled vegetables

Meal 4: turky and pasta dish

Meal 5: grilled shrimp, salad, green beans

Meal 6: protein shake


Hardy Har Har

Today we will be celebrating my daughter’s birthday by taking her to Chili’s.  It’s one of her favorite restaurants.  I enjoy it because they have a variety of items including some “guiltless” selections.  My daughter will actually turn 14 tomorrow, but due to conflicts with one of her friends, we decided to take her out tonight.

While I do miss her being a little baby, as she gets older her personality is really coming out.  She is very witty.  For instance, on our way to hockey practice this morning we were talking about her science project.  She and one of her classmates are constructing a catapult out of wood.  I have a table saw and router and the decision was to use the tools and build it at our house.  I mentioned to her that I will supervise them and teach them the proper use of the tools and how this will be a great opportunity.  Not only will she learn to use a table saw, but she will have to use the drill and the cordless screwdriver.  Without missing a beat she looked at me and jokingly said, “Ummm…dad…all screwdrivers are cordless.”  I couldn’t help but laugh.  She is right.

Since we are heading to Chili’s tonight I’ve elected to make today my free day.  Even though they have guiltless selections on the menu, I may have a burger but instead of the fries, I may substitute either black beans or grilled vegetables.  I don’t want to go nuts completely.  This morning for breakfast I had two sausage kolaches, for lunch we stopped at Wendy’s and I had a spicy chicken sandwich with fries and I had a few crackers with jalapeno cheese spread for a snack.

This morning I did my cardio work out during hockey practice.  I did a 30 minute run on the sidewalks near the rink.  It was a good run and enjoyable.  The weather was perfect.  I ended up burning 300 calories.  Afterwards I had a protein shake to help recovery.

Tomorrow I’m off from work and will get back on my regular workout routine with my upper body workout.

Until next time…


One third of the way…

It’s been a busy couple of days.  I scorekeep hockey games, mostly in the evenings, to assist with travel expenses for our daughter’s hockey games.  As a result I’ve missed a couple of posts.  I’m closing in on finishing the 4th week of BFL and so far so good.  Earlier in the week I struggled a little wanting something sweet after my lunch at work.  I remember standing in front of the vending machine contemplating a package of Nabisco Snackwell cookies, but in the end I told myself I needed to eat what I  brought to work…a boiled egg and plain non-fat yogurt sweetened with a little splenda. 

I did miss my upper body workout yesterday but will do it this afternoon.  I had two youth games to score this morning otherwise I would have done it first thing.  This kind of throws a monkey wrench into the works.  Today should be cardio, but I’ll do my cardio tomorrow and get back on the regular routine on Monday.  Being flexible is important.  Not everything works out the way we would like. 

As far as meals go, I like to grill a couple of chicken breasts and have them on hand for one of the “mini-meals” with brown rice or some other complex carbohydrate.  Another item I like to have available is boiled eggs.  These food items make it easier to plan my lunches especially during the week.  In the four weeks of being on BFL, I still have not had a soda at work.  It has been all water. 

Tomorrow we will be celebrating our daughter’s 14th birthday.  She loves Chili’s and tomorrow will be my free day.  I cannot decide if I want a burger and fries or another dish I really enjoy which is their Margarita Chicken.  Margarita chicken is actually one of their guiltless selections.  It is a grilled chicken breast on a bed of black beans and rice.  I haven’t had good burger in quite a while…I guess the last time I had a burger was probably the first week of BFL.  My wife and I split a burger that day.  That morning I under went my semi-annual endoscopy to check the duodenum.  I’m not allowed to eat after midnight the night before the procedure and the endoscopy was late morning.  By the time we  left I was starving.  I will admit I rationalized that since I didn’t have anything to eat for breakfast I could afford a half burger and sweet potato fries.

My menu for today:

Meal 1: shredded whole wheat cereal, two strips of turkey bacon and protein shake

Meal 2: Myoplex nutrition shake

Meal 3: grilled fish, pinto beans and grilled vegetables

Meal 4: boiled egg and granny smith apple

Meal 5: left over sirloin steak (yes, this is approved on BFL), baked potato and salad

Meal 6: protein shake

On Wednesday, I took my measurements:

                10/18/10                  11/10/10

Neck:    16 5/8 in                  15 3/4 in

Chest:   39 1/4 in                  40 3/8 in  (increase in muscle?)

Waist:   42 1/2 in                 41 in

Thigh:   20 3/8 in                19 3/4 in

Bicep:   12 3/8 in                 13 1/8 in (increase in muscle?)

Tonight I will have my wife take another set of photos.  I haven’t posted any photos yet.  They are without my shirt and I’m a little self conscious about them…I have a particularly ugly scar on my abdomen from a recent surgery.  At some point I may choose to post them.  The photos are mainly for the BFL Challenge.

So, this is how my fourth week has gone and how Saturday has progressed so far.  Until next time…


Resistance is futile

“Resistance is futile” is a phrase generally attributed to Star Trek although according to Wikepedia it has been uttered in other movies.  I must admit, I’m not a particularly big Star Trek fan.  I’ve watched a couple of the movies.  I guess I’m more of a Star Wars fan. 

I was a afraid I was about to have my first, “Resistance is futile” moment on the Body for Life program.  After lunch I had a craving for something sweet.  On the program, a list of foods are provided: lean proteins, complex carbs, vegetables, nuts, and some sauces.  I really didnt want to blow it…I’ve been very strong the first 3 full weeks.  Why suddenly I’m struggling a little I don’t really know.   About 2:30pm today I almost gave in and purchased snackwells cookies out of the machine.  Snackwells maybe one of the better selections in the machine.  However it is a cookie and unless its a free day, its not on the list of food.  I’m happy to announce I didn’t give in.

I did miss my morning lower body work out.  I simply over slept and by the time I got out of bed there wasn’t enough time to do a 40 minute workout and get to work.  I ended up doing my LBWO in the evening after I got home from work.  I’m going to cut this posting a little short.

The menu for today:

Meal 1: Myoplex meal replacement shake

Meal 2:  nutrition bar

Meal 3: Turkey burger on wheat with oven baked fries

Meal 4: Granny smith apple and turkey breast

Meal 5: Weight Watchers recipe chili beef quesadillas

Meal 6: Myoplex meal replacement shake

Until next time…


The plan is the generator

“The plan is the generator” is a cliche often mentioned in architecture classes across the country.  The quote is attributed by architect Le Corbusier in his book, Towards A New Architecture.  Many times what you see on the exterior of a building is in response to what is going on in the interior.  I had a professor in design studio that would constantly preach that the facade of a building should tell the story of the spaces within.  That doesn’t mean the facade is a copy of the plan itself, but rather composed from clues generated from the plan.  Examples might be the structure expressed on the elevation as pilasters or a change in massing where mechanical spaces are located.  Perhaps clerestory windows tell the story of a double volume space within to allow for extra daylighting.  This is in contrast to buildings which, in order to maintain continuity of the elevation, makes use of spandrel glazing which is glass that has a ceramic frit on the back to create the illusion of a window.  Some retail designs may have what appears to be a second story complete with punched windows when in reality there is nothing behind the windows but the main sales floor.  An architectural lie.

So far the nutritional aspect of Body For Life hasnt been too hard to follow.  At some point I know I’m going to run into a snag and I need to remind myself that what I’m putting into my body in the way of food is fuel.  The fuel I choose will utlimatey have an impact on the exterior.  I recently read something that gave me one of those, “wow…why didn’t I think of that?”  People with those six-pack abs are not those who have been working their abs for hours and hours.  The fact of the matter is they have such little body fat the abdominal muscles are easily expressed through the skin.  How do you reduce body fat?  Partially through exercise, but mostly through nutrition.  Now, I’m not about to begin to believe I’ll end up with six-pack abs.  I just want to reduce the ab that is the size and shape of a keg.

The main thing when it comes to BFL nutrition is pre-planning.  I’ve been fixing my lunch the night before otherwise it takes too long.  I’m basically packing three meals.  I try to add variety each day so I’m not eating the same foods.  Once again, I’m choosing a lean protein and a complex carb.

My menu for today:

Meal 1: Nutrition bar and bottled water

Meal 2: Boiled egg and plain non-fat yogurt sweetened with splenda

Meal 3: Chili beef quesadillas (Weight Watchers recipe with 98/2 hamburger meat and whole wheat tortillas) and blackbeans

Meal 4: Myoplex nutrition shake

Meal 5: Grilled tilapia, mixed vegetables and an orange

Meal 6: Smoked turkey breast and a grannysmith apple

This morning I did my cardio workout on the exercise bike.  I maintain a certain speed and at 1 minute intervals increase the tension.  I do this four times and then start back to tension setting no. 1.  I do this four times and after the fourth interval of the fourth time I step the tension up one more notch for a minute.  Makes for a very difficult workout.  However, this is the method of doing the cardio work out expressed in the BFL challenge.  With a 2 minute warm up and a 1 minute cool down period, the workout is 20 minutes total.  Tomorrow morning is my lower body workout.

Until next time…