Responsibility 199, what is it?

Responsibility 199 is a belief; I believe that to be healthy and to increase my longevity I need to weigh 199 pounds or less...
Responsibility 199 is a need; I need to reduce my weight, reduce my percentage of body fat, and the elevated threat of disease my present condition presents...
Responsibility 199 is a mission; I recognize that achieving 199 will be a challenge, perhaps the hardest I have ever undertaken...
Responsibility 199 is a commitment; I acknowledge that I must commit to action, commit to change, commit to myself and those I love to achieve this mission, to increase my longevity...
Responsibility 199 is ME.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Day 13 - Danger Ahead

Today is a day like many others. Up around 5:30 a.m. and at the breakfast table with my gorgeous wife by about 6:15 a.m., that is pretty much the routine for us during the work weeks. And I anticipate the rest of the day to be a usual day at work, at eating healthy and enjoying some family time when back at home this evening. It's all good and I'm good with days like this.

But what about tomorrow, or, the day after? The Weekend!?!? Most weekends don’t present too much added challenge to my efforts to get healthy. This biggest challenge of weekends would be boredom, there is more free time and if not used well boredom can creep in and in days of the past I'd hit the pantry for food to relieve the boredom. Then there is a definite up side to having more free time on weekends, I have more time. More time to exercise. More time to plan for the weeks meals ahead. More time to do healthy things.

On MOST weekends those notions are true. But not all weekends are equal and this, the first weekend of May 2010, is not to be a weekend like most. It is a weekend filled with danger, filled with temptation, filled with challenge, filled with scary scary scary hurdles. Of course I am talking about food challenges. Did I say it is going to be scary?

Saturday is my nephews 1st Communion. We'll make the 2 hour drive to attend the church ceremony and then it will be back to my sister's house where she has planned a bountiful menu of delivery pizzas. Ugh, what a temptation to face at a time which will be the usual time we'd eat dinner anyhow. No doubt after the drive, after the church service, after the initial mingling at her house; no doubt by the time the pizza is served my hunger will be at a scary state and I'll be faced with the first dangerous challenge of the weekend to my success. Pizza? Thanks Sis!

Sunday is no better. Sunday we are getting the families together to celebrate the birthdays we have in May and Mothers Day even though it’s a week early. How are we celebrating that? Well how else, with a Sunday brunch of course. Oh it gets better, we're brunching at Papadeaux. Yes, I know that Papadeaux is a seafood restaurant so there will be healthy options available. But if you have not experienced a brunch at Papadeaux then let me fill you in; it's HUGE. Decadent and Sinful foods from every planet in the galaxy and lots and lots of them. So here I'll be faced with the second dangerous challenge of the weekend to my success.

So how do I get through it? My immediate thought is that if I pay attention to what is before me and am conscious of the decisions I'll need to make this weekend, then I should be fine. Otherwise if I just go into these events blind to my having to think and make decisions then I will no doubt make bad choices and do harm.

Can I handle it, I think so... Can I make the best of these challenges and at a minimum do no harm, I think so… Can I stare down temptation without starving myself and feeling like I am being punished, I sure hope so… Can I quickly book a trip to Guam and avoid it all, I think that would result in a frying pan to my head so probably the best way to face the danger ahead.

All that said I am so looking forward to these events with the family. Never do I want to dread such events because of what they may do to my health. Therefore I am just going to have to learn how to balance family festivities with healthy eating, and as well, eating out with healthy eating,

Hey, TGIF, enjoy it!

Responsibility 199... Gotta Do It!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Day 12 - Before & After

Talking about Pictures, Before & After Pictures.

Up there at the top you'll see a new link for PROGRESS IN PICTURES. It is just that, where I'll display my pictures of my progress. The ever popular, but not so pleasant, Before Picture of me is up there now. Go ahead, take a look...

My son took these of me on Wednesday evening this week; yesterday. He got a chuckle out of doing so as I was trying to have as much fun with it as I could with the comedic expressions & gestures. It was fun taking them. However when I took these two pics and put them side by side on a single image, really not so fun looking at them. They say black is slimming but black seems to have failed me in these.

Oh well, this is the reality of who I am. It is not who I want to be anymore. If looking at them from time to time helps me become who I want to be, then so be it I'll look at them. When I get to the point of posting pictures that show progress against these, well lets hope they are not just easier to want to look at but also do even more to help encourage me to accomplish this mission.

What about you, do you find before, progress and after pictures motivating?

Yesterday I did the walk around Lake Andrea, about 2.25 miles, in 46 minutes 40 seconds. Whether that is a good pace, average, or laugh out loud slow; I don't know. But the next time I make that walk I expect to complete in less than that 46:40 of yesterday.

Very busy day today so while I'll try and get something in after work, I am not promising exercise. I am promising healthy eating though.

Make this day work for you!

Responsibility 199... Gotta Do It!!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Day 11 - Hunger, Not!

We're not quite two weeks into this mission and I have noticed a handful of changes in myself. None is a noticeable as my reaction to hunger pains. This realization came to me last night while waiting for my son to find his way to the truck after soccer practice. While waiting I could hear my hunger pains over the rumble and roar of a freight train passing nearby. What got me thinking is that I didn't pay this cry from my belly much notice. Why is that? Could it be I've become more tolerable to these pains? Could it be they have less influence on my decisions now that eleven days ago? Yes seems to be the answer although I am not sure why exactly.

A couple weeks ago hunger pains hit me like a chorus of loud screams from the depths below and succeeded in grabbing my attention fully. When they shouted, I jumped; usually into the refrigerator or a nearby fast food drive thru. But last night, and I presume going forward too, my hunger pains screams are fading to that of a raised voice that is growing frustrated in its attempts to maintain its once grand influence. Now I can put them in the back of my mind as I know when I am going to eat next and what. I am in control of fueling my own engine, not the phantom behind my hunger pains.

Today is an exercise day. Planned is a walk around Lake Andrea after work with my son, about a 2.25 mile affair we've done before. Looking forward to it.

Hope you too will get a charge out of your Wednesday.

Responsibility 199... Gotta Do It!!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Day 10 - There I Am

There aren't a lot of pictures of me laying around since I am usually the one taking them but I wanted to at least get a mug shot for my blog here, figured one would be more appealing than that self-made blockhead thumbnail I've been using; you decide. I've done so and replaced my profile picture and also tossed it up on my "About Patrick" page as well should you want to see a larger image of me and my two chins.

This pic was taken yesterday at work after a long day. Not that I look any better at the start of the day :-)

That’s me at 2% of the way towards my weight goal. Although for any picture to be used for before-and-after purposes it needs to be a full body shot. That said I will try and accomplish this week.

Excellent day on Monday. Walked up the stairs once, the only time I needed to go from the first to third floors on Monday. Funny thing about it though was how I went about it. Yesterday I worked at a different location in the morning, a building that is just one floor. Then when I came back to the building I usually work at in the afternoon my mind was moving furiously over what work was at hand and the upcoming meeting I needed to kick ass in. With my mind there I came right in, hit the elevator button and up I went. While in the elevator, and then the short walk to my desk, and for a few minutes while I settled in I had a nagging feeling I had forgotten something. Had my Laptop bag with me so I had all I needed for work. Had my cell phone. You can probably imagine where this is going so I'll come to the point. After a minute just before getting into email it hit me, I had forgotten to take the stairs. D'Oh! A quick check of my watch told me I had just enough time to correct that oversight. So back down I went and back up I came on the stairs this time.

Two flights later I'm huffing away and making my way back to my desk. As I walk I start in on myself questioning why did I chose this change in week two? After a few minutes all was well respiratory wise again and I allowed myself more positive thoughts such as I am now one trip up the stairs closer to them not kicking my ass anymore.

Enjoy your Tuesday everyone and find some stairs to climb if you can.

Responsibility 199... Gotta Do It!!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Day 9 - Change #2

Yesterday I was doing some reading on exercise and eventually had to stop as information overload was inciting a headache. But one oddity I read stuck with me for humor sake more so that sensibility sake. The tip suggested that if you work at a desk, and I do, then you need to take up the 'art' of fidgeting. Yes, it referred to fidgeting as an art. Apparently fidgeting can help you burn up to 350 more calories a day than not doing so. Great to know but I may be hosed on this one as I am not much of a fidgeter.

This article is on my mind this morning as I am about to decide on another change to commit to help me succeed in my mission. Worry not, I am not going to commit to fidgeting more. However, since they would have us believe that fidgeting is a form of exercise (trying not to laugh as I type here...) I am chalking up an exercise related change today.


The building I work in is three stories, I work on the third floor. Yet I almost always take the elevator up and down every time I must go up or down. Now I do take the stairs occasionally, usually when others I am walking with opt for the stairs. Two flights of stairs doesn't sound like much, certainly doesn't look like much, but boy oh boy when I get those two flights behind me I am winded and my lungs work for several minutes before my breathing returns to normal. Gasping for air sucks. Masking the fact that you are gasping from others sucks even more. Therefore I choose to work at reducing my gasping ways when it comes to these stairs. Tackling them head on is the only way I know to do that. Just climb them more and more until I gasp less and less. If someone knows a better way, please share.
Stairs here I come.

Responsibility 199... Gotta Do It!!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Day 8 - 2% Progress

Happy Sunday to all; Sunday is weigh in day for me. Good news is that I lost weight this week - whoo hoo! Bad news, no doubt I left some of my potential one week progress on the dinner table last night at Maggianos. Overall, I didn't over indulge last night as I would have in the past especially at such a great restaurant. However I certainly ate more than a man on a mission to lose a large amount of weight should have eaten. Oh, I weigh 317 pounds today!

In reflection on week one, Maggianos aside, I did well on the eating for balance & portion. To aid in reflection and keeping myself honest on food intake I have been keeping an eating log. Just a small notebook where I jot down what I eat and when. With it I use one of the classic white & blue plastic Bic pens with four ink colors to choose from. If what I've ate is well balanced and portioned then it goes in the book in green ink. If it was just OK, not bad or great; then blue ink. And if I've missed the mark entirely then red ink it is. For the past week I have 4 such entries in red. Not surprisingly two of these are restaurant visits; Bill's Pub & Maggianos. The other two were evening slips, also not surprisingly, where I took liberty to enjoy this Russian dessert my son made for a school project. I forget the name of it but it was a highly sugary & fatty little treat. Otherwise many green entries and a few blues fill my log for week one.

As for exercise I exercised just once, yesterday, which of course wont cut it going forward. My intent is to add more exercise in week two and begin to put a routine together. Going to need help with good routines for someone just starting such a mission.  

With an initial 2% weight loss one might expect that I should plan on this mission taking 50 weeks. But we all know that's not an exact correlation I can make. When I started this I figured this will take between 1 & 2 years; so if I do accomplish it in 50 weeks I'll exceed expectations. Something to hope & strive for.

Looking at he picture above I know it is hard to see the 2% loss from Day 1 to Day 8, but trust me there is 2% less width there. Going to be less width a week from now too!

Goals for the coming week will be to have less red entries and exercise more than week one.

Responsibility 199... Gotta Do It!!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

On our way out

Maggianos here we come. Looking forward to a great evening with my wife & friends. Fingers crossed we don't make pigs of ourselves.
Have fun tonight all!

Day 7 - Exercise Discipline

That exercise promised yesterday didn't happen. Our plans changed for the evening and the time I set aside evaporated. Not that I am disappointed really since the change in plans was for a good time with the family. Another example that change is good. Yet change can also challenge discipline.

Exercise and what discipline I have for it was on my mind as I awoke this morning. The devil on my shoulder was telling myself I was supposed to feel bad I didn't find a way to squeeze in a work out before I hit the hay for the day. And the angel on the other shoulder was telling me to get over it and do something about it today. Then there was some other creature sitting atop my head telling me to just go back to sleep. When I was done listening to this trio argue I got up and the day going. After taking care of some necessary mumbo-jumbo I did get in a work out. Thirty minutes on the elliptical and three sets of sit ups on a stay-ball (I think that is what it is called; we bought a couple at the start of 2008 when we were to start that year getting healthy). That may not sound like much exercise but as this was my first work out since starting this mission 7 days ago it was enough to see me clawing about for air.

Having got that work out in I sit here typing away with a surge of confidence and 'atta-boy' inside. Now, the question is, when do I workout again? Tomorrow seems like the perfect opportunity as it is Sunday and we have nothing planned other than watching the Nascar race; Talledega time!

My challenge for today is to simply survive dinner without falling off this ship I am happily riding now. We have plans to have dinner with friends we haven't hooked up with in years. The reservation is at one of the better Italian/pasta places in the Chicagoland area; Maggianos. Great place and I love their family style service. But wow, if there ever was a place built to wreck a diet that is not also a buffet, this is it. Realizing that the plan is to enjoy myself and some of what Maggianos offers but behave myself as best I can. Better said, don't just eat eat eat until all plates are clean as I would have done had this dinner been eight days ago.

Responsibility 199... Gotta Do It!!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Day 6 - Oh Yeah!

Did well on yesterday's challenge to get through the evening without falling prey to temptation. We didn't go for that bag-o-salad once the running around was done but sensibility prevailed and over-indulgence was not allowed in the house. As I awoke and reflected on that I got a surge of "Oh Yeah!" that has my day off to a good start. Hope you too awoke to an "Oh Yeah!"

It is Friday, what to do today? Work of course, sitting at my desk now getting my days post up in effort to help set the tone for a good day of health behavior. Perhaps I need to temper myself with a bit of caution as I only had a can of tomato juice (I love tomato juice) for breakfast. Probably not sufficient fuel to start the day but I'm feeling OK at the moment and should continue to do so as long as I don't allow myself to make up for it when time comes for a mid-morning snack.

Otherwise for today gotta do the work thing and then this afternoon or evening when I get home how about I stare down that elliptical in the bedroom and actually win the stare down this day? OK, should I follow through on that goal for today it me very well feel like it bested me by the time I get off of it, but even so I will still have won; right? Get in some exercise - that’s the goal for this day!
Oh Yeah!
Responsibility 199... Gotta Do It!!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Day 5 - Bill's Pub Got Me

Yesterday I was on a roll. Ate great right up until dinner; recall my 'Evenings & Me' post. My son had a dentist appointment at 6pm. That was done swiftly thanks to a no cavity visit; whoohoo. We are both hungry when done, it is dinner time of course. As we drive west down Washington out of Grayslake what comes into view; Bill's Pub North (more of a restaurant than a pub really). Not good; not even close to good in terms of the effect Bill's Pub has on one's ability to think and act healthy. Forget that their pizza is the best on the planet. Speaking of the planet happy earth day to one and all! Forget that on each table is a never ending basket of peanuts which you can enjoy and toss the shells on the floor. Forget that when you drive by your hunger-o-meter jumps from 4 to 9 in an instant. Well, no, I couldn't forget that. Without any sincere effort to forget Bill's Pub was in sight my vehicle turned right into the parking lot and a minute later Andrew & I were working on that basket of peanuts.

Ho Hum. So a great day fell prey to temptation. About the only discipline I showed was avoiding the pizza and going for the Italian Beef sandwich instead. Bill's makes a good Italian Beef but it is no Johnny's (Elmwood Park) which are the best on the planet. Or was that a worse choice? Not sure, six of one and a half dozen the other I suppose. The lesson to be learned here; never drive west on Washington out of Grayslake anymore. Forget that part of the county even exists.

Today is a new day. Off to a good start. We have a hectic evening tonight with school and kid activities so dinner is not a well planned event tonight. Thus temptations will be there to choose a fast and easy way to eating; most of which are never healthy. So our challenge for today is to get through the evening without falling prey to temptation and convenience yet again. My wife, Cathy, & I discussed this briefly as we carpooled to work this morning; not for earth day just something we do as often as we can especially since gas is over $3 a gallon again. And we acknowledged that there is a bag-o-salad in the refrigerator. So if we can just get home without indulging elsewhere in our separate travels with the kids this evening, then that bag-o-salad is dinner for us.

That’s the goal for this day!

Wish us luck, fingers crossed.

Responsibility 199... Gotta Do It!!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Day 4 - Dislike and Don't Want

So it is day 4 and I've done well with respect to showing the discipline for portion & balance I outlined in my day 3 post. I only intend to weigh in myself once a week on Sunday's, so Day 8 will be the next weigh in. Then I'll have a measured result to validate my belief that I've done well thus far.

Today I am a bit beside myself as I don't have a burning fire of motivation going within me right now. Typically in the past when I have made efforts to lose weight they start with a rush of confidence and motivational thoughts that drive me for a while, and as I've said earlier, I eventually let myself down and give up. But this time, I don't have that swell of euphoria powering my effort. And I am not sure why. Could it be I am being a bit more realistic in that until I shed at least 20 pounds and then keep going, vs. quitting as I have so often when I've hit that milestone, maybe then I'll feel a surge in motivation? Wow, I certainly hope that is not true. If it is, how will I ever get to 20 pounds down, or even 10? Honestly I am not sure why my mood is rather blah as I start this particular journey. But since I have recognized that the I suppose I ought to take the next step and try and snap out of it and find the motivation I believe I need to really launch this mission.

So what motivates me? What motivates you? What is motivation? Oh don't worry, I am not going to get all philosophical here. Nope, going to keep it bluntly simple. Motivation as I see it comes from one of two mental responses to everything we encounter; we either like and want it, or, we dislike and don't want it. Of those two I believe we find more of our motivational fuel from associating with what we like and want in life. So, it only makes sense to me to first to focus on the other response, what is it that I dislike and don't want. Huh? Why focus on the one which I believe contributes less to our motivational fuel? Because in the past I have made a point of primarily focusing on what I like & want which hasn't worked for me. So we're going to try a different approach. Let's get to it…

What I dislike and don't want…
I dislike not being able to climb two flights of stairs only to feel there is no oxygen to be found up here.
I don't want to have to ever gesture frantically to my wife, or anyone nearby, that I need help with the heart attack I am in the throws of.
I dislike having to take a blood pressure pill every morning.
I don't want to ever consider having to buy a 4x shirt so that I can feel comfortable in what I wear.
I dislike that I have to wear 3x shirts so that I can feel comfortable in what I wear.
I don't want to find relief from life's difficulties & stress by opting for the easiest remedy; strapping on the feed bag.
I dislike not being able sit on the floor with my legs even remotely close to being crossed without also feeling complete agony.
I don't want look in the mirror anymore and wonder what on earth is it that my wife sees in me.
I dislike looking upon exercise as a burden or chore vs. something that is necessary and enjoyable.
I don't want to have to drive a SUV so that I feel comfortable and enjoy the drive.
I dislike flexing my muscles and not being able to see them because they are encased in too much fat.
I don't want to have to stop for a breath 2 & 3 times when I make the walk with pack and rifle to & from the deer stand during hunting season.
I dislike that being responsible about fitness doesn't cone natural to me.
I don't want to miss out on seeing my grand children graduate high school, college and get married.
I dislike feeling the need to curse the scale every time I walk up to it.
I don't want to be the one that everyone has to wait on while I catch up to them.

To be continued…

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Evenings & Me

I am at most hungry in the evenings. On any day, before beginning Responsibility 199 and the few days since, on any day I can eat responsibly with little effort from the time I wake until the time I get off work. But once the work day is done my gut screams for food. Why is that?

On most days I cook dinner. My wife cooks just fine but she dislikes cooking and since I enjoy it I usually do it. When I do cook I usually cheat while cooking. A taste here, a bite there, and by the time the meal is served I've likely eaten have a meal nibbling. Why can't I wait for dinner to be served?

When dinner is served my portions are hefty and helpings usually two. As I'm heaping it onto my plate or shveling it into my mouth I think to myself and know what I am doing is wrong. Samething when I a nibble while cooking; I get it that I am doing myself wrong. So why do I willingly over indulge in the evenings?

I'm not sure if there is an answer to these "Whys" other that I do it because I want to eat & I can.

Regardless of why I do so I cannot do so going forward or Responsibility 199 will never be realized.

Responsibility 199... Gotta Do It!!

Day 3 - Portion & Balance

Yesterday was good day. I ate at good intervals and ate well portioned & balanced meals. For good portions sizes I am shooting for simply trying to follow serving sizes as recommended on packaging. For good balance I am shooting for meals that aren't too high in anyone of either fat, protein or carbs. Having dieted many times before I have a decent sense of when a food item or a meal is unbalanced; at least I think I do.

At present I am not following any specific diet plan or any of the zillion commercially sold programs. In the past I have tried and followed a few. Some worked well for a while, others didn't. But I failed them all in the end; yes I chose to abandon those efforts and cannot say that any of them would not have worked through to my goal had I chose to stick with them. Therefore we (my wife & I are as we are trying to lose weight together) have decided to take it day by day by just eating better. She is being a bit more strict than I am as she has established a daily target of no more than 1,200 calories. For me that number seems low and I want to believe if I stay away from the food that is obviously too fatty, carby, or both; and maintain portion discipline then I should be Ok. Should be that is; perhaps wishful thinking on my part.

To help hedge my thinking I am keeping a food log in a small notebook. If I don't see the progress that I need I can go back to that and calculate the nutrition information and see where my thought here may be flawed. As a hedge to giving into temptation to eat poorly when we are hungry and don't know what to eat we have decided to add some menu planning discipline. Basically coming up with a list of menu choices for breakfast & dinner daily, we both eat lunch in our respective work cafeterias, and sticking to what we have planned. This should help the madness of grocery shopping too; I hate grocery shopping so anything that gets it accomplished quicker is all good in my eyes.

Portion & balance is what is on my mind today. I hope my thinking on them is right and will contribute to my success. Should know in a week or so.

Responsibility 199... Gotta do it!!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Day 2 - Need for Change

Good morning. Change is on my mind this morning. This challenge will take many many weeks to accomplish. Perhaps more than a years worth. Well if I do it in a healthy manner it definitely should take anywhere between 1 & 2 years. Lets hope closer to 1 than to 2... CHANGE, back to change.

In realizing the journey will be a long haul I figure that I need to make changes to my lifestyle that I will commit to absolutely to help me along. The question is what change to make first? Another question, how many changes do I have to make to bring about the results I seek? Certainly there is more than 1 that I should make. Heck, if there was only 1 change I needed to make to pull this off then this would be a snap, wouldn't it? Truth is I don't know how many changes I need to make. But, I figure I need to make 1 change to get started. And if I commit to making 1 change per week then at some point they'll all start working together and making a difference. That is my hope anyhow.

So here it is, CHANGE 1...


Fast food is not the evil that some would have you believe. The notion of suing fast food chains because they made you fat, or taxing fast food because it increases the burden on society to care for the obese among us is just insanity. Fast food is a choice, a personal choice we make for reasons of our own volition plain & simple. I am obese because I chose to make bad decisions when it came time to decide what to eat, whether to exercise or not, etc... not because fast food restaurants are all over the place.

That said, I realize that fast food is definitely a contributing factor of my obesity (I called it a 'condition' in my day 1 post - truth is that condition is my obesity so I shall call it what it is going forward). I chose to allow fast food to be a factor to my obesity, and, now I chose that it will no longer be a factor. From this day forward I shall absolutley no longer trade dollars for unhealthy calories at fast food restaurants.

Responsibility 199... Gotta do it!!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day 1 - 0% Progress

There I am, standing on the left (as you look at the picture) of who I want to be. It is day 1, and my weight today is terrible to be blunt. That is an understatement really, but it gets the point across.

It is so terrible that I am ashamed to share the actual number which appears on the scale when I weigh myself. Shame is not something that I am familiar with. Sure, I have felt it a time or two or maybe three in life, but I have not felt its sting in a long time in my adult life. Age 44 and a three-quarters years is not when one should be feeling it either. But I am, so be it, shame it is.

Who I want to be weighs 199, or less, but no more than 199. I don't believe there is any true ideal body weight that can be referenced on a chart somewhere. Sure there must be an ideal weight for every individual. Honestly I have no idea what that number is for me. But it has to be 199 or less for me and my 5'-10" frame (I shrunk an inch over the last decade).

Look back to the picture above. The dude you see on the right; see how happy and good looking dude he is? Then there is the dude on the left, while I'd like to believe he is good looking too; he is too big to expect to be around for as long as he wants to be among us. Which is a long long time.

OK, I'm trying to find a humorous lining here, and I have slipped into some odd third-person type. So lets get back to blunt. Today I accept the challenge, I make the commitment, and believe that I will weigh the 199 I need to just as soon as I can.

Shame or not, I weigh 320 pounds today!

Responsibility 199... Gotta do it!!