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.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Day 74 - Semi Complete

The last day of June is here. Half of 2010 is just hours away from being history. Did you hear me; HALF! Where does the time go?

Seriously; Where does the time go?

For me it used to get thrown away waiting 6 cars deep in a drive-thru line for a Big Mac value meal and 2 double-cheeseburgers off of that lovely dollar menu (where was that when I was in college?). The doubles were my appetizer before the Big Mac main feast; anyone else do that before?

Time was also given up to watching hours, 4-5 hours an evening, of TV. Crap like reality shows and how-to shows. Did I really need to learn taxidermy & how to grout tile on the same day? Will there ever be a time I do either; let alone do them both on the same day?

Oh let's not forget those hours I punted by napping on weekends if I didn't have anything else to do or because I was stuffed from stuffing my face. Just how relaxed does one person need to be? Plus dreams from naps aren't as good anyhow.

That's where too much of my time used to go to waste when this year began. Today Big Mac's have been replaced by balanced & portion controlled choices, most TV time has been replaced by blogging, and extra sleep has been replaced by weight lifting & walking.

How is today different for you from your days just six months ago?

Did you make any resolutions on Jan. 1, 2010 (I didn't) and if so how are you doing against them?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Day 73 - Coloring Salad

Set your go-back-goggles for two months ago. That is about the time I was in a blog chat about vitamins and whether daily vitamin pills are necessary. Oh we debated other supplements like protein powders and amino acids and the like too. But I've always remembered that discussion for those who were against getting their vitamins from pills. While not completely surprising it did challenge a stereotype I had for healthy people; that a majority used supplements, at least vitamins, daily.

In fact many stated they use no supplements of any kind. Intrigued I wondered just how they could be so bold. I mean, how can modern people not get and stay healthy from some sort of help from the diet & supplement industry?

I basically asked them that question. Those that were anti-vitamin pills had a common answer to how they get the vitamins they need. "From food", was the quick reply of a few.

OK, raise your hand if that was news to you in any way. Anyone, I didn't think so. If you did raise your hand don't feel stupid, I am about to do you one better.

Being fearless from behind the safety of my mouse and keyboard I challenged these anti-vitamin takers, our conversation went something like this...

"Counting calories let alone the nutrition content of what you eat is insane. That has to take hours to get it sorted so you end the day with a balanced vitamin intake. You can't be sure you are getting your vitamins!", I roared.

"Oh no, it isn't insane, I don't count calories.", the lead voice of the opposition calmly replied.

"Huh, OK, you buy all pre-packaged stuff, someone else does it for you, right?" I insisted still in disbelief.

"LOL", was the first answer I got.

"Nope, those are worse than using on vitamins and supplements", another insisted. A couple of other said similar.

"No, just from food. But we color our food, that's how we know", was the answer I took note of after a few more LOL's.

Remember I told those of you that raised your hand earlier I was about to do you one better; here it is...

"You color your food, you mean like dying Easter eggs?" I asked.

After a mess of LOLs, ROTFLOL, LMAO, etc. eventually someone took pity on me and explained in simply.

"Eat a salad once a day. That salad should contain as many different colored foods as you can find. Do the same other meals too. If you have three items on your dinner plate, don't let them all be brown or white", she shared.

In a nut shell, the more colors your overall food intake is made up of the higher the probability that you are getting all of the vitamins types you need and as well getting the amount you need.

So the smart ass in me really wanted to answer back that Big Mac must have six or seven colors in it, must be chocked full of good stuff, right? I thought I would have been in my right to ask that after the avalanche of LOLs I endured. However, I did ask the Easter egg question, so I refrained.

Instead I left the conversation enlightened. I knew enough about food from previous missions where I had counted stuff to know that a carrot is good for vitamin A, that an egg brings in the vitamins D & B,  that celery delivers the vitamin K, and I could go on.

Regardless of getting validation from the science behind the theory it maks sense to me. And more importantly is sounded so unbelievably simple. The holy grail ingredient of success; make it simple and it will be done!

So, there you see the picture of my salad. You don't see much green but the lettuce is there underneath all the rest of those colors. Purple onions, Orange carrots, White hard boiled, Beige garbanzo beans, Yellow corn, Black beans, Red bell pepper and red cherry tomatoes, Green-sort-of peppercinos, and whatever color tuna is.

Do you color your food?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 72 - Who's got two thumbs...

Yesterday, Sunday morning I went to breakfast with my Cousins, Aunts & Uncles. A casual affair at my Aunt's house, a good time. For lunch the kids had a hankering for Chinese buffet. They really know how to corner a fat man trying to get better. But I had no reason to say No other than to avoid my own temptations so I took them. Not allot of good choices at these two events but I did Ok. All in all between the two meals I may have exceeded my caloric intake by 100-200 calories. Not great, but could have been so much worse.

In the afternoon, back at home, digesting comfortably, blogging casually, I am in a word; relaxing. And then I come across Kyle's post. I read all of Kyle's posts as they are always a good read. I read and read and get to the end. Huh, Who's got two thumbs? That is what Kyle laid down as a challenge in his post Sunday. Read it if you didn't.

Great, just great. There I sat relaxed, I mean I was really relaxed. But No; Kyle couldn't just let me sit and relax. Oh no, he has to challenge me to do something with my thumbs of all things. Fine!

I've had this alternate exercise in mind for a few days, so why not give it a go today since Kyle can't just let me relax. There is it, the view looking up at Stanton Hill. Not a huge hill, just 100 yards from base to summit, about a 25 degree incline; it is big enough. The idea is to walk up & down it as many times as I can in 30 minutes...

Hmm, is this a good idea? I mean come on Kyle, it's 85F, it's humid from the morning storm, the sun is bright in a near-cloudless sky, and I am dressed in black shorts and a black t-shirt. Need to think about this...

Well, Kyle needs some thumbs, so up I go. What goes up needs to come down, the view from the top; I started the climb at that soccer net you see below the summits horizon...

Up and down and again and again. Sixteen times up, sixteen times down. Sixteen is what I managed to get done in 30 minutes. Some where around trip up number seven I was sweating enough to water the grass I was trampling below. Trip nine, I was cussing the steam rising from the grass. Trip thirteen, I was cussing out Kyle; Dude I was relaxing - what am I doing here?! Oh yeah, so Kyle can have this shot...

Ok Kyle, so it is not two thumbs but rather one thumb and a little finger, my other hand is working the cell camera. So this hang-loose thumb upgesture is what I've got for my man Kyle. The soccer net was perfect to lean against while I wiped my face, caught my breath and got Kyle his shot. 

Oh, I have another shot for Kyle, a smile...

Ugh, that wasn't a smile. That was supposed to be a wink and a smile. Note to self - don't wink, never wink, you look like a constipated walrus when you wink.

Here is your smile Kyle, it isn't much better, actually it may be worse, but it is all yours...

So there you have it Kyle, my victory thumbs up for keeping myself accountable to getting it done yesterday.

Kyle, You Da man, thanks...

My challenge to all of you, get Kyle the thumbs he deserves!

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Day 71 - 27% Progress

Last weekend I didn't have a weigh in due to our trip to St. Louis. I considered weighing in on Monday but decided against it; just leave the scale where it be there on the floor and keep on working at it towards the next weigh in.

Today is that next weigh in and my goal for today is 288.5 which would be 3 pounds less than my last weigh in 2 weeks ago. Lets get right down to the root shall we...

The scale told me I've lost 27% of the weight I desire to lose. That is 32.5 pounds in TEN weeks; 4 of them the past two weeks. Today I weighed in at 287.5 pounds.

Oh Yeah! That leaves me 3.5 pounds away from 284 which is a milestone, it is when I will be 30% of the way to weighing 199. I can see 284, it's so close I can smell it; even taste it. It shall be mine!

What milestone is up next for you?
Can you see it, smell it, taste it?
Let me know, I want to be here to celebrate with you when you make it yours.

Oh, my Streeeeeak-o-meter, I am leaving at 0 for now as I didn't live up to all commitments last week. Ate some snacks after dinner a time or two last week and I slacked on the water on others. That may sound a bit anal but I have to wonder, what if I didn't do those things I said I wouldn't? Would today's weigh in have been better?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Bacon Explosion Spinach n Salsa Salad

So from reading my Day 70 post you know what we're serving up for lucnh today and why. Here is how I handled my plate: I made it into a Bacon Explosion Spinach n Salsa Salad

Just a thin slice of that Explosion atop fresh spinach leaves encirlced by a ring of home made salsa. A ring of home made BBQ Fat Free Greek Yogurt dressing around all of that and some pineapple chunks just because I wanted them.

30 minutes into the game and Ghana is winning 1-0, ugh. But 60 minutes remain to turn this into victory!

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Day 70 - World Cup Feast

The USA plays Ghana today in the World Cup. Only sixteen teams left and the remaining games are elimination games. Win, and move on. Lose and go home. Our kids are huge soccer fans and all into the World Cup fever. The game starts in about an hour.

This morning they awoke and asked that we have a feast for the game. Ok, I like a feast, so I ask what they want; chicken breasts, salad, fruit, wild rice; does any of that sound good to them? Oh no, not for a world cup game, "We want a Bacon Explosion!", they say in unison. Apparently my wife made them a deal; if the USA makes it to the round of sixteen they can have a Bacon Explosion. Yeah, our kids love there Mom allot :-)

The Bacon Explosion, have you heard of it? (click here for recipe). Oh it is nothing short of a culinary master piece. As good as it is, it is also very bad. An all out blitzkrieg on a healthy diet. Being the trooper I am, with the help of my son Ryan, I have made one for them. There you see the one we made this morning as it hit the smoker for its 2.5 hour smoke bath. Basically the Bacon Explosion is a pork lovers delight that consists of pre-cooked bacon bits wrapped within a layer of Italian sausage and then that layer of sausage rolled up in a lattice of bacon slices. It is about the size of an american football before it gets smoked. I also put some onion and jalapenos in mine.

Whew, I am getting so hungry writing this. However, I am making this Bacon Explosion for them for the most part. I shall allow myself a small slice of this delicacy, and no more. We are also grilling up some corn on the cob and a salad will be made as well. This morning my son Cameron whipped up a batch of salsa which I've shared with you before (click here for that recipe). I'll get a bunch of that salsa goodness busy in a good sized salad and that will be my main course. The slice of bacon explosion love will be my side dish.

Exercise, we went on a walk this morning to get some cardio in. I plan on getting in my dumbbel routine sometime this afternoon after the game too. Definitely trying to be sure I burn off whatever Bacon Explosion that does enter my body today.

What are you up to today? Watching any World Cup action??

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Family Fun @ Miller Brewery

Day 69 - Blue Streeeeeak!

TGIF to all of you in blog-land. A day off of work my family & I. Off we are to play for the day in Milwaukee. We'll take in a tour at Miller, then have lucnh at Maders - OMG Almond Crusted Trout, and then Usingers & stock up on pork products. The over/under bet on how much bacon we bring home is 5 pounds, any takers? So, yeah, no temptations for us to fend off today; good-grief what we put ourselves through in the name of family fun.

Click HERE for Blue's post yesterday re: Streeeeeak!

Do you read Blue's blog? If not, please do. Her post I linked there is the inspiration for my post today.

Above you see my own Streeeeeak! picture, it'll be on my blogs side-panel going forward; I am calling it My Streeeeeak!-o-Meter.

Blue, she said we could set up rules for it as we wish. Well if Blue said so, then by gosh I am going to do so.

Here are the rules of my own particular Streeeeeak! I am going to do my Streeeeeak! on a weekly basis, so I will tally up weeks I live up to these rules. My rules are that I abide by the changes I have committed to. They can be seen to the left on my side-panel (My Changes (I'm Committing To)) or here: MY CHANGES. Each week I do abide by them I will tally up one on the Streeeeeak!-o-Meter. If I don't abide then the tally returns to zero. I'll do the tallying on Sunday with my weekly weigh-ins.

Way to go Blue!!

I am going to Streeeeeak! How about you?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Day 68 - Acronym Love

So today I'd like to talk up some of our favorite acronyms we use here in blog land.

First up is NSV (Non-Scale Victory)
<--- I have my NSV's recorded on the left-hand panel of my blog.

Recall last week I actually jogged for the first time in eons. It was just once around my block, not a step more. Being able to jog for the first time in years, NSV to me.

In my closet I have half a dozen or so shirts that I haven't been able to fit into for a long time. Some of them I've never fit in since I received them but kept just in case some say I could. Last Friday I was able to fit into one of my work shirts which I haven't been able to put on and feel comfortable both standing & sitting in for three or more years. Fitting comfortably into my blue & white checkered shirt for the first time in years, NSV to me.

Next is PR (Personal Record)
I have my PR's recorded here; MY NUMBERS

Last night my work out was a walk around the 2.25 Mile loop at Lake Andrea. It had been over a month since I visited this lake in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. Last time my son & I walked around it we did so in 44 minutes even. Last night we did so in 40:11 minutes; Oh Yeah! ^---You see the timer of my iPod Nano in the picture above, sorry it is so fuzzy even for a cell phone pic. I think we can break 40 minutes in future efforts but to do much better than that we'll likely need to start jogging certain lengths of it. Last night it was in the mid-80's and humid so I was wiped out when we were done. Perhaps that in part was motivation to hump that loop so hard, the sooner we got done the sooner we could get back to the air conditioning of my vehicle.

The jog around the block I added to my PR list too. I fully intend to do it again and destroy that time. As well eventually add a second block, a third, a ...

Do NSV's and PR's motivate you?

NSV's motivate me more so than PR's. NSV's are akin to a kid's joy when they open up that Christmas gift and it was just what they asked Santa for. Or akin to that girl saying yes to a date after weeks of putting off asking because you she thought was way out of your league (or guy in your case perhaps).

PR's are motivating too and I know folks have differing views on them. I'd like to think I'd being doing just as well as I feel I am even if I didn't log PR's. For me they provide a challenge, a purpose to dig a little deeper, reach a little further while in the throws of exercise.

Acronym's, love'em or not, they are apart of my mission.

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Day 67 - Peeved & Doomed

Not long ago I had lunch with a friend who was in a good mood when we sat down but quickly became irritated and foul. I took notice at how such a little thing got under his skin so quick, and in such a way that it ruined his meal if not for the balance of his day.

What set him off? The restaurant menu. He had a taste for a specific dish that wasn't on their menu. It was a simple if not common dish, grilled chicken with a sweet mango style salsa. There were other chicken dishes on the menu, some good ones too in my eyes. But he wasn't in the mood for substitution. Even when the waitress suggested another salsa they had on hand to go with a grilled chicken breast he would not budge on his dissatisfaction to their not having what he wanted. Yikes!

He ended up ordering a double bacon cheese burger. I've known him for a while so I had no reservations in asking him what on earth he was doing. He had just given the waitress a hard time over a menu whose content she had nothing to do with, and rebuffed her attempts to accommodate callously. So why the burger which couldn't be further away from his desire than Winnipeg is to Miami? His reply... "If I can't have what I want then I may as well just have what I shouldn't have!"

With great reservation I chose not to engage the debate that really should have taken place. This was my lunch time too and I didn't want to spend it in any more stress than he had already served up . So I let it go and we proceeded to get through lunch chit chatting about hockey, politics and other topics we usually enjoy. Oh, well I must say I did get one minor jab in. He ordered first, and after all he put this dear waitress through to then order a burger, well I took her up on her modified chicken with alternative salsa recommendation.

So where am I going with this? Peeves, do we use them as reasons to do damage?

We all have Pet Peeves, and I am sure at times we all have let them ruin our day. We are human, it happens, it will happen again. But, we ought to take stock here about what our reactions to them impact. If I had been in his shoes and had chosen as he did I would have ruined a day or two of healthy eating and exercise. When we the obese who are working hard to get healthy find ourselves in frustrated situations we must be conscious that the old obese mindset inside of us usually did react to frustration with such spiteful indulgence. This behavior of bad choice only fed our addictions and added to our size.

Hey, I am no psych major, what I say here seems to be common sense born from observation and experience. While knowledge and common sense are great, they are only beneficial if applied to good sense and action. So my friends, get frustrated, get angry if you must, it is Ok. But what is not Ok is choosing to act in a manner that will do harm, set you back, or awaken the old obese mindset within. We're better than that, we deserve to be better to ourselves, and we should never pass up on good salsa when offered it.

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Day 66 - Putty Time

Tick tock - tick tock. Where does the time go in a day? Well it goes where ever you want it to go if you are in control. But even on days where we are in control and getting things done, difficulty is there to get in the way of all we want to get done.

And when we can't get it all done what do we usually decide to put off for another day?

For me exercise has often been the easy victim. Less and less in these healthier days I am enjoying go I give exercise the cold shoulder. Instead I am making less time for television or I am trying too. But exercise, oh that exercise, it takes time doesn't it?

How long are your work outs?

Mine range from 30 minutes to an hour. Occasionally less or sometimes a bit more. Some of you more seasoned veterans of the healthy ways of life may do much more; and I'm curious to know what a 2-3 hour workout looks like. Those new to this may put in much less time. I know a couple months plus back when I started this mission I was thrilled to get in 10-20 minutes before feeling the need to buy extra air or mainline it to catch my breath again.

Yesterday, no not the 1965 hit by The Beatles - Help! was a brilliant album by the way, but yesterday as in June 21st, 2010 I had one of those days where I couldn't get that 30 minute window to happen. But, I did not go without exercise altogether. No no no! Instead I hit the putty!

A moment for that to sink in... well if it weren't for the picture here your mind may have wandered to less savory thoughts at the phrase "Instead I hit the putty!"... but as you can see there the putty I am referring to is Power Putty. I love this stuff. Recently bought a new one, owned my first over 20 years ago.

It is a hand exerciser, although I think it works out the forearms much more than the hands. I am sure most of us have used the metal & plastic hand exerciser contraptions that clank, click and creek as you use them. I have some at home too. Back in the 80's I worked a customer service job and wanted a hand exerciser for those long days on the phone but the noisy gripper version was not a good idea. So lucky I was to find Power Putty as the only noise it makes is the noise it forces me to make when I am trying to squeeze the devil out of it.

OK, let me step back as I don't mean this to sound like a commercial, I am not one to do product reviews, and that wasn't my intent of the post at all. My intent, this item, and even the noisy hand exercisers, can fill in some of that time you think may be escaping for getting in your exercise. Because of the quiet nature of Power Putty I can use it at my desk at work during a conference call, and I do; but I have to control my natural desire to grunt as I work it. Hhmm, that sounded off color too. I use it in the car. I use it sitting in my chair when I give into watching some television. You get the idea.

What about you - use something similar to get in exercise when you can make 30 minutes or more available for a good run or gym visit?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Day 65 - Back To It

Welcome to Monday. Yeah, that means the weekend is done.

Feeling relaxed & ready for a new week?

I can not answer YES to that question myself. I believe it comes with the territory that when you have a busy weekend, especially one away from home, that you don't really relax. As if we need a weekend after our weekend to actually relax before starting a new work week. Yeah, that's it; can we get legislation to make that happen?

We had a fantastic weekend at the wedding and getting away from the everyday. There you see my wife sleeping there as I drive home, a bit too much rum the night before for her. Me, well you see I am just trying to drive & blow a bubble at he same time. Please, please do not try this at home; I am an under-paid professional.

Rested, relaxed or not, today is Monday. That means back to work. Back to parenting. Back to getting healthy in earnest. Forecast calls for allot of rainy and stormy days ahead here, so what I say! I have an elliptical and a treadmill and unless someone moved my gym and dumbbells onto the patio those are inside too. So I have zero, zip, ziltch excuses for getting my healthy on.

How about you, ready for this newest week of being healthy?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Day 64 - Happy Fathers Day

Happy Fathers Day ~ Our plan today to visit our fathers... drive from St. Charles MO to Marion IL (for BBQ @ 17th Street Grill ~ temptation alert), to Benton to visit my fathers grave, to Elmwood Park to visit Cathy's father, to Round Lake to park my butt in my recliner.

Wedding was a blast; there you see the happy couple. Hot couple too, it was mid-90s outside for their gazaebo wedding. For a wedding gift we got them a large bottle of Crown Royal & a couple of Chicago Blackhawks Stanley Cup Championship T-Shirts. Good time had by all.

Overall I didn't over indulge in food, maybe I came close to that fine line between getting my fill and getting more than one should fill up on. If anything the beer is what took me over the line. Although I was conscious of the beer impact as for the first time in my life I drank the '64' brand, just 64 calories per bottle. It had less flavor, make no mistake, oh the sacrifice!

Blogging is just not as fun from the phone via cell phone. I can post easy enough by sending pics & text to my blogger email address, e.g. this post was made via email and not directly on the blogger site. Problem is I can't do so on blogger directly via cell browesr, nor can I post replies on your blogs; but I can see & read your blogs. Oh well, I'll be back home tonight.

Enjoy the day!

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Us in hotel fitness center...

We're watching the world cup while I wrestle with an elliptical & my wife (in red) tears up a recumbant bike~ Go Australia!

Day 63 - Fish & Vish

Good Morning!
Walleye anyone? Walleye is my favorite fresh water fish. Here you see a pan-seared & blackened fillet, I like it spicy. This was dinner last night in Rockford, Illinois at the Thunder Bay Grille; one of our favorite places which we only get when we get to Milwaukee or Rockford.

What a wicked drive to St. Charles Missouri it was last night. From Rockford to Springfield Illinois we drove through the nastiest lightning & rain I've ever been in while in a car. But we got in at 1am, slept fine, and now I am off to check out the hotel's fitness room.

My buddy Vish gets married at 1pm, and it is an outdoors wedding, and it'll be 97 F degrees today ~ awesome!

You sweat'n today too?

Responsibility 199... Gotta Do It!!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Day 62 - Cow on a Skateboard

FRIDAY, that's what today is in case you didn't know.

This weekend my wife & I are going out of town to attend a wedding for a buddy of mine from high school, Mark or 'Vish' as I've known him for nearly 30 years. Very happy to see my friend who I haven't seen in nearly 2 years; last time was at our 25th high school reunion in 2008. This is his 2nd time around with wedding knots so it is a low-key event. Low-key or not, the temptations will be abundant. Bar food everywhere, beer beer & more beer everywhere. You see, I have never been with this guy and not out drank him. Well, I won't out drink him this weekend; my wedding gift to him :-) I will survive this weekend!

Even away I'll try and make posts this weekend from my cell phone as best I can, I probably shouldn't guarantee I'll post though. As well I'll try and follow on with you if I can. And if I can't, I'll be back Monday to work and to blogging.

Exercise, I don't think I have talked much about exercise in my recent posts. Yes, I have been getting in my exercise, at least the minimum I've committed to; see my commitments here.

Monday this week I did my dumbbell routine and then did my 2 mile neighborhood walk. No exercise the past two days. Yesterday I went downstairs and got busy on my home gym routine. But, it didn't go so well. For some reason I couldn't get into a groove. With each rep, the form just wasn't happening, I felt as awkward as a cow on a skateboard.

After three of the ten exercises in my routine I was really struggling to do more than 3 or 4 reps without stopping for a breath. Sad! Looking to the ceiling, I considered going upstairs and trying again later.

Silent for too long the obese-michelin-man looking lessor-demon creature of my past sat up on my left shoulder & piped up. After a snort and chuckle, "Aint happenin, givin the pantry a workout is happenin though", he offered.

Silly suggestion, but, perhaps he has a point. Maybe I was zapped and needed an energy boost. So I scurried upstairs and grabbed a slice of water melon and gobbled that down like a coyote at a prime-rib buffet. Was that dumb? Eating a piece of fruit during a weekend hoping to get some fast energy to carry me through the workout?

Back in the basement, exercises four, five and six are forced; ugh just not feeling it. What is going on? "Have some more'n that watery melon, and a beer, huh, huh, how bout one?" the hungry-demon jabbed on.

Not wanting to give in I start exercise seven. But after the first set, I've had it with the bumbling display I was putting on for the Demon and gave in to him. Up the stairs I went to see what dinner would be tonight. Leftovers; one left over pork chop and fresh caesar salad for me. Dinner done, it was yummy, I eye up my recliner for it is time chill into the evening.

"Horse$#i%!!!!!", screams the healthy-alien inside me.

"Huh, where you been, playing chutes and ladders with my intestines?" I bark back.

Smiling to myself, I ask around for a walking buddy, but nobody is game. No problem, I am a big boy and can go outside alone. My 2 mile neighborhood walk here I come. Ipod on, check. Cell phone, check. Alien and Demon, um check. Off I went.

Bugs, bugs the whole way. That sucked, well the Demon found it funny; yeah I could hear him laughing. Before I knew it I get to the 1-mile turn, check the watch, hhmmm, 18:02, not great but not bad at all.

"You know if you do the second mile in the same time you'll get a new PR for this loop", states the Alien.

"Really?" I ask myself.

"Yeah, really, I can ADD!" exclaims the Alien.

"HaHaHa...", the Demon roars in eiree laughter, "It's called multi-ply-intation you Alien fool!", he fusses.

"Enough you two, Enough! Hold On." I announce.

Purpose found, pick'em up and set'em down. Groove found, Form happening; this cow was Rock'in that sidewalk. Ipod volume maxed, sweat giving into gravity, bugs; didn't even notice them still playing their irritating game.

That second mile came in at 17:09, a PR for a mile stretch, The loop came in at 35:12 - more than a minute faster than my previous best for another new PR. That called for a few fist-pumps in the drive way. Cool indeed - Way Cool, made up for that poor home gym workout earlier.

"Did it?" the Alien asks calmly.

"Ha, umpnh", the Demon tried to start up another laugh track but was quickly silenced by the Alien foot that found the inside of his mouth.

The next five minutes were all Alien. Watch, check. Ipod volume back to max, check. A starting line on the sidewalk found, check. Off I went.

Around the block I went, just a bit more exercise to be sure I redeemed myself for earlier. Not really sure how far it is around my block, certainly I will check the next time in the car. Regardless how far it may be, I got around it in 4:35, slow or fast who knows.

Heh was fast. I forgot to mention that Alien inspired extra block, he got me to JOG around the block.

It wasn't pretty, not even close. It wasn't easy, oh I came so close to stopping. But I made it around without stopping. First time I jogged in an embarassing large number of years.

Oh Yeah - I Rocked that last block, I Rocked that work out; I Rocked this day!!

If I don't get to blog this weekend  - you keep Rock'in all weekend!

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Day 61 - Beautiful Blogger Award

Whoohooo - I received an award; how cool is that!!!

LISA honored me with an awarded yesterday - Thanks again Lisa!

This is my second blog award and I am very happy to have received it. Certainly credit goes back to all whom I blog back and forth with as together we make this experience called blogging worth our time and truly find it enjoyable.

This award has some rules to follow, so let me get down to business.

Rule #1…When you receive/accept this award you must then pass the award on to 7 other bloggers you consider to be beautiful bloggers. Just 7 huh, well here are 7 bloggers that are certainly deserving. Certainly I could have named many others. In no particular order here are the 7 whom I am honoring...


<< After awarding this to Jody & FiTCETERA they informed me that they have received it already (not surprised) so I saw it only fitting to honor other beautifl bloggers with it >>

I don't think any of them have received this award, I didn't see it posted on their blogs. But if I was wrong and you have it already let me know and I will award to another.

Rule #2… You have to list 7 things about yourself that others did not know. That should be easy, I think. Here are my 7....

1... I collect hot sauce, my collection is just under 300 bottles and growing. I spent ALLOT of $$$$ on custom shelving for them in our kitchen (I'll share some photos soon)

2... I picked at earning my bachelors degree for 19 years (graduated in 2007 w/ a B.S. in Technical Management)

3… I was in line awaiting my omelet at my employer's cafeteria when 9-11-2001 went down. The cafeteria server (who I despised) told me that a plane flew into the WTC and I said, "Yeah, right. Are my eggs done yet?" Imagine my horror when I got back to my desk and everyone around me is dialed into CNN, FOX, etc. websites streaming news and photos of the WTC on fire. I never did eat that omelet.

4... I met the Beast, battled the Beast, and Kicked it's A$$, I am a cancer survivor (colon - 2001)

5… I made a promise to my Grandmother just before she died (1996) that I shall be alive when the Chicago Cubs win their next World Series title. Today I joke about this and tell people that I made a pact with He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named to be alive when the Cubs win their next World Series title (Harry Potter fans will appreciate that)

6... I ate a 36 ounce steak to celebrate the news that we were pregnant with my son (1993)

7... I am a US Marine (active duty 1983-87 honorably discharged)

Have a Beautiful Day!

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Day 60 - Denial to Acceptance

Sixty days makes two months that I've been on this mission. On day 1 if someone had suggested I'd lose 28 pounds in the next 60 days, well simply I would have laughed in my own doubts I could even make it 60 days before quitting again. But, 28 pounds have been lost so maybe I should start believing this will be the time I don't quit.

Yesterday Mertle had an interesting post I wanted to give a shout out to. She did some self analysis using a "Five Stages" approach to a couple of challenges in her life; one of them being weight loss. Take a moment & check her post & blog out here.

Taking inspiration from her, here are my own Five Stages of weight loss...

Denial: I've already eaten 12 ounces of steak, will another 12 really matter? Am I really that over-weight? Nah, give me another 20 ounce hunk oh, and a diet coke please.

Anger: How come I can't fit in this roller coaster car? Why can't I make it through the first hour of the day at this amusement park without my feet killing me? Without needing to sit & take a break? Where is the nearest bathroom with air-conditioning? Oh for heavens sake, how did I get like this?

Bargaining: If I cut back on desserts and snacks I should be OK. Do that and I'll be able to do these things I can't in no time at all; right?

Depression: What the F#@%, I had 2 peanut butter bars instead of 4; just 1 slice of cheese cake versus 2. I mean, I had veggies on my deep-dish pizza - how is it that I am not feeling better? Ah the H&££ with this $±I÷, being fat, being obese sucks!

Acceptance: My wife is losing weight by eating better food versus just less food. She is exercising a little too. So I tried that with her today, just to do something together, just for kicks. Huh, it wasn't that hard. It wasn't necessarily easy but I do feel better today than yesterday. Hmmm, today versus yesterday. That is it! One day, one choice, one change; ONE at a time. I can do this!

What stage are you in?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 59 - This is Fun

When I started this mission nearly two months ago I never expected to say anything about it would be fun. Not eating what I want, exercising when I'd rather be watching re-runs of M*A*S*H, stalking the scale; not much fun there. The many previous attempts to get healthy were never much fun, why would this one be any different?

Well this time around has indeed been fun. I can think of a few reasons why but will focus on just one of them now. See that picture there? Does that prompt a fun response in you? Perhaps the cell phone shot doesn't do much justice so let me add a little color commentary.

It is a fillet of Pistachio Crusted Halibut. A 5ounce hunk of luscious wild caught halibut. Something this gorgeous needed a massage, a Greek yogurt massage; just a thin coat on the top. Wanting more I rubbed her gently with minced pistachios. She lay there ready, though still raw definitely inviting enough to have right there as she was. But this affair was not to be rushed. A hot skillet ready, she got her sear on in a kiss of olive oil. The sweet tang of the yogurt, the salty chew of the pistachios, the aroma of the oil; all getting to know each other & still wanting more. And more came in the bliss of a 400F sauna, I mean oven. Eight minutes later, approaching the height of perfection, she emerged ready to satisfy my hunger.

On the plate a simple side of cucumber slices and watermelon wedges with a bit of home made Greek yogurt & black pepper dressing anxiously awaited her arrival. A tall glass of ice water with lemon stood ready to wash it all down, um and cool me down. I was worried the pistachios would over power but the first bite was amazing, the flavors blended wonderfully. Halibut is such a great fish to work with and was a great choice for this recipe.

Oh, fun, I forgot this post was about the fun of getting healthy. So what was fun about this dish other than it tasted great. The fun came from creating it. No recipe was followed. Never have I crusted a fish before and then modified an old recipe here today (actually this was dinner this past Sunday). Getting healthy means finding new foods, new ways to make food, new ways to enjoy them. And that means experimenting. Whether you do so by following recipes others share, or just winging it to see what you can come up with. That in my mind makes getting healthy FUN.

It seems fitting too that I call this unexpected fun a NSV; and I shall.

Are you having fun getting healthy?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 58 - Change #8

As I noted yesterday I did order my new laptop computer back as my reward for attaining & holding 20% progress, it should arrive in a week or two tops. It slipped my mind last week to mention that I had posted my progress pictures for hitting 20% progress. So far so good, I see a bit more progress in these latest pictures. Next set will come when I get to 30% progress.

Want to see a real cool before and after set. Just Look HERE at John's before and after! I read a few articles about his loss, none go into any detail on how he did it other than stating it was diet and exercise that helped him lose more than 100 pounds.

The word diet can mean many things; was John on a certain diet program or regimen? Perhaps a FAD diet of pre-boxed foods, pills or anything other commercial product we'll soon see him as a spokesperson for? Or was good ole eating balanced, portion controlled meals John's method of success? How about John's exercise, did he just get out there and move his body? Or did he Tae-Bo his loss away?

Celebs who have rapid body transformations and do it without surgery usually have allot of help getting it done. Generally they can afford to hire the best trainers, nutritionists, personal chefs, etc. to get the job done. Good for them for being able to do so. Certainly I wish I could dump a bunch of dollars, and added time, into getting this done smarter and faster. But we know that is not necessary. A slow, steady, disciplined approach to exercise with balanced & portion controlled eating will get the job done. I'm just curious what John did. Oh, and King Ralph is still one of his better movies in my silly opinion.

Changing subjects to the subject of change. It is time for another change to be added to the list of those I intend to commit to. This latest change...

Change 8...
  • Drink 2 liters of water a day
Really, is this really necessary? Honestly I have no idea how much water one should drink or whether or not increase water intake really helps shed weight. Recently I read that you should take in 1/2 ounces of water per pound of body weight each day. Yeah, sorry but I doubt I have ever drank over a gallon of water a day which is what the math here would come out to for me.

This change makes sense to me because I have found on days I drink a liter during the day at work and then another in the late afternoon through the evening I have better days. With the water in the gut those voices that would have me believe I am hungry are not as loud. Yes, I am in the USA, so why liters? My water bottle is a 1 liter bottle. Fill from the Brita UltraMax dispenser I purchased just for this & placed in our refrigerator each morning before I leave and then again when I get home, that's the plan.

Do you drink a predetermined amount of water daily?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Day 57 - 24% Progress

Sunday, or is it Sundae? yeah, lets go with Sunday, less calories. Happy Sunday to all!

That smoked leg of lamb below, that was dinner last night. It spent three hours on my smoker and boy did I get a good garlic & spice crust on that sexy leg. Saying it was delicious would be an understatement worthy of prison time. Temptation to eat 2nds and 3rds and, well I was tempted. But I abstained from temptation and had a single slice. Oh there are left overs, so my protein today just may be another slice.

Last weekend I hit the 20% weight loss mark on my mission. Having gone a week without back-sliding I can now order my reward for hitting that mark; a new laptop computer bag. I've had the same one my employer gave me for about 5 years, maybe more. Now when we get new laptops we don't get new bags, so it is time for me to get my own. And I shall do just that later today.

It is weigh in day. I was a bit apprehensive when I stepped on the scale as I had not exercised for a couple days this week while busy celebrating the Blackhawks title. But I knew I had been eating well so I wasn't too apprehensive. I have had better weigh in's lately, but as my goal is for a 1.5 pound per week loss, I can't be anything but smiles again this week. Today I got off that scale at 24 % of the way to my goal, I've lost 28.5 pounds in EIGHT weeks; 1.5 of them this past week.

Today I weighed in at 291.5 pounds. Feels good, so good, that I want more. More losses, more feel good. So off I go to get a quality breakfast and find some exercise that needs doing.

Have a good Sundae!

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dessert tonight ~ Blackhawk brownies

Grandma dropped these off for us to enjoy. I didn't have one, but they looked oh so good.

Day 56 - Saturday Serious

A great week is in the rear view mirror. One I will remember forever thanks to the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks. We capped of the week with an amazing experience at the parade & rally downtown yesterday. We were two of the two-million fans & of the Blackhawk Nation who showed up to participate in the fandemonium. It was truly amazing.

While we are still on an emotional high from this past week we realize it is time to resume our serious attention to our missions to get healthy. Oh we didn't take the past few days off. We did put exercise on the shelf for the past two days while we celebrated, but that's all we fluffed on. Eating was still kept to a healthy level and we woke up this morning feeling good and glad we didn't indulge through our guts the past few days.

This morning we got up and got out for a walk around the Rollins Savannah; a 3.5 mile loop. Up there you see my wife as we stepped off on our walk. It was a great walk on a foggy and dreary morning. I completed it today in 62:55 which was a PR for that loop; cool! When we got home I grabbed two of my boys, Andrew & Cameron, and we hit the home gym for a workout through that routine. Whew, yeah, safe to say we're back on track here. At least that is what my sore muscles are telling me.

The Rollins Savannah is such a cool place to walk, run, bike, whatever people which to do to work up a sweat. Allot of wild life there like this little gal to the right. She was mucnhing on breakfast about 40 yards (36.5 meters for those who've gone metric) off the trail.

It is just about 1 p.m. here in the Stanley Cup Champion time-zone. I await the delivery of a new refrigerator, old one is days away from dying, and the kids are starting to assemble in the family room to watch the World Cup match between England & USA. Go Red-White-&-Blue!

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Day 55 - Party On!

Please bear with me while I am in this state of Hockey championship bliss. I will return to health related blog posting soon.

My wife and are out the door and on our way to the parade to celebrate the Stanley Cup Champion CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS...

I'll be back later with pictures and to follow up on your blogs.

Have a great Friday everyone!

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


The game went into over-time in Gme-6 and on an improbable shot missed by most onlooking eyes the puck found the corner of the net and the celebration was on - they did it, the Chicago Blackhawks WON the STANLEY CUP...

Team Captain Jonathan Toews is the first to receive Lord Stanley's Cup...

Patrick Kane, who scored the game winning, Cup clinching goal, hoists the Cup in celebration...

Let us not forget Duncan Keith who took a puck to the face in an earlier game and sacrificed 7 teeth in his labor to bring us a Stanley Cup...

Ladies & Gentlemen, the Stanley Cup Champion CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS...

That's all I got to say today.

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Game 6 is underway.

I'm seated & pshyc'd up.

Will this be the night!


Day 53 - Shrimp vs. Moo

Good Morning, how goes it this fine day Bloggy People?

Who likes SHRIMP?

I like shrimp. We took the kids out to one of our favorite steak houses last night; Backyard Steak Pit. It was the final act in celebrating our youngest's graduating 8th grade. We had the huge gathering of the clans to celebrate a couple weekends ago. Last night's dinner was just my wife, our kids & I in a more intimate celebration over food. We've done this for each 8th grade graduation and the assumption is we will do so for each high school graduation starting next year as well.

Anyhow, back to shrimp. That picture is one of the gorgeous grilled shrimp on my plate. It, and all of the shrimp & scallops on it, were works of perfection. I tried to do it justice by immortalizing one of the shrimp in pictures with my cell phone but feel I failed to capture it's awesomeness. I don't know, looking at it makes me wish it were dinner time again.

Now you may be wondering, "Didn't he say they went to a steak houses - their favorite favorite steak house"?

Why yes we did, and, no I didn't order any steak. Pause... letting that sink in for a minute... I can't believe it myself. During the drive there I was struggling with what to order; we've been there so many times I have the menu memorized, literally. I was thinking of going with the smallest fillet on the menu, it is an 8 ounce hunk of heaven. But by the time we sat down I had convinced myself that I could do better, that I really didn't want to take any chances of voiding out the past few days of hard work (3 mile walk Monday & did the full dumbbell routine Tuesday before dinner).

You should have seen it. This healthy-alien currently inside of me who is firmly in control, I haven't come up with a name for him yet; have any ideas? Well he, or maybe he is a her, was going at it hard with the hungry-demon who has been in control of me for a couple of decades. The creature is not too happy about the new kid, alien, on the block let me tell you. The expletives were flying, bleep bleep bleep was heard throughout my head, the creature even tried the "don't you love me anymore" routine.

Too my surprise the alien won yet again, yes it does still surprise me; and the creature crept away with his head down to go moap behind a kidney for the rest of the meal. Grilled Seafood Kebab with wild rice and a garden salad is what I had. The old me would have had the 20 ounce hickory crusted ribeye with fully locked & loaded backed potato and that same garden salad with the croutons, bacon bits and super-duper fattening dressing which I omitted last night.

This morning, so glad the alien won!

Hockey Update: GAME SIX is tonight of the Stanley Cup, puck drop is at 7 p.m. Chicago (central) time on NBC. No this not a paid promotion. My butt will be glued to my recliner promptly at 6:59 p.m. - where will you be?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Day 52 - You Are What You Portion

What is in a portion size? Everything quite simply. Every calorie you choose is in that portion, whether it be a little or a lot. Portion little, you will be littler than the person who portions larger. Generally speaking that is without due comparison to activity levels, etc.

Being large, I've been there and still am to be honest. Just not as large as 52 days ago. Going large at every opportunity, that was me. Large steaks, large ice cream sundaes, large tubs or movie pop corn. Portioning large was my way of life. Go large I did, all the way to a 320 pound body.

Finally I seem to have this portioning thing figured out. Engaging in a bit of simple 'than & now' comparison really drives this learning in for me.

A 20 ounce steak, or 2 thick cut pork chops, or 3 bratwursts; that was how I used to portion meat. A healthy serving of meat is 2 - 3 ounces or some say visualize a deck of cards.

A 4 egg omelet or 4 fried eggs; that was how I used to portion eggs. A healthy serving of eggs is half that, two. You can visualize two eggs I hope :-)

Italian restaurants, so much to gobble up there while waiting for the entree to arrive. Especially Bread! Easily 4 - 6 bread sticks, or half of the loaf in that basket is what I would draw through a saucer of oil & parm; that was how I used to portion bread. A healthy serving of bread is a single slice of the typical white, or better yet a whole grain bread. Look at one slice, and move on.

Chinese or Japanese restaurants, they are so much fun especially in buffet form. Rice used to land on my plate in 2 - 3 cup servings and I'd have 2 - 3 servings in a sitting; that was how I used to portion rice. A healthy serving of rice one-half of one cup or some say visualize a golf ball. Fore!

Oh I shouldn't ignore fruit & veggies in my reflection here should I? Fill up my 20 ounce glass to the rim with orange juice please, or give me any amount of veggies as long as it is covered in a cup of cheese sauce; that was how I used to portion fruit & veggies. A healthy serving of fruit or vegetables is one piece of whatever you are having, without the cheese sauce tsunami. Ok, eating a whole pumpkin (considered one piece) is way more than 1 serving. A healthy serving of juice is 6 ounces, that is six shots of OJ for my fellow whisky drinkers.

Folks, I got large because I ate large. Me, I did it, nobody else, sad as it is to confess. But the good news is that today, from now on I potion to be healthy and I do feel this is making a difference. I so look forward to experiencing the difference of being truly healthy.

Make sense? Do you see portion discipline as an important factor in the state of your health?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 51 - Change #7

Dinner last night was scrumptious. Grilled Cedar Plank Cayenne Salmon with a side of Lemon Quinoa. Kept it quiet healthy yesterday since I took the day off exercise. I also made a chili sauce from Greek yogurt to go with the fish which was good too.

Hockey Update: The Blackhawks were definitely the better team on the ice last night and for it they grabbed a 3-2 series lead in the quest for the Stanley Cup. One more, just ONE more win is all they need to claim that trophy for the first time in my lifetime.

Now if you think that I am the hockey fanatic I come off to be you would be right, I am that indeed. But I am not the only Blackhawk fanatic in our home, in fact I pale in comparison to my wife. here she is with pom-poms ready to celebrate at any opportunity.

And here she is giving those pom-poms a workout after a Blackhawk goal, gotta love her...

Last week I passed on noting another change to commit to, it was Memorial Day last Monday and my post on that day was to have nothing to do about me.

In thinking about commitments this morning I do have another to add to the list. As the length of my mission grows longer I have the benefit of reflecting upon my efforts to review what has helped and what has not. It is not hard at all for me to look at my behavior today, compare it to my standard behavior over 51 days ago, and know why I have thus far been successful.

There are so many minor changes that are adding up, and then there are those few macro changes which are the backbone of the new me. Those macro changes are what I seek in identifying changes for this list I've been assembling.

This latest change...

Change 7...
  • Eat fruits and vegetables every day
It doesn't matter how many servings, although in general the more the better. Looking back at the past seven weeks I have had days where I have eaten as few as three or as many as eight servings of fruits and vegetables combined. Why this change is worthy of noting is simply the impact it has had. The old me did not eat fruits and vegetables daily. On days I did manage to get some I'd eat one or two servings tops.

There certainly is allot to be said for the quality of your food contributing the quantity of your health. Fruits and vegetables certainly qualify as quality foods. My having chosen to replace snickers bars for apples, to replace six-slice bacon & cheddar omelets for green pepper & onion egg white omelets, to replace a big bowl of fruit loops for a garden salad, to replace pringles chips for a vine of grapes... having made these choices have me on my way to being healthy.

My favorite fruit lately has been Watermelon which is abundant in the grocery stores now. I've been eating so much the casual onlooker may feel I need a 12-step program for my addiction. Veggie wise I've been working Onions into dishes in more creative ways lately. A super versatile veggie.

What are your favorite fruits & veggies?
Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Day 50 - 22% Progress

Good Morning - Let's get Sunday underway! Before getting too far into my morning, it is weigh in day. Anyone else weighing in today?

This past week I've exercised and ate smart. Or is it 'eaten smart'? Either way I didn't have an optimistic vibe going into this weigh in.

Perhaps I just wasn't fully awake. Or perhaps the rainy night had dampened my oomph. Now, fully awake, and draped in oomph, I am feeling a vibe; an Oh Yeah vibe!

Today I check in at 22% of the way to my goal, I've lost 27 pounds in SEVEN weeks; 4 of them this past week.
Today I weighed in at 293 pounds.

Oh Yeah - Liking that weigh in!

Now, what else to share? I know, Who is in the mood for some indulgence? Sorry, that is a terrible question to ask folks who are trying to get their healthy on. But I have a little story to share...

Title: 'She Wants What?'

Prologue: This past Friday some indulgence was asked for in our home. Inspired by my daughter who brought back from Spain a love for Paella.

Crisis: A bit odd considering she dislikes almost all fish & seafood, ho hum to that I say. She swears they had a version without the shrimp & mussels on the menu, so a chicken & chorizo only version would be needed.

Tension: Paella is not a dish you can really adjust to make healthy. Well, yes you could, but it should NOT be messed with in my opinion. Leave it alone, it's bounty of flavors should be enjoyed just as it is.

Climax: HERE is the recipe which we found & used as a guideline. I hardly ever follow a recipe letter for letter but I did follow this one closely. My deviations were replacing the seafood with more chicken and replacing the wine with more stock. My words cannot give this indulgence sufficient justice so here are some pictures...

<--- Ashley has to help with food prep if she wants paella...

<--- Chorizo sausage {mmm}, onions & garlic getting to know each other...

<--- Basmati rice gets warmed up before adding the chicken stock it'll soak up...

<--- Ashley measures out a bit of that precious saffron...

<--- Finally, the chicken goes in for a simmering swim...

<--- Victory! The finished product. Well this is what was left after everyone had their fill...

Epilogue: True, I couldn't have lost the weight I did this week by indulging in temptation, and certainly not by eating much of the sinful deliciousness seen above. Simply I did not over-indulge. Just about one-half of a single serving was all I claimed for myself while enjoying watching the rest of the family dig into the indulgence they desired.

The End

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Walking PR's Today!

Woke up early and bored this morning, probably a bit miffed too from the Blackhawks loss last night. Didn't know what to do with myself so I went downstairs and went through my routine on the home gym. Felt good, replaced the boredom with something beneficial vs. a burrito which the old me would have gone for.

An hour later I happened to check the weather report, rain storms are coming; two hours away the weather genius said. My mind is doing weird things these days. Instead of cashing in a "rainy day" excuse & popping a movie into the machine and settle in for the day, no I didn't do that; instead I looked at my watch. Two hours, that's plenty of time to go for a walk to the park and back; my usual 2 mile neighborhood loop.

So outside I go, I look up, yep dark rain clouds are lurking. Without delay off I go. This 2 mile loop usually takes me 38 to 39 minutes to complete. Not today, 37:27 minutes later I am back home. Cool, a new PR for me on that loop!

I look up, yep same rain clouds still lurking; yet they don't seem any closer or angrier. Without realizing what I am doing, clearing some healthy-alien has taken up residence in me; off I go for another session on the same loop. What am I thinking? This is going to be like a 2 mile stroll at cool down pace after the first two mile walk at exercise pace, right healthy-alien? Wrong, 37:26 minutes later I am back home. Way-Cool, another new PR for me; two in one day :-)

Oh, and it's now about 2 hours past the time the weather genius said brace for storms; D'Oh !

The pic above is me in the middle of that 4th mile of the day. I was hurting but the expression on my face doesn't appear as pained as I felt. Probably because I was trying to snap the photo without dropping my phone. Oh, and don't you just want that hat? It is an Indiana Jones hat and the best hat I have ever owned.

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Day 49 - NSV Punched

Try as I may I just couldn't wait any longer. Back and forth I went with myself on whether to buy a new belt, or, add a hole to my existing belt. My pants kept increasing their threat to fall down with each passing day, Finally, I couldn't wait to make a decision any longer. So there you see it, me, at my work bench about to punch a new hole in my current belt as soon as I finished taking that picture.

Oh, Thanks Dad for the hand-me-down  set of punches you gave me nearly seven years ago; I don't use them often but was so glad to put them to use on this need. Gotta love tools made in the 60's, or before; tougher than anything made today albeit they don't look as pretty.

Ahhh, it felt much better when I put my belt back on. Actually, I think I may need to punch another hole to get the snug feeling I need. But let me take a few days on that decision :-) while I enjoy the Oh Yeah moment only an NSV can bring!

Have you had an NSV recently you would like to share with the class?

Hockey Update: The Blackhawks didn't look good last night and the Stanley Cup series is now tied up 2 games a piece now; bummer... Back to Chicago they come for Game-5 Sunday night. Go BLACKHAWKS!!!

No real plans this weekend, which means time to relax, time to exercise and the need for discipline in the face of idle time. It is a weigh in day tomorrow which has the added anticipation of the 20% progress mark which is oh so near.

Have a Great Weekend!

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Day 48 - My W.I.D.T.H

I recently found a very popular blogger who is doing a series which I know many of you have likely seen if not have participated in. He asked bloggers to send him a note card in a picture which stated why they want to get healthy. He calls this the W.I.D.T.H - Why I Do This Here. I think it is an awesome idea and look forward to when he posts new cards which he does a few times a week. Naturally I sent him one of my own which he posted yesterday; here is my note card on Jack Sh*t, Gettin Fit. It is worth a scroll through his posts to read these cards and see some of the faces behind them. In many you can see the sincerity in their faces, their desire to get healthy. I found it motivating to say the least... Hey Jack, well done, Thanks!

Yesterday I rocked out my best work out in my 48 days of working at getting healthy. Came home from work a tad early to get in my P.T. clothes, then had to do a conference call; ugh. But when that was done I hit the weights and busted out a great session on the dumbbells. Increased the weight on a couple of the exercises and pumped up my attitude as much if not more than my body. The routine done, I wanted more. So recalling some valuable advice from some of you where one of the best times to do cardio is right after strength training I marched upstairs and jumped on the elliptical. An hour later I was good, I didn't want any more.

Did you get in your exercise yesterday? Or Today??

Food, I ate great yesterday too. Here is the turkey breast I roasted while I worked out, I love multi-tasking...
Not sure why I chose an over-the-top/aerial view for this picture; seems like an odd way to look at food. It didn't look like this for long as the kids had me carving up as soon I as put the camera down.

Alright, I have training all day today so I need to get some real work done before heading off to class. I'll catch up on your blogs later today. And then tonight is is Game 4 of the Stanley Cup. The Blackhawks lost an overtime tilt Wednesday night in Philadelphia. They still lead the series 2-1, but we gotta take this one game at a time. Sound familiar?

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 47 - Salsa Cameron

Yesterday our youngest graduated 8th grade. We have no more grade-schooler's in the house. Next year will will have 4 high-schooler's; the one and only year this will happen. There he is, so happy to be done with school regardless what grade it is. High School will come soon enough.

One thing you need to know about Cameron is he is my brother-in-arms when it comes to enjoying hot-n-spicy food. And salsa is just one of the favorite foods we share. I make salsa fresh at home, never buy it at the store. Cameron will often help me whip up a batch and is always sneaking in an extra jalapeno or two when my back is turned. What a good kid!

Yesterday I mentioned salsa in my post and in a reply from River, well this is what she said, "I never make salsa. It doesn't mean much for local cuisine but I think I should. You're giving me nice ideas there :) "

River my friend, why YES I do. I'll come right to the point, here is the recipe and my take on why I make it this way and what you can do to vary it if desired; enjoy...

Salsa - Mild

This is for a single batch which is enough for the typical family gathering, bbq, picnic, etc. of a dozen or so people. I usually make two batches, or three - have made as many as six batches at once, to have plenty of left-overs for myself and to send some home with the family or friends who always ask for a care package of this amazing concoction.

How do I use salsa? One of my favorite uses for salsa is a replacement to salad dressing, or as a replacement to relish on a burger or hot dog. I also use it in omelets, in place of veggies in fried rice recipes, and of course with tortilla chips or on nachos. How do YOU use salsa?

Enough blabbering from me, let's make some salsa shall we?...

  • 4 large tomatoes (or 6 medium)
  • 1 small onion, white or yellow
  • 1 green bell pepper, size as desired
  • 2 cloves garlic, size as desired
  • 1 bulb of fresh ginger, enough for a Tablespoon when minced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh cilantro (or 1 Tablespoon dried)
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • juice of 1 lime
  • For Medium heat, 2-4 jalapenos or 1 habanero pepper.
  • For HOT heat, 5-8 jalapeno or 3 habanero peppers.

Utensils / Tools...
  • Sharp kitchen knife for dicing & mincing
  • Cutting board
  • Strainer with small holes for draining diced tomatoes
  • Large mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon
  • Food processor / chopper (optional~can dice & mince it all by hand knife too)
  • Juicer, if desired for lemon & lime (optional~can squeeze by hand too)
  • Storage container(s) for finished product

  • Read 'Lessons Learned' below before starting preparation, you'll be glad you did.
  • Place strainer in bottom of clean sink or a in a 2nd large bowl.
  • Dice tomatoes and placed them in strainer to drain while you proceed with other ingredients.
  • Juice the lemon & lime thoroughly, add to mixing bowl (not the bowl tomatoes are straining in if using a 2nd bowl).
  • Dice green bell pepper, add to mixing bowl.
  • Mince garlic, ginger & cilantro, add to mixing bowl.
  • Add seasoned salt & the strained tomatoes to mixing bowl.
  • If making Medium or HOT heat salsa, dice jalapenos or habanero peppers, do not remove seeds or veins as this is where the heat resides, add to mixing bowl.
  • Now mix all of that together real good.
  • Now taste; good huh? See notes below for adjusting flavor.
  • Refrigerate for at least 12 hours. Give the salsa some privacy so that all the ingredients can make love & get in the mood for you.

Lessons Learned...
Tomatoes, I do not like watery salsa so I strain the tomatoes after dicing to drain them of excess water. I also use a food processor for all dicing which also helps to separate more water from the tomatoes. When straining I shake & toss the strainer a bit to help gravity along and remove more water. Of course this is your salsa, make it watery if you insist.

Dicing, I dice to small size bits of approximately 1/4" squares. I find if I go smaller then the salsa ends up more like a cold soup or rough puree. As I use a processor I get great variety in sizes of diced ingredients which add texture & visual character to the finished masterpiece. Of course this is your salsa, cut anything any size you deem necessary to get your mouth watering.

Onion, I love onion flavor but not when it over powers a recipe so I go for a small onion. Test your onion's strength, cut into it and sniff &/or cut a small piece off & taste. If it come off as strong then I consider using less of the onion. Of course this is your salsa, if you are addicted to onions add as many pungent & tear-filled beauties as you & those around you can handle.

Green peppers, I like green because it adds an offsetting color to the dominant red color from all of the tomatoes. This is also why I use white or yellow onions & not red. Of course this is your salsa, so use any colors you like.

Hot peppers, why do I use jalapeno or habanero peppers? Because they are the easiest to pick up at the local grocery store. But do not limit yourself to these. There are dozens of other highly tasty and heaty (is that a word?) peppers out there to play with. One of my faves to substitute with is the Serrano pepper. It's heat level is between that of the jalapeno & habanero but it's flavor is unique and you can get them in so many colors e.g. green, red, brown, orange, or yellow. Of course this is your salsa, so use the pepper that gets your eyes watering but doesn't have you grabbing for a chug of milk to douse the heat. Don't douse please, not pretty.

Vinegar, where is it? I don't use it. But many many many salsa recipes call for it. I like vinegar allot but not in my salsa, I find the flavor conflicts with the citrus. My main reason for omitting it is that if you mess up and use too much it is too easy to ruin a batch and way hard to correct. When I mess up a batch and have to toss it out, I cry. And I don't like to cry, so no vinegar for me. Of course this is your salsa, so kick up the vinegar volume as loud as you please.

Adjusting flavor... Does it need more salt, onion, anything? Then add more. Is it too watery? Then add more ingredients like well strained tomatoes, pepper & onion. But do not remove any 'water' from the mixture at this point; if you do then you are removing lemon & lime juice too & that is a no-no. Of course this is your salsa, do whatever you want and eat some already.

Refrigerating, I highly suggest it. Sure, you can make it and eat it right away. I have done so and it is awesome. But, refrigerate it for 12 - 24 hours and you have kicked 'Awesome' salsa in to 'OMG This is Beyond Awesome' salsa. Of course this is your salsa, eat it however your stomach craves it.

And there you have it, ENJOY!

Responsibility 199 - Gotta Do It!!