Monday Musings

The first day of the new week finds me in a good mood. I’m still making progress on my diet, and I am very pleased by that. I faced another great test this past weekend. I had traveled to Jackson to spend the weekend with my Lady, and that put me completely out of my regular habitat. I knew spending time with Her would be great, and it was, but I was nervous about my ability to stick with the diet away from home.

I am rather proud to say that despite my concerns, or maybe because of my concerns, I did rather well over the weekend. I didn’t over eat at any meal. I didn’t snack. I drank all of my required water each day. I ate the fruit and vegetables each day. To be as blunt as possible, I didn’t fuck up. I’m really proud of that.

As I enter the third week of this project, I find that I’m thinking about more and more. This is a sampling of what I’ve been thinking about:
• I’m still waiting for the water to start to taste good.
• I’m amazed by how easy it has been to get the pasta, breads, and other stuff out my system.
• I’ve got to quit smoking.
•I’ve also got to start making myself exercise: The diet, the changing of the eating habits will do a lot, but it won’t do it all.
• It is really hard to NOT weigh myself every day.
• I am continually amazed by the amount of support I’m receiving. It truly is mind boggling. My Mom and Sister have been a tremendous source of support. My friends also have been nothing but encouraging. My Girlfriend has been tremendously supportive but what has really amazed me is the amount of support I have received from my coworkers.
• All the success in the world on the diet plan is not making me any more eloquent.


And in words of Porky Pig….”that’s all folks”.

Diet Musings.

In the last 35 years or so I have tried several different diet plans. Tried them with varying degrees of success. I’ve done everything from counting calories, to consuming nothing but diet drinks of one kind or another, Weight Watchers, Atkins, etc. etc. I’ve tried most of them. Now each of these diets work for some people, but they never really worked for me.

I think, however, that it was not the fault of the diet, but of the dieter. Of me.  I lacked the discipline to maintain any diet for much more than a week or so. That lack of discipline was caused by many things, but I believe now that the main culprit was that I was not dieting for the right reasons.I was not dieting for myself. Nor was I dieting out of a desire to be healthy.

No, my reasons for dieting were based on desire to impress someone else. A desire to to fit in with the “cool” people at school, or a desire to be “good looking” (as if that could ever be). I believed if I just could get to the same size as others that I would automatically be happy.

It doesn’t work that way. I realize that now. I am actually happier now than I have ever been. For the greatest part, my life is good. I’ve got more friends, good friends, now than I have ever had in my life. I have a better social situation than I’ve had since I was in college, and unlike when I was in college, I’m sober, so I can truly enjoy that social situation.

This time I am dieting just for myself.  no longer really care about impressing anyone. If someone doesn’t like me because I’m fat, I doubt very seriously they would like me if I as normal sized. In fact, since I joined the SCA eight years ago I’ve spent most of my time with people that honestly don’t give a damn what anyone’s size is. That has, been a bit of an eye opener for me.

Nor am I trying to attain anything more than just getting healthy. I know well the dangers of being overweight. With my family history I know those dangers. I want to be healthy, nothing more.
Well, now that I think about it, I realize that is not really true. The desire to be healthy is the over riding reason I’ve started this diet, but there are some other, minor, reasons as well.

For one thing, I really want to not have my ankles hurt after walking around Gulf Wars all day, which I will be doing in just a couple of months. I would also find it really pleasant to be able to buy clothes at some place other  big and tall stores. I think I could really, really, to go into a regular department store and just be able to buy a shirt, or belt, etc.  Yes, there are reasons for this endeavor other than health, but getting healthy is the most important reasons.


Tuesday January 18, 2011: 405

Ok folks I’m going to brag a bit, but this is my blog and I can do what I want with it.

One week ago today the scale I had ordered from arrived. I weighed myself three times when I got home from work that night, and all three times the scale read 418.00 pounds. Now believe me, I really, really don’t like admitting that I weighed over 400 pounds, but I like even less the thought that I might be accused of being dishonest, so I have to admit the truth of it.  418 pounds.

No, the above fact is just that, a fact. Not the bragging part of this post. The bragging part of the post is this: this morning that same scale recorded a weight of  405 pounds. Yeah, that’s right, 13 pounds down in just a week. You could say that makes me just slightly happy.

Sunday Weigh In

There is not going to be much of a blog post today, mainly because I don’t have a lot to say (amazing, but true); but just a wweigh in post:

January 11, 2011: 418 pounds
January 16, 2011: 407 pounds.

Total change: down 11 pounds.

Going Public

We are now 13 days into the new year, and I feel it is time to share a couple of the projects I’m working on; some goals I am working towards. I won’t call them New Years Resolutions for two reasons:
1. We all know that New Years Resolutions almost always fail. They are almost always forgotten by February 1, if not not early in the year.
2. I actually started working on them well before the start of the new year. Specifically I started on December 19, 2010. Yeah, I started on my birthday. It seamed as good a day as any, and if you think about it, a person’s birthday is a the beginning of a new year too. The new year for that person.

So, I started a diet on December 20, 2010.

Actually, a more accurate statement would be “I started thinking about dieting on December 20, 2010. I had a rather vague goal: I wanted to lose 200 pounds, and I wanted to lose a minimum of 20 inches off my waist. I new what I wanted, but I didn’t know exactly how to get there.

I did start trying to cut down on the amount of food I ate,, and more importantly I started actually thinking about what and when I was eating.

Now, I should recount that I’ve been fat for a very long time. I’ve dieted before, and I’ve lost a great deal of weight before. I’ve never kept it off before. This time, I am determined things will be different. I’m determined to lose the weight, and I am determined to keep it off.
This time I’m not trying to impress anyone; I just want to get healthy. I’m  not under the impression that I’ll be happier if I’m thinner. I’m not under the impression that my life will be better if I am thinner; I actually have a petty good life, and I’m happier than I have been in years.

In addition, this time, I am not going to pursue any kind of “fad” diet plan, nor am I going to limit myself to an unrealistic time frame. I want to lose 200 pounds, and I’m allowing myself 2 years to get that done.
At first I didn’t have a specific plan I was going to follow, but after talking to some relatives I have decided to follow the “Eat Clean Diet”. I’m still studying the plan, but I like what I have read so far. I will have to make a lot of changes in the way I eat but I’m not worried about that. I’ve faced bigger challenges in my time, and I finally think I’m at a place where I can tackle this challenge.

In the last couple of weeks I have done a lot of research on how to succeed in weight loss goals; how to succeed with any goal, really, and all of the articles, and blogs I’ve read have one piece of advice in common; “Share your goals”. So, that is what I’m doing here. I’ll be posting my progress here. I’ll be talking about the journey a lot. I’m going public, in other words.

Weigh in: January 11, 2011: 417 pounds.

The Whale Defeated Me

I admit it; the White Whale defeated me, as he has defeated many other. Indeed, as he defeated Ahab himself.

I tried, I sincerely tried to finish Moby Dick, but I just couldn’t do it. After reading a full two thirds of the book I just didn’t care any more. I didn’t care about the characters. I was actively beginning to despise the narrator, Ishmael, and I was actively cheering for the whale.

Fortunately, I already knew how the story ends, so I’m not actually losing any thing by giving it up. I can now go on to better, more enjoyable activities. If only Ahab could have given up his obsession he could have done the same.

Current Reading Devices and List

This past Christmas my blessed Mother gave me what is quite possibly the greatest Christmas gift I have ever received: A Kindle E-Book Reader. I cannot adequately begin to describe how cool this thing is; I have been carrying it everywhere since the day I opened it. So far I have purchased ten books for it, and that means that I am carrying with me 10 books everywhere I go. When you combine that with the audio books on my Ipod, I am a veritable walking library.

I mostly listen to the audio books on the Ipod while I’m driving to and from work, running errands, or working on some kind of other project here in the house. The Kindle gets read whenever I have time to just sit and devote myself to reading.

Among the collection of books I have on the IPod is the entire collection of the Aubrey/Maturin series by Patrick O’Brien. These novels feature the adventures of Captain Jack Aubrey and his best friend/ship’s surgeon Steven Maturin of the British Royal Navy during and just after the Napoleonic Wars. I’ve read them all before, and loved them, but when listening to them read by a narrator I often find myself noticing things about the characters, or the plot that I missed upon the first reading.

The series starts with Master and Commander. Jack Aubrey has just been promoted to the rank  of Master and Commander of the Sophie in the Mediterranean. He is based out of Port Minorca. He strikes a friendship with Dr. Maturin, who has temporarily been left ashore without employment and invites him to become the ships surgeon for the Sophie.

The story then goes on to describe several cruises the Sophie undertakes. Because of his luck in taking prizes, Aubrey quickly earns the nickname of “Lucky Jack”. His skill as a sailor, and as an officer, enable him to form the crew of the Sophie into a effective naval fighting force.

When we first meet Steven Maturin, he is mostly ignorant of the Navy, and of naval customs. It is through him that O’Brian describes the customs of the navy, and of naval terms. These novels are considered by many to be some of the most historically accurate descriptions of the British navy of the period. I find them fascinating.

Meanwhile, I’m reading Moby Dick on the Kindle. I know , I know. Moby Dick is widely considered to be one of the “Great American Novels”. I also know I should have read it years ago when I was in high school or college, but I never did. I have to tell you, I’m not seeing the quality of the novel. Melville is overly verbose, and the story could have benefited from the work of a rather ruthless editor. It is it at times preachey, moralizing, and, to me, utterly annoying. However, I have pledged to finish it, so I will. If nothing else, I know I have better, more interesting books waiting to be read.

Daily Use

Each day I read about 15 different blogs and websites.  A couple these are focused on the news (CNN), a couple are focused on humor ( and, but because of some changes I’m trying to make in my own life, because of some habits I’m trying to build in my character, most of the sites I check daily are devoted to frugality, personal organization, personal development, and minimalism.

Sunday I was reading about the 100 Thing Challenge on one of the sites devoted to attaining and maintaining a minimalist lifestyle. This writer was describing how he had arrived at the decision to try and limit his possessions to just 100 items. He, the blog author, had reached a point in his life where he felt his living space was to cluttered, and that the clutter was impacting not only his physical space, but also his “mental space”. He was fed up with the clutter, and in a larger sense with the “consumerist” lifestyle. He decided to see if he could limit all of his possessions to just 100 things.

Think about that; think about limiting all of your possessions to just one hundred items. I have been thinking about it for the last couple of days, and my thoughts go kind of like this:

1. Despite a very great desire on my part to simplify my life in a number of ways, despite a very great desire to de-clutter my life, I don’t think I am any where near ready to limit my total possessions to just 100 items. I want to maintain a minimalists lifestyle, but I want to do it without limiting my hobbies or interests. I’m sure that is possible, but I will have to think some more to figure out how to do it.

2. If one were to so limit one’s possessions to such a small number, they would have to be items that were used regularly, if not every day. I don’t have an idea of the actual number of items I own, and I have not thought about the number of items I actually use on a daily, or near daily basis.

3. Now, that would be an interesting project: Track every item I own that I gets used for a week, or maybe for a month. In order to do that I would have to define what, exactly, is meant by “gets used”? Is reading a book the same as “using” a book? I would also have to rather carefully define other terms. “Computer” would include all the peripherals like monitor, keyboard, power cords, mouse, etc. “Television” would include  the television, cable converter box/tivo and remote control.

I had a lot of other thoughts, but the main thing I wanted to report is that I decided to track what items I actually use on a daily basis. I’m going to do it for at least a week, starting today. Just to keep things simple, I’m not going to include furniture items, but if I decide to extend this experiment after the first week I might decide to start including furniture.  Oh, I’m also not going to report on the clothes I wear, although, again, those items might get included if I expand this project. I will, when appropriate, list what the item was used for, and in cases of items that have more than one feature that is used, I’ll  list all the features that were used.

So, let’s start:

January 4, 2011: Used item list:
1. Alarm clock – wake up alarm
2. Cell phone: alarms, timer, and phone.
3.  2 towels
4. Shaving brush & shaving soap mug
5. Kitchen knife
6. 2 water bottles.
7. Computer system : Multiple uses.
8. Truck.
9. Ipod
10. Cigarette lighter.
11. Truck
12. 3 different fountain pens
13. 1 highlighter
14. Call log note book: used at work to track the accounts I worked during the day
15. Clip board and spare paper
16. Daily log notebook
17. Digital Camera
18. Kindle
19. lap top computer.
20. saucepan
21. Serving bowl
23. serving spoon
24. Fork
25. Desk lamp
26. Messenger bag.
27. 2 pairs of bent nose pliers.
28. drinking glass.
29. Trash can.

…and that’s where I stopped keeping notes for the day. Not even a full day, and not counting clothing, or things like my wallet, etc., and I’ve already used 29 items. I know this probably doesn’t interest anybody but me, but it DOES interest me.