Saturday, August 29, 2009

Lifestyle Change is Hard

Last night, Tyler and I went to the Cardinal Preseason Game with some family. It was a great time - the game wasn't so good, for the first 3 quarters, they got worked. They were down 38-10 at halftime and it was nasty. Enter Matt Leinart. 360 yards passing and 4 straight touchdowns later, they had an extra point to tie it with 37 seconds left in the game. It was a great comeback. Instead of tying the game, they went for 2 and the win. Unfortunately, they couldn't convert and ended up losing the game, but it was very fun to witness. This is not what I am posting about.

For the last week, I have been on this new nutritional and workout regimen. It has been fairly difficult. As previously posted, I love to eat; it's one of my favorite things to do. Anway, I have been so good all week, I haven't cheated and I have followed my diet to the letter. I have done my workouts religiously and have done everything that has been asked of me. Enter Cardinals game and Univ. of Phoenix Stadium.

One of my favorite things to do is go watch a game, any kind of game. I love baseball the most, basketball is great to watch and I am learning to love football. I love sitting at the park or stadium or arena with way overpriced, greasy, fatty foods with my family and enjoy watching the world's best athletes compete in their preferred sport. (I have always found it quite ironic that the type of food that is served at professional sporting events would never be consumed in a million years by the athletes who are actually participating in the sporting events)

Anyway, we arrived at the game and I was slightly hungry. I knew I was going to be there for about 4 hours and that waiting it out wasn't going to be an option. Tyler was hungry, but not starving. So, just before halftime, I went to the concession stand to see what they offered. I was blown away; not only by the types of food and how unhealthy they are, but the exorbitant prices that were being charged. A hot dog? $7. One hot dog. A pretzel, one pretzel? $5. Large Coke? $6. I couldn't believe it. My personal favorite item - Twizzlers. One package of Twizzlers that sell for $1.50 at the store? $8. Unbelievable.

I was in a bind - I had to eat, but I didn't want to go crazy. I thought of getting the Cardinal burger for $8, but I didn't want to undo all the good I had done this week. The chicken strips and fries looked particularly good for $9, but I passed. I almost pulled the trigger on a giant hot dog; I love hot dogs. They are wonderful. But it seemed silly to buy a $7 hot dog when I could get the same hot dog, plus a drink at Costco for $1.50. I settled on a small bag of popcorn for $3 for Tyler and a frozen lemonade cup for $3.50 for me. I only spent $6.50 and I still had my dignity. Nobody said lifestyle change was going to be easy.

Update on my weight this morning - 217.2 pounds, 19.7 percent body fat (tested at the gym this morning by some guy who pinched me so hard with these calipers that I think I am bleeding internally)

Monday, August 24, 2009

Update on La Pansa

I am about 6 days into this lifestyle change. Actually, I just started the dieting portion of it on Saturday. I am a little skeptical; I am eating foods I normally wouldn't eat such as cantaloupe, nuts, fruit leather (there is an entire blog about fruit leather - it's like eating a really tasty dress belt), green beans and other healthy items. However, the biggest change is not what I AM eating, it is what I AM NOT eating.

A couple of things I am learning about this diet. First, it's not really a diet, it's a change in the way I am eating. I eat more often; smaller, lighter meals and lots of snacks. I haven't really felt hungry over the last 48 hours; but, I haven't really ever felt stuffed either. Second, I am going to have to learn that it's ok to not be completely stuffed when I am done eating. When I am done eating, I am done and it's ok that I normally would otherwise eat until I feel full. As long as I am not feeling hungry, I am going to make it.

The exercise part of this program is different as well. On Saturday, I went to the gym and did the resistance training that was set up for me. It took a long time because I am supposed to do all of the reps really slow. It makes for a harder workout. I didn't think I would be very sore, but I woke up on Sunday and what is left of La Pansa was really struggling. I also ran on the treadmill for 20 minutes - something I absolutely despise. I struggled because I was supposed to keep my heartrate in the 140-150 range which is the fat burning range. I had to slow down several times to get my heartrate down.

Anyway, against my better judgment, I got on the scale this morning and was down to 219. 3 pounds and I am feeling pretty good, except for the pounding headache from my decreased caffeine consumption. Diet Mountain Dews are frowned upon. One of life's simple pleasures has been taken away from me. :( Onward and upward.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Say Goodbye to La Pansa

In November, I will turn 36 years old. I can't believe that I am in my late 30's - this wasn't supposed to happen to me. I was supposed to always be young and athletic and in shape. Father Time can be very cruel.

I have always felt like I have been in pretty decent shape. There have been various stages in my life where I have been in better shape or worse shape; no one would have ever said to me that I was too skinny or too overweight. When I graduated from high school (1991), I weighed 168 pounds. When I got home from my mission, I weighed 190 pounds (1995 - sickly looking). I have fluctuated between 205 (2000) and 240 (2003) for the last 15 years. I usually hover around 225 pounds, which is where I currently am.

I write all this because I have determined once and for all that I am going to get into shape. I have decided to do this publicly for two reasons. First, I know that if I write it down, it becomes more real and more important to me. And second, I know that if other people are reading what I write, I will be more accountable and hopefully, be more careful with what I eat.

Confession time: my problem areas lie from about two inches above my knees to the top of my belly (I call my belly 'La Pansa' - it's a Spanish term that means belly or gut. I like that my belly has a name - it reminds me of one of my favorite Seinfeld episodes where Jerry and Kramer say to hello to each as if their bellies were speaking. Sounds stupid and it was, but it's really funny)

Another confession: exercising is not my problem. I work out constantly. I lift weights, I take Michelle's muscle conditioning classes, bootcamp classes, I play basketball weekly, I swim pretty much every day - working out is not the issue with me. I love to exercise. My problem lies in my diet. I eat like a man on death row. I love to eat. And I generally don't eat very healthy foods. I do not like most fruits; vegetables are OK but I avoid them when I can. Fast food has also been an issue with me. My diet is my downfall.

So, with my confessions complete, I begin a new chapter of my life: the healthy chapter, without La Pansa. I have paid a family friend of mine to create a diet and a workout for me which is supposed to help me lose body fat and turn it into lean muscle mass. I have even taken "before" pictures which I was going to post . . . until I saw them. I will post them when I have my "after" pictures to compare them to. That should be in 12 weeks.

In the interest of full disclosure, here are my measurements. As of this morning on my special scale in my house, I weigh 222.9 pounds, my body fat was 22.3% and my waist size is 38 inches. My goal is that I would like to weigh about 205 pounds with about 14 to 15% body fat. I will keep you all posted weekly.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thank Heavens for Plumbers

Our special Sunday dinner for our kids, who went back to school today, was rudely interrupted by a plumbing nightmare. It started with a peach pit in the garbage disposal; or at least that's how we noticed that there was a problem. We fished the peach pit out but then quickly noticed that we had a clogged sink drain - a very common problem I thought. Admittedly, I don't do plumbing. I despise plumbing jobs; they are dirty, yucky, smelly and did I mention dirty and smelly?

Luckily, my father-in-law, who was over for dinner, quickly assessed the situation and took over. We started with Drano - you know, the burning acid-like liquid that you poor down the drain and all your problems are supposedly solved in 10 minutes? After 10 minutes, the Drano proved to be completely useless except for ruining the finish on my faucet and sink.

He next asked for a plumber's snake to manually insert into the pipes and grind up the clog. As previously mentioned, I don't do plumbing and do not own a snake, mostly because when you get to the point that you need a snake, that's not a job I want to be doing. Fortunately, I do have a lot of wire hangers and we were able to fashion a makeshift snake. We removed the P-Trap under the sink and began probing with our hanger contraption. This also proved to be pointless except for now I think I have part of a wire hanger lodged in my piping behind my sink which should lead to many years of plumbing nightmares.

Next, he asked for a plunger; luckily I had one. He began plunging the sink like a man possessed - it was as if he were performing CPR on a dying person. A few times, just for fun, I yelled, "Clear!" He wasn't as amused as I had anticipated; the aforementioned Drano was eating into his skin and was permanently removing all of his fingerprints. It might have also ruined his Rolex, but I am not sure.

After 20 minutes of chest compressions (sink plunging), we decided to call in the big guns. I don't call Pablo lightly, only when I am in dire need. A few years ago, I called Pablo to come and fix a leaky toilet, something he thought I could do myself, and he made an entire Relief Society object lesson out of the experience. He used my lack of handiness against me and I still hear about that story from several ladies in our ward. They laugh and have a real good time at my expense. So, I try to never call Pablo unless there is a real emergency, such as removing a live chirping bird from my chimney. Pablo is quite handy in such emergencies.

Pablo came right over, all decked out in his plumbing gear and fully prepared with several different types of plumbing snakes. It made me wonder if there is a handiness gene that might have skipped a generation. Anyway, after trying unsuccessfully with the snakes, we removed the trap on the back of the house to get better access to the pipes. I finally learned last night what that trap is for. Pablo decided in a last ditch effort to insert the hose into the trap and seal all of the other exits for the water to escape. This was done in an effort to create pressure in the pipes and force the clog down into the sewer pipes. Seemed like a solid idea.

After a couple of minutes, Pablo noticed that there was water seeping up through the carpet next to the back wall in our family room. It soaked a lot of our carpet and our carpet pads. Pablo informed me that I must have a broken pipe under my foundation and all of the water that we were shooting into the pipes was coming up through cracks in the foundation. Wonderful. So much for Pablo being handy. After spending an hour with my ShopVac sucking the water out of my carpet and carpet pad, Pablo went home, telling me that I had a serious problem.

I decided to call a plumber. Long story made short, my friend the plumber came over this morning. He was there for no more than 10 minutes. He inserted an electric snake into the trap and about 35 feet into my pipes, he found the clog. (I wonder how many wire hangers I would have had to twist together to reach that clog.) He informed me that I do not in fact have a leak under my foundation, a fact for which I am quite grateful. He took my check for $106, patted me on the head and told me to leave the professional jobs to the professionals.

Today, I am most thankful for plumbers.

Friday, August 7, 2009

School Starts Too Early

I can't believe that my childrens' summer vacation is over. School starts on Monday for both Tyler, who starts 4th grade, and Julia, who will begin Kindergarten. I am going on the record and saying that I think starting school the second week of August in Phoenix is absolutely absurd. Whoever came up with this idea is completely out of his or her mind. Never mind that school just ended like two weeks ago; how about checking a nearby thermostat before making the decision to start school during the hottest month of the year.

Last night, I attended my first of several open houses for parents - you know, the meeting where the parents go and meet the teacher and learn his or her teaching philosophy and see all the fun things that he or she has in his or her classroom. (I am tired of being politically correct - from this point forward, I will assume that all grade school teachers are female) I noticed a few things that are worthy of mention during this open house. First, the temperature outside was about 113 degrees. It was 6PM. 113 degrees. It was ridiculous. Second, the temperature inside the classroom was about 108 degrees. Perfect learning atmosphere.

Another tidbit that I found interesting was when the teacher kindly told us that for the first few months, recess would be held INSIDE the classroom. Huh? We were informed that it is just too hot to do anything outside. Really? Too hot to go outside and play ball when it's 115 degrees?? Are you sure?? This was just after we were shown the brand new state-of-the-art playground that is right outside the kindergarten door complete with a metal swingset and astroturf. I immediately envisioned Julia jumping onto the swingset and getting 3rd degree burns on her legs and backside and then, in an effort to escape further agony, jumping off the swingset and landing on the astroturf and losing about eight layers of skin. Wonderful, no outside recess until Halloween.

Finally, the teacher informed us that we would be required to send at least one giant cold water bottle to school with our five year old to prevent what the teacher referred to as "unavoidable dehydration". Unavoidable dehydration?? Unbelievable.

I don't claim to be a genius (OK, sometimes I do, but this doesn't take a genius to figure out). However, I have come up with a way to avoid all of the aforementioned problems that will await my child when kindergarten starts next week. (Drumroll) DON'T START KINDERGARTEN NEXT WEEK!! Why in the world do we feel like we need to start school so early? Would it really hurt to start school a couple of weeks or a month later? It would still be hot, but not excruciating. Maybe recess would actually be fun then too. Maybe we could actually send our daughter to kindergarten without worrying about her unavoidable dehydration.

Julia, my new kindergartner, is ecstatic about starting school on Monday. I will send her with a giant water bottle, a huge hug and a kiss, and I will pretend that I am really happy about it. I just hope the air conditioning gets fixed over the weekend.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Kids in Pinetop

I thought I would post pictures of my kids. This was our final day in Pinetop and Michelle and Carrie made tie-dyed shirts for the kids. We got some really good pictures of the kids. I am a proud papa and uncle so I wanted to show just a few pics.

This is my youngest, Justin, who just turned 3.

This is Julia, currently my only girl, who is 5 and starting kindergarten.

This is my oldest Tyler, who will be 10 in December and is starting 4th grade. I can't believe he is so grown up.

And this was my favorite picture of the week; all of the cousins after a "nature walk".

The kids had a wonderful week out of the heat in Pinetop. But, I am so glad they are finally home.