April 30, 2009

House Progress

Filed under: home improvement — origamifreak @ 12:37 pm

I don’t have any photos handy, but there has been a lot of progress on my house this week.  The other half of the living room got painted, boards were cut and laid for the back bedroom and stacked, and the bottom of the wall has been partly cut out to allow for the expansion.

The walls next to the lower staircase were drywalled and the stairs blocked so the cats can’t get into the basement anymore.  The bannister (which will be rebuilt from scratch) has been removed, and the carpet over the existing upper staircase in preparation for it being built new from scratch.

If they keep going at this rate, they might even be finished next week.


Getting ME back

Filed under: health,sports,technology,travel — origamifreak @ 12:24 pm
Tags: ,

Lisa and I had a long chat last night (unfortunately into the very wee hours of her UK morning), and during this conversation she mentioned that she was curious what I look like now, having lost 64 lbs.  The last time she saw me was last summer, I think, or maybe it was the summer before that, when she came to NY and I took a bus down and spent the day with her.  I was pretty much at my max BMI at that point, over 52.

So I took a couple of quick digital photos and emailed them, and her reaction was really funny.  “Hey!  It looks like YOU!  Your face has actual STRUCTURE in it, again!  Gee, you look almost the way I remember you did when we were in school together.  How come you haven’t aged?!”  Then she saw the full body shot, and was similarly surprised.  “Wow, there’s an actual SHAPE to you, now!”

Since I’ve been watching this transformation for the past 5 months (I’ve lost 19% of the starting weight), it doesn’t seem quite so dramatic to me, although I am relieved that I finally recognize the face in the mirror, again.  She finally looks like me.  It is a strange thing to live in a body and behind a face that looks like a stranger in the mirror, but I’ve been doing it for the past 6-7 years, at least.

We concluded the conversation with me purchasing a flight to visit her and Steve in September.  I’ve been really aching the past couple of days, and almost nothing raises my spirits as having a trip to look forward to.  So now I have one.  Both Steve and Lisa are really keen on cycling, and by then I should have a spinning-hardened butt, so I suggested that we rent a bike for me so the three of us can ride while I’m there.  She liked that idea, a lot.  I used to ride a lot too, at one point.  Back in college I used to ride with the varsity team on their “easy” days and go on 100-mile century rides with my brother.  A typical afternoon ride for me in those days was 20 miles.  Maybe once my butt is hardened I’ll even upgrade to a heart rate monitor that works with a cyclometer.  It’s something to think about, anyway.

In the meantime, I’m looking forward to continuing this journey of getting ME back.  My friends in NY and farther away and family have rallied around me amazingly since my cry for help on Tuesday, and I’m fortunate to have them (you know who you are!).  I think I might just be able to get by, with a little help from my friends.  🙂

April 29, 2009

Indoor Cycling

Filed under: health,sports — origamifreak @ 12:18 pm
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Last Thursday I tried an indoor cycling class.  I thought I was going to die.  So that seemed like a good sign for it to be something that would challenge me for a while, and so I called and reserved a spot to do it again tomorrow.

Armed with a gel seat pad, I’m hoping it’ll be a bit less painful.  My tailbone is still a little sore, if I sit the wrong way on my office chair, with it tucked under.

Even if it is painful, hopefully it won’t be AS painful as last week.  I won’t start going on Tuesdays until Thursdays don’t hurt anymore.  I figure I need at least a week to give my butt time to heal in between sessions.  😮

Once my butt has toughened back up, I could even start riding OUTSIDE again!  I think I’d enjoy that.  Note to self:  check to see if Nashbar sells shorts with gel pads.

I’m looking forward to my first session with my personal trainer on Friday.  There’s a chance that we might have to move it to Thursday at 4pm, but I won’t know until around 5pm today.

April 28, 2009


Filed under: health — origamifreak @ 2:36 am

I need to find a new training partner.

Dear God, please help me maintain my fitness gains until I can find other arrangements.

In the meantime, the spinning class will help, and my books about weight training will have to guide me.

Encouragement from my friends and family would be greatly appreciated at this time.

April 24, 2009


Well, now my fitness room has ANOTHER apparatus.  WB and I now possess a Marcy Platinum MP 12.0 Olympic weight bench, cage, and 290 lbs of weight (the original owner is going to look for the missing 10lb plate when he gets home from work – it also could be somewhere in WB’s truck).  I fronted the cash, and WB will pay me back when his tax refund comes.


Amazingly, it isn’t even crowded in the basement.  Yet.


Tonight when I got home we tried out the new toy. Yoiks. I am way weak. I couldn’t even press 100 lbs. In fact, I think I did, like 95.   So I lost our bet.  😐  All I have to say is that pumping iron is Very Different from bending plastic.

He says I just need to learn the technique.

Meanwhile, he managed to press about 250 or so.   The bar itself was actually bending under the weight.  😯

It’s a pretty nice setup, with places to store the weights, cables in three positions so we can do pulldowns, etc. and a comfy bench. The bench itself goes flat, so I think I might be able to go back to doing leg curls for my knee, again. The bar is Olympic sized and the plates can spin independently.

Most of the attachments I got for the Bowflex will work nicely with this one, such as the T-bar, chains, the tricep rope, and the foot straps, etc.  Also, having two machines will make circuit training go faster because we can hop back and forth between them while our partner prepares and logs the weights.

I guess we won’t be outgrowing this thing anytime soon. He says “not ever,” but I’m skeptical, since maybe some day we’ll want a real cage.  And we still need the dumbbell bars and some more plates.  I’m following up on an ad for used 75lb Olympic weights…

I’m still so tired and sore from the spinning yesterday that I don’t feel up to doing my usual 30 minutes on the elliptical, either.  Today I stopped by the bike shop and bought a gel seat cover.  I’m grateful there isn’t another spinning class until Tuesday.  And that my car seat is so well padded.  And that my desk chair is padded (although that was starting to get uncomfortable by 3pm or so).   Maybe it would be a good idea to just go once a week until my butt can handle it…  Once it can, though, I suppose I could start riding my own bike indoors again.  Or even outdoors, come to think of it!  (Doh.  I really AM tired, aren’t I?)

In fact, I feel a nasty headache coming on.  So I think I’ll just be satisfied with my bench and military presses, drink my creatine, and call it a night.

April 22, 2009

Resistance is Futile?

Filed under: health,sports,technology — origamifreak @ 12:50 pm
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I’ve only had this Bowflex for about 2 months and have been using it regularly for 1 month.  It’s already got 2 upgrades that allow it to go up to 410 lbs of resistance.  No Bowflex machines go higher than that.

And I think we’re already running into a problem – the workout buddy (WB) can do 200 lb flys on each side.  And on Monday we established that I can do 180 (well, 5 reps of them, anyway).  This means that WB has almost maxed out the machine on this exercise and I’m not far behind, since it only goes up to 205 lbs of resistance on each side.

So WB has suggested bringing in his bench and dumbbells, of which he has a set of 15s and 50s.  I just got a set of 10s.  What I wonder, though, is if we’re going to need to start upgrading to bars and plates?  Yikes.  I think it’s time to start watching Craig’s List and EBay for people selling weight equipment…

For other exercises that use smaller muscle groups (such as tricep pushdowns), the Bowflex is still great.  I just think we’re going to need to supplement it…

On another front, I am planning to drop the T-Th water aerobics in favor of spinning at the local college, for several reasons:

  1. It’s free because of my affiliation
  2. It’s less driving because it’s not far from where I work
  3. It’ll be a good cardio workout
  4. I’ve outgrown the T-Th classes; the workout intensity isn’t high enough to get my heart moving, anymore (they were great for the level I was at in October 07 when I was diagnosed with the arthritis)
  5. Being in chlorine 4x/week makes my skin itch
  6. I’ll get home sooner since I won’t have to shower and the classes end 15 minutes sooner than water aerobics ones.
  7. It’s getting warmer and eventually I’ll be able to swim in the lake again (especially if I investigate the possibility of an exposure suit or a shorty wetsuit).
  8. I’ll continue with the high-intensity M-W water aerobics classes.

Problem: the T-Th instructor is a friend and I will miss the camraderie of the other people in that group.  It is a very social class, which was really nice.  That might have been part of the problem, though, since there was a tendency to chit-chat instead of push ourselves.

Nutrition Journey 3/9/09-today

Filed under: food,health,technology — origamifreak @ 12:40 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

SparkPeople lets you see all your daily nutrition comments in one place.  I found it interesting to see the different phases I’ve moved through in just the past month, starting with trying to figure out how to organize breakfasts at work through this week’s trials fitting in those high-calorie creatine supplements during the “loading” phase.

P.S.  If anyone is wondering why I’m whining about this creatine supplement caloric load, just look at the breakdown by food from 4/23:


At 44.4% of my calories, two doses of that supplement is nearly HALF of my daily intake – and mostly simple sugars, at that!  😐

I have copied the nutrition comments here, for our mutual amusement:

849 Calories
Tonight inventory the greens (spinach) and see if they’re edible for lunches.

Maybe get more at the store on the way home.

Bring yoghurt to work in little containers. With berries.

1,024 Calories
Gee, I never noticed before, just how SALTY the string cheese is… I’m not sure I like that. Maybe next time I go to the store I’ll hunt for one with less sodium.

It’s not that the sodium is terribly high (220mg for 1 stick), it’s just that the flavor is really salty.

1,836 Calories
13:30 Wow. An hour after lunch, and I still feel stuffed. I can’t believe that 6 cups of fresh spinach only has 4 grams of fiber, though. I mean, that was a LOT of leaves!

15:00 Still pretty full. That lunch definitely lasted. I want more of those spicy & tangy almonds, though. They were good yesterday, and I finished them, so there weren’t any for today. I miss having a Trader Joes. 😦

1,063 Calories
Waaay too much sodium yesterday.

Also, I’ve noticed that if I go out to eat for a meal, I tend to eat twice as much on average that day (about 900 calories more).

It’s just really hard to make good food choices when there are either bad choices available and/or very limited choices.

There’s No Way I can eat within the range of calories they’ve set for me (1,810 – 2,160) and lose weight. My metabolism doesn’t work that fast. If I don’t stay between 800 and 1000 calories per day I will maintain or gain. Even with the cardio and weights.

1,533 Calories
Oh dear. Breakfast ran right through me. Must have been too much milk. I’ll have to stick with yoghurt and cereal, I guess. 😦

Tonight I’m having corned beef with carrots and brussels sprouts and onions and rutabaga. I’ll be making Irish soda bread with currants, and fruit for dessert.

781 Calories
I prefer the weekdays for the eating. It’s easier to stick to a routine.
2,402 Calories
Finished the yoghurt today. Need to get more.

Forgot to make sure I had a knife to slice the meat into bits. Desk scissors worked admirably.

Keep forgetting to bring in a big bowl for my salad. Need to do that tomorrow. Today I used the meat Tupperware. I would have liked to have more spinach at lunch, but it wouldn’t fit!

1,197 Calories
3pm: Urgh. I’m really really really full from lunch. That might have been too much spinach and almonds. It feels like a LOT of fiber…
1,627 Calories
MMM. The Weight Watcher’s light string cheese is MUCH less salty than the Polly-O cheese. We have a winner.

Steve brought in muffins. I wish I’d just had half, as Dawn suggested later. Good strategy to remember.

1,129 Calories
Gee. I noticed I was feeling fatigued on the elliptical today, and when I logged it, SP told me to update my calories burned per week. So it was right.

So I did, and I noticed that it changed my self-set protein goals. Which, for the record, are 90-225g/day. This is based on the weight training.

It will be a big challenge to get that much. I did pick up my specially-ordered lite firm tofu, and I’ve ordered whey from Amazon.

Guess that tofu will be going faster than I thought…

818 Calories
1pm Urgh. I feel stuffed. Tried to get a bunch of protein into my lunch, because there was hardly any for breakfast.

Tomorrow I need to bring the Kashi golean in to work so I’ll have it here to eat. I forgot to bring some, and so got a late start on pounding the protein.

2:56pm Still uncomfortably full. Urgh.

3:30pm Ugh. Still uncomfortable. I have GOT to find another way to push proteins inside me, and it cannot involve eating an entire package of firm tofu in one sitting. I never want to eat… again.

4:30pm Urgh. STILL stuffed. Having trouble drinking all my water. Theres. No. Room.

1,793 Calories
11:15am OK, loading my day up front with protein. Eggs at McDonald’s while meeting with the contractor, Golean with yoghurt at 11am. Got 40 grams in before lunch.

We’ll see how this goes.

1:22pm Yeah. Much better. Had room for 5 nice grilled sea scallops with field greens and viniagrette for lunch. As of now I’ve got almost 60g of protein in me now.

30 more, and I’ll get my 90 for the day. Once the whey arrives (tomorrow?), I’ll be able to get that much just in my post-lifting shake, alone. That will simplify things considerably.

2:30pm a string cheese, worth a measly 6g

3pm Shoved 2oz of turkey down my throat. Now only 15g to go.

1,459 Calories
3:35pm only 5 more grams of protein to go, for my minimum. It helped, having a whole salad with the 1lb of tofu. Maybe Monday’s problem was in having mostly JUST tofu? Maybe the things I had were all just to acidic? (2 oranges, salad dressing, tofu)

The whey is supposed to arrive today. That will make getting protein easier.

9:50pm OMG, that whey tastes awesome! I don’t know what people complain about. MMMMM. (It’s Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard double chocolate flavor.)

1,176 Calories
My trainer says I need to have about 20g of protein every couple of hours; that I can’t absorb more than 20g per hour, and any extra will go straight to fat.

I guess I could bring some of that whey to work and mix it with shelf milk, or water, or something. Although I seem to be managing pretty well at the moment.

Oh humpf. That Schwans soup has over 1000mg of sodium in ONE CUP! 😮

2,363 Calories
10:20am Tried the whey as hot chocolate: 1/2 serving (35cc) = 2.3 T. Mixed it in hot water. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t as good as when mixed with cold milk. A lot seemed to stick on the sides of the mug, so I’m not sure if I got most of it into me. The up side is that it’s 12g protein, 1g carb, and that’s all. I’ll have some mint tea next in the same mug. That should wash the rest of it off the sides.

1:33pm I think I found the sweet spot for tofu amounts. Half a block is perfect. Can I just say how much I love my yummy spinach salads with almonds and tofu? MMMM. Crunchy and healthy and they fill me up without making me uncomfortable. And they last a while. I had mine around 2 hours ago, and just now started thinking about food again, but not in a desperate way.

2:09pm Tried the whey in cold water, this time. At least it didn’t coagulate the way it did in the warm water. Still not optimal, though. I like the milkshakes best.

4:24pm Yessir, this whey sure makes it easier to get all my protein. In little doses throughout the day. I’m getting used to how it tastes in water.

11:05pm Yikes. I came home and gorged on corned beef and half and half. This would not have happened if I’d had time tonight to work out. Or if that stuff wasn’t in my house to start with.

Just goes to show that I’m dependent on my schedule for this regime to work.

It’ll take days to work that crap back off. 😦 It tasted good, though.

891 Calories
4:15pm I’m not even hungry, now. I think I’ll just skip food for the rest of the day.

9:15pm Did more weight lifting, had some protein and some fruit

2,410 Calories
11:40am Crap. I really want to go to Parker’s for their Greek salad with grilled tuna and fat free vinaigrette. For some reason I just really would prefer that to eating a salad I make, today. But no-one will come out with me. And the only place any of them say they want to go is the faculty dining room at Hobart which is a buffet. And I’m not going there at the moment because whenever I do, I end up eating twice as much as usual – FOR THE WHOLE DAY.

Humph. As the song goes, “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you can get what you need.”

(Which is a nice spinach salad that I will make. With half a block of tofu, and almonds, and some Wishbone spritzer for dressing.)

(And I would like that on a bumper sticker, please.)

11:53am Humph. I guess I better go make that salad.

That %$@! Schwans Chicken Tortilla Soup has way too much sodium in it. I just went on their website and left a review telling them so. I won’t be buying it again.

10pm Yikes. I was Hongry, and gorged again at night. That is the last time. Note to self: lock kitchen, or something. Or just have a protein shake.

2,069 Calories
3:45pm Urgh. That was too much food for lunch.
2,816 Calories
Urgh. I was so sick I threw up when I got home tonight.
3,556 Calories
Ugh. I definitely have the pre-period munchies. Help!
1,438 Calories
God, how I love sashimi. The sushi counter guy at the Corning Wegmans was very obliging. That was a yummy and nutritious lunch!
1,745 Calories
In addition to the whey we’re going to start taking a creatine formula.

Fitness buddy warned me of the constipation effects so I baked a batch of Rose’s high fiber whole-orange muffins. I just love the step where you toss the orange wedges in the blender with their skin and everything.

423 Calories
Wow, it’s really hard to judge how much to eat, sometimes. After the yoghurt and cereal I was still hungry for protein. So I had 2 WW string cheeses. And now am uncomfortably full.

What to do differently next time I feel this way:

1) Set a timer and wait 10 minutes to see if I’m still hungry
2) Eat ONE string cheese and wait another 10 minutes

And a pre-emptive note: Don’t wait until 2pm to eat breakfast – that makes it harder to think before acting.

Also, it might be helpful to remember that I can probably process only 20g of protein per hour, so any more than that is going to fat storage or being wasted. I was probably craving fats, anyway.

cereal 13g
yoghurt 14g

That’s already 27g. Then I added another 12 with the cheese bringing it up to 39g, which is almost certainly more than my body can process in one meal.

1,287 Calories
OK, YES. I have figured out how to avoid the ^$##@ sodium. Make MY OWN lunchmeat.

Yesterday I “grilled” 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the convection-microwave and cut ’em up into cubes.

I’m eating them in my salad right now. 4oz of meat, 26g of protein, zero carbs, and only 74 mg of sodium, baby!

The Uber best luncheon meat available in an equivalent weight has 600mg sodium, almost 10x. And the best mainstream option has OVER 1000 mg sodium. So this is DEFINITELY the way to go.

Plus, how about the co$t differential?
Raw boneless, skiness chicken breasts, about $3.79/lb
Hillshire Farm Deli Select meat (of any variety) $2.99 for 9oz, which is roughly $5.31/lb

No, I’m not counting the cost of the ziploc bags for freezing the meat, nor the energy to thaw it, nor the energy to cook it. I suspect I’m still breaking even, at least.

Mwa ha ha.

2,261 Calories
Oh man. That creatine supplement is Nasty. The workout buddy is right. Tastes fine at first but has a really bad afterburn. Yecch. I have to do this for 8 weeks?! Yipes.

I’m going to start referring to the Workout Buddy on here as WB. Less typing.

Ugh. I STILL have problems going out to eat. I ate a pretty small, sensible lunch over at Hobart, and in the scheme of things it was extremely large. (over 900 calories) I need to put my entrees on salad plates, and start with a big salad on a dinner plate before I even go for the entrees. This time I should have stuck with just the chicken, and ONE cod cake, and ONE small piece of the brisket instead of TWO cod cakes and TWO small pieces of brisket.

Learning (and applying) this stuff is such a pain.

Can I also just say that I will be very glad to get behind me these 5 days of “loading” the creatine mix? Because after that I only have to take it 1x/day which means 310 less calories of carbs, and less ickyness to drink.

It is daunting to have over 600 extra calories of simple carbs to fit into my daily intake somehow. It’s one reason my relatively conservative lunch ended up being a problem. And I’d rather spend my calories on FOOD than supplements. 😐

OK, I will admit the Balance Bar was unnecessary. But Still… :-p

1,322 Calories
Wow. that stinkin’ creatine supplement is half my daily calories. After today I have only 2 more days to go in this annoying “loading” phase. Friday will be the last, thank goodness.

After that I’ll only have to fit in 310 extra calories, not 620! :-p

And it will be in the afternoon / evening so I’ll be able to go back to my regular kashi golean + yogurt breakfasts, which I kind of miss for both the protein and the fiber. The simple carbs in the creatine supplement are not exactly what my blood sugar levels enjoy, first thing in the morning.

I’m also noticing that 3oz of lean chicken breast is fairly equivalent to a dose of the whey protein. A whole lot cheaper, too, but not as convenient. Also possibly not as bioavailable.

Also, I’m going to have to figure out how to get more fiber, ‘cuz 7 grams isn’t going to cut it and I don’t want the carbs that come in those muffins, at least not while I’m taking 2 doses of creatine supplement per day.

I wonder if I can sprinkle bran on salads, etc? It would take 3/4 c of wheat bran today in order to get the minimum fiber I’m supposed to have. Maybe I can also add it to my protein shakes. I wonder if that would interfere with absorbtion?

Think I’ll start bringing wheat bran to work and sprinkling it on things. Oat bran doesn’t have as much fiber per volume, unfortunately. Luckily both are available for a decent price inlarge quantities at Sauder’s.

April 20, 2009

New BMI = 42.54

Filed under: health,Uncategorized — origamifreak @ 7:46 am

Wow, that was fast.  Already hit the next milestone:

Here’s the total count gone:


April 19, 2009

New BMI = 42.79

Filed under: health — origamifreak @ 6:51 am
Tags: , ,

Some nice milestones today:

  • BMI is under 43 for the first time
  • I’ve removed another 5% net
  • I’ve removed over 60 lbs


Next milestone in 1.2 pounds when I get to change my SparkPeople icon to 20 removed since joining.

April 16, 2009

Speed Flooring

Filed under: home improvement,photography — origamifreak @ 10:08 pm
Tags: , ,

I took the week off work to catch up on things and have enjoyed watching my floor going down.  As of today the living room and hall are almost finished.  There are just 2 bedrooms left to do – the end is in sight!

Here, for your amusement, is a time-lapse video of “Bob” and his helper putting down some courses:

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