Salad is not a four letter word

I used to hate salads. Not sure where I picked up my dislike, but I felt like it was rabbit’s food. Back in 2008 my Mom got really sick. She had to change her diet and now if she does not watch what she eats she can end up in the hospital. It really changes your relationship with food.

She asked me to do a fruit/veggie shake and try it. It was a weird mixture with aloe, cactus, pineapple, celery and orange juice. I did it for a while, but not sure why the cactus part of it just did not agree with my stomach. I have since then modified the concoction and make it with just pineapple, celery and orange juice. The side effect since back then is that after I did it for a week or so, I would start craving celery.

When I was working from home at my last job, I had the local Chinese place so used to my voice that I would dial and the lady already knew what I wanted. While I would try to go for the “healthy” options, like king pow and white rice instead of fried… it was just not doing me any favors to eat it as often as I was.

Both Bea and I love fruits, and when we went looking for a coffee bean grinder I saw a Magic Bullet. It was an easy decision to get a convenience blender and a coffee grinder all in one. We have used it a lot more than I expected and smoothies are a breeze to make.

We also invested on a juicer which gets a lot less use than I thought, but if we do want to do a fast we have it available. We end up using it after grocery shopping for a quick carrot orange juice mixture that we both enjoy.

Because of gout pain I also had to curve my red meat consumption… which is a good thing to get out of my diet since there is such a history of heart disease. I do miss eating burgers all the time, but not as much as I thought I would.

So what does all of this have to do with salads? Its a very strange side effect, but eating and drinking more vegetables and fruits has made me love them. About 4 times a week I have soup and salad for lunch. I no longer mind getting a salad for a meal. I also never feel not satisfied after eating a good salad.

Perspective is so powerful sometimes. Yesterday I saw a coworker eating a salad and they looked miserable. We chatted for a bit and they admitted that watching what they eat was just horrible for them and they hated the salad itself. It was a totally different approach, I was also eating a salad but I was enjoying it.

I never thought I would end up being able to make such a big change in my eating habits, but I have. Ever since starting this new job the salad bar has been my destination at lunch. I waited a month to see if I could actually sustain it and not get completely sick of it. I still enjoy it.

Will Power

I Gave up smoking a couple of years ago. Once in a great while I will have a cigar, and when I am around constant smokers, my Mom, Bea’s uncles, I will puff on one. I started smoking when I was around 14, but my first cigarette taste came from my grandfather who would let me light one up for him. My first full cigarette came thanks to a nanny at age eight. I did not buy a full pack until I was a senior in high school and smoked pretty much throughout college. I quit for about 3 years from 2000 to 2003, and then picked it up until I was buying packs again. The worse that I ever got was during college when a pack would last me only a couple of days. 10 cigarettes in one day seemed like a lot, but I know some people can smoke two packs a day.

I quit cold turkey every time I gave cigarettes up. The physical addiction was not hard to overcome for me. It is a lot more noticeable when I give up caffeine than when I give up nicotine for sure. The psychological addiction is something entirely different because smoking was attached to other actions. Big meal, cigarette, stressful situation, cigarette, drink, cigarette. I did have a couple of things in my favor when quitting, I don’t like smoking inside my house or car, even thought I don’t mind if others do, and I also don’t like to take smoke breaks at work. I have the will power to give things up easily when I make the decision, however, with food it is another story.

I was a very picky eater when I was young. I was almost sick looking I was so skinny at times. During the first couple of years of my life my parents stayed at my grandma’s house. My grandma would never force me to eat, so I would not, but my Mom was worried about me so she made me eat and take vitamins. When we moved out she started to cook what I liked the most and took pretty good care of me growing up. I think she did too good of a job with food, and was probably always worried in the back of her head that I would stop eating again. I would also always finish up everything on my plate, and going back for seconds meant that I loved the food. Food equals comfort.

Now she worries about me quite a bit. Both of my grandfathers suffered from heart disease, one has had a triple bypass and a pacemaker and the other one is not with us anymore. At 30 I started taking cholesterol medicine. I also started to have more and more back problems and my knees are not in good shape either. My highest weight has been 270, I am not that tall. I think my ideal weight is 140, but I think I would look too skinny, so my goal is being under 200. I have over 50 pounds to go to reach that goal.

I am not afraid of exercise and love martial arts. Even practiced it 5 days a week for about 3 years. At my lowest going to the gym and doing crazy cardio I was 210. My problem has always been food, and I lie to myself saying that I don’t eat too much. I have been more conscious of my food choices lately and I have been surprised by how much food I can put away. Eating out is a big factor too, because portions are just crazy, and appetizers are just as bad as bottomless tortilla chips.

Obviously quitting food is not an option because we have not invented the food pill yet. Eating healthy is hard to do when you are addicted to cholesterol filled food, bread and pasta. Carbs and fried foods are so absolutely delicious that I don’t know how to quit them. I do have a couple of things going for me. I don’t care for sweets of any kind, and I do love fruits and vegetables.

I have raised my activity level quite a bit the last month. I have been less consistent with getting enough rest, but I am really trying. I have added vegetables to my diet, but I need to take more bad stuff out. I took Chinese completely out of the picture at least for 40 days. The key is finding good healthy choices and sticking to them. I don’t know if I can give up my addiction to bad foods, but I am sure trying to curve the trend towards better choices. It is just a matter of will power.

What I am doing for lent

This weekend was way too short… can I just get one that is at least just long enough to recharge my batteries?

For lent I am not giving anything up, I am actually doing something for myself in drinking a fruit and vegetable smoothie every morning. I have been doing it for over a week and it does make me feel a lot better.

I have been consistent with waking up and doing some Wii Fit every morning, been lifting also almost every day and actually did some elliptical last week with some very good results. I am not losing a ton of weight, but I feel better and the clothes are fitting.

This weekend we had the great privilege of being invited to a wedding where I actually got to be the photographer! We had an excellent time and the food was all pretty healthy and delicious. We also met some great people which I am sure we will see again.

So I guess the only thing I am giving up for lent is weight and hopefully a couple of bad eating habits here and there. I am still amazed at how much weight I gain just from eating Chinese food for a single meal… its kind of scary… I might have to not just give it up for lent, but give it up altogether.

Weight Loss Challenge Six

It was nice to find the old table and see that at one point I was actually 262! I am now at 246, but still have a lot of weight I want to lose.

My Mom gave me and Bea both killer haircuts, and also a healthy tip. She has been drinking this vegetable/fruit smoothie that looks kind of green but does not taste have bad. I have been doing it for a couple of days and I already feel better. It cleans your system, but it is not a flush type of clean.

But now onto the challenge. We have had up to 6 people doing it before. It lasts eight weeks. There are no real prizes unless someone wants to donate something, but we do it for health and fun. To sign up is simple, just send me an e-mail ( and I will add you to the list. Every Monday send me your weight… if you have a blog, I will link from the challenge page.

Funny enough, Jeff started one today also! maybe he and his buddies will join this one and keep track of it here!

Down with the fatness!

I am not sure if you guys have heard Down with the sickness by the Chicago band Disturbed, but it is a great workout song… actually most of their songs have a pretty good pace to exercise to. Actually, now that I think about it… Mr Chimpotle who is trying to be Slimpotle is going to get me some more music soon. I like motivators and music always is for me. Today I got my every couple of months torture e-mail from 43things that reminds me one of my goals is to be able to do 20 Pull ups. My biggest excuse not to get in shape is time, but in reality a lot of it has to do with stress.

I was actually skinny when I was very young. I think up until four years old I was a very picky eater thanks to my Grandmother spoiling me and not making me eat. My Mom fixed that problem all too well and I have been an excellent eater ever since. I now laugh at the notion of me having to take Flintstones vitamins because I was too skinny. I have been chubby from then on, and a couple of times in my life I have gotten to the point that I am now where I can honestly say I feel fat.

30 hit me a lot harder than I though it was going to. I have realized that I have not saved anything for retirement yet and that I need to start building a future with better financial stability. More important than that is my health. I have a history of heart problems from both of my grandfathers and I still carry on this belly that is doing nothing for me but cause me back problems.

It sounds simple right, just quit talking about it and lose the weight. When you come from a family where food is one of the places you draw comfort and love from, its hard to do. If I am depressed about something, I eat, if I am stressed about something, I eat, if I am excited about something, how do I celebrate? you guessed it. I eat.

I know this is all about a lifestyle change, and it has to be done… but how do you quit carbs all at once?

I have been seriously thinking about taking Chimpo’s lead and starting the couch to 5K challenge, but I honestly hate running. Work has been so busy lately that even when I am not physically tired, my brain is in no mood for working out. Tae Kwon Do is has been great for both the mental and physical aspect, but I cannot make it as many times a week as I would like. Then just as I was all pumped to get up early and start working out the whole time change really affected me this time. I cannot go to bed until midnight and I just today was able to get up before the alarm went off (I consistently wake up before the alarm goes of, not sure why I just do).

Being overweight is about self image to so many people, but for me it is mostly for my health. I do not feel like I get the short end of the social stick because I have a few extra pounds. I think it actually made me have a better sense of humor and that has always made me fun to be around. Heck I will even giggle like the Pillsbury dough boy if you poke me… don’t poke though, I do know kung fu.

I guess I don’t really have a point here, I know what to do, I know how to do it… I just need to do it. I thought that maybe getting some of this out of my chest might help me. I guess we’ll wait and see.