Day 23/24: Holiday Eats

I feel like I’m on a food/travel hangover. My head is pounding, my body is aching and I have a wicked case of indigestion. This intense feeling of fatigue runs through me. It’s just a constant lack of energy allowing me to do the bare minimum. Luckily neither I or the kids have anywhere important to go or anything pressing to do.

It’s a lazy day. DVD Movies, Legos, Nintendo Games, Coloring Books and Couch Naps. The Fridge is full of Christmas Dinner leftovers, something I don’t want to look at or even think about.  But I guess I will recount some of the items that are lying in wait to be reused and reformed into another meal for the family.

Christmas Eve was all the seafood I brought home from Seattle. The Snow Crab Legs and whole Dungeness Crab went into a pot for steaming while the giant Lobster Tail baked in the oven until ready. Halibut filets were given a beer batter and fried. The jar of yearling oysters were eaten raw with a splash of shoyu (soysauce) and tabasco, a squeeze of lime and chased with Corona.

Whatever seafood wasn’t finished on Christmas Eve went into Christmas Day’s seafood paella, a well seasoned rice dish with red bell pepper and peas, chicken, sausage, both breeds of crab, lobster, clams, mussels and oysters. The paella was delicious and it’s a shame that no pictures survived of the mouthwatering dish.

The main attraction of Christmas Dinner was a five and a half pound USDA Choice Prime Rib Roast seasoned with sea salt, black pepper, ginger, garlic and alae salt. It’s only rival was a baked ham topped with grilled pineapple that had been seasoned with brown sugar. Christmas Dinner was excellent, so good that there was no room for dessert.

Now that I’ve survived Christmas, I look forward to a New Year. I never like to be that New Years Resolution kind of guy. It just seems so cliche to try and start over with the new year as if the start of a calendar year is a better time to try and change your life than any other time.

My hangover continues as my son is glued to his new Nintendo 3DS and my daughter plays with her brother’s Harry Potter Legos which took a distant second place to his new handheld video game. I belch in an attempt to relieve some of the pressure, realizing that the burning is of no real relief.

I just helped my son get through a tough level of Super Mario 3D Land and I can see the allure.  I wish I could spend the entire day playing video games but the truth is, I just don’t have the energy.

Day 22: Home Sweet Home

I got in last night at about 10PM (Hawaii Time) and it feels so good to be home. My wife and kids picked me up at the airport.I missed them so much! Once we got home, I unpacked my suitcase and handed out the souvenirs, t shirts and toys that I collected on my trip to Seattle. The major attraction is the box of seafood I picked up from the Pike Place Market. A pound of Halibut fillets, a two pound Lobster Tail, a pound of Snow Crab legs, a big Dungeness Crab and a jar of Yearling Oysters. This is going to be one hell of a Christmas Dinner.

Now that I’m home, it’s back to work on my healthy lifestyle. First things first, climb up on the scale and see what kind of damage was done during my weeklong hiatus. To my pleasant surprise I actually maintained my weight of 240 pounds. I guess all of the walking canceled out all of the eating. So with no extensive harm done to my weight loss progress, I can pick up exactly where I left off. Push Ups!

It’s Christmas Eve and my wife is at work making double pay on this holiday while I sit home with the kids, playing Mario Bros. on the Nintendo Wii, watching Dora’s Fiesta on DVD and cleaning up the apartment as much as I can. At least we’ll have Christmas Day together, and the 30th/31st which is my sons 6th birthday followed by New Years Eve. I had a bowl of cereal for breakfast and now I’m eating a mandarin orange as I sit and think about some the delicious foods I ate while I was away. A montage begins to play in my head…

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Chicken Fried Steak

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Shrimp, Crab, Oysters. YUM

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Crab Cake Eggs Benedict

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Mac n Cheese

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I'm only human

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Picnic Lunch

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Spicy Chicken Stick

I didn’t take pictures of everything that went into my mouth. There was the cup of clam chowder from Lowell’s, a Maple Bar and Apple Fritter from Top Pot Doughnuts, Fish and Chips from Ivar’s, a double bacon cheese burger with onion rings from Johnny Rockets and several visits to Chipotle for a burrito and/or soft tacos, “I really love that place.”

It’s amazing that with all the food I consumed and the types of food I consumed that I didn’t put on an ounce of weight. Well maybe an ounce. I owe it all to the streets of Seattle which I walked up and down, back and forth, north to south for seven days strait. I know that city like the back of my hand. From Washington to Broad Street and from 1st Ave up to Broadway. I’ve seen it all and I did it all.

 

Day 14: Like Father Like Son

It was never my intention for this to be a travel blog, simply an account of my inevitable struggles and eventual success to exercise, eat healthy and lose weight. Well my struggle and success goes with me where ever I go. And this week I’m in Seattle, Washington visiting my father.

The 5 Point Cafe is a little downtown dive right near the Space Needle. I found this place after a quick online search for some of the best places to eat in Seattle. The 5 Point is located on Cedar St. near 5th Ave. and is half bar/half cafe. The cafe is open 24 hours.

Chicken Fried Steak, Eggs Over Easy with Hash Browns and Wheat Toast. That was our breakfast today and we cleaned our plates accordingly. It was a great breakfast but I don’t want to even imagine the calorie count. That’s okay, I’m not counting this week. I just hope that I can do enough walking and sightseeing to burn whatever I take in.

We walked around for about an hour or two. The weather was in the mid 40’s, cloudy but thankfully no rain. I saw the Space Needle and the Music Experience and a few other downtown landmarks but we didn’t go inside anywhere. Perhaps another day this week I’ll get to do more.

Day 12/13: Airports and Emergency Rooms

Last night I spent four hours in the emergency room at Queens Medical Center. Most of that time was spent in the waiting room while only the last hour was in the presence of doctors and nurses.

I was at school taking one of my final exams when my phone began ringing. Everyone turned and gave that same annoyed look that I’ve given others when their phone rings during a test. I quickly silenced the phone and then checked to see who it was. Why would my wife call me when she knows I’m taking a final?

I retreated to the hallway and called her back. The line was busy. I tried again and it was still busy. I waited a few seconds and tried again. It went strait to her voicemail. I must have called a half dozen more times before she finally answered. She was screaming in pain and said she couldn’t breathe.

“I think I’m having a heart attack.”

“Hang up and call 911!” I told her.

I packed my school bag in a haste, gave my half finished final exam to my professor. “I have an emergency, I’ll see you next semester.” I said. That means I wouldn’t be passing this class and would need yet another N or Incomplete, another chance at understanding deductive logic.

I’ve never pedaled so hard and so fast in my life. A million thoughts were going through my head as I bicycled through traffic, weaving in between cars and cautiously running as many red lights as I could without almost becoming roadkill. I tried to call my wife’s phone but there was no answer.

I called 911. “Police, Fire or Ambulance?” Ambulance! They asked for my location. I quickly explained that I was calling to see where my wife was being taken. The dispatch asked for the address. When I told them, they said the ambulance was still on scene. “I’m on my way.” I hung up the phone and began pedaling harder.

When I got to my street I could see the red lights flashing in the distance. My children were standing in front of our building with their Auntie who was lovingly nicknamed “Yaya” by my son when he was only two. I looked through the back window of the ambulance and saw my wife laying down, wearing an oxygen mask.

“Mommy is sick,” my son said.

The side door of the ambulance opened and a medic stuck his head out. “James, she’s doing okay. We’re going to Queens. Do you want to ride with us?” I stuck my head inside to see her and hold her hand.

“I’ll get the car and meet you there,” I said.

As the ambulance drove away I turned to my kids who looked sad and scared. I assured them that Mommy would be okay. They walked down the street with Yaya as I went up to the apartment to put away my bicycle. I changed my sweaty bicycling shirt to a nice, dry t shirt and went down to the garage to get the car. I have a suspended license but I didn’t care.

When I got to the emergency room at Queens, my wife was in the waiting room, sitting in a wheelchair. Her eyes were bloodshot, a blanket covered her lap and she gripped a small box of tissue. Her father Benito was sitting next to her but stood up and gave me his seat when he saw me.

I sat down with her and she began telling me her story. She was watching the five o’clock news, eating some of the pomelo that I had picked for her last week when all of a sudden she felt an extreme pain in her chest, her abdomen and her back. She said it felt like a sandwich, the pressure was coming from all sides. First she called Yaya, then her father, then me. The last number she called was 911. I told that if anything like this ever happens again, call 911 first!

We waited for about two hours before our turn finally came around. We filled out the necessary forms, got her fitted for a wristband and she gave some blood. I tried to break through the seriousness of the situation by making a few jokes and eventually I got her to smile and even laugh.

Once in an actual room, nurses began attending to her, giving her an EKG and a chest xray. Later the doctor came in and said everything looked fine. There was no heart attack. We were happy to hear that but then what was it? Gas? I’ve never heard of gas that severe. Was this just a medical mystery which would never be answered? Apparently so.

On the ride home we began talking. “This is a second chance,” she told me. “I want to make a change, I want to live long and be around for my kids.” We talked about exercising and eating healthy and making changes in our life for ourselves and for our children. We talked about the health of our parents and when we put it all together, it was a lot.

Her mother had a stroke, a brain aneurism and can no longer walk or talk or do anything. She has been bedridden for twelve years. Her grandfather and uncle both had fatal heart attacks in their 50’s. My wife has high blood pressure and takes medication to control it. Her mother had high blood pressure also but never took her medicine.

Obesity runs in my family. My mom had a gastric bypass nearly ten years ago which helped her lose over 200 pounds. My mom still has diabetes and sleep apnea. Both of my grandparents on my fathers side died of heart attacks. My uncle died of leukemia when he was twenty three. My oldest brother had two strokes a few years back and is now unable to walk or talk and he’s not even forty.  As for me, I have no health problems that I know of but it’s been years since I’ve seen a doctor.

So my wife and I have a new reason to get healthy and it’s not just to look good in our clothes. It’s to live a long life and to see our children grow up.

And now to the Airport aspect of this blog. I’m boarding a plane tonight to visit my father in Seattle. His health is not so good and I haven’t seen him in over ten years. I’ll be gone for a week and am not sure how much I’ll be able to blog or whether I’ll be able to blog at all.

But I will be back.

Day 11: Strength Test

I went to school today to take one of my final exams. Afterwards I picked up my daughter from her Grandpa and came home. She wasn’t feeling good so I gave her a cold bath and cooked some soup for her. Before putting her down for a nap I decided to give myself a little strength test. I thought that I would be able to do more but I guess I overestimated my own strength. The results were a little disheartening but it gives me a goal to work towards.

Day 10 – Tomato Parmesan, and Merry Christmas!

It’s been a long day of studying and test taking. I had lunch on campus. It was a vegetarian Tomato Basil Parmesan with Eggplant. It was alright but definitely not my favorite. I don’t think I would ever order it again. I did a few miles of bike riding but that’s about it.

I walked with the kids to Ala Moana so they could have their picture taken with Santa. The photo didn’t come out too good. It never does. When I take their picture with my camera they always smile and the photos look wonderful. But their Santa photo always look terrible and I regret paying $35 for a package of “deer in the headlight” photos.

Oh well. Here is one of those great photos of the kids at home in front of the Christmas tree.

Day 9 – Part II: Honolulu Marathon

Today was the 39th annual Honolulu Marathon, a 26.2 mile race from Ala Moana through Waikiki to Hawaii Kai and back towards Waikiki ending at Kapiolani Park. 22,615 people registered to run in the Marathon this year.

I can’t imagine running 26 miles, bicycling maybe but definitely not running. Although I hope that this time next year I’ll be in good enough shape to even consider participating in such a race.

The winner of the marathon was defending champion Nicholas Chelimo of Kenya who finished in 2 hours, 14 minutes and 55 seconds. I just want to say congratulations to everybody who participated in the Marathon but watch out cause I’m on my way.

 

Day 9: Back on Track

I want to thank everyone for their comments of encouragement and helpful advice. Today is the ninth day of my weight loss blog and I feel that I’ve regained my energy and positive state of mind. My leg muscles have had time to heal after the day of hiking and bicycling.

This morning for breakfast I had two slices of wheat toast with a little bit of butter and topped it with a few slices of pepper jack cheese and two eggs fried sunny side up. That was about 8AM. It was nice to have a satisfying meal that didn’t leave me wanting. So I took my new found energy to the stairwell and climbed up and down four times, 536 steps up and 536 steps down.

After the stairs I sat down at my desk and spent a few hours studying for next weeks finals. Hunger began to kick in around noon so I went to the kitchen in search of something to eat. The word “Protein” has been bouncing around my head since Gatekepa of Nerd Fitness mentioned it in his comment the other day.

I had some eggs and dairy for breakfast. What protein could I have for lunch? Peanut Butter. I forgot I even had this old jar of peanut butter. I check the expiration date (2013) and made myself a peanut butter and strawberry jam sandwich for lunch. It was delicious and most of all, satisfying.

After lunch I studied for another hour and then decided to do some of my weight lifting routines. I did my usual 3 “SETS” of 20 “REPS” of Curls and 3 “SETS” of 15 “REPS” of “Upright Rows” followed by 3 “SETS” of 10 “REPS” of a “Close Grip Shoulder Press” Thanks Gatekepa for help with all the proper terminology.

I’m feeling good today. I’ve got some boneless, skinless chicken breasts in the fridge which I plan to grill for dinner. The chicken might possibly find it’s way into a vegetable stir fry or maybe just a grilled chicken sandwich with lettuce and tomato. And if the weather permits I’ll be doing a few laps around the old elementary school tonight.

Day 8: Where is my motivation?

Is it possible that I’ve already run out of steam? Suddenly I have no desire to exercise and I see no reason to watch my calorie intake. Today was a lazy day, just like yesterday. I sat around the house watching television, playing on the computer and eating. I’m not really eating bad foods but they’re not good foods either.

Yesterday I cooked two quesadillas with chicken and pepper jack cheese. Today I had two Eggo waffles with butter and syrup, a corn dog that I baked in the oven and snacked on those grab bags of chips that usually go into my kids lunch boxes. I woke up at 2 am to use the bathroom and then found myself standing in the kitchen eating a cookie with my eyes closed.

This morning I had two slices of wheat toast and two eggs fried over easy. Maybe I’m just making up for all the food I haven’t been eating this week. Perhaps I should stop trying to eat less and just try to eat more foods that are healthy. I think I over did it this week, especially day 6 with the intense exercise and just wasn’t getting enough fuel to feed the fire.

Today I diced up a can of Spam and sauteed it in a frying pan with cayenne pepper. Then I made a plate of nachos with tortilla chips, pepper jack cheese, the seasoned Spam and baked them in the oven. Spam Nachos!? It sounds like something a stoner or a pregnant lady would eat.

It’s been raining a lot over the past two days so I haven’t been able to go walk, run or bicycle. It sounds like a great reason but it’s actually just a lousy excuse. I still have my weights in the bathroom and the stairs aren’t going anywhere. I need to get my motivation and determination back!