Breakfast Smoothie

I’ve been absent from my blog for about a week and a half but that doesn’t mean I’ve forgotten my goals to live an active and healthy lifestyle.

Family and school have been keeping me busy but I’m still finding time to exercise and eat healthy. I’m still riding my bike to school and around town. And I’ve been finding new way to incorporate fruits and veggies into my meals.

I was watching an episode of Good Eats with Alton Brown and I was inspired by the show that was all about how he lost weight by eating healthy. His morning smoothie sounded so good that I decided to make my own.

I bought some frozen fruits from Sam’s Club. The first bag is a mix of peaches, pineapple, mango and strawberries The second bag is a mix of raspberries, blackberries and blueberries. Equal parts of each put into the blender with a half cup of skim milk, a tblspn of fat free greek yogurt and a few squirts of natural Hawaiian Honey.

It is a delicious and nutritious breakfast full of vitamins and antioxidants and probably a lot of other healthy stuff. That has been my breakfast for two days in a row.

For lunch yesterday I had my favorite Spicy Garlic Veggies at school and when I came home I made a salad of mixed greens with sliced apples, baked chicken and papaya seed dressing.

I’ve been hiking on my days off, bicycling everyday and last night I went for a one hour walk/jog along the Ala Wai canal which took me an entire hour to complete.

Portabello Mushrooms! Why did it take me so long to discover these tasty little devils. I bought a pack of 8 big caps and today for lunch I sliced up two of them, sauteed with olive oil, salt and pepper. OMG it was like eating a Ribeye steak. Those things are so good!

Needless to say I am experiencing a resurgence of energy and motivation.

Day 43: Up, Down, In Between

When I began this blog I weighed 250 lbs and had a strong motivation to lose weight. In the first week I shocked myself with a 10 lb weight loss. Unfortunately the next few weeks coincided with the holiday season and those 10 lbs were easily put back on.

With the New Year and a new perspective I began to exercise and eat healthy but my motivation wasn’t nearly as strong as it was in the beginning. I was determined to move forward but this time at a slower pace. Lately it seems that my motivation to exercise and eat healthy has been up, down and in between.

Some days it’s like I’m bursting with energy and I’m willing to climb stairs, run laps or hike mountains. Other days I can’t find an ounce of motivation to do anything and I spend my day indoors in front of the television. I need to keep my goal at the forefront of my mind.

Eating healthy has been up and down also. I tend to eat pretty well in the morning and afternoon but as the evenings roll around I’m more prone to give in to my cravings. It’s not that I’ve been eating terribly unhealthy but I could be doing better.

Weight loss progress: As of today I weigh 245 lbs. My weight loss in on par with my motivation and discipline. Up, Down and In Between. I’ve lost 10 lbs, gained 10 lbs and lost 5 lbs. Some progress is better than no progress I  guess.

I’ve been bike riding a lot lately. Thursday I biked six miles between home and campus. Friday I biked two miles in the morning and then walked another three miles in the afternoon. My movement for today was zero miles. I tried to plan a hike with some of my classmates from Spanish class but it fell through.

I have to ask. What motivates you? How do you stay on track? What do you tell yourself when you don’t want to exercise or when you’re tempted to eat something which might not be to your benefit?

Day 38: My Nerd Fitness Dynamic Warm Up (Attempt)

Today is my last day before the new semester starts. Well actually school started today but my first class begins tomorrow, Tuesday. This morning I took my son to school. He rides his bike and I ride mine. I really need to get a picture of that.

So back at home I did my usual morning web surf and stopped in at Nerd Fitness, one of my favorite fitness blogs. Today, Steve’s post was about warming up, something I never really gave much thought to but now that I think about it, it makes perfect sense.

When I would go out to eat, I always warmed up with an appetizer so why not warm up before exercising. DUH!

So today I attempted to replicate Steve’s Nerd Fitness Dynamic Warm Up but it felt like a complete #FAIL! I pretended to jump rope for one minute, did thirty jumping jacks, twenty body weight squats and 5 lunges (each leg). Well, here’s the video of my Nerd Fitness Dynamic Warm Up Attempt.

Day 36: Climbing Stairs, Skipping Steps

I decided to climb the stairs today but with a little twist, skipping steps. So instead of the usual 134 steps to the top of the stairwell, I reached the top in only 66 steps. I could really feel the difference, not in my legs but in my chest. My heart was beating so hard and so fast that I had to take a short breather every two flights. After four trips up and down, I calculated that I had climbed 536 stairs in only 264 steps. In keeping with my desire to do a little more than before, I added a fifth trip to the the top. I was tired and sweaty and I felt like my heart was going to explode out of my chest but I managed to make it up one last time. It’s a great feeling when you realize that your body is capable of doing so much more than your brain believes is possible.

For breakfast this morning I had a bowl of oatmeal (100 calories). And for lunch I’m making myself a turkey sandwich with spinach and some dijon mustard on a whole wheat roll. Eating healthy is a lot easier when you have good foods in the house to keep you on track. I’m defrosting some chicken breasts and plan on making a nice salad for dinner.

I haven’t been focused so much on counting calories like before. Instead I’m just trying to stay focused on eating healthy, keeping my portions small and incorporating more vegetables and fruits into my meals.

As for exercise, I try to do something everyday whether it’s walking, riding my bike, climbing stairs or playing on the Wii. I just wish I had somebody to exercise with. I feel like putting up an ad on Craigslist for an exercise buddy. Sometimes I see guys running who are really fit and I want to ask if I can work out with them sometime.

Well for now, I’ll keep going it alone.

Day 32: Alternative Exercises

I don’t mean to brag, but I had sex last night. Actually it was about three o’clock this morning. It was one of those woke up horny in the middle of the night feelings that compelled me to bother my wife for some lovin. A half hour later I was taking a shower and thought to myself, hey that was a pretty good work out.

It got me thinking. What other kind of activities can I do to burn calories that I usually wouldn’t think of as exercise.  When I think of the word exercise I tend to think of it as work. Something I have to do but don’t always want to.

Cold Showers: This sounds like something to do when you’re not getting any sex but I’ve read that it’s a good calorie burner. Since your body is constantly trying to keep it’s temperature at 97 degrees, it has to work extra hard to do this when you’re cold. A thirty minute cold shower can potentially burn up to 500 calories, or so I’ve read.

Drink Cold Water: It’s the same idea as cold showers.

Fidgeting: I’m not a fidgeter, in fact I’m pretty good at playing dead but I’ve read that people who fidget whether it’s shaking their leg or tapping their fingers burn more calories than those who don’t. On my flight home from Seattle the girl sitting next to me was very skinny and she kept shaking her leg through the entire flight, Six Hours!

Sleep: The more you sleep, the more calories you burn. That’s no problem for me. I always get a full eight hours of sleep and sometimes take an hour nap in the afternoons. I’ve read that you burn 50% more calories when you’re sleep than when you’re awake.

A skinnier me with my son James (six years ago)

Playing with kids: Children are little balls of energy and can almost always run an adult ragged without even trying. My kids are no exception. I try to take them to the park or the beach every other day for an hour long play session. Keeping up with the kids is not only good exercise but good fun.

James and Julie at Kailua Beach Park

What else can you do to burn calories? My wife likes to drink green tea and I’ve read that it can help. Gum chewing? I’m not a gum chewer but it sounds like the same thing as fidgeting.

Please share if you can think of any other calorie burning activities.

Day 31: Wii Sports – Real Stairs – Night Walks

This morning I ate a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast (130 calories) and drank a cup of skim milk (90 calories).

I walked with my kids to our neighborhood Game Stop at Ala Moana and picked up the Wii Sports. My son and I took turns playing Golf, Baseball, Boxing, Tennis and Bowling. My favorite is the Golf and my son likes to play the Baseball. But it’s the Boxing that gives you the best workout. I could really feel it in my arms after going a few rounds.

For lunch today I had a Turkey Sandwich on Wheat Toast (300 calories) and a bag of Sun Chips (150 calories).

At about 2:00 this afternoon I decided to hit the stairs. I climbed up and down four times. 134 steps UP x 4 = 536 steps + 134 steps DOWN x 4 = a total of 1072 steps. It only takes about twenty minutes but it’s a good work out.

Tonight for dinner I made some chicken nachos that consisted of tortilla chips topped with pepper jack cheese and shredded chicken. I’m trying to watch what I eat but I’m not going to starve myself like before. I will eat when I’m hungry but will try to keep it healthy and watch my portion sizes.

Tonight I walked around Lunalilo Elementary School for an hour. I lost track of the number of laps but it was at least eight laps/two miles of walking. I just didn’t feel like running or jogging tonight but I’m sure to be picking up the pace in the next few days.

My chest, arms and shoulders are still sore from my weight lifting the other night. It’s great to be back and I’m happy to be moving forward in my weight loss goals.

Thanks to everyone for your comments of advice and encouragement.

Day 30: A New Year – A New Start

It’s a new year and I’m back where I started. 250 pounds! The holidays really did a number on me. Well at least now I know how easy it is to lose that first ten pounds. If I did it once then I can do it again. So today I took a few baby steps forward to getting back on track again.

I started the new year by pulling the Wii balance board out of the closet and putting in some freshly charged AA alkaline batteries. I bought the Wii a few years ago in an attempt to get back in shape but the novelty of mixing home work outs with interactive video games was soon forgotten.

On the Wii today I reintroduced myself to the Wii Fit. Standing on the Wii balance board I did a body test which calculated my body mass index and measured my center of balance which was way off. It also tells me my weight (252 lbs). Yikes! It also gives you a Wii Fit age. I turned out to be forty, ten years older than I am in real life.

The Wii Fit has several categories to help you lose weight and stay active.

1. Yoga: I still haven’t tried this yet but I should.

2. Strength Training: This is exactly what I need. I tried a few today.

3. Aerobics: Hula Hoop is a lot of fun, and very effective.

4. Balance Games: Skiing, Snowboarding, Tightrope walking and more.

Today I did some Hula Hoop which was much harder than I thought. I also did some Strength Training and Soccer Heads. In the end I put eleven minutes in my Wii Fit piggy banks and unlocked one new game. I think the Wii will be a good tool to help me in my weight loss and it will at least keep things fun and interesting.

Tonight I went on a bike ride which I haven’t done in about two weeks since before my trip to Seattle. I strapped on my helmet and all of my blinking lights and set out for Waikiki. It was nice to be back on the bike and riding through traffic, pushing myself harder and faster.

When I got home I was tired and sweaty and began to strip down for a shower. There they were… my weights. Sitting against the wall in the bathroom where they’ve alway been, patiently waiting to be picked up and put to good use.

Curls (20 lb curl bar): 3 sets of 20 reps

Upright Rows (20 lb curl bar): 3 sets of 20 reps

Close Grip Shoulder Press (10 lb dumbbell): 3 sets of 20 reps

That was my day and tomorrow is another one.

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 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.