Thursday, October 18, 2007

Two Hundred Seventy-Nine Thousand Three Hundred Sixty Minutes!

Oh, to come back from this long hiatus with a take-off on the song from Rent, it just seems a bit daft. But it was the best I could do.

Well, babysitters, I'm back. I think.

Here's the deal. It's been a rough six months: professionally, personally, psychologically -- the entire gamut of "p" words, really. Although I've been quite busy for the past six months, lots of people who work more hours than I -- and God bless 'em -- find the time to update their blogs. This leads me to conclude that my failure to post for so long could be due to laziness. I will not deny that many a night I come home, think how nice it would be to sit and hammer out an entry, and promptly sit my ass in front of the television until exhaustion forces me into sleep. But it would be dishonest to say that's the only reason I have not posted in so long a time.

I feel that I haven't really found a niche for blogging, and this has also prevented me from updating more regularly. Sure, I founded this blog for myself, and for a few of you it became a portal through which to view the goings-on in my life. Frankly I think facebook or myspace would be better suited for that. I did the weight loss tracker thing for a while because it kept me honest (update - still about where I was six months ago. Not much progress, but no backsliding, so that's okay) but I decided online diet help was not what I wanted this blog to be about. And though I enjoy posting my own thoughts and prattle, I feel my posts were becoming so much mental masturbation, and frankly I was getting a little tired of reading my own crap.

The honest, most brutal truth is that I'm afraid to be intimate with you, the purveyors of the internet in general and of this blog specifically. Don't get me wrong: I harbor no illusions that this blog is eclipsed only by in terms of readership. I would guess that the number of hits this blog has ever had might number in the few hundreds (as of right now I have 310 profile views), a rather paltry sum. Regardless, I am unwilling to discuss details of my life on this blog that really don't belong in the public domain. To be perfectly frank, that would be most of them. This is not said in arrogance; indeed I think this statement would apply to most people.

So for now I'm going to decide if this blog is worth continuing. I am considering a couple of ideas for how to take this blog in a new direction that might make it worth my time to write and your time to read. In 30 days from now - that's Forty-Three Thousand Two Hundred minutes, for you Rent fans - I'll either redesign this blog or close it out. I hope to post something every few days between now and then. Feel free to leave comments.

May God be with you always, and grant you peace.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Weight Tracker - Week 7

The triduum started Thursday evening, officially marking the end of Lent (well, according to some scholars). Because I fear that my entry ticket into the Great Kingdom may have to bought from a scalper as it is, I hedge my bets and wait 'til the end of the Easter Vigil service to indulge in all of the extravagancies I've denied myself during the Lenten season. Triduum may or may not end Lent, but it absolutely begins a period of heavy-duty work at church for me, between singing and coordinating hospitality events. Thus I'm a day late in posting my weekly weight tracker update, and this is the last one for the season, although I do plan on continuing to track my weight weekly and plan to post updates.

The astute among you may notice that the lines between the data points on this graph are fewer and farther in-between. That's because each line now represents 5 pounds, not 2 as in previous iterations. Why is the gap greater? Well, I'm sure I could have changed this in Excel, but the software chose the graduations automatically. The reason it changed is because of the new delta between the highest and lowest points on the graph.

Officially, over the 7 week period of Lent, I have lost 14.5 pounds, a full 4.5 pounds more than I had pledged to give up.

I am very excited. This puts me within 4 pounds of my original "goal" weight, although I have adjusted that down (as previously mentioned). I will be shopping for new jeans in a week or so because the current ones hang on me. And most importantly, I feel great!

I have to run and get ready to start my Holy Saturday stuff. I have a choir rehearsal to attend, banana pudding and breakfast casseroles to assemble, animal stuff to buy, and a bottle of wine to procure. Then tonight I have to go and get Jesus up out of the tomb! I'm looking forward to the lighting of the fire outside the parish tonight, not so much because I'm a pyromaniac -- which I am -- but because it's going to be so freakin' cold! But that's a blog for another day.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Weight Tracker - Week 6

The slide continues . . .

With this week's one-pound loss, I have officially surpassed my Lenten goal of 10 pounds and have a week left to go. To use a word I learned from my friend John, "Woot!"

On Saturday I did something I've never done before. I bought clothes at a vintage clothing store. It was fantastic going into a store to buy clothes without having to look for a "big and tall" section. I bought a pair of jeans that make my ass look amazing. I didn't fully realize how much bigger my old jeans were making me look in the pelvis/thighs area until I put these bad boys on. They are a bit tight, but I'm beginning to embrace tight clothes. There was a time when I avoided fitted clothing, especially pants, because these pieces were unflattering on me. Now tighter pants actually take weight off instead of seeming to put it on. It's an exciting change, and I have to resist the urge to go out and replace my entire wardrobe all in one fell swoop. There is only so much money in the clothing budget.

Next week will be the final installment in the Lenten series. Stay tuned to see how it all turns out!

Friday, March 23, 2007

Weight Tracker - Week 5

Not that I'm complaining, but there seems to be a pattern here.

This week's total is 1.5 pounds. This is actually a pretty good thing, since healthy weight loss is supposed to average between 1 and 2 pounds per week. At this rate, it will take me another 19 weeks to reach my goal weight. That puts me at my goal weight towards the end of August. It also puts me ahead of my Lenten goal of 10 total pounds by 2.5 pounds (I've currently lost 9.5 pounds). Of course, this may start varying week-by-week, so it's certainly not a fait accompli. However, I am very encouraged.

Life has otherwise been a little crazy. I'm hoping to take this weekend to catch up on some things in my life that I've let lapse a bit, including blog updates. There is much to tell.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Weight Tracker - Week 4

We're at the midway point, and so far progress is still better than expected.

Another 1.5 pounds have come off in the past week, bringing the net total for these four weeks to 8 pounds even. I'm already to the point that my jeans, previously getting a little tight, are starting to feel loose again. I've found that roughly every 10-15 pounds represents a waist size reduction, so I may be in the market for some new jeans very soon!

I was talking to my friend Ciahnan last night about my weight loss and strategies for losing the last big chunk of weight I want to lose, which is about 25-30 more pounds. He made an interesting point, one that I brought up in my previous post, reminding me that the body is amazingly well adapted to expending as little energy as possible to produce the maximum effect. So, all this time I've been sitting on a recumbent bike my body has been finding ways to pump those pedals harder while using fewer calories.

So next week I'm getting off of the bike and trying new pieces of equipment. This works out well because I've agreed to take part in a 5K next month - a first for me - and I've been debating whether to run it or walk it. I think that I may spend a couple of non-sequential weeks on the treadmill, seeing if my body can tolerate running that long a distance. (I can easily walk 5k, which is just over 3 miles.)

Posts have been light this week because I've been crazy busy. There's lots of stuff running through this old noggin', and I hope to be espousing bleeding-heart liberal propaganda very soon! Stay tuned!

Friday, March 09, 2007

Weight Tracker - Week 3

Despite my continuing abysmal gym attendance record, I'm still shedding pounds.

Two more pounds saw fit to pack their s*it and leave, so I'm quite pleased. Since the beginning of Lent I've lost 6.5 pounds. I set my goal as 10 pounds by the end of Lent, and we're not even to the halfway point yet (that would be roughly Lent 4, a week from Sunday) so I am thrilled at my progress so far. It's amazing how fast the weight comes off once I return to my more disciplined ways.

In previous attempts to lose weight I hit plateaus after the first few months. This has happened multiple times in the past two years. In the past failing to lose weight for a few weeks would simply derail my entire effort and I'd eventually gain back every ounce that I'd lost. And, as if the weight had been placed into a high-yield savings account - the adipose tissue version of ING Direct, I guess - I got back a few extra pounds as well. Yippee!

This time I faced the fact that at each plateau I had to do something different to force my body to continue burning fat. Caloric restriction, for most people, only goes so far. Evolution has fine-tuned the human metabolism to take full advantage of the calories we're given. It seems that the body will often adapt to reduced caloric intake by decreasing basal metabolism. Exercise, especially aerobic and isometric (resistance) exercise, seem to help maintain and even increase basal metabolism even in the face of reduced caloric intake. Recent reports dispute the veracity of this claim, but since nutrition science seems to be about as constant as a fickle lover I'm not prepared to abandon this idea.

I know that exercise is critical for my own weight loss, so I have got to carve out more gym time if that trend line is to maintain its current trajectory. Speaking of which, what am I doing sitting here typing? That only burns 102 calories an hour! And I'm nowhere near my target heart rate!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

The Wages of Sin

I discovered this Sin Meter on my friend Heidi's blog, and immediately completed the questionnaire so that I could be told exactly why I'm doomed to Hell. Here are my results:

Pride:Very High

Discover Your Sins - Click Here

So basically I'm just full-up with pride and lust. I must admit I'm shocked. What a revelation. Next I guess you'll tell me that President Eisenhower is dead.

Happy Lent, everyone!