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Another 2.4 pounds, but how much have I lost?

2011 March 18

Another 2.4 pounds since last Friday on the new Official Unofficial Scale.

If you are a constant reader than you know I’m having trouble monitoring my weight loss between the Official Unofficial Scale and the Unofficial Unofficial Scale, which last week became the Official Unofficial Scale after the original Official Unofficial Scale disappeared from my trainer’s office.

Because there is a 5 to 7 pound discrepancy between the former Official Unofficial Scale and the current Official Unofficial Scale (and I never got an Unofficial Unofficial Scale starting weight), my friend Yoss, who might be one of the only people reading this blog, suggested the problem might be that I’m not wearing any shoes on the new Official Unofficial Scale, which was the former Unofficial Unofficial Scale. Yoss, by the way, is an asshole.

So to appease one of my only known constant readers, I weighed myself this morning without shoes (or clothes, for that matter) and then put everything on and weighed again. My workout gear does not explain the wide discrepancy between the scales, but it does put on another two pounds.

Regardless, when apples are compared to apples, I am down 2.4 pounds from last week and that is good news.

And for the record, I officially officially don’t know exactly how much weight I’ve lost since Day 1, but I’ll find out soon.

Food Journal (click to view):
Breakfast: Power Bar
Snack: Protein Shake
Lunch: Salad from Whole Foods with tuna (didn’t eat it all)
Snack: Builder’s Bar
Dinner: Sausage, salad with tuna (leftover from lunch)

I finally get the kinks out, then Paisley puts them back in

2011 March 17

I had been walking like a cripple all day when I finally reached the gym.

Paisley Ann Meekin, my lovely trainer, worked me so hard yesterday that I’m walking funny. My quads are sorer than they’ve ever been these past eight weeks, and my ass muscles ache as well.

So it was a little discouraging when I reached 10th Avenue Athletic Club, Lloyd Athletic Club’s sister gym, and began interval training.

You see, I had a lot of trouble doing intervals the first three weeks of this weight-loss program. There was a lot of discomfort in my knees and joints akin to what my high school running coach would have called “kinks.” When I was a cross country runner a lifetime ago, Coach would order us to warm up to “get the kinks out.”

Fortunately, the kinks have gone away as I’ve dropped 15 pounds or more. It didn’t even occur to me until a couple weeks ago that they were gone. The kinks were out!

Then Paisley put them back in.

So I’m trying to do interval training on the treadmill and my quads and butt muscles ache. With intervals, you run at a comfortable pace, then sprint for a minute, then drop back down to a comfortable pace again for 2 minutes, then back to a sprint for a minute. I’m supposed to do this for 30 minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I skipped them last week because I was sick.

Photo courtesy of

Around 10 minutes into intervals tonight, my mind finally drifts away from my sore legs and achy ass and focuses on a St. Patrick’s Day Side Ache of Death! Around 12 minutes into this nightmare I was overcome with agonizing pain on my right side. If it wasn’t a Side Ache of Death, maybe it was my liver screaming for the firewater.

Nothing fixed the Side Ache of Death. I tried to change my breathing, I skipped two sprints but the fucker didn’t go away for about 8 minutes. When I got to 21:00, I felt I could try another 1-minute sprint and went for it. But before those 60 seconds were over, Side Ache of Death was raging again and it had a new friend: Lower-Left Rectus Abdominis Harbinger of Side Ache Hell.

Side Ache of Death dissipated as Lower-Left Rectus Abdominis Harbinger of Sideache Hell took the pain torch. If I’m confusing you, Lower-Left Rectus Abdominis Harbinger of Sideache Hell is a fancy way of describing a new side ache that flared up in my lower left abdominal muscle, right at the bottom of my shrinking beer gut.

With two side aches, I couldn’t continue. I slowed the treadmill down and did the last 8 minutes at a brisk walk, breathing heavily and trying to get two side aches to go away.

This sucks, because it’s a step backwards in the final stretch of Just Lose It! I still have an outside chance of winning this thing if Side Ache of Death and Lower-Left Rectus Abdominis Harbinger of Side Ache Hell will fuck off.

I don’t know why this happened to me tonight, because I’m not drinking milk and I can’t trace it to any lactic acid in anything I’ve eaten the past two days.

As I left the gym and began to climb the stairs to 10th Avenue, the side aches gave way to the kinks in my quads and achy ass muscles again.

Then I finally had an epiphany: This is all Paisley’s fault.

Food Journal (click to view):

Breakfast: Protein bar.
Snack: Marinated chicken, two small oranges, raw cashews
Snack: Protein pack from Starbucks: Hard-boiled egg, apple slices, grapes, cheese slices and bread thingy
Lunch: Marinated chicken, small apple, raw cashews
Dinner: Corned beef, grapes, small apple, raw cashews

Brain drain: when muscles steal blood from my head

2011 March 16

Paisley busted my balls this morning during Leg Day. I don’t do a good job keeping track of the names of exercises we do because I put myself in my trainer’s hands and let her be the expert. But I can say today’s exercise was a bunch of lunges and variations of it, plus some ridiculous abs exercise Paisley likes to call the “Pimp-up.” (See above video; no that’s not me).

Paisley pushed me harder today than I’ve ever been pushed in these eight weeks, and I was in so much agony that I couldn’t help but release several unflattering grunts and yells.

I’ve been having a brain-dead day ever since. I’m having a lot of trouble this evening thinking forming coherent in a sentences way. I’m also having a lot of concentrating trouble and it seems like I’m mixed up getting things.

Food Journal (click to view):
Breakfast: Protein Bar
Snack: Protein Shake
Lunch: Salad with chicken from Whole Foods
Snack: Perfect Food Bar
Dinner: Corned beef, small orange, grapes, walnuts

I owe everything to Jonathan

2011 March 15

I have Jonathan Taggart to thank for everything. Jonathan is the reason I have a trainer. Jonathan is the reason I’m writing this blog.

Jonathan and I worked together in 1998 at Oregon State. I didn’t know him well because he worked in a different department of our student newspaper, but I considered him a friend and acquaintance.

Jonathan, left, encouraged me to do Just Lose It and introduced me to my trainer, Paisley, on the right.

So imagine how surprised I was more than a decade later to see this familiar face running on the treadmill when I joined the Lloyd Athletic Club. For the first six months of my membership I worked out in the evenings without any real conviction, and I would often see Jonathan running on the treadmills when I arrived.

In December he came up to me and said, “Are you going to do Just Lose It?”

I didn’t even know what he was talking about, but after a short explanation he planted the seed in my mind. I was looking for a catalyst to change my lifestyle anyway, and this was it. Jonathan made sure. Jonathan kept after me.

Jonathan was so insistent he even told me who to train with: Paisley Ann Meekin. Being self-conscious about my weight and appearance, I wasn’t too keen on training with a female, but Jonathan kept insisting. He didn’t even give me a choice. It had to be Paisley. Pitchman, Jonathan. Pitchman.

So I think I owe everything to Jonathan. Not only did he hook me up with a trainer I thoroughly enjoy, but his insistence that I do Just Lose It has helped me lose weight and begin turning my health around. I owe the 15 pounds I’ve lost to Jonathan.

So what did I say to Jonathan tonight following my interval training? What did I say to Jonathan after he sent me an inspiring e-mail, reminding me that we have less than two weeks left? What did I say to Jonathan when he said let’s “go out with a bang” and suggested “getting up super early (~5 a.m.) the last week lifting weights every day.”

What did I say to this old friend who asked me to join him every morning — this friend who has done so much for me?

“Hell no!”

And if I win the $1,000 cash prize, Jonathan, you ain’t getting a cent.

Food Journal (click to view):

Breakfast: Lunch meat slices, half an apple, raw cashews
Snack: Perfect Foods Bar
Lunch: Protein pack at Starbucks: Hard-boiled egg, apple, grapes, cheese, small bread thing
Snack: String cheese (threw away my yogurt after I noticed it had expired)
Dinner: Chinese-style pork and half an apple

Two things I’m running low on today: 1. Food 2. Good ideas for the blog

2011 March 14

I'm running dangerously low on food.

Fat Bastard once said: “I eat because I’m unhappy, and I’m unhappy because I eat.”

Some nights I lay awake at night, pondering Mr. Bastard’s immortal words. And I wonder: how would Fat feel if he opened my fridge and saw nearly empty shelves?

Would he be happy? Or would he be angry? Would he eat me?

As you can see, food is not the only thing I’m running low on today.

Food Journal (click to view):
Breakfast: Chicken salad
Snack: Builders protein bar
Lunch: Baked salmon, Broccoli Crunch from Whole Foods
Snack: Greek yogurt
Dinner: Baked salmon (from Whole Foods), apple, raw cashews

One last weekend of debauchery

2011 March 13


Boy, we picked a weird time to go to the beach.

That’s what I remember thinking Thursday night (or rather, Friday morning) around 1 a.m. as I was watching a tsunami roll across Japanese farmland on live TV.

What does a man have to do to get a drink around here?

Nine of us headed to the Oregon coast this weekend for a joint birthday celebration for Lindsey (31), Kristin (32) and myself (33). I have discussed this several times over the course of this blog, but despite entering a 10-week weight loss program I made a conscious decision weeks ago to continue my active social life.

This was the last hoorah. Rather, this was my last debaucherous weekend of the Just Lose It! contest.

Lincoln City was not hit by tidal waves of any significance, but the geniuses at the restaurant and bar adjacent to our condos found it a good excuse to take a day off. That didn’t stop us from having a debaucherous night at a nearby watering hole and then a game of Mexican Train back in Unit 120.

Paisley, my trainer, gives me one Eat Whatever You Want Day per week, and I usually cash in on Saturday. But this was more like an Eat Whatever You Want Weekend. It didn’t get too crazy, but I feel guilty anytime I eat off the diet as if every bite of Panda Express is putting a pound back on.

Look, a group hike to mitigate the debauchery.

But all was not lost. Between cocktails in the evenings and a couple beers at the Rogue Brewery, we spent considerable time walking the beach and observing sea creatures in their natural habitat. We even went for a group hike at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area (seriously, that’s what it’s called) on Saturday.

Now that my final birthday celebration is out of the way, it’s all business from here. I have an outside chance of still winning this contest if I step up my exercise and tighten the diet. I’m going to give it that old college try.

Food Journal (click to view):

Sunday, March 13:

Breakfast: Builders protein bar.
Lunch: Panda Express.
Dinner: Marie Callender’s microwavable turkey breast with stuffing, mash potatoes, green beans.

Saturday, March 12

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs
Lunch: Philly stake sandwich at Rogue Brewery (barely nibbled the fries)
Snack: Sea Lions
Dinner: Spaghetti cooked by Trevor’s wonderful girlfriend, Kristin
Snack: Chinese-style pork slices

The Friday Weigh-in is now unofficially the official unofficial weigh-in

2011 March 11

We will now be measuring progress with this scale.

The Official Unofficial Scale that Paisley and I have been using to track my weight loss is gone. When I asked if we were going to step on it earlier this week, Paisley said: “We can’t. Somebody stole it out of my office and I’m pissed.”

So the scale formally known as the Unofficial Unofficial Scale is now the Official Unofficial Scale. This makes it a little more difficult to gauge where I am now compared to Day 1 but in a way, I’m glad. Because I believe the former Official Unofficial Scale is 5 to 7 pounds off in the wrong direction compared to the Unofficial Unofficial Scale, which is now the new Official Unofficial Scale. To test my theory, I weighed myself this afternoon on my brother’s scale and it was consistent with the new Official Unofficial Scale, which used to be the Unofficial Unofficial Scale.

My brother's scale is consistent with mine and most others.

Don’t follow? Read this previous entry that tries to explain the scale discrepancies. What matters most, however, is the Official Scale. I stepped on it during Day 1 and I’ll step on it one more time in two weeks. I’ll have more to say about that then.

Regardless, I’m excited that I’ve finally cracked into the 230s on my scale even if it is just 239.8. Three years ago I cracked the 230s from the other direction and felt like the world was coming to and end. But I’m just glad to be here again. And I no doubt have more muscle mass than the guy who reached 232 in January 2008 (and soon after got back down to around 220).

The only thing that tempers today’s Friday Weigh-in is that I’ve barely moved on the scale in two weeks. I hit 240.0 right before I went to Las Vegas. I’ve been taking it easy this week because of my sore throat and swollen tonsils and I veered of the diet a tiny bit last weekend.

What would be nice would be to get down around 230 by the time this contest is over. That might be enough to win the $1,000 cash prize.

Food Journal (click to view):
Breakfast: Power Bar
Snack: Baked salmon, banana
Lunch: Pork slices, apple
Dinner: Chicken-bacon pitazza (just half; it’s small, I swear)
Snack: Chicken-bacon pitazza (the other half at 2 a.m.)

Avoiding sickness like the plague

2011 March 10

Can I really afford to get sick again? (Photo courtesy of

I have been sick twice in the past three weeks and I’m not feeling well at all right now.

When I woke up today my tonsils were still swolen. I have felt puffy and bloated since Saturday. My throat has been killing me. I went easy on the cardio Monday and Wednesday. I skipped my Tuesday workout altogether.

I want to heal, and I want to feel good as we approach the final stretch of the Just Lose It! contest. So I decided to give myself one more day off from intense interval training. The diet, of course, remains in effect.

I bypassed the Lloyd Athletic Club on my way to work. When I got to my office, which my brother and I share at his home in northeast Portland, I noticed his wife’s car was in the driveway.

When I went inside my brother turned to me and said, “We are all home sick today with a bad stomach flu.” One of my nieces had stayed home from school as well.

When people are sick, they shouldn’t bring their germs to the workplace. But when my primary workplace is in my brother’s home, then I guess I’m shit out of luck.

“Well I’m getting the fuck out of here then,” I said to my brother before turning and making my exit.

I can’t afford to get another virus. Because I’m probably not making any progress on weight loss this week.

I got a whole lot of nothing done today. No work. No work out.


Food Journal (click to view):

Thursday, March 10:

Breakfast: Oatmeal with when protein scoop, milk and walnuts.
Snack: Three slices of deli meat, two slices of cheese, banana
Lunch: Chicken salad from QFC and apple.
Snack: Two pork slices, Greek yogurt, string cheese.
Dinner: Three chicken wings (left over from my birthday), grapes, almonds.

Wednesday, March 9:

Breakfast: Deli meat, cheese slices, grapes.
Snack: Protein shake with banana.
Lunch: 1 slice of meatloaf and Broccoli Crunch from Whole Foods.
Snack: Builders protein bar.
Dinner: Deli meat, cheese slices, banana (ate most of it before the picture).

Chicken wings for my birthday

2011 March 8

I STILL LIKE CHICKEN WINGS!!!!! (Photo courtesy Photoshop Disasters)

Alright, I was really good this weekend.

No wild nights in downtown Portland with my friend. No drunken debauchery. But I must admit I veered off the diet more than I have at any time during the Just Lose It! contest. I had kind of an “Eat Whatever You Want Saturday and Sunday” that might have stretched into Monday, but I didn’t toil in debauchery. That’s what’s important.

I spent my weekend looking for new places to live to get out of my parent’s basement. I looked at a three-month sublet on a Columbia River houseboat, I’ve got two places on Hawthorne in my crosshairs and I’ve considered living in The Riva apartments on the South Waterfront and the Harrison Tower in downtown.

Unfortunately, I have come down with something again. My throat is sore and my voice is hoarse. My tonsils are all red and ugly. I skipped interval training today because of it.

There is one more interesting fact about the last few days I would be remiss for not mentioning: Yesterday was my birthday. I’m 33. Normally this would be cause for celebration, but it was a very mild event. My friend Tamara took me out to the McMenamins St. Johns Theater and Pub for a 6 o’clock dinner and I had a birthday shot of Patron and a couple glasses of wine. OK, I was a little bit debaucherous.

Hopefully I’ll always remember 33 as the year I turned my life around. This will be the year I learned to cook. This is the year I decided to be a thin, healthy person who was physically fit. I don’t want to live the rest of my life as someone who is known as heavier set.

And on that note, when I got home around 10 last night I threw something in the microwave I picked up on the way: fried zesty chicken wings.

Give me a break! It was my birthday.

Food Journal (click to view):

Tuesday, March 8

Breakfast: Builder’s Protein Bar.
Snack: Baked salmon, Broccoli Crunch.
Lunch: Dagwood pita (with lots of fresh veggies) at Pita Pit.
Snack: Builder’s Protein Bar.
Dinner: Sliced deli meat, a few cheese slices, Broccoli Crunch.

Monday, March 7

Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, onions, small orange.
Lunch: Vegan dish from Whole Bowl: “A scandalously delicious mix of brown rice, black and red beans, avocado, cheddar cheese, black olives, sour cream, cilantro, salsa, and Tali sauce.”
Dinner: Steak wrap and salad at McMenamins St. Johns Theater & Pub.
Snack: Shot of Patron, two glasses of wine.
Snack: Six zesty chicken wings.

Sunday, March 6

Breakfast: Protein bar.
Lunch: Philly steak sandwich with salad on Belmont.
Dinner: Deli meat, cheese slices.

Saturday, March 5

Breakfast: Chinese-style pork, california sushi rolls.
Lunch: Three slices of pizza (oops!)
Dinner: Grilled chicken and tossed salad.

NOTE: You’ll notice I didn’t take pictures of the bad shit I ate. My guilty conscience just couldn’t do it.

No movement on the Friday Weigh-in

2011 March 4

Did I gain a tiny bit of weight since last Friday?


No progress since last week on the Unofficial Unofficial Scale, although my weight on the Official Unofficial Scale showed a five-pound drop. In fact, it appears I’ve gained 0.6 pounds on the Unofficial Unofficial Scale since last week and I’m still on the threshold of breaking into the 230s. Let’s just call it a push.

I want to get below 240 and into the 230s. That would mean a lot to me, because the 230s gets me to a place where I’m staring down the hall at an earlier version of myself. He walked this Earth just three years ago.

Next week … Next time …

Food Journal (click to view):
Breakfast: Chinese-style pork, small apple.
Snack: Protein shake.
Lunch: Baked salmon, apple, string cheese.
Snack: Builder’s protein bar, string cheese.
Dinner: Chinese-style pork, Broccoli Crunch.