Shedding a big guy — Week 4

I could eat the weight I have lost in one bag of cat food.

First things first. You have no idea how much it means to me that I have chosen to answer to you every week. There are times during the week when I am in that thought process about what I’m about to eat, and I remember you guys. The numbers of visitors to the site have dropped since I started this, but Monday is still my biggest day. Even if you haven’t been back since the first week, I am consciously thinking that some of you will check in every week and some will come back after several weeks. Both, I am sure, are rooting for me, and both inspire me to stay on task here.

I came close to a milestone this week. I wasn’t aiming for it, necessarily. In fact, this was another week in which I wondered whether the number would reflect the change in lifestyle. In the end it did.

It was a successful week, both in creating a new lifestyle and in the number at the end. But I’m seeing more than ever how the successes come in small steps. They come when I walk by the container of candy and I don’t take any, or just one. They come when another piece of pizza is available, but I pass. They come when at night I gobble up the rest of the salad.

On Monday of last week friend Jim Thomsen wrote wrote on my Facebook entry:

Accepting setbacks should be built into the weight-loss process. You have to give yourself permission to be weak once in a while. If you can’t forgive yourself those little lapses, your program is destined to fail.

Little did he know that I was splurging that day, not necessarily in a healthy way. I went to a convenience store hungry for a snack, and the snack I wanted was a better deal if I bought two. I ate them both. That day I used up all the extra points the Weight Watchers diet gives you in a week, so I still stayed on plan. In times past that day, though, might have become two days, then a collection of weekdays, then the weekend, and then a habit.

It didn’t this time. I think it has a lot to do with you guys. Pat yourself on the back.

As for that milestone, it’s the 20-pound mark. I just missed it. That may be a good thing, because it will give me incentive this week. Of course there are lots of milestones to aim for, but this time around I haven’t really aimed at anything besides staying on it. I have that long term goal, but day after day it’s been more about how I’m feeling than what’s on the scale.

Over time the number is a good indication of whether life is changing in the way I want it to. For the past four weeks life has.

Bottom Line:
Beginning weight: 404
This week’s weight: 384.2
Last week’s weight: 386.2
One week change: -2
Total weight lost: -19.8
Weight loss goal: 205
Percentage body weight goal: 50.5 percent
Percentage body weight lost: 4.9 percent
Percentage of goal lost: 9.6 percent
Plans for this week: I didn’t do last week’s plan very well, planning meals. Nenetheless it was a good week. This week I am focusing on increasing my activity level, perhaps ever so slightly.

Seven ways to prepare your pregnant boss for parenthood

You are here.

Your boss has been there for you to offer you praise when you’ve done well and to not fire you when your work has almost ruined the company. The least you can do is to be there for her when she needs you most, when she is within months of welcoming a child into her home. Life will change for sure when the little one comes into her life, so it’s up to you as an employee to prepare her.

Here are a few tips for things I think you can do that will give your boss the training she needs for those days ahead when she finds herself listening to that crying baby on her first night home. Because of you, she won’t be tempted to say, “I can’t do this for 18 years.”

1. Find ways to interrupt her sleep. Post her phone number on a website frequented by people on the other side of the planet. Arrange for someone to drive by her house and honk, or ring the doorbell and run. Call her house from a pay phone in the middle of the night. Better yet, get a robo dialer to do it somehow. No sense you losing any sleep. You’re not the one preparing for parenthood.

2. Wait until she’s on the phone, then demand her attention. Say her name over and over after she gets into a conversation that looks like it will be lengthy. Repeat her name at normal volume, but frequently and regularly. Then say it loud. When she finally gives you attention, ask for something you know you can’t have, like an extra three weeks of vacation or a beer tap at your desk.

3. When she asks you to do something, act like it’s the worst possible thing she could have asked you to do. Don’t be afraid to be too dramatic. You’ll never be as dramatic as her kids. Say “Awwwwwwww!” for about four seconds and fluctuate the volume. Lie on the floor if you need to.

4. Start complaining for no reason and don’t let up. When she asks you why you’re in such a bad mood, get madder. If she tries to offer you something to help, get even more angry. Keep it up until she turns on the TV.

5. When she asks you about a task you agreed to do, be sure to act like you have no idea what she is talking about. Say you never got that assignment. If she has proof that you did agree to do the assignment, tell her one of your coworkers volunteered to do it for you. When your coworker protests, defend your position until you both get loud enough that your boss will find it more important to shut you both up than to punish you.

6. Another tactic for number 5 is to just say you forgot. Agree again to do it, then forget another time. Repeat.

7. Complain that she never brings in treats. Then when she does, be sure to emphasize how much you don’t like those. If she tries to bring in treats after that, eat them all before your coworkers get any.

These seven tips should help your boss plenty. They might also get you in trouble. If you need to, refer her to this website. Be sure to do that BEFORE you get fired. That might be important.

Shedding a big buy — Week 3

This Hoover weighs 17.8 pounds

Thanks to Netflix I’ve been watching old episodes of “30 Rock,” my favorite sitcom. Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) was, in an episode dealing with babies, getting frequent calls from his mother in Florida, and after grabbing handfuls of his assistant’s candies and putting them in his suit pocket, he is seen backing into his office holding what looks to be a barrel of a cheese puff brand seen a lot on the show, Sabor de Soledad.

Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) says to the assistant Jonathan (Maulik Pancholy) that Jack is a “bit of a stress eater.”

I can relate, and almost did this week.

Many of you know my dad went to the hospital ER Wednesday because he wasn’t breathing well. In the ER a doctor told me Dad was “very sick” and the next 24 hours would determine whether he would “turn the corner.” If you knew he was sick, you probably also know that he did improve. I wouldn’t say he’s in the clear, but we’re able to talk in a way we haven’t for a few weeks. He has fluid in his lungs, but that was the more minor issue. The bigger problem was an infection, which seems to have cleared up.

The favorite snack of sitcom stress eaters.

Wednesday night, sitting near my dad’s bed and feeling hungry anyway, French fries sounded so good. And I was stressed. And I can have them. It’s just that being on this plan means I’ve got to watch how much of that stuff I eat. I am big enough, and probably will be for a while, that food items fit into my diet that probably won’t a year from now, at least not in the same quantities.

When I’m not on a plan I often will rush out at the first thought of eating something like that. I’m not really a huge French fry eater, but they sounded good at the time. This time, I continued to sit with my dad, even though he was out of it. And I thought about what I really wanted. And later I drove home without stopping for fries.

It was a very good week. I thought of all of you often, knowing I’d made a commitment. I didn’t really overdo the eating even once this week. And yet, going into the weigh in I knew I was not going to see the numbers I saw the last two weeks. Aside from the fact that by week three the weight loss generally slows down, I just had a feeling. So when I saw that I lost 2.2 pounds, I was thrilled. Two pounds a week is the average I’m supposed to be aiming for anyway for healthy weight loss. And I haven’t begun to kick in the bigger workouts yet.

Bottom Line:
Beginning weight: 404
This week’s weight: 386.2
Last week’s weight: 388.4
One week change: -2.2
Total weight lost: -17.8
Weight loss goal: 205
Percentage body weight goal: 50.5 percent
Percentage body weight lost: 4.4 percent
Percentage of goal lost: 8.7 percent
Plans for this week: Plan meals more. Mix in some cross training with the walking.

Making sense in conspiracy

We’re in the home stretch of our exploration into conspiracy theories and after the weirdness of seeing the podcasts go silent, then re-emerge has been quite a fun development. It seems appropriate, too.

This week University of Washington Professor Ingrid Walker delivers an unsettling opinion about why conspiracy makes more sense to us sometimes than the truth. Faith is involved, faith that the world is logical.

It’s unsettling to me, because it means the truth will often make no sense.

The price for dabbling in conspiracies

This oughtta scare 'em.

A few days ago I noticed none of my podcasts were working. You get the pictures, the text, the link to the music, and of course the links to pay me money and the advertising. Thank the heavens those were still there. Hearing the podcast? Can’t do it.

So now I find myself wondering who I offended. Was it the Department of Homeland Security, because I punched a hole in the theory about mailbox dots? Did I anger those who believe 9/11 was an inside job, or those who think the CIA killed JFK?

Do you expect me to believe that it is a coincidence that my podcast doesn’t play exactly when I am in the middle of discussing conspiracy theories with a University of Washington professor who thinks they exist because they’re good stories and people crave logic? Have the aliens who met with LBJ in relation to the CIA execution of JFK made my site go DOA?

Well, something happened. Even Apple can only tell me that I have to post every single episode all over again.

It has to be a conspiracy of some kind. It doesn’t just happen that everything you did before that worked just fine suddenly doesn’t work anymore because somehow the darn thing got corrupted. I don’t think it got corrupted on accident.

To all aliens, CIA operatives, FBI goons, government toadies, members of the Trilateral Commission, UN insiders, Mafia and union thugs, corporate pigs, truthers, birthers, Tea Party racists and Occupy Wall Street hippies and other ne’er do wells, I will not be intimidated. The podcasts will be reposted. You cannot make me go away.

I will start over and repost every single episode that isn’t posting and create a vault of backup versions to prove I was here. You’ll never get away with this!

There goes my weekend.

Shedding a big guy — Week 2

This Brazilian baby took all the weight that I have lost so far, 15.6 pounds. (7.1 kilos for those of scoring in metrics.)

One of the criticisms of Weight Watchers is that if you focus solely on points you don’t have to eat very healthy and you will still lose weight. Weight Watchers does teach to balance the diet with fruits, veggies, proteins, dairy and all parts of that food pyramid the food companies have persuaded our federal government to push. (For more on conspiracy theories, go to my podcast. Start here.) The bottom line is the points, though.

This, of course, assumes the absence of “common sense.” I don’t like the term “common sense,” because I think there is no such thing. Common sense is not the same for two people in the same family. Here is my belief about common sense:

“Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen.” — Albert Einstein

Whether common sense exists or not, I lacked some this week. That is a necessary part of this journey, I know. And I pay a price for it.

I wasn’t as good about mixing in enough fruits and vegetables into my diet this week. Weight Watchers used to assign points to apples and all fruits and many vegetables. It still does to the starchy vegetables like corn. I could eat 183 bananas, though, and not get a single point. I’m not making that up. Some common sense is warranted there, don’t you think?

The other instance was on Friday. One of the reasons I hit 404, one of many, was the Dairy Queen Blizzard. If I just went on points I could eat two large ones a day (For now. Later I will have to cut back.) if I ate nothing else during the day.

On Friday I drove by Dairy Queen knowing I had a lot of points left and decided to indulge. Sure, it was tasty. But I didn’t measure the points until after I had thrown the cup away. That Blizzard was murder. It put me right at my limit for the whole day, given what else I had eaten on Friday. Weight Watchers builds in extra points every week that you can add to your daily total at random times, so I was still well within the weekly points.

When I got home, though, I didn’t feel like eating. In fact, I wasn’t feeling well, so I didn’t eat at all. Later I ate a salad and saved my portion of dinner, a delicious pesto chicken dish Diana made, for lunch on Saturday.

It didn’t help, either, that when I went walking on Thursday I hurt my foot, the same one with the ankle that got turned the week before in the Bremerton pothole. I’m pretty sure the injuries are related. I took Friday off from exercising.

Still, it was a good week. As you can see by my bottom line I saw the “8” I wanted to see. Blizzards won’t disappear forever, but they will be far less frequent than they were. And ordering a small wouldn’t hurt. Despite my lack of common sense this week, my Weight Watchers program is telling me I’m losing weight too fast. That’s kind of how it works for me for the first two weeks of the program. Given this begins week three, this may be the last time it tells me that. Now we get to the 2 pounds a week average. That’s why I projected my goal would take two years. Awesome news, I am 1/52 of the way there!

Bottom Line:
Beginning weight: 404
This week’s weight: 388.4
Last week’s weight: 392
One week change: -3.6
Total weight lost: -15.6
Weight loss goal: 205
Percentage body weight goal: 50.5 percent
Percentage body weight lost: 3.9 percent
Percentage of goal lost: 7.6 percent
Plans for this week: Be conscious about getting more fruits and veggies. Walking or stationary bike will still be the primary mode of exercise. Continue on Weight Watchers.

Conspiracy Part 2, or is it?

If for no other reason you might want to come see the latest podcast page just to see what I will be wearing for Halloween this year. Or do you?

This is conspiracy theory month on The Narrative Arts Podcast. This week we bring you Part 2 of four episodes devoted to issues like what really happened when JFK was shot. Or was he?

You could have listened to the podcast early. I accidentally posted the episode on Wednesday and didn’t know how to unpost it without erasing the entire page. Or was it an accident?

In this episode I interview University of Washington Professor Ingrid Walker, who for some time studied conspiracy theories. Or did she?

October is conspiracy month. Alert the media.

I’m not lying about this. Today a man called our office and said John Kennedy has been held at the Pentagon since 1963. The caller also said he was the legal prime minister of Canada. That’s two major conspiracies in one short phone call. I didn’t take the call. I wish I had.

Because I like to keep the podcasts to between 10 and 20 minutes, I’ve decided to just throw up my hands and concede that the whole month is going to be about conspiracy theories.

Last week I told you about those dots on mailboxes. This week and next I’ll mostly be playing an interview I did with a University of Washington professor who once specialized in studying conspiracy theories. Then, in the final week of October I’ll tell you about a conspiracy theory I might be inclined to believe.

There is nothing like Halloween to put you in the right spirit for conspiracies, and nothing like conspiracy theories to give juice to your imagination as the holiday we will all be banished to Hell for celebrating approaches.

Just ask First Baptist Senior Pastor Robert Jeffress. Halloween celebrators, Muslims, Buddhists and Mormons will all be in Hell together. I hope there’s good Italian food.

Part two in the conspiracy airs Friday. Aloha.

Christopher Cross — Maximizing what makes him unique

Every so often you get a chance to encounter someone who has clearly sailed far emphasizing one thing no one else can do. On Friday I went to a Christopher Cross concert and witnessed just that, someone who has maximized the benefit out of something unique to him.

Christopher Cross, on the right, with the guitar.

Back in the early 1980s I heard of Christopher Cross’s concert at BYU. This was pretty much when Cross was at his hottest. I really liked him. I bought his first album and loved his song from the movie “Arthur.”

A review of Cross’s concert was not kind, I was told, in particular because his show followed closely an earlier show by Barry Manilow. Cross was this quiet, shy performer who went on stage with a guitar and a stool and just sang. A Manilow concert, by comparison, was like going to a Broadway play. So one response to the review was that it was unfair to compare the shows. Manilow does his thing. Cross does his.

That seemed a fair response, yet when I was given tickets to see Christopher Cross in Bremerton last Friday I was worried I would be bored out of my skull. Again, I liked his songs back in the early 1980s. In fact, Cross was huge on the radio. He won five Grammys and an Oscar. But I was never captivated. On Friday I went because my employer gave me tickets, which provided me and my wife a cheap date night.

When we entered the theater I was thrilled right off to see the stage. There were two keyboards, a drum set and another percussion set. So this wasn’t just going to be Christopher Cross singing.

Dinner was fantastic, so we felt spoiled already.

Christopher Cross came out with a band he introduced right away. He led off with one of the songs from his first album. I forget what it was, but I knew it when I heard it. He gave a nice show. He’s kind of shy, still.

He’s not all together charming, but he is funny. In fact, he catches you off guard with his humor. Before playing “Open Up My Window,” Cross was describing how tough it can be on the road being away from loved ones. He gave the normal spin about that, then said it can get expensive paying for hookers to fill those roles.

That song surprised me. It was sweet. I also appreciated the song “Swept Away,” which was written for the TV show “Growing Pains” and has become a wedding song for many. I liked the concert. I didn’t love it, but I liked it. My favorite part was “Arthur’s Theme,” because it was the one song that took me back to a specific moment. That moment was a movie theater in Couer d’Alene, Idaho. I went there with my good friend Keith to see “Arthur.” It was the last movie I saw before leaving for Chile.

As I watched Cross perform, paying attention to him in a way I hadn’t before, I made a judgment that may seem harsh, but in a sense makes me admire him a lot.

I listen to the lyrics in a Christopher Cross song and he isn’t a great storyteller. I appreciated hearing that “Think of Laura,” which went huge because of Luke and Laura on TV’s “General Hospital,” was written for a real Laura. Laura Carter was a college student killed by a stray bullet. Cross just said she was killed at a young age.

The words in Cross’s hits don’t seem like they were agonizing to produce.

“Hey Laura, where are you now? Are you far away from here? I don’t think so. I think you’re here, taking our tears away.”

It’s nice and all, but a teenager could have written it.

Cross’s music is not especially complex or even that moving. What Cross has done has taken that unique voice of his and struck as much gold as he could with it. He went huge with it, providing a sound we, myself included, appreciated at a particular point in history. He managed to not squander that success. Over the years he has managed to parlay it into a gig that will last the rest of his life. He had a pretty good crowd at Friday’s concert and gave a pretty good show.

For Cross’s ability to take that one uniquely Christopher Cross ingredient and turn it into career I admire him. I’m even jealous of him. He seems like a nice guy, so I am happy for him.