Friday, December 31, 2010

So here we are...

Hi, you guys.

Well, here we are. The grand total weight loss: 56 pounds. Not quite the 74 pounds I was shooting for 365 days ago, but a great success, nonetheless. Thank you to those of you who have been following my and my weight loss throughout the year. It really means a lot. I'm glad I could help inspire others, too. One of the big reasons why I was so public with my weight loss was so I could have you guys constantly pushing me not to give up and to give me that support when I needed to hear it. It wasn't easy to give up because I knew you guys were watching me and waiting to see what each new week would bring. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

2010 was all about eating better and losing weight and now my big focus health-wise for 2011 will be to actually get fit and gain some muscle. Believe it or not, I actually did not go to the gym at all in 2010. I walked a lot, I biked a lot, I played Wii Fit, but I actually never stepped foot inside a gym. However, I now have some flab and I really don't have much muscle (at least on my upper body). I'm getting work-out tips from some good-looking friends and I'm certain that this will actually be a lot harder than my weight-loss challenge last year.

Financially, I'm budgeting for the future. Too often in the past few years, I was living too much in the present and not thinking of saving money for my future. I'm now finding myself wanting some change in my life, even considering the big move to LA, but not really able to find the means to make ends those ends meet. I don't regret those big trips I made to the UK in 2009 and out to Portland/Seattle last year, but they were paid for by credit cards and I'll be paying for those for a while now.

I'm also prioritizing my comedy schedule. I'm going to be gearing my time more towards my own performing projects this year. There were shows I really enjoyed doing last year, but I so found conflicted with doing a few other things I might have also wanted to do. I've already got completely new things that are in motion and I'm going to put up a one-person show (or close to it) before the end of the year. I'm really going to try and actually challenge myself.

I am blessed with great friendships, family, employment, good prospects and improving health. Here's to 2011. I can only hope you bring even greater things than 2010 brought.

Thank you again and Happy New Year!!
Neil

My Year In Videos

I probably did more video projects this year than I ever have before. Not every video has been released yet, but the majority have been released. The following are those videos, along with where I was in my weight loss when I did them. Also, laugh.

Master of Inventions: Boardroom Scenes. 
Shot January 10th. 
Weight: 248 lbs.

Out Take - Neil in Boardroom from Joe Avella on Vimeo.

Master of Inventions: Jeff Speaks Up from Joe Avella on Vimeo.

Master of Inventions - Jeff's Daydream from Joe Avella on Vimeo.


MoveSmart (with Cell Camp). 
Shot April 17th. 
Weight: 222

Move Smart from Clark/Olson Media on Vimeo.


Impress These Apes: Callback Audition. 
Shot May 4th. 
Weight: 217

Impress These Apes 5 - Callback Audition - Neil from Blewt! Productions on Vimeo.


Master of Inventions: More Boardroom Scenes. 
Shot May 8th. 
Weight: 217

Master of Inventions - Taste Test from Joe Avella on Vimeo.

Master of Inventions - Scientists from Joe Avella on Vimeo.


Kelley Blue Book Toyota Corolla Contest Video. 
Shot June 12th. 
Weight: 214



Impress These Apes: Week 8 Finale. 
Shot July 26th. 
Weight: 209

Impress These Apes 5 - Week 8 - Neil from Blewt! Productions on Vimeo.


Kelley Blue Book Review of 2010 Nissan GT-R 
Shot October 16th. 
Weight: 198



Cell Camp: Cord Drawer. 
Shot October 25th. 
Weight: 201(?)




Doritos Contest Entry
Shot in November. 
Weight: 198.


Yep, it's been a great year.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Winding Down 2010

Seems I've not been the only one losing weight this year. Huffington Post listed the Biggest Celebrity Slim Downs of 2010. Some of them I knew about (J-Hud, Drew Carey) but John Goodman, good for you. And Anthony Hopkins, WTF? 800 calories a day?

Weigh-ins...
(11/20): 199
(11/27): 202. (Thanksgiving!)
(12/4): 198
(12/11): 198

So it would appear that I'm plateauing again. I've done this before, but this time seems a little bit more persistent. I've been the same weight now (fluctuating) for about two months. I haven't been exercising as much on account of the cold and what-have-you and the slip-ups have been holiday-related, to be sure. I'm allowed those and I'm sure it'll happen around Christmas too.

At any rate, I won't be hitting my goal of 180 pounds, which is fine. I was hoping I'd lose another 4 pounds before the end of the year to hit an even 60 pounds lost but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. It doesn't bother me because I know I'll hit it next year and even more. I've already begun making plans for next year which I'll blog about in a few weeks at a special end-of-the-year post on the last week of December.

I will say that I've been very busy in these last few months of the year. It has made me re-evaluate a lot and I'll be definitely setting priorities. So, stay tuned, kiddies.

Neil

Friday, November 19, 2010

Checking In (not Checking Out)

Remember how sometimes bloggers stop blogging just for no reason other than they just don't make time for it? That's kinda what I've done. For those of you who have been tuning in to my blog this year, you've noticed I haven't really blogged much anyway on here. Most of the entries are just weigh-ins.

Due to circumstances sort-of beyond my control, I've been moving a lot in the past three months or so. My internet access has been rocky as has my free time. However, you'll be happy to know that I haven't stopped my weigh-ins.

(10/9): 201.
(10/16): 198.
(10/23): 204. (I had a ton of sushi the night before)
(10/30): 199
(11/6): 199
(11/13): 197

My total weight loss this year is now 57 pounds. My jeans are now size 38. I am wearing size Large shirts. I am still going and it actually hasn't been very hard to keep up.

I'm not sure how often I'll update this blog, but it's pretty safe to say that I've changed my lifestyle permanently. I'm still losing weight - albeit slowly - and I'm not sure when it'll cease. It isn't always easy, but it's sustainable and that's really what I've needed all these years.

Neil

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Day 275: The Weigh-In: Week 39

This past week was my vacation week and I went to Seattle and Portland because I had never been before and there were people out there I haven't seen in a long time (or ever!) There was some question of whether I could afford this trip. I went anyway even though I probably couldn't, so I'm hoping this doesn't come back to bite me in the butt.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (10/2): 201.
Weight loss this week: +1
Total weight loss: 53 lb.

As expected this week, I gained weight. I can't think of a healthy meal I had on vacation, to be honest. I did walk a few miles in Portland too, so I'm sure that helped. But it was only a pound; very manageable.

For those of you who don't know, I am moving into a house with my amazing talented friend Jonny. He bought on this house in March but the banks who own the place still haven't closed on it. It looks like its actually going to happen in the next few weeks. During this time, I have been in a temporary apartment with my friend Mary. Since it's been temporary, I've never quite felt like I've had a home-home, so it's been very hard to make any decisions.

So, Phase 3 begins in November... I'm hoping. Fiscal responsibility. Weight lifting. Running. Ugh, I hate running so much. I might powerwalk to start. We'll see. I'll be cheering on those Chicago Marathon runners next Sunday though. I might be one of them in a few years.

Neil

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 261 & 268: The Weigh-In: Week 37 & 38

I think I may be at that point when bloggers just forget to blog or don't make time for it. This may be related to my current situation, which I will address further down the post below.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (9/18): 202.
Weight loss this week: 0
Total weight loss: 52 lb.

So last week was my third weekend at 202, which was not very surprising as I really haven't changed my diet too much, nor have I really been exercising. See, right now, I'm currently in what I would call a "holding pattern." I am in-between living situations where I was in an apartment and I will soon be living in a house with two dudes who have beards.

But, in the meantime, I'm in a temporary apartment with my friend Mary. She's been great but I just haven't felt settled in this time, probably because I know I'll be moving again soon. It could be as soon as 3-5 weeks. So, I haven't updated a lot of my mail, etc. (I get most of my bills done electronically anyway). Anyway, my life has been based on getting into routines in the past 9 months and it's been hard trying to adjust some of them when I know I'm just in a temporary place.

Regardless, I went to my friend Adam and Jenn's wedding last weekend and saw a lot of people I haven't seen in 50 pounds. People were very nice and it was great seeing everyone. It was really amazing to think that I've known a lot of those people for well over eight years and none of them had seen me this thin. Hell, I've never seen me this thin, which is another reason why I've probably slowed down my routines.

It feels like I've already reached my goal because I've never been this thin. But I know I can do better. This week I thought it would be more of the same.
 
STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (9/25): 200.
Weight loss this week: 2
Total weight loss: 54 lb.

Turns out, not so much. This is so exciting, you guys. Right on the vergey verge of being under 200 lbs.  I will definitely film my weigh-in and post it online!

Tomorrow, I head to Seattle & Portland for my first vacation since March 2009. I really, really needed it and I almost didn't go because my moneys are so "iffy" right now, but I decided ultimately I could make it work, with some tips from friends on keeping things cheap. I've never been to either city but I hear they're just great and quite different from Chicago. I hope I don't love them too much. Stay tuned.

Neil

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 254: The Weigh-In: Week 36

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (9/11): 202.
Weight loss this week: 0
Total weight loss: 52 lb.

No weight loss but no weight gain, so overall it's pretty positive. I started riding my bike again this week. I got in 43 miles total this week but I didn't really change my diet.

I've begun a semi-regular routine of a couple of slices of toast for breakfast, two sandwiches for lunch, usually one turkey and one ham, and then Subway for dinner. Sometimes breakfast or dinner will change, but lunch is generally the same. Surprisingly, I've really fell into this routine and am enjoying it quite a bit. I've been doing it for about two weeks now and I'm not really sure when I'll get tired of it. I really look forward to each meal.

Now I know what you may be thinking: That's a lot of bread. And yes, it is. But despite what Atkins and South Beach claim, bread is actually good for you. I've been downing Subway a lot in the past 9 months and I would say the results have been damn good. Delicious, even.

My lunches have been so cheap, too! One tip for the sandwich makers is to try and get them loaves of bread that don't have the corn syrup. It surprised me that that jerk made its way into bread! You're supposed to be in junk food, corn syrup. Jerk.

Next Monday is my birthday. Would be nice to hit 199 as a nice present but I haven't lost 3 pounds in a week since the early days this year. Plus, I'm due for a weight gain in the cycle, I think. We'll see what happens.

Neil

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Day 247: The Weigh-In: Week 35

I don't think I rode my bike at all this week. Maybe a few miles if I did at all, but not enough for me to remember to take note of it in my dailymile. I ate pretty well, however, so I wasn't really sure what to expect.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (9/4): 202.
Weight loss this week: 2
Total weight loss: 52 lb.

Nice. Again, it was another time when I really felt thinner by the end of the week, so I'm glad the old body managed to drop a couple more pounds this week. Two-pound weeks are hard to pull off at this stage in my weight-loss and I suspect I'll have at least a week of weight gain before I finally hit 199.

I really can't believe I'm this close to being under 200 pounds. My friend Joe asked me today when the last time I weighed 202 pounds was and I told him I could not tell him. I honestly don't know! I'm thinking it had to be back in high school though. I say this because I'm pretty much officially in size 40 pants, which I haven't worn since high school.

I joked this week that if I didn't reach my goal this year that I have to start all over again in 2012, since next year I'd have to gain back all the weight I lost. How comical! I wonder if the weight gain would take just as long. I think with plenty of tummy aches I could gain it back quicker than I lost it.

Of course, I might cause some damage to my everything.

Neil

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Day 245: Transition

The transition so far has had its good moments and bad, like with any move. I've mostly been out every night, so this is actually my first night of rest. A lot has happened in the past week in my personal life; most events were probably ultimately insignificant in the big picture but they were a bit much to deal with in a short period of time.

But I digress.

I am currently living temporarily in my friend Mary's apartment near Lawrence and Pulaski, so I decided to try out the #53 Pulaski bus for the first time. This bus is almost a straight shot down and reduces my travel time to work from an average of 75-90 minutes to 50 minutes. This is good, but it is a shot against my motivation for riding my bike, as that also takes 50 minutes with my bike-lane-friendly, bad-neighborhood-avoiding route I've plotted out for myself.

I did find it humorous that on the first day I rode the Pulaski bus, I read an article in the RedEye about the worst bus routes and the very same bus was at the top of the list. They are right, though. The bus is always packed, although I get on early enough to get a seat. I have yet to ride my bike to work this week and with today's rain and tomorrow's post-work agenda, it looks as if it's not going to happen.

I did get a wicked workout on Sunday with the moving and subsequent bike riding. I'm not really eating too differently this week either, I don't think, but I'm interested to see if I see any weight gain. I still feel pretty great in general.

Man, I hope I didn't gain weight.

Neil

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Day 240: The Weigh-In: Week 34

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (8/28): 204.
Weight loss this week: 0
Total weight loss: 50 lb.

I'd much rather not lose any weight than gain weight, so not a bad week. I cut down on the biking, but still managed 67 miles.

This was my last week in the neighborhood I've lived in for the last four years and the only one I've called home since I've moved to Chicago. It's not a far move: just one neighborhood over to Albany Park. However, the move does affect my biking trips to work. What's annoying is how I'll be biking to work. I'll now be going east, then south, then west instead of going south and west the entire time. The neighborhoods get pretty bad directly south between this apartment and work so I have to avoid them. The distance is the same though, really, regardless of the fact that I'm starting from a different point.

It should be interesting seeing how my workout changes, if it does, during this transitional point. I'm in a temporary apartment(s?) until the bank finally closes the sale on Steiny's house so most of my stuff is packed away in storage, making me feel mostly not at home. But we will see, I suppose.

Neil

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Day 233: The Weigh-In: Week 33

My major biking goal this week was 100 miles. I started out on-track but decided to take a small break on Wednesday so I wasn't burned out by Friday (which is what happened last time). Because of that, however, I needed to make up the time so I ended up biking a lot more on Thursday and Friday. Nothing beats hitting a major goal at the end of a work week.

Of course, I figured there would be muscle gain this week (as there had been on other major biking weeks) so I didn't expect much of a weight loss, if at all.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (8/21): 204.
Weight loss this week: 2
Total weight loss: 50 lb.

So, with this hitting of the big 5-0, I made it to two major goals this week. I definitely felt thinner by Saturday morning so I'm glad I actually was. Being under 200 pounds is right around the corner and, when that happens, hoo boy I'm gonna be a wreck.

As my next major biking goal, I actually tossed around the idea of biking out to Woodstock some weekend. Woodstock is 50 miles from Chicago. Right now, the longest I've biked on public streets is just over 17 miles and the most in one day was 28 miles. The longest I biked ever was the Bike the Drive event, which was 30 miles. I'm pretty sure I could do it, but I'm not sure I'll do it this summer. Stay tuned.

Neil

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Day 226: The Weigh-In: Week 32

This whole week I spent thinking about that damn weight gain from Monday, hoping I'd somehow get it down to 206 again. Yes, it was probably mostly water weight, but I figured I'd still keep some of the weight gain.

This was difficult, as being sick along with a heat wave in Chicago limited me to only 20 miles biking for the entire week.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (8/14): 206.
Weight loss this week: 0
Total weight loss: 48 lb.

Luckily for me, that wasn't the case and I managed to lose all the weight that I had gained last weekend. I was more than satisfied with that result than losing any more weight this week. Needless to say, this weekend was very different and I only had one or two guilty foods. Very little cravings for the crap foods for sure.

The week of the 16th is calling for excellent weather and I am slowly getting over my cold, so I am shooting for biking 100 miles this coming week. I've got to get in as much biking as I can. Autumn is just around the corner! Unbelievable. Hopefully I can hit 50 pounds lost next Saturday.

My birthday is one month away and I'm looking to make it a combined 31st birthday/50 pounds lost/first time under 200 lbs get-together. It'll probably be at a bar as I'm not exactly sure where I'll be living next month.

Stay tuned,
Neil

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Day 219: The Weigh-In: Week 31

I'm posting this as a Saturday post, since that's when I did my weigh in, but this entry is about my entire weekend through Monday evening.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (7/31): 206.
Weight loss this week: 2
Total weight loss: 48 lb.

I lost two pounds! I hit 206 for the first time! However...

After my weigh in, I commenced eating really badly this weekend. It was unprecedented. I kept eating until I had a stomach ache. I'm done, of course, because the weekend's over. It's crazy how I just did not stop myself when I had the bad food just sitting there with no one around to eat it but me. I bought more bad food even after I had already eaten plenty. I was full, but I still ate because I knew this was my only time I could be bad.

I still kinda had a stomach ache today, but that may be partly because I'm getting sick. (I think there's a bug going around too because everyone else seems to be getting sick too.) Anyway, tonight, after a long day at work, I decided to weigh myself again, which is something I almost never do.

Well.... tonight the scale read 211.

Yikes. This is three days after my weigh-in on Saturday that read 206. Now, I know my body fluctuates up and down every day, but that is a LOT of fluctuation. I didn't exercise at all this weekend either, so it's not like I gained muscle. After my bike ride home on Friday, I ended up playing softball and that made me sore the rest of the weekend. Sure, I went out a few times, but generally all I really did was veg and eat.

So, in conclusion, my gorging this weekend has pretty much put me off bad food for the next month or so. These were just poor choices and I will not be making them again any time soon. I do believe that I should allow myself to eat whatever I want at points, but these are the kind of actions that would sabotage everything I've been working so hard for this year and I'm going back to making sure I eat right as often as possible along with keeping up the exercise. Plus, it's just dangerous.

And in case people are wondering, no, I'm not going through a very stressful time or anything. Things are generally OK. I think I'm just not used to being in this body so I'm testing my limits and seeing what I can get away with whenever I get a chance. I just went really overboard this weekend. I really don't think I've eaten this badly since before the diet started. I am certain much of the weight gain is from eating and not from gaining muscle.

I'm really remembering how I blew it the last time I was around this weight. I guess we'll see where I'm at come next Saturday morning. I'm hoping I've just got a lot to process still in my system and hopefully the rain won't prevent me from biking a few times to and from work this week as it did last week.

I feel like right now I'm in the middle of this stupid fight between Clark Kent and Superman from Superman III and I'm Clark Kent and the old me is Superman.



Thanks again for the support everyone. I won't let either of us down.

Neil

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Day 215: Now What?

So, it's quite the change going from lots of projects to zero.

I've only biked 3 miles this week and I already feel like I'm eating worse. I bought snacks tonight and they're already all gone. I drove to work this morning (it was raining!)

At any rate, I already feel lazier. Last week I biked less than the week before and this is the slowest start to any week yet. Plus, I already feel like my cravings are higher than they've ever been! Not sure why this would be. But now that I have all this time I'm just staying at home, so I guess I can't buy them salty snacks. I think I learned this lesson months ago and forgot about it.

I'm hoping to ride my bike to work tomorrow. Gotta get back in the routine. I know, I really haven't fallen out of the routine yet, but I feel like it would be really easy to do so. I haven't gotten far enough away in my lowest weight ever to feel totally secure yet that I won't reverse the trend.

At least I'm aware of these issues. Not even sure they're issues yet, but I'm gonna try and tackle them before they become issues. This might become harder than it has already been.

Neil

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Day 212: The Weigh-In: Week 30

I was out of town for my weigh-in time so I had to wait until the afternoon to weigh myself. It's really too bad. The scale I used to weigh myself in Milwaukee was much nicer than the scale I use all the time. (I wish I had lost 5 pounds!)

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (7/31): 208.
Weight loss this week: 1
Total weight loss: 46 lb.

So I'm back to where I was a few weeks ago. I didn't bike nearly as much this week as I did last week, hoping to focus more on eating less than exercising more. It worked, it seems.

What a week this was. I finished Impress these Apes on Monday in 2nd place, with perfect 10s for my finale. It turned out pretty much as well as I could have hoped. Everything came together, with help from Jill and Tim, and I made the piece that I'm most proud of ever creating and performing in my life. The reaction was overwhelming, with a standing ovation that seemed to last forever. The night was unreal and I was so proud to have been a part of the whole experience and perform on stage with such great talents.



On Friday, Cell Camp performed in Milwaukee for our first live show since January. Unfortunately for us, our Kate was in NYC doin' improv, but our show still went great. Theater was about half full but the response was awesome. I got to see a lot of Milwaukee friends, too. An overall amazing time. Plus, this nice picture was taken that really shows off how much weight I've lost.


Almost all my remaining free days this week were taken up by rehearsal for *Creepy Hug's new show, "Heat Stroke." It's my first Skybox show (and my first sketch show run) since May 2009. This opened Saturday night and went off better than any rehearsal we did. Check it out; four more weeks left!

Now I have almost nothing on my plate. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Relief at the moment.

Neil

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 205: The Weigh-In: Week 29

It was the final weekend of "Impress these Apes" so I didn't update this on Saturday. However, I was really excited to get on the scale because I biked just over 80 miles Monday thru Thursday. And I just plain felt thinner.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (7/24): 209.
Weight loss this week: 0 (+1)
Total weight loss: 45 lb.

No way! However, I know for certain it's muscle gain. I didn't even eat poorly the entire week despite the gain in exercise. So, I gotta deal with that happening if I keep this routine up.

The rain through the rest of the weekend and just plain exhaustion kept me from reaching 100 miles biked in one week, but I think its very achievable. It was SO HOT and my work does not even have air conditioning; I can't believe that I actually biked as much as I did.

I'm taking it easy the week of the 26th but will try again the following week.

Holla,
Neil

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 198: The Weigh-In: Week 28

I'm a little sad I haven't been blogging more than once a week, but being a contestant in Impress These Apes really takes up a lot of your brain space during the week. Sadly and thankfully, the show closes on July 26th. I'm currently tied for 3rd place! Come see the show if you haven't already and get your tickets now because we will sell out the final weeks.

Anyway, I really pushed it this week. Three months ago, after my first big bike trip, I set a goal to hit 204 in a hundred days. I had a particularly rough section in May/June where I kept gaining back the weight I lost and, for a while, it felt like I wasn't going to lose any more weight. But then I got back on the horse and started to lose weight again. I knew I wasn't going to hit the goal but I wanted to see how close I could get.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (7/17): 208.
Weight loss this week: 2
Total weight loss: 46 lb.

I really stepped it up this week. According to dailymile, I rode 67 miles on my bike since Tuesday. Since a lot of my travels were to places away from home, I went to Subway a lot more. (I really should get them to sponsor me in something.) I was worried when I woke up this morning because I could feel that I definitely have gained muscle from my riding. This is good, but it would also mean I may not have lost weight. It's so difficult balancing that out.


Being four pounds off from my goal is really not bad. I still lost sixteen pounds in 100 days and I'm the lightest I've been as an adult. I've actually had a difficult time grasping this thought. It hasn't really hit me yet, so I think either when I hit 199 lbs or when I hit 50 lbs weight loss or something, I'll post something really nice.

About five or six years ago, I got to be around this weight and thought I couldn't lose any more I guess (?) so I just slowly gained it all back. Here I am, back where I was before, and I feel like I've given myself another chance to really see what I can do.

I have lost 46 pounds this year. I am 28 pounds away from my goal, which I have to reach in 167 days. It seems easy, right? However, of course, most of my weight was lost early on.



I lost 30 pounds by Day 100. I lost 16 pounds more by Day 198. So, in order to stay on target, my next goal is 20 pounds more by October 30 (Day 303). This would put me at 188 pounds. This would also give me 62 days to lose my last ten pounds.

I'm just going to keep trying. I'm not going to take any drastic, unhealthy measures to reach these goals. Like this time, if I don't reach them, I just don't reach them.

I will just keep trying.

Neil

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Day 191: The Weigh-In: Week 27

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (7/10): 210.
Weight loss this week: 0
Total weight loss: 44 lb.

No weight loss this week, but I did feel like I wasn't trying too hard either. I still biked 61 miles since last Saturday. I actually went on the scale this morning saying to myself, "Just don't gain. Just don't gain." And I didn't.

The weather finally became what all of us Chicagoans dread, which is July weather. Steamy hot (and humid at times), which really makes it difficult to want to work out when you live in central air. I knew I was being bad the whole week, though, and finally got out for some biking before my rehearsal on Thursday night.

I had off of work on Thursday, which is usually the day I ride my bike to work, so I rode my bike on Friday which turned out to be a bee-yootiful day. I got some great news and the workday went by fast, especially for a Friday. I ended up going to bed at 10:30 last night, which is super early for me. I think I was just pooped. I may not hit my 204 lb goal next Saturday (still 6 pounds away) but I'm going to come as close as I can.

I've decided I think I'm going to try and ride my bike to work every day. That would be an automatic 80 miles of biking every week (I work 4 days a week) plus it would help prepare me for long-distance biking, which is what I hope to eventually do in a year or so.

PEACE.
Neil

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Day 184: The Weigh-In: Week 26

Barbeque season is definitely upon us. Last weekend's feasting antics spread into the week, but I managed to curb it around the middle of the week.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (7/3): 210.
Weight loss this week: 1
Total weight loss: 44 lb.

Still keepin' it up! I don't think it has completely sunk in yet that I'm the lightest I've been in my adult life. Maybe I have to lose a few more pounds? I dunno. Soon, though. Very exciting.

I joined dailymile this week. I am not good at logging anything in general, so we'll see if this lasts. So far, I really like it. It seems more accurate and easier to use than walkjogrun. However, I tried using livestrong earlier this year and I just couldn't keep up, but I think that's because I just needed to constantly be updating that.

At any rate, I biked to work twice this week (first time for that) so my numbers are already high for this month already (47 miles in two days). I do like that I get to work faster by biking, but I really am quite pooped by the time I get there that it just takes a while for me to function. I think I'm going to try to bike to work whenever I can, since a round trip really does burn a lot of calories (about 1600/day).

Today, we shot the last scene of episode one of "Hank Frisco," which required me to eat Oreo Snack Cakes. We had to do multiple takes, so I ended up eating, like, 7 of these things. And boy, did my stomach not like them after a while. I never thought I'd get sick of chocolate, but there you are.

We're already past halfway through the year (June 17) but I am already past halfway through my goal. Whether I'll hit 204 pounds by July 17th is still up in the air. At this rate (2 weeks away), not a chance (3 pounds a week?), but I'll be close. I honestly think if I just make a few adjustments in my diet, I could pull it off, but I don't want to do anything drastic. Who knows? If I bike to work every day, I still could hit it.

Neil

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Day 177: The Weigh-In: Week 25

There was some trepidation to weigh-in this week. I thought I might not have lost any weight or maybe even gained a pound. I didn't get to bike as much this week because of the storms, but I still got in what I am going to try to make my standard once-a-week bike-to-work, which is about 20-miles round trip.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (6/26): 211.
Weight loss this week: 1
Total weight loss: 43 lb.

I still managed to lose a pound! I'm only 7 pounds away from reaching my next goal of 204 pounds on July 17th. It's going to be very close at this rate, but if I hit this goal, it would mean I am exactly on target to reach my target weight of 180 on December 31st.

These intense summer storms have been awesome and I'm not looking forward to their demise this season. After my Apes show on Monday, I was fortunate enough to be caught in one of these storms on my bike. I say fortunate because I've come to discover that there is little I've experienced that's more exciting than biking through the city during a severe thunderstorm. The lightning bursts, the huge thunder, the heavy rain, the traffic. Yes, it's dangerous, but it was awesome and I would do it again in a heartbeat.

Mind you, I only did this because I knew I was going straight home. I was soaked with rain and, by the time I got home, I felt like I had just been through one a ride at a water park but I was completely clothed. No one wants to go anywhere else but home after going through a severe thunderstorm.

If you want a real thrill, I highly encourage biking through a thunderstorm at night. Keep in mind: It is pretty dangerous. Lots of big puddles, very wet, be alert to traffic and be safe. Also, make sure when you get home that you keep warm afterward and drink plenty of Vitamin C to make sure you don't get sick.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Day 170: The Weigh-In: Week 24

Major backdating on this entry, but it was a very hectic weekend. Of course, the first thing I did was to weigh in on Saturday morning.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (6/19): 212.
Weight loss this week: 2
Total weight loss: 42 lb.

I think I'm not going to get overly excited until I hit 209. It was another one of those "best-of" weigh ins, where the scale said 214 when I first got on, but every time I tried it again it said 212.8. So... I was going to make a very nice video entry for 212, but I'm saving it for 209, which I should hit in a week or two at this current rate.

I feel I am almost at the point where I don't have to tell myself anymore not to eat poorly. Like, most of the time I feel pretty full. There are some times when I snack a little too much, but I've also learned not to buy crappy salty snacks. I'm still always looking at calories. Fat and sodium too.

When I biked to the Old Town neighborhood earlier this week (about 12 miles round trip), I thought about when I first moved to Chicago almost four years ago. I thought about all those shows and rehearsals where I drove my car and wasted all that time looking for a parking spot. I spent all that money on parking when I couldn't find a spot. It was a little depressing, but it also felt pretty great knowing that I can't really picture going back to that at this point in my life.

I wonder how I'm going to do in Winter when its too cold to bike...

Neil

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Day 163: The Weigh-In: Week 23

I didn't eat completely well this week, but I definitely stepped up the activities. I had my biggest bike day ever this Thursday - 35 miles - and it was a sweaty week overall in Chicago, which helped greatly.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (6/12): 214.
Weight loss this week: 3
Total weight loss: 40 lb.

Eff yeah. I hit the big 4-0 and saw a number I haven't seen yet this year: 214. I'm hoping that this trend continues and it doesn't go back up again come next Saturday. I am two pounds away from being the lightest weight I have ever been in my adult life.

Actually, I'm not entirely sure this is true. However, I keep thinking - and I think I've mentioned this in an earlier post - that 213 is the lightest number I remember seeing on the scale in the past ten years. It is possible that it was 212 or maybe even 210, but I never took note of my lightest weight ever.

Regardless, it's so close I can taste it. And I'm only 10 pounds away from that 204 pounds I'm supposed to hit come July 17th. If I keep working hard like I have been this past week, I think I can lose another 10 pounds in just over a month, despite my poor results over this past month.

I feel great!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Day 161: Biggest Bike Day Yet

I had my biggest bike day ever today: 35 miles total.



I don't know when I'll ride to work again. The neighborhoods around my work are so sketchy that I really don't feel comfortable riding through them. But I'm glad I did it once. I might do it again. The trip overall was about 55 minutes, which is only 20 minutes longer than it would be if I drove to work and about 30 minutes quicker than taking public transit.

This map does not reflect one big trip; just a culmination of the entire day. 10 miles to work this morning, 7 miles to downtown, 9 mile bike tour and then 9 miles home.

I feel pretty accomplished. I wish I had the time to do this every day.

Neil

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Day 156: The Weigh-In: Week 22

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (6/5): 217.
Weight loss this week: 0 (+1)
Total weight loss: 37 lb.

I have to vent.

I am now back at the same weight I was almost a month ago. I really, really hate this. It is so frustrating. I would say that I'm eating poorly and that's why this is happening but I'm really not doing anything too differently that I can see. Any over-indulgence over the weekend is usually corrected during the week. As this is the start of summer, there have been more BBQs. Yes, I also have been eating a little bit more. But I apparently can't even cheat a little bit and that sucks.

What's scary is this is the kind of frustration that makes me want to eat. That cliche line "I eat because I'm depressed and I'm depressed because I eat" really is so true and it's something that a lot of overweight people get stuck in pretty easily. Luckily, I am listening to my body more and I hear it when it gets full (most of the time). I get full quicker and I really get a stomach ache if I don't listen.

I'm not too worried about me about eating in frustration, but it's one of those things I really want to do. I mean, I ultimately had ZERO weight loss in a month. I lost almost 10 pounds in April. That's devastating. I can't see myself reaching my ultimate goal this year at this rate and I probably won't even hit my goal of 204 pounds by July 19th that I set on Day 105.

I think what's most frustrating is that I am still within just five pounds of my lightest adult weight ever and I just cannot seem to get there. It would be a huge milestone for me to just get there and it is so maddening to have it dangled there just out of reach. I really think it would be a tremendous second wind to just reach 212.

I know I'll start losing weight again. It's one of those times when I'm just building muscle and it's balancing. Eye on the prize. I am technically already half-way there (37 being halfway to 74 pounds) and it's not even half-way through the year yet; not until July 2nd. It's not even the summer yet. 37 pounds is fucking amazing and I still get people complimenting me every day.

(deep breath)

I'll get there.

Neil

PS-- I started pushups this week, upon recommendation of Steiny. I overdid it though on the first day and my arms have been hurting ever since. They're a part of my daily routine now and they hurt.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 150: Biking the Drive


The weather was perfect. We started at 6am and we didn't get to see the sunrise because I didn't realize the sun rose earlier than that. The whole 30-mile round trip, from Bryn Mawr to 57th Street and back, took about 2 hours and 45 minutes and it flew by.

I definitely want to do it again next year.

Neil

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 149: The Weigh-In: Week 21

I went back to cutting out snacks this week. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. I also biked a lot more. The weather was really nice, too. So I weighed myself this morning.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (5/29): 216.
Weight loss this week: 2
Total weight loss: 38 lb.

For the first time in two weeks, I've lost weight again. I guess snacking does make a difference.

I went to Target last night and bought some new shirts because I simply can't keep wearing these oversized tees and polos. I feel like a slob when I wear them. I have a large bag that I'm donating to good will of pretty decent XXL shirts and some old pants. That's awesome.

I broke down that biking trip and it would really take a lot longer than I thought, unfortunately. Minimum of four months. Probably closer to five months. I can't imagine how I'd ever get the means to take a break from everyday life for that long. It really would be amazing though and I do want to do a big biking trip. Whether it will be this trip, or something like it, will remain to be seen for now.

Neil

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Day 147: A Trip of a Lifetime

I'm officially registered for the 2010 Bike the Drive this weekend. I'm very, very excited about this. The weather is supposed to be perfect and it's supposed to be a great experience. The only downside is that the event starts at the nightmarish hour of 5:30am, a time of day which I didn't know still existed. The plus-side of that, however, is that I will be able to watch the sunrise over Lake Michigan, something that I've really not done... at least not on a sunny morning. I'm going to be biking with my bosses, who are a great pair. I'm surprised I haven't heard about anyone else doing it. Come on, people!! At any rate, I'll be taking photos.

On Tuesday after work, I had an epiphany of a trip that I intend to do sometime within the next three years. I originally thought of doing it later this summer, but there is no way that I would be able to spare or afford enough time away from my job any time soon. So, what is this huge trip?

I am going to bike across the country.

How I am going to do this I have not figured out yet. I have only been thinking about this for a couple of days. My immediate thought was, "Well, I'm already in the middle of the country, so how am I going to reach both coasts in one trip?" Then the idea of biking the perimeter of the country popped into my head. Now THAT would be a trip and I believe it would take me at least 3 months to complete, given the fact that this dude went across the country in two months. This is my favorite plan so far.

Of course, amongst other things, a trip of this magnitude would require a lot of training, which is why I don't intend to do this for a few years. I do have two weeks of vacation this year that I'm thinking of taking a biking trip around the Midwest somewhere. Any ideas?

If anything happened to my job, I think this is the first thing I would think of doing. I have a big thirst for life experience right now. I can't wait to quench it.

Neil

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 145: Is this July?

Seemingly overnight, Chicago weather has turned into what it usually is in July. The skies are now thankfully clear and what was too cold (lower 60s) is now too hot (upper 80s). However, this weather is just about right for those who want to get in shape.

It is incredibly weird to me, though. Yesterday, but especially today, felt like we had jumped ahead in time. I was looking forward to the slow temperature increases we were going to get as we got closer to June 21st - the official first day of summer, still almost a month away - but it really feels like it's July and it really is messing with my brain.

All I did on Saturday and Sunday was shoot the new Cell Camp short so today was my weekend. I go back to work tomorrow but it feels like I haven't been there in forever. It's really weird. Is anyone else in the area feeling this way?

At any rate, I'm confident I'll be back to losing weight this week. I've got events going on many nights this week to which I'll be biking. I had a biking adventure with Rachel today and went to Lakeview for the first Apes meeting later this evening.

I'm actually thinking about biking to work, but I'm trying to figure out how I'd get there without going through any bad neighborhoods. I work in North Lawndale, so this is next-to-impossible. I mapped out a route, but really, I'm just concerned over the last few miles or so. Right around Garfield Park is where it gets pretty sketchy for me. It's one thing to drive through there - it was part of my driving route when I had a car - but by bike is another thing, especially when you read terrible stories like this.

10 miles would be an awesome workout and a great start to the day, plus the 10 miles back home. It would also actually get me to work faster than it does the train and bus ride I take now, believe it or not. The safety issue is something I'm just not comfortable with yet. There's always some risk biking in the city, anywhere, for a myriad of reasons, but there's plenty of other places I can bike to and worry less about it.

Stay cozy,
Neil

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Day 142: The Weigh-In: Week 20

After last week's scare, this week was pretty much a breeze, just wondering if I was going to lose one pound or two. Or so I thought.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (5/22): 218.
Weight loss this week: 0 (+1 lb.)
Total weight loss: 36 lb.

YIKES. After the week I had last week, I really did not expect to gain weight. I was dumbfounded initially, but now I think I know what happened. 

So, I am no longer allowed to have snacks. Correction! I am no longer allowed to have any tasty snacks, at least for the time being. On two occasions... THREE occasions this week I have over-indulged on snacks. Keep in mind: I usually avoid buying snacks for this reason and this just affirms my concern.

I bought yogurt-covered raisins over the weekend. They were gone in days. I bought some mixed nuts. After I finished half a canister in a night, I threw them away. I bought some almond clusters this morning - mistaking them for actual almonds but they are, in fact, almonds chopped up and held together with something sugary - and the bag was gone in a day.

I never buy 100 calorie packs of anything because I know I will finish the box in a few nights, so back to buying fruits and veggies for snacks. It's hard to overindulge on those things and I wouldn't feel guilty about it if I did.

So I still have six pounds to go until I hit that elusive Lowest Adult Weight Ever.

Do me right, summer,
Neil

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 135: The Weigh-In: Week 19

So, as I mentioned earlier this week, I really thought I was going to gain weight this week. In fact, I was more than ready to prepare to just throw in the towel and expect a weight gain this morning. Doughnuts were brought into work yesterday and I had one.

However, I still thought there might be hope and so I made a last ditch effort and biked like hell last night. It was a little chilly but skies were clear. I watched the sun set behind the buildings down by the lake. I had a sensible dinner.

When I woke up this morning, I was like, "Okay, I can deal with a 1 or 2 pound gain. No more please..."


STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (5/15): 217.
Weight loss this week: 0 lb.
Total weight loss: 37 lb.


SOMEhow, I managed to avoid any weight gain this week, which is a great relief. I would much rather not lose any weight than actually gain. Gaining anything would set me back a week or two, which really isn't worth the risk.

I'm biking everywhere this weekend. If I have to go somewhere not within walking distance, I'm biking. I went to a Cubs game today and ate and drank half of what I did the last time I went. Looking at the weather, unfortunately, it doesn't look like it's going to improve until later in the week, but I don't trust that anyway. Only yesterday they said "partly cloudy with a high in the mid-60s" for today and it ended up being completely overcast with highs in the mid-50s.

I won't let the weather bring me down this week, dammit. Let's get back to losing weight up in here!!

Peace,
Neil

PS-- Isn't it nice that I actually made time for my blog entry today?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Day 132: Chicago is Weathering Me

April showers bring May flowers. April showers do not bring colder, wetter May showers.

This week started out phenomenally. It was actually an amazing weekend. I got my all of my old friends from college together for the first time in 7 years. It really... really made me miss doing plays and musicals. I mean, I'm still performing and all that, but there's something really rewarding when you perform one character for a couple of hours a night. Once Apes ends, I think I'm going to start auditioning for some plays. And only dramas or serio-comedies.

I got a lot of great compliments from everyone this weekend, but they actually have seen me at this weight before. I was around this weight when I performed in A Streetcar Named Desire in the Spring of 2003. (You can even see how I looked in this video I made during the run of the show.) And the one down-side of this weekend was that I ate a lot of crappy food. We almost set out to eat badly because we were all having such a good time.

On top of that, the weather has absolutely sucked this week. I only biked one night this week (Monday) and, for some reason (maybe just that), I have been really tired... too tired to do much of anything. I have been sleeping on the way to work and the way back. I stayed out later than I should have last night. I just have not been taking care of myself this week! What it comes down to is this: when the weather is crappy, I'm crappy.

So, I do think this week is headed for a setback. I'm going to try and keep balancing exercise and eating the rest of the week, but I just feel heavier now. My jeans feel tighter. I really need to get new clothes; these big shirts really do make me feel like a mess. Shopping trip this weekend.

Figures, since I'm so close to my lowest adult weight ever, that I would have a week that would set me back; I guess we'll wait and see on Saturday. Anyway, I'm going to bed. I should've been in bed hours ago. Keep your fingers crossed.

Neil

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Day 129: Mom

One of my inspirations for losing weight was my mom.

My mom has always had an issue with her weight since she was a young girl, just as I have always had issues with my weight since I was a young boy. From the photos I've seen, she generally stayed around the same weight, which was always more than she wanted. As in my life, there were moments where she would gain weight and then lose it, but she never was satisfied with the weight she would settle on.

In April of 1977, when she was 28, she finally had her first child: My older brother Bill.


She had, of course, gained weight during the pregnancy. I wasn't able find any photos of her from the months following, but that fall, she decided to really see how much weight she could lose. She joined TOPS, a Midwest-based weight-loss support group not unlike Weight Watchers which is still around today apparently.



Now my mom tells me that within six months - yes, six months - she had lost 70 pounds. When I first heard this, it seemed outrageous. The photo above from one of her meetings - where she posed next to a pile of fat (gross) - says she lost 50 pounds from October 26, 1977 to April 5, 1978, just over five months. So I think that she may be remembering a little wrong, but at any rate, she still lost a lot in six months.

I asked her how she did this and she wasn't very specific, other than she kept a food diary of what she ate every day. She didn't eat potatoes and she did eat eggs. That's all I've gotten out of her. She said she would lose 1 to 2 pounds a week like clock-work (which sounds very familiar to me). She continued to lose weight through the end of the year.

The picture above was taken in December, not long before she would find out she was pregnant with me. My mom has said on numerous occasions that she was more than ecstatic when she found out because she knew she "could eat anything again."

She has said that the only down side of having me was that she never was able to get back to the weight she was before she got pregnant with me. Indeed, this is true. She did stay with TOPS for years after I was born, but she has never been able to get back down to that one glorious year she was truly thin.

As I've mentioned earlier, I have taken numerous attempts in my life to reach this goal, some more successful than others. Some have lasted months, others weeks. Whenever they have failed, I think I've always had in the back of my mind that it wasn't time for me to accomplish it. I would think, "Well, Mom did it when she was 30. I guess still have time."

And here we are. I'm 30 years old. I have never had that one glorious year myself, but I am certain this year is it. (We'll see how much I'll lose after five months and a week.) I also intend to make this more than just one glorious year and, luckily for me, I will never have the excuse of getting pregnant to eat whatever I want.

Thanks, Mom, for keeping the hope alive.

Love,
Neil

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Day 128: The Weigh-In: Week 18

(It was a busy weekend. I should really prep for busy weekends by doing posts during the week and time them to be released on their proper day. Anyway, I'll post about the weekend for an entry on Monday, but I'm retro-dating this to the day I weighed in.)

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (5/8): 217.
Weight loss this week: 2 lb.
Total weight loss: 37 lb.

I am within five pounds, but I'm going to just stay the course and not try anything drastic. I have a feeling I would risk gaining back at least one or two pounds the following week, so what's the point, right?

My clothes are getting too lose, which is great. I have bought a few new shirts, which start my laundry cycle out, and then I hit my bigger shirts. I really don't like wearing them much anymore because they make me look sloppy. I really need to crack down and just buy more clothes, but honestly, I'm not a huge fan of clothes shopping. I have a huge bag full of winter clothing that I'm donating and I think I'll soon have a bag full of summer clothes.

At least this weight loss is getting me to dress a little better, finally.

Neil

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Day 121: The Weigh-In: Week 17

Here we are in May. It's officially 4 months into the weight-loss routine and I keep trucking. The blogging has been suffering as of late. I'm not sure if that's my sub-conscious at work or not. I believe I mentioned this recently SOMEwhere, but I tend to drop some habits after a while. This is how I usually end up quitting diets, but I'm too far now to even consider that. :-)

It has been a very busy week for me. I've been working on updating the LA Comedy Fest website, which kept me up until 3am one night. I've also been working on videos and the website for the lovely and talented Katydids, which should be everyone's favorite improv team. Earlier last week, I almost felt buried by the work, but most of it is now done and, somehow, my outlook has almost completely reversed.

Luckily, it didn't affect my routine either, which I'm continuing focusing on...

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (5/1): 219.
Weight loss this week: 1 lb.
Total weight loss: 35 lb.


Protein has been moved up in my diet priority this past week. I am now more focusing on building some muscle... which should also be a challenge with my weight loss. But I guess it's all part of the game, isn't it. I'm also trying to cut out cereals by the end of this week.

But yeah, 35 pounds in 4 months is pretty great. Seven more pounds until my lowest adult weight ever. I was talking about this with my boss on Friday and he was saying when I hit 5 pounds I should go "intense" to see how much I can lose in a week (healthily!!) Like, bike everywhere, workout morning, noon and night, etc. This is what I intend to do. I got a little emotional talking about it with the boss. Should be epic when that milestone happens.

Until then, I have a callback on Monday, which I should get back to working on. Totally nervous and jazzed about it. Wish me leg-breaking and stay tuned.

Neil

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Day 114: The Weigh-In: Week 16

Again with the time-management skills. This week was honestly a blur. I did make some time to ride my bike, but the weather left much to be desired. A decent amount of sun during the weekday but chilly! And this weekend was allllllll wet. Such is Chicago in April, I suppose. I had Thursday off but kinda took time to relax and reflect as it was the anniversary of a good friend's untimely passing.

I didn't do much on Saturday, but for some reason, still did not blog. At any rate, here were the results...

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (4/24): 220.
Weight loss this week: 2 lb.
Total weight loss: 34 lb.

I am nearing the peak point of when I last lost a lot of weight. I'm not sure exactly how much it was, but I'm thinking it was around 213 lbs. Which means, of course, it's only going to get harder from here. I believe the last time I hit that weight, I was doing that South Beach Diet about six or seven years ago. Of course, that didn't last and eventually I came back to bread, my true love.

The key to this weight loss regimen for me is that I have not completely eliminated some treats, I have just limited them. If I do eat like crap - and trust me, I still do at times - I tend to limit it to once a day or one day a week. Knowing I can allow myself to do that will usually get me through the week of eating well and portioning out meals.

I saw an old acquaintance Michelle at my friend Sarah's birthday party on Saturday night and hardly recognized her! She's been kicking ass on her own weight-loss regimen and I must say it sounds like she's earning every bit she loses. Go, Michelle!

I can't believe it's already almost the end of April. What... the hell.

Neil

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Day 107: The Weigh-In: Week 15

I am so very pooped today. I think I'm going to map out today's biking tomorrow, as it really is too much work for me at this time, but I need to post my weigh-in blog entry before the day is over. I biked all the way down to Pilsen(!) this morning to shoot an all day video with Guy Clark and most of Cell Camp for a video contest entry for MoveSmart. It was a late start but we finally got done around 7:30. I still managed to ride all the way back to Lincoln Square from Pilsen via the Lakefront. I think it's around 20 miles round trip.

Before I left, I did my standard Saturday morning weigh-in...

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (4/17): 222.
Weight loss this week: 2 lb.
Total weight loss: 32 lb.

Nice! I'm guessing the last few day's adventures on my bike saved my butt. This bike is sure getting me the exercise I needed. I do not think I will be biking tomorrow as I don't want to get tired of it too early. It's going to be a nice sunny day tomorrow though, which are rare on weekends in Chicago, so I may still go for a walk.

Sadly, my Wii has been gathering dust for a month or so and now that the weather's getting nicer, I may be going outside for exercise now. Anyone want to borrow it?

Neil

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Day 105: My First Big Bike Trip

I took my first big bike trip on my Marin tonight! It was the best evening of the year so far, so I simply could not pass up the opportunity. Unfortunately, I got home a little later than I wanted so I just grabbed my bike and headed out. I need to plan out my trip better next time, as Chicago actually does have designated bike routes. Luckily, I was still able to bike on most streets without much of a problem, even if they didn't have a path.



I rode all the way down to Navy Pier and back to Lincoln Square. I took about a 15-20 minute rest near the lakefront for "Neil time." It's hard to resist such an amazing night at the lakefront and I'm a little upset I haven't gone down to the lake more often in my 3 1/2 years of living in Chicago. All in all, it took about an hour and a half round trip and this site calculated I burned just over 900 calories tonight.

In weight loss news, I am not happy with the little snacking I've been doing nor with the lunches I "prepared" for myself this week (Lean Cuisine). I'm taking a little cue from my friend Rachel and making sure I'm cutting out High Fructose Corn Syrup; I haven't had much anyway but none is better than some. I also must make sure I cook something up to eat over the entire week. I'd rather have fresh cooked meat than frozen microwavable meals. After this week, I am also cutting out cereal. (I have been having bananas for breakfast, but I still buy cereals to snack on at home.)

I am taking careful steps to make sure I don't gain any weight this week and I suspect I'll only lose a pound. I'm not sure I mentioned earlier, but my goal for these next hundred days is 20 pounds. I am actually about 10 pounds away from my lowest adult weight ever. Sooooo close but soooo far.

So, yeah. 204 pounds by July 19. Let's do this!!

Neil

Monday, April 12, 2010

Day 102: I Got Me A Bike!

So, I get a furlough day this week, so I can actually catch up with stuff that I've been lagging on. Hopefully.

As I mentioned in the previous entry, I made a purchase yesterday that will have a great affect on my weight loss this spring and summer, and that is that I bought a BIKE! I managed to find a spectacular deal on Craigslist. I bought this bike for $100. The only issue, at least that I've been told of/noticed so far, is the seat needs to be fixed. The guy bought it brand new last year and barely used it and basically was just trying to get rid of it because it was taking up space. He said he should've asked for more after all the responses he got but he said I was the only one he replied to because I just sounded the most interested; lucky me! (I hope.) I hope this bike wasn't stolen, but the dude had a kid and seemed like a decent chap, so I have my doubts.
Anyway, I'm very excited about this. My own bike was stolen just over a year ago and I missed all the fun last summer. Riding your bike in the city is not always a fun ride but at least I get to see more of it. It came with a U-lock too, but I think I'm always going to be paranoid it's going to be stolen. This city has a terrible reputation when it comes to stolen bikes. Almost every one of my friends have had their bike(s) stolen here in the three and a half years I've lived here.

Anyway, anyone wanna bike the Drive with me? Any braver souls wanna ride nekkid?

Neil

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Day 100: The Weigh-In: Week 14

This weekend was filled with lots of friends again, which also means terrible time-management skills on my part. This entry is back-dated to when I weighed myself this weekend. I seriously am terrible at how I balance my time, more on that later. Right now, I do have good news to impart...

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (4/10): 224.
Weight loss this week: 2 lb.
Total weight loss: 30 lb.

I hit my goal! I looked back on my previous entries and I lost about six pounds in the past month. The loss is definitely slowing down but I'm still on a good pace. Plus, the spring is here and I'm getting out more. I made an awesome purchase this weekend which I will blog about immediately after this entry.

Thanks to Craig, an old friend from Woodstock, for his tips and reminders about what I should be focusing on as I lose weight. One thing I have not been getting enough of is sleep and it's my own fault. I'm sure it's an issue that my friends share too. Since I have a 9 to 5 job, I feel like I never have time for my own projects, so I don't get to work on them until I get home, which I tend to dilly dally around with so I don't start on them until late...

So my point is that I need to manage my time better. Tips are welcome.

Excelsior!
Neil

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Day 97: Celebrity Weight Loss Secrets!

There are a lot of crazy diets that celebrities go on to lose weight. Most of the time, actors do it for movie roles. For example, for The Machinist, Christian Bale went without proper rest for prolonged periods, and placed himself on a crash diet of generally coffee and apples, which reduced his weight by 63 pounds in a matter of months.

Some do it to just be healthier and/or look better. Jennifer Hudson recently lost about 50 pounds through Weight Watchers, according to the commercials, and looks even more stunning than she did before.

Then there's Brian Wilson. The man had gained a lot of weight during the 1970s and without a doubt needed to turn his life around. However, he turned to the controversial doctor Eugene Landy, who cared for Brian and subsequently brainwashed him and exploited him over the course of 15 years.

How controversial is he? Just look at this video of the Beach Boys on The Tonight Show in 1984.



Brian lost a hundred pounds in one year. For a year, he "starved," isolated and put on a 600 calorie diet and he subsequently lost 100 pounds. I can't even imagine how miserable that was, but he certainly seems more lively at this point in his life than he had been in years past. My diet right now is limited to around 1,400 calories a day, more than twice his amount, and I sometimes find it hard.

The only crazier thing I've heard is that Will Sasso lost 200 pounds in a year ten years ago. But that guy was morbidly obese beforehand.

Anyway, I found that video a few weeks ago and I just had to share!

Neil

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Day 93: The Weigh-In: Week 13

What happened to this weekend? Seriously, my only time since Friday night that I've been at home was to sleep, and I didn't sleep long either night. The cast and crew of the new web series "Hank Frisco" spent all Friday night and all day Saturday shooting the first episode, Saturday night I was out til 4am par-tee-ing, and I spent all day today at my parents' place for Easter. I'm pooped but this blog needs an update and I mustn't forget to report the weigh-in.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (4/3): 226.
Weight loss this week: 2 lb.
Total weight loss: 28 lb.

I still managed to lose weight this week and it looks likely that I'll hit 30 lbs by Day 100, which is great. Today was the first time my mom has seen me since Christmas and she was blown away! :-)

Yeah, so bad habits are hard to get rid of. My bad habit of not updating this blog more than once a week has reared its ugly head and Phase II has not taken off like I hoped it would but I really feel I'm going to turn that around this week. It has been a crazy past couple of weeks and I think its throwing off my priorities.

Anyway, thanks for sticking around, gang. New entry on Tuesday night!

Neil

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 86: The Weigh-In: Week 12 + DC

Now, before you get down on me for a week gone by without a blog post, let it be known that I was gone Wednesday through Saturday morning on a company outing to Washington, DC and I did not have any access to the internet (except my Twitter update via cell text).

So, how did I do this week in another city? Not so hot. All company-related expenses were paid by my bosses - including meals. Everything is expensive and terribly overpriced in DC, so of course, I felt like I could eat anything. I know it doesn't make any sense, but this really was my thought process.

I really did well in keeping up with exercising. On Wednesday night, I worked out for an hour at the hotel's gym and it reminded me of the overall better workout I miss by not going to the gym. I sweated a lot and burned plenty of calories on the exercise bike and elliptical machine in only an hour. I never really got to see much of DC during the whole trip, so on Friday night, I walked around the city for hours to see how many landmarks I could at least experience (more on that later). Still, I felt like my meals were too much and bad to burn off before my weigh-in today.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (3/27): 228.
Weight loss this week: 0 lb. (+1)
Total weight loss: 26 lb.

Yes, my 11-week trend of no weight-gain ended this week... just barely. I mean, my digital scale says 228.0. I checked it over and over this morning, hoping it would become 227.8, but it never changed.

On Thursday night, I did not workout, and I wonder now if that would've made a difference. I also ate grease-covered Fuddrucker's after my walk last night (of course I found the Subway after I stopped there) and a cinnamon pretzel at the airport this morning before my weigh-in (again, a reel lack of selections on my route); both of these probably did me in as well.

The walk on Friday night really was impressive though. I had been on my feet all day already with the installation we were doing at the Renaissance Hotel downtown and they hurt before I stepped foot on the walk. They really hurt on the way to the Lincoln Memorial. They were killing me as I went to the Capitol. It was all much further than it had appeared, but I'm glad I got to see those landmarks at least. I only learned when I plotted the course today that I had gone about six miles, my second longest walk ever.


Too bad I gained all the calories I lost when I ate the Fuddrucker's Dogzilla with Fries afterwards... although it did taste really good. But I really hate the idea of gaining any weight during this fitness plan because I now have re-lose it again.

Of course, I'm certain I can and will do it this week now that I'm back to my normal daily routine. I'm two weeks away from Day 100. I'm looking to have an even 30 pounds lost by that time.

Peace,
Neil

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Day 79: The Weigh In - Week 11

Unbelievable week. Spring decided to arrive in Chicago right on schedule, although it decided to leave on vacation again last night, as we all woke up to Winter this morning complete with snow back on the ground. But it was still an amazing week.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (3/20): 227.
Weight loss this week: 3 lb.
Total weight loss: 27 lb.

I hit my goal for the week and then some! I've lost more than 3 average newborn babies this year. I think I'm back on track.

When my feet hit the ground the morning after my 8 mile walk, there was an immediate stiff pain coming from my shins, which I guess shouldn't be that surprising. However, I do realize that I need new shoes if long-distance walking is going to be part of my daily or weekly routine. Luckily, Fleet Feet Sports is in the hood!

I am gearing up to run the Chicago Marathon in October 2011. I'm not used to running at all in general, no less long distances. I'd rather be safe and get my body comfortable to doing it and I think this October is just too soon for me. Plus, it encourages me to continue living healthy into late next year to be able to run.

In the meantime, my goal for next week is 2 more pounds lost.

Excelsior!
Neil

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Day 77: A Spring In My Step

Inspired by the Spring weather that will soon taper away into the cold again this weekend, last night I decided last night that I was going to challenge myself to walk all the way from downtown to my place on the Northwest Side. I put on my sneakers for the first time since maybe last October and I was pumped for the walk the whole day at work.

By midday, I wasn't sure if I would walk along Lake Shore Drive or if I'd walk through the neighborhoods as I originally planned. In the end, I stuck with my original plan and this is what I ended up doing:



Total distance: 8.11 miles and it did take me almost three hours. I really enjoyed it though and I plan to do a variation on it at least once a week. I want to make sure the route is different every time though; that's what keeps it interesting.

I stopped at a Subway around Fullerton and Lincoln halfway through, simply because I needed a nosh. I met up with my lovely friend Kate Lambert at Addison and Southport, who, honestly, really made the last part of the walk go by faster. Thanks, Lamby!

I'm looking forward to doing more walks like these and if anyone wants to join me, the more the merrier. I ultimate goal this summer is to walk the entirety of Western Avenue, which is officially a little over the length of a marathon. I'm certain I can do it, although walking a straight line north might be a bit more boring than I'd wish for. Someone did this route years ago and took pictures of their trip and put them up on a website. Anyone know what I'm talking about? Anyway, this summer. Maybe around August?

And again, anyone who wants to join me is welcome.

Neil

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Day 75: I've Been Here Before

So, because I like to reminisce, I decided to look at my LiveJournal a few weeks back.

There were a lot of things in there that I had forgotten about. (I have the memory of an ant when it comes to some things.) Some of these memories were good; some bad. I was a whiny bitch sometimes and I definitely used that LJ to vent.

There was one fact that I came across that I had totally forgotten about. On November 23rd, 2006, I listed things I was thankful about, including:

"I've lost a total of 20 pounds since I've lived here."

I had totally forgotten that when I first moved to Chicago, I had lost twenty pounds in the first two months I lived here. (Sound familiar?)

How? Well, I had a job that I was on my feet eight hours a day. And then I was also going to rehearsal and was on my feet that much longer. I definitely didn't change my diet. So, of course, when I got the job in the office a month after I did this entry, I eventually gained that weight back pretty quickly.

Now, unfortunately, I can't find anything where I mention how much I weighed before and after the weight loss. I did complain months earlier that I was at the most I had ever weighed, but I was less open about my weight back then than I am now. I keep getting 220 in my mind, but I thought I weighed 250 when I moved to Chicago.

At any rate, I have been down this road before and I've already passed my original Chicago weight loss. Most Chicago folks don't remember it because I gained this weight back within the first few months of meeting them. This time it's different, though. It's pretty impressive to me that I am able to maintain an office job where I sit on my ass everyday and still managed to lose more weight this year than I did being on my feet eight hours a day.

Imagine if I had a job where I didn't sit on my ass anymore.

Neil

Monday, March 15, 2010

Day 74: More Daylight Means More Walking

So I decided that I'm finally going to get my very expensive Nikon N75 fixed. It broke almost five years ago when the film started loading incorrectly. I never got it fixed because at that point I was just looking for a reason to get a digital camera.

I planned to go to Central Camera after work to get a quotation on repairs but realized quickly I would never get downtown before they closed at 5:30. So, at the last minute, my co-worker Todd told me about Helix just north of the Racine stop on the Blue Line. I gave them a shot but discovered they closed earlier at 5pm. However, I didn't have anywhere to be until 8, so I figured... random walk!


Today's walk was 3.23 miles, which was about the same distance as a couple of previous walks. Not the least of my "big walks" but not the most. (I'm still looking to hit 5 miles at least). Still, the near West side is awesome. I'm going back some point very soon with one of my cameras. There is an amazing building on Madison dating back to a year after the Great Chicago Fire that I hope is never torn down.

For some reason, I also neglected to blog about my half-drunk walk home on Saturday night.


This was 2.91 miles. Now, this was not, of course, walked during daylight. It was, however, the evening of the Daylight Savings. It was more awesome for the fact that it was pretty late at night and all the bars were already closed so the St. Patty's drunken noise was gone. It wasn't so late that the sun was coming up, but you could hear the birds. This is the first time I've heard morning birds this year and it really reminded me of Spring. 

I. Can't. Wait for Spring.

Neil

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 72: The Weigh In - Week 10

So, I went directly to the bar after work on Friday and then to a party directly after that, so I did not weigh myself on my usual Friday night. I did weigh myself Saturday morning, when I should've blogged about it. I did not but I made a note of the weight.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (3/13): 230.
Weight loss this week: 2 lb.
Total weight loss: 24 lb.

I lost two pounds, which is great, but I am noticing that I'm getting a little too laxed with things. My wii is starting to gather dust. This often happens and also how I tend to end my progress. There is a plateau point I know I'll hit and I think I've hit the first, but there's much more I know I have to - and can - lose, if I pump it up to the next level.

So I am now entering Wearing Thin: Phase II.

I may add to this, but here are some essential ground rules/changes:
- I have to sweat every day.
- I can't use social situations as an excuse to eat poorly.
- I am still going allow one "spoiler" meal, but I can't allow it to spread into the entire weekend.
- My new weigh-in date is Saturday morning instead of Friday night.
- I will set weight-loss goals weekly intending to keep up with my goal of 180 by 12/31. Right now, the curve on the chart appears to be on-course, but I can take that for granted.
- I have to blog at least 2 more entries than my standard weigh-in entry per week.

I did not meet my goal of 3 pounds this week, so my goal for next week is 2 pounds (for a total of 26 pounds).

Let's do this.

Friday, March 05, 2010

Day 64: The Weigh In - Week 9

Another week with nothing to blog about? Terrible. It really has been quite a stressful week at work and next week will be no exception, but I take it as a reflection of my lack of dedication towards the diet routine this week. I think I was wondering what I could get away with, actually; I lost 3 pounds last week and there was only one day of exercise. What if I didn't exercise at all this week?

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (3/5): 232.
Weight loss this week: 0 lb.
Total weight loss: 22 lb.

Oh snap!! I really didn't eat anything too bad after Saturday, but I think the lack of exercise does make a difference. Who knew?? However! It should be noted that this is my bye week, meaning during my entire diet I have lost a lot one week, little the next, lot the next, little the next. I didn't expect to lose more than 1 pound. I did technically lose like .6 pounds (my scale is digital) but I do not round up.

ANYway, I'm gonna really pump it up this week, exercise every night if I can and really watch what I eat. I want to hit the big 25 pounds next week. I also have a great entry that I've been meaning to write since I started this blog. Hopefully I can get to that this weekend.

Thanks for the continued support, peeps!
Neil

Monday, March 01, 2010

Friday, February 26, 2010

Day 57: The Weigh In - Week 8

Boy, I really sucked at blogging this week. I was home all day on Monday, too, and I was just a lump in front of this infernal box. The good news, I guess, is that I'm going back to five days a week, so although I loved the extra day of sleeping in, the nothingness that Monday was becoming may have eventually taken my life.

Anyway, a paradox this week. I was definitely eating some crap. On Saturday, I had my "guilt-free" meal of Mexican food as Friday night was spent seeing awesome lady arm wrestling at the Mystic Celt. I ate more than my share of chips this week. I ate terribly last night and had ten 25 cent BBQ wings during a dudes' night out. Last night was also the only night this week I spent sweating (after I got home from dudes' night). I just remember feeling guilty about my eating this week (what else is new?)

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (2/26): 232.
Weight loss this week: 3 lb.
Total weight loss: 22 lb.

Here was the other side of that: This was really the first week I felt thinner. Like, a lot of my clothes felt loose, my skin felt tighter (?), and I can really feel the difference in my upper body from the exercise that I am doing. I feel great, really.

I've now lost 22 pounds in two months and that's an awesome feat. And one of those months has only 28 days (can you guess which one?) Granted, 14 were in January and 8 were in February. Still, at this rate, I'll probably be at my lowest weight since before I moved to Chicago by the time Easter comes. And... AND... I did this all during the winter months. Who ever gets away with losing weight in the winter? I do. Yes sir, I think I'm gonna look - and feel - pretty good this summer.

Now I'm going to celebrate with what I was GOING to eat last Friday: a burger.

Neil

Friday, February 19, 2010

Day 50: The Weigh In - Week 7

As I mentioned yesterday, this week was not great. I portioned but I feel like I still ate bad stuff. I got ice cream, but it was just the 100 calorie bars. But I ate them all. We had a sausage luncheon at work on Thursday and I limited myself to one sausage, but I had some mini cupcakes, too. I feel like I'm slipping little by little each week so I've got to watch out.

However, knowing these foods were entering my body, I did exercise more this week too. I worked my lower body and the lunges killed my legs. It felt like I never walked before for a few days. I stretched beforehand but I think my leg muscles were just not used to it. It'll be all the easier next time I guess.

STARTING WEIGHT (1/1): 254.
CURRENT WEIGHT (2/19): 235.
Weight loss this week: 1 lb.
Total weight loss: 19 lb.

And I think I barely lost that pound. I could see the scale feeling sorry for me and throwing me a bone. I am glad that I lost a pound rather than nothing or - gasp - gaining a pound. That's the worst and I know it's probably going to happen some point once some of this fat turns to muscle.

I've lost the majority of the weight I put on after I moved to Chicago. That's great. And for those of you who are wondering, this is how the chart looks now. I think I'm still on course.

 

Til whenever,
Neil