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