Monthly Archives: September 2011

OSS — 13 Days Left

If you’ve been following closely, the last OSS was 33 days left. Now we’re at 13. No, I haven’t lost the ability to count. I’ve had another interview scheduled. For two weeks earlier than the other one. I found all of this out yesterday and very MODERATELY freaked OUT. This mostly consisted of me spacing out and muttering, “oh fuck oh fuck oh fuck.”


(Yes, this is the perfect time to panic)

Now last time we were on this subject, the pants fit! So freaking out would seem like an overreaction. But things weren’t great after last Monday. Two problems popped up. I was under the weather for a few days, keeping me from really working out. And speaking of weather, it sucked for awhile. Cold and rain, not exactly great biking weather. Especially coming off a cold.

With the cold, I didn’t want to cook very much. So, we ended up ordering out too much. It’s not like things fell apart. This last week was just kind of a step backwards. Which turned out to be rather poorly timed, considering my surprisingly soon interview. (Note: I had the choice for what day. I could have chosen even sooner or chosen after my other interview. But with all things med school, the earlier the better. So I decided to give myself one extra week from the earliest possibility, then started panicking. [Note to the note: panicking is a strange word. Are there any other words that add a -k when you add an -ing to the end? Hmm.]).

Luckily, all is not lost. First, Baldaufs vs Genetics started Monday. If you missed it, you can click on the category on the right (over thurr ===>) or click here. So that’s good. (Also, there’s an update coming to my starting weight. The scale I bought is crap, so I’m fixing that. But I’m roughly 5 pounds higher than recorded. Lot of parentheses today. I apologize for the tangents.) Additionally, I’ve temporarily solved my bad weather workout problem. Thank you Groupon.

See Groupon has had a few gym membership deals lately. So I can afford the short-term memberships without having to lock-in for longer than I want and I can keep moving around so I don’t get bored. First up, 9rounds gym in Madison for a month. Two months at Princeton Club are next, so that’ll carry me into the new year. And 9rounds might just be the perfect thing to get me all set by my interview.

9rounds is a kinda/sorta boxing gym. You do nine 3-minute rounds (hence the name) of different workouts, non-stop. It’s pretty intense. I thought the 30 seconds in between would be for changing stations/catching my breath. Not so much. Mini-workouts instead. The first day on Monday killed me. My second trip went a little better in terms of feeling like death halfway through. It’s the jump start I needed after last week.

Me during round 9

Also refocusing on cooking a little bit. Bought a vegetarian meal from Whole Foods for last night. It was terrible. I’ll cover it in The Vegetarian Adventure. Mostly chili for the rest of the week. I’ve done pretty good of limiting myself lately.

Anyways, I’m going to try on the suit on Monday again. Depending on where I’m at then, I’ll go into red alert or I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. We shall see. Next few days are going to be tough. Need to get to 9rounds one more time, but I work two straight doubles, followed by UW-Nebraska (go Badgers!) and a 2nd close for the week. Tough to stay motivated to workout/cook when I’m tired, so I’ll have to fight through it. Things just got real.

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The Competitors

To give everyone a little background, I had all three of us answer four questions. They are as follows:

  1. What are your goals for the challenge? Any specific weights/etc.?
  2. What do you think will be the biggest challenge for you in losing weight?
  3. What’s your plan? How are you going to lose weight?
  4. What specifically is motivating you to do this challenge?

Bob (The Father) 

I wasn't given a photo to use, so the Barrel Man will represent my dad for now. Why? Because I've always considered him to be barrel-shaped. Short, stout, and solid.

1. “I haven’t seen 190 since 1992. 20 years is long enough.”

2. “Portion control.”

3. “Portion control, more exercise, cutting way back on soda.”
(Side note: I am shocked about the soda thing. I’ve been trying to get him to do that for years. My dad without Mountain Dew is very hard to picture.)

4. “Generally just wanting to feel healthier.”

Starting Weight: 223 lbs

Dan (The Uncle) 

Also did not provide a photo, so he'll be represented by Garth Brooks. I've always thought he looked kind of like Garth. Might just be me.

1. “Significant size reduction. A1c of 6.0 in 6 months. Weight of 220 or less. Shoe size stays the same. Pant size to 36 or less. Wear size L shirts. My real goal is to maintain a healthy lifestyle with less food, more veggies, and more exercise.”

2. “Portion control and stopping even when the food is delicious. Keeping an exercise routine even when the weather is ugly.”

3. “Jump start loss with high protein/low carb system, fitting diabetic diet. Continue to exercise with increased length of time. After initial drop in weight, reintroduce carbs and use portion control to continue to lose.”

4. “I want to look great in my bikini, pick up chicks and turn some heads. Really, I would like to avoid some of the health concerns plaguing my (our) family. Get healthy and stay there.”

Starting Weight: 268.8 lbs

Shane (Me) 

Me. With a much smaller and cuter Olive in the background.

1. “Obviously, I want to fit into my suit first. But I want to get my weight down around 180/175. Maybe lower. My main goal is to generally get more fit.”

2. “Working out in the winter. Not eating out too much. And of course, limiting sweets intake.”

3. “Doing what I can with working out. Luckily, Groupon keeps having deals for gym memberships. So this month is a boxing gym. Also, I’m refocusing on cooking. Too much eating out lately.”

4.”Trying to get healthier and avoid the health problems in my family.”

Starting Weight: 191 lbs

(Side note again: Did not expect it to be this low. Last time I weighed myself, at the start of the summer, I was over 200. And I know I got worse. So Operation Suit Squeeze has been going quite well. My chances for winning, though, not great now.)

 

 

Baldauf’s Vs. Genetics!

Today starts Baldauf’s vs. Genetics!! Clearly, I’m excited about this as the exclamation points show (2 of them, look out!). So what is Baldauf’s vs. Genetics?

Baldauf’s vs. Genetics is a 6-month competition consisting of my dad, uncle, and me. For the next 6-months, all three of us are going to be trying to lose weight, and whoever loses the highest percentage of their starting weight wins. We don’t have the prize for the winner picked yet. We might also have a halfway point (roughly) winner on January 1st for a little added motivation through the holiday seasons.

I will have a quick profile for all three of us up later today/tomorrow for a little background and starting weights. We will each be checking in every two weeks with updates on weights and quick discussions on what we’re each doing or what’s been difficult.

I’m pretty excited. This should be really good for all three of us. Also, if anyone else wants to follow along/be a part of the competition, comment or send me an email and I’ll get you set up. Anyone is welcome to join!

OSS — 33 Days Left

Hello again. I got sick of trying to figure out which day it was in Operation Suit Squeeze and which days this post covered, so I’m switching it to a countdown up above. In case you missed it last post, the first interview is Oct. 24th, so the clock is ticking.

First, the good news! I decided it was about time to try the pants on again. Get a real measure of my progress. And I got them on! Note, I did not say that they fit. But I did manage to get them buttoned and zipped without putting in a serious arm workout trying to get the sides to meet. It’s still a squeeze, though, and there isn’t really room for the shirts to tuck in yet. So there’s still work to be done.

But this proves that I have been making progress! When I started, they weren’t anywhere close to fitting.

Other than that, not much is new. I’m still mainly biking for a workout. Did 17 miles on Monday in just over an hour. No big deal (brushes shoulder off casually). Though the quick time was mostly due to a fear of not being back in time to pick up the girlfriend, which I made it back just in time for. Still, the urgency was nice and really pushed me on the bike.

I was surprised again at how well my legs held up. I used to look at triathlons where they bike like 100 miles (I’m too lazy to look up an actual distance right now) and think that it was crazy, but I’m starting to feel like it’s not impossible. I was shooting for 20 miles, but I think I could do quite a bit more. Especially if I actually start using the gears on my bike. (Longer tangent coming. Skip a paragraph or two if you don’t like sidetracking).

I have an old road bike. Allegedly, its former owner used it for races and the guy at the bike shop was curious about it, commenting on its nice parts. (My only response was: where? It’s pretty much frame, tires, etc. Basic bike. Clearly my bike knowledge is immense). So, despite its image, it is a nicer bike. But I have no clue how the gears work.

Now, I do understand the basic concept of gears and how they work on a bike. But these are the  kind of gears that are attached to the frame. Also, they lack numbers. Originally, I didn’t mess with them because I was getting used to the different position and balance required for a road bike, and I was NOT about to let go of the bars if I didn’t have to. Now, I’m used to the bike and I feel surprisingly natural on it. But I still haven’t used the gears and I’ve been a little afraid to experiment. First, I’m still saving up for a helmet so it seems like an unnecessary wipeout risk. Second, I have this suspicion that the chain could use some work (or replacement) and I really don’t want to mess it up and have to pay to fix that either.

Anyways, once I get the gears down, I feel like I could put some serious distance in on the bike. Until it snows. Which could be any day now, knowing Wisconsin.

In addition to the bike, I feel like my appetite has decreased significantly. I don’t eat breakfast very often anymore and it’s not really even a conscious choice. Just kind of happens. Some days it will be 12 or 1 and I’ll realize I haven’t eaten and marvel at my lack of hunger.

I don’t have any problem with this whatsoever. I’ve never bought into the need to eat breakfast. If you’re not hungry, then don’t eat. If you crash a couple hours later, might want to consider eating breakfast. Pretty straight forward.

I also think the decline in appetite is from eating less in general. Which is good. A move to smaller portion sizes was something I definitely needed, and it’s a lot easier to eat less when your stomach isn’t trying to get you to eat everything in sight.

So 33 days left. Another half inch off the waist and I’ll be set. Feeling pretty confident these days. Plus I’ve got another trick up my sleeve, but you’ll have to wait until next Monday to hear about that. (Woo self-promotion! But I’m pretty excited about it.)

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OSS Days 8-17 — Catch-up

I’m back. Sorry for the long hiatus. I know you’ve all been on the edge of your seats.

So we’re going to do a quick catch-up with this post. Last time I talked to you guys, Operation Suit Squeeze was not doing well. Here’s what has happened since then:

  • My first interview was scheduled for October 24th. So there is an official target date now, and I’m down to 38 days to get into my suit. It’s a little bit sooner than I expected (not a problem since getting in somewhere is my main concern), but it’s nice to have the added urgency.
  • I seem to be making progress. Even with the hiccups of the first week, I seem to be slimming a little bit. At least enough that it’s been qualitatively noticeable. So that’s encouraging.
  • A big part of my progress is due to getting on my bike. Going into this, I thought my biggest problem was a need to work out more. I’ve managed to go for two bike rides each of the last 2 weeks (and once in the first week). I’m up around 13 miles per trip, shooting for a longer ride tomorrow.
  • My bike also blew out it’s back tire 10 miles into my last ride, nearly sidelining the best thing I have going for me. Luckily, I was able to get it fixed quickly. Plus it forced me to run (while dragging my bike) for the last 2.5 miles. I was surprised how well my legs held up. Might consider a triathlon in the spring if I can find somewhere to do swimming training.
  • On a related note, when did air start costing money at a gas station? It took my four stops to find one with free air, as I didn’t have my wallet with me, just so I could confirm that my tire was shredded.
  • Sweets ban. Miserable failure. At this point, I’m just trying to control my sweets cravings. Realistically, I need to not have sweets in the house. Like ice cream. Or candy bars. Or cinnamon toast crunch (but organic!). Unfortunately, that probably won’t happen. I won’t name any names (the girlfriend), but I’m just going to have to suck it up and keep it under control.
  • Being Wisconsin, it’s gotten cold already. That’s not good. I don’t do well with working out outside when it’s cold. I looked into gym memberships to see if I could afford any of them, but none of them really worked. So I need to come up with a plan for this winter. Of course, it’ll probably be in the 90’s in two weeks or something. But I should plan ahead for this.

The Vegetarian Adventure, Part 6

I got a delivery from my grandparents this week. They live on a little 40 acre farm and keep up their own garden. Every now and then, they ‘ll send down a bunch of produce with my parents for me. Not being much of a veggie person, I didn’t always know how to incorporate most of the stuff into my meals. (Except for the homemade maple syrup, which is delicious!) This time around, I got 4 kohlrabi, some squash, zucchini, cucumbers, a lot of small (grape?) tomatoes, and 2 jars of homemade applesauce (yes!).

Seeing as how we had failed to use kohlrabi about 3 weeks ago, I decided to try to incorporate it into this weeks vegetarian adventure. I found a recipe through google for kohlrabi and squash empanadas. Plus, it utilized the rest of my ginger before it went bad–always a plus.

Making it was fairly  easy. Just chopped everything up and cooked it in the pan. I bought filio dough, which I thought would be an equivalent for the pie crust. Not quite what I expected. Less dough-like, so I couldn’t really fold them up and crimp the edges. I ended up just rolling them up, and folding the edges in, essentially making them hot pockets.

Looks good. Tastes kind of bland.

They turned out okay but they didn’t have much flavor. I’ll take the blame for that one, probably could have added more seasoning. Plus I forgot to buy scallions, so that might have helped too. Using pie crust might have helped too, but I don’t really know if it would have made a difference. We had cantaloupe (also from the grandparents) and watermelon on the side as well.

The vegetarian adventure has been surprisingly easy. I haven’t even noticed the lack of meat once a week. Might eventually bump it up to twice a week.

OSS Days 5-7 — Frustration (or Why Being a Grown-up Sucks)

Days 5-7 did not go well. I woke up to a dreary Friday morning feeling sore in my legs and back, so I decided to take the day off. Didn’t seem like a big deal at the time; I had off all day on Saturday. So we ran some errands instead. I went to work and things started going downhill from there. Work didn’t go great, putting me in a bad mood, culminating in me eating some fries. By the time I got home, the only thing I wanted was to eat everything unhealthy in the world. Cheese curds, chicken wings, cake, pizza. To name a few.

Once I got home, it was straight to cooking dinner. It was a billion degrees in the kitchen and the vegetarian meal didn’t go well (as chronicled in “The Vegetarian Adventures”). So that didn’t help.

Saturday, I woke up tired after another bad night’s sleep. I had every intention of going to the farmer’s market, then working out. And of course, it’s pouring rain. Terrible weather, the entire day. Seeing as how I do not have any gym memberships and live in a very small apartment, working out has become very weather dependent for me. So we went to Whole Foods.

By this point, I was frustrated because I couldn’t work out again, making it the third straight day (with Sunday looking dim with work in the middle of the day and a very late night of work Saturday, and Monday and Tuesday also not looking promising). I was frustrated because I have no money to buy a gym membership, even though I’ve been working a ton. I was frustrated because I just wanted to eat a bunch of unhealthy food. I was frustrated because I had a ton of stuff I wanted to do and no money or time for most of them.

Sometime Saturday afternoon, I reached a point that I’m all too used to. I become so frustrated with everything that I rebel against it. With school, this usually meant saying screw studying and playing video games for a day straight. It’s like a stress relief tornado. Too much of a pressure difference, so I punch through with a destructive (or in this scenario, completely unproductive) day.

But I didn’t have enough time for this mass stress relief. I could see myself reaching this point, and I knew I would lash out by bingeing on unhealthy food and being super lazy for a few days. Usually these ‘stress relief tornadoes’ help me mentally calm down and check back in, but they never address the underlying problem. We did order out for dinner, but I managed to control myself. Instead of bingeing, we ordered pizza from a restaurant that focuses on all-natural and organic ingredients (and stripped down pizzas by my standards) with very little meat. And it was pretty good. But I was still pretty frustrated.

Sunday–as I had predicted–I did not work out again. It’s really difficult to get going when you work until 3:30 AM and have to be back by 2:30 PM the next day. Sleep tends to take precedence or, at least, a general state of sloth. (Lack of sleep never helps me be in a good mood either–you can ask anyone in my family or the girlfriend). Work sucked again. Got done too late to really do much other than make dinner and relax a little bit before bed (back to work at 8, yippee!).

The last couple weeks have been very eye-opening into how difficult it can be for adults to make healthy choices. And that I am referring to myself as an adult/dealing with post-college issues makes me a little sick. But I understand the appeal of eating out or grabbing something unhealthy after a long day at work. When you work all day long (day after day) and then come home and just want to kick back and catch up on stuff, dinner is the last thing I want to make (I am the primary/only cook).

Working out takes a back seat too. I usually work by 9 (half of the time). I could work out before that (and I used to in high school). But it just doesn’t seem to work out that way enough. I’m more of the old-guy-with-his-coffee-and-newspaper kind of guys. I like to take my time in the morning, eat my breakfast, and read too many articles online (thanks cracked.com and grantland.com). After work, I have to make dinner or I’m tired (or usually both) and then I don’t get around to working out. There are a few days where I have time (namely, I don’t work until 4), and sometimes I take advantage of them. But other times, I want to use that free time to either take care of all the shit I need to do or just completely shut down and relax for a day.

Needless to say, dark times for Operation Suit Squeeze. Physically, I seem to be doing okay. Definitely keeping the same shape, maybe even a slight trimming but it’s hard to tell. But mentally, things could be better. Stay tuned.

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OSS Days 3-4 — Biking and Badger Games

Wednesday went well. Really well. Plans of running on every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday didn’t pan out with the girlfriend as she had to work, but we’re still working on a set routine. So I had to change things around a bit. I tried running with Olive, but I waited too long to go and she was a little to mellowed out for a run. So we switched it to a short walk and then I went for a bike ride.

I have always like riding my bike (especially know that I have my shitty road bike back) but I just haven’t ever gotten around to going for long rides for a workout. I made a rough plan of my ride and set off. And it was great. Much more enjoyable than running. I ended up doing a little over 7 miles, which turns out to be a little bit short for me. Still finding my limitations as I get back into working out. Next time I’ll probably shoot for 10 miles. It was a great route for a run, though, once I work up to that distance.

After the bike ride, I worked all evening. I successfully avoided all rogue fries (patting myself on the back) but I did give in at the end of my shift and at a few handfuls of popcorn. Post-work, dinner was half a steak and watermelon. One thing I’ve been trying to do is cut my meat portions in half for every meal. It wasn’t as bad as I expected. The sweets ban also survived through the first 3 days.

Thursday was a little bit off. I worked a very long/busy shift in the morning and afternoon as we got ready for the first Badger football game. It started off as a nightmare in terms of work, but things went quite well afterwards. However, the boss brought in donuts. This presented a dilemma. I would feel bad not eating one, as my boss went through the trouble of bringing them in. Additionally, when I worked for the football team the last five years, we would always have donuts on gameday, and I didn’t want to mess with a working system. Foolish justification? Absolutely. But I did limit myself to only one donut (and I was very hungry and needed a de-stressor), which was a minor achievement in itself. Avoided the rogue fries again and managed to avoid to popcorn, but that was partially due to how busy we were.

After work, I met up with a friend for a few drinks before the game and lucked into a couple of free tickets. That messed with the dinner plans, so the girlfriend and I grabbed a bite to eat at the stadium. One brat and half a pretzel (which was cold and a definite mistake) for dinner wasn’t too bad. After the game, we went out and I had a few more drinks. So overall on the day, I didn’t eat all that healthy (and drinking certainly isn’t going to help my cause) but I did manage to limit the amount that I ate. And I showed restraint in the face of sweets.

However, the sweets ban did only make it a meager 3 days. Which may or may not actually be an achievement. I have a terrible sweet tooth. This is representative of me and sweets. Also, I love Hyperbole and a Half. (Seriously, click on it. It’s amazing. DO IT.)

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The Vegetarian Adventures, Part 5

This week was a disaster. Ish. I decided to make a butternut squash gnocchi with a creamy cashew/rosemary/garlic sauce off of the blog Hamburger Eats Me. Things started off poorly right away.

What I Expected

I had to work friday night, so I was counting on getting home around my usual 9:30. I had the girlfriend start soaking the cashews and baking the butternut squash in hopes that the more time-consuming steps would be done by the time I got home. Naturally, I got stuck at work longer than I expected, but the squash didn’t sit out for too long.

I chose the recipe, first because it looked tasty, but also because it seemed very doable. Turns out, it was more over my head than I expected. The biggest issue was the lack of concrete measurements. I don’t typically stick right to the measurements anyways, and I have no problem winging it. Not being much of a cooking expert, a definition of soft and smooth versus dry and sticky still seemed pretty obvious. Turns out, it destroyed me. I was reduced to adding the flour a tablespoon at a time. I was terrified of crossing into the dry and sticky realm. After carefully adding numerous spoonfuls of flour and not noticing much difference, I decided to just go for it. It was already pretty late and I was getting impatient.

The next step involves rolling the dough into a tube. So I’m thinking, “Oh, dough. Like cookie dough. Piece of cake to roll.” Not so much. I grabbed a handful to roll it, and it ran through my hands like oatmeal. Awesome. Back to fearfully adding flour. After who knows how many spoonfuls, the dough seemed a little bit stickier (which I was starting to think was more ideal) and was becoming a lighter color. So I tried again. Still pretty oatmeal like. Great.

By now, I’m just hoping to eat by 11. And I am not happy. It was a billion degrees in my closet of a kitchen. I was hungry. And I was sick of being scared of the flour. So I dumped a bunch in, stirred, and still couldn’t determine if it was dry and sticky or smooth and soft. (Clearly, I’m a cooking prodigy). Instead of rolling the dough into a tube, I scooped some up with a spoon, and threw it into the boiling water. Rinse, repeat. And the gnocchi didn’t actually turn out too bad.

The sauce was pretty straight forward. It was pretty dry at the end, so I added a little bit of water. The lack of measurements led to me winging the spices, and I’m pretty sure I woefully underestimated the amount needed. It was pretty bland.

What I Got

The sauce was a little bit paste-like as well, but the gnocchi weren’t terrible. As a meal (in terms of edibility), it wasn’t too bad. But the making of it was a disaster. Also, the lighting in my kitchen sucks for pictures. We’ll see how next week goes.

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Weekly Links #5 — Obesity again and goals

This week’s links are short and sweet. It’s been a busy week between work and the Badger game yesterday (Russell Wilson’s pretty good, turns out). Next week I’ll be back on top of things, scouring for those fatalistic genetics articles.

1. “Study: U.S. obesity rates projected to climb by 2030” This article caught my eye because of its relationship to last week’s articles. In particular, the war on fat article talked about the CDC scaling back obesity projections. This article contrasts with that, citing another study’s projections. Odds are, things will probably fall somewhere in the middle. I did find it interesting, however, that the study noted the problems that childhood obesity could cause with the overall populations obesity. I also liked that they noted some of the cultural problems behind the obesity projections.

2. “It’s Not a Goal, It’s a Reason” This article does a good idea of recognizing both the value and the problems with goals. Goals are great for short-term motivations (like fitting into a suit) but goals are also limited to smaller timeframes. A goal of living a healthy lifestyle is difficult to keep up as motivation for an extended period of time. You need a reason and you need to keep it in view. My reason for wanting to be healthy is to avoid the health problems much of my family has had. It’s about writing my own destiny and not just giving up because I will probably have lots of problems with my weight and health.

I’ll be back next week with more. OSS and Vegetarian Adventures will be coming in the next couple of days.

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