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I've just had an absolutely fabulous time.

So my first cousin Steve's middle child, Matt married his fiancé, Adam this afternoon. My husband and I flew out for the occasion and my lord, what a time we've all had! A Jewish wedding under a chupah, two of their friends, an older gay Jewish couple officiating, the wedding coupl's siblings, parents, & surviving grandparents all in attendance, including two grandmothers well into their respective 90s & all involved in the ceremony. Watching both sets of parents marching their sons up the aisle left me with tears streaming quietly down my face, as my husband & I sat there to witness it, my elderly mother sitting between us.

Such a long way we have come.

Hearing my mother this past Thursday tell a friend calling to see if she would join them for cards that night, "I can't this week. My son is visiting with my son-in-law. They're here from California." Completely matter of fact. I'm still a bit flabbergasted it's become second nature for her as well as the remainder of my family.

So, as of 8 hours ago, my husband and I are no longer the only married same sex couple in our family. For my cousin and his bridegroom, it was less of a novel and political act, than it was for my husband and I, who were one of the 18,000 couples who wed in California during the window between mid June and Election Day back in '08.

My other real joy is my other foray into normalcy. When we last saw my family just before Thanksgiving last the occasion was our nephew's wedding. That was also now 74 pounds ago. I have graduated from being THAT fat guy to just a guy who's fat. Now I was feeling truly frustrated about clothes for this wedding. We both wore guayaberas to our wedding, thoughts one I wore is now more of a tent. For the last 4 months, I've reliably fit into 2Xs. The remaining guayaberas I still had in 3X all swim on me, so I ordered two over the net, actually is eBay. I had one come to the house, and the other, from a NJ vendor l, sent directly to mom's. They were both Cubavera brand, tho differently styled. Both proved to be too small for me to wear yet. I did try one on at the big and tall back in Santa Rosa and the 2x there did fit. I just wasn't willing to shell out $70 plus tax for a dress shirt that hopefully will be too big for me by the end of the year.

The frustration of buy of one, but two shirts that should have fit, coupled with the weight plateau I've been on for nearly two months had been wearing on me. I was feeling extremely fat again. Sitting down on he plane was heartening. Not only was no seat belt extension needed, I had plenty of length to spare. Moreover, the tray table not only came down completely, I had several inches to slide it back towards my gut! Say amen!!

Further, I've had no trouble moving this week. A 5K Monday was followed by a 2 mile runs on Tues., Sat., & today, as well as a 15 mile bike ride around lower Manhattan with my husband and sister on Friday. My plateau appears to have ended according to mom's scale, which has fallen 4 lbs over the course of this week, which I think is a real loss, as my pants are fitting considerably better on Sunday, than when I packed them on Monday.

I danced today. Horas, as is obligatory at any Jewish wedding, including the chair dance, where the men in the crowd hoisted both grooms into the air, bobbing them up and down as they each held the end of a kerchief, trying simultaneously not to get tossed off the chairs to the floor. My weight lifting has paid off. Adam is the heavier of the two, likely I think 170 & I was one of the 5 who hoisted him skyward.

I danced! Not just the hora, but every chance I got, including 5-6 minutes flinging Matt about in a West Coast swing, even dipping him half way the the floor a time or three. The look on his face was classic. WTF? I've always had a powerful lead, but never had I had the opportunity to dance with Matt or any male relative till today. I had stopped dancing many years ago. With the inflammatory arthritis it was just too hard. To boot I got out of breath way too easily, way too quickly. Well not today. I danced a bit at my nephew's wedding last year. Today however, it was pretty much every dance. I lead numerous partners through west coast swing moves, my sister, several cousins including one of the grooms, as well as his mother & even my husband. None of the 20 and 30 somethings had done swing before, but as I said, I have a powerful lead. I made it work. My ankles may be none but ok happy with me in the morning, but I happily danced the night away, getting good and sweaty, but never once getting out of breath. I'm so bloody jazzed I can't even describe how happy I am.

Add to it all, Matt and Adam are theater people. Adam is in entertainment law, while Matt at one time did regional theater. Their social crowd are theater people. A swing dancer in their midst was a surprise to many of them, especially an older, and still heavy relative, but the number of people who came over to me expressing their surprise on just how light on my feet I am, assured me I was not out of place.

A rather talented drag queen provided much of the entertainment during the wedding reception and the piano bar/cabaret that followed. A large number of people attending the wedding sang. I was one of the earlier singers and drag queen (stage name Cacophony) both performed and MC'd. Her introduction for me started, "I suspect most of you noticed this gentleman on the dance floor tonight. Well he not only dances, he sings. Weaver, please come up here." I went for classic Gershwin - Someone to Watch Over Me . I sang this at my own wedding and was determined I'd do it for theirs. There I was, in a room full of theatre people, on stage singing and it went over splendidly. Matt's younger sister is doing regional theater professionally, and has a voice nothing shy of angelic. She was one of several who sang during the ceremony. She came to me as her parents both hugged me, to tell me my phrasing was perfect. All my cousins of my generation, having not heard me sing since my own Bar Mitzvah almost 50 years ago were uniformly stunned.

Alright, enough navel gazing for now; I need to get horizontal.
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I'm determined to get into shape and that shape no longer is round. Last week's physical challenge was a daily 2 mile run. Mission accomplished. I'm traveling this week. My husband and I are headed back east, first to Mom's, then onto a family wedding. With the trip, my time and gym access will be limited and still I'm opting for at least three 5K runs. The first I got out of the way this evening. I'll shoot for the second mañana before we leave for SFO, and I'll have gym access again at the hotel Saturday next. Friday, my husband & I are going to drive into NYC to meet my sister and a bike ride is planned on city bike paths in Manhattan.

I've been plateaued for roughly a month and not liking it one bit. I'm tired of being obese. Really tired of it. I want to be able to blend into the crowd, not constitute one. (Yeah right. Blend into the crowd. A large man with a full red beard and long red hair. I may have to rethink this desire to blend in.)
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Last week after almost two weeks away from the gym I had an emotional recommitment. I promised myself this wasn't going to continue, that no matter what's going on in my life, I still need to get to the gym.

Recently, I took my mountain bike in for a tuneup so I could start riding again. I'm not mountain biking; I use it as a road bike. Why a mountain bike? Short answer: my weight. These bikes are built to withstand some serious G Force abuse. Run or jump, your heel hits the ground with 3G forces, so take your weight and multiply it by three – that's how many pounds of force hits the ground. Mountain bikes are meant to be able to take the weight of the rider jumping over things and landing on the wheels. I figured if a 200 pound rider jumping over boulders landing with 600 pounds of pressure could be withstood by the bike's frame and wheels, then my 265 pounds just going down the road should be no issue. At my absolute heaviest, back in the early 90s, I had a bicycle wheel fold and warp under my weight. Granted, there were 170 some odd pounds more of me then, but having a bicycle folder under my weight is something I never wish to experience ever again.

The gym is only 4 miles from here, but it's almost all uphill. Funny how you never really notice the incline whilst driving. It's a whole other story when you're on the bicycle. At the height of the heat early last week I set out for the gym on the bike, & only made it halfway up the hill to the housing development roughly 2/3 of the way there. I may be foolish at times (Like riding your bicycle uphill in 100 degree heat, on your first day out), but I'm not suicidal. Halfway up the hill I decided it was too much of a climb, & I turned around and rode back. I decided to try the journey to the gym again today & this time I made it to the housing subdivision, we're deciding I'd had enough. I actually had to get off the bike, and walk up the hill when it got really steep. Now I ran a 5K at the gym yesterday, so I don't feel too bad about not making it there successfully today. I will drive over tomorrow morning to get in that run. Current goal is to do that at least every other day & every time there to run at least 5K on the elliptical.

I guess what's disappointing to me right now is realizing just how much of a challenge the bike is going to be. Once upon a time I was a bicycle commuter in New York City, while I was in medical school. I averaged about 60 miles a week at the time. I was also in my early 20s and not my early 60s. (Cue reality testing) there was indeed a time when that hill would have constituted no insurmountable challenge. There was a six city block segment in Northwestern Brooklyn that was every bit as steep, on my commute between Brooklyn and Manhattan back then. I actually used to look forward to that segment. Towards the end of it my quads would be bulging and burning, looking strikingly muscular in a pair of bike shorts. Again, that was 40 years ago and I am no longer that 20 something.

No matter. I am working on body reclamation & not becoming a body beautiful. The true goal is better health, longer life, better mobility and agility, and being truly happy with in my own skin.
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It's been a busy day.

I'm sitting on the front porch at watching the sun over the lake as it sinks towards the mountain. I'm wearing just a pair of gym shorts and nothing else having just gotten back from said gym. I ran a 5K in 36 minutes and 10 seconds, that is if the elliptical is to be believed. I did it while listening to Rachel Maddow's podcast from last night. Amazing how anger at the current administration can be motivation to get out and run at breakneck speed. This is a minute and 20 seconds faster but the last time I ran a 5K the end of last week.

Speaking of the administration, times are feeling more and more The Nixon administration just before his resignation. Trouble is the country is much more divided than it was back then, or at least seems to be & I don't think we had nearly the degree of right wing extremist media as we have today. Neither did the Internet exist, along with Breitbart news and the Drudge Report, pedaling their version of "news". Still, each day brings word of yet another outrageous thing associated with the president and his administration. I simply cannot fathom how this can continue without his base turning on him.

In addition to running and lifting weights today, I've spent time clearing brush, helping out contractor cl among the kitchen fun tile post grouting, and unpacking stuff and getting it out away. I'm trying to find as much as I can that I can do that with. Today, it was my coats and jackets, as well as Pop's suits.

I packed up a good sized box of outerwear, none of which fit me last December. Now all of it does. I have an Aussie oilcloth duster now hanging on the back porch airing out, several nice leather jackets in my closet as well as two XL Landsend field coats in the closet. There are two coats that will go away in a couple of months, one a Levi denim jacket, the other a down coat. They fit loosely now, but by fall I suspect they will have outlived their usefulness size wise. I feel a bit like a kid in a candy store. "Oh! Yeah! Look what fits!! Yes!!"

The suits were also pleasing but in a different way. These were my father's and came to me after his death over 20 years ago. I've never worn any of them. A) they were too small and b) I never had the occasion to need them. Still they were pop's, which made them important to me. Pop wore suits daily. He was a pharmaceutical detail man working in hospitals, also a heavy man. We however were built very differently and since I'd been to big to try them on till now, I'm just now realizing how different.

The box was labeled "open @ 250". They had been hanging in my office closet from the time they came to me. All were too small for me to wear when I got them. When I closed the office last year about 1/2 went to Goodwill, 1/2 I kept. I cried when I left them there. Even though I was ready to let go of them, since they had been pop's, it was difficult. As for the remainder I'd kept, traditional men's dresswear changes so little, that a classically cut business suit really changes very little over the years. If they're kept properly, you can get away using them for decades. Anyway, suits vary in cuts. Pop wore a portly or executive cut where the drop from the chest circumference to the waist was 4". A standard suit is 6". An Athletic cut is 8". Weirdly enough, guess who's an athletic cut. Almost all the dress clothes fit now. Sort of. Any suit where the jacket fits, the pants are huge and have to be taken in. Any where the pants fit, the jacket is too big. I now fit a size 52 suit coat, but the pants have to be taken down to a 43" waist. Pop's 52 suit have pants that are 48".

Fortunately for me, both my grandfathers were tailors. They made and did alterations on men's clothing their whole working lives. Pop's father first stuck me behind a sewing machine when I was 6 or 7. I know how to take all those pants in and if the need for a suit arises, I'm ready.

Our contractor will soon depart. When is not absolutely certain, but his work is drawing to a close. With luck the bathroom will be finished by the weekend. Famous last words. We'll see.

Also the central air and heat people are finally on the installation path. Ducting is now mostly in. The real heat this area is known for has not hit yet, but it's just around the corner. I have my fingers crossed that work will be done before the temperatures begin to roast. I succeeded in finding a pet door that is large enough for Arjuna and that fits the both the sliding door to the front porch as well as the one to the back patio, so he will have egress once the heat hits and we have a h doors closed to keep the house cool.

We (as in my husband and I along with 2 helpers) husband upped out the carpeting, padding and fiberboard underlayment in the living room last weekend intime for heat and air guys to set the floor ducts at the correct height. The old floor is in surprisingly good shape, only needing two small repair patches. Turns out the front living room was once two separate rooms and where the wall once existed the hardwood did not. Given the pattern and size of the missing hardwood, I'd say there were either French or pocket doors that separated the two rooms. Patching those missing areas should not too difficult or extensive. I may ask the contractor to take that on, or not depending his demeanor this week. If not, we've got another construction guy lined up for the next phase of renovation and if floor repairs are not his forte, Oana's husband did flooring for half a dozen years. This might be something he would be willing to take on.

Much to do. Time to go make supper.
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It's been a long, & productive day. I'm sitting on the porch swing, enjoying not just the breeze, but just the ability to sit down.

I've been up since just past 6 this morning.

LJ & were at 6s & 7s with each other last night, and annoyed, I went upstairs to lie down. I had no appetite for supper. Not hungry? Then don't eat. As I think about this, I'm smiling. Me? Skipping dinner because I'm not hungry.? Well, that's progress. Once undressed & lying down, I realized just how tired I was & shortly thereafter, I was out cold.

I awoke at 3 briefly, in the midst of a pleasant, but strange dream, turned over & successfully went back, not only to sleep, but back to the same dream. I was still in the midst of it when I awoke this morning. For some odd reason I was in a taxi in I think NYC. I was sharing the cab with a guy who needed me to witness his wedding ceremony which was going to happen right there in the cab. He handed me the wedding rings to hold till the justice of he peace asked for the rings. The one for her looked similar to mine, but smaller and instead of channel set diamonds hers were channel set emeralds, graduated in size to a center stone nearly double the size of the smallest at either end. Like mine, the part of the band towards the palm was solid gold. His was a simple solid gold band. I slid them both onto my left pinky for safe keeping, stones facing my palm. I was signing their wedding license as the witness when I awoke. Once I opened my eyes, the first thing thing I did was to look at my hands, just to be certain I didn't have on any other jewelry, other than my own wedding band. That's how vivid this dream was.

I dressed and slid into a pair of cargo pants. As I reached for my belt, said pants made a run for it and went straight to my ankles. They're 46s and were the only pair of pants I still had upstairs, all the rest having gone into he closet downstairs. I opted for a pair of bike shorts instead. Those, at least, will stay up.

I attacked my closet today, installing more shelving, as well as a clothes rod, all of it for footwear. I have a bunch of boots, which at our old place hung by hooks from copper pipe near the ceiling of my old closet. Getting everything installed directly into studs was crucial for strength and durability, so I took my time getting things just right. I'm happy with the results. After getting things up, I headed out to the barn on a shoe hunt. I'd located on box of boots there yesterday, so I suspected I'd hit pay dirt. I did. I also found more pants, specifically the box of 42's. The dress pants were still to small to wear, but not the jeans. All are now in the closet. I also found a box of XL shirts, plus some even smaller pants which for the time being will remain in the barn. I made a mental note, backed up with a reminder on my phone's calendar to check them again in late July.

I'm excited with change and progress. I feel in some ways like I'm emerging from a chrysalis.
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I charged all 3 20v DeWalt batteries Wednesday afternoon and first thing Thursday morning, I was out to finish whacking the weeds that ring the outside of the property. Yeah, there remains plenty within the fencing to take care of, but this is the stuff the neighbors see and I want to be on good terms with them all. I made it perhaps a 1/5 of the way around the west side of our land before the third battery gave out. I'll continue to do the same daily till I've finished. Slowly the place is looking more like a homestead, than an abandoned ruin.

Also Wednesday morning my contractor took 15 minutes to get the baseboards nailed in within my closet. Thereafter I went to the garage, in hunt of my clothes. I didn't bother with the box labeled current wardrobe. It was current when it was packed in January, but that was 38 pounds ago. I did locate a bin I packed away perhaps a dozen years ago of both jeans and office slacks/Dockers/khakis. Jackpot!

Moreover, I know there's another box floating of pants around somewhere, with the next 2 sizes down so I should be good for another 4 months or so. There's no longer a need to shop for pants any time soon.

Yesterday, Oana (my friend & former office manager) came to visit a yard the place, her 11 year old in tow. Zeb was an appropriately bored pre-adolescent who went not hiking disappeared into a portable video game on the phone; even he fell in love with the view from the front porch and it's swing. We hiked a bit down to the lake, taking a path my husband knew, but one I had not taken before leading to a well worn dock two properties to the west. I'm grateful to see my gym work has paid off; I made it down and back up the steep hill without difficulty, breathing a bit hard back near the top, but carrying a conversation with no trouble.

After they departed, I went on the hunt for more clothing to put away. Having found a small box of 2Xs the other day, most of which now fit, I remembered there's a box somewhere of Levi's denim shirts I'd like to find. I'm dead certain those will not only to wear now, but will serve well as light jackets or over shirts once nights grow cooler again. A quick survey of the garage yielded zip, though much remains inaccessible for now. On the off chance they might be in the barn, I looked there. No go on the denim, but I did find a box of long forgotten 2Xs, both dress and casual shirts. Fortunately for me even though they were in the barn, which was damp most of the winter, I'd put them in vacuum storage bags before boxing them up. Every last one of those fit. After essentially living out of a suitcase for the past 5 months, having a couple of dozen shirts to choose from in the morning feels like an embarrassment of riches! It's also now time to pack away all of the 3's I can still get away with wearing most of them, but more and more I'm starting to look like a kid in his dad's hand-me-downs. Why do that when I have stuff that's the right size now? I've set aside 1/2 a dozen of the 3s to send off to a friend up north who apparently likes knocking around in oversized shirts. He's likely to read this so hopefully I'll have them in the post shortly (once I have a mailing address). The remainder are in the process of being folded and being sealed in those vacuum storage bags. I'm going to hold on to them for now. Once I'm certain they've outlived their usefulness for me, I'll divest.

Why not let go of them now? It's a combination of fear and practicality. While the trend for me has been downward with my weight for the past 3 1/2 years, I went back up for a while. The discovery of my gluten intolerance causing my psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis, put me into remission and allowed me to start moving again. In 2 years time, I went down about 80 pounds. Then time went to hell in a handbasket and for a year I had no time to exercise at all. While I was putting in 65-70 hours per week, I stayed gluten free and without the inflammation that had hobbled me, but due to time constraints I was once again physically inactive. I regained 35 pounds of what I'd lost. With my time once again under my control, those 35 pounds are gone again, along with another 30. I have no intention of becoming inactive again, but stranger things have happened. Who can foresee the future? What happens it my arthritis returns for some reason? What happens if I am forced to hunt for work again, which remains a possibility. The 'what ifs' are nagging enough that for now, these shirts are going to be put into storage. I let go of the 4's, confident enough that those would no longer be needed, just as once before I let go of the 5's.

I did have an OMG moment Thursday evening in the garage. In rifling through boxes looking for shirts, within the space of ten minutes, I came across the two extremes of what I still have. I'd held onto both of these as reminders of what I'm capable of doing; I found the largest and smallest pants I've worn as an adult. The smallest date from my sophomore year in college (1974), while I was both running and doing yoga. They're a pair of Levi 501's, with a 32" waist. I held them up and first thought they were my husband's. Then I recognized the patch I'd sewn on them. I can scarcely believe they ever fit me. The other pair was from my heaviest weight in 1990, a green pair of cords. The purchase of that pair drove me to start out trying to change my life. The waist on them is 64", double the size of the jeans.

Today I'm 172 pounds lighter than when I bought those cords, but 90 pounds heavier than the day I got those jeans. Thinking about that simply floors me. Admitting it is hard to do, but I need to own it. I held onto both these garments as reminders, not just of what was but what's possible.
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A friend asked me about the changes I've made to my diet, and my weight loss and if there was more to it than eliminating gluten and limiting other grains. I know a lot of other celiac & non-celiac gluten intolerant folks and just going gluten free is not going to take weight off of anyone. Many gluten free alternative products are very high in sugar and other very simple carbs. I have little more business eating them in large amounts, than wheat products. They won't flare my joints or skin, but they do me no favors.

Here's what I said to him:

I firmly believe that diabetics & prediabetics need to reduce intake of all simple carbohydrates to reduce the need for insulin. The more simple carbs consumed, the more insulin is required to keep blood sugar normal; the body responds by making more, as long as you still have a functional pancreas. Many, if not most, insulin requiring diabetics report insulin makes them hungry. Why wouldn't your own endogenous insulin do the same? I have noted for me personally, the more simple carbs I consume, the hungrier I become thereafter.

Further, insulin causes not only your general cell population to take in glucose to use for energy, it also decreases the amount of fat turned into ketones by your fat cells. All that extra insulin around is screaming at the fat cells not to break down fat.

The reason for exercise here isn't just to burn more calories, but to also increase insulin sensitivity as well. Again, it decreases the need for more insulin. Again, speaking from my own personal experience, my hunger level decreases with exercise.

So, in my case, getting off of the gluten turns out to have put my inflammatory arthritis in remission, so I can exercise again without the degree of misery I was having. This year is not to say I'm pain free; I'm not. I still have the damage that was done to contend with. I no longer have joints that get red, tender & swollen. I also now have a built in assist in resisting the temptation of wheat based foods. While potatoes, rice and other starchy food were easier for me to resist or limit, I never met a slice of bread I didn't like. If my husband asked me to bring him home a pastry, if it didn't go into the trunk, it was even money it didn't make it home. Today, I could have a dozen donuts sitting on the seat next to me and there is no way in hell I would touch them. The compulsion to eat them is gone. The temptation to grab something fast is challenged. I have to read everything I eat or I'm gonna pay the price for it which gives me the time to honestly consider if I really want to eat it. The two times early on I had wheat accidentally, I was visited by arthritic flares that lasted a week. So my choice is clear; I can walk or I can eat wheat. I cannot do both.

I'm pushing my exercise now for both weight control and sanity. I'm calmer and much more centered when I work out. It makes me feel better and more vital. That's the immediate benefit. The body I see emerging? That's icing on the cake, to use an unfortunate analogy.
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it got up to 89° today. I now sitting in the cool of the porch looking out at the lake. My husband is upstairs, napping.

I split for the gym several hours ago and true to my promise to myself, got my half hour run in. I managed to hit 2 1/2 miles at 29 minutes in, clocking in at 520 kcal, If the elliptical is to be believed. With the hour and a half Spence weeding in the garden, as well as moving the tomatoes to an area where they'll get more sun, I'm up somewhere around 900 cal for the day in exercise.

I know yesterday I said I would probably cover in the upper 260s for the next week to 10 days. Well, I weighed in at 264 1/2 at the gym. I am ecstatic with the change. I am much more comfortable weight-bearing joints wise and I'm comfortable in my own clothing. The closet walls got primed today; I could wind up hanging shelves in there is early as Thursday which would be a godsend.

I found myself going through my journal from earlier this year. It was right after New Year's when I broke through from 300 into the 290s. At the time I wrote that for the first time in next to forever getting back to my normal weight felt like a real possibility and was no longer just a fond fantasy. It appears to me (and perhaps my flatter myself) that I had graduated from "that fat guy" to a guy that's fat. This isn't just semantics. I suspect if anyone were to have described to me previously, fat or obese would have had to have been the first descriptor. I'm sure that for many people asked to describe me it still will be, but at this point, I'm also pretty sure it wouldn't be for all.

Enough navel gazing for now. I have stuff to do.
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Well the goal was to hit the gym daily this week and to get a minimum of half an hour in on the elliptical. Well, my gym has all of three and all were occupied when I got there. I opted instead for a treadmill, which I promptly set for a 15° incline. I went for 50 minutes at 2.5 mph, not a blindingly fast pace, but nonetheless a brisk one to be walking up that steep a hill (I mean incline). According to the machine if it's to be believed, I ascended some 1600 vertical feet in that time. I was pretty well drenched when I was finished, much the way that I am after a run on the elliptical.

I went on to the neck to try and figure out just how many calories were expended & Three different calculators came up with over 880 kcal. None too shabby for an old fat guy.
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So it's May day and I'm just leaving the house for the gym. I need to get my run in. 24 hours ago I was just leaving the gym to come home having done 2 1/2 miles on the elliptical in a half an hour. My goal this week is to replicate that daily.

I used to challenge myself, when previously working out, sort of let's see what I can do this week. Well I decided this morning to make it a goal to get their daily for the week and see where I go.

So I just stepped on the scale in the garage. (Hopefully, by the end of the week, the scale will not want to be living in the garage, but in the bathroom, as completing the master bath is our contractor's goal for the week.) After brunch yesterday, I'm now 269 pounds. Given recent history I now likely to hover in the high 260s for the next 7 to 10 days and then find myself suddenly in the low 260s. If I can continue the current rate of progress, I should be down in the neighborhood of 250 by pride weekend, perhaps even a bit lower, but as I am so fond of saying, will see with the passage of time. Both my legs are significantly harder and more muscular than when I started in November. I suspect there's probably somewhere in the vicinity of 5 pounds of muscle added to my frame, & if that's the case, then I've already lost north of 60 pounds of fat.

While I was in the garage I spotted a box labeled "2X bike shorts", which I of course opened. Guess what fits! Now bike shorts are very stretchy and I could physically get into these when I packed them, although more appropriately these would have been labeled tourniquets & not bike shorts. I now have on a pair underneath my regular gym shorts and I'm going to use them on my run today to see how they feel. The weather has gotten good, and I think it's time to attend to fixing up the bicycle this week. The gym is just 4 miles from here and should prove a relatively easy bike ride (famous last words), which in turn will increase my calorie burn. Once upon a time (read college and medical school), I was a bicycle commuter. My rather sudden weight gain started the day I stopped doing that. To be honest one of my pipe dreams is to be able to bicycle around this lake, all 100 miles of it. That's never going to happen unless I start getting back on that time.

Also in the pipeline this week, should be the finishing of my walk in closet, which in turn is going to allow me to really unpack, sort through my clothing, find out what fits, and figure out what goes away. I was at Home Depot last week to pick up the shelving I need for the closet once it's completed. I've got closet maid wire shelving come out with clothes rods built-in to go round two of the four walls of the closet at two different levels there are more shelves to go on the wall with the door to the left hand side to serve for a place for shoes and boots. All I have left to do is to collect my chest of drawers from the old house, so I have placed for sweaters, T-shirts &socks and the like.

I'm excited at the prospect. Not only will this be getting on with life, but also it will be yet another yardstick to measure my progress by. Most of the shirts that I still have hanging in the closet unpacked are 3X. Some of them swim on me. I know for certain it's time to get rid of any 4Xs I still have, and so to likely most of the 3s. I can't wait to start looking through pants. I'm very curious to see if I have any dress clothing that will fit.

Enough navel gazing for now. I need to get my butt to the gym and start moving it, rather than counting my chickens before they hatch.
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It's been a busy week here in Lake Wobegon Lower Lake. I last hit the gym Monday but with all the hard work and lifting/carrying I've been doing here, I've not been too hard on myself for not going as often as I want. It isn't as if I've been sitting on my butt.

My chest wall pain has been markedly better since my visit with the osteopath last Saturday. I'm still having some pain, but at this point it's more discomfort than sharp pain. Even sneezing no longer leaves me miserable. (Amen!) I've been so busy, I haven't even been out to the garage to step on the scale out there.

That sort of back burnering my weight often doesn't bode well for success. However, I had an inkling I would have a nice surprise at the gym when I got there this evening. I was right. I'm now back in the 260s. Firmly so in fact. Monday's 272 went to Friday's 267. I'm almost down 60# in just over 5 months.

Last week, while looking for the dishes to put away into the cabinets, I found a box of clothing that now fits, including my Utilikilt, purchased 15 years ago and I've been unable to fit into for over a decade. I've worn it twice since I found it and will continue to. Who knows how long I'll be able to? My suspicion is once I hit 235~240, it's going to be too big. A belt holds it in place, so I might continue to be able to wear it a bit longer. Feasibly that could be by late summer or early fall, if my pace continues.

We shall see.

Meanwhile, I will continue to do as I'm doing. Buoyed by tonight's news, I hit the elliptical and ran for as long as it was comfortable. I made it 50 minutes and 4.25 mikes in that time. That along with my yard work today was an estimated caloric burn of over 1500 kCal just for today!

(Run Forest, RUN!)
osodecanela: (Default)
It's 5:20am. I've been conscious for an hour, unable to go back to sleep after my bladder decided I needed to be awakened.

I went to bed sometime between 10 & 11, I think.

I'm feeling every last minute of my age this morning. The factors behind this? Number one, the rib fracture the other day isn't letting me use my left arm freely (not good for a southpaw) & number two, I'm definitely not enjoying the re-runs of This Old Bed. A full size, ancient boxspring and mattress is far from ideal for a couple of bears who've spent their entire 36 year marriage in a king sized waterbed. Granted the weight I've dropped in the past 5 months has made sleeping together in a bed this small possible. It hasn't made it especially comfortable, particularly in light of my recent rib fracture. Right this moment, my shoulders, low back, & the top of my butt are complaining.

I need a massage therapist.

In a couple of hours, I'll get up and hit the shower and get my butt on the road. My friend the osteopath is going to see me this morning. With luck, she'll be able to help me with my chest pain. Breathing right now is not a lot of fun. I'm pretty sure I've got two problems in my chest/ribs. I think the 4th is anteriorly displaced which should be fixable, although it's the 5th I think is broken, which is likely to keep her from putting the 4th back in. At the very least, she should be able to medicate me. Other than my generic Celebrex, I haven't been taking anything.

In an admission of being completely self absorbed, I'm wondering if she going to say anything about the weight I've lost. I haven't told her I've been losing & I'm down 55 since she last saw me.

At 1 this afternoon I have a memorial to go to. A friend down the street from my place in Guerneville was widowed in January. Matt lost his husband of 14 years after a brief fight with esophageal cancer. Given I'm 8 years Eddie's senior, this is one memorial I hadn't expected to attend.

On the home front, I found the rest of the everyday dishes, and they've been put away for the most part. So too the bulk of the serving pieces. I think the coffee cups are going to continue to live in the top drawer of the breakfront, which is still in the storage container, and so those guys remain boxed. The break front will not come out of the storage container until the living room floor gets done, so I suspect that won't happen for a couple of months. Before I go too far from this, the mugs (as opposed to the cups) are already in the cabinet right above where the coffee and espresso machines live, or at least, will live, once the backsplash gets done.

In the course of hunting for the dishes (turns out they were in the barn, not the garage), I also found a small box of pants labeled "44s - open @ 280". Well I'm 10 below that now. Upside? My wardrobe just increased by 5 pair of pants. Downside? Only 2 pair are suitable for work; the rest are jeans.

The kitchen is nearing completion, as are the hall closet, pantry closet, and my walk in in the bedroom. These last 3 excite me; when they're done I get to unpack into them which in turn is one further step towards normalcy.

Who am I?

Apr. 19th, 2017 07:08 am
osodecanela: (Default)
It's just 7 o'clock in the morning. I've been awake for over an hour and a half. I woke up sneezing into my CPAP, got up to take a leak & came back into bed, but going back to sleep proved elusive. Still, the bed, unlike the house, was warm & I got to listen to the soothing, steady sounds of my husband's breathing in his sleep. I lay here contemplating what to do with my day.

I spent yesterday out near the grape arbor, pruning back an Oleander in desperate need of pruning. This one was looking rather sick & leggy, with a handful of branches already rotten. This particular Bush was already close to 20 feet tall and is blocking any potential of view from the back of the garage we were thinking of closing in a room. There was so much of it (the oleander that is) that after hacking back half of that I had no room in the area for more felled branches. I'll haul the stuff off to the dump today and then likely take out the remainder of the plant.

What's strange to me as I think about it, is that I am attacking the yard and gardening for the first time in my life. Prior to a few weeks ago I had never pruned anything in my life. I now have a pair of pruning shears strapped to my belt, & am the proud owner of a Fiskars 18 foot pruning hook.

Even stranger, my first thought about my day was to hit the gym & not breakfast and coffee.

Enough navel gazing for now.
osodecanela: (Default)
Doors went in today, on the master bath, my walk-in closet, and the pantry closet. (Pictures wil follow).

I hit the gym and got a run in 3 miles in just under 36 minutes, followed by a brief session on the treadmill at a 15 degree incline, followed by almost 3 hours in the yard, trimming bushes, pulling out hollies and pruning grapes.

Now lying in bed, exanimate.

Years ago I saw an exercise physiologist who informed me that people who get 2000 kCal per week had the pest success in permanent weight loss. I figured I was screwed, that there was no way I would ever be doing that. According to my weight management app, I'm at over 1500 for the week & it's only Monday.
osodecanela: (Default)
As of this afternoon I have a functional kitchen!

The fridge went in yesterday and as of this morning the water & ice thru the door now works. I moved the contents of the old fridge into the new one as well as a bunch of things from the garage. The microwave convection hood got installed the other day, but vented today and this afternoon the dishwasher is in.

I've located perhaps a third of my kitchen supplies which have been put away into the cabinets. I've found the bread & butter plates, half the salad plates, a third of the cereal bowls and a third of the cups and mugs. I have all the flatwear, but still lack a tray for it so it remains unopened for the moment. The glasses, all but two of the dinner plates and all the soup bowls remain MIA. So too, most of my serving pieces, casseroles and the like.

I now can actually cook in the kitchen!

Per my husband׳s request, what did I do the first night I could actually cook? I brought home pizza. In all fairness, I had errands in Santa Rosa this afternoon ending up at my former office manager's home at 5, after a good 5K run at the gym, followed by a short soak and a hot shower to not just bathe, but wash my hair. I still don't have a place to shower in the house, so have to resort to bathing in the contractor's trailer, which is neither for the claustrophobic, nor the long haired.

I am excited. Normalcy is just around the corner. Maybe.

I'm really not certain which I want more, the bathroom finished or my walk in closet? There is nothing I want more after a run then a hot shower. However, I'm desperate for the closet. I need to sort thru boxes of clothing to see what fits, and what doesn't, to put away what I'll keep and decide what I get rid of. Doing that will a) give me both something to wear as well as added impetus to continue down the scale and b) help me to bring order out of chaos in the garage and barn which in turn will c) allow me to sort through and find other things I can put away, like say the rest of the dishes. I want that so bad I can taste it.
osodecanela: (Default)
The journey continues…

My weight-loss continues and as I had previous noted, it seems to come off in spurts. For about a week and a half I was hanging out in the 278 to 280 range. In the last four days I've dropped to 270. That makes it 55 pounds gone since the middle of November & 100 exactly since finding out I was gluten intolerant 3 1/2 years ago.

I'm continuing to hit the gym though not quite with the frequency I would like. It's now just 2 to 3 times a week, but that said, I'm doing a tremendous amount here at the house/property. I spent five hours today on yardwork. The last owner had not done anything with the landscaping in about six years. Everything is terribly overgrown. Trees are in dire need of pruning, as are the grapevines. Hollys have shown themselves to be very invasive plants and I have ripped out over a dozen of them just on one side of the property. The amount of calories you burn doing that is far from insignificant.

I suspect many find me somewhat self obsessed. However, I'm trying to turn my slightly obsessive compulsive nature to my own advantage & use it to bring me to a goal that I want dearly. I am tired of being obese. In general, obese people are not treated well, even though the perception of obesity is shifting, as our American society continues to grow ever heavier. We're not structured socially in this country for healthy living; too many hours of work, fast food/take out/prepared foods has become the norm, not to mention the damage of the American automobile. I want off of this merry-go-round. Moreover, the change in my own body image is profound. I no longer see myself as disabled, or even damaged.

As of tonight, I'm now 70 pounds north of what I consider an 'acceptable' weight. My muscle mass is increasing and muscle is heavy. I'm currently 85 pounds above what I was when I graduated from medical school. I know I'll never have that body again; that was a 25-year-old body. I'm now 62. I'll just have to see how I look, how I feel & what I have to do to achieve it, as time passes & as I get closer to where I think I'm headed. I guess we'll just have to see how things shape up in the fullness of time.
osodecanela: (Default)
After 20 years I have opted to keep my dentist and hygienist despite my move. It was a 5 minute drive from the house, walkable in about 25. It's now a minimum of 90 minutes.

I left the house for a 2 pm appointment at 10:15. Drove south on Hwy 29 & stopped in amiddletown for my morning coffee. Nice friendly people at this place and the java is solid. Always great and personable small town service.

My stop however cost me a lot of time. Just south of Middletown someone drove off the road right into a power pole, just before I arrived at the scene. 3 others had gotten there first; two were already at the wreck attending to the folks in the car. The pole was mostly knocked over and the power line was sagging badly. Not all the way to the pavement, but to waist level. No way in hell to drive under it.

I pulled out my mobile to call 911, but had no service, so turned and high tailed it back to the coffeeshop to use their line. The girl behind he counter handed me her cell. I made the call and three minutes stated he fire department raced past.

I turned and asked how to get over the hill with 29 blocked. Over the river and thru the woods to Pope Valley, then to Angwin, then on to St Helena and from there over the winding pass to Santa Rosa. This was definitely the scenic route. The trip that takes an hour 15 on a good day took 2. Not the end of the world right?

This dropped me into SR near Ross so I stopped to get a flateware drawer organizer and a paper towel rack for the new kitchen. Then onto the Pawn shop to replace my lost diamond stud. I've been friendly with the owner for years and there was a pair of screwback studs, 16 points each, marked at $325 I'd seen a week earlier. The owner is only there on Tuesdays and he's the one to see for a deal. I wound up paying two bills for the pair. Decent stones, good white color, set in 14k white gold and the only studs in the shop with screw backs. Since I usually sleep with it in my ear, the screw back was crucial. I lost the last stud at the temp rental last month, after having the stud for over 15 years. They had three singles, all 40 points and all push back. It would have cost me $50 to have them swap out one of the stones to a screw back finding and frankly 40 point diamonds felt like a headlight in my ear. I took the pair instead. I'll put one in the safe for now.

The length of the drive meant there was no time for the gym prior to my date with the hygienist at 2 so off I went to my old haunts. Both my hygienist and my dentist greeted me with surprise. If dropped over 50 lbs since they saw me last. My last visit was the beginning of December. Apparently, my success I. Shrinking is noticeable.

Light lunch post cleaning, then whole paycheck to see if they have GF Matzoh for the holiday which started tonight and they did! One box cost what 5 boxes of wheat costs, but that's 35$ less than what it listed for online last year. I was so there! It also beats my having to make it from oat flour myself!

Finally, I got to the gym. My 45 minute run went off without a hitch. Over 3.5 miles, 725 kCal burned, followed by a 25 minute soak in the hot tub after. I LOVE it! Oh and oh all the work at the house and the yard, this was my first time back to the gym in a week. And to my abject bliss, I'm down another couple of lbs to 273. I'm now less than 90# to goal. Feels doable. So as of now I'm closer to the 260's than the 280's & that tickles me, at least for the moment.

Enough for now. Sleep!
osodecanela: (Default)
The move to Lake County means the return to actually experiencing seasons. I have a joke for years that the bay area actually does have four seasons – fire, flood, mud, & fog. We've been in Lake County about two months now and have actually seen snow on our deck, not that it lasted terribly long. Well, here it is April 4, & late this afternoon and got up to about 80. I'm sitting here on the front porch, naked to the waist.

I can't remember the last time I was outside without a shirt. Granted, ginger boy here burns to peeling in about half an hour & with our family history of malignant melanoma, I have ample reason to never be shirtless. In truth however, this is not the only reason for my modesty; I have hated how I look without a shirt for next to forever. I truly detest having more 'on top' then either of my sisters.

Years ago, shortly before her wedding, my sister Joan caught me in front of a full length mirror trying to figure out how to flatten out my chest. Could I managed to tuck enough fat from my lateral chest under my arm & attain a more masculine appearance?

(Yeah. Right. Good luck with that.)

From behind me my sister simply said, "lift and separate?"
"No," I replied, "more like divide and conquer!"

We both laughed, but in truth I was mortified. I have never particularly liked being obese. I'm comfortable in my own skin, but not necessarily with the size of the casing.

I'm using a full length mirror these days, & really focusing at what I see. I am completely capable of standing in front of the mirror and not seeing what's there, so I'm really making a point of looking critically & and using my disgust displeasure with what I see to reinforce the changes I'm making and serve as a continuing motivator.

Emotionally, I'm absolutely done with being obese. I'm tired of it. I don't like the way it makes me feel physically. I'm done with weight bearing joints protesting having to deal with my bulk. The difference the recent 50 pound drop has made in my comfort level is huge. I was up and down ladders and in and out of trees the last two days attending to our landscaping and my ankles are only slightly ticked off with me. Last November, I would have been down a day or two, or on pain meds, if not both. I'm less concerned about sitting down and having what I'm sitting on give way beneath me. I can now put the tray table down in coach when I fly, nor do I need a seat belt extender any longer. These are enormous milestones for me.

I've graduated from being the fat man to a man who's fat. This is not semantics. I have been the man that small children at one point stared at & in their pediatric innocence said, "Mommy, look," or, "it's Santa!" I have been the man that absolute strangers came up to, to tell me what my problem is and how to fix it. I have been as Gabriel Iglesías puts it, "oh Hell no". Not 'fluffy' or even 'damn', but a full fledged "oh HELL no'.

As I sit here in a 2X tie dyed T, and a pair of 44" jeans I now no longer dare wear without a belt, I now honestly feel a return to a non-obese weight is a feasible goal, & that my friends, leaves me almost giddy at the thought.
osodecanela: (Default)
(Nota bene - this was written back on the 17th but never posted.)

To my surprise last week when I tried on a pair of Wranglers in a 42, more to see if I could get in to them, I could. As always I need to shorten them, and while they're more form fitting than I want, they passed the 'can-I-button-&-zip-them' test easily. I did a happy dance in the fitting room.

I've had an insanely busy week, fairly physically active with little time to get to the gym. Yesterday, i had to go to Santa Rosa for the new car's 5k service, and I took my gym bag with me. The dealership has a shuttle service and ran me to and from the gym. Spent 45 minutes on the elliptical and treated myself to a soak in the spa. Left me a very happy puppy. The news from the scale left me an even happier puppy. Yesterday marked 4 months since I returned to working out and I'm now down a full 50 pounds.

The goal of returning to a normal size feels more tangible than ever. I feel stronger, more flexible and more vital than I have in a very long time.

There's a tall but slightly built Japanese-American guy I first met at the gym 4 months ago. He's a sharp guy, very social and has the gift for gab. Either he's there all day long, or our gym schedules mesh perfectly. He's there almost every time I am, though he's aqua boy there for his swim, while I'm the hamster on the wheel, cruising away on my elliptical. We generally meet in the men's locker. I walked right past him yesterday, buck ass naked fresh from the shower. Despite my weight loss, I've got along way to go before the gym's towels will make it around my waist. He was chatting with another older Asian man, a guy nearly a foot shorter then him. With my move 6 weeks ago to Lake County, this was the first time he had seen me in that time.

"My gawd Doc! How much weight have you lost?" My back was to him as I undid the lock to open my locker. I looked over my shoulder to see a rather startled look on the shorter man's face, and the smile on the Japanese guy.

"50," I replied. "50 in the last 4 months."

I could see the wheels turning on the shorter man's head. He was perhaps a buck and a quarter at most. The idea of someone losing 50 lbs in any amount of time must have been staggering.

"Wow. How much more to go?"
"Not sure. Somewhere between 75 and 90, I suspect."

I smiled. "No. Damn was 50 pounds ago. This is just fluffy." It was his turn to laugh. He ambled over from across the room. "How the hell do you need to lose another 75 pounds?"

"Dude, I weigh 275."
"No, I told you Damn was 50 pounds ago."
"How do you weigh 275?"

It struck me right then this was an odd conversation to be having in the nude. At what point could your obesity not be more apparent? However, I remembered my surprise a week before when I had happily reported to a close friend who is also battling with the bulge about getting into a pair of 42s, that I'm now getting into smaller pants than him despite my being 2 inches shorter and 25 lbs heavier.

I responded, holding out my arm next to his, my ruddy pink complexion contrasting against his deeply tanned brown, my wrist huge in comparison to his lithe one, "first, while most fat people have used the 'I'm big boned' excuse, there are some for who it's true. My frame is wide and bones are heavy. So is muscle. I just ran over 5k (as I flexed my heavily muscled calf and quad at him). Fat is fluffier than those things, not nearly as dense. I still have plenty of that too, but just not as much as most guys my weight, I guess."

Enough naval gazing and story telling for now. I need to go to the gym
osodecanela: (Default)
Three weeks ago when I realized I was going to need to go on job interviews and that I had nothing that I could put on that I could easily locate, given the combo of the weight that I've lost in the past 4 months and tumult of boxes and flotsam in the garage, I made a trip to Ross in Ukiah, specifically to find some pants. Ross has always been a place where I could find something to fit me, even when I was very heavy. There may have only been one or two pair of pants in a size 52 or 54, but there was always something, most frequently Dockers. Fat men have always played a major premium for clothing that would fit, & I'm not particularly fond of being taken for a financial ride. Why pay $60 for a pair of pants, if you can find them for $20 or less.

Ross has apparently changed. The size of their men's department is noticeably smaller in all three of the stores that I've checked out within the last month (Ukiah, Sacramento & Santa Rosa). Once upon a time, I could generally find 2-3 pair of pants in the largest size they were carrying; even though I am now considerably smaller, I remain in the largest sizes that they're currently carrying.

At the Ukiah store I found two pair of Dockers, one a size 46 & black, the other gray flannel in a 44. How many pair did they have that might fit me? Three. The last pair were Levi's 501s in a hideous shade of green. I left those on the rack. Perhaps an overweight leprechaun might stumble into Ross at some point on his way to a rodeo.

The 46 fit perfectly and while I could close the 44s, they were too snug for me to wear then. Nothing makes you look heavier than clothing that's clearly too small for you. I'm now sitting and hemming them, as less than three weeks after they were purchased, they're no longer too small. After a single wearing, I can no longer wear the 46s without an effective belt or suspenders.

I'm not eating at all much differently; I'm moving my butt. The gym is my friend and a place of sanity. On average 4 days per week I run on an elliptical for 30 to 45 minutes; this is a calorie burn of 500-750 kCal per visit. Years ago, I was told by an exercise physiologist that people with the best success at weight loss are maintaining at least 2000 kCal of exercise per week. I now average about 2500. I'm now 50 pounds lighter in the past 4 months. 3.5 years ago I stopped eating anything with gluten; no wheat, barley or rye. My simple carb intake is significantly lower, but without the exercise, I'm quite capable of not losing & even gaining. In the last year of my practice when life got crazy and I stopped going to the gym, I gained 45 lbs. That's gone now and then some. The expulsion of the gluten put my inflammatory arthritis in remission. It's allowed me to start moving. However, it's up to me to do it and to structure my life so that I can.

The other benefit is what this is doing for my head. Life is rough right now. We have major crap going on. Despite it, I'm sleeping reasonably well and still feel a modicum of control. I'm not depressed (been there, done that). Exercise rivals many of the antidepressants on the market for effectiveness. The New England Journal of Medicine has published data to that effect. I'll be off the the gym again in the morning.

There's an elliptical with my name on it.


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