Friday, August 28, 2009

Falling off the Diet Wagon
with a Bacon Double Cheeseburger :(

I admit it!!! I was weak, and defeated by this tasty creation!!

Last night both kids were out with friends, and I decided to take a walk around 7 PM. Since I'm doing 90 minutes on the exercise bike minimum each day I found I had quite the capacity for distance and was soon over four miles from my house.

It was a glorious evening for a walk and I was enjoying music from my phone and was glad I had remembered to bring a pair of ear buds.

I soon realized that I had not thought this jaunt through as I found myself down on Patterson Ave. The problem was I found myself exceedingly thirsty! Realizing the long walk home would take me no place a beverage could be obtained until I was practically home I looked around.

There was a small bar nearby, one of my friends had mentioned this place at work a few years back, but not being able to consume alcohol because of one of my meds I never had any interest in checking it out. Fortunately I had my wallet and some money with me so I went inside. I was thinking I could at least get a diet soda to slake my thirst and then walk the hour or so it would take me to get back home.

With my decision made, I went inside. It was a nice enough little bar as bars go, and after I sat down and ordered a soda. I began conversing with Jim the bartender who told me it was an excellent way for the microbrewery that was the mainstay of the establishment to both test their new brews and get the word out on the street about their regular concoctions. Fortunately for me the place was not heavily occupied and no one was smoking. I really abhor second hand smoke!

As I awaited my beverage a delicious aroma hit my nose! I knew in an instant it was beef being fried. I looked upwards and saw a poster on the wall proclaiming this was the home of the best Bacon Double Cheeseburger in Michigan; the RJ Burger!! It took a few moments but I then realized I had seen this place on an episode of one of the many food related shows I watch on the food network. I asked Jim and he concurred. I had told my daughter Danielle when we saw that episode we would have to visit this place one day, and here I was!

The burger in question was made with two half pound patties of the finest quality beef (several cuts in fact mixed in proportions and seasoned with spices they would not divulge according to the poster on the wall) and was topped with sharp Cheddar and Swiss cheeses,. Adding to the glory of this masterpiece was six thick crisp slices of black peppered bacon and a light slathering of their own special Cajun BBQ sauce. It was served on a sesame seed roll which they baked fresh each day.

At that moment the door to the kitchen swung open with a bang! and the waitress (Sally her name based on the name tag she was sporting) came out carrying my soda and one of the burgers for someone down at the end of the bar.

I could not believe the delicious aroma wafting my way from this creation! My mouth was watering and I realized I was famished in spite of the hot dogs I had consumed a couple of hours earlier!! Jim walked over and mentioned I looked hungry and asked did I want to try an RJ burger?

Knowing that Sunday would make 19 weeks on my diet I knew I should not! Particularly since I was planning on eating out on my birthday on Labor Day.

I told Jim couldn't, stretching the truth by stating I barely had enough cash in my wallet for the drink and a tip. I did mention though that I certainly planned on coming back and trying one with my daughter sometime down the road now that I knew about it.

At that moment a beeper went off and a couple of stools down the bar from me a man jumped up and ran out without a backwards glance. Jim told me that he was a doctor and was probably heading off to the hospital.

The kitchen door again banged open and Sally appeared with an RJ burger. "Jim," she said, "This was for Pete and he just ran out on a page, he's not going to be back this evening. You hungry?"

Jim declined stating he had just had just eaten prior to coming on shift. "Well, I can't eat this thing!" she exclaimed, "You know I'm watching my girlish figure!" All I could think of after that statement was that every male patron in the place was, except for me, sadly, who was more fixated on the burger she was carrying than herself!

Jim looked in my direction and stated "This dude mentioned he wanted to try one, and since we're just going to throw it out, let him have it." I raised my hands and started to protest, but he simply stated "Oh, it's on the house of course!"

Sally smiled and placed the RJ burger on the bar in front of me and returned to the kitchen. A door banging moment later she was back with a hot platter of crispy french fries explaining they were part of Pete's order too. She plunked them down along with a bottle of ketchup.

I did not know what to do!!! I was SO hungry and here I was being given this excellent repast on the house! The aromas wafting up from the burger and fries were fantastic! I wanted to be strong, I really did, but now I know what the words 'feeding frenzy' truly mean! I felt control slipping away! Perhaps this was a sign that it was OK to eat it!

As if watching this third person I saw my hands, almost of their own volition, move out and grasp the RJ burger firmly in their clutches! They picked the burger up, and brought it towards me.

I could not help myself at this point! I knew I would be breaking my diet, all that hard work out the window! So many thoughts were running in my head, such as yesterday earlier in the day Danielle and I were looking at some pictures of this past Christmas. There is a shot of me by the kitchen sink, and I was HUGE in it! She mentioned how much weight I lost and I agreed and I started at that picture just totally in sock about how grossly fat I was! I had jokingly made the comment that my butt was still in the other room as my stomach reached the kitchen sink!

But, at this point I just did not care! The smell of the burger driving me crazy and my stomach rumbling loudly I was not to be denied! So, with burger firmly in hand, melted cheese dripping down the sides of it I opened my mouth wide for that first bite that I sensed would be incredibly delicious!!! The great hunger was finally going to be appeased! I brought the burger up to my lips and

I woke up. I was so ticked off! I could not believe that I could not stay asleep at least long enough for that first bite! I was also surprised. I had not been dreaming of food like that for awhile now, though the first two months of the diet it seemed like I did almost every night.

Shame on you for those who did not realize this was a dream! :) While I have been tempted quite a few times on this diet, I have stuck with it. It was quite a vivid dream, and I really wish I could have eaten the burger and then woken up!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Mark: 18 weeks on the Lifestyle Modification Plan

The picture has nothing to do with the title, though it's a cool picture!

18 weeks today on the Lifestyle Modification Plan and I've lost 90 pounds thus far. I burned 1000 calories on the exercise bike today but other than some food shopping and cooking for the kids I've been having a very relaxing day. Danielle and I spent a good portion of the day in the living room, her on her netbook, I on the computer or the xbox 360, while Scott busied himself down in the family room. Danielle and I also watched The Happening which turned out to be better than I thought it would be. Not great, but certainly worth seeing once.

So, with 18 weeks behind me, and less behind me if you catch my meaning, I have 50 pounds to go to reach my target of 140 pounds lost. We'll see how many months it takes!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Picture Of The Day 08/20/09

The is me after burning 1000 calories today on the exercise bike. It should be noted that is a light gray shirt....or was when I started the ride.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Picture Of The Day - 08/19/09

If you have not read my recipe for what I dubbed Falco's Fire Sauce, you need to go read it now.

I was looking around in the refrigerator for something earlier and I found in the back a plastic container of the aforementioned substance. I quickly thought back to the fact that this was about a month old, so I decided to pour it down the drain.

Imagine my surprise, as shown in the picture below as to the results from doing this. Note you can also see a video of this on my Facebook page.

Man that's some HOT stuff!
Disclaimer: Just imagine what it dose to your insides!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

That 70s Picture

I was down the basement filling the washing machine and started going through one of the bags of items I brought back from New Jersey after my father passed away last summer. Among other assorted items were some pictures. I decided to share one of them with you. Below is a picture of me when I was in Glen Ridge High School. Enjoy!

Click on me for an enlarged version

Recipe
Chicken Fajitas with Peppers & Onions

This recipe is easy to make, but requires about 30-40 minutes. The slow cooking of the chicken and peppers really lets the flavors build and meld. Take note that while the peppers and onions here are similar to the other recipes I've posted recently, there are some subtle changes to the ingredients needed to make these fajita style. If you can't find a mix of frozen peppers and onions, which here they call a pepper stir fry mix, take 4 ounces of peppers and 3 ounces of onion and 1/4 cup of water).

Ingredients:
4 La Tortilla Factory Low Carb High Fiber tortillas (50 calories each)
2 ounces frozen skinless boneless chicken breast tenders
7 ounces frozen peppers & onions
3 tbs Conimex Sambal Oelek
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt substitute
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp Splenda
2 cups shredded lettuce
I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Pump Spray
Taco Bell Hot Taco Sauce (0 calories/serving)

Preparation:
Lightly spray the bottom of a small 8 inch frying pan with PAM spray. Place frozen chicken in center of pan and surround with peppers and onions. Being careful to get the following ingredients evenly on the peppers and onions, add the Sambal Oelek, garlic powder, ground cumin, salt substitute, parsley, pepper, chili powder, and paprika. Cover pan with glass lid and place on very low heat. The idea is for this to cook very slowly.

Cook for 20 minutes, turn chicken and stir peppers and onions, taking care to insure chicken is on bottom of pan without any peppers and onions under it. Sprinkle the Splenda on top of the peppers and onions, cover, and cook under low heat for another 10 minutes.

Remove chicken from pan and shred, distribute peppers and onions evenly over pan. Use the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Pump Spray and coat pan contents, increase heat, and stir peppers and onion until any remaining liquid is thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add shredded chicken back to pan and stir to heat through.

Spread shredded lettuce over the four La Tortilla Factory Low Carb High Fiber tortillas. Divide pan mixture and spoon over lettuce. Add hot taco sauce if desired, roll up and serve.

Total Calories just under 350 for four fajitas!

Recipe:
Hot Dogs with Spicy-Sweet Peppers & Onions

This recipe is easy to make, but requires about 30-40 minutes. The slow cooking of the hot dogs and peppers really lets the flavors build and meld. This is a typical dinner for me. I make sure to use a buffalo wing sauce that shows no calories per serving. Feel free to substitute hot dog rolls for the low calories bread and your favorite frank for my low calorie dogs. Be advised though without substitution this makes three delicious hot dogs with peppers and onions for under 300 calories! Note if you can't find a mix of frozen peppers and onions, which here they call a pepper stir fry mix, take 3 ounces of peppers and two ounces of onion and 1/4 cup of water)


Ingredients:
3 Hebrew National 97% Kosher Hot Dogs (40 calories each)
3 slices Aunt Mille's high fiber, low calories wheat bread (35 calories/slice)
5 ounces frozen peppers & onions
3 tbs hot buffalo wing sauce
2 tbs Conimex Sambal Oelek (you may substitute Tabasco sauce)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt substitute
1 tbs Splenda
I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Pump Spray
Celery salt to taste
Freshly ground black peppers to taste
Mustard to Taste

Preparation:
Lightly spray the bottom of a small 8 inch frying pan with PAM spray. Place hot dogs in center of pan and surround with peppers and onions. Being careful to get the following ingredients on the peppers and onions, add the buffalo wing sauce, Sambal Oelek, garlic powder, ground cumin, salt substitute, and paprika. Cover pan with glass lid and place on very low heat. The idea is for this to cook very slowly.

Cook for 20 minutes, turn hot dogs and stir peppers and onions, taking care to insure hot dogs are on bottom of pan without any peppers and onions under them. Sprinkle the Splenda on top of the peppers and onions, cover, and cook under low heat for another 10 minutes.

Remove hot dogs from pan, distribute peppers and onions evenly over pan. Use the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Pump Spray and coat pan contents, increase heat, and stir peppers and onion until any remaining liquid is thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Place a hot dog on each slice of bread, distribute peppers and onions evenly across the three hot dogs, and then sprinkle with celery salt to taste. Add mustard to taste, and finally sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper to taste. Do this after adding the Mustard. Trust me, it makes a difference.

Serve and enjoy!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Picture Of The Day 08/13/09

A shot of the sun behind the clouds just now on my way back from the store.

Monday, August 10, 2009

A Contrast In Exercising - Revisited

So, yesterday I did a 90 minute workout and like the one on Saturday it too went very well.

Today was an entirely different case. It did not go well, or even very well. It was a total contrast in exercising. Today in fact it went exceedingly well.

In a 90 minute workout I do about 900 calories and 16 miles. Today as I approached the 90 minute mark and hit it, I realized I had pluck and energy to spare, so I kept going. It's almost as if the exercise bike had it's own power source....

Sixteen minutes later, for a total of an hour and forty six minutes, I had gone 19 miles and burned just over 1100 calories! I was most pleased with myself and with the workout.

I still hate exercise, though if every workout could go like the last three in a row did, I think I could learn to tolerate it, if not actually like it!

Recipe - Egg Beaters Omelet With Spicy-Sweet Peppers & Onions

This is one of the healthy dinners I have been eating featuring the same Peppers & Onions from my Hot Dog recipe which I will post later. It's about 200 calories for a very tasty omelet. Slow cooking the peppers & onions as described below is key to bringing out all the flavors this recipe has to offer.

If you can't find a mix of frozen peppers & onions which around here is called a stir fry mix, use 4 ounces sliced tri-color peppers and 2 ounces sliced onions, plus a 1/4 cup of water.

For those not counting calories, substitute three large eggs, whisked with 3 tbs milk, for the cup of Eggbeaters and an ounce of shredded sharp cheddar for the fat free variety.

Ingredients:
1 cup Eggbeaters
1 slice Kraft Sharp Cheddar Fat Free Cheese
6 ounces frozen tri-color peppers & onions
3 tbs hot buffalo wing sauce
2 tbs Conimex Sambal Oelek (you may substitute Tabasco sauce)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp salt substitute
1 tbs Splenda
I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Pump Spray
Freshly ground black peppers to taste

Optional: For an additional 70 calories serve with 2 slices (35 calories each) toasted Aunt Millie's high fiber low calorie bread sprayed with I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Pump Spray.

Preparation:
Lightly spray the bottom of a small 8 inch frying pan with PAM spray. Evenly distribute peppers and onions in bottom of pan and add Sambal Oelek, buffalo wing sauce, garlic powder, ground cumin, salt substitute, and paprika distributing evenly over pan contents. Cover pan with glass lid and place over very low heat. The idea is for this to cook very slowly.

Cook for 20 minutes, then stir peppers and onions. Sprinkle the Splenda on top of the peppers and onions, cover, and cook under low heat for another 10 minutes.

Using the I Can't Believe It's Not Butter Pump Spray coat pan contents, increase heat, and stir peppers and onions until any remaining liquid is thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes. Again making sure pan contents are evenly distributed, sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper, increase heat slightly, and add Eggbeaters. Cook for about 5-8 minutes until surface is mostly solid, then flip. Cook an additional 2 minutes, turn off heat, break the slice of cheese into four parts and place on top of pan contents. Leave covered for an additional two minutes then serve and enjoy.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Mark: 17 weeks on the Lifestyle Modification Plan

Me before The Diet - One of my typical afternoon snacks!

It marks 17 weeks today I've been on my Lifestyle Modification Plan! Mentally I am fixated on food, though physically most times it's really not too bad. There are moments though, like last Tuesday which was my night to have the kids for dinner since it was their Mom's week. Danielle asked if she could bring her friend over with her, and I ordered Italian Food from Vitale's of Ada, our favorite place for Italian Food Delivery. The smell of assorted pasta dinners and garlic bread sticks with butter made my usually tasty spicy pepper omelet taste like ashes in my mouth.....but...mostly I can deal with it.

My kids have been pretty good about it. Maybe not asking how I am doing, but at least not complaining that I won't take them anywhere for a nice sit down dinner. I do take them out for fast food which can also be rough, surrounded by people eating Burger King may not sound all that delicious to you....but trust me.....you really know what Pavlov's dog must have been going through whenever he heard that danged bell......

So for 121 days (I started riding the bike 2 days before the diet) I've exercised every day and stayed within my caloric guidelines. Losing 84 pounds in 17 weeks is not bad at all, that's an average just about 5 pounds a week. It's been ever so much fun, and I'm past the half way point of 70 pounds. I realize though that the road before me is still long and full of challenges. I am truly eager to continue on the path I have set myself upon.

Different things motivate me such as the following. Danielle and I were just looking at a few pictures and I started up a video clip she had taken of the cat a couple of weeks after I started the diet. Because the the cat was running around she panned over to where I am sitting on the recliner, and I was HUGE! We were both somewhat shocked by my appearance! When you see someone every day you get used to their appearance so to us my change is stature is not that dramatic. She said "Oh my gosh you looked like Santa Claus!" I said I looked like I ate Santa! I was, truly, disgusted with myself though after seeing that clip for letting me get to that point. All the more motivation to succeed.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

A Contrast In Exercising

The sacrificial altar of my many lost pounds

For the past month my workout on the exercising bike has been between 80 and 90 minutes. I do a 10 minute warm up on a lower resistance setting, then I go up a setting and do that for 65-70 minutes before taking a one minute 'break' at the lower setting. I then do several minutes at the higher setting, another minute at the lower setting, then the higher setting until I am a minute away from finishing and I go to the lower setting as a bit of a cool down.

It's always somewhat of an effort to get through the workout. Some days it just a physical challenge, others days it's stress from a bad day in the office. Other times it's just boredom. Let's face it; riding a stationary bike for an hour and a half is far from exciting.

I've tried playing video games, the motion of the game on the screen coupled with the pedaling on the bike just makes me too dizzy! So, I watch TV, and as I have mentioned before I typically watch shows from the Food Network. Why, would someone working to lose weight watch shows full of foods they can't eat? For several reasons. First, I like them! They are amusing and educational and often give me ideas to use in my own cuisine. My Pasta with Chicken, Mushrooms, and Shallots in a Saffron Sauce Reduction came from a show I saw. Second, it's a reminder to me of how I got where I was by eating too much of too high calorie recipes. Finally, it's the carrot on a stick, to remind me to keep going, there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and one day, down the road, perhaps once a month, I can have a lavish meal with too many calories!

So, as I started saying some days the workout goal seems almost impossible to achieve. Yesterday in fact, I was so worn out when I got about 30 minutes into the higher setting, I did not think I would be able to keep going, so, I took a minute at the lower setting. I ended up interjecting several unscheduled 'breaks' like this which increased the time of my workout by a few minutes since the goal of the workout is a set number of calories burned. The lower resistance setting burns less calories. When I was finished though I had burned the 900 calories, it just took five minutes longer. The workout is rarely this bad, but other days, it just seems to go on forever.

Today was one of those rare workouts though that could almost cause me to enjoy exercising! Don't get me wrong, every day when I climb off that exercise bike, I am elated that I finished the workout. This morning, I was into it mentally and physically. The ride was almost effortless, the time passed reasonably quickly, I did 70 minutes at the higher setting before taking that first minute break. If the workout went like that every day, it would be fantastic!

And it is a workout! The t-shirt I am wearing is completely saturated in sweat as is the golf towel I keep on the exercise bike for wiping my face and head. It is a hearty workout!

However it goes, I don't know how any days I'll go on my streak of continuous days. Without checking I think this Sunday marks 17 weeks. For me, couch potato that I am, exercising every day for 17 weeks is quite an accomplishment.

Oh, and I hate exercise!

Friday, August 07, 2009

Picture Of The Day 08/07/09

A lovely sunrise here in Grand Rapids Michigan!

Today's Weigh In - 08/07/09

Since last Friday I've been exercising 10 minutes more each day and except for Saturday, since I went to see Ice Age 3 with the kids and had some popcorn, I've been eating less. A max of 750 calories a day. So, since the last two week weigh in I lost another 7 pounds for a total of 84 pounds lost since I started this Lifestyle Modification. I plan to eat my normal 1100 or so calories today and tomorrow, my 1500 max Sunday, and then next week since I have half days most of the week I will try and eat less. We'll see about the extra 10 minutes of exercise! Usually I burn 800 calories in a workout, that extra 10 minute push to get to 900 can be somewhat grueling, particularly after a full day at the office!

My blood pressure is the best it has been in a long time. 114/69.

The 140 pound weight loss target I set myself is certainly looking a bit more attainable today. I will be posting three recipes when I get a chance, the first is for a spicy-sweet mix of tri-color peppers and onions, the other two will be recipes incorporating these.

I'm thinking I may actually break my diet on September 7th, which is my birthday. I get a coupon each year for a free burger at Red Robin. I'm giving this serious consideration but it's a weighty issue, and I'll have to see where I am in another month. In spite of all I have lost, frankly, I'm still fat and need to keep going, but on the other hand, your birthday is a special day! Anyway, for now, I'll weight, and weight, and weight before making a final decision.

Once again I'd like to thank all of those who've sent words of encouragement and supported me during these past months, it is much appreciated.

Monday, August 03, 2009

Picture Of The Day 08/03/09

A glorious sunrise in West Michigan though an hour later it was totally overcast and pouring!