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A fitter, trimmer Schumin coming your way?

April 19, 2011, 9:50 PM

First of all, before we start this discussion, why didn’t anyone tell me I hadn’t written a Journal entry in three bloody weeks? I came to this realization today when I was showing somebody a photo on the site, and noticed that the last Journal entry was March 29. Yes, I can get caught up in things, and occasionally need that little reminder that I haven’t done one of these in a while. So here it is.

Yesterday, I posted this on the Twitter:

I’ve lost nine pounds since last time the doctor weighed me about a month ago. Apparently I’m doing something right?
April 18 8:51 AM

First of all, I was as surprised as anyone. I realize that I weigh a lot more than I probably ought to, but that surprised me. That’s over a span of about a month. I’ll spare you the exact numbers, citing Schumin-will-not-share-that-with-you privilege, but I’ve been really trying to clean up my act health-wise.

See, two things brought me to the point of really taking this whole thing seriously. First, on the urging of my coworkers, I signed up for an OkCupid account. I saw all of these beautiful women on there, and I was mentally eliminating every single one of them on account of some dark thoughts of mine that made me believe that no woman would ever want to actually date me on account of my being fat and out of shape. And let’s admit – I’ve not had much luck with the ladies as of late. I think I got my profile complete up to like 60% or so, but then went browsing again, and I nearly had a breakdown. Seriously, I just about had an emotional breakdown right there in front of the computer. That’s not a good thing to have, especially when I was using the site because my coworkers encouraged me to give it a try. I have no doubt that their intentions were as pure as Ivory soap, but the site was causing me too much stress. So I killed my OkCupid account, and explained to my coworkers that it was causing me more problems than it was worth.

Then number two came along. Remember back in March when I went to the allergy specialist to find out more about my springtime allergies? Well, as it turns out, I learned a lot more than I had intended to learn. They put the blood pressure cuff on me, and were like, oh, look at that, noting how high my blood pressure was. They even took it two more times with two different people to make sure that they were getting a good reading, and took it again later to make sure that it wasn’t any residual workplace or driving stress that was causing the high blood pressure. Unfortunately, it really was high. You know it’s serious when the doctor looks you in the eye and says, “You need to make an appointment this week,” to get the blood pressure issue taken care of.

Even though I maintained a cool exterior, that whole thing scared the living $#@% out of me. Something was starting to catch up with me, and I didn’t like it. See, I don’t want to die at an early age on account of weight. I want to live to a nice ripe old age. I will readily admit, however, that when my time is up, getting run over by a bus, for instance, would be far more preferable to some long drawn out process where your relatives are saying, “Oh, he’s dying,” and act all awkwardly around you because they know your days are numbered. I don’t even want to see it coming. Of course, this is not to say that I particularly want to get run over by a bus, and especially not any time soon (though the way some of these people drive in Dupont Circle, you never know). Nor, for that matter, would I ever deliberately put myself in harm’s way. But I’m just saying that I don’t want to be sitting around just waiting for the end to come, and having people all knowing that my days are numbered and acting differently around me because of it. I don’t even want to see it coming.

There’s no nice, non-awkward way to transition away from that last paragraph, so let’s just continue. So I made the appointment with a family physician (I now have a “doctor doctor” around here!), and got some advice and such on how to get things under control. First of all, my eating, while I wasn’t overeating, still wasn’t very good. I was eating too much processed stuff, and all the wrong ratios of vegetables to carbs to protein. Basically, I was loading up on carbohydrates and junk, and not getting enough vegetables. Basically, I was buying very stereotypical single-people food. Everything heat-and-serve and very little actual preparation involved. Lots of salt. And while I was doing the exercise bike regularly for about a month, I eventually got discouraged and quit.

Now, we’re doing better. I’ve cut way back on my sugar and my salt (i.e. as little as possible). I’m reading nutrition labels, paying close attention to calories, fat, sodium, and carbs. I’m actually – get this – really cooking now, and am eating the way I should have been a long time ago. I now have glass bakeware for cooking real chicken (not the processed chicken you get in the bags). Let’s just say that my freezer doesn’t look like this anymore. Bagged chicken is banned. Frozen pizza is also banned. None of that will enter this house anymore. And bagels, despite my family’s Jewish heritage, are sadly also banned (sob!). Too many carbs on all of it.

And then for lunch at work, which used to be a container of spaghetti from home, a TV dinner, or something horribly unhealthy from the cafe in our building (their fries are to die for, and if not careful, also to die from), I actually have done pretty well for myself. I made myself a little something that does everything in the proper ratios and actually tastes pretty good. One quarter carbs: some Zatarain’s yellow rice. One quarter protein: some cut up chicken. And one half vegetable: peas! All of it mixed together in a container, and then nuke it for three minutes. The vegetable will periodically change (I just happened to grab peas out of the freezer for this week’s lunches), but I think it tastes pretty good, and unlike during the summer when I was doing salads, I’m not finding myself getting hungry again by 4:00 and running over to the CVS across the street for a snack, negating all the good effects of trying to eat healthy.

Then for breakfast, I’m eating oatmeal. No more kiddie cereals for me. I would mix things up, you see, in the sense that I would buy the Frosted Flakes, rotate over to the Fruity Pebbles, then the Lucky Charms, with occasional forays into Froot Loops and Apple Jacks territory. Oh, and all generic, mind you – I wasn’t about to pay for the name brand. No, I was slowly killing myself in the thriftiest way I knew. Now, though, I discovered how you’re supposed to make oatmeal. Until recently, I had no idea that oatmeal didn’t have to come out of a packet. I lived a very sheltered life, obviously. But yeah, oatmeal can be made straight out of a can of oats, and prepared quite easily. Groovy.

And then exercise. First of all, the exercise bike and I still are not on speaking terms. However, now that it’s nice out, I’ve been walking the 1.7 miles home from the Metro rather than take the 51. It’s really not as bad of a walk as it sounds. It goes like that. However, I really need to write SHA about the sidewalks on Georgia Avenue, which are presently a gravelly mess and really need to get cleared. That has slowed my progress a bit, and prevented me from maintaining my target heart rate beyond Hathaway Drive due to the poor conditions. Then I’m also power-walking it from Dupont Circle station to the office in the morning, so that’s a little something, too. However, if all three escalators are out on a side in Dupont Circle station… no. I’m not there yet. Maybe in a few months, but right now, I will go up the Q Street side if all three south escalators are out.

So there you go. And all this seems to have gone a big way in helping take care of the blood pressure, too, as it’s now in the upper-normal range, compared to the fix-it-or-die range. And I think we can get that down to where it needs to be with a little more work…

Web site: "15 Ways to Eat Healthy". Why not. The thing about this is that if you ask fifteen different experts about how to eat healthily, you will get fifteen different answers...

Song: "Turn and Smile", making fun of those family sitcoms, particularly the openings of Miller-Boyett shows from the 1990s like Full House, Family Matters, and Step by Step.

Quote: And once again, someone please tell me if I've gone too long between Journal entries. I don't like dry spells like this, but look for another entry soon piloting a concept called "Alexes' Alley" for some friends (both named Alex). We will be looking for feedback on this concept for their potentially launching a new blog based on the concept. So stay tuned.