Big Fat Queer

January 30, 2011

I Am a Recovering Workaholic

My last post was before Thanksgiving entitled “Light At the End of the Tunnel”. Oops! It turns out the light was the proverbial train coming in the other direction. At least the collision is over and it’s time to salvage pieces from the wreckage. Workaholic is a poorly constructed word, but there is something apt to it in my case. I do not mean to suggest that I am so dedicated to my work that I sacrifice my private life in any deliberate way. More akin to alcoholism than you may think, it is about losing control of the balance between work and private life. I had mentioned when I blogged before that my life would become absorbed by a few concurrent large projects at work and as is often the case things got prolonged, delayed, enlarged and so forth. I had thought it would be past me by the end of the year, but not so. I do think we’re on the downside of the slope now. My problem is that when work gets demanding and the responsibilities get compounded, I become somewhat obsessive/compulsive about it and lose the ability to let go. I come home, and even though the work day is done, I review and plan in my head and go over things so many times that the rest of my life vanishes. I don’t relieve the stress with anything meaningful, just television and food. Whenever my phone sounded an email alert (which is often), I would tense up. I thought I was going to hurt somebody. Friday I took a day off, my first in a few weeks. I had a three day weekend. I have begun to unclench.

It’s all about balance. My life has been out of balance. Hence the clip above from the cult classic film Koyaanisqatsi, which is the Hopi Indian word for “crazy life, life in turmoil, life out of balance, life disintegrating, a state of life that calls for another way of living”. Blogging helped me balance things before and I let it slide. I am returning to the blog in an effort to regain my balance.

I had lost around 35 pounds from March through early fall last year. I maintained for a while and gained about ten pounds through Thanksgiving. I lost for the first few weeks of December and got back to where I was at the end of summer. Since then I have probably gained 15 pounds. I am seeing a weight loss specialist, but he is telling me what I already know. And what I know is this: first principles – eat less, move more. Easy to say, hard to do. I have to burn more energy than I consume. The best way to keep some control over this is to count calories. My most successful period in this blogging life was to keep around 1500 calories a day. Again, easy to say, hard to do. It comes down to what I eat. Avoid simple carbs, avoid processed foods and eat a variety of food. It still requires will power, but if I succumb to carbs and processed foods I cannot control the cravings.

Today I had rye toast with peanut butter for breakfast and some chicken soup and a green salad for lunch. For dinner I ordered a large noodle soup with sliced pork and vegetables. The Chinese restaurant I like to order from sends the noodles in a separate container so they won’t get soggy in transit. I discarded the noodles. I also got an order of mixed vegetables. By my calculation I have consumed about 1400 calories today. I will have an apple after I finish this post.

The cold, snowy weather has not been conducive to walking lately. Also I have had some problems with my foot for a couple of months. I thought maybe it was tendonitis. Then I thought it might be a stress fracture. Then phlebitis. I have iced it, massaged it, heated it. All of which helped a little. Last week I saw a rolling pin in the cabinet. I forgot I even had one; I never bake. I decided to put the rolling pin on the floor and roll the arch of my foot over it for about ten minutes. It helped immensely. I have been doing that daily for over a week and the pain is about gone. That makes walking much easier, but today I didn’t want to go outside, so I worked with resistance bands and did some stretching and isometric exercises. I probably burned about 200 calories with exercise.

Every day is a new struggle. Today felt like a small victory.

P.S. In reviewing the clip from Koyaanisqatsi I noticed that one of the shots of NYC at night was taken from the very building I worked in for 24 hours last weekend. How apropos.

August 26, 2010

OMG Potato Chips!


Some of the partners of my company had a luncheon today for whatever reason, but often whey they do they order a sandwich platter with various crap on the side (cookies, potato salad, fruit). After the luncheon they put the leftovers on a table in the staff lunch area so that the goodness trickles down. Ah noblesse oblige! Ok, I’m using a bit of hyperbole, but I usually decline partner leftovers. Today I noticed they had potato chips. I haven’t had a potato chip in a long time, so I ate one, then two… then I ran away.

It is a cliche, but it is hard to eat just one. Potato chips are the perfect junk food gateway drug. First of all, anything made with potatoes from gnocchi to vodka is so tasty. Add the crispness, the fat, the salt and voila! You have me hooked. And eating just one more isn’t so bad. Then just one more, then after you have eaten about a couple hundred of them, you think “What have I done?” And the guilt makes you eat some cheese just to atone.

For lunch today I had a peanut butter and banana sandwich on pump. I also had the other half of an avocado from yesterday and part of a white peach, which was pithy and mealy and not very tasty. Oh yes, and two potato chips.

Tonight I am making Eggs in Purgatory. More about that later.

August 25, 2010

Fat is Good

Well, some fat. The conventional wisdom that so much of the health-care and food industry perpetuates is that low fat diets are good for everybody. They probably are, for some people, for example people who have normal blood sugar levels and high blood fat levels. They probably should eat less fat and more complex carbs.

But I am the opposite. My blood sugar is elevated and my blood fats are extremely low. Thus I think it makes sense for me to eat more fat and less carbs. But mostly the good fats from nuts, olive oil, avocado and for me it seems coconut fat is good. I went back to having some coconut oil and/or milk every day this week and I can tell a difference in my appetite. From what I read, medium-chain triglycerides (like coconut oil) are metabolized into energy almost as directly as carbs, and not immediately stored. But they don’t raise blood sugar, at least not for me.

I will monitor the levels because as a diabetic, I don’t want to risk any elevation of blood fats above normal, but as long as I can tolerate the good fats, I am less hungry. I learned that earlier in this project, but I drifted away from it.

Today for lunch I had a ham sandwich on pumpernickel, half an avocado and a tomato. For an afternoon snack I had a Golden Delicious apple. For dinner I had another of the same sandwich and a vegetable puree of yellow squash, onions, carrots and lima beans with some coconut milk and sriracha.

Before bed I will have a small frozen berry and coconut milk and coconut water smoothie.

I walked a mile and a half today.

I have a three day weekend coming up. My energy levels have improved this week. I don’t know how much of that is diet and how much is the demise of infection agents. I have some ideas of things I want to video since the weather is supposed to be really nice. It involves a little travel around bodies of water.

August 23, 2010

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries

Earlier this evening I pitted a large bowl of fresh cherries by hand with only a paring knife and my fingers, which are now quite red. I put them in the freezer (the cherries, not my fingers) with some fresh pineapple chunks. I will be using some of this cold fruit to make a smoothie with coconut milk in few minutes.

I am feeling even better today than yesterday after a busy day at work. For lunch I had some roast chicken thigh and some raw vegetables. I had no breakfast or snacks during the day. For dinner I had organic peanut butter on Finn Crisps and the last bowl of home made vegetable soup from this weekend. Later I will haz my smoothie.

Though it was rainy and dank all day, I walked about a mile and a quarter.

I feel like I am more on track like the early days of this blog. I don’t know if feeling better is the cause or the effect.

August 10, 2010

Chicken Oysters are Delicious

As many of you probably know, the oysters on a chicken are the two roundish pieces located on the chicken back next to the thigh. I tried to find a picture to illustrate them, but no luck. Many, myself included, consider the oysters to be the tastiest part of the chicken. They have the flavor and moisture of dark meat with the tigher musculature of white meat. And they are so tasty. I would like to have a whole bowl of just chicken oysters. I have never seen them sold separately. The French call them “m├ędaillons du poulet”.

Last night I had half a rotisserie chicken. Tonight I cut up the other half and made a stew with sauteed onions, diced tomatoes, mixed vegetables, coconut milk and Sriracha. It was creamy and spicy. I had a salad with it.

Yesterday and today, granola for breakfast. Peanut butter on Finn Crisps with bananas for lunch.

It has been mucho caliente the last couple of days so I’ve only walked about a mile a day. I have not been able to use my resistance bands for a few weeks. I have had an injury in my shoulder, but it is much improved, though not 100%. I have iced it and taken Advil. The passing of time has also helped.

August 7, 2010

I’m Still Here

Lexus, originally uploaded by FantasticBabblings.

Sorry. I’ve been away a few days. This was a busy week at work and after work. Busy for me, anyway. I was out Tuesday night with friends; perhaps you saw the blog post. Wednesday night I filmed the Prop 8 Decision Rally at Foley Square downtown. It was so damn humid all of my clothes, even my socks, were drenched when I got home. I got some good footage which I am taking a break from editing now. Thursday night I was so damn tired that I just plotzed in a chair and veged out. Last night I started editing my Prop 8 vid. I swear, tomorrow I am going to rest. Please somebody slap me if I start to work on anything.

I have done a few things around the house today, but I can’t find my Windex. I know it was here a couple of days ago and now it has disappeared into the Windex Wormhole. Just about every day this week I walked two miles. Today, however, I walked only about three quarters of a mile.

I got the results from my visit to the doctor this week. My hemoglobin A1C (which measures the long range average of blood glucose – about 3 months) dropped to 7.7 from 8.2, the last measure. The holy grail for diabetics is 7.0, so I made some progress. My total cholesterol was 111, which is outrageously low. I have always been genetically fortunate in regard to lipids, but the American Diabetes Association recommends (or is it the American Heart Association?) that diabetics have an LDL cholesterol below 100, so I take the minimum dosage of a statin drug. My LDL is 75 and HDL 36. I would like to raise the HDL, which has been pretty constant as long as I can remember. The ratio has improved, though and the LDL is fabulous.

The last few days I have had vegetable soup that I made with leftover fresh veggies chopped up in chicken broth. This morning for breakfast I had a homemade granola bar. I mixed granola with peanut butter and rolled it up in a piece of foil and refrigerated it overnight to give it some substance. I had cantaloupe with that. This morning I was out of half and half and drank coffee black, which I haven’t done in a while. I liked it. I’ll try it for a while. I had a turkey burger on rye with my soup tonight and for a midday snack I had cottage cheese with pineapple.

I took the picture of the Lexus on my walk this afternoon. It was parked in front of the neighborhood Turkish restaurant. It was getting a lot of attention.

July 19, 2010

Lots of Colorful Veggies

The picture above is lunch today. I had about six ounces of steamed shrimp with an assortment of vegetables. For breakfast I had a Kashi granola bar. Dinner was some Finn Crisps with peanut butter and sliced banana with more of the vegetable soup I made yesterday. I have some fresh strawberries I will eat right after I post this.

I walked a mile today. Heavy showers during this morning’s commute precluded much walking.

Not much else to say. It has been a busy Monday and I am pooped. Catch you later.

July 18, 2010

Sometimes Calories Count

As anyone who follows this blog can attest, most days my food intake consists of pretty healthy foods, not too much animal fat, lots of fruits and vegetables and very little in the way of simple carbs. Yet I have not really lost weight for a while. Plateaus are normal, but I think there is something else going on here. While I have watched the quality of the food I am eating, I have not kept close control of the quantity, which has crept up. And large quantities of food, even good, healthy food, makes weight loss nearly impossible.

So today, I start counting calories again. I am at 1500, which seemed to work for me before when I was counting. So let’s see if counting calories helps.

Today I had two Kashi granola bars with organic peanut butter, a banana and fresh peach. In the evening I had a large bowl of home made vegetable soup. Well, I used canned tomatoes, but everything else was made from fresh veggies (onions, garlic, celery, zucchini, cauliflower, green beans, carrots and chick peas – the peas were canned). It was very tasty. I had some smoked oysters with that. During the day I snacked on some Finn Crisps and peanut butter, but I have counted those in my total.

If I can maintain the 1500 limit and get a little more walking in (the thermometer is forecast as more cooperative with outdoor ambulating this week), let’s see if I can get past the plateau.

Healthy eating is one thing, but I must lose more weight out of medical necessity.

I am feeling a bit sleepy now, which surprises me. I went to Starbucks last night to read and had some iced tea, but it was quite strong and the caffeine kept me up late. I finally took a melatonin at about 3 and got to sleep after 4 am. I didn’t get up until 11:30 this morning. The day seems awfully early to be this late.

July 15, 2010

Long Weekends Rule

I am taking tomorrow off work. Well, off my paying job. I have creative work to do, but that is a vacation as far as I’m concerned.

Yesterday I didn’t blog. I worked in our Long Island office, so I had four hours of commuting. Coming back the train was so crowded I had to stand for half the trip. That’s rare for a reverse commute (heads to the city after work whereas most head out of the city after work). It’s common for the subway. I don’t know where everybody was going. Based on the behavior of the riders I figured there must be some redneck concert at the Garden or something. There were many young people drinking 20 ounce cans of cheap beer and screaming. Joy.

Because of the threat of thunderstorms I didn’t walk over to the nearby building with the good cafeteria for lunch, so I ate at the one in the basement of our building. I had a chef salad, which in this case is iceberg lettuce (the lightest color, no real green) and sliced ham, turkey and Swiss cheese. I like the texture of iceberg lettuce, but it doesn’t have any flavor and very little nutritional value. For dinner I had some peanut butter and banana on Finn Crisps. I had a pear for a snack. I walked about a mile and a half – the thunderstorms never materialized.

Today I had some peanut butter on Finn Crisps (no banana) for lunch with some raw vegetables. I had an apple for a snack in the afternoon. Tonight I had some edamame hummus, chicken wings and chunky tomato soup. I will have some pineapple for a snack. Today I walked a mile.

I found a site today that analyzes a writing sample to tell you who you write like ( I put in the last half dozen or so blog posts and had them analyzed. The most frequent comparison was to David Foster Wallace. I had to look him up, but he apparently was a good writer (he committed suicide two years ago). A couple of times it compared me to Stephen King. Ok, for a mass fiction writer his style is not bad. Once it compared me to Mario Puzo. That I don’t get at all. Anyone reading my blog ever think about the Mafia? And another sample was compared to Dan Brown. That one hurt a little, but I would trade bank accounts with him. As the very erudite Stephen Fry once said of Mr. Brown’s DaVinci Code, “It is complete loose stool-water. It is arse gravy of the worst kind.” Now there’s a recipe.

July 12, 2010

Back After a Few Days Break

I took a long weekend away from blogging, during which time I ate a cheeseburger and some ice cream among healthier things. Today I am behaving again.

I walked a mile and a quarter. For lunch I had some home made tuna salad with Finn Crisp crackers. I had an apple for a snack. Tonight I had grilled zucchini and onions with a soup made from a puree of carrots and sauteed onions mixed with some coconut milk (pictured above). It was delicious. I also had about a tablespoon of peanut butter on some Finn Crisps.

Over the weekend I did a vlog about various attacks targeting gay people around the world in the last couple of weeks:

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