Category Archives: Fitness

The Incredible Shrinking Me

Over Easter, we went to Gail’s dad’s place for a couple of days and my parents’ place for a couple of days. As always, there was lots of food at both places, and being Easter, there was also lots of chocolate. I ate like a pig the whole weekend, and felt like crap on the drive back home. Part of it was physical (I just ate too much), but mostly I was just disgusted with myself. I told Gail when we got home that I was going to start doing Weight Watchers with her – she’s been doing it for a couple of years. I haven’t officially joined WW, and I’m not going to the meetings or anything (Gail does), I’m just keeping track of what I eat.

The program is fairly simple – every item of food has a number of points associated with it, based on the amount of fiber, calories, and fat in the item. For example, an apple is 1 point, vegetables are generally 0 points (i.e. you can eat as much as you want, within reason), two slices of bread are about 3 points, a Coke is 3 points (though Diet Coke is 0), a cup of milk is 2 points, and a Big Mac at McDonald’s is 11 points. You write down everything you eat every day, and count up the number of points for each thing. For my weight, I get 24 points per day, plus you also have 35 “flex points” that you can use per week – you can either split them up (i.e. give yourself an extra 5 points per day), or use them all in one day, or some combination. Here’s an average day’s food for me before I started doing this:

Two English muffins with peanut butter (at least 8 points)
Cup of apple juice (3 points)
Michelena’s entree or leftovers (anywhere from 8-13 points)
Yogurt (1 point)
Granola bar (3 points)
Anywhere between 8 and 15 points
Ice cream (3-5 points)

So we’re looking at somewhere between 38 and 45 points per day. Sometimes we’d try to be healthy and serve raw veggies with dinner, but I’d always take a big dollop of some kind of dip – the veggies are 0 points, but some dips are 4 points per tablespoon. Since I’ve been watching what I eat, I’ve made the following types of changes:

  • bowl of cereal instead of english muffins (saved 3 points)
  • no juice (saved 3)
  • Lean Cuisine entrees or soup or smaller portion of leftovers (saved 3-12)
  • an apple instead of a granola bar (saved 2)
  • a smaller dinner (saved 2-6)
  • no ice cream (save 3-5)

Some days I have enough points left over to have the ice cream after dinner, or a snack later on, and I’ve only max’ed out my flex points once – most weeks I barely touch them. I’ve been hungry a lot more lately, but I figure that’s a small price to pay to look and feel better.

The program isn’t designed for rapid weight loss, but I lost about 7 pounds in the first 4 weeks. We went to Ottawa last weekend, and I didn’t count any points while there, so I went up a pound last week. But it’s summer, so I’ll be getting lots of excercise with baseball and hikes and stuff – Gail and I bought bikes recently, so we’ll hopefully get out biking now and again too. I’m still working out two or three days a week, so combined with the exercise and better eating, I’m hoping to be in great shape by the end of the summer.

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Harry the Fourth

Gail and I played hookey flexed some work time this afternoon and went to see Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. The movie raised a few questions: How many times can you say that the fourth movie in a series was just as good as the first, if not better? How many movies would Gary Oldman agree to be in if he was offered maybe 3 minutes of screen time, and you could barely even recognize him? How do you make a 2 1/2 hour movie out of a 700 page book without skipping any important stuff?

It had its flaws (Harry, Ron, and Hermione all look older than the 14 they’re supposed to be), and some stuff was missing (the Dursley’s and Mrs. Weasley weren’t there at all, Fleur and Krum said almost nothing, and I missed Krum’s trouble with Hermione’s name – “Herm-o-ninny”) but we really enjoyed it. As usual, the views of the school and surrounding grounds were amazing, Snape was sufficiently slimy (though less negative towards Harry than in the previous movies), Draco was somehow a bully and a chickenshit at the same time, and Ron was scared silly (though this time, it wasn’t spiders or other monsters that scared him, it was (gasp) girls). The only person who seemed out of character was Dumbledore – he seemed more angry than usual, and also seemed to have more energy than a man his age should have.

It’ll be a two-year wait, but we’re already looking forward to the next movie – Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!

In other news, I ordered a new home gym yesterday, and it’s being delivered tomorrow. Click here, then click on Strength, and look under “Northern Lights Multi Gyms” for a model called Granite. I didn’t get the 50 lb extra weight – 150 lbs should do me for the time being (and the forseeable future). I’m not planning on entering any weightlifting or bodybuilding competitions or anything, I’m just hoping to tone a little and hopefully lose the “love handles” around my waist. I started working out shortly after Ryan was born – we bought a treadmill, and I lost 25 pounds in about 4 months. I bought a cheap little weight bench and a few free weights a year or so later, and I’ve been using them ever since, though the fact that I work out alone and don’t have a lot of time to be switching plates and stuff around meant that the number of exercises that I could do was very limited. With this thing, there are tons of things I can do, I can change weights in seconds, and there’s no danger of dropping the weights on my chest or neck or anything, so it’s safer. I’m really looking forward to this…