Another Day …

Yesterday, January 24, 2017 was a very active day. I walked 4 miles total (estimated – still need to get a Fit Bit or Garmin). I walked 2 miles during my lunch break and then 2 miles in the evening after work. Plus, I did 14 minutes on the Max Trainer.

MFP says that it was a 500 calorie exercise day. Wow.

And, I’m feeling the effects today. I’m dragging, tired, feeling spent, weak. I don’t know if it was all the exercise or the 1,040 calories I ate yesterday.

I had a Slim Fast for breakfast and lunch. I had a grilled chicken salad for dinner. Those meals rang up to 1,040 calories, which is far below the 1,610 target I aim for each day. It’s 570 calories below.

I saved calories on the grilled chicken salad by adding only 8 ounces of chicken instead of 12 ounces. I intended to save the calories so I could enjoy a bottle of Zombie Dust (at 190 calories) with dinner.

However, I didn’t enjoy the Zombie Dust. After dinner, I read for a few minutes and went to bed.

Blood Pressure

This morning, the blood pressure was 116/71 with a resting heart rate of 71. Wow. Normal. Yay. I believe the diastolic number one of the lowest I’ve seen (?) in recent years.

Tiny Homes –  Van Dwelling – RVing

There is talk in the office about Tiny Homes and Van Dwelling as if this was something just discovered.

I’ve known about van dwelling, full-time RVing and tiny homes for a while. For several years I’ve followed a few van dwellers and full-time RVers that have You Tube channels. It’s the kind of lifestyle I would like to live some time in my life.

However, I can’t do that just yet.

It is a hard lifestyle to do with a family, especially one with four kids and a dog so I couldn’t have done it when married with family. And, I can’t do it now due to the load of marital debt and student loans. I need to be employed full-time consistently to pay on the debt.

Some van dwellers or full-time RVers have a skill set that allows them to travel and work from the road. Some of them work in an IT, programming or web development field.

I work as a graphic artist and full stack web developer. So, maybe I do have the skill set to work on the road and van dwell or RV full-time. But right now it isn’t possible.

If I ever do it, I would like to do it as a thin man.


Zombie Dust and the Reality of Calorie Counting

A friend brought me two six packs of Zombie Dust.

Zombie Dust is a rugged pale ale brewed by the Three Floyds in Munster, Indiana. I’ve searched high and low for a bottle. The Dust is hard to come by. Never been able to grab one. Been close a few times. Went to the brewery to get a bottle but they were sold out. What !!?

Last night I had my first bottle.

It wasn’t quite orgasmic … but very close.

Of course, I wondered what the calories were in the bottle. How many floated in the pale ale? I looked up the calories in MFP. The listing estimated the calories at 190 calories per 100 ml. This web site estimates a bottle at 186 calories. I entered 190 calories in my day’s total.

The Reality of Calorie Counting

You never really know how my calories you are eating, do you?

I can look up every food, measure everything but still not know the exact calorie count. It is all an estimation.

Yet, when I estimate the calories, as in the bottle of Zombie Dust, even though slightly inaccurate, probably inaccurate, I know that it’s a close guess.

190 calories is a good estimate for Zombie Dust. One bottle at 190 calories is acceptable. Two bottles at 380 calories is ok in some circumstances. Three bottles at 570 is pushing the limit and four bottles at 760 calories has become a meal.

760 empty calories from the goodness of Zombie Dust in one episode is not acceptable if I want to get thin. Yet, not too long ago, that is how I drank beer.

So, the reality of calorie counting, although probably inaccurate to the ninth calorie, is that it leads to portion control, which leads to weight loss.

Zombie Dust ... estimated 190 calories per bottle.

Zombie Dust … estimated 190 calories per bottle.

Calories for Monday, January 23, 2017

My total calories for yesterday was 1,625. That is 15 calories over my target of 1,610. And, those 15 calories came from the bottle of Zombie Dust.


My ex-wife sends a text. She wants me to search for a photo taken in 2004 during our trip to Washington DC. During that trip I snapped a photo of her with the Washington Monument in the background. The photo was well exposed and sharp in focus. And, it was a great photo of her as she was at her lowest weight.

We were both on Weight Watchers at the time and lost significant amount weight, tracking points and exercising. She lost over 70 pounds and we almost got to our life time goals. She was so very pretty, and young, vibrant, cute, sexy. I miss those days.

Yet, life moves on. We went off Weight Watchers and gained back the weight. She fell in love with someone else and left.

She is now focused on losing weight and joined the local YMCA. She wanted a photo of her at her lowest weight so she could have a visual goal. She said she would hang the photo on the refrigerant to remind her of how she once looked. I wish her the best. I know it can happen.

I was at my lowest weight at that time as well. I believe it was about 140 pounds. I plan to get back ‘down there’. I didn’t enjoy looking at the photos of myself during that trip as it brought guilt for having gained the weight back.

Blood Pressure

I’ll close this post with my morning blood pressure reading … 116/82 with a resting heart rate of 71.


Some Progress


Yay. Lost a few pounds last week. I lost 11. 3 pounds since the New Year. If my calculations are correct my average is 3.76 pounds a week so far. This far exceeds my intent of a single pound a week on average until I reach my goal weight. However, I’m feeling great and doing well so I will take the weight loss even though I’m way ahead of schedule.

My BMI is 30.4. So, I’m still in the obese range. Still much work to be done but I’m happy with my progress so far.


I had a two beers on Friday 1/20. I had one beer at an Italian restaurant and another beer at a bar just a few doors down. It was wonderful. Thankfully, I stopped at two beers for the night. In the past, I would have had four or five on a night like that plus all the food I could stuff into my mouth.

I did not make it to Planet Fitness to exercise on Saturday or Sunday. Instead, with the amazingly warm January weather I was able to get outside without a hat and walk around the neighborhood on Saturday morning. On Sunday afternoon, I went to Fort Harrison State Park and walked for 87 minutes. According to My Fitness Pal, the 87 minute walk was worth a 409 calorie burn. Wow. I was very tired at the end.

My eating over the weekend was in control. Although Friday night’s dinner at the Italian restaurant was expensive in regards to calories. Saturday and Sunday were in control.

Daily Calories

  • Monday 1/16 : 1,140
  • Tuesday 1/17 : 1,210
  • Wednesday 1/18 : 1,555
  • Thursday 1/19 : 1,480
  • Friday 1/20 : 2,166
  • Saturday 1/21 : 1,055
  • Sunday 1/22 : 1,055

My average daily calories for the week of January 16 – 21 was 1,380. That is 230 calories per day below my daily target.

Sunday and Saturday ended up at the same calorie number. Strange, as I did not eat the same things on those days.

My only over-board day was Friday with 2,166 calories. That is 556 calories over my target. But, the dinner was great and the beer was even better.


Yay … I was able to exercise 6 days last week. Did the Max Trainer on four days and walked six days. I believe I walked about 13 miles for the week. Not too bad.

I need to get one of those Fit-Bit things or a Garmin to track the miles so I can report accurate numbers.

Blood Pressure

I didn’t take any of my meds on Sunday. So, I worried about my blood pressure this morning. However, it was 118/75 with a 62 resting pulse rate. Wow. In the normal range without the meds. And the heart rate is great at 62. That is the best it’s been since I started.

Looking Forward

The January 23 – 29 week looks to be ‘normal’. There are no dinners or events planned, with exception of one evening. Hopefully I will be able to keep the calories below 1,610 per day and keep moving.

I would like to get to Planet Fitness for a workout. I really need to get there to exercise, not only for my health but also because I pay for a membership. I believe it’s been over a year since I’ve been there. I don’t know what stops me from going? So strange.


Creeping Depression & Hiking Trail?

I feel depression creeping into my psyche.

I felt it coming on yesterday (1/16). It is like a fast weed growing inside your head. You know it’s there, you pick at it, maybe even spray a chemical on it, dig it up and hope for the bests – meaning it doesn’t grow back. Sometimes it doesn’t grow back for days or weeks. But, eventually it does.

Very strange.

Last night, I tried to stay ahead of it by keeping busy with a workshop project. And, after the rain passed over the area, I took a 40 minute walk. For the most part, I stayed ahead of it.

Today, it has been aggressive. I took a 20 minute walk during lunch to stay ahead of it.

Blood Pressure

This morning my blood pressure was 110/75 with a 67 resting heart rate. Wow. Totally normal.

Yesterday (1/16) I had a doctor’s appointment to talk about my blood pressure. It was 124/83 in the office. After about 10 minutes, the doctor took another reading and it dropped to 118/79. She was happy to see that number, considering the average has been in the 140/110 range for a long time. She told me to continue to lose weight and exercise.

I plan to. I want to.


My calorie count on Monday, January 16 was 1,140. My goal is 1,610 calories a day. I believe the creeping depression was stunting my appetite. I did have a large salad and chicken and cheese for dinner. I was not hungry but I ate anyways. Later, I took a 40 minute walk to burn 190 calories. But, that is not reflected in the 1,140 day’s total.

Usually, with a creeping depression I would eat and eat and drink and drink some more to stay ahead of it. But, this time, my will power seemed to be strong for some reason and I was able to resist the overeating and over drinking.

Mount Mitchell

Today, I discovered that Mount Mitchell, near Burnsville North Carolina, is the highest mountain peak east of the Mississippi river at 6,684 feet.

I always believed the highest point east of the Mississippi river was Clingman’s dome in the Smokey Mountain National Park.

Looks like I was wrong.

Of course, once I discovered this I googled a route from central Indiana to the summit. It is an 8 hour drive to the parking lot and an easy quarter-mile walk to reach the summit.

Maybe I will make it a four-day weekend road trip. A day to travel there, two days at the park hiking around and exploring the area and then a day to travel back. Maybe I could do it this Spring when the weather warms up.

I could forego the easy quarter-mile walk to the summit from the parking lot for the 6 mile one way trail starting at the Black Mountain Campground. I read that there is a 3,700 elevation gain on this trail. I will need to get in better shape if I want to hike this trail. Maybe I could stay at the campground?

So, I will add this to my PBL (Potential Bucket List).


Bubba’s 33 and a Broken Furnace

Thursday evenings are ‘family night’ in the household. Since all the kids are grown and on their own (with exception of one) Thursdays are a time for everyone who wants to and is able to come over to the house where they grew up and talk and eat food. It is a chance to catch up on everyone’s busy lives.

Last night, through some misguided choices of my own, I was not planning to show up to family night. However, my plans were scrubbed at the last moment. No one else showed up since they all thought I was ‘out’. Since I was alone on family night, I would take a 40 minute walk and eat a high protein dinner, read and then go to bed.

My oldest son lives with me. When he realized that family night was ‘back on’ he offered to take me out to dinner. Quick texts to the other kids resulted in declines as they already had other things going on. So, my oldest and I went to Bubba’s 33 for dinner.

Bubba’s 33 is really a loud sports bar. At lest the one in my neighborhood is. In the past, Bubba’s 33 meant a heavy cheeseburger, french fry and beer meal for me. At least two of their 33 ounce beers.

But last night was different. I order the grilled chicken salad. My son ordered the bacon burger and fries. There was no beer for either of us.

I estimated the salad at about 900 calories. Bubba’s 33 does not have a published calorie guide. I took the calories as reported in an Outback grilled chicken salad and assigned those calories to the Bubba’s 33 grilled chicken salad.

With the Subway 6″ turkey sub I had for lunch and the Slim Fast shake for breakfast, my eating for the day was at 1,605 calories. This is 5 calories below my goal of 1,610.

Blood Pressure

This morning, my blood pressure was 126/84 with a resting heart rate of 73. So, I slipped back into the ‘high’ spectrum. Strange, yesterday was solidly in the ‘normal’ range. My resting heart rate is still too high which means I’m just out-of-shape.

I wonder if the fact I did not work out on the Max Trainer last night but opted for a 40 minute walk had anything to do with the higher blood pressure? Who knows? Maybe the Max Trainer impacts the blood pressure better than the walking as it is more intensive?

Broken Furnace

Ah, the inevitable has finally happened. The furnace broke.

This furnace is over 20 years old. But, it’s been running great since the last repair in 2004.

For some reason I was awake at 1:30am on Friday morning and noticed the furnace wasn’t clicking on. The White-Rodgers Model 50E47-860 ignition control module was flashing a yellow light which means the polarity of the wiring to the furnace is reversed.

What? How could that happen? It’s been running fine for 12 years. Nothing has changed in the house wiring. I’m sure the polarity is fine? Hopefully? Maybe?

A quick google search took me to a page that advised to check the polarity with a multi meter. Cool. I have one. A multi meter.

But, I don’t know how to use a multi meter. I tried to check the polarity on some of the wires but I didn’t know what I was doing or which wires were the right wires to check. I quickly realized calling a technician in the morning was the best idea.

My hope is the flashing yellow light that says “bad polarity” is a false signal and the actual problem is a bad igniter, which will cause (I hope) a bad polarity indication.

So I went back to bed. And hoped for the best.

When the alarm went off at 6:00 am, the house was in the high 50’s.

I called a Service company to schedule a service call. Hopefully, they will be able to get to the house this afternoon.

Otherwise, it will be a cold night.

The Multi Meter I own and do not know how to use.

The Multi Meter I own and do not know how to use.



Pressing On

I’m feeling a little run down this morning. But really have no reason. Other than the dark, damp morning commute everything is as normal as it can be.

Blood Pressure

This morning, my blood pressure was 118/81 with a resting heart rate of 72. Wow. I certainly haven’t seen a number like that in maybe, years, but definitely in a long time. I usually take my blood pressure in the morning before I leave for work. This morning, I just happen to take my blood pressure meds three minutes or so before taking the reading. So maybe the near normal reading of this morning was due to the meds? Maybe. I would like to believe the 2 miles I walked last night had a slight effect as well as the ‘eat less move more’ lifestyle I’m working towards.


My calories for Monday, January 9 2017, was 1,632. That is 22 calories over my 1,600 goal. However, the forty minutes of walking gave me 199 calories to offset it. But, I don’t account for the exercise calories. So, the bottom line is that I was 22 calories over.

The 100 calories of Muscle Milk is what push me over. I wanted a bedtime snack last night so I opted for a bottle of Muscle Milk. It had only 100 calories but I didn’t realize that it would push me over the edge.

Otherwise, my eating for 1/9/2017 was good. A Slimfast shake for breakfast, a cashew salad for lunch, and a grilled chicken salad for dinner. It’s amazing that salads have so many calories. But, apparently they do.

I was going to prepare my grilled chicken dinner at home but I got a last-minute invitation to dinner out. We went to local Bubba’s 33. They don’t have any calorie guides online or printed (at least I couldn’t find any). So I estimated the calories in their grilled chicken salad. I’m sure I over estimated but wanted to be safe. I thought there was a law that said restaurants had to publish a calorie guide to their menu? Maybe not.

Random Photo

I took this iPhone photo at the Lafayette Art Museum on January 7, 2017.

Painted puppy dog sculpture at the Lafayette Indiana Art Museum.

Painted puppy dog sculpture at the Lafayette Indiana Art Museum.


Back On the Max Trainer

I believe I had a successful eating day on January 3, 2017. I kept the calories to about 1,745, although my goal is 1,600 calories a day. I know I was over the goal so I probably didn’t lose much, if any, weight yesterday. But at least I made a commitment to keeping the calories on the down and low and actually was able to stick to it.

On the plus side, I was able to exercise. Can anyone believe that? I spent 5 minutes on the Max Trainer and I walked 1 mile outside around the neighborhood. It doesn’t sound like enough exercise for someone trying to lose weight but it was enough for me, especially since I am just starting out and don’t want to over do it or burn out too quickly.

This morning my blood was 128/94 with a resting pulse of 77. Wow. I haven’t seen a number like that in a very long time. Hopefully the few days of eating better and the one day of exercise is having an immediate and positive effect.

The Max Trainer

As I was on the Max Trainer, I became aware that I really like the climbing aspect to the Trainer. That thought prompted a memory of my 2015 summer trip to Colorado. During that trip, I hiked along the Gore Creek and Cross Creek. Those hikes were pretty much level and at the time I was not in the best of fitness but I was able to enjoy those hikes. I attempted the 2.5 mile Whitney Lake trail but it kicked my ass. I only made it about ¾ of the way to the lake before I turned around. I like to blame the deep snow pack for my inability to make it to the lake but in reality it was due to my lack of fitness.

When I returned home I determined to reverse my lack of fitness. I started to eat better and move more and I was faithful until early 2016.

I bought the Max Trainer in October 2014, shortly after the divorce was final. It was my first ‘big’ purchase after the divorce.

Although the divorce was amiable it did shatter much of my hope for the future. I believed the Max Trainer became a symbol of renewal and new life for me.

However, due to other events that occurred shortly after the divorce, I lost much, if not all interest in life and living life to its fullest. By early 2016, I lost all interest in every aspect of fitness and cared more about craft beer and drinking into oblivion than I did about life or fitness.

Hopefully that is in the past now. My renewed hope in eating better, losing weight and gaining fitness is strong right now and hopefully it will stay strong for a long time. And, hopefully, the Max Trainer will be a solid part of this renewal.

Bow Flex Max Trainer

Bow Flex Max Trainer. Bought in October 2015. Great workout device.

My Current Mile

My current mile hasn’t been all that great. Maybe downright hard. Such a struggle. I’m pathetic.

To put things in perspective … I’m not homeless, nor am I starving. The furnace is working. The car has started in the cold. The government is not repressing my political, social or religious beliefs. I have a job. I’m relatively healthy.

So, in all reality, I’m doing better than a lot of people in the world.

But why are things so hard. Why am I depressed? Why such a struggle?

It’s an interesting question. The narcissist office mates would say to ‘just’ get over it. Move on. Overcome.

Certainly wise counsel. Could apply to most if not all circumstances for most if not all people.

But, still, it’s a struggle for me.

What Have I been Doing?

Nothing much. Being depressed. Can’t seem to shake it off. I’ve gain so much weight. I stopped running. My blood pressure is too high (140/99 on average). Did I say I was depressed. My resting pulse was in the 80s this morning.

What Can I Do?

With the advent of the new year, I have decided to take some kind of action. I need to change something. I want to lose some weight. I want to get back to running, walking, exercising. Cut back on the food intake and stop the drinking. Use the Planet Fitness membership.

Any Bright Spots in the Last Year?

There has been one or two bright moments in otherwise a dull and bleek 2016.

The first moment came in early December as I finished a true round of paintings. Maybe my first actual artistic creation. Other than weaving the canvas, growing the pine or manufacturing the paint, I drip painted a set of ‘real’ paintings. I call it the “November Collection 2016”. I hung a few in the house and gave a few away. It was quite the sense of accomplishment as I stretched the canvas I painted over the frames I built.

The second … well, I can’t really remember.

What Am I Going to Do?

I need to shake off this depression. Probably need to change the self talk. Should ignore the narcissist rants from a few raging narcissists in the office. Track an exercise goal, lose weight, paint more.

Take a few small steps. Lose a pound a week for 2017 to get back to my goal weight. Maybe sign up for Weight Watchers as that was successful when I was on the program. Exercise more. Eat less. Read more. Blog more. Pray more.


The November Collection 2016

Week 4 Complete with a MiO

Hello Everyone …

I completed Week 4 of the C25K program. Yay. The final session in the week called for 13 minutes of running spilt into 3, 6 and 4 minutes intervals. Even with the heat and high humidity, the 13 minutes wasn’t all that bad. The mileage was 2.21 at a 13:09 pace.


Today is my son’s birthday. Alex, brother to Jacob. We are having a party to celebrate his 24 years at his favorite Japanese steak house this evening. I will try to fit in a repeat of the Week 4 Day 3 workout before the party. On Wednesday night, I have an appointment that will take all evening so I will not be able to exercise at all. And with the Thursday morning weigh-in only a few days away, I want to get in as much exercise as I possibly can.

This morning, my blood pressure was 116/81. That is the lowest I’ve seen it in a very long time, maybe even years. I’ve stayed away from process and high sodium foods and stopped drinking beer … maybe that has something to do with it.

I’ve also started drinking more water and decreased my consumption of diet soda. I’ve experimented with those flavor things you can buy for water. Plain water is ok but I like the flavors too.

I’ve bought a few of the MiO Liquid Water Enhancers (here’s the website: It’s a cool web site. Not promoting it or anything of the like but it’s what I’ve been buying lately. Last night, I picked up the Orange Vanilla flavor from their Artist Series. This flavor reminds me of those orange ice cream bars I bought from the ice cream truck when I was a kid. Kind of cool.

The bottle of Orange Vanilla is decorated with an illustration from Sophie Roach. Here’s her web site She has some cool artwork. I like her style.

MiO bottle with artwork by Sophie Roach

MiO bottle with artwork by Sophie Roach


Cross Training and Improved Blood Pressure

I tried to cross train last night. It was very pretty or effective.

I bought this Bowflex Max trainer back in September 2014. At the time, I wanted something different and it seemed like the thing to buy. I used it on a steady basis until early March 2015 when I caught the flu. After the flu, I just never returned to it.

Now that I’m back on track with the C25K program and I’m losing some weight and trying to eat better, I decided to get back on the Bowflex trainer for some serious cross training.

The Bowflex is a stair-stepper-elliptical hybrid machine. And it’s very effective at increasing the heart rate rapidly. I had to dust off the trainer before I stepped onto it. I could only go for 15 minutes at a very very slow pace. Before I quit using the Bowflex I was racing through some of the hardest preprogrammed workouts. Now, I could hardly get up to any kind of speed or resistance.

I was not surprised. I know that I lost most of my fitness while I laid off all those months. But, at least I’m on the right track now.

And speaking of the right track …

My last doctor’s appointment did not go well for me. The Doctor (kind of) scolded me on my major weight gain and blood pressure (way too high). She explained (sternly) that I was maxed out on my medication and if my blood pressure wasn’t coming down by the next appointment she will change medications. It took a while to ‘find’ the right medication without complicating side effects so I wouldn’t look forward to changing medication. She also said I need to lose weight to get to ‘normal’ BMI. Normal BMI is 155 pounds for me. So, I need to lose over 40 pounds. She also “suggested” that I keep my salt intake to under 1,500 mg a day. I had no idea what my salt intake was because I never looked at food labels. She also calculated that I was consuming an extra 800-1,200 calories a day with all the beer that I was drinking.

I understood what she was saying and I know she cares for me. But I didn’t carry out her advice right away. About two months later I went to Colorado. I had such a hard time hiking some of the trails because of my lack of fitness. I knew I had to do something to get back in shape. I vowed that next year when I return to Colorado I will be in much better shape.

So, for the last two weeks I’ve been exercising more and watching my salt intake (I do look at food labels now) and trying to limit and control what I eat and drink. I took my blood pressure this morning. 119 over 79! Yay. I haven’t seen numbers like that in a very long time. Maybe I’m doing something right by following the Doctor’s advice!

Blood Pressure on July 8, 2015 at 6:53 am.

Blood Pressure on July 8, 2015 at 6:52 am.