Archive for September, 2010

Glee! – serious readers only.

September 29th, 2010 1 comment

My wife mentioned to me last night that I had left off a major part of my weekly (24+ hours)  television viewing.  I forgot to put Glee in my dietary catalog of shows.  So I should at least cover that oversight.

I’d put Glee as part in the Junk Food/Good Fats category.  It’s very much like that irresistible Hostess Fruit pie, I know the “real fruit” advertising on the packaging is stretching the truth, and the pie crust isn’t, but one I have a bite I omnomnom the whole thing with a smile on my face.  Such is Glee.

Why do I watch it?  1) It’s a show my whole family enjoys, the songs we play on our iPods, sing in the car, connect with the characters, so if I didn’t watch it, I’d be missing some great relational times with my kids. 2) It’s funny quirky, a life without Brittany S. Pierce wry observations or without Sue Sylvester’s put downs or unique takes on American history.  3) It’s just plain fun to watch.

So given that, I enjoyed last nights Britney/Brittany episode.  The intertoobs are taking Glee to task for a lame plot last night.  It’s not that I disagree, it’s just I don’t flip on Glee and open my notebook filled with character sketches and plot arcs and expect a full night of note taking.  Glee can bring the drama, and the plots, when it wants too (see Kurt’s arc last season with his Dad) but it can often stumble in deftly handling the awkward teenage plot lines as well.  Does that make it less of a television show?

People, people, … please ( ripped out of the Amanda Show)

1) the ensemble cast and creative characters all have roles to play, and the plots of their characters have to mesh.

2) they have to bring the sing-a-long music that makes the kids happy, and the parent’s remember the first time they heard Don’t Stop Believing

3) they MUST bring the one-liners and comedy.

That is something that Glee does consistently, and to keep those three plates spinning means sometimes one of the three wobble from time and again.  Some of the characters I don’t connect with, I want to see more Tina and Brittany than Quinn and Emma.  More Puck and Arnie than Finn and will… I cheer for underdogs (see my twitstream for my regrets to Lone Star’s cancellation).

That said, it’s good that people have some strong emotions about Glee (both good and bad) because it’s a show that fun to talk about, whether you hate it or enjoy it.  Kind of like that Hostess Fruit Pie.

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Losing IT! Crunching the numbers

September 28th, 2010 3 comments

I’m been doing this weight loss gig for half a year, and the balanced eating habits and exercise routines are taking a hold of my weekly living.  I feel cranky if I don’t get my exercise in, I feel bloated if I over indulge, these are good things.  I’m also trying to take a analytical approach to my journey, by tracking food intake, and exercise outtake.  Trying to quantify calories in versus calories out.

I started using WeightWatchers and had great initial success, at my start weight I maxed out the daily points at 42 points, with 35 weekly points to use or not use through the week.  The online WW program, adds calories to your Weekly Points and the program will only tap into those points if you go over your daily points.  The first three months I tried to ‘bank’ as many weekly points as I could while still eating reasonably, and not feeling hungry.  What I remember from reading the online WW articles, it was important to eat your daily points to keep your metabolism going.  In the three months using I lost 25 pounds.

I also started walking regularly in April, and using the same sort of in the cloud recording of my activity to track my progress.   Is use two sites to track my runs, the first is an application I use on my iPhone that tracks my outdoor activities using GPS to give an accurate account of distance traveled.  Runkeeper also lets you enter manual entries, that lets me put all my midsummer treadmill work into my profile.  The other site I use to track exercise is, where I pretty much duplicate the same information. Why? because DailyMile is more social networking friendly, had nifty reports and graphics.  So it’s worth it to me to double track my activity.

In June, I let my WeightWatchers account lapse and started tracking my calories in the iPhone LoseIt! application, which also has a great website (for people without an iPhone, all the features can now be done on the web). With I daily track my calories. With the ease of using my phone, I try to enter my food in before I eat each meal, the discipline has kept me aware of my intake, as well as how expensive my old habits of drinking soda and candy because I was hungry in the middle of the day were.  LoseIt! has some great reporting views, with the ability to download my data of calories consumed and exercise calories into spreadsheets.

I switched to LoseIt! in June, and since that time I’ve lost a total of 6 pounds.  So the problem I’m trying to number crunch through is why has my progress slowed, or is it just one of the natural plateau’s that happens during the normal course of life.  The slow down also happened in the middle of the summer, is there a seasonality to it?  I started traveling (3 trips in 3 weeks in August), did that effect my habits?

One other thing is just the difference between WeightWatchers and LoseIt programs.  WeightWatchers is about points, with 50 calories being approximately 1 point, with high fat foods increasing to two points, or high fiber foods reducing to a half point.  LoseIt is just calories.  WeightWatchers, as noted above, has a weekly bank of points and activities.  LoseIt add calories burned in activities to the daily balance, so when I exercise it appears I can consume more calories to hit my daily calorie goal.

With WeightWatchers I tried to bank my weekly and activity points, which if I banked 35 points a week, means I should bank about 1750 calories per week on LoseIt (since it appears to spread the 35 weekly points across all 7 days caloric goals).  Because of the way LoseIt adds exercise to each day, my exercise points get lost in the shuffle.  So I think I’ve been eating more while exercising more since switching to LoseIt.

I’m looking at the numbers, which are highly available thanks to obsessive record keeping these last 6 months, and have come to this conclusion.  I need to exercise to burn around 1500 calories each week, while trying to bank ~1500 calories consumed each week.  Using that as a benchmark for the next 3 months.

On the exercise front, I finished my first 5k when I ran the Corporate Challenge 5k.  My plan was to run 5 minutes then walk 3 minutes until I finished, and I mostly kept to that plan.  My time of 42:10 was almost 3 minutes faster than my off the top of my head goal of 45 minutes (which is my 15 min per mile workout average,) which pleased me abundantly.  I’m continuing my training, but going to shift my training C25k sessions and catalog those as runs, and try to get outside for a mile each off day and count that as a walk.  Which means nothing really, just shifting to a different category in runkeeper and dailymile as my performance improves.

So there you go, what things do you use to track your goals?

Categories: Life Tags:

A balanced diet is important … when watching TV

September 25th, 2010 3 comments

This past week was the official start of the season for new shows, and with this week out of the way, I can focus a post on what I’m watching and why.  I’ll be mixing in new shows with old standbys, and also some must see shows that aren’t on the traditional schedule.  Just to be creative, which I’m not, I’m putting them into food groups, to help with people that might be watching TV unhealthily, relying on too much junk food to get you through the week.

Junk Food – guilty pleasures

Hellcats – Fun and light show, that, as Damon Lindelof tweeted, is surprisingly not about Hell or Cats.  This cheerleader drama should be right up my teenaged daughters alley, but alas, they’re not interested.  So I’ll keep up with the show to bring them up to speed on the haps of Sharpay (Ashlee Tisdale) and Aly.  In my house the TV spends a lot time on Nick and Disney, and it seems that TheCW is trying to pull those younger viewers in by grabbing the ex The Suite Life and Phil of the future stars.  It’s a teen soap, sure, but it’s on TheCW so won’t be early on the cancel list.

The Big Bang Theory – Used to be a Monday night standard, but shifting it to Thursday (probably a good move, since Monday is being onslaught with new shows) for me makes it a Friday night watch.  Love the characters and the geek humor.  One sad aside from the premiere episode is there seems to be a trend at putting really inappropriate sexual innuendos on at 7PM by CBS, which makes watching this show with my young sons very much awk.ward.  Or maybe I’m getting to be too old and cranky, but speaking of …

How I Met Your Mother – This show about some dude in 2030 telling his teenage kids a long-winded tale about how he met their mother, has always had a bit of the innuendo.  Barney Stinson being the main culprit, which is awesome, of course.  But this first episode was a bit over the top, 7PM Central is a bit early to get the ‘tent in the shorts’ jokes.  I might not have noticed it as much in the past as I time-shifted the show til after the kids went to bed.  I love this show, but it might have to go back to the time-shifted DVR slot for. the. sake. of the children.

Protein – Good meaty dramas

Rubicon – This AMC drama is about 9 episodes into it’s run, sharing Sunday night AMC slow with Mad Men, and it’s gaining strength as the show is connecting many of the crumbs that got dropped early.  The slow place makes it intriguing to watch, not much action, but lots of ‘where are they taking this’ questions get answered in unexpected ways.  I’d recommend going back and finding some good recaps before diving in, or finding the episodes to watch, since this is certainly not a procedural.  I love the mind twisting goodness, and the characters are getting fleshed out, as slowly as the plot.  A show that makes you think, I love that.

Mad Men – THE reason to turn on the TV on Sunday nights for me (not that it’s ever off very long) is to figure out how Don Draper is coping with his life.  The last few episodes either has Don bouncing off his whiskey soaked bottom, or a false bounce with the promise of a deeper crash coming.  Last week, Don lost his anchor, as Miss Blankenship passed on, and daughter Sally has a rebellious streak that we all know Betty won’t be able to handle.  So Don’s new sobriety is tenuously handing on the ledge of Cooper, Sterling, Draper & Pryce’s window ledge, lets see how he handles it.

Terriers – It’s set in Ocean City (small beach suburb of San Diego) and has nothing to do with a canine club full of pedigreed terriers.  Instead it’s following the gritty lives of an ex-cop Hank, played wonderfully by Donal Logue (Life), and his partner Britt, as they start a fledgling Private Investigation business.  They are both all sorts of messed up, but another slow-burn season long arc is unwinding as their partnership begins to jell. It’s on the FX, so some episodes (like this last one) can get the parental warning sign, so keep this one on your DVR and enjoy it after the kids hit the hay.

Castle – This is just a delightful show, I love love love Nathan Fillion and it’s great to see him get a good breakout show.  That said, it’s good because of the rest of the cast, a core family for Rick, and a caring group of cops that keeps Castle grounded as he researches his next novel.  Simmering relationship drama is still fresh and doesn’t feel teased and overdone yet (see Bones).  It’s a procedural, but so much fun that it’s on my must see list.

Grey’s Anatomy – This is weekly date night TV for me. If there is only one show I’ll actually watch on my very busy Thursday night, it’s Grey’s, with my wife, and enjoy it every week.  Characters are still fun and engaging, and the stories are consistently solid.  Good stuff to watch with my favorite person in the world.

The rest are below the fold.

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Biggest Loser Principles that helped.

September 22nd, 2010 1 comment

I watched the Biggest Loser last night with Angie.  She loves the show, I like the show a lot.  I snark at the overtly obvious product placement portions and generally watch the”game” with a bit of a cynical eye.  The producers have to have a mix of “gamers” and people that are genuinely looking for life change to make the show interesting to watch, and the cynical part of me has some knee-jerk hate response when a gamer gets the better of one of the life changers.

Watching last night’s preamble and cast selection show was revealing because I realized that they have some pretty consistent principles for the contestants to get them on the road to a healthier lifestyle right out of the gate, principles that I unconsciously applied when I started down my path in April.

  1. Own your weight.  Every contestant has to do the first weigh-in. At the beginning I needed to own a number.  We have a futzy scale at home that I never used, and so one of the first steps in my journey was to find a scale and use it consistently to measure progress.  I went to the gym, and found a good consistent scale (actually two at two different gyms).  The identification of a starting point and owning up to the weight you are was an important first step on my way.
  2. Understand your why. All people that are trying to change the way they live have to understand WHY they are making a change.  For the contestants they all have intriguing stories to tell, that’s why they are on TV, that’s why they get selected to be on TV.  But each of us have a story too. You can share it publicly, you can start a blog, or you can, like me journal it, share it with my support group at Celebrate Recovery.  I know that if I didn’t understand my why, week x would be hard to find the reason why I don’t drink Coke Classic any more.
  3. Have a support team. Last night, each person that was featured were surrounded by supporters.  Some might be #teamBiggestLoser volunteers to help with that first challenge, 500 steps, or 1 mile run, but they also had family and friends that supported the life change decision.  The rest of the season their support group becomes each other, fellow competitors, and is one of the things that ‘irks’ me about the competition is that the support team are also adversaries.  My support team is my family, as well as the larger group of people I social network with.  Twitter and Facebook friends, as well as my church family, and my Celebrate Recovery friends.  Also growing niche networks on and help keeps my exercise regular.  I know I can’t do this alone, and a large support group keeps me going, when alone I would be drifting.

So take these three principles and start your own journey.

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September 12th, 2010 Comments off

A man wiser than me once told me when I asked, “Why do you run?”

I run because, frankly, I love to eat food.

Which is probably as good as a reason as anything else.   In the past 42 years, I’ve eaten a lot, and if I was honest, I recognize that I’ve avoided pretty much anything that would balance the scales to make my lifestyle anywhere close to healthy.

If you’ve followed my social media streams, you may have noticed that I’ve made a turn this past May and started incorporating regular exercise in my weekly routine, for one reason to help in my goal to lose weight, and the other is because, frankly, I love to eat food.

This morning at church, our pastor (interim) encouraged us again to study the bible.  I’m a sunday school teacher, so I do that, each week.  But if I’m honest with myself, it’s not really studying.  It’s more like saying, I walk from the car to the elevator, and calling that exercise.  The phrase about running, because he loves food echoed in my thoughts, and I had an epiphany.

I love television, perhaps too much, perhaps in the same way I love food.  Loving food isn’t wrong per se, but when my love of food is out of balance it becomes unhealthy.  Same with consuming popular culture, out of balance and it becomes spiritually unhealthy.  I need to give myself some balance.

Sort of like my weight loss plans, I cut down on the intake, making better food choices, and incorporated exercise that allows me to still enjoy eating food, and also delivers the exertion that my physical body needs.  So in my spiritual diet, I need to cut back on my popular culture intake, make better choices as to how I consume television, and have something spiritual to offset the dose of popular culture and provide my spirit a connection with the Almighty that is needs.

So in that endeavor, I’m going to get back in to a regular bible reading plan.  As a way of using the social media that has been helpful in my physical life style improvement, I plan on blogging about what I read. I don’t promise a daily epiphany, or even any words of wisdom, more just a bit of my thoughts and the scriptures I peruse.  Again the purpose here is accountability to myself, not preaching to you, my readership.  If these posts don’t satisfy, just skip them, just like you might my exercise and weigh-in updates.

Categories: Faith, Life, Television Tags: