Losing Weight with Noom and SparkPeople

When I quit smoking in 1996, I made a big move to live healthy, but I traded one bad habit with another. Most people are afraid to quit smoking because they think they will gain weight. Well, that is a fair concern because it does happen. Cigarettes are an appetite suppressant, so most people who smoke don’t tend to overeat.

Smoking also inhibits your taste buds, so I’ve heard, and I do know this to be true because when I smoked, food didn’t taste as awesome to me until after I quit smoking, which in itself is the very reason I gained 50lbs in the first 2 or 3 months after I quit smoking. I discovered all these tastes that I had tasted before, but never could appreciate because my taste buds weren’t as sensitive as they were after I quit.

That was a very long time ago, almost 20 years in fact. So what have I been doing over those 19 years? Eating… a lot! I was 150lbs when I quit smoking, and when I reached 200lbs, I vowed I would not go over that because I didn’t want to be fat. Well, it wasn’t easy, and I kept slipping over the line and tried to go on a diet to get back under 200lbs. Occasionally I would go way over and would end up 210+ and would vow not to go over that, but then I found myself 220, then 230, then 240 and so on.

In January 2013 I was 262lbs and very unhappy with how fat my body was and especially how fat my face was and the fact that I was missing a neck. I was not only just overweight, but I had type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and sleep apnea. I was fortunate to lose 70lbs with Noom with diet alone, but by mid 2013, the weight stopped coming off. I eventually got frustrated with my plateau and started eating bad foods again and gradually from around August or September 2013 to today, I have gained 50lbs. Yikes! That’s almost all of the weight that I had worked so hard to lose.

I went to the nutritionist this week and was told that my triglycerides are high and that the reason the doctor gave me Lisinopril is because I have high blood pressure because of the fat. She told me I have to go on a diet again because I need to drop some weight. I have wanted to go back on my diet, in fact I’ve been trying to go back on my diet, but a certain someone won’t let me because he keeps buying me burgers and fries, but with this news, he has agreed to stop doing that to help me rather than enable my food addiction. I am not trying to place the blame on anyone other than myself, because I alone control my eating habits. I can say no to the bad foods, it just so happens that I have an addiction to said bad foods and find it hard to say no.

So here I am 2 years later going on another diet. I have promised the nutritionist a printout of my data from SparkPeople from using The Spark and I will bring my Nook HD+ tablet to the appointment next month so she can see that I’ve been eating healthy and she can see my exercise and steps and the graphs from losing weight.

My diet is already working because I’ve already lost 3lbs since Wednesday when I started. It’s only Saturday, so that is a very small amount of time to have lost 3lbs. I don’t want to lose too much weight too fast, but at the same time I hope it burns off me very fast.

When I bought my bicycle trainer last year, it was to help me lose weight, but I stopped using it because I became lazy, well, I started using it again because I want to succeed in my weight loss. Diets tend to work better when you exercise and eat healthy at the same time. You can’t expect to lose weight if you don’t exercise, or if you exercise and eat crap. Although, I did lose 70lbs in 2013 with diet alone, but I would just prefer to lose weight from both diet and exercise.

The journey begins again, so I will have to take new before and after shots. I already have a great before picture that was taken of me this month with Shane Bitney Crone, so I’ll just take an after picture when I reach my goal weight.

Here are my before and after pictures from 2013. Isn’t it funny how all this works? I was 262lbs in the picture of me with the suspenders, and I was 192lbs in the picture of me at the beach. I can’t believe what a difference that was.

20121229_081732_Android 20130725_132017_Android

Here is a picture that was taken of me earlier this month with Shane Bitney Crone at the Bakersfield PFLAG meeting along with a friend. I don’t think my face looks the same as it did in January 2013, I think it is still around the same as the beach picture, or somewhere near there.

IMAG0857

My diet has just begun again, and I’ve only set the Noom app program to help me get back down to 190lbs, but I would hope to drop more than that. In fact, I am hoping to at least go down to 170lbs. The problem for me is that I need to eat healthy, and continue to eat healthy all the time, not just when I’m trying to lose weight. I need to BE healthy all the time because I can’t keep doing this yo-yo diet crap. I need to lose weight and keep the weight off. And this isn’t for vanity, it’s for my health. So wish me luck!

Minecraft Farm

farm

I just love building in Minecraft because it sort of reminds me of putting together Lego pieces, like when I was a little boy. Although, I don’t have all of the pieces at my disposal, so I have to go mine for them. Like I have to chop down literally hundreds of trees, and dig for sand and gravel and I even had to bring down a mountain to give me the space to build a farm.

reworked_farm_1_by_coltcoyote-d68plaoOf course, this farm is not my design, I found it on Google images. I have found many houses, but this was an actual farm which allows me to grow many things, like wheat, potato, carrot, watermelon and pumpkin in their own plots. It also has a chicken coop, a livestock barn and 2 storage silos. The silos and the livestock barn took me longer to make because they are both made out of sheep wool, which I had to go to extra trouble to get since the dogs kept murdering the sheep that came near them. They drop 1 wool when killed, but when I use my shears, I may get 1 to 3 wool, that is if I can find any lol.

Besides leveling a mountain, this was a pretty fun project. I love the house, it is much bigger than the one I built for myself, which I surrounded with castle walls and 4 round towers on all 4 corners. I’m considering dismantling that now that I have this farm so I can replace it with a fun rollercoaster, that is if I can find an easy design.

One good thing about this farm is it is right next to where my current mine is, and I found another one when I leveled the mountain. It has an opening behind the house where the livestock barn is, so I’ll have to check that out soon.

Tomorrow is another day, and I look forward to what it will bring me.

Here is the chicken coop and a some of the crops.

farm back

Update: I removed the original picture at the top and replaced it with the picture of the finished farm. The silos are supposed to have black roofs, but I got tired of waiting for the black sheep to produce, so I decided to use blue since I had a cache of it. I’ve filled one silo with chests on every floor and have already filled the cobblestone and dirt ones to the max. Since I have so many of each material, I decided to dedicate a floor to a particular item. In the first silo, the top floor is all cobblestone, next one down is dirt, then wood, then sand/glass and then wool on the very bottom floor. I was considering using the 2nd silo for food from the crops, but I honestly don’t eat the food since I’m always in peaceful mode, so I don’t really have a need for that, but perhaps I may decide to use that silo for food and fill each floor with a specific item, like pumpkins/jack-o-lanterns, watermelon, carrots, potatoes and wheat. That just leaves meat from cows and chickens, but I have that in the kitchen, and there isn’t that much of it since I don’t kill the animals unless I absolutely have to, like for books (cow hide) or arrows (chicken feathers).

I’ve already moved on to building a fishing boat which will have its own chests for storing fish. Again, I don’t eat the food, but I may decide to do it for the future when I decide to start fighting scary mobs for the purposes of getting to the end, which I am not counting my chickens before they hatch, because I’m having way too much fun building.

Spirits

This is not a very popular subject, mainly because people are 50/50 when it comes to ghosts. I’m sure I’ll have a few people saying “boooooo” because they don’t believe in ghosts, while others are more open minded and not judgmental.

When I was a kid, I started seeing what I call the shadow people. I saw them when we lived in Sepulveda on Orion just after my grandmother passed away, then I started seeing 2 of them when we moved to Van Nuys. Of course no one believed me. Most people say that children and animals see spirits, but you stop seeing them when you become a teenager or adult or whatever. I have stopped seeing them, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped sensing them.

We used to have a cat named Shanaynay, she passed away in 2009. No, this isn’t about her, but in a way it is. When we lived in the house next door from 2000 to 2004, I used to lay on the couch in the living room and I would feel the cat jump on the couch and then walk over to my chest area and lay down. Most of the time my eyes were closed when this happened, and I would reach my hand down to pet her, but nothing was there. I would open my eyes and be shocked that there was nothing there. That happened every day for 4 years.

When we moved to the bigger house that we live in now after my partner’s mother passed away, I didn’t have a mattress for my bedroom, so we moved his mother’s bed into my room and I slept on that. I would feel a cat jump on the bed and walk around, then eventually several cats. I’ve told my partner about it and he never believed me, until one day when he was in my bedroom and he had his eyes closed. I was sitting at my computer and suddenly he asked me if our cat jumped up on the bed, and I knew she was out in the outdoor covered patio, so she couldn’t have been in the house. FINALLY! Someone else experienced the ghost cat! I finally felt vindication after years of being told that there are no such thing as ghost cats.

So getting to now… I’ve been laying on my bed playing PlayStation 4 games, mostly Minecraft because I can’t stop playing that stupid addictive game lol. The last few nights, nearly a week, I’ve been feeling my bed vibrating, but a little bit stronger than just a vibration. I actually haven’t felt the cats in a very long time, not since we got rid of that old mattress and bought a new one. I still have his mother’s box spring, but a new mattress. I don’t expect to get rid of the cats, but I sense something new. When I lay in bed I can feel the bed moving as if someone is moving around on it. I know this is something new because the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and I get chills all over, that never happened with the cats. I know I’m not crazy, and I know it’s not just a delusion.

Something else happened tonight when I was doing the dishes. I was just standing there at the sink and out of the corner of my eye I saw someone walk to the front door, but the door didn’t open. At first I thought it was my partner playing a joke on me, because he knew I was getting the cats food ready for them, so I thought he was going to stand at the door so when I walked out of the kitchen I would be startled by his standing at the front door. I didn’t want to play that scare game, so I walked over to the living room and he was laying on his chair sound asleep. I went to the front door and there wasn’t anyone there.  Spooky!

So needless to say I’m feeling a bit awkward tonight as I sit here at 2:36am typing this with the light on in my room trying to spend as much time as I can awake lol. I know I will have to go to bed, but I’m frightened LOL.

Oh well, better just deal with it and go to bed.I’m sure it is nothing, but perhaps I better start recording audio with my Dell DJ to be sure. You never know if you might get some strange sounds or voices.

Sleep Apnea

bipap machine

My aunt in Simi Valley and my other aunt who lived in Palmdale at the time (2002 – 2004) both told me when I visited them that I gasped for air in my sleep and that I snored REALLY loud. I never took the snoring issue seriously because I’ve always snored loud, at least that’s what people always tell me. I remember when I was 19 and lived with my sister and her husband in Tujunga and I fell asleep on the floor while watching TV and my snoring actually woke me up lol.

When we lived in the little house next door in 2004, I would wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air. Not like a little gasp and being able to breathe like normal, I mean I was choking and I could not get any air at all. It was frightening, to put it mildly. Just imagine not being able to breathe for several minutes and feeling like you’re going to die soon. What happened was, when I was sleeping, my airway would close, causing me to not be able to breathe. Try as I might, I could not get any air. I would even vomit during this. Vomit was able to leave my mouth, but then my airway would close up again. Eventually the airway would open and I could breathe, and then I would have really bad acid reflux. My doctor gave me a inhaler, and that would help until I could get a sleep study referral, which took a long time to get.

I was diagnosed with sleep apnea in 2005. They told me at the sleep study that I would stop breathing for 25 seconds, then breathe for 35 seconds (or maybe it was the other way around) and this went on every minute. I don’t recall if they told me that I gasped for air or not during the sleep study, but I’m sure I did. Thankfully I didn’t vomit lol.

I received my BiPap machine in September 2005 and I used it faithfully every night until 2013 when I lost 70lbs. I was told that if I lost enough weight, I wouldn’t have sleep apnea anymore, and for the last 18 months I didn’t. The last week I’ve had to start using my machine again because I would wake up in the middle of the night with really bad acid reflux, which is always an indication that I need to use my BiPap machine.

One of the concerns I have is that if I don’t use my machine, I could die of a heart attack or stroke in my sleep. My mother was overweight and she died of a heart attack in her sleep. I don’t know if she had sleep apnea, but I do remember that she snored really loud, so I am only assuming that she did, and that was how she died. I was told that sleep apnea is genetic, and that the reason I got it was because a family member had it. My aunt in Palmdale moved to Texas and was also diagnosed with sleep apnea. She and my mother have the same father, but different mothers, so perhaps this was bestowed upon us by my grandfather, who also gave me the gift of male pattern baldness lol. I’m not complaining, I wouldn’t have it any other way, and every time I look at it in the mirror, I see him and it makes me smile because I loved him.

So I called Monitor Medical today and told them that I was using my machine again, and they made a note in my chart. I would really hate to leave this world and leave my partner because I was dumb enough to stop using my BiPap machine. It’s very irresponsible of me! I hate that I have to use it, but it keeps me alive. I would love to go back to losing weight, but it will happen if it is meant to be. In the meantime, I was continue to use my machine until I don’t have to use it again, but honestly, this is probably going to be with me until the day I die.

If you or someone you know has really bad snoring issues and they might gasp for air, tell them to get to their doctor for a referral for a sleep study. Sleep apnea is a matter of life and death, so when you see someone snoring, don’t laugh at them or ignore the problem, tell them to get to a doctor stat! You will thank me later.

Oh and by the way, the machine at the top, that is a stock photo, but it is the machine that I have. And in case you are wondering about CPAP vs BIPAP, the CPAP uses one pressure and the BiPAP uses two. These two pressures are called inhalation pressure (IPAP) and the exhalation pressure (EPAP). Everyone I have spoken to who has sleep apnea uses a CPAP and they tell me they’ve never even heard of BiPap before. So now you know.

Minecraft Blueprints

Minecraft land map with castle

When most people (I assume) plan out their castle, or house, or whatever it is they want to build, they just go into Minecraft under creative mode so they have a complete inventory of materials that they don’t have to mine for days or months to get. I would go there, but I’d rather have the option of getting all of the trophies.

I have been researching a way of downloading a program that will allow me to create a Minecraft building with a full list of materials on the computer, so it gives me a blueprint. It doesn’t have to be a 3D blueprint, I just don’t want to have to keep building, then have to go run back to the mine for materials, then build more, then mine and also go through so many pickaxes if I decide to go a different way. It takes more time to dismantle your structure than it does to build it.

I did find a website that allowed me to do just what I was looking for. I found it on a message board, and the actual website is www.minedraft.net. Unfortunately, it became a huge time suck for me because the website would freeze up on me. I don’t know if it was the website itself, my computer or my processor, but it didn’t allow me to get very far. I also tried it on my Nook, which was awesome because I could tap on the material, then tap on the screen and it went a little faster. Unfortunately, that became slow over time, so I didn’t get very far there either.

One of the comments on that message board was that you could do the very same thing with Microsoft Paint. All you have to do is make a grid and snap to grid. I assume they were using Windows XP and that it was an old comment because I went to MS Paint and it didn’t offer a grid, so the next best thing for me was Gimp.

I opened Gimp and clicked view and show grid and snap to grid. I zoomed in to 800% and the grid squares weren’t too big. I downloaded some icons of the materials, like the dirt, grass, water, sand, wood planks and cobblestone, and made them into brushes, which helped a lot. The icons don’t look exactly like they should because instead of using 100% of the icon, I had to drop it down to 10%, but I honestly don’t have to see them as perfect as they are in Minecraft, it’s just a general idea of how to build my castle.

Minecraft land mapMinecraft land map castle

With Gimp you can create layers, so first I laid out the land that I am building on, then I created a 2nd layer for the castle, this way if I make a mistake, I don’t have to worry about losing the land, just the castle parts. As you can see they are separate.

castle

I have built the walls that I made in Gimp, but it is far from finished because guess what? I have to mine and mine and mine to get all that cobblestone to build the walls up. I’m actually building the walls around my existing home, which is like a tiny 2 story cobblestone castle like structure. There is my beacon behind the house. When the walls have been built up, then I can work on getting the inside of the castle built, which will take a lot of time and patience and creativity. I built the catwalk along the top of the wall. That is where I will finish that wall, but the 4 towers are going to go up twice as much to provide me with 4 beacons rather than 1. You can see a beacon way behind my house, and there are several beacons to let me know where to find home, but when I see 4 beacons, then I will know for sure that this is home.

minecraft icons

Here are the icons that I found online that I turned into gimp brushes with the .gbr file extension. So far I’ve only had to use the sand, grass, water and cobblestone, and only because that’s really all I needed for this project. I have the rest just in case I might need to use them in the future. I may not, but never say never.

So I figured if anyone in the future was looking for a way to make a blueprint, this should give them an easy idea of how they can make it.

Getting FAT

My partner and I went to the movies today. We saw Into the Woods, which by the way was a really good movie. I had to pee so bad by the time it ended, so I went to the restroom and well, took a piss lol. When I went to wash my hands, that’s when the realization hit me that I am right back to where I started 2 years ago when I started my diet when I lost 70lbs.

I had really bad sleep apnea back then, and when I had lost all that weight, I couldn’t use my BiPap machine anymore because the pressure was too high, and I actually didn’t even need to use it for the last 18 months. The CPAP company told me I could bring it in to have it readjusted to lower the pressure, but I had it in my head that I finally don’t need it anymore, so I never did anything with it.

The year that I had lost 70lbs, I stopped losing weight in July and I never could figure out why. I was doing everything the same, I was eating the same portions and the same calories, but the weight just stopped coming off. Actually, when I first began losing weight in January of that year, the weight was coming off really fast, but then gradually it went from say for example 5lbs a week down to 4lbs, then 3lbs, then 2lbs, then before you knew it I was only losing half a pound a week until there wasn’t any weight loss at all. The weight gradually started climbing back up and I could not understand why.

You know how when you plateau, then get so frustrated that you say screw it, I’m going to eat something bad. Then once a week you start eating junk, then twice a week, then 3 times, etc. Next thing you know, you are gaining the weight just as fast as you lost it. Sometimes you just need that “AHA” moment, and that was today.

After the movies, we went to the grocery store and my partner asked if I wanted some valentine’s candy, but that is the last thing I need right now.

I have the Dr. Phil 20/20 diet that I pre-ordered in December that arrived on my Nook last week. I have been meaning to read it, but with all the Minecraft and other video games taking up all of my time, I just haven’t been able to read it yet, but I think now is the best time to start reading.

So I guess what I am saying is, this is day 1… well, perhaps since the day is almost over, I will make it day 0, epiphany day, tomorrow can be day 1 lol.

I can always do something if I set my mind to it. I have the Noom app, the SparkPeople “The Spark” on my shoe to count my steps and cardio along with a SparkPeople workout DVD, bicycle trainer and the Dr. Phil diet book. I also have the PlayStation 4 which I will save the money for the camera so I can use it to dance with a dancing game lol. Hey, all I know is the cabbage patch, it would be awesome to know more than that, I mean, not that I really go out dancing.

I have been very lazy, but I need to discipline myself because I don’t want this sleep apnea and I don’t want this fat face again. I’m done with that, so wish me luck.

Minecraft Beacons and Railroads

I have had a very busy couple of days since I had a Minecraft CE-34878-0 error. I had lost 10 whole days of mining and building underground tunnels for my railroad. Since I uploaded the back up file from my 4gb USB drive, I’ve noticed some things I hadn’t noticed before, even after the recent update, and that is the horses and a few bad guys like witches, bats and these blue or green blobs bouncing around. I didn’t have those before.

So I now have 5 or 6 beacons built that will help me find my way back to my home if I ever get lost. One thing I am thinking of doing is adding an above ground railroad encased in glass. Before I had an above ground railroad that I hated using because the animals would stand on it. It’s easier to travel when there aren’t any animals stopping me and preventing me from getting to my destination. I put the railroad in below ground, but the only problem with that was the constant digging. I enjoyed the under water tunnels encased in glass, but I think I might want to try something different since I have to start all over again.

Today I found out that right under my house there is a massive mine. Who knew that all that time I had all that coal and iron? I haven’t found anything else, but those are still 2 good things to have. I use the iron for my armor and for the railroad. I have already started rebuilding the underground railroad from the first mine I was in all the way to under my house, so I will keep going through the mine under my house which exits in the water in front of my house. That’s actually how I found it, I nearly drowned and discovered it wasn’t completely wet under there. So I will bring the tunnel out of the water and make it go up, up, up in the sky to a beacon I built across the water from my house where there are more tunnels. I’ll have to make more railroad going over to another beacon which is where I had ended my underground railroad tunnel before.

If the beacons aren’t easy to help me find my way home, then the over ground glass railroad will guide me to the beacons which I can just climb to get on the railroad and ride the train back home.

I mentioned that I finally see horses, well I don’t know if this is a major bug or not, but it bugs the hell out of me. I found a horse, tamed it, put a saddle on him and rode him home where I built a pen for him to prevent him from escaping. Well, I felt sorry for him (I know, it’s not real lol) so I didn’t keep him there against his will. I went into the house to make a leash and when I came back he was gone. It took me a very long time to find another one and it was very difficult to tame him but once I did I felt like I found a good horse. I leashed him to the post and all was good. I brought him in the house when the bad guys came out because I was afraid he would either get blown up or spooked. When the sun was out I took him over to where the cactus are and put a fence in the ground, it was more of a pole because I only used 1 fence. I leashed him to the fence pole and went cutting down cacti and when I returned to the pole, the horse was gone. The leash was attached to the pole, and that was the last straw for me. I found 3 saddles and 2 are gone, so I have 1 more saddle and 1 more chance, which I am not going to take until I can build a barn, but even then I’m not so sure he will stay with me.

I know, I’m still a newbie and have quite a lot to learn still. I will figure it all out in time.