@Noom Week 24

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This is the beginning of the 3rd week of my 2nd goal to lose weight with Noom.  I started  my first goal on January 5th, 2013 with 63lbs to lose and I lost it with 2 months to spare.  Although I did get lucky that I was 200lbs by my birthday because the weight wasn’t dropping as fast as it was in the beginning, but I think when you have a lot of fat to lose, with just a change of diet it will probably drop a lot faster in the beginning.  Now that my body is used to this new healthy lifestyle, I am not losing weight as easily.

When I started working with Noom, I wasn’t exercising as much as I should have because of my back problems.  I can make excuses all day long, but there really isn’t any excuse for not exercising.  I can do some exercises in my bedroom, on my bed, in my desk chair or standing in front of the TV or even in the hallway or kitchen, it doesn’t matter, but it’s difficult for me to do anything with Degenerative Disc Disease.  I am usually sitting on my desk chair at my desk and of course I have a ton of pain here, but when I go sit or lay on my bed, the pain goes away.

I do have a bicycle and I attempted to ride it on the bicycle trail.  I bought a pair of cycling bib shorts from Bike Nashbar and 2 shirts for cycling, and of course I have 3 shirts from Noom that wick the moisture like my other cycling shirts.  But then I had an accident on my bicycle and broke my arm, so I couldn’t go bike riding.  I bought one of those no flat tubes that’s like a solid rubber tube, but I can’t get it on my wheel and now I’ve ruined the rim AND the tire, so I’m afraid if I buy a new tube, the wires sticking out of the tire is going to pop the new tube, or I might have damaged the rim so there might be metal sticking out of the rim that might pop the new tube.  A new rim is about $30 and I’m sure a new tire is around $20 or $30.  It wouldn’t even be worth my money, I’d be better off buying a new bicycle, but I can’t afford anything, so I have no bike now.

I haven’t examined my bicycle to see if there was any damage to the front rim from the accident.  I bought the bicycle from Walmart in 2004 for $60 so it was a cheap bicycle from the start.  I have replaced about 75% of the bicycle over the years, so I have put literally hundreds of dollars into that bicycle.  The only thing original is the frame, the (I’m going to sound dumb here) the mechanism that the pedals are attached to (LOL) and the chain.  Everything else has been replaced.

Instead of cycling, I’ve been walking which is agony for my back, but I’ve been doing it a couple of times per week just to get some exercise in.  Of course by the time I get home from doing that, I am in so much pain that I just can’t stand living anymore.  Speaking of which, I am in so much pain sitting here typing this that I had to go get the ice pack and take a Vicodin.

walking workout june 14 Anyway, I’ve been trying to walk a mile, but instead of only walking a mile, I will add some distance every time I go out.  Yesterday I walked more than 3 miles.  My back was in absolute agony the entire time, but I didn’t care because I really wanted to burn some calories, which I did.  Here is that workout (left).

I went out with my black Noom shirt, my Noom water bottle and my Noom sunglasses.  I absolutely love my Noom swag lol.  I normally like to go out with my Noom backpack, but I really don’t have anything to put in it, so I don’t have much of a reason to bring it.  If I had a bicycle, I would put my Camelbak inside of it with the hose sticking out and I would clip the hose to the strap to secure it.  I could probably do that on my walk, but I like to hold the water bottle.  I really don’t need 3 liters of water on a 3 mile walk anyway.

My estimated end date isn’t until November, although the Noom weight graph says September 17th if I lose 2lbs per week.  Last week it was September 15th and I lost less than 2lbs this week so naturally the date got pushed by 2 days.  I’m really not in any hurry to be 170lbs though, so no pressure.  I feel that if it happens then it happens.  I don’t want to rush myself because I feel comfortable in my skin the way I am now, so if I lose more weight, then bonus.  The main thing is that I don’t put any pressure on myself to lose any more weight because that’s too stressful and I don’t want my brain releasing cortisol from the stress which will prevent me from losing more weight.  Although the back pain from walking might end up doing that for me.recumbent bicycleI really wish I had a bicycle, it would be so much easier to exercise because then I could sit down the entire time.  I really want a recumbent bicycle though, because then I could sit back which will REALLY be easier on my back.  That would be ideal, but those are REALLY expensive.  If and when I finally get a new bicycle, I’m going to get a beach cruiser or a hybrid.  I mainly just want a bicycle with the big handlebars that will allow me to sit straight up.  My mountain bike had me sitting forward which hurt my shoulder and back, that’s why I had to replace the handlebar with a beach cruiser handlebar.  A hybrid would be better for me than a mountain bike or a road bike (10 speed).  When I do buy a new bike, I will go to Target and get a Huffy because I know Huffy is a good brand.

Anyway, back to reality lol.  This week I weighed in at 197.0 and I still have a way to go to get down to 170lbs.  I am positive that I will eventually reach that goal by September, if not then it happens when it happens.  I will still eat healthy no matter what and I will still go for walks despite the pain until I finally get a new bicycle.

Until next week…

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Exercise

may 29 walk

I have really been neglecting my exercise throughout this entire diet that I’ve been on using the Noom app on my Android phone.  I have no excuse, but I really do lol.  With my degenerative disc disease in my spine, it’s difficult to walk long distances and I don’t have a bicycle anymore since my last accident which caused me to break my arm.  So the only thing I can really do is walk, which again is hard on my back.

Yesterday I took a vicodin and went out and just walked as far as I could with my Noom swag on.  I was in pain from the minute I left the house until I came home, except the pain was excruciating by the time I came home.  But, what other options do I have?  As you can see from the picture above, I walked 2.21 miles at an average speed of 3.4 miles per hour for 39 minutes and 30 seconds and I burned a total of 263 calories.  It’s not much, but it’s the best I could do.

I hope to get a new bicycle some day, but money is always tight so it’s really difficult to save anything.  I am selling the keychains on Etsy and whatever I get from that will be saved so I can buy a bike.  Of course, I probably won’t sell very many.  I’ve only sold 1 and the profit from that was like $1.87 or something.  So yeah, I don’t expect that to help me buy a new bike.

Until I can buy a new bicycle, all I can do is walk.  It’s free, although I don’t know how free because it does come with a huge cost, and that’s back pain.

I plan on going out again today because I know I should get SOME exercise lol.

My Weight Loss Journey – Week 2

On January 5th, 2013, I was looking through the Google Play app store on my Android phone for an app to help me lose weight.  I had downloaded a few apps that would help record my walking and bike rides with GPS and would tell me everything my bicycle computer tells me and more, but they didn’t help me record my eating habits or tell me what to eat.  The front page of the app store had a featured app called Noom Coach.  I downloaded it and checked it out and it was way more than I was expecting in an app.  I had the free version with limitations and after only a few days decided that I had to purchase the pro version.  Yes, I was that confident in this app after only a few days.

I am only in my 2nd week with this app and I have already lost 8.4lbs.  I only expected to lose 2lbs a week, so this is quite surprising that I have lost more than double my goal each week.  Then again the first week or two are the easiest, I won’t count my chickens until the 3rd or 4th week.

week 2-1week 2-2

I am over 100lbs overweight and my goal is to just get down to 200lbs which means losing 63lbs.  I have tried to set goals to lose all of the weight before and becoming disappointed when it failed because my goal was set too high.  I have been told to set smaller goals because you reach smaller goals faster.  When the small goal is finished, then I can set another small goal.  Although, setting my goal for more than half of what I need to lose is not quite a small goal, I think that I can reach it because this app is motivating me to.  If it doesn’t then I will adjust my goal to make it easier.

We haven’t been exercising as much as we should.  I could give 2 excuses as to why, but what’s the point?  I mean, I hate to make excuses for why I can’t do something because excuses are why I fail.  These are good ones though.  It’s cold outside and we both have bad backs and it hurts to walk.  There, I said it.  The cold part is a BS excuse, but the back pain is legitimate.  With that said, we have been walking 2 or 3 days a week for maybe 1 mile or more each time.

Arctic Cooling P311 Bluetooth Sports Headset I have way more weight to lose than my partner does.  I was at 263lbs and he was around 200, so I have to do double the work which is why I bought myself a new pair of Arctic Cooling P311 Bluetooth Headset for Sports from Amazon for my HTC One V android phone so that I can ride my bicycle when it starts to get warm outside.  I can keep my phone in my camelbak which will have the Noom app recording my exercise while letting me listen to my music, and the bluetooth will allow me to accept phone calls at the push of a button on the headphones.  Although I’m not sure if it will accept the call automatically or if I have to push the button, I will find out soon enough.  I thought I read in a review that it automatically shuts off the music when a call comes in and resumes when you hang up.

The headphones that I bought aren’t the best, I mean, they didn’t get the best reviews, but they were $30 which is way more than I could afford.  The headphones that are in the $60’s-$100’s range are the best, so I am getting what I paid for.  I saw in one video review that the mic sucks for taking calls while you are on your bike or walking, but are amazing indoors.  I don’t really have much of a choice in the matter, so it’s the best I can do with what money I have available to me.  But it has been my experience that people who do reviews are spoiled with the more expensive products they test, so to them it might be a horrible pair of headphones, but perhaps it will be fine for me.  I can say that because my phone got horrible reviews and it’s way better than they gave it credit for.

Cycling seems to be the best exercise for me because I am sitting which doesn’t hurt my back.  Walking is fine if I walk 1 or 2 miles, but I can ride 23 miles a day on my bicycle which means I can burn more than a quarter of my days meals on the bicycle which will help me lose more weight and will get me to my goal faster.  Not that I want or need to rush anything, but it will help.  It’s too cold now, so I will get to it when it starts warming up in the Spring.  I bought the headphones now so that I could afford to fix my bike next month.  I can’t afford to do both in the same month.  I would also like to buy some bicycle shorts and a bicycle shirt to make riding more comfortable.

I am finally eating healthy and enjoying it.  We have been buying the Weight Watchers frozen dinners at Food Maxx for $1.88 each with a $2 coupon for 10, so we’re saving money on that.  We’re also eating more fruits and vegetables than before, which is a very good thing.  I don’t drink soda (diet or otherwise) very often, so that’s not an issue.  The fruit seems to satisfy my sweet tooth, for now.  I have been looking up recipes for cookies that use bananas and apples so that I can make a very low calorie sweet treat without compromising our diet.  I found a good banana oatmeal cookie recipe that uses applesauce in place of sugar, they even tell you how to make it with real apples.  I think I might try to make those today for our late night snack.  I also bought some bottles of Slim Fast specifically for when we have a chocolate craving, but I have a feeling those won’t last the week.

I know that 8.4lbs isn’t a lot to be blogging about so soon, but it’s a good start and I feel confident that I will keep it up this time.  I will keep this blog updated on my progress every week when I do my weigh-ins too.  Not that anyone really cares, but it will help me to talk about it, even if I am just talking to myself.

I’ll Give You 4000 Reasons To Quit Smoking And Start Vaping

Image Source http://www.stopsmokingtip.us
Image Source http://www.stopsmokingtip.us

When I was fifteen-years-old, I started smoking for the wrong reasons.  I wanted to be able to hang out with my sister in the smoking section of my high school.  She didn’t really want me to hang out with her, so her friends told me that because I didn’t smoke, I didn’t belong in the smoking section.  I decided to start smoking.

I had an eleven year addiction that I couldn’t get rid of.  When I was nineteen-years-old I tried to quit smoking with this system where you put a plastic filter on the filter of your cigarette that was supposed to keep you from getting the harmful chemicals.  Every pack of cigarettes had a new filter and that seemed to work and I actually quit smoking.  It was difficult to remain a non-smoker when everyone around me was telling me it wasn’t going to last long.  Instead of encouraging me, they mocked me and even blew smoke in my face.  It didn’t last very long and I took up the bad habit because I was shamed back into it.

In 1996 I was living in an encouraging environment with my partner Darrin.  He never discouraged me from doing anything that I wanted to do.  I told him that I was sick of smoking and we both decided to go to the drug store and buy the Nicotrol patch to help me, and I finally quit smoking and I haven’t smoked since.

I have told that story to everyone that I know who still smokes and they tell me that the patch hasn’t worked for them, or it’s too expensive, or this excuse, or that excuse.  Listen, you don’t have to quit just because I am telling you, because believe me, I hated all those ex-smokers who tried to get me to quit smoking when I didn’t want to.  I vowed when I quit smoking that I would never become the typical preachy ex-smoker.

However, I have found something that will be worth listening to.  There is a relatively new technology out there called an e-cigarette, and I know you have heard of it, but haven’t bought it because it’s “not the same” as a “real” cigarette.  Well, let me just try to show you something you probably already know, but don’t want to know.  These are the harmful chemicals that are in your “real” cigarette.  There are 4,000 chemicals that you are exposing yourself, your spouse, your co-workers, your children and your pets to every day.  Here is just a handful.

    • Benzene (petrol additive)
      • A colourless cyclic hydrocarbon obtained from coal and petroleum, used as a solvent in fuel and in chemical manufacture – and contained in cigarette smoke.
      • A known carcinogen associated with leukemia.
    • Formaldehyde (embalming fluid)
      • A colourless liquid, highly poisonous, used to preserve dead bodies – also found in cigarette smoke.
      • Known to cause cancer, respiratory, skin and gastrointestinal problems.
    • Ammonia (toilet cleaner)
      • Used as a flavouring, frees nicotine from tobacco turning it into a gas
      • Often found in dry cleaning fluids.
    • Acetone (nail polish remover)
      • Fragrant volatile liquid ketone, used as a solvent, for example, nail polish remover
      • Found in cigarette smoke.
    • Tar
      • Particulate matter drawn into lungs when you inhale on a lighted cigarette. Once inhaled, smoke condenses and about 70 per cent of the tar in the smoke is deposited in the smoker’s lungs.
    • Nicotine (insecticide/addictive drug)
      • One of the most addictive substances known to man, a powerful and fast-acting medical and non-medical poison.
      • This is the chemical which causes addiction.
    • Carbon Monoxide (CO) (car exhaust fumes)
      • An odourless, tasteless and poisonous gas, rapidly fatal in large amounts
      • The same gas that comes out of car exhausts
      • The main gas in cigarette smoke, formed when the cigarette is lit
    • Others
      • Arsenic (rat poison)
      • Hydrogen Cyanide (gas chamber poison)

So that is what you are getting when you smoke a cigarette.  What do you get when you vape with an e-cigarette?  You are still getting the nicotine, but when you buy (or make) your e-liquid, you can order it with less nicotine every week or every month (it’s your decision how fast or slow you want to quit) until you are no longer dependent on the nicotine.

The chemicals you are getting in an e-cigarette aren’t harmful compared to a real cigarette because you are most likely exposed to them on a daily basis, but let’s take a look at what they are.

Propylene glycol is used as a ‘humectant’ which means it maintains moisture levels in food products, cosmetics and tobacco products. Humectants are what make hair conditioning products work as well as create the ‘moisturizing’ effects of many common cosmetics and consumer products we take for granted such as: make up, mascara, hand creams, body lotions as well as shave creams, shampoos and soaps. Additionally, propylene glycol is used as a solvent to enhance the ability of artificial flavorings to remain suspended in solution in products such as toothpaste and mouthwash.

Vegetable glycerin is also known as vegetable glycerol. It is a carbohydrate that is usually derived from plant oils. It is used as a sweetener and as an ingredient in a number of cosmetic products. Vegetable glycerin is also used in place of alcohol to extract botanicals.

You can read more about Propylene Glycol and Vegetable Glycerin at the Zeus E-Juice website.

When they mix your e-liquid for your e-cigarettes, they generally mix 50% of PG with 50% of VG, depending on how you like it, and they add whatever amount of Nicotine for the milligrams you request.  The final ingredients are food flavorings to give it a pleasant taste like Strawberry, Banana, or even Chocolate or Vanilla Ice Cream.  The list of flavors is long, but you get the idea.

Zeus e-Juice is a great website for buying e-liquid.  Why?  Because you are saving a crapload of money, that’s why.  Consider this.  You are paying $4 or $5 per pack of cigarettes.  A 5ML bottle of e-liquid is only $2.49.  1ML of e-liquid compares to 1 pack of cigarettes which means you are only paying .50 cents.  A 30ML bottle of e-liquid is only $10.49 which breaks it down to .35 cents a pack.  If saving money doesn’t convince you then I am at a loss.

So when you switch to e-cigarettes, you are moving away from the dangerous chemicals that can basically kill you, to something that tastes good and doesn’t kill you.  You will also prevent the weight gain by continuing the motion of smoking long after your addiction has faded.  When I quit smoking, I gained 50lbs and have gained another 50lbs since because I replaced smoking with food.  You can keep that from happening because the sweet flavors will keep your taste buds satisfied long after you’ve kicked the habit.

Does this convince you to quit smoking and switch over to e-cigarettes?  I hope so, because I don’t like knowing that friends, family and heck, even strangers that I don’t know are getting cancer, emphysema, leukemia, heart diseases and even dying because they refused to kick the habit.

For more tips on kicking the habit, please visit http://www.stopsmokingtip.us.

Image Source http://www.stopsmokingtip.us.  Other sources http://www.stop-smoking-programs.org and https://www.zeusejuice.com

CastleVille

I don’t know what it is about these Zynga games that is so addictive, but I just cannot stop playing CastleVille.  I don’t want to play it, yet I am compelled to for some reason.

I can remember how fun YoVille was because you were able to chat with your friends.  We would go hang out at the club (in the game of course) and chat and buy drinks; it was a fun time.  But then people stopped talking in chat because suddenly they were too busy with all of the mini games and with the job, that they just didn’t have time to talk anymore.  All of a sudden it became a job to play.

Then I started playing another Zynga game where you have a farm, oh what was it called?  Oh yeah, FarmVille… they seem to like the Ville titles, don’t they?  I was into it, and you used to be able to chat at the beginning, but then they took that away too.  You could go to someones farm and do chores and then go back to your farm and “work.”  That seems to be a common theme.

Then there was Chef World, Pioneer Trailer, Treasure Isle… the list literally goes on and on.  I had to stop playing these games because they took over my life.  I had people TELLING me to get on these games and send them crap that they need and I’m just thinking excuse me but I am busy with my own stuff here lol.  “Oh alright, what do you need?”

I had to quit playing all of those games so it’s very curious why all of a sudden I’m playing CastleVille.  I guess because it’s one game and I only play it for 5 minutes here, 5 minutes there.  This game requires hours of your life everyday, otherwise you miss out on quests.  Like, you have to build these wood planks or stone blocks to build other buildings and sometimes you have a time limit like 3 days or whatever.  I am going to miss out on a quest today because they want me to build 15 planks, 15 stone bricks and I don’t know what else in 2 hours.  Well, it takes 1 hour to build each of everything.  I refuse to beg anyone for help so I’m just going to let that one expire.

I want to say enough with this stupid game because I have better things to do with my day, but in a strange way I don’t want to; I like it lol.  I have a love hate relationship.  I love it because it’s cute, but I hate it because it’s work.  But then again aren’t all games work?  I play Lord of the Rings Online, which I haven’t been playing because of my book, and everything that you have to do seems like a job.  Maybe I’m getting too old for games.

Whatever, I like it and I will continue to play it at 5 minute increments like I am doing now.  It is time-consuming, but I am not allowing it to be on my screen for 16 hours a day and that is all that matters.

I’m sorry, were you expecting me to make a point about something?  LOL

Reading is a Skill

I talked to one of my aunts on Facebook this morning about reading a book that she and my uncle had recommended to me in 2006.  I read the first book in the series of a million books (over-exaggerated number) and it was probably the most difficult book I had ever read.  I told her, and I was just saying this as an excuse, that reading is like a skill.  I can’t read an advanced book as a beginner, or even intermediate reader.

This was her response:

“Your analysis of reading being a skill is spot on, as the Brits say. It IS a skill, and the only way to improve that skill is to continually work at it.”

So, it is no longer just an excuse and the only way for me to be able to read those books is to continue to read my immature vampire ebooks to continue to grow as a reader lol.

I actually love reading.  I would say that I used the Harry Potter books as my beginners books and have grown from there.  The Harry Potter books were amazing because they didn’t have big words that I had never even heard in daily use, they were simple words that every person knows.

I think buying the Nook was the best investment towards my “skill” for many reasons like the built-in dictionary for example.  If I don’t know a word I can look it up by either typing the word into the Nook or by placing the cursor next to a word.  This helps me learn what those words mean for the next time I see it.  It helps me grow as a reader.

Eventually I will get to those Belgariad books.  Like I said, I read the first book and as difficult as it was to read, it was just as difficult to put it down because it was such a good story.  I’ve only read the first story and I can’t wait to get to the next one because I have to know what happens next.

I’m in the intermediate stage because the vampire books that I have read have had some pretty big words and I’ve been able to understand without having to look the words up so I feel like I’m almost there.

I was going to make up my own skill level names but I wanted some examples like beginner, intermediate, pro etc. but I actually found that there is in fact a reading level Wiki site.  Wikibooks: Reading Levels.

So here we have pre-reader which are the children’s book which I actually did read as a child until I was maybe 5.  Then there is beginner which is almost similar to children’s books but maybe without pictures.  I’m pretty sure Harry Potter is in this category.  Intermediate which are books that most adults can comprehend and I do believe that the vampire books that I read are intermediate.

The final 2 categories are advanced and professional.  I’m pretty sure the Lord of the Rings and Belgariad are both in the advanced category.  They may be somewhere in between though, I’m not quite sure.

It will take me a bit of time to get to the advanced stage because I haven’t really read that many books but I’m working on it.  The more I read the better I get at it and as long as I continue to read what I’m reading I’m pretty sure I will get up in the ranks and join the rest of the adults my age lol.

It’s Our 17 Year Anniversary

Today is our 17 year anniversary.  We met in 1994 and we just clicked and became a couple.  Most people count their wedding anniversary, not the day they became a couple but considering gays still can’t get married in California, I count our relationship years instead.  Even if we could get married, I would still count how long we’ve been together.

Ok so the cake doesn’t look great, I was running out of frosting, you know how those frosting containers only have so much and I think I put too much in some spots but not enough in others which is why there is a hole on the side in the front but it’s ok, at least I didn’t have to pay $20 for it from the grocery store.

The cake doesn’t symbolize anything really, I just wanted an excuse to have cake lol.  Obviously I had to photo shop the rainbow heart and 17 years because it was too plain for this post, I wish I had the talent to draw that onto the cake with colored frosting.

Well… to another 17 years.  Cheers!