Hot patch for my back

salonpas hot

I have really bad back pain that gets worse and worse everyday.  I had an MRI on my shoulder a few years ago and they did a full scan of my back and found that I have degenerative disc disease in my lower spine, and I did have a lot of pain in my lower spine, sometimes when I bent over my back would lock up.  I knew the pain was there, but I was at that doctor visit for my shoulder.  Anyway, since that MRI, the pain has gone up my spine.  Right now the pain that I feel the most is near the top of the middle of my back, but not all the way to the top, yet.

So what I’ve been doing besides using the shiatsu massager and my desk chair which has vibrating massage is I will lean against an ice pack.  That really helps, trust me, but I have been told to alternate cold and heat.  We have a heating pad that I bought at Walgreens that crapped out on me after a few uses, and of course I had long since thrown the receipt out so I couldn’t return it.  Instead of using a heating pad, I thought that perhaps a patch would help, so I bought a couple of these Salonpas hot patches at Albertson’s for only $1.79 each plus tax.

Yesterday after I finished with the ice pack, I put the patch on myself because my partner was sleeping at the time and I didn’t want to wake him up, but I put it on crooked and it was way below where I needed it to be so it didn’t really do me any good.  Although when he woke up I asked him to remove it and put it up higher, but removing it took away all of it’s stickiness, so it kept coming off.  Today I asked him to put it on me so it was on right and he did and I can’t even begin to tell you how good it feels.

I normally experience pain most when I am sitting in my desk chair typing, like now, or when I am walking.  The only pain I am feeling is from the heat from this hot patch, so it’s not too bad.  I haven’t gone for a walk yet, but I did walk to Albertson’s to buy 5 more of these along with my other groceries and my back didn’t give me any pain then either.  So I don’t know if the heat helps stop the pain, or if it has some kind of medication in the patch that helps the pain.  I can’t read the ingredients list and I’m too lazy to Google all of those words lol.

At any rate, it sure is helping me and I really love it.  I don’t like having to spend a lot of money buying patches, but it sure does beat having to buy heating pads that crap out on you and using electricity AND not being able to bring the heating pad with you out on walks.  I really like that it’s on me until I take it off, which it says I can wear for up to 8 hours.  I wonder if it will be hot for 8 whole hours?  I’ll have to find out later tonight when I take it off before my bath.

By the way, I am not a spokesperson for Salonpas or Hisamitsu and I have not been paid to write this post.  Opinions expressed here are my own.

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Noom Swag

Noom_Swag_1

Noom_swag

I got a very cool package in the mail today filled with Noom swag.  It had 2 black shirts with the Noom logo on the back, a water bottle, a backpack that’s most likely a gym bag that you could wear as a backpack, a note pad, a pair of sunglasses, some lip balm and a cute cauliflower lol.

They wrote me a very cool letter and everyone signed it.  That was the first thing that I saw when I opened the box and I was very touched that everyone signed it, someone even drew out my full weight chart lol.  I thought that was cute.

It’s inspiring things like this that really keep me going.  I really love the shirts, I had a white one and now I have 2 black ones, so that’s pretty awesome.  Plus I really love the sunglasses.  I had a pair of sunglasses for the bike, but they broke because of the way I took them off, it was a pair of sports sunglasses that had a strange attachment that was glued on the arm and it snapped off.

The water bottle is awesome.  I’ve always wanted to buy one of those because they have them everywhere, but they are so expensive, so now I have one with the Noom logo on it.

Oh and by the way, today was weigh in day and I am down to 206lbs.  I am 90.48% finished with my goal to lose 63lbs.  I began my weight loss journey with Noom on January 5th and it is now May 11th and I can’t believe that I have lost 57lbs already.  This is just the most amazing journey I have ever been on.  I still look at my before picture and think “how did I ever get that fat, and how can I be so different now?”  It truly is amazing, and all I did was eat better and eat less food.  According to the estimated end date, I have until June 1st to get down to 200.  That is the day before my birthday so that will definitely be a birthday I will never forget.

So thank you Noom for giving me such a wonderful present and for being so inspiring to me throughout this journey.  I really appreciate all of your support.  And a special thank you to Stacy and Marit who have both talked to me through my own website.  Marit sent me the first shirt and Stacy sent me the swag bag.  Thank you both.  And thank you to the entire staff of Noom for signing the letter.  OMG you guys are so awesome.  You are making me cry.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  You guys rock!

If you are considering losing weight, please download the Noom app from the Google Play App Store.  You will not regret it!  I owe all my weight loss success to Noom.

My 50lb Weight Loss – Before and After Pictures

weight loss before and after 50lbs

So yesterday was what I consider to be a milestone.  I weighed in at 212.6lbs which brings my weight loss total down to 50.4lbs lost since January 5th 2013.  So yeah, I feel like bragging lol.

Last night we went to a local event where a woman named Erin Davies is driving cross-country to show her documentary called FagBug and talk about her experiences with vandalism and homophobia and to raise awareness on the subject with her car called the “fagbug.”  When I heard she was coming, I knew I had to go because I wanted to see the car and have my picture taken with it.  And since it would be the first picture of me with 50lbs weight loss, I thought it would work as a great sort of after picture, even though I’m not finished with my journey.

Anyway, so let me give you a rundown of the images you see above.  Top left was from Christmas 2004.  I am actually not positive what my weight was back then, but I’m pretty sure it was 230 give or take.

The second picture on the top is a picture that was taken at Hearst Castle in Colorado in 2005.  It is also the picture that I used as my author picture since it was the best picture I have ever taken.  I hate taking my picture as a fat guy, but love pictures when I’m skinny so perhaps I will be taking a lot more photos when I am finally down in weight.

The bottom left picture was taken last year in May at a PFLAG meeting with Robin Tyler.  I had no idea until after the picture was taken that my stomach was actually that big.  I was beyond mortified, but kept it because I didn’t want to delete the only picture of me with Robin Tyler.  I mean, she’s Robin Tyler!

The bottom right picture is my before picture.  That is the one I took at the IHOP that we went to on New Years Day just before I made the decision to go on this weight loss journey.

Finally, the picture on the right is how I look today.  You can certainly see the difference in my neck and my face.  You probably can’t tell with the black shirt, but believe me, it’s thinner than all those before pictures.  My stomach (waist) was 50” and now it is down to 43”.  So yeah, it’s thinner.  Also my thighs are really skinny now too.  I didn’t think to measure my thighs at the beginning or every week because the Noom app didn’t ask me to, but that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t have still kept a record.  It doesn’t matter because they are thinner now.  Oh and thank you photographer (my partner) for taking the picture with me talking instead of smiling lol.  That was sarcasm of course.

My total weight loss since January 5th is 50.4lbs.  My goal is to lose 63lbs, so I only have 12.6lbs to go.  Although, once I meet my goal I will adjust the Noom app so that I will go down to 170 because 63lbs was just a small goal to get me started, my true goal is much higher than a measly 63lbs.  I was afraid that if I set too high of a goal, I wouldn’t have been able to do it.  I think that I have proven to myself that not only can I meet this goal, but I can keep going until all the fat is gone.

Look out world, here I come!  My next picture will be when I have lost 63lbs when I weigh 200lbs or less (if it’s like 199.8 or something).  See you then…

No More Fried Foods

I have been on my new “healthy lifestyle” (I’m not calling it a diet) for nearly 11 weeks now and I haven’t had any fried foods at all.  I made some egg rolls by cooking them in butter, and those were awesome.  I know that when Chinese restaurants cook them, they deep fry them in vegetable oil, so I bought some vegetable oil and cut 3 egg roll wrappers into many little strips and fried those because I just wanted the taste of the egg roll wrappers, not necessarily egg rolls themselves.  They have those at the Chinese buffets.  Well, that was a bad idea.

The thing is, when you are eating healthy foods, you are detoxifying your body.  Your body isn’t used to eating junk anymore so when you all of a sudden eat something fried in vegetable oil, like say french fries, fried chicken or fish or say egg roll wrappers, it may taste good at first, but then it sits in your stomach and starts making you sick.  I don’t know if it’s your stomachs reaction to the oil, but it doesn’t feel good.

Well, that is certainly a lesson I won’t soon forget.  If I am going to live a healthy lifestyle, I need to cut out all fried foods.  Frying the egg rolls in butter didn’t seem to hurt my stomach at all, so maybe perhaps next time I try something like that again I will do it in butter, but I won’t do that too often because butter isn’t exactly good for you either.

I tried to eat the egg rolls by baking them first, but they weren’t as good.  The egg roll wrappers are hard to chew when they are baked because they are meant to be fried.  They just taste better fried, but I won’t fry them again in oil.  I can’t say I won’t fry them in butter again because that was really good, but butter isn’t good for losing weight so I won’t make them too often.

I’ve Lost 28lbs In 2 Months with the @Noom Android App

mid picture

I didn’t think it would be possible for me to be as happy about my body as I am right at this very moment.

My weight loss journey began on January 5th 2013.  I didn’t want to make a cheesy New Years Resolution because every time I do, I don’t keep it.  I was afraid of jinxing myself, so I decided that I wasn’t going to do it.  But then I started thinking about it and figured, what’s the harm in saying I want to lose weight, but not because I feel obligated to make a New Years Resolution, but because I want to lose weight and be healthy.  Not just go on a diet, but try to change my eating habits for good.

As I was looking for a new weight loss app, I found Noom right on the Google Play Store page on my new HTC One V from Virgin Mobile.  It was a free app so I figured what the heck, let’s install it and see what it looks like.  I fell in love with it right away because of all of the things it can do compared with some of the other diet apps I had installed.  I wanted the pro version, so instead of paying a monthly fee for it, I just paid for it for life.  I know, I should have played with it to see how it would work for at least a week or so, but I already knew it was going to help me lose weight, and well, here I am today.

This is only half of my weight loss journey though, not even half yet.  I want to lose 63lbs, so I still have a way to go.

I know people are going to ask what I did to lose 28.4lbs in 2 months.  Well, I logged everything I ate everyday in the Noom app.  They have Green foods, Yellow foods and Red foods.  So say you are eating vegetables like Broccoli or Brussels Sprouts, those are green.  The Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinners are green, and that is what I ate for lunch and dinner every day for the last 2 months.  Basically, I’ve been trying to eat anything and everything that is green, but I have been eating a few yellows and reds here and there because you can have them, just not as much as the greens.

Just to note, I am not just going to eat healthy to help me lose weight.  I am changing the way I think about food and I do plan on continuing to eat healthy after I have lost all the weight because I want to stay healthy.  I do not want to gain the weight all over again.  I’ve also been learning what is in the food that I have been eating that made me fat and that is also my motivation to eat healthy.  They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but this old dog is learning new tricks everyday and will stick with it.

I have been making my own peanut butter and sugar-free strawberry jam and sugar-free applesauce and even making my own banana ice cream.  I have also been finding recipes for healthy treats like cookies made out of fruit and oatmeal.  Those are really good.  I made a recipes page on my website that I thought I’d share.  I’m still adding more when I find them.

The only thing I have not done yet to help me lose weight is exercise, and I have a very good reason.  I have tried to go for walks, and we went out a few times in the beginning, but I have degenerative disc disease in my lower spine which makes walking very painful.  I can ride the bike because I am sitting down, I just can’t walk for too long.  The back wheel on my bicycle kept deflating because the rim tape broke and I didn’t know it, but I have fabric rim tape on it now and the tube is filled with air so I can finally start riding again.  Thankfully my back doesn’t hurt when I’m on the bike.

So, like I said, I am only halfway there.  I just wanted to give an update of my current progress.  See you again when I have lost all 63lbs.

Old Bike Logs

I used to have a page on my blog which showed what my current bike route was with a log that I kept from my old bicycle computer.  Now that I am using the Noom app, everything has changed.  The Noom app keeps all of my rides in the phone and backed up on their website so I never have to worry about logging.  But I figured I would keep these old logs so I can go back to them to see how fast or slow I used to ride compared to how fast or slow I ride now and the future, if that makes sense.

Below is the original text from the original bike logs…

When I started riding my bike for exercise some time in late 2008, I bought a bicycle computer so that I could find out how fast I was going.  I didn’t know that this 20 function computer was going to give me such a wealth of information.

I started logging it on index cards because I knew that they would last longer than if I had typed them out in a file.  Things get deleted and removed, case in point was when my blogs database had crashed.

So here they are with an explanation of the gaps in time between rides.

*DST = Distance (miles), AVS = Average Speed (mph)

Date DST AVS Time Calories Fat Calories
11/03/2008 6.81 10 38 345
11/05/2008 9.014 10.7 50:35 436.6 43.5
11/06/2008 11.231 10.9 1:01:54 536.2 53.5
11/10/2008 18.290 10.7 1:42:33 835.7 81.2
11/11/2008 17.521 11.1 1:34:32 813.7 85.2
11/13/2008 11.907 11.0 1:05:13 552.1 57.6
11/14/2008 11.804 11.4 1:02:29 559.3 61.6
11/15/2008 11.851 11.8 1:00:32 556.7 63.0
11/17/2008 11.644 11.9 58:37 565.3 64.4
11/18/2008 11.804 11.6 1:00:52 558.7 62.5
11/20/2008 2.131 10.6 12:05 106.7 11.0

That seems to be all of 2008.  I am not exactly sure why I stopped then but I’m pretty sure it has something to do with the cold weather and not wanting to freeze my balls off at any time of the day.

I started back up in the spring of 2009

*DST = Distance (miles), AVS = Average Speed (mph)

Date DST AVS Time Calories Fat Calories
04/14/2009 9.273 10.6 52:25 439.2 43.7
04/16/2009 9.589 10.3 56:07 454.7 44.7
04/17/2009 10.396 11.8 52:57 494.7 57.0
04/19/2009 16.603 11.8 1:24:14 780.5 90.0
04/22/2009* 10.396 12.2 52:00
04/23/2009 10.339 11.7 52:51 488.0 56.0
04/27/2009 10.412 11.4 54:40 499.8 55.0
04/29/2009 10.434 12.0 52:25 529.0 59.6
04/30/2009† 7.155 11.1 38:40 357.2 38.2

Notice how my average speed has been in the 11 range with the occasional 12?

* I dropped the bicycle computer, it reset so I lost the rest of the information.  I knew my dst, avs and time but not calories.

† This wasn’t a riding day, I went to the mall on the bike.

*DST = Distance (miles), AVS = Average Speed (mph)

Date DST AVS Time Calories Fat Calories
05/03/2009 10.419 12.1 51:42 525.6 60.7
05/04/2009 10.379 11.9 52:23 498.1 57.6
05/06/2009 10.473 11.9 52:49 526.1 60.3
05/06/2009 10.374 12.3 50:38 501.8 58.9
05/11/2009 10.358 12.1 51:21 508.2 57.8
05/13/2009 11.368 12.2 55:56 557.0 64.9
05/15/2009 12.816 12.6 1:01:00 635.1 76.8
05/17/2009 13.441 12.3 1:05:30 640.9 76.6
05/19/2009 13.580 12.8 1:03:50 670.5 80.3
05/20/2009 16.615 13.0 1:16:41 831.2 101.5
05/21/2009 12.726 12.9 59:12 634.6 77.0
05/23/2009 12.669 12.4 1:01:26 617.7 73.1
05/25/2009 10.276 12.5 49:18 500.6 59.6
05/27/2009 12.740 13.1 58:19 645.9 78.3
05/28/2009 10.376 12.9 48:11 526.1 62.1
05/29/2009 12.781 13.0 59:11 655.3 78.8

Notice how my average speed has been in the 12 range and occasionally 13?

*DST = Distance (miles), AVS = Average Speed (mph)

Date DST AVS Time Calories Fat Calories
06/02/2009 12.722 12.8 59:45 662.2 79.1
06/03/2009 14.285 13.5 1:03:25 749.2 91.9
06/04/2009 14.247 13.4 1:03:54 730.4 90.4
06/08/2009 16.410 13.2 1:14:51 818.0 101.0
06/09/2009 12.707 13.3 57:18 659.9 80.0
06/10/2009 12.896 13.3 58:00 670.7 81.0
06/12/2009 16.376 13.8 1:11:02 858.2 106.7
06/13/2009 16.348 13.6 1:12:11 858.8 105.2
06/15/2009 16.337 13.6 1:11:51 680.3 105.7
06/16/2009 16.324 13.4 1:13:03 841.2 102.5
06/18/2009 16.366 13.5 1:12:42 848.6 103.6
06/19/2009 16.497 13.4 1:13:56 858.5 104.7
06/20/2009 16.351 13.7 1:11:46 850.6 105.2
06/22/2009 16.413 13.6 1:12:44 862.4 105.5
06/23/2009 16.323 13.6 1:11:51 853.2 104.9
06/24/2009 16.380 13.0 1:15:25 824.9 99.8
06/25/2009 16.359 13.0 1:15:24 813.0 99.0
06/27/2009 16.187 14.0 1:09:13 864.1 106.4
06/28/2009 16.481 13.2 1:14:56 848.3 102.7
06/29/2009 16.490 14.0 1:10:55 869.8 107.3

Notice how my average speed has been in the 13 range and a couple of 14’s in the end?

*DST = Distance (miles), AVS = Average Speed (mph)

Date DST AVS Time Calories Fat Calories
07/01/2009 16.503 13.8 1:11:57 870.4 105.5
07/02/2009 19.112 13.7 1:25:00 1002.8 122.4
07/03/2009 19.118 13.9 1:22:54 1008.3 123.7
07/05/2009 20.286 13.6 1:29:30 1067.1 133.2
07/06/2009 20.099 13.9 1:26:41 1075.1 132.0
07/07/2009 20.132 13.5 1:29:46 1043.6 127.4
07/09/2009 20.536 14.2 1:27:01 1093.9 135.9
07/10/2009 21.047 14.0 1:30:33 1105.7 135.8
07/12/2009 16.490 14.0 1:10:55 869.8 107.3
07/13/2009 21.051 14.4 1:27:33 1121.8 140.0
07/14/2009 22.199 14.1 1:34:15 1180.9 147.0
07/16/2009 22.198 14.2 1:34:03 1178.4 146.3
07/17/2009 16.783 13.5 1:14:22 883.7 106.4
07/18/2009 22.859 13.9 1:38:38 1198.0 146.1
07/20/2009 22.985 14.0 1:38:39 1212.5 148.0

Notice how my average speed started out in the 13’s range but then the rest of the time it was in the 14 range?

July 20th was my last ride because my new ergo bicycle seat hurt my shoulder so bad that I couldn’t stand the pain enough to continue riding.  I bought beach cruiser handlebars so that I could ride again and it did help with the pain.  I did try to ride in October.

Date DST AVS Time Calories Fat Calories
10/05/2009 7.331 10.4 42:19 357.6 34.6
10/06/2009 3.883 10.2 22:59 183.1 16.3
10/07/2009 5.446 10.8 30:11 259.5 26.4

Notice how I didn’t go very far?  I was in so much pain that I couldn’t really go that far from the house before having to turn around.  After 3 days I gave up.

My shoulder pain eventually went away on it’s own without any help from any of my doctors despite waiting 8 months for appointments.  I could have been out on the bike trail but I just wasn’t into it anymore.  By July I had enough of the weight that I had gained back so I tried going back out there.  Here is my log.

Date DST AVS Time Calories Fat Calories
07/17/2010 22.559 11.9 1:54:07 1011.9 113.2
07/18/2010 22.489 11.0 2:02:34 965.5 97.1

Unfortunately, the next day after my last ride logged the nut on my back wheel came out as I was riding to the store and I had to walk the bike home with groceries.  The axle really screwed  my wheel up and that was the last time I was able to ride my bike.  I called the bike store and they told me $40 for the wheel and $10 to install it.  It was difficult as it was to pay my bills and I just couldn’t afford to spend that kind of money.  So… that was the end of that until June 2011 when I finally bought a new wheel.

*DST = Distance (miles), AVS = Average Speed (mph)

Date DST AVS Time Cal Fat Cal
07/06/2011 17.172 11.2 1:32:12 868.5 91.6
07/08/2011 22.920 11.9 1:55:52 1162.9 131.3
07/09/2011 22.902 11.5 1:59:18 1132.6 124.2
07/12/2011 22.971 12.2 1:53:16 1160.9 136.2
07/14/2011 22.923 11.9 1:55:20 1159.5 131.6
07/19/2011 22.904 12.5 1:49:44 1169.4 139.9
07/21/2011 22.589 12.8 1:46:09 1176.4 140.8
07/23/2011 22.900 12.7 1:48:10 1219.9 146.5
07/24/2011 22.864 12.7 1:48:09 1208.0 144.5
07/26/2011 22.867 12.9 1:46:00 1193.7 145.7
07/28/2011 22.953 13.0 1:46:08 1198.8 144.9
07/29/2011 23.014 13.3 1:43:53 1226.4 150.1
07/31/2001† 13.030 12.3 1:03:29 671.6 79.6
Date DST AVS Time Cal Fat Cal
08/02/2011 23.159 12.7 1:49:12 1197.0 143.3
08/06/2011 23.019 12.6 1:50:01 1156.7 137.1
08/09/2011 22.986 12.6 1:49:44 1178.5 139.1
08/10/2011 22.979 12.6 1:49:27 1176.7 138.7
08/13/2011 23.022 12.5 1:50:34 1167.0 138.5
08/14/2011 23.055 12.5 1:50:54 1167.5 137.7
08/16/2011 23.031 12.8 1:47:59 1181.1 141.9
08/17/2011 23.259 12.5 1:51:27 1173.1 138.7
08/18/2011 23.089 12.4 1:51:22 1150.2 136.0
08/22/2011 23.460 12.3 1:54:14 1184.6 138.5
08/25/2011 23.009 12.2 1:53:14 1141.7 131.8

*DST = Distance (miles), AVS = Average Speed (mph)
†Rain

I tried to ride again in the Spring of 2012, but I had gained so much weight that every time I sat on the bike, the back wheel would deflate.  Even going to the store, I would end up walking the bike and the groceries home.  I tried pumping the tube up, but even just sitting in the patio it would deflate.  I changed the tube and the same thing happened with several tubes.  I don’t know what is wrong with it.  There isn’t a thorn in the tire and the tubes don’t have holes in them, I checked by inflating them and dunking them in water.  Their valves aren’t malfunctioning, so I really don’t know why they won’t stay inflated.  I am determined to ride in March 2013 even if that means buying an airless tube despite the reviews saying if you are over 200lbs it always feels like riding on a flat tire.

IZEA Valentine’s Day Swag Bag

izea swag bagI got a very cool surprise in the mail today.  @IZEA the company that pays me to tweet and blog sent me this very cool swag bag.  The Unicorn is very cool, I will probably keep it as is on display.  The swag bag had all this candy that I shouldn’t be eating anyway, but I enjoyed a few pieces anyway.  Pixie sticks, Wonka’s Fun Dip and Sweet Tarts Hearts, Hershey’s Kisses, chocolate hearts, Tootsie Rolls and I don’t even know what else.  There was also a neat heart-shaped eraser with a smiley face and a heart-shaped stress ball with the @IZEA logo on it.

This swag bag was such a cool surprise.  Thank you IZEA for sending it out to me.  That is so awesome!

izea ball and eraser