I'm A Ramblin' Man. - Learning To Cook Blog at Allrecipes.com - 332155

Learning To Cook

I'm a Ramblin' Man. 
Aug. 27, 2014 11:57 am 
Updated: Sep. 9, 2014 2:08 pm

As some of you are aware, I have been struggling with a weight issue for many years. Truth be told, I haven't really struggled with it until recently. Now that I am trying to lose weight, I am struggling. As a kid I was fairly active, but bordering on chubby. As I entered my teen years, chubby blossomed to fat. I was about 20 to 30 pounds over weight. By the time I was in my early twenties, I was obese. I was carrying an extra 60 pounds of baggage. At 5' 8” tall, I weighed 220 pounds.

About that time, I was pondering going back to school to further my education. I loved to cook, I thought that becoming a chef would be a logical choice for me. I enrolled at the local tech school in the cook/chef program, and was about to start the next day. When I fell asleep that night, I dreamt that I had graduated from the chef program only to become a fry cook at Sambo's (I think Sambo's became Denny's at some point). I called the school in the morning and told them to give my spot to the next person in line, and decided to enroll in a community college the following year. To this day, I regret having put credence in that dream.

In reality, I was very nervous about starting the chef program for several reasons, all of which were embodied in that dream. I was nervous about the sensitivity of my palate. Would I be able to distinguish nuances? To a large degree, that is something that can be learned. I didn't have confidence in myself. Would I be able to do these fancy ice carvings that the school seemed so enamored of? Apparently, this school was big on producing chefs for catering companies or something. It was really a non-issue, but also a reflection of my lack of confidence. Ice sculpture is a learned skill. It helps to have natural talent, but it is predominately learned.

In the time between cooking school and college I taught myself a lesson on self confidence that I, sadly, forgot for a time. In one summer, or three months, I lost 60 pounds. I did not change my diet at all. I did one simple thing. I got off my flabby backside and moved. I rode my bicycle everywhere. I rode to work everyday, which was a 3 mile one way trip. After work I would bicycle over to the lakes and ride around Cedar Lake, Lake Harriet, and Lake of the Isles. On my way back I would ride around Harriet again, only this time I would do ten circuits. Then I would head home. I would say that I rode about 50 miles a day. By the end of summer, I was fit and healthy, and eating like a horse.

Portion control and snacking have always been my downfall. I love my seconds and feel cheated if I don't get them. And don't talk to me about trying to fool myself by taking small portions and then taking seconds (also small amounts). If you think you can fool yourself, you're fooling yourself. I think I might have been eating in snacks what a normal person would eat as their daily intake. I would guess just between 10 PM and midnight I would eat 1200 calories.

Fast forward and I am again vastly over weight. I let myself get lazy, gained a bunch of tonnage and then allowed myself to think I couldn't do anything about it so why bother. Only now, at my age, the weight came with other inconveniences. I developed sleep apnea. My blood pressure was elevated. My joints hurt so much that I really didn't want to go walking. A host of other indignities occurred to my body that I won't even go into. My high weight was a whopping 270 pounds when I lived in New Jersey. Then I discovered an app on my phone. It allowed me to record calorie intake and output, and suggested healthy levels of each for a desired weight loss per week. Not wanting to get carried away, I chose to only try to lose a pound every other week. The app told me that I could eat 2900 calories a day, but I would then have to spend 795 calories above my base rate. The app helped me control how much I was snacking. It is still an issue of honest reporting and will power, but it seems to be working.

I am now at 232 pounds and feeling pretty darned good. I seem to be stuck at 232 pounds, because it's been a couple of weeks since I shed a pound, but I am sure that I will get a handle on what's going on and then continue to drop pounds. Like the first time I shed a lot of weight, I haven't made big changes in my diet. Certainly, I am eating more fruits and vegetables, because I have a really nice garden, but I still eat plenty of processed foods on a typical day. I would guess that I probably eat at least one meal that is a convenience food. The real trouble is trying to spend the calories. I am phlegmatic by nature. I don't like going for walks or hopping on the treadmill for the sake of moving. When I was really working hard on my garden, I was engaged in purposeful activity. I guess this will make my wife happy. There is no end of outdoor projects here!

I am at the point now where I am going to ask my doctor if I can go off of my blood pressure medication. Even without my medication, my blood pressure is about 125 over 80. That is much better than the 155 over 100 I was seeing at 270 pounds! He may want me to lose another 10 or 20 pounds before he allows that. I am having fewer joint pains, and I suspect that it is true that people with arthritis need to keep moving to manage the disease better. I have a lot more energy during the day. When I have to do something, it is much easier to get going and get it finished. Now if I could just change the phlegmatic nature thingy!

If there is a point to any of this, it might just be that processed foods aren't nearly as bad for you as healthy levels of activity are good for you. Unless you have an allergy to something, don't fret and fuss about the great Satan, Monsanto. Enjoy eating. Learn to enjoy moving. Old age will kill you long before Bayer will. Go out to a restaurant and have a good time knowing that for the next however many weeks you'll be eating your own, healthy, home cooked meals. Oh. And Quarter Pounders with Cheese are not poison. They are delicious and I love them! I just don't eat them every day.

Aug. 27, 2014 7:26 pm
doc we love ya! how can we help?
Aug. 28, 2014 2:58 am
Unfortunately, I am right there, with you {= And it certainly is a lifelong thing! I have lost goodly amounts of weight a couple times - and then lose my momentum and they creep back )= I'm not back at my heaviest - but need to get moving, before I do get back there! Best wishes on your journey (=
Aug. 28, 2014 4:35 am
Keep on doing the good things you're doing! You'll get past this little stuck point. Fall and winter are just around the corner...fall is a nice active time for me, but winter is tough on my diet because of lower activity levels. I agree about not wanting to exercise just for the sake of moving ( treadmill). I'd like to find a winter activity that I like that does not involve being out in the cold. May try the Y's pool this year. Any other ideas?
Aug. 28, 2014 4:53 am
I can understand being in a rut. Good luck to you Doc, like gderr said we are here for you!!
Aug. 28, 2014 5:25 am
Good morning Doc - A little over 3 years Dr. Killjoy made me go on my DIE-t because my cardiologist was afraid to put me on a treadmill for stress test. Smart eating & exercise worked for me then I too got lazy and added a few back. At our age it's a lot harder to knock off those pounds so we just have to keep eating smarter and vary our exercise routines. our bodies figure out what we are doing and become efficient with the food & exercise we give it. We have to outsmart our bodies and keep it interesting. I would be happy with 10lbs but I want 15lbs. I'm right there with you, step by step & forkful by forkful.
Aug. 28, 2014 8:15 am
Thanks all y'all for the support. It is a matter of making attitude changes. And like a snarky teen, whine I hear the word "attitude," my eyes roll up and I heave a very dramatic sigh. I don't need a diet, rather a change of heart. In religious terms it is called repentance. "Repent, fatty fat boy, for the day of atonement is near," I like the idea of changing up activities because, like a child, I get bored easily. I may take swimming lessons at the Y this Fall. The thought of me in a swim suit though... :P
Aug. 28, 2014 8:38 am
Doc - I did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge without a shirt and put it on youtube so I think you can get into a swimsuit....
Aug. 28, 2014 2:16 pm
Doug. Please. Unless that photo on your profile isn't you, you don't seem to be overweight. No barfage there. I, on the other hand, still have 60 pounds to go. I am still considered obese, though no longer morbidly so.
Aug. 28, 2014 3:20 pm
You are definitely making strides, Doc. No matter how big or small the changes are, just remember they are helping. Exercise helps tremendously, and we're all guilty of not exercising as much as we should but if you miss a day, just get back out there the next day. Doing it once in a while is better than none at all. Keep it up!!! :)
Aug. 28, 2014 6:38 pm
Good for you Doc! I think it is wonderful you have a plan to keep you motivated.
Sep. 1, 2014 1:06 pm
Fish pronunciation is Filet Meat pronunciation is Fillet There is a distinct difference Fillet is French!
Sep. 2, 2014 3:43 pm
A man of average activity may eat 13.5 Cals for every pound of body weight. At 2900 cals a day you should weight 2900/13.5=215 lbs. Reverse the math if you want to weight 175 lbs then 175*13.5=2360 cals should be eatened a day. Less activity few cals. Another concept has to do with diets. Diets well followed may lead to benge eating, or the body will adjust to it and try to maintain its current status. The solution to this is simple. Diet properly 6 dys a week and on the 7th eat what you want. Thats not to say have 4 helpings of taters and gravy on top of your 2 plates of pasta. But enjoy a good well balanced meal of your favorites. This will keep the devil on your shoulder confused and your body will not think it is starving. P.S. Have been avoiding this advice (I am at 235 myself) thanks for sharing and for the inspiration, Doc
Sep. 3, 2014 11:32 pm
Another thing that you might try. Swimming- you use muscles yo do not use when running, biking etc. Plus the body burns more cals in the cooler water of a pool then in air, just to keep warm. Profssional swimmers may eat up to 7000 cals a day. But they are in cooler water (swimming their A off) for 8 to 10 hours a day. The colder water accounts for more cals burned then the exercise.
Sep. 9, 2014 9:07 am
Speedskiff, thanks for the info and encouragement. I finally broke the 230 mark and am slowly working on breaking the 220 mark. I am thinking about taking some swimming lessons. Weird that a Minnesotan can't swim, isn't it? I can water-ski, but not swim.
Sep. 9, 2014 2:08 pm
Glad to hear that things are going better.
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Doc Simonson

Home Town
St. Peter, Minnesota, USA

Member Since
Jan. 2009

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About Me
I'm old and smelly, kinda like a really good salami with that really nice white mould all over it.
My favorite things to cook
Meat, carbs, meat, carbs, meat, carbs and did I mention meat?
My favorite family cooking traditions
Drop a plate of Pierogis and sausages in front of me and watch my eyes glaze over in pure joy.
My cooking triumphs
Schweinebraten mit Knoedel und Krautsalat. Also Edel Hirsch Gulasch was very nice. I make killer Spaetzle and Knockerl also.
My cooking tragedies
There aren't enough electrons in cyberspace! :) Actually, the tragedies usually involve well intentioned creativity out of control.
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