Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category
“Eat for Life” – 2
Breakfast is King
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Remember when commercials used to show a “complete breakfast” with fruits, dairy, and grains? That’s not common anymore – the average person doesn’t indulge in a “completely” balanced breakfast every morning. We live in a faster world now, and I suppose the allure of balance is trumped by convenience.
I used to enjoy that convenience until I realized how vital a balanced breakfast was to weight loss.
Breakfast doesn’t have to be a big production. It just has to be nutritious – high in fiber, protein, and complex carbohydrates. The key is to eat foods that make you feel fuller, longer. For my weight loss success, that meant cutting out as much bread as possible. Before I did that, I ate bagels, muffins, and scones often. Not good, especially for someone who sat while working.
Nowadays, my claim to fame is called the “Smiley Face Breakfast.”
2 eggs (egg beaters or egg whites preferred)
2 slices of Canadian bacon
1 slice of fiber-rich toast
Use cooking spray to limit how much oil is added. Cook the eggs first because the bacon only needs 30-40 seconds per side. I call it the “Smiley Face” for obvious reasons. It takes about 5 minutes to prepare, and is incredibly filling and satisfying. Add to that an 8 oz. cup of grapefruit juice and a little dab of ketchup, and you got yourself a balanced breakfast, low in sugar, sodium, and carbohydrates.
This breakfast is approximately 300 calories.
Between breakfast and lunch, I eat whole fruits (e.g., bananas, apples) to keep my hunger at bay. I also drink a cup of coffee (black with no sugar – tough, I know!) because it boosts my metabolism and suppresses my appetite.
Breakfasts like this have helped me lose weight and keep it under control for years now. It’s not for everyone, but it’s balanced and nutritious. If you’d like to share your breakfast creations, please do so! I’m always on the lookout for healthy alternatives.
What was Walt Whitman talking about in Leaves of Grass?
What did he think and consider and open himself up to,
to go on and on with such colorful elaboration?
Phrase after phrase, all connected,
describes the American frontier differently.
I’m in love with it – the flowing river of inspiration.
I smell it when I travel to parts less familiar.
I see it in the faces of countless strangers.
I hear it in the turbulent murmurs around me.
Everyone has an accent, and it is amazing.
“Eat for Life” – 1
Before we begin, I thought it would be nice to start with a prologue to offer some background and answer, among all other questions, why I’m doing this.
I’m doing this for my father.
I guess you could say, a couple years ago, I did this for myself (as well). Now, after five years of thoughtful trial, error, and success, I believe many can learn from my example, including (with humility) my father.
When I was 21, I was legitimately overweight at 230 pounds (I’m 6’1”). I had an unhealthy lifestyle, and I was aware, but not motivated to change it – I had a girlfriend and a social life – until after college. When I started living on my own in the real world, I said “enough!”Enough with feeling like the elephant in the room! Enough with feeling like the least attractive guy on the train! Enough with the same old junk! Enough with the same old excuses! It’s my life, and my time is now.
When I was 22, I began a rigorous weight loss campaign. I was incredibly blessed; I lived across the street from a gym, and had a job that allowed me to afford it. That’s how it started – after work, I would go to the gym. Simply adjusting my life to include regular exercise was a long and demanding process.
My diet, on the other hand, didn’t change, and that slowed my success. After a year without substantial physical results, I realized my diet also needed to change.And that’s how we begin here… with awareness – the first step towards change.
I first began to observe what I ate, and took notes. A pattern emerged:Too much bread! Too much dairy! Too much red meat! Too much sugar, salt, and oil! Too much alcohol! Too little vegetables! Too little fruits! Too little fish! Too little creativity!
As I continue on with this series, called “Eat for Life,” you’ll begin to see how a change in diet, coupled with fitness, enabled me to drop 60 pounds in two years.
It wasn’t just a change in diet – it was a change in attitude towards the foods I ate… Gastro-attitude! :-)
Running and – Routine
If you run, you know about routines. You know it can be important to keep a routine if you want to run harder, faster, longer. Pushing yourself is hard to accomplish without a routine. All fitness has results with a routine. Go exercise more than three times a week, and I call that a routine. Even once a week is the beginnings of a routine, but to effectively pursue excellence, you need to make it a part of your daily life.
The same applies for all good and bad things in life. Routine builds tolerance, endurance, and discipline. Routine keeps life moving forward at a consistent pace. It’s what motivates us to pursue that excellence in all of us. It’s what brings each foot in front of the other, each inhale and exhale, each day and night. Routine is the force that drives me – it doesn’t control me – I control it with my own desires to achieve.
Running and – Respect
Respect is deserved on the street. There are so many people out there, and half of them are oblivious… with good reasons. They got their headphones on, their sunglasses on and their voice boxes all a twitter. That’s a cynical observation; most of us are all walking in one direction, and can’t see what’s behind us. It’s good to be aware of your surroundings, or if not, to stick to a region of the sidewalk in anticipation of people passing you by. People pass on the left… mostly.
As for runners, we need to respect what’s around us. We’re usually more aware of our surroundings than the rest – we go fast, but not fast enough to miss a beat. The cars and the bicycles have reign over the road, and when you’re the pedestrian, you have to respect the rules of their road. The only problem (and peeve) is slowing down at someone else’s expense. Drivers pull up past the stop signs and crosswalks, bicycles ride on the sidewalk, and you’re average pedestrian wanders and sidles all over.
Everyone, we need to share respect for one another. We must respect families with their children, their infant babies just learning how to walk, and their dogs that don’t know any better. We must respect the people holding too much, taking on too much to stay apprised of quick changes. Respect the runners that run after something, because they don’t take kindly to stopping or slowing down. Make way, if you can, and don’t dally. Share in the mutual exchange of respect, and no harm will come to you.
I wake up to an empty home. I clean up and get a call from Barnhart sometime before lunch. He’s coming to pick me up; he doesn’t want me or anyone to be around when Gigi’s mom comes back to the house. I ask him why, and he tells me about this time when she walked in on him having a threesome with Gigi in her bedroom. It’s been awkward ever since.
He takes me on a random drive around town. While on the road, he asks me how wild he thought things would get while I’m out here. I didn’t really know what he was getting at. Before we parked the truck on an open strip of road somewhere, Barnhart tells me that Al Gore bought up a bunch of property in this area.
I had to put the pieces together myself, and despite my comfort in drug procurements, meth is not pot, and your average meth dealer is not a cool hippy-type. They’re criminally-charged, deranged, and insecure.
We’re two white guys with North Face jackets and jeans walking through a suburban jungle. Barnhart walks alongside me with his 64-ounce cup of diet coke, telling me about the nature of fear. He must have smelled it on me… He tries to reassure me by saying “you need to control that fear, and not be controlled by it.” As insane as that sounds, walking together through this dangerous neighborhood, I get the idea.
“Look at the pictures on my phone, and go walk down to that red car over there and see if anyone’s inside.” We approach a corner, and he points to the red car with tinted windows at the end of the street, 500 yards away. I ask him “I can’t go in with you?” and he says “No, but I’ll be quick, in and out, before you’re back.”
I take his phone and begin snapping pictures with it. I lose my fear of the neighborhood as my artistic eye dilates. In this neighborhood, many things are worth photographing. An American flag is torn and twisted up in a gated fence, surrounded by tropical brush, palm trees, and overgrown garden décor. I had just snapped a picture of the American flag.
A man who looks like a biker with black sunglasses on appears behind the fence, breaking through the jungle of tree brush that made up his backyard. “Excuse me; are you taking pictures with that phone right here? If you are, you’re gonna’ stop right now.” Barnhart appears from around the front of the house, takes his phone back, and says, laughing, “Dude, you can’t be taking pictures out here.”
“If he takes anymore pictures, I’m gonna’ have to knock his ass out.” Barnhart’s voice flutters as he says “it’s alright, I’m deleting them.” The biker asks me “what are you doing here?” and Barnhart replies for me, “He’s with me.” I say “I’m just along for the ride” and the biker says, “ride’s over; now get the fuck out of here.”
“Don’t ever put me in that position again,” I tell Barnhart when we get back to the truck. We sit there a few minutes to hash out the last ten. He tells me I have nothing to worry about, because “he knows me.” The rest of the ride was relatively quiet, aside from Barnhart’s reassuring comments about drugs in California.
We go back to his place on Olive Street, and I put on a James Bond flick. Barnhart disappears into his bedroom to smoke his meth. I watch him. He digs deep into the folds of his ass to pull out a tiny ball of saran wrap. He carefully cracks it open to examine the product and sets it down on a book while he shuffles round for his pipe. His pipe looks like a ball lollipop, discolored by smoke and resin. The ball is blackened under a point where the meth is deposited. He picks up the delicate collection of white and drops about a third of it into the ball. He shakes it around to make a small island of meth. He sparks a flame, and before he smokes it, says “you might want to try this, it’ll clear your sinuses right up.” He then proceeds to hold the flame for several seconds under the pipe and inhales a thick cloud of white smoke.
He smoked that little island of meth twice, rotating the ball in his hand, burning all the resin inside. And then he proceeded to work on his website. I lost sight of him as I watched the movie and passed out an hour in. I wake up around six, and Barnhart is still plugging away. Without looking away from his laptop, he tells me we’re picking up Gigi after work and going to a place called Eureka!Burger for dinner. My spirits are lifted; I love burger joints. I also feel less sick, so I’m motivated to go out and make the most of it. We pick Gigi up at the hospital a half-hour later.
Life is like a line.
It is a single line,
endless from beginning to start.
You can only see
as far as your horizon takes you,
and that is why the line is endless.
That line remains,
and only you make it move.
You can make it move
every time you make a decision.
Every time you deviate
from what makes you still,
in beautiful vibrations of life.