I had White Castle after a few beers late last night, no big deal. It turns out that once I fell asleep, I didn’t move at all! I woke up by alarm at 6 then snoozed for a bit.
But I think I honestly found the solution to a good nights sleep: little sliders!
Check out the FitBit sleep charts below
White Castle Night:
This post should really be titled, “Books I Read Last Year” but I think it’s kind of late for 2012 posts. ANYWAY, for approaching a decade now, I’ve kept a pretty exhaustive Amazon Wishlist of books I want to read. The problem is I just add to the list and rarely cross one off as read. With work and school, it’s tough to read as much as I’d like to. Work all day, gym/run, drive home, catch up on life, cook, Internet, clean – and before I know it it’s bedtime. And I’m not even married, have kids or own a home – I’m probably in for a surprise later in life. There has to be a better way to read more books short of knocking out three pages as I fall asleep.
Enter: Audiobooks. OK, so listening to books may not be for everyone, but I absolutely love it. A weekly commute to work totaling 4-5 hours, plus about another 3-4 hours running and working out merits finishing an average book in about 2 weeks. It’s amazing.
Few things to mention:
- No Work – I find that audiobooks work best when I’m doing tasks that don’t involve a lot of thinking. Like driving and running. I have to listen to music when I work at my desk but for some reason audiobooks just don’t cut it. I either focus on my work and miss the story or my work takes a hit as I’m overly enthralled in the story I’m listening to. So, when you’re working, switch to music. Save the books for when you can clear your head and get into them. GET THIS: I actually look forward to my 6:30 AM drive to work. I even look forward to running – if the book is good enough.
- No Fiction – for whatever reason, I have a hard time listening to fiction. What works best, I find, is history books and biographies. They read like a really good NPR story. If that makes sense. I only tried fiction once, with Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard. Perhaps I should try again.
So that’s it. Sign up for an Audible account and get reading. That’s right, I still call it reading. Here’s a list of books I’ve read in the past few months. For the first time ever, my “to read” list has decreased in books to read.
|Hitchens, Christopher||Hitch 22|
|Nate Silver||The Signal and The Noise|
|Damien Echols||Life After Death|
|Kevin Mitnick||A Ghost in the Wires|
|George Tenet||At the Center of the Storm|
|deGrasse Tyson, Neil||Death By Black Hole|
|Klosterman, Chuck||Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs|
|Ambrose, Stephen E.||D-Day|
|McDougall, Christopher||Born to Run|
|Pollan, Michael||The Omnivore’s Dilemma|
|Bergen, Peter L.||Manhunt*|
|Kaling, Mindy||Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?*|
|Pynchon, Thomas||Gravity’s Rainbow|
|Ferriss, Timothy||The 4-Hour Body*|
|Hitchens, Christopher||God Is Not Great|
|Isaacson, Walter||Steve Jobs|
* denotes non-audiobook reads.
This is a list of the albums I found myself listening to this past year.
|1||Cloud Nothings||Attack On Memory|
|2||Frank Ocean||Channel Orange|
|In Our Heads|
|The Haunted Man|
|11||Kendrick Lamar||good kid, m.A.A.d city|
|A Thing Called Divine Fits|
|Port of Morrow|
|Kill For Love|
|Until the Quiet Comes|
I really enjoyed this new video from Neil Young’s upcoming Psychedelic Pill. Great vintage footage. Reminds me of the different road trips I’ve taken. Enjoy:
Added some rice for the hell of it. And some cheese. Take those things away and this basically all vegetables and a little bit of lean protein.
- 4 green bell peppers, tops removed, seeded
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 zucchini, chopped
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- Italian seasoning to taste
- garlic powder to taste
- salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Wrap the green bell peppers in aluminum foil, and place in a baking dish. Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Remove from heat.
- In a skillet over medium heat, cook the turkey until evenly brown. Set aside. Heat oil in the skillet, and cook onion, mushrooms, zucchini, red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, and spinach until tender. Return turkey to the skillet. Mix in the tomatoes and tomato paste, and season with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Stuff the green peppers with the skillet mixture.
- Return peppers to the oven, and continue cooking 15 minutes.
On the first day back from holiday break (January 3), I committed to a bet with four of my co-workers on who can drop the most weight by March 12. We all put in $50 and the winner was to be determined by the most weight lost as a percentage of their starting weight.
The contest ended last month. Against some stiff competition, I was the victor. I won $175 but more importantly, I lost 28lbs.
Below I will enumerate some things I learned or found interesting along the way. None of this should be shocking nor was any of it a huge revelation to me. These are just some of the things that I found to work for me.
- Along with proper diet, this is obviously half of the equation to weight loss. I’ve exercised off an on over the years and remain somewhat active by biking around Cleveland, but I haven’t been on a legit regiment in some time. At least until now.
- The key here is to create and stick to a schedule. No matter how tired you are – go to the gym on your gym days (that you schedule ahead of time).
- I started by running the treadmill – something I loathe with much passion. I started by running one mile and thinking I was going to die. Then I would do a run/walk mix to get to three miles. Then five. Then five with no walking. Then running six miles straight 3 days a week.
- I reached a point where I enjoyed running, kind of. The nights I didn’t run I felt like a bum. On nights that I ran, I enjoyed coming home tired from a legit work out, rather than staying up all night following a sedentary day with zero exercise.
- Listen to music/podcasts when you run, obviously. It keeps things interesting and you can learn quite a bit from podcasts.
- Don’t have your cell phone by you when you run. Don’t watch TV. Don’t talk to other people in the gym when you’re exercising . Those are just a few things that I felt impeded the point.
- Beyond running, I biked much more around town and for errands. Trips to the market were now by bike (as they should be). I often parked my car on Fridays and didn’t move it until Monday morning to go to work – I tried to bike everywhere. I’m sure that I’ve plateaued over the years in terms of biking for weight loss – but it certainly helps on non-gym days to leisurely bike 10-12 mi., just to stay active.
- I messed with two diets on this endeavor, one traditional and one that was something new and fad-ish. I explain each below:
- Slow Carb Diet - From Tim Ferris’ book, The 4 Hour Body (that I bought for $4 at a garage sale last summer). It’s a diet comprised of high protein and low carb – but NOT zero carb. Beans, lentils and other legumes are encouraged and help suppress hunger. Here’s a gallery of a bunch of meals I ate (the plates were left over from valentines day, deal with it). It was challenging, but effective. The only thing that kept me going was the one day a week cheat day where I could consume whatever I wanted. I ended up at Melt for one cheat day, and the Westside Market on the others, hazardously indulging in high-carb treats. ¶ It’s a cool though, grilling a steak can help with the bore of dieting. Lastly, you can’t eat fruit on this diet – which is a total killer. Walking through the market produce building while on this diet was one of hardest things imaginable. Dried strawberries were what I craved the most – odd.
- Low Calorie / Frequent Meals – This was just my rendition of a common weight loss approach: eat small portioned meals often. I would eat a small granola bar for breakfast, a Greek yogurt around mid-morning, lunch was a microwave-steamed Green Giant vegetable thing, afternoon was an apple and then on to dinner. I had the tendency to eat very well while at work but would eat larger meals when I got home or went out to eat (which happened all too often). Regardless, this too was an effective contributor to my weight loss, I even saw more loss here than with the slow carb thing.
- It should be noted I cut my soda intake from quite a bit to absolutely nothing during this entire affair. No diet soda, no regular. Even no beer when I was in the thick of it. It was extremely challenging at first, but became easier in time. There became a point where I didn’t even crave soda, which was nice considering the junkie withdrawal symptoms that occur early on.
- That’s me there in the purple (Google Docs). The ups and downs are a result of my weekends in which I indulge in much beer and dining out:
- NOTE: I’ve officially grown bored of this post and will now rush to finish and publish after a month of it sitting as a draft…
- I initially used Google Docs to track what I ate and my weight.
- Here is the spreadsheet used to track the competition, complete with graphs and gauges!
- I used a Garmin Forerunner to track my treadmill time. It’s a pretty solid platform, here is one of my better runs.
- I used MyFitnessPal.com (web, Android and iPad) to track what I ate. Friend me here!
- AND, I just bought a FitBit. Here’s one of my better days:
- Lastly, honorable mention to Evernote and WolframAlpha.com. I used Evernote to keep a log and WA to quickly look up nutrition and health info.
- Oh, and Google Calendar to schedule work outs, meals, etc.
- UPDATE – check this out, Garmin Connect’s new Player feature. It was a slow run today as I wasn’t feeling it, but watch in full screen mode. Garmin’s cray.
- And that’s it for this post.
- It’s been a month and I’ve continued to drop. Still running for an hour+ 3-4 times per week. A bit more lax on my diet now, however.
- My average grocery bill has gone down a bit, too – the slow carb diet can be somewhat expensive.
- More later…