Saturday, December 12

I got yer Christmas music right here

My favorite Xmas collection 4 years running is Sufjan Stevens' 5 disc set. Here are the last 3 years' posts:

+ That was the best Christmas album ever!
+ That was the best Christmas album ever! (again)
+ That was the best Xmas album ever! [now with songs!]

If you're at all like me, you will certainly want to buy these discs. To find out, you can stream the whole thing here: http://xmas.asthmatickitty.com/. Click on 'Musical Downloads'.

My second favorite Xmas album is 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'. I realized a couple of days ago that I hadn't listened to it yet this season, so I fixed it.

I like some of the stuff on the Aimee Mann, Sarah Maclachlan and Barenaked Ladies Xmas albums...

Another great source for Xmas music (from hipsters): http://hypem.com/search/christmas/1/

Then I needed to listen to the early Messiah stuff (OT texts). Did that Thursday night.

You might enjoy the Wartburg Choir's Xmas album: Stille Nacht.

Now I'm just listening to my 200-some Xmas tunes on random play, but I might listen to more by album.

Wednesday, December 2

Sherman, set the Wayback Machine

If you want to take a trip down memory lane, you can just watch everything this guy has, but here a few notable ones:

"Old School" CBS Holiday Special Intro

Isis Intro

Isis transformation

ARK II

The Super Friends Intro

Challenge of the Super Friends Intro

SHAZAM! Intro

Well, that's enough for now. Thanks to Kelly for getting me started.

Tuesday, November 24

The best sermon on money I've ever heard

The main idea: money is the bottom line in faith. It shows whether or not you've been changed by God's grace.

Listen: I know all this stuff, but, man, is this a convicting sermon about how grace should affect us.

Plus, there's no guilt in it. If you feel guilt, that's your baggage. Keller is not preaching guilt here at all.
Grace and Money

Acts 4.32-37

The grace of God - how it impacts our lives, changes our understanding and use of money.

The early church was very different from those around them when it came to money. Drastic, unreasonable generosity was an engine that drove influence on community around it.

The apostles' preaching was backed up by an unaccountable generosity. The people on the outside looked and said 'We don't get this! Nobody treats their money like this.'

252 AD: plague in Carthage. Healthy people left if they were able, but Cyprian called Christians to serve (including financial aid) those remaining without regard for their faith or persecution.

Emperor Julian wanted to stem Christianity and wrote in disgust 'Their success lies in their charity to all. They take care not only of their own poor, but ours as well.'

Christianity is a religion of grace and every other religion relies on moral effort.

Grace revolutionizes our attitude toward money, our procedure and the benefits of giving.

1. Grace revolutionizes our attitude toward money.

It's my money.

Christians say 'it's not my money'.

If people ask you for 'your' money, it annoys you.

Scrooge's attitude is changed because he's had an experience of grace - a second chance. That's not a lot of grace, but it's some. Scrooge looks at his money totally differently. He's gleeful and scheming about giving his money away.

The Bible says if you've experienced God's grace, you too will have a revolutionized way of looking at your money.

Money is the bottom line. It tells companies how they're doing. The Bible says money is the bottom line in our lives - how you spend it and what your attitude is toward it.

Scrooge has his attitude changed by the comparatively small grace of a second chance. How much more should our attitude be changed by Christ's grace. It is not a second chance. It is not just a model. (I could never live up to Jesus' example, if that's all there was to it.)

Jesus came and died to pay the penalty of our failures and if we receive Him, his record becomes our record. 'If you trust in me, the Father will welcome you as complete in Me.'
Lay your deadly doing down, down at Jesus feet
Stand in Him and Him alone, gloriously complete
Since that's so much more grace than Scrooge got, why aren't why so far beyond him?

If you have experienced grace, your bottom line changes.

Martin Luther used to get up every day and look up to heaven and say 'You are my goodness, I was Your punishment. You assumed everything I deserved and was so that I can receive everything You deserved and are. I'm rich. I'm adopted into the family of God. I have an imperishable inheritance. I'm going to shine like the stars in the kingdom of My Father. And even now I've got His holy power and joy has come into my life through the power of the Holy Spirit and it's begun to grow and it will eventually swallow up all my foolishnesses and all of my sadnesses and all of my weaknesses.'

So, we look at our material possessions and say 'This is a small thing compared to what I've got and will never lose. And you look at your material possessions and say 'This is all grace! I was in my grave and suddenly it's Christmas.' It melts away your possessiveness.

Paul says in 2 Corinthians, when he's asking for giving to hunger relief, 'I'm not commanding you to give. I'm just looking for the sincerity of your love for you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ who, though He was rich, for us became poor so that through His poverty we might become rich.'

There is never any need to lay guilt on a Christian to get them to be generous.

Rich young ruler: Luke 18:18-23

Is there anything else I need to do?

Jesus says 'Yeah, one thing: sell everything you have, give it away, and then you'll have treasures in heaven.'

He confronted him because He loves Him. 'You have a lot of money, but it's all going to burn up. If you have Me, you have everything - my record, my forgiveness. Unless you see that my dying love is your real treasure, that, frankly, salvation is not a matter of doing or adding one more thing to your good life. But, rather, it's a matter of throwing it all over and trusting wholly in Me. Until you see that if you have Me you have everything, you cannot inherit eternal life. If you understood that I am eternal life, your attitude toward money would be very different.'

Remember how God tells Abraham to put Isaac on the altar? He didn't really want Isaac to die. In fact, as soon as Abraham said 'Ok, You are the most important thing. If I've got You, I've got everything - all the love and wealth.' As soon as Abraham understood the Gospel, that eternal life does not come through adding but rather throwing everything over and having everything in Jesus; as soon as Abraham understood that, God said 'You don't have to kill Isaac.'

And probably that's what would have happened to the rich young ruler. If he had understood that in Jesus he had everything, he would have said 'Sure, if you want me to give it away, whatever' and Jesus would have said 'you probably don't need to now.'

What's the bottom line? You will always give money effortlessly to that which is your god.

[Then my god is myself and my own pleasure and comfort. That's what I give money effortlessly to.]

If you see that your salvation is in Jesus, then your attitude toward your money is 'I want to give it away in radical and drastic proportions. I want to change people's lives through it. It's not mine.'

On the other hand, if you salvation is clothes, looks, romance, status or security, then you're going to hold onto it and it's going to go effortlessly toward those things which are your real gods.

Your money is the bottom line. It tells you what your religion is, it tells you what your real salvation is. If the idea of giving great amounts of money away to the church or the poor appalls you, it shows that your heart is someplace else. If the idea of spending a lot of money on a new home sounds like a good idea because it is a great investment, but putting a whole lot of money into the poor, a whole lot of money into the church is not, it just simply shows you what your real salvation is and where you think grace really comes from.

2. Grace changes the procedure of your giving. Our giving without grace is passive and spontaneous. It's my money. I'm not looking for ways to get rid of it. I don't have enough of it anyway.

Most of us have to motivated by someone pulling on our guilt strings, like the Jerry Lewis telethon. Once someone gets through to us, through our passivity, we might give as much as we can afford. Cash in the wallet or bank account.

Christians are totally different. You will be active and intentional in your giving as a result of experiencing grace. Scheme about how to get rid of your money! 'Look at how God planned to poor out his riches on me! I'm going to plan, too.'

To be active and intentional, you have decide ahead of time how much you're going to give away, what percentage. It's a little harder if you have the kind of job where you don't know what your income's going to be, but you can still do some planning.

[We plan for retirement. We take out 6 or 10% off the top. How much more important is storing up treasures in heaven?]

The guideline in the Bible is the tithe, 10% to ministry and the poor. In an agricultural community, the tithe was the firstfruits. God got his gifts off the top. We have a tendency to fund out lifestyle first and then give God the leftovers. Instead, the Scripture says decide what you're giving God and then you live off of the leftovers.

Since, after Christ, we are more indebted to God, more blessed by God, it's inconceivable that God would expect or we would give less than the OT standard of 10%.

No legalism: Before or after taxes? I don't know. [But do you want to be blessed on the gross or on the net?] Does it all have to go to the local congregation? No.

If you begin your economic life using the tithe as a guideline for your giving, it's not hard. You just act like it's not there. But most of us have to transition, and it's very hard. It's impossible to do immediately and still pay our debts and bills. It might have to be something you're moving toward.

3. Grace changes the benefits of giving.

If you haven't experienced God's grace, what are the benefits of giving?

Jerry Lewis said 'If you give, you'll be able to look in the mirror tomorrow and say 'You are a caring person.'' It's true, and that's about as great a benefit as you get if you're doing it simply because Jerry Lewis got you to feeling guilty. There's nothing wrong with what he does. The kids need the money, that's the only way you can get it out of people who haven't experienced God's grace.

'Great grace was upon them all.'

The benefits are to others and to you.

To others:

People look for ways to invest their money in ways that will go on past their lives. Foundations and schools, but the future trustees don't share their values (like Harvard).

Lk 16: 'Make sure you make friends in heaven with your money so they will receive you when you come to their dwellings.' It's possible that some of you will come to Heaven and meet people whom you've never met that will thank you for giving to a ministry that pointed them to God. Money will burn up, but we can have wealth forever.

Go to your broker and say 'I want to put my money into something that lasts' I doubt that s/he'll think of this.

A billion years from now, do you want your wealth to still be with you? It's possible.

To you:

Some of you do not give as much as you should because you're worried about your money; you don't have enough. Some people can't give because they've got too much. If you can't give, money has you by the throat. You're so worried. Grace changes that. It makes you say 'Hey, He gave me His own Son. He's not going to let me starve now.' You're liberated.

Change your lifestyle so you can't do many of the things you're doing now because of your generosity. Then you'll be free, too.

Do you see the power of money over you receding because of your generosity?

Do you see glory being awakened in other people through your money?

Have you come to the place where anybody who knows you realizes you're different, incredibly generous, hospitable and welcoming?

Are you finding this a tremendously irritating sermon? So you think it's incredibly cheeky for a minister to talk to you like this? Does the idea of giving 10% of your income to charity or the church strike you as ridiculous?

You don't need to give your money away. You need to find the Christ that turns you into a person of radical generosity.

I'm not after your money. I don't want it. I'm after your blessedness. The Bible says it's more blessed to give than to receive.

If you're not sure where you stand with the Lord, we certainly don't want your money. We want you to find Him. Because you're in the same shoes as the rich young ruler. He thought all God wanted was for you to be a moral, decent person.

Christianity is never an addition to what you already have. Christianity is not just a little boost to make you a little better person. It' explosive. It explodes in your hands. It wipes away what you already have and puts something brand new in there. It says 'Jesus is your Savior entirely, you're save wholly by grace and therefore you follow Him entirely and it changes your attitude toward everything. Things that used to be very precious to you, you snap your fingers at because you've got Him.'

Don't think I'm saying 'Better give. That'll get you to heaven.' It's the exact opposite of everything I mean. You want to change your life, find Him.

[Keller applies this to nonChristians at the end, and that makes sense, of course. But I am so convicted by this sermon. I am not a cheerful giver, and, chances are, you are like me. No guilt: we need to find Jesus. We need His grace to change our lives more. He said 'You will find me when you seek me with all of your heart.' Amen.]

Thursday, November 19

A few cartoons from my childhood

I was looking up the Toothbrush Family (pretty cheesy now) and came across a few others:

+ Picture Pages

+ Fat Albert

+ Underdog

+ Peabody and Sherman (actually, a lot more clever than I remembered)

Fun :-)

Saturday, November 14

Keller on absolute truth

Absolutism: Don't we all have to find truth for ourselves?

Galatians 2:4-16, Dr. Timothy Keller, October 8, 2006

In today's society, absolute truth is thought of to be the enemy of freedom. But truth is more important than you think, freedom is a lot more complex than you think, and Jesus is a lot more liberating than you think. Surrendering to God's absolute truth gives you a deeper, richer freedom in every area, without oppression.
[NB: there's a small problem with the streaming file on this page. Simplest thing is to just download the mp3 that's offered.]

Foucault: truth claims are power plays.

Nietzsche: Hermeneutics of Suspicion

Jesus brings the same criticisms against the Pharisees.

If Foucault, Nietzsche and Jesus all agree on something, it has to be true ;-)

But, not all truth claims are power plays. Not all of them destroy freedom.

Saying no one has the truth is itself a massive truth claim.

Everyone makes truth claims. We have to. We cannot live in a world with content, without truth, without belief. 'Fundamentalism' does not always lead to oppression. It depends on what the fundamental is.

There is no freedom without truth (and it has to be a truth beyond 'there is no truth', itself an arbitrary truth claim).

Only the truth will set you free. Example: navigation. You say 'maybe that's true in the empirical realm but not the moral/spiritual realm'. No, we see people run aground on moral/spiritual rocks every day. Freedom comes from submission to the truth. We think freedom is doing what we want, maybe getting free from 'truth'. Sure, then you're free to run aground.

Freedom in Christ does entail constraint to Biblical ethical norms.

We can't just eat anything we want, especially as we get older, if we want the richer, deeper freedom of good health and long life.

No one is free to be great at music without the restriction of practice. You say no to the 'freedom' of doing whatever your heart might desire at the moment for the greater good of the freedom to play well.

Freedom is the presence of the right restrictions.

A fish on the grass is not free. 'Oh, I wish I were free of this water!' ;-) It has lost it's freedom to move, even to live.

Love brings the freedom of fulfillment and security and joy.

John 1: The absolute truth is a person. When two people love one another and rely on each other and sacrifice their independence for the other one, it's heaven.

Only one religion has a god who sacrificed His freedom for us.

Thursday, November 5

Walter's CrossFit workout

My buddy, Walter, is a beast. He's been working out at CrossFit in Austin and he recently got his own workout!

Here's the workout:


And here's the interview with Walt:


And, if you're still with me and interested, here's the workout at CrossFit Central.

Tuesday, November 3

Live Healthy: Catching up

Don't worry. I've been doing ok. Just haven't been posting about it :-)

+ The best news is that Friday I was down to 199! New low for this effort. Took the weekend off (Halloween and all). Back to work today. Reasonably, based on how I've been doing, I'd like to lose 2 more pounds by Thanksgiving.

+ I've had this nagging feeling that I should be doing more body weight exercises on Thursdays. Tuesday and Saturday have been my normal days, and I'm probably not going hard enough to have to take Thursdays off. So I added up 10 negative pullups (really have been meaning to do more of these), some miscellaneous exercises from Wil's physical therapy (I do it with him sometimes, mostly as a means of supervision), some of the exercises that came with my new stability ball (that I got with my SparkPeople gift certificate for pre-ordering 'The Spark') and a couple more. That felt more like it ;-)

+ Rode >12 miles in an hour with my father-in-law on Saturday during the second half of the Iowa game.Considering how tumultuous that game was, it was probably for the best ;-)

Rode down on the Three Rivers trail and it was a beautiful day, but not too crowded. I really bombed the southern end, including the boardwalk portion. Fun to go fast!

+ Jogged 2.4 miles in 25 minutes with my friend, Scott, on Sunday. I felt good about my pace and endurance.

Experiencing a very little soreness in my knees that I'm paying attention to. Probably normal and nothing to worry about.

That was the end of week 6 of Couch-to-5K training. It was also the end of walk breaks. 25 minutes of jogging per outing (3) this week, 28 next week and 30 the following week. Then, the Sleigh Bell Trot. Will I be able to achieve my goal of 31 minutes (6 mph)? Stay tuned! ;-)

Sunday, November 1

My incredible Iowa game recap!

How did I not know about ESPN360.com, where a bunch of college games can be watched online, including after the game has finished?! Watching the second half that I missed yesterday starting from midway through the 3rd quarter.

+ Ricky Stanzi owes the defense, big time. He also owes Indiana for not being good enough to capitalize on all those picks.

+ So much less anxiety watching afterward and knowing what the score is and who's going to win :-)

+ Wegher's pretty impressive for a white, true freshman. You don't see many starting white halfbacks these days. Of course, a lot of his yards were after the blowout began...

+ Ferentz says he never considered benching Stanzi? How can that be? Obviously the right call, but the worst quarter of football of his life.

+ Heard Hawks will drop in the polls, but haven't read anything on that yet. What should really happen is that USC should drop a good bit and Oregon should not leap us. We'll still be fine with the computers, but who far will the voters drop us for losing to IU for three quarters?

+ Ricky is obviously a gunslinger. He can keep throwing with no remorse.

+ I found Bob Davies very annoying, but it's probably because of my own partiality. And I applied my famous 'if he knew so much about [insert sport] he'd still be coaching'. But here are some things Bob Davies said that I agreed with:
  1. Hidden yardage. This is the way the Hawks win with such a modest (though clutch) offense (86th in the nation). Scoring Defense: 14th, Turnover Margin: 6th, Net Punting: 12th, Kickoff Coverage: 18th, Penalty Yards: 3rd. So the knock on the Hawks is that they don't have enough offense to beat a really good team (like those ranked above them in the AP. But look at all of these other ways they add up to beat you. Of course, it didn't apply yesterday...
  2. The Iowa way: base defense and the next man in line steps up and plays. That's what you get with a good, strong basic system, offense and defense.
  3. Iowa has reaped the success of sticking with Ferentz through some sub-par years (especially given the size of his contract!). Patience has paid off.
  4. The Iowa strength and conditioning coach gets props for Iowa's total and complete 4th quarter dominance.
  5. The wind really did make a big difference to the QBs. What was it, six picks against the wind?
  6. Where should Iowa be in the polls?
+ Commentary on the Iowa RB injury succession. Maybe it's kind of like the Denver Broncos have been: the O-line is so good, you can plug in any reasonably decent RB.

+ Great job just riding Wegher at the end of the game. Wish the Vikes would have ridden Peterson last week against Pittsburgh :-(

+ Really didn't like seeing Ricky run and dive head-first a couple times at the end of the game.

+ At the end of the game, Davies says 'We've seen the worst Iowa football can be.' Not true. Ricki Stanzi was horrible in the third quarter. The rest of the team was pretty good the whole game, especially the defense. If the defense hadn't shut them down so many times, Iowa would have lost.

Ok, obviously the AP and USA Today rankings are out by now and the AP is a total rip off. You rank a one-loss Oregon team above an undefeated Iowa team with a stronger strength of schedule? Asinine.

A little more commentary for you: It's more than chemistry in Iowa's and Oregon's winning formula (furthermore, he's picking them to play each other in the Rose Bowl).

At least at this point, I'm not feeling greedy. I don't need Iowa to be in the national championship game or to win it. Like Kirk Ferentz said, our team doesn't look like world-beaters right now, but they keep winning games. Heck, I don't even need them to go undefeated. I'd like Iowa to win the Big Ten outright and the Rose Bowl. That's all I ask. Pretty modest, aye? ;-)

People I want to read this post and add to it (tagging in Facebook): Tyler Luebke, Phil Luebke, David Rodnitzky, Jason Streed, Andy Knox, Suzy Swenka and anyone else who loves to follow and analyze the Hawks.

Friday, October 30

Columbia Wave

+ Columbia ranked 14th strongest metro. I always tell people Columbia's economy is diverse and robust.

+ Marks say I'm the champ of Google Wave. It has been fun to find my way around and give out invites. Found some new stuff today and added it to my Intro wave.

Tim Keller's 'Counterfeit Gods'

Website for Tim Keller's new book, 'Counterfeit Gods'. Tim Keller is the most insightful preacher I know. Here's the intro from the website:
Success, true love, and the life you’ve always wanted. Many of us placed our faith in these things, believing they held the key to happiness, but with a sneaking suspicion they might not deliver. The recent economic meltdown has cast a harsh new light on these pursuits. In a matter of months, fortunes, marriages, careers, and a secure retirement have disappeared for millions of people. No wonder so many of us feel lost, alone, disenchanted, and resentful. But the truth is that we made lesser gods of these good things – gods that can’t give us what we really need. There is only one God who can wholly satisfy our cravings – and now is the perfect time to meet him again, or for the first time. The Bible tells us that the human heart is an “idol-factory,” taking good things and making them into idols that drive us. In Counterfeit Gods, Keller applies his trademark approach to show us how a proper understanding of the Bible reveals the unvarnished truth about societal ideals and our own hearts. This powerful message will cement Keller’s reputation as a critical thinker and pastor, and comes at a crucial time—for both the faithful and the skeptical.
If that interests you at all, I urge you to check out the website (perhaps including the introduction to the book) and consider reading the book.

Sunday, October 25

Great Vikings game. Disappointing end.

My thoughts progressing through the game:

Vikes are ok. Need to improve their tackling! They need to catch the ball, too. At least two drops in the first half. I don't really think they will beat Pittsburgh there. I just want them to play well. And, of course, I hope they win.

I'm finding Daryl Johnston very annoying. Is it just my own bias?

Two bad calls by the officials against the Vikings. We can't beat Pittsburgh away and the refs.

(The first return for a touchdown never should have happened because the tripping call that brought back our TD on the drive was bogus.)

We had it in hand, tie or win and disaster strikes. Not Brett's fault; he hit Chester in the hands. Not really Chester's fault, either. A few too many passes. Wish they would have run more. Something is bound to go wrong.

Credit to the Steeler's D. They kept fighting.

Oh, well. Well played, Vikes. We'll keep playing hard. Know we did a good job. Never really figured on going undefeated. Still in good shape int he NFC North and the NFC in general.

Friday, October 23

Live Healthy: Getting back to it

I've been doing okay, I just haven't been posting about it.

+ The actual ride last Saturday was not great. Had to walk up the first hill because I couldn't get my borrowed bike to change gears. Seriously deflating. Tom was having problems with his bike, too, so we were hanging back. I finally started to get the hang of my bike, but Tom continued to have problems with his. After about 8 miles of struggling, he decided to just go back. But we lost quite a bit of time.

I wasn't dressed warmly enough. It was about 40 degrees and rainy and I only had on two cotton layers. I brought my fleece, but left it in the car. That was ok for going up the hills, but I was freezing going down hill. It became two bad choices: labor uphill but don't freeze, or coast downhill but freeze ;-)

Made it to the planned refueling stop. Had 1.5 Snickers and some coffee. Should have asked Eric for his windbreaker before we left. Asked him back on the road if I could borrow it at the next stop (which did happen).

I forget when we made the decision to shorten the ride. We were supposed to be meeting some people for dinner at 5:30 and it was going to start getting dark. The final mileage was a little over 30 miles. We had to settle for 40 km for Bryan's 40th birthday instead of 40 miles, but these things happen. Don't know if I could have made the full 40, the way things went. I think I could have if I'd had a better start...

Thankfully, most of the last part of the ride was flat or downhill because my legs were gone. Limped to the end.

It took me quite a while to recover. I continued to shiver some while we waited at the restaurant for a seat. Maybe it was from being cold, but I felt like it was more from being drained. Maybe I didn't refuel enough as we went along. I wasn't incredibly sore the next day or anything. (But I'm still keeping my promise to take a week off of biking. Back to it Monday :-)

Well, that's enough of that. The main thing is: it was a good visit with my friend, Bryan.

+ Bryan and Sarah eat incredibly healthy! There's not unhealthy food in their house. So, I ate pretty well while I was visiting there. I ate a little too much and am back up a little on the scale, but that was all expected and I am not alarmed. I am getting back to my program now.

+ My primary training focus now is the Sleigh Bell Trot on November 24th. I will probably shoot for 3 10 minutes miles or 31 minutes overall. We'll see as we get closer if I can really pull that off. Started jogging again yesterday after taking 5 days off. Went fine. Actually was my 2nd fastest pace so far, 11:14/mile.

+ I never did get around to doing my September evaluation and a new October contract. I should definitely do it again for November...

The Power of the Gospel (through Tim Keller)

Are you looking for something 'devotional', something to encourage you in your (historically orthodox) Christian faith?

I can't think of anything better you could do than to listen to all of the free sermons by Tim Keller that Redeemer Presbyterian Church has put up.

Hell: Isn't the God of Christianity an angry Judge?

Stream or download the mp3.
Hell begins with a grumbling mood, always complaining, always blaming others . . . but you are still distinct from it. You may even criticize it in yourself and wish you could stop it. But there may come a day when you can no longer. Then there will be no you left to criticize the mood or even to enjoy it, but just the grumble itself, going on forever like a machine. It is not a question of God 'sending us' to hell. In each of us there is something growing, which will BE Hell unless it is nipped in the bud.
- CS Lewis, The Great Divorce, ch 9

'Hell is just a freely-chosen identity based on something else beside God going on forever.'

'There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God 'Thy will be done' and those to whom God says in the end 'thy will be done'.'

His discussion of Miroslav Wolf is amazing and typical Keller: he performs judo on the typically liberal mindset of peace without justice. There is no basis for non-violence unless you believe that God will ultimately be just. If you've seen your family raped and killed (eg, the Balkans), you want justice and not liberal non-violent blather from the comfort of their suburban existence.

Fear of hell won't keep us out of it.

Naked miracles won't convince us. Sometimes we think a miracle would convince us to believe in God. Wrong. The Bible is full of miracles, OT and NT, followed by people who did not believe and love and obey. In some ways, Jesus had to come because miracles do not work. Only love will draw us to God from ourselves and an eternity of Hell.

Jesus talks about Hell more than anyone else in the Bible. Why? Because He took it. 'He descended into Hell.'

Thursday, October 15

Five little links

Cleaning out my tabs. Have I mentioned I'm on staycation? Woot!

+ Use pitch tracking technology to call strikes in pro baseball games

+ Once I learned what 'vomitoria' were, I figured what I'd heard previously about them was a myth.

+ Recent article on Gamecocks' comparative success.

+ Limbaugh gets dropped from Rams bid. Couldn't have happened to a nicer guy.

+
Pack QB Rodgers Won't Criticize Porous Protection
. What I said before: he's good, but the o-line has problems. The quotes in this article make it sound like there's a little dissension in the locker room. Seems dumb of McCarthy to say Rodgers is holding it too long when the o-line sucks so much. Kid's doing about all he can.

Wednesday, October 14

Live Healthy: The hardest thing?

When I lose this weight, will it be the hardest thing I've ever done?

On the one hand, yes: I can't think of anything I've tried and failed at so much.

On the other hand, surely not. I've done other hard things, right? Earning my Master's degree required a lot of perseverance.

What do you think? Is losing weight so hard? Is it hard for you? Am I forgetting something harder?

Diary

Down to 200.5 on the scale today, so that's good, but I'm not counting it until I get to 200. Gotta' keep fighting it down!

Exercise is still going well. I rode 20 miles again on Sunday and I feel ready for my 40 mile ride coming up. I jogged 2.6 miles last night at the fastest pace I've done so far: 11:18 min/mi. That included a 1 minute walk break for every 4 minutes of jogging. One more jog and two more rides before my 40 miles ride coming up. Feeling good about it.

My preliminary goal for jogging is to get back to 3 miles in 30 minutes (comfortably and conversationally). Doubt I'll reach the comfortable part by the Sleigh Bell Trot on 11/24, but we'll see. If the training continues to go ok, I'll probably shoot for 3 miles in 30 minutes even if it wipes me out.

Oh, yeah. By the way, I did register for the Sleigh Bell Trot 5K. Crazy ;-)

Something I'm wondering about (that I've maybe written about before): Is it harder to lose weight when you're working out so much? In effect, I'm pursuing two goals at once: better fitness and weight loss. Working out can certainly make you hungrier (though I think I've been doing a pretty good job of not eating everything in sight ;-)

For example, Saturday and Sunday I burned about 1000 calories in exercise alone. But then you have to be disciplined to not overeat. It was kind of fun to have second breakfast, though, both days. Saturday was cold pizza and Sunday was 500 calories of toast, cheese and cashews. Hit the spot! :-)

Saturday, October 10

Coming around on Obama's Nobel

I was stunned to wake up yesterday and read BHO has won the Nobel Peace Prize. Here's what I wrote on Facebook:

wow. i like BHO, but i find this pretty shocking. surely there were nominees who were more deserving...

i guess it just goes to show how much the world wants America back as a team player.

can this also be construed as backhanded commentary against GWB?


Furthermore, I commented on a lot of other people's posts that I just couldn't see it and didn't agree.

But a couple different perspectives are bringing me back around.

1. Obama's stunning Nobel win

But this prize isn't about political partisanship inside the U.S. Again, it was a clear signal from an old friend.

As usual, though, America is too obsessed with itself to notice.


2. Obama's Nobel--on second thought

So when you step out of the American perspective, you understand just how much the world appreciates the shift he's accomplished in such a short time--and at such a dangerous time.

We have made amends, and the world replied with "thank you."

Shows you what a nice apology can do--even for the world's sole superpower.

...

Some grace is called for, though. We've been in this endzone before. No need to act like boors.


3. Christine felt it was a sign of the world's gratitude for our change and I take her opinion seriously :-)

4. A slightly different perspective on the Prize

However, the fact is that there are billions of people in the world (people with different political and cultural baggage than most Americans) who definitely see Obama as a larger than life man of peace -- not because of what he has done or will do but because of who he is and what he represents.

President Obama is a person of color in one of the most powerful positions in the world. To much (most?) of the world this is more encouraging than peace-treaties or development projects for the poor -- as important as those things might be. To the poor of the world our president signals a new era where even a dark-skinned person can get ahead in life. To them that is hope. That is peace!

Americans just don't realize how big a deal this is for the rest of the world.

Might it be that our definition of what constitutes peacemaking is too insular and narrow -- too exclusively Western -- too lacking in shalom?


5. Finally, I liked the opening of Obama's speech. Nice and humble:

Good morning. Well, this is not how I expected to wake up this morning. After I received the news, Malia walked in and said, "Daddy, you won the Nobel Peace Prize, and it is Bo's birthday!" And then Sasha added, "Plus, we have a three-day weekend coming up." So it's good to have kids to keep things in perspective.

I am both surprised and deeply humbled by the decision of the Nobel Committee. Let me be clear: I do not view it as a recognition of my own accomplishments, but rather as an affirmation of American leadership on behalf of aspirations held by people in all nations.

To be honest, I do not feel that I deserve to be in the company of so many of the transformative figures who've been honored by this prize -- men and women who've inspired me and inspired the entire world through their courageous pursuit of peace.

But I also know that this prize reflects the kind of world that those men and women, and all Americans, want to build -- a world that gives life to the promise of our founding documents. And I know that throughout history, the Nobel Peace Prize has not just been used to honor specific achievement; it's also been used as a means to give momentum to a set of causes. And that is why I will accept this award as a call to action -- a call for all nations to confront the common challenges of the 21st century.


If you know me well, you know I hate being wrong, but I feel like I was yesterday, that I kind of over-reacted. Oh well :-)

Wednesday, October 7

Live Healthy: Do diets work?

I've been thinking about it a lot and I've found a point of disagreement with Gwen Shamblin's 'Weigh Down Diet' and Bethenny Frankel's 'Naturally Thin'.

Both are quite strong in their arguments that diets don't work, period, and this includes counting calories. Then they recommend their systems which focus more on mindful eating, not eating until you're hungry, stopping when you're full and other 'rules' like that (Frankel calls her guidelines 'rules').

My theory is that it's true: diets don't work when the diet is looked to as a temporary, almost magical fix so I can get the weight down and then go back to 'normal' life. Diets don't work when they entail bizarre, unhealthy or unsustainable eating.

To me, the key factor in successful weight loss (which I haven't even yet achieved, not to mention maintained, so take it with a block of salt) is willingness to make a lifestyle change: what I've done before does not work. I'm going to change my life, especially my outlook, eating and exercise. And, when I'm done, my behavior if not going to change much. I'll be able to eat a little more than when I was losing weight, but, if I want to keep it off, I'll still be working the new lifestyle and not returning to the old one.

Counter-evidence to WD and Naturally Thin: there are a lot of people on SparkPeople who have lost weight and kept it off in a program that includes counting calories.

I read recently (though I can't remember where) that most people who successfully lose weight try and fail a number of times (six or seven?) before they succeed. This is certainly true of my own experience and I would say it matches up with trying to find quick, magical fixes and finally getting fed up and ready to change lifestyle.

To be clear, my theory is that willingness to make a lifestyle change is the key to weight loss. Once that point is reached, there are probably many healthy 'diets' (where 'diet' is construed in its broadest sense of 'what you eat') that will work for weight loss and maintenance. The key may be finding what approach works best for you.

Personal update

I have suffered a minor weight setback due to a lot of exceptional socializing, mostly around football. Went to the Gamecocks game Saturday night with my brother and ate game food. Then went to a bar Monday night to watch the Vikes (I don't have ESPN) and had some tortilla chips and a couple drinks. Tonight's the last soiree for a while and then I'll be back on plan for at least a week and a half. I'm a little disappointed in the lapses and in going backwards on the weight loss (203 this morning after 201 last week), but it seems most 'natural' (for whatever that's worth).

On the exercise side, I'm still doing great. Making progress with the Couch to 5K program; completed day 1 of week 6 last night.

Further, I've been invited to ride 40 miles for a friend's 40th birthday coming up. Since I haven't ridden near that recently, I rode 20 miles this past Sunday as sort of a warmup and it went pretty well.

I'm feeling a few tweaks in my left knee and ankle from all the training. Seriously considering going Gallaway (taking frequent walk breaks) on the Couch to 5k for the time being, until I get through the 40 mile ride. Then I can back off the bike mileage a little and resume my training for the Saluda Shoals Sleigh Bell Trot in late November. I know I could finish it now, no problem, taking walk breaks. The question is what will my goal be? Will I set a time I'm shooting for? Do I want to run it without walking? Not sure yet...

Friday, October 2

Live Healthy 10% at a time

Here's a concept that will be front and center when I write my diet book ;-)

The 10% Solution
According to the study in the Archives of Internal Medicine, the average "Dream" weight loss is 38% of the dieter’s current weight. Also:

* a 31% weight loss would make the average dieter "Happy"
* a 25% weight loss would be "Acceptable".
* a 15.7% weight loss would be "Disappointing".

So the 200-pound woman who loses 30 pounds would actually be disappointed in her results!
I totally understand this way of thinking. In fact, it's pretty similar to my ongoing low-grade disappointment that my weight loss has not happened faster. But, friends, we have got to change our mindset!

Any of us approaching weight loss should set an initial 10% goal (assuming we have that much to lose) and not get too ambitious or freaked out about anything beyond that. Especially for those of us with a lot to lose, by the time we lose 10%, everything will be different ... for the better! So let's not get too focused on the whole number in a way that is daunting or discouraging.

In my case, my initial goal weight was 170 because that seemed reasonable. I don't even remember where I came up with that. I think it was a function of BMI and the fact that I used to weight less than that back when I was 28 and fit. Sounds ok, aye? Maybe it was.

But I've re-evaluated. I've changed my initial weight-loss goal to something closer to the top of the BMI for my height: 180. A nice round number and a resulting round number to lose overall: 30 pounds.

And, changing gears to the subject of this post, 10% of my beginning body weight is 21 pounds, which will put me at 189. That's a nice, firm, doable preliminary goal.

To their credit, Weight Watchers emphasizes shooting for a 10% loss first, but, when I was in that program, for whatever reason, I wasn't ready for that to motivate me.

More about things getting better: think about how much easier the rest of the weight will be to lose once you've hit your 10% goal. You'll be that much lighter and have many better habits. Your lifestyle will have improved.

Or, if you still have a lot to go, you can set a goal for the next 10%, which will be a nicely smaller number than the previous achievement, with a much better foundation. Sounds good, right?

So, what's your 10% goal? (You don't have to post it if you're too shy.) Does it seem more doable than your conceptual goal weight?

Live Healthy: Greed for food

I don't think my problem with food is gluttony exactly. It's more like greed.

I think about eating all the time. I look forward to eating. I feel like I'm going to die if I don't get to eat. But then I wolf down my food, hardly tasting it. What is wrong with me?

It seems almost like I need to possess the food. Like I said: greed. It's strange.

I've read quite a bit about mindful eating and similar topics. And I'm terrible at it.

In some ways, I don't want to do it. I don't want to slow down. I don't want to make that effort. I don't want to work so hard at eating.

But the alternative is bad: eating my food without really 'tasting' and enjoying it.

Do you know the dynamic? I want and long to have something that tastes really good. Then I can get to the end of it and feel like I haven't really tasted it at all. It's just gone, down the pie-hole. I wouldn't eat something that was healthy for me, but maybe a little less full of taste. No, it had to be really tasty. And then I hardly tasted it!

Relatedly, both 'Weight Down' and 'Naturally Thin' recommend leaving some food on your plate. This is almost impossible for me to conceive, not to mention do. Leave food on my plate when I'm not stuffed to the gills? I might need that food! Furthermore, I need the enjoyment in my life! (Never mind that I usually hardly taste my food.)

I don't have any great answers right now...

Diary

Still doing well with my exercise. I've modified my Couch to 5K training a little to make sure I'm in good shape for next week's 40 mile bike ride. I felt a little tweak in my left knee after doing 20 last week and I don't want any interference. So I'm taking 1 minute walk breaks after every 4 minutes of jogging (unless I'm going downhill). Then, when I have succeeded with next week's 40 mile ride, I'll get back to the 5K training in earnest.

The scale's still stuck at 202 or 203 after doing a lot of social eating this week. But I'm hoping to see some good movement again soon. My eating, otherwise, has been pretty good. I burned almost 1000 calories today between jogging/walking, mowing the lawn and trimming the hedge. And I'll burn another 1000 tomorrow with my 20 mile training ride. The key, of course, is, having worked that hard, not to eat everything in sight ;-) I think I've done pretty well, though.

Wednesday, September 30

Perfect living healthy day!

I thought my face looked thinner yesterday, and Christine said the same thing last night.

1. Exceptionally good news: down to 201 today, my new low (for this effort). Woo hoo!

2. Welcome, dear Autumn! I love you so much!

3. Seriously impressed with myself:

Christine and the twins were gone for the day. Didn't really want to eat supper here at home. But also didn't want to blow out that 201. Want to keep rolling.

Finally decided to make the most of this Autumn day and bike the mile to Wendy's, get a Chicken Caesar salad, and bike back home.

How about those choices for living healthy?!

Analysis:

The salad was just ok. And the bike ride wasn't that enjoyable because I was by traffic the whole time and it was hard to really relax.

However, good effort. Way to go, me. And I got some fresh air, right?

4. Rewarded myself with a glass of red wine when I got home (only 100 calories).

5. Went out for my walk/jog, middle of week 5 of Couch to Five K. Ran into a guy jogging, too, a little slower than me, and we jogged together. I was only 'supposed' to jog 16 minutes tonight (and walk 15), but ended up jogging 26 minutes at better than 12 minute mile pace! Yep, upon further review, figure I ended up jogging about 2.5 miles. Pretty awesome, aye?!

Furthermore, this gentleman and I made friends and I told him about SparkPeople. And we're planning on jogging together again.

6. Then did 10 inverse pullups to hit my upper body another time after yesterday (since I wasn't sore today).

7. Then did 25 minutes of yoga.

Who am I and what have I done with Sean? ;-)

Finished out September strong. Time to evaluate, type up a new October contract, maybe make a few measurements to chart progress, maybe test a few things...

Sure, I wish the weight loss were going faster (like Aaron and Chris :-), but I'm pretty happy with the package right now.

Sunday, September 27

9/28 Football thoughts

+ Happy the Vikes won, but not real impressed. Took a 50 yard pass with 2 seconds left against the Niners (who are not world-beaters, though improved) without Frank Gore at our place.

Take away one 35-yard run from scrimmage and AP didn't do much.

Here's something good: Favre's first interception was tipped up by the Vikes. He didn't just throw it to the other team.

Percy Harvin is really fast.

I'd be afraid to have the Vikes play anyone in Peter King's Fine Fifteen right now. He's got the Vikes at 3, which I find impossible to believe will be borne out by their future play, but I guess we can hope...

+ Didn't watch the game. What in the heck happened to my boy, Drew Brees?

Upon further review, looks like their running game was working pretty well.

Great fake field goal by the Bills.

+ Wow, the Raiders are really bad, aren't they?

Fumbling the ball and not being in range to try to get it back must be a really sickening feeling.

+ Yes, McGahee was a good pickup for my fantasy team.

The Browns are pretty bad, too.

+ The Patriots - Falcons game sure was ugly.

I think Randy Moss' injury is holding him up. He's not even trying for balls he would normally win.

+ I used to hate Cris Collingsworth, but I don't mind him anymore. He seems much humbler than, say five years ago, when he seemed like kind of a punk.

Clark for the end-around. Love it!

I still like Kurt Warner and wish him well.

+ King has Baltimore as the best team in football. The scoreboard sure looks that way, but I haven't seen them play yet...

Saturday, September 26

Live Healthy: Feeling blah

Have you noticed I haven't written in a few days? I've been feeling pretty blah in general, including specifically about my healthy living and weight loss. Not least of all, I haven't lost any weight since Saturday; totally stuck at 203.

Complaint: Why is my weight loss so slow? When I try to cut more calories, I feel like my body just goes into starvation mode and I stop losing weight. Why can Chris and Aaron lose so much faster than me? It seems unfair (wah! ;-)

Confession: I haven't been doing my motivation work, which it says in my contract is the most important part. Sometimes it seems boring before starting it, but it's not bad once I get started (usually).

This is no criticism of my wonderful friends, but I think I'm feeling a little less motivated from the comparative lack of interaction I'm getting on these posts. The first month was great, but we all seem to be getting weary of this means of interacting, at least, if not trying to lose weight in general.

You know, not surprisingly, even just writing this stuff out helps me feel better. I am living healthy now. The weight really will come off eventually. I am feeling fit on the inside, including my muscles. The outside just needs to catch up :-)

Thursday, September 24

Drinking Just as Good as Yoga

Totally ripping this off from Now That's Nifty: Drinking Just as Good as Yoga (via Barbells and Bacon).

I find it especially funny since I do a fair bit of yoga :-)

--

I don't drink ma' self, but maybe I should start. These guys look fit!

Savasana
Position of total relaxation.


Balasana
Position that brings the sensation of peace and calm.

Setu Bandha Sarvangasana
This position calms the brain and heals tired legs.


Marjayasana
Position stimulates the midirift area and the spinal column.


Halasana
Excelent for back pain and imsomnia.


Dolphin
Excelent for the shoulder area, thorax, legs, and arms.


Salambhasana
Great excersice to stimulate the lumbar area, legs, and arms.


Malasana
This position, for ankles and back muscles.


Pigeon
Tones the body, and builds flexibility and helps get rid of 'stress'.

(From an e-mail)

Tuesday, September 22

Live Healthy: It's looking like a beautiful day and more on Weigh Down

It sprinkled a little this morning while I was riding my bike. And then I saw a full rainbow, so that was pretty cool :-)

Sort of goes with this new song I'm enjoying: One Day Like This. I'm a sucker for strings, high hat and vocal harmonies :-)

A few of the lyrics: 'It's looking like a beautiful day ... Throw those curtains wide / one day like this a year'd see me right (for life).'

Ok, today wasn't quite that good, but it was a nice start :-)

Doing very well with Weigh Down right now. The principal results has been almost completely eliminating snacks and only eating at mealtimes. So I'd guess I'm cutting out about 400 calories a day right there.

I'm also experimenting with not having a glass of wine every day. That's 100+ calories per weekday (I'm still 'indulging' on the weekend).

Down to 203 for two days, back up to 204 for two days. Some of this is just normal bodily variation. As I keep doing the right thing, I expect to drop another pound sometime soon and hope to reach 200 (or 199!) by October.

'Hunger' is such a subjective feeling, and so much of it is psychological. In the loosest sense of the word, all 'dieting', all sub-basal-metabolic-rate eating, is 'starving' ourselves. In those broadest senses, I'm 'hungry' all the time and I am 'starving' myself by eating fewer calories than my body burns in a day.

I have identified about three levels of hunger:

1. the initial stages: stomach feels empty, but there is no slackening of function. Anyone who wants to lose weight by conventional means is going to spend a fair amount of time in this zone. Can you take it? Can I?

2. hypoglycemia: I start to notice lower tolerance for aggravation. I'm easily annoyed. May be a little more irritable.

3. stomach starts to rumble. This is the eating threshold in Weigh Down, though not necessarily immediate eating (approximate range is within an hour, depending on what you're doing and how you're feeling).

(Not sure yet how close 2 and 3 are. I've been doing ok. Maybe I'll try to pay a little better attention...)

Strict Weigh Down would probably mean not eating at regular mealtimes if you're not at that third level. But I'm not doing that. I eat my normal breakfast, wait on lunch as late as 12:30 or so (I used to eat promptly at 11:30) and then eat dinner with my family, able to wait until 6:30 or 7 (I used to almost demand to eat promptly at 5:30). So far, it's working well for me.

The trick, of course, is can you get through the progression from stage 1 to stage 3? Sometimes it feels like I hardly stay out of stage 1, that I'm in it most of the time. In fact, I walked/jogged last night in stage 1 hunger and, let me tell you, that's a new behavior for me.

Maybe the biggest focus of Weigh Down is spiritual and I'm doing pretty well with it. I'd say it's helping me cope with the desire for food, especially between hunger stages 1 and 3.

A big thanks to Tia for recommending Weigh Down. I'm getting a ton out of it. It's gone from being a possible supplement to my weight loss approach to being the primary avenue, and a gateway to even a little expansion of spiritual perspective as well.

Monday, September 21

9/21 NFL thoughts

+ Last year's breakout rookie QB/coach tandems (Ryan/Smith and Flacco/Harbaugh) looking awesome as sophomores. Serious franchise trend up. And you could almost count Mike Singletary, Frank Gore (who's the QB in SF (I know, Hill ;-)).

+ AP is almost perfect. Now I need him to work on ball security. Didn't Tiki Barber concentrate on that and really turn it around? And he and Brett need to work on the handoff exchange more after yesterday's little mishap.

+ Something you might not hear much about: Chad Greenway's (Iowa grad) monster day: 2 interceptions and 1 fumble recovery.

+ When AP and Marion Barber run the way they do, what will their longevity be like?

+ Also little know: Favre had a career high completion percentage yesterday. That's exactly what we're looking for. Now we need to play a decent team to know if we're any good. We haven't shown real brilliance yet...

+ Things aren't looking too different yet in Chief land. I think they'll turn it around, but sooner is better than later.

+ Man, the Patriots didn't look very good and the Jets sure did. And I'm having trouble forgiving Moss for that route he broke off and then didn't even fight for the ball. Could have made the difference right there...

+ Broncos are looking pretty good (albeit against two bad teams). Browns just keep looking bad.

+ It shouldn't be surprising, but I saw quite a number of amazing arm-strength throws yesterday: half-cocked, back foot. Some strong guys out there...

Saturday, September 19

Live Healthy: That bike ride was not fun!

This day began with really good scale-news: 203 pounds, my lowest weight of this effort! That's 2.5 pounds lighter than yesterday, and it's not like I starved myself. Probably a little anomalous, but the latest low point and I'll take it! :-)

I thought it was a pretty innocuous plan: ride the Peak to Pomaria leg of the Palmetto Trail, 6.5 miles one way, then back. Left around 7 this morning, found it with the directions, no sweat.

First problem: The entire non-trestle length of the trail was laid with coarse gravel. I don't know the grades of gravel, but I'd call this more like 'stone' or 'rock'. Two inch wide stones were not uncommon. This led to 6.5 miles of almost unrelieved vibration. It was that kind of vibration that makes my muscles itch. Do you ever get that? I used to get it sometimes when I jogged. I've never known what to call it besides an 'intramuscular' itch. I expect to be sore tomorrow from the constant pounding and the 'holding onto the bike for dear life'.

Second problem: I was the first person on the trail this morning and it was spanned by many, many spider webs. Now, I am not an arachnophobe at all, but I don't like driving through spider webs and I don't really like having spiders on me. I'm guessing I drove through between 10 and 15 spider webs that resulted in one spider crawling on me while I drove and two hanging from my arms(as three separate times). (That is, that I saw. There could certainly have been more.) I took to scanning myself like Thomas Covenant after riding through each web.

(Thomas Covenant is in a series of book by Steven R. Donaldson. Covenant is a leper and has to constantly scan himself for injuries, since he can't feel them.)

I started thinking of myself as the arachnicide (horrible Latin). Then, for some insane reason, I applied some of Tolkien's Elvish: Ungolcrist, the Spider Cleaver. Or, better (since I don't know the word for web), Ungoldring, the Spider Hammer ( I think that's a bad mix of Quenya and Sindarin).

I kept wanting to turn back, but then kept thinking, 'Ok, one more song' (listening to my exercise playlist, which certainly got me through, if nothing else by helping take my mind off the ride).

(If you want, you can see some non-exciting pix I took on the trail over on Facebook.)

Came out at Hope Station Road, just past halfway and was seriously thinking about turning back. But then I looked at the map and realized I could finish the trail and then ride back on the roads. I could do that. I could do another three miles of the trail, but couldn't face more than nine (finish and back).

Shortly after that, it started to sprinkle. I hadn't looked at the forecast at all. I thought, 'Man, this is going to suck. It's going to rain.' But then I thought, 'Maybe not. Maybe it'll just sprinkle.' And that's what it did. A little sprinkle is nice. It was a good moment.

Something I did enjoy: there wasn't another single soul on the trail in the time I was on it.

In retrospect, why was I expecting a smoother, easier trail? I don't have a good reason. But I sure was surprised at the roughness.

By the end of the ride, I was covered in spider webs. Particularly, I had lots of spider webs stuck in the hair on my arms.

Here's the SMap page for the trail ride.

Another of my mistakes (definitely a theme of this post): I thought 'I'll get to the end of the trail and I can have a snack to fortify myself'. Except I forgot my wallet :-(

Good: traffic on the road on the way back to the Peak trailhead was light.

Here's the SMap page for the ride back from Pomaria to Peak on REAL ROADS! ;-)

I am a little worried about my bike: I just got it tuned up and then vibrated the heck out of it for 6.5 miles over an hour. But, hopefully it'll be ok.

Not fun. But, I made it. I didn't give up, so it was not a 'failure'.

(Methodological note: I recorded a lot of the thoughts for this post on my Blackberry with the Voice Notes on the drive home. I love my Blackberry! It's got everything! :-)

Friday, September 18

Live Healthy: Bad days

I felt like I had a bad day yesterday. Nothing majorly bad, just enough things to keep it constantly at the 'not having fun' level.

One of my relatively new strategies for dealing with bad days is to end them as soon as possible. Get the stuff done I have to get done and go to bed (if it's not too early). Write that sucker off and get a good start on the next one.

This counteracts what my unconscious strategy has often been throughout the years: lengthening the day, staying up later and later, trying to change my mood with something I enjoy, often including too much ice cream ;-)

If everything goes right, I get up at 6, do a little work, exercise and the day's off to a great start. Rebooted.

Now, that did not exactly happen today because it was still raining when I woke up, so I wasn't able to go ride my bike like I wanted to. But it's been a better day, overall.

Here's something I recently did to improve my chances of mindful eating. I realized I was quickly devouring my Skinny Cow sandwiches because they're a little messy and I wanted to finish up and get my hands clean to get on with the next activity (likely back to my laptop).

Solution: put the Skinny Cow in a bowl and eat it with a spoon. Problem solved. Sometimes little problems are easily hacked.

Diary

After all my bike drama, I took my bike in for a tuneup Wednesday and got it back yesterday. Looking forward to trying it soon. Maybe this evening...

Have you noticed I haven't written about my weight in a while? Still fighting to get back to 204.5 after 'letting my hair down' over College Football Start / Our Anniversary / Labor Day weekend. Remind me not to do that again, ok?

I'm currently at 205.5, but have been doing well with my eating the past couple days, so expect it to drop back down another pound any time now.

Thursday, September 17

Live Healthy: Spiritual blockage

I think I've been fighting some strange spiritual blockage in my work at living healthy. And it centers around 'Weigh Down'.

For some reason, I've had this block about finishing the book. It's sitting there beside my chair. I like it. I keep intending to finish it. But I keep not finishing it; never picking it up. Weird.

Second, I agree with the method. I've written more than once in these posts about how I intend to use it as my primary approach. And I totally have not done it.

This is a problem with me in my whole life. I live in my head so much that once I agree with a concept I often lose interest in it. Many, many times I don't go on to actually doing it. It was 'real' in my head. The impetus to act diminishes. I think this dynamic has contributed to the many times I've stopped trying to lose weight before. The psychological pressure diminishes and I just don't stay interested and motivated.

In some ways, it's almost like I didn't 'get it' with 'Weigh Down' until today (maybe). Don't eat until you are hungry (with hungry defined as your stomach actually physically growling).

(Excursus: Many of you will disagree with this definition of hunger, nutrition, what the body needs, etc. I'm not really interested in debating that now, ok?)

I have been defining hunger more as an empty feeling in the stomach or even mildly low blood sugar. And, based on that definition, at least in my experience, I am basically hungry all the time.

I have been eating at all of my regular, traditional times, plus some: breakfast, morning snack, lunch, afternoon snack, supper, dessert, (usually) evening snack. It's possible to do that and still stay at 1500 net calories for the day, but there's very little margin for error.

So, here's to actually trying to hold off eating longer and maybe dropping some of those snacks.

But for now, I have to go. My stomach just went off, one hour and twenty minutes after what would usually have been my last meal time. Time to eat a little something ;-)

Tuesday, September 15

Live Healthy: GPS tracking

Ohmigosh. I am totally in love with GPS tracking for outside workouts. Here's how it came into my life:

The Palm Treo that I had for work finally died. It seemed like it had died once before, but came back to life. I had to get a PDA and I chose the Blackberry Bold.

Not to go all mushy on you, but I really like it so far. Some things I don't like as well as Treos when they had the Palm OS, but there was very little I liked about the Treo once it had gone to Windows Mobile. I do kind of miss having a touch screen for those times when it's most convenient, but I'm adapting ;-)

As you may remember from a past post, I was very interested in Nike+ and the way you can get data from your runs when paired with an iPod. Also very interested in iPhone GPS fitness tracker apps, but no iPhone in my future.

I didn't figure there were free GPS tracker apps for the Blackberry (because there were so many prominent premium ones), but I thought I should check and see.

I found SMap and it had a few good ratings, so I downloaded it to try.

Man, do I love this app.

First used it on Sunday without a hitch. Scott graciously joined me to bike the Three River Greenway. Here's the page, including map and elevation chart that SMap created for me.
Sunday, September 13, 2009 7:14:09 AM
01 hr, 23 mins, 12 secs

12.4 mi
Rating: Easy
Viewed: 435 times
by seanmeade

Average speed:8.9 mph
Max speed: 17.9 mph
Pace: 6:42 min/mi
Altitude gain: 233.0 m
Altitude loss: 241.0 m
Altitude change: -8.0 m
Wow, it's been viewed 435 times. That's a lot. I guess mostly from posting it to Facebook.

And here's my walk/jog from last night.
28 mins, 19 secs

2.7 mi
Rating: Easy
Viewed: 7 times
by seanmeade

Average speed:5.7 mph
Max speed: 11.4 mph
Pace: 10:29 min/mi
Altitude gain: 92.0 m
Altitude loss: 99.0 m
Altitude change: -7.0 m
What makes this so fun? I'm not completely sure. I really love seeing the numbers and the way they reinforce my workout. Not only were these good workouts in themselves, but looking at the hard data encouraged me, too.

Now, I'm sure no one is going to run out and get a Blackberry Bold to run this app. That would be silly. However, if you can run it, you should really look into it. They have versions that run on the Nokia S60, Windows Mobile, iPhone and Garmin. If you don't already have any of those platforms, but if you're interested in this kind of capability, Garmin is probably the cheapest way to get in.

I was considering getting an iPod touch as my major reward for losing weight. And one of my main interests was pairing it with Nike+. But already having this capability really takes the wind out of those sails.

The company's name is Sanoodi and they describe themselves this way: 'Sanoodi's vision is to build the world's leading geo-social platform for publishing and sharing content on the web and whilst on the move.'

At this point, I can't recommend Sanoodi and Smap highly enough.

So, what do you think? Did I pique your interest at all?

Saturday, September 12

Live Healthy: Pushup Conundrum

I am tired of doing pushups.

I've been doing 200 a week for a long time. Maybe a year. (Or at least trying to do 200 a week...)

Here's what I'm thinking about right now:

1. I could go back to the old method where I keep the rest down to less than 5 minutes. These seem better for building muscle. But, you know what? As much as I like the results, I don't really want to do 100 pushups in less than 25 minutes twice a week.

2. Or, I could go for the more spread out method, doing some pushups all the time, say sets of 20 throughout the day, every day. I'm more of a spread-stuff-out kind of guy. Here's a post about this approach to pushups called grease the groove. Since I work from home, this kind of approach would be no problem for me and would probably be good to get me up out of my chair once an hour. It would also help keep me warm this winter, right?

Do I sound desperate? ;-)

I like the sound of this plan but maybe wouldn't when it comes to doing 300 or so pushups a day. Hmm...

3. Or there are about a million other variations, but those are the two I'm weighing ;-)

Something good I did last night: got the intervals back down to 5 minutes between sets (sets include situps and squats).

I'd don't know, obviously. Something I'm kicking around, though.

Okay, I wrote all of that last night. Did 10 negative pullups today. Like Kathy's trainer says, if the muscles you worked aren't sore the next day, hit 'em again. I did my yoga today, too. Arms are feeling a little tired, so that's good. Might do one more set of pushups before I shower, just to makes sure I got the job done ;-)

Friday, September 11

Live Healthy: Two steps forward, one step back

Didn't get an entry written yesterday, in part, because I spent two hours taking Wil to fencing and bringing him home. But something good is that, while he was there, I got my walk/jog in. Then came home and did my yoga.

Well, the bad news is the scale's back up to 206. It's been bad since I 'let my hair down' last weekend. Two times in the last two months I have taken a break from my diet, jumped back up on the scale, and regretted it. Hmm. If I were smart, what would I do going forward? ;-)

Other than those things, I'm probably taking this whole 'live healthy' emphasis a little too casually. Or, I'm not emphasizing it enough. It's weird: at the start of the day, I take it for granted that I'll be able to eat right and then I just have to get my exercise in. But, as you know, I've been doing really well with my exercise. And most days I do fine with my eating ... until supper time or after. I must not be hitting that 500 calorie a day deficit consistently enough to get the pound a week I'd like to (not to mention the accelerated weight loss that Aaron and Chris have seen!).

Of course, I'm also not tracking my caloric intake closely enough to know where I'm really at. Nor am I applying the 'Weigh Down' approach that is a little freer.

On the other hand, I want to live healthy and not obsess about the three digit number.

In a way, it feels like it's a hard balance to strike, but surely it's not a really small range. I guess, in terms of metrics, it's if you're at least maintaining and not gaining weight. Then, obviously, you want to lose weight sometimes. But it took a while to put on right? Otherwise, maybe it's just a matter of how patient you're willing to be in your weight loss.

I'm sort of thinking out loud here. What do you think?

Of course, I've you've been reading these posts you know that I'm quasi-bi-polar about it: I want to de-emphasize the weight loss, but get discouraged when it doesn't happen.

I really need to go back to my motivation step (in my contract).

Here's something pretty good: I've been fairly active on SparkPeople. That helps with motivation and keeping going some.

Also, I bought a watch for timing walks/jogs and biking. I had a cheap watch, but it was pretty well defunct, including a dead battery and one broken hole for the band clip.

Also, I decided not to jump into the Couch-to-5k program this week. I'm going to take one more week to ease into it. Next week I'll do 2 minutes walking, 3 minutes jogging intervals before going to the only 90 seconds of walking. I think that'll be better. I'm not in any hurry on this thing and increasing my jogging is not a part of my goals right now. In some ways, it's just to add a little interest.

Gotta get back to it: pushups, situps and squats tonight but, more importantly, revisiting my motivation.

Wednesday, September 9

Live Healthy: Rock out!

What are your favorite workout songs?

Coach Nicole had another post over at SparkPeople about workout music: Play Your Power Song to Go the Extra Mile.

I got caught up in it and typed up my favorites from my workout playlist.

(Something interesting I discovered while I was working on this: I had a lot of duplicates. I thought I has over 900 songs on that playlist, but it turns out to be 760 ;-)

My Happy Ending - Avril Lavigne
Roam - The B-52s
Good - Better than Ezra
Magic - The Cars
Blow 'em Away - David Wilcox
The Waffle House - David Wilcox
Such Great Heights - The Postal Service
Float On - Modest Mouse
Sabotage - Beastie Boys
Video Killed the Radio Star - The Buggles
Rock the Casbah - The Clash
Murder of One - Counting Crows
One for the Mockingbird - Cutting Crew
Vindicated - Dashboard Confessional
Come on Eileen - Dexy's Midnight Runners
Seven Nation Army - White Stripes
Getting Away with It - Electronic
Unbelievable - EMF
Bring Me to Life - Evanescence
Just Let Go - Fischerspooner
Stacy's Mom - Fountains of Wayne
Traffic and Weather - Fountains of Wayne
Santa Monica - Everclear
Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots - The Flaming Lips
Only Happy When It Rains - Garbage
Hallelujah Chorus - Handel
Keep Your Hands to Yourself - Georgia Satellites
Feel Good, Inc - Gorillaz
We Got the Beat - The Go-Gos
Sweet Child of Mine - Guns N' Roses
Welcome to the Jungle - Guns N' Roses
Kiss on My List - Hall and Oates
Save Ginny Weasley - Harry and the Potters
Everlasting Love - Howard Jones
Don't You Want Me Baby - Human League
Somebody's Baby - Jackson Browne
I Got You - James Brown
Been Caught Stealin - Jane's Addiction
Raider's March - John Williams
Love Will Tear Us Apart - Joy Division
Jesus Walks - Kanye West
Hot N Cold - Katy Perry
Somewhere Only We Know - Keane
All These Things That I've Done - The Killers
You Just Keep Me Hangin' On - Kim Wilde
You Really Got Me - The Kinks
What Do Pretty Girls Do? Kirsty MacColl
The Robots - Kraftwerk
Are You Gonna Go My Way - Lenny Kravitz
Can't Help Falling in Love - Lick the Tins
Somewhere I Belong - Linkin Park
Extraordinary - Liz Phair
Cherish - Madonna
Sick of Myself - Matthew Sweet
Enter Sandman - Metallica
Time to Pretend - MGMT
The Impression that I Get - The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
We Are All Made of Stars - Moby
I'll Melt With You - Modern English
Interesting Drug - Morrissey
Torn - Natalie Imbruglia
Wonder - Natalie Merchant
Forever in Blue Jeans - Neil Diamond
My Friends Over You - New Found Glory
Regret - New Order
Shellshock - New Order
Bizarre Love Triangle - New Order
Mr. Disco - New Order
Krafty - New Order
Man of Constant Sorrow - O, Brother, Where Art Thou?
Come Out and Play - The Offspring
Hit Me with Your Best Shot - Pat Benatar
Even Flow - Pearl Jam
West End Girls - Pet Shop Boys
Wave of Mutilation - The Pixies
Can't Stand Losing You - The Police
Gardening at Night - REM
1,000,000 - REM
Finest Worksong - REM
Welcome to the Occupation - REM
Exhuming McCarthy - REM
Disturbance at the Heron House - REM
Strange - REM
Disturbance at the Heron House - REM
ItEotWaWKI (aIFF) - REM
Oddfellows Local 151 - REM
Driver 8 - REM
Can't Get There from Here - REM
Get Up - REM
Stand - REM
Begin the Begin - REM
These Days - REM
I Believe - REM
Superman - REM
Radio Free Europe - REM
Pilgrimage - REM
Sitting Still - REM
Shaking Through - REM
Leave - REM
Near Wild Heaven - REM
Texarkana - REM
Harborcoat - REM
So. Central Rain - REM
(Don't Go Back to) Rockville - REM
Imitation of Life - REM
Airbag - Radiohead
Sleep Now in the Fire- Rage Against the Machine
Umbrella - Rihanna and The Klaxons
Tamacun - Rodrigo y Gabriela
Be My Baby - The Ronettes
Tom Sawyer - Rush
Limelight - Rush
Distant Early Warning - Rush
Send Me on My Way - Rusted Root
Rufus Xavier Sarsaparilla - Schoolhouse Rock!
Rock You Like a Hurricane - The Scorpions
Dies Irae - Mozart
Perfect - Smashing Pumpkins
1979 - Smashing Pumpkins
Today - Smashing Pumpkins
Disarm - Smashing Pumpkins
The Queen is Dead - The Smiths
Vicar in a Tutu - The Smiths
Stop Me If You Think that You've Heard this One Before - The Smiths
There Is a Light that Never Goes Out - The Smiths
Frankly Mr. Shankly - The Smiths
Cemetry Gates - The Smiths
Bigmouth Strikes Again - The Smiths
Chicago - Sufjan Stevens
Here's Where the Story Ends - The Sundays
Birdhouse in Your Soul - They Might Be Giants
Never Let You Go - Third Eye Blind
Voices Carry - 'til Tuesday
All I Want - Toad the Wet Sprocket
Refugee - Tom Petty
Ordinary - Train
Slacks - Trip Shakespeare
Toolmaster of Brainerd - Trip Shakespeare
Beautiful Day - U2
Elevation - U2
Vertigo - U2
Born Slippy - Underworld
You Really Got Me - Van Halen
Panama - Van Halen
Brown Eyed Girl - Van Morrison
Gloria - Van Morrison
Bittersweet Symphony - The Verve
She Walks on Roses - Vigilantes of Love
Goes Without Sayin - Vigilantes of Love
Could Be a Lot Worse - Vigilantes of Love
Blister Soul - Vigilantes of Love
5 Miles Outside Monroe - Vigilantes of Love
Baalam's Ass - Vigilantes of Love
Bethlehem Steel - Vigilantes of Love
Real Down Town - Vigilantes of Love
Earth Has No Sorrow - Vigilantes of Love
Port of Entry - Vigilantes of Love
Locust Years - Vigilantes of Love
Tokyo Rose - Vigilantes of Love
Black Crow - Vigilantes of Love
Taking on Water - Vigilantes of Love
All the Mercy We Have Found - Vigilantes of Love
Version of the Truth - Vigilantes of Love
Willingly - Vigilantes of Love
Glory and the Dream - Vigilantes of Love
YMCA - Village People
Macho Man - Village People
Blister in the Sun - Violent Femmes
Lawyers, Guns and Money - Warren Zevon
Pater Noster - Wartburg Choir
Pinball Wizard - The Who
On the Road Again - Willie Nelson
Pancho and Lefty - Willie Nelson
Old Dan Tucker - Bruce Springsteen
John Henry - Bruce Springsteen
Layla - Derek and the Dominos
The Final Countdown - Europe
She's so High - Tal Bachman
and lots of mashups!

Still here? ;-) How about you? Care to share any of your favorite workout songs?

Tuesday, September 8

What I've been reading about health care

+ How American Health Care Killed My Father

This one is my favorite so far (sensational title notwithstanding). It's also the longest by far. But I really like the analysis here of the way our system produces bad outcomes. Killer piece:
Anyone with whom I discuss this [HSA] approach has the same question: How am I supposed to be able to afford health care in this system? Well, what if I gave you $1.77 million? Recall, that’s how much an insured 22-year-old at my company could expect to pay—and to have paid on his and his family’s behalf—over his lifetime, assuming health-care costs are tamed. Sure, most of that money doesn’t pass through your hands now. It’s hidden in company payments for premiums, or in Medicare taxes and premiums. But think about it: If you had access to those funds over your lifetime, wouldn’t you be able to afford your own care? And wouldn’t you consume health care differently if you and your family didn’t have to spend that money only on care?
+ Obama’s in the ER but he’ll get his reforms

+ My Take On The Healthcare Debate

+ 8 Questions About Health-Care Reform

+ The Massachusetts Model

+ The Myth of Prevention

+ Until Medical Bills Do Us Part

Live Healthy: When healthy becomes a headache

I jogged too hard this morning.

I walked for three minutes, then jogged for three minutes. And since I was feeling ok and was headed into a big downhill, I decided to jog another three minutes instead of doing a walking interval. Then I started to think maybe I could get down to 2 12-minute miles, so I kept after it.

I think I was close on the mileage (I lost precise track). But I've had a headache all day that I can't shake. 3 doses of pain-reliever, lying down and resting, 2 separate doses of caffeine, 2 showers and even yoga for core relaxation! Blast! I hate headaches. If I wake up with this headache tomorrow, I'm going to be especially annoyed.

Speaking of caffeine, I'm going to wean myself off of caffeine again and go back to decaf. The major benefit this gives is being able to drink coffee throughout the day. When you're on a limited calorie diet, it's nice to have something to drink that has a little taste (you know, besides water). In the winter, it will be especially nice to have something warm. And I'm just not that crazy about tea.

One of the things holding me up from going back to decaf was the times I want the caffeine to help treat headaches. But I've been trying Folgers singles this week and I think they'll work fine for those occasions. And we'll keep real coffee around for when our parents come and think they need it ;-)

The last time I went off of decaf was for my really ill-considered liquid diet. Since then, it's kind of crept back in. It's not a big deal. I can quit anytime ;-)

Like last time, I'll probably go to halfcaf for a week, then maybe quarter and then be back to decaf.

Made the appointment today to get my mountain bike tuned up. I'll take it in a week from tomorrow. Looking forward to it working a little better and enjoying time outside this autumn.

Monday, September 7

Live Healthy: Random thoughts

Just a few disparate ideas I've been wanting to write about:

1. I don't think I ever mentioned, especially during my September reevaluation, how important the support of my friends was to me. I was worried when I came up with the August contract that I wouldn't have enough support. I didn't have that 'Weight Watchers meeting' kind of component.

But, surprisingly, Facebook, especially, became a really good means of support. People who I never would have guessed would be interested have been some of my biggest supporters. We've really found some common ground I didn't know we had, and it is fantastic!

(Now, I realize something I have going for me that not many people have is >600 friends on Facebook, so I had a larger sample to hit the percentages. Your mileage may vary, but I sure am glad for mine! :-)

Something I did mention before is the importance of helping others for their sake and for yours (the 12th step in 12 step programs). Supporting and encouraging my friends has been very motivating for me!

2. Do you ever have to trick yourself into doing what's best for you? It seems dumb that we would have to do this, but I sure do.

I had a day recently when I had to trick myself into getting things done a couple times. I did NOT want to bike. But I took it one step at a time. First, get your biking clothes on. Then, gather up your stuff. Get the bike out. Helmet on, etc. Eventually I got out the door and biked and got back and I was glad I did it. Usually by the time I'm on the bike and into the street in front of my house I can face it. I don't feel so lethargic and resistant anymore.

On that same day, I did NOT want to work on a web project that I've been putting off. But I thought, 'I can open the editor and at least I'll have it open'. Then I was ready to open the file, even if it meant just leaving it open for awhile. But, you guessed it: I was ready to start editing and I got two projects done that I've been putting off and it felt great!

How about you: do you have to trick yourself into doing things that are good for you? How do you do it?

We have taken the home schooling plunge

We had considered home schooling for a long time but just didn't feel up to it. Then Christine found K12's South Carolina Virtual Charter School. It's public school. They pick the curriculum to match up with SC standards and send everything to you. Since they're getting the SC tax money for our kids, there's no cost to us that wouldn't be a normal school expense.

The clincher for us was when I said 'Well, if you want to try it, what do we have to lose? It's not forever, and if it doesn't work out, they can go back to their regular school.' So we're trying it.

How's it gone? Well, frankly, we've been surprised at home hard it has been and how much work. Elizabeth and Wil are both really smart, always at the top of their class, in the Academically Gifted Program at Leaphart and above 95th percentile on standardized tests. We frankly thought it would be a breeze.

Probably the biggest adjustment is just to a different way of learning. We are hopeful that all of us will get better at this. Wil, especially, has had trouble with simply reading and following directions, so that is a growing edge for him.

Elizabeth was dubious about the change at first, but we think she's leaning toward sticking with it. Though Wil has some hard days, he keeps saying he likes it better than regular school. And we're confident that both of them are getting a better education, with much more individual attention, than they were getting before.

What did I leave out? What questions do you have?

Sunday, September 6

Live Healthy: more biking drama!

I made another decision about biking. Sheesh. How many has that been? :-)

I was actually thinking about how to enjoy this Autumn as much as possible, especially getting outside more. I'm so glad for the break in the heat and it's my favorite season.

And it occurred to me, I could still ride my mountain bike in the three nearby neighborhoods without getting into a lot of traffic. I might have to slow down a little, but that's ok.

So, that's the new biking plan. Take the mountain bike (not the road bike) in for a tuneup and continue enjoying it this fall. Jeez, that took a long time to figure out!

I even got my bike rack back (had loaned it to my father-in-law) so I can carry my bike around easier if I want to drive someplace to bike on a Saturday or Sunday.

We'll see how long the plan survives engagement with real life ;-)

In other exercise news, I timed my mixed walk/jog tonight: 2 miles in 24:30 and I made the first mile in 12 minutes. (Remember, I'm walking three minutes, then jogging three minutes.) Not too shabby.

And I looked up the famous The Couch-to-5K Running Plan. Happily enough, since I've already been off the couch for awhile, I can start in week 4. If I stay on that plan (no promises!), I'll have 6 total weeks of training until I get back to running three miles at a time. I think I'll stick with my current pace this week, then start week 4 next week.

Unfortunately, haven't noticed any 5ks around here i really want to run. Or it would be fun to do one with someone. I'll keep my eyes open, but it's not a major deal.

Saturday, September 5

Live healthy: living healthy and letting your hair down

What is the balance between living healthy and letting your hair down?

I've been letting my hair down a lot for past couple days.

My three brothers and I and some of their families got together Thursday night for the opening of the college football season. Not only was the food great, there was a lot of it that is virtually irresistible to me. There was a buffalo chicken dip that was amazing. Then we had bratwurst boiled in beer and grilled (I did succeed in having only one of those) with a side of tortilla chips and Rotelle. The drinks were Woodchuck green apple hard cider and Marietta Old Vines Red. Later in the night, we had brownie sundaes.

Needless to say, I enjoyed all of these foods quite a bit!

Then, yesterday was our anniversary. We had shakes yesterday and we're going out to eat tonight. I've eaten pretty moderately today, even passing up a drink at Starbucks this morning.

So, where does all this celebrating fit into healthy living?

One observation: the virtually irresistible sides the other evening were also virtually inexhaustible. It would have taken a ton of willpower to stop eating them. It wasn't like going out to eat where there is usually a limited quantity of food and I can pull the 'save half for later' trick.

But what I really want to say in this post is I think there is a place for letting your hair down and celebrating. In fact, if you're taking the new common model of 'how do thin people eat', they indulge sometimes.

Now, it will certainly slow down my weight loss, and I may certainly lament my celebrations later. The number on the scale this morning was not a good one. But it will start coming back down again soon, and a little bit faster at first, since I've been at 204.5 recently.

Over time, I'd like to get better at curtailing my celebrations a little bit, not overdoing it. I probably need to go into them with more of a plan. With the buffalo chicken dip and the the Rotelle, I really should have served myself some on a plate, enjoyed it and stopped when I was done instead of eating out of the bowl (obviously!).

And there is certainly a balance to be struck with not letting the emphasis on living healthy, including some celebrations and the de-emphasis on weight loss, become a rationalization. But I think this balance can be achieved and should be aimed for.

You can make a pretty good argument that such balance contributes positively to the maintenance of living healthy, that it helps make it more sustainable.

So, what do you think? Am I just kidding myself here? How do you living healthy with celebrations that include food?