I lost 7 pounds in 12 months

My New Year’s Resolution for 2014 was to lose 14 pounds. I achieved 50% of my weight loss goal, with 7 pounds. That’s roughly half a pound per month. I wouldn’t make very impressive “before and after” pictures.


Taken during the first part of this year


Picture taken today. Not much difference

It’s that time of the year again when people are making their resolutions for the new year, which is in a few short days. I must have read over 20 blog posts about resolutions, and not surprisingly all of them are weight loss related. I love making New Year’s Resolutions myself, but before I do that, I have to look at how I fared with the resolutions I made last year.

I didn’t really make resolutions as much as very specific goals that I wrote out in a timeline. My fitness goals had four categories: weight, endurance, event, and outdoors.

As for weight, I wanted to lose 14 pounds by the end of 2014. I was 129 on January 1st and I wanted to get down to 115.

As for endurance, I wanted to run a 5k in under 33 minutes and be able to do moderate to high intensity cardio for an hour at the drop of a hat.

As for event, I wanted to do four 5ks, an obstacle race, and test for my black belt in taekwondo.

As for outdoor, I wanted to ski a bunch, go camping, run outside, and hike the Manistee River Trail.

Just mathematically speaking, I failed to achieve the majority of the goals I set for 2014. I only lost 7 pounds instead of 14. I didn’t run any 5ks or an obstacle course. I only went skiing once. This year I pretty much realized that I’m pretty bad at running, especially outside.

On paper, it seems like that 2014 was a big fail in terms of health/fitness. But naw, I don’t feel that way, actually. Sure, I didn’t hit any of my goal numbers, but I achieved some other awesome things in 2014 that I didn’t even write down:

  • I ate healthier. Week in, week out, I made consistent efforts to eat healthier. I didn’t abandon it in March, or August, or December. What’s even more amazing is that I didn’t really struggle. I didn’t go on any ‘diet’ that restricted what or how much I ate, but I just ate better. Cut down on processed food, ate more whole food. It’s hard to quantify, but I know that I am eating better now than I was last year. The biggest achievement is that I was able to change my eating patterns and palette. Kale? I’ll eat 2 servings a day of that shit man, no problem. It’s now possible for me consume my carbs just from vegetables. Before? No way. Sure, I’ll go ham on some Zingerman’s pastries if I happen to be in Ann Arbor, but the point is – my diet is different from what it was. It’s better, and the great part is- I like eating vegetables. I want to eat vegetables with every meal.


  • I love weightlifting. I’m a total novice, but I really enjoy lifting weights. In late 2013, when I was first trying to lose weight, I was a cardio bunny. After a few months of just hitting the treadmill and elliptical, I decided to throw in some strength training just because, and now I’d rather do that than cardio. I still do cardio these days mostly because my endurance and stamina is really low, but weightlifting is what I look forward to when I work out.


  • My priorities have shifted. The number on the scale isn’t the most important thing to me now – it’s about being health and fit. Pretty cliché, I know. But I realized this when I didn’t have a freak out when I weighed myself this morning and it confirmed that I only lost 7 pounds in 12 months. My new priority of being healthy and fit regardless of my weight is the effect of the previous “achievements” I mentioned. It’s taken me a while, but I realize that the number on the scale isn’t what makes me feel good, or even look good. It’s what I eat, how strong I am, how much energy I have, how fast I can run, how many miles I can walk with a pack on my back.


So while I can’t be that person who can say I achieved all or even most of my resolutions from last year, I’m pretty happy with what I was able to achieve in 2014. Not numbers on the scale or muscles ripping my shirtsleeves, but a year’s worth of steady, consistent effort for health and fitness.

Food Log, Day 4 ( making up for yesterday)

Day 4

December 20, 2014

Here’s what I consumed

I consciously tried to do better today because of yesterday’s eating, which wasn’t stellar. I didn’t eat any vegetables yesterday aside from the lettuce, tomato, and coleslaw that came with my burger at the bar. So I tried to load up on the fruits and vegetables today.

The first thing I had in the morning was a carrot-orange juice. Breakfast I ate an omelette, 2 sausages (left the 3rd one), roasted broccoli and plain spinach. Yeah, I ate about a cup and a half of just raw spinach. In the afternoon I had coffee with almond milk, banana with peanut butter and a few bites of apple. After lifting weights I made a green smoothie- strawberry, banana, almond milk, one scoop protein powder, spinach. Dinner was made by Kory, a (soy) chicken sandwich with veganaise and pickles, and kale salad tossed in olive oil and honey.

I think I did pretty well in getting my green vegetables and fruit for the day – I ate and drank them. Again, I’m not aiming for perfection or to be completely clean eating. I just want a balanced diet. And for me, that just means getting enough fruits and vegetables everyday.

So this is the last day of my food log for December 2014.

Next, I’ll look at my diet for the whole 4 days and do some analyzing!


Food Log, Day 3 (today was a bad eating day, I feel guilty)

Day 3

December 20, 2014

Meal 1- around noon?


Had a little bit of oatmeal made with almond milk and maple syrup.


Then I made some guacamole because it sounded good and we had avocados that were going ripe. And you know how avocados are, theyre soft one day and then bam they’re rotten the next. I made it with Frontera guacamole mix. Had about ten blue tortilla chips with it. Honestly I didnt really want to eat the chips but I couldnt really think of anything else to eat the guac with. meh.


Still hungry so I ate a banana



Had a little brewed coffee at the gym.

Meal 2, 4:30pm


Takeout sushi roll. “Mt Fuji” – tuna, salmon, avocado, cucumber with masago and some kind of spicy sauce on top. I was STARVING.

5:00pm, Cookie time

So today  my girlfriend and our friend Adison did a major christmas cookie bakeathon. They made so many cookies. I ate 4 cookies.


I ate the reject butter cookies (they were slightly burnt)


Meal 3, 8:30pm

After the cookie bakeathon, we went to a bar for dinner. I’m not a huge beer drinker but I like to drink a little bit sometimes. I drank maybe a third of a porter.


1/3 lb Burger with mushrooms and cheese, and coleslaw.




By the end of the day, I felt pretty bad about what I had eaten for the day. I try really hard not to feel guilty or feel bad about what I eat (because I think that’s mentally unhealthy)..but I felt those negative emotions today.

I felt guilty/bad that most of my food was processed and not whole foods. Worse, that I didn’t have any dark leafy greens, or even one whole serving of vegetables. I don’t think I would have felt bad if I ate several servings of vegetables on top of the processed food I ate. I dont feel bad about eating 4 cookies, or eating a burger. It’s that I didnt really eat anything particularly healthy all day, apart from the little bit of oatmeal and banana. The sushi roll? White rice and sauce on it? Probably not the best thing.

I don’t want to obsess about this because it’s not healthy, but I do want to reflect on it. That’s the whole reason for this exercise. I ate out for lunch and dinner, and that’s where the unhealthy (because they were processed and no veggies) meals occurred. Obvi, it’s hard to make healthy choices when one is eating out, or when one is getting food out of convenience.

When we were at the bar for dinner, I could have eaten a salad. But they only had salads made with lettuce, and really? I consider the nutritional content of lettuce pretty low, it’s almost not worth eating them, especially if they’re covered in high-fat dressing. So I was like, fuckit, I’m just going to eat coleslaw.

Also, I really need to address this whole eating breakfast really late thing. It’s not good.

Anyway, I’m done beating myself up over it. I’m just going to make healthier choices the next day.

I’ve decided to extend my Food Log to a 4th day! Stay tuned.

Read the other Food Logs:

Food Log Day 1

Food Log Day 2

My rationale behind this food tracking thing


Food Log, Day 1

Like I mentioned in my last blog post I’m recording my food for three days. I’m doing this not to count calories but to get a clear picture of the kind of food I consume these days. My approach/goal is to eat a balanced diet and eat as much whole foods as possible, but I’m not limiting or restricting any food groups.

Day 1 December 18, 2014

I woke up around noon, and I felt it was too late for breakfast. I was starving so I decided I was going to make a huge brunch.

First I juiced these fruits- 2 oranges, 2 apples, 2 carrots, a quarter of a lemon.



Then made an omelette – 3 eggs, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, garlic, spinach.


Then roasted like a third of a cauliflower cus I found them in the fridge, leftover from last night.



Meal #1 (around 1pm?)


Omelette, 3 sausage links, plain spinach, cauliflower, juice. Man, that’s a lot of food. I didnt end up eating the avocado and one sausage.


Meal 2: around 7:30pm?

IMG_0267 (1)

1 Tostada: spelt tortilla, tomatoes, refried beans, black beans, mashed avocado.

I ate one of these. This was actually Kory’s dinner and she ate one and she said she couldnt eat the other, so I ate the other one.

After dinner I had a chocolate attack and ate like 4? squares of this chocolate.


Then later still:


Hot chocolate: 1/2 cup, made with almond milk.


Not too bad, I ate a huge brunch but I was pretty hungry. I did 15 mins on the treadmill and lifted some weights. I meant to go to Taekwondo but I couldn’t bring myself to do it.

I got my fruits though my juice, had some veggies (cauliflower) , a little bit of green leafy veggies (spinach), protein – sausage and beans.

I guess I started craving something sweet later in the day.


Excuses for not working out at home

I’ve finally gotten into the groove of working out at my home gym. I wrote in my last post about how my awesome girlfriend renovated the basement area for the gym to make it all nice and inviting, but I was still struggling with finding motivation to work out even though it was now far more convenient.

So after about two months since the renovation, I’m relieved that I now work out at home on a regular basis. When we moved into this house I let my gym membership expire because it became out of the way. I’m working out down in the basement around 4-5 times a week, the same frequency as when I was going to a commercial gym.

At first I had every excuse in the book to not work out, like the usual ones – I’m too tired, my head hurts, I don’t have time, too busy. But the one excuse that I clung to the most was that I didn’t like the treadmill that it was subpar. I had an older home treadmill that was pretty basic, which didn’t have all the bells and whistles. I complained to Kory that it didn’t have an LCD screen, so I couldn’t really see the stats, the belt was too narrow, that the vertical part was wobbly, that it made a really loud noise, that it wasn’t as stable as a treadmill that one would find in a commercial gym.


you’re BASIC

Yeah, it’s clear now that I was determined to support the-treadmill-is-crappy excuse to get out of working out.  Which shows how much I didn’t want to work out. Or more specifically, how much I didn’t want to do cardio. There were a few weeks where I started to shop around for treadmills, checking websites and going into Dick’s Sporting Goods and Dunham’s to see their stock.

Thankfully, I’m not impulsive enough to go out and drop like two grand on a legit treadmill- that’s the low end of a commercial treadmill. Because clearly, the treadmill wasn’t the problem, it was my motivation, or inertia, or whatever. Buying a new and better treadmill wouldn’t fix that.

Eventually my excuses started to sound insubstantial even to me, and I just sucked it up and did the dang cardio. It was miserable and kind of pathetic at first – I had gone a couple of months of not running. At first I could only bear to do 10 minutes, it sucked so bad.


But I stuck to it, and little by little, as expected, it started to get better. I can’t bust out like 45 minutes or an hour like I used to, but I’m sure that all I need is time. The lifting is going good- I always knew that I liked lifting more than running/cardio, hands down. Also, I eventually accepted the fact that the treadmill is fine- I can run on it. Yeah, it doesn’t have a fancy screen and isn’t built like the Rock of Gibraltar, but it’s totz fine.

So here I am, a few months later, reporting that it is possible to successfully transition from a commercial gym to a home gym. Sure, a commercial gym will always have superior equipment. And there’s always the boost you get from seeing other gymgoers, even if you never talk to them. Old Headband Dude always made me pick up the pace when I looked over and he was sprinting like 10 miles an hour. And there aren’t pugs who wander in and get under the barbell when you’re doing squats because your gym doesn’t have a door.


“why are you down here? there are sounds coming from the backyard, we must investigate and bark at it”


“this weightlifting bores me”

BUT there are many upsides to having a home gym, among them being:

  • You don’t have to drive somewhere to work out (the most important)
  • You can do the laundry while working out
  • You can play whatever music you want on speakers
  • You can watch whatever you want on TV
  • You can make your protein smoothie in the kitchen right after
  • You can lay on the floor to do plank and not wonder how long since it’s been mopped
  • That’s your sweat on the bench
  • All the weights are lined up how you want them
  • You can have dinner in the oven while working out
  • You can grunt and make all the noises you want

I’m not saying that home gyms are better than commercial gyms. Obviously it depends on your needs, goals, and priorities. I’m clearly not a bodybuilder or anything, and I really hate commuting. I’m sure sometime in the future I will get a gym membership again, but for now, the home gym is just fine.

The status of my eating and exercising, 3 months later

In the beginning of August we moved to a new house. I was worried that I would exercise less because we were moving away from my regular gym. We also moved right next to my favorite diner, so I was also worried that I would be tempted to eat ALL THE GREASY FOOD everyday. Only one of those scenarios came true.

I didn’t end up becoming a regular at the diner. I’ve eaten there maybe five times in the three months we’ve lived here. I’ve eaten more times at our favorite sushi restaurant, which is across town. I’m not entirely sure why I haven’t eaten there more, but I’ll take it. We eat out pretty regularly, which is a habit I’m trying to break, and I was worried that moving next to the diner would just make it easier to increase the number of meals we consumed outside home. In any case, I’ve gone this long without walking over to the diner for breakfast every morning, so I don’t think I’ll start. Thank goodness.

However, my exercise definitely took a nose dive since we moved into our rented house. Back in our old apartment, the gym I went to was a 5 minute drive down the road. Another 7 minutes or so was my office. I had gotten into a nice routine where I would go to the gym in the morning, shower there, and then go to work. All of that could be done under an hour and half after I left the apartment. Or sometimes I would do it after work. My taekwondo school was also not far from the apartment and work. Really, the proximity of these workout places to my apartment is what kept me going.

So yeah, I haven’t gone to the gym since we moved. Three months. I haven’t been to the gym in three months.



A whole lot of life happened in the last couple of months. Going to the gym simply wasn’t in the cards. Some months are just crazier than others. Even Josie needs a break.

This gives me pause because it shows that my dedication to fitness is still so easily affected by external factors, like oh, convenience and geographic location.  I was hoping that by now I would be the kind of person who is intrinsically motivated to exercise, regardless of the wheres and hows. You know, that I would just wake up in the mornings and my body would just hum with this need to move and sweat. Yeah, no. It hasn’t happened yet.

So I haven’t been going to the gym BUT I have been going to taekwondo and I set up a home gym. More on that on tomorrow’s post.

Basically, the update is that I haven’t been stuffing my face with crispy hashbrowns at the diner, but I’ve stopped going to the gym, but I also went to taekwondo a lot and I built a home gym.


Taken before one of the very few runs I took this summer/fall. Also another endeavor that didn’t really work out. I got new running shoes and everything.

I’m just doing what I can, and hey, it’s good enough. Just taking Roni Noone’s advince when she says to do what you can whenever you can.

I moved to a dangerous neighborhood

It was the second night at our new house, and we had been unpacking boxes for hours. I nervously look out the kitchen window into the street. I got a sinking feeling in my stomach as I looked around the absolute mess that was our kitchen. There was no way anyone was going to cook anything in this kitchen tonight. All the glassware was still covered in newspaper or bubble wrap; the sink was full of forks and butterknives.

I was getting hungry. I mentally ran through what we had eaten today – breakfast from the  Starbucks drive-through, lunch from Jimmy John’s delivery. Not the best eating day – but I mean, it couldn’t be helped. We had moved all our stuff into our new (rented) house yesterday, and today we had to go back to the old apartment and paint 3 walls.  After several hours of that we came home and started to unpack all our stuff.

Anyway, it was obvious that dinner was going to be another delivery/take out/restaurant situation. Just like OUR LAST 7 MEALS. Fo realz, moving will make you eat badly/irregularly like no other. I mean, we don’t have a working kitchen! We have to a bagillion things to take care of! Josie has decided to poop in the house, maybe because she can smell the previous dog on the rugs, or maybe in protest. All our shit is in boxes!  So far we’ve had Panera, Chipotle, Maru Sushi, Soup Spoon, Jimmy John’s, Bells Pizza, and Starbucks like twice a day. It’s dumb to drink your calories, but when I’m stressing out about moving all my possessions from point A to B, calories are really thing from my mind.

It was time to eat. This is why this neighborhood is dangerous. We moved  next to my favorite diner.


This place is a retro diner complete with the lunch counter and vintage counter chairs. They serve the usual American diner fare- hash browns, stuffed french toast, pancakes, waffles, burgers, chili fries, gyros, hot dogs, fried chicken, country-fried steak, etc. So you know, every dish is fried and delicious and a heart attack on a plate. And, I love it. I mean, who doesn’t?


so bad for you but i love this shizz

Over the last 3 years since being with my vegan girlfriend my eating has changed immensely. I used to eat like a pot-smoking frat boy, but no longer. I’ve cut down significantly on the processed foods, decreased my dairy intake,  eat more whole foods, always eat vegetables everyday, organic and local whenever possible, etc. But heck, I still love this stuff. But I dont eat it on a regular basis, obv.

But now I live beside a 24-hour greasy spoon. Right. beside. a. 24. hour. greasy. spoon.



this place is legit because they have these vintage lunch counter stools


Seriously, is this like the universe’s way of testing my willpower or something? And did I mention this was my favorite diner in the city? I didn’t come here a lot because I always felt it was too far from where we used to live (20 minutes. Anything more than 15 minutes driving is far for me. Which is why I hardly ever drove to Lansing when I lived in East Lansing). But now, ta-da! I can walk out my door and be there in under 3 minutes.

I was trying to see how long I could hold off on going over there to eat after we moved in. I knew it was inevitable, but I wanted to not give in so easily. Welp, we broke the seal on the second night. Kory protested mildly but I overpowered her. I’m the weaker link when it comes to greasy food.


The first meal at the diner


Oh, and did I mention that there’s also an ice cream shop ACROSS the street? Thankfully, that one is not 24 hours.

So, I know I whined about the proximity of the gym in my last post. Now I wonder if it’s the exercise or the eating that will suffer more with this move!

Don’t get me wrong. Our new place is awesome. We’ve got a backyard for Josie, a place for me to plant a garden, a garage, an office for each of us, a real wood-burning fireplace that I’ve always wanted, a basement to store all my camping crap. And it’s nice to live in a tree-lined street with single-family homes after 6 years of being in an apartment building. The house has a lot of character. But we basically traded the great location in East Lansing for a house with  lots of room.

Right now I still think the trade off was worth it – but we will see in a few months how the fitness and healthy eating thing pans out.

Because really? I can literally look up from my laptop right now and see the florescent sign of the diner. I can close my computer right now and saunter over there and order some hippie hash and a coffee.  At 11pm at night. Imagine, everyday having to make this decision in your head to NOT GO OVER THERE.

I might just never exercise and eat stuffed french toast everyday. At least I will have room to grow.

We’re moving: will this make me exercise less?


this is what the living room looks like right now

Tomorrow we are moving out of this cramped apartment and into a 3-bedroom house across town. I’m super happy about having more space, but I’m sad about leaving this location. I’m also worried that I will exercise less.

I’m sad because the apartment is pretty much in the best location: it’s 5 minutes from the gym, 7 minutes from a health food store, 8 minutes from the food coop, 8 minutes from my taekwondo school, and 9 minutes from my office.  There’s also a running path on the next street over.

The close proximity to healthy food and exercise places is half the reason why I can keep doing this fitness/healthy eating thing. Heck, it’s not like I’m stellar at it or anything, but being so close to these places eliminates the i-dont-have-time-to-get-there excuse. And that’s a pretty legit excuse, right? But after we move, the transit time to the gym and taekwondo will definitely be a factor.

Everyday, I struggle with myself to go exercise. Some days are easier than others, but I don’t roll out of bed and get all pumped about going to the gym. Except for the weekends, I exercise or got to taekwondo in the afternoon/early evening after work. Usually, at that point I’m so tired that all I want to do is go home and lay on the couch. Most times the last thing I want to do is get my butt to the gym to do cardio for 40 minutes or go to taekwondo. But because the gym and the taekwondo place is literally 5 minutes from the office, it’s usually enough to force me to go.


The 2-bedroom apartment is cramped for 2 people and a dog, but I loved that rear balcony faced a wooded area. I’ll miss the view.

Seriously, living in this apartment in East Lansing is pretty much the best situation transit-wise. It takes me 8-9 minutes to get to work in the morning. If it’s gym day, I drive 5 minutes from work to the gym. From there, another 5 minutes to get back home.

If it’s taekwondo day, I drive 6 minutes from work to the dojo. After taekwondo, I usually stop at the Food Coop ,which is in the same commercial center, and pick up some produce or something. Then drive 7 minutes home.

The apartment is also relatively near the East Lansing library;  Meijer,which is a big box department/grocery store; Maru, our favorite sushi restaurant; two farmer’s markets. Kory’s Aikido dojo and yoga place are also just 5-6 minutes away. And we also have a good friend who lives down the street, and there’s also our dear next-door gaybors.



a Whole Foods is being built like 5 minutes away from the apartment.


As you can probably tell, I’m pretty attached to living here. I don’t love this apartment, but I’ve always known that this is great location. I love living in college towns because a lot of essential places are clustered around the university, and I always live near where I work. Why? Because I detest commuting.

But now we are moving from East Lansing to Lansing, and for the first time in 9 years I won’t be living in a college town. Lansing isn’t a huge city by any means, but it’s definitely a city.  East Lansing has a very college town feel, which makes sense because it is populated by mostly students, faculty, and people connected to the university. I would describe the atmosphere as typically more intellectual, progressive, liberal, inclusive, eco- and health-conscious than bigger cities.

The apartment isn’t in the student ghetto or near the frat houses, so we have been spared the drunken parties and whatnot. My experience living in this place has been good. And it’s near to all the places I love. I’m definitely going to miss living here (not in this apartment).


Lived in this apartment for 6 years. Have countless memories in this place, but it’s time to move on.

Anyway, to go back to the original point, my worry is that by moving farther away from the exercise places, I will have more excuses not to go. And I will just go back to being a lazy bum. And be a bluppety-blup. I really don’t want to be a bluppety-blup.

Maybe I’m overreacting? I mean, I can find a gym closer to our new place. Yes, I looked and it seems like the closest one is about 15 minutes away. I haven’t really investigated all the options in the area, but what if I don’t like any of them? And I know I won’t be changing Taekwondo schools, so I’m still going to go to that one. Yes, the gym and taekwondo place will still be near my work, but it’s going to take like 25-30 minutes to get home after that. I know that doesn’t seem like a lot, but after years of only having to drive 10 minutes at most to get home, it’s a little hard to take.

Anyway, we will see how it works out. I obviously won’t stop working out completely, but I’m sure in about a month I will find out how moving to the new place affects my fitness routines.


Ok, tomorrow is a big day and I should probably go to sleep soon. I’m counting the dozens of boxes that I’ll be lifting as my exercise for the day.


Just trying to climb back on the wagon

Ok, true confessions time. I definitely fell off the wagon in the last month. Or so. Probably a little bit longer. Maybe a month and a half? It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where I started to slip.

Which wagon, you say? Oh you know, the healthy-eating-exercising-regularly wagon. I wish it was only one or the other that slipped- the eating or the exercising. But they both definitely suffered. Oh man.

Let’s tackle the eating first. From like January to April (May?) I was pretty good about eating whole foods and limiting processed food, but lately here the pastries and ice creams have been consumed at a pretty high frequency.


why must fried dough taste so good?

Damn you, Zingerman’s pastry case at the Food Coop! Why must you call my name every time I drive by you on my way home? You and your bostocks and almond croissants and cranberry muffins!

Also, since it’s summer, I start craving rootbeer floats. I can even replicate the Butterbeer from Harry Potter World with butterscotch rootbeer and vanilla ice cream, and it’s heaven. Heaven, I tell you.

Also, these very delicious ice creams went on sale at the Coop this week, and sh*t just kind of hit the fan. I brought home 3 of those bad boys. 3!


And there’s the exercise. I haven’t stopped completely, but the frequency and intensity of my workouts have definitely decreased. In the early part of the year I went to the gym to lift weights 3 times a week, went to Taekwondo twice a week, and had cardio sessions here and there. Anyway, those definitely dwindled.

Is it just the mid-year slump? New Year’s Resolutions losing its luster? I started getting my eating and exercising together months before January, but yeah, I definitely got a big mental boost at beginning of the year.

Is it because it’s summer? It’s so damn hot out. It’s too hot to run. Or it’s too rainy. Who wants to run in the rain?

Anyway, I could come up with excuses all day but it doesn’t matter. I slacked off, lost focus, stuffed my piehole, got lazy with the exercising, period.

I’m just going to dust myself off  and try to scramble back up the wagon. I might have to run after it first!