I have six months to reshape my life. I can do this.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Simply Having a Wonderful Christmastime

Ah, I dig the Christmas music. I have about 24 hours worth of various and wonderful Christmas music on my iTunes. I listen to it on a random shuffle and always delight in the various music. After the weight info, I will give you my fave Christmas music and maybe you too can enjoy what I enjoy.

Last week, including the Thanksgiving holiday, I dropped 5 pounds, bringing the grand total up to 26 pounds since Nov. 1st, and 38 since around September. This week I started walking 2 miles a week and my physical trainer gave me a nice way to determine how many calories I burn when I walk. If I keep a brisk pace I simply multiply my current weight x .53. If I just sort of meander-walk, I multiply my weight x .20. The more calories I burn, the faster I drop the weight. Hope those help you out. The numbers are the same for you, just put your own weight in there x either .53 or .20. If you walk briskly you can burn a good number of calories a day.

My fave Christmas music: The McLaughlin Brothers First Christmas: I know two of them, so that helps. But they actually do sing pretty well and I enjoy all the songs on the disc.
- The Beach Boys Merry Christmas From the Beach Boys: This is a great album with some great songs.
- Diana Krall Christmas Songs - She has the great dark brown, smoky quality to her voice. Loaded with smooth soul.
- Sufjan Stevens Songs for Christmas - I really like Sufjan. His Christianity is revealed in this great, beautiful album
- James Brown The Christmas Collection - No Christmas season should be complete without the hardest working man in showbusiness imploring Santa Claus to go to the ghetto. GREAT album
- Vince Guaraldi Trio A Charlie Brown Christmas - Maybe the greatest jazz collection of Christmas themed songs ever. The soundtrack to the great Christmas special. I can see Linus now.
- Various A Motown Christmas - Great stuff from the Supremes, The Temps, Jackson 5 and more.
- Phil Spector A Christmas Gift to you from Phil Spector - back in the 60's with the Ronettes and other stars from Phil's stable. The great wall of sound sounds great especially at Christmas
- Harry Connick Jr. Harry for the Holidays and When My Heart Finds Christmas - GREAT! HFTH may be his best album ever, not just best Christmas album
- Anything with Bing, Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Johnny Mathis or the Trans Siberian Orchestra.

Enjoy. Happy holidays.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Up Yours, Turkey

"Everything is all right. We've prayed today. Everything is OK. We've played today." - The Who, from the song Mike Post Theme.

When you decide to have a life change, you have to have enough room to play. That room seems to be provided for whenever I pray. Prayer has been the key for me. It strengthens me. I have developed new reserves for discipline and self control. Because I am realizing how social an animal eating really is.

Think about it. Most of the social time you have with people is around a table. I have had to over-compensate with my people time. It means saying no to food but yes to hanging out. I have had to work hard to not become some hermit sneaking around a low-calorie kingdom, away from the people eating things on white bread and loaded with sugar.

Now when people see me they ask two questions: How much weight have you lost? This is the first question. It makes me feel good. Before people would patronize me with asking me if I was losing weight. Most of the time it was because I looked slightly different than I did the last time they saw me. Usually the reason for the difference was a hair cut, a new shirt, ironed clothes. But when they ask how much I have lost, I realize that the weight loss is showing. Before we get to the second question, let me get on a soapbox quickly and then I will dismount it almost as quickly...

When you see a big person who is DEFINATELY losing weight, ask them about it. It means a lot. First of all, it seems like you care, regardless of whether or not that is the case. It also provides encouragement. Just walk up and say, something like this: "Wow, you are looking good! How much weight have you lost? That is great! Keep it up!" You can even ask HOW they are doing it. But that is it. Just be happy. Christians betray themselves as the evil, vile and dreaded Self-Righteous Skinny when they add this caveat of crapfulness: "Don't you feel better?" or "I am so glad you decided to get healthy and do that. I was worried about you." Don't say those things. Big people know they are big. It is not a surprise. Of course we feel better. We don't want to think about how awful we used to be. And don't treat fat people like they are one flight of stairs away from a triple bypass and heart attack. Be worried about yourself each time you fly or travel a long distance. If you MUST continue to make small talk, say something about how soon they will have to buy new clothes. Back to the questions.

How much have I lost? Since August it is 35 pounds. Since November 1st it is 21 pounds. I even lost weight over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. So, up yours turkey! And mashed potatoes. And gravy. And stuffing. Man, will I be glad when the weight is all gone and I can up the calorie intake because I am doing more of a muscle building and toning workout instead of just all cardiovascular work.

What are you doing? I walk everyday. Everyday. No days off from the walking. Today I started walking two miles. Before that it was a mile and a half. I love the walking. It is becoming my favorite part of the day. I think a lot. Pray a lot. Listen to great music. And go into my own world. Like Alan Shore says, I enjoy solitude. I just prefer it around other people. And I am eating less. Revolutionary concept, I know. Eating a lot more fish. Chicken too. Lean steak. Tons and tons of veggies. Some good fiber based products. And everything else is low calorie. Pudding, yogurts, cereal, waterwaterwaterwater, wraps, tortillas, and a healthy supply of vegetarian things. All in all it is great. I love it and am convinced I can live this way forever. That is what it took. Just changing the way I think.

Soon all you self-righteous skinny people will be envious and I will then be in a position to look negatively on YOUR health. And you know what? I won't do it. I will just encourage you. But when I get home, I will take the pins out of the make-shift voodoo dolls I have more than likely made of you during fits where I wanted ice cream and couldn't have it while you feasted on it in front of me. Jerks.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Jacob's Ladder

"Step by step, rung by rung. Higher and higher. Step by step. One by one. We're climbing Jacob's ladder." - Huey Lewis

I have to be honest. The numbers can be deceiving. I actually started incorporating exercise and a revised diet back in the summer. I was not all that faithful to it like I have been the past two weeks but I still watched what I took and in and made extra effort to be active. I lost about ten pounds from September and October. So, my total weight loss up to this weigh in had been 22 pounds. But from the start of this effort to get healthy I had lost 12 pounds until this morning's weigh in.

Now that song by Huey Lewis and the News means more. The water weight is gone and now I am into the heavy lifting of weight loss. After a weekend where I wasn't as active as I should have been, I regained some ground Sunday-Tuesday. I have not missed a day of walking since Nov. 1st. I actually look forward to it each day, strangely enough. It is a half hour or so where I zone into my own little head space and think, listen, sweat and get to ignore the world. For a minister, that is a blessing. I thought I would hate the walking aspect of getting healthy. But each day the mile and a half gets easier. And we add a half mile in December to make it a full two. I walk the last quarter faster than the first quarter. If there was a tubby relay race, I could be the anchor!

Keep praying for me. I am going to be on limited calories for a while until my weight is closer to an ideal weight for my height. So I could be in this mode for another six to eight to twelve months. Then it changes to a modified Atkins regiment for life. I can never be what I was again. Now the only regret is wondering why I waited so long to get serious about getting healthy. I have some great supporters in my weight loss. Bone checks in each day. Wallace suffers through lunch with me most days. Lloyd has sent me some emails and cards and follows up on Sundays. Mike dropped some info by to make sure I was going about losing the weight in a healthy way. These four and the prayers of countless others have really been an encouragement.

Weight loss to date: -18 pounds. Lost six this week(which exceeds my weekly goal of five this past week! woo hoo! if I can reign in this weekend a little bit better, I may even make next week's goal!!!)

Monday, November 13, 2006

The Party of FDR

I am a moderate Democrat. I know, hard to believe. I do not vote the party line. I look at the people running and make informed decisions that reflect my faith and my conscience. In the last election here in AR, I did not vote democrat up and down the ticket. In fact, my votes were split.

In AR, under a GOP gov. who in my opinion should get the GOP nod for veep in 08 (McCain/ Huckabee), I even voted for the losing cause for GOP (I knew Asa Hutchinson would lose but the incredible financial growth of our state under GOP policy was too hard to NOT vote for...how did Asa NOT marry himself to THAT growth by promising to continue GOP policy??? The man was simply out-campaigned by Mike Beebe).

I also like to poke and prod at my GOP friends whenever the President says something like "I'm the decider." I admit, I paint the GOP with a broad stroke as being moronic right-wing nutjobs. And they paint me as being a yellow-dog democrat. I let them. I think it is cute that most typical republicans cannot name any other democrats outside of Ted Kennedy, the Clintons, Howard Dean ("HEEEEAYYYAAAAHHHHH!") and Mike Dukakis. But I did find this email humorous and thought I would share it. You republicans are so cute.

7:00PM - Opening Flag Burning
7:15 - Pledge of Allegiance to the UN
7:30 - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
7:45-8:00 - Non-religious prayer and worship: Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton
8:00 - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
8:05 - Ceremonial tree hugging
8:15-8:30 - Gay Wedding: Barney Frank presiding
8:30 - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
8:35 - Free Saddam Rally - Cindy Sheehan, Susan Sarandon
9:00 - Keynote Speech: Proper Etiquette for Surrender: French President Jacques Chirac
9:15 - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
9:20 - Collection to benefit Osama bin Laden Kidney Transplant Fund
9:30 - Unveiling of plan to free freedom fighters in Guantanamo Bay: Sean Penn
9:40 - Why I Hate the Military: A Short talk with Bill Clinton
9:45 - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
9:50 - The Dan Rather Truth in Broadcasting Award presented by Michael Moore
9:55 - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
10:00 - How George Bush and Donald Rumsfeld brought down the World Trade Center Towers: Howard Dean
10:30 - Nomination of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
11:00 - Ted Kennedy proposes a toast
11:05 - Al Gore reinvents internet
11:15 - Our Troops are Dumb War Criminals: John Kerry
11:30 - Coronation of Ms. Rodham-Clinton
11:45 - Ted Kennedy closes with a toast
12:00 - Bill asks Ted to drive Hillary home

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

Well we are into the diet. And that is the last time we will call it a diet. It is not a diet. It is a life change. I have to make these things changes last. I cannot do this for half a year and then go back to where I was. I can never be that guy again. I like Dave Mac's name, calling it Project 413. I think I will call it that too. Besides, he doesn't have it trade marked or anything. Dave is rare. The bright Christian mind that doesn't want financial gain for the free blessings God bestows on him. Too bad Warren, Hybels and everyone else isn't like that. Heaven forbid Christians share for free the lessons, teachings, resources and other things that God freely gave them. Instead, if you can package it, make a buck...why not???

But enough of that. I think the weight I started with was inaccurate. I weighed in today and had to re-weigh four times because i had lost 22 pounds. So I had to hunt out the original scale and it was off by about ten pounds, give or take. So I am STILL FREAKING EXCITED!!! I have lost 12 pounds so far. When I weighed, after it sank in, I did a naked booty dance of joy in the privacy of my own powder room. I do feel better too. I have been walking each day or playing basketball. For the first time ever in my life, I have exercised for ten straight days. And I am really enjoying the food I am eating. I know the folks at Taco Bell and McDonalds and Burger King and Chick Fil A are trying to find out what happened to big Craig. Screw you, fast food whores. I am a new man. Bam.

Keep me in your prayers. And celebrate with me as I continue to dance over the first round of water weight. Soon, however, the heavy lifting of dieting will begin. Give me another week or two of losing water weight. Then the real work begins.

So far: -12 pounds.

"It's time to make a stand...dirty deeds done dirt cheap." AC/DC

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Just Like Starting Over

I woke up way too early. Had my first glass of water. Because the body needs lots of water and it had been about six or seven hours since my last glass. Always gotta drink that water.

Weighed myself to officially start the life change. I refuse to call it a diet because a diet implies that when it is over I can simply go back to eating whatever. I cannot do that anymore. Once the first six months of this stage is over, I begin eating from a modified atkins plan. And that is the plan I will stick to for the rest of my life. So it is not a diet. It is a life change.

But these next six months will be a bear. I am setting my mind to it. I am claiming scripture over it (Phil. 4:13 a la Surf Daddy Mac and Gal. 2:20). And I am slowly beginning the adjustment. For these next six months I am on a low low low cal intake. I am allowing myself between 800-1200 calories a day. So protein shakes, bran cereal with skim milk, subway subs, green veggies and low cal yogurts will the become the staples for the next half a year. It isn't so much of a can I do it as much as it is a I have to do it sort of thing.

So as I was toting most of my stuff out to the car to workout and make my office more life-change friendly, I placed the headphones on. On my iTunes on my phone I heard this great John Lennon classic and I really, honestly felt that God was communicating to me through it saying that we are starting over, starting new today. And my head was lifted a little.

Pray for me. If you want to know how much the starting point was, email me at craigsmithfbc@hotmail.com and I will fill you in on where we are starting and that way you can either be amazed at the weight loss or disappointed at the moron trying to lose it.

I will try to post a few updates each week for all eyes who read this. Help me with prayer, accountibility and accessibility. I need people to not just ask me how it is going. I need people to be available in case I have a mini-melt down.

"Our life together, is precious together. We have grown. We have grown. It'll be just like starting over." - John Lennon