The Year in Review

So.  2016.  What can I say about the year that we’re about to leave behind?

dumpsterfire2

That’s sure what it feels like, doesn’t it?  Lots of famous, popular people died.  Politics upset a whole lot of people.  Nazis have stopped scuttling for cover when you turn on the lights.  That sort of thing.

It hasn’t been all bad, though.  Not really.  There’s a number of lists of good things that happened this year, and here’s my favorite.  And it doesn’t even mention the New Horizon probe flying past Pluto, or Juno rendezvousing with Jupiter.  Or the fact that I’m almost 30 pounds lighter than I was on January 1, or the fact that even though I didn’t have the same success I had in 2015 I’ve kept the weight off.

It’s easy to listen to the news and get discouraged.  It’s easy to learn that childhood icons passed away, and get depressed.  It’s tempting to obsess on the things you wanted to achieve, and not to see the things you did achieve.  It’s utterly human to hear bad news, and think that things are worse now than they’ve ever been and that they will never, ever get better.

But they do.  And they will.  And they have.

I’ve lost 30 pounds this year, and kept it off.  I live in a world where my son only knows about chickenpox from television, and has never even heard of measles.  I’ve taken up contact staff spinning and contact juggling as hobbies, and I’m walking long distances for fun.  I can do 20 push-ups, and all of my stretching has made my joints far less stiff than they once were.  I sleep better, and I’m eating better, and I feel better than I have in a long, long time.

It’s been a good year, overall.  So let’s let’s see it out in style.

 

Bacon. It’s What’s For Breakfast!

All right, so the title’s a little bit hyperbolic.  I made myself a bunch of breakfast burritos last night, as a way of making sure that I eat a meal I’ve prepared myself instead of eating out.  Why?  A couple of reasons, honestly.  Portion control is one of them, because I know exactly how much of what I put into the food I make myself.  This makes it easier to track my calories.  Also, there’s a little matter of cost.  Making breakfast burritos, even with the time commitment required, costs a lot less than eating in the cafeteria at work or running through a drive through.

This time round, I made the burritos with bacon.  One strip per burrito, enough to add a nice flavor without overwhelming the meal.  The original recipe was posted here in October, so let me just recap how this works.

Breakfast Burrito

8 large eggs (70 calories each)
1 onion (46 calories)
1 red, yellow, or green bell pepper (50 calories)
8 slices American cheese (78 calories each)
8 strips bacon (117 calories each)
8 8-inch tortillas (80 calories each)

Directions:

  1. Cook your bacon to the desired crispness, and set aside.
  2. Finely chop your onion and pepper.  Cook them in the bacon grease until the onion is translucent.
  3. Beat your eggs, add them to the skillet , and scramble them with the onion and pepper.
  4. Warm the tortilla shells and lay them out on sheets of tin foil.
  5. Place one strip of bacon and one slice of cheese on the center of each tortilla, then evenly divide the scrambled eggs between the eight tortillas.  Roll the tortillas, then wrap them in the tin foil.
  6. Freeze until ready to eat.  Reheating takes 3 to 5 minutes in a microwave, depending on the power of the microwave.

Notes:

  • This comes out to 357 calories per burrito, although be sure to check the specific calorie content for the items you use.  Not all tortillas or bacon or cheese are created equal.  The specific brands I used, for example, actually worked out to 302 calories per burrito.
  • Much like a sandwich recipe, a burrito recipe is more of an example of how to make a whole class of food.  Use sausage or ham or fish or whatever you like instead of bacon, or skip the meat altogether.  Don’t like American cheese?  Use cheddar or provolone or Swiss or whatever else strikes your fancy.  Want more vegetables, and two different types of mushrooms?  Knock yourself out.  Just think of this as an omelette wrap, and go crazy.  Be sure to account for the calories of the items you add and subtract, though.
  • I have no idea how long these will keep in the freezer.  I tend to eat them all within a week of making them.

You Win Some, You Lose Some

I did pretty well, yesterday.  Most of the day I tracked all of my calories, and I worked hard to hit all of my exercise goals, and I was feeling pretty good about myself.  Things were really looking up!

And then I went to a Chinese buffet for dinner.

In fairness to myself, yesterday was a crazy, crazy day.  We were down to one car for the day, thanks to some repair work that needed doing, so I spent a lot of the day on the road.  By the time I picked up my wife from work, my family was happy to gather together over some mass-produced fried rice in bulk quantities.  So I have no idea how much I ate, because it’s really hard to track calories at a buffet.  Which is why I generally avoid them, these days.

Still, I got all of my exercise goals in.  And I came within a third of a mile of hitting my walking goal before I decided that 3 am comes awfully early and I really need some sleep.  So I don’t think one day of overeating will hurt me.  As long as I make sure it’s only one day, that is.

Holidays All The Way Down

Originally, I was going to call this post “Two Days After Christmas”, in a nod to my last blog entry.  But then I thought about calling it “Two Days After Hanukkah” instead, because that particular holiday started on December 24th this year.  But then, the way my brain works, I started thinking I should look for a holiday that was two days from today, but that would have made the title either “Two Days To Kayin New Year” or “Two Days To Tick Tock Day“, neither of which would have made sense.  However, I also learned that – assuming the internet is to be believed – yesterday was a holiday named “Second Day of Christmas” in the Netherlands, which I’ll choose to believe is called Tweedekerstmis until informed otherwise.  Which will probably happen within the next few hours.

Anyway, it was a good weekend.  Plenty of time spent relaxing and visiting with family, and playing odd board games with my son, and drooling over the recipes in the lovely new cook book that was one of my gifts.  Oh, and according to my scale, I lost five pounds over the holiday weekend.

Wait, what?

Yeah.  See, I weighed in on Saturday at 310.2 lbs – a thing that did not make me a happy man.  But then, last night, something struck me.  I’d been on steroids for the past 10 days, as part of my treatment for bronchitis, and as of Saturday it had been only 24 hours since I took the last pill.  And steroids cause you to gain weight.  So, out of curiosity, I got on the scales this morning.

305.6 lbs.

So, yeah.  I’m actually 1.2 pounds lighter than I was before I started taking the steroids.  That felt good.  Really good.

So, have a Happy First Day of Kwanzaa and a Solemn Zartosht No-Diso, and I’ll see you all tomorrow!

Two Days Until Christmas!

Yeah.  I’m super excited.  Presents, and a big Christmas dinner, and time with family – not to mention a three-day weekend.  It’s gonna be great!  And then, starting Monday, I’m really getting back on track.  I’ve done a pretty good job of hitting all my exercise goals this week, and next week I’m going to go back to having a calorie budget again.  Because 2017 is going to be a much better year than 2016, that’s why.

Yes, I know 2017 doesn’t start until the following week.  Work with me here, all right?  After Sunday I’m through the calorie-laden part of the holidays, so it’s a good time to get started.

Anyway, though, it’s Christmas on Sunday.  Merry Christmas!

Dancing The Last Mile

Quite seriously, I did not expect to hit my walking goals yesterday.  I hadn’t had a whole lot of sleep the night before, and by the time I left work at 2 pm (with only 3.8 miles under my belt) all I wanted to do was go and take a nap.  Which I was able to do, because my wife had made arrangements for my son.  Why?  Because there was a Yule celebration at church, and he wanted to go and wanted us both to go as well, and daddy needed some sleep desperately in order to manage.

Yule celebrations vary from group to group, of course.  For us, it involves a fire pit and dancing and singing and pot-luck desserts as we celebrate the longest night of the year and look forward to the coming of spring at the very beginning of winter.  And there was a lot of dancing.  Nearly a mile of dancing, by the time we all snaked and twisted our way around the parking lot and back to the fire pit.

So, yeah.  I hit my goal, in the nicest way possible – sharing it with friends and loved ones as we celebrated Yule.

Happy Winter!

It is officially the start of winter, today.  Which is always an interesting realization, since it’s been cold for the past month.  Except when it hasn’t – in my neck of the woods, at least, we have three or four days of sub-freezing temperature followed by a single day that gets into the high forties or low fifties (Fahrenheit, that is).  It makes exercise interesting, because you never know if you’re going to be able to make it outside to go walking or not.

So I keep it simple.  I assume that I won’t be going outside, and try to make sure I walk around the office a whole lot.

So far, two days in, my experiment appears to be working out.  Based on the best labeling information and measurements I could make, I ate 2,547 calories yesterday and my FitBit tells me I burned 4,316 calories thanks to a combination of living and walking and getting all my exercises in (two days in a row!).  Then, when I got on my scale this morning, it showed a promising movement in the direction of down.  Although this might still be a “break even” week, because of my failure to model restraint at my in-law’s Christmas dinner last week (which happened after I weighed in, and did me no favors).  But that’s all right.  I’d figured this week might end up being a “break even” week anyway.  Not so much because I’m planning a “last hurrah” as I’m recognizing the realpolitik of trying to avoid a lot of high calorie foods five days before Christmas.

Enjoy your First Day of Winter, everyone!