* Code to improve Google search: Frank's Weight Loss Blog: 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Moving to a New Blog

(Note added 03/2/2010: The "Frank on a Diet" blog mentioned below never really got going or resulted in any weight loss. Fortunately, yet another blog was started in mid-February and it has been quite successful with 8 pounds lost in less than 3 weeks. That blog is "Diet or Die Early".)

Instead of continuing this blog, I'm starting off fresh once again with the blog "Frank on a Diet". The book "You on a Diet" by Drs. Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz will be used as a guide, trying to get into the mode of eating better, more exercise, and even some stretching. There's nothing revolutionary about the approach, but it helps to have someone else spell out a plan instead of relying on some general concepts bouncing around in my head.

Mentally, it should help to have a new beginning instead of continuing this blog which has mostly recorded shortcomings instead of successes. A new blog, a new start, a new plan, a new attitude--let's see if that adds up to new and better results.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

November 18, 2009--225.5 Pounds

How does one quit blogging when weight is dropping like fall leaves? Too bad the chances of averaging 1.5 pounds lost per day over the next month is about equal to the chances of our Gang of 8 winning the lottery.

At least there have been some positive actions on my part. No more hot pockets for breakfast, replaced instead by oatmeal. No more candy at work--or at least until the ladies in the department next door refill their candy bowl. I went through the Wendy's drive-thru and only had a small burger for supper last night, which at least help some when I slipped up and bought a Snickers at the Millsaps basketball game.

Yesterday at work saw the last hot pocket lunch as well. For right now it will be back to soup and a yogurt for lunch. That's got to be better than the hot pockets even though the calorie difference isn't much. Maybe with a light lunch followed by a heavy dose of willpower at Nick's this evening, I can have at least one more day of the weight dropping.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

November 17, 2009--226.5 Pounds

Had to post today since this is a 2 pound loss from yesterday. Not that I did anything unusual from my 2,000 to 2,500 calorie routine and no exercise because of the photo editing. It's just my body getting back to where it wants to be.

If/when someone unlocks the key to that control room and people will have the ability to in essences "reset the body thermostat" to burn off excessive fat, that could be a fantastic day for humanity. Or a disaster. Right now people tend to show some self control because of the consequences suffered from overeating. If the consequences could be erased with a pill, it would be very tempting to eat 4,000-5,000 calories a day.

What would be the harm in that you ask? Well, think of the stress on the body of bringing in all that food and then burning it up. Sort of like keeping a furnace going at the maximum temperature all day. Do that day after day, year after year, and systems break down. We could all look slim and trim on the outside while we prematurely age on the inside.

Not that we have to really worry about all that. Someone will find the key and then they will get a patent and charge a fortune for their discovery. Even if the medication costs 10 cents to make, they will charge $1,000 or more for a one-month diet package. And they will probably need that money to fight off the class action lawsuits that follow every new wonder drug. Helping humanity is a nice thought, but the bottom line is going to be the focus when people start finding ways to alter our genetics.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Officially Back to the Beginning

Astute and long time blog readers will remember that I started blogging when my weight was 225 pounds. That was in late February of 2006. However, you might also remember my mentioning that my weight was actually 230 pounds prior to that and the blogging didn't start until 5 pounds were successfully lost.

Sunday morning I weighed 230 pounds. Not surprising coming on the heels of staying up all night Thursday and then going to a football team supper after the game Saturday. Today the weight was down to 228.5 and maybe a few more pounds will come off rather easily, but there's no doubt that I'm all the way back to where things started about 4 years ago.

A few things have changed for the worse since that time. First, my exercise level has dropped to zero compared to some tennis and maybe a little bit of jogging in 2006. The second big change is that I'm 4 years older. That makes it a little harder to take off the weight and it makes me closer to the time when various ailments of the elderly will start popping up. I'm really at the 11th hour of dieting if my goal for losing weight it to lower my risk of a wide variety of diseases. And the last big change is that I'm no longer quite as embarrassed about my weight. That's a bad thing. This notion that one should be comfortable with who you are is a bad thing if you are a person who is 20 pounds into the obesity category. This isn't about feeling good about yourself, it's about being healthy and making the journey through life easier.

Of course, the reality is that overweight people are viewed as less attractive and maybe viewed as lazy or lacking in willpower or whatever. That is what it is, and it is another reason or motivation to work on losing weight. Speaking as a fat person, I do think my extra weight makes me less attractive and it is a result of lack of exercise and lack of willpower. We are not suppose to point these things out to overweight people because that is being insensitive, but I guess it is okay to admit the realities of my life. In a lot of ways, this extra weight is a burden on my life and the responsibility for putting it on and taking it off rest solely on me. The nature of our society and the abundance of fast food restaurants and empty calorie treats all make the job tougher, but the responsibility ultimately rests entirely on my shoulders.

What am I going to do going forward? One of the things I strongly considered was to quit blogging about trying to lose weight. The blogging was great at first and now it seems to be a monument to my failed plans and inability to stay focused for more than a few days at a time. There was a great temptation to go into the Blogger setup yesterday and with a click of the "Delete" button followed by a click of the "Yes I'm sure" option, this blog would be gone. Seeing as how I'm totally back to where I started, it seemed like an potentially appropriate thing to do. However, it just didn't feel right to delete so much work even if it has been spotty at best.

Instead of deleting the blog, I'll wait and see how I feel about the blogging. It seems unlikely that I'll get back to daily posts here, but I might give progress reports periodically. Or I may just give those reports on the main blog. We'll see.

On the weight loss front, last night's supper was just vegetables and oatmeal will now replace the hot pockets for breakfast. The photo project will soon fall back to a manageable pace and there will be no excuse for failing to walk. I'm not sure that the photo project is a valid excuse for not walking, but now I can't fall back on that as justification for inactivity. It all comes down to eating less, eating better, and being more active. These are things I can do and now we'll see if I can live up to that responsibility to myself.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Day 9--Unknown

You can tell how unfocused I've become on the weight loss as I keep forgetting to post in the morning. Tuesday evening the photo editing lasted till 11 p.m. and started back up at 3 a.m. Wednesday morning. There wasn't really a spot where I could get a normal weight.

Maybe the soccer photos can be completed and ready for distribution by Friday if I'll follow this 4 hours of sleep routine the rest of the week. It would be nice to get those totally completed and have myself down to just football for the weekend and next week.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Day 8--225 Pounds (3 lbs lost)

I may have to accept this 225 level for a week or so. Right now what I really want to do is get the fall sports completed and move on to some other things in my life. Maybe when that's done I can get back to some of the longer walks through the Fondren and Belhaven neighborhoods.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Day 7--225 Pounds (3 lbs lost)

Forgot to post this morning. Not much to report from yesterday. Will be glad when I'm not spending all day tied to a PC. Maybe then I can get a little more focused on this weight loss effort.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Day 6--225.5 Pounds (2.5 lbs lost)

Two things have become obvious to me recently:

1) My setpoint is no longer 222 pounds. My body didn't rush to get back to that level after my trip to Dallas and who could blame it. While I have no exact number, there have been multiple times this fall where stretches of no exercise of the body or willpower have bumped my weight several pounds higher than that 222 mark. Each time the weight would fall back to 222, not because of great dieting days on my part, but mostly because that's what my internal mechanism wanted. It's not surprising that my internal weight thermostat got bumped up a few pounds and it looks like it might take a couple of weeks to get back to the 222 pound level.

2) I'm in the worst shape of my life. My entire life, not just my adult life. Even as a fat little kid I could get out and run and play. I might have been the least athletic on the field, but at least I could play. This morning I was sore from walking 3 miles Friday morning and 40 minutes Saturday night. Walking at a slow pace makes me feel like I've been in some tough, physical sports competition. I guess standing and taking photographs for over two hours Friday night added to the soreness, but basically my general fitness is just pathetic. My fitness level has dropped to the point where it's hard to even do the basic first steps on the road back to fitness. I'm starting to doubt that I'll every get back to anywhere near being fit, not as long as I'm putting so much time into other things.

Last thing before I switch over to that primary "other thing" for the rest of the day. The labels of "Positive" and "Negative" seemed like a good idea except that most days seem to fall into a gray area. Ever day so far could have been better. Every day so far I've said no to a lot of impulses that would have greatly hurt my weight loss efforts. So, while I like the labels as somewhat of a "gold star" to shoot for each day, I'm dropping the labels because it's too hard to determine positive and negative. Right now I'm just trying to get my life to the end of November when there will be some breathing room. Maybe not breathing room, but time to spend on digging out from everything that has piled up around me. Those things weigh me down as much as the excessive fat stored all over my body.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Day 5--225 Pounds (3 lbs lost)

Negative day of dieting. It's nice to have lost a half pound despite a bad day, but that's probably because I ate a very early supper. Someone had several pizzas delivered to the office yesterday, plenty to share and I had plenty. What I should have done was stick with my normal lunch which would have been hot pockets, but that didn't make sense because they are so much like pizza. The only difference is that the hot pockets were a measured quantity that would have been just right. The pizza was a near unlimited quantity that kept calling me back for more.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Day 4--225.5 Pounds (2.5 lbs lost)

Based on yesterday's logic, Thursday could be seen as a negative dieting day even though I did well for the circumstances. The reality is that more could have been done almost each day in almost everyone's diet, so by the strictest way of thinking, every day that could have been better should be counted as a negative. I'm not going to be that strict. Thursday was full of good decisions and the weight this morning was down a pound from yesterday--in my book that gets a "Positive" label for the day.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Day 3--226.5 Pounds (1.5 lbs lost)

I've been adding a label to the last few posts as a way of keeping up with "positive" and "negative" dieting days. Initially there was going to be a "neutral" category as well. That got scratched because it seemed counterproductive to dieting.

You see, yesterday was perfect for a "neutral" day. There were free Krispy Kreme donuts at work and I resisted the temptation (along with all of the free candy which is always available). At Nick's it was a night of 3 light beers and no sampling of the bowl of nuts so 300 calories is really good for a Wednesday evening with the guys. Staying out of that bowl of nuts was a real challenge. It was a day when things could have fallen to pieces and I stayed strong.

Or fairly strong. I was home in the afternoon working on photos and I snacked on a 250 calorie bag of popcorn along with another later in the evening. There was a banana before leaving for Nick's and a 700 calorie pizza after Nick's. Maybe the calorie total for Wednesday was 2,500. Not bad considering the circumstances, so maybe "neutral" is valid considering all of the good decisions made. Still, 2,500 calories is a number that isn't helping me lose weight. That's the bottom line. I'm trying to lose weight and yesterday wasn't an effort that pushed me further in that direction. If this was sports, we could call yesterday a moral victory which is a nice term for a loss. Yesterday was a moral victory for my dieting, but it still was negative in regards to achieving my goal.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Day 2--226 Pounds (2 lbs lost)

While these still a lot of road ahead, it's nice to get out of the driveway with a couple of pounds lost.

Yesterday was a good day. That's what I need as my norm and when there are deviations from the pattern, it needs to be insertions of great days instead of taking a short break from the diet. That's been the problem in the past. No consistency in putting together a long string of good days, and far too often the break in the string was a splurge of calories instead of a day of less calories and more activity.

Right now I'm dealing with being swamped with photos while also suffering a mild case of photo project burnout. That doesn't mean it's impossible to get out and walk 30 minutes--heck, getting out and walking 30 minutes might be exactly what I need for the burnout--but for the moment, my mind isn't 100% on doing 100% of everything needed to lose weight. For the moment, it's important to keep the calories down each and every day to establish a base line that will rarely get crossed until my goal is reached.

Today's challenge shouldn't really be a challenge at all. The group meets on Wednesday night and I can limited myself to 3 light beers and still have a great time. There's no need for free peanuts, an extra beer, or a trip through the Wendy's drive-thru on the way home. With a little planning and discipline, staying under 2,000 calories today really won't be difficult.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Day 1--228 Pounds (0 lbs lost)

Was really expecting to see 226 pounds this morning. Avoided all the candy at work yesterday plus 2 cakes. All I had for the day was: hot pocket(260)--yogurt(100)--hot pocket pita thing(440)--popcorn(250)--soup(380)--popcorn(250) = 1,680 calories.

Yeah, it would be better if that was 1,680 calories of fruits and vegetables. And it would be better if I had been out walking some instead of finally getting a pile of ironing done and then spending the rest of the evening in front of the computer. There's always better that can be done, but in this case it seemed like I had done enough to get a drop. Not that it matters much. At 228 pounds or 226 pounds, I still have a long way to go.

Let's look at the situation. Forget about the fat childhood and all of the mental and physical implications of those first 18 years. I hit 200 pounds just before turning 19 years old, and for the first time in my life something clicked and I was able to lose down to 180 pounds. That weight continue to drop until it bottomed out at 165 pounds, my weight when I left college and that's where I stayed until about the age of 35.

During that 165 pound era, I had my body fat level tested several times. All of those test were fairly consistent that my non-fat weight was right around 150 pounds. That would be the bones, the blood, the muscle, and whatever. Those non-fat things haven't changed and let's generously say that the non-fat part of my body today is still 150 pounds even though the muscle mass has to be less than when I was playing sports every day.

Do the math. Subtract 150 pounds from 228 and you get 78 pounds of fat. 78 pounds! Now some fat is necessary for healthy living and maybe some is acceptable as a concession to age and a lower activity rate, but 78 pounds is quite a load of weight to deal with 24 hours a day, 12 months a year. When I weighed 165 pounds, that was 15 pounds of fat. Would it be outrageous to think that 30 pounds of fat should be the upper limit of what I'm carrying around now?

Over the weekend the topic of dieting came up and someone said that I don't look like I really need to lose weight. Whether they thought that for real or were just being kind, I don't know. For sure that would be the opinion of the minority because most would look at me and agree that losing a little weight would probably be a good idea.

Would many think that I need to lose 48 pounds to get from 78 pounds of fat to just 30? I doubt that, but I bet that most of those folks would think that a person carrying 30 pounds of fat is overweight. Maybe that's how this dieting thing should be approached. People should get a body fat test done so they know just how much fat they are dealing with every second of the day. For me, I'm carrying around excess fat basically equal to a 50-pound bag of dog food or potting soil or concrete mix. Have you ever tried toting one of those around and if you have, can you have any doubts that my life would be much easier if I only weighed 180 pounds?

I'm sticking with the diet this time to get to that 180 pound number. Yes, you have read this all before (assuming that anyone is reading), but this feels different to me. My mindset feels much like it did when the blogging all began in February, 2006. It's just something that has to be done and I'm the only one who can do it. Fortunately, there are a lot of rewards for successfully completing the job.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Day 0--228 Pounds

I hope this weight is a little higher than normal due to my munching on the drive back from Dallas last night. Maybe it will give the start of this new effort a boost if there are a few easy pounds that will drop off in the first week. Truthfully, it doesn't really matter where I begin since this isn't a competition to see who can lose the most weight. If today's weight was 222 or 225 or 228 it would still be far too much.

There's no question that 190 pounds is much more appropriate for my 5'10" height. Going by the Body Mass Index, that would still leave me in the overweight range by about 10-15 pounds. I could live with that for a while. Maybe after some time spent stabilizing my body at 190 pounds, I could look at more exercise in hopes of getting down to about 180. That's looking much too far into the future.

For now, I've got to go back to the beginning which would be appropriate since my weight is back where it was in the beginning. I need to understand that what I've been doing lately to maintain the weight in the 220's range isn't good enough by a long shot. There really needs to be a cutback if I'm going to lose 35-40 pounds. Multiply 40 pounds by 3,000 calories and that gives you a very rough total of 120,000 calories of stored fat that I need to lose. It not going to happen with me staying totally inactive and with me breaking my diet here and there day after day. It's going to take work and sacrifice, two elements that have been missing for most of 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Today will be a good test as I expect a pile of Halloween candy to appear in the office lounge. People will want to get their leftover candy out of the house so they don't eat it, opting instead to tempt everyone at work with this sugar in disguise. Making it through today without eating candy will get a good jump start towards success.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

October 29, 2009--223 Pounds

Being accountable over the last 2 days has been like patching up all the holes in a lifeboat. A diet with lots of small "exceptions" might keep one from gaining a lot of weight but it really works much better when all of these holes in the diet are patched up.

Still have no idea when I'll make real progress. Going to Dallas this weekend and should be able to keep things under control fairly well. After that there will be 2-3 weeks solid of nothing but work on finishing photos and getting DVDs burned for over 200 athletes and coaches. Maybe by November 20 the fall sports will be complete--hopefully a little later if it is because the football team makes it to the NCAA Playoffs.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

October 27, 2009--225.5 Pounds

Really haven't had much to write about or any concern about my weight for the last couple of weeks. Sometimes a person gets in a mode of short term pleasures being more important than any long term goals.

Can't say that my motivation is much stronger this morning but an extremely simple thought hit me like a ton of bricks when I was dressing for work:

What happen to the food journal concept?

You can read all of the diet books, internet stories, and magazine articles until your eyes cross from exhaustion and there's really only one tip a person needs to lose weight. Faithfully keep a food journal where you write down what you are going to eat before you eat it. That's it. One simple rule. Follow it for a month and you will see success in your dieting, or at the very least you will see exactly what is keeping you from success.

I've got my index card with me today. Broke the rule right from the start by eating my 260 calorie ham and cheese hot pocket and then listing it on the card. In this case, writing down the food item first wouldn't have made a difference, but it does make a difference on the between meal snacks or when ordering at Wendy's, etc. Writing down the item first gives you a chance to consider your choices and make good ones. Writing down food items after the fact can often been just a confession of guilt.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

October 21, 2009--224.5 Pounds

Not much to write. I seem to be settled in at the 224-225 area right now, spending so much time sitting and editing at the computer. Out of 14 work days in October, I've taken off 10 afternoon in an effort to stay close to caught up. Haven't caught up and it might take 3 more afternoons and evenings this week to be caught up before a busy Homecoming weekend.

Yeah, I could take some time for walking and stretching and all that stuff. Yeah, I could eat less even when I'm bored out of my mind from opening, cropping, enhancing, saving, then repeat the process hundreds of times. Right now at this moment, I wonder why I don't do these things, but when I'm mentally and physically beaten down by the time involved and the often tedious nature of the work, it is really difficult to find the strength to take on another big project.

Maybe after the fall sports are over. Maybe not. When there is a break in the photos, it's always nice to have down time instead of moving on to another big project. It's also a time when I need to do a hundred other things that have piled up. This losing weight thing isn't hopeless. It's just more difficult that it appears to be. I'm having trouble finding the solution.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

October 15, 2009--225.5 Pounds

Went to Nick's last night and ate supper afterwards. I did that knowing/thinking that there would be big changes starting today. Basically a plan of just not eating much. What's that? Hasn't that been the plan for over 3 years. Well, yes and no. I'm talking about saying no to just about all food other than some small things at meals and small snacks when I'm really hungry.

For example, I had my hot pocket this morning as usual. I'll pass on the 4 dozen Krispy Kreme donuts a co-worker just left in the lounge for the rest of us. I'll eat a yogurt only if there is a hunger during the morning, not simply because the clock says 10:00. At lunch it will be something small and I'll hold off on any thoughts about topping off the lunch so I don't get hungry in the afternoon.

Candy around the building--all is totally off limits. Sometimes I think it's okay to limit myself to just a little. That never works. Mostly I have to take the approach that there will be no eating unless the stomach insists on something. I have plenty of stored energy to take care of eating less for a long time.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

October 14, 2009--224 Pounds

One more pound down while doing the exact same lifestyle that won't drop a pound in a week once my weight gets down to 222 pounds.

Here's a thought that hit me yesterday. Some of you first knew me when I was a young adult, let's say between the ages of 21 and 36. To that group of friends, you first knew me as an athletic 165 pound guy. Sometimes I forget that there are those who got that initial impression of me. Having been the short, fat kid who was always one of the worst or the worst player on youth sports teams, that is the norm that sticks in my mind.

However, I was a 165 pound adult for well over a decade, eating all I wanted and burning off the excess with running, soccer, tennis, racquetball, basketball, and other things. The YMCA offered a body fat test at that time and my body fat was in the 9% range. You hear about all these people who claim a body fat range of 2-3% and that seems to be a lie. The body does need some level of stored fat to properly function and my understanding is that 5% is about the minimum. It seems like a permanent state of half that minimum would be seriously unhealthy.

Anyway, it seems that my body weight broke down at that time to about 150 pounds of muscle, bones, and whatever and 15 pounds of fat. Let's be generous and say that the 150 pounds of muscle, bones, etc, is still the baseline even though my muscle mass is less. Even with that kind overstatement, my weight from fat would now be about 75 pounds. That's a third of my body weight. That's 500% of the amount of fat I had when starting out my adult life. That's incredible.

It makes me wonder why I'm bothering to eat at all when there is this extra 200,000 calories of energy packed all over my body.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

October 13, 2009--225 Pounds

Lost a pound thanks to the natural process of the body wanting to return to its favorite weight. Been thinking about doing the food journal again and just don't want to do it. Keep wanting to think I can succeed by simply making good decisions throughout the day, counting on being responsible without accountability. That's probably not going to happen. Deep down, I think it comes down to just not wanting to put another limitation on my life. Goodness knows, over the last few years I have stripped away my life of pre-2005 and turned things into something totally different. There are lots of times when I want my old life back, if not forever, then at least for a few months or a year.

Monday, October 12, 2009

October 12, 2009--226 Pounds

As heavy as I've been in a while and not surprised. Prior to the weekend it was 223.5 and then the weekend was the routine of eating to take a break, eating as some form of reward, eating whatever was available (namely fast food). To go along with the eating was hours of sitting.

Sticking with the dieting is not impossible, it's just hard. And if I was good at making the hard decisions on dieting, then I would never had gotten in a position where I needed to diet in the first place.

This week I'll try to really watch the food intake and I think we will see 223 pounds by Friday. I've already resisted some banana muffins brought by a co-worker and the big bowl of candy corn put out by the department next to the computer room. That was all done before 7:15. Food, food, food. No matter where you are or what you are doing, it seems like there is constant temptation. It's easy to see why obesity is such a problem in America with food woven so much into the daily fabric of life.

I just have to work harder and be stronger mentally. Easier said than done these days.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

October 8, 2009--222.5 Pounds

Yesterday was 222 pounds. I've been busy with the new blog and really uninvolved in anything regarding diet. There's not much to post over here. Maybe what I should do is reset my diet goal to the task of maintaining a weight of 222 pounds. I'm seem to be fairly good at reaching that goal.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

October 6, 2009--221.5 Pounds

Successfully navigated past the huge batch of huge homemade chocolate chip cookie brought in by a co-worker yesterday. Suppose I had not been thinking about trying to lose weight, not posting my weight here on close to a daily basis? Let's see--2 cookies in the morning even though I had eaten breakfast--a cookie at break time for sure--2 more while watching "All My Children" at lunch--at least 2 more here and there in the afternoon. That's probably 7 cookies from grazing all day and at a minimum of 300 calories each, an extra 2,000+ calories for the day.

An extreme example of what makes obesity such a problem in America? Not that extreme. It's not much different that sitting down to watch television and somehow a bag of Oreo cookies gets mindlessly consumed. Or a big bag of chips washed down by several soft drinks or beers. Or maybe the pizza guy dropped off supper and you got the large instead of the medium because you had a coupon.

We all need a tote board that follows us around during the day, something like what they use on the telethons, and we need it to tally up the calories consumed as we go through the day. It could also subtract the calories burned. That would be an eye-opener. Get out and walk 2 miles in about 30 minutes and see the calories go down. Come back in and wolf down one of those chocolate chip cookies in 30 seconds and replace all the calories burned during the walk. It would make a person think or maybe cry. Probably both.

So all in all, getting back to how my diet is going, yesterday was a good day. It could have been better with some walking and if I hadn't gotten a few small pieces of candy here and there. Today needs to be at least as good. I'll probably take off in the afternoon to do some work around the house and on the photos, but that doesn't have to mean mindless eating even if there are long hours in front of the PC. Instead of mindless eating, it would be nice to get out for some brisk walking. That would be a win-win thing to do.

Monday, October 5, 2009

October 5, 2009--222.5 Pounds

Got off to a late start this morning, writing an email about the new blog rather than posting here. For those who are interested, I've started what is somewhat of a spinoff from the "Slice of Frank's Life" blog and it is at this link:


Naturally it will have photos, including a good hummingbird photo already there and at least one more to follow. The writing will be a little less about my life--most people reading the blog have heard it all before when it comes to the Millsaps photos, how far behind I am in my life, etc. In theory there will be more short posts with more variety. In reality, short posts are not my specialty.

I'll keep this one short. Yesterday I wrote that it was hard to eat less and diet when one is as busy as I've been lately. In reflecting on that, it's hard to find a compelling argument to back up that statement. An argument about not having time to exercise might be made, but eating less is certainly something I can do. That's something I'll be working on this week.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

October 4, 2009--223 Pounds

Thought I'd add some bird photos for Alan. These were taken September 29, and I thought they were fairly good until even better ones were taken in the last couple of days. Why didn't I post any of those? Because if the best were posted, then these become insignificant and I thought these were good enough that they deserved their day in the sun.

Todd, great start and I hope it continues. You and I have both been stymied at the 220ish level. As you can see by the title of the post, it still has me stymied.

Ever since I set the reasonable goal last Thursday of losing 5 pounds in October, I have been parked in front of a computer. There was a time in my life when depression was a possibility. Now it seems like my emotional range doesn't extend that low which is a very good thing. Not that I should be complaining at all since I truthfully have so much control over my life, but at times my life seems so out of control that it really weighs on me.

In reality, the idea that my life is depressing is a ridiculous notion. There are billions in the world who would love to have my lifestyle. They probably wouldn't think the hours were long at all, and they would certainly think that working indoors at a computer is a lot easier than the physical labor that many have to exert in order to survive. As for standard of living, my middle class income in America would make me a rich man to be envied in many places.

It's just that my life is a mess. Sometimes a good mess, sometimes a bad mess. My viewpoint varies from day to day. Remember that decision I made in the summer of 2008 to end the Millsaps photo project. If I had followed through on that it might have very well been one of the worst decisions of my life. On the other hand, starting back up with the project after breaking free might have very well been one of the worst decisions of my life. It all depends on what I want from my life.

Mostly I want to feel helpful, to feel like my life is making a difference. For most of you reading this, there are things you get from being married and having children that a single person just doesn't get in life. Some of those things are tremendous blessings and some are extra layers of worry and stress. But it is something. You love and support your spouse and children, hopefully they love and support you. You take great pride and joy in the achievements of these family members, console them when things don't work out. It's a wide range of things that aren't in my day-to-day living.

Like the church work and coaching I did in an earlier life, the photos add something to my life that is vital. They add to the value of my life while also adding to the difficulties of my life--from what I've seen, that's something most parents could say about raising children. Not to say that my photos are my children, that sounds a little creepy, but you see the parallel.

This is a long, drawn out way of saying that there are moments like last Thursday when my motivation perks up about seriously working to get this weight off. Then reality sets in and I see just how much work is piled up in front of me. Not just the Millsaps photos, but clothes that have been waiting two weeks to be ironed, mail that hasn't been sorted in a month, the eternal need to clean up around the duplex, working on the non-Millsaps photos, taking a breather for myself. In theory, since a diet can be as simple as simply not eating as much, there should be no problem with dieting no matter how busy my life. In reality, it doesn't seem to work that way.

Well now. I've got that writing out of my system, something that I do miss since ending the "Slice of Frank's Life" blog. If you look in my profile you'll see that I actually set up a new blog yesterday, the framework of a blog but no posts. The current title would be "fle-pics (and fle-thoughts)". My initials are "fle" and I've used that "fle-pics" on the Smugmug account that should be full of photos of family, friends, nature shots, etc, but updating that site is one of those many things that can always wait till tomorrow.

Like me thinking last Thursday that I positively was going to make room for dieting and exercise in my schedule, yesterday I was fairly certain that I'd make room for blogging in a more abbreviated form that what went into the "Slice" blog. A day later, the reality has set in that there's no time for blogging. There's no time for me to write a post this long here. There's just no time.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

October 1, 2009--220 Pounds

A new beginning always brings new hope--and in this case a new blog title with a new approach. Today is the 1st of the month, my weight ends with a "0", and I was thinking about how my brother Fred has recently lost a lot of weight by focusing on 5 pounds at a time. The way he tells it is that whenever he got to or below a weight that ended with "0" or "5", he figured that with a little work and willpower, he could get down to the next lower weight that ends with "0" or "5".

That seems achievable. I can talk all I want about getting to 175 as my goal, but that number is so far away. It's like being outside the gravitational pull of a planet or star. Getting from 220 pounds to 215, that has proven to big a big task when looking at the loss as simply a stepping stone to bigger things. Maybe it will be easier if 215 is my final destination--I can do that--it's only 5 pounds away so you know I can do that.

Achieve that goal in a reasonable time period like one month, and then I can look at setting another goal like getting my weight down to 210 pounds. I could do that, going from 215 to 210, but let's not dream about future diets. Right now there's only one diet, the goal of getting my weight down to 215 pounds. Achieve that and then we can dream for more.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September 30, 2009--220 Pounds

A surprising drop and here are 3 theories/reasons for the lower weight today:

1) Instead of a real supper last night, I got by on 2 bags of popcorn. That's still 500 calories, not too much different from even a 1,000 calorie small combo from Wendy's, but it doesn't have the bulk so it doesn't produce much weight in the area of food being processed.

2) I've been reading the book "The Power of Your Subconscious Mind" by Dr. Joseph Murphy. This book has been around for a long time. I've owned several copies over the last 35 years, and every once in a while I get the book out and try to apply the principle ideas to my life. I believe the ideas work but I'm not sold on exactly why. It could be that by trying to unlease the power of the subconscious, what you are really doing is keeping an idea at the top of the stack in your conscious mind. We've all seen how the success and failure of my dieting efforts ebb and flow with how much my mind is on dieting or on other things.

3) I was at 220 pounds a couple of weeks ago. Sometimes in dieting, somewhat like with the stock market, a specific number is hit and then things fall back to a more normal range. But having hit that number once, it suddenly becomes a number that's in the realm of possibilities and it is easier to hit that number a second time. This weigh-in today may be a reflection of some better dieting days a few weeks ago.

I believe there's merit to all three of the above. In a way, I hope that the power of my subconscious mind is the biggest factor because that would be the thing most promising for quick success. I do believe in the power of positive thinking, something that most of you probably believe as well. It's just that for most of us, our positive thinking in day to day living is about like a 20 watt bulb in a refrigerator. It's not that strong and we don't use it very often.

What if your positive thinking was like a 100 watt bulb that was on all the time? I've tried that at times in my life and it seems to make a huge difference in my productivity, my energy, my outlook on life. And then for some reason I get too busy doing day-to-day living to keep up my focus on positive thinking. It seems like I turn to the positive thinking concept when looking for a solution or a jump start, but then it gets put aside when things are going okay. Maybe I'll keep the motor running this time--not that I'm Born to Be Wild or anything, but I think there's more that I can squeeze out of life.

Let's see how it goes on the weight loss project and then we can try applying this positive thinking to other areas of my life.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

September 29, 2009--222.5 Pounds

Probably won't get back to post anything today. It is end of month at work and that means a non-stop string of running and printing reports. In general, all is well and I'm feeling like my mental approach may be strengthen for a better attempt at losing weight than the on and off again days, weeks and months of the recent past.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

September 28, 2009--222 Pounds

Don't start expecting photos on this blog, but these actually have something to do with "Losing Weight in America", which someone might remember as the original title of this blog.

I was at Millsaps taking photos of two soccer games Sunday, then ended up at the Wendy's drive-thru for my first meal of the day at about 4:30. These two ladies were crossing the street near Wendy's, heading towards the "Battle of the Bands" at Memorial Stadium. It was a big competition featuring high school and college marching bands, plus they had some professional music acts performing at the "halftime" of the band competition.

The woman in the high heels could hardly walk--not exactly the ideal shoes for a long walk from the car to the football stadium, nor the best shoes for climbing steps. As for her "pants", I'm sure they will be a big hit as she climbs up or down those steps.

The connection with dieting is that society seems to have changed a lot in recent years regarding the concept of "being fat". People no longer seem to care about being overweight or at least in regards to how they look. Is this a bad thing or a good thing? People who are overweight shouldn't feel like they are inferior to those who are thin, but at the same time, we know that being overweight is an invitation for health problems. Would a little embarrassment about being overweight be a good thing if it gave extra motivation to a person to get healthier?

I kind of think we've gone too far in not wanting anyone to feel bad about anything (such as the removal of any stigma regarding unwed mothers, but that's another topic). Speaking only for myself as a person who falls into the obese category, I wouldn't mind if my health premiums at work were higher than a non-obese person (likewise, I wouldn't mind if my premiums were lower than those for a smoker, heavy drinker, etc). Sometimes a little extra motivation is just what a person needs to succeed in improving their life and I'm afraid that our enlightened society might be doing more harm than good by being afraid to label any behavior as negative. That's just my opinion.

Part 2: It's Monday morning and to no one's surprise, I start the week at 222 pounds. There's about a 2 week stretch here where Millsaps has no home sporting events. That should give me more time to think about dieting even though I need to stay extremely busy during this break. Catching up on Millsaps photos is something to be done, but also catching up on all the Frank things that have fallen behind during September. Exercise and more focus on the diet is one of those Frank things that has fallen behind.

Speaking of "behind", I think you can guess which of the two ladies pictured above was the one that motivated me to quickly pull out my camera and take a few shots. If you guessed the butt crack lady who could barely walk in her fancy high heels, then give yourself a gold star. To be fair, she isn't the one with a severe weight problem, just the one with the most severe fashion sense problem.

I could have used these photos to once again talk about the fashions women wear that make them look their worst. It's something I deal with at Millsaps all the time and the cheerleaders, dance team, and several of the women sports teams wear outfits that reveal every ounce of fat. The outfits might look good on a super model, a professional athlete, or an aerobics instructor on an infomercial, but few "normal" people look their best in skin tight attire. That goes for men and women. Most men realize this and avoid such a revealing style and I don't know why women think the skin tight or something like the "low jeans/muffin top" look is a good look for them. The trends in women's fashions sometimes makes it very difficult for me when trying to decide if I should keep or delete some of the Millsaps photos. I always delete photos that seem unflattering to the individuals, but maybe I'm deleting photos that these young ladies think look great.

September 27, 2009--223 Pounds

I guess 222 pounds isn't the worst that could happen.

Let me start this by saying Mom is okay and she is back home from the hospital. The reason I've missed the last couple of days is because she was at the hospital and I spent most of Friday up there including spending the night. Posting to the blog and worrying about diet weren't my primary thoughts during that time.

The short version of this story is that I got a call at 4 Friday morning from the tenant who rents part of Mother's house. Mother had felt numbness on her right side around midnight, she woke up the tenant who is a 2nd year med student, and the tenant took Mother to the ER. Mother has all of our family phone numbers in her purse and the tenant tried calling my cell phone, which was downstairs by the computer, and that was the only attempt to call anyone until they tried calling my home phone at 4. Very strange, but I think Mother "didn't want to bother anyone".

By 4 a.m., most of the numbness had gone away, but Mother was in the system and naturally they wanted to run tests. They had already done a CAT scan, blood work, and maybe other things and all tests were normal. Still, then wanted to check her into the hospital for an MRI and more monitoring. I can't say that this was unwise, but it's just that once you get in the system, it's hard to get out and go home unless they do $20,000-30,000 worth of tests--and I fully expect that to be the total for the 36 hours she spent there. Naturally insurance will cover most of this and naturally I could write a lot here about the experience and how it might apply to the current health care national debate, but I don't have all day for that.

The bottom line is that all test turned out fine. She has some blockage in the main blood vessels in her neck, not surprising since she is 85, and her cholesterol is very high which it has always been. The doctor who saw her wants to put her on medication for the cholesterol and I think my siblings and I will suggest that she not bother. She's 85 with no history of heart problems and my gut feeling is that side effects offer more potential problems than the cholesterol. I think her primary doctor who has seen her for many years also feels no need for lowering her cholesterol.

As for the numbness, the doctor suggested that she had something called a TIA (google TIA stroke for more information). I'm not so sure. Outside of the numbness, she had none of the other signs for a TIA. No confusion, no blurry vision, no weakness, no slurred speech, no nothing besides numbness. Could she have just fallen asleep in bed while propped up and watching TV and gotten in a position where she had the sensation of both her arm and leg "falling asleep". That's a possibility, but better safe than sorry I guess. Besides, if I were in the position of the young lady living next door I think the only possible option would be to rush to the hospital.

Anyway, my eating and sleeping and everything else was a mess for the last 2 days. I went from the hospital to a Millsaps football game. Then I naturally spent time last night working on photos. Not surprisingly, I'll be leaving home soon to photograph two soccer games at Millsaps. The good news is that after that there will be about a 2 week break before the next home event for any of the fall sports. I'll have time to get caught up and maybe even time to focus on dieting and walking again.

Got to go get a few things done before going to take photos. Oh wait--Brant left a comment about weighing every day. It's a habit I've had from way back in the days when the weight was always in the 164-166 range--and that was a long time ago. Since I've been in this habit for so long, I'm not surprised by any change from day to day, not getting too depressed if the scales show a gain of 2 pounds and likewise not getting too excited about a 2 pound loss in 24 hours. In general, I think this suggestion is all about getting people to focus on doing the right thing and trusting that the weight loss will follow. That's the way it does work in the long run even though it may not look that way if you are charting the gains and losses every day.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

September 24, 2009--222 Pounds

Not much good to report from yesterday except this morning's weight--it was definitely a day where I would have expected a weight gain. What saved me was skipping supper instead of piling on more food to the beer and nuts consumed at Nick's.

Instead of supper, I went to bed. One of those rare nights when I actually did get 8 hours of sleep. That was a combination of being in bed by 9 and also taking 2 of those PM pain relievers that are suppose to help you sleep. Now I need some AM pain relievers to wake me up. I'm more tired at 7:15 than even on the days after very little sleep. I hope the drugs will wear off soon--I can barely keep my eyes open to type this entry. Despite the 8+ hours of sleep, this is starting off like one of those days where I just hope to make it till noon so I can take off the afternoon hours and get a long nap.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

September 23, 2009--222 Pounds

Last night it was taking photos of volleyball, then getting home and finishing up the editing and posting of some volleyball photos taken way back on September 4. The cheerleader mom will have to wait at least another day to see photos of her child. The photos of the dancers also need to be done, as well as the JV football photos taken on Monday and last night's volleyball.

That's the way my life works right now. Always something waiting in the wings, things that might get done in a few days or it might be a few weeks. It's a compromise that allows me to mostly stay in the tired to very tired zone, trying to pace myself in order to avoid the exhausted level that was more the norm a couple of years ago.

This constant state of being tired is at least something I can manage. My gut feeling is that most of the people I know are in a constant state of being tired because of work, family, outside commitments, and all the things in today's society that nibble into the time that should be used for rest. And I also suspect that many of those people use food as an energy boost, a break, a treat--as a way to get from day-to-day in search of that time when life won't be quite so busy. It doesn't seem like that not so busy stretch will ever come.

I know the need to lose weight is great for me. I know it would do wonders for me in several ways to get my weight down below 180 or 190 or 200. It just that so many days like today start off with me being tired at 7 a.m. Not the kind of tired that's temporary, one that will lift by mid-morning like a fog being burned off by the sun. It's the kind of tired that is settled in for a long stay, one that I'll fight with extra food, a nap when I get home, maybe one night of going to be a 7 instead of staying up till 10:30 working on photos. Just getting from day-to-day until that time comes when life won't be quite so busy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

September 22, 2009--222 Pounds

Hello old friend.

Not that I should be surprised and it's not like I fought tooth and nail to prevent it. The weekend left me somewhat exhausted so yesterday was about getting through the day. Breakfast, break and lunch wasn't too bad, totalling 1,100 calories. There was the issue of maybe 400-500 calories of candy corn from the Agency Department next to the computer room.

I took off after lunch in order to go home and take a nap before the JV football game. I was dragging at the game and started considering the pros and cons of supper at Wendy's by the 4th quarter. I ended up getting a small combo, thinking that it might give me a boost to stay up and work on photos. I don't know if it provided a boost, or if the popcorn around 9 helped at all. Either way, I got some volleyball photos edited and was able to stay up till 10:30.

Food for short term energy, or as motivation, or as a reward--it's not something that helps a diet and yet it sometimes is the only way I can get through a day mentally or physically. Plus, I halfway suspect that I'd be 222 pounds this morning or at some point later in the week even if I had gone home and had soup. I also suspect that just giving up would get me to 230 pounds in a hurry.

------------------- Blogging Below the Line ----------------------

Someone sent me an email last night. I had requested feedback on the photo album with pictures of the football game with Belhaven. In the description field I wrote: "HEY VIEWERS: Are there too many photos--should the fan photos be included--do you have suggestions? Let me know at frankezelle@yahoo.com -- I may not always take your suggestion but I'll always listen to and consider input from others."

I had posted all of the football photos plus the fan photos, ending up with 410 photos. That's a lot for people to look through and in the past I've only posted the best photos from the game and the fan photos were in a different section. Posting too much seems better than cutting out photos, but I wanted to know what the viewers thought. It's not surprising that after several days there has only been one response and it was a complaint:

"Cheerleaders?? 410 photos from the Belhaven game and not a single cheerleader. Fans and various crew, but no cheerleaders."

Not surprisingly, this was from the parent of a cheerleader. I wrote her back that there are a handful of cheerleader photos that still need to be posted but it was always hard for me to get good photos of them because they turn their back to the field. Also, they are in this narrow little area between the team and in front of the stands. It's really, really hard to get photos of the cheerleaders unless I totally disregard taking photos of the game for a while.

She did respond to my email and was understanding, just as I understand her reason for writing. The cheerleaders are a part of the game and this mom had just looked through 400+ photos without a single cheerleader sighting. She should have written--that's not the problem. The problem is that her legitimate complaint should have been offset by at least a handful of thanks or with some positive comments. Unfortunately, I've received exactly the number of those that I expected to receive, namely zero.

One last thing and it actually ties into the blogging. In blogging, I have mixed feelings about the hit counters that one can put on a blog. It's a plus because it tells you that at least someone is reading your work. On the other hand, it's a negative after a while when it turns out that only a few people are reading your work. That negative was really the key factor in my discontinuing the Civil Rights and Photos from Fondren blogs, and maybe a small factor on the Slice blog. Sometimes I think it's better not to know the hit count, and that's why I've refrained from adding a hit counter here.

With the Millsaps photos, I tried an experiment a couple of years ago. The athletes all get DVD's at the end of their sports season and I've always included a note with the DVD, a combination of congratulations, positive feedback, explanation about the photos files, etc. I also included my email address with the explanation to please email me if they had a problem with reading the DVD. I quit adding that line to the note after about a year and a half. It was depressing to know that every athlete had my email address and only one or two bothered to use it to write a note of thanks. Maybe more would have written if I had added a line saying here's my email address so you can do the right thing and send a note of thanks. Maybe not.

Well, I got a little wound up. The bottom line is that I've discovered with society that most of us operate within the norm and it appears that normal these days is to not bother with saying thank you. My awareness of this is probably the only reason I take the time to go out of my way and say thanks, something I do more than most but not enough. How about you? Are you that 1 in a 100 or 1 in 300 who takes the time to do that little extra to say thank you? The odds say that you aren't. Think about it the next time you appreciate something that someone does, and then make their day by following through with a note, a phone call, or an email. It will be well worth the effort.

Monday, September 21, 2009

September 21, 2009--221.5 Pounds


That's right. I've been driven to cursing about this inability to escape the setpoint established near the 222 pound mark. Not that I should be cursing since there was a failure to do the things that seem to be needed to break away from this black hole.

The calorie totals over the weekend were okay and they needed to be great. I walked once over the weekend and it needed to be three long walks as the minimum. You would think that getting down below 220 pounds and then holding the calories to 2,500 per day would at least maintain the sub-220. That's not the way it works. It seems like more work is needed to maintain a weight loss than to create the initial drop in weight.

So what's my excuse for not really giving it my all this weekend. What's my excuse for everything--the photos of course. All day Saturday and Sunday it was all about the photos. That's a slight exaggeration since there were breaks for other things--I went to the grocery store, checked on Fred's warehouse twice, took some hummingbird photos, ironed clothes, washed dishes, worked on the blog, sent some emails, and there was one decent walk of about 40 minutes. These things were what I did while taking a break from the photos. These things are the bare necessities I do in between editing photos in an attempt to keep my life from collapsing.

"Keep my life from collapsing" might be a little strong. It depends on your definition of a life. At times I choose to not have much of a life in order to create something that seems to be more and more what my life is all about. At least I've gotten past those days of staying up all night to get photos done ASAP, or the weekends when my sleep on Friday, Saturday and Sunday didn't combine to reach double digits. I'm no longer physically or mentally capable of that type of big push, but spreading things out over a longer stretch of time means that I always have something that needs to be done.

At 11:45 last night, when finally going upstairs to bed, my belief was that my long weekend had caught me up with the editing of the Millsaps photos. Before I fell asleep it occurred to me that the photos of the cheerleaders and dance team needed editing. This morning I was copying files to a jump drive and found a folder with an entire volleyball match that needed editing. In the back of my mind it seemed like there were photographs from three matches with these lost photos being the third match. It gets to the point where I can't remember for sure what I've photographed. To be honest, I've gotten to the point where I can never tell you much about my activities over the past few days. It all runs together and it all is so repetitive--it's an assembly line.

You thought the silver lining about the end of the "Slice" blog was not having to read my moaning about the photography. You were wrong. At least it's Monday and things will be back close to normal. That's wrong as well. I'm taking off this afternoon with plans of taking a nap and then taking photos at the JV Football game. I was up in the air about taking the football photos. Then I realized that JV Football is the second largest sport at Millsaps based on participants and they only play 4 games. I'll take more than 4 games of each soccer team and the volleyball team this fall and the combined rosters of those three sports are about the same as the junior varsity football. It makes sense that I try to take photos at all 4 of the junior varsity games considering the number of athletes involved--and so I will.

As if anything I do makes sense any more.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

September 20, 2009--221.5 Pounds

Let me start with a tangent. I've been on this earth about 21,000 days with plans of staying another 10,000 or so. You can calculate the days, hours and minutes more exactly if you'd like, but I come up with about 30,240,000 minutes. Out of those millions of minutes, it is safe to say that never have two consecutive minutes passed where I was totally deprived of oxygen.

Don't you find that amazing? Deprive a human of oxygen for 2-3 minutes and they die. How do we ever make it to old age? We count of always having air to breathe and a heart that keeps pumping--now somewhere over 2 billion beats and still ticking for me. Then we get in metal containers and drive at high speeds all over the place, sharing space with thousands of others and counting on them to consistently follow the same rules of safety as everyone else. We get in airplanes. We get in boats or even the water itself even though breathing isn't possible if we go under the water without special equipment. We are surrounded by germs. We eat food without knowing who prepared it or how. We take drugs because a man or woman in a white coat prescribed it. The list goes on but it all comes down to this:

It's incredible that the human body can be both so fragile and yet so durable, with most of us fully expecting to live for decades with good health.

The above was part of my train of thought brought on by returning to that 222 setpoint this morning. I ate about 2,500 calories yesterday, the usual food groups of popcorn, hot pockets, rice and pineapple, and did get out for a 40 minute walk in the evening as well as some walking while checking up on Fred's warehouse. There's no reason for a 2 pound weight gain other than my body wanting to be 2 pounds heavier, wanting to get back to the most comfortable of comfort zones.

It's just part of the process. This setpoint phenomenon is one of those many marvelous things that allows humans to live for decades on this earth. It stabilizes the body, protects us when food is scarce. In modern day society, it is more about protecting us when food is abundant with most of us getting far more benefits from the body refusing to move up every time we overeat. Continue to overeat and eventually the setpoint gets moved up, but I suspect we would have a lot of 400-500 pound people if the human body didn't work so hard to avoid weight gains.

And now my body is working hard to avoid a weight loss. It will change if I'm persistent enough. Once I can get it to move a little, I think it will be somewhat acceptable to moving a lot. My gut feeling is that walking every day will be the key to making this happen. The body has acclimated to days of 2,000 calories or less. It going to take something different in addition to the low calories to prompt a change, and that difference will be the walking.

I can do this and I will do this.

--------------Blogging below the line-----------------------

In this difficult economic time, even a high paid photographer has to pay attention to his purchases. One good tip to keep from spending too much is to make a list before you go to the grocery store. Itemize the things you truly need and then don't deviate and fall prey to the temptations at the store.

I used that method Saturday when shopping at the grocery store. It was just a trip to pick up a few items: ice, deodorant, toothpaste, soft drinks, popcorn, and a couple of hot pockets. There were temptations but I stuck to my list. That's why I thought it was an error when the total exceeded the $50 mark. I hardly bought anything so it was obviously an error--then I did some quick calculating in my head:

ice = about $2
deodorant = about $7 for two because I couldn't decide on the fragrance
toothpaste = about $6 because it was cheaper per unit to buy the 2-pack
hot pockets = only $4 for 2 boxes
drinks = $10 for 5 x 6-packs of 16-oz drinks, a bargain at this price
popcorn = $20 for 5 boxes at $4 each. They were on sale and you know how I like popcorn.

Throw in 7% sales tax and there you have it. Not really much of anything adds up to a $50 credit card charge. I don't know how you folks who shop for families can afford to go to the grocery store. I guess that also goes for those of you who shop for higher quality food that what gets thrown in my shopping cart.

September 19, 2009--219.5 Pounds

You would not believe the minefield I had to navigate in order to stay below 220. I'm lucky not only to have a "21_" weight this morning, but there was the very real possibility of my body reestablishing the 222 beachhead.

I'm talking about the office birthday party. There was a chocolate cake there that was straight from the pages of some magazine like "Rich Food for Rich People" (is that a magazine--it should be even though we have less rich people lately). Likewise with a coconut cake. Then the second string included another cake that might have been equally as rich, some brownies, cookies, chips and dip, a melted cheese deal, a fantastic tray of slices of a subway sandwich, and maybe a few other things. I had two of the small sandwiches, a few crackers, and at the end of the day, I indulged with 3 Chips-Ahoy type cookies. Not too bad since I ate light at all the meals.

And here's the deal. Now that it's Saturday morning, I feel no different and certainly no worse for having passed on those extra 2,000 calories. I can't say that I feel better physically, but it feels much better mentally to see that 219.5 instead of 222. But that's just day one of a critical 3-day stretch and it was both the most difficult and the easiest.

The most difficult in that great food was available for free and everyone around me was partaking and loving it. The easiest because it was a very clear challenge that had the potential to do major damage. Today and tomorrow are tricky. There's no cake, but there's popcorn. And there's Wendy's with a combo meal just 5 minutes away. The McDade's grocery store with frozen pizzas is even closer than Wendy's. It would be easy to think, "I was so good yesterday, I've earned a treat". Wrong, wrong, wrong. That's like running a quarter mile in a marathon and thinking you've earned a rest break. Worse, it would be like walking back towards the start line and losing ground.

I'll be good today. I absolutely will find a way to get out and walk today, even if it's just 30 minutes. And of course I'll be here much of the other hours, editing photos, ironing clothes and watching the webcast of the Millsaps football game, etc. It doesn't sound like the most exciting Saturday in the world, but it's one that could be very productive in many ways.

------------------Blogging Below the Line-----------------------------

Two tales from Millsaps last night:

1) Instead of editing or taking photos last night, I went to the Millsaps Women's soccer game against Belhaven College. It's one of those rare times of getting to actually watch a sporting event. It would have been more fun watching the game with someone, but I didn't see any coaches or parents that I knew and when it comes to sitting with students, I'm not going to impose on them. It's great when one or more comes over and visits with me, but following the rules my father always maintained, I'm not going to interfere with kids sitting and having a good time with their friends. Having a 57 year old join a group of college kids is like a priest wearing a collar walking into a fun filled bar--it's a buzz killer.

Regarding the game, after 90 minutes of play and 20 minutes of overtime, the teams went home with a 0-0 tie. That's why soccer will never really catch on with the masses in America. Think about it--every possession for both teams ended with a turnover of a missed shot (or the period ending). What would you think of an NFL game if every possession ended with a fumble, interception, failure to convert a 4th down, missed field goal, or the clock ran out? You would think these are the two most inept teams you've every seen. Same if it was two NBA teams, or two baseball teams who finally quit because no one could score. In big time soccer, 0-0 isn't a great rarity. It's not a rarity for a team to go into a game hoping for a 0-0 tie. It's just not right.

Keep in mind that I played soccer for over 20 years. Coached for over 20 years as well if you included the YMCA kids leagues, something that often was closer to babysitting and daycare in the early years--not that I'm complaining about those early years--they were some of the best years of coaching. Soccer is a great game to play and coach, and some soccer games are great to watch. But hey, there's a reason soccer fans sing, chant, dance, play musical instruments and even fight--they are trying to entertain themselves instead of counting on the action from the game. Come on soccer fans--deep down you know that's true.

2) To get from the soccer field to the parking lot at Millsaps, you have to go up a flight of stairs. These stairs take you to the area with a long wall of built in trophy cases. My computer that displays the Millsaps sports photos is in one of the trophy cases, one that's in view when you near the top of the stairs.

I'm climbing the stairs after the game and I see that a group of 7 or 8 are crowded around and looking at the sports photos. Belhaven fans in awe of this great feature at Millsaps? That was my first thought because there's no reason for a crowd of Millsaps students to gather around a computer that they can see 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Besides, these are all the photos from last year so they are old to Millsaps fans.

However, I quickly recognized the group as Millsaps baseball players and it only took me a second to guess what they were doing, a guess that was confirmed about 10 seconds later when there was a spontaneous reaction from the group. They were having a competition, waiting to see which one would "win" by having a photo of themselves displayed on the computer first. I don't know if they had been there 30 seconds or 5 minutes, but they at least got a good laugh and some good ribbing out of their endeavor.

Going back to item 1, I realize that 57 is not the same as college age. It's probably a little on the old side for a parent of a college student. Still, there's a part of me that never matured much past the college level and that's a good thing. It's the part of me that still enjoys searching for new music, still finds interest in the opinions and conversations with these "kids" at Millsaps, still likes going to hear a local band play enthusiastic if not great rock music. I knew what those baseball players were up to right away because it's exactly what I would have done. Hanging around with friends, watching a computer screen and making snerky comments about the photos that were displayed, and then having a big laugh when someone finally "won".

Now here comes one of those sentences with a BUT in it. I am fortunate to have great friends and I love spending time with all of them, BUT I wish there was a group of friends that had more of this college side still in them. People I could go to a sporting event with and we could make comments like that sci-fi TV show where the odd little robots comment on the movie being shown (you know the one I mean, something like Science Fiction Theatre 3000--I haven't had cable in a very long time). People who would enjoy an evening of playing ping-pong and listening to music. People who are very smart and don't mind being very silly. Those ways of thinking and living fade away with marriage, children, responsibilities--all things that haven't cropped up in my life to sweep away the college mentality.

I can't go back and be a college student even if I went back and took college courses. There's a world of difference between being young with your entire life ahead of you and being old and wanting to recapture youth. It is fun though to observe the Millsaps students being college kids--things really haven't changed much at all since my days on campus and the wild times at the Pike house and everywhere else.

Friday, September 18, 2009

September 18, 2009--219.5 Pounds

Perfect timing on getting below that 220 mark for one of the few times in all of 2009. Today we have the party for the September birthdays at the office and now I can eat like there's no tomorrow.

Whoa, whoa, whoa--that's the old Frank and the old theory of dieting. I have to go back to the 2006 theory about not eating at the birthday parties. Think about it. I can keep my diet on track in exchange for a few hours of fighting off temptation. OR, I could stuff myself with junk food and any pleasure found through food would be totally gone within minutes of consumption, leaving me with no lasting pleasure and a diet setback. It really shouldn't be hard at all to skip the junk when one looks at the pros and cons of the situation.

Now here's the key deal looking forward. I've got to really work hard this weekend to break this desire by my body to stay in the 220's. Once my body moves off that point and gets into a change mode, there will be an opportunity to really see some big changes--I just have to keep from faltering and really make a big push to break this setpoint that has become so comfortable. It needs to be a weekend of 1,500 calorie days which include a lot of walking. Do that, and the potential for something dramatic is very strong.

-----------------Blogging Below the Line------------------

A little music stuff today:

---Jim Carroll and Mary Travers, those are people who died, died. (I guess you only get that if you know Jim Carroll's biggest musical hit was "People Who Died" and that died was repeated in the lyrics.)

Two of my favorite singers died in the last few days and these two reflect the diversity of my music taste. First was the poet/cult figure/punk rocker Jim Carroll. Second was the folk legend Mary Travers, the Mary in "Peter, Paul and Mary". Both are really icons of the 1960's and/or 1970's, but I still like their music and they both made a mark in America's music history.

My guess is that 50 years from now it will be the music of Mary Travers that is remembered the best--not much of a long shot since it is remembered best by far at this point in history. "Peter, Paul and Mary" will always have an important spot in the telling of the history of music. They came at a time when folk music became big, they came at a time when music was bursting on the scene as a form of protest against government policies, and they had longevity and a strong commitment to their cause. Oh yeah, they were also really good.

Jim Carroll will probably be a footnote of history at best, known mostly for his teenage coming of age book about life as a young teenage heroin addict/basketball star who was supporting his habit partially via sexual encounters with older men. You know, a feel good story for the ages (you might remember the 1995 movie based on the book, "The Basketball Diaries" starting Leonardo DiCaprio). It's just the kind of grimy, sleazy tale that insures it won't be totally forgotten, especially since it fits into that New York scene with Andy Warhol and all that was going on in the 1960's era.

Personally, I like Jim Carroll's music more than his poetry and writings. It was very punk, starting out as basically Jim shouting his poetry with an angry band backing him up at a high volume. For some reason this worked for me way back then and it still does now to some degree.

I guess the bottom line is that Mary Travers and Jim Carroll are not only people who died but they are also people who will be remembered. Deep down, isn't that something we all want, at least to be remembered in a positive way by friends and family? At least to have made some mark on this world to show that we wrote something on our blank slate between the time of our birth and the time of our death? My photos will be part of my mark, even if most people forget the name of the person who took the photos.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

September 17, 2009--221 Pounds

Yes I Can!

That's the answer to the question, "Can I get below 200 pounds for my 58th birthday which is 3 months from today?". Maybe even lose 30 pounds by my next birthday, but let's not get carried away. Based on the past couple of years, getting to 215 again would be a big milestone, getting out of the 210's would be huge, going from obesity to overweight (somewhere around 207) would be exceptional; and seeing a weight that starts with "1" would be totally outstanding. Those are things that need to be achieved before thinking about 195, 190, 185 and either 180 or 175.

What's it going to take? A lot more than what I've been giving. The calories have to go down to around 1,600 every day without all of the "bad" days from week to week. With the cooler weather, I've got to exercise at a moderate level. That's really all that it will take--that's all it took when I did drop 30 pounds in 3 months. I've just got to get the ball rolling again and then stick with it so the momentum isn't lost.

-----------------Blogging Below the Line-----------------------

One little thing today and it is simply an observation about me. It seems like I mentioned on an earlier post that at last Saturday's football game I saw two Jackson photographers that I know. One was getting paid to take photos for Belhaven College, the other getting paid to take photos for the MetroMix website. Hold that thought for a minute.

On the Millsaps Athletic Department Website, they do a great job of writing up stories about all of the sporting events. These stories are always accompanied by a photo and I get a tiny photo credit which is nice. Sometimes I see a photo that isn't familiar, and when I look at the credit it turns out to be a photo by another photographer.

There's a part of me that I don't like, maybe the human nature part of me, where I get a small negative sensation in both of these cases--seeing photographers actually doing less work than I do and they are getting paid, and then seeing someone else's photos where I expect to see my own. Keep in mind that when it comes to the pay, I'm the one who insists on doing the work for free. Also keep in mind that more photographers taking photos means more photos for the student-athletes. I should feel joy that other good photos are being taken and made available.

Still, I find myself with these initial impulses that are hard to describe, but they are on the negative side, not the positive. That's my flaw, not a situation of anyone else doing something wrong. Like all other humans, I'm going to always be a work in progress and this is one area that still needs some work.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

September 16, 2009--220 Pounds

This weigh-in surprised me even more than the 224 of yesterday. I held the line at about 1,600 calories yesterday, but still had a few too many diet sodas after getting home from work, didn't go out walking--and if you pardon me for being too graphic, didn't have any extraordinary bodily functions that would make me think today would be 4 pounds less than yesterday.

But hey, don't look a gift horse in the mouth. Instead, I need to really do well during the day today and then be really smart when the guys meet at Nick's the evening for a few drinks. I can hold the total down to 1,600 or 1,700 calories with some planning and willpower. Notice that the total wasn't 2,000 calories. I'm thinking that the 2,000 calories is fine for maintaining, just not good enough for losing weight. I suspect the daily total should be 1,600 or less for any real attempt at losing weight.

------------Blogging Below the Line-------------------------

(This was written Tuesday evening--there's more below that was added Wednesday morning that is totally different and equally disturbing): I consider myself a moderate independent in politics, which means that I generally vote for the Republican candidate. It's not a matter of voting for a party but of voting for policies, and at the moment there are more policies of the Democrats that I really can't support.

That being said, there's no joy at all in seeing the Democrats imploding because they are setting this country back to the 1970's or 1980's when it comes to race relations. Wasn't there talk when Obama was elected President about how we could now have an honest discussion about race in this country? Instead, when the opposing party disagrees with the policies of the party in charge, just as happened with Bush, Clinton, Bush, Ford, Nixon, Reagan, etc, the reason for this disagreement is suddenly because of the color of the President, not his policies.

In case you missed it, here's a story where Jimmy Carter throws a log on the fire. Carter's viewpoint is summed up in the assessment that "There is an inherent feeling among many in this country that an African-American should not be president." There's nothing that builds a higher, thicker, stronger wall between people than false accusations. While I personally have hopes that my best days are still ahead of me, I have fears that the best days of this country are behind us.

(Added Wednesday morning): When taking a shower and shaving each morning, I usually have a CD playing or the radio on in the bathroom. If it's the radio, I like to pick up the "Mike and Mike" sports show but the reception is a little spotty. That was the case this morning so I switched over to the "John Boy and Billy Show". As you can guess by the title, it's a "good old boys" show. I believe it's out of North Carolina and has quite a large syndication. The show is a blend of classic rock, banter between the on air personalities, skits, odd news, sometimes serious commentary, etc. Somewhat silly at times, but today was something totally different.

Today there was a segment that went under some heading like "ask Ike". Maybe it was suppose to be Ike Turner, I don't know, but it was a fairly long segment where "Ike" as a black person was talking about President Obama. Was it funny--the on air personalities laughed enough times to make me believe they thought it was funny. I found it incredibly racist, enough so that I won't be listening to "John Boy and Billy" in the future.

I've heard this blatant racist broadcasting before, but in the past it was on black radio programs and the offending person was speaking as a white person spewing out more hate than humor. It was offensive on those programs, and what I heard today was offensive. It also is an indication of just how far down the road we are towards the deterioration of race relations in America. I've listened to "John Boy and Billy" in the past and while they have never worried about being politically correct, they have never been over the line anywhere near what I heard this morning. If they feel like this is acceptable humor, and especially if they feel like this is something their audience will find humorous, then this country is in worse shape than I thought.

Maybe it will turn out that most of their audience was offended. Or maybe it will turn out that most of their audience thought it was funny and they are glad that whites are now free to be racist on radio programs like some of the black radio personalities have been for years. My gut feeling tells me that this bring of race to the forefront of talk in America is going to be bad. Make that very bad and something that isn't going to be healed for a very long time.

Monday, September 14, 2009

September 15, 2009--224 Pounds

2 p.m. update--made it this far through the day at about 900 calories with 100 calories coming up at break time. It could be a really good day with a little will power after work. I'll spend most of that time at the computer working on football photos--that doesn't mean that break times have to add to the calorie total. Maybe I could actually walk around the block when a break is needed--that would be a good example of walking instead of talking.


Thought I would have dropped a little this morning, having been good on my eating choices yesterday and then sweating at the Millsaps JV football game in the afternoon. It's a tricky thing trying to guess the next day's weight, but over time a person gets pretty good at sifting through all the factors and this seemed like a morning that would give a good reading.

At the football game Monday I talked to two of the Millsaps trainers, both guys. Last year I had to be careful about which photos I kept of them because both had a physique that didn't look great due to excessive weight--I can relate to that. One of these trainers lost about 30 pounds over the summer and he looks great and must feel much better doing his job in the hot Mississippi weather. The other trainer has lost 80 pounds since the end of May on a special liquid diet that is supervised by a local hospital. The result is stunning and he still is on the diet with hopes of losing 40 more pounds--I don't see where he has 40 more pounds to lose.

The bottom line is that losing weight can be done and certainly I'm capable of doing it. BUT IT TAKE SOME EFFORT. That's been my problem. I want this weight loss to happen while being kept on the back burner. The photos come first. Instead of focusing on losing weight, I'm blogging about everything else in the world. My hip hurts when I walk but I don't want to stretch in hopes of easing the pain. Let's face it, most of my weight loss effort has been talking the talk and very little has been walking the walk. That's literally and figuratively. I've got to start making a better effort each day. A much better effort if I want to get 30-40 pounds off and make my life much easier.


Blogging below the line--I'm still having blogging withdrawals. This is what would have been on the Slice of Frank's Life blog if I were still doing that blog:

Here's a link to my October 9, 2008 post. Amongst other things, it included these paragraphs:

---"I know that some people think that Obama as a candidate and Obama as a president would do wonders for improving race relations in America. I've been saying for months that it will make race relations in America worse. It would take a lot of writing to explain my feelings on this, but let me at least attempt to scratch the surface."

---"I am not voting for Barack Obama and that doesn't make me a racist. In the eyes of some, any one who doesn't vote for Obama is racist. If America doesn't elect Obama then it is because it is a racist country--never mind the fact that Americans overwhelmingly agree that McCain is far more experienced than his rival. If Obama gets elected president as I fully expect to happen, then any criticism of his actions will be racist. Any failures of his policies will be because whites worked against him because they are racist. If you think I'm crazy then just wait and see and go and look at the comments by the guys on CNN. And believe me, I hope that a year or two from now everyone can tell me that I was 100% wrong on this subject--this is one time when I'm hoping that I'm full of BS."

Unfortunately I wasn't full of BS as now the race card is being pulled out more frequently for anyone who disagrees with the Obama programs. This "Democrats See Race Factor for Barack Obama Foes" on Politico.com is a good example. And now that this theme is being picked up more and more by commentators and news programs, people are starting to look at everything with race and racism at the forefront--the end of the Serena Williams match and the Kanye West award show escapades are two good examples.

Admittedly, all of the above was easy to predict and anyone who didn't see it coming just had their eyes closed, especially if you live in someplace like Jackson where Kenneth Stokes throws the race card around like he's a dealer at one of the Mississippi casinos. What is coming next is easy to see as well:

The race card works when you play it on an individual or small groups--a politician, a swim club, a business, etc. It's hard for the small group to defend themselves and no one is anxious to come to the rescue. Now that the Democrats are playing the card on millions at a time, its going to blow up in their face. Polls show that the majority of Americans oppose the current health care proposal, so now there's subtle and not so subtle charges that the majority of Americans are secretly racists. Or not so secretive since they willingly come out to rallies in large numbers to protest against the health plan. This will become a case of crying wolf one too many times because so many people are being falsely charge, and many in America are going to turn a blind eye to future charges of racism.

It really feels like the Democrats are going down a very dangerous road, pulling out the wild card that has always worked, and this time it's going to be a losing hand for America and especially for the black community in America. Once again I hope I'm full of BS, but unfortunately, I'm fairly certain that I'm not.

September 14, 2009--224 Pounds

A deserved weigh-in this morning. A poor last 36 hours. Started with picking up Mother from her day trip Saturday evening and asking if she wanted to get supper at Wendy's. Of course she did and I ended up getting a combo. When dining in with Mother, you know she is going to take her time eating so it becomes an excuse for me to get a bigger meal, know that I have to have something to occupy my time.

Then Sunday was soccer photos and NFL football. Started editing photos in the morning, then listened to 3 time slots of NFL games before finishing right before Jay Cutler threw his 4 TD--is it any wonder that Denver actually had looked at bringing in another QB last year. That was the event that led to his temper tantrum and eventually his trade to Chicago. Good luck Bears with your newest questionable quarterback.

With all the photo editing, there would have been no time to write a blog post. That in itself is a good example of why the decision had to be made to pull the plus on the blog. Instead of starting on a post at 10:30, I was waiting for the effect of 2 Excedrin PM's to kick in--I don't like taking those but I did sleep through the night so the pills might become a habit. Still, there is a withdrawal effect so let me touch on what I might have written to relieve the pressure of having something to say and no real means to say it:

-----Serena Williams. She tanked that last point that got her defaulted from the match. Like a soccer player with a yellow card, she knew that such an outburst would bring the next phase of the penalty system and that would be the loss of a point. She knew she was a point away from being bounced by a player who had just recently come out of retirement. Somewhere in her mind, probably before the match started, she knew that a loss to Kim Clijster would make people wonder if Serena's victories over the last couple of years was mostly because Kim and Justine Hennin (spelling) had retired while at their prime.

-----More Serena. I can hear the talk now from uninformed people about how "they" didn't want a black player to win the tournament. How many other players have broken rackets in the past and yelled at lines officials without being defaulted. Two things on that: (A) I'm sure others have deservedly lost points for their outburst, it's just that they make sure something like that doesn't happen on match point in the semifinals of a major event. (B) The broken racket which gave her the warning was a given. She hit the racket hard on the ground and it didn't break, so she smashed it hard again with obvious intention of breaking the racket. The tirade towards the officials was the worst I've seen in tennis. Even McEnroe never got to the point where he threatened to come over and do bodily harm to an officials. Serene was so far over the line that it makes me think she was intentionally forcing the official to dock her the final point--either that or she has terrible, terrible anger issues.

-----One last thing to get this blogging fever out of my system today. Saw two photographers I know at the Belhaven vs. Millsaps football game. One is a guy who does good work, probably better than mine considering his experience and equipment, though the difference isn't very great. He was there because Belhaven has hired him to photograph their sports teams. That probably means team photo, individual photos, etc, but you know it always causes a brainwave spike when I hear that someone is getting paid for things that I do for free. I don't want money, I just hope people appreciate the value of my gift.

On the other hand, literally, I saw a photographer named Kip and his work was discussed on the old blog. He woke up 7 weeks ago and had totally lost use of his left arm. Doctors don't know why and 7 weeks of rest and some anti-biotics have have only brought him back to 30% usage, still not even enough to handle working with a big lens attached to his camera. Far from worrying about others getting paid for what I give away, I should be thankful that I'm able to get out and take photos. It's a gift that I'm in a position to give these gifts.

OKAY--I feel better. And that didn't take long. The problem is that adding a photo would have taken time and I would have expanded all of the above into something that would take time, and when writing on a subject in the news it would require links, cut-and-paste, etc. All things that were fine when I wasn't looking at 12 hours of editing photos on a Sunday just to keep my head above water.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

September 12, 2009--222.5 Pounds

Discontinuing posts to the "Slice of Frank's Life" blog might have the silver lining of allowing me to focus much more on the task of losing weight. It will help if my thoughts throughout the day and my writings are centered around ways of losing this strait jacket that I've been wearing for years.

I have some thoughts for this morning that will have to wait. I'm up early because Mother is going on a day tour to Holly Springs for the Hummingbird Festival--almost too late in the year for Hummingbirds except that this might be the weekend where they focus mostly on tanking up for their big flight across the Gulf of Mexico. Anyway, I need to pick her up in 10 minutes to take her to the departure point, so this will be continued in an hour or so.....

.....back from dropping off Mother and making a trip to the grocery store. While driving around I had some new thoughts about dieting, ones that I will use today instead of what was originally planned.

There's been talk over the last few years trying to paint obesity as a "disease". I've rejected this idea for two reasons. First, go back 100 years and obesity was hardly a problem in America--did all of us get infected with something since then that caused half of us to balloon up? And second, this calling it a disease seemed like another example of allowing people to shirk responsibility for their action, a very popular thing to do in the modern world.

Is obesity a disease? Maybe yes and maybe no, but it seems like the best way to deal with it is to treat it like a disease. That's something I've never considered. Suppose you have some sort of heart disease. The doctor's going to tell you to change your diet, get some exercise, make some changes in your lifestyle, etc. The doctor will also tell you that failure to make these changes will quite possibly lead to a shorter life, a lower quality of life, higher medical bills in the future, etc. Couldn't we plug in "obesity" for "heart disease" and it would be exactly the same?

So maybe I need to look at obesity as a disease. Carrying around 40-50 extra pounds certainly makes my life more difficult. Studies show that it makes me more likely to have other health problems. Studies show that it's likely that obesity will cut years from my life. For all practical purposes, I have an illness that has slowed me down for years without me or anyone else finding the cure. It seems like now would be a good time to work on finding a cure.

I'll write more on this in the future I'm sure. For now, I need to get back in bed and rest--after all, I'm sick. Also, I have a long day today and a little more sleep would be very nice before editing some photos, going to the Belhaven at Millsaps football game, checking the warehouse for Fred who is out of town, picking up Mother from her trip, and then returning home to edit photos. A nap to prepare for this is definitely needed.

OH--one last thing before I go. Alan, I hate to tell you this but from the symptoms you described (saying you need to lose 30+ pounds), it appears that you are also sick. Isn't it about time that we both started working on treatment? I started today with bananas and yogurt for breakfast, far healthier than a sausage biscuit for breakfast and amazingly tasty.