Monday, January 2, 2012

And So it Begins... Again...

A while ago (around 2010), I went on a drastic program and lost a significant amount of weight.  In all honesty, I dropped about fifty pounds and went from weighing around 225 to around 180 in about six months.  It was a difficult process, but one I enjoyed and one that came with more benefits than just my pants fitting better.  The next year, I decided to make a drastic lifestyle change and quit smoking.  That's right.  Since May of 2011, I've not had a cigarette.  But there was a problem.  As do many people trying to kick the habit, I put on some weight.  In fact, I put on all the weight I'd lost, plus a few more.  At the moment of this writing, I weigh now more than I ever have, 236 pounds.  And it feels awful.  A drastic weight gain like that does a lot of horrible things to a person's body, not the least of which is joint and back pain, limited endurance, and the overall feeling that it shouldn't be so damned difficult to bend over to tie one's shoes in the morning.

So here we are, 2012, and I, like so many others, are headed to the gym to try to live a healthier lifestyle.  While most of them will give up after a few weeks, I won't.  I've lost the weight before, and I can do it again.  How?  Incentives.  First off, I feel like I've let the entire Kajukenbo Ohana down by becoming such a fat slob.  I've dedicated more than twenty years of my life to the study of martial arts, and I'm not going to be that guy anymore.  Second, I want to be around to see my grandkids (not any time soon, please), and it seems like being healthier is a good way to do that.  Third, Tabby said that if I meet my weight loss goal, I can order a new kilt.  That alone will do it for me.

So what challenges are there?  Well, the biggest one is the most obvious:  I love to eat.  Italian, Chinese, Greek, Mexican, you name it, I love to eat it.  I'm a food junkie.  I love potatoes and gravy, steak and beer, creamy alfredo sauces...  It's tough quit eating the things a person loves, so I'm going to attempt to make the above things, but in a light (but still flavorful) way.  Yes, I can cook.   Second, my jobs are such that I spend an enormous amount of time on my butt looking at a computer screen.  That's why the gym is across campus and I'm going to walk to it instead of driving or riding to it.  Third, time is an issue.  My boss, however, was kind enough to allow me extra time on my lunch hour to do my training.

So here's what's going to happen:  Starting now (as in Sunday, January 1, 2012), I'm on a low-fat, low sodium diet.  Tabby's on the same diet for medical reasons, so it should be good.   Today (Monday, January 2, 2012) I went to renew my gym membership.  Thursday through next week, I'll be in Pittsburgh.  Starting Monday, January 16 2012, I'm going to be in the gym five days a week.  My weight loss goal is simple:  By the residency in June, I'll weigh no more than 180 lbs.  That means I have to lose 57 pounds in 6.5 months.  Can I do it?  You betcha.  I'm also going to be taking photos of myself once a week to track my progress.  Don't worry...I'm not posting them here.  I won't torture you that way.  But when I've lost the weight, I'm going to compile them into a time-lapse thing so I can see my progress.  I may post that.  I may not.  I'll also be posting any good recipes I find for low-fat, healthy food.  We'll start with this one:

Scott's Low-Fat Beef Stroganoff

  • 1 bag whole-grain noodles (I prefer spirals or twists)
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 large container fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium container of LITE sour cream
  • 2 tblspns low-fat, low salt margarine
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 1 package of low salt, low fat beef stock
  • lean meat.  (I prefer a London Broil because it's cut lean)
  1. dice your onion and put it in a pan with margarine at medium heat and cook until clear.  
  2. slice the mushrooms and throw them into the pan too.  Cook the mixture for about ten to fifteen minutes or until the mushrooms are tender and no longer feel like styrofoam. 
  3. Pour in your wine and stir in well.  Let the mixture simmer and reduce.  
  4. Pour in the beef stock and stir in.  Bring to a boil and let it reduce for about ten minutes or more, depending on taste. 
  5. Boil your noodles.
  6. Mix in the sour cream.  NOTE:  There's a trick to it.  Put the sour cream in a mug (like a coffee mug) and gradually raise the temperature by spooning in some of the hot broth and mixing in the coffee cup.  When you have the sour cream mixture at close to the correct  temperature, then mix it in.  Otherwise, you'll curdle the sour cream.  
  7. Heat to boiling and let it reduce. 
  8. Set your oven to "broil" and let heat for five minutes. 
  9. Rub the London Broil with your favorite low-sodium steak dust, and let it sit for a few minutes.
  10. Cook your London Broil.  CAUTION: It cooks very quickly.  Seven minutes, then turn it over, and it could very well be done.  Remember, red meat is supposed to be pink in the middle, not grey. 
Beef Stroganoff is meant to look as good as it tastes.  Suggested serving is as follows:  On a plate, lay out a bed of noodles.  Then slice between four and six (THIN) slices of your London Broil.  Using a small ladle, put your sauce over the meat.  It should not run all over the plate.  If it does, you've used too much.  However, a gravy-boat filled with sauce might be appreciated by your guests.  Top with a sprig of fresh parsley or some chives, and serve with steamed broccoli.

That's it.  That's my recipe.  Hope you like it!  And here's the cool thing:  If you used low-fat sour cream and lean meat, this is actually a healthy meal. 

Oh, and happy new year. 


  1. Scott, congratulations on your decision. You can do it! I've considered purchasing e-cigars to help curb my cigar love, and I may do that yet. That's a way I can get the taste and still not feel like eating. Writing is such a sedentary job. The most active part of it is the research...if you actually get up and go somewhere to do research.

    I have NO DOUBT you will achieve your goals and I wish you the best along the way. Might I suggest the strategy of a T-Shirt that says "Do Not Feed the Bear." It worked for me. :)

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