Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Fat Dude goes to Wrestlemania!

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One of my lifelong dreams has always been to go to Wrestlemania and it finally happened on Sunday. Even better, I enjoyed the moment with best-homie-for-life K.C. Mac & Cheese (aka Kyle, the best man at my wedding and best friend since third grade)!

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Wrestlemania 31. Santa Clara, Calif. Been there, done that. Cross this one off the bucket list, brother!!

Tattoo No. 6, Version 2.0

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Recently the blog went offline for a while, but now it’s back and I have an iPhone’s worth of food to write about this winter. I’m also going to write a lot more about non-food stuff because I’ve been in the mood to stretch these fingers out on the keyboard for a while, so let’s do this.

First up: My new tattoo!

Here’s what I’ve learned over sitting for 6 tattoos:

-Always research your tattoo artist and their work
-Always check your design stencil twice (four! five!! six times!!!) before it gets inked
-Never get something without thinking through how it will look on your body

With all that said, I recently got a new tattoo to cover up an old one that didn’t come out the way I wanted it to. The positive: I know have a piece of art that I really love, and it’s much better than the one on there before. I found the picture online after searching for art related to the band Tool and their album “10,000 Days.” Their last two albums featured liner note art by Alex Grey, who makes some of the most beautiful and unique paintings I’ve ever seen.

I had three qualifiers for the artist: 1) Can tattoo feathers; 2) Female; 3) Local artist. All of my previous ink was done by men and they tend to hunker in and drill down until the work is done. There’s something to be said about having a light touch—especially when you plan on having multiple needles jammed into your skin over and over.

The lovely and talented Latisha Wood at Vatican Studios in Lake Forest drew the piece directly on my arm and went away at it for 6 hours until we had the final product above.

Feeling good about yourself is important, and as a tattoo “collector” (as I was recently called), fixing the old tattoo was important to me. I couldn’t be happier with the final result, and now I’m already thinking about what No. 7 should be!

Stuck in the awkwards

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It’s the best-worst problem to have when you’re losing weight and currently I’m wallowing in the thick of it.

Yesterday was the third time since beginning this weight-loss plan that I’ve given away clothes for donation. It stings as much as it is liberating to see those first XXL shirts, and now many XL shirts, heading out the door. But it’s hard to get rid of your favorite clothes, even if they don’t fit anymore.

I’ve donated over half my closet so far, but I’m slowly replenishing my wardrobe as I go. All of my size-42″ jeans are out of the house and I have a lone pair of 40’s hanging around for my eventual transition to 38″s. Those are already in my closet with the tag still on them, courtesy of the last time I said I would fit into 38″s but never managed.

I want to buy more now, but I know this is a waypoint to smaller sizes and a bigger selection of clothes to choose from. I have two shirts in my closet that I’m calling my “215 shirts” because I’m pretty sure I’ll fit into them when I drop another 10 lbs. Then I’ll pick up some “205 shirts” for motivation again. 

Until then, I’m stuck in the awkwards. XL’s vary from brand to brand, so half of my wardrobe fits right and the rest is kinda baggy and floopy. And then there’s that XXL Slim Fit Calvin Klein shirt I’ve been wanting to wear, but I’m still not slim enough in the tummy for it (almost though). I’m starting to hate the shirt anyway, as it mocks me from the closet with it’s ridiculous “XXL SLIM FIT” size. SERIOUSLY HOW DOES THAT MAKE SENSE? What XXL dudes do you know that wear slim fits? Certainly not this one. By the time I’m ready to fit into the shirt, I’ll likely want to burn it out of spite instead.

Breathe. Remind myself:

“This is only a waypoint.”

I’m joining OC Weekly’s Stick A Fork In It blog!

If you follow my Facebook page, you would have seen that a couple of days ago I posted about some exciting news to come.

And now it’s official. I’m headed back into the world of Orange County food blogging, this time with the crew from OC Weekly’s awesome Stick A Fork In It blog. The thing I miss most about working at The Reg is the food stuff, so needless to say, I’m excited to do it again–and especially so with such a talented group of food writers.

That being said, nothing changes here. My primary goal is to lose weight and get all sexy by the big 3-0 in October. But, I still eat meals out, and it would be a shame not to write about them. I asked to join Stick A Fork In It because there was no place I’d rather be writing about great local eats. And I’m honored that they’ve taken me in.

My first post should run sometime next week, and will likely be about my undying love for the Hawaiian plate lunch. I’ll post links to my stories there on this blog too, but until that first post, here’s a link to the post introducing me to their readers.

Onwards and upwards

Instead of focusing on the could-have-done’s, here at Fat Dude, we’re hitting the reset button.

True, Chef Brian and I started the blog over a year ago now and my original plan was to be done with all 52 weeks of cooking, but we’re not there yet. In fact, we’re just over halfway there.

But in the spirit of onwards and upwards (and returning well-rested from vacation), I’m not going to focus on what I haven’t done in the past year. I’m going to take a minute to reflect on the successes.

My biggest problem with food has always been with fast food and sweets. I used to love the stuff. Like, super-sized combo, six-piece chicken nugget on the side and a sundae for dessert kinda loved the stuff. But last November I decided to make the switch from fake food to real food and — aside from a handful of trips to In-N-Out (doesn’t really count), Arby’s, Del Taco and Chic-fil-a in the last year — I’ve done a pretty good job at staying fast food free.

I cut out soda, the majority of factory candy (I try and stick to straight dark chocolate as much as possible) and I eat fewer late night meals. While I planned to walk every night and cook every night at home, I really didn’t. I walked a fair amount, and scattered a few gym visits throughout in the last couple of months, but I haven’t been on a focused routine for any long period of time.

And even though I ate out more than I should have, I made the effort to chose places where I trust that they’re putting good ingredients in the food I’m eating. I also cooked more in the last year than any year before, and it helped me to drop some considerable weight. I went from 258 to as low as 231. In the spirit of finding the positives, I’m happy to say that even though I fluctuated and stagnated, I have been able to sustain weight loss for one full year, something I haven’t done since 2005, which was the last time I truly tried to lose weight.

That time I did it by working out. This time I did it through portion control and healthy eating.

Now I’m ready to combine approaches. If there was one weakness I had in year one, it had to be time management. It’s sometimes hard for the average person to come home from work and cook dinner; I chose to start a blog that had me working sometimes several hours after coming home just to put something new on the site each day.

I’m trying to prep and do things at a slower pace, and in the spirit of trying to cook all of my meals at home, I’m interspersing quick-cook dishes from various magazines, cookbooks and even my own new cooking skills to make things less stressful in the kitchen. I plan to use the extra time in the gym, and will aim to do four nights of cardio, at least 20 minutes, this week and the next.

I plan to figure out a solid routine for working out muscles and managing my time properly to continue with my plateaued weight loss, but all in due time. I started by slowly changing my food habits; now I’m going to change my exercise habits. I’ve gotten this far with some effort, but now it’s time to push it harder and get the job done.

First new weigh-in next Monday. I’ll be checking into the gym on Facebook to stay accountable–if you have workout tips, share them here or there, they’ll be appreciated.

New menu, “Southern Comfort,” arrives tomorrow. See you then!

Fat Dude does Cancun: A Mexican vacation

Before I kick off the next phase of Fat Dude next week, I thought it would be nice to post some of my favorite pictures from the vacation I just returned from in Cancun. It was the first time Wifey Nadia traveled outside of the country, the first international trip we’ve taken together as a married couple and the first time either of us received stamps in our passports.

The people were incredibly nice, the food impeccably fantastic and the country itself, while dangerous in some parts, was beautiful from the sandy beaches to the random towns that lined the roads on the way to and from Chichen Itza, the largest Mayan city in Mexico.

Follow the jump for scenes from our trip. Continue reading Fat Dude does Cancun: A Mexican vacation

Same old, some new, and a vacation on the horizon

The biggest challenge in doing this blog has been the time required to cook, shoot photos, write and exercise. Well, really, finding the time to cook and exercise is the challenge facing anyone wanting to live a healthier life style.

Originally I had planned to pull of this blog in one whirlwind approach–52 straight weeks of cooking, writing and walking, in order to craft a skinnier me. It’s been nearly a year (early November) and I’ve made it through more than half of the 52 weeks I planned to cook, though I’ve sidelined myself by failing to stick to plan.

In retrospect, I thought that if I wanted it bad enough, it would just happen. That I would make it happen. And in retrospect, I didn’t really understand what it meant to be healthy. I thought healthy was “skinny,” but it’s a lot more than that.

Health comes from proper diet, proper exercise. There’s a lot of it that has to do with managing mental fitness and teaching yourself how to build a long-term lifestyle. In the past weeks, I’ve been focusing on how exactly to do that within the confines of writing this blog.

It’s not that I don’t want to write this blog any more, but that I never thought through how to manage what has become a part-time job on top of my full-time job. After reviewing how much money I was spending on eating meals out, I knew I needed to change for the better and cook the majority of my meals at home.

When it came time in early October to put up, shut up and get cooking, I started strong but slowly returned to my old ways. In examining why, I realized that it’s because after cooking 27 (28?) weeks of Fat Dude menus, I’ve come to expect the type of dinners Chef Brian creates every night of the week.

Instead of cooking simpler dishes at home, I again became used to eating out because it’s quicker than cooking in. I still have the goal of reducing my outside food budget and filling myself with better-for-me foods, so in that vein, I’ve decided to flip around how I live my food life.

I’m going to try cooking the majority of Fat Dude meals on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays–days where I have more time to experiment in the kitchen, learn new tricks and techniques and properly photograph and write about it all.

I’m also focusing on cook quick, healthy meals on the weekdays so that when I do cook at home, it doesn’t take as long and I have time to do other things including using the gym pass I’ve been neglecting on-and-off for a few months.

I’m also finally addressing the true root of severe muscular pain I’ve been enduring for nearly two years. It’s all tied together, and I’m learning how to manage food, exercise and physical care so that I can live a better life.

In my first few days trying this out, I’m spending less time in the kitchen, the house is cleaner, I’m doing all of my stretches and taking the time to refocus on all of the things stress and an unhealthy lifestyle make you lose focus on.

As I embark on new ways to improve myself, I’m lucky to say I’ll be taking my first out-of-country vacation in nearly six years.

I’m headed off to Mexico in the middle of next week and I’ll be there for about a week. Between now and then I’m going to focus on quick, healthy meals at home and a full menu of stretches from the book “Pain Free” by Pete Egoscue. Wifey picked out the book for me months ago, but I’ve been too sloth-like to really try it out. I’ve been doing the book’s “e-cise” methods for only two days and already I’ve noticed a marked improvement in my muscular pain.

I’ll be back in the kitchen once I return from Mexico around Nov. 10. By that time, I should be rested and ready to go once again.

I spent $475.19 dining out last month! WTF?!

It was actually hard to write the headline to this post, and I really didn’t want to leave it up after I did. I can’t fathom having spent nearly $500 last month going to restaurants but obviously ’tis shamefully true. I’m just a working man, not rich by any means — I think we probably put a few of those meals on our credit card just so we could still go out with friends. In retrospect, that’s whack.

If I had kids, which I plan to one day, this wouldn’t fly, so it’s better to live and learn now then do and burn later.

The best thing about this blog is that it’s the best learning process I’ve had in my life. Fat Dude has taught me the value of accountability and responsibility, so instead of wallowing in my own guilt, I decided to write this post as a reminder to never spend this much money regularly eating out again.

I recently talked about getting back to basics and how I intended to use calorie counting as a tool to track my daily weight loss progress and eventually meet my goals. Well, it worked, and then it didn’t work.

Two weeks ago, calorie counting worked Monday-Thursday, and then on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Labor Day) I chose to grab the majority of my meals out. I know weight swings from day to day, but it’s greatly altered by what one eats, as my scale proved to me: first Monday: 239.9 lbs.; first Thursday: 234.something lbs.; last Monday: 239.8 lbs.; last Tuesday: 236.1 lbs.

The ill-effects of eating at restaurants consistently, as I have since forever, finally smacked me in the face when I thought about the dent in my wallet and the expansion on my waistline simultaneously (something I’d never really done before). Portion sizes vary plate to plate, you never know how much oil or butter is in a dish, and, as a result, the calorie count suffers. Even when I try to stick to a calorie count at a restaurant, it’s almost impossible to have anything delicious for under 500 calories. Then I started thinking about how I’m a pretty good home cook  that can make great things for low calories and how lazy and less-delicious it is that I rely on outside food so much.

It isn’t just me though. The Google says the average American eats out 4-5 times per  week. I’d say, on my worst days, that should really be twice a day, counting lunch and dinner. It’s easy to see how I, and a lot of other people I talked to recently, are able to spend so much money going out each month.

I started trying to figure out how I spend the $475.19: Approximately $118 a week going out, lunches and dinners mostly. Nadia and I often go out because she comes home a few  hours  late than me and it’s often the easiest thing  to do if we’re low on supplies or just too tired by that point. We head out, but because we don’t eat fast food anymore, we end up seeking healthier fare at higher-priced restaurants, which, as I’ve seen now, just eats through my budget.

In keeping with the whole  learning from your mistakes thing I’ve been trying  to do here, I’ve decided that I’m just not going to do it anymore. It will be easier to count calories and I’ll have true control over everything I eat if I drastically decrease the number of times I eat out per month.

Originally I was going to give up going out entirely, but in half-week since between writing  and publishing this, I had to go out once when I was  sick (needed pho medicine) and once already after getting  home late on Monday night. On the other hand, I’ve also made great strides in declining friends lunch requests (not easy to do), pushing away nachos at the bar during Thursday football, and telling a visiting friend that we could hang out and eat together as long as I cooked the meal at home.

Full disclosure: We have a food truck event at work Friday, our last one of the year (for charity, lol), and I’m going to enjoy myself within reason.

I gave up on fast food and processed  food about this time last year. I can seriously count the number of times I’ve been to a drive-thru in the last year on one and a half-hands and I’m very proud of that. I’m not saying now that I’m giving up on going out, but I am until I can use  the privilege responsibly.

It’s a little scary because it means I have to be on top of my game 24/7 — shopping, prepping and cooking.

I’m not used to doing all that all the time, as you can tell by my great grand total. My weight — rather, my over-weight — isn’t just because of one factor, it’s due to many. I’m proud to acknowledge and stand  up to one of the great setbacks to a healthier me.

Cheers to that.

Mrs. Fat Dude in the kitchen

The kitchen was closed last night — to me at least — because Wifey Nadia put to use her kitchen skills and whipped up a Thai menu for our second anniversary.

I’m proud of her because I’m usually the one cooking in our house, and she handled the meal from start to finish. The noodles were a little waterlogged and she picked up stew meat as opposed to the filet she was supposed to use, but at the end of the day, what a lucky guy I am.

It was yummy, especially the delicious chicken salad with jalapeno-fish sauce dressing. Thanks so much! Love you baby!

Expect our roasted vegetable panini, the final meal of Week 24, to post tomorrow. See you then!

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