South Beach Diet - Day 14

Yea! Today is the last day of Phase I, and tomorrow I will eat a piece of bread. I will enjoy the bread. Unless you have previously enjoyed eating bread, and then not eaten any for two weeks, you cannot understand how much I will enjoy eating a piece of bread tomorrow.

How well has the South Beach Diet worked for Tamara and me so far? The numbers pretty much speak for themselves. We have both lost about seven pounds as of today's weigh in. What the numbers fail to represent is the countless instances when one of us has craved the carbohydrate-laden food that our children have eaten these past two weeks--largely unaware of their parents' torment.

What I find strange is this--we have eaten well, but still hungered for the carbs that were off our diet. One indication of how well we have eaten is the increased grocery bill of the past weeks. South Beach hasn't put us in dire financial straits, but we definitely noticed a larger outflow of cash towards food since the start of Phase I. A representative list of some of the foods that we have relished gives more insight into the quality of the food that we have eaten: grilled chicken marinated in soy sauce (the reduced sodium variety) and 7-Up (really, just the generic knock off, and diet, at that), broccoli and beef stir fry with cashews and snap peas, broiled parmesan zucchini, grilled shrimp (okay--that was just me), marinated three-bean salad, and, of course, steak.

Despite the delicious food, Tamara and I have longed for grains and carbohydrates. Not having gone without cereals for any period of time, my mind is much clearer concerning (what Latter-day Saints call) the Word of Wisdom.

"All grain is good for the food of man" (Doctrine and Covenants 89:16)

Enough of the diet for now. This morning Anthony and I went fishing. I thought I'd try somewhere new, and was disappointed and chagrined when, after trekking into the purported fishing hole, I had to point out to Anthony a sign that said "No fishing allowed." Apparently, there has been a miscommunication between the local and state governments on the fishability of Echo Lake.

After some asking around, Anthony and I found Louisa Lake, where we spent the remainder of our fishing trip. Although we didn't land the whopper that we were both hoping for, we did manage to catch some glimpses of some other interesting wildlife. On the edge of Echo Lake, we startled a large deer. As we proceeded toward the waterfront, the white-tailed doe bounded into the underbrush. We got a much closer view of a turtle at Louisa Lake.

I couldn't convince Anthony to hold the turtle

My hope for the rest of the day is that Anthony can hold it together so Mommy will let him go out at 5 AM again for another, hopefully more successful, fishing expedition.


South Beach Diet - Day 6

Still no significant weight loss to announce for the last few days.

Today Natalie gave me a cute Father's Day card. It is Natalie's representation of me helping her get across the monkey bars in the boys' room.

I love her little round people

The youth in our ward put on a "Mad Hatter Dinner" in order to raise funds for their various camping trips this summer. Everyone was asked to come wearing a crazy hat. Tamara even agreed to wear matching hats. After we were outbid on every cake at the anticipated cake auction, a fellow parishioner handed Tamara a cake for which he had bid $65. Nice! And the cake tasted good, or so I was told by the kids, who were only too glad to eat it for Mommy and Daddy.

What a good sport

Of course, with all the craziness at our house yesterday, Tamara didn't get out to the grocery store until after eight-thirty. After she left, I tried to get the kids ready for bed.

Trevor had obviously had difficulty getting dressed for bed


South Beach Diet - Day 4

12:15 PM - Dragging. I feel like I have almost no energy and could just fall asleep right here with my head on my desk. I hope that this is just me not getting enough sleep. With the new diet being the most recent change, I think I'm more apt to point my finger on the change in my eating habits, even if South Beach is blameless. It's human nature, I guess.

You'll see from my dumb little graphic that both Tamara and I seem to have made substantial progress toward our weight goals. Again, it could be just a downward turn in out regular weight fluctuations, but I tend to implicate the new diet.

I asked Tamara what she thought about the initial weight loss.

"I sure hope it's from dieting. I don't want to be tormenting myself for nothing!"

I feel the same way, even though the diet hasn't been that difficult yet.

2:15 PM - Stuggling... to... stay... awake...

10:29 PM

We're going to call it a day now--and what a day. Tamara told me earlier that this was the hardest day so far on our new diet. She says that, more than anything, the more limited food choices are getting to her.

Personally, I am waiting to see what tomorrow brings. Even though I feel that I am eating enough at meals, I am feeling like I'm not coming away with the energy that I usually have. On top of trying this new diet, I had a minor headache all this afternoon and into this evening that made me feel even more out of sorts.

Today is a significant day for me. Thirteen years ago I went into the MTC. Eleven years ago I returned home from my mission in Russia.

South Beach Diet - Day 3

Uh-oh! No substantial progress to report for Day 3. I have to say, though, that my scrambled tofu this morning was quite tasty.

So, let's mix things up with some pix of...

Abigail! Here is the first documentation of Abigail being able to stand up.

Abigail just celebrated her first birthday. Here she is "opening" a present.

Abigail enjoys her first taste of cake



the REAL blog:

Wow. What a lot of eggs and tofu I've been eating. Tamara has improved the menu with some really good soup and low-fat refried beans, but, as I look at day three, I'm wondering if I'm going to want to eat vegetables after phase one of this diet. Better go eat some snap peas...

I am down a few pounds from Day 1, or so my scale tells me. I am a little dubious about accepting the number I see. My weight seems to fluctuate by at least 3 pounds everyday even with consistent weighing times. I think part of it could be my scale. I don't trust anything less than those upright ones that you see at the doctor's office. Still, I'll take it as a portent of things to come, and just hope my weight isn't up on Day 3.

Tamara says she's been sorely afflicted with the temptation to snatch some of the kids' snacks as she has prepared them at various times during the day. It probably doesn't help that the kids turn up their noses at some of the stuff we are eating as snacks. As Tamara was finishing up a bowl of cottage cheese, Natalie wrinkled her nose and asked, "Did you eat that without anythingon it? Bleh."

In other news, the Massachusetts state senate has voted today against a proposed measure on the next ballot to come before voters. The measure would have added an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriages. You may well imagine that tensions are high at this point between the two sides. Protestors thronged opposite sides of Beacon Street today as legislators inside decided if they should vote.

I have been at astonished at comments that I have heard from various political figures and activists about inconvenience and misrepresentation. The following quotes sum up what I have heard.

"Rather than turn Massachusetts into a political circus for a national debate over something which is largely settled here, my own view is that we ought to resolve this on the merits so that it stays off the ballot, and to do so at the constitutional convention."
- Governor Deval Patrick

Stephen Stat Smith (a state representative) is "taking a really big risk and we really appreciate it. Our neighbors? Not so happy."
- Jennifer Doe, gay-rights activist who married her partner, Jennifer Rosenlund, two years ago here in Massachusetts

Can you hear the excuses in these quotes? Can you feel the duplicity? These comments turn my stomach. Governor Patrick, instead of coming right out and just saying that he fully supports same-sex marriage, pretends to be worried about turning Massachusetts into a "political circus." This is the same guy whose indiscretions concerning a flashy new state car, expensive office furnishings, and time off to console a fatigued wife gave the media plenty of material with which to bedevil the new governor. Even if I could really believe in his sincerity, what possible inconvenience can be more important than doing the right thing?

Ms. (Mrs.?) Doe's comment captures the root of the problem--legislators voting contrary to the wishes of the constituents that put them in office as their representatives. I can only think that the congressmen are hoping to escape the vehemence of the extremely outspoken gay-rights lobby by instead going against the wishes of the unfortunately relatively reticent pro-traditional marriage majority.

Well, it's time for this squeaky wheel to get a little squeakier.

I am extremely disappointed, if not overly surprised, that my faxes, emails, and phone correspondence with my liberal state congressmen have had no influence on their vote to push through this measure to put the same-sex marriage question to a popular vote. I am left now to wonder how I might more effectively communicate my desire for the preservation of marriage and to mobilize those who sympathize with the cause but seem to not be able to put out the effort to be heard by their elected officials.

I'll leave you with a teaser for a future post. What does the following quote have to do with my feelings about homosexuality and same-sex marriage?

from myfoxboston.com:
"I think being gay is like being left-handed," [Jean] Chandler said. "If we decided left-handed people couldn't marry, what kind of society would we be?"


South Beach Diet - Day 1

Tamara and I are no strangers to dieting, having done it previously, and even successfully--I lost 22 pounds over the course of a month while on the Body for Life diet. Since the disappearance of my copy of Body for Life, which I may cover in a separate post if I don't get it back, I have struggled a little bit with my diet, and the "free day" prescribed by the diet has become more of a free-for-all.

Accordingly, I read up on the South Beach diet, and decided that it was time to try something new. Tamara had commented on several occasions about how frustrated she was with those last few baby pounds that were relentlessly hanging on far more tenaciously than those from previous pregnancies. I decided that it was time for a change. After a little persuasion/pigheadedness (mine, of course), Tamara courageously agreed to join me on a new diet adventure.

So we have now weighed in and measured up. I won't bore you with all the details, but I weighed in at 217.4 pounds, about eight pounds more than my low on the Body for Life diet and a couple pounds shy of what I weighted when I graduated from high school. In fact, I have been within about 15 pounds of my current weight for about the last 15 years or so. Don't think that I believe absolutely in the Body Mass Index (BMI) that gets so much attention from your physician--I think that percentage body fat is a much better benchmark--but I have set my goal weight at 199 pounds, which would drop me from being overweight by BMI classification into the "normal" range.

Just so I can safely monitor Tamara's weight (I'm such a chicken), we'll say that she weighed in at a very dainty x pounds.

So it's on to phase one of the South Beach diet...



Have you have ever stepped outside into bright sunlight and sneezed? Have you ever popped a piece of peppermint gum into your mouth and then sneezed? These are symptoms of a benign condition called photosternutatory response, also dubbed photic sneeze response or Autosomal dominant Compelling Helio-Opthalmic Outburst Syndrome (ha ha, yes--that's ACHOO syndrome). It affects those of European descent more than those of other origins. Scientists estimate that anywhere from 5 to 25% of people live with this condition, which might be heritable.

I first developed an interest in this "syndrome" when I found myself sneezing on warm, sunny days spent at our neighborhood pool. This was before I had tinted goggles to shield my poor retinas from ultraviolet radiation. I noticed that I would sneeze a lot if I had been swimming and took a rest at the side of the pool. Honestly, what really got my attention was the one time I sneezed so violently that I hit my chin on the concrete edge of the pool as I lounged between laps. Ouch!

I also had, and possibly still have, allergies that cause me to sneeze in the springtime. I think that at least some of my sneezing got passed off as hay fever and allergies when it was really my body's strange response to bright light. I took prescription pills that seemed to lessen the amount of sneezing that I had to endure. I would still sneeze now and then, but chalked it up to pollen or dust.

I don't think that it was until after my marriage to Tamara that I really started to draw a line between sudden increase in light and my sneezes. I noticed that the sneezes usually came in sets of three. If I had sunglasses on before I went out, the sneezing might be averted. If I felt like I wanted to sneeze, I could usually just direct my upturned face toward the sun--with my eyes closed, of course--and I would start sneezing.

Now I'm down to about two sneezes per set, and I have found that I am not just a sneezing freak. Given the predicted prevalence of PSR in the general population, I wonder that something didn't pique my interest to investigate the cause of my sneezing any sooner. Of course, I wonder that my allergist missed out on the possible PSR prognosis, too.

So, given that you are reading this blog, you are probably already acquainted with the fact that I am a somewhat eccentric science geek. Having cleared the air with that disclaimer, I now ask you if you will become part of a preliminary data gathering effort for a research project that I have been turning over and over in my head for some time now. To start with, I would like to investigate some possible links between PSR and other traits.

Where do you come in? Really, it's fairly simple:

You can click on the link below and fill in your information. (You can click on it multiple times if you have more than one person for whom you are providing information.)

send me your info

The email form is fairly self-explanatory. All of your information will be kept in the strictest confidence. (None of it is too personal anyway, with the possible exception of your date of birth--and who are you foolin' there?) If you have questions, please contact me.

Thank you.

Posted by Jeremiah on June 8, 2007 at 8:39 AM


Trash Nazi

Let's talk about the Trash Nazi--thank you very much Jerry Seinfeld. I am going to let this guy off with some degree of anonymity because I think we all deserve the chance to improve (sometimes with a little direction) without being publicly castigated. Unfortunately for the Trash Nazi, I have to mention that he is a driver for our local bus company, which may or may not harbor in its ranks some Smile Nazis and Safety Nazis.

I got hungry while was waiting for the bus, which is not uncommon in light of my usual dinnertime homeward commute. What was unusual was the apple that I had tucked away in my bag, as most of my lunch is consumed ravenously after my lunchtime exercise. I eagerly set in upon the apple as the bus approached, hoping to stave off hunger pangs for the duration of the forty minute bus ride, and had almost finished as I stepped onto the bus and paid my fare. As I am not as manly as my father, who will often finish off an entire apple--and I mean the whole thing--I still had a core in my hand as I clambered aboard.

As the ticket machine sucked in my ticket, the bus driver turned to me and said, "You didn't just throw an apple in there, did you?" I had, in fact, thrown away my apple core in the trashcan sitting next to the ever-growing ticket/transfer/pass reader.


"You can't throw fruit in there!"

Glancing down, I looked for a posted sign that I must have missed each other time that I had boarded the bus. "NO FRUIT ALLOWED," or, even better, "APPLES ARE NOT TRASH." Nothing.

"Sorry, I didn't see the sign."

Possibly the wrong thing to say.

"Actually, you can't put anything in there. It's only for the driver."

Wow. Using the trashcan had been completely a non-issue for all the other bus drivers when I threw things away. I made a mental note not to use this guy's trash can again.

"Take it out."


I had thought we were done. But no...

"Take the apple out."

My jaw must have dropped, because he repeated his request. Looking back, I wish that I had maintained enough composure to tell him that he could take it out himself, and that I didn't have a trashcan on my person nor felt much like holding a mostly eaten apple for the rest of my ride.

But I was surprised. I took it out and put it in my bag, which I had imagined clean until that point.

As I zipped my bag up, he tipped the trashcan over on its side, facing it away from the embarking passengers. Not the most commonsensical position for a trashcan, but he was trying to make a point. Not that I didn't catch the glare in his eyes as he shooed me to the back of the bus.

"No trash for you!"

The Trash Nazi made the mistake of thinking that, since I was in the back of the bus, his hallowed trash receptacle was safe. After I had been sitting down for a while, he grew nervous about the precarious pile of rubbish that threatened to slide out of his prostrated trashcan. No sooner did he right it than an old lady, who had just gotten off, turned around and placed an empty water bottle in his trashcan. Rather than telling her to fetch out her garbage, the Trash Nazi again tipped his can over, and I thought he glanced back at me as I chuckled at the back bus.

"No trash for you!"

I had an epiphany. Or, perhaps more appropriately, "lightning has struck my brain." That's how Shmee puts it in Hook, and that's about how I felt the other day when this startling revelation was pressed upon me by the Trash Nazi--some people may say or "give the impression" that they care about the environment, but they really don't.

Maybe I assumed too much. The fact that I ride the bus to be more "green" doesn't mean that bus drivers are more likely to care if litter is strewn across the streets. I can see that it could just be a "job" for the drivers. I obviously thought too highly of at least one driver.

Now I'm afraid that I've sounded a bit harsh or peevish. What's a couple pieces of trash, anyway? In my defense, how much trash would end up on the ground outside the bus if one person at every bus stop conveniently dropped their garbage on the ground instead of placing it in a can like the one on the bus.

All I'm saying is give trash a chance

...to make it into a trashcan.

Posted by Jeremiah on June 7, 2007 at 3:35 PM