As was alluded to in an earlier post, this year, I am eschewing my normal list of 10 resolutions and instead, am focusing on two, and only two goals, for the year.
1) Lose 25 pounds.
I started the year (December 27th, technically) at a particularly lumpy 202.3 pounds. I get out of breath walking up stairs. My lower back always hurts. My clothes don’t fit, and I (out of principle) refuse to buy bigger clothes. I have CONSTANT heartburn. I experience uncontrollable cravings for fried foods. It’s gotten out of control. So, I’m on a diet. It’s a “eat homemade, healthy meals with moderate portion sizes and count your calories” diet. I’m trying to subsist on about 2050 calories a day, although that number goes up if I exercise. (That way, exercise can be used as a gating factor for a treat. You want a banana split from dairy queen? Fine. Go run on the treadmill for 48 minutes first.) I get one day a week to not count calories or portion sizes. I’m going mostly vegetarian, and will try to limit my meat intake (especially beef) to no more than twice a week. (Not including my cheat day).
Another small change that I’m making is that I’m only going to be shopping for a few days at a time now, instead of for an entire week at a time. I find that if I only shop for the next few big meals, I end up spending SIGNIFICANTLY less money, buy less junk food, and throw away a lot less spoiled produce than I have in the past.
I’m using http://www.mynetdiary.com to track my calories and exercise. It’s a fantastic website, and has a really amazing iPad/iPhone app. I’m starting to build out my recipe box of healthy recipes at Epicurious.com, which has a really great recipe collection in addition to some cool features to add your own recipes. I’m also using a great app for my Android phone which uses GPS and the accelerometer to track my time and distance on my runs/walks. It gives me little badges for hitting certain numbers of calories burned in a 7-day period.
I’ve had some decent success so far, but the last major thing that I’m doing is that I’m not going to weigh myself every day like I have in the past. There’s just far too much variation from day to day to be helpful. Instead, I’m going to weigh myself in every Thursday morning first thing when I get up. Thursday is ideal, because my cheat day is usually going to be either Friday or Saturday, and then I’ll need to get back into the habit starting on Sunday. That will allow me to make some decent progress. (Ideally). Then I’ll post my weight on Twitter in order to help motivate me to improve week over week.
Let’s just hope that this won’t fizzle out like, well, pretty much every major lifestyle change I try to make.
2) Go on a real vacation
The last “real” vacation that I went on was in June of 2008, two and a half years ago. I left from Washington, drove down to Utah for a few days, picked up a friend in Provo, drove down to LA, picked up two friends from the airport, went to Disneyland for a few days, then drove up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Simeon to tour the Hearst Castle. It was a very cool vacation, and a lot of fun.
This Christmas when I was home, I started to realize that I am in a unique position. I am single, I have a job which affords me a fairly decent amount of paid time off every year, I get a decent-sized bonus every year in August, and I don’t have any children. (Unless you count my dog as a child…which I usually do to a certain extent. But it’s easy to take a dog to a boarding facility.) I’ve seen a large chunk of Europe, but there are things that I’ve never done, and that I want to do. I’ve never been to Disney World and all the parks down there. I’ve never seen Mount Rushmore, or been to Yosemite. I’ve never been south of the border. I want to go to Australia and New Zealand. I want to see Switzerland. I MUST get back to Norway, Denmark, and Spain. I want to see Ireland and Scotland. I want to visit Alaska. I want to go to Tahiti. Or Hawaii. I want to take pictures of all of them. And, perhaps more than anything else, I want to swim with dolphins.
I love spending time with my family, but let’s be honest, for the last two years, the only time I’ve left Redmond, let alone Washington, was to visit my family. And as nice as it is to see them, Syracuse, Utah is not a hotbed of activity, nightlife, culture, or food. Sometimes it’s just nice to relax, but I’m still young, and sometimes I want to go out and experience new things.
So, while I was home, I found the website for a dophin swimming expedition company based off the northern coast of the Bahamian island of Bimini. Wild dolphins. The company has a 97’ yacht that sleeps twelve plus the crew, they have all the scuba equipment you’ll need. Meals are provided. It looks heavenly.
I was originally planning on going this year, but I don’t think I’ll be able to have enough money saved up to go before the Hurricane season rolls around, and I would just as soon not spend the money to go down to the Bahamas and then get stuck down there in the rainy season. (If I wanted to see rain, I’d just open up my blinds.) So the trip to Bimini is planned for 2012.
I still haven’t decided when/where I’m going for 2011, but I will likely stay within the United Stated. I thought I might fly back to the midwest to visit my grandparents and brother (and his family) for a few days, then fly on to New York. I went to New York back in 2003 when I went with my graduating class from BYU, but I had a miserable time when I went. I had been spending nearly every waking hour with a batch of 20 musical theater people for the last several months getting ready for this show, and they were grating on my nerves. Rather than having time to experience New York, we had a very tight schedule of classes, rehearsals, and showcase performances for agents. I was completely ignored by agents, and didn’t get a callback at all. There was one individual in particular who was driving me so bat-crap crazy that I probably would have tossed him into the East River in cement shoes if the opportunity had arisen. So it wasn’t a great experience, and it’s rather tainted my opinion of New York ever since. I may try that this year.
I might take a summer cruise up to Alaska. I’d like to go to Disneyland again, if I could get someone to go with me. (Single 33-year old man alone in Disneyland just screams “creepy pedophile” in a way that few other things can.) I hear Austin, Texas is a pretty cool place, although I’m not sure it’s vacation-worthy. I might go back to Toronto. That was a very cool city. Or maybe Chicago.
So, I’m not sure what I’ll be doing this year, but at least 1/3 of my bonus will be going toward a vacation this year. A real vacation. Doing something fun. That I want to do. That is a new experience.
So, those are my two goals.
On a tangentially related note, I made a really excellent Risotto with Butternut Squash, Leeks, and Basil tonight for dinner. The recipe is super-easy, and it makes enough to act as an entrée for six people, easily. You can find the recipe on Epicurious here:
It’s only 369 calories for 1/5th of the entire recipe. I also used chicken broth instead of vegetable stock, because I had a bunch of chicken broth in my freezer from when I made Chicken and Dumplings before Christmas. Highly recommended. It’s very yummy. And I’ll find out tomorrow how well it re-heats.