Thursday, July 31, 2008

Being Ethical Isn’t Cheap

God gave the Devil a choice, or so the story goes, between Hell or Texas. The Devil chose Hell because he found the climate to be more moderate.

It's 8:00 AM and the temperature is pushing 80 and they're predicting a high for the day in the mid-90s. If you're going to be out in this kind of heat, particularly if you're going to be engaging in physical activity, you should make sure you have water so you don't become dehydrated. There's a local park that has a 2.25 mile exercise trail that's marked off in quarter mile segments. I'm partial to taking walks there but there are only a couple of spots with water fountains so it's a good idea to carry some bottled water. Based on taste, I'm partial to Aquafina which I buy in both 500 mL and 1 liter bottles. I mostly drink the smaller bottles but if I think I'm going to be out in the heat for an extended period of time I'll take one of the larger instead.

This week I needed to pick up more of the liter bottles so I headed to the store only to find that they needed to restock their Aquafina. Now I prefer Aquafina but I'm not a stickler for it so I surveyed my choices, Dasani or Ozarka. This was when I noticed a new brand on the shelves, Ethos Water. In case the name doesn't make it clear that this is an "ethical" choice, the label proudly declares, "Helping children get clean water." On the back of the bottle is a mission statement that says Ethos Water will donate 5 cents for every bottle sold to humanitarian water programs that help children around the globe gain access to clean water.

Here's the thing. Ethos Water, at least at the store I go to, is the most expensive bottled water on the shelf. It's 40 cents more than the next most expensive bottled water and 69 cents more than my usual choice of Aquafina. For that kind of money I'd better be getting the bottled tears of a virgin or some such but Ethos is just regular water.

Reason dictates that if I really want to help children and others get clean drinking water, it would be better to buy another brand and then donate the money I save directly to a humanitarian program of my choice rather than letting Ethos do the donating for me. After all, $6.90, the money I would save buying 10 bottles of Aquafina instead of Ethos, is a lot better than 50 cents, the money Ethos would donate if I bought 10 bottles of their product.

So I did a little research and it turns out that Ethos Water is owned by Starbucks and produced by PepsiCo (who also produce Aquafina). I also found out, and this is really interesting, that Ethos Water doesn't use recycled plastic in their bottles even though PepsiCo does use recycled plastic in its own bottles. So not only is Ethos Water expensive but it's also one of the more environmentally unfriendly bottled waters. Seems to me that Ethos Water isn't a very "ethical" choice no matter what they claim.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Saturday Weigh-In: July 26, 2008

Weight: 378 lbs.

Total Weight Lost: 13.8 lbs in 11 weeks

I hate having to make a post like this. Obviously I've been backsliding. On Monday and Tuesday I was helping my parents out with some things at their house and, as usual, they wanted to take me to lunch. Both days we went to a place they like that I'd never been to before. I could have eaten healthy but I wanted to see how the restaurant did on some old favorites of mine so Monday I have red beans and rice with sausage and on Tuesday I had a shrimp po-boy with fries. Both days was too much fat and starch.

Unfortunately it didn't end there. Monday I was feeling guilty about lunch so I decided to just skip dinner but then got really hungry and wound up getting into some ice cream I'd bought for my cheat day instead. Additionally, I've been adding too much fat to my meals at home. I typically have a slice of whole grain wheat bread with lunch and/or dinner. Lately I've been toasting and buttering it and sometimes sprinkling it with cheese before putting it into the toaster oven. I've also been allowing myself to put more cheese on my salads. In my search for a new supplier for my cottage cheese, I stumbled across a parmesan romano salad dressing that I decided to try out. Unfortunately it's not low fat and I've been rather liberal in applying it to my salads.

This week I need to concentrate on getting back on track. I've got to lay off the cheese and butter and salad dressing and get back to eating right.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

“I’m a lawyer, you idiot!”

It seems some liberals are starting to experience buyer's remorse when it comes to Barack Obama. Ever since he got the Democrat nomination sewn up he's been flip flopping his way to the political center and they're none too happy about it. I find the whole thing rather amusing since it reminds me of one of my favorite western comedies, Rustler's Rhapsody.

For those not familiar with Rustler's Rhapsody it came out in the mid-80s. At the time, I thought the trailer was hilarious but when I saw it in the theater I hated it. One of those cases where all the good bits had been in the trailer. Yet in years to come I'd occasionally run across it on television and with time it started to grow on me. It starred Tom Berenger as Rex O'Herlihan, a hero in the style of the singing cowboys from the 30s and 40s who found himself in a modern movie, and he was aware he was in a movie, with modern sensibilities. Amusingly enough the movie probably couldn't be made today, 20 years later, without significant changes because the villain of the piece, wonderfully played by Andy Griffith, is a politically incorrect gay caricature. Modern sensibilities being what they are and all that.

Anyway, that's not what reminds me of the current situation with Obama. No, what reminds me of BO is Bob Barber, a lawyer turned professional good guy who is brought in by Colonel Ticonderoga (Griffith) to face down Rex. When the inevitable gunfight occurs, Bob shoots Rex in the arm. Now it should probably be noted that up until this point, Rex has only shot people in their gun hands. This is what good guys do in the movies he comes from. So when Bob shoots him in the arm it prompts the realization that Bob isn't a good guy at all. To this Bob responds, "I'm a lawyer, you idiot!"

Barack Obama is a lawyer. He's also a politician. He's based his campaign around a vague phrase that could mean just about anything. Are people really surprised that he acted like a liberal when he needed liberal votes and now that he's got them he's headed for the center because he needs those votes too? If you wanted an honest politician with principles who would say what he means and mean what he says, you should have nominated Dennis Kucinich. As far as I can tell, he and Ron Paul are the only two people running for President willing to take an actual stand on the positions. Maybe that's why people consider them to be a couple of unelectable kooks.

Saturday Weigh-In: July 19, 2008

Weight: 374.2 lbs.

Total Weight Lost: 17.6 lbs in 10 weeks

It was a disappointing week. I made some bad food choices. The grocery store I normally go to discontinued one of the food items that's become a staple of my diet and has been out of several others.

The discontinued item was Breakstone's Low Fat Cottage Cheese which I usually have for breakfast along with a serving of raisin bran. I suppose the technically haven't discontinued it. They no longer carry the large tubs but just the small, more expensive, snack size. Since I'm not willing to pay the extra money for the snack size, I need to start going somewhere else to get it. I could just switch brands, Kroger also carries Borden, Daisy and their own brand but I've tried them all and they all have an unpleasant tang that I don't like so I'll stick with Breakstone's.

But anytime something happens to break your routine, it's an opportunity to go back to old, unhealthy habits and that's sort of what happened to me this week.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Saturday Weigh-In: July 12, 2008

Weight: 374.8 lbs

Total Weight Lost: 17 lbs. in 9 weeks

On the plus side, I've reached one of my mini-goals by dropping under 375 lbs. My next mini-goal is to break 350 lbs.

On the minus side, I was bad last night. I have a friend who lives in Galveston. Earlier this week his truck broke down and it was to the point where it would have been more than the truck was worth to fix it. Yesterday afternoon he contacted me to see if I could drive him up to Clear Lake to see about buying another car. Since I already had plans today I suggested we do it yesterday. Consequently I spent a lot of time in traffic (hour and a half just to get to Galveston) and then more time just sitting around at the car dealership while they worked to arrange terms my friend could live with, and by the time I got to eat it was late and I was very hungry. My friend suggested Chik-fil-a for dinner so we went there and I had chicken nuggets (which were fried), waffle fries (fried starch), and Coke (caffeine and processed sugar). There's really no excuse for eating like that. I could have said no to Chik-fil-a. I could have gotten a chargrilled chicken sandwich with cole slaw and a glass of water but I didn't. So today I'm beating myself up about it. We all backslide from time to time. The important thing to do is to not let it become a habit and to not let it discourage you from keeping on with your diet.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Saturday Weigh-In: July 5, 2008

Weight: 376.4 lbs

Total Weight Lost: 15.4 lbs in 8 weeks

I have a friend who hosts a 4th of July pool party every year. Her brother is a man who's quite serious about his meat and his BBQ is not to be missed. Mind you, I'm not talking about meat smothering in BBQ sauce. I'm talking real Texas BBQ. Meat smoked and then cooked in a BBQ pit with sauce available on the side if you want it but it's certainly not necessary. He goes all out with beef brisket, chicken, ribs, and sausage. A nephew's birthday is also at this time of year so his mother provided a cookie "cake". This year was extra special because my friend's sister was getting married for the second time and they were holding a casual ceremony by the side of the pool so there was a wedding cake as well. Finally, my friend's daughter made cookies.

So with this bounty of tasty food available, what's a person who's trying to lose weight to do? Knowing what was coming, I tried to be extra good about the things I was eating all week long. Then yesterday I had all the good food that I wanted but I made sure to keep my portions small and not pig out. As for the desserts, I politely declined the cake but had a cookie. I ate well but I also showed self-control and I don't think I did myself any real damage.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Weight-Loss Tip: Brush Your Teeth

I used to be amused by co-workers who could be seen disappearing into the bathroom with toothbrushes and tubes of toothpaste in hand after lunch. Now I find that brushing after every meal helps me avoid between meal snacking. Not only is it good dental hygiene but I find that it helps me stick to my diet because I don't want to get my teeth dirty again before my next meal. A nice thing about this particular habit is that it's self-reinforcing. After a few days of brushing after every meal, I now find that if I forget to brush after a meal it's not long before I start to notice a bad taste in my mouth. So if you're trying to lose weight and have a problem with between meal snacking give brushing your teeth after every meal a try.