Crown Molding: Adventures in Angles

As I’ve written about in recent posts, I’ve been doing some work in our living room and on the fireplace in particular. Re-painting it and re-crafting the mantle were two projects from this spring. Both projects turned out well, but something was missing. The room just wasn’t “finished.” What it needed was some crown molding to give it that final flourish.

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Diet Day 7

I realize these entries are probably not of interest to most people, but that’s okay. I’m doing it more as a way to pay closer attention to what I’m eating and the effects of food on my body.

Anyway, yesterday was day 7. The morning started out well, if cholesterolic. I made Cynthia and myself a giant omelette with mushrooms, tomatoes, habanero cheese and smoked salmon. It was quite good, if I say so myself.

Then it was time to work in the yard. Getting out in the sun, sweating, cleaning things up felt good. So, after showering, I quaffed some club soda and took a nap.

For the evening, we had friends over for dinner, so we threw together some chicken and steak kabobs, replete with mushrooms, green peppers and cherry tomatoes, and made some brown rice. (The brown rice was for the guests, but it wasn’t ready in time.) While that was cooking, we plated some salmon and crackers. The crackers beckoned and I caved. What can I say?

Post dinner, we broke out the ice cream. Only the guests and Sammy enjoyed the Häagen Dazs and Ben & Jerry’s. Cyn and I stuck with sugar-free, fat-free fudgisicles and ice cream bars.

Add in a few handfuls of peanuts and it was a decent diet day. By this morning, I was down 7 pounds from my start. I’m at 208 and falling.

Kinda sick of the diet

So, yesterday was day 6 of the diet. I have to admit, it was the first day I didn’t do so well. First, I ate some leftover French bread pizza. Then, later in the evening I had a few Doritos and some dark chocolates (which are supposed to be allowed in Phase 2, though I’m still a week away from that.

But, in between I did well. For lunch, we went to Elevation Burger. For those who’ve never been (or never heard of it), it’s an excellent organic hamburger shop. The best thing is, they allow you to replace the buns with a big ol’ lettuce leaf.

Now, you might be thinking, “ugh.” But, I’m hear to tell you, even if I wasn’t on a diet, I might go with the lettuce wrap again. It was awesome. I actually splurged for the double patty, but before you castigate me for being dieting in name only, the second patty was a veggie patty, and it, too, was excellent. Though, I do have to wonder if I was following my diet, since the patty had carrots in it.

Anyway, we didn’t order any fries and I drank water. (Though later, I did have several glasses of lemonade, which, I’m sure, was verboten.

Later in the night, I played (and lost at) poker. There were the obligatory cheese puffs and Doritos. I was good, caving in only at the end, but even then still limiting myself.

When it was time for bed, I tested the scales and found I weighed in at 212 pounds. Sigh.

South Beach diet or (gut) bust

Mirror mirror on the wall

Not long ago I was getting ready in the morning and I caught a glimpse of myself in the full-length mirror in my bathroom. “Who the Hell is that?” I wondered, seeing my pale gut sticking out far beyond where I’d ever seen it extend it before.

My daughter, who was brushing her teeth, said, “I don’t like your stomach.” Neither did I. It was time to do something. It was past time to do something.

String bean teen

When I graduated high school, I was 6’6″ (ish) and 165 pounds. When I played basketball (badly) I was easily pushed out of the box. I was simply too light for my height. Over the years, I slowly added weight, but even by the early 21st century, I was still only 185 pounds or so.

In the last couple years, though, the weight has come and come fast. I’ve packed on nearly 30 pounds. On the one hand, I like being bigger. On the other hand, I’d prefer it wasn’t in my gut and my second chin.

It’s not that I was all that overweight, really, but let me put it this way: When I played Wii Fit Plus, my nice lean avatar got a little paunch after I went through the fitness test. Just like me. D’oh!

Taking charge

It’s one thing to have a preference, it’s another thing to do something about. So, when my neighbor said she lost 16 pounds on the South Beach diet, I thought, “well, Hell, maybe I should give it a shot and jump start an improved lifestyle.”

So, that’s just what I’ve been doing for the last few days. Basically, the South Beach diet is a three-phase low-carb, low-sugar, low-fat diet. The first phase, which lasts two weeks, essentially bans dairy, pasta, rice, bread, fruit, juice and lots of other stuff I like. The second phase brings back a smattering of those things, and phase three, which is meant to be indefinite, brings back a few more in moderation.

Here’s how it’s gone:

Day 1:
Boy, all day I really wanted to drink a glass of milk. And a cookie. Or a sandwich. But, what was I going to do, bail on day 1? Of course not. So, I stuck to my guns. For breakfast, I had a couple hard-boiled eggs.

For lunch, I enjoyed a piece of salmon and a salad. It was filling. For a while. In the early afternoon, when I would have gone cookie, I grabbed a bag of pistachios instead. Yay me!

Dinner consisted of pork chops and salad.

Honestly, I was hungry pretty much all day. despite the fact the diet says you shouldn’t be. That’s because it allows you to have snacks, like a small number of nuts, or a bit of low-fat cheese. I had forgotten that bit and despite really wanting a cookie all day, I stayed away. (Ok, I did have a bite of illicit brie.)

Day 2:
In the morning, I ordered up an omelette with mushrooms, cheese and tomato, which kept me full for most of the morning.

For lunch, I filled a salad with chick peas, red beans, tuna and other veggies. That lasted a while, too.

Dinner was fairly lame. I had a can of tuna fish and some scrambled eggs with spinach and mushrooms.

In all honesty, I was already feeling pleased with my healthier eating (cholesterol notwithstanding).

Day 3:
Wednesday began with a repeat of Tuesday’s omelette order. Lunch, again, was a salad stacked with beans and tuna.

For dinner, Cyn and I had a nice big plate of grilled salmon.

Sammy left behind a small bit of chocolate milk, so I quaffed that and immediately regretted it. Not only did I feel guilty, but I even felt a touch ill. It was rich.

Nonetheless, when I weighed myself, I was a couple pounds lighter. Maybe the diet’s working?

Day 4:
Nothing to say. I ate better, but I was still hungry.

Day 5:
Here’s the thing: I was doing great until dinner. Cyn (who is doing the diet with me) and I decided we need to eat something different. We were thinking Indian, since we could still meet our diet needs while eating something other than grilled fish, chick peas and eggs.

Sadly, the Indian restaurant we intended to visit was closed, so we went a Lebanese Taverna instead. What did we find when we sat down? A bowl of bread. Crap.

We tried to avoid it, but couldn’t. After one bit, we switched to whole wheat, about which we felt better. And we tried to order food that stayed within the rules. But, I’m sure we strayed more than we should have.

Oh well. Tomorrow’s another day.