Engage with Grace – Things to Be Grateful For This Thanksgiving

For three years running now, many of us bloggers have participated in what we’ve called a “blog rally” to promote Engage With Grace [www.engagewithgrace.org] – a movement aimed at making sure all of us understand, communicate, and have honored our end-of-life wishes.

The rally is timed to coincide with a weekend when most of us are with the very people with whom we should be having these unbelievably important conversations – our closest friends and family.

The One Slide

At the heart of Engage With Grace are five questions designed to get the conversation about end-of-life started. We’ve included them at the end of this post.  They’re not easy questions, but they are important – and believe it or not, most people find they actually enjoy discussing their answers with loved ones.  The key is having the conversation before it’s too late.

This past year has done so much to support our mission to get more and more people talking about their end-of-life wishes. We’ve heard stories with happy endings … and stories with endings that could’ve (and should’ve) been better. We’ve stared down political opposition.  We’ve supported each other’s efforts.  And we’ve helped make this a topic of national importance.

So in the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving weekend, we’d like to highlight some things for which we’re grateful.

Thank you to Atul Gawande for writing such a fiercely intelligent and compelling piece on “letting go” [http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/08/02/100802fa_fact_gawande]– it is a work of art, and a must read.

Thank you to whomever perpetuated the myth of “death panels” for putting a fine point on all the things we don’t stand for, and in the process,  shining a light on the right we all have to live our lives with intent – right through to the end.

Thank you to TEDMED [http://www.thehealthcareblog.com/the_health_care_blog/2010/10/engage-with-grace.html] for letting us share our story and our vision.

And of course, thank you to everyone who has taken this topic so seriously, and to all who have  done so much to spread the word, including sharing The One Slide.


The Fully Transparent Diet – Down 5.7Lbs. After Four Weeks

Week four was a good week on the Fully Transparent Diet.  I weighed in yesterday (pre-Thanksgiving feast) at 187.5 pounds.  That’s down 1.5 pounds for the week and 5.7 pounds in four weeks.  I am just 7.3 pounds away from my goal with nine weeks left.

Thumbs Up for Week Four

There is nothing major to report this week.  When I don’t travel for work and don’t have a lot of work lunches, dieting is relatively straightforward.  I tend to eat the same things every day:

  • Honey Nut Cheerios or Special K w/ Berries for breakfast.
  • A Zone Bar mid morning
  • A Lean Cuisine or Smart Ones lunch with a 100 calories package of Nabisco cookies
  • An apple mid-afternoon.
  • For dinner and beyond, I try to stay below the 1,000 calories or more that I have left, next of exercise.

I’m definitely in the zone when it comes to exercise.  I’m making time and planning around the exercise, rather than skipping it.  Sometimes this means getting on the treadmill at 9pm, but I’m getting it done.  I’m running  4 miles at a 10 minutes/mile clip each time on the treadmill.  I plan to push it a bit through this weekend to maybe faster or steeper or longer.  If all goes well, and I can get out of bed at 5am, I plan to go swimming on Tuesday and Thursday this week.  Switching up exercise from time to time is reportedly important to keep the weight loss going.

I did remember to take pictures (click on “my weight loss progress” link in the masthead above), but I can’t yet really see a difference.  Clothes are a bit looser, but I shouldn’t expect much after only 5.7 pounds.

Have a great week.

The Fully Transparent Diet – Down 4.2Lbs. After Three Weeks

Thumbs Up for Week Three

I am really excited by the progress thus far on my diet.  I was at 189 pounds this past Thursday, three weeks after I started.  That’s 4.2 pounds in three weeks, nicely ahead of my one-pound-per-week pace.  As I write this two days later, I’m still at 189, heading into five calm days with no travel, no business dinner, no large family celebrations.  I’m targeting to be at 188 by Thanksgiving morning.

Last week was a relatively easy week for the diet.  I was in town the entire time, and the work life balance was relatively serene.  I exercised six out of seven days, although I am finding it challenging getting up early to run, as opposed to running in the evening.  We’ll see how that holds up.  I am up to 3.5 miles per run at a 10 minutes/mile pace.  I want to do one more week at this pace, and then start swimming instead of running at least two days a week.  I have read that changing up exercises is important to jump-start a diet.

I’m finding two challenges thus far.  First, my willpower isn’t exactly where I want it to be.  I’m good when I’m able to eat by myself, but not so good when I’m with others.  For example, I ate a catered lunch at work on Thursday, and the places were set with a cherry pie at each seat.  I hadn’t touched it until other did.  I said “what the heck” and ate it.  My justification was that it was the first day of the next week, and I’d have time to lose the weight. 

The second challenge is recording calories when eating out.  At this same lunch on Thursday, the main course was a pork tenderloin, stuffed with apples, dates, and sage.  I have no idea how large the piece was or what the ingredients were beyond what I just wrote, which was on the little stand next to the chafing dish.  All I can do is estimate, just as I did with the “saddle of elk” I ate in Chicago a few weeks back.

The key obviously is to eat in moderation, eat well when you can, and exercise.  That much I’m doing.

I will continue to tweet out my weight every morning and my food every few days.  So far so good.  Follow me on Twitter at @andymayer13.

(No photos this week.  Simply forgot to take them.)

The Fully Transparent Diet – Down 2.7Lbs. After Two Weeks

After two weeks, I continue ahead of my one-pound per week pace, but it was not without challenges.

From Sunday afternoon through Wednesday afternoon I was at a conference in Chicago, where the food and alcohol were flowing.  If you have ever been to a conference of this type, you know that food is everywhere, and it’s not generally low cal.  This conference was not large and did not offer dinner.  That meant that evening were spent will colleagues at restaurants – at good restaurants.

Thumbs Up for Week Two

On Monday night, we went to N9NE, a Chicago steakhouse.  The food was great, and willpower was non-existent.  I had a seafood ceviche with avocado, one of those wedge salads with bacon chunks and ranch dressing, and some scallops on top of a very cheesy risotto.  The night ended with a fruit/custard tart.  I should also mention that I had two vodka martinis with olives.

On Tuesday night, we went to The Gage, which had everything from chicken noodle soup to rabbit to cheeseburgers to foie gras on the menu.  I had some fried escargot and an elk steak.  It was tasty, but when the vodka is added in, not overwhelmingly healthy.

I did do well at breakfast and ok at lunch.  I also exercised each morning I was there.  Nervous about my weight, I actually exercised twice on Wednesday – once at 6:00am at the hotel and once at 9:45pm back at home.  I am not going to fall behind pace!!

I took my Withings scale with me to Chicago, although I didn’t connect it to the network.  This was a very smart move.  It gave me weight guidance each day and, on Wednesday, reminded me to exercise.  Security guards at Lambert and Midway didn’t know what to make of a scale going through security, but they passed it through.

I actually fell to 190 on Friday, only to move back up to 190.7 this morning after a charity event last night.  I’m getting back on the treadmill this afternoon, heading towards my goal weight this week of 190.2 on Thursday.

Don’t forget – you can follow my weight and daily food logs on Twitter @AndyMayer13.  You can view my weight chart here, and you can view week-by-week photos by clicking on the link in the menu bar above.

The Fully Transparent Diet – Down 2.3Lbs After One Week

So far, so good.  Thumbs up for week one.

Thumbs Up for Week One

Last Thursday, I weighed 193.2 pounds.  This morning I weighed 190.9 pounds.  That’s 2.3 pounds in the first week.

I’ve done everything I said I would in last week’s post.  I’ve been auto-tweeting my weight every morning on my Withings scale.  I’ve been tweeting out what I eat each day and tracking my food via LoseIt!.  I exercised six out of seven days.  I signed up for my commitment at Stickk.com.  I have posted pictures on this blog (via the menu bar above).

The only thing different this week, is that I have less clothes in the photos.  (That’s less clothes, not no clothes.)  If I’m going to be “fully transparent,” I might as well take my clothes off like the folks on Biggest Loser.  I hope, when I lose the weight, that these photos will sho the difference.

The key for me is getting into the “zone.”  I need to get to where I want to exercise and to where I’m able to decline food.  Over the weekend, as some of you read on Twitter, I took my 15-year-old son and two friends to Five Guys and only had a Diet Coke.  I didn’t have a single french fry.  I had a great feeling leaving the restaurant.  Being able to avoid that temptation is fantastic.

In fact, as I sit here now, there are three partially eaten Domino’s pizzas on my kitchen table.  No worries from my end.  Easy to resist.  I’m going to exercise in a bit anyway.

Next week’s goal is 191.2.  Technically I’m ahead, but no need to get cocky.  I’ve got a business trip to Chicago from Sunday through Wednesday.  Fingers crossed.


My weight chart

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