Happy 39th Birthday to me!

Today, I turned 39 years old.

I have one year left until I am 40.

And I plan for the next year to be amazing.  I have no doubt that I will enter 40 in better health, wealth, and everything.

I’ve lost 32 pounds in the past twelve weeks.  For the first time since 2012, I am entering a birthday weighing UNDER 400 pounds.  On my scale at home this morning, I was 398.

That’s a good feeling, both mentally and physically.  Have you ever carried around 32 pounds all day long?  It’d be tiring, but I was doing it.

I’ve got a lot more to lose, but I am confident I will do it.

I am making a few resolutions that I will do my best to reach this year.  I’ll update my progress monthly(ish) to see how I do!

**

  1. I will lost 100 more pounds by my 40th birthday.  On April 19, 2018, I want to weigh 298 or lower.
  2. I will create 39 works of art (oil painting, stained glass, watercolors, something) that I will give away.  I’ll post about that in more depth in a bit when I have my first piece of art to give away.  My reason?  I just want to put some of my creativity out into the world.
  3. I will finish writing this young adult novel that is following me around.  I love to write, but I don’t do it as often as I should.  I’m done with my dissertation; I have no excuses now.
  4. I will send 39 letters out in The Mail Project, and I’ll post about everything I get back in return.  I’ll share about this one, too, as soon as I’ve officially started it.
  5. I’ll read 39 books that I’ve been planning to read and blog about them.  I’ll probably blog about these on my work blog, but I’ll share here, too.

That’s it.  There’s a part of me that wants to do 39 resolutions, but I’d just be making up crap at that point to reach 39. 

I owe you a weight loss post soon, because I have had a successful semester at Weight Watchers!  I blog as it occurs to me, which is admittedly not often.  I’d love it if you’d follow me on Instagram at therangerproject.  I’m much more active there!

Story #01

I love to write.  I have been writing pretty much since I have been able to read stories.

For the past three years, I’ve been working on my doctorate.  I spent several months this year writing my dissertation.  Cranking out 187 pages about the impact of a literacy intervention course can take it out of you.  It wears out the writing muscle, but it doesn’t satisfy the need to write.

Fortunately, now, I am done with schoolwork.  (Well, my doctorate at least.  C’mon, I get free tuition!  I’m working on a graduate certificate in measurement, evaluation, and research.)  But the writing itch is back, and this time, I’m satisfying it with fiction.

I graduated in the summer, and I took an undergraduate course this fall just for the heck of it.  (Two, actually.  One was Supernatural Folklore – greatest class ever.)  The other class (also greatest class ever) was Psychology in Science Fiction.  It really woke up my desire to do some science fiction writing, and I have decided to marry my love of writing with my desire to lose weight.

I’m going to write a science fiction short story about the different emotions, experiences, thoughts, and whatevers about losing weight.  I’m also going to pursue publication of these.  Now, it remains to be seen if I am good enough to be published,  I suppose, but if I don’t try, then I’ll never be published.

My first story, still untitled, is about the stress of experience massive weight gain after a massive weight loss.  After all… this was me at one point.

100_2499

This is me at about 320.  This is also an exceptionally good photo, because 320 is by no means an acceptable weight.  (I’m 6’0”, not 8’2”.)

This is me in the present (well, at Halloween) at 425 pounds.

IMG_2443

This was me a few weeks ago at my hooding ceremony on the night before graduation.  (Before the actual hooding ceremony, so I’m just wearing my wizard robes here.)

grad family

There are a lot of emotions that I have to deal with.  Embarrassment.  Shame.  Anger.

So I’m writing a story, set in the future, about a man named Marshall who is going through the same thing.  With a sci-fi twist, of course.

I’m about 1500 words into the short story right now.  As previously mentioned, I’m going to pursue publication, which means I won’t be sharing the stories I write here UNTIL I have amassed 20 rejections per story.  Of course, if I am lucky enough to get published, I’ll certainly share where to find the story, but if not, it’ll take 20 rounds of rejections before I share it here.

This is something new I’m trying to keep me motivated.  I’ll continue to share my progress, both in weight loss and writing.

See you on Friday with our 1st weekly weigh-in!

Suck It, Biggest Loser Weight Loss Study

Last week, an article about the futility of losing weight, based on a sample of 14 contestants from The Biggest Loser, circulated the internet.

I saw three responses.

  1. Crap.  I hope that’s not true.
  2. Heck yeah!  Weight loss is impossible!  Fat acceptance, baby!  Be fat and happy!  You can’ t change it anyway!
  3. Wow.  That’s a remarkably flawed study.  I hope someone addresses this.

Fortunately, several people far smarter than me HAVE addressed it, and yes, the study is both horribly flawed, paints the wrong picture, and isn’t 100% the whole story.

That’s good news.

I read several Fat Acceptance/Body Positivity/HAES bloggers post about how this was confirmation of both their lifestyle choices and the “5% of dieters is all that can ever lose weight” myth.  (Did you know that only 4% of smokers successful quit for good?  Something to think about.)

This article is a nice summary of what is wrong with it and, for those of us who want to lose weight, proof that it can be done without being miserable for the rest of our lives.  It’s a fluff piece, but so is the New York Times.  As soon as I’ve read some hard science on the topic, I’ll post about it here.

Oh, and one last thing…

If someone COULD operate metabolically at far fewer calories than someone else, that’s like a freaking X-Men superpower.  It’s only a problem in today’s world of $1 cheeseburgers and convenience food.

I suck at blogging, but…

I seem to be doing okay at weight loss this time around.  Weight Watchers is doing it for me, man.  I am digging their new SmartPoints program.  I’ll weigh in tomorrow.

I’m not going to be a daily blogger.  It’s just not in me, especially with a family, side jobs, main job, dissertation, and other things getting in the way.  I envy those of you who can do it; I am not one of you.

But I’m not going to quit.  I’ll try to post here at least once a week, probably on Fridays, with my weigh-ins.  And I’m leaving it up because from time to time, I will want to write something, and this is where I’ll do it.

I still have Stellar Path, too, but that is a blog my my wife and I are going to share about lesson plans, education, and home schooling.  I’m working in my off-time to write some lesson plans that I’m going to provide on Teachers Pay Teachers, and that’s what Stellar Path will become.  I plan to move some of those posts from there that I don’t want to move to here, so you may see some oldies show up from time to time.

See you around!

Probably tomorrow, because I do plan to weigh in tomorrow.

What I Like About the Body Positivity/Fat Acceptance Movements

Next Tuesday, I plan to gripe about it.  But before I do that, I do want to address what I think these movements are getting right.

Look, I’m just going to be bluntly honest.  I think body positivity, fat acceptance, and health are every size are, at their very core message, incredibly dangerous, self-serving, and limiting.  I think they are causing FAR more harm for people than they are good.  But again… there are some things about these movements that I can appreciate.

Live your life right now, not when you get to your goal weight.

I think this one is HUGE!  I have heard people talk about what they’re going to do when they get to goal weight, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but… how about living your life now?  I asked Tina out on a date when I was obese, and I cannot imagine my life without her in it.  We had Henry when I was obese.  We went to Disney World and I rode all of the rides when I was obese.  We went to Universal Studios and I rode what rides I could when I was obese.  (Just an FYI – Disney World is very fat-rider friendly, Universal not so much, but I still had a great time.  And I’m looking forward to going to Universal and riding the rides as a thinner person.)

Whatever it is you want to do, if it can physically be done at your current size, then do it!  Yeah, you might face rejection if you ask someone out, but heck, who hasn’t faced rejection?  And who is to say you won’t be rejected as a thin person, too?

Now, here is where I differ a bit from the body positivity/fat acceptance crowd.  I am doing these things now, but I am also actively seeking a smaller size, too, where I will continue to live my life.

Everyone deserves to be treated with respect.

This one is a huge “duh” moment for me, but it is something that I guess still needs to be said.  Everyone, no matter what they look like or how much they weigh, deserves to be treated with respect.  Everyone, regardless of how they are fat, how fat they are, why they are fat, or any thing else with the word fat, has a right to be treated respectfully.

It does not matter if someone is losing weight, wants to gain weight, wants to become morbidly obese, or whatever else – if what they are doing does not impact anyone else directly, then it does not matter.  (More on this next week, I’ll admit, but the overall message – let people be who they are, and if you don’t like it, then just don’t be around them.)

People should not hate their bodies.

There have been times in my life I’ve hated my body, which is quite stupid for a lot of reasons.  First of all, this is the only body I have, good or bad, so I should cherish it and take care of it.  (For me, taking care of it means losing weight, but that’s something I’ll talk more about next week.)  Secondly, nothing positive comes out of hate.  You can’t hate yourself thin.  You can’t hate yourself happy.  I personally think it’s a bit much for me to celebrate my body being able to breathe and other autonomic processes, but at the same time… I’m really glad my body can breathe.

People should not be required to lose weight.

Heck, if you want to be in a feeder/feedee relationship, more power to you!  I personally find that incredibly damaging, but I find what a lot of people do incredibly damaging.  Do what makes you happy.  If you want to remain fat, then good for you – be fat.  Just don’t try to change the world and make those of us who DO want to lose weight accept your malarkey science.  (Seriously – there are fat activists who claim that losing weight is damaging to your health.  You can’t make that kind of crap up.)

And that’s pretty much all I’ve got.  I’m not saying that there are any valid points remaining; these are just the only ones I can think of right now.  Next Tuesday, I’ll tell you what I dislike about the body positivity/fat acceptance movements.

Our Very First Blog Post, Again

Are you watching Fuller House?  Do you get the reference?

fullerhouse

I do this, periodically.  Eventually, it’ll stick.  Maybe this time.  Definitely this time.

Time to dust the blog off.  Do it again.

Lose weight.  Recommit to a healthier life.  Follow through.

I read something yesterday that really stuck with me.

The reason 95% of diets fail is because 95% of people can’t stand even a little bit of discomfort.

So… here we are.  I’m at my almost-highest ever, and I HAVE to lose this weight.

I’m promising myself one thing: For the next month, no matter what happens… I am blogging every day.  I’m not saying I’ll blog every day for forever, but I’m at least doing it until the end of March.

Why the Ranger Project?  If you’re one of the very few reading this, then you probably know, but if not… I want to cosplay as this guy, and I refuse to do it fat.

powerrangers

Put up or shut up.  I get it.

I’m eating well.  I’m tracking calories using the FoodMover by Richard Simmons.  I’ll explain about that in the future, but it’s basically just a way to count calories without writing down everything I eat.

And mine, of course, is customized with Garbage Pail Kids stickers.

foodmover

This is going to be a random blog.  I’m probably not going to do a great job of building a brand, unless that brand is dorkiness with nostalgia.  And hey, maybe it is.

I’m probably also not going to be well-liked by everyone.  Because one thing that I will definitely address periodically is my extreme irritation and what I see as a horrific danger of the body positivity (a.k.a. fat acceptance) movement.  Tomorrow, my blog post is going to be about what I DO like about body positivity, because there are a few things.  (Not many, but a few.)

I’m typically going to do my weigh-in posts on Friday, but since this is technically the first, I have to start here.

February 29, 2016

Weight: 419.0

Change from Highest: –11.0 pounds

I will get to my goal weight.  I promise.

See you tomorrow!

Oh, and Happy Leap Day!

leapday

2016 Resolutions!

Back when this blog lived at Stellar Path, I tried to do resolutions on a few separate New Years.  Some I kept, some I didn’t.  I am going to plan for 2016 to be the biggest, best year of my life.  I’m doing four resolutions this year.  And I’m going to make sure I meet them by the end of the year by giving me a target for each resolution for each month.

In the past, I’ve done fuzzy “I want to be healthy” resolutions.  Not this year.  I’m doing numbers.  Feet to the fire.  Time to be accountable.

Finish my doctorate.

I am done with coursework for my doctorate in post-secondary leadership.  (If you’re wondering what this means, it is hopefully gearing me up to have an administrative career in higher education in the not-too-distant future.)  Now that the coursework is done, it’s time to finish the dissertation.  I should easily be able to meet this goal this year.  Here’s a little “stretch” goal: I want to be done by August.

Goal for the end of January: Complete (and pass) my qualifying exams and prospectus proposal.

Reduce debt by $20,000 this year.

This one is going to be tough.  We owe a lot of debt.  ($20,000 will make a dent, but not take care of it.)  And I do not anticipate a $20,000 raise this year, either.  This one will require more work.  Fortunately, I’m not afraid of hard work.  I’ve got some passive income coming in that I plan to ramp up, some freelance work on the horizon, and some other avenue sources.  I’m not going to divide this evenly by 12, and I’m starting off slow, because I don’t want to burn out.

Goal for the end of January: Reduce debt by $500.

Complete my young adult novel.

I enjoy writing for pleasure, and if I’m not careful, every spare second of my writing time this year will be dissertation.  I want to make sure I take some time to write for me.  It’s rejuvenating and enjoyable, and I have to make time for it.  I’ve got an idea that I love that I’ve been plotting out for a while, but it took a bit of a backseat this past semester.

Goal for the end of January: Finish plotting novel and write out two sections.

Lose 120 pounds.

This one is the biggie.  I came across this photo on my hard drive.  At left is me at around 330 pounds in 2008.  At right is me, this past Christmas at Disney, at around 415 pounds.  (Note: The “before” picture is just an exceptionally good photo of me.  I don’t think I looked this thin at that weight, but still… it gives me hope for the future, knowing this could be me again.  (And it also reminds me that I need to start dyeing my gray hair again.)

100_2499MK_MSATHCLB_7545372811

I’m going to do this with cardio, weight lifting, and calorie counting.  Eating healthy foods and exercising.  No tricks, no expenses.  Just the simple math of calories-in, calories-out.

Goal for the end of January: Get down to 403.

Our Christmas Stockings Tradition

Growing up, my family had a Christmas Stockings tradition.  We would each get the other family members a small gift, and on the night of our church Christmas play (usually the Sunday before Christmas), after the play, we would come home and open them.

Well, I now have a family of my own and our tradition has evolved a bit.  For one thing, Tina and I attend a church that doesn’t do a Christmas play.  However, I work in higher education, so for the past few years, our tradition has been to open our Christmas stockings on the last day of school.  This is because on this day, I have three glorious weeks of no work or school in front of me.

Our tradition evolved just a tiny bit this year.  Instead of opening stockings on my last day of school, we opened them on Henry’s last day of school.  He attends a speech-based preschool two days a week, so last night, it was Henry’s last day of school before the new year.

Tina’s family had a tradition of always including candy in the stockings, so our two family’s traditions have merged a bit.  We have a rule – never spend more than $15 and always include something to eat.

I’ve always been a big fan of Christmas, but I never really realized how much fun Christmas could be until your own children are involved.  I filmed this little video of Henry working his way through his stocking.  He got some generic Christmas legos, a sword from the Pirates of the Caribbean ride, a lollipop, gummy spiders, and confetti popcorn from Disney World.

This is our little stink before he opened his presents in his super-adorable Mickey pajamas.  His hands are blurry because he’s pretty much a never-ending source of energy.

IMG_3065

I got Tina some fuzzy socks for around the house, some Godiva chocolates, a candle warmer, and a blu-ray which was kind of a gag gift that we each ended up getting for each other.

IMG_3070

The truth of it is, we actually really, really liked Glee for the first three seasons, and apparently, we each thought it would be worth $2.88 as a gift.  We were also probably thinking of Glee a bit more than usual because on Tuesday, we spent eleven hours in the car driving back from Orlando and we listened to a lot of our old music, including some Glee songs buried on our phones.

I also got some socks to wear around the house, some candy from the Japanese area of Epcot’s World Showcase, and the previously mentioned Glee Blu-Ray.

IMG_3071

This is definitely one of my favorite Christmas traditions.  Just opening some small gifts definitely gets me excited for the big day coming up!

The Ranger Project

Welcome to The Ranger Project!

I’ve started and stopped, resurrected and forgotten, and just let this blog sit here and collect dust more times than I can count.

Or maybe eight times.  I can count to eight.

Either way, I wanted to put up this first post because I am going to try again.  Now that my school work is over (other than that pesky dissertation – more on that in a moment), I feel I can devote a few minutes a day to keeping this blog alive.

This blog is going to document a lot of things about my life.  You’ll learn a lot about me and my family and some of the things we want to accomplish.  I’ll be honest – the theme of this blog may be a bit different at times, so I completely understand if this isn’t your cup of tea.  On the other hand, if you like random things, this might be right up your alley!

RainTree Productions

This one refers specifically to my family life.  We have a fairly inactive YouTube Channel called RainTree Productions, so named because I have both Cherokee and Shawnee blood in my family tree and one of my closest Indian relatives had the last name Raintree.  We just thought it had a nice ring for our videos.

I’ll periodically post videos about our lives, what we do, what we like, our plans, et cetera. 

Disney

EPCOT_BACKSIDE1_7310818422

In the last year and a half, we have become huge Disney fanatics.  It happened when we took our son to Walt Disney World in May 2014 and he had a very literal and exciting language bump.  Our son is pretty much on track now, but he does have a bit of an articulation issue with his speech, and we discovered that every time he goes to Disney, he seems to have a bit of a speech explosion when he returns.  (It could potentially be not connected at all, but we cannot deny that we all have a great time at Disney World.)

We just got back a few days ago.  Seriously.  We love the place.

I’m not saying every vacation we ever take will be at Disney World, but we do want to get our debt paid off we can join the Disney Vacation Club and go once a year.

We have plans to do our kitchen in a Disney theme.  I’ll probably post about Disney once a month or so, just to keep the magic alive.

Disney is one of those things that people either love or hate.  Perhaps not surprisingly, I’ve found that a lot of people who hate Disney haven’t even gone.

All I can say is this – Walt Disney World truly is a magical place for my family, and I see us going many, many times for the rest of our lives.

Debt

Speaking of Disney and wanting to join the Disney Vacation Club, we have a fair amount of debt.  Nothing crippling, but more than I’d like, for sure.  Tina and I both have healthy student loan debt and we want to see this gone.  I’ll periodically post about how we’re living as frugal as we can (90% of the time, anyway – we do still go to Disney sometimes) to get this debt paid down quicker.

People like Dave Ramsey and Suze Orman say that we should live like paupers to get our debt paid off.  I’m not entirely sure that’s smart.  I’d rather take a little longer to pay off our debt and actually enjoy my life.

Still, that doesn’t mean I’m not a big fan of avoiding needless expenses.  We don’t really eat out.  (We do get pizza every Monday night, but that’s because a local pizza parlor has a special with half-off pizza once a week.  We can get a thin crust cheese pizza for $5.29 that feeds all of us.  That seems like a decent deal, and it also has the added benefit of keeping us on track with avoiding eating out.)  I try to stretch the grocery budget as best I can.  We’re frugal, not tight.  Oh, and I’ve also found some painless ways to make a little money on the side, too, which I’ll talk about from time to time.

Cooking

We love food!  I love to cook, and I’m going to share my recipes and my interpretations of recipes on occasion.  We also have an Instant Pot which we love.  Granted, it is now the HOT kitchen appliance of the moment, but if you’ve ever used one, you’ll understand why.  It really is a great appliance.  One of my first recipes is going to be for my super-easy roast beef in the Instant Pot.

Weight Loss

I’m fat.  I’ve been fat for a long time.  I’ll write a longer blog post in the coming days about my weight loss efforts, but I’m going to weigh-in every Friday in 2016, starting with New Year’s Day.  I weigh over 400 pounds right now (around 415, last I checked), and I’m tired of being fat and unhealthy.

While I do plan for this blog to be a positive place, I may occasionally rail on the disturbing trend that now exists for some people to glorify obesity and promote bad health.  There are people out there (with audiences, sadly) who claim that it is impossible to lose weight (it’s not), that medical research says obesity is healthier than being normal weight (it’s laughably not), and that if we just eat ‘til we’re full our weight will settle where it’s supposed to (yet some who have made this claim have packed on the pounds since finding Health at Every Size).

So again, most of my weight loss talk will be about myself, but when studies come out that some of the elite trained researchers out there wildly misinterpret to suit their own needs, I’ll probably have to talk about it here.

The Ranger Project

So, why is this blog named what it is named?  Because I want to be a Power Ranger!

Seriously.  I want to lose weight so that I can get a movie suit and cosplay as the Blue Ranger.

600-power-rangers-movie

And I’m not doing it fat.

I hope you’ll stick with me.  I think this might be an interesting journey.

1 2