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

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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.

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And I’m not doing it fat.

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

Whoops – I ate too much at snack time…

Tina and I are both doing the Fit Girl diet, Tina by the book and me slightly modifying it by incorporating more calories.  Tina is eating 1450 calories a day; since I’m a guy, I add about 500 extra calories.

Well, I messed up.  Willpower weakened this afternoon at work, and my eating plans for the day derailed.

Fortunately, they did not derail so much that they cannot be overcorrected.  Rather than eat one 140 calorie bag of chips, I ate three.

Ahem.  That’s too many.  So, I’m making up for that by eliminating the extra serving of protein I eat at dinner.

Is this the healthiest decision I could have made today?  Not by a long shot.  But I stuck to my diet.  Lose the battle, win the war.  That’s what I’m going for here.  And in strict calorie terms, I still won this battle.

Breakfast – frozen homemade ham and cheese burrito

Lunch – Almond butter and jelly sandwich, bag of chips

Mid-afternoon – 2 more bags of chips

Dinner – pumpkin lasagna rolls, apple

After-dinner snack – 1 hard-boiled egg, 60 calorie square of dark chocolate

We got this.

Oh, and the best part?  I lost seven pounds last week.

November 2, 2015

Weight: 416

Change from Last Week: –7.0 pounds

Change from All-Time Highest: –14.0 pounds

I feel like my week could have been better had I not splurged too much on my extra food at dinner.  I’m going to do my best to do better this week.

What I Ate Today

I don’t plan to do these regularly (I don’t think), but I will do them from time-to-time.  Maybe eventually these will morph into “A Day in the Life” style posts, but for now, this is what I ate today.  I’m pretty pleased with how on-track I’ve been since Tina has become a Fit Girl and is following their diet so religiously.  It just makes it easier for us to both eat better when we are both 100% bought in!

Before Church – 1 frozen, homemade, ham, egg, and cheese burrito (We made a big batch sometime ago and I’m working my way through them.)

After Church – spinach wrap chicken fajitas (leftovers from last night) with cheese and sour cream

Mid-afternoon – 1 piece of Halloween candy (a little Kit Kat – probably not worth it)

Dinner – Honey srirachi chicken and spinach pita pizza (we’ll post a recipe sometime – these are so amazingly good!)

After-dinner snack – 2 doughettes (roughly 90 calories each – made of oats, almond butter, and dark chocolate), 1 square of dark chocolate, 1 apple

I am super pleased with my diet today!  I could have eaten more veggies, but overall, a major improvement.

Our biggest victory?  Tina and I haven’t eaten out in over a week.  That is huge, both for our health and our debt.

And we also recorded a video for RainTree Productions today.

Happy Halloween, Fit Girls, and a New (sort of) YouTube Channel

I know Saturdays are where blog posts go to die, but given that very few people currently subscribe to my feed, I’m not too worried about that.

In any event, Happy Halloween!

halloween

We are going as Dr. Sherman, Darla, and Nemo from Finding Nemo this year.  We always try to do a family costume (at least until said point when Henry starts dictating what he wears.)

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We’ve also recently started a YouTube Channel.  It’s at the same location as my old YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/jeremyray45), but we’re going to rebrand a bit.  We’re calling the whole thing RainTree Productions.  I have a surprising amount of Native American blood for somebody who is so shockingly white, and Raintree is the last name of one of my Cherokee ancestors on my mother’s side of the family.  We also plan to have subchannels, including one called The Ranger Project, where I do a video series describing our weight loss efforts.  Every Monday, we hope to post a video to that channel.

Last night, we made a video of our pumpkin carving efforts.  We also plan to do some general day-in-the-life type videos, both to share a window into our lives AND to have more videos of us to enjoy in the future.

And of weight loss efforts, it’s actually going great!  Tina started a diet called Fit Girls, and I’m doing a slightly modified (i.e. – more calories for my increased size) version.  Our first weigh-in is on Monday, but I fully expect to see at least a six pound loss this week.  Exercise is also going well.  I have some far-off, way-off, so-far-off-we-may-have-flying-cars plans to do an IronMan, but I’ll talk about that more in the future.  All I have to say right now is this – the idea of actually possibly finishing an IronMan is very motivational to me as I do my extremely low-level treadmill workouts right now.  (And I also expect to be at goal weight when I do this Ironman, so it truly is a way down the road.)

Okay, more to come.  Stick with us!  We’ve truly turned this into a family effort and I’m feeling exciting about everything the future holds!

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