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Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past

04-16-2014 , 12:55 PM
After several weeks of internal debate I’ve decided to join the 2+2 blog community. I waffled because there’s a decent probability I won’t stay on top of updating and I know my posts won’t be nearly as interesting as several of the other blogs I’ve been keeping up with (Tylertwo, DB, MadMax, etc). But, I enjoy writing, find self-reflection therapeutic, and the opportunity to be 100% honest due to the anonymity provided by a screen-name is quite enticing. So here goes nothing, hopefully a few of you will find it interesting, maybe even helpful at times, and I’m going to try and keep it from falling by the wayside.

I named the blog Embracing Anonymity not because I’m terribly worried about people that I interact with “in the real world” knowing the information I’ll share here, but because I’m generally a very private person and would be unlikely to start a public blog. Also, I spent a good 10 minutes trying to come up with a name and that’s the best I could muster.

I plan to start with a few posts about my background (extreme weight fluctuations, alcoholism, general addictiveness) and then provide updates on several different areas of my life. I track a lot of things, some important (calories, exercise, days sober) and some just for fun (movies, TV, books, restaurants), and I might mix in some regular life stories when warranted. Also lists, I really like lists.

What you won’t find in this thread:

- Much poker content (I play one 20-30 player live tournament per month)
- Crazy adventures (I enjoy my life, but it’s relatively mundane)
- Exciting work stories (I have a boring desk job)
- Incredible writing (I enjoy it, but my education consists of whatever Gen Ed requirements I had in college, and my experience is limited to company softball game recaps and weekly updates to my fantasy football league)
- Hookers and blow

Apparently you will find a lot of parentheses.

Quick Bio:
- 33 year old male
- 6’1”
- 210 lbs
- Married 10 years (best thing to ever happen to me, no telling where I’d be without her)
- No kids (ever), 2 dogs that are more spoiled than most kids
- Mid-sized land-locked US city
- Boring Desk Job
- 3 years sober
- Addictive Personality (duh)
- Hobbies include (they change often due to the above) exercise, walking the dogs with my wife, movies, TV, books, poker, light hiking, game nights with friends, and probably several things I’m forgetting right now

I’ll be back sometime soon (maybe later today, maybe next week) to start my backstory.

Cliffs – I’m a regular but generally private guy that’s been through some ups and downs, I track a lot of stuff and enjoy writing, so I’m going to give this blog thing a shot.
04-16-2014 , 01:58 PM
Reading the title of this blog from the main page I now think it looks really creepy.

Message to Mods - Could you change the title of this blog to:

Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past
04-17-2014 , 12:28 PM
Weight Management

Growing up I was never one of the “fat kids,” but I always had a little meat on my bones. I was extremely active, mostly with sports, and ate the same crap that most of the kids my age did, only I always found a way to stuff a little extra into my mouth.

Towards the end of high school my waistline suddenly began a minor expansion project, obviously a product of my terrible eating habits finally showing the 1st signs of catching up to me. Upon noticing my pants getting tighter I went on a fool-proof homemade ************ program consisting of no more than 1500 calories per day and running at least an hour per night on my parents’ treadmill while wearing a sweatshirt and sweatpants (this was after days filled with baseball practice, pickup basketball, etc.). I lost 10 pounds and subsequently ditched the diet.

I went to college at a small school a few hours from home on a partial baseball scholarship. There my weight fluctuations continued, I would slowly gain weight over a 4-8 month period and then spend a couple months on a crash diet and exercise regimen until I got back to, or at least close to, what I considered a healthy size.

Upon graduating in 2003 the trend continued into adulthood. Except now the peaks were climbing higher, and the valleys weren’t dipping as low. I was still eating and drinking like a college kid (well a college kid obsessed with food), but without required practices, weight training, and running, my weekly exercise was generally limited to 2 hours of pickup basketball and 1 company softball game.

Despite the reality of my body gradually ballooning, when I stepped on the scale in Dec. 2007, I was nearly blinded by the neon lights flashing 302!

I made what had become my annual New Year’s resolution and lost 20 pounds, unfortunately I stopped there, and by the end of 2008 set a new record tipping the scales at 303.

I made another commitment and became obsessed with seeing the number on our crappy bathroom scale register 2-5 pounds lower every week. Each day consisted of running, weight-lifting, or basketball, and all meals were small and unfulfilling. 6 months later I was down 70 pounds and awfully proud of myself.

That pride faded as I was no longer getting the same “rush” from stepping on the scale, so I rewarded myself by going right back to my old habits and added 40 pounds by the end of 2009.

2010 started off the same with me successfully losing some weight, I then stayed very close to 250 pounds from Feb – Dec, my longest stretch without any significant gains or losses in quite awhile. I’ll discuss in detail in a later installment, but Sep 2010 also saw me take my last drink.

In January 2011 I started experiencing stomach problems (shocker!), and went to several different doctors and specialists trying to figure out what was going on (obviously couldn’t be years of terrible eating habits, drinking binges, and weight fluctuations). During this time I adjusted my diet out of necessity (most things upset my stomach, 3 different times to the extent I wound up in the ER), and consequently got down to around 200 pounds. In June we finally realized I had gallstones, somehow they took 3 CT scans to identify (which became more ridiculous when we later discovered my gallbladder with filled with stones). So they removed my gallbladder and all was to be right with the world. However, they nicked a duct during the procedure resulting in bile leakage that eventually turned into an abscess, which led to a painful 3 week hospital stay.

Upon leaving the hospital I was so happy to be able to eat “normally” again that I celebrated by gaining 30 pounds over the next year, disappointing, but 30 pounds in a full year was actually a much slower rate of increase than what had been my normal. I dealt with some more stomach problems until finally figuring out I simply have IBS and with a few medicines and some diet modification I would be perfectly fine.

That was a little over a year ago, and since then I’ve cut out all beverages other than water (carbonation and caffeine were killers for my insides) and generally limited my intake of processed foods. I’ve felt great since that point, and although I’m still fighting with my weight, it’s on a much smaller scale (excuse the pun), and I haven’t been over 211 since. Quite an accomplishment considering I once topped out at 303. However, I have to continue to remind myself that I could easily climb right back to the top of that mountain if I stop holding myself accountable, so I track everything and try to remember how bad I felt physically, mentally, and emotionally at my peak weight and have made a promise to myself and to my wife to never go down that road again.

That brings us to today, I’m 210 pounds and based on the BMI chart shouldn’t be over 190. I know exactly what I need to do, I just have to do it. I exercise regularly and currently eat a balanced and healthy diet most of the time, I have just been letting my allotted 1 cheat day per week turn into 2 or 2 . Losing weight is a simple concept, burn more calories than you consume, if I drop back down to 1 cheat day per week I will run a calorie deficit and should lose - 1 pound per week. I don’t care how long it takes me to get down to 190, I just want to get there and stay there. After beating my head against the wall for many years I’ve realized crash dieting doesn’t work and never will, so I plan to continue eating enough calories to feel full (a hungry stomach leads to bad choices), with most of my meals/snacks consisting of fruits, veggies, lean meats, and limited carbs.

Here’s a chart of my weight fluctuations since 1999:


Looks like a pretty fun roller coaster right?

Among other things, I’m going to use this blog space to document my daily calorie intake vs calories burned and will post weekly weigh-ins starting next Friday (the 210 weigh-in was this morning).

Hopefully that wasn’t too terribly boring and drawn out, my next background installment will chronicle my battle with alcoholism. I have a busy weekend followed by a long work week, so I probably won’t get it written until sometime in the April 28-30 range.

Last edited by scottp4braves; 04-17-2014 at 12:39 PM. Reason: I suck at photobucket
04-22-2014 , 03:59 PM
Not the best eating weekend, and consisted of 90% processed food, but I'm going to post anyway, calories burned come from my fitbit (haven't researched the accuracy but it seems reasonable to me).

Friday - Had the day off work for Good Friday (gotta love old-school bible-belt companies)
Lunch - Frozen Smart Ones Pizza and kettle chips - 930 calories
Dinner - Cheddar's Grilled Chicken Salad w/ light ranch, 1 croissant - 820 calories
Snack - misc chocolate Easter candies - 500 calories

Excercise - cleaned the house, 1 mile walk with dogs, 1 mile walk with wife

Calories Burned - 3,393
Caories Eaten - 2,250
Surplus/(Defecit) - (1,143)

Breakfast - Brown Rice Cereal w/ Almond Milk - 390 calories
Lunch - Banana - 90 calories
Snack - Banana - 90 calories
Dinner - Jet's small Pep pizza and a 5 pieces of Jet's Bread - 3400 calories

Excercise - 2 mile walk, out and about all day so lots of other walking

Calories Burned - 3,247
Caories Eaten - 3,970
Surplus/(Defecit) - 723

Lunch - Ham, Asparagus, Roasted Potatoes, 1 Roll w/ Butter - 1550 calories
Dinner - Jimmy John's Turkey Sandwich & Kettle Chips - 1260 calories
Snack - Graeter's chocolate chip cookie dough & 3 Reese Eggs - 2060 calories

Excercise - 1 mile walk with dogs, chased friend's kids around

Calories Burned - 2,829
Caories Eaten - 4,870
Surplus/(Defecit) - 2,041

Monday - Kaizen event at work so won't be eating my normal lunches
Lunch - Jimmy John's Turkey Sandwich & Kettle Chips - 770 calories
Snack - Banana - 90 calories
Dinner - Grilled Chicken Salad with Honey Mustard Dressing & 1 roll - 1,360 calories
Snack - 2 mini (soy-milk) ice cream sandwiches - 180 calories

Excercises - 1 mile dog walk, some extra walking around the plant

Calories Burned - 2,703
Caories Eaten - 2,400
Surplus/(Defecit) - (303)

Painful posting that Saturday/Sunday combo, but this week will be better.
04-22-2014 , 06:42 PM
Def didn't read any of that.
Just came to compliment you on your avy
04-22-2014 , 09:44 PM
Originally Posted by JustJ46671 Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past
Def didn't read any of that.
Just came to compliment you on your avy
Lol, thanks, born and raised a braves fan, but haven't paid much attention so far this season
04-23-2014 , 10:42 AM
Breakfast - Banana and Bevita (sp?) breakfast bar thing - 320 calories
Lunch - Roasted Chicken and Green Beans - 570 calories
Snack - 2 Bananas - 180 calories
Dinner - Baked Salmon (seasoned with olive oil, salt, pepper), small serving of brown rice, and mixed veggies - 860 calories
Snack - 2 mini (soy-milk) ice cream sandwiches - 180 calories

Excercises - 1 mile dog walk, some extra walking around the plant

Calories Burned - 2,919
Caories Eaten - 2,110
Surplus/(Defecit) - (809)

No real excercise, but the kind of eating day I'm shooting for
04-23-2014 , 10:51 AM
Recent Movies:

- Inglorius Basterds (2009) - not sure why it took me so long to see this, but loved it
- Skyfall (2012) - same here
- Day of the Dead (1985) - solid zombie flick, liked it more than Dawn of the Dead (seems to be a minority opinion), but less than Night of the Living Dead, I've heard it's downhill from here with Romero's next 3 zombie movies, but I'm planning on finishing the series
- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012) - you get exactly what you expect from the title, turn off your brain and enjoy the random idea with some decent action scenes, entertaining popcorn flick
04-24-2014 , 08:08 AM
Breakfast - Banana, Almonds, Nutrigrain Bar - 400 calories
Lunch - Salad w/ Vinegarette & 2 slices of Donato's thin crust pep pizza - 720 calories
Snack - Banana & Almonds - 320 calories
Dinner - Smart Ones Pizza & Kettle Chips - 1,110 calories
Snack - 3 mini (soy-milk) ice cream sandwiches - 270 calories

Excercises - 1 mile dog walk, several extra miles of walking at work

Calories Burned - 3,204
Caories Eaten - 2,820
Surplus/(Defecit) - (384)
04-24-2014 , 08:37 AM
TV Shows we're currently watching:

- Game of Thrones - plenty has been said about this awesome show (I haven't read the books and most likely never will)
- Mad Men - in my top 10 all time
- Fargo - watched the premiere, enjoyed it, darker than I expected, 90% sure I'll stay tuned for all 10 episodes
- The Americans - entertaining hour of TV every week, there's always so many different things going on I get a little lost sometimes, but still enjoy it
- Impractical Jokers - just discovered this year, love it
- The Shieled - watching on Netflix, a few episodes into season 6 of 7, really good stuff, almost gave up during the 1st season but glad I stuck with it

Upcoming Shows:

- The Strain (FX) - I'm intrigued
- The Bridge season 2 - solid 1st season
- True Blood final season - blah, enjoyed the 1st 3 or 4 seasons, been downhill since
- House of Cards season 1 & 2 - We'll probably start this after finishing The Shield
04-24-2014 , 04:16 PM
Our Boys:

Originally Posted by scottp4braves Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past
Simon (9)

Buddy (6ish we think)

They look like the sweetest most harmless little things don't they?

Simon definitely fits that description, but unfortunately, Buddy, who we rescued about a year ago and we believe had a rough time of it before that, bit my wife in the face a few weeks ago. He was laying in some blankets (not asleep) and she leaned down and kissed him on top of his head. He immediately whipped around and bit her right on the check. It's was pretty bloody and a couple of the marks were kind of deep. Most of the spots have healed now, but she's going to have a small scars from the 2 deeper ones, which she's obviously not thrilled about.

We're major dog people, her even more so than me, so we haven't considered getting rid of him, but we did decide to hire a trainer. He's coming by next week for a consultation. I want to get help for Buddy so we don't have to be worried about him biting us or even worse anyone else (right now we won't let anyone near him), but I'm sure not excited about the price tag that's going to come with it. But, the trainer has tons of great references, a couple that we know personally, so I'm confident we'll see results, and I'm looking forward to not worrying every time our 11 pound killer doxie is near my wife.
04-25-2014 , 12:36 PM
Breakfast - Banana and nutrigrain bar
Lunch - Salad w/ FF honey mustard and small scoop of korean bbq
Snack - Banana and nutrigrain bar
Dinner - Grilled chicken pita and fries
Snack - 2 mini (soy-milk) ice cream sandwiches

Lotta walking

Calories Burned - 3,354
Caories Eaten - 2,630
Surplus/(Defecit) - (724)

Friday morning weight-in - 208 lbs (-2)
04-25-2014 , 04:15 PM
Nice to read that you keep the aggressive sausage dog, nevertheless (just translated that, and had to laugh hard). Hope that working with him will show positive results. You and your wife are surrely decent peeps.

Last edited by TooRareToDie; 04-25-2014 at 04:20 PM.
04-26-2014 , 10:49 PM
Originally Posted by TooRareToDie Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past
Nice to read that you keep the aggressive sausage dog, nevertheless (just translated that, and had to laugh hard). Hope that working with him will show positive results. You and your wife are surrely decent peeps.
Thanks I'm hopeful that we're gonna see a turnaround
04-26-2014 , 10:54 PM

Breakfast - banana and 2 nutrigrain bars
Lunch - grilled chicken salad w/ ff vinegarette and 1 roll w butter
Snack - brown rice cereal w almond milk
Dinner - jimmy johns turkey sub and kettle chips
Snack - usual mini ice cream sands

Calories eaten - 2780
Calories burned - 2856
Surplus/(deficit) - (76)
04-28-2014 , 09:26 AM
Breakfast - Banana and brown rice cereal w/ almond milk
Snacks - 2 bananas, almonds
Dinner - Cheddar's spinach dip w/ tortilla chips (shared app) and beef nachos
Snack - Graeter's choc chip cookie dough ice cream & 4 reese cups

Lots of yard work and stuff around the house, 1st 20K step day since getting the fitbit

Calories Burned - 3814
Caories Eaten - 5500
Surplus/(Defecit) - 1686

Lunch - almonds, raisins, and a banana
Dinner - Shimp, veggies, and brown rice stir fry w/ soy sauce, veggie chips

3 mile walk

Calories Burned - 3120
Caories Eaten - 1720
Surplus/(Defecit) - (1400)
04-29-2014 , 08:21 AM
This Sunday (like most) we cooked a bunch of chicken breasts (in a skillet w/ olive oil, salt, pepper), veggies, and brown rice for lunches for the week and also use the chicken in salads for dinner once or twice each week.

B - Banana & Nurtrigrain Bar
L - Chicken, Brown Rice, Mixed Veggies
S - Banana, Almonds, & Raisins
D - Chicken Salad w/ lt ranch
S - usual mini ice cream sands

Exercise - 45 min spinning class, 15 mine core workout (planks, crunches, some other stuff I don't know the name of for my hips, abs, and obliques)

Burned - 3135
Eaten - 2060
Surplus/(Defecit) - (1075)
04-29-2014 , 11:44 AM
I've realized it going to take quite a few installments to cover my battle with alcohol, I just finished part 1, so I'll post it shortly, but it'll probably take me quite a well to write-up and post the whole story.

I'm pretty sure it'll be much more interesting (and embarrassing) then anything I've written in here so far.
04-29-2014 , 11:52 AM
August 3rd, 2010

After a quiet day at work and a few games of pickup basketball I slowly come to a stop in front of my house. I quickly remove the key from the ignition, decreasing the chance of my wife hearing the rattling of the beaten down engine in my 1989 Maxima. My neck retracts and shoulders shrug as I leeringly scan the area making sure I’m not in direct sight of any pesky neighbors. My eyes dart back to my house and the absence of movement assures me I’m all alone. I crack open the pint of Heaven Hill Vodka hidden under my seat and chug of it. My throat burns, but I smile in secret delight and slide the bottle into my pocket. I sneak another cursory glance upon stepping out of the car and quickly ascend my steep front lawn and hide the bottle behind the Herby (large garbage bin on wheels) located on the side of the house.

After a quick exchanging of pleasantries with my wife and dog I jump into the shower and let the hot water run over me as I embrace the buzz that hits me like a freight train. I change into my comfy shorts and t-shirt, grab a handful of sunflower seeds to mask whatever faint odor the vodka has left on my breath and we take Simon for our nightly walk.

A few minutes in, my wife says, “Did you drink a beer or something, your breath smells funny?”

“You always say that when I eat sunflower seeds.” We’ve had this exchange countless times, and it ends there as it usually does, so we go back to discussing our work days, weekend plans, etc.

After dinner I let the dog out back, tie-up the full kitchen garbage bag and take it around the side of the house. I high step it to the Herby, but this night brings an unfamiliar sight. There’s an older couple walking around my neighbor's front yard, I suppose they’re checking it out due to their ever-present “For Sale” sign. I duck behind the Herby, seemingly avoiding detection, quietly open the vodka bottle and turn it up.

Just as the burn hits my throat I hear “Hey there,” I scramble to screw the cap back on and stick the bottle back behind the wheel, holding back the fit of coughing I’m sure won’t let itself be contained. Thankfully they don’t question my peculiar behavior and we discuss the house and neighborhood. I find a way to politely end the conversation, duck back behind the Herby, swig the remaining vodka, and carefully place it inside the Herby so that it can’t be seen without digging through the trash

We plop on the couch and rewatch the most recent episode of True Blood (our favorite guilty pleasure show at the time). Afterwards my wife tunes into American Idol and I play computer games on the laptop, enjoying the bliss of being drunkenly lost in my own head, dreaming of a future full of endless possibilities, occasionally being brought back to reality to engage my wife in conversation, during which I focus 100% on speaking without slurring.

I take a break from the computer to devour a giant bowl of popcorn, the perfect ending to another in the long-line of never-changing days. We soon head to bed and I pass out within minutes of hitting the pillow.
04-30-2014 , 09:47 AM
How did I get to this point?

June 3rd, 2009
It was a particularly long day at the office and as I often did, I was scheming at the best way to “reward” myself for the hard work. There were 2 certainties, alcohol would be involved, and I wanted to enjoy it without my wife getting upset with me. We had been battling for years about my drinking and I was tired of the fight.

April 11, 2009
The last thing I remember is shoveling finger sandwiches into my gullet upon discovering the caterer was packing it in. It was nearing the end of my buddy’s wedding reception and the liquor had been flowing continuously. Despite being with my wife and plenty of friends; strong drinks, countless celebratory shots, and cup after cup of bud light had been my true companion that night.

The pounding inside my head woke me and I immediately drowned 3 tylenol with a tall glass of water. Snapshots of a blurry night swarmed my mind, but why had I slept on the couch? I walked to the bedroom eager for a hungover breakfast and lazy day on the couch with my wife. Oh crap, the door’s locked, what did I do? I knocked softly and sheepishly whispered “Honey?”

She explained that my thundering snoring was preventing her from falling asleep, every attempt to wake me had failed so she started shaking me. I jumped up yelling obscenities at her and when she engaged in the screaming match I got in her face and kept shouting “Hit me!” It was the 1st time she’d ever been scarred of me. Needless to say, I was beside myself with disappointment.

Logic dictates a simple solution, quit drinking, my wife was right, when I drank I always overdid it, and I could find a million reasons to take that first drink. Unfortunately, logic had no business inside my head when it came to drinking. So I presented a solution that I hoped would satisfy her and allow me to continue my favorite pastime. I would never drink hard liquor again, only beer, and I would never do it to that point of excess.

The guilt of that night curbed my drinking for a while, but I soon grew bored and wanted more. Thus, the idea was born to drink in secret. Now, I just had to figure out how. It had to be liquor, beer was too hard to conceal, and it couldn’t be noticed easily from my breath. I’d never really been a vodka drinker, but I’d always heard it referred to as odorless.

June 3rd, 2009, 6:45
My heart pounded and I could feel the blood rushing through my veins as I pulled up to the drive-thru window. I continuously observed every car and person around hoping not to recognize anyone as I was less than a mile from my workplace. $3.99 for a pint of Heaven Hill vodka and I was on my way.

That night was wonderful, I spent hours in a secret magical drunken haze, I never wanted to leave that place, and I had gotten there without a fight. Inside that amazing corner of my mind I heaped praise on myself and vowed to return there as often as possible.

Oddly enough, I didn’t feel the same way the next morning, the praise had been replaced with regret, guilt, and shame, thankfully, there was an easy cure for those feelings.

Last edited by scottp4braves; 04-30-2014 at 10:02 AM.
04-30-2014 , 06:05 PM
Good luck, man. Thanks for sharing.
04-30-2014 , 06:44 PM
Turn took a thread for the awesome with the drinking stories.

You captured the sensation of the secret buzz perfectly. Thanks for sharing with us.
05-01-2014 , 08:41 AM
Originally Posted by idlikeadrinkplease Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past
Good luck, man. Thanks for sharing.
Originally Posted by wombat4hire Optimistic for an Even-Keeled Future after an Up and Down Past
Turn took a thread for the awesome with the drinking stories.

You captured the sensation of the secret buzz perfectly. Thanks for sharing with us.
Thanks, I knew the drinking and recovery stories would be more interesting, but difficult to write, and my eating struggles have been at the forefront lately. Hoping to post part 3 today or tomorrow and another installment or 2 next week.
05-01-2014 , 08:48 AM
Tue - normal breakfast, lunch, snacks, baked salmon and veggies for dinner, 2 mile walk
2400 Eaten - 2963 Burned = (563) defecit

Wed - normal breakfast, lunch, snack, Jet's Pizza and Breadsticks for dinner, 3 mile walk & 20 min core workout
3970 Eaten - 3302 Burned = 668 surplus

Every now and then my wife gives in (she's maintained a healthy weight for her entire life other than about an 8 month stretch 9 years ago) and we get pizza one night during the week, I doubt I'll ever shoot that idea down and Jet's is freaking delicious.
05-01-2014 , 09:20 AM
April Movie Report, all 1st time viewings, grades based on how much I liked them not the quality of the movie.

Inglorius Basterds (2009)
A Clockwork Orange

Pacific Rim
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn (1982)

Day of the Dead (1985)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The Royal Tenenbaums

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Star Trek - The Motion Picture

Cockneys vs Zombies
Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai
Abraham Lincoln - Vampire Hunter

Dawn of the Dead (1978)

Erased (2012)

Brick Mansions