Easy hack for really thin pats of butter

Once in a great, great, great while I’ll do something and my wife will laugh and say, “That was smart!”

I cooked up some tortellini and vegetables for dinner a couple of weekends ago, and asked my wife what she wanted on it. “A little butter,” she said. We store our butter in the refrigerator because we don’t really use a whole lot of it, so it’s pretty hard when it comes out. This makes it a little more difficult to cut than if the butter’s at room temperature.

So I just got out a cheese slicerthis one in particular — and sliced off a few pats, maybe a couple of millimeters thick. Way easier than trying to mess with a butter knife or stirring the meal to melt and coat a couple of big pats.

This is also a good way to enjoy a little butter and control the portion carefully.

Free goodies at work are evil

I guess I have a really serious oral fixation or something like that. Or a sweet tooth. Or both.

One of my colleagues gets a gift and decides to spread the wealth with the rest of us, which is nice. They get bonus points for their big heart. But man, a bowl of candy or a birthday cake or a plate of brownies is so tempting. It’s right there, and it’s free.

I’m a bargain hunter so “free” is my favorite word. Once in a great while there will be a retirement party and there will be leftovers from a vegetable snack tray, but usually the calories lying around are just empty carbs.

For the past few days I’d been pretty good about passing by the sweets, but today I fell off the wagon, and man, the sweets hitting my system just shut it down. I knew that refined sugar promotes tooth decay and suppresses the immune system but here are several dozen bad things that sugar does to your body. (Scroll down to the salmon-colored box.)

Water can be a good substitute for those occasional cravings, and as long as I get it out of the fountain, it’s free, too.

Working out with the Wii Fit

On Memorial Day we went over to a good friend’s house. There were a lot of kids there and eventually we congregated around the Nintendo Wii. They’ve had the Wii for a while but they had recently gotten the Wii Fit, which is a balance board and scale that is meant to be stood on. Sensors detect how evenly you are bearing your weight both left to right and front to back.

We played with the Wii Fit and had a blast. So much so that we shelled out the dough to get the Wii console and the balance board on eBay.

I had been reluctant to just get a Wii. Sure that’s exercise and my arms were tired after playing baseball with it, but those games were exercising a very limited muscle group. It didn’t seem like that kind of exercise would be worth the money.

Not so with the Wii Fit. The yoga and strength training exercises kick my butt! They’re tough. I’m really sore afterwards! They’re tough for my friend who’s in way better shape than I am. Yes, it’s a video game — and not a cheap one — but it’s a video game that I’m hoping that will keep my interest long enough for me to see some deflabbification.

Here are a few specific reasons why I think it will:

  • I’m very competitive at video games. I’m not competitive at team sports, and never really was, but man, get me in front of a video game, and you’re my worst enemy. That, and I get pretty frustrated when I’ve done better before at a particular exercise or balance game. I’ll try several more times until I’ve given it a good shot at beating my high score. Meanwhile, I’m exercising, which is the whole point, right?
  • It’s graduated. They make you ease into things pretty slowly by unlocking easy activities first. The game encourages you not to overdo your workout.
  • No additional work to record progress. It keeps track of how much, how often, as well as how much you weigh.
  • It covers a lot of territory. Stretching, balance, strength training, aerobic workout — it’s all there.
  • There’s a neat reward system. The more you use it, the more games you get. Each exercise gives you “fit credits” that drop into a futuristic piggy bank — which I respond to well, considering I also write on personal finance.
  • It will be a long time before I beat these games. Some games you can finish, or you get good enough at them that they’re no longer a challenge. This will be challenging for me for a long time.
  • The games are fun. Frustrating at times, but it’s almost always because I don’t have good enough control over my body’s movements to do well. Overall they’re a blast to play.

Here are a few things I need to watch out for, though:

  • I’m very competitive at video games. I have to watch that I don’t break the thing. I’m serious!
  • It is possible to cheat the system. But isn’t that possible with just about anything? I’ve used it honestly so far and need to continue doing so. I’m only fooling myself if I cheat.
  • I may lose interest. At this point I just need to take it for the exercise it is and keep at it. Hopefully this will be easier if I’ve developed the habit of exercising by then. I don’t see it getting old within the next couple of months. And hopefully I’ll be down around ten pounds.

Anyway, this is going to be a fairly big part of my exercise program. I’ll keep you posted.

Welcome to Deflabbify

I’m a 36-year-old guy, and I’m fat.

I’m 5’7″ and weigh 241 pounds.  My BMI is over 35.  I’ve never been heavier and my weight worries me.  A cubicle job, poor eating habits, poor sleep habits, and general laziness have taken their toll.

The full range of my ideal body weight according to the calculator at CaloriesPerHour.com is 133 pounds to 163 pounds.

Getting down to 151 pounds would be a loss of 90 pounds, so there’s my goal.  I’ve heard a pound per week is a good rate to lose weight, so let’s set the goal to lose that weight for May 28th, 2010.

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, so here we go!