The Odds

Okay, so according to this episode of Penn & Teller’s Bull…pokey, the success rate for any self-improvement plan is about five percent. This includes Weight Watchers, Alcoholics Anonymous, or going it alone.

Which means all I have to do is try twenty times and I’m golden! The odds are in my favor!

So my focus has returned to Planitia again. I’m ditching my own networking solution and going with RakNet, which is free (as long as Planitia doesn’t make $100,000) and incredibly full-features. How full-featured? Peep this video:

And it integrates with Steamworks, so should the clouds part and THAT ever happen I’ll be able to take advantage of it.

This means that I may be able to have a public…alpha of Planitia soon. I’ll be running it through my own forums; if you’re interested in trying it out contact me.

So Where Ya Been?!

Sick. Quite, quite sick. And also not working. But not because I was sick.

There was some kind of snafu with the paperwork at GM. I didn’t start last Tuesday; in fact, for about a week I didn’t know when I would start or if I would start at all. But that’s apparently all been worked out and I allegedly start tomorrow (I’ll believe it when I get my badge).

I know, I missed a PTFSD update, but because I’ve been tracking my weight daily on a spreadsheet I can give it to you now.

Previous Weight: 357.4
Current Weight: 357.4
Delta: none

Wow, that was eventful, huh?

My Last Day at Somanetics, Plus PTFSD Update

No more working on medical devices for me. I loved my time at Somanetics and I’ll miss everyone here, but Somanetics has been bought and the parent company is closing this office. On Tuesday I start my new job at General Motors.

Perhaps now I’ll be able to spend more than 18 months at a job.

PTFSD Update:

Previous Weight: 354.4
Current Weight: 357.4
Delta: +3 Pounds

Blech. I tried to do better this week but got hit with a lot of temptations, “Oh, there’s donuts for the Linux guys,” “Oh, there’s ice cream for the Linux guys,” “Oh, I got KFC for dinner.” I succumbed to all of them.

But Lord, let now thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen my salvation.

That’s a Marcy recumbent exercise bike. I had been thinking for a while about getting a treadmill, but ones that could support my current weight cost well over $1000. And then I read in The 4-Hour Body about a guy who got his exercise on a recumbent bike – it allowed him to relieve the horrible boredom that always eventually makes me stop exercising. With a recumbent bike, you can read, watch TV or even play video games while still keeping your heart rate in the cardio zone. And this one is supposed to be excellent – not just for the price, but excellent all around. The biggest plus – it’s magwheel-driven, so it’s silent.

Once it arrives (which will take a week since I picked free shipping) I’ll add a new entry to these posts detailing how many minutes of exercise I got each week.

PTFSD Update, 1-19-11

Previous weight: 356.8
Current weight: 354.4
Delta: -1 pound, 4 ounces

My personal assessment of the past week: Good. Trending downward again. And soon I’ll be okay to start exercising which should make things go even faster.

I’ve been reading a book…well, it’s sensationalist propaganda, honestly. It’s by this guy named Tim Ferriss, who came to fame with his book The 4 Hour Workweek, which can be summed up as “don’t have a family, invest your money, and use technology as a force multiplier and you too can live like a rich person even if you’re not”. Since I already screwed up step one, it’s not that useful to me.

But now he’s got a book called The 4-Hour Body which is getting lots of press, so…I figured I’d check it out.

Here are his five dieting rules:

1. Don’t eat anything white and/or starchy. This means that my beloved, beloved rice must go by the wayside. Also no potatoes, pasta or bread, because as we all know…

Instead, eat proteins like egg whites (Tim’s favorite, and frankly there’s almost no downside to them), chicken and lean pork. Get your carbohydrates from vegetables. This is where Ferriss differs from the abominable Atkins Diet, which would have you cut out carbohydrates altogether. His favorite vegetables are lentils, which have both protein and carbs, and spinach, which which has so many necessary vitamins and minerals that it’s no wonder it tastes awful.

2. Make a mealplan for a week and then follow it as closely as you can. Ferriss points out that eating the same thing every week can seem restrictive, but if you actually tracked what you ate for a week you’d probably discover that you eat the same things over and over anyway.

3. Don’t drink calories. This is pretty much a given. Even if you drink diet soda, try not to drink more than two a day because the aspartame can cause you to retain water.

4. Don’t eat fruit. Fructose, the sugar found in fruit, is easily digested and almost instantly turned into fat unless you’re doing something to burn it off.

5. On one day a week, ignore all of the above and eat whatever you want – but just for that one day. Also, this is not optional. You must eat at least one “binge” meal a week. Why? People who go on very restrictive diets tend to lose weight…until their body panics, goes into “starvation mode” and refuses to give anything up.

I have personal experience with this. I’m not sure if I ever told this story before or not, but back in 2002 or so I lost about fifty pounds and got under 300 for the first time in years. But it didn’t take because I was literally killing myself doing it – I was eating so few calories that I was falling asleep on the drive home from work. Eventually my restrictive diet stopped working, I got pissed and dumped it, and went right back to where I am now. If I had followed rule five back then, we wouldn’t be talking about this now…and a lot of bad stuff might not have happened to me.

Overall, I like these rules. They’re a pretty good encapsulation of modern dieting. Since carbs are so damn caloric, getting them from your veggies instead of straight pretty much ensures that you will eat under the necessary amount for weight loss even without counting calories.

I haven’t gotten to the workout part of the book yet. We’ll see how much that agrees with me, since I hate exercising.

PTFSD Update, 1-12-11

Previous weight: 356.4
Current weight: 356.8
Delta: + 4 ounces

My personal assessment of the past week: Poor. And I’m forbidden from doing any real exercise until I get some more amiodarone in my bloodstream. I really, really would like to get into the 340s…dunno if it’s going to happen anytime soon. Unless I go to the hospital again!

PTFSD Update, 1-7-11

Previous weight: 361.6
Current weight: 356.4
Delta: -5.2 pounds

My personal assessment of the past week: Weight loss? Excellent. Otherwise? Awful.

The reason I lost so much weight was because I was in the hospital yet again. I went into arrhythmia and needed my medication adjusted.

About six months ago my cardiologist tried to get me off my main heart-regulating drug, amiodarone. Amiodarone works damn good, but it’s got terrible side effects over the long term. We tried three different medications (multaq, verapimil and most recently propafenone) and every time I’ve had some sort of episode. I had one at Stardock, which was terribly embarassing, and one here at Somanetics, which was also terribly embarrassing.

So at 6 AM Monday morning, my pacemaker shocked me while I was asleep. Go to the hospital. Find out my heart rate is running wild and I’m having arrhythmia all over the damn place. So they put me back on amiodarone. Unfortunately, they had to keep me in the hospital to load me up with the stuff and get my heart rate down.

I’m out of the hospital now and taking rather large doses of amiodarone to build it back up in my system. The good news is that my heart rate finally seems like its under control again. My cardiologist agrees that I should get some weight off before we try changing my medication again.

The bad news…anxiety. It’s not terrible but it’s worse than it was before this happened, naturally.

As I look back over this blog…I’m really not the same person I was before October 2008 and it’s all due to the anxiety. And for god’s sake, it seems like every time I get a little better, get back to myself, something happens and all I want to do is distract myself (usually with World of Warcraft). I don’t want to talk, I don’t want to work, I don’t want to work on my own projects. Such extroverted things, difficult enough for an introvert like me, become impossible when I’m anxious. I don’t want to think about it. I don’t want to talk about it. I don’t want to write this damn web post about it. I don’t want to do an episode of Let’s Play Starflight. I don’t want to work on Inaria. I don’t want to work on Planitia. I don’t want to set up my web store. What’s the point?

I might die soon.

Soon after everything that happened in October 2008, I voiced the opinion that I wished it were a year from then, because things would be back to normal.

It’s three years now, and they aren’t. I’ve done a lot of brave things…moving to Michigan knowing I was cutting ties with the cardiologist who best understood what I was going through was difficult. Weathering the layoff from Stardock and managing to get right back on my feet with another job. But I don’t feel brave. I feel crazy scared, all the time, unless I’m being distracted by a computer game.

I guess I should just come to grips with the fact that I’m never going to be the person I was again. I’m never going to be able to forget about the fact that hey, guess what? I’ve got a completely bum ticker and if it weren’t for modern medicine I’d be in the ground already.

Where do you go from there? Is there anywhere to go?

I don’t know. All I can do is keep plugging; my wife needs me, my kids need me.

But will I ever wake up happy ever again?

(Oh, and why the hell did my damn pacemaker have to go off while I was asleep? I haven’t slept well since, and frankly, sleeping is one of the few things I really like to do. I swear, it’s like some sort of Pavlovian thing. “Let’s shock him until he’s got nothing left to enjoy!”)

PTFSD Update, 12-15-10

Current weight: 359.8
Previous weight:
Not applicable, since this is my first regular update.
Delta: Again, not applicable, but I was topped out at 375 when I got laid off from Stardock (I probably gained about 40 pounds of crunch weight while I was there).

My personal assessment of the past week: Pretty good. I’ve been following my diet pretty well and getting some exercise here and there. My incredibly long commute is now made even longer by slippery roads (we got snowhammered over the weekend) so finding time to actually exercise can be hard. But the weight is coming down, and I intend for it to continue to come down.