Monday, April 6, 2009

Looking good

Yesterday evening, after a lovely dinner with a group of new friends at Ariba Ariba, a charming but mediocre Mexican establishment on 51st and 9th avenue, I decided I'd pay Paul a visit (he's the Beer Blast DJ!). The roof was happening! I was talking to Jason, a PR mag with some very interesting views. "I did not realize you had a belly" he whispered. "It looks good on you."

No mercy...

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

And we're back!

"You are a handsome man" my doctor told me, handing me a prescription for high blood pressure. I nodded in agreement, thankful for this small act of mercy, for, truth be told, I was not feeling all that handsome lately. "But you need to lose 25 pounds" he continued. "How tall are you? 6'2"?" "6'3"" I cried, ready to blame the recently diagnosed scoliosis on that one missing inch. My doctor consulted his little chart, and concluded that a 6'3" adult should weigh 200 pounds maximum. "But I look great at 205" I argued, fighting for those extra 5 pounds. "205 for a man your height is still overweight" my doctor told me. I tried to argue that my arms were 16", and that, therefore, I would look like a Dior model at 200 lbs. Truth be told, my left arm is 16". My right, dominant arm is only 14.5"... The reason being that yours truly managed to herniate a disk in his neck (c4-c5, if you must know), which caused some serious pain. And atrophy of the right arm.

Now, things are getting better, as evidenced by my typing this new entry, the first one in six weeks. And, there is some silver lining: for one, the pain associated with a herniated disk turned to be a great appetite suppressant. If it was not for the injury, my doctor would have asked me to lose almost 40 pounds. However, since I could not readily bring my right hand to my mouth, and unaccustomed to eating with my left (FN1), I actually lost weight: I am at 223.5 lbs at the moment, and only 20 something pounds away from my slim self (23.5 if you are to listen to my doctor). With June 19 almost three months away, I believe my chance of succeeding is actually quite good. My having 16 inch right arm, however, does not seem as likely.

There were other developments that I missed to report due to this unfortunate condition:

1. Yes, I attended the white party, and made friends with a stack of ice bags next to the bar. About an hour into the event, I bagged my host to please take me back home. And he did. And I will always love him for that.

2. I no longer have to worry about fitting into my leather pants. I no longer have them. I gifted the pants to my friend Milutin, together with a pair of lovely Prada dress pants and a couple of other items that suited his slim figure way better than they suited mine. One good deed leads to another - my friend Valeri and her husband offered to buy me a pair of leather pants so that I don't to have to stress about getting slim for the existing pair. How very sweat! I think I would rather have a new pair of Prada's though. I just wonder if they have them in my size....

3. I don't have many fine dining experiences to report. After all, I did lose all that weight... However, I highly recommend Blue Hill, where I went for Bill's birthday. I do not remember what I had, but everything was delicious. And I made it to Lupa yesterday, and the tripe they have there is amazing. And so is the chicken.

It appears that losing weight is just what doctor ordered...

FN1: There are other things I am not used to doing with my left arm which affected some other aspects of my life which I will not discuss here.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I will not hide that I had hoped that I would receive a significant number of comments similar to

(i) Why would you be on a diet?
(ii) You look great!
(iii) I wish I looked like you.

Or alike. I am saddened to report that I got none. (FN1)

Rather, I got plenty of comments encouraging me to stick with my diet plan. It alarms me that my friends have no mercy, and instead of reassuring me of their unconditional love and devotion, they cheer my downsizing efforts. Instead of their affection I get exercise tips and suggestions regarding the ideal portion size. No wonder I turned to food.

I allow that some of them may have good intentions (although, we know the final destination of the road those intentions pave!). My favorite female red head veterinarian, Valery, suggested that “[b]asically, eat right and exercise. You don't have to eat non-deliciously, you just have to control portion size so that you're only eating as many calories as you need.” But how many calories do I need? (FN2)

Determined that this lack of unconditional love and understanding will not deter me from regaining my super-slim figure (followed by de-friending all these non-loving and non-understanding friends I accumulated over years), I rushed to the gym this morning and completed 30 minutes of that terrible stair master machine where one actually climbs the real stairs, escalator type, followed by an hour of weight lifting (this time with Humberto).

All that exercise of course made me very, very hungry.

When I arrived to my office, hungry and all, and while reviewing the worldwide news, I came across a story about Jason Dinant’s and his quest for six-peck. This copy cat, will you believe it, eats 16 egg(whites) a day! 16! I hate to think of implications for the sex life of hens across this great country if more Americans (or legal aliens, as in my case) were to adopt this diet. I was not given taste buds to eat 16 egg whites a day! Not to mention that all those egg whites can (and will!) cause some serious bloating problems and some deadly winds. (FN3)

The diet, I find, ought to be realistic. Something one can do without constantly feeling that all the pleasures of this world must be sacrificed for a promise of a smaller mid section. Therefore, I decided to

(i) keep exercising
(ii) keep eating
(iii) keep eating everything I like to eat
(iv) but perhaps not all of it

After all, Paul and I are off to Nougatine again this Monday to celebrate the first thee weeks of my diet, and then there’s Bill’s birthday dinner at Blue Hill at Stone Barns. You diet there if you’d like.

FN1: Okay, so I got one. I considered “I got one”, but “I got none” sounded way more dramatic.
FN2: This is a rhetoric question.
FN3: Ok, so he does eat brown rice as well, and sweet potatoes (which I find delicious myself), chicken, even broccoli with gas-creating properties similar to egg whites, but arguably of lesser potency.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Time lost

Ever since I saw the last episode of the Biggest Loser, where Jillian stated that “scale does not lie,” and that certain trainers' claims that one can be loosing inches, if not pounds, is "bulls$%t", I've been slightly concerned about my own progress. Is scale really that accurate (I have a real nice one, it's see through…)?? Could all the time I spent doing cardio be annulled by my occasional indulgence in something that actually tastes good? This morning I felt particularly light, and decided it's time to measure my progress. And there was none.

Two weeks into this, and I only managed not to get any bigger. I see two possible solutions:

(i) Despair. This one has obvious benefits, as I could have all my favorite foods and not feel any worse for eating them, for I am in the state of utter desperation and can be comforted only by various delicacies. A possible shortcoming of this alternative is that I could gain more weight, thus making it even harder to reach my weight-related goals. Turning 40 and weighing 240 would be somewhat depressing…

(ii) Assess the situation at hand; learn from the mistakes of the past two weeks, and … do what? Clearly, I need Jillian to guide me. (I also need Bob, but I see him in a less advisory and more, hmmm, affection-providing role).

I am considering jump-starting my efforts (only three weeks until my trip to Florida!) by ordering EverCleanse. This product, in essence, promises the user the best s$%t ever! Pounds can be shaded by one glorious poop, and that would certainly create a momentum necessary to motivate me to persevere in my struggle. Once I relief myself of the unnecessary burden of colonic deposits, the new found lightness should improve my cardio performance! Starting today, I pledge to break sweat once a day every day before my Miami trip (and with some luck, it will be hot enough over there that I can keep my daily perspiration going even without the struggles associated with exercising).

This brings us to food… Which I love. Dearly.

Since my last entry, I only had a couple of real food-related failures:

1. I had a bag of (healthy) chips while watching the Biggest Loser. And last Tuesday was my good day, very lean, consciencious meals for breakfast, lunch and (almost) dinner.

2. Almost a full bag of roasted unsalted (!) hazelnuts. From a wonderfully well-supplied Italian store in Chelsea Markets. Where I also purchased various jars of honey with proven health, if not weight loss, benefits.

Aahhh… All this food-related contemplation made me a bit hungry. More on my diet plans later.

Monday, February 2, 2009


In my January 27 post, I mentioned that I was considering Bikram Yoga as one of possible solutions for my growing waist problem. I tested it this past weekend, and have to report that I have doubts.

I should first update you on my progress over this past weekend:

1. I was fairly disciplined during Howard's welcome dinner (Bill, Joe and Tom were in attendance as well, although Bill does not want to be mentioned in this blog) at El Parador, where I had only a couple of sips of their delicious margarita, a countable amount of chips, and fairly conservative servings of beef fajitas and paella. Of course, I had to have their peanut butter stuffed jalapenos! They are out of this world good, very low in bad fat if you avoid pieces of pork skins that garnish the plate, and remember to put some toilet paper in the freezer for the morning-after bathroom visit.

2. Saturday I worked out with Brad at Definitons and met Paul, Joe and Howard for lunch at Daddy's Diner. I had a salad. Which was giant, but completely utterly forgettable. There was nothing good about that salad, and its mare size cannot qualify as a plus. I wanted to go to Gramercy Tavern, but found myself in a minority, a clear case against democracy and in favor of benevolent dictatiorship.

3. After a nap attempt, we were ready to go for a failing economy-conscious meal at Great New York Noodle Town in Chinatown. Not a place for a dieter. Enough sad. (FN4)

4. Sunday morning, after a suitable serving of light cereal, I followed Howard for our Bikram class. For those unenlightened, Bikram attempts to recreate the conditions found in Calcutta, India during the Monsoon season right here in New York, and with a generous use of space heaters and humidifiers manages to create a steamy environment where half naked practitioners put themselves into some fairly difficult positions. The class is planned so that, in no time, your heart is pounding, you start feeling dizzy and concerned you may pass out while gracefully balancing in a position best suited for Michelle Kwan. It was unpleasant. But I was sweating and losing weight! Or so I thought. Now, let me observe that the men who attended the noon class were not, how can I describe it... Inspirational? A grave injustice became apparent:

The Great Injustice: Paul and I both have weightlifter shoulder, but neither of us, at the moment at least, has a weightlifter body. A hot, lean, weightlifter to be precise. Yet, after my first Bikram class, and with no yoga-specific injury to report, I realized I had a yoga body! Not the slim kind, but rather the type with that jelly-like quality to it. Would it be too much to ask, require even, that if one has a sport-specific injury, one should have the sport-specific body. What's good having a tennis elbow without being 6.4" and 195 lbs?

5. Shattered by this injustice, overheated from my Bikram class, and with piercing headache, I attended a Super Ball party and had more than one pig in the blanket.

This morning I woke up feeling weak and unwell. The scale revealed that it was not because I suddenly lost weight. No. 231. Was the week one wasted?? At least I have the cookbooks...

P.s My dear and insanely talented friend Roman suggested that this beautiful undergear number would be much more appropriate for my South Beach vacation... Alas, although marvelously crafted, this great creation is of wrong color.

FN1: To balance this poor judgment, I purchased two (cook)books that are certain to give me an edge in my growing struggle. I considered purchasing one more which recommended eating practically nothing for 21 days, promising the willing sufferer an incredible weight loss totaling, you guessed right, 21 pounds. Which sounds great, and I may even go for it if I am at 221 pounds 21 day before June 19.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Beach Anxiety Cured

I mentioned already that in one month exactly I will have to expose my figure on the beaches of Ft. Lauderdale, and perhaps even South Beach. Although my diet and exercise much improved since the last weekend (how could it get any worse, right?), one month is practically a week from now, especially if one is not using performance enhancing substances of the non-aging type. And I am not, because they are expensive, and made in China, and with my luck I'd get a case of hot dog fingers which would truly be devastating. Or a kidney stone, which could be weight-loss beneficial, but is also reported to be very painful.

My friend Tom, fortunately, found the answer: Sculptees! (FN1)

- Evening wear:

The timeless black T-shirt with a twist (black, so already slimming!). (FN2)
My muffin top may get a little bruised, but that's a small price to pay in order to look slim and beautiful (and not only inside, but outside too!)

- Day wear:

I am certain to slip into this lovely inconspicuous tank top:

I do realize that this is a bit more complicated, because we are talking Florida here, beach, speedos. But there is a genius solution: it comes in nude!!

Okay, somebody may notice, especially on the beach. In Ft. Lauderdale, however, no one will dare. They are all fat there anyway. I'd even hope for some attention and interest from the locals, but for my lack of body hair.

On a regular day, South Beach would be another story. During the Winter Party, however, no one will notice! High on life and else, everyone will just see me for a slim, well proportioned individual that I am (if not at this very moment). And think of savings on the sun protection products. All I have to do is to draw belly button and a pair of nipples (some tattoos if I feel creative) and I am set!

Tom - this is what the friends are for. Thank you.

Now that my beach anxiety is under control, I may even skip a desert this evening!

FN1: I cite: The Sculptees is a revolutionary new product, lightweight, breathable undergarment for men. Designed to look just like a regular underwear, this seamless mesh knit Sculptees underwear smoothes out fatty bulges and creates a sleek appearance. The unique knitting technology on the Sculptees underwear offers compression without constriction, making it the ultimate body shaping undergarment for men.

FN2: readily available here:

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Road block

Last few days were not terribly successful.

Saturday started really well: I worked out with Brad, even did cardio before our workout. Although already tired, I joined the NYC Bears for an evening of skating in the Central Park. Had only one sip of hot chocolate there.

But then:
1. Burger joint Le Parker Meridien - which I highly recommend unless you are attempting to lose weight, like I am, and if you are not allergic to tourists from mid west, like I am, who finish their burgers and then hang out in their booths while my french fries are getting cold;
2. three Makers Mark Manhattans at the gym bar, and one made with undisclosed bourbon brand, for a total of four;
3. a total of about one large cup of (I hope) light bear, consumed so that I can participate in a drinking game, and I excelled at it, even anchoring my team; and
4. a dinner at Momofufu Saam, which was easily the highlight of the day, but which I cannot remember very well due to the consumption of items outlined under (2) and (3).

The oatmeal I had for breakfast Saturday morning probably did me in, and I remained stationary on my couch all day, following U.S. figure skating championships, feeling somewhat delicate.

Monday morning the scale indicated that I gained one pound since my last weigh in.

I was not surprised. I saw it coming. Even before the miss-steps outlined above.

See, I noticed while working out with Brad Saturday that my belly was strangely on my way while doing dips. A quick inspection in the mirror confirmed that my mid area was indeed preventing my chest and ties to get closer together. Then, while lacing my very butch hockey skates, I had difficulties bending over to accomplish the stake at hand (no mirror was needed to confirm this). Clearly - I am fat. Not in a "oh, you are not" way, no, just plain old fat.

And clearly, something needs to be done about that, because I am not ready to be fat, or remain fat. But what??

1. Paul is DJing at David Burton gym, and Saul (who does not find this blog very interesting) and I are on the guest list and are supposed to work out together. But I am too big to workout at David Burton Gym, and don't have a slimming enough outfit!
2. Bikram Yoga is another possibility, but all that bending over with the above mentioned belly surely cannot be good.
3. Fullbar? (The concept seems genius, if a little disgusting)

To further complicate my situation, I am supposed to go to Florida in four weeks. Four weeks! I was so anxious last night about appearing on the beach with my fat exposed that I could not sleep, and so could not wake up early, and so could not go do cardio this morning. This vicious circle must be broken. Perhaps by completing one hour of cardio tonight?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day Three - Noodle Bar

I decided this morning that I am not going to step on a scale every single day and monitor my progress. Perhaps that creates a lack of accountability on my end, I don't know. There will be some day-to-day fluctuations though, so better not to get all concerned about them. Because stress my cause one to eat. Eat more.

Since I did not get on the scale this morning, it is still safe to assume that I'm right at 231. And that because I already lost 6 pounds since I started, I could reward myself with a nice, yet healthy lunch. Tai (she is still around, and perhaps a bad influence) and I went puppy shopping over the lunch break (the dog is for Tai's mom, as a pet Tai assured me), and ended up at the Noodle Bar in West Village. Heavenly. We both had BBQ pork broth noodles, watercress soup, taro rolls (which are so crispy and delicious that we had them at the end as a desert). Truly good lunch. And almost consistent with my weight loss goals.

Speaking of weight-loss goals... While I indulged in my last taro roll, which I smothered in a sweet-sour dipping sauce, I wondered about sacrifices one needed to make for the sake of getting lean. Should I really quit places like Noodle Bar (Momofuku Ko, Gramercy Tavern, we could go on and on, we are in NYC after all!) in order to lose weight? I don't eat in McDonald. Or Taco Bell. None of the items (all fairly unappetizing) from the Biggest Loser glass cabinets (that so poetically fade out as their still enormous victim is voted off the show) really appeals to my sophisticated pallet (popcorn perhaps). I sense doubt. And hunger.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Going strong!

I knew the day two would be a challenge. It started well - naked and relieved, I lost 6 pounds overnight and was at 231 at 6:45 AM! Overnight! The daily portion of the diet did not go poorly either:

- I worked out - did 20 minutes of cardio even, plus some during my workout with Humberto. (Ai Papito!)
- Had a protein shake for my second breakfast (I had an instant oatmeal for my first breakfast, not very good. More on instant oatmeal in FN1)
- A salad for lunch, with no cheese, only steak and egg whites and walnuts and olives and red peppers, all served over a generous bed of crispy romaine.
- Then Tai called...

Now, how does one reject an old friend back from a 7 months long camping trip who would like to have a drink? Since we were both dressed inappropriately for Campbell Apartments at Grand Central (she more so than I, practically still in her camping gear), we opted for far less fabulous but equally pretentious Osteria Laguna. Where we both had a carb conscious serving of a vodka martini. Dirty, with olives. I ordered it dry so to avoid the extra calories. Then we had some fairly healthy and forgettable fairs, grilled sea food, salad, blah blah. Three christinis...

This should be a footnote, but then you'd maybe miss it, and it it really important to set the record straight. Tai seems to believe, and she is wrong, that I started this blog only to show off my 195 pounds headless photo. Which is not true. Not entirely, at least. The support I get from friends is just touching. (FN2)

We had a nice visit to Bill (who does not want to be mentioned in this blog, or any other Internet vehicle) and Joe (who does not care), and we had a glass or 2 1/2 of health promoting red (Beaurdoux, if you must know). And a sweet potato sour from Zarela. With only one third of a flauta and one chip.

Tai and I then laughed our behinds off watching Tropic Thunder, and all that laughter made me hungry again (plus, Top Chef was on) so I finished my dieting effort with a piece of high-end dark chocolate. Because it was in my fridge. (FN3) And could one piece of chocolate, 2 1/2 glasses of Beardoux, one dirty (but dry) vodka martini and three christinis ruin my otherwise exemplary day two (add to that that I did complete 20 minutes of grueling cardio!)? No, right?

Regardless, this morning (I was again procrastinating, but you would not have known since I started this post yesterday) I found some encouraging news - the Giorgio Armani suits, it is reported from Milan fashion week, have trousers cut to flatter a man with muscular thighs and a rear. Me! I find comfort that there will be a fashionable item waiting for me at the end of this road that would flatter my new (and in terms of thighs and rear even existing) figure.

FN1 Ok, so during the last season of the Biggest Loser, the motivational aspect of which I already questioned, Bob the trainer, who is NEVER shirtless, although he is the only person there who in fact should be shirtless, and often, claimed, while millions were watching, that he had protein-enhanced instant oatmeal for breakfast every morning. Every morning! This season, you guessed, he did not make any such claim! So, what does he have for breakfast?? And why is he not shirtless (not even in his exercise book which I reviewed with great interest at Borders, after my Nougatine lunch with Paul, and which I would have bought since it was 1/2 off if only Bob took his shirt off in one photo. One!)

FN2 Natasha, Ginger, Paul the Australian, you know who you are! Some friends. Some support. Shame... The fact that you did not manage has no implications on my almost certain success. Perhaps you too should get a pair of skimpy leather pants.

FN 3 "Am I not human? Do I not bleed?" And I was out of gum, but I should really save this one for another post.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Heavier than expected

Holly smoke! I just stepped off the scale (a really nice digital one) and realized that:
1. I weigh 237 pounds! Granted, I was wearing socks, underwear, a tshirt, a shirt, a pair of (thick) pants, and a pair of cufflinks, but still...;
2. Since I only wrote one sentence of my fist post yesterday, it is dated January 19, and it appears that I am not a procrastinator after all, even though I just finished the post 5 minutes ago; and
3. Because it shows January 19 as the posting date, my previous post makes no sense, because I go on and on about procrastinating.

So, change of plan people, 38 pounds to drop!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The First Day - Nougatine

Clearly, I've been procrastinating... I was supposed to start my Weight Loss Diaries yesterday, but instead of finalizing my preparation for the "before" picture with a Nougatine lunch with Paul (where we had an entirely sublime fois gras brule, plus the lunch menu with a more weight-loss sensitive choice of steamed skate on a bed of spaghetti squash), I opted for skipping my Nu-kitchen meal for Bill's meatballs in gravy, served over creamy polenta. It is very hard to write about one's weight loss goals once one is stuffed, I find. Thus delay.

I was born June 19, 1969. I will be, with some luck, turning 40 in 1/2 year exactly. With some more luck, hard work, and by avoiding Bill's cooking, I hope to throw my 40th birthday bash 30 pounds lighter than I currently am. (FN1)

Although I was not always fat, I've been preparing for the "before" picture for some time now... (Above is a flattering shot of my belly exposed to the gentle January sun of the Caribbean.) Looking back, my preparation seem to have commenced weeks after a burst appendix brought me to my dream weight of 195 pounds. (FN2) Which was five years ago. Since then, I've been gaining weight steadily. There are several reasons for this:
  1. Bill's cooking;
  2. My social life is no longer centered around Results the Gym;
  3. I moved to NYC where
    a) Social life evolved around fork and a martini glass, and not Results the Gym;
    b) One needs to work hard and long;
    c) There is no Results the Gym (FN3); and
  4. I don't mean to use this as an excuse, but I have a bad back.

You may wonder what would I look like after I shed all those pounds. Here we go:
Paul will confirm the authenticity of this shot - plus see the appendectomy scar, and the leather pants I mention in the footnote 2 below. Not bad, eh?

Although I've been contemplating going on a diet for some time, my recent trip back to Belgrade really convinced me that the time was right. For the first time since I was a small child, I was greeted by various people squeezing my cheeks and admiring how round they were (we are talking above waist line here). And, my mother did not comment on my weight this time around, a sure sign she considered it a lost cause. (FN4)

I start this diary a day late, but determined to drop to 199 pounds for the night of my birthday party. I hope you will follow my progress and support me all the way through.

FN1: I love footnotes. They do allow one to go on and on about something not entirely important. Like the fact that I just saw The Biggest Loser, which should, I know, be an inspiration, but for me it just does not work because most of these people end up being more fat that I currently am even when they are done with the grueling program. If I was to work out 4-8 hours a day and ear lettuce, it seems that losing 30 pounds would be a two weeks job!

FN2: Naively, I celebrated the occasion by purchasing a custom made Carneliani suit and a pair of custom made leather pants, neither of which I can get into at the moment.

FN 3: Although it may appear that all my weight problems would disappear if I would only move back to DC, that is not the case. Results the Gym, I hear, at least the one on the corner of 17th and U, is now gone.

FN4: It would have been silly going on a diet there and then - I would have missed an amazing pickled cabbage cooked with smoked meet at Vucko and Stasa's place, the meal I intend to make here in NYC as soon as I find time and patience to go to Queens and by the whole pickled cabbage.