An Argument

Have you heard the new Fleet Foxes album, Helplessness Blues? It is really amazing, if you like that kind of music. I was listening to it for the first time this morning and the song “The Shrine/An Argument” came on and I was mesmerized. Towards the end, there is this really unexpected saxophone part that I can only describe as a Latino Elephant couple’s marriage counseling session being presided over by a bee. At least that’s what I saw in my head. Here’s the official video – the part I mentioned starts at 6:40:

 

A lot of people I know hate music that deviates from the norm like this. I think it’s great. I think art becomes its most relevant when it is unexpected and messy, because then it becomes an accurate portrayal of life. Don’t go tell your friends that Heavy Evan endorses those artists that smear their own poop on canvases (although that is technically art)! I am simply saying that perfection in art is dishonest.

What does this have to do with Healthy Living? I’ll tell you! If perfection in art is dishonest to life then isn’t expecting life to be perfect also dishonest?

I need a minute to digest that question.

So, why are all our perceptions of ourselves based on the deception of perfection?

We base beauty on pictures that were digitally perfected.

We base our musical talent on music that was digitally perfected (see every singer on Glee).

We (Me) base our diets and levels of physicality on examples that the industry tells us is perfect.

“The Industry”. How Orwellian.

I cannot go from zero to Lance Armstrong in three months! There has to be a beginning period where I figure out how I am going to eat healthy and how I can phase out the crap I eat on a regular basis. That way I truly develop a want for healthy foods and don’t crave the crap. I think that’s why they call it crash dieting – if you think the fastest way to London is by driving on the other side of the road odds are you will crash!

I guess I am trying to say that if you base your expectations on perfection you will constantly be at odds with yourself. Like the two headed dragon in the Fleet Foxes video. Your body can’t meet triathlon athlete expectations in a retired professional bowler’s reality. You have to start slow.

This is why I am in a perpetual state of starting. This is also why I constantly give up.

From now on my expectation will be that I can do the best that I can and that is enough.

What are your expectations?

P.S. No offense, retired professional bowlers. I do admire your profession. I was simply looking for the antithesis of a triathlon athlete.

 

 

Tip the Scales

It is getting harder and harder for me to write for this thing.

I just can’t put my finger on why, though.

I enjoy talking about my healthy living journey. But, I just can’t think of anything to write.

It may be because I am ashamed that I seem to be sliding down the hill. Since we last talked I have gained back four pounds. Every time I feel like I know what I am doing I become a little more slack with the rules. Then I scoff at the scale when it shows I’ve gained weight. Like it disappointed me or something.

I really wish that food was something I never had to think about. That I could just eat and it would be alright. That I exercised enough to balance it all out. But, I can’t do that. I can’t go to food like an alcoholic can’t go to a bar. I become insatiable. In the past couple of weeks I have eaten: a whole package of Double Stuf Oreos (in 1.5 sittings), a series of different cookies, pizza, chips, mexican rice, and many other slip ups.

Nikki and I helped at a Disciple Now at the church last weekend. If you haven’t ever experienced this, it is kind of like a lock in with a bible study backbone. Parents were encouraged to bring snacks to satiate the young mouths for 2 days and boy did they. The moment I laid eyes on that table of sweets I couldn’t stop thinking about it. The worst part about it is that the kids barely touched a fourth of it. So, us diligent leaders were allowed to take some home. To a normal person this would mean at least a weeks worth of desserts. I ate them all by the next morning. To answer your question, no, I didn’t take everything off the table. Just one bag of cookies. But, I was ashamed of myself.

I really don’t know why it is so easy for me to fall into these traps, especially since I always feel terrible afterwards. Not emotionally, but physically. Our bodies were clearly not made to run like this.

I think, in the end, even though I can’t think of anything to write I have to keep writing on this blog. I have to have the accountability and I have to share my struggles. You all inspire me so much. I can’t give this up.

Not for all the Oreos north of the equator.

The End?

No, but a change is in order.

More on that later.

I spent the better part of last week in the bed. I had what my doctor called “a viral infection in my eustachian tubes”. It caused dizziness and then nausea from the dizziness and then back pains from the constant lying down. A wonderful gift from this time in bed was a lot of time to think.

To think about life.

To think about death.

To think about what I’m doing with my life.

To think about what a stupid question “so, what are you doing with your life?” is. Duh, I’m living.

To examine my reasons for creating this blog.

Honestly, I saw a quick fix. A get rich quick scheme. A way to make all my dreams of sitting at home every day, writing on my couch and not talking to other people, come true. I saw other blogs that had advertising and sponsors and I thought “hey, I can do that!” I thought I had a unique perspective on healthy eating that was under utilized. So, I started Heavy Evan and quickly tried to make myself a “brand”.

I tried to create a common voice on all social media platforms.

I thought and rethought everything I put into the blog and wondered “how can this attract the attention of a boat load of people?”

I decided that I really needed to write a post every day. I mean, all the other blogs are doing it!

Then I sat back and watched the stats. I checked and rechecked them. I decided to have a giveaway because surely that would bring in new people! I made friends with other bloggers (some of them are really excellent people!) and even got a couple to tell their followers about me. And you know what happened?

Nothing.

The most viewers I have ever had in a day was 77. Now, don’t get me wrong, that is excellent and I am glad that many people cared to read this silly thing.

I was listening to NPR the other day and a very smart professor from Yale was on to discuss social media and if it could eventually kill the novel (I am sorry I don’t remember his name!). He said something that really clicked with me:

“Your first thought is not always your best thought.”

But how many of us think that it is? Basically all of your friends on Facebook and Twitter. And me. I really thought that my brilliance would shine out of the blog and someone at the New Yorker would read it one day and take me out of this valley of perdition.

All of these grandiose notions led to a blog that I wasn’t passionate about and I think that definitely shows through. So, I decided to delete the Heavy Evan Facebook page, delete my Twitter account (because it’s really pointless to me) and dial way back on the posts. You will be lucky to get three a week. But, I promise you, those posts will have substance and I will put more thought into them. I want to keep writing about my struggles to eat better and I want to update those who are interested on my “old college try” at being a runner. I still think my viewpoint is underutilized in the blogosphere and I still think that people can be helped by it.

The bottom line is: I am not a nutrition expert, I am not a cook, and I am not an exercise enthusiast. I would like to be all of those things, but I wouldn’t love to be those things. I have found other things that I love.

I love to write, I really do. There are several writing projects that I have started and want to devote my full attention to. My friend Kaleb is helping me work on these and he has also helped me find another thing I love:

I love to edit. I don’t know how to make this into a career, or if I ever will, but I really love it. Kaleb is helping me with this as well, as I am currently editing his book which is, ironically, about “How to Write”.

I guess the answer to the question in the title is “No”. It is the end of the Heavy Evan that was and the creation of the Heavy Evan that will be. I hope he will be better, because you faithful readers deserve that. I hope he will be less melodramatic, but that is not really possible because I am really melodramatic. It is in embracing that fact that I will create better art.

Thanks for sticking with me.

 

Empty Bowls

I decided that I would take a shower last night; instead of my usual in the morning fifteen minutes before I have to leave for work spritz. Reason being…

Waffles!

Whole wheat waffles to be exact. The extra time allowed Nikki to get the hour long shower she enjoys, while allowing for time to make a delicious breakfast. And, I got to sleep all that time. Here’s a quick shot of the recipe:

We’ve changed a few things to make them a little healthier – we used whole wheat flour and Nikki tells me that she uses less sugar.

How beautiful are whipped egg whites? Something about them makes me want to dip my hand in and make a fake beard.

For lunch today, I was able to take part in a very cool charity function that we have in town:

Empty Bowls.

It is a really cool fundraiser where you pay a $15 donation, go into a beautiful Fellowship Hall in the OU Methodist church, pick a bowl and then pick a soup that was donated by local restauranteurs. Here is a shot of the different soups that were provided:

I decided to try to eat like a vegetarian for once so I picked the Sweet Potato Soup from Boure.

The very nice lady in a power pantsuit kept heaping soup into my bowl to an almost obscene level. I felt bad that I couldn’t finish eating my soup at an event called Empty Bowls! I felt like a gluttonous member of the bourgeoisie. The soup was very creamy and very spicy. I wish I knew more about what was in it, but I did not want to be that guy at the charity event. There was a sign on the marmite (look it up, I did!) that said “gluten free” which is a buzz phrase and that made me feel trendy.

Of course, it could be that I picked the largest bowl (that also had a handle) on the table.

Oh, I forgot to tell you the best part! The bowls are all made by local artists (some University students) and you get to keep them! That bowl is worth $15 at least.

I just realized that all of the information I just shared with you was on the poster that I posted earlier in this post.

I think I have become redundant.

 

Omelette You Finish

This morning I decided to hurriedly make myself an omelette. I didn’t have time (such a tired excuse) to cook up any vegetables to add to the omelette, so I just used cheese. During the course of eating the omelette I thought “this is good, but I have tasted better”. Then, my rapier wit kicked in and I said “Omelette you finish, but my mom made the best omelette-OF ALL TIME!” What an astute and brilliantly witty observation. I was aghast to find out, when I googled the phrase, that someone had already used it. It appeared in the video below for a Youtube series called “My Drunk Kitchen”.

Please do not watch this video if you do not appreciate the antics of drunk people, or disapprove of salty language. 

Well, it appears that I am not the originator of all witty phrases. I suppose Solomon was write when he said that there is nothing new under the sun.

Last night was the second meeting of what I’m calling “The Refined Gentleman’s Club” and the beginning of my love affair with an establishment called Smoothie King. I do not know why I haven’t been there before, but I am sure to darken their doors again! I got a Green Tea Tango smoothie, minus the Turbinado and plus some strawberry.  Sadly, it did not fill me up and we wound up wandering over to Chick-fil-a to continue our conversation whilst eating fried things. I must say that I am very encouraged by these meetings and hope that we can keep it up. It is really helpful for me to meet with guys that have similar lives to my own, and hash out our problems. Basically free therapy, if you don’t count the extra calories.

My blogging friend Tina is starting a Boot Camp that looks to be very promising. Nikki and I are talking about registering together, and I suggest you follow the link and check it out! It will be eight weeks of the three e’s: exercise, encouragement and e-giveaways! That may not make sense, but neither do the three r’s when you think about it.

Lastly, I just overheard one coworker ask another coworker if they could “get their John Henry on something”. I expected that person to immediately take a sledgehammer and try to drive that piece of paper into the ground, but she just signed it.

I’m a very literal person.

 

 

Sour Cream Smiles

Sometimes my job gets a little blurry; meaning that my eyes are crossed and I have been sitting in one spot, staring at paperwork and computer screens for too long. So, I take little breaks and walk around the office, doodle on paper, and sometimes doodle on my own finger! I did this so that every time I looked down I would see a smiley face and remember how happy I am to even have a job. What little things do you do to get through the day?

Lots of fun was had this weekend. We went over to my brother’s house on Saturday and watched Moneyball and ate these nachos that my sister in law made:

Mine look a little messy, from the sour cream, but there is a lot of goodness here: blue corn chips, corn, kidney and black beans, refried beans and cheese. Thank you, Nikki, for being my Vanna White for this picture. The movie and food were great.

We finished one movie, then headed over to the theater to see The Descendants. I am still trying to figure out the overall underlying metaphor, but I would definitely recommend this movie to those who like more independent fare. One word of caution: the language is pretty bad at times.

At one point during the day my brother and I had a conversation about eating habits. We talked about how we try to remain strict during the week and prefer a more lax diet on the weekends. I have found that this is not a structure that works for me, per se. For one, I found out on Monday that I had again gained three pounds last week! I made a joke earlier in the week that my pants were becoming loose, and I was worried because I can’t afford to buy new pants, so I think I am just going to gain all my weight back. I didn’t mean it Lord! I have learned my lesson about having a lax attitude. It is especially bad when things like the Super Bowl are going on and all I want to do is eat nachos and pizza rolls and cookie cakes (Williams family tradition).

Now I guess you know why I was out sick from work yesterday, I had a food hangover! Random question: what are your sick day rituals? Since we have all seven seasons, I usually watch Gilmore Girls all day. You can make fun of me all you want, but this is one of my favorite tv shows of all time! It was well written, hilarious and it always makes me feel better while I am sickly. A bonus is the fact that I have seen all of the episodes so many times that I don’t worry if I fall asleep.

I told you all of this to say that I am going to try to get more systematic about my diet. I found that, if I want to lose weight, I need to eat around 2400 calories a day. There is also a guide in the Working Out Sucks book that helps you figure out what the percentages of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats you need to eat a day. I am going to use all of these resources to come up with a firm plan for my daily eating. Once I have this in place, I will share it with you guys.

I think that I have also found my first 5k of the year: The Racing for Paws 5k at the Batesville Springfest. It is on Saturday, May 19th. I am hoping that that will give me enough time to train. I am really hoping that by this race, I can jog the full 5k without walking. I’ll keep you posted as to how that goal is shaping up.

Kobayashi!!

I mentioned Takeru Kobayashi yesterday, so I thought I would share a video with you that shows the sheer awesomeness that is Kobayashi! This is also in case some of you didn’t know who he was:

Unfortunately he didn’t win that battle, but come on! Who could actually win an eating competition against a giant bear? Well, some commenter on the video appears to think that Kobayashi won the rehearsal, but we will never know for sure. Competitive eating looks like a fun job, but I imagine it has a shelf life. I can’t imagine seeing a 62 year old Kobayashi taking a van with his name emblazoned on the side to all the county fairs (do they have those in Japan) and setting up shop next to the funnel cakes or fried octopus on a stick stands and yelling at the passersby “Wanna watch me eat 30 hot dogs in a minute?!” Then his teeth fall out halfway through and he just slumps down while all the little kids laugh and point.

And, for no other reason but sheer fun, here is a video that inspires me to goofily dance every time I hear this song. Quick fun fact: I actually had an idea for an exercise video where all you did was play popular songs and everyone danced around spastically. I do it often and it always gets my heart going, why couldn’t it be a workout?

Next time you don’t feel like exercising, put on a silly song from your favorite era (eighties for me) and dance about flailing your limbs wildly!

When your spouse looks at you crazy, just tell them Heavy Evan told you to.

Why Not?

On Monday, Nikki and I met my mother on the Square for dinner. Nikki really wanted to go to South Depot, which is a local place akin to Moe’s or Chipotle. We all decided to get a Burrito Bowl, which is your choice of toppings in a salad bowl. View my concoction below:

The contents: rice, black beans, grilled chicken, spinach, cheese and corn salsa. It was ridiculously yummy, though the spinach just kind of wilted and clung to everything else. I picked it because I had not eaten a leafy green that day and you know what they say “Leafy green a day, something something…just eat it, it’s good for you”. Nikki had them top hers from queso and I had to bite my cheek to keep from doing that myself.

Last night I met with some other guys from my Sunday School class at Handy Andy. We decided that it was high time that the husbands had a regular meeting together for some guy time and accountability. I am very excited about doing this. So excited in fact, that I queried the group as to possibly naming ourselves. My pick was the “Refined Gentleman’s Club” because in my mind our meetings look like this:

Someone countered me with “Don’t you mean Refined Gentlemen’s Club” to which I responded “That sounds too much like a strip joint.” I tried to sell my name by giving it a double meaning: “Because we’re refined, but we are also in the process of refining our lives and marriages and what have you.” Needless to say, we still don’t have a name.

Yesterday Tina posted a blog about her “Why”, as in why she decides to live a healthy life. I have touched on my “why”s as before, and a lot of them match up with hers: for my family, to respect the temple of the Holy Spirit, and so on. The more I thought about her post, I tried to think of what would be the opposite of your “Why”. I thought “In my short season of trying to live healthier, what is the phrase that could encapsulate my dietary transgressions?”

The answer is simple when you think about it.

“Why not?”

“Evan, do you want your own pint of ice cream?”

“Why not?”

“Evan, do you want chocolate sauce to dip your vegetables in?”

“Why not?”

“Evan, they have a challenge at this restaurant where if you eat a 20 lb hamburger and 5 lbs of fries in 30 minutes you get it for free! You want to try it?”

“Free food? Heck yes! Why not?” Oh, wait I know, because right now I can choose not to eat that burger and live through the night! And that didn’t cost me anything either! You know why they have those challenges? It is so they can charge you $50 when you don’t finish in the allotted time limit! Face it, unless you are Kobayashi you are not going to finish that burger.

To give you a recent “for instance”, after I achieved my goal of not drinking sodas from Thanksgiving to New Years I toasted with a Coke. Then that little voice crept up and said “Evan, don’t you need a coke to get you through the day?” “Why not?” Now, I am back on my coke a day habit and am struggling to quit.

Why not? is a dangerous question for our sugar ladened minds friends. Sure, it may make your life risky and exciting, but do we really want our diet to be risky and exciting? That’s the kind of thinking that leads to buying a chicken salad sandwich out of a vending machine in a truck stop bathroom. The reason Why not? is such a dangerous question is that it is the exact question that our lazy minds want us to ask! We are so used to saying Why not? to every rotten food choice that we have beaten our willpower down to a shoulder shrug. Our minds want to do what makes us comfortable (I learned this from the book Working Out Sucks) and will always answer Why not? to the question “Is it ok that all I want to do when I come home is change into my pajamas and lay on the couch with a sleeve of Ritz crackers and a block of Sharp Cheddar?”

I encourage you today to find your “Why”s and leave the “Why not”s on the couch eating Funyuns and watching some drivel that comes on ABC Family. I promise you, they’re no fun to hang out with.

P.S. I wanted to tell you guys about something really cool that is happening in our community. A friend of mine, Lori Fox, is having to take special Chemo Treatments that require her to travel back and forth to Houston, TX. Her and her husband Joel have two kids and live on a fixed income, so these trips are very hard on their family. A group of their friends have gotten together and decided to throw a fundraiser in her honor. It will be Monday, February 13th at Taylor Grocery from 4:30 – 7:30. There will be plate dinners, a silent auction, and I have even heard tell of a bake sale. It’s going to be a great event and I encourage everyone in the area to swing by. You can find out more information on the Benefit’s Facebook page here. Also, if you don’t live in the area and are interesting in making a donation, you can contact me via email: evanwilliams25@gmail.com

And the Winner Is….

Why Maximus, what are you so excited about?

And Gawain, what is it that you could care less about?

Wait a minute, I know! It’s time to announce the winner of the Buddy Fruits Giveaway!

Well, yesterday, I compiled all eleven entries. Then I headed over to Random.org and entered the number range.

And who might lucky number 2 be?

It’s our old friend Kaleb Rogers. Congratulations Kaleb! I have contacted the company and asked them to send the sample out to you. I will let you know when I hear from them so you can look out for it. Also, I will see if Kaleb can’t take some pictures of he and his family enjoying the Buddy Fruits and then I will share them with you!

That’s all for today folks, hope you are having a great week and I will be back with regular posts tomorrow!

Don Giovanni make you Jump!

Don’t forget friends, there is only one more day to enter the Buddy Fruits Giveaway. Go! Enter here! Now, before its too late!

I promise I am not a Buddy Fruits spokesperson,

but this is incredibly tasty. And handsome to boot. Look how the highlighter’s checking out his backside.

And it’s only 60 calories. It actually made me stop thinking about M & M’s. For about an hour.

It’s been a very happening weekend. I got up at 5:30 this morning, removed the crusties from my eyes, got dressed, realized I had my pants on backwards, realized the Kriss Kross re-enactment/dance party is on Tuesday, got redressed correctly, then headed up to the testing center. Occasionally I serve as a proctor for standardized testing for some extra money. You want to know a secret? Those tests really aren’t designed for the entertainment of the proctor. I was able to get my Sunday School lesson done, but that was in the first hour. I forgot to bring back up reading material and the test went on for another six hours. Imagine how awkward it is to try not to make eye contact with a room full of junior high/high school students. For six hours. Also, they are not allowed to have food in the testing room, so neither am I. I ate breakfast at 6 and didn’t eat again until two. I swear I heard my stomach bellow “Don Giooovaaaaannniiii!”

My mom made me some delicious oatmeal bakes to eat for breakfast this week.

This one was my favorite. I looked in the freezer and saw the label “Cookie Dough” and before I could stop myself I was halfway through! I don’t know what all was in it, but it kept me satisfied until lunch. I will ask Mom to post the link to the recipe in the comments (Mom, if you don’t mind?)

Nikki and I had a rough end of the week, so we thought a date was in order. A friend of ours gave us a Chili’s gift card for watching their cats, so we decided now was a good time to cash it in. I also had a coupon for free queso, so we had that as an appetizer and we both got burgers for our entree. I also drank a coke. No regrets and probably no weight loss this week. Eh, sometimes you just have to eat your feelings and jump back on the wagon the next day.

Which reminds me, in the excitement over getting the giveaway together I forgot to mention that the scale said that I had lost three pounds last week. I am almost out of the 290s, and I have not weighed that little in many years. This gives me the steam I need to press on, but I know if I want to meet my goal I will have to come up with an exercise plan. The main thing that is keeping me behind is that it is dark when I leave the house in the morning and dark when I get home! I think I am going to have to find some money in our budget to pay for a monthly gym fee. We have an Anytime Fitness in town and I would like to join there because you can go anytime you want. The only keeping me is the nagging feeling that I don’t want to be there alone at three in the morning with whoever else would come to a gym at three in the morning.

In case you didn’t get my jokes earlier in this post, here are some explanatory videos:

Enjoy your weekend!