Thursday, September 29, 2005

Goldsmithing Projects

Here is most of Lillian's collection of the pieces I have made for her in 22 and 20 kt yellow gold over the past couple of years. I alloyed the gold from 24kt using silver and copper, and then milled the gold into sheets or drew it into wire. The granules you see as decorations were made from small pieces of gold wire heated until they formed little balls. The best piece is really that rhodalite and pearl cross on a quadruple loop chain with granulated terminations. I didn't cut or polish any of the stones, although I did re-drill the pearls myself.

The small rubies in the ruby ring and granulated dome earings are natural, as are the tanzanites (in the second pair of earings) and the peridot beads in the simple necklace in the center. The emerald in the ring is lab created.

Close up of Rhodolite and pearl cross.

Close up of termination and S-hook. I really like how this turned out.


Bodyweight 296.5#

Still losing, although I am probably about done shedding the water i picked up in my weekend "gorge". I should be down at least 1# tomorrow if I stay on plan.

I finally made it to the gym this week; I kept blowing off my workouts because I was working on a draft for a paper I am trying to submit to theJournal of Molecular Biology

Seated OHP Fly Machine: 2-45#x5x5x5x5x5

My wrists were sore from overstretching them racking the bar on fron squats so I did these.

Cable curl:100#x5x5x5x5

Front Squats:100#x3 120#x3 140#x3 150#x3

I did these "Bodybuilder style" without racking the bar. My form is getting better on these, so I will start inching the weight up.

Pec deck: 262.5#x5x5x5x5x5

That was it. Unfortunately there was a massive delay on the "A" line this morning so I spent an extra 40 minutes on the subway; otherwise the workout was pretty good. Strength levels were okay despite the quick weightloss.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


Bodyweight: 298#

Waist: 45" Waist-to-Hip ratio: 1.07 (<.95 is goal)

Chest: 52"

Arms:17-7/8" (flexed) 16.5" (straight)

Looks like I am on track to hit 295# by Saturday if I stay under 1,500 Cal/day. My waist is, not surprisingly, getting smaller. It looks like I really should have a 38" waist and a 48" chest if I manage to hit 10% bodyfat. If you had asked me a year ago I would have guessed that 42" would be the absolute smallest my waist could ever be, which just goes to show how distorted your perceptions are when you are heavier. I really am "big boned", but I thought my optimal weight was way heavier than it really is.

Sunday, September 25, 2005


Here is a picture at 335# for comparison purposes:

It is nice to see that 35# does make a difference!

Friday, September 23, 2005


Bodyweight 298# BF 27% (measured with Tanita device)

I finally broke that 300# barrier this morning: Sticking to 1,000 Cal yesterday did the trick. I will get Lillian to shoot a round of progress photos this weekend to give me a better reference for what I really look like at 300#. I know i saw a recent photo a colleague took of me and i was disapointed that I didn't look thinner, which is probably a symptom of the disconnect between my mental body image and reality. I don't think I would have let myself get so fat if I realized exactly how fat I looked. After I hit maintainance I will stick to the special K "If you can pinch an inch you should lose weight" philosophy.

Workout was pretty good considering the previous day's starvation. I would have gotten more work in, but I spent too much time talking about weightloss with my fellow Y members.

Seated OHP:215#x1/2 210#x1 (dropped weight and changed to triples) 190#x3x3x3x3x3

I was really lacking in explosiveness on the ladders, so I switched to a lower weight for "dynamic effort" triples.

Cable curl: 100#x5x5x5x5x5

Front squats: 160#x3x3x3

Pec deck:262.5#x5x5x4

Thursday, September 22, 2005

The Pink Panther

I know i need to improve my photography, but that is a picture i took of one of my current goldsmithing projects: making a simple pink saphire ring. The "pink panther" is a 22 Carat "created" pink saphire I picked up for $18. The shank (ring) is 20kt yellow gold I alloyed and formed myself. I need a few more hours of work to make the simple prong setting.

I am trying to spend some more time on my non-food related interests to help keep my mind off of food in the evenings. The past few months I have just been vegging out in front of the TV at night.


Bodyweight 301#

I think I am going to substitute a protein shake at lunch for the lasagna I was planning on eating. Calories should be about 1,000 today which should pretty much guarantee that I am sub-300# for tomorrow's weigh-in. THAT will be a big milestone, and put me well on the way to being merely "overweight" rather than obese. I will get Lillian to shoot some more progress photos if I hit 300#.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

20 pushups?

Bodyweight: 304#

I am aiming for ~1,500 Cal today. I was a little over yesterday due to a post-lunch Oreo frenzy. I guess if you are going to have Oreos for dessert, eating them out of the sleeve is not a good idea. I was talking to Lillian, and next thing I knew 2/3 of the sleeve was gone. Next time I will place three cookies on a plate and put the rest of them back on the top shelf before hand.

We couldn't go to the gym this morning because Lillian was suffering from a flare-up of her vaccine induced Rubella (thank you Merck and HHS for destroying the lives of so many young women). So I will be working out at home today. I did some BWT exercises before work, and I will dig out my dumbell handles for some presses, curls and rows this evening.

Push ups: (on my toes, not elevated)x20

Whoah! I have never done 20 pushups in my entire life. The first 15 were actually easy! When I get down to 275# these are just going to be cardio work, and I will be able to bang out sets of 50 the way fit people do.

Push ups(feet on chair):x10 x10 x10

These were pretty easy as well, though elevating your feet shifts alot more weight onto your hands making it more of a muscle building exercise. I think I might be able to execute a handstand push up with my feet steadied against a wall. I might give it a try in the warm-up room in the YMCA.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Reward for reaching Goal?

I was think of setting a goal of 275# that I can hit in the next few months, and then rewarding myself with a "toy". 275# would put me at ~20% bodyfat, which is actually a pretty acceptable weight for me. Of course, now that I have tasted a bit of success, I am setting the bar higher and aiming for an ultimate goal of 10% bodyfat at a weight of ~250#.

As soon as I hit 275#, the plan is to head straight to Costco and pick up a 32" Aquous HDTV ($1,499). I will then enjoy the remainder of the NFL season in high-def.


Bodyweight 306#

I am still hanging onto a bit of water, but I expect to be well under #300 by weeks end. Shooting for 1,500Cal/day again. I did make it to the gym last night, where i had an okay workout. I definitely felt stronger than Friday, which might have been the effects of the "Shackapalooza", and the Saturday trip to "Rickshaw Dumpling" and then "Jaques Torres' chocolate Haven". It turned out that the little toddler at the table next to us was Jaques' partner's daughter, so we got to meet Jaques when he came out to pl;ay with her. He seems like a very nice guy. Sarah Moulton and Jaques are my two favorite Food Network stars.

Work Out

Seated Overhead Press:215#x1/2/3/1/2/3 220#x1/2/2

Missed the last rep when i bumped the weight up to 220# for the third ladder.

Cable curl:100#x5x5x5x5x5

Pec Deck:262#x5x5x4

Concept2 Rower: Three 1 min. sprints.

I decided to start working out on the rower again. Sprints Monday and Friday and distance work on Wednesday. If I wasn't interested in doing a bit of Bodybuilding, I would probably just row 3xweek. You can build a great physique by rowing alone if you push hard enough. The rowing instructor at the YMCA has tried to talk me into doing just that.

Saturday, September 17, 2005


Weigh-in 304#

We were inspired by Rachel Ray's "Tasty Travel's" show to try dinner at Dip
Not surprisingly, given Rachel's obvious drinking problem, it is more of a bar than restaurant. Pretty reasonably priced though, especially if you do your drinking during happy hour (5$ Appletini's and Cosmopolitan's, $3 Brooklyn Lager's). We make better fondue at home, but this wasn't bad.

Dessert was a "Shackaplooza" (five scoops of icecream, four toppings, whipped cream and cherries) which is that thing in the bucket on the menu: Shake Shack We split it four ways, and it was still alot of icecream.

Friday, September 16, 2005

My Not-So Photogenic Pet

I tried to take a picture of my parrot the other day, but upon seeing the camera he sort of curled up into a ball and grabbed one claw with his beak. I have know idea why he dislikes getting his picture taken so much, but it has gotten to the point where I am going to need a duck blind and a telephoto lens to get a decent picture of him. Oh, well. African Grey parrots are incredibly smart and interesting but they are also completely crazy by human standards.

It is pretty neat that he calls me by name and actually tells me what he wants from me. He might say, "Robert, would you like to open the door" very politely, if he wants out of his cage. Of course if that doesn't work he may resort to shrieking and throwing his food. Definitely a "high maintainance" pet, but also an incredibly smart and affectionate one.

This is what an African Grey is supposed to look like. This one isn't camera shy, but neither was mine when he was that young.


Bodyweight 301#

So close! Maybe tomorrow I will finally be below 300# for the first time since 1983. I was, however, able to wear my skinniest jeans to the lab today (42" relaxed fit Levi's). I will have to pick up some 40"x32"'s at Walmart in the near future.

Seated OHP: 235#x1 235#x0 210#x1 220x1 230#x1

Just couldn’t muster up a good max effort today.

Cable curls:100#x5x5x5x5x5

Precor OHP “Fly”: 2-50#x5x5x5x5x5

I think the machine is about 20# for each hand unloaded.

Front squat:140#x3 150#x3 160#x3

Need to do a bit more stretching; flexibility is still an issue.

Cybex pec-deck:262.5#x5x5x5

Trying to do these slow.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Jimmy the Monkey

In honor of evolution week on "The Daily Show" here is a picture of Lillian with "Jimmy the Monkey". This was taken during our vacation in St.Kitt's this past June.


BWT 303#

All things considered, a very successful weigh-in. I was worried that I had sabotoged today's results by having dinner at "burger joint" with a couple we met standing on line for the Daily Show taping. I still have a good chance of dipping below 300# by this weekend.

I did limit myself to a single cheeseburger and a glass of water. My pre-diet order there would have been two cheeseburgers an order of fries and a coke, so I was still showing some measure of restraint. Lillian had a cheeseburger and a Sam Adam's. Devin (who is very thin) ordered a cheeseburger,fries and a chocolate shake (very thick shake made with Hagen-Daz). Katherine a hamburger, fries and a coke. Our tourist friends seemed pleased with the price and quality of the meal.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


BWT 307#

I survived my departmental retreat without any weight gain. I will class that as a win since there are wall to wall snacks, free beer, buffets etc. I bet I would be showing a loss if I had stayed out of the birthday cake that was served up after yeterday's session.

Today I am shooting for 1,500 Cal. The gym will have to wait for tomorrow; I am knocking off work at 3:30PM so I can get in line for today's taping of "The Daily Show".

Monday, September 12, 2005


BWT 307#

A decent start to the week weight-wise, but more importantly I am on the last notch of my 42" belt! Hopefully, I can dip below 300# this week and move onto a size 40" belt.

1,500 Cal today, and the rest of the week. I will have to stay out of the cookies at the Microbiology department retreat today and tomorrow to stay on plan. Too bad, one of the highlights of the retreat was the unlimited snacks.

Westchester Dog Show

Lillian and I took in out first dog show this Sunday. It was actually rather fun, even though we are not dog owners ourselves. We mainly came to see our friend Daniel show his Akita puppy. The "food" connection here is that he is our favorite captain at chef Daniel Boulud's restaurant "Daniel", here in NYC.

Here is Daniel giving last minute instructions to "Neko". Neko took second in the Akita puppy class.

Here is one of the grooming tents. These dogs looked like they were really enjoying their trip to the beauty parlor.

Sunday, September 11, 2005


BWT 308

No surprise I was up a bit, since I had dinner last night. I am sure that represents water gain. My big "cheat meal" was lunch which consisted of grilled steak with grilled potatoes, plus a nice pear galette I made using Rose Beranbaum's recipe from the "pie and pastry" bible. For dinner we had bread and cheese with a few glasses of Vouvray and for dessert some homemade ice cream with more pear galette. Our parrot flew over an joined us for dessert; he is quite partial to whipped cream.


The gym was so crowded I couldn't use my usual OHP set up so i tried using a plate loaded OHP "fly" machine which allows your arms to press independently, like you would with dumbells.

Precor OHP Fly:2-45#x5x5x5 2-50#x3 2-55#x3 2-60#x3 2-65#x1

Cable curl: 110#x3 100#x5x4x4x4x4

Rack pull (from last hole, ~6" below knee)315#x3x3x3

Precor Delt Raise:100#x5x5x5

Unfortunately, this machine only goes up to 100#. Otherwise it might be useful.

Bar Americain

Instead of going to the gym Friday night Lillian and I ended up meeting a friend at Bobby Flay's new restaurant "Bar Americain". Bobby Flay was very much in evidence; in fact he spent the entire time we were there shmoozing VIP's and attractive young ladies. I guess he is spending a lot of time there to give his new restaurant a boost.

I was pretty good, only having two pieces of bread (mini-baguette and corn bread) and a bowl of French onion soup and one glass of pinot noir. My wife and our friend shared the tasting of Artisinal ham as an appetizer, and then Lillian had the salmon and Jay the hanger steak with a side of spinach and some frites. We all passed on dessert, although the menu did look promising. I suspect that my dining companions passed on dessert out of feelings of pity for me and my diet. Everbody seemed happy with their entrees, so the food seems to be pretty good there if not steller. Service, however, could use some work. At least they didn't spill anything on us.

Lillian was unhappy enough with the slow service that, upon leaving the restaurant, she declared, "You couldn't pay me to back there!". She immediately proved otherwise, because a few hundred paces later she realized that she had left her purse in the restaurant and went scurrying back to retrieve it.

Friday, September 09, 2005


BWT 305#

Almost ready for a new belt: my 42" belt is just a little snug on the last hole. 1,500 Cal again today for my diet. If I stick to the plan I should need a new belt next week. I am getting close to 300#, which would be a major milestone. I haven't been under 300# since 1983.

My next trip to the gym will be this evening. My knees are a bit achy from the deep stretching involved in those front squats, so I am planning on doing rack pulls instead of full range deadlifts. I really should start doing more stretching at home, since I need to develop more flexibility in my knees, hips and wrists to properly do front squats.

Thursday, September 08, 2005


BWT 307#

Starting to shed the last of the water I picked up over the holiday. I am still sticking to my 1,500 Cal/day, so hopefully I will hit a new low on Saturday or Sunday. Now that football season is starting up I am planning on making Sunday my "cheat day". I will just try to plan my total calories to be in the 4-5,000 Cal range for that day. In theory, that should be my maintainance level anyway (15Cal/#*305#=4,575), so a day of maintainance shouldn't hurt my diet any.

Back to the gym tomorrow for another lifting session. I will lay off of the gripwork for a few more days, until I am certain my wrist has recovered. After that it is back to work on closing that "Beefbuilder Grandmaster" gripper.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


BWT 311#

Staying with 1,500 Cal/day diet and no dinner.

Seated OHP ladders:215#x1/2

Stopped because of wrist pain. I think I overstretched my right wrist getting my hands in the rack position for the Front Squats. I will avoid doing any grip work (grippers and thick bar) until they are 100%.

Cybex OHP Ladders: 205#x1/2/3/1/2/3/1/2/3

The parallel handles took the stress off my wrists. The weight here is the entire stack plus the additional 15# plates, which happens to be okay for ladders.

Cable curls: 100#x5x5x5x5x5

Cybex Pec-deck:262.5#x5x5x5

Stack plus 7.5# weight. Did these very slow.

Cybex reverse Fly:142.5#x5x5x5

Cybex Triceps:130#x5x5x5

These are pretty hard. The weight stack goes up to 190#.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


BWT 312#

I guess i should be pretty happy with that considering I was completely off plan for the past three days (~5,000 Cal/day). I probably didn't gain more than a pound iof fat, but "oh that water weight!". Back on the horse today with a 1,500 Cal/day diet.

My trip to the Gym will be this afternoon, since I was a bit hungover this morning after last night's barbeque.

Saturday, September 03, 2005


Managed to get to the gym this morning. Overall it was a pretty good workout.

Seated OHP: 235#x1x1x1x1x1x1x1

These felt really good, but I will hold off increasing the weight until I feel strong enough to do triples with this weight.

Cable curl:100#x7x5x5x4x4

I ran out of gas on these pretty quickly.

Incline press: 235#x3x3x3

Nice fast triples.

Front squat: 140#x3x3x3

My depth and form on these are alot better. I will start increasing the weight on these.

Friday, September 02, 2005


Here is a reference picture of me at 315#. I am trying to document my weight loss by taking pictures every 15# or 20# on my way to my goal weight of 250#. So I am taking front, side and double biceps pictures. When I get below 300# I will take another set of photos.


BWT 304#

I was looking at some old pictures last night that were taken a few years (and 60#) ago, and it really makes me aware of how much progress I have made. It is a tremendous difference in appearance going from ~50% bodyfat to ~27%. I went from being a blob to looking like a former athlete that has let himself go. Another 20# and i will be leaner (but not lighter) than most people my age, which will definitely be a first for me.

No morning workout, but I should be able to make it to the gym tonight. Lunch tomorrow will be my big "cheat meal" which is looking to be take-out from Bluesmoke. Their catering menu is full of bargains (brisket for 10 is $39) if you don't mind ordering in quantity.

Thursday, September 01, 2005



Looks like I am hitting a little plateau. I may have to kick my diet and exercise up a notch to get below 300#. On the positive side I am almost ready for a new belt; I am going back and forth between the last two holes of my 42" belt.