Cable Television

We cancelled our cable a month ago.  The company was raising our rate and we were already paying a ridiculous amount so we cancelled it.  Chris set up an antenna and with Netflix and occasional Amazon shows, I was perfectly content.  Actually, I was more than perfectly content, because no cable means no football.

I get that people like football.  I’m not opposed to it as a sport.  I enjoy watching games occasionally and appreciate the awesome feats of athleticism.  Super high jumps over someone’s head while holding onto a ball is neat.  I agree.  What I despise are the jibber-jabbering sports-channel analysts with their shiny purple ties and know-it-all attitudes, the obsessive importance attached to games, and the way games dominate all fall weekends.

In recent years, through some tough negotiations, I’d bargained Chris down to “only Oklahoma games on Saturday and only Eagles games from the NFL.”  He sort of, kind of followed this deal.  He only planned on these games, which is something, but if he heard about another game that will be the big match-up that the shiny purple ties tell us we cannot miss well, we were going to obsessively check that channel and maybe leave the TV on mute all day just to check the score.  He tells me “checking the score” is not “watching the game.”  Right.  Can you think of other ways to “check the score” other than turning the TV to the channel?  Yeah, me neither.  Too bad no one invented the internet.

But back to us cancelling our cable.  When we made the decision to cancel the cable, it was with full knowledge that many live sports were now gone from our lives.  Chris agreed that the price of the cable was not worth it just for his contractually negotiated Oklahoma and Eagles games and his contractually illegal, non-negotiated, just-checking-the-score-oh-just-watching-this-play-oh-man-look-I-just-accidentally-watched-another-whole-game games.  This was going to be a great fall!

And then, last Tuesday, the cable guy called:  if we sign up again, they’ll significantly lower the price.  Ugh.

Chris set an appointment with the cable guy.  They could re-install the cable next week.  “What did I think?,” Chris asked.  I thought, “Great cable guy, thanks for taking away the fabulous football-free fall of 2015, you jerk,” but I told Chris if he wanted it, we could do it.  At least it was now cheaper to watch the shiny purple tie guys blather all weekend.

Remember how I posted last week that part of Chris’s post-workout routine is to obsess over videos of his squats?  He does this because he has had some minor injuries and workout challenges that have really been frustrating him.  They aren’t huge problems; he’s still in the gym regularly lifting heavy, but he isn’t progressing as he’d like in both strength and minor-injury rehab.  Thus, when he told me he was thinking about working with a lifting coach, I thought it was a great idea.  He needs someone with expertise who is not Chris himself to help him through these issues.  (Yes, I do know about lifting and I am not Chris, but I’m not the right person to help him with this).  So this morning, I’d just gotten back from a humid run and busily dripping sweat in the kitchen, when he ambushed me with the serious, “this is something important” voice that makes me nervous:  “Can we talk?  I’ve been thinking,” Chris said.

“Oh no,” I thought, “where’s this going?  Not a bodybuilding show please, please, don’t say you want to do a bodybuilding show.”

Chris:  “I found a coach who will work with me and I think I want to do it.  It’s kind of expensive though.  What do you think?”

Of course I thought it was a good idea if it helps him with the one activity around which his life is structured (that would be lifting).

And Chris continued:  “And since it’s kind of expensive, I think it makes sense to not re-subscribe to cable.  We’ll put the money to this instead.”

Thank you Chris’ lifting issues!  Football-free fall 2015 is back!

I’ll leave you with a scene from our apartment at 7 a.m. today:

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He’s made his point.

Waffles

Chris made the stinkin’ waffles.  It became an “I’ll prove Lindy wrong Ha!” crusade.  On Wednesday morning, I woke up before him and found this waiting in the kitchen.

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He had also, maturely, written me a large note that said, “WAFFLES!”  I neglected to photograph this.

Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday passed with no waffles made.  Several times during this period Chris said things like, “I can’t wait to make those pancakes!” and it became clear that Chris did not know the difference between waffles and pancakes.  When I called him out on this language garbling, he said, “eh, it’s like a dress and a skirt, basically the same thing.”  A dress and a skirt are NOT the same thing (you may know this already) but Chris decided long ago to reject this knowledge.

Back to waffles.

Saturday night, Chris carefully read the instruction manual for the Griddler.

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Then he carefully read it again.

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He carefully poured the mix.

(That's the being-phased-out Rocket Grill in the background. Was that cruel of us to make it watch it's replacement?)

(That’s the being-phased-out Rocket Grill in the background. Was that cruel to make it watch its replacement in action?)

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And waffles.

So Chris wins.  He made waffles.  And yes, he did eat them.  I was impressed that he did not weigh them (although I’m sure he knew an estimate of the macros).  So that he could still feel at least a little bit of self-deprivation induced joy, he did use disgusting sugar-free syrup.  Why actually enjoy the waffles with real syrup when you can add bloat-inducing yucky sludge to them?

I had to buy my own syrup after I saw what Chris had bought. In full disclosure, I used to like sugar-free syrup and it really doesn't taste that bad, but my stomach rejects it these days.

I had to buy my own syrup after I saw what Chris had bought. (In full disclosure, I used to like sugar-free syrup, but my stomach rejects it these days).

Now, will he ever make them again?  I want to say, “No, never,” but if I do that, he’ll just take it as a challenge and cook them every day to spite me.  And actually, now that I think about it…that could be interesting.  How far will he take it?  He’s a man of routines and “making waffles to spite Lindy” could be a new thing to add in there:  workout, eat, stretch, roll on foam roller and softball, hang upside down, watch videos of squats, obsess over abnormalities in videos of squats, look up exercises to correct abnormalities in videos of squats, try exercises, make spite waffles, shower.  I think I like it.  So, here goes:  Chris will never make waffles again.  I challenge him to prove me wrong.

Sure, Chris, I believe you’ll make Belgium waffles.

I gave Chris a Griddler for his birthday (it’s on Monday).  The Griddler (horizontal grill plates that squeeze together) will replace Chris’s beloved Rocket Grill (vertical grill plates that squeeze together) as his primary method of cooking.  The Rocket Grill had a good life but, after years of near-daily use, it’s sort of decaying.

As Chris opened his new Griddler, he excitedly noticed it contained plates that can be added to the grill to make big waffles.  These were unexpected.  “We can make Belgium waffles!” he exclaimed exuberantly.  I’ve never in my life seen Chris eat a waffle.  NEVER.  We’ve stayed at many a hotel with waffle makers and he has expressed no interest in these waffles.  Even when he’s not dieting, he is fairly predictable, and when we go to breakfast places, he orders an omelet or some other heavy-on-the-eggs meal. Always. NOT waffles.

Chris, washing the Belgium waffle making plates for the Griddler.  I guess if you have big shoulders, why not put the dish towel over them? I guess?

Chris, washing the Belgium waffle making plates for the Griddler. Yes, the over-the-shoulder dish towel is weird.

I bet him a thousand dollars that he never makes waffles with the waffle plates.  (He will not make them, but even if he does, this is a safe bet as we share a bank account).  He is completely convinced that he will one day make them.  I’m not sure he even knows what ingredients go into waffles.  (And please don’t tell him so I can win my bet).  Is this diet-hunger induced food-related hallucination already?!

Today he also spent an uncomfortably long time cutting up a watermelon.  He even cut off all the rinds.  He may have removed all the seeds too but I’m scared to look.  He finished the ordeal by weighing out a proper little portion for himself.

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Again, are the food obsessions starting?

We celebrated Chris’s birthday last night at my parent’s house. Per Chris’s request, there was no cake.
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Alas, the dieter who was formerly secretly dieting, did not want cake.  He got some low calorie stuff with candles. (It’s actually a ricotta cheese, cherry, and almond thing my mom makes that’s delicious but still, had he not been dieting, there would have been cake).  To his credit, he did not bring the food scale to my parents’ house and he handled eating completely unknown quantities of the non-cake.

To sum up, The Behaviors of the Dieter are surfacing, but are nowhere yet near the levels of The Great Diet of 2013.

Epilogue:  You may have noticed that Chris is wearing a Cardinals shirt and that we went to my parents’ house for dinner.  So here’s the brief life update for those who don’t know:  Chris and I left Massachusetts in summer 2014 and moved to the St. Louis area (where I’m originally from). In our current job, we are both assistant professors (Chris is no longer an adjunct professor), and we still get to work at the same university with offices near each other.  Moving back across the country last summer when Chris was no longer dieting was not nearly as entertaining as the move from Oklahoma to Massachusetts when Chris regularly ate Greek yogurt in the front seat of the UHaul.  We are so, so happy to not be moving again this August.

Something Happened

After an almost 2 year hiatus, I had to post.  Something happened.

On Sunday, I returned home from an 18 day trip.  Chris had not come on this trip as he was presenting at a “bodybuilding camp” in Tampa during some of that time.  No, I don’t want to talk about what a “bodybuilding camp” is.  If it bothers you, you can pretend he was at the beach.

Anyway, upon my trip-return, I noticed Chris’s abs were leaner than when I left.  I said, “Chris, wow, your abs are leaner!” He said something like, “Huh, so they are.  Interesting.” I assumed maybe he’d just lost a bit of weight while pining for me, similar to how a kenneled dog refuses kibble until the owners return.

Later that afternoon, I looked in the fridge and saw cartons of egg whites.  I asked him, “Chris, why the egg whites?” and he nonchalantly muttered, “Um, I decided to increase my protein intake a bit.”  I bought this.  Why not?  Chris likes protein.

That evening, we were in our kitchen preparing independent dinners simultaneously, as we often do, when I noticed him spending just a bit too much time weighing his egg whites.  Weighing instead of measuring food is something he does so his having the food scale out didn’t initially strike me as odd but why did he care about the precision so much?  In retrospect, there was entirely too much weighing and re-weighing going on.  Still, I didn’t suspect.

Until it happened.  While the eggs cooked, Chris squished himself into the kitchen corner, apparently texting intensely.  Chris doesn’t text a lot.  “Are you texting?” I innocently asked.  Chris immediately pulled the phone closer to his body so I couldn’t see! Why wasn’t I allowed to see the phone?!  What was on that phone?!  A message from a secret lover?!  Dirty photographs?!  Nope.  It was a macros app.

The jig was up.  Chris put down his sinister macros app (italics indicate a tone of loathing) and confessed (and this was his exact phrase) that he was “secretly dieting.”  Read that again:  “Secretly Dieting.”  The lean abs, the egg white cartons, the obsessive egg white weighing – all part of a new diet.  He hadn’t wanted to tell me for fear it would upset me.  Why would I be upset by a totally unplanned and unexpected transformation of the person I spend >90% of my time with into a non-communicative, constantly exhausted, food-obsessed, infant-like robot?!  (If you believe I am overstating what happens during a bodybuilding diet, you have forgotten the posts of 2013; please re-read them).

In honesty, my real reaction was to laugh out loud.  My husband secretly diets!  Could this be any more hilarious!?  And then I thought about the blog and realized that I had better write this post.

That's the sneaky face of a man "secretly dieting."

That’s the sneaky face of a man “secretly dieting.”

Epilogue:  Chris eventually clarified that he is not dieting for a bodybuilding show.  He wants to lift in the 205 class at a November powerlifting meet.  When I left on my trip, he weighed around 218.  He’s now at 212.  Seven more pounds over 9 or 10 weeks is much less intense than 30+ pounds over 6 months.  Although I’m on alert, I do not believe the hungry robot will rear it’s head.  We will see…

We’re Still Here

Every day, Chris acts more and more like a standard human being.  He has even been baking delicious holiday sugar-laden foodstuffs with me!

A few weeks ago, on a whim, we decided to make S’mores bars.  The recipe has five ingredients and is really hard to mess up.  The first step is to add one cup of graham cracker crumbs to a pre-made sugar cookie mix.  Chris started the recipe while I was in the bathroom, and I came into the kitchen to find this:

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Chris was standing next to this bowl on the scale looking befuddled.  He finally asked me, “How do I weigh out one cup of graham crackers on the food scale?”

Because OF COURSE anything involving food preparation would involve the food scale.

I think he was a bit disgusted when I suggested that most people would use a one-cup measuring cup to measure one cup of graham crackers (what revolting imprecision!)…but he agreed to do it.

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Measuring food the normal people way

I’m sure you thought the next thing I’d write was that we screwed up the recipe, but we did NOT!  The bars were impeccably delicious.

This was probably due to Chris’s watchful cook’s eye.

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We made S’mores bars again for Thanksgiving.

Also on Thanksgiving, Chris agreed to run a charity-sponsored turkey trot with me.  To promote the charity, the theme of the turkey trot was “Hydrocephalus:  It IS brain surgery!” which was a pretty awesome theme.  I love people who have a sense of humor about hydrocephalus.  We now own hats and t-shirts with this slogan.

But I digress from the key point of this story which was that Chris ran with me!  For 3 miles! Our time was 26:30 which shocked me so much (based on Chris’s lack of running training) that we drove the course after we were done to confirm that it was really 3 miles; (it was). There was also a windchill of 11 degrees (F) that morning so perhaps that pushed his pace. He wore the following cold-weather running outfit:

No, he is not praying to not have to run; this is his favorite stretch that he has no qualms about performing in public.

No, he is not praying to not have to run; this is his favorite stretch (seriously).

Not too exciting of an outfit huh?  The night before, I did get him to try on some running tights but he rebelled against wearing them during the actual race.

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That’s a finger shaking “no, no, these pants are not for me,” and unfortunately not a finger in the air proclaiming “these pants are number one!”

Sooo, if I got this right, wearing the spandex equivalent of women’s underwear on stage for a bodybuilding competition is totally cool, but full-coverage spandex pants are not?  Okay Mr. Modesty…

Actually, I believe his main objection to the running tights was that they squished his thighs uncomfortably.  He couldn’t pull them up correctly and I was mocking him as a silly man who doesn’t know how to pull up tights correctly but then I tried to do it for him and tried to find loose fabric to grab to pull the tights up his quads and there was none.  His thighs were encased in those tights like a sausages in pig intestine.  As I failed to find any bunching fabric on his quads, Chris smiled and said, “Wow, I guess my quads really are big!”  He said this as if this fact had never before been established.

So in addition to cooking S’mores bars twice over the last few weeks, we also made oreo cookie balls.

Our blender was having trouble crushing the oreos on its own so, naturally, Chris picked up the blender, while it was on and blending, and vigorously shook the thing to help it out.  The shaking was so vigorous that his arm veins stood out.

He did successfully crush all of the oreos in this manner though which makes me think cooking for the very muscular is an area that really should be better explored.  Imagine a cookbook entry:  “Should your blender get clogged, palm the lid in your over-sized, muscular hand, and violently jostle the blender using all of your strength (arm veins should be visible); your goal is for you and electricity to contribute equally and as one to the blending of the food.  For best results, shake food until muscular failure or until food is well mixed.”

sdsd

 

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After all our baking, Chris and I needed some take-out.  Chris suggested we again try the wings and Mexican food place; that’s right, THE wings and Mexican food place; there’s only one wings and Mexican food place.

This time, he ordered 14 wings and ate only his 14 wings.

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And he felt much, much better afterwards this time compared to last time.  He has successfully learned the societal reintegration lesson that 14 extra large wings are okay for his stomach, but over twice that number of extra large wings are not okay.  Way to go Chris!

And that’s what we’ve been up to.

A Reintegration Glitch

Last Saturday, I had just posted about how well Chris’s reintegration into society was going when an reintegration glitch occurred.

If you read last Saturday’s post, you know we hiked up Mount Monadnock.  Hiking up Mount Monadock made us hungry.

As Chris is now a normal human being in society who can eat a variety of foods, we decided to order hot wings from a local place specializing in “super wings and Mexican food”, a common food specialty pairing.

Chris ordered 24 hot wings.  I ordered 12.  Our order came with fries and (naturally) Mexican rice.

The vast quantity of food excited Chris.

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In Cape Cod, after his first show, he ate 24 hot wings and, although he then wasn’t hungry again for the next 8 hours that day, he had felt alright.

We thought these 24 hot wings would be an innocent indulgence.

We neglected to account for the superness of the “super wings”.  Apparently “super” meant “huge”.  These were the biggest chicken wings I have ever seen.  I enjoy food and I could only eat 6 of my 12.  Non-dieting Chris, who thinks it’s a crime for a hot wing to go to waste, decided he better eat my remaining 6 along with his 24 … and some french fries.

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I couldn’t believe he could eat that many, but then, he had dieted for 6 months and hiked up the mountain with me earlier so it sort of made sense.

Once he finished, he stood up, rubbed his belly, and said, “Wow, I thought I might have really overeaten for a minute there but I feel okay.”

Five minutes later, his stomach was visibly distended and he was groaning in pain.  For the next four hours, he alternated between lying in bed not moving and well, doing what you do when your stomach is visibly distended and upset.

Eventually he fell asleep and was fine the next morning.

And that was the reintegration glitch.

Dieting bodybuilders who compete and then are no longer dieting, often have trouble with the desire to binge.  I don’t feel like what Chris did was exactly binging though; he wasn’t eating everything in site.  As a man of numbers (see all posts related to his spreadsheets for proof), I think he just got hung up on the 30 wing thing without examining details of the 30 wings; he’s eaten 30 wings before so, in his mind, he should have been okay eating 30 wings this time.  His fatal flaw was neglecting the subjective information; namely, that these wings were huge, and his stomach wasn’t yet adept at handling 30 wings and some french fries after its six month imprisonment in the yogurt dungeon.

He will now know for the future.  When a wing is labeled “super,” it means “super.”

The reintegration continues.

Reintegrating Into Society

Chris “reintegrated into society” this week.  He is doing very well.

While last Saturday he was doing this,

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this Saturday he did this:

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We hiked up this mountain, Mt. Monadnock, one time before while Chris was contest prepping.  Today Chris commented on how it is much easier to hike up a mountain when you are well fed and your legs are not exhausted.  Who knew?!

Along the theme of “who knew?!” Chris brought four protein bars, an apple, and a banana on today’s hike.  He told me that this was likely more food than he needed, but he’d brought extra bars in case he got hungry.  He told me excitedly, “If I get hungry, I can eat!”  And eating makes him not hungry!  Do other people know about this?!

His workouts have also been exciting.  He feels marvelously strong and energized in the gym. He has stopped doing HIIT so it’s hard to know how much of his feeling great lifting is due to his caloric freedom and how much is due to his not exhausting his legs with sprints.

Today he weighed 192.8 which he tells me is exactly 5 lbs. more than his lowest weight during contest prep.  A five pound gain for someone of his size who was so depleted is pretty reasonable.

From my perspective, I can tell he’s so much more relaxed than he’s been the last few weeks. His life is no longer organized around when he can eat and what he will eat and will his weight drop and should he practice posing and all of that fun.  He’s still sleeping only six or so hours a night and automatically wakes up around 5 am, but he’s been working on staying up later and sleeping more.  Today he took a nice nap against a rock on the top of Mt. Monadnock:

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Although Chris is still using a few too many life-organizing spreadsheets for my personal taste, overall, the reintegration into society is going well.

And now, for the “guess this body part” section!

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What is this body part?  Last posts’s answer was “the biceps and deltoid muscle”.  Best. Game. Ever.