Friday, June 29, 2007

Should You Feed Your Children Goat Milk?

Sometimes you don't have to go far to find the inspiration to lead a healthier life. In my case it's my grandfather, Jesus Francisco, who's 76 years old. Most people call him Paco and his grandkids call him Papapa. He is a quiet man who really only likes to talk about golf and the Florida Marlins. He still has a head of hair, and credits the use of Vaseline instead of gel as a styling agent. He claims his good health is the result of his mother giving him goat's milk and Cafe con Leche as a child in pre-Castro Cuba. I
Paco's mother preparing his morning breakfast

think its the result of his job as a ranger at his local public golf course and his frequent dominoes playing. Whatever the formula, I say kudos to Paco for staying slim all these years and always finding a kind, gentle way to nudge his family towards a healthier diet.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

What is a Grilled Cuban Style Panini?

I enjoy going out to eat at restaurants and having dinner delivered to me, perhaps too much. The food I make at home just doesn't seem to taste as good. I'm sure 90% of the taste differential happens because of my limited kitchen skillz, but the other 10% occurs because at home I don't drown my meals in butter or oil.

It is also challenging to find the time to cook at home with our busy lives. A few months ago I discovered that Whole Foods has a newsletter you can pick up while shopping or on the web titled Meals for Four Under $15.00 The meals are designed for the busy weeknight cook. Though they usually err on the side of healthy they are not always slimming. A few weeks ago the newsletter featured a recipe for a "Cubano panini" (pictured here). Aside from the fact that Cuban sandwiches are not paninis, my instinct tells me you're better off eating the Whole Foods home made version rather than the one served at Versailles on 8th street.

For those of you who don't have a Whole Food nearby or prefer Publix like I do, you can download some of the recipes here and substitute your local grocer's generic brand for the 365 Whole Foods brand.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

When Cubans Have High Cholesterol We Eat More Vaca Frita

Between 2000 and 2006 I ate enough Ropa Vieja and Arroz Con Pollo to pack on 58 pounds. I became concerned about my weight when my size 40 pants became a little snug. Worried that I was gaining too much weight I scheduled a yearly physical with my doctor at the end of 2005. Not surprisingly my doctor told me I was too heavy. My frame wasn't designed to carry 258 pounds. A few days later my lab results came in and my cholesterol was high. The doc told me to lose weight and see a nutritionist. I did neither. Ironically, during that time I was working on an ad campaign for a popular cholesterol lowering medication named Crestor. Privy to all of the facts about cholesterol I did what most Americans do, and pretended it didn't happen. Each day passed and I knew I was getting closer to a future blood test that would call me pre-diabetic and kick start a slew of other horrible medical issues. Probably ending in my mid 50s with a stent in one of my arteries or worse.

I'm not sure where my numbers are today, but I'm going to call up my doctor to schedule an appointment and we'll see if the 28 pounds I've lost has improved my cholesterol levels.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Insult that Made a Man Out of Mac

As a kid I collected comics from the mid 60s and early 70s. I read them from cover to cover pouring over each detail. One of my favorite ads was titled "The Insult that Made a Man Out of Mac!" promoting a seven-day path to larger muscles and toughness. The copy asked if I was "fed up with seeing the huskies walk off with the best of everything" and triggered every adolescent insecurity I ever imagined. I never ordered the program but always wanted the self reliance it offered. For all I know the story of a young 98-pound weakling who was kicked around the beach by stronger surfer types still resides on back covers telling the story of how Mac the weakling orders the Charles Atlas book and becomes the Hero of the Beach with his new physique, ending years of torture and finally winning over the heart of a bikini-clad lady. Or maybe worse the ad has been revised to reach out to a new generation of overweight kids.

The ad popped into my head this weekend because Some Fat Is
Wackers believe that our contest is only about losing weight and not getting stronger. I know some of us are Charles Atlas believers and work out incessantly. Others are trying diet-only regiments. Numerically it is true that our contest focuses on weight loss and there won't be a bus pull contest at the Pig Roast to determine who among us has developed Herculean strength.

Still I can't believe that some FIWers continue to ignore the impact that weight training can have on weight loss. Clearly, the stronger and more conditioned we are the faster we'll lose weight and more importantly maintain our post-Fat Is Wack fitness. I don't know much about Atlas but below is an old exercise he used to promote as a free tip to push his book. So FIWers believe in the power of the push up and bench press. It it helped Mac it can help you.

Weekly Update

Friday, June 22, 2007

My New Diet - Eat All Day

Well, I'm no nutritionist (and I've heard I might possibly be a communist) but from what I've read, the best way to be healthy and lose weight is to increase your metabolism. Most diets based on cutting calories actually DECREASE your metabolism. While you are taking in less calories, the body decides that in order to be able to survive, it must slooooowwww down it's activity so that it can save as much calories and fat as necessary for the impending starvation! So after drop-kicking 39 pounds off your ass eating only 800 calories per day, your metabolism is absolutely destroyed. Unbeknownst to you, you resume regular eating only to find that in a couple months you're packing on the pounds at a higher rate than before.

Anyway one of the main ways (along with building lean muscle) to increase metabolism is to eat 5-6 small meals per day. So here's what I've been doing for a week and the reasons why:

On my new eating schedule I'm attempting to do 3 things: 1) reduce my total number of calories for the day 2) do so without increasing my hunger 3) fool my body into thinking that food is ALWAYS coming so it doesn't go into starvation mode.

Meal #1 @ 9:15am. I just bring some cereal to work with a small container of milk. It seems like it's not enough but it's only meant to fill you for about 2-3 hours.

Meal #2 @ 11:30am. W
hether I bring my lunch or buy it, I need a portion about the size of a regular quiznos sub and a bag of chips. I divide the chips and the sub and eat half for lunch. At this time I also stop in the cafeteria and grab an apple and a yogurt or a cup of real diced fruits (not the suger-laden fruitcups).

eal #3 @ 2:00pm.
I go ahead eat the other half of my earlier meal at my desk. Because I've already eaten 2 times before this, I'm not starving for it even though I've eaten relatively little.

Meal #4 @ 5:00pm. Fruits time! At this point, I've already made it a point to eat 3 times today so I've sort of conquered the daily hunger slowly without feeling ridiculously full or hungry.

Meal #5 @ 7:30pm If we go to dinner I just pack up half of it again and save it for another day. At around 9 or 10 if I feel a little hungry, I grab a few slices of turkey.

All in all, that's way less than I usually eat, but without the dreadful hunger. I think that this schedule coupled with some weight lifting and cardio can be a great model to become healthy, raise your metabolism, and NOT constantly feel either guilty or starved.

Steve - clearly you have access to photoshop. How did you airbrush out your third nipple?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

2007 is not necessarily the year of the pig!!

Here is the latest picture of me playing beach volleyball at my current weight. I can only thank FIW for giving me the motivation and push I needed to step up my training and get into better shape.

Evil Gerbil

He is watching everything you eat.

Tofu Ice Cream

Ice Cream is not part of the Cubano Gordo diet program, except when I'm at Shake Shack or when Tasti-D-Lite provides free samples for $3.00 per scoop. Absent those two weekly events I've eliminated it entirely from my diet. Some kinder friends who support my weight loss goal introduced me to Cuties TOFU ice cream like bars a few weeks ago. I've tried hard to get into them but every time I try one I just trigger a craving for the real thing. Eventually a couple of Cuties leads to a full blown relapse of my ice cream addiction. So yeah, I suppose it is fair to call Cuties a gateway food.

My addiction to ice cream began 10 years ago while serving ice cream at the iconic Stucchi's Ice Cream Parlor in Ann Arbor. I needed some extra cash and thought dealing would be better than stealing so I picked up the scoop. Every shift entitled me to one free pint of ice cream. The choices were vast and I came to have a very strong relationship with their Mackinack Island Fudge ice cream. I abandoned that career track after leaving the freezer open overnight and melting $5,000 worth of ice cream. Fortunately, the Stucchi's family was well insured.

So anyway, I'm posting the question to the group. What is better? Indulging in the occasional ice cream or suffering through the more regular Cutie? I don't want to be a fatso but I also don't want to be the guy ordering an O'Douls at the bar.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


Guys - just wanted to report back that FIW is really going well since I started yesterday. Look how far I've come along in just 24 hours!

Seriously though, I didn't mean to ruffle any feathers by joining the competition - just thought it would be a fun way to shave off a few unwanted pounds - nothing extreme. Ian - you're sort of an intense dude (and possibly a communist) but that's cool. No harm, no foul.

Letters to El Cubano Gordo

This from Steve's Brother who is clearly trying to stir the pot as we approach the contests last two months. I've used the Allende stamp because Ian's post can mean only one thing. He is obviously a card carrying Communist. For those with torches in Florida he can be found living in Tampa where he belongs to the Marxist party and reads books not approved by the Cuban American National Foundation.

Ian Lee said...

No offense to anyone, but as an avid FIW reader, I believe that it is polluting the competition to allow people into the contest at 137 pounds unless said person is under 4 feet tall.

If necessary, said person can join the "ISIOETOICSIAMBMIDNSTIAO-IW"


Only-I-Can-See- It-And-My-


Obese-IS-WACK) competition.

The sanctity of the competition is at stake but this is just my two cents. All parties have kept relatively honorable. For example, you don't see Frankie cutting off his abnormally weighty thumbs to drop a few extra ounces.

Side note confessional: I felt compelled to write in for the first time after eating 3/4ths of a medium pizza, two 20 ounce cokes and then heading right to the scale and weighing in at 13 pounds heavier than when I moved to Atlanta 8 months ago.

Side note stats: Said pizza was devoured near midnight tonight. Final slice was thrown away instead of stored. 40 half-push ups followed the eating orgy (the first 12 or so were full push ups).

ISIOETOICSIAMBMIDNSTIAO-IW competition has been copyrighted.

The Jaguar Paws are Born

Basketball season ended two weeks ago with an 84 - 23 loss and an ego deflating 1-7 record. Our one victory the result of a forfeit. Despite the seven losses, Basketball provided a much needed outlet for stress and satisfied my need to compete physically or in our case not compete.

Outmatched in basketball we brainstormed for hours to come up with a sport that could easily accommodate a group of out of shape 30 somethings trying to reclaim weekend warrior glory status. Soon, the Co-Ed Soccer Team idea was hatched and the Jaguar Paws were born. Yesterday, for the first time a motley group of advertising professionals, lawyers, federal government employees, audio engineers, and illustrators convened
on a newly laid turf field in Harlem to battle the Bear Sterns team.

For the first 20 minutes we played to a tie.
Things changed quickly in the second half when Irish Forward and fellow Fat Is Wacker Tom Hughes struck first with a goal in the fourth minute. The goal a direct result of the 13 pounds he's lost since joining FIW. A few moments later our French mid fielder Julien Boucher cemented the Jaguar Paw victory with a great left footed Hush Puppy fueled strike from the edge of the area to spark a wild celebration among our uh one fan. Together Tom and I burned about 1,200 calories during the 40 minute game putting us one step closer to overcoming Steve's 3% point lead.

2005 was a very "FAT" year!!

I was looking at some old pictures of me playing volleyball in the company league. I was just shocked to see how I looked. So this week I am going to share with all of you a picture from 12/10/2005. I am not even sure how much I weighed but I figure it was about 220 - 230 lbs, but I am not sure. Later in the week, I will post a new updated picture of me playing at my current weight. I think it just goes to show you that you can get in to good shape, it just takes a lot of hard work and time.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Week 11 Update

Here are the numbers for week 11: Steve and I each lost two lbs. Frank is at home pounding his chest over the one lb he lost last week. Frank, six lbs over 12 weeks?

Tom added 1 lb, which isn't too bad considering the man put in a hundred hour work week. Noah remains incommunicado while traveling in Europe.

All together the group lost 5 lbs last week bringing our grand total to 62 lbs lost. Not too shabby for 11 weeks. I myself feel a great sense of relief to be under 230 for the first time in a few years. With 47 days left it will be interesting to see if we can continue our march to 100 lbs lost.

In other important news, another guest female has joined the contest. Colleen plans to audit the FIW contest over the next 6.5 weeks to help her lose an estimated 7- 10 pounds. Today she weighed in at 137 pounds. She is another Cuban-American Miami native transplanted to NYC , so we’re keeping the contest loyal to its Cuban/ Miami / NYC roots.

Skinny Bitch

Yep, that's what I'm aiming for. Well, mainly the skinny part. After being inspired by Al and his vision, I've decided to join the fat is wack movement during it's 10th week - which probably says something about my level motivation and will power - but better late than never.

Deep down I know there's hope for me to play beach volleyball at least once this summer without a cover up on...there's no day like today to make that dream a reality as an honorary Fat is Wacker.

FIW 4 eva. (or until August 4th, or said cover upless volleyball game).

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Half and Half vs. Skim Milk

This morning while looking through the fridge I confused some half and half for milk. Right before pouring the stuff into my coffee I noticed the mistake and took a quick look at the back of the carton. 40 calories. Not bad, I thought, quickly comparing it to the 80 calories in a cup of skim milk. Then of course my brain kicked in I really read the label. Of course I disovered that a serving size of half and half is 2 tablespoons. One cup of the half and half carries 320 calories.

FIWers try to stick with the skim milk in your coffee. Or at least read the labels.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Are we really all that fat? Some Stats

"American-born Asians between the ages of 12 and 15 are more than twice as likely to be obese than their peers who were born in Asia, according to a University of North Carolina study."

"The percentage of Americans ages 20 to 74 with body mass indexes higher than 25, which is classified as "overweight," has risen from 45 percent in 1961 to 66 percent in 2007, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention."

"Staggering obesity rates account for $117 billion in U.S. healthcare annually, according to the FDA."

Monday, June 4, 2007

Fat Is Wacker of the Week - Steve L.

Reports are in for the week and I'm proud to report together we lost 7 pounds.

Steve wins Fat Is Wacker of the week after losing 4.6 pounds bringing his weight to 189.4. Steve, congratulations on bringing your weight under the 190 mark for the first time since 1995.

Frank lost 3.5 pounds this week clearly the result of the stress endured after watching the Democrats engage in an election winning debate last night.

I shed a pound and a half this week bringing my weight to 230.

Noah posted a modest weight lost of .6 pounds.

In sad news Tom's celebratory Thursday night cheeseburger and beer caused a solid 3 pound gain bringing him back into the 190s.

Our guest FIWer Mary lost 2 pounds bringing her weight to 173.

Two months to go....keep working hard.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Team Dow Jones 1st Win!!!

In an epic matchup of 1st vs last, Team Dow Jones prevailed (by forfeit)!!! with a little confidence under our tightened belts, we're ready to go streakin' into the playoffs. I celebrated with a cheeseburger and fries afterward.

In other FIW sporting news, we are soliciting new names for our nascent soccer team - currently misnamed Team Pay-Per-Kick. A personalized FIW congratulatory email will go to the winner.