Wednesday, September 30, 2015


The North Face brand traces its history to San Francisco in 1968.  The name, North Face, was chosen as the north face of a mountain in the northern hemisphere is generally the coldest, iciest and most formidable route to climb.  Today, I ask you.... Does this logo look familiar?


The North Face quarter-circle logo was designed by California designer, David Alcorn in 1971.  It is meant to evoke Half Dome, the massive granite rock monolith in Yosemite National Park.

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Tuesday was a travel day.  I had two flights to get from Chicago to San Francisco where our group is converging prior to the four hour drive to Yosemite on Wednesday.  Tuesday was going to be a day off from exercise.  And it was.  Nevertheless, I managed to walk nearly 15 miles.  I spent all my downtime at the two airports waiting for my flights by non-stop walking around the terminal.  Once I arrived in San Carlos (San Francisco suburb where I stayed last evening) I took another 4 mile hike to pick up some apples and oranges for the hike.  When the day was over... My fitbit had recorded a total of 31192 steps.  

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 Tuesday MENU

breakfast  oatmeal                                                                                        600 calories
lunch        Spinach Salad, 2 Apples, Ritz Crackers, 2 energy bars            1328 calories
dinner       Salad, Seafood Paella (Shrimp, scallops)                                   800 calories
SNACK   WASABI PEAS                                                                           510 calories


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fitbit day 27
31192 steps

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Tuesday, September 29, 2015


If you are reading this on Tuesday morning, I am now within 48 hours of making my first steps  up to the top of Half Dome.

Nearly six months of mental and physical preparation are about to be put to the test. I have looked at pictures of the chains used to make the final ascent and I confess that the first time I saw photos of this, I was scared out of my wits. Once I get there, I will either be even more scared or perhaps less scared. If I were a betting man - I'd place my marker on being more scared. No matter what, I will press forward. Our group has now been confirmed at the number six.

Everyone is converging to San Francisco tomorrow.  One guy is coming from Hawaii and another guy is coming from New York.  All of us are connected to our hike leader, my brother, who has made this climb a number of times over 30 years. On Friday morning when we all depart back to our homes, we will have shared quite an experience.  Yesterday, I did what I have done virtually every day since the beginning of January when I started my weight loss program.  I spent time working out.  Today and tomorrow I will not have the opportunity to exercise.  It will be the first time that I have not worked out for two consecutive days this since January 1 and 2. (I started exercising on January 3)   I should be well-rested for the hike on Thursday.  I wonder how I will feel on Friday when I wake up? My travel plans have me leaving San Francisco on Friday and I will not arrive Chicago until 12:30AM Saturday morning.  This will be quite a week....!

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 Monday MENU

breakfast     Macintosh Apples, Steel Cut O at Meal, bacon, ginger      570 calories
lunch           Mariano's Spinach Salad, Dark Chocolate Bar, trail mix 1620 calories
dinner          Beef Stew                                                                           500 calories  
SNACK       GRANOLA                                                                        500 calories      

total calories consumed 3190 calories                                                              
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Monday net calories 1501 calories

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fitbit day 26
21850 steps
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if you are looking for me today... here is my itinerary (including my return trip back from California)

Air itinerary
Air confirmation

Tue Sep 29
Depart Chicago (Midway) (MDW) on Southwest Airlines at 08:25 AM
Arrive in Dallas (Love Field) (DAL) at 10:35 AM
Change planes to Southwest Airlines in Dallas (Love Field) (DAL) at 12:10 PM
Arrive in San Francisco (SFO) at 02:00 PM
Fri Oct 2
Depart San Francisco (SFO) on Southwest Airlines at 03:55 PM
Arrive in San Diego (SAN) at 05:25 PM
Change planes to Southwest Airlines in San Diego (SAN) at 06:35 PM
Arrive in Chicago (Midway) (MDW) at 12:30 AM, Next Day

Monday, September 28, 2015


Yesterday, was the last day for Chicago's iconic Ferris Wheel.  Today, Monday, disassembly will commence. Starting today, the task of removing the 40 gondolas will begin. Over the next three months, the entire structure will be removed from Navy Pier.  However, by Memorial Day Weekend 2016 a new modernized, taller ferris wheel will take its place.  The city of Chicago announced that for approximately 12 hours from 10PM Saturday night until 10AM Sunday mornings riders could ride for free.  Early yesterday morning, around 7AM, my daughter and I walked over to Navy Pier and we were able to ride the Ferris Wheel six times before it faded into history. We took lots of pictures.  A reporter from WGN-TV interviewed my daughter for about a minute or so, and a couple seconds of that interview were used on the evening broadcast.   My daughter received a text from one of her classmates advising her that she had just been on TV.   It was a very memorable morning.

ferris wheel selfie

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 Sunday MENU

breakfast Multigrain rice cakes, oatmeal, granola                                742 calories
lunch       Apples, yogurt raisins, cherries                                             860 calories
dinner      SUKKOT HOLIDAY DINNER CHABAD HOUSE            900 calories

total calories consumed 2502 calories                                                              
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YMCA PRECOR EFX elliptical 120 minutes, 4:3 interval                1702 calories

Sunday net calories 800 calories 

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Since my daughter and I rode the Ferris Wheel six times this morning.  We chose one time to ride separately so that I could take this picture from a different gondola.   One cannot get this perspective if you ride together.

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My daughter being interviewed by Sean Lewis of WGN-TV

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Here is the link to the WGN video
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fitbit day 25

31461 steps
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Sunday, September 27, 2015


A couple of weeks ago, I found this quote on the internet.
“Half dome was perfectly inaccessible, being probably the only one of all the prominent points about Yosemite which has never been and will never be trodden by human foot.” 
– Josiah Whitney, describing Half Dome in 1868. George G. Anderson would be the first to ascend Half Dome just seven years later.
For as long as there have been people, there have been people making predictions. This particular prediction was disproved within 7 years.  That fact alone does not diminish the fact that this hike will be very demanding.  I have never seen Half Dome.  I have never been to Yosemite Park.  For nearly six months, I have been thinking about this hike and attempting to train myself for it as best I could.  In less than 100 hours, I will be in Yosemite Valley taking those first few steps on this vigorous hike.  I am looking forward to trodding on that mountain.

The blue line is pointing to the sub-dome.  The Red line is pointing to people on the cables.  Just looking at this picture, I can hardly fault Josiah Whitney for proclaiming that no man would ever step foot on this part of Yosemite.

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 Saturday MENU
breakfast  oatmeal, bacon, apple, popped corn, rice cakes, ginger         550 calories
lunch        apples, multigrain rice cakes, ginger, yogurt raisins             1180 calories
dinner       spinach salad, chicken fillet, manhattan clam chowder          550 calories
SNACK    Chuao Dark Chocolate, cherry vanilla granola, rice cakes    980 calories


calories burned
elliptical machine 125 minutes, 4:3 interval,  level 20              1678 calories

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Saturday net calories 1582 calories
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fitbit day 24

20196 steps
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Saturday, September 26, 2015


Considering the fact that I was completely unaware of the phenomenon that is CRITICAL MASS prior to last month - I am now a two time veteran of this fun bike ride.  As always, hundreds of bicyclists converged on Daley Plaza in downtown Chicago between 5:30PM and 6:30PM.   Right around 6:30PM some bicyclists starting cycling around the big city block.... And they continued to ride around the block.  Slowly but surely hundreds of cyclists joined the parade of bicycles - until CRITICAL MASS was reached and the leaderless bike trip was underway.  Last night's ride took us to the North Side of Chicago - the part of Chicago where I live and am actually familiar with.  Last month I felt as if I was a tourist in a foreign city cycling all over the southside of Chicago.  This week I was on my home turf.

I made an effort to ride up front as I was trying to figure out who is in charge of this unsanctioned, but very highly tolerated Chicago event.  Once again, as always there were quite a few POLICE OFFICERS on bikes accompanying the riders.  I did start a conversation with someone who I heard discussing where to go. I asked him if he was in charge.  I got back the standard answer that no one is in charge.  I am beginning to wonder if this is some kind of legal defense - defense against what.... I don't know.  Anyway, what I learned is that a few guys, veterans of this ride, will just kind of take charge during the ride.  They will discuss where to turn and once agreed, they simply yell out the plans.  And hundreds of bicyclists follow along.  Many times along the ride, the leaders stop to "MASS UP' which allows those trailing behind to catch up and once again become a massive collection of bicyclists. This ride is not a race.  It is simply an enjoyable ride on city streets that takes place on the last Friday of the month. Every month. I imagine that the ride might become a bit less popular in the winter.  Perhaps I will see that for myself in the upcoming months.

I used my recently downloaded application, MAP MY RIDE, to document last night's journey.  The ride was approximately two hours and the total distance travelled was 17 miles.  One month ago I was overly impressed with myself that I could actually ride my bike for 15 miles - since this was a distance that I could not remember ever biking in all of my 57 years.  During this past month, I completed a 30 mile ride when I rode to a YMCA in the suburbs, and I completed a 40 mile ride when I rode to the Indiana border.  I am no longer so impressed with myself for surviving a leisurely ride of 17 miles.  This does not diminish the enjoyment of the ride.  It is just one more example  that my abilities and the sense of what I have accomplished physically in the past year have been dramatic. The big test comes on Wednesday.  The name of this test: HALF DOME.


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226.8 lbs

I weigh 226.8 lbs.
I gained 1.4 lbs this week
I have lost 82.2 lbs in 276 days. Today begins Day 277.
I will always be at the beginning of a journey that never ends.
I weigh 226.8 (276 days ago I weighed 309 lbs)
I have lost 26.6% of my weight since Dec 24.
I have a BMI, body mass index of 30.34 
I had a 42.0 BMI on Dec 24 just 276 days ago (Class III obesity)

I have 5 words of MOTIVATION for myself today: HALF DOME IN FIVE DAYS 

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 Friday MENU

breakfast three egg omelette w/cheese, bacon, multigrain rice cakes     855 calories
lunch      sausage, granola, ginger, spinach salad, cabbage soup           1272 calories
dinner    multigrain rice cakes, two gala apples                                       880 calories
SNACK SUPERFOOD CEREAL CHIA GINGER, date pieces, ginger 552 calories

total calories consumed 3560 calories

calories burned
YMCA PRECOR elliptical machine 125 minutes              1718  calories
132 minutes bicycling <10 mph, leisure pace                        395 calories
(MAP MY RIDE posted 1198 calories - this seems way too high - I arbitrarily reduce it 67%)


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fitbit day 23
25059 steps
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Bicyclists assembling on Daley Plaza, Chicago 

Friday, September 25, 2015


Being too heavy to enjoy life is a heavy burden to bear (pun intended)    
Being too heavy to enjoy life can be a life sentence.
There is only one person who can grant a pardon for this.
And it will be no president, nor king who will grant the pardon.

Being released from the shackles of obesity will not be this easy - even if your Daddy is the Governor

It was only one month ago that my wife suggested that my family get involved in CRITICAL MASS.  The massive bike ride that takes place in cities all over the world on the last Friday of the month.  In order to prepare for this ride I 'rescued' my bike from storage - as I had not used it for three years. As I have previously written - It was not that I had forgotten how much fun bike riding can be.  Bike riding for me was NOT fun - it is not fun when one weighs 309 lbs as I did on December 24, 2014.  Bike riding is great fun when one weighs 225 lbs. 225 lbs still seems like a lot of weight, but I promise I feel thin.  I think I am thin.  Surely, I could be thinner. Let me say this: I enjoy looking at  my reflection when I see it - I used to dread my reflection.

This month was also the debut of my fitbit.  And the fitbit has ALSO changed by life.  I am very conscious of how many steps I am taking each day. I have developed a new desire to walk, and to walk as a method of transportation. Last night I needed to be at my daughter's school for a meeting about her upcoming trip to France. In the old days, more than one month ago, I would have certainly taken the car.  Nowadays, I don't even consider taking the car for a trip like this that is less than 2 miles.  I now consider taking my bike or walking.  Lately, I have been more inclined to walk as I am interested in logging steps. I finally figured out how to log my actual route taken with the fitbit application.  I didn't even know that this application was available until my brother told me about it.

The application is very cool as you can play music while using it. The application will interrupt the music to advise you each time you walk a mile.  ELECTRONICS MAKE EXERCISE FUN.

Walking back from my daughter's school, I made an effort to walk as fast as possible.  My rate was 14 minutes per mile. (just a bit faster than 4 mph)   The fitbit calculated that this short burst of activiy, just 25 minutes walking 1.73 miles 'burned' 240 calories.  I walked to the school too, but as I was going to a meeting, I was trying not to work up a sweat so my meandering pace surely burned far less calories.

TODAY IS THE LAST FRIDAY OF THE MONTH... I am going to participate in the September edition of CRITICAL MASS tonight.  My family, who don't yet own their own bikes, are sitting this one out. Everyone is planning the HALLOWEEN EDITION of this ride - as that is supposed to be extra fun.  That is still one month away.

In three days, I hop onto a plane to San Francisco to meet up with six other guys as we get ready for our Half Dome Hike.  This seems like a lot of activity for someone who was a couch potato for nearly a decade.

A pardon is the forgiveness of a crime and the cancellation of the relevant penalty; it is usually granted by a head of state (such as monarch or president) or by acts of parliament or a religious authority.
Life is definitely more fun as I am no longer a prisoner of my own morbidly obese body. Prisoner is the right word.  Being too fat to participate in physical activity is a harsh sentence for someone to impose on oneself.  It is not unusual but it truly is a cruel punishment. The good thing is that everyone has the power to grant their own pardon when they are ready.  The thing with being too fat to enjoy life is that you can't sit around waiting for a 'head of state' to commute your sentence.  Each one of us is our own 'head of state.' My recommendation is that you show compassion for yourself - Issue that pardon.

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 Thursday MENU

breakfast  center cut bacon, oatmeal, poached eggs                         550 calories
lunch        apples, ginger, yogurt raisins                                            838 calories
dinner      apples, cabbage soup, banana chips, pumpkin seeds        838 calories
SNACK   date pieces, corn snack, granola                                        530 calories


calories burned
YMCA PRECOR elliptical machine 125 minutes, 4:3 interval training              1670  calories

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fitbit day 22
21325 steps

Approximately 5000 of the steps recorded on Thursday were from my walk to and back from my daughter's school for an evening meeting.  Without the fitbit, surely I would have driven. I do enjoy racking up the steps and thinking about ways to increase my steps each day. Twice yesterday I drove to two different retail stores and each time I parked as far away from the front door as possible.
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Thursday, September 24, 2015


For traditional religious Jews there are several 'fasting days during the year.  Traditionally, my family observed the fast of Yom Kippur only.  The fast is more meaningful if one finds themselves in Shul (Synagogue) during the day.  In recent years, I have gone to Synagogue during at least part of the day.    Jews greet each other during this holiday by wishing each other a meaningful and easy fast. I would be lying if I said that I look forward to the fast.  I do not. However, since I do fast - you cannot believe how much I look forward to the meal that breaks the fast.  There is no food that I enjoy more when breaking fast than bagels and lox.  Since I started my new lifestyle back on December 24, 2014 - I have not had a bagel.  Bagels used to be a staple in my 'diet.'  BAGELS ARE NOT LOW CALORIE AND THEY ARE NOT NUTRITIOUS.  THEY ARE HOWEVER, QUITE DELICIOUS.   My dinner, my first food that I had in 24 hours was a meal of bagels and lox and as always, it was the  BEST MEAL OF THE YEAR.

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Wednesday MENU

breakfast   YOM KIPPUR - FAST DAY - NO MEAL                0 CALORIES
lunch         YOM KIPPUR - FAST DAY - NO MEAL                0 CALORIES
dinner       TWO BAGELS w/LOX & CREAM CHEESE      880  CALORIES
SNACK    POPPED CARAMEL CORN                                 385 CALORIES

total calories consumed  1265 calories                                                              
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6.5 mile walk home from Synagogue, leisurely walk at 3 MPH              651 calories

WEDNESday net calories 614 calories

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fitbit day 21
20028 steps

Most of the steps recorded on Wednesday were from my walk home from Synagogue (6.5 miles)
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After YOM KIPPUR services on Wednesday I walked home as I had planned.  I was wearing suit pants and a white shirt and tie.  I made no effort for speed.  I was walking at my normal leisurely pace of 3mph.   (I never even loosened the top button of my white dress shirt)   Nevertheless,  6.5 mile walk is not nothing.  I found a calorie estimator online, from and apparently even a walk at that leisurely pace for two full hours should have 'burned' 650 calories.  Yesterday was a 'fasting' day - I am happy to have had some physical exercise.  Really, this has to be counted as a day off from my daily exercise routine.  Still, I am glad to post some calories burned over and above what one burns simply by being alive and breathing.

Calories Burned - WALKING: 3 mph

(20 minutes per mile)

The number of calories one burns while exercising is dependent on the exercise, your weight, and the time spent doing the exercise. The calories burned calculator estimates calories burned during your workout.
 Calories Burned: 651 

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weekly status report

Hi Marc, here are your weekly stats.
Sep 14, 2015 to Sep 20, 2015
Sat, Sep 19
Fri, Sep 18
20,562 steps
30,044 steps
68.83 miles 
9.83 miles
14.34 miles
28 floors
57 floors
4,305 cals
5,080 cals
0.0 lb
226.6 lbHEAVIEST
226.6 lb
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-- hrs -- min
Seems like you haven't
tracked your sleep.

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