What I Learned On My 23rd Birthday

Today is my 23rd birthday, but I’m not the only one who has a special day today. Did you know American Idol first season winner Kelly Clarkson‘s birthday is today? Or how about Chipper Jones, the 3rd baseman for the Atlanta Braves who was also born on this day? Apparently Benedikt Lechler, a famous composer, celebrates his 414th birthday today. He was born in 1594.

Thanks to BrainyHistory.com I know all of this random trivia about April 24th. But not just limiting themselves to birth dates, Brainy History also offers a catalog of death dates and important events. Estee Lauder died at the age of 97 on the same day I turned 17 in 2004. But my favorite event that happened on April 24th hands-down has got to be from 1982 when the IBM-PC was introduced. Those that know me realize this is a perfect fit for me.

Charlie Chaplin standing next to an IBM PC

But birthdays aren’t all about looking back and reflecting; they’re about getting free stuff on your special day. HeyItsFree.net (via Pammy) has the ultimate list of food, entertainment, and services that give away free offerings to birthday boys or girls. We’re talking mostly about free ice cream and cake but some places like Chevys mexican restaurants give away a free desert and a sombrero. The catch is you have to sign up in advance to take advantage of most of the offers. Too late for me now, but maybe next year.

Finally my Dad reminded me that when he was 23 he was in Vietnam in charge of 30 guys in a supply department on the USS Warrington. I sure am lucky I’m not off in a war zone and get to spend my birthday with family and friends.

The loot and brownies from my 23rd birthday celebration.
Kristina made me brownies and got me grown presents like shoelaces, belts, and the movie 300 for my birthday.

Russell blowing out the candles on his 23rd birthday.
Blowing out candles is still fun no matter how old you are.

1 Year Older And 27 Pounds Lighter

Today is my 23rd birthday. It also happens to be the 1 year anniversary of when I looked in my bathroom mirror and didn’t like what I saw. My belly finally crossed that point of seeming too big and it was time to make a change in my life. Before this epiphany I used to eat whatever I wanted without thinking about the consequences. Things like Chef Boyardee, fast food burgers, and pizza were common items on my menu.

Since then I decided to eat Cheerios in the morning and Healthy Choice dinners at night. I became aware of what I was eating and actively went out of my way to find healthier alternatives. Candy bars from the vending machine everyday quickly add up yet the snacks never seem to provide any satisfaction. It was better for me to avoid them all together.

I even tried to develop an exercise routine by riding my $7 exercise bike which became the topic of my first real blog entry here. I quickly lost interest in the bike and except for my 1.5 miles I cover walking to and from work, I don’t really have any other exercise plan. Relying on watching what I eat alone, I managed to o from a high of 217.4 to a jaw dropping 190.0 today! Check out the graph below:

April 30th 2007 - 217.4 April 24th 2008 - 190.0

I found keeping track of my weight every couple of days really helped keep me focused on my goals. If I began to gain a few pounds I knew I was slipping up and could easily correct myself. Mostly what kept me interested was seeing the patterns that would emerge. I love looking at numbers like my blog stats or my bank account so tracking my weight was fun. Online tools like SkinnyR and The Daily Plate make it a snap to keep an eye on your scale.

I hope to get down my normal weight of 185 pounds later this year. My weight loss has slowed some but it is still inching along ever so slowly. I think I need to buy new belts because there is still some slack when I set it to the smallest hole. I guess that this is just proof that tackling a goal a little bit at a time can yield big results over time.