Todd Daniel

Free Weight (Loss)

In Uncategorized on August 22, 2010 at 11:41 pm

Dear Todd,

It’s been a while since you checked in. How’s it hanging? Or have you fallen off of the fat wagon and are too ashamed to report your progress, or lack thereof? A photo of flowers, while pretty, doesn’t inspire confidence in your weight loss journey. I need you to stay with me here. I’m not reading your senseless dribble for my health. I’m reading it for yours.



Todd weighs in:

I’m still here. Well, most of me is still here. Some of me, I’m happy to report, has gone away. I’m hovering just above the 200-pound mark, and I’ve set an interim goal of being under 200 pounds by September 2010. In order to achieve this goal, I’ve literally been walking my ass off. One of my ground rules for weight loss is that I refuse to pay to lose weight. I don’t want to join a gym. I don’t want to pay Jenny Craig to tell me to eat less. I don’t want a trainer trying to get me to run a marathon and wear spandex. I have legs. There’s an earth outside my door. I have some weights lying around the house (and if I didn’t I would fill up some jugs with water and use those as weights). So every day, I trot out of the house at 7 a.m. (in Phoenix, it’s the only option for an outdoor daytime exercise) and walk between 2.5 and 3.5 miles. At home, I sprinkle my day with push-ups, sit-ups,  and weight exercises. I even keep some weights by the computer and do quick sets of upper body exercises while I wait for things to load on the computer. After 10:00 p.m., when the pavement in Phoenix begins to return to a solid from its molten liquid state, I take another walk, usually about two miles. And you know what? It’s working just fine. Especially for free.

Speaking of free, the photo above was taken on one of my walks with a camera that I also got for free (well, as free as credit card points rewards can be). I don’t have anyone to take a photo of me walking (just to prove that I’m doing it) so you’ll have to content yourself with nature photography.


The Theory of Fat Relativity

In recipes on July 26, 2010 at 9:14 am

Ego equals More Corpulent friends (squared)

Dear Todd,

Hey, Einstein. I heard about your new theory. The one where you claim that you are only as fat as the company you keep, or something like that.

Please give Mama Cass, Orson Welles, and Babar my best.

Yours in theory,


Todd weighs in: Due to my diet and my recent stint as nursemaid to my elderly in-laws, I find that I’m not only subsisting on carrot sticks and apples, but I’m cooking more fattening food than ever before. It’s actually been enlightening to know that I have the self-control to not devour everything I am creating in the kitchen.

This got me thinking: Maybe my fatness would be less devastating if everyone around me was heavier. So now, while I’m happy to share the details of my weight loss, I’m also going to share a recipe guaranteed to put pounds on those around me. It might be the most horrifically fattening creation I’ve ever made (the nice thing about cooking for old people is that they don’t ask a lot of questions about what went into a dish, and they really don’t give a rat’s fat ass about calories – plus we are trying to err on the heavy side with my in-laws who, together, might actually weigh less than me).

Todd’s Buttery Silver Dollar Pancake Bread Pudding with Caramelized Apples

Calories per serving:  approximately 10,000 (without ice cream)

Aside from the apples, there is no other nutritional information needed for this recipe, since none exists. This recipe serves one, or possibly two people depending on the generosity of the first person.


1  apple, peeled, cored and cut into small thin pieces

Approximately 12 to 14 silver dollar pancakes, regular or whole wheat

1/3 cup sugar, plus more for sprinkling on extra empty calories

1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup

2 tablespoons butter, plus more (softened) for extra greasiness

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup heavy cream, half-and-half, or milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dash of nutmeg and a dash of cinnamon

Pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 3-inch deep, 5-inch diameter ramekin or other suitable baking dish. Check your blood pressure.

In a small saucepan over medium high heat, place apples, 1/3 cup sugar, honey (or maple syrup), and 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until sugar and butter are melted. Continue stirring occasionally until apples are softened and mixture has a caramelly (it’s a word) consistency, about 5 minutes. If the mixture seems too thick add a bit of fruit juice or water. Let cool slightly.

Call your doctor and get permission to proceed with this recipe. Hopefully, he or she won’t be in the office and you’ll go ahead without supervision. In a separate bowl, whisk together the beaten egg, cream, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt. Try not to exert yourself.

In the buttered dish, begin layering the ingredients as follows:

Start with a tablespoon or so of the cooled apple mixture. Lay 3 or 4 pancakes on top of this and pour about 3 tablespoons of the egg mixture over them. Sprinkle about a teaspoon of sugar over the moistened pancakes and begin the layering again, starting with the apple mixture and ending with a sprinkling of sugar. Continue until all of the pancakes have been used, ending with a sprinkling of sugar. Dot the top of the pudding with 1 tablespoon of softened butter.

Place dish on a piece of foil or a baking sheet (I had butter flowing out of the sides during the baking process). Place in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until top is puffed and bubbling and you gain weight just looking at this damn mess that started out as a few leftover pancakes from breakfast.

Let cool (at least slightly) before serving.

Recheck your blood pressure after sampling your creation.

Forbidden Fruit

In exercise on July 20, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Dear Todd,

I have to hand it to you. If this whole dieting thing pans out it will be due to your mental determination. I’ve known you to swerve into a drive-thru at 60 m.p.h. because a double cheeseburger seemed like a reasonable snack at 4:30 in the afternoon. Now, all I ever see you do is eat apples and drink lemon water and green tea.

Your torso still looks like it is melting, but you probably have the healthiest bladder in town.

Keep it up!


Todd weighs in (literally):  I love cheeseburgers. And tacos. I consider fast food a real taste treat. I don’t believe in god, but storywise I think a burger would have been a much more suitable temptation in the garden of Eden than a piece of fruit. Dieting, for me,  is more of a mental process than a physical one. At some point you just have to say to yourself, “Hey, being fat was really a blast, but you are starting to look like a beanbag chair and your arteries are probably none-too-happy with you.” So I changed my eating habits. Just like that. Apples have become my new best friend. They’re okay, and I feel like my  jaw is getting a workout even if the rest of me is still sitting around (I’m mentally working on that).

So now it is time to announce my goal weight and my current weight. I’ve weighed myself on two ancient scales (I believe their combined age is about 107 years) and I’m going with the lesser of the two evils. Let’s say that my current weight is about 212 pounds. Let’s also say that 220 pounds is a remote possibility. I’ll try to get a more accurate reading soon, although it’s hard to quickly strip off all of your clothes when you come across a digital modern scale. Usually, it means I’m a dinner guest using the bathroom in someone else’s house or I’m in the hallway of the doctor’s office.

In adulthood, my lowest weight was 147 pounds (the loincloth year), but that was clearly too thin. I think 170 would be a lovely weight. My clothes would fit. My driver’s license information would be close to the truth. And I could sit on furniture without destroying it (more on that later).