Archive for December 2018

The Year In Review   Leave a comment

Well, most of the year anyway.  I didn’t start using the blog again until March.  However I have been tracking my weight from day one of 2018.  And here we now are on day 365. A lot of progress has been made.

On Day 1 I weighed in at 352.6 pounds.  This morning I weighed in at 267.8 pounds.  Just shy of 85 pounds by .2 pounds.  Just over 7 pounds a month.

On Day 1 I was 52% body fat.  I was carrying around 183.4 pounds of body fat.  That’s a good-sized adult’s body weight, just in fat.  When I weighed in this morning my body fat was 35.8%.  In pounds that’s 95.9.  So I’ve lost 87.5 pounds of fat, 2.7 pounds greater than my total weight loss.

Unfortunately my body composition was outside the parameters of the scale I use for keeping track of my improvements.  So I can’t say for sure what that 2.7 pounds of difference is.  I have worked out a bit so it could be muscle mass.  Then again it could be water weight.  Or some combination of the two.

I see greater muscle definition as I lose weight so I’d like to believe the 2.7 pounds is muscle growth, but I recognize that as I’ve lost a lot of body fat I could just be getting a better view of what was there all along.  What’s important is I’m loving how my body is changing, so the details are just details.

My exercise game has improved greatly.  At the beginning of the year I failed to meet my move goal on 5 days of the month.  The move goal is measured in calories.  At the time I had it set for 680.  The exercise ring, which is measured in minutes has a 30 minute goal.  I only reached it 12 days that month.  The final ring is the stand ring. It makes sure you stand for at least a short time for 12 hours of the day.  I closed that ring every day.

For December I’ve closed all three rings on every day except one.  On the 7th I nodded off and failed to get my second workout in.  My move goal has been increased to 770 so I’m not only meeting my goals, they’re harder goals to meet.

Also, when I started my exercise consisted completely of just walking.  Now I do body weight exercises, jump roping, and some weight lifting.

As for who I am on the inside, well that’s changed a lot, too.  At the beginning of the year I’d do my best about trying to get in at least one meditation session a day, but often fell short of the goal.  Now I get in at least one session a day, often times two, and occasionally three.  Quality wise it’s a little harder to record because it’s a subjective analysis, but I do think that’s improved as well.  While my mind still wanders substantially more than I’d like, it doesn’t wander nearly as much as it used to.  At the beginning of the year I was happy with a 10 minute session, and now I go for 20-30 minutes when I meditate.

I feel better and more positive.  Again, it’s a subjective measurement, but in this case subjectivity is ok as if you feel you’re happier you kinda are happier, or you wouldn’t feel happier.  If that makes any sense.  I know I deal with things a little more calmly, and certainly get centered again quicker then I used to.  And I feel a lot more positively about my future.

Finance wise, I’m doing better but still have ways to go.  I’m getting bills paid off and credit card debt down.  I will be switching jobs sometime in the near future so we’ll see how that affects things.

So that’s the year in review except for the final thing, the review of pictures.  They will go from the current (olive drab long sleeve t-shirt) back in time to my oldest, the Flash t-shirt.  Feel free to leave a comment on how you think I did this year.  Or suggestions on ways to improve going into 2019.  Here’s to an upcoming great year.



What To Expect   Leave a comment

So yesterday I did a post on how to prepare to start the Ketogenic diet at the beginning of the new year.  For today’s post I’d like to cover what to expect if you do.  I’ve posted on this before but I figured it bears repeating again as we enter New Year Resolution time.  I’d recommend reading yesterday’s post first if you haven’t already.

If you did already read yesterday’s post I’ll quickly state again that before you do any kind of change to your diet and exercise plans you should always consult a medical professional who is aware of your current medical condition.

So now on to the meat and potatoes.  Well the meat anyway.  Potatoes are a no go on the ketogenic diet.  Keep in mind that the time frames I’ll mention are general.  Each person responds differently to the ketogenic diet, so only some of the things I mention may happen to you. Or maybe all of them do.  Some may come and go quicker or take longer than I mention.  This is just meant to be a rough guideline.

The first thing you’ll experience on the ketogenic diet is cravings.  When you start out your body is still used to a glucose based fuel system.  And you’ll be limiting your fuel source.  So not surprisingly your body will want to fuel back up.  It prompts you to do so by giving you cravings.  They’ll be mild at first, but the more depleted your body becomes of glucose sources, the greater it will up the ante to get you to refuel.  You just have to hang tough during this period.  Depending on how you switch over (by going low carb or maybe just fasting) you can expect this to last a few days to a couple of weeks.

During this time, along with your cravings, you’ll get to experience what is known as the keto flu.  It isn’t the actual flu, but it’ll feel like it.  You’ll be tired and achy.  You may also run a fever.  And you may want to spend all day in bed.  The reason is simple.  As you deplete your body of its current prefered fuel source, glucose, there’s a time period between when it first starts trying to use ketones for fuel and when the body can actually do it efficiently.  At first your body will be inefficient at both creating ketones, and utilizing them as fuel.  The first issue, creating ketones, can be mitigated by using exogenous ketones.  The second issue, learning how to use them efficiently, has to be fixed over time.

After your first couple of weeks you’ll be far enough along in the process that your body, especially with added exogenous ketones, will be able to meet its energy needs from its new fuel source, fat (ketones).  At the point where it starts being able to run off of ketones you still won’t be fully keto adapted, that’ll take about 8-10 weeks.  Once fully adapted you’ll be able to get back into ketosis easily should you accidentally fall off the wagon, or if you choose to go off the keto compound.

So from weeks 2-8 your body will just be getting better and better at utilizing the new fuel source.  Some of the benefits you’ll experience are a lack of hunger.  Your body’s internal fat deposits will ensure you always have plenty of fuel, so it doesn’t need to signal you to intake more fuel.  You’ll have all day energy.  Your brain will work more efficiently.  You’ll notice fewer and fewer cravings.  And you’ll start sleeping like a baby.

After about the 8th week you’re fully adapted, and all those benefits will just be part of your daily life.  Although if you’re a slow responder it might take up to 10 weeks.  But you’ll have an easier time with maintaining the keto diet after the first few weeks.  Basically the rough stuff is done and out of the way in the front end of the switchover.

So that’s the general overview.  If you had a different experience, I’d love to hear about it.  If you’re just starting feel free to leave a comment each week letting me know how you’re progressing.  Or if you just need support along the way I’d be happy to offer it.  That’s it for today’s post.  I hope you’re having a wonderful day and I’ll see you soon.

Thinking About Starting the New Year Keto?   4 comments

As we slide in to the end of the year I’m happy to report I’ve had great success this year dropping weight on the ketogenic diet.  I’ll have one more weigh-in on Monday, the last day of the year, and barring any surprises I’ll be down just a smidge over 80 pounds for the year.

I’ve kept up with keto news all year long and the diet is only getting more popular as people see the success being had on it.  And not just in weight loss.  I feel so much better than I ever have.   Energy all day long.  No afternoon dips, or dragging my depleted body home at the end of the work day.  Why I even just completed a 48 hour fast and felt great at the end, not hungry and exhausted.  It’s just been my experience that being on the ketogenic diet is great for your body.

So perhaps you’re considering going keto for the New Year.  If so, here are some suggestions I have to start the Keto New Year off right.

First things first.  Before starting any new dietary or exercise program I’d be remiss in not encouraging you to discuss this with your doctor. When you go from a glucose fueled body to a ketone fueled one you are fundamentally changing how your body operates.  While I’ve found it very safe and effective for me, I don’t know you or your current medical situation.  So even if you have to put your start day off a little into the year, talk to a trained medical professional who is aware of your current medical situation.

Assuming you’ve already completed that step you have three days to go before January 1st, 2019.  My advice, live it up.  Probably not the advice you were expecting, I know.  But going keto means you’ll be giving up a lot of stuff you enjoy eating.  Sure you’ll get to replace it with keto friendly meals that are delicious so you will still eat well.  But there are things you enjoy that will most likely be no-no’s on the keto diet.  So take the next few days to enjoy those one last time before you commit to going keto.  Plus this will help with the next step.

Get rid of all the temptations.  If you have boxes of cereal you love to eat still in the house, you’re going to eat them.  As you transition to ketones as your primary fuel source your cravings will go up.  If the food you love is readily available you’ll fall into temptation.  And if you’re absolutely certain you can go without these foods so they won’t be a problem if they’re in the house, then why would you have a problem throwing them out anyway?  The answer is obvious, if you’re having a hard time convincing yourself to get rid of food you know you shouldn’t have, it’s because you’re inclined to have it.  Fix the problem by throwing it away.  If you’re uncertain if something is keto or not, there are plenty of online resources to answer the question for you.

After you’ve gotten rid of the bad stuff you obviously want to stock up on the good stuff.  Again, do a little research on what you can and can’t eat.  Create a short list of stuff on the “can eat” list that you love.  Have plenty at the house.  If you’re hungry and you have keto friendly foods that you love to eat already within reach you’re much more likely to stay on track.

The next step is important.  Let the people in your life know you’re going keto.  This helps for two reasons.  First, it keeps them from being a stumbling block to you, even unintentionally.  Let them know that for the next few months you have to restrict your food choices and avoid places where you’ll likely cheat.  It takes several months of adaptation before you can safely take a keto day off and get right back into ketosis afterwards.  So by telling them in advance it’ll help you avoid awkward moments when you’d have to say you have to decline their invitation out.  The second good thing is accountability.  If your friends and family are aware you’re going keto and what that means they’ll be there to help keep you honest.  Accountability was a great tool for me when I first started.  That’s why I decided to post progress pics on my Instagram.  If I strayed too much the pics would show it.  So I didn’t.

Which brings me to my next suggestion.  The first day take a pic of how you look.  You don’t have to share it on Instagram like I did, but I do think you’ll be amazed at how much support you’ll get if you do.  At least have the pic for yourself so you can take a new one every month so see how you’re progressing.  Going back and viewing my progress in pictures has been wonderful, and helps keep me honest.

Finally, mark March 1st on your calendar.  This will be the point where you’ve gotten two full months of keto under your belt, which should be way looser by now.  This is the amount of time you should be committing yourself to before entertaining straying from the ketogenic diet.  While you’ll see results in the first week or two, it’ll take at least 6 weeks before you fully adapt and are experiencing all the benefits.  If you just give the diet a week or two you’re not really giving it sufficient time to be completely effective.  So spend the next few days mentally preparing yourself for two months of dedicated keto.  And this means no cheating.  I’ve said this before, if you start a diet looking for ways to cheat you should just not start the diet.  You aren’t truly committed to it.  Two months may seem like a long time but my first two months flew by.  After your two months are up if you’d like to take a day off from keto to reward yourself, go ahead.  Just don’t go crazy when you do, and I’d recommend fasting the day after to get your right back in ketosis.

So that’s my list.  If you have any other ideas, please leave them in the comments below.  Agree/disagree with anything I’ve said, comment on that too. I’ve had great success with the ketogenic diet, and understand it pretty well, but I wouldn’t consider myself the final say on these things and would love to discuss any differences of opinion.  I hope you had a great day today.  I hope you have three more wonderful 2018 days.  And I hope you hit the ground running come 2019.  See you soon.


Quick Thought   Leave a comment

I heard a phrase today that I haven’t heard in a really long time.  “Don’t judge a man unless you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.”  It’s a reminder that we shouldn’t judge another person unless we fully understand the life they’ve lived that has led them to make the decisions they have.

I think it would just be easier to say “Don’t judge a man” and leave it at that.  After all, why should we be in the business of judging others in the first place?  Even if you have a firm grasp of the life the person has led, and the factors involved in the decisions they’ve made, you’re still not that person. You’re still you.  Is there some reason why you need to stand in judgement of them?  Chances are the answer is no.

“Well if I were in their shoes….”  But you’re not in their shoes.  You have a perfectly good life of your own you could be running if you weren’t making judgements on theirs.  Every moment you spend meditating on the progress of someone else’s life is time you’ve squandered that could be used to create the best version of yourself.

So unless you already are the best version of yourself, choose to spend your time and your thoughts on you.  If someone comes along and asks for your advice on their life, sure, in that case feel free to give it.  Otherwise use your time for you, and let them be them.  Have a great day.

Last Vlog Of The Year   Leave a comment

Just posted the last vlog I’ll do for the year on my YouTube channel.  It’s about New Year’s resolutions.  We all tend to do what I’d refer to as “the usual” resolutions.  In this vlog I give a few ideas on some resolutions that are a little less common, but I think are a little better for you.  Whether you agree or disagree leave a comment telling me which and why.  If you like the content I’d really appreciate it if you went to my YouTube channel and left a like.  If you want to know when new videos go up right away go to my YouTube channel and subscribe and hit the bell to know the moment new videos go up.  As we reach the end of the year I hope you’re doing so with a smile. Have a great day.

Quick Thought   Leave a comment

Every year on this day, those who celebrate Christmas enjoy a day of giving and receiving. Whether it be with friends or family we love coming together to swap gifts and share a delicious meal.  Christmas is a very special day and I love taking part in it.

But it’s just one day out of the whole year. Of course we also just had Thanksgiving in the United States, where we spend time remembering all the things we’re grateful for.  On July 4th, also in the United States, we celebrate our freedom.  Now we’re up to three.

There are a few other holidays we celebrate every year here in the United States.  And in other countries they have holidays to remember important historical events or times to focus on aspects their lives.

So the question is, what are you doing with the other days?  While placing gifts under the Christmas Tree is a fun tradition, why wait until Christmas to give a gift to someone you love?  And wouldn’t the world be a better place if we didn’t always wait for December 25th to wish for peace on Earth and good will to all men?

How much better do you think your life would be if instead of waiting for every Thanksgiving to remember what blessings you’ve been granted in your life, you took stock of that every day?  Or instead of having a big meal with the whole family once a year, how better in touch would you be if you did it once a month?

Don’t get me wrong.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having these special days to call special attention to these thoughts and feelings.  But there’s also nothing wrong with having these feelings and embracing them every day of the year.

So be thankful for your blessings every day.  And two months from now if you find a wonderful gift your friend would just love, go ahead and give it to them now.  There’s just no wrong time of the year for happiness.  Have a great day.

Quick Tips for Meditation   Leave a comment

In just a little over a day it’ll be Christmas here in Alabama.  And sometimes what is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year can actually become a little nerve-racking.  So here are a few tips on how to find some calm this holiday if things become a little hectic.

Remember location, location, location.  I say this three times for a reason.  First, if you’re experiencing stress, a change of venue can change the dynamic you find yourself in.  Having trouble dealing with a specific person?   Get up and leave the room.  Driving somewhere and traffic is fraying your last nerve?  Pull over and give yourself a few moments to get centered.  When you’ve found your calm again then you can return to what you were doing. But as long as you remain where the stress is, you’ll obviously continue to feel it.  So just excuse yourself politely, or pull over, and give yourself the time you need.

Second, when you need to take that break, where you take it is very important.  Going from one stressful environment to another doesn’t fix anything.  Make sure that when you go to find your center again the place you go to is ideal for that.  It needs to be a quiet place.  Meditating can be difficult enough when it’s quiet.  Trying to calm your inner voice when you can’t even hear it through the racket is setting yourself up for failure.  If you’re somewhere that doesn’t allow you to totally get away, do the next best thing.  Get to as quiet a place as you can and then put some earphones on.   Or if you’re in your car pull into a parking space as far away from other cars as possible and turn up the radio.  Play either soothing music, meditation tracks, or binaural beats designed to quiet your mind.  If you need to set a timer to bring you back, aim for a timer that vibrates to gently nudge you back to reality.  Using an audible alarm with jarring sound can ruin all the work you did to become calm again.  Also, make sure that wherever you go it’s a location you won’t be disturbed.  You can’t focus on your inner calm if you’re being regularly interrupted by the outside world.

And the final location to consider is where you go in your mind.  Taking time away to just focus your mind on other negative things won’t fix what ails you either.  So you’ve gone to the trouble of walking away from the stress.  You’ve found your quiet spot, or created one with your headphones.  Don’t waste the time dwelling on things that don’t help.  Things like asking yourself why these things keep happening to you.  Or wondering why you can never seem to avoid the stress.  Why do family get togethers seem to always increase your blood pressure?  Dwelling on the things that stressed you at the old location means you’ve brought the stress with you.  And the point of getting away was to get away from the stress.  So in your mind’s eye pick a helpful location.  Visualize yourself sitting on a dock at a lake fishing for trout if that is relaxing to you.  Or maybe laying on the beach as the waves slowly crash in a soothing manner.  Sometimes I like to imagine myself flying through the sky without a care in the world.  Whatever your happy place is, go visit it in your mind.

If you’re just starting with meditation you might need to take a bit longer to get your calm back.  However long it takes to feel your body relax is the right amount of time.  It will differ for everyone, but I’d aim for at least 5 minutes of focusing on your inner calm.  No matter how long it takes give yourself permission to spend the time on yourself.  It’s better for you, and it’s better for the ones you’ll deal with.

I’ll end with one of my favorite sayings when it comes to self care.  You can’t fill a cup with an empty pitcher, so fill yourself first.  Have a great day.

Quick Thought   Leave a comment

Often when we seem to be struggling we’re given the advice by a well meaning friend to just try harder.  If you aren’t succeeding then you aren’t giving it enough effort.  Just keep adding to your effort until you accomplish your goal.

The problem with this is the assumption that you aren’t trying hard enough.  And it’s just that, an assumption.  Let me explain with an analogy.  Say I have a wheelbarrow full of rocks that I want to get to the other side of the hill.  I start pushing the heavy wheelbarrow forward and the steeper the hill gets, the harder I keep pushing.  After a while my progress stops despite the fact that I’m pushing as hard as I can.  Slowly I go backwards as I tire out until I find myself back at the bottom.  The next time I get a running start, hoping the extra momentum will carry me over.  But as before I come to a halt and then slowly go backwards down the hill.  You can encourage and cheer me on all you want, the hill is just too high and steep for me to push the heavy wheelbarrow over.

And therein lies the error with the assumption.  It was never that I wasn’t working hard enough.  I gave it my all.  The problem was that I wasn’t working smart enough.  In being fixated on getting it over the hill, and devoting all my energies there, it never occurred to me to take it around the hill.  It never occurred to me to adjust my strategy.

So as you go about your life, consider the “hills” you’re trying to get over.  If you’ve been working your hardest to do it and still not getting results, reconsider your game plan.  Look for ways you can go around your hill.  Or maybe the solution is to go thru the hill.  But continuing to put in extra effort on doing something that clearly isn’t netting you results isn’t being disciplined, it’s being wasteful.

So stop trying so hard, start trying so smart.  Have a great day.

Quick Thought   2 comments

So I applied for a job last night that requires good typing skills.  Not exceptional typing skills but good ones.  I’m getting up early tomorrow to go in and take a typing test before I head to work.  As such I decided it may be a good idea to take an online typing test to see how rusty I am.

Turns out I’m plenty rusty.  The last time I took a typing test to look for a job was over a decade and a half ago.  Adjusted for no errors my typing speed was 67 words per minute.  I was actually faster than that I just oops’d a few times knocking my score down.  When the woman told me my speed I was a little disappointed.  I knew I was faster than that. She was surprised.  She said my speed was well above most who tested for the job (Alaska Department of Motor Vehicles, if you were curious).  That was my last official typing speed test.

Tomorrow I have to beat 35 words per minute. Remembering my last official test I wasn’t too worried when I heard that.  After a few practice tests online, I’m still not worried, but also not quite as cocky as I was earlier.  My first go was 45 words per minute, well under my old speed.  And my accuracy was just a smidge over 90%.  Not my best showing, even if it would have counted as a pass on the typing test.  I did the test over a few times and I’ve gotten my speed back up to 64 words per minute over a couple of tests.  So I’m certain I’ll do fine on the typing test.

Why do I bring this up?  Simply, I had a good skill back in the day that I lost to a certain extent because I didn’t make use of it.  I typed all the time back then.  I was in college and had tons of papers to write.  And a very bad habit of putting them off until the last minute.  So quick typing was a necessity.  Now, aside from the blog, I just don’t need to type that much.  So my skill has waned a bit.

Happiness works the same way.  You can’t practice happiness until you get a good “happiness speed” and then coast on it.  It’s a skill you need to hone every day.  If you aren’t practicing happiness and gratitude daily, over time you’ll lose the “skill”.  You just won’t be as happy.

I’ve learned a valuable lesson.  I’m going to test my typing skills regularly.  Maybe even invest in a good typing program to challenge myself.  I’m also going to take this little epiphany to remember to also keep up on my happiness and gratitude practice.  While keeping up my typing skills may land me a good job tomorrow, keeping up my happiness and gratitude skills will land me a good life.  And it can for you too.  Have a great day.

New Vlog Up on YouTube   Leave a comment

From a physiological perspective there is no difference between how your body reflects fear or excitement.  The only real difference between the two is how your perceive it.  And that’s true of many things.  A situation in and of itself isn’t positive or negative, it only becomes one or the other depending on how you view it.  So choose to be happy.  Here’s the vlog on this topic.  If you agree, or even if you disagree, feel free to leave a comment here (or on YouTube) saying why so we can have a great discussion about it.  If you like the vlog please leave a Like on YouTube for me, I’d greatly appreciate it.  Subscribe and click the bell if you want to be immediately notified every time I upload a video.  Have a great day.