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YouTube Is Up and Running   Leave a comment

Ok, so this will be a short post.  I filmed my first video for YouTube and posted it.  I did this on Wednesday.  I had a short waiting period as I had friends of mine go view the video first to make sure there wasn’t any issues.  I am now ready to post it here.  The video, obviously, speaks for itself.  I would just say that I’d appreciate it if you left a like and a comment.  I only know what to improve when given feedback.  As an example, one friend mentioned my filming it with the blinds in the background put too much light behind me so I look a little too shadowed.  I agree.  So whether it’s content or cinematography, feel free to let me know what I can do better.  If you just straight up liked it, feel free to leave that in the comments too.  Have a great day.

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Why?   Leave a comment

I listen to a variety of podcasts and read a lot of books. I think this moves me forward along my journey to be my best self. I just don’t think there’s anything such as bad information, so long as you always ask “Why?” at the end.

You see the problem with the information we are exposed to isn’t the information, it’s the lack of critical thinking we put into it. We often hear something and either accept it or discount it uncritically. Why?

We’ve spent a long time becoming the person we are now. We’re very invested in that person. And there’s nothing wrong with that. So we hesitate to do anything that upsets the apple cart. But if you’re that certain of the person you are there shouldn’t be any problem asking those “Why?” questions.

If you ask Why? and follow that thought critically you’ll discover one of two things. First is, you were right to hold that view or belief. Yeah you! Or you might realize that you could be a little off. Maybe even way off.

It sounds bad at first but think about this. Once you’ve identified a problem you can fix it. Once you’ve fixed it you’re back to being right again. You’re back to “Yeah you!” That’s a win.

Asking Why? is the path along which we get to the best version of ourselves. We’re often told not to question ourselves. Have confidence in who you are and what you believe. I think questioning yourself is the best way to show that confidence in who you are and what you believe. So go ahead and start asking yourself Why? a lot. You’ll love the results of being comfortable challenging yourself. Have a nice day.

Monthly Update   Leave a comment

I did the September update a week later than usual so this one is actually only three weeks.  I weighed in at 279.8 pounds this morning.  This is a great goalpost for me because now that I’m under 280 pounds I know for sure I’m over 100 pounds lighter than my heaviest recorded weight (which was in the 380s but I don’t remember exactly what it was).  The September weigh in was 280.6 pounds, so over the three weeks I lost 0.8 pounds.  This sounds like a small number until you consider the fact that on the weigh in two weeks ago I gained nearly 8 pounds.  So I’ve lost 8.2 pounds in two weeks, which I think is pretty neat.

My body fat this time is 37.8%, and was 38.2% at the last update.  That translates to 105.8 pounds now and 107.2 pounds then.  So even though my weight only went down .8 pounds I’ve actually lost 1.4 pounds of fat.

My muscle mass is 27% now, and was 27.1% then.  This results in 75.5 pounds now and 76 pounds then.  So I dropped .5 pounds of muscle.  Not psyched about that, but I do keep in mind that this is an estimated amount, not a certain one.

I am 48.1% water now, and I was 47.7% water then.  That right there explains the difference between total weight loss and fat/muscle loss.

Overall I’m good with this weigh in.  When you look at it from the perspective of the last two weeks I’ve made huge progress.  But even looking at it from the three week perspective, the bottom line is I still lost weight while I was retaining water better.

Exercise wise I did rather well this month.  I closed all three circles over 75% of the time.  I got the monthly award on the Apple Activity app.  I did 45 workouts in September, which is 6 more than August.  And this is more anecdotal in nature, but I notice that my breathing is lighter most of the time, suggesting I’m cardiovascularly more healthy.  I definitely feel a lot better.  I move easier.  I’m more flexible.  I definitely move around more.  My body just seems to work better.

I have more energy, which has translated to getting more stuff done.  I’ve been squaring away my living space.  A number of the self-improvement books I’ve read lately seem to carry the common theme that your physical environment is a reflection of your mental one.  And my room was cluttered and messy.  There is still a bit of room for improvement, but overall my physical environment is getting a lot more ship-shape.  I’m sure it’s not coincidental that I’ve been feeling better on the inside as well.

My meditation practice is getting better.  Or deeper would be another way of saying it.  My mind doesn’t race as much and I feel like I’m reaching a deeper and more relaxed state.  That’s no doubt helping with the greater feelings inside as well.

As usual I’m including pics with the update.  The pic with the black t-shirt with grey sleeves (with the pic of Mark Sheppard from Supernatural) is the current progress pic.  The Superman shirt is from last month’s update.  The red shirt is the first update pics I took.  And finally, a pic from back in 2013 which is me probably at my heaviest.

See you in a month for another progress update.

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Common Keto Misconceptions   Leave a comment

For today’s blog post I’d like to cover some misunderstandings about the keto diet I frequently run in to with people who are considering going keto, and a few who are actually practicing it.  Keep in mind that these are my own personal opinion and shouldn’t be taken as the word from the Keto gods.  Also, as certain as I feel about these points, do remember that everybody is different and every body is different.  What that means is that this is from my experience living a ketogenic lifestyle but that may not be directly applicable to you.  As always, you’re running the great experiment of your life and you should try these things out for yourself, keeping what works for you, discarding what doesn’t.  So now, in no particular order, the misconceptions.

!.  I’ll do keto for a week to lose fat quickly and then I’ll go back to my old diet.   Sorry, but it doesn’t work that way.  While you’ll experience some rapid weight loss in the beginning, it’ll be mostly water weight.  So after your week is up, and you go back on a carb rich diet, you’ll just start retaining water again and you’ll gain almost all of it back.  And even if you do keep it off, it’s only water weight, which doesn’t do you any good if you’re trying to lose fat.  Plus, it’ll take you more then a week to become keto adapted.

2.  I’m not sure if I can get rid of carbs altogether like that/I don’t know if I can go vegetable free.  While the Keto diet is a very low carb diet, it isn’t necessarily a no carb diet. I say necessarily because there is a version of the keto diet known as the carnivore diet that is carb/vegetable free.  However, it isn’t necessary to go the carb free route to live a ketogenic lifestyle.  You just need to keep it under 50g total carbs, and aim to keep it below 20g of net carbs (Total carbs-fiber).  What carbs you choose is up to you, just keep in mind that some carb sources will blow right through your 50g, and even if they don’t they’ll put you well over 20g net carbs.

3.  I can eat unlimited amounts of fat without consequence.  While the ketogenic diet is high fat, it isn’t unlimited fat.  You do have to keep in mind that if you frequently take in more fat calories then your body needs, it can still be deposited as fat in your body.  You want to keep a caloric deficit going (how much is up to you) so that your body will be forced to burn through your stored fat to make up the difference.

4.  As long as the food is ketogenic I can safely eat it during a fast.  Negative.  Taking in calories over a very small threshold (for me it’s 35) will break a fast.  Now if you are eating within the guidelines of a ketogenic diet you’ll mimic some of the benefits of fasting, but the only way to get all the benefits of fasting is to fast.  Also, on a side note, there really aren’t “ketogenic foods”.  There are foods that meet the guidelines of a ketogenic diet, but the ratios of macronutrients are what keep you in ketosis.  There isn’t a food that will put you in ketosis automatically.

5.  I’m interested in trying keto but I don’t think the rest of my family will want to.  Oddly enough, you can still do keto even if nobody else in your house/apartment wants to do it with you.  Now I do get that it will be easier if everyone in the house is doing it.  You won’t have access to the tempting foods the others will be allowed to eat.  But you’re an adult,  If you really want to try the ketogenic diet but nobody else at home wants to, then decide you will and stick with it.  I live in a house with two other people, one of whom loves cooking and baking.  Is it annoying sometimes to come home to a house that wreaks of fresh-baked bread?  You bet.  But then I do my weekly weigh in and I see my progress and the bread just isn’t as distracting anymore.

6.  I don’t know if I can do a ketogenic diet since you can’t cheat on it.  If you go into any diet with the intention of cheating on it you’ve probably picked the wrong diet.  Having said that, you don’t have to be keto every day for the rest of your life.  You’re an adult, make adult decisions.  I enjoy my monthly day off from keto.  It’s one day out of a month so while it slows my progress a bit, it doesn’t outweigh the other 29 or 30 days of being keto.  We’re heading into the holiday season so I’m already planning on using my day off for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  And I intend to enjoy them guilt free.  Afterwards I’ll get right back to it with a good fast for a day or two and then back to meeting the keto guidelines.

There are more misconceptions out there.  Perhaps I’ll cover more soon.  But these are the ones I hear the most.  Again, this is all my opinion as someone who has lived a ketogenic lifestyle for three quarters of a year now.  It isn’t scientific fact. If you have a different perspective I’d love to hear from you in the comments.  If you have any questions, leave those in the comments, too.  This wraps up today’s post.  Hope you have a great day.

Tending your Garden   Leave a comment

I heard the best analogy today.  The person mentioning it didn’t know who originally said this other than they knew it’s an older idea, and he thought it may be Earl Nightingale.  If you know who came up with this analogy please feel free to let us know in the comments.

The analogy likened ones mind to a garden.  When you start a garden you have a new patch of soil.  The soil doesn’t really care what you plant in it.  It isn’t like you plant carrots and the soil says no and grows cabbage instead.  The soil is an unbiased medium.  It just waits for you to plant whatever seeds you want to.

The mind is the same way.  It takes in whatever you choose to plant, without judgement or reservation.  If you plant doubt, you’ll grow more doubt.  If you sow the seeds of fear, you’ll be fearful.  However, if you sow the seeds of prosperity, you’ll prosper.  If you plant healthy thoughts and goals, you’ll be healthy and move in a healthy direction.  The mind simply doesn’t care, it waits for you to decide.

But that’s only part of the picture.  You see if you want good things to come into your life (money, love, happiness), you can’t just plant the seeds and wait for the results.  If you’ve ever had a garden (or even just a house plant), you know that for the seeds to grow you must regularly tend to the garden.  If you just plant the seeds and leave them, sure, there’s a chance you might get some fruits from it.  But why leave it up to chance?

Once you’ve planted the seeds, go back and regularly tend to your garden.  Water your seeds.  Make sure there’s plenty of sunlight.  If you see weeds creeping in, go pull out the weeds before they ruin your seeds.  As the plant grows, trim and prune it so that unhealthy parts of the plant don’t go back to infect and destroy the healthy parts.

What mental crops do you want?  It’s easy to say that you want roses (or whatever your favorite flower is).  But are you truly planting rose seeds?  If you want to be happy think happy thoughts.  When you start having thoughts that aren’t happy (mental weeds), root them out and destroy them.  Give it plenty of good food to grow strong like books on meditation or self-help guides.  YouTube channels that promote positivity and being better.  Spend time meditating to enrich your soil.

Same goes for money.  If you constantly dwell on the lack of it, those are the seeds you plant.  And you will grow lack.  So grow the seeds of abundance.  Nurture your abundance plant by being grateful for the things you already have.  Feel you are worthy of more.  Take steps to create different pathways for the money to come to you.

Or being in shape.  If you’re constantly planting seeds of a bad body image you’ll grow more self-doubt.  So plant seeds of self acceptance.  Be happy with who you are.  Feed your soil by looking in the mirror and smiling at yourself.  Literally water yourself.  The same H20 that makes your plants healthy and strong does the same for you.

Whatever it is you want in your life, plant the seeds of desire for it.  Go back regularly to tend to your garden and remove factors that might hinder your progress.  You’re garden is your life.  How well it turns out is directly proportional to the energy you put in to it as the gardener.  I’ll leave you with that thought, have a nice day.

The Blame Game   Leave a comment

I mentioned a few posts back that I went on a trip to Bellingham, WA.  I live in Alabama so I had to fly to get there and back.  As I was proceeding to check in for the flight home, a guy came running into the airport and ran straight up to the counter.  He stated he was on a flight that was about to leave.  The woman at the counter asked which flight, and when he told her, she stated the flight was already closed and she couldn’t check him in now.  He stated that he had to get on that flight, he just had to.  She told him there was nothing she could do about it.  He complained that she was being unreasonable and she reminded him that he was supposed to arrive at the airport two hours early for his flight.

Frustrated, the guy tried to explain the situation to her.  His alarm didn’t go off that morning so he got a late start.  He drove to the border as fast as he could but the traffic was heavier than expected and moved at a snail’s pace.  When he got to the US/Canadian border, there was a back up because Customs was going so slow.  He had done everything he could to get there on time but life had just conspired against him.  He wasn’t to blame.  Couldn’t she just help him out?

We all play the blame game.  Nobody wants to admit that they’re at fault.  It’s an ego thing.  If we admit fault we are admitting there’s something wrong with us.  We erred. And that can’t be right.

So we assign the blame to others.  Or we assign it to situations completely beyond our control.  Like the guy at the airport.  He’d made a good faith effort to be there on time but a series of cascading delays befell him.  He can’t be held accountable for that, can he?

It is true that there are events over which you’ll have no control.  You might be smitten by someone, but you can’t make them return the feeling.  You can take perfect care of your vehicle and then a defective part can sideline it.  You say or do something with one intention, but can’t control how others will interpret it. I get that.

The problem with the blame game is it cedes control to factors outside of us.  If the problem exists outside of us there’s nothing we can do to change it.  And there’s always something we can do.  After all, you at least have control over how you react to a situation.

But it’s easier to blame circumstances beyond our control.  That way we can never be at fault.  You can’t blame me for the traffic or the border.  I don’t control those.  There’s a problem with nothing ever being your fault though.  It means you’re admitting ALL circumstances are beyond your control.

You’re a passenger in your life, not the captain.  You have no determination in the events in your life.  If every time something bad happens to you, you’re powerless to stop it then you have no control, period.

Now you’re probably saying to yourself “I still make decisions.  And all the great things I’ve accomplished were my doing.  I can take credit for them.”  Even if that’s true, when you’re powerless to stop the bad things from happening, at any moment something bad can take away all that good you did.  And by your own admission, it’s out of your control and you can’t stop it.

To be able to stop it you’d have to take ownership.  Admit that there were factors in your control.  Take the guy at the airport for example.  He could take ownership of the fact that he didn’t have a back up alarm, just in case.  Or he could take owernship of the fact that both average traffic wait times, and border wait times, are available for searching on the internet.  He could take ownership of the fact that if the flight was so important he could have decided to cross the border way earlier then he needed to.  It may have run the risk of making him wait way longer for the flight, but it would have lessened the risk of being late.  All of that was under his control

So I guess it’s up for you to decide what kind of life you want.  Do you want to be the person who is dragged through life by Fate?  No real say in how things will turn out.  No real hope because you know it’s all out of your control.  Or do you want to be the Captain of your ship?  Your hand firmly on the rudder of your life.  Focused on ownership and personal responsibility.  The true creator of the best version of yourself.  Make your choice, and accept the life that comes with it.  Have a great day.

Fear Itself   Leave a comment

Last night it rained a bit, and early this morning it rained a bit more here in northern Alabama.  Shocking, I know.  So when I drove into work this morning the roads were a little wet, and there were a few sprinkles along the way.

The road conditions were not perfect, but not bad either.  There was a car in front of me most of the way to work.  If a vehicle approached our road from a side road he’d start slowing down.  If he came across a puddle in the road he’d swerve a bit to miss it.  When people would pass him on the left he’d quickly move right as far as possible.  His driving gave me the distinct impression that he was fearful of driving on the wet roads.

It wasn’t that any of the things he did were inherently bad ideas.  Puddles can hide pot holes so avoiding them would seem wise.  Except these puddles really weren’t that big which meant it was really unlikely there was an issue there.  Sometimes people ignore stop signs so slowing down for the people approaching on side roads could seem a prudent precaution.  But the vehicles on the side roads were going really slow and showed no signs of bolting out.  And giving someone a wide berth when they pass you would seem reasonable, if he wasn’t moving so far to the right he was crossing the line and driving on the shoulder.  He appeared way more fearful than he should have been under the circumstances.

When you experience a small amount of fear, that’s a good thing.  It’s your mind’s warning system telling you to start being more vigilant.  Experience too much fear and it quickly become negative.  You begin overreacting and stressing out, neither of which is good for you.  If the level of fear rises high enough it can even be crippling, keeping you frozen and unable to react at all.

Making things worse is the fact that your mind doesn’t know the difference between a real threat you should fear, and a perceived threat, that only has the potential for harm because a perception in itself isn’t harmful.  Seneca famously stated “We are more often frightened than hurt;  and we suffer more in imagination than in reality.”  Or more simply, fear’s bark is often much worse than its bite.

So how do you fix this?  How do you keep fear at the smaller level of a simple warning system?  You be mindful.  If you are keeping yourself focused on the here and now there’s less time to focus on the fear.  If you aren’t focused on the fear, it can’t grow.  If you’re focused on the here and now you can make decisions in the present moment, not the feared future.  And when you’re making those decisions mindfully and calmly you’re seeing more options and making better decisions.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation, which means it’s stress reducing, which reduces anxiety and fear.  It promotes calmness, which reduces fear.  It makes you happier, which reduces fear.  It enhances gratitude, which reduces fear.

Why focus on an imaginary future of fears and worries when you could spend that time quietly thinking to yourself that “you’ve got this” and that “I am more than enough.”  Focus on the good things in life.  Or dwell in fear.  The choice is yours.  Me, I’m going with calmness, happiness, and gratitude.  I hope you do to.  Have a great day.