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Archive for the ‘discipline’ Tag

Setbacks   Leave a comment

Got some bad news today.  I received an email letting me know that one of the possible new income streams I’ve been trying to get started has dried up for now.  It was definitely not news I wanted to hear, but it was the news I got.  It’s a setback.

We all experience setbacks from time to time.  Since I started on the keto journey at the beginning of the year I have weighed in each Monday.  Most have been weight loss measurements, but a few have been weight gain.  Setback.  I’ve tried improving my fitness doing things like jumping rope.  On a few occasions the jumping has aggravated my ankle.  Setback.  Yesterday when I went to run my errands I knew I’d need to use the downtime between errands to record my weekly YouTube video.  I looked for the mini tripod I bought a couple of weeks ago to hold my iPhone while I record and I couldn’t find it anywhere.  Setback.

Here’s the reality of setbacks.  A setback will push you in reverse.  It will move you farther away from the goal posts.  But there’s a big difference between a setback and a road block.  A road block keeps you from moving forward along a path.  A setback just slows you down.

However, a setback can become a road block if you allow it to.  If you begin to focus on the negative setback too much you could lose track of all the positive success you’ve had.  Lose track of the success you’ve had and you can become discouraged.  Become discouraged enough and you may stop trying to move forward.  The setback has become a road block.

How do you avoid this?  Accept the setback.  Understand that a setback doesn’t define you or pigeon-hole you.  It’s one event that has happened, and has passed.  And having passed you’re free to get moving again.  You just have to want to and you just have to try.

So while I’m not happy that I got news of this setback today, I realize that it’s just one of the new sources of income I’ve tried to get going.  I still have other options I am exploring which may pan out.  And they may not.  But that would just be another setback that I can move forward from.  And while the well has dried up for now, I can still come back at it later.  I can dig a little deeper to see if there’s water still to be had.  I look ahead on the path and I still see a bright future.  I keep focused on my bigger goals knowing that even if it takes a little longer to get there because of a setback or two, I will get there.  I know this with great certainty because I don’t allow my setbacks to become road blocks.  And I hope you won’t either.  Have a great day.

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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.

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.

 

Your Great Experiment   Leave a comment

I was talking today with a coworker about the ketogenic diet.  She was interested in knowing what I was doing to lose so much weight since the beginning of the year.  And I didn’t mind sharing.  In fact, I’d say that the problem tends to be getting me to shut up after I get started talking about keto.

As much as I love keto and as much success as I’ve had with it, though, I always try to remember to share that not every diet will work the same for everyone.  And I think that’s a good thing for everyone to remember for a great many things in life.

When I first tried losing weight a long while ago I tried simple calorie restriction.  It’s worked for many a person, but not for me.  I lost a little weight at first but after a short while my body just adapted to the lower calories by slowing down my metabolism.  I was tired and cranky all the time.  My cravings went up, and soon enough I just broke and went back to eating what I used to, and lots of it because I was starving.

I tried creating a caloric deficit from the other side of the equation, increasing the calories I burned each day via more exercise.  Again, I lost a bit up front, but then I just started feeling hungrier all the time and eventually broke again.  And I felt terrible to boot as I know that lots of people have lost weight this way.  So what was wrong with me?

Over the years I tinkered with lowering calories and increasing caloric burn in shifting amounts but it all wound up right back reaching the point where I lost the willpower to keep at it.  So eventually I just gave up trying for a while.

Then a few years ago my friend wanted to try the Whole 30 plan.  She felt it would be easier if she had an accountability buddy to do it with her and asked me if I would go Whole 30, too.  I got a copy of the book “It Starts With Food” by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig.  I liked the premise of it and felt it was something I could stick to for 30 days, especially if my motivation was to help a friend.  So I told her I’d be happy to try it.  I dropped a lot of weight quickly and was really happy with the results.  I felt better and had way more energy.  It’s a great diet plan that has worked for a lot of people.  I highly recommend it and have included an affiliate link to the book below (just click the pic).

The problem came after the 30 days was over.  If I had continued to follow the Whole 30 eating plan I have no doubt I’d have continued to lose weight.  The worst mistake I made was after the 30 days was up I decided to reward my willpower with a mocha, as I couldn’t have one for the last 30 days.  It seemed innocent enough.  After all one mocha wouldn’t erase all the success I just had.  And it’s true, that one mocha didn’t.  But the mocha I had a few days later, and the trip to Dairy Queen I justified using the same “just one” principle, plus other justifications slowly led me back to my old habits.  So the diet was great, my desire to stick to it wasn’t.  The only difference was instead of reaching a breaking point where my will just snapped, it was more a slow downhill slope that eventually created enough momentum to knock my willpower out.

This brings us to January 1st of this year.  I started the keto diet.  Like with the Whole 30 I wanted to be prepared by studying up on it.  So I purchased a copy of “The Ketogenic Bible” by Jacob Wilson and Ryan Lowery (there’s also an affiliate link for it, just click the pic).  And I started doing research online, including following people on YouTube who were living the keto lifestyle.  And a friend of mine had great success with it so I was really excited to see what it held in store for me.

The best part was that I knew I wouldn’t fall into the same trap I had with Whole 30.  Although I do enjoy one day off from keto a month, I knew the rest of the month I needed to be strictly keto.  Unlike the Whole 30 where one mocha wouldn’t wipe out all the rest of the proper eating I was doing, one mocha on keto stops the diet in its tracks.  Doing that for one day a month is ok because it won’t override the other 29 days of staying keto.  But it’s definitely knocking you out of ketosis on the day you do it.  A day of fasting after my day off and I’m quickly back in the game.

And it’s worked.  I’ve steadily lost weight on keto.  Sure, there have been a couple of upswings in weight since the beginning of the year, but I’ve still managed to lose a lot of weight.  Because I’ve stuck with it.  I’ve found what works for me.  I clearly needed the disciplined nature of keto so I couldn’t allow myself to make excuses.

Which is why I titled this post “Your Great Experiment.”  Not every diet your friends have had amazing success on will work for you.  Or the supplements that your friend has taken that increased her endurance while running may not move the needle for you at all.  Or running itself may be a terrible exercise choice for you.

The thing to keep in mind is, just because one thing didn’t work for you, doesn’t mean you’re destined to fail at all things.  Thomas Edison famously stated that he didn’t fail 10,000 times developing the lightbulb, instead he discovered 10,000 ways not to make a lightbulb.  He experimented with a lot of different methods and one finally paid off.

So treat your life like a great experiment to find your best version.  Try this, that, or the other.  Figure out what works, and keep it.  Find out what doesn’t work, and discard it.  But keep running the experiment every day.  Eventually by implementing all the things that work, while not wasting time on the things that don’t, you’ll arrive at your best version of yourself.

Was I happy I had failed so many times before?  Of course not.  But I kept running the experiment and eventually found what works for me.  And now I keep running the experiment by continuing with keto while trying new things like meditation (it works and I’m keeping it) and supplements (a lot don’t work so I don’t waste my money on them, but a few have shown promise).  And I’ll continue to run my experiment until my final day so that when my time comes to an end I’ll leave with a smile knowing I’ve done everything I could to be my best version.  Have a great day.

Writing a Book   Leave a comment

So I’ve started a new project.  Well, that’s not entirely accurate.  I’ve restarted a project I began a few months ago but let fall by the wayside.  I’ve decided to write a small book about the basics of the Ketogenic Diet.

The aim for this book is to be a quick read.  Less than an hour.  If I can, less than half an hour.  I’m not worried about filler, just the basics.  I’ll include a list of resources at the back of the book that will allow anyone who wants more than the basics to keep learning.

I’ve been working on it for about 6 hours now.  Taking a break to give myself a little time to get refocused.  I’ve made a lot of progress.  Since it’s not designed to be long I’d guess I’ll be done writing by the end of the weekend.  Then I’ll need to edit it so the content is sharp.  Along with that I need to design a book cover.  I think I’ll go the easy route with that by just using the same image for the front and back of the book.  I’ll be creating it only as a Kindle book so I don’t think having a separate image for each makes the same sense as it would if it were a physical copy.

I’m finding that there’s a lot more to it then I imagined.  It isn’t as easy as just opening a word processor and banging out a book.  Logical progression is an issue as well as getting it into a format that Kindle can use.  Thankfully Amazon made researching all that and getting the tools necessary to do it really simple.  I didn’t even know this before today but they even have a free program to alow you to see what the book will look like on a Kindle simulator on your computer.  Having read a few Kindle books where I wondered why they formatting was so awkward, this just made it all the more odd. Why wouldn’t you use the simulator to know how it’ll turn out before you ever upload it to Amazon?  Maybe they did and it just turned out wonky anyway.  Guess we’ll see how mine goes.

When I get it published I’ll leave a link on here for the book.  I haven’t fully decided yet but I think that I’ll be offering it as both a Kindle Unlimited title and for $0.99 if you want to buy and keep it.  Don’t see charging more than that considering how short the book will be.

Along with the book project I’m finally completing, I had another idea I started a while ago but never followed up on.  I like doing this blog, and will continue to do this blog, but I want to try to reach more people in other ways.  So I contemplated having a YouTube channel to track my progress as well.  I even got so far as creating the channel.  Just never made a video for it.  So that’s on the agenda now.

Like this blog, the channel will cover both The Ketogenic Diet/Lifestyle, my progress with it, and also how I’m working to be a better person on the inside.  I don’t have a lot of experience with video production so I’m sure it’s going to look a bit amateur at the beginning but I’m thinking it’ll grow in production value as I grow along with it.

When I get my first video posted I’ll add a link here for people to follow.  Mainly today I just wanted to get a post out where I stated I was doing these things because accountability.

I turned 48 yesterday and spent a little time thinking about what I’ve done with that time.  I’ve led a good life so far but when I thought about it, it’s really been the last year that I’ve been most proud of.  I’ve made a lot of improvements.  Lost a lot of weight, both in terms of body fat and bad habits.  But I still see a path ahead of me where I’ll get better still.  I don’t know how the book or the YouTube channel will turn out, but the best part is that in just doing them I’m already better because I’ve tried to be better.  Although I’m hoping the success isn’t just in the trying, of course.

That’s all for now.  Time to get back to the book.  Thanks for coming along on the journey so far and I hope you join me on these new journeys.  Take care.