Winning Again!

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Weight 224

The last couple of weeks, I’ve written about problems and obstacles we face, in weight loss, and in life. Things were getting very discouraging, but I stuck with it. I faced my obstacles, and I shared it all with you all, both as a confession, and as a lesson. We all face these challenges.

I got on the scales today, and saw a drop. I haven’t lost weight in three weeks. In fact, I had gone up a bit. But today, I’m back where I need to be. And I’m psyched.

You all deserve a lot of the credit. You kept reading, liking the posts, and some started following the blog because of the articles. You gave me so much support and confidence. Thank you so much.

The changes I made in tracking, and adjusting my calorie intake, really helped. As I have said before, calories count. It’s basic science.

Over the last three weeks, I have found some fat based snacks to help me quell my hunger. I don’t have to eat many of them. And I’ve begun regular exercise. My workout is pitiful right now, because it’s been so many years since I’ve done this, but I’m doing it. And I’ve started to see some improvement in my performance.

I’m doing only body weight exercises. And I’m doing those for a few reasons. 1. Gyms are all closed here. 2. Gyms cost money. 3. Weight sets cost money. 4. I don’t want to spend money. 5. Pumping iron will do more to make me gain weight as muscle, I think, than body weight exercises. I’m trying to tone my body, rather than bulk it up.

Three weeks is not a long time to be stuck on a plateau. I know some of you have been there much longer. Just stay with what you know has worked. Don’t give in. Tweak what you do. Tweak your calories. Adjust your fat vs protein calories. Walk, Run, exercise. Do something to surprise your metabolism. You will get through this.

I know I may have reached the stage where I won’t lose weight every single week. I’m ok with that. I have a goal. But I’m not on a time limit. We’ve got this!

Plateaus Happen!

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I mentioned last week that I’m on a plateau. I’m not gaining weight, but I’m also not losing any. It’s been about three weeks. It’s starting to get frustrating. If you’ve been there, you totally understand. I have a couple of choices; either I can give up and give in, or I can stay focused and do something about it. As you can guess, I’m not giving in.

I’ve also mentioned, I am in a position where I have to eat dinner in people’s homes twice a week. They don’t fix Keto meals, and that hurts my program a lot. Some weeks, the meals are loaded with Carbohydrates. And usually, there is ice cream for dessert. I’m not grumbling, merely stating the obvious.

It’s probably the desserts that are the biggest problem. A few potatoes in the meal, or some pasta, won’t kill me. But the sugar in ice cream, is a major problem.

First, I am not going to hurt peoples feelings by not accepting their invitations to dinner. That is not an option. So don’t even suggest it.

Here’s my plan. First, the following day, I will have zero carbs. That’s not even hard. It’s just a carnivore day. I can do that without even thinking about it. If I have to, I will do it for two days. Time will tell, and I’ll keep you posted.

Second, as I’ve mentioned a couple times, I believe calories are important. I will watch my calories very closely. A maximum of 1800, should work. It’s really important to track what I eat. To be honest, I’ve been lax the last two weeks. I’m confessing that to you, and will change it. You may hold me accountable. Go ahead and ask me anytime.

Thirdly, I’ve started exercising. I was going to write, regularly, but since I’ve only done it ONCE, regularly is an overstatement. During this lockdown, I don’t have access to a gym, and frankly, I won’t spend the money, even when it’s available to me. I looked up a collection of body weight exercises, and for a man of my age, that will do nicely.

It’s not like I’m new to exercise. Once upon a time, about 30 years ago, I started working out…and running. For 7 years, I went to the gym, and rand at least 5 days a week. I worked out with professional body builders and professional wrestlers. I had excellent coaching. I learned a lot of techniques. I ran 5 k road races. I was fit, even buff. And I was lean.

That was a long time ago, but I still know what and how. It’s the motivation, and loss of muscle and fitness that’s my obstacle. My body doesn’t want to do it.

Yesterday, I was only able to complete 3 pushups. You heard me correctly. THREE! I then finished a set of 10, by doing what we used to call ‘girl’ pushups. You know, with my knees on the ground. From now on I will call them ‘beginner’ pushups.

I did one set of a variety of exercises. Today, my upper body hurts. Especially my chest and my lats. That’s where I seem to be the weakest. So odd for a guy who used to be a farmer, but since my heart surgery, my upper body muscles have been pretty inactive.

The other thing I had to do, was stretch. A Lot! When I was younger, I could just start working out, or running. Now, I can’t run, seriously, I can’t run. I have had a bad case of sciatica for 4 years. The stretches are like a work out by themselves. As a result, this morning I am sore. I will only do my stretches today. But this afternoon, I will go walk some dogs. I will beat this plateau. And my goal, is within a month, to be able to jog at least a quarter of a mile when I’m out with the dogs. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but for me, it’s terrifying. I am aiming to be able to jog a mile by August. Stay tuned.

For the record, I’m not trying to be a mid life body builder. I’m just trying to help my metabolism, and to tone my body. I’ll let you know how it all turns out. But what about you? Have you ever hit plateaus? Did they discourage you to the point of giving up? What did you do to beat them? I’m curious. Feel free to write and let me know.

Ok, now it’s time to publish this, and do my stretches…

Real Life Has Obstacles

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When we first create our plan to lose weight, we see our road clearly. We set our goals. We know what we can eat, and when. We clean out our cupboards and our fridge. We weigh ourselves. We set up our apps or create a notebook to track on paper. And then we get started. For a while, sometimes a long while, everything goes great, then we hit obstacles. When that happens, we’re thrown for a loop. Some of us are thrown so far off the trail, we can’t even find our way back.

I have been facing one of those obstacles recently. Let’s talk about it.

Actually, now that I think about it, I’m. facing several simultaneously, but I’ll tell you about two, and we’ll discuss one of them. They are: 1. I’m on a plateau and it’s frustrating. We’ll talk about that one, once I’m over it. It’s the second obstacle that is bigger, and has been very frustrating.

I am a Christian Minister. I love it. I have been a minister for 43 years. I’ve had other jobs too, but ministry has given me great satisfaction. I love preaching. I love visiting folk. I love doing baptisms, and weddings, and oddly, funerals. My career is a calling, not just a job.

But it can be very difficult for weight loss. Every time you go to someone’s home, here in Scotland, you get offered tea and a cookie, cake, or sandwich. They call them ‘pieces’. The first thing you’ll note, is those are all full of carbs. In the USA, it’s well known that Christians and food are synonyms. There are all kinds of jokes about believers and buffets. Of how in some southern Churches when a person gets baptized they receive a certificate and a casserole dish. Preachers have a reputation of being FAT.

Over the past year, as my Keto journey has progressed, I’ve pretty much gotten folk to understand that I don’t want a cookie. But recently, I have been eating dinner with people in the Church on two days a week. And it’s going to continue for a while. A part of me loves it. I get to interact with folk, enjoy their children and pets, and get to know them better. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Folk don’t cook Keto. Everything is loaded with pasta, potatoes, bread, or sugar. That’s the way people eat. And rightly so. Those things are affordable, they make a dish spread, and they taste awesome. Some of our Church folk are great cooks.

They will usually fix huge meals, because I’m the Pastor and they don’t want me to go away hungry. Sometimes they will even fill my plate. When that happens, I will always get a double helping of potatoes.

I could decline the invitations, but I’m not going to. That’s rude. And putting my diet needs above the spiritual, emotional, and social needs of families, it not an acceptable priority. So I go.

For a while this dilemma really bothered me. In fact, it started to consume me. I turned it into a major problem. Then I came up with a solution.

One of the unspoken truths in Keto, is that ultimately, and eventually, calories matter. It’s a simple fact that if you consume more calories that your body is using, you will gain weight. It doesn’t matter whether that is meat, cheese, eggs, broccoli, or potatoes. And as we lose weight, our calorie requirements reduce. I need less calories at 224 pounds, that I did at 305. I wish that wasn’t true, but it is. And I have incorporated that fact into my diet plan.

I need 1800 calories a day to lose a pound a week. If I’m doing full keto, I’ll probably lose it faster, because my body can more easily burn the stored fat. So, as long as I’m eating 1800 calories a day maximum, I will be ok.

Remember 5 days a week, I’m full keto. On these two days a week, I have one non keto meal a day. If I can serve myself smaller portions, I’m golden, but like I said, sometimes, my hosts serve my meal. Then I just have to track the calories and carbs and make the best of it.

One other thing I do, is on those days, I eat a very small lunch. That helps.

My point in all this is, life needs to be enjoyed. Our diets have to be made to fit our lifestyles, not the other way around. Sometimes we’re thrown challenges, obstacles. Think about it. Find a work around, and go with it. Food is not a crime. Carbs are not demons from Hell. We can do this. Relax!

How Growing a Garden Can Assist Weight Loss

Yeah, it’s a little bit click baity. But it’s also true. First, nothing tastes like fresh, home grown vegetables. The stuff you buy at the grocery, is better than what comes in a can, or heaven forbid, a box, but stuff that you grow yourself, or get at a local farmer’s market, is night and day different.

Almost everything you buy in the grocery store, has to be picked early, and shipped, before it’s ripe and full of flavor. Often the truck is loaded with a kind of gas bomb to help the produce ripen. So it looks ripe, but the natural sugars, and vitamins, as well as minerals are often missing, or certainly depleted.

Strawberries from your own garden, or freshly picked from a U pick, are world’s apart from what you buy at the grocery store. The same is true of tomatoes, cucumbers, even Jalapeno peppers. It’s even true of lettuce and cabbage.

People often comment on the difference in taste when we give away excess veggies. BTW, it’s even true of meat, but I’ll save that for another post.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to have to change the way I eat, I at least want it to taste good. And I discovered years and years ago, that nothing compares to growing my own.

I never liked salad. I would always turn it down. I liked the blue cheese dressing and the bacon bits, but the salad was tasteless and boring. But when I had one with my home grown Black Seeded Simpson lettuce, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and Jalapenos, I couldn’t believe the flavor jump. It was delicious. I could even eat it without immersing it in Blue Cheese Dressing.

Home grown cucumbers and squash are as different as night and day from the ones sold in the supermarket. I didn’t even like the word, zucchini, now it’s my favorite vegetable to grow and cook. It tastes amazing grilled, stewed, baked, fried, and broiled. Fresh grown green beans and peas are so much better than store bought that I can’t even describe the difference.

My favorite thing to grow, and eat, are hot peppers. From Jalapenos, to Carolina Reapers, I love them all. I have to be careful right now, because we don’t have a lot of room to grow peppers. I used to grow over 20 varieties every year, now I only have room for 5 or 6 plants. This year I will grow, Poblano, Jalapeno, Fresno, Bhut Jolokia (Ghost), and Moruga Scorpion. Those last two are among the hottest peppers on earth. I had to choose between my favorite hot varieties, and this was what I chose. First, hot peppers are good for you. The help you burn calories. They also help prevent cancer. I eat hot peppers, or hot sauce every day.

Tomatoes are also not your enemy. Some diets, like the Mediterranean, are very high on them. Some keto purists, frown on them. I have never had a problem. I don’t eat them in major quantities these days, but they are full of vitamins and minerals, and are good for my heart. Again, due to space issues, I can only grow about 6 plants. So I choose wisely. Here in Scotland, Tomatoes, Peppers, and Cucumbers have to be grown in a greenhouse, so that has to be figured in.

I only grow one kind of cucumber, Socrates. They are 5 to six inches long. They taste great, and the plants are abundant with fruit. They are parthenocarpic, meaning they don’t need a pollinator, which makes growing them in a greenhouse easy. Two plants is all I have room for, and all I need.

As I mentioned earlier, I will grow several zucchini bushes. Oh I love those things. And they are expensive in the supermarkets here, so they’re great the give away to neighbors. I will also grow several spaghetti squash plants. My wife and I both love spaghetti squash. Giving up pasta was tough, but these squashes, make it much easier.

I’ll also grow beets, beans, lettuce, and some herbs. Oh, I’m going to grow a few cauliflower. They take up a lot of room, and you only get one head of fruit, so it’s not wise to grow them. They are fairly affordable at the grocery store. If you have a lot of room, I recommend growing plenty of Cauliflower and Broccoli. I’m only going to grow two or three cabbages, for the same reason. Just no room.

So far, I have started my hot pepper, tomato, cauliflower, and cabbage seeds. They are growing under lights right now. They will go out in May.

Another benefit of growing your own, is it provides exercise. And exercise is mission critical to good health. You will need to prepare your garden. That will take a while. You will have to plant your garden. You’ll have to go out and water your garden. And you’ll have to weed your garden. That’s daily walking, bending, lifting, and etc. It’s like a gym membership you don’t have to pay a monthly fee for.

Yes, seeds cost a little. But if you select correctly, you’ll save on your groceries. And if you save seeds properly, you’ll only have to buy seeds occasionally. And you’ll be able to give excess to your family and friends. Even with my limited space, I will give away, lettuce, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and beans.

You can order your seeds off the internet, or you can pick them up at a big box store. Heck, even dollar stores carry seeds. If you’re interested in eating well, and eating right, I encourage you to try and grow some of your own vegetables. You’ll be glad you did. If you have any questions, send them my way.

For those who are following my progress, my current weight is 226.5. I have slowed down a lot. My goal to reach 200 by Easter will not happen. I will set a new one on Easter. Stay tuned.

I Cannot Tell A Lie!

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We’ve just had President’s Day, so this seems kind of appropriate. But last week I said I was afraid I was going to Emotionally Eat, and probably binge, because I was upset. And I did. Kind of.

I’m not going to go into the reasons this happened. It’s very personal and difficult for me, so don’t ask. But on Thursday last week, when I was feeling bluer than cheese, I had Pizza Sandwiches and watched a movie. I cooked up a couple mini frozen pizzas, put butter on bread, parmesan cheese on the pizza, and made sandwiches. This has been my favorite depression binge food for 30 years. It’s cheap, full of flavor, and carbohydrates. By Friday, I was back on the program. I wallowed in Self Pity, then started moving forward.

I knew it was going to happen. I’ve been living with me for 64 years. I pretty much know how I’m going to react to things. One of the things that surprised me, was I didn’t get ice cream for dessert.

Because I’m under stress, I have had some other side effects. First, my nerves are shot. I’m on edge constantly. Secondly, I haven’t had a BM for 4 days. Tomorrow I will take a laxative. My sleep is messed up. And we can’t get melatonin here in Scotland. So I’ve had some keto friendly adult beverages before I go to bed. The problem with those is they are loaded with calories. And I don’t want to become dependent on anything.

This is only temporary, but it will be an extended temporary. These things happen in life. I had the good fortune of knowing what was coming so I could prepare for it a bit. I don’t know what I would have done had I been blindsided. I encourage you to prepare for emotional emergencies, just like physical ones. Think ahead about how you will feel, and how you will behave. Write it down.

And, this one may cost me readers, pray about it. God wants to hear the desires and concerns of your heart. I know He is with me through this time. He will hold my heart as well as my hand. And He will do that for you, too. Hard times come. That’s a fact. Tough people are strong and courageous. And that does not mean they aren’t scared spitless.

So, for the reasons above, I haven’t lost any weight this week. But I’m back on my program, watching my carbs and calories closely. If you’re going through a tough time, I feel your pain. Feel free to drop me a note and tell me about it.

Next week, I’ll tell you about how things are going getting ready for my 2021 Keto Diet Friendly Garden.

Danger Ahead – Comfort Eating Approaching!

Weight this week 229, Yep, No change. Oh well.

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Later this week I will be facing one of my greatest temptations, Comfort Eating. My wife is going back to the States alone! That’s tearing me up. She has some work commitments, and needs to get away. The vaccination protocol right now is pretty light, and she doesn’t want to be forced to take the Covid vax. Neither do I, but that’s all for another time and place. Don’t bother to comment about it either way, I will delete the comments. Anyway, she found a phenomenal rate to fly this week, and took it. We have no idea when she’ll be able to get back. It could be May, it could be next May. It’s all up in the air. I hate it. But it’s going to happen. We’ve had a few uncomfortable discussions, but this is the best way to avoid problems. So on Wednesday, I’m taking her for her Covid test, then we’re driving down to Edinburgh, where her flight leaves at 6 a.m. Thursday morning. Blah!

Here’s the deal. I love my wife. I hate spending a single night apart. I used to travel for my work and would be gone two weeks a month. We did that for a year. She had to go to Maine for a month back when we lived in GA. We thought she would be there longer, but things didn’t work out like we planned and she came home.

The point is, we should be used to it. Military people do this all the time. We have the internet. We’ll be able to stay in touch. It’s not like it was 30 years ago, where people are dependent on phones and the postal service. Still, I am hating every moment of this. Obviously, she’s pretty excited. She will get to see her folks, her brother, her sister, one of my sisters, and other friends and family. I will be here. Alone in lockdown.

And there’s the rub. I will drive back Thursday, and get home mid afternoon. I will be tempted to attack my loneliness food first. I will want to eat carbs like crazy. Carbs are a comfort food for me. Mac and Cheese, Pizza, Cheeseburgers, with bun of course. No one will be around. No one will stop me. And if I start, I might be on a two month binge. And that’s a fact.

That’s why I’m telling you about it. For accountability. I have a daily schedule of activities. I pretty much have every hour of every day spoken for, but evenings are when I get most lonely. Everything is closed. Everyone is at home. That’s when I’ll be tempted. I know, though, that if I start gaining weight, I’ll have to answer to you, my readers. So help me out. Keep reading week after week. I’ll tell you how I’m doing.

Lots of people have trouble with comfort eating. Stress is a real diet killer. We’ll eat too much, drink too much, and months or years of hard work can be lost. If you’re a stress eater, I feel your pain. I don’t know what I would do if something happened to my wife, or one of my kids or grandkids. What about losing a job? Or, what if a doctor gives a bad diagnosis and prognosis? There are a thousand traps hidden in the road ahead. We don’t know where they are and we don’t know the future. We can prepare the best we can, but when we hit that thing buried in the road, we don’t know whether our preparations were adequate.

If you find yourself binge eating, out of stress. Just stop. Don’t beat yourself up. Be grateful that you’ve awakened before it’s too late and all your work is lost. Get right back on your program and start over. Day 1. If you need someone to talk to, I’m here for you. Or find one of your friends or a family member. I believe in you.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll tell you next week how I did. Wish me luck.

Keto Heresy – The Potato Is Not Your Enemy

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There I said it. I know I’ve referred to it in several posts, but I’m going to dedicate this one to my friend. I will say it again – The Spud is your Bud. In moderation.

Potatoes are high in carbohydrates. No question. A hundred mg portion has 17 grams of carbs. That’s a lot. But with 2.2 grams of fiber, that brings the carb total down to 15. The story doesn’t end there. First, that same 100 mg of potato only has 77 calories. It has 32% of your daily vitamin C. It has 15 percent of your vitamin B6, and 12% of your daily potassium. In fact, potatoes alone supply every vital nutrient except calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D.

The Spaniards found the natives of Peru and Bolivia eating potatoes as they conquered the continent in the 1500s. They were suspicious, but found the tubers edible. They took some back with them to Spain. Ironically though, the Europeans did not warm to the potato. Some of the Elites and Upper Class did, but the poor, across especially Northern Europe, including Great Britain did not. In general terms, it was 1800 that marked the turning of the taste bud tide, with the exception of Ireland which had adopted the potato during the last half of the 1700s. The entire population started thriving as a result. The population of the island grew immensely. Then in the mid 1800, a potato famine wiped out a good portion of the population.

When I was in Bolivia, they told me they had over 400 varieties of potatoes there. I tasted about 15. That kind of genetic diversity provides stability when one variety has disease problems. Ireland was not Bolivia, and did not have the diversity.

Anyway, the Highlanders of Scotland learned to live on the potato, and to this day, here in Northern Scotland, many potatoes are grown.

The French, the Prussians, and eventually all of Eastern Europe and Russia, came to rely on the spud for it’s nutritional value. In North America, the potato was probably always secondary to corn in value to people. But today, it is a cheap staple in nearly every home, and is usually a part of every restaurant meal.

The potato is healthy. It is our friend. But not the way we eat it. We fry it. And we fry it in poor fats. We mash it with high calorie, high carbohydrate milk, plus we then load it with butter, Sour Cream, Cheese, and, or Bacon. We turn it into the foundation of a dietary tower of babel.

In America, we grow some enormous varieties, that are sometimes a pound in weight or more. Here in Scotland, we don’t do that. We have a few largish varieties, but we don’t go crazy like Americans do.

Oh, we dehydrate them, and process them, and make them instant, and load them with all kinds of ingredients from the chemistry set. Yes, they taste awesome. But those things are poison.

Here’s the way I eat potatoes. First, I will not have them more than once a week. Normally, it’s once a month. But I love potatoes and I know I’m not going to go the rest of my life potato free. So I fit them into MY plan. I mostly buy new potatoes. They are lower in starch. I cut each potato into two or four pieces. I soak them in water to get out any excess starch. Then I will roast them in the oven. They get crispy, like oven fries, with skin. There’s all kinds of good stuff in the skins. I can put butter and sour cream on them, or dip them in sugar free ketchup. They taste great.

Because I track what I eat, I can watch my carbohydrates and calories for the day. If I have potatoes, I will allow more like 40 to 50 grams of carbs for that day, and reduce my calories to 1700. It’s a win win. My taste buds AND the scales both love me.

For those of you on a calorie controlled diet, rather than Keto, I encourage you to eat plenty of potatoes. They will make you feel full without a bunch of calories. Use them in soups, as well as baked and roasted.

Like everything else I’ve learned, it’s the processed stuff we have to avoid. If it comes from a factory, don’t trust it. Read the labels. If it comes from a garden, it’s not going the be your enemy, in moderation. I have had a few potato beds ravaged by moles. But I have never seen an obese mole.

When I started this Keto journey, I avoided potatoes like they were as bad as sugar. Partly because there are few foods that are a bigger trigger for me. Now that I am in control of what I eat, rather than what I eat having control over me, I can have some potatoes.

I never touch potato chips. I could eat them by the bag full, but they are very highly processed. And like instant potatoes, they are coated in tasty chemicals. I just don’t want that. My wife might make home made chips (or crisps, as they’re called here in Scotland) once a year. But because they’re trigger foods for both of us, she also might not. My point is, home made are much better for you than buying them by the bag at the supermarket or the gas station.

Do your homework. Potatoes are not our enemies. It’s how we fix them, and how much of them we eat, that’s the problem. Think about it. There is my heresy. Here I stand. I’m losing weight and I’m having fun doing it.

Let’s finish with some weight loss update information. My current weight is 229. And today I had to put another new notch in my belt. Fortunately, it’s winter and most days I wear a sweater which covers the belt. It’s starting to look pretty worn. Yay. I have another one that I use for dress up occasions. But with this lock down, those are few and far between.

My 2021 Garden Plan – Driven By Keto

Weight on 1 February 2021 = 230.5

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I know it’s the beginning of February, because I have my garden all planned out, except for how I’m going to lay it out. I’ll do that in March, when I go to clean out all the beds. Mostly I’ll be using containers, and they can pretty much go anywhere. I’m really excited. I have a much better plan than last year. I’m more organized in my head, as well as on paper.

All of these are low in Carbs. And all of them are healthy. There is nothing in this list I am ashamed of, or afraid to say I eat.

First, and the only thing already sown, are my super hot peppers: Moruga Scorpion, and Bhut Jolokia (Ghost). I am limited for space, so I can only grow a couple of these, so I chose two of my favorites. They are very hot. Both have had their place as the hottest peppers in the world, though neither has that title currently. But for space, and flavor, I chose these. I already sowed them, because they take up to 6 weeks to germinate.

I will also have Poblano, Jalapeno, and Bell Peppers. The Bells will be last to go in, because of space, and the fact that I can buy them pretty cheaply at the supermarket. I just like to grow my own.

Next, I will have three varieties of tomatoes. Back in GA, when I had acres of room, literally, I grew about 20 varieties of tomatoes, Now I have space for maybe 6 plants. I will grow, Moskvich OG, some purple cherry, and a miniature plant variety of red cherry tomatoes, called, Maskotka. I will probably plant two of each variety. 6 plants is going to be crowded, but no pain, no gain.

I will plant one kind of lettuce, Black Seeded Simpson. It is by far my favorite type of lettuce to grow. And I love to eat it. I will grow three or four of these at a time. I will also grow some herbs. I have oregano, thyme, rosemary, and cilantro seeds. That will be enough for this year.

I will not plant potatoes for the first time in a long time, because of space. Northern Scotland is potato country anyway, so I can buy them from a farm store as easy as I can grow them. But for root vegetables I will grow beets, and radishes. No carrots or parsnips this year for the same reason as not growing potatoes. When you have limited space you have to make choices. That’s also why I will only grow spring onions. I love them, they grow quickly, and they don’t take up much room.

I will grow some green beans and some wax beans. I had ok luck with them last year, and The garden could use the benefit of the extra nitrogen they’ll fix in the soil.

I will grow one kind of cucumber, Socrates. It’s my favorite. It grows and produces well, and since I have to grow them in a greenhouse, I need a variety that doesn’t require a pollinator. I don’t know whether one plant will be enough or whether I’ll grow two. I may just put them in a largish container and grow two.

My main crop will be squash and zucchini. I’ll grow three kinds of zucchini, and one or two crooked neck yellow squash. I will grow lots of spaghetti squash as they are my wife’s favorites. And I will grow some Butternut squash.

As space permits, I will grow some cauliflower and cabbage. I’m not sure how many because I don’t know about the space. They take up a lot of room for what they provide. Stay tuned.

As I keep saying, the garden will be small, but it will be mighty. I’ll keep you posted as I go, and I’ll probably do some posts on individual varieties as time allows.

Oh, for the record, I will no doubt grow some flowers among the veggies. Last year, I grew Nasturtium and some dwarf sunflowers. I will likely grow both of those again, and maybe some Zinnias. Come to think of it, I had some of those last year, too.

Gardening provides me exercise and sunshine, both are very important to weight loss and good health. They are both extremely important during this time of lock down. And here in Scotland, we don’t know when that will end. These veggies will save me some money during the growing season, and a little afterward. And the taste of fresh veggies, makes a Keto eating plan, exquisite.

My Keto Supplements

Ok, that title is a little clickbaity. No, it’s a lot clickbaity. I wanted to talk about all the supplements out there because there is a lot of money being spent by people who don’t need them. Some of them might be fine. They might even be great, but if like us, you’re on a budget, they aren’t necessary. You don’t have to wonder whether or not you’re missing out.

I know there are loads of snacks, shakes, and oils that are marketed to assist or keep you in Ketosis. But think about it. If you’ve had too many carbs, taking something that makes your body say it’s in Ketosis, is really only fooling the blood monitor or Keto stick. Your body is not going to burn fat, if there are carbohydrates in your body to burn. That’s a simple fact.

When I first started Keto, the thing that interested me, was MCT oil. My wife put it in her ‘bulletproof’ coffee every morning. The stuff was pretty pricey, but she really liked it. I tried it in my coffee. In fact, I used it for a month. It tasted ok, but eventually I realized that all it was doing was feeding me fat, and calories. I didn’t want calories that I didn’t eat. So I stopped. So did my wife. She’d been using MCT oil for about 2 years. We started using real cream. It was yummy, and gave us more money to spend on other things.

See, I am one who knows, that when you get down to it, calories matter. If you take in more calories than you burn, you will gain weight. When you’re morbidly obese like I was, you can eat a lot of calories and still lose weight. Especially if you cut out sugar, and processed carbs like flour, white rice, and pasta. Eventually, though, you’re going to have to cut your calories or the weight loss will stop. That’s why these days, I track my carbs and my calories. I don’t worry about protein and fat macros. I know I get enough of those. I write down everything I eat. I also write down the calories and the carbs in every food item.

We don’t buy any ‘extra’ goodies from the shops anymore. I did for a while. I bought certain snacks that I thought were keto friendly. I eventually stopped because they were so expensive.

I have friends who have been very successful with certain shakes, and certain supplements from their diet provider. Good for them. Whatever works for you. Keep doing it. Some of them are even making money on the side by selling the supplements. Hey, I love free enterprise.

You don’t need them. You can make smoothies and shakes much less expensively. Let me say it this way. I don’t need them. I can make smoothies and shakes much less expensively. And I do. If you want to use those things, go for it. But you don’t have to, you can be very successful without them.

For me, once in a while I get the ‘keto flu’. That just means, I’m low on electrolytes. So I do take electrolyte tablets about every 6 weeks. Mainly because I don’t pay attention to my potassium levels. And, especially since Covid, I also take a multi vitamin every day. I want to be sure I’m staying ahead on my D3, and C vitamins. I don’t take zinc, because Alzheimer’s runs in my family, and I don’t want to encourage that scourge. In case you’re wondering, I like the chewable kind of vitamins.

So in the end, I take some electrolyte tablets once in a while, and a multi vitamin every day. For me those are the only supplements I need. We eat loads of fresh and frozen vegetables. We eat free range eggs, and grass fed meat, as well as free range chicken and wild fish. I am confident in our vitamin and mineral intake. Besides, I have to take my blood pressure and heart meds every day. That’s enough pills for me. I can’t wait until my weight and fitness allows me to say goodbye to them as well.

I haven’t weighed myself this week, so there’s no update on that. I’ll let you know next week how I’m doing there. Take care, everyone.

Sometimes The Scales Are Against Me!

When Is the Best Time to Weigh Yourself? – Health Essentials from Cleveland  Clinic

My update is a little late this week. Mostly that’s because I was too discouraged to write a piece. I got on the scale at the beginning of last week and it said 234. The week before had been 232. I was gutted. I looked over my daily notes. Since I track what I eat, the carbs, and the calories, I know exactly what I’ve eaten. I couldn’t find a thing wrong. In fact, my calorie intake had been especially low. Too low, to be honest. I was stunned. I kept 232 as the weight in my mind, even though the scales said I had gained.

I weighed myself on Monday, and it still said 233.4. I was totally blown away and discouraged. I couldn’t write a post. I was too depressed. Today, I got on, notice it’s two days since Monday, and the scales said 231. What a relief.

Sometimes the scales seem to be against us. They tell us things to discourage or deceive us. Sometimes we can figure it out, sometimes we never know the why. For ladies, your monthly cycle can really mess up your progress. You retain fluid. You know that, and you can account for it. Sometimes, though, you cannot figure it out. It just doesn’t make sense.

That was me. I had no idea what was wrong. I am assuming that I retained fluid for some reason, and it looks like it was a lot of fluid. 2 pounds is a lot. Especially since I retained the weight for over a week. I nearly just gave up and had a cheat day. Nearly. In the end, I just kept with the program, and the weight disappeared. Do I wish I had lost more. Yes I do. But I’m not in control of that.

When the scales disappoint us, it can be a real blow to our psyche. We need to see those scales keep dropping. It motivates us. I had not only stayed on my program, I even went out and walked three days during the week. I would get on the scales and be discouraged the rest of the day.

Discouragement is okay. It’s not a sin. It’s reality. Just ask any competitive athlete. Sometimes you lose the match, or game. Sometimes the free throws don’t fall. Some Sundays the passes fall to the ground or you get sacked. Sometimes the umpire calls strike three. It happens.

Real champions learn from losses. They make adjustments. They don’t quit. Sometimes things will go wrong on your weight loss journey. Sometimes for a couple weeks. Sometimes for a couple months. We have to stay focused, determined, committed. The plateau will break. You have to believe that and do everything you can do to achieve the breakthrough. When it comes, what a sense of accomplishment you’ll feel.

Let’s go team.