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…

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.

My Keto Secrets and Adjustments

2021 starting weight, 234.2lbs

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I’ve been fat for most of my adult life, apart from 7 years, 1990-1997. During those 7 years I was fit, lean and buff. I was also 34 years old to 41. So I was young. But apart from that, I’ve been fat since 1976. That’s the year I turned 20. Just so you don’t have to do any difficult math equations, I’m now 64. I know a lot about being fat. I’m quite an expert.

Oddly, I also know a great deal about healthy food. My wife and I were organic farmers for several years. We grew all kinds of vegetables as well as grass fed and pastured meats. I studied intensely to make sure we grew the most nutritious varieties possible.

During our farming years, I was fat. Correction, I was obese. Some years I was morbidly obese. But I maintained by obesity by eating massive quantities of really healthy food. Yes, it can be done.

That knowledge affects my thinking about food, and is the reason why I have combined elements of the South Beach Diet with my Keto lifestyle.

Now, when you also take into consideration that I’m a very serious Bible Believing Christian, I have a few challenges with what dietitians and main stream diet people have to say, including the Keto Purists.

I’m thinking out loud here, so this post may wander all over the place, but if you stay with me, I think we’ll get somewhere decent.

Keto makes sense for this reason. Our bodies can run on fat or carbohydrates. We need both, but we can run well on either one. Most of us fatties got that way by abusing carbohydrates, especially simple carbohydrates, like sugar. Therefore, if we eliminate those simple carbohydrates, we can begin to lose weight.

Not all simple carbohydrates are totally unhealthy. For example, honey. The Bible speaks in glowing terms about the benefits of eating honey. Keto purists say, cut it out. I’m going with the Bible over the Keto purists. But, for the period of my weight loss, I’m not eating any. I miss it. I love honey. For now, it’s gone.

Another thing I think Keto is wrong about, is potatoes. I’ve written about this a few times. Potatoes have been almost single handedly responsible for saving multiple cultures from starvation. God made them, they are not our enemy. For now, I eat them very rarely. Maybe once a month I’ll have some new potatoes roasted in the oven. Or in the summer I’ll have a small baked one, especially when I’m grilling out. I don’t eat mashed or boiled ones.

Keto has been right on some things, too, though. Just tonight I was reading about low calorie and low fat eating. The article was in a magazine. I won’t name either. Anyway, it was talking about how we should eat egg whites and skip the yolks. The moment I read that sentence, I stopped reading the article. Yes, the fat is in the yolk. So is the flavor. So is the nutrition. We used to raise our own chickens and we gathered eggs every day. Our hens were free range. The eggs were awesome. The yolks were dark orange, and filled with vitamins, minerals, and omega 3 fatty acids. All of those things came from the yolks.

We raised goats for dairy. I prefer cows milk, but our small farm was better for raising goats. I know that full fat milk from grass fed dairy animals is the healthiest you can drink. The 2% or skim milk has all the nutrition taken out of it. Why would I want to fill my stomach with stuff that has no nutrition. Yes, full fat milk has some carbs. I only have it in my coffee and once or twice a week I have some in the evening with 0 calorie flavorings in it. God made it, so if we consume it as God made it, it’s not going to hurt us.

I feel similarly about peas, corn, and winter squash. I eat all of those, in moderation. I’m not going to pretend I don’t.

Here’s my real secret. I track my carbs and my calories. When you get right down to it, cutting calories is still the secret to successful weight loss. I know some of you are gasping, and some may unsubscribe. So be it.

At first, when we go Keto, the calories are not important. Same with South Beach. When I first started, I could eat a whole roast chicken from the grocery store and have a few blueberries with full fat double cream on top for dessert, and still lose weight. That was awesome. But the part I didn’t understand was it was my cutting out the sugar, flour and white rice that was the key to my great start. After a while, I didn’t lose weight eating whole chickens. I had to start thinking.

I read the keto stuff and the South Beach diet recipes and noticed that both were talking about serving sizes. Some Keto experts talked about fat and protein targets. They were telling me, almost in code, that I could eat too much of the right stuff and not lose weight. They were replacing the word calories, with the words portion sizes. Suddenly, I understood.

That’s when I started tracking. I write down the carbohydrates and I write down the calories of everything I eat. My target for carbs is 30 grams. I don’t want to subtract fibre, so I track total carbs. I do enough math as it is. I have a 1900 calorie per day target. As long as I stay under 1800 calories, my carb total can go up to 50 grams. But between 1800 and 2000 calories, those carbs have to stay under 30 grams. 20 is even better. Right now, for example, it’s 7pm. I’ve had 750 calories and 25 grams of carbs. I’m not even a bit hungry. I ate some very filling food.

I’m not recommending 750 calories. That’s an oddity. But by tracking carbs AND calories, I allow myself the widest range of food. And I like that plan.

I couldn’t do that at first. I had to eliminate sugar, white rice, and white pasta from my diet. I had to get a grip on my bread addiction. We haven’t bought white flour is a year. I do have the occasional WW tortilla, especially for a breakfast burrito, or in place of a Naan Bread with a curry. But now that those things are under control, I’ve been able to balance my diet and keep losing weight.

My inspiration has been the YouTuber, Ally McWowie. Ally lost like 170 pounds on the Keto diet, but also by watching her calories. She is by far my favorite Keto Diet YouTuber. Her eating plan is totally different than mine. But her principles are rock solid.

What are you doing? Have you joined the Keto revolution? Are you Paleo? Mediterranean Diet? South Beach? There are so many excellent eating plans out there. Find the one that best matches your personality and life style. Just don’t go low fat. Seriously, you’ll be miserable, and you won’t stick to it. Study, find one you like, and just do it. You won’t regret it. I know I don’t.

New Jeans!

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On Friday, as I was getting dressed, I decided to try on my “goal” trousers. This is a pair of jeans, my wife bought me a year ago. I don’t know what she was thinking. Maybe she made a mistake. Maybe the place she bought them made a mistake, but I couldn’t even get close to getting them on. When I looked at the size, they said 40. Now I know that probably sounds to you like the size of a parachute, but at the time I wore a 48. If they were a relaxed fit, possibly a 46, but 40 was a size I hadn’t worn since the first year we were married, which was 1997.

I have tried them on a couple times, since, but on Friday, I slipped them on, and they buttoned right up. They are not tight. They fit comfortably. I have gone from a size 48 down to a size 40 in 2020. So that’s one bit of good news during this year from H E double hockey stick.

My wife has also dropped several dress and trouser sizes. She is looking fabulous. I think she weighs less than she did when we got married. If not, she’s extremely close.

I tell you all this to encourage you. Find a program that fits your lifestyle. I watched a video yesterday by a guy in California who switched to a Paleo diet, and not only lost weight, but he healed up several long term health problems. I’ve read the same results from people who’ve gone on the Mediterranean diet. The secret is not necessarily the eating plan itself. It’s finding one that fits your lifestyle and personality. For us it has been Keto/South Beach.

I say both, because the two diets are so similar now, that they are virtually the same thing. South beach does allow a few more carbs, which I’ve had to move to because of certain digestive challenges I’ve had due to my medication. Perhaps I should do a post about that.

I want to repeat my primary message, though. The first thing is, you absolutely must eliminate sugar from your diet. Stop fighting me. Just do it. Then start getting rid of processed wheat flour. White flour and white sugar are, and I know I use this word a lot, but here I go again, they are POISON. They are addictive and will destroy your body, one bite at a time.

The next thing you need to know is, weight loss is based on calories. Yes, I know that’s old school, but it’s true. When you first start Keto, calories aren’t a big deal. You are training your body to feed off of fat rather than carbohydrates. That alone will be enough to get your weight falling off. You feel full, and you will love all the fat and protein and delicious veggies. You will, however, reach a time when you have to start paying attention to calories.

Some people do this by serving sizes. My wife does that. She only uses a small dessert plate as her dinner plate. That works great for her. I need a big plate because I’m a messy eater. Some people do it by measuring their food. My favorite You Tube host, Ally McWowie, measures everything carefully. She has done it for years now. She lost like 150 or 170 lbs doing that. She’s worth paying attention to.

Some people work out so hard that it doesn’t really matter. They burn everything off anyway. I’m 64, I’m going to burn more calories changing clothes than I can motivate myself to burn in the gym.

I actually track calories. When I first started, I tracked only carbs. I focused on 20 carbs a day. I wrote down everything that entered my gullet. For a while that was all I needed to do. Then I developed digestive problems. I will tell you about that next week. So I raised my carb limit to 50 carbs, and started tracking my calories. I set my goal at 1900 calories a day. On days when I stay under 20 carbs, which is most days, I can go over. Even 2100 calories will be ok.

Some days, like days I have to eat oatmeal, I watch my calories very carefully. I will try and keep them closer to 1500 those days.

For most people Keto is not hard. You track your carbs. I rarely track my fat and protein. I don’t worry about my minimums and maximums. I know some purists eyes will explode over that. It’s lazy Keto, and it works for me. But I track my calories. If I go over, I don’t panic. I’m changing my life, I’m not a slave to the numbers.

What are your secrets? What works for you? What have been your challenges? I’m curious. I can’t understand why more people don’t try Keto. But that’s because it fits my lifestyle perfectly. It fits the way I garden, and the vegetables I love most.

Off The Wagon!

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I’ve really been spotty about updating this page. I kind of hate that. But I’ve got so many irons in the fire, that some things just have to give. Sadly, this page, which is lots of fun for me, drew the short straw.

What I love about this page is, this is the page I use to process. I take ideas and throw them around and get them out for the world to see what’s going on in my mind and in my world. It’s fun. It’s just that sometimes I simply don’t have time for things like this.

Anyway, today I want to update you on my diet. Or lack of one. Brittan was out of the country for 3.5 weeks and I was cooking for myself. I was going to say I fell off the wagon, but that would not be correct. I drove the wagon off the bridge and drowned it in the river beneath. Bye Bye wagon. I made some great foods, but I ate a lot of junk. Especially bread. Oh, and white chocolate.

When you’re cooking for one, it’s just easy to make, say a meatloaf and rather than make potatoes and green beans, to slap a slice of it on two slices of bread or a hamburger bun, and be done with it. That’s what I did. Everything became a sandwich of some kind. Even my curry. It was just so easy.

What’s worse is, every night I’d sit down with a cup of tea and eat half a bar of white chocolate. Every single night.

So you can imagine, I didn’t lose any weight while she was gone. In fact I gained everything I had lost in January. That means, I’ve had to start over.

This is the scourge that torments fat people. We do well, then something comes up and we fall into old habits. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I’ll confess it, build a new wagon, and get back to eating right.

I haven’t had any bread in 4 days. I’m Jonesin’ something awful. I want cheap white bread. That’s the only kind I like. I don’t like whole meal or ordinary brown. I like the cheap stuff. Actually, I like rye bread too, but that’s outrageously expensive here.

I very seriously considered switching to the Keto diet. I watched hours of YouTube videos and read everything I could get hold of. But I have a problem with almost any diet plan. It’s the whole foods you must give up. I’m not talking about junk, like white bread, or granulated white sugar. Or nasty frozen things full of MSG and stuff. I’m talking about potatoes, rutabaga, parsnips, winter squash, grapes, bananas, honey, and other good things like that.

I believe God made those things for our enjoyment. I believe the right way to eat is to eat whole foods, and when possible, to eat with the seasons. God made potatoes. They are good for you. They are full of vitamins and minerals. When potatoes where brought to this country, it literally saved the Scottish clans and the people of Ireland. I cannot accept that they are bad.

Honey is a natural sweetener and tastes great. Natural honey made a major difference in my allergy issues more than twenty years ago. Natural, local honey is a different beast from most of the sugary stuff with the same name that you find in supermarkets.

I think you get my point. For the next thirty days, B and I are going to eat only real food. Nothing that comes from a box. No lunch meats. No bread. No processed sugar. I’ll keep you posted once or twice. I really believe I will notice the difference in my health before I see it on the scales. I think the first thing will be the disappearance of sluggishness and bloating.

Let me be clear, I’m not bashing anyone’s diet. Especially if they’ve been successful. I haven’t been. This is brand new. I think Keto, Paleo, W.W., Atkins, and a hundred other plans are great. Find one that you like and try it. If it works for you. Great. I’m just sharing my thoughts and what I’m going to try for the next 30 days. I hope you’ll stick around and see what happens.