Hot Peppers For Weight Loss – My Favorite Trick

Hot Peppers for Pain, Infection, and Heart Health

The benefits of hot peppers are an open secret in the dietary and medical fields. Before I go on, I have to confess my bias. I love hot peppers. I grow my own. I make my own sauces, I read about them, and study them.

In the first place, hot peppers are full of Vitamin C. Much more than in an orange. They aren’t as sweet, but they pack the vitamins as well as a punch.

They are being used heavily in Cancer research. It seems that capsaicin is a cancer killer, much like garlic. I have an acquaintance who grows specialist hot peppers for medical research.

They also benefit your gut. My father died of Colon Cancer. As a result, I had to start getting checked earlier than most men do. I was 49 when I got my first scan. I said something to the Doctor about the fact that I eat a lot of hot peppers, so no polyps are going to be able to affix themselves to my colon. He said, “Actually, you are on to something.”

Hot peppers can help with weight loss. I’m not kidding. First, they will make you feel fuller. So you don’t eat as much. Plus, eating hot peppers can affect your metabolism. For women it’s like they can burn an extra 100 calories a day, and for men, an extra 200.

Now to be fair, some of them also hurt….a lot. I grow and eat everything from Jalapenos, all the way up to Carolina Reapers, the hottest pepper in the world. I consume a lot of Ghost (Bhut Jolokia), and Moruga Scorpion peppers. They aren’t quite as hot as reapers, but I think they taste better.

Capsaicin is located in the membrane around the seeds. Capsaicin is where the cancer and fat fighting properties are found. The vitamin C is in the outer casing of the pepper. You will get more vitamin C from Red, Yellow, and Orange peppers than from Green ones. That’s one reason I let even a lot of my Jalapenos ripen.

Hot pepper growers are starting to breed their fruit to have more and more membrane to increase the heat levels. When you cut open a bell, poblano, or even a Jalapeno pepper, you notice they are mostly hollow. That’s great for stuffing, but not what heat lovers are after. Many super hot varieties are now almost full of a thick, juicy membrane. Sometimes, when you cut open a Scorpion or Ghost pepper, you will wince just from seeing the membrane. You can see the heat awaiting your taste buds.

I will have days where I have hot peppers or hot sauce with everything I eat. Not everyday, but some days. Today, for example, I’m feeling the need, so I’m going to go spicy all day. I don’t eat spicy food in every meal, every day, but I pretty much have something spicy every day. I truly love it.

This past weekend I made a very spicy Indian Curry. I mean it will put a hurt on you. If you have someone at work who gets into your lunch and steals it from time to time (I’ve been in several workplaces where that was common), putting some Chicken Phall in the fridge will both entice and cure the thief. Everyone will know who it is within moments.

And best of all, hot peppers are Keto. As far as I’m concerned, they must be the perfect food!

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!

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.

My Current First World Problems

Weight this week – 232lbs

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With weight loss success comes a variety of problems, or shall we say, challenges. I call them first world problems because this whole diet topic is totally moot in many parts of the world. And this is a fact we need to keep in the front of our minds, and hearts. There are millions of people, including small children, who can’t even imagine these things. They are facing this day, hoping for a meal. Even as I type these words I can see an image in my mind of a small child in the throes of starvation, covered in flies, with his or her mama hovering over the child, praying for a miracle. My challenges are a by-product of the fact that I was born in the USA. A fact for which I am eternally grateful. But I digress.

I told you all recently that I got into my new jeans. It felt great. Well this week, they started slipping down, because I need a new notch in my belt. For a few minutes I was worried that I was going to lose them in the supermarket. How embarrassing would that be? My wife would have laughed all day.

Jeans present a unique challenge, because when they are freshly washed, they fit more snugly. But after a few hours they stretch out quite a bit. I only have two pair that fit. I prefer wearing jeans most of the year. The are comfy. I like them. Since I work from home most of the time, it’s quite convenient. And that way my other trousers don’t get worn out too quickly.

Right now, I’m between sizes. I don’t want to buy new clothes every time I shrink a little bit. I don’t have that kind of money. So what I do as a workaround, is adjust my belt. I have two belts. One dress belt and one casual. Both are reversible. I’m cheap and practical. My dress belt is smaller than my casual one. But oddly they are exactly the same length. It’s all about the number and spacing of the holes in the crazy thing. Since I have a hole punch tool, I periodically punch a new hole in my belt. That way my trousers stay up, and my wife doesn’t laugh at me.

So far, I’ve punched four new holes in my casual belt, and it’s time to punch a 5th. I will do that later today. Some of my clothes are looking rather bulky. My wife has already gone through hers to get rid of the ones that are too big. I haven’t done that yet. I have it on my project list for this week.

I hate being in between sizes. But I can’t afford all the clothes I would need in order to avoid this dilemma. So I will keep punching holes, and wearing shirts that are too big. Fortunately, it’s winter right now, and nobody really cares about sweaters that are too big.

Another challenge I’m facing, is that my shoes are getting too big. My feet have shrunk considerably. Now my sneakers, both pair, and my slippers are too big. My dress shoes are, too, but I only wear them once, or at the most, twice a week. I’ve put insoles in my shoes to help. I don’t trim the insoles, so they kind of fold up in the toes and heels. The the shoes fit ok that way. For my hiking boots, two pair of thick socks does the trick. I just don’t know how much more my feet might shrink, so I don’t want to get any new shoes yet.

These are things we all need to think about before beginning a weight loss journey. They are real challenges, and cause real financial inconvenience.

Let me address one more first world problem before I end this update. This one is very topical. And could be very controversial. But we’ll face it head on.

In the media, and in certain parts of society in general, the whole ‘love yourself the way you are’ movement had gotten out of control. I have no problem with plus size models. I have no problem with people being overweight. I am still obese, despite having lost over 50 pounds the last year. I have no problem with people saying they don’t want to lose weight. That choice is personal. The thing is, that now magazines and YouTube are starting to fill up with articles saying that diet programs, and people feeling great about their weight loss, is wrong, and that they are fat shaming people around them.

I’m saying, get over it. If you are that sensitive, then don’t read about weight loss. Don’t watch videos from people who are successfully losing weight and getting fit. It’s not all about vanity. In my case, it has been about life and death. I have nasty scars on my chest and on my legs from the surgeon who had to cut me open and perform triple bypass surgery to save my life. The only reason it wasn’t quadruple bypass is because my heart is deformed and I only have three actual arteries leaving my heart. The fourth is attached to one of the others. I’ve had 4 strokes and a heart attack. I’m partially blind in my left eye because of the 4th stroke. That one, by the way, happened during the surgery to save my life.

So don’t tell me it’s about fat shaming. I’m on a life saving mission. As is my wife. She has broken her back twice in her life. She has been in serious pain. The doctors can’t do any surgery to relieve the pain. They’ve investigated everything. Weight loss and skin removal surgery, including breast reduction is her only relief option.

She loves the way she’s starting to look. She loves the improvement in her health. I love the fact that last week, I went for a three mile walk. I haven’t been able to do that in years. And, my heart didn’t hurt when I was done. My legs did, but that’s a whole other matter.

When you hear the negative talk, change the channel. Stop reading the article. You don’t need to see, hear, or read that kind of negativity. You need to be you.

And for those of you who are fussing about being fat shamed, tell it to a starving child in Burkina Faso. Just like my problem with my belt, you’ve got nothing but first world problems.

Speaking of my belt. I’ll talk to you next week. Right now I’ve got to go punch a new hole in some leather.

New Year’s Resolutions? Again?

To Keep Your New Year's Resolution, Make a Plan for Success | Psychology  Today

I’m writing this on the 28th of December, 2020. Christmas is behind us. It was pretty uneventful here, because of the renewed lockdown. But, we were still able to celebrate the birthday of Jesus. Yes!

For the record, here in Scotland, everything is pretty much on go slow from Christmas to New Year, most years. As I look out my office window, the town is pretty darned quiet. Pretty much the only things allowed to be open are the grocery stores, gas stations, take away eateries, and one bakery. Those are pretty much the places that would be open this week anyway.su

The sun is shining and it’s cold. Well it’s cold for this part of Scotland anyway. The temps are in the 20s F. The sun is trying to shine. All in all, it’s a pretty nice day. It gives us opportunity to think about our New Year’s Resolutions.

First, I haven’t believed in those for years, maybe ever. I learned long ago, to set goals for the new year in about October, so that I could think them through as much as possible. This year that’s been tough, because we don’t know what 2021 will bring with all the Covid issues.

But I know that many of us are thinking about our 2021 weight and fitness goals. A new year, seems to be a great time to start fresh. Most of us are tired of overeating, and we want to make the new year count for something, so we decide to go on a diet. Millions of people will join a gym. I want to suggest a different strategy, and one that may work well with all the Covid restrictions.

  1. Give up Sugar in January. This sounds so easy, but I promise you, it is not. I’m talking about white sugar, brown sugar, and molasses. Heck, even honey. You’ll be amazed at all the food it’s in. This will require you to read labels on cans. When you do, you’ll shake your head at how many canned goods contain sugar. Next week, I will talk more about that. But don’t try and make a strict diet for you New Year’s Resolution. Chances are, you’ll last maybe a week. Start with sugar for January. That will be hard enough.
  2. Decide to put a little exercise into your week. You don’t have to join a gym. I know many subscribers to this blog are gym rats, or even gym owners. I’m not trying to cost you business. I’m trying to get people started on a road they can stay on. So start with some walking. Walk a block, a mile, two miles. Just get started. Don’t even try to jog or run yet. Walking burns as many calories in a mile, as running a mile burns, or so I’m told. Add in some body weight exercises; sit ups, push ups, squats, jumping jacks. Start with a set of about 10. Just do one set. I know with me, I won’t be able to do 10 push ups. Since my heart surgery 2.5 years ago, my chest and arm muscles have deteriorated enormously. Just start with what you can do. Do those exercises two or three times a week. No weights other than your body weight. After a week or so, move to two sets. Then after another week or two, depending on your base fitness, add a third set. After you’re comfortable getting through three sets each time you exercise, then once a week, just do one set of as many reps as you can do. Do push ups to failure, for example. The other two times, do your regular sets. This is my plan. Our gyms are closed. They are small, and they are expensive. I don’t want to work out in front of people. I don’t want to pay a bunch of money. And I don’t like swimming. I will say, that swimming is great all round exercise, if you like to swim.
  3. Keep a journal. Write down your exercises and what you ate. It won’t be easy, because it’s boring, but a year from now, you’ll be glad you did it.
  4. In February, cut out processed flour. That’s white or regular brown flour. This is another hard one. It’s in everything you will find in a box. Every kind of processed food out there. I meet people every week who say, “I can’t do it.” I know it’s hard. Bread and flour are in so many food items.

I guarantee that if you try these small steps, you will be surprised at how much weight you will lose in January and February. Then, at the end of February, you will be in a position to decide whether or not this is a path you want to travel for the rest of 2021. Write and tell me whether or not you’re going to try it. Write at tell me how you get on. I’m curious.

I’m in it with you. On Christmas day, I hit my Christmas weight loss goal. I wanted to weigh 235 by Christmas. I made it that morning. My next goal is 200 lbs on Easter Sunday. This one will be tough. Easter is a bit earlier than I had originally thought. So be it.

I have written out my exercise plan. I know the exercises I’m going to do. I will give you updates. I need you to hold me accountable. I’m going to walk. I used to run. That was 25 years ago. I haven’t even gone for a jog in 23 years. Now, my sciatica is so bad, I can’t physically do it. But I can walk. My wife is a great walker. She leaves the house, sometimes for a couple hours, just walking the neighborhoods. I find that boring. I’m going to have to drive to some places out in the country. I get bored so easy. She has often said, ‘Just do it!’, but I’ve been too lazy. Well in 2021, lazy isn’t good enough. So stay tuned.

Keep in mind, I’m on a South Beach/Keto eating plan. I’ve conquered the sugar and flour. I do have bread once or twice a month. Usually in the form of a Weight Watchers tortilla or a hamburger bun. I have no sugar. In a spirit of full disclosure I do eat artificial sweeteners. I use Sucralose in my coffee, and I use brown Erythritol in baking and in my BBQ sauce. I know purists gasp when they read that. I’m not a purist. I’m me. And I’m doing what works for me. But I will not lie to you.

I hope this has given you some things to think about as you plan your New Year. You are part of my accountability team. Thank you. Keep your chin up. Remember God is for you, so who can be against you. Have a great 2021. We’re in this together. Let’s do it!

Don’t Let The Holiday Season Ruin Your Weight Loss Plan!

Memorable Christmas Feasts From History - Holidappy - Celebrations

If you’re trying to lose weight, I don’t care what program you’re on, you know we are in the time of year, that leads to diet disaster. We call it “The Holiday Season”. For Americans, it lasts from

Thanksgiving until New Year. For most of the rest of us, it certainly lasts from the time the supermarkets put out their mince pies, until sometime in January, when they finally remove them from the shelves.

There are office parties, family dinners, invites out with friends, and of course, gifts. Calories, and carbohydrates fill the air. We always think we can be strong, or we decide a cheating day won’t hurt, and before you know it, it’s March and we’re back to eating like we always did. Then we get depressed and verbally berate ourselves as we reach for the ice cream to provide comfort.

I’ve done it at least 20 times in my life. I’ve spent 6 months to a year, eating great, and losing weight, only to jump ship in January due to the Holiday Festivities. Not this time.

First, I’ve lost too much weight to risk giving up now. And secondly, I’ve changed my life. I’m not on a diet. I have an eating plan. And they are different mindsets.

I did the same thing when my wife and I got out of debt. We had made a financial mess. I won’t go into it, but we were a disaster. It had gotten really scary. Then, we came to our senses and decided we didn’t want to live like that any more. I read several books, and we decided to make a plan. I got out my yellow pad and we looked at our debts, our income, and our bills. Then we prioritized them. If you want to find out the details, my book, IOU NO MORE, is still available on Kindle. The print version is off the market.

One of the changes we made was in our mindset. We weren’t on a budget. We had a spending plan. There was a goal. We made loads of mistakes. Some of them were pretty stupid, but we got right back on the horse and kept riding.

That was 20 years ago. It took us several years to get out of debt, but we did it. Today our income is smaller than it’s ever been, but we are able to pay all our bills. Besides that, I’ve gone back to school and got my masters and doctorate. My wife went back and got her bachelors and is working on her masters degree. We have paid for it. No student loans. We haven’t had a car payment since 2006. We’ve paid cash for every vacation.

Finally, this year, I decided to treat my health the same way. Instead of a diet, I have an eating plan. I know what I can eat, and what I can’t eat. I don’t eat what I can’t. Sometimes, if we’re at another couple’s home, or we’re out with friends, we can’t eat according to our plan. We don’t panic. We don’t cause a scene. We eat what’s put in front of us, knowing the next day will see us back on the program.

That’s why the Holidays are different this year. We’re on a plan. We have goals. And because we’re not on ‘a diet’, the mentality has changed. I’m not a slave to my weight, or to a diet. I’m in charge. Do I wish I could eat everything I like? Yes, but I can’t. That’s reality. I want to live a long time. And I want to be happy. I risked both of those things by eating myself into oblivion.

As I’ve said before, sugar is out of my life. I know how poison and addictive it is. White flour too. I do have the occasional low carb tortilla. I do have the occasional hamburger bun. I’m not a slave. I have a plan. The fact is, I don’t like burgers without buns. So now, I have fewer burgers, and have a bun. I don’t have ketchup, because it’s full of sugar. I don’t have special sauce for the same reason. Now, to be fair, burgers are awful here in the U.K. The only ones I like are sold in our local supermarket. They are 295 calories. I have two in my freezer. On days when I eat one, like I’ve said before, I bump my carbs to 50 and my calories to between 1500 and 1800.

Ok, to be fair, Covid has made things easier this year. We can’t go to people’s homes or have people over. So some of the temptations have been excluded by Government sanction. But I’m ok with that. It helps me stay true to my plan.

I’m 4 pounds away from new territory. I’m 60 pounds from my goal weight. I can see it from here. Yes, the light is distant, but I want it, and no one is going to stop me. So don’t even think about trying.

If you want to change your life, think in different terms. Stop thinking about debt and budgets. Take back your life. Start thinking about a spending plan and things you want to achieve or buy or do. Stop thinking about how fat you are, or how bad you look naked. How many people see you naked anyway? Never mind, don’t answer that. Start thinking about what it will be like to wear clothes off the shelf, rather that at the big and tall store. Start thinking about paying less for shirts, because 2XL and larger cost more. Start thinking about being able to walk, or go places you’ve always wanted to go. What do I want, rather than what I can’t do now.

If you need weight loss surgery, make an appointment, talk to your doctor. Don’t wait until ‘someday’. It’s not on the calendar. If you want to lose weight, start small, cut out sugar. That’s a great beginning. You’ll be surprised how much that will help you. If you need to start exercising, start by walking around the block. Or walking to your neighbors driveway and back. Do something. Change your mind, and do something.

And here’s my commitment to you. I will tell you what happens to me this Holiday Season. I will weigh myself say Christmas Eve, and again January 7, I will tell you what I ate. No secrets. Deal?

Have a very Merry Christmas, y’all. And please remember the Reason for the Season!

I HATE Dieting in Winter. There I Said It.

Public Domain Clip Art Image | February calendar page: It's so cold! | ID:  13920582614985 | PublicDomainFiles.com

Do you have times of year when eating right is particularly hard? I know I do. Winter is one of them. And it’s not because of the Holidays. It’s because it’s cold and dark, and I want to eat to feel better. I want loads of Carbs. I want good burgers with buns. I want mashed potatoes or loaded baked ones. I want acres of Macaroni and cheese and cheesy potatoes. Many people want soup in winter. It makes them feel warm and cozy. I am not one of those. Unless it’s New England Clam Chowder or Lobster Bisque, I’m not interested in soup at all. For my whole life, soup has felt like a punishment.

Anyway, for the moment, Keto and South Beach, are a bummer. I’m being honest. You need honesty. The only bright spot is I’m now at 240 lbs. even. That means I am 5 pounds from uncharted territory. That’s exciting. For those who are new to this blog, I started originally, at 305. But this Keto/South Beach program I started at 280. It has been years since I was over 300 lbs. But I’ve been stuck at 175 to 280 for nearly a decade. I had given up. My health gave me jolt back to reality. I have to focus on the progress. Last night I was so hungry I was whining like a 6 year old. I didn’t give in, but I sure wanted to. This morning when I got on the scales, I was pleasantly surprised.

The simple truth is, dieting isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s really hard. You have to decide what’s important to you. For years, I ate my way to poor health, simply because food tasted good. In the end, I had my heart attack and strokes. I wear the scars of that mistake for the rest of my life.

I have made the decision to change. I can honestly say, there is no vanity in my motivation. I’m 64 years old. The idea of egotistical reasons for weight loss is honestly, laughable. I just want the last quarter of my life to be healthy. I owe that as a legacy to those who follow.

Some Dietary Confessions to Clear the Air

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I try not to burden you with too many of my thoughts on dieting. Even when there’s a lot of research behind them. Part of that is because, there’s enough talk and not enough doing. I want to do the weight loss and earn the right to be heard. And partly it’s because dieting is personal, and different diets work better with certain personality types.

Keto/SouthBeach works for me. I love it. I am rarely hungry. Sometimes, my wife or I go through a few days where we’re really hungry for a few days. Fortunately, it hardly happens at the same time, or we might be in trouble. And for the record, I weighed in at 243.8 lbs. That’s down from a high of 305. But to be fair, I restarted Keto/South Beach at 280. I told people it was 275. I was embarrassed.

The reason for today’s post is to talk about my adjustments to Keto due to my health concerns, and my core values. So get ready. You might be disappointed. I could even lose a few followers, but I’m not going to hide anything from you.

The first thing is, I had open heart surgery 2.5 years ago. I had triple bypass. It would have been quadruple, but the 4th line is deformed and comes off one of the other three, and wasn’t blocked. The valve it came off of was blocked after this one. It looks really weird when I see pictures of it. I have had heart challenges for several years and had lots of pictures taken yet this deformity was never discovered. Anyway, I essentially have three, rather than 4 actual valves attached directly to my heart.

Because of that surgery and my years of poor diet, I am currently on a number of medications. My goal is to lose enough weight and get fit enough to lose the medication, but that time has not yet come.

My other problem comes from abuse I gave my body by racing sled dogs for over 30 years. I was fat, yet ran speed mushing races. I ran up and down a lot of hills. It did damage to my knees and ultimately to my back. Then after retiring from racing, I took up farming. Trust me when I tell you that farming a small farm can be a lot of work. But I loved every day of it. The only problem was, eventually my body broke down. Now I suffer from bad knees and some very serious sciatic issues.

As a result, I have to take pain meds that create bowel challenges. The Keto diet doesn’t help resolve those problems. I need fiber. Its as simple as that. About every other week, I will have oatmeal, and some root vegetables like new potatoes, fresh carrots, and some parsnips. I also have plenty of broccoli and cauliflower.

On days when I’m having those foods, I watch my calories very closely. I’m not going to have a bunch of carbs AND calories. I simply have to do it.

The results are, it slows down my weight loss, but does not eliminate it. I am very fat adapted and some weeks I don’t even go out of ketosis. When I do, I get back in very quickly. I don’t eat tons of this non keto food, but it does work better than meds for the bowel issues. And I’d rather treat myself with food that with chemicals.

Also, to be fair, I’m not against root vegetables and oatmeal. Those have been staple foods that have kept whole nations alive for hundreds of year. Scotland, where I live, is an example. Here, potatoes, rutabagas, carrots, parsnips, barley and oatmeal have been dietary staples and have kept people alive and thriving. Especially during cold winters. Scotland did not start having health issues until really the 1980s when fast food, and processed food became big parts of the diet.

I’m a Christian. That affects every decision I make. I believe that if it comes from God it’s safe if taken in context and in moderation. If an ungulate eats it, so can I. And I can eat the ungulate. Here sheep and cattle, eat rutabagas, potatoes, barley and oatmeal all the time. They will eat beans and peas too, if they get in the fields. Those are whole foods, and we shouldn’t be afraid of them.

The reason I am on Keto, is because I abused myself and drastic action is required. It is not because high carb whole foods are bad. Keto works for me because fat is filling, and I need to feel full.

I only eat new potatoes. And only a few, about once every other week. New potatoes are lower in starch. I fix them with the skin on. I cut them, and soak them just like you would to remove starch from older potatoes. Then I boil or bake them. They are full of vitamins and minerals and are not terrible in carbohydrates.

The vegetable I have to watch are Parsnips. Those things are delicious, especially after a frost, and they look so innocent, but they are absolutely packed with carbohydrates. So is oatmeal. It is a carb monster. It has lots of fiber, but the carbs are outrageous even with the fiber.

But the problem is not really with the carbs, it is simple and processed carbs that will do you in. Sugar, is a killer. It just is. White flour has had all the benefits removed. A loaf of bread from the supermarket will be loaded with both. It’s an evil, almost like no other. Sure it tastes good. But it’s poison. There are no nutritional benefits. Sure some have had vitamins and minerals added. That’s because they’ve taken them out of the whole grains to begin with.

I do my best to avoid all processed sugar, and white flour. I don’t drink fruit juice, even a small glass, if there in no pulp in it. Even then, it’s pretty rare.

Donuts are absolutely delicious. Delicious poison. And that makes me sad. I don’t eat them, because I’m an addict. I’m addicted to flour and sugar. I can’t have a small portion and then leave them. I will binge for days. So, I don’t eat them. Sigh.

I’m starting to ramble, so it’s time to bring this to a close. I felt honesty was the best policy. I’m just not going to hide either my health issues, or my dietary habits, and pretend I’m doing something else. Let me just end with this. I pretty much always watch my calories. I believe that ultimately, calorie control is the key to weight loss. If you want to learn more about that, I recommend you watch videos from Ally McWowie on YouTube. She’s awesome, and really honest.

Loose Skin – A Very Real Side Effect of Weight Loss

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This post has been a long time coming. I’ve been afraid to write it, but the time has arrived when it needs to be done. Not for my benefit, but for yours.

In 1990, I weighed 250 lbs. On my 5′ 9.5” frame, that was a lot of extra weight. Shortly before I turned 34 years old in October of that year, I started losing weight. It was slow at first. By the spring of 91, I was serious. I took up running and working out in the gym. I was fairly young, I was getting healthy, and I looked on fitness as my job.

My routine was pretty simple. I went to the gym every morning at 9. Three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, and usually Saturday, I would sauna for an hour or so. Then I would shower, come home, have lunch, and work a bit. In the afternoons, especially on days I did not go to the sauna, I would run 2 to 5 miles. I hated running. But I got good at it, and it became a regular part of my routine. I ate very little during the day, I was not on Keto in those days. I’d never heard of low carb. Only low fat. I ate a light breakfast of toast and oatmeal, a light lunch, and then at night I’d have a big dinner.

I did this for 7 years. I lost down to about 168 lbs. I went from a 40 inch waist to a 33. I am, and have been thick waisted my whole life. I inherited my build from both of my grandfathers. People who knew me as fat, were shocked at how I’d lost and kept off my weight. People who didn’t know me as heavy were stunned to hear about my earlier weight issues. They only knew me a buff and thin.

I had no loose skin. Absolutely none. I had met a guy in college who lost a lot of weight, and he had rolls of it. It was almost frightening to look at. I had worked hard, and was young enough that I did not suffer that fate one iota. But that was then.

I was 41, when my wife and I got married. I stopped running, working out, and eating healthy. So did she. We ate everything we could get our hands on. I won’t describe some of our eating marathons, but I might come back to it in the future.

I peaked out at 305 lbs. Holy mackerel! I was a mess. To be fair, I lost down to 275, and stayed between there and 285 until earlier this year.

2.5 years ago, I had open heart surgery. I’d had a heart attack and several small strokes. The last stroke was on the operating table. It left me partially blind in my left eye. The surgeon said that I was fortunate. I could have easily died from a stroke while undergoing heart surgery. In that case, I’ll settle for a little vision challenge.

It’s ironic that it’s taken me this long to get serious about losing weight. But at long last, I got there. My wife has been practicing the Keto diet for several years. It got a whole lot easier for her once I got with the program. We are both losing weight at a fairly steady rate.

I have not been able to get back into a consistent exercise routine. Part of that is pure laziness. And part is because I’m 64 years old, and my body doesn’t work the way it used to. I used to run sled dogs. I did it for over 30 years. I ran limited class sprint races. That means 4 to 6 dogs over 4 to 6 miles for multiple days in a race, trying to get the fastest time. It’s a lot different that the Iditarod. For most of that time, I was seriously overweight. Running up and down big hills and running between the runners to make things easier for the dogs, did a number on my knees. They are scarred up badly.

For a number of years after retiring from racing dogs, I was a farmer. I worked hard. Trying to compensate for my deteriorating knees I damaged my back and hips. These days I have serious sciatic problems. My entire right side, from below my chest is affected. I am in constant pain. No one’s fault but mine. These are the results of allowing myself to remain obese and trying to live like I wasn’t.

Currently, I weigh 247 lbs. I’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve made great progress. I tried a body weight workout last week. It was a disaster. I will try one tomorrow. I’m not going to join the gym. Like I said, I’m 64. I don’t want to spend the money. I will stick to body weight exercises for a while and see what happens.

The thing I’ve really noticed, is, the loose skin. Frankly, it’s getting bad. And it’s pretty ugly. It’s all in my mid section. My legs and arms never got grossly fat. Oddly, neither did my chest and upper back. All my weight was in the middle. Just like a barrel, or an apple. So as I lose weight, my belly skin sags. I guess to be fair, I’ve got a good bit of loose skin on my neck, but comparatively, it’s not that bad. I’m trying to stay PG in this space, so let’s just say, there is a part of my anatomy that is pretty much covered up by hanging slabs of skin.

When I go to the bathroom, I have to drop my trousers. I can’t just unzip. I’m so sorry to paint this picture, but this is real life. I have to hold up my skin so that I have the freedom to go number 1. In public restrooms, I have to use a stall so that I don’t frighten and gross out other people. The point is, my loose skin has become an issue.

Another side effect is that my trousers don’t fit right. I have a huge bulge just below the belt line. My trouser sizes are not going down as fast as I’d like, because the loose skin is replacing the fat, and it looks odd.

My wife is having loose skin issues as well. She’s a lot younger than I am. She’s broken her back twice, and the loose skin is causing her pain. She will have surgery once she finishes losing weight, and Covid allows travel. I will not have the surgery. Like I said, I’m 64. In my mind, that’s an expense that doesn’t have enough ROI in my case. I’m too old to spend that kind of money for cosmetic surgery that won’t have a huge health benefit for me. I will live with the loose skin. My situation is so much different than my wife’s. She’s in her mid 40s. She’s not too old. And the loose skin causes her pain. She needs the surgery. Unfortunately, insurance won’t cover it, so we’re saving up for it now. We don’t put things on credit cards, but that’s another topic for another day. Check out my book IOU NO MORE. Its old now, and it’s only available on Kindle these days, but it’s still available.

I am telling you about our loose skin, because it’s real life. If you are on Keto, with only 25 or 30 lbs to lose, this might not be something you’ll face. If, though, you’ve got 100 lbs or more to lose, or, like me you’re getting a bit older, you will face it. It’s one of the prices we have to pay for decades of being morbidly obese. And the more we know, the better prepared we are for side effects.

In my case, I won’t ever be even a 36 inch waist. If I get to 38 I’ll be lucky. It will also affect my weight goal. I know I will have 7 to 10 pounds of extra skin affecting the scale every time I get on it. That’s reality. It’s a price I have to pay. We weighed up the benefits vs cost of having skin removal surgery and for my wife it makes sense to pursue it. For me, it will be like giving away money. I won’t do it.

You need to be aware of the reality of loose skin. Some people have it in big pockets on their upper arms, their waists, and even on their legs. It can be gruesome. I’ve seen the photos on Instagram. You need to think about it now, so that you can decide whether or not you will pay for the surgery. The odds are greatly against insurance covering loose skin surgery. Don’t let either the existence of waves loose skin, or the cost of getting rid of it, catch you by surprise. Be ready. Be wise. And good luck. This journey is worth the hassle.