Ketogenic First World Problems! I Got Em!

Image result for fat guy on scales images public domainI’m Stuck. I haven’t lost any weight in a month. Yikes! Have you ever had that happen? If so, then you understand the discouragement. I have not been ‘cheating’ and eating carbs. They are offered to me all the time, but I stay away.

In the past, I would just say, “Forget this”, and go back to eating the old way. But this is a new day. What I have had to do, is figure out what I’m doing wrong, and make adjustments. I have done that, and my direction is clear. I need to cut calories. Wow! That even hurt to type.

See, one of the mistakes people often make when switching to a Ketogenic Diet, is forgetting about calories. When we get off of sugar, and other carbs, our bodies naturally lose some weight. And generally, we’ve cut our calories just by switching fuels.

But I’ve hit a point where I need to cut some calories, too. So it’s time for me to add in the calories I’m eating in addition to the protein, carb, and fat macros. I need to eat less than 1900 Calories if I want to keep losing weight.

That scares me, because I might not feel full at first. Since I started this journey back in April, I haven’t had to feel hungry at all. Now I’m forced to face my fears. Hunger is one of my greatest fears. What am I going to do?

First, I’m going to pray. I am one of those people who believes God wants the best for us, and that He will help us find solutions, and stick to them. I need His help. When I hurt my ankle, or knee, I sometimes need help walking. I have had to use a crutch or a walking cane. I have a cane in my closet in the hallway. I’m not ashamed of it.

I need God to help me in every area of my life. Some day, I’ll explain that in detail, but for now, just know that I’m going to ask God to help me deal with this. My weight has held me back in more ways than I tell you. Two years ago, it nearly killed me. I can’t run anymore, because of damage to my knees, from being too fat. I can’t even compete with dogs in the sports I love, because of my fat. I can’t wear nice clothes. Fat has been a major problem. I need God’s help to beat my addiction, not just to sugar, but to food.

Ok, I’m ranting, let’s move on. I’m also going to go back to the beginning and journal every bite I take. Not so much to track the carbs, but to track the calories. I have no doubt that I’m eating too much peanut butter, cheese, and other dairy products.

I’m scared, but I’m not giving up. I’m going forward. I have beaten this sugar thing. I no longer fear it. Now I just have to face down the Calorie Monster. I’m not going to try something silly like a 1500 calorie diet, but I’m going to set 1900 as my maxim calorie limit for a day.

So here goes. This starts tomorrow. Watch this space. I’ll keep you posted. What about you? Have you had to cut calories when you switched to Keto? Tell me about your experience. After all, we’re in this together.

The Daniel Plan Diet – Holy Idea or Hoax?

I want to look at a very popular Diet Plan that’s sweeping Churches in America. I’m going to tell you what I like about it, and what I don’t like at all. Because that’s how I roll.

It’s called, The Daniel Plan. The name was my first red flag. I’ll tell you why later. So stay with me. Daniel Plan is supported and partially written by. Rick Warren, the Senior Pastor of Saddleback Church in California. I love him. Back in the early 90s, Rick’s early book, The Purpose Driven Church, was a genuine game changer for me. I went to seminars. I adjusted many of the ways we did ministry at Church, and I joined the Pastors Network online. It was so meaningful.

I did not enjoy, The Purpose Driven Life, nearly as much. Millions of other people did. And that’s awesome. I am so glad for the way that book ministered to people all around the world.

The Daniel Plan also has the backing of Dr. Mehmet Oz. That is less satisfying to me. I’m not a big fan of daytime TV at the best of times, but Dr. Oz comes across like a snake oil salesman. I don’t like preachers who come across that way, nor do I like doctors who do either. I’m just saying. He seems to promote every new diet plan. I have no doubt that he benefits financially from every plan he promotes.

I have no knowledge of the other two authors associated with The Daniel Plan, Daniel Amen, and Mark Hyman.

The Plan is put together kind of like Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover, but not as entertaining. The idea is to get a group of people together in a Church setting and go through the program as a group. I really like the way they’ve brought in 5 categories, Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends. I also smile at the alliteration, because it’s so Rick Warren. That’s not a bad thing. It’s just that it has his fingerprint all over it.

I love the faith aspect. My book will be written from a Faith perspective. In fact, the working title is, Eating God’s Way. I don’t know whether or not that will be the final title, because I’m going for a bigger audience that just the Faith crowd. But a great deal of the foundation comes from the Bible.

The Daniel Plan takes into account the whole person, not merely his/her weight. I believe that’s essential. I like the way it’s packaged for group usage. It’s always better when we have a support network to help us make changes in our lifestyle.

My two major problems are 1. The name, and 2. The Food category.

Calling this, The Daniel Plan, is inaccurate and misleading. Daniel was an Old Testament prophet. He wrote one of the books of the Bible. He’s a true hero. He was taken to Babylon as a young man, to be raised in the Babylonian culture and educated as a Babylonian. But Nebuchadnezzar, the king, didn’t account for Daniel’s faith or the dietary restrictions of the Jewish law regarding eating meat. The Jews had very strict regulations about what kinds of meat they could eat, how that meat was slaughtered, and the meat could not be used in non Jewish rituals. It’s the forerunner of the concept we call Kosher today.

It order to be faithful to God, Daniel chose not to eat the Babylonian meat and to become vegetarian. The Daniel Plan is not vegetarian. So calling the program by that name is not correct. It actually has nothing to do with Daniel or the way he ate.

I know, they had to give the program a name. But this name is really a bust. And it kind of upsets me. I am really committed to sticking to accuracy when we incorporate the Bible into anything we do. There is so much falsehood sweeping through the Church, as it is, that we shouldn’t add to the confusion. This is NOT related to Daniel, in any way.

I said my second problem was the Food part of the program. In broad terms, it’s pretty darned good. Especially in the way they get people away from processed food and steer them towards whole foods. Processed sugar truly is our enemy, as are the ready made meals, and other boxed, and packaged processed food items staring at us from the shelves at our favorite grocery store.

I think that if we made that one single change in our diets, we’d all begin to become healthier. We’d lose a great deal of belly fat. But it’s a hard sell. Because most people want to spend as little as possible in the grocery store. And that’s odd, because we’ll spend a fortune on cars, or furniture, or clothes, but in regards to food, we just want it to taste good and be cheap. Yikes.

With that in mind, the Daniel Plan’s emphasis on organic, including grass fed meats, and cold water fish, puts such a strain on people that the program reeks of upper middle class to upper class elitism. People living paycheck to paycheck, or on a tight budget are going to be turned off from the get go. God’s plan for eating was designed for everyone, not just the California elite.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m all about organic, and grass fed. That’s why I became a farmer. It was the only way I could guarantee my food was all I wanted it to be. But most people will pass out from sticker shock after just one visit to the shops. There is a reason Whole Foods, is called, Whole Paycheck.

For me, the cheapest way to go organic, was to grow my own, and to raise my own meat. Sure it’s more work, but it fulfills some the the Plan’s emphasis on exercise.

There are some veggies that we really should work to get organic, like potatoes, and soft fruit. And we should make sure we rinse all our fruit and veggies when we get them home. But don’t wait to go totally organic before making the necessary changes to your diet.

Also the emphasis on cold water fish is another elitist move. Salmon, trout, and the like are awesome. They taste great. But most of us have easier access to warm water fish like, bass, catfish, bluegill, or even Tilapia. I know Tilapia can be a problem because of the way it’s raised, but there are workarounds.

The aversion to Dairy, really rumples my feathers, too. First of all, eating dairy was popular with people in the Bible. And if you’re going to base your plan on teachings of the Bible, be consistent. There is a problem with dairy these days. It is all the processing, including pasteurization and homogenization. There are those who are lactose intolerant. That is unfortunate. But milk,cheese, and butter are not bad for us. In fact, they are quite good for most of us.

I could go on, but I think you get the point. I like most of The Daniel Plan. I hate the name. And the Food section needs a major overhaul. But the idea of a holistic approach, combining elements of Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus, and Friends, is admirable.

I’d love to get your feedback. Have you tried The Daniel Plan? What did you like about it? What did you dislike? Is your Church or other group considering the plan? If so, what are the main selling points? Feel free to use the comments section, or send me an email: samburtonpresents@gmail.com.

Oh Yeah, I’m At My First Weight Loss Goal!

Image result for hit the goal images public domainI did it! I reached my first goal. I’m below 250 lbs for the first time in a very long time. It took me longer to figure it out, because the battery went dead on our scales and I had to weight. Figures.

Next goal is 225. Now it’s time to kick up the exercise. That one scares me. I’m 62 years old. To regularly hit the gym is asking a lot of my old, out of shape body. I will probably do mostly body weight exercises for the first 2 months, then start adding weight machines. I will eventually go free weights, but not just yet. Correction, I’ll probably use dumbells for arm exercises. I fear I will have to get my biceps and triceps built up a bit to be able to do push ups. That’s a sad commentary, but a realistic one.

I really owe a big thanks to all the Keto people I’ve followed on FB and Instragram. And all the YouTube videos that have been so motivational.

For those who are new to  my blog, I am not practicing strict Keto. I have certainly curtailed my carbs, and raised my fat intake. That will probably always be true. But I have added new potatoes, parsnips, carrots, peas and corn, to name a few.

One of the reasons is simply because I love those vegetables. Also, they are good for you, and they grow very prolifically here in Scotland. New potatoes, are not nearly as starchy as mature ones, but are just as tasty roasted. The same with parsnips. Roasted parsnips are like manna from heaven.

I track my carbs carefully and try and stay below 30 grams maximum per day. The key is to track, faithfully, the food I eat. And if you want to really get a hold on your weight, you need to do that, too.

Think of it like budgeting. If you write down what you spend, and you write down your bills, you know exactly where your money is going and where it needs to go. I treat my eating the same way.

Oh, here’s another switch I made. I use paper and pencil rather than an app. I have two apps I used to use. I still have them for looking up food (calories and carbs). But using pencil and paper makes the exercise more personal. I don’t know why, it just does. I found that out when my wife and I were getting out of debt. Pencil and paper were so much better that using an app. I’ve seen on YouTube that there are lots of people who feel the same.  Try it with your food tracking and let me know what you think. I’m interested.

Just a couple of other quick notes. This is the easiest and the hardest program I’ve ever done. It’s the easiest because I’m never hungry. And when I am, I just eat. I don’t have to take any pills, or buy any shakes. I’m doing this naturally.

But it’s also the hardest, because sugar and flour are in everything. Spice mixes are full of sugar, so I have to pretty much make all my own. Yesterday, we had a taco and fajita night at Church. The taco and fajita seasoning all had sugar. I ate a little meat and cheese, but skipped the veggies because of the sugar in the seasoning. But watching all those flour and corn tortillas was a bit stressful. I didn’t feel deprived though, because I wasn’t starving and feeling jealous. I just miss bread.

I guess that’s enough for an update. I just wanted to share my good news. I love winning!

Oops! My First Keto Mistake

pink saltI made a mistake with my keto program, and it really messed with me for several hours today. Stay tuned and I’ll explain it here in a moment.

First, We’ve (my wife and I) been keto for two weeks. My bride has not lost much weight. It’s a girl thing. Ladies have more problems than men dieting in general, but it’s especially true with keto. Some women don’t lose, or they even gain weight, during the first 6 weeks of the program. Yikes.

As I understand it, when we switch to a keto diet, we’re asking our bodies to do something dramatic. We’re asking it to change the fuel it uses to burn energy (calories). On a typical diet, we use carbs to provide that fuel. When we switch to keto, we tell our bodies to switch to burning fat as our primary source. That doesn’t happen overnight. Think about switching your car from petrol (gasoline) to diesel. Probably you’re going to have to change cars, you can’t just switch.

That’s one of the ways the human body is different. God made us so we can run on either fuel base. I think that’s incredible. But it takes time to become fat adapted. Some people switch easier. Some people take longer to adapt. We can do it, we just need to be patient.

In my case, I lost 5 pounds the first week. That was awesome and I’ll take it. But I’m 62 now rather than 32, and my metabolism is not what it used to be. Of course the 5 pounds was water weight, not fat loss.

The second week, I lost another 3 pounds. I was disappointed at first. When I was 30, I could lose 20 pounds the first two weeks of a diet. Then I remembered, I’m not 30 any more. I’m more than twice that. Sigh. Anyway, I’ll take the 8 pounds and be happy.

Ok, let’s get back to my mistake. Yesterday, I decided to go to the gym. I was feeling more energetic than I have in two years. I went a couple times in January, but the experience was awful. I used to be a guy who worked out 5 or 6 days a week. I trained with WWE wrestlers and professional body builders. I know my way around a gym, even though I look like I only know my way around a Golden Corral buffet.

I walked to the gym rather than take the car. It’s only about half a mile, so the walk would be a good stretch before the workout. When I got to the gym, it was really crowded. Mostly with children and teenagers. Children in the pool, teens in the gym area.

I managed to get a few minutes on a treadmill, and a fairly decent upper body workout with some of the machines. I couldn’t get near any free weights.

I decided, while doing my workout, to go to the sauna and steam rooms. Those are my favorite parts of the gym. I have loved saunas since the late 80s. I can sit and think. I can pray and meditate. It’s a real selfish, me time. Especially when the sauna is empty, like it was last night.

I did a full 20 minutes in the sauna, which is all my doctor recommends right now. After that I hit the steam room. I only managed three minutes in there. All the steam gets to me pretty quickly, so I didn’t push it.

After I got home, I had a cup of tea, talked for a while with my wife, then went to bed. That was my mistake. I didn’t re-hydrate. I had lost a lot of electrolytes sweating away in the gym and sauna and I didn’t replace them. So when I got up this morning, I was severely tired. I had my coffee, but it didn’t do it’s usual job. Honestly, it was 9:30 before I figured out what was wrong. I had a cup of tea and took some iced tea upstairs to the office. By 10:30 I thought I was going to pass out. I was really weak.

I went to the kitchen and ate a handful of Pink Himalayan salt. Then I had another. I was instantly revived, just like if I’d had a chocolate bar. The electrolyte boost was almost instantaneous. At lunch I put extra salt on my meal. And had some more before going back to work. I’ve been drinking iced tea all afternoon. As a result, I’m starting to feel better. Not as good as recent days, but certainly I’m getting hydrated and getting the electrolytes back in balance.

I’ve never been one to take electrolyte concoctions to the gym, or to have a pre workout shake, or a post workout one. A glass of water, yes. Any thing else seemed weak. I’m going to have to rethink my options. I’m not the man I used to be. It’s now obvious to me that after a workout, especially if I go to the sauna, I will require electrolytes when I get home.

Take my advice. If you’re trying a keto lifestyle, be patient. It takes a while to become fat adapted. You’re asking your body to adjust to a new fuel. And, don’t neglect your electrolytes. If you’re losing water weight anyway, you’re flushing them down the toilet. So if you go to the gym and sauna and sweat a lot, your body will need the replacements.

Finally, if you’re over 40, or if like me, you’re over 60. Take it slow. Don’t have the expectations of a 30 year old. We can do this. It just takes time.

Off The Wagon!

wagon

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.

Facing Obesity What I Plan To Do About It

Ok, are you sitting down? I want to tell you something…I’m fat. See, aren’t you glad you were sitting down? (Apologies for the selfie. It should probably come with a viewer’s warning.) I’m not overweight. I’m not pudgy. I’m not big boned. I’m fat. Morbidly Obese. And it’s been really hard on me. Not just physically, but psychologically, and spiritually.

I’ve been fat most of my adult life. I started gaining weight my freshman year of college and somehow, once the gut started to grow, it didn’t stop. By the time I was 31, I weighed about 265 lbs. Then, for a variety of reasons, I decided to make some changes. I ate less (more on that later), I exercised, and I started running 5 days a week. By the time I was 40, I weighed 165, and I was seriously buff.

Then I got married and came unglued. I stopped going to the gym. I stopped running. I started eating. And the weight came back. All of it, and then some. At one point, I tipped the scales at 305. I kid you not. Through some efforts, I managed to get my weight down to 275, where it’s been for a number of years.

The piper called in late August, 2017. It was time to pay the bill. I had a heart attack. While in the hospital, I had two mini strokes. I’m telling you, that was scary. Eventually, as in June 2018, I had triple bypass surgery. While under the anesthetic, I had another stroke. This one has left me partially blind in my left eye. I have blind spots in it and I’m currently receiving treatment for it.

Finally, the week before last. I had enough. A photo was taken of me at Church, and when I saw it, I literally cried. I saw a short, fat, old man, I didn’t even recognize. And my heart broke. One of the ways I avoid thinking about my weight is to avoid photographs and mirrors. If I don’t see myself, I don’t think about it. This time, though, I couldn’t avoid it. The photo was in a local newspaper. And I was mortified.

I can’t do anything about getting old. I’m 62. It happens. But I am in complete control over my appearance. I secretly wept most of the afternoon. I was depressed for much of the week. It was hard to concentrate on anything. All I kept seeing in my mind was that photo. And all I kept thinking was, you fat, useless, good for nothing. Then, I sat down with my smart phone, did some research, and made some changes.

First, let me tell you, and my wife can testify to it; since Y2K, I’ve been on Weight Watchers twice, no three times, The South Beach Diet, The Ketogenic Diet, the Heart Association Soup Diet, and even went on a juice fast after watching, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”. I lost weight on all of them, and kept it off with none of them.

I’m genetically programmed towards being overweight. Both of my father’s parents were seriously overweight. I remember my Grandpa Burton weighing 300 lbs when I was in Jr. High School. And my Grandma was much heavier than that. But it skipped a generation as neither my Dad, nor his brother have weight issues. Dad did, have to diet from time to time, but not always. I’m not sure about my uncle Jerry.

My Mom, was skinny as a rail until she was 60. After that, she put on a few pounds, but I don’t know anyone who would call her fat. And neither of my sisters is particularly known as a fatty. Nope, just me.

Now, while I am predisposed to easy weight gain, I know I don’t have to be fat, because I lost it, and kept it off for the better part of a decade. But at my advancing age, it’s going to take some thought this time.

First, I no longer believe in diet programs. I know they work for some people. But why are there so many different ones? Because each one suits some of the public psychologically. So while I was on one, I might be successful, but the moment I stopped, I gained everything back, plus some.

Basically, part of my problem is Spiritual. Let me explain. Many diets tell you that you can’t eat certain foods. You know: carbohydrates, dairy, potatoes, meat, or cheese, to name a few. But, I read in the Bible that none of those things are bad. And potatoes, were the food that saved Ireland. For many years, they were a staple food for people here in Scotland. In Bolivia there are over 400 different varieties of potatoes. People eat them like crazy.

Many diets ban honey. Yet, in scripture, Jonathan, the prince of Israel, was revived by eating it after a grueling battle with the Philistines. John the Baptist ate honey as a staple of his diet.

I can’t accept that anything God made is bad for you. I just can’t. And frankly, won’t entertain the notion.

Having said that, I must recognize that many things we eat today have been grossly altered from the way God made it. Let’s take honey for example, since it’s fresh on my mind. Honey, at least commercial varieties, is often not so much from plant pollen, as it is from bees drinking sugar water that’s put out for them. And then when it’s processed and pasteurized, many of the good bacteria are killed off, so it’s really just flavored, spreadable, processed sugar.

And bread. For thousands of years, bread was, “the staff of life”. Wheat, barley, and rye were full of nutrients and oils that made bread a true blessing. Then we learned to process flour and bread lost most of its nutritional value. Then we changed the way wheat was processed, and even more nutritional benefits were lost. Bread today, tastes awesome. But it is no longer the staff of life. It’s become a filler food.

Meats, and the animals that provide them, have been altered so much that it should be a crime. Animals are kept in tightly confined spaces and fed a diet of mostly grains until the meat is practically devoid of nutrients. Beef cows, in the states, are often treated with contempt in big feed lots, while we think of cows grazing on wide open spaces, as we enjoy a steak or a hamburger.

Pigs are called, ‘the other white meat’. Pigs aren’t supposed to be white meat. It’s the conditions they are raised in, and the diets they’re fed. It’s abysmal.

The same thing can be said of chickens, turkeys, and even fish. What we eat today, is far from what people used to eat.

Brittan and I know. We spent 10 years as farmers, and I learned more than I could ever share about beneficial ways to raise meat, fruit, and veg. I won’t even talk about dairy in this post. But its the same situation.

So here I sat, with my head all full of knowledge and opinions, with some decisions to make. So here’s what I came up with.

I’m going to eliminate all, highly processed food products from my diet. That includes bread, margarine, many lunch meats, and the like. And I’ve given myself a daily calorie limit. So far, I’m on day 6. I will weigh myself tomorrow to see how I’ve done.

Note: It’s day 7, today. I weighed myself this morning. 268.5. That’s essentially, 1 lb a day I lost this week. Now, I know a lot of that is water weight, and surface or easy junk being eliminated. But see, it’s gone,sianara, see ya, buhbye.

And let me say, I have not deprived myself. 4 days I had chocolate. 2 days I had cheesecake. I ate pudding. I had cookies. Oh, I had at least two baked potatoes. I had chicken cordon bleu. I’m eating what I want. With modifications, and with limits.

Some foods I’ve pretty much eliminated already. Others, will be cut out one at a time. Fortunately, we have two butchers less that a block from us. They both have local grassfed beef and local pasture raised pork.

This is not going to be an easy journey. Nor is it going to be quick. I hope you’ll join me and follow along in my adventures. Ask questions. Give me advice. I’d love to hear from you. You can even share your successes and failures. You may not bash any diet or anyone on a particular diet.

Feel free to send photos of yourself. After all we’re in this life together. We might as well get to know each other. Gosh, thanks for listening. God bless you all. Talk to you soon.