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

tape measure weight loss clipart - Clip Art Library

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

glass, jar, store, meal, food, metal, breakfast, oatmeal, lid, cereals, vegetarian food, closure, muesli, grass family, snack food, spelt flakes

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

https://i2.wp.com/www.clker.com/cliparts/4/7/a/e/15137235391379580569dog-loose-skin.med.png

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.

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!