Did You Miss Me? Or Did You Even Notice I Was Gone

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I’ve been away for about a month. My laptop was down for repairs, and there was no way in the world I was going to write a blog post on my phone. Nope. Not going to happen.

I noticed that interaction from readers stopped within a week. I was not surprised by that. But things started to pick up again about a week ago. I got lot’s of likes, and even a few new followers. Thanks so much you all. Now my laptop is home, safe, sound, and working.

Let me give you an update. While I was away, I tried another experiment. I have been in touch with a lot of people who have said that Keto is just too expensive for them these days. It seems that a combination of a certain virus, and recent inflation, have hit incomes and outgoes, and a lot of people are hurting. I totally get it.

The ketogenic diet is not the only way to lose weight. I think it’s the easiest, but there are lots of ways to lose weight. I would recommend the South Beach Diet, or even the Mediterranean Diet. But if those two are also too expensive for your budget. You could do, what I did.

I started eating 1800 to 1900 calories a day of whatever I could afford. There were a few rules. I ruled out sugar. I honestly believe that processed sugar is the number 1 poison we eat. I also saw recently that between sugar cane based products, and high fructose corn syrup, it’s the number 1 food eaten on earth. Hmm.

I also didn’t eat snack foods, like potato chips. I also didn’t eat margarine. I just can’t do it anymore. But that was pretty much all I deprived myself of. I was trying to lose weight and save money. I opted for sale items. If bread was on sale, I bought it. If frozen pizza was on sale, I put it in my shopping cart. It was on sale for pennies. I bought frozen meat that was on sale. I bought lunch meat that was on sale because it was about to go off. I bought potatoes and onions.

This takes work. You have to know what time of day, and what days your supermarket has specials. You have to count your calories and measure your food. Calories count. So count them accurately.

The results are mixed. First, I was hungrier than on Keto. Cheap food, filled me up, but didn’t stick with me. I saved a ton of money. I mean my grocery bill was cut in half. And, I didn’t end up losing any weight. Oddly, for the first three weeks I lost some inches.

The last week I gained some water weight. I am losing it now. So not a problem. But that result, scared me, and I went back on strict Keto this morning. I’m going to try and figure out what happened.

One of the things I notices was, some processed foods, like frozen pizzas were really cheap. Our local shop had a major sale on their store brand. And I mean a major sale. So I bought 3 of them for less than I would usually pay for one. But I found that they are just too high in calories. There are none left over to be used for other food. So I conclusion is, you can eat them and save money. But not save money, eat them, AND lose weight.

Bread was a problem. On the sale shelf, it was literally pennies. I instantly froze the loaf and buns so they wouldn’t go off. But I realized right away, that I still have a major addiction to white flour, and I can’t do that. The only bread I can eat, without going nuts, are small, taco sized flour tortillas. There are lots of cheap bread options, and you can always make your own. But I have a major addiction, and can’t control how much I eat. That made me really sad.

In conclusion, I was able to count calories and save money. A lot of money. But in the end, I didn’t lose weight. Mostly, due to the pizzas. I think it would be possible, but there’s a learning curve, and I didn’t want to work that hard.

I have learned when my local shop has meat on sale. It’s first thing in the morning. I go at 8 a.m. right when they open. I’m going to make that my regular habit. I’ve gotten some good deals that way.

Also, here in Scotland, sardines are really cheap. And I love sardines. Tuna is pretty expensive. Chicken thighs, and legs are pennies. I mean pennies. Chicken breasts are really expensive. Whole chickens are cheap, too. But thighs and legs top the cheap meat. Cheese is well priced, as is whole milk, and cream.

Ok, you don’t need to hear about how much every food item is here in Scotland. I just want to tell you about my experiment. Now I’m back on Keto, but I’m going to see what cheap meat and veg keto is like. I’m here for you, my friends. 🙂

Sometimes The Scales Are Against Me!

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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 Keto Secrets and Adjustments

2021 starting weight, 234.2lbs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New Jeans!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I HATE Dieting in Winter. There I Said It.

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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.

Keto is Working, with a few tweaks.

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Hey, it’s time for an update on how my wife and I are doing on Keto. Short version: both of us are having great success. I’m not going to post any photos just yet, because I don’t like this mid program photo idea. It’s just me. I’m weird.

Right now, I weigh less than I have since the year 2000. I weigh 249 lbs. Yikes. I still have more than 60 pounds to go. That’s why I don’t want to take photos yet. And my wife is weighing less than she has in about that long. This program is a winner.

As hinted at in the title, we have had to make some tweaks. I’m not going to go into great detail, but I have some health issues that require meds that affect my bowels. Eating the few carbs we are allowed has been problematic, and exacerbated the problem. So we have made some minor adjustments in the food we allow ourselves to eat. We have added some things allowed on the South Beach Diet. We will, occasionally, allow some brown rice or whole grain pasta. And once or twice a week, I will have some oatmeal in the morning.

On days when we add some of those items, I reduce my calorie intake. I will ensure that I have less than 1900 calories on those days. Since we are very fat adapted, sometimes we don’t even go out of Ketosis, which is a big plus, but even when we do, we’re back in after a single night of fasting.

That reminds me, we are practicing intermittent fasting. We don’t eat between 8 pm and noon. It took me a while to get adjusted, because I’m a breakfast lover. My wife has done this for years, so for her it was no big deal.

I just want to say, if you are afraid to try this program, don’t be. It’s awesome. And if you want, you can try the South Beach Diet. It has been modified to be very Keto friendly. The main thing is, seriously, cut the sugar out of your diet. Completely. That alone will make incredible changes. And processed flour along with white rice and white pasta. Get rid of those processed foods. Do it today. You’ll be glad you did.

Some Changes To My Life and Coming to this Blog

Why people delay software updates, despite the risksHey, y’all. It’s been a while since I updated this. Shame on me. This lock down is driving me crazy. I just wanted to give you a quick update to activate this page again, and to let you in on some of the things you can expect.

  1. We’ve gotten back on track with our weight loss program, but with some changes. Primarily, we are now focusing more on the South Beach Diet, than the Keto Diet. Both are low carb, but frankly, living here in the U.K. we feel like the South Beach Diet offers us more variety than the Keto Diet does. The only tough change has been, South Beach limits fats more than Keto does. But we are allowed some things like whole wheat pasta or brown rice. I’ll write a special post about the changes and why, but wanted to be upfront about it. Mostly, its a cost thing. Keto was getting too expensive for us. Stay tuned for more.
  2. One of the reasons I haven’t been doing stuff is I’ve been focusing on finishing my Doctorate program. Well, I’ve  got that submitted now, so I’ve got some more time. I’m on pins and needles waiting on my final results.
  3. I’m getting ready to relaunch my podcast. I’m planning on kind of expanding it. It will still have Bible and Christian episodes, but I’m looking to expand to cover all the things I’m interested in. Having episodes on dieting, Bible and Faith, dogs, paranormal activity, farming and gardening, and maybe even writing. I want it to become kind of a cup of tea and a chat more than the strict teaching I’ve been doing. Watch for announcements. Give it a listen. And offer suggestions. Again, more later.
  4. Speaking of writing. It’s time to get back at it. I’m going to finish my book, Life Lessons From a Lead Dog. I’ve got the first 4 or 5 chapters done. Well, the first draft. This is a book I’ve wanted to write for at least 20 years. Now it’s time. Watch for updates.
  5. I’m trying to save a few bucks by bringing all my websites under this umbrella. I don’t know how well that will work, but we’ll see.
  6.  I now have a YouTube station for my sermons. It’s just Sam Burton. I’ll probably change the title, but that’s it for now. It’s not complete yet, but will be soon. I don’t plan to really advertise it. At least not yet.
  7. I’m wanting to make a YouTube station for my new podcast, but not sure yet. I don’t want to have to worry about the camera being a distraction. I’m not Joe Rogan.

Ok, I think that should do it. You’re pretty well up to date. Thanks for your patience. Remember, I always appreciate questions and suggestions.  I’m out.