Some Observations Re: My Blood Pressure

About two weeks ago, I decided to adjust my diet, again. This time to help me get off of blood pressure medicine. The simple truth is, I’m kind of anti pharmaceutical. I think there are drugs that are good for you, don’t get me wrong. I’m a fan of moderate use of antibiotics, aspirin, and certain pain killers after surgery. You get the point. But I am pretty much a conspiracy theorist when it comes to pharmaceutical companies. I think many meds are addictive, and many are for short term use, yet we are prescribed them for long periods, or for life.

I could rant about this for days, but won’t. For now! I started thinking about my blood pressure medications. I take 3. They are called; Atorvastatin, Felodopine, and a blood thinner, Rivaroxaban. The Felodopine, makes me retain fluid, so I’m also on a diuretic, Furosimide.

I’ve been on this stuff for four years this month. I was put on it after my heart attack and some small strokes. I had a triple bypass three years ago. I’m still on all the medications. I haven’t seen a doctor in nearly two years, due to Covid. They just put my prescriptions on auto renew. I phone the doctor’s office and they phone the pharmacy.

Well, I got to thinking, ‘wait a minute. I’ve lost over 50 lbs. Why am I still on such a high dose of a Statin (twice what it was in the beginning), and such a strong blood thinner?’ Originally, I was on an aspirin tablet once a day. So I started to read. And the more I read, the more suspicious I became.

First, I learned how much I could do with diet. I was a good way there with the dietary changes I’d already made. I just needed to tweak a couple things.

I’ve been on the Keto diet for a couple of years. It’s been great. But I read that some of the fats I’ve been eating, like butter and cream, for the sake of my blood pressure, I should modify. Sadly, I’ve cut back. I use more olive oil in my cooking, and milk in my coffee. I haven’t cut them out, just cut way back.

I also learned I should probably cut back on my caffeine. That one was hard to think about. I start every day with two cups of coffee, then switch to tea, both hot and iced. I think decaf tastes weak. I’ve tried it before. But I have switched to one cup of regular, and one of decaf in the mornings, then I drink mostly decaf cups of tea the rest of the day. So far, my iced tea, is still caffeinated, but I’m down to about 1.5 litres a day. Plus I drink that much plain water. The decaf is weak tasting. But after two weeks, I’m getting used to it.

I have also added fruit to my diet. I eat berries, an apple, a banana, or an orange daily. Always organic. It was hard to adjust to, because Keto doesn’t allow fruit, other than a few berries. My system was squemish about it. Additionally, I eat a couple of small sweet potatoes a week.

So far, those are the only changes I’ve made in my eating plan. So I’m still low carb, but not fully keto. I have added a couple of different medicinal mushrooms (lion’s mane, and shiitake) to my daily routine. The lion’s mane I take in capsules, and the shiitake right now I’m using to cook with. I may eventually go to capsules for those as well. But since I like mushrooms in omelettes and most things with hamburger, I’m just using those rather than the much cheaper button shrooms from the supermarket. I

I added Quercetin supplements, and Zinc to my daily routine. The zinc I have to watch, because Alzheimers runs in my family. I will only take it for a short time. The Quercetin has a double purpose. First, it helps with blood pressure. I get a lot from all the veggies I eat, but the supplement should help. Secondly, it works as a prophylactic against Covid. Seriously, and it’s regularly used by doctors in treatment for light and moderate cases. It’s natural, so why not? I take some other prophylactic stuff, but won’t discuss it here. It’s not illegal, it’s just not politically correct. I don’t want to start a big agument.

I first reduced my meds to every other day. Now I’m on my fourth day in a row. On my off days, I do take an aspirin tablet. I take my blood pressure two to three times a day. The most consistent time, is when I first get up in the morning between 6:30 and 7:00. Ironically, my blood pressure has slightly dropped since I’ve been doing this. It is in the upper range of normal. There is no difference between days I take the medicine and when I don’t. Now, since I’ve started doing this, my heart rate has gone up slightly. Still well within the normal range. I haven’t studied that at all, other than what the range should be.

The only other thing I’ve noticed, is my sleep pattern has been interrupted. I still get up at the same time, but I’m not sleepy when I go to bed. This is despite the serious reduction in caffeine. And I drink none after 5 pm. I don’t know how to attribute this change, except I have taken a half hour nap about 1pm the last three days. But I’m staying awake an extra 1.5 hrs at night.

This post is not offering any medical advice. No way. I’m a doctor, but not a medical one. LOL. I’m just sharing some of the things I’m doing. Please consult your medical professional before making any decisions about what medications you take or decide to stop taking.

P.S. I have started a You Tube Channel, SamBurtonPresents. From time to time it may have diet related stuff, but not too much. It will mostly be related to the Paranormal, and to Dog breeds. And some vlogging. I’m telling you this because I will announce some episodes here on the blog from time to time, and I don’t want anyone to panic.

Getting Personal: I Need To Sweat!!

I will turn 65 in October. Holy Smokes! It breaks my heart. Mainly that’s because I realize how many more miles I have behind me than I have in front of me. I love life. Looking back, my life has been an amazing adventure. Yes, it has had some terrible, I mean awful, periods of pain: physical, emotional, spiritual, and even financial. But when I look at the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, the relationships I’ve developed, the number of people I’ve led, and learned from, I am amazed. I have been fortunate.

The time has come for another change. It’s scary. Really scary. At the end of September, I’m moving back to the USA. I’m retiring, or at least, mostly so, and I’m going to travel, write, and podcast. I will travel at least until January of 2022. I will hopefully find where I want to settle by then.

As a part of my preparations for this coming change, I’ve been researching my health challenges and how I will treat them going forward. I should have done this years ago. In many ways I did, which is why I became a farmer to begin with. I wanted to eat organically, and wanted to eat grass fed and free range meats, eggs, and dairy. But there were specific things related to my heart condition and my blood pressure that I have mostly ignored.

I had my open heart surgery three years ago. And I’ve been on blood pressure meds since my heart attack and strokes, four year ago. Only recently, have I started studying how to naturally treat those conditions.

I have learned a great deal about which foods I should eat. Many of them are already incorporated into my eating plan. There are some kinds of fruit I need to eat more of, like bananas, apples, oranges, and grapefruit. There are some things I should cut back on, like butter and cream.

Those of you who are Keto Purists, will see those fruits to add, and the fats to cut, and shake your heads. You will think I’m abandoning the program.

I’m not. I’m modifying it, because of my needs. I have high blood pressure. Sometimes it has been very high. I no longer want to be dependent on pharmaceuticals. I want to practice what I preach. And that means I need to tweak and modify my eating plan.

I will still eat low carb. I may have to lean more on the South Beach Diet, than strict Keto. I have been researching their overlap and compatibility for a while now. And I think I have a plan on merging them. I will keep you well informed.

Also, as you know, I have long believed that if God made it (for food), it can’t be bad for us. It’s what we do with what He’s give us, that will determine whether it is a boon or a bane. Let’s take sugar for example. In it’s natural forms, like fructose in fruit, it is a benefit to us. The same is true for honey, and things like sorghum. When we strip it of all it’s natural benefits by highly processing it, like white sugar, or commercial honey (feeding sugar water to bees for example), we have taken what God has given us, and turned it into a monster.

I won’t go on and on, but that’s what we’ve done with wheat. We have changed the way we grow it, altered the varieties, changed the way we dry and process it. All to our detriment. Perhaps one day soon, I’ll write all about it. The end result is, bread, that was once called, the staff of life, is now, a poison, practically devoid of nutritional value.

The same is true of much of the fruit we buy at the grocery store. It has been altered for commercial purposes.

I have studied and studied, and found a plan that will work. Now I have to make it affordable. Eating well (healthily) should not be limited to the 1%. Eating well, yet affordably, was much easier when I had a farm. Now it will require work. But my health is worth the effort.

We all want stuff cheap and in easy reach. Sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes, eating cheap so we can have all the nicest stuff in life, is a major flaw in our priorities. I am sensing another book. I have so much to say, and no space here to say it. Beware!

One of the things I have been noticing for the last several months, is, I don’t sweat in this country. My work is not physical. Even when I go out and walk, it’s never hot. It’s the 27th of August as I write this. Many of you in the States are still experiencing temps in the 90s and higher. I’m wearing a sweater. The temps and humidity rarely cause me to sweat. I miss that.

I have to take a diuretic several days a week because my blood pressure meds make me retain fluid. I don’t sweat enough to get rid of it. I never had that problem when I lived in Florida or Georgia. In fact, I remember, years ago, I had to take an extra T shirt and dress shirt to work with me in Florida, because by the time I walked from my car in the parking lot, to the office inside, I was soaked with sweat. When I farmed in GA, retaining fluid was not a problem. Making sure I stayed hydrated was the challenge. That was when I switched from sweet tea to unsweet. I needed the fluids without all the sugar.

I see an increase in sweating in my future. That’s why the potassium and magnesium, from things like bananas and sweet potatoes, may well benefit me. I’m not looking forward to sweating like a horse, which I will. But I am eager to experience the benefits it will bring.

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Drop me a note or a question. I know this has been an odd post. I’m processing more than giving out info and advice. Thanks for lending an ear.

The Secret To Beating Pandemics

Take note: I am not a medical doctor. Nor do I play one on T.V. These suggestions are for your general education. Consult your medical professional with any questions you have as they relate to medications or vaccines.

First, we already know that the number one ‘co-morbidity’ with our current pandemic is obesity. As a fat, though not as fat as I used to be, guy, this is my one real concern. Most of my health issues at my age (64), are related to my weight. If we lose weight, we get healthier, or at the very least, stand a better chance against most things trying to sneak under the door.

This is where an eating plan like Keto, or the South Beach Diet, comes into it’s own. Because of the foods I like to eat, this is what works best for me. You may like the Mediterranean Diet, or a Paleo Diet, or you may just want to count calories. They all work. You need to find what eating plan best fits your lifestyle. Study them all. If you’re reading this post, you have access to a computer, so do your homework.

While diet is 80 to 90% of what you need to lose weight, exercise is important in preparing to fight any pandemics that might knock on your window. Aerobic and anaerobic exercises will both work. Some people love to go to the gym and work out. But here’s a secret. A gym membership doesn’t work unless you use it. I’m just sayin’. Don’t join if you’re not going to work out. That’s a waste of money. Some people like to walk, run, or ride a bicycle. I used to run. 25 years ago, that was awesome. Today, not so much. A stationary bike interests me. The former NFL star, Herschel Walker is an inspiration to me. He does not use weights. He was too poor when he was young, so he developed a body weight regimen. I am seriously giving that consideration. Our local gyms are very small and crowded. That doesn’t work well for me. I don’t want to wait in line for the weights or machines. So I’m looking at body weight exercises.

Eat quality fruits and veg. That means fresh or frozen. And it means organic if you can afford it or grow it. The main thing is, canned veg are not that good for you. I don’t want to start a big argument, but I’ve studied this like mad over the years, and if it comes in a box or a can, chances are, it’s bad. There are some exceptions. Tuna and Sardines I buy in cans. Tomato sauce, I buy in cartons. Freeze dried foods that I keep for long term storage are usually in bags.

If possible, choose grass fed, or free range, meats and poultry. I have not been consistent with this, because meat is sometimes expensive. But whenever possible, I will choose grass fed and free range. That’s the way we raised food on our farm. Chances are, you have access to a farmers’ market near you. Check it out.

Eat with the seasons. It is healthy, and much cheaper. The availability of frozen fruit and veg allows us to stretch that principle. I only buy fresh fruit when it’s in season where I live. I will never buy apples except in the fall. The same with pears and peaches. I only buy citrus when I’m in a place where it grows and it’s in season. Fortunately, I have lots of family in Florida. I love many Florida fruits. When I’m there and it’s season, I fill up. This policy isn’t a law, but one I try and follow.

You will need vitamin C and Vitamin D. The latter, you get best from the sun. Go outside. Even in winter. Expose your head and face to the sunshine. There are also Vitamin D tablets you can get to supplement. Here in Scotland, sunshine is unpredictable. I take a Vitamin D3 supplement every day. I also take Vitamin C supplements. They are cheap and readily available. I have Cod Liver Oil around the house. And a Vitamin B12 supplement. Probably I don’t need those, but I take them. The B12, I only take if I’ve had to use Omeprazole extensively. Fortunately, since I’ve lost weight, I don’t have the heartburn problems I used to, so I don’t have to take the acid reducer.

My point is, if you will eat a wide range of fruit, veg. and grass fed meats, you will likely get all your vitamins and minerals. But any you are short on, you can supplement.

I take Vitamin C and D3 every day as a prophylactic against our current pandemic. I don’t take zinc, because of it’s connection with Alzheimer’s. If I lived somewhere I could get Ivermectin, I would take it as well.

I will not made a recommendation one way or the other for the vaccines. Do your homework. Do it thoroughly. Don’t listen to your favorite for or against it celebrities. Do your homework.

So, the keys are: lose weight, eat right, get fit(ter), take vitamins and minerals if you need them. We can all do this. Every single one of us. Let’s go. We’re in this together!

STUCK!!

Blogged Down: A bogged down blog, stuck in the mud - Craig ...

Have you ever been in a vehicle stuck in the mud or snow? I mean really stuck. The more you try to do, the worse your situation becomes? Sometimes you have to get out with a shovel. Sometimes you have to put something solid under the wheels. Sometimes you just have to call for help.

Well, that’s where I am with my weight loss. I am not on a plateau any more. I am now stuck. My wheels spin and throw mud, but the hole just gets deeper, and my situation gets worse. Yikes.

In the past, I would just give up, say the heck with this diet crap, and go back to eating what I want to eat. But this time, it’s not the past. I’m happy with my Keto/South Beach diet, and I’m not going to give up.

I’ve done a lot of reading this week. It seems that scientific studies are starting to show that there really are some people who become obese for biological reasons. It’s in their DNA. And those people often cannot lose weight. It was an interesting read. I’m not buying it, but I see the connections between DNA and my weight.

Three of my four grandparents were obese. Both of my Dad’s parents were morbidly so. My maternal grandfather was also chunky. In fact, I am built like both of my grandfathers. I have no waistline. I have a chest, a gut, and hips. Even when I am fit, I have no observable V shape. My chest and back have gotten big, but my waist will not shrink much.

I have about 50 pounds still to lose. I’ve lost about 70 or 75. But I am seriously stuck. Nothing works. I know this was about the weight I was for 15 years. I think my body got used to it, and thinks it’s normal. I have been thinner, but not for 20 years. In my opinion, I have hit the brown, hard fat that takes a lot of movement to shake it.

Starting Monday, I’m going back on a level one, South Beach, or a very strict Keto diet. Same thing. I’m also, gulp, going to increase my exercise and track that along with my food, to see what happens. I need to do something dramatic. I am dialing 911. I don’t like working out. I’m 64, not 34. But I hate this weight. So I’m taking action. Watch this space.

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. πŸ™‚

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 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 β€œgoal” 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.