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!

Supermarket Produce – A Rant

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Morning, Y’all. I have very little to say today, but I wanted to get something out there, so please indulge me in some thinking out loud. I hope you all are doing well. We’re doing alright. I didn’t lose any weight this week. Now I remember why I normally only weigh myself every other or every three weeks.

For several years my wife and I were farmers. I loved every day of it. I loved working the garden, planting seeds, experimenting with hydroponics, and aquaponics. I loved my raised bed garden and my amazing greenhouse. We had a pretty big garden.

I also loved raising chickens, turkeys, rabbits, goats, cows, pigs, and even donkeys (not to eat, silly. The donkeys were livestock guardians). It was a hard life, but it was a good life. We knew where our food came from. We even knew what we ate ate. Now, we’re not so lucky.

Today we live in a small town. We have a tiny garden that supplies a few items during the growing season, but we can’t raise enough of anything to can, or freeze. That means we’re dependent on the supermarkets.

We don’t eat highly processed foods. We might buy some canned tomato sauce, but I read the label very closely. We buy fresh and frozen vegetables. We do buy canned tuna, but only about two cans a month at the most. Most of our meat is fresh, though some is frozen, especially if we have to buy chicken breasts.

When it comes to vegetables, the stuff we buy is just not as tasty as what we grow, with the exception of carrots. My wife and I call supermarket tomatoes, ‘notional’. They look right, but the taste is bland. The same is true with everything. It is so disappointing. Nothing has tasted right for 3.5 years.

My point is, if you can grow your own food, consider it. If not, shop at Farmers’ Markets if you have access. If you can’t do either, then, like us, you’ll just have to suck it up, and do the best you can. But avoid tinned food as much as possible. And avoid boxed things like the plague. If it comes from a factory, it’s like a car or a toy, it’s inedible. Plus, it will be full of sugar or flour, or both.

In a spirit of full disclosure, I love instant potatoes. Before Keto, I ate them all the time. I think they’re yummy. Weird, I know. But we don’t eat them at all now. They are not diet friendly, and they’re not healthy.

If you can eat organic, do. If you can get grass fed, or pasture raised, meat do. If you can get free range eggs, do. If not, do your best. It’s better to eat whole food, even if it is factory farmed and tastes like a cardboard box. Some of the highly processed food will taste awesome. Beware, it’s still poison. That’s a strong statement, but the evidence supports it.

One final thought while I’m ranting, we have not eaten, nor will we buy, any of the vegetarian imitation hamburger, like ‘impossible burger’. I know some of you are vegan and vegetarian, I respect that, but look at the ingredient list. It’s like a chemistry set. The technology and ingenuity is phenomenal. But the thought is more than I can take. Whole foods, and grass fed, pastured meats, is fine what we do. Those served the human race for thousands of years just fine, I think it will do nicely for me.