Plateaus Happen!

Fitness Free Stock Photo - Public Domain Pictures

I mentioned last week that I’m on a plateau. I’m not gaining weight, but I’m also not losing any. It’s been about three weeks. It’s starting to get frustrating. If you’ve been there, you totally understand. I have a couple of choices; either I can give up and give in, or I can stay focused and do something about it. As you can guess, I’m not giving in.

I’ve also mentioned, I am in a position where I have to eat dinner in people’s homes twice a week. They don’t fix Keto meals, and that hurts my program a lot. Some weeks, the meals are loaded with Carbohydrates. And usually, there is ice cream for dessert. I’m not grumbling, merely stating the obvious.

It’s probably the desserts that are the biggest problem. A few potatoes in the meal, or some pasta, won’t kill me. But the sugar in ice cream, is a major problem.

First, I am not going to hurt peoples feelings by not accepting their invitations to dinner. That is not an option. So don’t even suggest it.

Here’s my plan. First, the following day, I will have zero carbs. That’s not even hard. It’s just a carnivore day. I can do that without even thinking about it. If I have to, I will do it for two days. Time will tell, and I’ll keep you posted.

Second, as I’ve mentioned a couple times, I believe calories are important. I will watch my calories very closely. A maximum of 1800, should work. It’s really important to track what I eat. To be honest, I’ve been lax the last two weeks. I’m confessing that to you, and will change it. You may hold me accountable. Go ahead and ask me anytime.

Thirdly, I’ve started exercising. I was going to write, regularly, but since I’ve only done it ONCE, regularly is an overstatement. During this lockdown, I don’t have access to a gym, and frankly, I won’t spend the money, even when it’s available to me. I looked up a collection of body weight exercises, and for a man of my age, that will do nicely.

It’s not like I’m new to exercise. Once upon a time, about 30 years ago, I started working out…and running. For 7 years, I went to the gym, and rand at least 5 days a week. I worked out with professional body builders and professional wrestlers. I had excellent coaching. I learned a lot of techniques. I ran 5 k road races. I was fit, even buff. And I was lean.

That was a long time ago, but I still know what and how. It’s the motivation, and loss of muscle and fitness that’s my obstacle. My body doesn’t want to do it.

Yesterday, I was only able to complete 3 pushups. You heard me correctly. THREE! I then finished a set of 10, by doing what we used to call ‘girl’ pushups. You know, with my knees on the ground. From now on I will call them ‘beginner’ pushups.

I did one set of a variety of exercises. Today, my upper body hurts. Especially my chest and my lats. That’s where I seem to be the weakest. So odd for a guy who used to be a farmer, but since my heart surgery, my upper body muscles have been pretty inactive.

The other thing I had to do, was stretch. A Lot! When I was younger, I could just start working out, or running. Now, I can’t run, seriously, I can’t run. I have had a bad case of sciatica for 4 years. The stretches are like a work out by themselves. As a result, this morning I am sore. I will only do my stretches today. But this afternoon, I will go walk some dogs. I will beat this plateau. And my goal, is within a month, to be able to jog at least a quarter of a mile when I’m out with the dogs. I know that doesn’t sound like much, but for me, it’s terrifying. I am aiming to be able to jog a mile by August. Stay tuned.

For the record, I’m not trying to be a mid life body builder. I’m just trying to help my metabolism, and to tone my body. I’ll let you know how it all turns out. But what about you? Have you ever hit plateaus? Did they discourage you to the point of giving up? What did you do to beat them? I’m curious. Feel free to write and let me know.

Ok, now it’s time to publish this, and do my stretches…

Real Life Has Obstacles

Obstacles free stock photos download (15 Free stock photos) for commercial  use. format: HD high resolution jpg images

When we first create our plan to lose weight, we see our road clearly. We set our goals. We know what we can eat, and when. We clean out our cupboards and our fridge. We weigh ourselves. We set up our apps or create a notebook to track on paper. And then we get started. For a while, sometimes a long while, everything goes great, then we hit obstacles. When that happens, we’re thrown for a loop. Some of us are thrown so far off the trail, we can’t even find our way back.

I have been facing one of those obstacles recently. Let’s talk about it.

Actually, now that I think about it, I’m. facing several simultaneously, but I’ll tell you about two, and we’ll discuss one of them. They are: 1. I’m on a plateau and it’s frustrating. We’ll talk about that one, once I’m over it. It’s the second obstacle that is bigger, and has been very frustrating.

I am a Christian Minister. I love it. I have been a minister for 43 years. I’ve had other jobs too, but ministry has given me great satisfaction. I love preaching. I love visiting folk. I love doing baptisms, and weddings, and oddly, funerals. My career is a calling, not just a job.

But it can be very difficult for weight loss. Every time you go to someone’s home, here in Scotland, you get offered tea and a cookie, cake, or sandwich. They call them ‘pieces’. The first thing you’ll note, is those are all full of carbs. In the USA, it’s well known that Christians and food are synonyms. There are all kinds of jokes about believers and buffets. Of how in some southern Churches when a person gets baptized they receive a certificate and a casserole dish. Preachers have a reputation of being FAT.

Over the past year, as my Keto journey has progressed, I’ve pretty much gotten folk to understand that I don’t want a cookie. But recently, I have been eating dinner with people in the Church on two days a week. And it’s going to continue for a while. A part of me loves it. I get to interact with folk, enjoy their children and pets, and get to know them better. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Folk don’t cook Keto. Everything is loaded with pasta, potatoes, bread, or sugar. That’s the way people eat. And rightly so. Those things are affordable, they make a dish spread, and they taste awesome. Some of our Church folk are great cooks.

They will usually fix huge meals, because I’m the Pastor and they don’t want me to go away hungry. Sometimes they will even fill my plate. When that happens, I will always get a double helping of potatoes.

I could decline the invitations, but I’m not going to. That’s rude. And putting my diet needs above the spiritual, emotional, and social needs of families, it not an acceptable priority. So I go.

For a while this dilemma really bothered me. In fact, it started to consume me. I turned it into a major problem. Then I came up with a solution.

One of the unspoken truths in Keto, is that ultimately, and eventually, calories matter. It’s a simple fact that if you consume more calories that your body is using, you will gain weight. It doesn’t matter whether that is meat, cheese, eggs, broccoli, or potatoes. And as we lose weight, our calorie requirements reduce. I need less calories at 224 pounds, that I did at 305. I wish that wasn’t true, but it is. And I have incorporated that fact into my diet plan.

I need 1800 calories a day to lose a pound a week. If I’m doing full keto, I’ll probably lose it faster, because my body can more easily burn the stored fat. So, as long as I’m eating 1800 calories a day maximum, I will be ok.

Remember 5 days a week, I’m full keto. On these two days a week, I have one non keto meal a day. If I can serve myself smaller portions, I’m golden, but like I said, sometimes, my hosts serve my meal. Then I just have to track the calories and carbs and make the best of it.

One other thing I do, is on those days, I eat a very small lunch. That helps.

My point in all this is, life needs to be enjoyed. Our diets have to be made to fit our lifestyles, not the other way around. Sometimes we’re thrown challenges, obstacles. Think about it. Find a work around, and go with it. Food is not a crime. Carbs are not demons from Hell. We can do this. Relax!

How Growing a Garden Can Assist Weight Loss

Yeah, it’s a little bit click baity. But it’s also true. First, nothing tastes like fresh, home grown vegetables. The stuff you buy at the grocery, is better than what comes in a can, or heaven forbid, a box, but stuff that you grow yourself, or get at a local farmer’s market, is night and day different.

Almost everything you buy in the grocery store, has to be picked early, and shipped, before it’s ripe and full of flavor. Often the truck is loaded with a kind of gas bomb to help the produce ripen. So it looks ripe, but the natural sugars, and vitamins, as well as minerals are often missing, or certainly depleted.

Strawberries from your own garden, or freshly picked from a U pick, are world’s apart from what you buy at the grocery store. The same is true of tomatoes, cucumbers, even Jalapeno peppers. It’s even true of lettuce and cabbage.

People often comment on the difference in taste when we give away excess veggies. BTW, it’s even true of meat, but I’ll save that for another post.

I don’t know about you, but if I’m going to have to change the way I eat, I at least want it to taste good. And I discovered years and years ago, that nothing compares to growing my own.

I never liked salad. I would always turn it down. I liked the blue cheese dressing and the bacon bits, but the salad was tasteless and boring. But when I had one with my home grown Black Seeded Simpson lettuce, onions, bell peppers, tomatoes, and Jalapenos, I couldn’t believe the flavor jump. It was delicious. I could even eat it without immersing it in Blue Cheese Dressing.

Home grown cucumbers and squash are as different as night and day from the ones sold in the supermarket. I didn’t even like the word, zucchini, now it’s my favorite vegetable to grow and cook. It tastes amazing grilled, stewed, baked, fried, and broiled. Fresh grown green beans and peas are so much better than store bought that I can’t even describe the difference.

My favorite thing to grow, and eat, are hot peppers. From Jalapenos, to Carolina Reapers, I love them all. I have to be careful right now, because we don’t have a lot of room to grow peppers. I used to grow over 20 varieties every year, now I only have room for 5 or 6 plants. This year I will grow, Poblano, Jalapeno, Fresno, Bhut Jolokia (Ghost), and Moruga Scorpion. Those last two are among the hottest peppers on earth. I had to choose between my favorite hot varieties, and this was what I chose. First, hot peppers are good for you. The help you burn calories. They also help prevent cancer. I eat hot peppers, or hot sauce every day.

Tomatoes are also not your enemy. Some diets, like the Mediterranean, are very high on them. Some keto purists, frown on them. I have never had a problem. I don’t eat them in major quantities these days, but they are full of vitamins and minerals, and are good for my heart. Again, due to space issues, I can only grow about 6 plants. So I choose wisely. Here in Scotland, Tomatoes, Peppers, and Cucumbers have to be grown in a greenhouse, so that has to be figured in.

I only grow one kind of cucumber, Socrates. They are 5 to six inches long. They taste great, and the plants are abundant with fruit. They are parthenocarpic, meaning they don’t need a pollinator, which makes growing them in a greenhouse easy. Two plants is all I have room for, and all I need.

As I mentioned earlier, I will grow several zucchini bushes. Oh I love those things. And they are expensive in the supermarkets here, so they’re great the give away to neighbors. I will also grow several spaghetti squash plants. My wife and I both love spaghetti squash. Giving up pasta was tough, but these squashes, make it much easier.

I’ll also grow beets, beans, lettuce, and some herbs. Oh, I’m going to grow a few cauliflower. They take up a lot of room, and you only get one head of fruit, so it’s not wise to grow them. They are fairly affordable at the grocery store. If you have a lot of room, I recommend growing plenty of Cauliflower and Broccoli. I’m only going to grow two or three cabbages, for the same reason. Just no room.

So far, I have started my hot pepper, tomato, cauliflower, and cabbage seeds. They are growing under lights right now. They will go out in May.

Another benefit of growing your own, is it provides exercise. And exercise is mission critical to good health. You will need to prepare your garden. That will take a while. You will have to plant your garden. You’ll have to go out and water your garden. And you’ll have to weed your garden. That’s daily walking, bending, lifting, and etc. It’s like a gym membership you don’t have to pay a monthly fee for.

Yes, seeds cost a little. But if you select correctly, you’ll save on your groceries. And if you save seeds properly, you’ll only have to buy seeds occasionally. And you’ll be able to give excess to your family and friends. Even with my limited space, I will give away, lettuce, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, and beans.

You can order your seeds off the internet, or you can pick them up at a big box store. Heck, even dollar stores carry seeds. If you’re interested in eating well, and eating right, I encourage you to try and grow some of your own vegetables. You’ll be glad you did. If you have any questions, send them my way.

For those who are following my progress, my current weight is 226.5. I have slowed down a lot. My goal to reach 200 by Easter will not happen. I will set a new one on Easter. Stay tuned.

I Cannot Tell A Lie!

Parson Weems' Fable" by Grant Wood – Joy of Museums Virtual Tours

We’ve just had President’s Day, so this seems kind of appropriate. But last week I said I was afraid I was going to Emotionally Eat, and probably binge, because I was upset. And I did. Kind of.

I’m not going to go into the reasons this happened. It’s very personal and difficult for me, so don’t ask. But on Thursday last week, when I was feeling bluer than cheese, I had Pizza Sandwiches and watched a movie. I cooked up a couple mini frozen pizzas, put butter on bread, parmesan cheese on the pizza, and made sandwiches. This has been my favorite depression binge food for 30 years. It’s cheap, full of flavor, and carbohydrates. By Friday, I was back on the program. I wallowed in Self Pity, then started moving forward.

I knew it was going to happen. I’ve been living with me for 64 years. I pretty much know how I’m going to react to things. One of the things that surprised me, was I didn’t get ice cream for dessert.

Because I’m under stress, I have had some other side effects. First, my nerves are shot. I’m on edge constantly. Secondly, I haven’t had a BM for 4 days. Tomorrow I will take a laxative. My sleep is messed up. And we can’t get melatonin here in Scotland. So I’ve had some keto friendly adult beverages before I go to bed. The problem with those is they are loaded with calories. And I don’t want to become dependent on anything.

This is only temporary, but it will be an extended temporary. These things happen in life. I had the good fortune of knowing what was coming so I could prepare for it a bit. I don’t know what I would have done had I been blindsided. I encourage you to prepare for emotional emergencies, just like physical ones. Think ahead about how you will feel, and how you will behave. Write it down.

And, this one may cost me readers, pray about it. God wants to hear the desires and concerns of your heart. I know He is with me through this time. He will hold my heart as well as my hand. And He will do that for you, too. Hard times come. That’s a fact. Tough people are strong and courageous. And that does not mean they aren’t scared spitless.

So, for the reasons above, I haven’t lost any weight this week. But I’m back on my program, watching my carbs and calories closely. If you’re going through a tough time, I feel your pain. Feel free to drop me a note and tell me about it.

Next week, I’ll tell you about how things are going getting ready for my 2021 Keto Diet Friendly Garden.

Danger Ahead – Comfort Eating Approaching!

Weight this week 229, Yep, No change. Oh well.

Image result for stress, public domain images

Later this week I will be facing one of my greatest temptations, Comfort Eating. My wife is going back to the States alone! That’s tearing me up. She has some work commitments, and needs to get away. The vaccination protocol right now is pretty light, and she doesn’t want to be forced to take the Covid vax. Neither do I, but that’s all for another time and place. Don’t bother to comment about it either way, I will delete the comments. Anyway, she found a phenomenal rate to fly this week, and took it. We have no idea when she’ll be able to get back. It could be May, it could be next May. It’s all up in the air. I hate it. But it’s going to happen. We’ve had a few uncomfortable discussions, but this is the best way to avoid problems. So on Wednesday, I’m taking her for her Covid test, then we’re driving down to Edinburgh, where her flight leaves at 6 a.m. Thursday morning. Blah!

Here’s the deal. I love my wife. I hate spending a single night apart. I used to travel for my work and would be gone two weeks a month. We did that for a year. She had to go to Maine for a month back when we lived in GA. We thought she would be there longer, but things didn’t work out like we planned and she came home.

The point is, we should be used to it. Military people do this all the time. We have the internet. We’ll be able to stay in touch. It’s not like it was 30 years ago, where people are dependent on phones and the postal service. Still, I am hating every moment of this. Obviously, she’s pretty excited. She will get to see her folks, her brother, her sister, one of my sisters, and other friends and family. I will be here. Alone in lockdown.

And there’s the rub. I will drive back Thursday, and get home mid afternoon. I will be tempted to attack my loneliness food first. I will want to eat carbs like crazy. Carbs are a comfort food for me. Mac and Cheese, Pizza, Cheeseburgers, with bun of course. No one will be around. No one will stop me. And if I start, I might be on a two month binge. And that’s a fact.

That’s why I’m telling you about it. For accountability. I have a daily schedule of activities. I pretty much have every hour of every day spoken for, but evenings are when I get most lonely. Everything is closed. Everyone is at home. That’s when I’ll be tempted. I know, though, that if I start gaining weight, I’ll have to answer to you, my readers. So help me out. Keep reading week after week. I’ll tell you how I’m doing.

Lots of people have trouble with comfort eating. Stress is a real diet killer. We’ll eat too much, drink too much, and months or years of hard work can be lost. If you’re a stress eater, I feel your pain. I don’t know what I would do if something happened to my wife, or one of my kids or grandkids. What about losing a job? Or, what if a doctor gives a bad diagnosis and prognosis? There are a thousand traps hidden in the road ahead. We don’t know where they are and we don’t know the future. We can prepare the best we can, but when we hit that thing buried in the road, we don’t know whether our preparations were adequate.

If you find yourself binge eating, out of stress. Just stop. Don’t beat yourself up. Be grateful that you’ve awakened before it’s too late and all your work is lost. Get right back on your program and start over. Day 1. If you need someone to talk to, I’m here for you. Or find one of your friends or a family member. I believe in you.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll tell you next week how I did. Wish me luck.

Keto Heresy – The Potato Is Not Your Enemy

Image result for potatoes public domain images

There I said it. I know I’ve referred to it in several posts, but I’m going to dedicate this one to my friend. I will say it again – The Spud is your Bud. In moderation.

Potatoes are high in carbohydrates. No question. A hundred mg portion has 17 grams of carbs. That’s a lot. But with 2.2 grams of fiber, that brings the carb total down to 15. The story doesn’t end there. First, that same 100 mg of potato only has 77 calories. It has 32% of your daily vitamin C. It has 15 percent of your vitamin B6, and 12% of your daily potassium. In fact, potatoes alone supply every vital nutrient except calcium, vitamin A and vitamin D.

The Spaniards found the natives of Peru and Bolivia eating potatoes as they conquered the continent in the 1500s. They were suspicious, but found the tubers edible. They took some back with them to Spain. Ironically though, the Europeans did not warm to the potato. Some of the Elites and Upper Class did, but the poor, across especially Northern Europe, including Great Britain did not. In general terms, it was 1800 that marked the turning of the taste bud tide, with the exception of Ireland which had adopted the potato during the last half of the 1700s. The entire population started thriving as a result. The population of the island grew immensely. Then in the mid 1800, a potato famine wiped out a good portion of the population.

When I was in Bolivia, they told me they had over 400 varieties of potatoes there. I tasted about 15. That kind of genetic diversity provides stability when one variety has disease problems. Ireland was not Bolivia, and did not have the diversity.

Anyway, the Highlanders of Scotland learned to live on the potato, and to this day, here in Northern Scotland, many potatoes are grown.

The French, the Prussians, and eventually all of Eastern Europe and Russia, came to rely on the spud for it’s nutritional value. In North America, the potato was probably always secondary to corn in value to people. But today, it is a cheap staple in nearly every home, and is usually a part of every restaurant meal.

The potato is healthy. It is our friend. But not the way we eat it. We fry it. And we fry it in poor fats. We mash it with high calorie, high carbohydrate milk, plus we then load it with butter, Sour Cream, Cheese, and, or Bacon. We turn it into the foundation of a dietary tower of babel.

In America, we grow some enormous varieties, that are sometimes a pound in weight or more. Here in Scotland, we don’t do that. We have a few largish varieties, but we don’t go crazy like Americans do.

Oh, we dehydrate them, and process them, and make them instant, and load them with all kinds of ingredients from the chemistry set. Yes, they taste awesome. But those things are poison.

Here’s the way I eat potatoes. First, I will not have them more than once a week. Normally, it’s once a month. But I love potatoes and I know I’m not going to go the rest of my life potato free. So I fit them into MY plan. I mostly buy new potatoes. They are lower in starch. I cut each potato into two or four pieces. I soak them in water to get out any excess starch. Then I will roast them in the oven. They get crispy, like oven fries, with skin. There’s all kinds of good stuff in the skins. I can put butter and sour cream on them, or dip them in sugar free ketchup. They taste great.

Because I track what I eat, I can watch my carbohydrates and calories for the day. If I have potatoes, I will allow more like 40 to 50 grams of carbs for that day, and reduce my calories to 1700. It’s a win win. My taste buds AND the scales both love me.

For those of you on a calorie controlled diet, rather than Keto, I encourage you to eat plenty of potatoes. They will make you feel full without a bunch of calories. Use them in soups, as well as baked and roasted.

Like everything else I’ve learned, it’s the processed stuff we have to avoid. If it comes from a factory, don’t trust it. Read the labels. If it comes from a garden, it’s not going the be your enemy, in moderation. I have had a few potato beds ravaged by moles. But I have never seen an obese mole.

When I started this Keto journey, I avoided potatoes like they were as bad as sugar. Partly because there are few foods that are a bigger trigger for me. Now that I am in control of what I eat, rather than what I eat having control over me, I can have some potatoes.

I never touch potato chips. I could eat them by the bag full, but they are very highly processed. And like instant potatoes, they are coated in tasty chemicals. I just don’t want that. My wife might make home made chips (or crisps, as they’re called here in Scotland) once a year. But because they’re trigger foods for both of us, she also might not. My point is, home made are much better for you than buying them by the bag at the supermarket or the gas station.

Do your homework. Potatoes are not our enemies. It’s how we fix them, and how much of them we eat, that’s the problem. Think about it. There is my heresy. Here I stand. I’m losing weight and I’m having fun doing it.

Let’s finish with some weight loss update information. My current weight is 229. And today I had to put another new notch in my belt. Fortunately, it’s winter and most days I wear a sweater which covers the belt. It’s starting to look pretty worn. Yay. I have another one that I use for dress up occasions. But with this lock down, those are few and far between.

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.

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 Year’s Resolutions? Again?

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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!