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

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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?

To Keep Your New Year's Resolution, Make a Plan for Success | Psychology  Today

I’m writing this on the 28th of December, 2020. Christmas is behind us. It was pretty uneventful here, because of the renewed lockdown. But, we were still able to celebrate the birthday of Jesus. Yes!

For the record, here in Scotland, everything is pretty much on go slow from Christmas to New Year, most years. As I look out my office window, the town is pretty darned quiet. Pretty much the only things allowed to be open are the grocery stores, gas stations, take away eateries, and one bakery. Those are pretty much the places that would be open this week anyway.su

The sun is shining and it’s cold. Well it’s cold for this part of Scotland anyway. The temps are in the 20s F. The sun is trying to shine. All in all, it’s a pretty nice day. It gives us opportunity to think about our New Year’s Resolutions.

First, I haven’t believed in those for years, maybe ever. I learned long ago, to set goals for the new year in about October, so that I could think them through as much as possible. This year that’s been tough, because we don’t know what 2021 will bring with all the Covid issues.

But I know that many of us are thinking about our 2021 weight and fitness goals. A new year, seems to be a great time to start fresh. Most of us are tired of overeating, and we want to make the new year count for something, so we decide to go on a diet. Millions of people will join a gym. I want to suggest a different strategy, and one that may work well with all the Covid restrictions.

  1. Give up Sugar in January. This sounds so easy, but I promise you, it is not. I’m talking about white sugar, brown sugar, and molasses. Heck, even honey. You’ll be amazed at all the food it’s in. This will require you to read labels on cans. When you do, you’ll shake your head at how many canned goods contain sugar. Next week, I will talk more about that. But don’t try and make a strict diet for you New Year’s Resolution. Chances are, you’ll last maybe a week. Start with sugar for January. That will be hard enough.
  2. Decide to put a little exercise into your week. You don’t have to join a gym. I know many subscribers to this blog are gym rats, or even gym owners. I’m not trying to cost you business. I’m trying to get people started on a road they can stay on. So start with some walking. Walk a block, a mile, two miles. Just get started. Don’t even try to jog or run yet. Walking burns as many calories in a mile, as running a mile burns, or so I’m told. Add in some body weight exercises; sit ups, push ups, squats, jumping jacks. Start with a set of about 10. Just do one set. I know with me, I won’t be able to do 10 push ups. Since my heart surgery 2.5 years ago, my chest and arm muscles have deteriorated enormously. Just start with what you can do. Do those exercises two or three times a week. No weights other than your body weight. After a week or so, move to two sets. Then after another week or two, depending on your base fitness, add a third set. After you’re comfortable getting through three sets each time you exercise, then once a week, just do one set of as many reps as you can do. Do push ups to failure, for example. The other two times, do your regular sets. This is my plan. Our gyms are closed. They are small, and they are expensive. I don’t want to work out in front of people. I don’t want to pay a bunch of money. And I don’t like swimming. I will say, that swimming is great all round exercise, if you like to swim.
  3. Keep a journal. Write down your exercises and what you ate. It won’t be easy, because it’s boring, but a year from now, you’ll be glad you did it.
  4. In February, cut out processed flour. That’s white or regular brown flour. This is another hard one. It’s in everything you will find in a box. Every kind of processed food out there. I meet people every week who say, “I can’t do it.” I know it’s hard. Bread and flour are in so many food items.

I guarantee that if you try these small steps, you will be surprised at how much weight you will lose in January and February. Then, at the end of February, you will be in a position to decide whether or not this is a path you want to travel for the rest of 2021. Write and tell me whether or not you’re going to try it. Write at tell me how you get on. I’m curious.

I’m in it with you. On Christmas day, I hit my Christmas weight loss goal. I wanted to weigh 235 by Christmas. I made it that morning. My next goal is 200 lbs on Easter Sunday. This one will be tough. Easter is a bit earlier than I had originally thought. So be it.

I have written out my exercise plan. I know the exercises I’m going to do. I will give you updates. I need you to hold me accountable. I’m going to walk. I used to run. That was 25 years ago. I haven’t even gone for a jog in 23 years. Now, my sciatica is so bad, I can’t physically do it. But I can walk. My wife is a great walker. She leaves the house, sometimes for a couple hours, just walking the neighborhoods. I find that boring. I’m going to have to drive to some places out in the country. I get bored so easy. She has often said, ‘Just do it!’, but I’ve been too lazy. Well in 2021, lazy isn’t good enough. So stay tuned.

Keep in mind, I’m on a South Beach/Keto eating plan. I’ve conquered the sugar and flour. I do have bread once or twice a month. Usually in the form of a Weight Watchers tortilla or a hamburger bun. I have no sugar. In a spirit of full disclosure I do eat artificial sweeteners. I use Sucralose in my coffee, and I use brown Erythritol in baking and in my BBQ sauce. I know purists gasp when they read that. I’m not a purist. I’m me. And I’m doing what works for me. But I will not lie to you.

I hope this has given you some things to think about as you plan your New Year. You are part of my accountability team. Thank you. Keep your chin up. Remember God is for you, so who can be against you. Have a great 2021. We’re in this together. Let’s do it!

Don’t Let The Holiday Season Ruin Your Weight Loss Plan!

Memorable Christmas Feasts From History - Holidappy - Celebrations

If you’re trying to lose weight, I don’t care what program you’re on, you know we are in the time of year, that leads to diet disaster. We call it “The Holiday Season”. For Americans, it lasts from

Thanksgiving until New Year. For most of the rest of us, it certainly lasts from the time the supermarkets put out their mince pies, until sometime in January, when they finally remove them from the shelves.

There are office parties, family dinners, invites out with friends, and of course, gifts. Calories, and carbohydrates fill the air. We always think we can be strong, or we decide a cheating day won’t hurt, and before you know it, it’s March and we’re back to eating like we always did. Then we get depressed and verbally berate ourselves as we reach for the ice cream to provide comfort.

I’ve done it at least 20 times in my life. I’ve spent 6 months to a year, eating great, and losing weight, only to jump ship in January due to the Holiday Festivities. Not this time.

First, I’ve lost too much weight to risk giving up now. And secondly, I’ve changed my life. I’m not on a diet. I have an eating plan. And they are different mindsets.

I did the same thing when my wife and I got out of debt. We had made a financial mess. I won’t go into it, but we were a disaster. It had gotten really scary. Then, we came to our senses and decided we didn’t want to live like that any more. I read several books, and we decided to make a plan. I got out my yellow pad and we looked at our debts, our income, and our bills. Then we prioritized them. If you want to find out the details, my book, IOU NO MORE, is still available on Kindle. The print version is off the market.

One of the changes we made was in our mindset. We weren’t on a budget. We had a spending plan. There was a goal. We made loads of mistakes. Some of them were pretty stupid, but we got right back on the horse and kept riding.

That was 20 years ago. It took us several years to get out of debt, but we did it. Today our income is smaller than it’s ever been, but we are able to pay all our bills. Besides that, I’ve gone back to school and got my masters and doctorate. My wife went back and got her bachelors and is working on her masters degree. We have paid for it. No student loans. We haven’t had a car payment since 2006. We’ve paid cash for every vacation.

Finally, this year, I decided to treat my health the same way. Instead of a diet, I have an eating plan. I know what I can eat, and what I can’t eat. I don’t eat what I can’t. Sometimes, if we’re at another couple’s home, or we’re out with friends, we can’t eat according to our plan. We don’t panic. We don’t cause a scene. We eat what’s put in front of us, knowing the next day will see us back on the program.

That’s why the Holidays are different this year. We’re on a plan. We have goals. And because we’re not on ‘a diet’, the mentality has changed. I’m not a slave to my weight, or to a diet. I’m in charge. Do I wish I could eat everything I like? Yes, but I can’t. That’s reality. I want to live a long time. And I want to be happy. I risked both of those things by eating myself into oblivion.

As I’ve said before, sugar is out of my life. I know how poison and addictive it is. White flour too. I do have the occasional low carb tortilla. I do have the occasional hamburger bun. I’m not a slave. I have a plan. The fact is, I don’t like burgers without buns. So now, I have fewer burgers, and have a bun. I don’t have ketchup, because it’s full of sugar. I don’t have special sauce for the same reason. Now, to be fair, burgers are awful here in the U.K. The only ones I like are sold in our local supermarket. They are 295 calories. I have two in my freezer. On days when I eat one, like I’ve said before, I bump my carbs to 50 and my calories to between 1500 and 1800.

Ok, to be fair, Covid has made things easier this year. We can’t go to people’s homes or have people over. So some of the temptations have been excluded by Government sanction. But I’m ok with that. It helps me stay true to my plan.

I’m 4 pounds away from new territory. I’m 60 pounds from my goal weight. I can see it from here. Yes, the light is distant, but I want it, and no one is going to stop me. So don’t even think about trying.

If you want to change your life, think in different terms. Stop thinking about debt and budgets. Take back your life. Start thinking about a spending plan and things you want to achieve or buy or do. Stop thinking about how fat you are, or how bad you look naked. How many people see you naked anyway? Never mind, don’t answer that. Start thinking about what it will be like to wear clothes off the shelf, rather that at the big and tall store. Start thinking about paying less for shirts, because 2XL and larger cost more. Start thinking about being able to walk, or go places you’ve always wanted to go. What do I want, rather than what I can’t do now.

If you need weight loss surgery, make an appointment, talk to your doctor. Don’t wait until ‘someday’. It’s not on the calendar. If you want to lose weight, start small, cut out sugar. That’s a great beginning. You’ll be surprised how much that will help you. If you need to start exercising, start by walking around the block. Or walking to your neighbors driveway and back. Do something. Change your mind, and do something.

And here’s my commitment to you. I will tell you what happens to me this Holiday Season. I will weigh myself say Christmas Eve, and again January 7, I will tell you what I ate. No secrets. Deal?

Have a very Merry Christmas, y’all. And please remember the Reason for the Season!

I HATE Dieting in Winter. There I Said It.

Public Domain Clip Art Image | February calendar page: It's so cold! | ID:  13920582614985 | PublicDomainFiles.com

Do you have times of year when eating right is particularly hard? I know I do. Winter is one of them. And it’s not because of the Holidays. It’s because it’s cold and dark, and I want to eat to feel better. I want loads of Carbs. I want good burgers with buns. I want mashed potatoes or loaded baked ones. I want acres of Macaroni and cheese and cheesy potatoes. Many people want soup in winter. It makes them feel warm and cozy. I am not one of those. Unless it’s New England Clam Chowder or Lobster Bisque, I’m not interested in soup at all. For my whole life, soup has felt like a punishment.

Anyway, for the moment, Keto and South Beach, are a bummer. I’m being honest. You need honesty. The only bright spot is I’m now at 240 lbs. even. That means I am 5 pounds from uncharted territory. That’s exciting. For those who are new to this blog, I started originally, at 305. But this Keto/South Beach program I started at 280. It has been years since I was over 300 lbs. But I’ve been stuck at 175 to 280 for nearly a decade. I had given up. My health gave me jolt back to reality. I have to focus on the progress. Last night I was so hungry I was whining like a 6 year old. I didn’t give in, but I sure wanted to. This morning when I got on the scales, I was pleasantly surprised.

The simple truth is, dieting isn’t always easy. Sometimes it’s really hard. You have to decide what’s important to you. For years, I ate my way to poor health, simply because food tasted good. In the end, I had my heart attack and strokes. I wear the scars of that mistake for the rest of my life.

I have made the decision to change. I can honestly say, there is no vanity in my motivation. I’m 64 years old. The idea of egotistical reasons for weight loss is honestly, laughable. I just want the last quarter of my life to be healthy. I owe that as a legacy to those who follow.

Loose Skin – A Very Real Side Effect of Weight Loss

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This post has been a long time coming. I’ve been afraid to write it, but the time has arrived when it needs to be done. Not for my benefit, but for yours.

In 1990, I weighed 250 lbs. On my 5′ 9.5” frame, that was a lot of extra weight. Shortly before I turned 34 years old in October of that year, I started losing weight. It was slow at first. By the spring of 91, I was serious. I took up running and working out in the gym. I was fairly young, I was getting healthy, and I looked on fitness as my job.

My routine was pretty simple. I went to the gym every morning at 9. Three days a week, Monday, Wednesday, and usually Saturday, I would sauna for an hour or so. Then I would shower, come home, have lunch, and work a bit. In the afternoons, especially on days I did not go to the sauna, I would run 2 to 5 miles. I hated running. But I got good at it, and it became a regular part of my routine. I ate very little during the day, I was not on Keto in those days. I’d never heard of low carb. Only low fat. I ate a light breakfast of toast and oatmeal, a light lunch, and then at night I’d have a big dinner.

I did this for 7 years. I lost down to about 168 lbs. I went from a 40 inch waist to a 33. I am, and have been thick waisted my whole life. I inherited my build from both of my grandfathers. People who knew me as fat, were shocked at how I’d lost and kept off my weight. People who didn’t know me as heavy were stunned to hear about my earlier weight issues. They only knew me a buff and thin.

I had no loose skin. Absolutely none. I had met a guy in college who lost a lot of weight, and he had rolls of it. It was almost frightening to look at. I had worked hard, and was young enough that I did not suffer that fate one iota. But that was then.

I was 41, when my wife and I got married. I stopped running, working out, and eating healthy. So did she. We ate everything we could get our hands on. I won’t describe some of our eating marathons, but I might come back to it in the future.

I peaked out at 305 lbs. Holy mackerel! I was a mess. To be fair, I lost down to 275, and stayed between there and 285 until earlier this year.

2.5 years ago, I had open heart surgery. I’d had a heart attack and several small strokes. The last stroke was on the operating table. It left me partially blind in my left eye. The surgeon said that I was fortunate. I could have easily died from a stroke while undergoing heart surgery. In that case, I’ll settle for a little vision challenge.

It’s ironic that it’s taken me this long to get serious about losing weight. But at long last, I got there. My wife has been practicing the Keto diet for several years. It got a whole lot easier for her once I got with the program. We are both losing weight at a fairly steady rate.

I have not been able to get back into a consistent exercise routine. Part of that is pure laziness. And part is because I’m 64 years old, and my body doesn’t work the way it used to. I used to run sled dogs. I did it for over 30 years. I ran limited class sprint races. That means 4 to 6 dogs over 4 to 6 miles for multiple days in a race, trying to get the fastest time. It’s a lot different that the Iditarod. For most of that time, I was seriously overweight. Running up and down big hills and running between the runners to make things easier for the dogs, did a number on my knees. They are scarred up badly.

For a number of years after retiring from racing dogs, I was a farmer. I worked hard. Trying to compensate for my deteriorating knees I damaged my back and hips. These days I have serious sciatic problems. My entire right side, from below my chest is affected. I am in constant pain. No one’s fault but mine. These are the results of allowing myself to remain obese and trying to live like I wasn’t.

Currently, I weigh 247 lbs. I’ve got a long way to go, but I’ve made great progress. I tried a body weight workout last week. It was a disaster. I will try one tomorrow. I’m not going to join the gym. Like I said, I’m 64. I don’t want to spend the money. I will stick to body weight exercises for a while and see what happens.

The thing I’ve really noticed, is, the loose skin. Frankly, it’s getting bad. And it’s pretty ugly. It’s all in my mid section. My legs and arms never got grossly fat. Oddly, neither did my chest and upper back. All my weight was in the middle. Just like a barrel, or an apple. So as I lose weight, my belly skin sags. I guess to be fair, I’ve got a good bit of loose skin on my neck, but comparatively, it’s not that bad. I’m trying to stay PG in this space, so let’s just say, there is a part of my anatomy that is pretty much covered up by hanging slabs of skin.

When I go to the bathroom, I have to drop my trousers. I can’t just unzip. I’m so sorry to paint this picture, but this is real life. I have to hold up my skin so that I have the freedom to go number 1. In public restrooms, I have to use a stall so that I don’t frighten and gross out other people. The point is, my loose skin has become an issue.

Another side effect is that my trousers don’t fit right. I have a huge bulge just below the belt line. My trouser sizes are not going down as fast as I’d like, because the loose skin is replacing the fat, and it looks odd.

My wife is having loose skin issues as well. She’s a lot younger than I am. She’s broken her back twice, and the loose skin is causing her pain. She will have surgery once she finishes losing weight, and Covid allows travel. I will not have the surgery. Like I said, I’m 64. In my mind, that’s an expense that doesn’t have enough ROI in my case. I’m too old to spend that kind of money for cosmetic surgery that won’t have a huge health benefit for me. I will live with the loose skin. My situation is so much different than my wife’s. She’s in her mid 40s. She’s not too old. And the loose skin causes her pain. She needs the surgery. Unfortunately, insurance won’t cover it, so we’re saving up for it now. We don’t put things on credit cards, but that’s another topic for another day. Check out my book IOU NO MORE. Its old now, and it’s only available on Kindle these days, but it’s still available.

I am telling you about our loose skin, because it’s real life. If you are on Keto, with only 25 or 30 lbs to lose, this might not be something you’ll face. If, though, you’ve got 100 lbs or more to lose, or, like me you’re getting a bit older, you will face it. It’s one of the prices we have to pay for decades of being morbidly obese. And the more we know, the better prepared we are for side effects.

In my case, I won’t ever be even a 36 inch waist. If I get to 38 I’ll be lucky. It will also affect my weight goal. I know I will have 7 to 10 pounds of extra skin affecting the scale every time I get on it. That’s reality. It’s a price I have to pay. We weighed up the benefits vs cost of having skin removal surgery and for my wife it makes sense to pursue it. For me, it will be like giving away money. I won’t do it.

You need to be aware of the reality of loose skin. Some people have it in big pockets on their upper arms, their waists, and even on their legs. It can be gruesome. I’ve seen the photos on Instagram. You need to think about it now, so that you can decide whether or not you will pay for the surgery. The odds are greatly against insurance covering loose skin surgery. Don’t let either the existence of waves loose skin, or the cost of getting rid of it, catch you by surprise. Be ready. Be wise. And good luck. This journey is worth the hassle.

Keto is Working, with a few tweaks.

Public Domain Clip Art Image | Bathroom scale | ID: 13946503217586 |  PublicDomainFiles.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

Some Changes To My Life and Coming to this Blog

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

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

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

Oh Yeah, I’m At My First Weight Loss Goal!

Image result for hit the goal images public domainI did it! I reached my first goal. I’m below 250 lbs for the first time in a very long time. It took me longer to figure it out, because the battery went dead on our scales and I had to weight. Figures.

Next goal is 225. Now it’s time to kick up the exercise. That one scares me. I’m 62 years old. To regularly hit the gym is asking a lot of my old, out of shape body. I will probably do mostly body weight exercises for the first 2 months, then start adding weight machines. I will eventually go free weights, but not just yet. Correction, I’ll probably use dumbells for arm exercises. I fear I will have to get my biceps and triceps built up a bit to be able to do push ups. That’s a sad commentary, but a realistic one.

I really owe a big thanks to all the Keto people I’ve followed on FB and Instragram. And all the YouTube videos that have been so motivational.

For those who are new to  my blog, I am not practicing strict Keto. I have certainly curtailed my carbs, and raised my fat intake. That will probably always be true. But I have added new potatoes, parsnips, carrots, peas and corn, to name a few.

One of the reasons is simply because I love those vegetables. Also, they are good for you, and they grow very prolifically here in Scotland. New potatoes, are not nearly as starchy as mature ones, but are just as tasty roasted. The same with parsnips. Roasted parsnips are like manna from heaven.

I track my carbs carefully and try and stay below 30 grams maximum per day. The key is to track, faithfully, the food I eat. And if you want to really get a hold on your weight, you need to do that, too.

Think of it like budgeting. If you write down what you spend, and you write down your bills, you know exactly where your money is going and where it needs to go. I treat my eating the same way.

Oh, here’s another switch I made. I use paper and pencil rather than an app. I have two apps I used to use. I still have them for looking up food (calories and carbs). But using pencil and paper makes the exercise more personal. I don’t know why, it just does. I found that out when my wife and I were getting out of debt. Pencil and paper were so much better that using an app. I’ve seen on YouTube that there are lots of people who feel the same.  Try it with your food tracking and let me know what you think. I’m interested.

Just a couple of other quick notes. This is the easiest and the hardest program I’ve ever done. It’s the easiest because I’m never hungry. And when I am, I just eat. I don’t have to take any pills, or buy any shakes. I’m doing this naturally.

But it’s also the hardest, because sugar and flour are in everything. Spice mixes are full of sugar, so I have to pretty much make all my own. Yesterday, we had a taco and fajita night at Church. The taco and fajita seasoning all had sugar. I ate a little meat and cheese, but skipped the veggies because of the sugar in the seasoning. But watching all those flour and corn tortillas was a bit stressful. I didn’t feel deprived though, because I wasn’t starving and feeling jealous. I just miss bread.

I guess that’s enough for an update. I just wanted to share my good news. I love winning!