The Ketogenic Diet and My Problems With Aging.

meI’m Fat! There I said it. Sadly, not for the first time. But I want you to really understand what I’m saying. I’m not overweight. I’m not portly. I’m not big boned. I’m Michelin Man, fat. Obese. No, Morbidly Obese. It’s the kind of fat, that makes it easy for me to be self deprecating, and use it as a part of public speaking as a great source of humor.

Here’s the deal. It works. I’m funny. I can make a crowd chuckle, giggle, and roar with laughter. I love that. It feeds me. I truly enjoy making people happy. You can get people to swallow a great deal of truth while their mouths are open laughing. And I love sharing truth with people.

While it works, it’s easy. It may even be the shallowest form of humor. Very little thinking or creativity needs to be put in to one’s humor when you’re using self deprecating abuse as your method and target.

Because I love to make people laugh, and hear their laughter, I’ve been able to avoid the actual fact that I’m unhealthy. I just bury it in the back of my mind and go on. I can make jokes about buying larger clothing, breaking chairs, or causing fear in the eyes of the person who has to sit next to me on an airplane. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been able to joke about getting a bus seat all to myself. People will laugh. I will cry a little in private. Then swallow it with a cheeseburger, and go on.

Two years ago, things got serious. I was having trouble breathing when I walked any distance. My chest hurt. I didn’t know what was wrong, until I had a heart attack. I’d had a small stroke in January of 2017, but didn’t tell anyone. I was raising money to become a missionary, and didn’t want anything to stop me. For a while, my wife had to do everything because I couldn’t think straight, or write. I am so grateful for her.

Then in late August, or early September, I had a heart attack. I was taken by ambulance to the hospital. It was kind of embarrassing. I had two strokes, small ones, but real, in the hospital. I remember them both quite profoundly.

After about a week, I went home. Things were somewhat better. I was now on all kinds of medications and I had to carry a spray in my pocket in case of heart issues. But I carried on.

In November, my wife and I took a trip down to Edinburgh for our anniversary. For those who don’t know, “The Royal Mile” is one of Edinburgh’s more famous shopping and tourist areas. Walking back up the Mile, my heart began to hurt like it hadn’t since my attack. I used my spray several times, but I was scared. Eventually, we made it back to our bus stop and went to our hotel. The short version is, I ruined the anniversary. My wife was so scared. And to be honest, angry. When we got home however, I used it to make people laugh.

In June of 2018, I was finally taken in to hospital for triple bypass surgery. It was a terrifying time. I was stone cold scared of the thought that someone was going to stop my heart, take veins form my leg as replacement for the blocked ones, then try and get my heart going again.

When I awoke, I felt better. Two days later something went wrong and I had a bad reaction. I genuinely thought I was going to die. I remember hallucinating during the event. Later, as I began to heal, I noticed a blind spot in my vision. My left eye was distinctly missing part of it’s sight. Eventually, after several visits to doctors, and having many tests, I was told that I’d had a stroke during surgery. Many people die from that. I only lost part of the vision in one eye.

When I got better, it all became the source of much laughter. That’s the way I do things. I’m not proud of it, I’m just telling you how I operate.

Finally, came the pain from sciatica in my back. I’d had it for years, but the pain became excruciating in 2018. I can’t even describe it. I’ve had many scans and doctor visits and tried multiple medications. It is awful, and sometimes debilitating.

I’m 62 years old. I’m not a kid anymore. Something has to give. I have to take action, or give up, fall apart, and, die.

I tried counting calories. But honestly, the discipline required in that, was too much for me. I lost a few pounds, but it was so much work I just lost interest. I gained the weight back.

Recently, two things happened that clicked my brain. The first was my pain was so bad that I would have to lay down for at least a couple hours a day for relief. My wife would take walks and go to the gym with her friends leaving me alone. I felt lonely, and I got jealous. Seriously. I’m not proud of it, I’m just saying.

The second thing is, all my clothes became uncomfortably tight. My entire wardrobe is too small. Every day, I wrestle with what I’m going to wear. Fortunately, I have a few large sweaters. I can put them over a too tight shirt, or just wear the sweater. For trousers, I have two pair of jeans, 1 dress pair of suit trousers, and one ratty old pair of casual trousers that are fraying at the cuffs.

I couldn’t bear it. I was literally dying, plus hurting, plus looking like a homeless man each time I left the house. I wept. I tried watching YouTube videos for fitness ideas, but those are all young studs and beautiful women, and frankly, I couldn’t relate to any of them.

It was at that point, I discovered, or I should say, I started paying attention to, the Ketogenic Diet. My wife had been talking about it for a while, and had even played with it off and one. I might add, she played successfully.

I headed straight for Google. I read everything I could about the eating plan, both pro and con. I watched dozens, maybe over a hundred videos on YouTube. I got the basic understanding of eating high fat, moderate protein, low carbohydrates. I loved and hated the idea of cutting out refined sugar and flour from my diet.

I hated it because I love bread like I love my heartbeat. And I loved it for the same reason. I knew, and have known for at least 5 years, that I am addicted to bread. I don’t understand all of the reasons, but I know it’s true. Bread, donuts, pizza crust, pie crust, rolls, hamburger buns, cupcakes, you name them, I’m an addict. Give me a toaster, a loaf of bread, some butter, and honey or jam, and I’ll clean it all up and ask for more.

I’m not here to discuss the reasons for it, but I know it’s true. Simple carbs, especially highly processed ones are a huge source of weakness for me, candy bars, potato chips, fries, onion rings, you name it. They are all a part of the problem. My mouth is watering, just thinking about all these yummy goodies.

Anyway, 10 days ago, we made the jump. I haven’t had any bread, sugar, potatoes, rice, pasta, or highly processed carbs. The first week I lost 5 pounds. That was all water weight, I’m sure. But it’s still encouraging.

At the moment, I do not believe potatoes will be gone forever. They are really tasty and healthy, but for now they are totally out. I believe the junk is gone forever. I’m not convinced that after 10 days, I’ve broken my addictions, but I’m doing pretty well.

I’m not yet able to exercise. My pain is still inhibiting me. Soon I will go to the gym. I have no expectations, but I’ve got to do it. Whatever that means. Treadmill, weights, stationary bike, I’m not sure. The thought of my leg and back hurting turns me into a whimpering 3 year old. I want to cry, fuss, and beg mommy to take me home.

The only appealing thing about the gym is the sauna. When I’m warm, my leg doesn’t hurt. I’m relaxed and in a good mood. Maybe I could start in the sauna, get loosened up, do my workout, then go back to the sauna to finish up. I don’t know. I’ll let you know what happens.

It’s tough sledding for a man my age, to admit he’s past his peak, but determined to do something about it. It would be easier just to let myself go, and enjoy myself. But enjoyment has brought me little joy. I’ve got to stretch myself and see what happens. Here I stand.

I made my goals for 2019 back in November. I’ve still got time to meet them. Stay tuned. I’ll keep you posted on this whole Keto experiment. TTFN (ta ta for now).

Image result for working out images public domain

I joined the gym today. Let me explain. As you know, I started a new eating plan about 4 weeks ago. And I got off to a great start. I lost about 10 pounds in 10 days. Yay me.

Then I had to go to the hospital for a health problem unrelated to my weight. The doctor put me on some medicine to relieve my long term pain. For the first three weeks, there was no effect. Not any pain relief. She told me to expect that. This week, the medicine is beginning to take some effect, I think. The problem is, the medicine has caused me to gain back 7 of the 10 pounds I lost.

I gotta tell you, that has been discouraging. I was excited about the possibility of pain relief. I’m not so excited at the moment. Partly, it’s because I haven’t had a great deal of pain relief. Just weight gain.

Here’s the deal. I’m eating less than 2000 calories a day. My target is 2350. That’s a lot of calories. My personal target is 1900 calories. Most days I beat that. Some days I get a little closer to the 2350. Only twice in the last month have I gone over the 2350. I should have lost considerably more than 3 pounds.

I have a Dr’s appointment tomorrow morning, in which I hope to either get some different medicine, or to get some understanding on what I can do besides starve myself.

In the meantime, I’ve decided that it’s time to try had get this old frame into some kind of shape, one last time. I know how to do it. I was once very active in the gym, and trained with some of the greatest Body Builders and Wrestlers in the USA and here in Britain.

The basic problem is I have an obstacle. Something unexpected hit me from behind. I was so frustrated. I wanted to scream. Getting on the scales is so hard. But I refuse to give up or give in. I’m going to go to the gym three days a week to begin. And we’ll see after that. After I see the Dr tomorrow I will decide whether or not to reduce my calories even more.

I have a goal. I have an obstacle. I refuse to give up. I’ve got to understand all the circumstances and consequences of my situation. And then I must adjust as needed. Giving up is not an option.

Right now I’m frustrated and discouraged. Tomorrow is a new day. Let’s try again. Let’s do this.

Facing Obesity What I Plan To Do About It

Ok, are you sitting down? I want to tell you something…I’m fat. See, aren’t you glad you were sitting down? (Apologies for the selfie. It should probably come with a viewer’s warning.) I’m not overweight. I’m not pudgy. I’m not big boned. I’m fat. Morbidly Obese. And it’s been really hard on me. Not just physically, but psychologically, and spiritually.

I’ve been fat most of my adult life. I started gaining weight my freshman year of college and somehow, once the gut started to grow, it didn’t stop. By the time I was 31, I weighed about 265 lbs. Then, for a variety of reasons, I decided to make some changes. I ate less (more on that later), I exercised, and I started running 5 days a week. By the time I was 40, I weighed 165, and I was seriously buff.

Then I got married and came unglued. I stopped going to the gym. I stopped running. I started eating. And the weight came back. All of it, and then some. At one point, I tipped the scales at 305. I kid you not. Through some efforts, I managed to get my weight down to 275, where it’s been for a number of years.

The piper called in late August, 2017. It was time to pay the bill. I had a heart attack. While in the hospital, I had two mini strokes. I’m telling you, that was scary. Eventually, as in June 2018, I had triple bypass surgery. While under the anesthetic, I had another stroke. This one has left me partially blind in my left eye. I have blind spots in it and I’m currently receiving treatment for it.

Finally, the week before last. I had enough. A photo was taken of me at Church, and when I saw it, I literally cried. I saw a short, fat, old man, I didn’t even recognize. And my heart broke. One of the ways I avoid thinking about my weight is to avoid photographs and mirrors. If I don’t see myself, I don’t think about it. This time, though, I couldn’t avoid it. The photo was in a local newspaper. And I was mortified.

I can’t do anything about getting old. I’m 62. It happens. But I am in complete control over my appearance. I secretly wept most of the afternoon. I was depressed for much of the week. It was hard to concentrate on anything. All I kept seeing in my mind was that photo. And all I kept thinking was, you fat, useless, good for nothing. Then, I sat down with my smart phone, did some research, and made some changes.

First, let me tell you, and my wife can testify to it; since Y2K, I’ve been on Weight Watchers twice, no three times, The South Beach Diet, The Ketogenic Diet, the Heart Association Soup Diet, and even went on a juice fast after watching, “Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead”. I lost weight on all of them, and kept it off with none of them.

I’m genetically programmed towards being overweight. Both of my father’s parents were seriously overweight. I remember my Grandpa Burton weighing 300 lbs when I was in Jr. High School. And my Grandma was much heavier than that. But it skipped a generation as neither my Dad, nor his brother have weight issues. Dad did, have to diet from time to time, but not always. I’m not sure about my uncle Jerry.

My Mom, was skinny as a rail until she was 60. After that, she put on a few pounds, but I don’t know anyone who would call her fat. And neither of my sisters is particularly known as a fatty. Nope, just me.

Now, while I am predisposed to easy weight gain, I know I don’t have to be fat, because I lost it, and kept it off for the better part of a decade. But at my advancing age, it’s going to take some thought this time.

First, I no longer believe in diet programs. I know they work for some people. But why are there so many different ones? Because each one suits some of the public psychologically. So while I was on one, I might be successful, but the moment I stopped, I gained everything back, plus some.

Basically, part of my problem is Spiritual. Let me explain. Many diets tell you that you can’t eat certain foods. You know: carbohydrates, dairy, potatoes, meat, or cheese, to name a few. But, I read in the Bible that none of those things are bad. And potatoes, were the food that saved Ireland. For many years, they were a staple food for people here in Scotland. In Bolivia there are over 400 different varieties of potatoes. People eat them like crazy.

Many diets ban honey. Yet, in scripture, Jonathan, the prince of Israel, was revived by eating it after a grueling battle with the Philistines. John the Baptist ate honey as a staple of his diet.

I can’t accept that anything God made is bad for you. I just can’t. And frankly, won’t entertain the notion.

Having said that, I must recognize that many things we eat today have been grossly altered from the way God made it. Let’s take honey for example, since it’s fresh on my mind. Honey, at least commercial varieties, is often not so much from plant pollen, as it is from bees drinking sugar water that’s put out for them. And then when it’s processed and pasteurized, many of the good bacteria are killed off, so it’s really just flavored, spreadable, processed sugar.

And bread. For thousands of years, bread was, “the staff of life”. Wheat, barley, and rye were full of nutrients and oils that made bread a true blessing. Then we learned to process flour and bread lost most of its nutritional value. Then we changed the way wheat was processed, and even more nutritional benefits were lost. Bread today, tastes awesome. But it is no longer the staff of life. It’s become a filler food.

Meats, and the animals that provide them, have been altered so much that it should be a crime. Animals are kept in tightly confined spaces and fed a diet of mostly grains until the meat is practically devoid of nutrients. Beef cows, in the states, are often treated with contempt in big feed lots, while we think of cows grazing on wide open spaces, as we enjoy a steak or a hamburger.

Pigs are called, ‘the other white meat’. Pigs aren’t supposed to be white meat. It’s the conditions they are raised in, and the diets they’re fed. It’s abysmal.

The same thing can be said of chickens, turkeys, and even fish. What we eat today, is far from what people used to eat.

Brittan and I know. We spent 10 years as farmers, and I learned more than I could ever share about beneficial ways to raise meat, fruit, and veg. I won’t even talk about dairy in this post. But its the same situation.

So here I sat, with my head all full of knowledge and opinions, with some decisions to make. So here’s what I came up with.

I’m going to eliminate all, highly processed food products from my diet. That includes bread, margarine, many lunch meats, and the like. And I’ve given myself a daily calorie limit. So far, I’m on day 6. I will weigh myself tomorrow to see how I’ve done.

Note: It’s day 7, today. I weighed myself this morning. 268.5. That’s essentially, 1 lb a day I lost this week. Now, I know a lot of that is water weight, and surface or easy junk being eliminated. But see, it’s gone,sianara, see ya, buhbye.

And let me say, I have not deprived myself. 4 days I had chocolate. 2 days I had cheesecake. I ate pudding. I had cookies. Oh, I had at least two baked potatoes. I had chicken cordon bleu. I’m eating what I want. With modifications, and with limits.

Some foods I’ve pretty much eliminated already. Others, will be cut out one at a time. Fortunately, we have two butchers less that a block from us. They both have local grassfed beef and local pasture raised pork.

This is not going to be an easy journey. Nor is it going to be quick. I hope you’ll join me and follow along in my adventures. Ask questions. Give me advice. I’d love to hear from you. You can even share your successes and failures. You may not bash any diet or anyone on a particular diet.

Feel free to send photos of yourself. After all we’re in this life together. We might as well get to know each other. Gosh, thanks for listening. God bless you all. Talk to you soon.

Transformation – Let’s Do This

As part of a Church Planting preparation conference, Brittan and I are attending in July, I was asked to create a Personal Development Plan. One of the areas I’ve made public is related to health and fitness. I have neither! I want both.

I’ve identified my obstacles (excuses) as being: Too Old, Too Fat, Too Sick, and, Too Broke.

In future episodes, I will rebut each of those excuses.  BTW, these are the same kinds of issues each of us faces regardless of the areas of our lives we wish to transform; be it, physical, like me, or career, finances, relational, or even, spiritual. They are lies we are told and that we tell ourselves.  Please subscribe to my YouTube page to follow my journey, and watch here for regular updates along the way.

Before I go here are some of my goals:

Weight: currently – 275 lbs, Target – 175 lbs; Time table: 18 mos. Mid term goal: Jan. 1, 2017, 199 lbs

Fitness; Complete a 10k in 2 years. Keep in mind that I can’t run at all for health reasons. Watch the Video.

Clothes: Current: 46 trousers; xxl and some xxxl shirts, Dress Shirts are 19. Goals: Trousers, 36 by goal weight, 40 by Jan 1. 2017, Shirts: xl by Jan 1,  dress shirts – 17.5 by Jan. 1 and 16 by goal weight.

Stay tuned – more to come.  Next time, I’ll describe my eating plan.