I’m Sick Of Calorie-Talk

I’ve been working on my physical health since the New Year and have been seeing some wonderful progress.  I started out Vegan and then moved to a Nutritarian way of eating on Valentine’s Day.  I also began tracking all my eating and activities using MyFitnessPal.com (MFP, I’m not an affiliate or anything, just a user), especially using the app for my phone.  It’s super convenient and tracks what I need it to, even without having to pay for a membership. (I’m cheap.)

I’ve also been reaching out to people in the MFP community and getting connected, which is a stretch for me.  I’m not an introverted guy by nature, but I’ve found that I have had a lot of fear in recent years and especially when it comes to being around people I don’t know.  So, I’m doing as my counselor suggested and am taking some risks that are outside my comfort zone.  Yes, I’m seeing a counselor.  I started three weeks ago or so and it’s been very helpful already.  (More on that at a later date.)

While it has been wonderful to connect to people who are on the same or similar journey as me, I am also sad.  I am sad because I read post after post after post of people who are clearly interested (or even desperate) in losing weight and being more healthy but cannot seem to get there.  I am well on my way to losing the weight I need to be healthy, but more importantly I am eating as healthy as I can and my body is happy about it!  When I look at what I eat, I AM healthy…it’s just that my body needs time to absorb the nutrients, throw out diseased or damaged tissue, and replace it with healthy materials.  I feel like I have won the lottery and found the secret treasure that leads directly to health; a “secret” treasure that has been hidden in plain sight for the past 20 years.

I’m nothing special and I’m certainly not the smartest guy in the room.  I can’t pat myself on the back for finding the recipe, the path, the treasure map to optimal health because I had nearly put myself in the grave and it took a Come to Jesus meeting with my doctor in 2014 to get me to see what was going on and make a change.  I was 325 pounds (at 6’2″ that is nearly 42% body fat!!!  I had high cholesterol, trouble with my knees, my back, and just about everything.  I was a wreck.  And through a process I can get into during anther post I discovered Dr. Joel Fuhrman and Nutritarianism.  I found the path to optimal health.

Even though I’d found the treasure it took me four-and-a-half years to finally claim it as mine.  I tried doing some of it, part of it, most of it, etc.  None of that worked.  I yo-yo’d for years and ended up at my heaviest since that summer day in 2014 when my Doctor said, “Look, you need to make some changes…”  And so, on Valentine’s Day, 2019 I began my Nutritarian journey.  I believe I began the first day of my best life to be my best self.  I feel wonderful.  I am losing weight.  I think more clearly.  My mood has improved dramatically.  I’m doing very, very well, and my friends around me can see the difference.

Briefly, the treasure is this:  Health = Nutrition / Calories.  That’s really about it.  My health is a result of the food I put in me.  My body’s default setting is optimum health and it is always working to get me to that point, I just need to give my body the fuel and building materials to get there.  If I want my body to be working the best it can, I need to give it the best fuel and material:  I need to feed my body the best food I can find it.  If I feed my body the best foods, I will reach optimal health, almost automatically.  Of course I need to exercise and perhaps takes supplements if I am deficient in something, but the overwhelmingly huge part of the health equation is what I eat.  Period.  That’s it.

I don’t weigh my food or count calories or figure out what kinds of macro nutrients I need to eat.  I just eat when I’m hungry, don’t overeat, never snack between meals, and do some exercise throughout the week.  I am losing weight, my eczema is clearing up, I am building muscle, and my mind is clearer than it has been in decades.  I am getting more and more healthy every day.

Which is why I am sad when I read peoples’ comments in MFP and can just hear the concern, the desperation, sometimes the panic in their writings.  They wonder why they aren’t losing weight when they have been counting calories, coming under their calorie goal, working out X number of days a week, and doing everything that conventional wisdom tells them they should be doing in order to lose weight.  They argue over whether Keto, Paleo, Low-carb, Low-fat, intermittent fasting, or vegetarian are the best way to eat.  They do need help.  They need to find the key to health.  And I believe I have found it.

But I haven’t been doing this long enough to say anything about it.  My testimony is pretty much worthless at this point.  Almost any “diet” a person goes on with the intention of losing weight will work the first month because it involves calorie restriction.  I’ve entered my 6th week of being a Nutritarian, which is when the benefits really begin to kick in.  I don’t have a testimony yet.  I don’t have any experience on which to stand and offer something.  I just read the comments and pass on by.  In my own “blog” on their site I chronicle my journey and when I interact with new friends on MFP I may mention what I’m doing or give a tip or trick as long as it doesn’t fly too much in the face of conventional wisdom.  Eating lots of vegetables has finally kicked in as a good thing in the last 10-20 years, but people still think they have too many carbs and so avoid them.  I let people know I eat 4 fruits a day including berries, but I don’t expect that to get much traction because we have been sold the idea that fruit has too much sugar in it.

Why, if we have been evolving as a species for hundreds of thousands of years, are fruits and vegetables, which we supposedly evolved to eat as the optimal food, suddenly bad for us?  Why don’t we consider the introduction of highly processed “food” and fast “food” in the 50s and 60s as perhaps the reason why 40% of us in America die from heart disease and 35% of us die from cancer?  That’s 75% of us dying from diseases which were almost non-existent before the 1930s?

But I remember what I was like before 2015, when I read Dr. Fuhrman’s first book, and I read the comments and wait for the day when I can show the results of my being a Nutritarian.  I do want to help people, but at this point I can’t, and I’ve learned enough in my decades on the planet to know that I can’t fix other people.  Maybe I’ve started to grow up?

But then again, maybe I’m just a fatso who should keep his big mouth shut!

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Oops, I Did It Again

I forgot to write…again.  Well, that’s the not the first time and I assume it won’t be the last.  I’ve been trying to write regularly and was doing alright for about a week or so and then I got caught up in “life” and stopped writing.

The odd thing is that I had intended to start writing again this weekend but didn’t.  I’ve found that when I’ve “fallen off the wagon,” my mind makes up all kinds of excuses not to get back up and start again.  It seems to be easier to not do anything, but in the long run that proves false.

So here I am writing about anything that comes to mind.  The goal for me is to write every day because I want to get better at writing.  My goal is not to transform lives or write the next Harry Potter or Game of Thrones…it is to get better at writing.  And when I dig a bit deeper, while my ultimate goal is to write better, the immediate goal I need to reach is to write every day.  THAT is a goal that is attainable, measurable, and realistic.  I can do this!

That’s about it.  I fell off the wagon, and I’m back on…for today.  I plan on writing again tomorrow so I will see you then!

 

Daylight Savings Crap

Life is filled to overflowing with all kinds of expected and unexpected changes so why do we insist on arbitrarily throwing a wrench into everyone’s schedule twice a year?  According to TimeAndDate.com, Daylight Saving Time (DST) is “used to save energy and make better use of daylight.”

I can dig it, but I don’t like it when we make the move in the Spring.  I feel weird the first few days, and I guess it takes me the better part of a week to get adjusted.  Right now it’s a Monday morning…well technically it’s noon…and it doesn’t feel like I should be having lunch.  My body doesn’t go by the clock, it goes by the natural rhythms of the schedule I’ve had for months.  And so I struggled to wake up this morning, was a few minutes late to work, and then wasn’t hungry for breakfast until mid-morning.  Now I am supposed to eat lunch.  Ugh.  What a pain!  Did I mention getting up this morning was rough?  Why?????

And don’t get me started on the technological impact.  I work in IT as an Incident Management Analyst which is basically like being a fireman for IT fires.  Big fires, actually.  Every year we have several major incidents (i.e. breakdowns) related to the change of the clock during DST.  It isn’t simply due to programming errors, it is also due to human error related to the change in time which messes things up.  It costs thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands of dollars, to fix those issues, which could have been avoided if we had just stuck with the same time.

This points to a deeper issue for me, however:  I don’t like change.  I don’t!  I used to think I did; that I was a roll-with-the-punches kinda guy.  And to some degree that is true, but for the most part I like my routines (even if they are not consistent), I like to keep the furniture in my rooms as it is forever, and I don’t like having a monkey-wrench thrown in to my life, especially when it comes to when I eat.  Ugh!  Argh!  Get outta my life, DST!!!  I don’t like change.

But adapt I must, and so I do.  Every year I gripe about it for a bit, along with many other people around me and then I get over it.  I get over it because I have to get over it if I want to have a relatively peaceful life.  Whining and complaining about it doesn’t change anything (various polls show most people in the U.S. like having DST) and just gives me more stress than I need.  I get the grouch out of me and then I adjust and things are fine.  I even later enjoy in the year having that hour moved from morning to evening so that I can enjoy more of summer.  I get over it.

And so it is with many things in my life that cause me stress and disrupt my routines yet I am powerless to change:  I must accept and adapt.  I don’t have to approve or condone that particular thing (in this case, DST), but if I want to live a life of serenity I need to accept it, make the necessary changes in my own life and routine, and move on.  This bump in the road should not prevent me from reaching the goal of a day well-lived and enjoyed for what it is:  another day in my reasonably happy life and another day closer to my supremely happy life in eternity.

‘Cause I Said I Would Do It

I am pooped after a long day and I don’t really want to write but I committed to write every day so here I am.  I’m pooped.

I drove Uber today for three hours this morning and six hours this evening.  I had only planned on driving for three hours this evening but the trips kept coming and they were worth so much that I couldn’t think of a good reason to stop.  Also, the conversations with my riders was great.  I’ll write more about that in another entry.

 It’s not whether I write every day, it’s whether I write on the days I don’t feel like writing that counts.  Integrity doesn’t seem to mean much to me when the activity is easy; integrity means a lot when times are tough and the activity is hard to do.

So here I am at 1:04 AM on a Friday night doing my writing thing because I will be happy about it in the morning.  That and the fact I can lay my head down in peace tonight and rest easy.

Today was a good day.  It was a very, very good day.  It was also my oldest son’s birthday, which makes it all the more good.  Thank You, God, for a great day!

Grateful for the Past Nine Years

I had a really great time at my recovery meeting tonight.  It reminded me of how much I have changed in the last nine years since I had my “moment of clarity.”  A friend shared her testimony tonight and since she started in program shortly before I did I was awash with nostalgia, memories of what my life was like, and a clearer understanding of how things have changed in my life.  How I have changed.  How God has changed me.

I used to rush through life.  I rushed everywhere.  I rushed to get ready in the morning.  I rushed when I ate (my kids used to regularly tell me, “Slow down, Dad!”).  I rushed to and through work.  I rushed through conversations, thinking I knew what the other person was saying (rather than listening) so I could tell them what I was thinking.  I rushed home from work.  I rushed through pretty much everything in my life.  It was a lot of effort and wasted energy.

I have slowed down in the last six months.  It’s not that I don’t want things when I want them, I just am not rushed about it.  I enjoy my meals and chew my food thoroughly.  I brush my teeth for more than 15 seconds when I get ready for bed.  I take time to make sure I have money set aside for a purchase before I make it.  I don’t respond immediately to emails or text messages, but give myself some time to think and consider what I am saying.  I don’t speed recklessly to work or any other place for that matter.  I cook healthy meals and enjoy the process.  In short, I’m getting more done with less effort and not much wasted energy.

One of the greatest lessons I have learned is that I need people to do life with on a daily basis.  I used to be all about myself and my capabilities, thinking I didn’t need anyone else.  Like the insane little toddler we all were once in our lives, my mantra was, “No!  I can do it MYSELF!”  (Complete with arm-folding, exasperated spasms, and a severe frowny face.)  I cannot do recovery alone, and I don’t do life well alone, either.  I’m a slow learner which means it took me eight years in recovery to really figure that out and own it as my own.  I used to try (and fail) to do everything on my own.  Now I have friends around me who I can turn to for help in any situation.  And even for those things which I am fairly certain I can do on my own, I usually give a buddy a call and run it by them just in case.  No, I don’t call someone when I’m making oatmeal, but when I am having some difficulty or puzzle in my life which causes me to get a bit unruffled, I pick up the phone.  The phone used to feel like it weighed 10,000 pounds, but now it’s easier to pick up and I use it regularly.

I am content in my singleness.  For some reason I am content being single, which is apparently weird.  People can’t seem to believe I would be content being single.  I don’t understand how anyone CANNOT be content being single?  Well, OK, I can understand why someone would not be content being single, but it’s a treasure in my mind.  I don’t have to ask anyone what they think of me going to a movie or spending money or running around my apartment naked (not that I do that sort of thing but I could!).  My kids are almost all grown and in a few years I will not be tied to the Chicago area.  I could live ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!  This last year I’ve actually considered if I’d like to move overseas to live in, say, Australia or Hong Kong or India or the Dominican Republic.  I could live anywhere?  That’s the sort of thing I like about being single.

And at the same time, it would be nice to have someone to live life with each day.  I’m reminded that my recovery does not work when I try to work it alone and I wonder if that also translates to the rest of life?  I’m divorced and even though the marriage was not a great one, we had our wonderful moments.  What’s the first thing you want to do when you see a beautiful sunrise or sunset?  Or when you look out on a breathtaking vista?  You want to grab someone and say, “Wow!  Will you look at that?  That’s amazing!!!”  Life has a lot of those moments…if I will keep my head up and my eyes open.  I see them, I hear them, I experience them, and I would like to have someone to share them with at the time.  So, I would like that someday.  But not today.

At the end of it all, I am profoundly grateful for my life as it is right now.  Things in my life will change, no doubt, but I am content.  I am content not because my life is how I have always imagined it to be, but because I have been given a Way to live a life of contentedness regardless of the circumstances.  There are parts of my life that simply blow chunks each and every day.  Life continues to serve me crap sandwiches now and then, and I still need to eat them…one bite at a time.  But I get through them and move on.  I get through them not alone, but with my forever family around me.  They help me and support me and sometimes smack me in the back of the head because I need it.  I will face some things in the next ten years or so which I will not be able to handle on my own, but I no longer fear them because I have God and my family of brothers and sisters in program who will be there to help me through it.

I am not alone and will never be alone as long as I reach out to those who love me.  I’m grateful for the last nine years, and look forward to the next nine.

Whew! Those stairs are brutal!!!

When I was in college I took a weight lifting class.  It was intense, filled with sweat, and I always felt exhausted afterwards…but in a good way.

I feel like that right now as I sit here writing this.  What did I do to get so exhausted?  I went on a 20 minute break at work.  Oh, and I did some exercise in that time, too.  I began my break by doing 11 vertical push-ups against a wall no one was using and then I went for a walk.  I work in the basement (ground floor) of a 6-story building on our campus, which has an all-weather walkway between all the buildings.  I walked to the stairs and climbed them to the sixth floor.  I didn’t race up the stairs, I went at a rather slow but steady pace, like the tortoise who always seems to win.  By the fourth floor my thighs were starting to burn and I was glad to reach the 6th floor, huffing an puffing as I went.  I then did 11 more vertical push-ups using the railing at the landing.  I took the stairs down to the 2nd floor and began my walk, which is about a half-mile round trip.  Then I climbed from the 2nd to the 6th floor (thighs started to burn again almost to 5th floor), did 11 more vertical push-ups and finally descended the stairs down to Ground floor and walked back to my desk to finish my tea, which I had made before I left and was now the perfect temperature for me to enjoy.  Happy ending!

I don’t have much time in my life to work out.  And with the shape I’m in I’m certainly not going to invest in a gym membership, personal trainer, or even use the P90X program I picked up eight years ago.  I’m not an expert in exercise but I have a brain and have read and heard enough to know that climbing stairs is one of the best exercises I can do to lose weight and I also need to do regular exercise…any exercise, really, in order to be healthy.  I don’t have to work out for 60-90 minutes a day to improve my health.  Everyone agrees that to be healthy I need regular, not necessarily extensive, exercise in my routine.  A cursory Google search shows that whether it comes from Dr. Joel Fuhrman, vegan athletes, or “conventional” medical establishments such as Mayo Clinic, they all agree:  regular exercise is a necessary part of a healthy life just like regular breathing is a necessary part of remaining conscious.

I have known this for a long time.  That is to say, I have known for a long time that I need regular exercise in my routine in order to be healthy.  But I haven’t done it consistently nor at the appropriate intensity for my relative health.  Oh I’ve started many, many, many times!  I tried P90X in 2011 after my wife and I separated.  I injured myself about half-way through due to the intensity of it.  I then tried jogging, which lasted about two weeks.  I got myself a gym membership, and even got one for my son!  That lasted a couple months and then I stopped.  I started the Couch To 5K program and made it about a month…but then I injured myself again and had to stop.  Then I started to get some wisdom and realized that I was not fit enough to do such intense exercises right out of the gate.  So rather than try the P90X program again, I went with the P90!  It’s for more rotund people like me!  That lasted a couple weeks and then I fizzled out.  That was last year.

So what have I learned in all of this exercise attempt-y stuff?  That I need to take it easy.  I also need people, a community, a connection for encouragement, accountability, and an opportunity to cheer others on as well.  And I need to enjoy it.  That last point is extremely important for me.  I didn’t figure that one out, I learned it through the Nerd Fitness waaaaay back in 2015.  I’m actually an example of what that program does for people…I’m on their front page (second from the left).  Yeah!  Or rather…yeah.  I lost weight for sure.  I went down to 180 even.  But life happened and I didn’t maintain so over the past couple years went back up to 257 pounds back in January.  So back to my point:  if I’m going to exercise it needs to be something I enjoy or is an easy part of what I’m already doing.

So I ask myself, “What have I already been doing?”  I LOVE to go on walks.  I really, really, really love to go on walks, even in the winter.  I put headphones on and listen to an audio book or I might put some meditative music on and pray or I may just listen to music as I walk, but I get out there and enjoy a time of solitude.  I guess some people call that practicing mindfulness.  Whatever you want to call it, I love it.  So I’m already walking…why not attach some other things to it?  That’s what I started to do last week.

Last week I started using stairs anywhere I went rather than use the elevator (I don’t go in any skyscrapers).  On Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I made sure to climb up six flights of steps in one go once each of those days as well as doing 11 vertical push-ups twice a day.  I typically did this around lunch time, and when I was done with my stairs and walk I had that weird feeling in my lungs which I found out later is activity-induced bronchoconstriction (asthma).  It typically lasted about 15-30 minutes after I sat down but this week I haven’t had any of that.  And so today I decided to climb the stairs twice and add a few more sets of the vertical push-ups.  My muscles feel the burn, but my lungs are just fine!

It may not be the ideal, but screw that crap.  I’m not the ideal human; I’m a 6’2″ 239 pound lump composed of 1/3 fat and 2/3 bone/muscle.  I’m just trying to become more muscle, since growing more bone would be weird…and alarming for some people.  (Horns would be cool I guess, but I doubt I’ll grow those.)  For me that means taking it easy, doing exercises that fit in my routine but also challenge me, and making a habit of it.

This is me becoming the man I have always wanted to be…just without the horns.


Current Stats:

  • Waist = 44.5 inches
  • Weight = 239.6 pounds
  • Nutritarian Diet Style = 21 days

 

I have to write

I figure I’ll just start writing.  I’ve been putting it off and my writing will never be perfect or even be better unless I do it regularly so here ‘goes…

I’m on Day 20 of my Nutritarian journey and I feel amazing.  Really, I feel better than I have in years…perhaps decades.  Maybe ever.  After every meal I eat I am full, satiated, and happy.  The food I eat is nutritious AND delicious.  I have a lot of energy and I don’t get tired after a meal.  I poop regularly AND easily.  I am so regular I can reliably tell you when i will poop:  an hour after I eat a meal.  I don’t have to use a half a roll of TP to get clean either, the stuff just slides out without any pushing on my behalf.  Hey!  I just turned 47 so pooping is an important part of my life!

I don’t get hungry between meals any more.  I eat my meal and 4-6 hours later I am hungry and eat again.  I basically just eat when I’m hungry.  On Sunday (2 days ago) I didn’t eat dinner.  I had breakfast and a late lunch and my schedule in the evening got switched around so by the time I got home it was 9:30 PM and I was ready for bed.  I went to bed.  I got up in the morning and ate my normal breakfast at my usual time.  No fuss.  No shakiness and no grumbling stomach.

I started this Nutritarian style of eating on Tuesday, February 13th and I haven’t “cheated,” or “fudged” or anything.  I’ve gone from 250 pounds down to 240 pounds in those 20 days.  (If you’d like to see what I eat and track my progress, you can follow me on MyFitnessPal.com by clicking HERE.)  This isn’t a promo for MFP, I just use it and it works well for me so there ya go.  The interesting thing is that last week I plateaued at 245 lbs. for five days or so.  At first I was discouraged but then listened again to Dr. Fuhrman (I have his books on audio and listen when I’m walking) and he reminded me that oftentimes when we begin to eat healthy like this the body takes some time out to heal and replace damaged tissue, which is what may have been happening those days.

I’ve had some irritability, which is normal I guess.  My body is undergoing some big changes now that I am eating healthy.  For instance, the acidity of my body is changing and is becoming more alkaline which seems to show itself in my body feeling “fidgety” at times.  Unfortunately for me this usually means I am more irritable.  The good news is that these bouts have only occurred 2-3 times and only over the last 7 days.  After the second episode I knew what was happening and just rode it out, which meant I ate the next meal when I was hungry and the irritability went away.

Did I mention I have energy?  A lot of energy!  And I have a much more positive attitude than I did a month ago.  I have struggled with anxiety and depression my whole life and this is the first time I can remember being truly content with things without having medication.  I am slowly weaning off the anti-anxiety meds I have been on and had already weaned off the anti-depressants before I started the Nutritarian eating.  February is my birthday month but it also has meant deep depression for me, even with medication, but not this time!  It’s the first February in the last few decades that I didn’t spend at least a week in bed trying to ignore the world.

And I poop regularly.  Seriously…I can’t stress enough how delightful this is.  Imagine no constipation, no discomfort, not having to run to the bathroom because you feel like you are going to explode, no cramping, and no bloating.  I guess that’s one of the benefits I didn’t realize would be so helpful in my life:  I don’t feel my stomach, intestines, bowels or any of it.  As Dr. Fuhrman says (paraphrase), “How does your pancreas feel today?  A touch of pain in your liver?  We aren’t supposed to feel our internal organs!  They should just do their work and we shouldn’t know they are there.  If we feel cramping and hunger in our stomach, that is not a good thing.”  My intestines and bowel are pretty much scrubbed out by this point as well.  At about the 10 day mark my poop changed to being more solid and dark, as opposed to the light and brown it normally is now.  It had a bit of a tar-like consistency and took much more toilet paper.  That stopped a couple days ago and I’m back to “sliders” that don’t take any effort.  (I think I could get away with not even wiping at this point, there is so little stool on the TP when I’m done.)  It may sound weird to be so excited about one’s bowel movements but now that they are regular and easy I can’t overstate how great it makes me feel.  I used to sit in the bathroom for 10, sometimes even 15 minutes just trying to get everything out and now I’m in and out in a couple minutes.  It’s glorious!

I get tired in the evening, too.  I mean really tired, but I can stay up if needed like I did the other day when I had to finish a job I was working on.  I have to leave for work by 6:00 AM every morning so I need to wake up no later than 5:15 AM to get ready.  I used to struggle to get to sleep but now I lay down and just drift off in a matter of minutes.  I get tired around 9 PM and by 9:30 PM I am really ready for bed.  I have ALWAYS been a “night owl,” and rarely went to sleep before 11 PM.  I have been living on 5-1/2 to 6 hours of sleep for years.  Now I get 7-8 hours of sleep a night.  It’s wonderful!

And lastly, I only have to drink about a glass of water each day to stay hydrated…if that.  I am eating so many fruits (3-4 a day) and vegetables (raw and cooked, about 2 pounds a day) that I get enough water from them that I am never thirsty and have been drinking about 8 ounces of water more out of habit than anything else.  This means I don’t go number 1 so frequently like I used to.  It also means I don’t wake up in the middle of the night to go pee either.

Well, that’s it for now.  I’ll do my best to jump on tomorrow again to update and simply log what’s been going on.  I want to document what is happening so I don’t forget how amazing this change really is!  Maybe I’ll update on my blood pressure and other measurements tomorrow.

Thanks for reading, and may you do the next right thing today! 

Adulting

I haven’t blogged in a while and it’s due to a bunch of reasons (none of them really good) so I won’t get into all the details right now…suffice it to say that I’m back.

I need to grow up.  Really.  I need to do this thing people call “adulting.”  The word “adulting” is not in Webster’s dictionary yet, but Google says it is “the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.”  Yup.  That sounds about right and what I need to do.  I HATE doing “mundane but necessary tasks,” I hate it.  Well, perhaps hate is too strong a word, but it’s close enough.

I’m turning 47 on Saturday.  Forty-friggin’-seven.  That’s a prime number.  Alexa told me so.  I won’t lie to you and tell you that my birthday coming up is what triggered this sudden desire to be responsible.  Nope, that would be too easy.  The reality is that I have stumbled through life and have blamed the pain on various and sundry things around me rather than looking at the true cause: me.  Finally the pain got too much to bear and now I’m ready, willing, and hopefully able to get my shit together.  I’m turning 47!

I’m turning 47 and my apartment is a mess, filled with far too many things, papers I don’t need, car maintenance and repair items I don’t use, a snow shovel (even though I live in an apartment), and a few cockroaches.  Yup, my apartment complex has cockroaches and I’m part of the problem.  I’m turning 47 and I don’t do dishes every day, nor do I sweep the linoleum kitchen floor daily, nor do I vacuum my apartment once a week.  I’m turning 47 and I go weeks, even months without changing the sheets on my bed.  I’m turning 47 and I spend hours playing video games when I should be doing chores.  I’m turning 47 and I can’t balance my own budget, living paycheck-to-paycheck and still needing my parents’ help to get through.  I’m turning 47 and I have a Masters Degree I earned 23 years ago that I’m not using in my current job, which is technically an entry-level IT position I’ve had for over 4 years.  I’m turning 47 and my current position is the longest time I’ve been at any job/company in my so-called adult life.  I’m turning 47 and I’m 60+ pounds overweight, struggle to consistently eat healthy, and do not exercise consistently either.  I’m turning 47 and I have 4 kids (21, 20, 17, and 15) and I’ve been so co-dependent on them that I’ve missed out on having made great memories and moments in their lives. I’m turning 47 and my daily habits look more like I’m turning 17.  This ends now.

I’m turning 47 and I took the last three days to fast and ask God to show me direction and vision for my life specifically.  At the end of the fast, when I became overwhelmingly hungry (true hunger is in the throat, not the stomach, btw) I believe He gave me His vision, His will for me: Stewardship.  That sounds like a funny word, so let me unpack that for you.

So what does stewardship look like for me in this?  It’s part “adulting,” and part minimalism, to use two trendy words.  It’s basically taking care of the things I have been given.

Things seem so clear to me now.  I will simply do the things I need to do today to take care of the things I have been given as of today.  Let’s do this!

Week 2 into the Challenge: Thumbs Up!

Well, so far, so good!  I have been enjoying the food and feeling so full and satisfied after every meal.  The first week I lost 7 pounds, which is great!  I figure a good portion of that was water weight due to the low sodium content of the food I eat now, but that’s cool.  It’s Wednesday, the 20th today, and the interesting thing was that over the weekend I actually gained weight.  I’m not sure how that happened, but the scale told me on Friday I was 216.2, then on Saturday I was 216.6 and then on Sunday I was 216.8.  On Monday I was back to 216.6…very odd.  I didn’t change anything that I could think of and I am definitely NOT overeating or “cheating” on the diet.  At 216 and eating about 1400-1800 calories a day, I am definitely not getting too many calories.  Weird.  I didn’t drop down from 216 until today, and I dropped 1.4 pounds since yesterday…also weird.  I was stuck at 216 for a total of five days, from Friday to Tuesday.

On Friday, though, I did cut off the end of my thumb while slicing up some lettuce, so I thought perhaps my body was reacting to that and caused me to retain more fluids to maintain blood pressure?  I lost blood, but I didn’t think it was THAT much.  I sliced 1/8-1/4 of an inch off, but I missed the nail.  I had to go to the urgent care clinic and they fixed me up.  Check out the photo:

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It HURT!  Ugh.  So, perhaps the trauma and stress of it all affected me and my body went into some sort of preservation mode?  I dunno.  Whatever.  With regards to the accident, I wasn’t using proper technique and stuck my thumb out there, was in a hurry, and chopped that bit of it clean off.

Other than that, the weirdest thing that happened to me was that I didn’t poop for two days.  The Sunday evening before I started the challenge I went to Chipotle and had a burrito…I thought perhaps that is what stopped me up.  I won’t go into the gory details, but suffice it to say that there was evidence the flour tortilla of the burrito was the culprit.  Anyhoo, I got back to normal BMs on Tuesday.

So here I am on Wednesday, ten days into it, and I haven’t cheated.  I haven’t strayed from the path, and I am really, really enjoying it.  Today was the first day that I felt different, like I had a clearer head and more pep in my step.  I am looking forward to the next few weeks to see what happens to my body!

6-Week Challenge…?

Alrighty then!  I’ve officially started Dr. Fuhrman’s “6-Week Challenge” and I know what you’re thinking:  “Tim, are you nuts?  It’s almost Christmas!  No one starts a diet before Christmas!”  Yeah, I know.  But here’s the thing…I don’t consider this a “diet”.

What is a “diet”?  Well, the dictionary has two definitions:

  1. The kinds of foods that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.  “A vegetarian diet.”
  2. A special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons. “I’m going on a diet.”

Most people think of definition #2 when they hear the word “diet”.  I am done with that garbage because if there is one thing that the American experience has proven over the past 40 years or so, it is this:  Restricting one’s food in order to lose weight does not work.  Sure, it works temporarily, but once the “diet” is done, the vast majority of people end up going right back to where they were before the “diet” or even worse.

So I am done with dieting.  I’m going to eat the way I want to eat…actually, I’ve been doing that my entire adult life.  No one MAKES me eat what I do because that is my choice.  So, then, if that’s simply what I already do and I’ve been eating poorly, how do I change that?  By knowing.  What do I mean by that?  I mean that I need to KNOW what I really want, to really accept that and dig into it, and then my actions (in this case what I put in my mouth for food) will follow.  It’s a matter of the heart and mind.  Maybe that sounds too deep when it comes to food, but I don’t think it is.  What I do is activity that arises out of what I believe, what I value, and what I love.  I can talk about this or that all day every day, but what do I DO?

For the past few years I have been moving, gravitating towards a more healthy diet and this is the point that I fully engage with what I know to be true:  I will only continue to be sick, overweight, and fatigued if I continue to eat the way I have been eating.  I am making a change and that right quick!

As the old parable goes, “There were two frogs on a log, and one decided to jump into the water:  How many were left on the log?  Two!  Making a decision is not action.”

I am tired of expecting my life to change rather than doing something to change it.  I am now acting, I am engaging, I am moving forward, jumping in with both feet.  The first six weeks, 42 days, are intended to get my body re-adjusted to what it was designed to do:  eat healthy.  It is not a matter of forcing my body to do something good for itself, it is a matter of getting rid of all the garbage in my system that has been causing the addictive cravings to that same garbage.

Beginning Monday I ate 100% Nutritarian, I also did yesterday.  And I am going to do so today as well.  How do I get through 42 days of a Nutritarian diet when I have been eating poorly for so many years?  One day at a time.

Yesterday’s food:

  • Breakfast – Orange, banana, 1/8 cup of walnuts (no photo)
  • Lunch – Salad, homemade leftover Creamy Cabbage soup, and a green apple
  • Dinner – Salad, Bean Pasta with Cauliflower in a Garlicky Walnut Sauce, and watermelon

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “I am full!”  I don’t remember eating this much at any time in my life.  I am simply full after every meal, and my weight has gone DOWN, not UP!

And what is happening to my weight?  Well, check this out:

  • Day 1 weight:  223 lbs.
  • Day 2 weight:  221 lbs.
  • Day 3 weight:  217 lbs.

You read that right, six (6) pounds down in three (3) days!  OK, so most of that is water weight because of the low-sodium foods I’m eating, but still!  It’s very nice to see that scale move every day.  When I saw my weight this morning I literally said out loud, “No way!!!”

Perhaps you’re wondering why I weigh myself every day?  Simply to stay on target.  In their seminal book, Willpower (and making significant changes in one’s life), Baumeister and Tierney point out that decades of case studies and experiments have shown that regular, daily check-ins on one’s progress significantly aids in sustaining positive change.  So the researchers have found that people who weigh themselves daily stay on target far better than those who weigh themselves weekly.  And so I weigh myself every day at the same time:  right after I wake up and before I get in the shower.

And that’s it for now, folks.  I know no one is reading this, but it is a good exercise for me in self-control to do an online journal like this every day.  I have no goal of what time to post other than to post every day, so I’ll work on doing that.

Cheers!