Friday, March 30, 2012

Two Weeks to Go!

After being up a few weeks I finally began to see a drop in my weight.  Don’t get me wrong, I realize that losing weight is not the “alpha and omega” to a healthy life.  However, I know my body.  I know a significant amount of body fat still remains and could be lost.  Until I know that my body has reached its correct amount I will not stop attempting to lose weight.  Yes, my strength is increasing so I am adding some muscle mass. 
Too often, that is an excuse for not losing weight.  Few of us are built like NFL running backs or NBA point guards.  These people are rare and have a unique genetic set.  Most of us could afford to lose more weight but in a healthy manner.  According to several doctors the ideal weight for a “normal” man is 100 pounds up to 5 feet tall and additional 5 pounds for each inch in height.  I am a fun-sized man at 5’7” so according to those standards I should be around 135 pounds.  I am currently at 151 pounds.  Can I lose an additional 16 pounds?  It would be difficult but I believe “all things are possible” when we believe.
It’s nice to be down again.  We have two more weigh-ins scheduled (final one is 4/13).  I need to lose and additional 2.4 pounds over the next two weeks to meet my goal of 15 pounds.  I believe it is possible.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Un-Luck of the Irish

I fell victim to St. Patrick’s Day and it is not until tomorrow.  UGH!  Weigh in today was the worst since beginning my weight loss challenge.  I wouldn’t say the train has totally derailed but there definitely needs to be some course corrections for the final month. 
Food day at work and I prepared Irish Soda bread and Perfect Pint Cupcakes (neither are plant strong) but I really didn’t intend to eat any of them.  I did, however, partake in a couple of bottles of Guiness and Harp.  Guiness was required for the cupcakes and Harp was on sale! 
Ironically, I also ate one or two, too many “Healthy” fiber bars this week.  I’ve been doing quite well not eating food from a box.  Here is the ironic part: I won two boxes of Fiber One bars for a contest in our weight loss challenge and instead of tossing them in the trash I ate them.  Well not all of them but too many of them.  The just have been dumped into the trash.  I promise not to go George Costanza and pick them out and eat them.  Scouts’ honor.
My workouts have been good.  I did Insanity all week and pull ups on Monday and Wednesday and probably will again tonight.  No problems with the exercise it’s the diet – always.
I must discipline myself to drop these last 10 pounds! No more eating between meals, no more snacks at the end of the night, and no more adult exlixir.  I need to know that I can do this and it can be done.  It’s not easy – if it were obesity wouldn’t be an epidemic.  I want to help others and can’t until I have helped myself.
Game On!  

Monday, March 12, 2012

Big Rocks and Little Rocks

Dr. Stephen Covey revolutionized the time management concept with his ground breaking study and subsequent book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.  In the audio version of the book he provides an example of doing the most important things in ones life first.  The example is a person placing rocks in a large container.  The person fills the container with large rocks first until it is filled to the top.  He then asks if more rocks can be into the container.  Most reply in the negative.  He then pours smaller rocks, pebbles, and finally sand into the container.  The moral wasn’t that we can always find more time but if we do the big things first the “little” things have a tendency to fit as well.  The same idea applies to eating healthy.
The typical diet contains large amounts of meat (saturated fat) and potatoes cooked in a way that renders them unhealthy (fries, baked with sour cream and butter, mashed with butter, etc.).  Most people do not eat raw fruits and vegetables and it is a contributor to the epidemic of obesity, adult onset diabetes, and heart disease. 
Imagine you want to eat steak and baked potato for special meal.  You get the customary salad that is iceberg, a few shreds of carrot and maybe a tomato wedge.  To that, you add shredded cheese and about 150-300 calories of salad dressing.  Out comes the steak and I don’t know of any restaurant that sells a 3 ounce steak – a petite is typically 6 ounces.  On the side is a large baked potato that requires 2 tablespoons of butter and an equal amount of sour cream.  What if we used our big rock/little rock paradigm?
First course get an expansive salad.  About 2 cups of romaine, a cup of shredded red cabbage, shredded carrots, chopped bell pepper, broccoli florets, and tomato slices.  Slice a slit in a baked potato and insert a bay leaf inside and wrap it in tin-foil and bake it until it is tender.  Eat the entire potato (the skin!) and flavor it with a few drops of Braggs Liquid aminos or some salsa.  Now the steak becomes a side dish not the main dish.  As Dr. Joel Furhman states emphatically, “The salad is the main dish”. 
I don’t advocate eating meat because it really has no nutritional value.  The problem is not simply eating meat is bad, it is that people aren’t eating sufficient fresh vegetables.  It’s an opportunity cost thing. 
Now for dessert: Fresh fruit!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Why is the Bar So Low?

Happy Friday! 
The weight is still coming off a little bit at a time.  I was down almost 2 ½ pounds this week – praise God.  Still hanging tight with the Eat to Live concept and it is working well for me.   As for exercise, I am continuing with Insanity on Tuesday, Thursday, and most Saturdays.  I do strength training on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and yoga on Sunday.  Actually I modify P90X to fit into 45 minutes.
My initial goal was to lose “the final 15” during this fit challenge but I think there will be more to lose than that.  There are 5 more weeks remaining in the challenge and I’ve been averaging about 1 ¾ pounds per week (which includes 2 weeks when I was up ½ pound+).  If I continue on my current pace I will have lost 21 pounds in 12 weeks.  I can tell a difference in my body but I also know there is more to lose.  When we’ve reached our ideal weight our bodies will inform us by not losing any additional weight. I still have love handles (that aren't so lovely) and a bit of a belly.
I think we have lowered the bar so much when it comes to health overweight is now considered normal.  When people begin to travel from obese to overweight to fit people think they are too skinny.  Excess belly weight is dangerous as it results in excess fat in the liver. Excess fat in the liver leads to many, many adverse health functions.  So it is essential to lose that extra insulation around our midsection.  I’ve found a plant based diet to be the best way to do that.
I am getting a lot of requests for plant strong recipes.  My wife has encourged me to put some together and make a book so I am working on that.  I want to get to about 100 recipes – wish me luck or pray for me (which ever is your forte).  I will begin posting some on a regular basis as soon as I get the minute details down pat.  Unfortunately I often cook by the seat of my pants and that must change. 

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Instant Health Improvement!

I’m a sucker for anything lists.  Give me a list of books I should read, movies I should view, or places I should go and I’ll read it.  In honor of that idea I am going to make a few lists starting today.
Top 10 things you should start doing today to improve your health and well being:
1.       Start moving.  Exercising sounds so difficult!  Truth is just moving will help.  It’s estimated by Nielsen (the TV tracking company) that the average American watched 34 hours and 39 minutes of TV per week – almost 5 hours per day.  We have time to move, don’t we?  
2.       Make the appointment.  If you haven’t seen your doctor or dentist for awhile take some time to make the appointment.  An ounce of prevention…
3.       Get the proper amount of rest.  Our bodies need ample time to repair from the stress and strain of our hectic lives and that happens primarily while we’re sleeping.  If you’re only getting 5-6 hours of sleep try to bump it up to 6 or 7.  For a full grown adult 8 hours is sufficient.  Must beyond that and we begin to encounter the law of declining marginal utility. 
4.       Dental Hygiene.  I don’t know one person that likes the formation of pus pockets in their mouth.  That is often a side effect to not flossing reguarly.  There also is a correlation between poor oral hygiene and heart issues.  Plus, a pearly white is awesome!
5.       Forgive.  I realize that this is an intangible but it is important.  When a grudge is held the only person adversely affected is the person holding it.  Ulcers, shingles, bitterness and other maladies are the fruit of unforgiveness.  Life is too short. 
6.       Drink some water.  Our bodies crave H2O so give into that urge.  Drink a glass when you awake and another prior to bed.  If you’re able to pull it off drink water during your meals instead of other liquids. 
7.       Go Green!  Are you aware that leafy greens are some of the most nutrient dense foods anywhere?  Find a way to get spinach, kale, romaine, turnip greens, mustard greens and others introduced into your diet.  
8.       Get Fruity, baby! I could eat fruit all of the time.  It’s naturally sweet and bursting with natural goodness.  Loaded with vitamin C, fiber, and many other phytochemicals it is the perfect addition to a meal.
9.       Shake & Smooth.  Smoothies are an easy way to move the needle in a healthy manner.  I start with a base of non-dairy milk, add some fruit, kale (trust me!) and some ground flaxseed.  BAM!
10.   Tell people you love them.  Anger and resentment has the tendency to corrode us from the inside.  It’s hard to remain angry when you are expressing love.  This is something I had to really work at because I am not a touchy feely kind of person.  I’ve begun expressing my love for people more and more and it actually feels good!