Two-Week Crash Diet

Last Friday, I steeled myself to get ready for another brutal 30 minutes of intense workout with my personal trainer. To my surprise, he instead measured my weight and body fat and body fat and lean percentages. I gained muscles in the biceps and in the hip area but I also gained 5 lbs of body fat.

Then the abrupt punishment: I need to lose 10 lbs in two weeks, and also 2% of body fat. I gave you only the vaguest measurements so I don’t bore you with the specifics of my body measurements. That would be too embarrassing.  

For weeks now, I have noticed a bulge in my midsection. It’s probably from all the carbohydrate I’ve been eating lately. I made a mental note to do something about it but didn’t really set a deadline. When my trainer told me to lose weight, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise because excess body fat is never good unless I am in an Arctic expedition.

I was given a list of things to eat: oatmeal, veggies, fruits, almonds, fish, chicken.

I thought I should modify it to make things easier for me. Yesterday I cut off much of my carbo intake. I only ate the tops of two Hawaiian bread and two soft-boiled egg. I ate one orange for my fruit intake, a few cashew and peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I figured if I ate a diet of 60% protein, 10% fat and 30% carbo, I would lose weight. The carbo should come mostly from fruits and veggies.

I felt so lethargic after that. It feels that my body is eating all of its calorie reserve and needed more. Then I saw a documentary by livingononedollar.com where four young guys went to Guatemala and tried poverty by subsisting on $1 each per day for food and firewood. I got hungrier.

Today I weighed myself. Surprise, surprise! I lost 3 pounds. I have 7 to go and it’s only the first 24 hours. But knowing from experience, the next days would be a seesaw of weight gain and loss. Unless I really discipline myself on my food intake.

The good thing here is I spent years working with a nutritionist so I know already which food I can turn off and which ones are necessary for weight loss. Knowledge is power really. But having knowledge and not applying it is just a waste. So the next two weeks will be a good test of my self control.

I’ll keep you updated. In the meantime, try not to offer me blueberry muffins, strawberry shortcake, lemon meringue pie or even two scoops of Mocha Almond Fudge ice cream.

This is making me hungry.

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Five, Five And Five

I’m writing this post on the Fifth day of the Fifth Month (Cinco de Mayo), and I just remembered that this blog is now Five Years old as of five days ago. Wow, I can’t believe how time flies but I tell you – when you’re busy months seem like days and before you know it, it’s almost Summer!

I have much to report but I’ll make it brief and count only the important ones. As you already know, I had a new granddaughter born 8+ months ago. She is a joy to our family. Our grandson was and still is one of the best grandson (or son) anyone could wish to have. Now I have a granddaughter too, named Addie. As stated in Proverbs 17: “Children’s children are the crown of old men” and I couldn’t describe it any better.

On Relationships:

Addie’s impact to my life (and my wife) has been indescribable. Since her birth I haven’t rode any of my bicycles, let alone sell one of them. My wife and I had been so busy assisting my daughter who gave birth early. They live quite a distance so it’s a relatively long drive. It’s way worth it because if you met her, she’s beyond adorable. She’s so amazing to me even though she can’t even talk yet.

On Health & Fitness:

I read somewhere that in the future we will take a workout pill instead of exercising. Isn’t that making all of us lazier than ever? I think the best exercise is done outdoors, but going to a gym is not a bad substitute. But a pill? I know we love shortcuts but some shortcuts lead to a more winding road. Did I mention I joined a gym about seven months ago?

On Readership

I seldom check the readership on the blog anymore but I think on the average there are 100 visitors every month. I had several hundreds before only to realize that most of them were bots sent from rogue countries sent to maybe infect the site with virus. Lesson learned: Always protect your online accounts, change your passwords regularly, add a few layers of anti-spam, anti-virus, anti- whatever.

On Future Plans

What’s next for this Blog? I have two grandkids now so I intend to transfer the contents of this blog to an e-book within two years. Sell it on Amazon or any other e-book seller websites. I just want to make sure that the contents are available to my grandkids (and yours) in the future.

If you have young children or grandchildren and you like what I wrote, You will still have access to these but there will be a small price depending on how much it cost to do e-book conversion. But first I have to write a total of 300 posts and I’m at 219 right now.

I really appreciate you reading this blog.

 

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Trending Now

What’s popular these days?

One day I read an article that coffee is bad for us. Then a week or so later, a few articles come out that states drinking coffee moderately is actually good for our health.

A doctor once told a distant relative:  Avoid eating any rice at all. Yet I found out that there is such a thing as a “rice diet”, where you basically eat any kind of food as long as its made from rice.

In the 70s, bell bottomed pants were the rage, only to disappear in the 80s. Sometime after that, it reappeared again sometime before 2017. Baggy pants for men, remember those days? Then changed to regular fit pants to skinny pants. Baggy pants will come back soon, just wait.

From approximately 1998 thru 2006, Real estate was considered the best U.S. investment. It seemed like residential units will never go down in value. But like any cycle, it went sour and a multitude of people got crushed by the economic downturn. Real estate picked up again around 2012 and I think it’s close to another peak right now.

Want one more?

Hydration is very important to exercise and health, right? I’ve seen a few people even go to the extent of carrying a gallon of water everywhere they go. Is it healthful to drink a gallon a day? Maybe. But then back in the 80s, bicyclists trained on their racing bikes for 80 miles without drinking a drop of water. I think that’s tougher than drinking a gallon a day, right?

wash, rinse, repeat.

Trends come and go and sometimes we are attracted to the latest and greatest. It’s fine if it’s minor like the color of your next car (the most popular car colors are silver, black and white). The only thing that will affect you in the future is the resale value of the car down the road and maybe getting tired of the color eventually (the other colors will have less value after a few years).

Sometimes we are faced with too many choices. It seems that with improving technology we are offered a plethora of choices for almost everything. It’s essential that we get rid of the riffraff (distractions) to get to the right choice.

My solution to this constant dilemma of making the right choices is research and just plain thinking. When I have a task that’s challenging, I sometimes spend hours just thinking how I could find the best solution. I even use a pad of paper, different color pens, my favorite pencil and a calculator sometimes to arrive at a good decision. This system works for me.

But all that systematic problem solving pales in comparison to what I usually do these last few decades: I pray for guidance. I really can’t tell how the guidance will arrive but it does. I’ve received some guidance that I ignored, and I paid a big price one time. I think the solution is to pray also that I do not miss the guidance when it shown to me.

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The Home Gym

I admit that in the past, I would rather not join a gym if I had to pay a monthly membership. We had free gyms in the navy – even on ships so I didn’t see the point of paying for something I could use for free. Fast forward to a few years after retirement. Now I live over an hour (with light traffic) from the nearest military gym.

Solution: my wife and I joined a gym for 9.95 a month but it’s only 2 miles away.

Do I really need to join a gym? Yes, and that’s only because I would get better organized with my schedule if I had to go to a certain place to do something. Kinda like we go to a workplace because the environment provides us with the ready resources and the skilled coworkers that make us productive than working from home.

We can do our own Home Gym. First we buy the most expensive weight set and gym equipment. A recycled rubber floor mat to absorb the shock and put on loud music on speakers. The we can wear the latest perspiration wicking clothing and a big floor or ceiling fan. Presto – a home gym. That was a joke, by the way!

By home gym, I mean the minimalist way. We can use our body weight for the exercise – like sit ups, planks, push ups and the famous burpees. With dumbbells or kettlebells, we can do arm, bicep, tricep, back and shoulder as well and squat exercises. With barbells, we can do more weight training. With a sturdy bar, we can do pull ups or chin ups. I mean, we can do so many things limited only by our imagination.

Just within our (and your) neigborhood, we can jog, sprint short distances or do distance running without ever seeing a treadmill. Don’t forget the fun of riding bicycles.

Our objective is to avoid sitting down watching TV while eating three times the recommended calorie intake. We know that as we look back decades from now, we will never regret that we didn’t watch enough TV.

The regular gym has so many advantages though. First the equipment – some of them are more expensive than 10 years worth of gym membership. Second, the variety of equipment – I mean there’s just a lot of equipment to use to vary the workout. Third, there are trainers available – if we are so inclined – to teach and monitor if we’re doing the right exercises.

For minimalist, a home gym can still provide the basic exercises needed to stay fit. But if we want advanced fitness (tailored to our needs), nothing beats a regular gym.

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Where Do We Waste Money?

I was reading an article from http://www.cheatsheet.com the other day and in it is something about where Americans waste their money. As you know, I’m totally opposed to gambling because it is a losing proposition for the average guy or gal. Someone even called gambling “tax for the stupid” because a gambling place is always designed to win (mathematically and in reality). But gambling is barely discussed in that article.

In the actual article or post, the money-wasting categories were divided into different generations:  Baby boomers, Generation X and Millennials. In this post I will try to simplify it and just point out a group of them common to all generations. It is in no particular order. I think we can add a dozen more to this but we don’t have to. We can use the list to check whether we have something we want to change.

Here’s the List:

Eating out

Drinking Alcohol

Cigarettes

TV cable subscription

Bottled water

Entertainment

Hobbies

Car or Gas

Credit card interest

Expired or uneaten food

Hobbies

Streaming services

Let me give you some little footnotes on some of them. These are from experiences, some are not necessarily mine – but it may be helpful.

I remember the days when we drank out of drinking fountains with filtered water. These days there are many good filters out there, that can filter tap water way better than commercially bottled water. There’s even some that filter viruses, bacteria and fluoride.

I cut off cable TV subscription and it was one of the best decisions ever. No, we don’t miss regular programming. We pay for some streaming services which is a whole lot cheaper than going to the movie theater or paying monthly cable bill.

About cars – someone wrote “buy (not lease) the best car you can afford and keep it for a long time (at least 7 years). I think that’s a good advice. Good gas mileage in a car saves hundreds of dollars a year. When gasoline prices go sky high (like in 2008), many full-size trucks can be bought at a bargain.

Alcohol probably gets millions of people in trouble and causes many fatalities especially if taken just before driving. Enough said.

I think the best way to quit smoking is cold turkey. It will be hard the first few days, but it is much better than buying nicotine patches because it still cost money and puts poison in the body.

Entertainment expenses uses up tens of thousands of dollars per year for some people. We don’t really need to be entertained every single waking hour, but high pressure and advertising at every corner makes us think that we “deserve” to be entertained, after a hard day’s work. Do we, really?

One of the ways to avoid interest rates on credit cards is to avoid buying things we don’t need and cannot afford, to impress people we dislike.

Hobbies: I like to do have many hobbies, but I’d rather concentrate on the ones I like most. Two hobbies is my limit. It’s less expensive that way and I still don’t have excess time to do them all.

Maybe when I semi-retire?

These are just some of the stuff that’s worth mulling in our minds over and over. Is it a necessary expense?  Maybe we’ll have a fuller life without those things mentioned above? OK, it’s not maybe – it’s for sure. But even a small decrease amounts to much. Eating out one day a week less equals $600 savings a year. Maybe more.

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Minimalist Me

The other day I was reading an article about two minimalist guys – I think they are called “The Minimalists” on their website. Then I happened to watch a documentary on them. It’s kinda interesting. If you are interested, please search for them. It’s a liberating lifestyle – they don’t have to rely much on materialism to live a fuller life.

That got me into thinking about my own place in the world of minimalism. Am I a card carrying member of minimalism? I guess we’ll find out. Don’t take me seriously in this post. It’s a light hearted banter about living a simpler life.

Here’s my take on my attempt at minimalism:

I read about this guy who owns more than 60 suits? Wow, that’s more than my entire wardrobe. He was a fashion writer, but 60? In comparison, I have one. I guess that qualifies me to be a minimalist.

The other day, I was contemplating about getting a new pair of shoes. Instead, I ordered replacement outer soles and contact cement. I decided to become a cobbler – at least for one of my shoes so I won’t have to buy a new one. Minimalist at heart, good ol’ me. I have a feeling that this outer sole will come off my shoes within a few weeks so we’ll see.

For almost 8 years now, we used jelly glass jars or pickle jars as drinking glasses. We use them as lunch containers sometime too. They are also great containers for things you wanted to be able to see without opening the container, and they are free.

This year, we are taking a vacation from vacations. We may have some time off from work but we’re not going anywhere where we will spend $$$.  Minimalist moi indeed!

I plan to continue to be absent from any sporting events in person and watching on TV this year and in the years to come. That will result in hundreds of hours saved per year, and more rest or productivity from yours truly.  Hundreds of dollars saved is the icing on the cake. Sometimes I read sports articles and I am secretly happy that I don’t know some of the sports figures discussed.  Minimalist forever!

In case you haven’t noticed, the paragraphs above are a feeble attempt to qualify me as a minimalist. Am I really? I could tell you dozens of things that I do that are not minimalist in nature. For example: I eat good – the only thing stopping me from eating five full plates of dinner is it’s a sin (and the dire consequences, health-wise).

I wrote this hoping maybe it will serve as an inspiration to those thinking about becoming minimalists. People can be minimalists in their own small way – maybe buying a fuel sipping car (I don’t like them because they’re not quick enough), or shop daily for groceries to avoid wasted food (I’m too tired at the end of the day), or don’t eat out anymore (but many people love to eat out).

Find your own path to minimalism and enjoy it!

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Love Thoughts

It’s the new year! I can’t believe it’s now 2017. It’s the second month already. I still remember 2007, even 1997 – but that seems too long ago now. I thought of making some notes on LOVE to start the new year. Why Love? Because LOVE makes the world go round (literally – I’ll explain later).

These notes are random thoughts. Every paragraph is a different thought than the next. They may interconnect or they may not. Whenever a thought comes to mind, I write it down. Then I made this post.

The whole universe can be summarized in one word:  Love. It is the reason why human beings exist. It is the same reason why we continue to thrive despite the imperfect world we live in. It will be the reason someday to keep loving.

A difficult form of love is Tough Love – people think that if you are tough on someone that means you don’t love them. Au contraire! Some people still think that loving someone means telling them only what they want to hear – instead of what’s good for them.

Love is like a drop of water that creates outgoing waves. The outpouring of our personal love should reach the persons closest to us first:  spouses, children, grandkids, parents, siblings, friends and relatives, employees, employers and finally, other people. It can’t be the other way around.

Someone said that the opposite of love is not hate, but apathy or indifference. How about selfishness? Most of the problems in the world would be solved if 99% of the people are unselfish. That would be impossible in this world. But the ones that LOVE make a big difference.

God’s love for us is what turns the world. Yeah, there are forces (gravity, centripetal and centrifugal, etc.) there that makes it possible. But who made those forces? The same forces can be changed by God – in fact the world can literally turn back in time and it did happen. Not convinced? With the world wide web, it’s very easy to research.

This is the month for Valentine’s day. I always think why do we have to designate a day for Love? Does that mean it’s ok not to love our spouses, etc if it’s not designated as the day for Love? And why wait for that day to spend quality time or give gifts. Every day is a day fit for loving. Let’s love daily!

I like this format so much that I will cut it short, that way you may read it now instead of waiting for another 200 words before I post.  That’s loving, isn’t it?

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