Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Weight Management

I've decided that this whole weight management thing is a pain in the butt when you look at it as weight management. I've really abandoned the idea of "dieting" for weight loss or weight maintenance and adopted the philosophy of eating for good health.

As a part of that, I'm beginning a shift in how I consume energy (eat) by basing  it on my energy needs. I'm going to move towards the eating philosophy of "Breakfast like a king. Lunch like a prince. Dinner like a pauper."

While this is counter cultural to our society's way of eating, it makes great sense from an energy management perspective. The time of day when we need to fuel up is in the morning. Breakfast should be a healthy mix of high energy, long lasting foods with good carbs, good fats and lean protein.

I'm shooting for about half of my daily calories at breakfast, a third at lunch and the balance in a couple of snacks and a small dinner. This makes sense in my head and should work well in practice. I'll keep you posted on the reality.

Be well,
John <><

Monday, July 28, 2014

Another Meatless Monday Recipe

I thought I'd share a quick and easy meatless Monday recipe.

I started by preparing some dried lentils according to the package instructions. I seasoned mine with garlic powder, some dried sweet basil and crushed red pepper.

I drained them and rinsed them with cold water and added just a little bit of olive oil.
Then I added a can of Rotel Original tomatoes and green chilis. I diced a garden fresh cucumber and a quarter of a large red onion and added them to the mix. I didn't have any fresh cilantro, but found some dried cilantro in the spice rack. After tasting it, I decided on a little more garlic and more red pepper, as well.

I sliced a large zucchini into thin slices, topped it with a generous portion of the lentils, sprinkled some Monterrey Jack and cheddar cheese on top and hit the microwave for about 35 seconds.


I think that next time I'll make sure we have some fresh cilantro and perhaps a little fresh lime juice would be good, too!

John <><

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Sunday morning thoughts...

It's nice to be sitting in my own home with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. I really don't mind being on the road, but it does interrupt my already irregular schedule.

While I managed the exercise part of my daily routine fairly well, the diet part pretty much sucked. Eating on the road is much tougher. Even if you manage to make healthy choices (and I don't always), it is difficult not to rush through a meal in order to get back on the road.
...And the portion sizes! Ugh!

It's easy to blame environment or company, but in the end--we make our own decisions. Many of my diet choices have not been to my benefit lately. It's time to get back to making bad choices the exception to an otherwise healthy meal plan. I have managed to put a few pounds back on over the past month and need to reverse that trend right away.

One of the benefits of the calendar is that every 24 hours you get a new day; every seven days, a new week; and every 4+ weeks, a new month!

Today is a new day and the first day of a new week.
What ever you have been putting off, start!
What ever you have been messing up, fix!
What ever goals you have set aside, renew!

What's it gonna be?
Give up and lose?
Or fight on?

Be well,
John <><

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Healthy Eating ...FAIL!

I knew that I was going to be making a stop at a White Castle yesterday. I knew that the two double jalapeno cheeseburgers that I was going to have were not a healthy choice.  I didn't expect to add a few single jalapeno cheeseburgers or an order of fries...but I did.


Those calories add up quickly...especially the fries!

For the most part, I've avoided both potatoes and fried foods. I eat potatoes more as a condiment with meals, rather than a side dish. When frying foods, I generally use coconut oil.

Oh, well!

Over all the day wasn't a complete bust. My total calorie intake wasn't too bad and I managed to get in a couple of miles walking. I'll get some walking in today, as well and I'll do better on the food side. If you're in the same daily struggle of fighting good choices vs bad choices, I'd say don't sweat it if you manage to make good choices most of the time. I still occasionally have snack foods like potato chips. I still have an occasional ice cream. I eat hamburgers, hotdogs and brats...all in limited amounts, and all with an awareness of the consequences.

Sometimes the trade off is a little extra walking (never enough to off-set the extra calories); sometimes it's less eating later and sometimes (most of the time) it's putting the day behind me and moving on.
So today, I'll be back on track with no real harm done.

I will say that I can now feel the physical effects of the poor choices...poor digestion, poor energy and an overall sluggish feeling. I think that once you've pretty much eliminated the crap from your diet, it is much easier to sense the effects of those unhealthy foods in an otherwise healthy diet.
I guess that's a good thing.

Have a healthy day.
Eat well.
Exercise (even a little).
Make good choices.

Be well,
John <><

Monday, July 21, 2014

Motivational Monday

Just a quick note to start the work week.

It is going to be a difficult week to get exercise time into my days. I'll be spending plenty of time behind the wheel on a couple of days and out of my regular routine on others. Right now I'm thinking of adding 30 minutes or so to my drive time and stopping for a brisk two-mile walk in the middle of those drive days.

I'll just have to find the time on the other days to get some activity. Body weight exercises, pushups, squats, lunges and the dreaded burpees are always easy options for exercise and fitness. Diet also proves to be challenging on the road.

For today, the challenging week proves to be motivation to get off to a good start: meatless Monday for the diet; burpees and walking for the fitness.

Have a great week!
Be well,

John <><

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Help! I've Fallen and ...Oh, I'll get up when I'm ready to get up!

Yeah, it's been one of those weeks!
I haven't completely fallen off of the healthy living bandwagon, but I have regressed a little bit this past week.
Diet hasn't been too bad (other than the all-you-can-eat fried fish night) and just eating more than I need to eat. We were low on fruit this week and it was easier to eat what was here (not too bad, but not what has become a regular part of my diet) than to go to the store for fresh fruits and vegetables.

Also, the exercise part of my day has been a little bit off. I'm not sure what has contributed to that other than I've just been too lazy to get my butt out the door and do something. I have decided that I'll have to give up on the idea of running until I take care of a minor foot issue caused by a not so minor hammer toe condition. The encapsulation caused by this changes my stride and causes some joint discomfort. Even walking causes some inflammation but I can deal with that and keep walking. Looks like walking, biking and Nordic Track for exercise for a little while longer.

I've also got that 100 burpee challenge that is coming up in just two weeks.
What was I thinking?
I skipped my Friday burpee  workout due to some elbow pain. I'm not sure what that was about, but I need to get back after it if I'm going to manage 100 of those devilish things. I did sixty on Wednesday and need to build up to the 100. I don't have any ideas of making it in 12 minutes as suggested in the challenge. I'm just hoping to complete the 100. I guess I'll be forced to continue the monthly challenge until I actually manage to do 100 in less than 12 minutes. Ugh!

Overall, the fitness/health thing does kind of get in your blood. I feel better when I'm eating right and getting some exercise. I'm not to the point of feeling guilty when my diet gets off track or I don't exercise, but I definitely notice the difference.

My weight has pretty much leveled off at the 200 lb. mark. Sometimes it's a little under, rarely a little over. I'm thinking about pushing to drop it a little bit more so that my 2-3lb fluctuations will keep me around the 195 mark (or less). At this point, I realize that it will take a lot of focus to drop a few more pounds.

Well, it's late afternoon and the temp is an unseasonably mild 80F. I better get out and walk a few miles.

Time to get back on the fitness wagon!

Be well,
John <><

Monday, July 14, 2014

Knowledge is Power

I know there is a lot of information available about dieting and fitness. Some of it is pretty good. Most of it is junk. Sorting through everything available can be a pretty daunting task. Over the years, I've read quite a bit about health and diet. I've found that most books and articles have a bit of truth surrounded by whatever hype is necessary to sell whatever product or program to make the writer rich. Books (and articles) that have no product nor program to pitch tend to be less deceptive.

It has been a lot of years since I first read the book on The Adkins' Diet. I found the science about insulin production and insulin resistance to be a real eye opener about how I was eating. I also found that the way the information was being used was far different from what Dr. Adkins was recommending in his book. Too often we think that if doing something is good, then doing it to extreme must be better. Not true. Dr. Atkins never intended for the induction phase of his diet to be extended indefinitely or until you reached your goal weight and then have the whole thing dumped until you put the weight back on and start again. High fiber, low impact fruits and vegetables were to be added back into your diet in a sustainable amount. Overall, I found it to be a very helpful book.

I never read Dr. Barry Sears' book on The Zone diet, but did read his book on Toxic Fat. Again, I found the science to be fascinating...and a bit scary! While I don't agree with all of his philosophies, I did gain a lot of information about how the human body reacts to foods, fats and other stimuli. These two books have been the basis for the diet that has become my way of eating, losing and maintaining a decent weight, and staying fit and healthy (at least healthier).

If you're not that into reading and are looking for a more simple read and simple solution to a sustainable diet, I'd recommend David Zinczenco's the Abs Diet. It's pretty much a guys' book on a better way to eat and exercise. There is also the Abs Diet for Women. There are companion books with quick meal guides and an Abs Diet Cookbook.

Several months ago, over on Out of My Hat, I wrote about how "diet" is a way of life rather than a temporary way of eating. Think of it this way--If you continue with your present diet and lifestyle, you'll continue to have your present health and body weight. If you want that to change, you have to change what you are eating and doing.

Simple steps.
For me, step one was to get some information.

Be well,
John <><

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Blueberry/Spinach Smoothie

My Sunday morning smoothie:

1/2c frozen blueberries
1c spinach
1/2c non-fat plain Greek yogurt
1/2c skim milk
1tsp cinnamon
1 scoop Body Fortress vanilla whey protein

328 calories
44g protein

Good morning!

John <><

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Healthy Habits for the Lazy Guy

I am not a fitness nut.
I am not going to engage in a strenuous exercise program.
I am not going to train for a marathon, half marathon or even a 5K run.
I doubt that I'll ever ride a bike for more than an hour.
Or take an overnight trip in a kayak.

I am perfectly happy with an almost daily walk and an occasional challenge to give my exercise a little additional purpose.

I am working on a couple of things that are not at all typical for the lazy guy in me, but they are just something to do so that I can say that I did them.

The thing that I find to be true about exercise is...get this: It's good for you!

I am still convinced that you eat to manage weight and exercise for good health. I know that there are plenty of thin, out of shape, unhealthy people. I don't want to be one of them. So I walk. Sometimes, I run. Occasionally, I ride or paddle or do some other exercise for variety.

Right now, my project is a 100 burpee challenge in twelve minutes.
Burpees are an evil, all body type of exercise that was developed in hell to give us an idea of how well we have it as we live a life with out them. Legs, back, abs, arms, chest and cardio; burpees take care of all of them.
At this point, I'm not convinced that I can even do 100 of the devilish things.

Six months ago I probably couldn't have even done the squat-thrust part of one. For one thing, I couldn't squat past my still shrinking belly to get my hands on the floor in front of me. And I certainly didn't have the abs to pull my extended legs back under me to return to a squatting position, nor the arms to do 100 push-ups (even one at a time). I have until the first Friday of August to get ready for the monthly challenge. That's good, because I like to work up to these things more slowly than your typical fitness nut.

Last night I did 40 in 6 minutes. I'm sure that I could have done more, but like I said earlier, I'm a bit lazy when it comes right down to it. I did 20 in 1 minute, 45 seconds. Then I rested for 1 minute and 45 seconds. For my second set I did 10 in 50 seconds...then I rested for 50 seconds. A final set of 10 in another 50 seconds made 40 in 6 minutes.

In the next three weeks I'll have to increase the sets and decrease the rest time, but I think I can do it.

In the mean time, I'll keep watching what I eat and trying to live the more healthy lifestyle which has become my new normal. If you care to make some simple changes to turn things around as far as weight or health goes, I'd suggest avoiding fast foods and fried foods, drink more water, and take a walk every day.

If you are interested in joining me for the challenge, let me know. I've already had a couple of takers. Why not join us? As it stands, the people that have said they're in are already pretty fit. What ever your fitness level might be, let's set a baseline for August and see if we can't beat it for the first Friday of September.

It'll be fun...NOT!
But it will be for our good health!

John <><

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Today's Smoothie

I should begin by saying that I generally measure, bag and freeze my fruit at the beginning of the week. Freezing my fruit gives me the cold frozen smoothie rather than the slushie that you get from adding ice. I wouldn't recommend this unless you have a pretty high powered blender. It's a work out for my VitaMix and the blender I use at work can't really handle it.

This week I bagged 1/2 cup portions of red raspberries an blueberries and 1 cup portions of strawberries and spinach leaves (yes, I freeze the spinach leaves, too). I also sliced and bagged bananas (1 banana/bag).

A bag of each went into the VitaMix along with a cup of skim milk and a scoop of Body Fortress vanilla whey protein. I added a little more milk during the mixing process to help the machine along.
This makes enough for a good sized serving now (about 20-24 oz) and enough to fill my 1/2 liter thermos to take to work for later.

Total calories 538
protein 44g

The fruit adds lots of sugar at 56g and fiber at 15g.

Plus you get great anti-oxidants from the berries.

It is 100% good!

John <><

Sunday, July 6, 2014

For Your Meatless Monday...

I've been doing Meatless Monday for a little while now. One less day of meat is probably good for me (you, too). Some day I'll post some of the benefits of going meatless for a day. For today, I thought I'd give you a recipe to try should you decide to go meatless for a day.

It's a simple guy recipe. That means that it's easy to make.

I heat a skillet and then add a little bit of coconut oil to the hot skillet.
I then add some chopped onions, turn the heat down to medium and let them begin to brown.
I open a can of black beans and rinse all of the canned liquids away. Add them to the skillet.
I also add a can of Rotel tomatoes and green chilis.
I season this with garlic powder, cumin, crushed red peppers, chili powder and black pepper.

Take a Pablano pepper, cut it in half and clean out the seeds. Fill each half with your black bean mix and top with some shredded cheddar cheese. You can throw it in the microwave for a few seconds to melt the cheese or just let the cheese melt from the heat of the beans. You'll have enough to fill three or four peppers.

It's pretty good.

If you're not into the meatless thing, start with ground beef or ground turkey. Anyway you look at it, it's a good meal!

I addition to going meatless on Mondays, I've been starting my week with a 20 hour fast. I finish Sunday with a light snack around 10pm and then have my meatless stuffed pepper for dinner around 6pm Monday. Other than my morning coffee and vitamins, it's water until dinner time.

Have a great week!
Be well,

John <><

Saturday, July 5, 2014

In a fitness doldrum...and my July challenge.

The "Doldrums" are a place on the sea where there are no winds. It is a place where a sailing vessel might be stuck for days at a time; waiting on currents or the slightest of breezes to move it along.

For the past few days, that's where I've been. I did manage a nice walk yesterday (3 miles), but I've done little else since the calendar turned to July. Oh, I've done a little stretching and some light exercises, but nothing that is going to move me along the path of better health and fitness. In the doldrums, there is little external motivation and in the case of the large sailing ships, little internal means to move out of them.

Fortunately, in the fitness world there is plenty of both--plenty of external motivators and an internal voice that says you just have to move...a little, just enough to get out of the doldrums.

On Friday, I ran across a site (or rather, it ran across my twitter feed) that is a monthly burpee challenge; a timed 100 burpee challenge on the first Friday of every month. To be honest, I'm not sure I can do 100 of these--even with the poor form of the girl in the video clip. I do have a month to get ready for the August challenge.Anybody want to try it with me?

I'll be happy if I can do 100 in any amount of time. I'm not sure that I could do 100 even without the push up portion. It wasn't that long ago that I didn't have the ab strength to get my legs back under me in a quick motion, nor did I have the flexibility to squat to the initial position very well to begin with!

And 100 push ups! Even at 1 rep at a time it sounds like a killer workout!

So that's it. Tomorrow I start.

...and I went kayak shopping today. I'll probably hit Springfield lake again this week. If it turns out that I go very often, having my own will be a better deal than renting one every time. And it will give me the flexibility of going where I want to go instead of being limited to the same place all of the time. There are some very nice (and very expensive) ones out there, to be sure. As much as I'd like on of those, I'm sure I'll start with a lower cost one. I don't plan on needing to haul a lot of gear and I don't plan on hitting any hard waters. I just want to get some exercise (and maybe do a little fishing at some point). Maybe that's where I'll spend my holiday pay from working on Friday!

Any takers on the burpee challenge. We can motivate each other on our way to better health and fitness!

John <><

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Healthy lunch

This past weekend I was in the grocery store and heading toward the checkout lanes when I ran into a friend from church. She comment on my weight loss and noticed my healthy food laden cart. She also said in a statement/question kind of way, "It costs a lot more to eat healthy, doesn't it?"

I responded by saying that I think the greatest cost is in the amount of time it takes to eat healthy. I could tell from her look that she was thinking that she didn't have the time.

I haven't noticed that food costs more. In fact, I have noticed that I eat less food when I eat well. Maybe that helps to offset the higher cost. I don't really know.

I thought I share some of the "healthy" foods that I'm bringing to work these days.

This week I made a chicken salad. In keeping with the "unhealthy guy" theme of the blog, I used canned chicken. If you have the time, you can cook your own chicken breasts to use.

2 large cans on canned chicken
3 hard boiled eggs
4 stalks of celery chopped
some green onions (I don't remember how much)
1 chopped Anaheim pepper
1/2 chopped yellow bell pepper
some roasted sunflower seeds
some pine nuts
some craisins (I just looked to see what we had and threw some stuff in)
a couple of spoonfuls of sweet relish
garlic powder
crushed red peppers
black pepper
dried cilantro (we didn't have any fresh)
and some olive oil mayo

It made a pretty big bowl.

I peeled a cucumber, cut it in half lengthwise and scooped out the seeds with a spoon.
then I filled the halves with the chicken salad.

I get a good tasting salad with no bread. It tastes as good as it looks!

Let me know if you try this!
John <><