19 December, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Hello to all readers!

Thanks for browsing by!

Since Jimmy Moore mentioned I have a blog, I thought I had better get some current stuff out there!

First thing I would like to say is Merry Christmas to one and all! I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed Christmas season! God loves YOU so much!

I also need to say a couple things to start this blog officially…..

I am by no means a preacher, but….Jesus died for YOU!

Salvation is a gift for you! Why not make it this year’s Christmas gift to yourself? All you have to do is accept the gift!

I worship and serve as a Deacon at a Baptist church, but the Great Commission is not to get people to attend Baptist churches. The Great Commission is to share Christ with others! If you are seeking a church to attend, here are the two most important guidelines to seek out….“Christ plus nothing for Salvation”, and “the Bible plus nothing for doctrine.”

My 73 pound (so far) weight loss is not my success at all! Without Christ I could do NOTHING! I turned my appetite over to Him and he continues to work in me!

Praise God for His Strength!

Lately, my focus has not been on my weight. I still maintain a low carb lifestyle, and always will, but God has tossed something in my life that needs some attention……Asthma.

After having wheezing episodes for about a month, I finally went to the doctor….after my wife’s insistence....
The doctor prescribed 3 days of oral steroids and an Albuterol inhaler. Things improved greatly, however some wheezing persisted, so I now have a steroid inhaler that I use morning and evening. I now use the Albuterol inhaler if a wheezing episode comes up. I have a follow up appointment early January for further evaluation.

Interesting….while typing this…I am listening to my iPod….and what song comes on…Oxygen…by the Christian group Avalon….Christ truly is my oxygen!

I have always loved this song…and now it has new meaning for me!

I am not sure if any of these new medications will affect my weight loss….we shall see…

I think I finally know the final goal I am aiming for. 180 pounds! I am currently now only 37 pounds away from reaching that goal!

Jimmy’s low carb forum has lots of great people at varying stages of weight loss. I love reading about their successes and seeing the before and after pictures! I even like reading the challenges that others face to see if I can learn something from them.

May God bless you all greatly!

Sorry that this rambles a bit….I will try to keep future posts a little more focused.

14 December, 2007

Waisting Away

I have not updated here in a while. I am not sure that anyone reads my writings anyway....but here is something I wrote a bit ago. Jimmy Moore posted this in his blog. Thanks Jimmy! But I wanted to post it on my own blog as well...so I am finally doing that.

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Waisting Away

Some of what I will be writing, I have never verbally expressed to anyone. I share them now in order to inspire or help others that may have the same thoughts or feelings.

First…….some background on me. I am 42 years old and am 6 foot 1 inch tall. I am the father of two beautiful daughters and I am the husband of one….yes I am in Utah…but have only one…..wonderful wife.

Weight issues and I are longtime acquaintances.

As a kid, I wore size “husky.”

In Jr. High I was a wrestler on the school team. I was on the low end of the “Heavyweight” division. So I was big even then. The biggest issue with wrestling in the Heavyweight division was that there was no maximum weight! So I had to wrestle some guys that outweighed me by maybe 100 pounds! After being squished a few times….I stopped wrestling after Jr. High.

I do not remember even trying to lose weight when I was still in school. I may have tried, but do not remember and was obviously not successful. I was simply a big guy.

At the ripe old age of 21, I was attending a tech school which was 5 days a week in the mornings. This left the afternoons and evenings available for work. At some point I decided to try and lose weight.

At this point I weighed 240 pounds, probably stretching my size 38 jeans to their breaking point….but you know….size 40 was simply too loose….ha ha

I had determined that I was going to lose weight and decided to eat only 1000 calories a day. That was my magic number. One summer day, I began riding my bike. I enjoyed riding the country roads of rural Idaho. Each ride turned out to be about 45 minutes and I was faithful that almost every weekday I was out riding.

With having to leave for school early in the morning, I would not eat breakfast since I wanted to sleep more than I wanted to eat.

I arrived home from school around 1PM each day and….back in days of the dinosaur….cable TV did not exist so the only thing on TV was General Hospital or some other lame soap opera. I would watch GH while I ate lunch and then would hop on my bike around 2PM for a ride. I would get back, shower and head off to work until 9PM or so. It never crossed my mind to turn off the TV and not watch anything while I ate lunch….and I hated GH.

For lunch each day I would have a very large salad. Lettuce, tomatoes and a can of tuna mixed in, with whatever dressing was available. I did not officially track calories, but my guess is that some days, I would have 800 and some days would be 1300 depending on what I put on the salad that day, averaging about 1000 calories a day.

I usually worked full days on weekends, and learned to limit my calories in other ways.

Diet Coke stock went up based on the sales of soda to me. When working Saturdays, I could easily drink 8-16 oz glass bottles…yes they used glass back then….this helped protect the soda during dinosaur attacks….and apparently plastic was not invented yet. I have the UPC # memorized from the cans of Diet Coke …496580…don’t believe me…..check a can for yourself. Back in the days I carried a briefcase, 496580 was my code to open it.

Diet Coke was (and still is) my answer when I want a sweet fix.

After 3 months of this extreme diet and exercise, I had lost 60 pounds! Yes….60 pounds in 3 months! I weighed an incredible 180 pounds! One of my most vivid memories while at a “thin” 180 pounds is a comment made by a friend that had not seen me in a while. Three of us were headed to a movie and the subject of my weight came up and one of them says…and I quote….”You look like a million bucks!” This was from a perpetually fit and thin friend…..all the girls swooned over him….at least that was my perception. He probably does not remember saying it, and I have not talked to him in years, but I was on cloud nine that someone noticed. I still felt I should lose even more weight but that did not happen.

The weather changed, and riding my bike was not as fun in the cold, and then “the holidays” came, and I began gaining the weight back.

Soon enough…..maybe 3 years later, I was back at 240, and thin was a mere memory.

Years passed and life rolled on.

I also discovered the fashion secret called “relaxed fit.”

As a Christian, I believed I would be a better witness if I was not overweight, and saw myself fail time and time again when trying to lose weight. God wanted me thin…..why was He not helping me? This was an excuse the devil used to stop me from sharing my faith. I was also shy. I am sure my weight did not help my shyness. I felt that everyone judged me based on the fact that I was overweight, even if they themselves were overweight, I felt totally inferior to those that were slim. Most likely people did not really care that I was overweight, and I was probably the only one concerned about it, but that was my mentality at the time. How can I share to a fit person that Christ is the answer! Look at how happy I am!…..When I am not happy at all….at least with myself.

My weight hovered around 235-240 for a very long time, and I only made half-hearted attempts to lose any weight.

I began working a very sedentary job answering phones all day, never leaving my cube. I was a telephone computer support guy in a call center. After 3 years of working in this sedentary environment, my weight peaked at 307 pounds!

I changed jobs and my weight dropped somewhat to around 280. I remained at 280 for a while, and then I met the woman that was to be my wife.

Once engaged, I focused on losing weight for the wedding day. Using Atkins and Hydoxycut, I lost 30 pounds and got down to 250 pounds for my wedding day. Hydroxycut was later deemed unsafe, so they stopped selling it with ephedrine in it. I felt great, but knew I could lose more. On the honeymoon, no restrictions in my diet were in place. And thereafter, I did not attempt to maintain the weight loss. I hoped the weight would not return but was not doing anything to prevent it from coming back…..so it did. Over the 5 years I have been married, I have yo-yo dieted to as low as 250 pounds, and usually hovered in the 280 pound range.

Here are some of my failed motivations that I have attempted to use:

High School reunion coming up: I am going to lose weight to “impress them.”

When my first daughter was born: I am going to lose weight “for her.”

When my second daughter was born: I am going to lose weight “for her.”

After they were both born: I am going to lose weight “for them.”

In February of 2007, I was bursting out of size 42 at a whopping 290 pounds. I had been asked to sing a solo at church.

The suits I have were too small to fit, and I was very uncomfortable in most of my clothes. I was so frustrated with myself that I had allowed myself to balloon up to 290. I did not sing at church and was convicted that I needed to do something about my weight once and for all. I prayed. I turned my appetite over to God. It was painfully obvious that I could not do this without His help. I had achieved various levels of success using a low carb diet plan in the past, so that was what I was going to do.

With God’s help I chose to follow a low carb lifestyle.

It has now been seven and a half months since changing my eating lifestyle, and I have lost a total of 66 pounds and am only 4 pounds away from my original goal!! My initial goal was to lose 70 pounds and get to 220 pounds, then I will reevaluate my weight and see if need to lose more. I also shaved my beard/goatee that my wife really likes. One of the rewards for reaching my first goal of 220 pounds will be allowing myself to grow the beard back. I HATE shaving, so this is a reward I look forward to! I will be setting additional 10 pound goals as necessary and eventually arrive at my final weight that I plan on maintaining for the rest of my life.

I have not “cheated” even once! Praise God! I have been tempted. We have had various levels of candy and other treats in the house as the various holidays have come and gone. After about 5 months, I have found that I am not really even tempted any more….at least by the stuff that used to tempt me. My temptations are the worst when I am tired, but God has seen me through all of them!

Now I did not actually “count” all the carbs that I would eat, but I know by reading the labels and such that my net carbohydrate intake is low…...20-30 grams per day.

I have removed ALL XXL sized clothing from my closet and have begun buying a few XL sizes to wear until my final weight goal is achieved. It is such a great feeling to donate the clothes that are too large!! It cannot be explained, but it feels GREAT! Now my once too small suits are actually too large!! I can live with that for now. Someday I may have them tailored to fit.

Over all, I feel fantastic! I have eaten at buffets and at other restaurants and NOT HAD A “CARB COMA” an hour later or so. I weigh myself EVERY morning and am not discouraged if my weight fluctuates upward by a few pounds. I have overcome MANY “plateaus,” and I am currently in one now that has lasted over 2 weeks! As they say…..this too shall pass.

My exercise has been minimal. 3 or 4 30 minute walks per week is what my schedule seems to allow so far. I am sure I will be exercising more as time permits, but this weight loss has been achieved with MINIMAL exercise.

TIPS for others:

PRAY for God’s guidance and assistance.

Reward your success with NON-FOOD related items.

NEVER EVER, EVER, GIVE UP!

When you are tempted, have a low carb treat of some kind. I like Atkins bars…especially one that is very similar to a Snickers bar called Endulge. There are also some DELICIOUS low carb ice cream treats that I love. With low carb treats, you get the sweet fix taken care of and there is no cheating involved….so maybe your total net carbs for the day are over 20….or even pushing 40 grams…..but you KNOW that you have NOT cheated and therefore there is NO GUILT….and there is no rationalizing to yourself about eating more carbs….since you already “cheated.” The feeling of successfully overcoming temptation is so much better than the guilt we heap upon ourselves if we “cheat.” Try it sometime.

Surprisingly Low Carb food….at least what I found to be surprising…that helped me:

Strawberries

Raspberries

Sunflower seeds

Whipped Cream…the real stuff made with real cream

Low carb restaurant menu items that helped me:

Taco salads (no chips, and do not eat the edible bowl…lettuce, meat, salsa, sour cream, guacamole…mmm!)

Steaks and other non-breaded and non-sauced meats of all sorts

Diet or unsweetened drinks

Cobb salads

Club salads

Low Carb tortilla shells…..these probably have the highest carb count per serving of the things I eat, but these low carb versions have only 4-7 net carbs per tortilla.

03 February, 2007

Global Warming

I really do not get it. Growing up, we were warned of the "Coming Ice Age."

Before anyone claims I am some Right-Wing Conservative Nut Job Zombie….I have a couple of statements before I get to the questions I have. (Although I am a Right-Wing Conservative Nut Job….I am not a Zombie…..BRAINS…BRAINS…)

Statements:

1. I recycle….yes…..it's true….hard to believe a conservative would do such a thing.

2. I support common-sense conservation. If I can buy a light bulb that uses less energy…I am all over it! When convenient….I have used public transportation…GASP!

3. I support Mass-Transit…another GASP! Although…it should be self-supporting….and run by a private company outside of government.

4. I support the implementation of alternative energy sources…triple GASP! Put up all those wind turbines, and sun absorbing appliances…the more the merrier……but PLEASE….encourage..and let private industry do it…again…outside of government. Give us a good, reasonably priced product…and us lowly, uneducated masses are all over it….and yes Teddy K....even if your precious view is affected….they should be allowed to put up the wind powered energy producing devices in your neighborhood.

I could come up with more…but you get the idea…..now…having said all that….here is what pops into my wee little brain when (cough cough….suppressing gag reflex…) Al Gore or others of his ilk say the words "Global Warming"

Questions:

1. Is the US….the MOST emissions-regulated country in the world…really the biggest polluter of stuff they claim is causing Global Warming?
If the US were to stop ALL activity suspected to be the cause of Global Warming……would that be enough? Would the remaining countries on the globe still spew out enough emissions to negate any positive effect this would have?

I do not really know this answer….my perception is….not even close. I seem to remember years back that anti-pollution activists would complain that mostly the developing countries and countries that did not regulate emissions were the biggest problem.

2. IF….Global Warming is really a result of something we lowly humans have done, what makes us think we can stop or reverse the warming? If we have merely aggravated or sped up some natural process AND we are able to reverse this trend…and start a Global Cooling of some sort…..what makes us think we can stop the cooling process once it has started…..AND who determines what is the "perfect balance" that the temperature needs to be? ….and how do we hold it at the constant "perfect balance?"

OK….all you global scientists out there……enlighten me!

Taxes....in General

General Taxes

The average tax payer has no idea how much they pay in taxes.
How do I tax thee? Let me count the ways!

Income Tax
Most tax payers do not recognize the tax bite taken from their paychecks. Unless you are self-employed, employers are mandated to withhold Federal and State taxes from your pay each payday. The average tax payer knows their typical take home pay and uses this number as how much they get paid each pay day, when in reality their take home could be much higher if there was no withholding.
No withholding would require each tax payer to fork over the dough on April 15th of each year instead of staggered over the year.

The government says:
We are doing the tax payer a favor by, in essence, establishing an automatic tax account to pay your taxes with! You wont have a big tax bill this way! And if you over pay us, well gladly refund the money! We are a gracious government, aren't we?
We are also protecting you in case you do not have the money saved to pay your tax bill come April.

What the government actually thinks:
If you do not pay us on time, we will add interest and late fees galore until we bankrupt you!
If I take these know-nothing tax payer's money in smaller chunks, no one will really complain. After all, $50 bucks doesn't sound nearly as bad as $1300 bucks! If Americans actually recognized how much they pay in taxes, there would be a REVOLT demanding some heads! We can't have an informed Republic! Lets hide, disguise, and misdirect all that we can! Let's call it a fee!....yea that's the ticket....no one will realize it is really a tax in disguise!

Reality says:
If I over pay, I just gave the government an interest-free loan of MY money!

End Result:
Joe Tax Payer is too busy working to pay taxes to think about how much he owes in taxes.

Solution:
Don't hide anything. Make taxes recognizable. Have the tax payer write a check each payday for their taxes.

Sales Tax:
Sales tax is the most fair and equal tax, except that some states/cities have them and others don't.
Some say it is not fair because Rich people can afford it, but the poor folk can not.
This tax is solely based on the amount spent, calculated by a percentage of the sale. It is the same rate for everyone. Rich, poor, it does not matter.the sales tax is what it is.
Some say that to help the poor; the sales tax on food should be eliminated.....and I tend to agree. This would instantly add 4-7% based on where you live to your food budget bottom line to buy more food, or pay other bills with! The issue would be what is considered food. Would it simply be the food staples like milk, eggs, butter, flour, sugar, etc....or would it include soda, candy, and potato chips?
Where do you draw that line of distinction?