Fighting For Survival

Today, I found myself in the midst of a battle. 

I was minding my own business, trying my best to provide for my family, 

When my adversary felt it was time to hinder my progress. 

At first, I was gentle and friendly, communicating with him that I wanted the best for both of us.

But he didn’t go for it.

Instead, his stubbornness grew.

I tried moving him to the left but he wouldn’t budge.

I tried moving him to the right to no avail. 

Suddenly, a crowd formed around us to watch the struggle.

Embarrassed by the attention, I redoubled my efforts to win the skirmish.

But it didn’t work and my frustration grew with every passing moment.

My fists soon developed minds of their own and they pounded the sides of my opponent.

When I could take it no longer, I grabbed my enemy and raised him over my head.

My strength multiplied as I yanked at his layers and finally ripped him in two. 

I dropped my foe to the ground and held on to the portion I had snatched away.

And then, following my neighbor’s example, I licked my thumb and rubbed it across the plastic bag I held in my hand as I stood in the produce aisle of the grocery store.

To my amazement, it finally opened.

Celebrating my victory, I placed my zucchini inside and continued my battle for food.

I repeated the process in the broccoli section.

I never learned this skill as a child. 

It wasn’t taught at home, at church, or at school, 

Yet, be forewarned good people,

For it is necessary for survival.

*Image courtesy of attentie-attentie.

Lose It App at the 12 week mark

I’ve been using the Lose It App for 12 weeks now. 

And…(Drumroll please)…

I’ve lost 22.2 lbs. 

I’m still pretty impressed with the process.

The app doesn’t judge me on what I eat, it simply tracks my caloric intake, my water consumption, my steps, other exercise (if I enter it), and my weight loss. It also encourages me to complete a 12 hour fast once a week. I typically do it from either 6pm to 6am or from 7pm to 7am.

I know, it sounds like a wimpy fast to just do it overnight. However, it’s been beneficial to me because I’ve found myself following that practice on at least half if not most of my nights now. 

And because fresh vegetables are lower in calories than most everything else I consume, I can eat more of them. This process has drawn me toward them in a subtle way.

Touche’ Lose It App people. Pretty clever of you.

I’ve got a long way to go, but this slow process of dropping weight has been good for me. I’m making a real lifestyle change and it feels good. 

Be watching for another update at 16 weeks.

*Image courtesy of Lose It

I Got The Tofu

Recently, I took my first bite of what I thought was a steamy plate of sliced chicken and vegetables in a savory Asian sauce. Suddenly, my gag reflexes began to engage. Something was incredibly wrong.

“Dear,” I said to my wife. “I think there may be something wrong with my chicken.”

“That’s not chicken,” she replied.

“What is it?” I asked.

“It’s tofu.” she answered with a smile. 

“Tofu!” I exclaimed. “Oh no! I’m not sure I’m ready for us to start eating tofu.”

For those of you who are unaware, tofu is a semi-food substance prepared by coagulating soy milk, then pressing the resulting curds into solid white blocks of varying softness, and finally marinating it overnight in liquid sadness.

“The secret to eating tofu,” my wife explained, “Is to eat it with something else on your plate. You see, on its own, it has no taste.”

“That’s the truth!” I said.

“Try some more,” she said. “You might even start to like it.”

Instead, I shook my head and said, “I’m not sure I can eat tofu. It sounds like a condition you get from an old pair of sneakers.”

“Eat your dinner,” she replied.

“I’m not sure about this,” I said. “What if I get sick and people ask me what I have? I’ll have to say, ‘I’ve got the tofu.’ Then people are going to start saying, ‘There goes John. He never washes his feet and now he has tofu.’”

“Eat your dinner,” she said once again.  

“I’m expected to finish this?” I exclaimed.

The expression on her face indicated that I had no choice.

So, I carefully partnered every bite of tofu with vegetables and wiped the plate clean of the sauce which also masked the absence of taste and personal freedom.

So far, we haven’t eaten tofu again. But there’s a block of it in our refrigerator. I discovered it after thinking it was cream cheese for my bagel. 

Sigh…

*Image courtesy of Sherman Kwan.

Lose It App at the Eight Week Mark

Eight weeks ago, I realized I was fat. I’m not sure what happened. All I did was eat way too much consistently over several years and then boom, suddenly I’m fat. I knew I needed a lifestyle change with a directed plan. So I visited my friendly App store and downloaded the paid version of the Lose It App.  

Here’s how it works: 

  • First, I track my food intake. The app database has over 33 million foods. I either type in my food or scan its UPC barcode. If the food is not included in the app, I can add it using its real, or at least estimated, caloric information. 
  • Second, I stick to my calorie budget (For the most part). When I started my account, I entered my height, age, current weight, and goal weight. The app shared how long it will take for me to reach my goal weight IF I follow my personalized daily calorie budget. Currently, I’m scheduled to reach my goal weight by mid-March 2023. 
  • Third, I have the option to enter my daily exercise. When I exercise, not only am I helping myself raise my metabolism, but I earn extra calories which are added to my daily budget. Currently, my exercise of choice is walking. I’ve connected my steps app to my Lose It App. After 7500 steps during the day, I begin to earn extra calories. 

After 8 weeks using the Lose It App, I’ve lost 15 lbs. Not too shabby. 

The Lose It App’s biggest weakness is probably what I like about it. I can eat whatever I want as long as I enter my calories. As you can imagine, my wife is thrilled about that (Yeah, right). Even so, I’ve found that I tend to eat rather than drink my calories, drink more water, and make healthier choices simply because I have to enter what I eat. Also, if I make healthier choices, I can eat more (which I like).

Have you had success using Lose It or another weight loss program app? Let me know.

*Image courtesy of Volodomyr Hryshchenko and Unsplash

I Guess I Really Am What I Eat

It was drilled into me as a child.

At school. At home. At church. On tv. Even in Comic books.

No matter where I went, someone was proclaiming, “You are what you eat” like they were the one who coined the phrase.

I’ll tell you a secret.

I never believed it. 

But you probably already knew that. You can look at me and tell.

So now, decades later, I hear it from my wife, health care professionals, and other mean people. Only now, they often follow the phrase with a question, “So, if you believe that phrase, then what does that make you?”

It drives me crazy when my wife asks me that question. I hold my head high, stick out my chest, and say, “Listen here, woman! I’ll be the one asking the questions around here! Now go and fix me something filled with sugar and gluten.”

I don’t really say that. I’m not stupid.

Instead, I smile sweetly and quote the food pyramid from the 1970’s: “Well Honey, I’m 4 servings of fruits and vegetables, 4 servings of grains, 3 servings of dairy, and 2 servings of meats.”

Ok, that doesn’t happen either.

Honestly, my head immediately hangs in shame, tears well up in my eyes, and I answer, “I’m a large pizza, a half gallon of ice cream, a bag of microwave popcorn, a gallon of soda, and one serving of broccoli.”

She shakes her head, takes a deep breath, and says, “John…”

“I’m sorry,” I interrupt with a smile. “Was that your broccoli?”

She has never laughed at that. 

Never.

So I’m going back to the truth of the lesson I learned as a child. 

I am what I eat.

My body will be made up of the foods I put into it. 

If I consume healthy foods and water, I will see the benefits of eating healthy foods and drinking water.

If I eat a lot of fat, greasy food, I will become a fat, greasy dude.

*Image Courtesy of Justus Menke

The Return of Kale

So, after reading my gripe about kale a couple of days ago, my wife made a kale salad for us for dinner. Maybe I’ve been too hard on kale. I did learn from a friend that if you pour just a little bit of olive oil into a skillet filled with kale, then heat it on low for five minutes, it makes it easier to scrape the kale into the trash.

And yet, I didn’t dare do that with my wife’s kale salad. She set it before me and I cried just a little. Somewhere in my head I heard Prince singing, “This is what it sounds like when doves cry…” However, I must admit, it wasn’t that bad. I especially enjoyed the pieces of grilled chicken that had nothing to do with the salad. 

So why do people make such a big deal about kale? I did some research and learned that it contains fiber, antioxidants, vitamins C and K, bitterness, animosity, and wrath. The antioxidants help the body remove unwanted toxins that result from natural processes and environmental pressures (like eating kale in the first place).

I enjoyed the kale so much that two hours later, I drove my wife and I to McDonald’s for a hot fudge sundae. But, as usual, they were out of ice cream, as was the second and third McDonald’s we visited. 

It was then that my wife suggested we just go home. But I’m not a quitter, especially when it comes to ice cream. So, I drove us to Wendy’s for a Frosty. Would you believe they were out of ice cream as well. I did get the hook up at the second Wendy’s. I was halfway through it when I realized I had spent the last hour driving to five different fast food restaurants looking for a small cup of frozen refreshment.

I have so very far to go (and I can’t afford the gas).

By the way, thanks for the advice and the encouragement. Keep it coming.

*image courtesy of Laura Johnston and Unsplash

Have You Fallen Recently?

The older I get, the more medical professionals ask me if I’ve had any recent falls.

Recent.

It’s like they’re thinking, “This guy is so out of shape that he’s bound to have fallen in the past few days. He couldn’t possibly balance all of that bulge.” 

I understand it’s all routine procedure and they aren’t personally attacking me (maybe) but the whole experience does show me that I need to be more serious about my own health and fitness. 

I’m thrilled about this and I plan to have a good attitude about it…

Yeah, right, that’s it.

Fact is, I don’t like watching my weight, I’m not a fan of exercise, I despise consistent healthy eating practices. And might I just add that kale is a tool of Satan used to destroy the happiness of men (and reasonable women) everywhere. 

What do I like to eat? I’m glad you asked. I like eating unhealthy foods, better known as “anything that tastes good.” I especially like carbonated, caffeinated, sugary drinks. I’m a big fan of red meat and I’m a consistent consumer of trans fat. I’m voting for gluten in the next presidential election.*

Well, you get the picture. I need help. I need accountability.

A lot of men my age do. 

Now, I have lost about 20 lbs since the beginning of the year. I’ll tell you the secret. If you want to lose weight, live with my wife during a world wide pandemic where she sees everything you eat for months… and walk a lot.

Seriously, now that things are opening back up, I don’t want to find all the weight that I’ve lost. So I’m starting on a new journey to be healthy. A few years ago, I posted a daily blog where I listed out everything I ate for the whole world to see. As time went by, I also listed my water consumption and exercise log. The accountability was amazing and the feedback was helpful. I lost 48 lbs during the process.

I’m not planning on doing that again, but I am interested in writing about my fitness journey. It seems to keep me committed. 

So I welcome your suggestions, especially if you’re starting to receive AARP applications in the mail or if you grew up listening to 80’s music on cassettes. Post your comments below, message me privately, text or email me. Let me know what helps you stay healthy. Thanks in advance.

P.S. I’m not really voting for Gluten. It’s not even registered as a candidate.

*Photo courtesy of Online Marketing and Unsplash

Tired Of My Own Excuses

ExcusesI belong to a fitness club. It’s right next to my office. When I say “right next” I don’t mean “right next door,” I mean it’s in the same building as my office. When I enter the offices, I have to walk right past their front door. And yet, for most of this past year, I still couldn’t get there. I was always too busy, my schedule wouldn’t allow it, or some other excuse always came to mind.

Here are some of my favorite excuses I’ve made:

  1. Surely walking to the convenience store (past the door to the gym) for a Coke is exercise enough.
  2. It takes too long to get there. (Did I mention it’s right next to my office?)
  3. Exercise is boring. (Yes, I’d rather not spend 30 minutes on an elliptical machine or treadmill with a television or a book right in front of me)
  4. I just don’t want to move today.
  5. I only have an hour lunch. There’s no way I could bring my lunch and still have time to work out (I don’t even have to go outside.)

More than likely, my excuses are (and I quote Jim Gaffigan), “Today I can’t exercise because I don’t wanna and tomorrow I’m not going to be interested.”

I’ve had enough of my own sorry excuses. I’m tired of waiting for motivation. I’m tired of carrying around more weight than necessary.

I’m pretty imaginative and I’m sure I could continue creating excuses, but I’m not going to do that anymore.

I’m working out today.

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Results of My Physical

snapping glove

I had a physical last week. That evening I bought a new scale.

However, I realized that:

  • It’s time for me to regularly evaluate issues with my body.
  • It’s time for me to get back in the groove of exercising regularly and consistently.
  • It’s time for me to make those important doctor’s appointments to help me live a more healthy lifestyle.

What’s my biggest issue?

In the words of comedian Jim Gaffigan, “These aren’t skinny jeans, I’m just fat.”

In other words, I’m overweight, obese, stout, full-figured, corpulent, pudgy, flabby, rotund, paunchy, fleshy, and well upholstered. In layman’s terms, I’m fat. I may not be grossly overweight, but I’m still fat, like 8 and 10 other adults in the Greater New Orleans area.

Overweight

But, it’s time to put a stop to it.

This past week, I kept reading and kept being convicted by

1 Corinthians 6:19-20. In it, Paul writes,

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit?

Therefore honor God with your body.”

That means I’m going to honor God with how I take care of this body that He gave me. It means I’m going to honor Him with what I eat, what I drink, how I exercise, how I rest, and how I visit health care professionals.
Who’s with me?

The more I drink, the more I drink…

blake-shelton-300

There’s a Blake Shelton country song with the line: The more I drink, the more I drink. I know Blake is singing about alcoholic beverages and that’s never really been a problem for me. But my problem comes in a much tamer form of poison, soda, or more specifically Coca-Cola.

I’ve officially been “off” of soda for 3 days.

I wish I could say that it’s been easy to walk away from them, because that would be a terrible, bald-faced lie.

The truth is, I think about drinking a Coke at least 3 or 4 times an hour, especially if I’m out and about, stopping to get gas or at a fast food joint.

No-Coffee

Someone told me the other day that I should just start drinking coffee and I would have no problem at all. The problem with me doing that is that switching to coffee would mean that I would have to drink it. Ugh. Don’t get me wrong, I love the smell of coffee in the morning, but once I put it to my mouth, I want to gag. Diet soda, even Coke Zero repulses me as well. I like tea, but only Texas/Arkansas sweet tea, which is way too much sugar for me.

The only alternative I could see was to drop caffeine altogether, so that’s what I did.

The headaches and shaking are gone, but it still feels like something’s missing. I suppose the next few days will tell.

We shall see.

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