Day Seven

Another day, another post.

So I’ve more or less completed a full week now. No screw ups or cheats, just lots of chicken and eggs and a few other meats here and there. And some veggies, let’s not forget those.

I feel like the tiredness I was experiencing from the diet is starting to subside now, so hopefully that will be gone completely in the next few days. Still not really getting hungry much at all.

Oh, I did finally get around to checking my blood pressure¬† the other day, I think I forgot to mention it here though. It’s down, not overly low, but solidy in the normal range. So that’s good, didn’t take long at all.

So tomorrow I will begin week 2. May it be as easy and successful as the first. Hopefully even easier, as the first few days with my brain not functioning normally weren’t too fun ūüėČ

Day Six

No big updates today. Feel the same as yesterday, etc. Skipped breakfast because I was out of eggs and didn’t feel like going to the store. Had my chicken stuff for lunch, and then I had a few ribs (with just some spices rubbed in, and a bit of hot sauce), a hot dog, and some salad. Still not too much hunger.

I don’t really have anything to say, so that’s it for now. See you day 7.

Day Five

I’m going to run out of things to say in these posts real soon. Oh well. I’ll just keep typing boring things and basically no one will read them (hi there, exception to the rule you).

I am definitely through the mushy brain phase. I feel pretty normal now. Maybe a little bit more tired than before the diet. But things are going pretty well. I’m not getting hungry really, and even the bagels and donuts at work today weren’t a particularly strong temptation. I’m still 25 days away from the option of a cheat day, so things could change, but for now, I’m not feeling too much like I need it.

66% of what I eat is pretty much the same every day (eggs for breakfast, chicken for lunch). Weeknights I usually eat dinner at my parents’ following work when I come to pick up my dog, and so that is typically the “different” meal (the one night I ate at home this week I just had more chicken). So tonight it’s some fish! Which is different from chicken, so I’m on board.

Alright, that’s it from me tonight. See you on Day Six.

Day Four

I’m posting this a little earlier today, during my lunch break at work rather than after getting home from work. In large part, that’s because I’m procrastinating forcing myself to eat this chicken breast.

I haven’t really felt hungry at all today, which is new. I ate my 3 hard boiled eggs for breakfast, but I felt like I could have easily skipped it. Still feeling kind of lightheaded from time to time. I need to sit down with a blood pressure monitor this evening and see what it’s saying.

My brain is also significantly less muddled today. I’m not back at 100% yet, but I feel a lot better as compared to the last couple days. That’s a good sign, let’s hope the trend continues!

I didn’t really do a weigh in when I started – the doctor did weigh me when I was there though. I believe I’m up roughly 10 pounds from a year ago – still about 20 below my highest ever – but I was a little above 200 a year ago, and I really should have forced myself to lose then – anything above 200 should really be unacceptable for me – In 2015 I had been down to 184 – I’d say that’s my target. That would be roughly 2 and a half pounds a week during this 90 day period – doable perhaps, but that’s a pretty high rate – I’ll say the 90 day goal is just.. under 200, which should be easily achieved.

But, as I said before, the REAL goal is to come off blood pressure meds – and I was still on them at 184, so my ultimate long term goal is something less than that. 175? 170? Maybe. Really, that’s what BMI says is the upper end of the recommended weight range for my height. I guess that doesn’t really mean anything in regard to me and my blood pressure, but it seems as good an arbitrary number to pick as any for the time being.

Day Three

So I can tell you… adding bulletproof coffee to the mix didn’t seem to make things any better. Most of today was still pretty rough in regard to how I’m feeling physically. Still tired, brain still mushy. I will say that I’m starting to feel a little bit better over the last hour or so. Hopefully that transitions into tomorrow.

I also have been feeling a bit lightheaded today, which means my blood pressure is probably a bit down (which is good, it was up when I went to the doctor on Monday). That’s one of the big motivators here – I’ve tried a few times to get to a point where I could come off the medication altogether (I think I was pretty close once), and I certainly don’t want to have to increase it. There’s also the fact that I’ve been starting to close in on my highest weight again (though I think I’m still in better shape at this point then I was then regardless – think I’ve got a bit more muscle mass making up some of that).

So here is what I’ve been eating:

Breakfast: 3 hard boiled eggs

Lunch: Baked chicken breast w/ onions and mushrooms

Dinner: On monday it was more of that chicken breast, yesterday it was a pork chop and sauerkraut, tonight… remains to be seen. It’s not a terribly diverse diet.

Today was the first day that there were “temptations” in the office aside from the things that are always there (chips and the like) – but free meal-like food was there. I didn’t feel any strong temptations to get it, so I think I’ve got sufficient motivation for now.

Day Two

So I’m only at day two, and already I’m really feeling the change of diet at the physical level. Yesterday and today both I have felt my energy level decrease quite a bit. What is new today is in the late afternoon my brain started to get what I’d call… muddled. Definitely not thinking as well as normal at the moment.

I was thinking about it today and I’m guessing that in following this diet I am likely to be doing the whole “ketosis” thing, though that wasn’t a conscious choice… my carb intake is certainly going to be low enough that it’s going to happen. I’d also assume that’s probably what it is that I’m feeling right now – the “keto flu” as they call it. The internet tells me it can last about a week – hopefully it’s not any longer than that. I do have some keto strips I bought awhile back when I was about to take a stab at the keto diet, so, I’ll have to check after awhile to see if I do in fact achieve ketosis.

Tomorrow morning I will also be adding in bulletproof coffee to the mix, as when I was using that before I was finding that I felt a lot more energetic – so I’m hoping that will offset this lack of energy. I would have liked to have remembered to do that this morning.

That’s it for day two – we’ll see what tomorrow brings.

Day One

So for probably about a month now I’ve been plotting some sort of diet plan to get back to where I need to be weight and health-wise. I toyed around with a few ideas, and listened through Penn Jillette’s book on his weight loss, in which he did crazy things like eat nothing but potatoes for 2 weeks. Crazy things kind of appeal to me, but, his book isn’t really a how-to, and also the guy who I guess guided him through the diet doesn’t seem to have put out a book with his diet plan in it yet, so, while I’m sure I could use Penn’s book and the internet to piece together what to do, it would be a lot of work. Combine that with the fact that it leaves you on a vegetarian diet, and it really stops appealing to me at all anyway. Also, it’s questionable if getting such low protein and losing muscle along with fat is really a good thing (FWIW, Penn claims the muscle comes back fast after you finish the weight loss phase of the diet).

I also was recently listening to Jordan Peterson discuss his carnivore diet with Joe Rogan recently. So he’s literally only been eating meat. So that’s kind of crazy too. I thought about it briefly, but, again, there’s not really any evidence regarding how this will affect a person (as of the podcast I believe he hadn’t yet had bloodwork done since starting that diet). So, I’m not going to go quite that crazy.

Anyone who has listened to Joe Rogan on a regular basis will know that he typically promotes just eating meat and vegetables, which seems to me to be a pretty good place to “reset” a diet to, and that’s the one thing that I sort of got out of Penn Jillette’s book… that I need to sort of hit reset on my diet and how I relate to food.

I’ve known for awhile now that I have a bit of an unhealthy relationship with food… If I get sad, or stressed out, or have a bad day, that is where I tend to turn. Eating a cheeseburger and fries, or a pizza, or a donut, etc, will surely make me feel better. And I mean, they kind of do, at least for a bit. But I’ve also recognized that it’s self-defeating, as doing that long term will lead toward feeling kind of crappy.

Of course there’s also what is the typical American bad relationship with food, which is just sort of… “Hey, want to hang out? Better get a lot of food. Maybe some dessert and snacks too.” Any time anything good happens, we tend to celebrate with food. So if you eat crappy food when you’re sad, and you also eat it when you’re happy, you’re pretty much eating crappy food all the time. And so that’s why I need a reset. I’d like to get myself where I start to think of food as nothing more than what it is… sort of a “fuel”. I thing I need to survive. Not something to make me feel better, not something that I have when I’m celebrating. It’s just food.

And so my plan is this – For the next 90 days, starting today:

I will eat only meat and vegetables. I will allow most seasonings, butter, and some sauces¬† – as long as they’re very low in calories (such as hot sauce). The carb heavy vegetables will be kept to a minimum.

I will drink only water, unsweetened tea, and coffee (w/o cream or sugar, which is how I mostly drink it anyway). So that will mean no cappuccinos, no soda, no beer, no wine, no liquor. Mostly the idea is “don’t drink calories”, but also I’m going to avoid all artificial sweeteners for the duration. That said, if I happen across a different drink that has no calories and no artificial sweeteners, it would theoretically be allowed.

The final bit of the diet is, I’m going to allow the option for a cheat day after every 30 days. If I use a cheat day, the cheat day doesn’t count for the next set of 30 days, and while I don’t have to use the cheat day on “day 31”, for the purposes of acquiring another cheat day, it will reset the counter whenever I use it. For my first 30 days, I will have a strong motivation to really not use the cheat day, because I know I will want to go to the fair, and due to the timing of starting this, using the cheat day would make the very last day of the fair the only day I could eat there. Or maybe by then I’ll no longer desire fair food. We shall see.

Oh yes, and I plan to post a little something here every day, with a subject line of what day it is, and… I dunno, probably something about how I’m feeling, maybe what I ate. I’ll certainly require myself to post about any screw ups, as that will help with motivation a bit.

So, here goes.

Two Weeks

At about this time, 2 weeks ago, I was preparing to drive with my mom up to McClure, PA to pick up a Shiba Inu puppy from a breeder. She was just 8 weeks old, and she had the most adorable picture posted on the online listing I found.

The breeder was calling her Molly, but I changed her name to Yuna.  The breed was an older Mennonite woman, and so when we drove up to their house it was a bit like entering another world.  We went inside and saw all the puppies, Yuna and her brothers and sisters.  We looked out the window into a fenced area and saw their mom.

As we were leaving, she started to cry. ¬†I know that she was scared, but I knew that I was going to be really good to her. ¬†We put the sock monkey toy someone (I’m still not sure who) had sent to her back with her and it seemed to help. ¬†She slept for most of the drive.

We stopped at Super Pets to get her a harness and some padding for her crate.  We also got a bunch of toys.  The employees in the store loved her, especially the guy who was checking us out.

When we got home she spent a lot of the evening lying next to me as I sat on the couch. ¬†I started taking her out for walks in my parents’ back yard that night, and she was already doing an amazing job of waiting to go outside to go to the bathroom. ¬†I’d never seen another dog do as good as her. ¬†That night when it was time to go to bed I put her in her crate and she started crying again. ¬†I didn’t want her to cry and so I took her out and brought her into bed with me. ¬†She pressed herself right up against me all night. ¬†I didn’t sleep very well that night, but I know it made her feel safer.

As the days went on she came out of her shell more and started to be more independent and rambunctious and want to run around and play and get to places she wasn’t supposed to go. ¬†She really liked to chew. ¬†She wasn’t immediately all that interested in any toys or treats, but the bully sticks I had ordered for her were the first things that I found that she loved. ¬†She’d chew through them really fast. Then she’d chew on anything else she could find… including my hands, arms, and feet.

We had pretty good routine down during the week. ¬†I’d wake up, make my coffee and get dressed for work, then I’d take her outside to go to the bathroom and walk to my car. ¬†One morning, we ran into a guy with a couple of dogs off leash and she played with them for a bit. ¬†He asked to hold her and so I let him for a minute or so. ¬†After we’d get to the car I’d drive her to my parents’ house where she’d spend her days so she didn’t have to be alone.

She continued to sleep in my bed with me the first few nights.  She was really good.  She started to sleep a little bit away from me instead of right up against me.  Sometimes she would wake up in the middle of the night and lick my neck and wake me up.  When I would wake up in the morning she would lick my face and paw and bite at my beard.

I took her for walks downtown, and even if it was a time when there weren’t many people out, it was hard to get her even around the block without at least one person stopping to comment on how cute she was or ask if they could pet her. ¬†At a busy time I could take just a couple steps out my door and tons of people would stop to say hi to her. ¬†Everyone loved her, she was a very popular puppy. ¬†She was afraid of walking on the metal doors and grates on the ground. ¬†I made her walk on them sometimes because I wanted her to see that it was ok and she didn’t have to be afraid.

She would try to play with Malcolm, my parents’ Alaskan Malamute, but most of the time he didn’t want to. ¬†He was getting better at tolerating her, and they did play together in the snow. ¬†She liked to bite at his hair, and his tail. ¬†He liked to growl and bark at her, and then she liked to just keep doing what she was doing anyway.

I transitioned her from sleeping in the bed to sleeping in her crate, because I thought it would be better long term. ¬† She did really good with it, I think she was starting to like it. ¬†She would only cry in the morning when she realized I was awake. ¬†So I’d try to get up as quickly as possible to let her out. ¬†She was always really energetic and would jump up and lick at my face if I was low enough, just like she did when she was sleeping in the bed with me.

On St Patricks Day, I took her for a walk in Baker Park and her harness came loose and she got out. ¬†I was really scared. ¬†She started running and I had to chase her until she hid in a bush near the clock tower. ¬†Later that night, after I took her for another walk, one of my neighbors came out with her visiting family while I was standing with Yuna outside. ¬†As we went in, she invited us to come into her place for awhile. ¬†I sat and talked with her and 2 of her (I think) cousins. ¬†Yuna ¬†and my neighbor’s bulldog interacted a bit, but unfortunately the bulldog was a little too aggressive with his approach so Yuna was scared and he had to be held back. ¬†We were over there pretty late, and Yuna went to sleep underneath her couch, so I decided to take her home.

On Thursday she had her first appointment at the vet.  The receptionist and the other employees there all immediately fell in love with her.  When the vet examined her, he found that everything looked good.  He gave her a dewormer and a distemper vaccination.  Before I left, he told me that he believed Yuna would have a bright future.

After walking her from the car to the apartment, where she was still being fawned over by passersby and even some drivers, I could tell that she was feeling tired.  She laid on top of me while I watched TV for awhile and she slept off and on.  I eventually got up and put her in her crate so that she could sleep.  She cried a little bit because I went over to the other room, but then she was ok.  I thought about letting her sleep in the bed that night.  I wish that I would have.

We went through our routine that morning, a little rushed because I was running late for work. ¬†I let her out and she followed me around as I got ready and made coffee that ended up spilling all over the counter. ¬†I quickly got her away from it as it dripped and cleaned it up enough so it wouldn’t keep dripping onto the floor. ¬†We went outside to walk to the car and it was much like any other morning. ¬†She went to the bathroom on the way, and then we got in the car and I brought her into my parents’ house. ¬†She was running along and biting at my Dad’s pant legs. ¬†I left and went to work.

This is what was supposed to happen: ¬†I was supposed to come to my parents’ house after work ended. ¬†She was supposed to be jumping up at the gate that kept her in the kitchen, excited to see me. ¬†I was supposed to pick her up and let her lick and bite at my face. ¬†Then I’d put her down and watch her run around, and throw her ball for her a few times until she decided not to bring it back to me but instead just lay down and chew it. ¬†Then I was supposed to take her home, and she was supposed to irritate the hell out of me chewing on everything. ¬†And then I was supposed to play with her some more, and then lay on the couch with her watching TV, and then we were supposed to both go to bed, and then wake up this morning and start our third week together.

This is what did happen: ¬†Yesterday around noon, Yuna died. ¬†We aren’t 100% sure of the cause, but it appears she suffocated, either due to choking on a piece of her food that may have been drawn into her esophagus, or possibly due to a reaction to the distemper vaccination she had received the night before. ¬†I don’t know what the latter scenario would look like, but my mom, who was there with Yuna when she died, and did everything she could to try to save her, believed that she was choking on food. ¬†She was rushed to the vet, and they performed CPR, but there was nothing they could do to save her.

I missed my Mom’s phone call because I was on another phone call, but she sent me some texts after she tried to call that I saw immediately after I got off of the phone. ¬†I hurried home as quickly as I could, never returning to work after my lunch break. ¬†And then I sat with Yuna, petting her and holding my face up against her. ¬†She was still so soft and fluffy, and looked so sweet and peaceful. ¬†I held her in my arms and I didn’t ever want to put her down. ¬†It’s strange the way the mind works, because I felt like if I put her down I would be losing her, but the truth is she was already lost. ¬†But then the longer I held her, the more dead she seemed, and I knew I had to put her down.

I wrapped her in a towel, and I placed her out on the enclosed deck behind my parent’s house. ¬†And that’s where she is right now, directly behind me, as I type this. ¬†Soon I have to call to have her cremated.

Two weeks and a day ago I had nothing less than what I have now, but nonetheless it is a great loss.  All I can do is think about the things that I was supposed to do with her.

I was supposed to:

  • Enroll her in a puppy class, and teach her to sit, to lay down, to stay
  • Help her learn to stop mouthing people and biting up their hands and arms.
  • Teach her that it’s ok walk on those metal grates.
  • Help her learn to walk better (but she did pretty good for a puppy)
  • Set up her puppy pen that had just recently arrived
  • Feed her treats through the pet camera I got her while I was at work
  • Go on jogs and hikes with her as she got older
  • Have to take care of her for years and years

I don’t have that many pictures, because I was supposed to have a lot more time. ¬†But I have a few pictures, and a few videos. ¬†I don’t want to forget her.

I wanted someone who depended on me and who I had to take care of, someone to come home to after work and who would be happy to see me, and who would love me no matter what.

And for just under 2 weeks, I had that. ¬†And then it was taken away. ¬†No person is to blame… everyone did everything that they could have done, and what they were supposed to do. ¬†Even if it was a reaction to the vaccine, we couldn’t have known that it would happen.

And so in just 2 short weeks I grew to love Yuna with all my heart and then she was taken away from me. ¬†She wasn’t quite 10 weeks old. ¬†And so today I have to say goodbye. ¬†I miss her.

Doubt

“and if the things we believed as kids were true
could you believe it all for me
’cause i would believe it all for you”
-Derek Webb

“Red and orange
Or red and yellow
In which of these do you believe?
If you’re not sure right now, please take a moment
Cause I’ll need your signature before you leave”
-David Bazan

“Seeking to know is only too often learning to doubt.”
‚ÄďAntionette du Liger de la Garde Deshoulieres

Tomorrow I will be attending a church for the first time in a while.¬† It’s probably been… a year?¬† Or close to it.¬† I guess probably the last time I was in any church was when I went with Jon and Kim to their church in FL… but that was with no¬†intention of possibly continuing to go to said church, since it wasn’t local to me.¬† Even so, that would have been in April (I think), a solid 6 months ago.

Aside from just specific people (all of whom I met through the church), more than anything I miss since leaving Burbank is the church I was attending there.¬† I get the sense that it’s changed a bit since I left, but I’m sure I’d still feel I belonged there.¬† I’ll get a chance to visit it before too long and know for sure.¬† I can’t wait for December!

In any case, the church I will be attending tomorrow sounds like it aspires to be something that Central Avenue Church was.¬† And that is the main reason why I loved Central (again, aside from people).¬† A place where you can belong and seek God no matter what you believe.¬† I don’t know if they’ll live up to it… From visiting their website and watching some youtube videos, a lot of their language still feels very churchy and evangelical to me.¬† But they also strike me as genuinely wanting to just love people and have community.¬† If they can live up to what they say, then I just might find a spiritual community in which I feel I belong again.

For me, it is all about being free to doubt.¬† It’s about being free to disbelieve in things that, if I had to believe them, would cause me to abandon any connection to Christianity whatsoever.¬† If this is a place I can hope that God is real, and that he loves us and suffers with us, then I’ll be right at home.

Mindfulness

‚ÄúTo think in terms of either pessimism or optimism oversimplifies the truth. The problem is to see reality as it is.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď Th√≠ch NhŠļ•t HŠļ°nh

‚ÄúWisdom says we are nothing. Love says we are everything. Between these two our life flows.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď
Jack Kornfield

‚ÄúMeditation practice isn‚Äôt about trying to throw ourselves away and become something better. It‚Äôs about befriending who we are already.‚ÄĚ ‚Äď
Pema Chödrön

I’ve been realizing more and more recently the need for me to begin practicing mindfulness in my day to day life.¬† I feel like at some point in my journey through life I realized who I wasn’t, but forgot to figure out who I actually am.¬† And so I hold on to aspects of a person that I thought I was .¬† Perhaps it’s because I am afraid of who I might be.¬† Or perhaps it’s simply that I haven’t been willing to do the work until now.¬† I know there are things that I have long said I believe that I am afraid perhaps I don’t believe.

What I do know is that I can’t continue to walk through life with only part of an identity.¬† Perhaps the things that I don’t like about myself are the things that aren’t really me.¬† And I definitely have my fair share of moments of self-loathing.

The past couple of weeks I have had some pretty big swings in terms or happiness and sadness, depending on how I happen to feel about something in a given moment.  That seems to me to be very unhealthy, and I think the root cause of it is perhaps that I am not grounded in my own identity.

I’ve also begun having trouble sleeping again, something that seemed like it was behind me for awhile.¬† The last time I was struggling with it, it seemed that taking 5-HTP helped, which may indicate the problem is a lack of serotonin, and well, that may contribute to my negative moods as well.

I’ve decided to take a break from the world… at least as much as is possible, to center in on my self and do some hard work on me.¬† I again deactivated Facebook – along with all my social media accounts – this time with no announcement to anyone beforehand.¬† I’m not only not looking for attention, but this time I am trying to actively avoid it as much as is possible.

Earlier tonight I listened through a guided meditation on mindfulness, and it’s rather amazing how much peace that 15 minutes brought me.¬† I plan on making that a big part of the forseeable future.

I don’t know how long I will continue with this withdrawing to look inward, but I can already feel some value coming from it, so I will continue for as long as I believe it to be a benefit.