Our Journey into the Desert

Hi friends. Denice and I recently returned from a week in Phoenix Arizona. We went there in the hopes of finding help for Denice at the World renowned, Mayo Clinic. Denice sufferers from severe chronic pain from complications from a previous back surgery. We have exhausted the capabilities of the medical institutions here in Tennessee, so we had hoped that Mayo may be able to do something more.

First of all, the area where Mayo is located is beautiful. Their campus is amazing. It is the desert, full of giant cacti, dusty plains, jagged mountains, searing heat, and all sorts of strange plants and animals. We had a little bit of free time in the evenings to go and explore, and what we saw was spectacular.

The Mayo Clinic is a very impressive place. Denice had a team of doctors who all worked together to help find a solution to her chronic pain. We discovered that her back is structurally perfect. All the fusions and hardware look great. That is a relief because we were worried that more discs may have degenerated since the surgery. Of course, that still leaves her in severe pain that exists in the damaged nerves themselves, something that is very difficult to treat.

We returned home at the end of the week. The clinic gave us a couple of good treatment options, one of which Denice is unable to do right now. Basically, the only way forward is through a treatment plan that Mayo offers at their Pain Rehabilitation Clinic. It is a three-week program that teaches pain management techniques, that according to them, should help Denice control her pain without (or at least with less) pain medication. They are confident that the program will greatly improve her quality of life. She has already enrolled and will be starting in November.

The last couple of months of this year are going to be rough for us. I will have to stay home and work during the weeks, so I will only see her for a few days through this whole process. Lucky for us, Denice has a strong support system in her family, in particular, her mother and stepdad, who will be traveling from Colorado to stay with her through this. With their help and the help of her brother, I think we are going to be able to make this happen. Yes, it is going to happen, and we are enthusiastic that it will make a positive difference in her life.

Begging your forgivness

I apologize for my hiatus. Don’t you hate it when bloggers and vloggers say that? Every time I heard one of the people that I subscribe to say, “I’m so sorry it’s been so long since my last video/post,” I cringed. I didn’t care. It’s your channel/blog/podcast, make content whenever you damn well please. Sure, if you are interesting I will miss you, but I’ll get over it. I honestly doubt that anyone takes notice when I miss a day or two of blogging. If you do, the God bless you, my loyal reader. You have done well. Now get a life. Just kidding.

Anyway, my struggle with the Standard American Diet (SAD) continues. I was looking over the spreadsheet that I track my weight in, and found a pattern. For the past couple of months, I have been holding steady at around 245 pounds. One week I will lose 1.5 pounds, and the next week I will gain it back. This whole time I have been faithfully doing my intermittent fasting protocol. During the week I eat only once a day. The problem is that I have been eating the standard junk food diet that the average American eats. Sure, I’m only eating it once a day, but the result is that I am not losing any weight. I am holding my ground. I am still experiencing the freedom from stomach problems that used to plague me, and I credit that to allowing my GI track to rest for twenty hours out of the day. But, I would really like to start making ground again.

I know in my previous post that I said that I was getting back on track. That didn’t happen. I was unable to muster the willpower to do it. I am not giving up, though. I plan to try again this week, with a few modifications. I’m scrapping the whole ‘wristband’ idea. I tried it for a  couple of days, and surprise, it didn’t prevent me from eating junk. I think instead I am going to go back to basics with my old 3pm to 7pm window. I am going to take a bag of walnuts and a couple of Cutties (small oranges) with me to eat on my way home from work. That’s what I used to do, and I believe it helped me to stay on track. The other thing is that I have got to work in some physicall excersie into the equation. I am going to try to get in three quick resistance workouts a week. My work place has an excersie room with dumbells and kettlebells. I must start taking advantage of it.

I’m hoping that If I can successfully jumpstart my weightloss plan again that all the other stuff will follow suite. I don’t want to be one of those bloggers who shamelssly abandon their writting and readers for months on end, only to come crawling back, apologizing for not being there. That’s not me.

So, that’s all for now. How have you peeps been holding up without me? Hit me up in the comments or on Twitter sometime.

Vicious indeed

I had a rough time waking up this morning. The past two nights I have been hours late getting to bed. I see this pattern happen over and over again. I basically get out of sync. It usually starts with me neglecting to do my breathing/meditation exercises. Once this happens it creates a cascade effect. The next to falter is my eating begins to get out of control. When my eating goes bad my energy starts to drop. With less energy, I have trouble getting everything done in a day that I need to, and this, in turn, causes me to neglect my sleep. The sleep deficit feeds back into the vicious cycle and makes everything worse.

I seem to go through cycles. I will have a span of time that I am able to keep my shit together and do all the self-care things that I need to do to maintain my well-being. Then, from time to time, I will slowly lose control until everything just falls apart. I always get back on track, eventually. It’s very frustrating that I operate like this. I try, very hard, to stay level, but invariably I always fail. It’s just the human in me, I guess.

I am currently in one of my downturns. I haven’t lost complete control yet, and I do not intend to. Of course, what I intend doesn’t always happen. I am hoping to get a grip on things before the crash occurs. Self-care is very important. Our bodies and minds are much like machines, and all machines require regular maintenance. Without it, we do break.

The Protocol 2.o

Hi, friends. I would like to touch base (I hate that phrase. Sounds super toolish) on my protocol. I have yet to regain full composure with my dietary program. I have been able to mostly stay on schedule with the intermittent fasting, but my food choices have not been the best. I have reverted back to the SAD (Standard American Diet). As bad as this is, the full negative effects of this have not been realized, mostly because of the fasting I believe. I am still slowly losing weight, only about a pound or two a week, though. The most concerning thing about this is that my nutritional needs are not being met. This must change immediately.

The program I had been following, the ‘Slow Carb Diet,’ consists of five basic rules:

  • Avoid “white” starchy carbohydrates (or those that can be white). This means all bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, and grains. If you have to ask, don’t eat it.
  • Eat the same few meals over and over again. (keep it simple)
  • Don’t drink calories.
  • Don’t eat fruit. (Fructose –> glycerol phosphate –> more body fat, more or less.) Avocado and tomatoes are excepted.
  • Take one day off per week and go nuts. (I take two days. It still works.)

This diet worked pretty well while I was doing it, but I have not been able to sustain it. The main issues I have with it are the not being able to eat starchy vegetables and fruit. I’m not sure that these two rules are the best for me. After all, I am very comfortable with eating only once a day. I doubt a potato or two, or an apple once a day is going to have an impact on my weight loss. I think adding these foods back into my diet would allow me to better meet my nutritional needs, and help me stick to the program throughout the week.

Another problem that I have been having with my eating protocol is my completely uncontrolled “cheat weekend.” I don’t just relax the rules on the weekends, I shred them. I eat so much junk food on Saturday and Sunday that I often get physically sick from it. This cannot be healthy. I have to find some kind of balance with this stuff. So, here is what I’m going to try out starting tomorrow:

  • Two sessions of the Wim Hof Method (once in the morning and another before bed).
  • Eat one meal a day, six days a week.
  • Reserve Saturday only for anything goes.
  • Drink water only
  • All whole foods are ok (even starches and fruits), but nothing processed, and no bread or dairy.
  • Daily Exercise (specifics to be determined)

I am going to start keeping better records as well. I have to track what I’m doing better or I will have no foundation to make effective changes.

I’m hoping these tweaks will allow me to get back on track and move forwards towards my goals. I have every intention of being a super healthy person in the near future. It’s going to happen. I will not be denied.

 

Moving forward

Alas, my vacation has come to an end. It’s probably for the best. I haven’t evolved to the point that I can survive without the externally imposed structure of a work schedule. I need more personal development. I will get there. I know I will. I’m just not there yet.

I have been living with very little constraints for the past week. I would be lying if I told you that I was not concerned about my ability to resume the protocol tomorrow. However, regardless of how uncomfortable it is I must do it. To not do it would be to throw in the towel, and I’m not going to do that. No, I will continue my evolution. I am becoming something different from what I am now, and I am going to see it through.

My plan is simple. I will be in bed early enough tonight to get a full eight hours of sleep. When I wake up I will do three rounds of the Wim Hof Method and meditation. I will not eat any food until tomorrow evening, but before that I will do some resistance exercises. I will do a light slow-carb meal every day this coming week. Resistance excercise will be on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. Every night I will finish the day with the Wim Hof Method and a contrast shower. Saturday morning I will start the day with a micro-nutrient smoothie. I think if I repeat this protocol for a few weeks I will be solidly on my way.

Tomorrow begins a new day.

Still stroking the Kryptonite

I am not feeling so hot tonight. I think I have way over did it with the soft drinks and sugary junk today. Yes, I know, I was supposed to be back on track by now. Well, that didn’t happen. Instead I have continued my tail spin downward. It’s clear now that I have not conquered my demons. It’s not going to be easy, but I have to get a hold of myself.

On another not so great note, Lilly (our beagle) has a bad gum infection. She’s apparently had it for a little while but we were unaware of it. We wouldn’t have discovered it if it were not for her atrocious breath. She has always had funky breath, but it had recently gotten worse. On a whim yesterday we decided to look at her teeth and that’s when we found the infection. She hadn’t shown any signs that she was in pain either. Anyway, I took her to the vet this morning and she is going to need dental surgery. We scheduled her for this Monday. The doc says that this is pretty common with beagles and she should be just fine.

Man, did I mention that I feel really crappy? This is just from one week of reverting to my old ways. When I’m on my protocol I don’t get sick, I never have headaches, and I never have GI problems of any kind. One week of living the old way and I already have all of those symptoms back.

Sorry for complaining tonight. Wining is not fitting for a Stoic, especially when I am the reason for my issues. I think I’ll end this post before I embarrass myself further.

Good night friends.

Wired up, on purpose

I think I have found a solution to a persistent problem that I experience. The problem (and the solution) is caffeine. I really, really, love caffeinated, sugary, soft drinks. Dr. Pepper is my favorite. I slam down twelve ounce Dr. Peppers at a furious pace on my “cheat weekends.” Yes, I’m now doing two cheat days a week. I’m still getting great results, so I figured why not. Anyway, soft drinks are a no-go the rest of the week. This presents a problem… caffeine withdrawal.

Caffeine is a neat substance. It is a psychoactive compound, and can have some really beneficial effects on the brain, not the least of which is heightened alertness. Please watch this video by CGP Grey, called Coffee: The Greatest Addiction Ever.

Now back to my problem. During the weekend I increase my caffeine power level to over 9000! (DBZ refrence… sorry) It feels great. The problem is that after a day or two off of the stuff I go through severe withdrawal symptoms, which can include headaches and extreme nausea. I have missed work over it in the past. It is that bad.

So, my solution: take caffeine tablets during the week. Simple, huh. Simple, yet very effective. Today I began taking 100 mg’s of caffeine in the morning. The effect is being super alert, high energy, and no caffeine crashes. 100 milligrams of caffeine is not much. It’s about the same amount in a cup of coffee, or a couple of twelve ounce Dr. Peppers. However, it is enough to do what I need.

 

 

Cheat day… um, I mean weekend

This weekend has been especially debaucherous. I have eaten so much sugary junk that I have insulin leaking out of my eyes. It’s been great!

I’m going to modify my protocol for the next couple of weeks. For starters I am going to follow a five on/two off eating cycle. I’ve been having trouble keeping my ‘cheat day’ contained in just one actual day. I don’t have a lot of problems doing Slow Carb during the week, since I am at work and don’t have time to think about all the delicious food I could be eating. On the weekend it’s a different story. So, I am going to test out doing a strict five days of Slow Carb on an eighteen/six-hour intermittent fasting schedule. That is actually an increase in my eating window. I’ve been doing a three-hour eating window, so I will be doubling it. The real change is going to be attempting to stay 100% compliant with Slow Carb for five days out of the week. I think that if I can do that I will still be within the ‘minimum effective dose’ that I need to keep the fat coming off.

The rest of the protocol will be staying more or less the same. I will still be doing the Wim Hoff Method twice a day (two sets of thirty deep breath/retentions), and ending my nightly showers on five minutes of cold. This doesn’t sound like a lot, but I think it is enough to get the effect I am looking for. Now for the excercise.

It turns out that I was doing the wrong excercise protocol from the Four Hour Body. I am going to be doing a slightly modified version of Occam’s Protocol for the next couple of weeks. Occam’s Protocol is a super minimalist routine that only requires a maximum of one hour a week (two workouts of less than thirty minutes). The protocol involves doing weight lifting at a very slow cadence of five seconds up and five seconds down, and continuing the set until muscle failure (the inability to move the weight). It is completely different from any method that I have ever tried, and I am excited to see if it will work for me.

To sum things up, I am going to be eating like Homer Simpson on the weekends, and walking the talk on the week days. Hopefully that will be enough to keep the fitness train moving. We will see.

The broken chain and some updates

Alas, after nearly two months of daily blogging, I have finally missed a day. What can I say… I was wiped out yesterday. The previous two days I got very little sleep, probably five hours or less a night. I’ve struggled with getting to bed on time for a long time. I have gotten better with it, but I still go through phases where I have a hard time. It finally caught up with me last night. I passed out on the couch not long after I got home.

Writing daily has added a lot to my life. It is excellent exercise for my mind. It keeps my writing abilities tuned up, and most importantly it allows me the opportunity to express my thoughts.

I still haven’t gotten started on my review of Walden Two. I promise, it’s coming.

I have already launched into The Four Hour Body however. I’m not far into it, but I can say right now that it is really well done. I had to get started on it right away. I needed some clarification of a couple of the techniques that I’m going to be trying out next week. Oh, by the way, I have survived Thanksgiving with no weight gain. I was able to maintain my Intermittent Fasting protocol all week, with the exception of Thanksgiving day. I basically did the Standard American Diet (SAD) though. Next week is going to be different. I think now that Thanksgiving is behind me I will finally start making some serious progress on my body recomposition goals.

I am going to be trying a completely new physical training protocol next week. It will be limited to two thirty-minute workouts a week. I am trying to utilize the principle of the ‘minimum effective dose.’ The idea is to simply do the amount and type of excercise to get the desired effect. Anything less will be ineffective and anything more will just produce waste and increase my risk of injury. This is an idea that I have gleaned from The Four Hour Body.

Ok, that’s all for now. Stay thirsty my friends!

Chronic Male Syndrom

Today  was the first day working in my new custom orthotics. Orthotics are a type of shoe insoles, designed to correct some malformation of the feet. In my case, I tend to put too much pressure on the outside edge of my left foot. Generally what happens is the heel of my left shoe will get worn down on the outside edge really fast. It causes me to walk with my ankle at an uncomfortable angle, which results in pain. It’s been like that for as long as I can remember.

I finally got my feet checked out last month. Although they look totally normal, there was an abnormality lurking under the surface. To my surprise though, this is not uncommon, and is quiet easily corrected. They took a plaster mold of my feet, and a few weeks later I had my insoles.

This difference is incredible. Usually after a long day at work on my feet, I would be in a good deal of discomfort right now. That familiar pain has been more than cut in half.

Basically, I suffer from Chronic Male Syndrome. It’s a condition that causes one to “tough things out” and put their health and comfort on the back burner. It’s a very difficult condition to cure. The only know therapy that has any promise is continual female exposure. (Thanks, Denice!)