A year of Change

I have heard much of the woes of this past year. It has been a tough year for many. This is true. We all suffered through one of the most turbulent presidential election in living memory, with a result that almost no one is truly happy with. Terrorist attacks seemed to surge in 2016, and death claimed an unusually high number of the famous. For me though, 2016 has been a year of transformation.

For most of my adult life I have been stuck in a rut of mediocrity, living the same day over and over again, slowly spiraling into a lower state. At my lowest point at the start of this year I was on the verge of passing the 300 pound mark. Denice and I lived on junk food and fast food. I had terrible gastric problems that would leave me sick almost every morning, and I could not produce results in almost anything I decided to undertake. I was a wreck.

I don’t know exactly when it happened, but I remember the turning point. It was spring or maybe early summer of this year. I ran across a short documentary on Youtube called, ‘Inside the Superhuman World of the Iceman.’ The documentary was about a Dutchman by the name of Wim Hof, the one they call The Iceman. He holds dozens of world records for what can only be described as superhuman feats of strength and endurance, especially endurance of the cold. He credited everything to a simple breathing excercise that he developed from observing how his body reacted when exposed to the cold. The breathing exercise and short cold showers seemed easy enough, so I decided to give it a try. What followed was a subtle, but very real change that happened in my life.

The first two or three days of doing the breathing exercise made me feel, um… off. I felt short of breath and foggy in the head. I stuck with it though and this sensation passed. Slowly but surely my mind cleared up and my energy increased. I began to think in ways that I han’t before, and this led to other changes. One of the following changes that I made was trying intermittent fasting, which has helped me to lose 65 pounds to date. My stomach problems have completely disappeared. I have also started blogging on a regular basis. My outlook on life has gotten much brighter too, and I am now dedicated to continual personal improvement.

So for me 2016 was a year of awakening. I don’t know if I would be where I am at today if fate had not brought a crazy Dutchman into my life. It was the first domino to fall, triggering a cascade of changes that has pulled me out of my rut, and is taking me into the future.

I guess if I could wish you one thing for 2017 it would be that you find your own Wim (or version of him/it) to push your first domino over. Transformation is possible. If you need it, I sincerely hope you find what you need to make it happen. Happy New Year.

Why? Because it is there.

I was excited to see that Joe Rogan had done another podcast with The Iceman, Wim Hof. I’m about half-way through it. Wim is as excitable as always. apparently there is some new research on his method. I love JRE, but I really hope he rides the circuit and does another interview with Dr. Rhonda Patrick. She always cites the sources and I need that for my own personal research.

leconte
View from the summit of Mount Le Conte. Great Smokey Mountains, Tennessee.

Wim mentioned that he is doing another summit of Kilimanjaro… Kill-a-Man-jaro. This gave me an idea. We have some mountains here too. One is called Mount Le Conte. While it’s no Kilimanjaro, at 6,594 feet, it’s nothing to sneeze at. My idea is to train in the Wim Hof Method until this winter, and then hike to the summit of Mount Le Conte in nothing but shorts. What could possibly go wrong?

In all seriousness, I think I could do it. The hike would be about fifteen miles round trip. The first half would be the hardest because of the steep incline, but I think I could handle the cold ok.

I would need someone to occupancy me, in case something does goes wrong. If I’m going to face an untimley and frigid death, I should at least have someone to witness it. So, the search begins for a hiking partner.

DITL with Potstickers

My energy was pretty good today. Very good, actually. My hunger was almost nonexistent. They even had free cake at work today, and I didn’t touch it. I can tell you that in the past that would have never happened. Turning down free cake would have been unimaginable. The intermittent fasting has really ramped up my ability to resist things like that.

After work I got in a quick workout. I did a couple of circuits of push ups, crunches, squats, dips, and dumbbell curls. I went through the circuit as quick as I could, with very little rest in between. It was exhausting, but in a good way.

On my way home I finished listed to a video on, what else, Intermittent Fasting, by Doctor’s Daniel Pompa and Jason Fung. This one was really good. They got into the benefits of eating a high fat / low carb diet, and that is a major paradigm shift for me. I am recently coming out of veganism, and the philosophy of that is to eat low fat and high carb. I am really simplifying it. There is a lot of information in the video.

When I got home Denice was really hungry. She wanted pancakes. I had my heart set on potstickers, so we made both. The pancakes didn’t go as planed. We incinerated them. The whole house still smells like burnt pancakes. The potstickers, on the other hand, came out really good. Denice had to resort to McDonald’s. I don’t know if I can ever do McDonalds again. Their food, with the exception of their fries, tastes like cardboard. I was happy with my potstickers and home cooked french fries. The Tamari sauce I was using was the saltiest substance I have ever tasted. I love salt, but it was pushing my limit.

Now, I am just about to do some Wim Hof breathing, and get a shower. Tomorrow is coming, and I must be well rested.

 

A Typical Day

It’s been a pretty uneventful day. Maggie (one of my dogs) woke me up at three in the morning, whining. I thought that maybe she needed to relieve herself, so I took her out. She did. We returned and I went back to bed. Not long after that I woke to the highly irritating sound of Maggie whining again. I tried to ignore it, but she kept it up, insatiably, for hours. I had no idea what was wrong, and still don’t. She seems fine now.

So, I started the day out slightly sleep deprived. Doing my Wim Hof breathing helped a little. I did the usual three sets of thirty deep breaths and retentions. I have been doing the breathing technique twice a day. One when I wake and once before bed. I don’t know if the timing is optimal, but it does seem to help. It’s a good way to start the day, and I like to do it before a shower at night.

I am still doing the five-minute cold showers at night. Last night I tried one of the “transition showers” that Ray Cronise talks about. It’s really simple. You clean with warm water, like normal. After that you turn the temperature up as high as you can safely stand for about ten seconds. Then you alternate to all the way cold for about ten seconds. repeat the cycle for about five minutes, ending on cold. It made my skin feel amazing, and helped me fall asleep quickly. It has a lot of metabolic benefits too. For more information watch this video.

My day at work was boring as usual. Nothing to report.

At the moment I am chilling on the couch with Denice and the dogs. I need to finish up phase zero on my action plan for The Transition, but like most nights I simply don’t have the time. I will have to save that for this weekend. I really should make more time for changing the world.

Till next time, my friends.

Saturday Update

I’m going to try a new thing. As you see from the title of this post, I going to start doing a regular update post on Saturdays. Hopefully this will get me back in the habit of blogging regularly. I’m going to try to do the same with my Youtube channel. I haven’t posted a video in ages. Anyway, let’s get down to the update.

It’s been several months since I started doing the Wim Hof method. The breathing exercises were a shock to my system. The first couple of days I felt like crap. I was short of breath a lot and in a sort of brain fog. This initial reaction almost caused me to stop doing the method. I’m glad I didn’t. After the first day or two this went away. It was replaced with a boost in energy and mental sharpness. The effects are pretty amazing. In situations were I would normally give into my body (eating junk food and not working out, for example) I now seem to be able to excercise control over it. That, and my retention times have gotten over two minutes. Cold showers are a breeze now. I actually kind of enjoy them. I’m pretty sure I could go even deeper with the method, I just need to put some more time into it. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, please watch the documentary, ‘Inside the Superhuman World of the Iceman.’

I don’t know if I mentioned it before, but I have been doing intermittent Fasting for a while now. I’m doing the 20/4 protocol. That means that I only eat between the hours of 3PM and 7PM. ‘IF’ is kind of a popular thing now. It’s great for losing weight. I’ve lost 31 pounds as of this morning. I probably could have done a lot more if I would have been doing hard workouts in my fasted state, but I’ve been going easy on myself. I’ve been averaging about 3 pounds lost per week. It doesn’t seem like much, but it is steady progress that is adding up. I’ve also seen a complete vanishing of the GI problems that I used to have.

I am currently reading the book, Walden Two, by B.F. Skinner. The book is about a fictional utopian community called Walden Two. I heard about this book while I was researching the real life egalitarian/income-sharing community, Twin Oaks, which was initially founded on the ideas in the book. Twin Oaks is one of the oldest communes in the United States. I find them absolutely fascinating. I hope to visit them next year, to learn about their systems and culture.

Denice will be away at a women’s retreat for a few days next week. Hopefully the dogs and I will survive in her absence. I’m really happy that she is taking the time to get out and socialize with her friends. I plan on doing some meetups with some of the groups that I associate with, including a Tiny House meetup that I recently joined. It should be really interesting.

Farewell.