March 16

Progress

English: Olympic-style weight lifting training.
English: Olympic-style weight lifting training. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My last post was about my no grain diet. It has been a bit over a month. Although I’ve eaten a few grains along the way, when no other option has been available, I’ve stuck to the diet whenever possible. Less than 1 out of every 20 meals has included grains.

I’m no longer taking any supplements or protein shakes. My weight has increased by five pounds, but I’m weight lifting, and my lifting increases have been substantial. Most importantly my waist size has not increased.

The diet has been and will continue to be of huge importance for me. I’m healing faster, making gains faster, and I feel way more energetic. I’m not a “body builder.” I just looking to stay healthy and be strong. Most of my weight lifting goals are nearing completion, and my next goals will be focused on running.

Just to be clear, this is not a low carb diet. I eat a lot of fruit, quinoa, potatoes, buckwheat, arrowroot, and squash.

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February 6

No Grains?

A diet rich in soy and whey protein, found in ...

I hit a significant three-month plateau in my exercise regimen. A couple of months back, I started taking protein shakes to get past the bad situation I was in, muscles getting weaker and constantly getting sick. The protein shakes worked well. I was restored to my healthy self, but I had no progress.

Lately, within a few days without grains, I’ve already noticed a fair bit of progress in my workouts. Without grains, I’ve been eating more dairy, fruit, vegetables, and meat. This is high nutrient food, and I suspect that the change in nutrients is mostly responsible for the gain in strength and energy.

The challenge is getting enough carbohydrates. With 100 minutes of cardio and about 200 minutes of strength training per week, I’m not about to try a low carb version of this diet, so I’ve eaten quinoa (not an actual grain), potatoes, and a lot of fruit (especially bananas).

Now, I just have to make sure that I eat enough and I eat often. Hunger is will be the thing that can stop me from continuing down this path. I’m certainly not militant about the way I eat though. Certainly, if I’m with people who are eating pizza, I’ll eat pizza. Still, most of my meals are at home, and I’ll continue to benefit from eating this way.

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January 28

Montreal, Friendship, and Realization

English: Montreal City Hall Français : Image p...
English: Montreal City Hall Français : Image panoramique de l’Hôtel de Ville de Montréal. Panorama constitué de 20 (5 x 4) photos réalisées avec un Canon 5D et un objectif 85mm f/1,8 réglé sur f/8. Türkçe: Kanada’nın Quebec eyaletinin en büyük ikinci şehri olan Montreal’de bulunan bina. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I went to Montreal this past weekend. Whenever I go there, I feel completely inspired. Not every situation or encounter is wonderful, but every time I’m there, it’s a vacation for me. To me, a vacation is time to heal, time to think, and just generally time to breathe. I have good friends in Montreal. They are different enough from me that I get to experience new ways of thinking and being, but they are similar enough to me that I never have to feel bizarre around them.

I’ve also recently begun talking to an old friend from the past. I think we would have always been friends, but we took different paths and simply fell out of touch. She is one of the coolest people I’ve ever known, and she’s the only one I’ve ever really cared about falling out of touch with.

I even have a new friend, a relationship that is just beginning.

Friends aren’t everything, but this weekend has been a good lesson for me. Friends are important. They shape my outlook, and help to make me a different person. This decade around I’ll remember to hold on to the good people in my life.

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January 24

Eat More

Chips (BE), French fries (AE), French fried po...
Chips (BE), French fries (AE), French fried potatoes (AE) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There was a candy bar that my Dad used to eat, when I was a kid, called “Eat More.” I gave it the less than fond alias of “Eat Less.” This candy bar is by far the worst tasting thing I’ve ever put in my mouth, even with how many times I’ve “been around the block.”

The point of it is that the more palatable something is the more a person will want to eat it. I enjoy eating healthy foods, and I like the taste, but I also like french fries, perogies, chips, cake, pie, and anything with a lot of melted cheese on it. In my journey of healthy eating and six days a week of exercise, month after month, I keep forgetting that it’s easier to get calories from these bad foods. Yes, I’m eating healthy, and yes I like healthy food, but I eat less of it, and it’s lower in calories. This is becoming a problem for me. With massive energy dives, I’m getting moody, tired, and angry.

I have to keep reminding myself to eat more, which is tough, as the portion sizes for healthy food are very large when exercising six days a week.

I’m a bit full right now, but I feel good, and it’s sunny outside, not a cloud in the sky.

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January 7

Is it too late to talk about New Year’s resolutions?

English: New Year's Resolutions postcard
English: New Year’s Resolutions postcard (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I see a resolution more like an epiphany, an awakening even. Telling myself that I’m going to give something up for 365 days is not a resolution. We’re not talking about lent here; we’re talking about a resolution. This is where we reevaluate our lives and decide on changing forever. I tend to think that the first day of the New Year is one of the worst times we could make a resolution, but if all your friends are doing it, I guess you should too. After all the alcohol, relaxation, and gluttony, we decide that we’re going to suddenly change direction and live a disciplined life.

In April of 2012, I decided to start exercising 6 days a week. I’ve kept it up all of this time. I didn’t say that I was going to give up my lazy ways or be strict with myself. Instead, I set a goal. I decided how much I wanted to lift in 1 year and how much I wanted to weigh. I’m meeting my goals because of a strong sense of realism and a serious want for improvement. This challenge was never about suffering for me; it was about reward. If you can do that with your challenge, your resolution can be successful, no matter what time of year you make it.

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November 20

Yes! We have no love for racists who make fun of fruit vendors.

Anti-Racist Action banner from Art Against Racism
Anti-Racist Action banner from Art Against Racism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I got a song in my head today: “Yes! We have no bananas.” I love the tune, and I thought I loved the song, so I listened to it on YouTube.

I quickly learned that this is a horribly racist song. People argue that it wasn’t racist in its time, or that you just have to understand the context – it’s somehow good-natured. The song deliberately makes fun of people who are different from the person who is singing the song. I can’t see how it’s anything but racist.

Now, I’m stuck with a tune that I enjoy and can’t get out of my head that is obviously racist. Listening to old songs and watching old movies are like that though. I remember a time that I was watching an old movie with my wife, and I hate old movies, but she said they were great, so there we were watching a movie that was 20 years older than us.

The men were terrible to the women. The kept telling them not to think, not to worry, and not to try to make decisions for themselves. The thing is – there was no obvious social justice going on, the women just ended up giving in. The moral of the story was do what the man says and you get a happy ending.

OK, full disclosure here – I’m a white male, but I hate oppressive crap, especially oppressive crap that is disguising itself under the pretense of art or entertainment.

November 19

@SHO_Dexter, I’m quitting #TV, but not until your season is over

Dexter (TV series)
Dexter (TV series) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m usually watching TV at this time, but instead I decided to write an entry, and I’ll probably go to bed early – well, early for me, anyway.

I’m quitting TV. Yes, it really is like quitting smoking or maybe even heroin. OK, I went too far there; it’s nothing like quitting heroin, but I’m not taking the smoking remark back. I remember when I quit smoking several years ago. I probably quit more than 20 times, and I only smoked for about 5 years.

I’ve tried to quit TV a bunch of times over the last few years, never successfully. Right now I’m weaning myself off TV. I’m only watching Dexter at the moment. That’s a difficult show to give up. Giving up smoking comes with a lot of benefits and so does giving up TV. I’m not overweight to begin with, but when I stop watching TV, I go from average looking to lean. The idea when giving up TV is to replace it with worthwhile endeavors. There are many people who don’t watch TV, but nothing is gained if they are spending their days and nights playing computer/video games.

I plan on replacing my TV time with writing, a bit of meditation, more house work, better quality time with my kids, time with friends, and more time outdoors. The writing, housework, and meditation come in to play around the later hours when my entire family is asleep. I know more housework sounds like a terrible endeavor, and I don’t really enjoy housework; however, a clean house means that I’m not mentally distracted. It actually helps a lot with my writing.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with spending an hour a day watching TV. In fact, I did that yesterday. Ideally, for me, I would like to spend no hours a day watching TV. I watch it as a way to relax and unwind. It doesn’t do a very good job of either, but it’s a great distraction from what’s actually on my mind. I’m at the point where I’m willing to make big changes in my life. This is the time to nix TV and regain hours of my week.

Stay tuned to see how this ends.

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November 17

Does @DCComics know that real #life is better than fiction?

Superman and his alter ego, Clark Kent
Superman and his alter ego, Clark Kent (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It feels official now. I met with a key member of a local charity yesterday, and I’m now writing for that charity. I’m offering my services mostly to help with their newsletter, but I’ll also help out with the website and probably some communications.

I couldn’t ask for anything more ideal than this. To me, this is the launch of my writing career. The next big milestone is a paying job. I know that’s a lot to ask, but I’ve seen real human beings that actually make a living off of writing. There aren’t many of them, but they do exist. I could be one of those people. By day, I could call my self Clark Kent, and at night . . . well at night I write on here, so the alter ego thing would actually go away. I would write during the day and at night. Sometimes real life is actually better than fiction, but I would love to fly and burn crap with my eyes.

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November 15

#Tomorrow makes me more happy to be alive than @PrincesComedian

Happy Tomatos
Happy tomatoes (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This might be a crazy notion, but I feel that any day I’m alive is a good day. I’ve had many bad days in my life, but they’re still good; I’m still alive.

Today was an average day overall, but it stands out as an exceptionally good day because of the promise of tomorrow. Staying alive means that I get a tomorrow. Tomorrow, I’m starting some volunteer writing jobs, a way to build out a portfolio.

My portfolio is part of my tomorrow, and I’m finally going after exactly what I want in every way.

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November 13

@LeeHirsch and my 5-year-old know that #Bullying is bad

Seeing my 5-year-old on the playground has been an amazing experience for me. Usually, the popular girl is the worst bully in the school. That popular girl bully might not hit, but she will always choose who is good enough and who isn’t. She will make others crumble to her social pressure.

My 5-year-old is an example of how I wish everyone could be. I’ve seen other girls try to exclude her on the playground, but she just grabs their hands, puts a huge smile on her face, and plays with them. Her infectiously happy attitude catches everyone else. Instead of her being out-of-place, all the other girls her age ask for her. They all want to play with her, and when there is a girl that nobody else plays with and nobody else likes, my 5-year-old grabs her hand and makes sure that she gets to play along with everyone else.

It’s such an unusual thing that one parent is telling me that her daughter always talks about how great my 5-year-old is while another parent is telling me how inclusive my 5-year-old is.

Now, if I can just get her to get along with her older sister, it would be a perfect world.

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