Step Four: Cut Out The Sugars!

Step Four: Cut it out!!!  Sugar, that is.

Probably one of the hardest steps, this is also one of the most important. Obviously, it is impossible to remove all sugar from your diet unless you only eat meats and eggs. There are actually two parts to this step. First, no added sugars should be the goal. Second, keeping tracking of sugar grams will help you keep your intake reasonably low. 

Two things lower sugar can help with are reducing insulin resistance and lowering blood sugar ups and downs. There are other factors I will talk about later, mostly to do with additional fiber, protein, and good fats.

I avoid too much fruit also, as fruit is high in sugar. But I don't cut it out of my diet, because it has a lot to offer, health-wise, as well as being delicious! Generally speaking, I keep my sugar under 60 grams per day. However, there are times when I find it getting out of hand, and then I cut out fruit for a few days. 

Another factor that contributes to excessive sugar can be dairy in the diet. Milk, yogurt, ice cream (of course) and even sour cream contain sugars. There are numerous reasons to cut dairy out, but it is hard. I have cut all dairy out before, only to find it sneakily working its way back into my diet, until I am having it every day! Unfortunately, that is where I am currently.

The truth is, all of the rules I make here are arbitrary, but they have worked for me, for the most part. I am currently at 165 pounds, which is right around the top end of normal weight for my height. It also seems that I have made some progress (from 174 on November 19), despite the lure of holiday foods. A lot of my success is dependent on being active every day, which I will talk about in the next installment of the blog.

Step Three: SMART Goals

Step Three--SMART Goals

How do you make changes happen? All the wishing in the world doesn't do it. Haphazardly struggling through every day second guessing everything you do doesn't either. In order for a goal to become reality, it requires a few special features to make it a SMART goal. You probably have heard of this acronym: 
Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic Time-Based Goals=SMART Goals.
Learn more at

You want to lose weight? An example SMART goal would be something like the following.
          I want to reduce my weight to X, and these are the steps that I will take:
               1) Track my food intake daily
               2) Record my weight and water intake daily
               3) Stop eating anything with added sugar, etc.

In order to make it realistic, it helps to read the stories of others. I hope my story helps others feel like they can do this. I cannot say it has always been easy, but it is something that is worth the doing!

A time-based goal would be made by determining how much weight you can expect to lose on average per week and plotting a chart to see how many weeks it should take. Most people lose more weight at first when they begin a diet. So this may be adjusted over time. Actually any part of the Change Your Life Diet can be adjusted as needed. 

I tweaked my diet (sort of bio-hacking) as I went along until it worked for me. And of course, exercise is incorporated in a progressive fashion, because you have to start somewhere, and you won't get anywhere fast unless you add to your routine as your fitness level increases.

Next time, I will talk about BIG BAD SUGAR. Until then, keep drinking water, tracking your food and weight, and start trying to formulate a SMART Goal or two that you can adapt as you go on. 

Step Two: Drink Water

Step Two: Drink Water

You all knew this already. Water intake is essential. Get you 6-8 cups a day, right? Actually, your body more than likely needs more water than that! For every 25 pounds of extra weight, you need another cup of water each day, and if you tend to sweat, add at least another couple of cups. If you live in a dry climate, you will need additional water as well! If you eat something salty, it will take more water that day too. Oh, and don't forget you need extra water if you drink diuretic substances such as coffee, or imbibe in alcohol at all (not part of my plan, though).

Personally, I live in a dry climate, work out most days (read: sweat), and probably still have an extra 25 pounds of weight. I also drink some caffeinated beverages (green tea, mostly).  I find that I need about a gallon or so of water per day, although I do include the water in my green tea and any water I add to my smoothies. However, you should do a little bio-hacking of you own to determine the ideal amount of water for you. But I assure you that it is at least 8 cups per day or more!

To fit all this water in, start the day with hot tea and/or a glass of water. Then have a glass of water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. By glass, I mean two cups, 16 ounces, or about the contents of one standard water bottle. Have a glass of water or large cup of tea at mid-morning and mid-afternoon. Then have water before bed. That is about 14 cups of water per day. You will be amazed at how much better you feel, how much less hungry you are, and your energy will multiply!

Step One: Record Your Food

Step One: Record Your Food

Nine months ago, I thought there was little to no chance I could ever regain my health, or even lose all the extra weight I was carrying around.

But I gave it a shot. I decided to start making changes that I could stick to. And that has made all the difference. From 240 pounds to 174 pounds in about 8 months: And I feel great! 

Step One: Recording my food. I started doing this during the month of March 2017. I use (and recommend) The Livestrong MyPlate app (which is also available on the Livestrong website), but there are many other apps out there for this purpose. Here are a selection:

USDA's SuperTracker

My Fitness Pal 
YAZIO - Calorie Counter  (ITunes and Google Play)
Lose It! - Calorie Counter  (ITunes and Google Play)
GoMeals  (ITunes and Google Play)

There are dozens of apps that can help with food tracking but some are better than others. You might need to experiment until you find one that works well for you.

Also, there is the old-fashioned way: write it down in a notebook or log. The only thing is, there is no automatic calculation of your calories, fat, carbs, protein, etc. That is why I prefer using a website or app. 

Tracking is the first step. Get an idea of how much you are eating, how often, and what your balance of macro nutrients is: the fat-carb-protein ratios. The important thing is to get it all down. Each time you eat, take the time to record your meal. It can seem cumbersome at first, even overwhelming. But stick to it. One of the reasons why this helps is that you are less likely to eat mindlessly when you have to record everything you eat! Make it a habit by doing! 

See you next time! 

New Direction...Re-inventing my Blog, and Hopefully Myself!

So. Lately I have been thinking a good bit about the value of time versus the value of money. Some people don't realize that how they spend their time is the way they define themselves. I currently work full time in a job I don't necessarily hate but one for which I certainly have no love. I look around and see people whom I admire, such as Gretchen Rubin, or Michelle DeSpain, and I feel that there is a need to seek meaning and/or direction in my work life. Ideally, I would like to be able to create content that people find useful or enlightening. Since my degree of enlightenment is broad but vague--well, I guess my next best plan is to create helpful content!

I like to be inspired, and would love to be able to inspire others as well. Also, I like blogs about food and cooking, and alternative lifestyles such as travelling around the world while blogging. Inspiration often comes from the About pages. I feel that I should be living a more genuine life, reaching for my dreams or just living passionately. My teen-aged daughters seem to think I'm going through a midlife crisis...! Well, so what if I am? Crisis leads to resolution, one might hope, and progress is better than stagnation. Even failure is a form of growth, since its the only way to learn from your mistakes and build on experience. 

Well, that is the gist of my ramblings today. I have decided to re-invent this blog, and now I am working on determining my new direction. Randomosity was nice for a time, and due to the mildly (or moderately) meandering nature of my brain, a bit of randomness might remain. Now I'm a poet...! Anyway, the new blog needs a name and a focus, and I am determined to keep posting this time!

What kinds of topics do you tend to follow on blogs?

Thanks for your input!