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Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sugar: The Bitter Truth

I watched this video a week or two ago, and now I am completely re-thinking the Calories In - Calories Out paradigm.  After watching this, it's impossible to deny the *huge* metabolic differences in how our bodies deal with different types of carbohydrates.  I am a believer.  Sugar is slow poison.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

That took a LONG time...

Yesterday our handyman finally completed the drywall project he started about a month ago.  The wife is a very tired of having to hang around the house while he was working, and I just wanted to be able to use the room again.

It's a weight-lifting and storage room, so all that stuff had to be moved out of there while he was working on it.  We had moved it into the downstairs guest bedroom for the duration of the project.  But we have visitors arriving for Thanksgiving who will need to use the guest bedroom.  The guest bed is currently being blocked by stacks of storage boxes.  I will need to move those out of the way tomorrow, so that our guest will have a place to sleep.

The drywalling is done, but there are a few items that still need to be taken care of, like finish carpentry and a couple of touch-ups near electrical outlets.

Also there is some work under the crawlspace that needs to be completed, but that can wait.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Texture and Paint

As I type this, our handyman should be two-coating the big room in the basement, and finishing the majority of the project.  Here he is on Friday night, finishing up the texture.

There will be a few things remaining to do, such as texture and paint the closet, install the closet door, and have the electrical outlets connected.  Also the crawl-space area is not finished.  But the month-long project is nearing completion finally! 

Just in time for family to arrive at Thanksgiving!  We now have to quickly move a bunch of storage boxes from the guest bedroom, back into this storage room.  And clean house.  Ugh.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veteran's Day Honors

Grace's school sent home a note a couple of weeks ago, stating that they would like to honor any veteran parents who would like to attend a Veteran's Day event they were holding.  Grace asked me to come to the event, and so I told her that I would.

Today was the day that they held an assembly.  There were 3 rows of chairs at one end of the gymnasium, at which several parents were seated. 

In California and Oregon, kids are let out of school for Veteran's Day.  Here's how it goes in Idaho.

I sat in one of the empty chairs, and as Grace's class filed in, she came and sat with me.

The High School band came to Grace's Elementary School to play.  A Cub Scout color guard marched in with the US and State flags and set them in their holders.  The band played the National Anthem. 

Next, Veterans of each military branch were asked to stand as the band played each service hymn.  I hadn't heard "Anchors Aweigh" in decades.  Afterwards, we were each in turn asked to stand up, state our name, branch of military, and dates of service.  Then the band played a few more hymns.

Toward the end of the ceremony, a pastor gave a brief speech and asked for the children to raise their hands if they knew what happens during a war.  He selected one girl, who said, "People shoot at each other and die."  He said that was correct.  Then he told the children that each one of us had sworn an oath to uphold the constitution, even to death.  And that was the purpose of Veteran's Day.

After that, the entire school, and the high school band stood up and clapped for the handful of us vets seated at the end of the gymnasium.  It was very, very humbling.  And it was a lot different than having Grace out of school for one Monday in November.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Power Dieting

I started a diet on October 1st.  In about 40 days I have lost 27 lbs.  As of today I am officially no longer Obese according to the Body Mass Index.  Here is a BMI calculator.  I anticipate being to my goal weight some time around New Year's.   At that point I will begin eating more and lifting weights again.

I have a very effective diet that I have used in the past to shed weight rapidly.  It's a combination of fasting and Low Carb.  The thinking goes like this:  I can eat a negligible amount of food since I have plenty of body fat to burn that will provide energy for essential bodily functions.

There is an energy balance in the body.  Basically calories eaten minus calories burned = weight gain or loss.  What most people don't realize is that exercise doesn't affect this equation very much!  The largest part of the minus side of the equation is called BMR, or Basal Metabolic Rate.  Here is a BMR calculatorMy BMR is about 2100 calories a day, with no exercise at all.  If I were to add a mile of jogging at 5 mph, I would only burn an additional 100 calories.  That's all, an additional 100 calories!  So clearly controlling diet is FAR more important than exercising at this stage.

To be blunt, you need a lot of your body to be active muscle mass for exercise to be an effective way to burn calories.  At this point, I am mostly bones, organs and body fat, not muscle!  Here's another thing people don't realize.  It's not a good idea to try to lose fat and gain muscle at the same time.  Building muscle requires an excess of carbs and protien - the same things (combined with inactivity) that causes people to get fat in the first place!!!  So... first we lose the fat, then adopt a program of eating right and exercising.

Back to my aggressive diet though...  When I get hungry, I initially try to avoid taking in calories, either by drinking coffee, a low-carb energy drink, or a diet soda.  When the hunger gets too great or I get a splitting headache, I will either have a protien drink (160 calories), an ounce of cheese (110 calories), or a couple of hot dogs without the bun (200 calories).  Rinse and repeat.  I am burning off 4-5 lbs each week.  One caveat:  I am religious about eating a multivitamin and a fish oil pill whenever I am doing this, because I am certainly not incorporating all the essential nutrients in my diet.

Some folks would probably say that it's dangerous to diet this way.  I would like them to explain that scientifically.  The last time I was on this diet, I had a full set of blood work done.  My triglycerides were excellent, my cholesteral was normal, although a the LDP/HDP was a little high and the doctor recommended I eat some stuff containing good cholesterol.  I think he specifially mentioned adding nuts to my diet.

So there.  Actually I really enjoy the challenge of dropping weight, even if I don't feel very energetic or 100% mentally acute.  It's the enjoyment of tracking my progress and having clothes fit again that brings its own set of rewards.

Then too, I am also looking forward to eating like a horse and exercising like one! 

More Drywall, plus Elk

Drywall and Elk don't have much in common, other than Drywall is ongoing in my life, and I spotted a few Elk on the way home from work today :)

Latest on the big basement room - Tape is done, and mud is going on:

Tiny herd of elk.  Poor lighting conditions, large distance, and using a Blackberry camera from a moving vehicle.  Meh.

Saturday, November 10, 2012


The drywall job is not moving along as quickly as I had been led to believe.  Our handyman has himself spread pretty thin and so he has had to take care of several smaller jobs.  I'm OK with the waiting because he is doing the job right and also has tackled some other issues he found in the crawlspace.

Here is a picture of the progress though.  The room is entirely drywalled now and it will be taped and mudded today.