Waist Reduction: Ketogenesis

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70-75% percent of my diet comes from fat, and I lost more weight in the first month than on any other diet.

Here's a day I pretty much nailed my ratios.

Here’s a day I pretty much nailed my ratios.


The Mrs and I have been on a ketogenic diet since right after Thanksgiving. Our weights have been in a free fall for the whole month. Nothing I’ve ever done before has been this effective.

What is the Ketogenic Diet?

Here's the weight nose dive in my first month of Keto.

Here’s the weight nose dive in my first month of Keto.


The ketogenic diet is a high fat low carb diet. Typically you keep your carbs under 20-60g/day or <5% of your calories. You also want to moderate your protein and keep it at around 20% of your calories.

What’s going on inside your body is you are convincing your body to start burning fat for energy instead of sugar. Sugar in your body is glucose which comes from carbs. When your body wants to burn fat it makes ketones. Your cells can use either one for energy. As an aside, cancer cells can only use glucose for energy.

Yeah it seems crazy to eat that much fat, but the truth is you are probably eating more fat on your Standard American Diet (SAD), because you are eating more.

A Calorie Is A Calorie Isn’t The Whole Story

In case you thought I wasn't losing fat.

In case you thought I wasn’t losing fat.

I got inspired to try the keto diet because of a podcast where Tim Ferris interviewed metabolic cancer researcher Dr Dominic Dagostino about the ketogenic diet and its relationship to cancer. I followed this up by listening to a previous Ferris interview of Dr Pete Attia where they also talked about ketosis.

Dr Attia had an interesting distinction about calories, that I’m paraphrasing.

A calorie is a calorie. That’s absolutely true. But that statement isn’t very useful. It isn’t very interesting. It’s like saying “You know why Bill Gates is so rich? Because he spends less than he makes.” That’s true, but it isn’t the real story you want.

One question is Why? Why do people eat more calories than they burn? When you ask it that way you find out all calories aren’t equal.

There are lots of distinctions around this, but let me give you the big one for weight loss.

It Isn’t Just Chinese Food

I recently heard that ketones in your blood stream keep you from feeling hunger. In other words, if you are in ketosis you don’t feel hunger. My experience has born this out.

Most of what we call hunger is actually your brain being a whiney baby throwing a tantrum for sugar. Or maybe a better analogy would be your brain is an addict clamoring for its next fix. That isn’t hunger, but it is the most common feeling that motivates you to eat. It is the reason you feel hungry 20 minutes after eating that chow mein, or that piece of cake. A low blood sugar caused by a crash in your blood sugar.

One thing I’ve noticed is I generally feel tired before I feel hungry. Weirdly I’ll start dragging and I realize I haven’t eaten in hours. A high fat meal or snack and a few minutes later I’m awake again.

There is a big connection between the low carb, ketonic diet and fasting. Matter of fact the fastest way to get into ketosis is to fast. The two also share the pain of the first few days. That period of 2-5 days where you feel like crap because your body is out of glucose and hasn’t really figured out the ketone thing yet.

Also like fasting, after a few days you stop feeling hungry. Your body goes into ketosis and you don’t feel the hunger anymore. My friends who have fasted for 40 days tell me you don’t really feel hungry again until like 30 days in.

My Experience

The first few days weren’t bad for me, which was probably due to taking a supplement with ketones in it. There are few of these around and the one I found also had caffeine in it. Put those together and you can overcome some brain fog. Also those first few days I wasn’t tracking calories, so I ate a lot of food, just watching the carbs.

After about the first week, I started looking for a tool to track my food and carbs. In the end I went back to myfitnesspal. It has a good interface and the best database.

Once I started tracking calories I realized my biggest problem was eating enough. Having a calorie deficit is too easy when you don’t feel hungry and you get full very fast. You start looking for highly calorically dense foods. Which means fats. My cardiologist, if I had one which I don’t, would be shocked as some of the stuff I eat to get some calories in.

Is It Safe?

There is a lot of literature on this diet, and you can do the amount of research you feel is necessary to come to your own conclusion. I will tell you two things that make me think it is safe.

If you were trying to decide if a drug was safe, one thing that would carry a lot of weight is will they prescribe it to children. This isn’t a perfect test, but it does seem the bar for children is higher than that for adults.

Guess what? A doctor can and will “prescribe” a ketogenic diet to children with epilepsy who don’t respond to any anti-seizure medications. Kind of makes you wonder why they don’t just start with it.

The other fear is it will destroy your blood chemistry. Eating a bunch of fat must raise your cholesterol and triglycerides. Studies actually say the opposite, but for me it was just easier to test. I got my blood work done after 30+ days on this high fat diet and compared it to my blood work from February when I visited the doctor, the last ones I had in Evernote. The results were almost exactly the same.

Waste Reduction

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“People are always amazed when I tell them we only put out a bag of trash every couple of weeks,” said my friend Lora Frost.

What? How’s that even possible? You’re full of crap. Hippie. You’re pulling my leg aren’t you? Sometimes my inner voice is an ass.

This is where your trash goes. Isn't it pretty.

This is where your trash goes. Isn’t it pretty.

These we some of the thoughts in my head when I heard this. But the truth is I respect Lora and believe her. This got me thinking.

She’d told me her and her husband just recycled a bunch and they reduced the stuff that actually has to go to the landfill.

Well I believe if someone else can do something, then so can I. Her statement made me think it was possible, so I began on a journey to reduce my waste.

Step 1: Mindfulness

There is a concept, mainly in the Buddhist tradition, of mindfulness. Put in simple terms it is paying attention to what you are doing. Mindfulness is relevant to eating, because we rarely pay attention to every bite we eat. I found mindfulness to be the first huge step to reducing your waste.

Pay attention to what you are tossing in the trash can.

Think in terms of volume. How much space do different things in your garbage take up?

The thing that became very obvious to me was most of what goes into my trash is packaging. In many cases this can be recycled.

Step 2: Recycle All You Can

Before we started this waste reduction journey we recycled plastic bottles, glass bottles, and aluminum cans. We kind of did cardboard, but it was a pain so we really mostly did it only for boxes that things game in the mail.

Once we noticed that packaging was a huge part of the volume of our trash, we made a place for recycling cardboard and paper. It was a big reduction in volume.

As with most changes you try to make you need to make recycling as easy as possible. This means you have to have a place to put each kind of recycling, and those places have to be easy to find and use. We moved our current recycle bins from the laundry room into the kitchen and added a paper recycling trash can in the kitchen as well.

Step 3: Stop Using Disposable Stuff

The next thing you notice is we use a bunch of stuff that is made to become instant trash. For me the big one was paper towels. Why do we have these things? Yeah they are easy to use and handy, but really most of the time we could just use a regular towel and wash it instead.

Paper napkins are another example. Why not just use cloth napkins?

You might say both of these example are paper, but once you fill them with debris and food etc, you really can’t recycle them.

Another high volume disposable thing we had were plastic sandwich/quart bags, to-go cups, and to-go containers. We used little plastic bags all the time to hold leftovers from a meal, and packaged foods like cheese we’d opened and need to store in the fridge. Then when you are finished with whatever is in the bag to you send it off to the landfill. The solution to this one is reusable containers. In our case it is those plastic tupperware things with lids.Styrofoam Containers

We eat out a lot and as a result get quite a few to-go boxes, usually styrofoam which is the worst because you can’t recycle it, at least not in Abilene. Same for cups. This is one we haven’t fully implemented a fix for, but I now take my own cup to my favorite wings place and they just fill it for me. I plan on putting a large plastic container in my car to use for to-go stuff in the future.

Our main solution to this restaurant left over problem has been…

Step 4: Stop Taking Crap You Are Just Going to Throw Away

Once you’ve taken the extra effort to start reducing your waste it gets really annoying that everyone give you so much crap that you aren’t just going to have to throw away.

You have to learn to say no a lot.

But let’s talk about the simple way we’ve dealt with restaurant left overs. About half the time the food we want to take home is for the dog. In that case we just wrap it in a paper napkin if they are on our table. It’s a good reuse of something we could do without.

One time we were at a place with cloth napkins – Yea! – but we wanted to take some meat to the dog, so The Mrs asked the waitress for some aluminum foil to wrap it in. That was brilliant because it is definitely recyclable. Sadly the waitress brought us not just foil, but a styrofoam container as well. The container stayed unused on the table.

Paper handouts. Everyone wants to give you a big piece of paper with information on it. Just say no, or take a picture of it with your phone if you need the info and hand the paper back. I’ve been doing this with business cards for a couple of years now anyway. I used the incredible Evernote, which reads the business cards and makes the info searchable.

Bags. Everyone wants to give you a bag to hold stuff in. The culture has started to realize we can bring our own better, stronger, reusable bags to the grocery store. Guess what? We can do that to any store. Also, if you carried all your items to the register you can carry them to your car as well, so just say no to the bag.

I could go on and I probably will in future blog posts.

I don’t really make New Years Resolutions, but I was touring a gym the other day and they wanted to give me a couple pages of information that was on their website. I just blurted out, “No thanks I can get that off your website. My new years resolution is to reduce the amount of waste I produce and I’ll just end up throwing that away.”

The head of the gym smiled and said, “That’s a lot better new years resolution than a lot of people make.”

Why don’t you join me in an easy change for 2016? I challenge you to be mindful of what you are throwing away. Just doing that will probably inspire you to create less waste in the all year long.

5 Bullet Fridays

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Tim Ferris is my virtual mentor right now. I’ve read all of his books and am an avid listener to his podcast.

I’ve also made a resolution to try and write something everyday. Nominally this would be on my book, but today I’m traveling and probably won’t get that kind of opportunity.

5 Bullets. Get it?

5 Bullets. Get it?


So I’m taking a page from Tim and doing a 5 Bullet Friday. These are just 5 random things that are influencing me or are interesting to me.

#1. Toastmasters District 25 Conference. Remember I said I was traveling today? We’re driving to the DFW area for our TM district conference. It’s our first time there and should be interesting. One thing that has impressed me is how much effort they have put into welcoming First Timers.

#2. Never Eat Alone by Kevin Ferrazzi. Of all the things going on in my life right now, this book is having the most impact. It is about building your personal network and has incredible insight into how valuable professional relationships are and how fun. I’m thinking about gifting it for Christmas this year.

#3. Beltway Park Church North. I’ve been going to this church for at least a month. Its a little on the DL because the Mrs can’t be a member there. But I realized today I’m going to miss church on Sunday because of the conference. And I’m actually going to miss it. I can’t remember the last time that was true.

#4. The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. I haven’t finished this book but his discussion about Resistance and doing the work is extremely powerful. It’s kind of like if a Marine drill sergeant wrote the Artist’s Way.

#5. Evernote. This application has been my brain for years, but it seems not everyone knows about it. Really you should check it out. I plan to write a speech about how I use it and I’ll post it to this blog when I do.

Need Your Help To Start Writing a Book

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Since the fall of Reactuate Games I’ve been trying to decided what I’m going to do with my life. I won’t go into the process that I’ve been going through because that would be a distraction, but I’ve decided to decide.

I’m going to write a book.

Working title is Distinctions For Life. It will be a self-improvement/self-help/lifehacks book. That’s as far as I’ve gotten on its over all concept. But each chapter will be a pretty self contained topic.

For the last few months I’ve been compiling a list of topics in the form of Chapter Titles. This is where I need my friends’ help. I need to start. Looking at the whole of the idea is daunting and a great way to never start. I’ve decided I’m starting this week. But to know if anyone else thinks this is a good idea I want you to tell me what to write first.

Here’s my current list of chapter titles.
DFL_Logo
– The Macro and Micro parts of life.
– Take Responsibility
– Things wear out – replace your socks
– Social Interaction can be learned
– Build a network
– Yeah Goals
– Live life with Purpose
– Make mistakes
– How to avoid mistakes
– Routines
– Morning Pages
– Your brain is for thinking Your Phone for Remembering
– Knowledge brings depth to things
– Your body is a soup of chemicals
– Emotional bank accounts
– Anything worth doing is worth doing poorly
– Simple is not easy
– Systems
– Change you focus change you mood
– Beliefs
– Identity
– Go the extra mile
– Peoples communication channel of choice
– The myth of work/life balance
– Enjoy the process
– Process oriented goals
– People orient goals
– Work around mental blocks
– Stop shoulding on yourself
– Expertise isn’t about what you know it is about what others don’t.

Please leave a comment and tell me which chapter you’d find the most intriguing. From that list I’ll pick what to write first.

My Eulogy for Cleo and Jennifer Haston

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Today we buried my wife’s parents in Flagstaff Arizona. These are the words I would like to have said at the service, but I can’t even think them without crying. There is no way I could have said them.

My favorite memories of Cleo and Jennifer show their humor. Cleo constantly joked with wait staff at the many restaurant meals we shared. They’d ask “Is there any thing else I can get you?”

He’d always – to the point of annoyance sometimes – answer “Money?”

My favorite story of Jennifer I didn’t experience directly but heard later, probably from Cleo. On one of the many trips the two of them took together they were on a beach. She noticed him check out a bikini clad woman walking along the shore and said, “Cleo, the only way you could get that girl was if you chased her down waving your W2.”

I was reminded of him at church last week when I noticed a woman in the aisle barefoot. Cleo once commented to someone who asked what Suanna and I’s church was like after he visited.

“No one at their church wears shoes.”

Which for Hope Chapel in Austin was funny but only half true.

The most important thing Cleo and Jennifer did for me though was to raise a daughter who knows how to be a better wife than I deserve. Their relationship taught her that life together isn’t always easy. You don’t always get along. You aren’t perfect toward each other.

But you approach life together. You try to make each other and everyone else laugh. You make the best of the bad times and in the end you are always there for each other.

And when you pass on, they take your bodies, turn them to ashes. Mingle those ashes together. Encase them in stone. And bury them in the ground side by side.

Then for as long as this planet circles its star the two of you will always be together.

The Vagrant Review

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I met Peter Newman at LonCon 3 last summer and heard about The Vagrant
from him. The concept was compelling. A story where the main character doesn’t talk. And he is carrying a baby though a post-apocalyptic demonic wasteland.
vagrant
Don’t think he mentioned one character was a goat.

From the beginning you know you are dealing with an author who is pushing for quality. A non-talking main character is a pretty big burden to take on for a first time author. But it works. He pulls it off and you never feel like he cheats where the character kind of talks.

The author’s prose style is also unique. If I had to compare him to someone it would be Neil Stephenson, who’s style is also peppered with one of a kind metaphors. Peter also anthropomorphizes everything, from the goat to grass thrown into the wind. The world comes alive in a number of different ways as you travel through the wasteland.

It is a melliu story, the book begins with The Vagrant at the beginning of a journey, carrying a thing to a place, and ends when he gets to that place and delivers the thing. I’m trying really hard to not spoil anything.

My only complaint with the book is it is too long. Maybe that is because of the current requirement by publishers that novels must be over 100,000 words, or if the author felt that’s how long it needed to be. But I could have done without yet another city we must travel through and experience another dark side of humanity.

Also there is a bad guy introduced in the last quarter of the book that just seem to be there for a possible sequel. I did feel the book stood on its own though, so don’t let that deter you from reading it.

Meeting an author before you read their book is a strange thing. Peter and his wife Emma – author of the Split Worlds books – are the team behind the Tea and Jeopardy Podcast. They are also two of the nicest people you’ll ever meet. I was so impressed with their proactive diligence in starting meet-ups at UK cons just for first time attendees. Lot’s of people say, “Hey someone ought to do something for people who’ve never been to a con.” They actually did something.

Give that, Peter obviously has a dark side. Some of the ways the demons use their powers to convert people into…things… are decidedly twisted and gross.

I enjoyed the theme of the book that one good person, who does the right thing even when it is the hard thing, can make a difference. The Vagrant was a paladin, doing good, not just avoiding evil.

Overall I like the book and think you all should go out and buy it.

This review was of the audiobook. I would have bought the Kindle version, but it isn’t available in the US. Stupid publishers.

Cocktails

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It’s been a busy start of the year for me and I’m going to blog about the big changes soon.

But first let’s talk cocktails.

This month I’ve traveled quite a bit with a trip to Houston and one to Vegas. Both of these involved some good eats at nice restaurants and some time at bars. During those experiences I discovered there’s a big difference between a good cocktail and a bad one.

Mango Habanero Margarita.

Mango Habanero Margarita.

Churrascos has in my opinion the best steak in the world. That’s pretty high praise, but it’s true. They also made the beauty to the right for me. The Mango Habanero Margarita. Just a hint of heat in the drink, but more in the salt on the rim.

It was sooth as silk, which to me means the tequila was good. That’s the key to a margarita, good tequila. I could go into a whole blog post about tequila, but I won’t. Some people poo poo the idea of using an añejo tequila in a cocktail. They say it should only be drunk by itself. But I’m reminded of my culinary guru’s advice on sandwiches.

“Never use a bread for a sandwich you wouldn’t eat by itself.” – Alton Brown.

Why would you use an inferior tequila in a tequila drink?

After watching a number of mixologist in Vegas work their magic creating cocktails and some YouTubing of bartending videos, I’ve acquired a new avocation.

Republic Tequila

Republic Tequila

All new hobbies start with a trip for gear and in this case chemicals. I now own some cool glasses and a metal shaker with built-in jigger for measuring.

I also now have grenadine, agave nectar, lime juice and cherry syrup. OK, the last one is to make cherry Dr Pepper, which I’ve come to really like.

My favorite liquor is Tequila, specifically añejo Tequila, though I’ve had a number of good drinks with reposado Tequila as well. Specifically, my go to bottle is Republic añejo Tequila.

Yeah I like the bottle too.

Was the venerable margarita my first cocktail? No. There is a lot of discussion about what a margarita even is, and a lot of different recipes. I went for something a lot simpler.

Behold the Tequila Sunrise

Tequila Sunrise

Tequila Sunrise

I will try the margarita soon, but this my first creation and I wanted to share it with you.

I also plan on blogging more in the very near future. Really.

River Song’s Screwdriver Epihany

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River Song’s Sonic Screwdriver

River Song’s Sonic Screwdriver

This morning I was doing some stuff in my home workshop/office and saw the box for my River Song Sonic Screwdriver and it got me to thinking, which lead to a really cool epiphany. Rather than jump to the cool part straight away I’ll give you some of my internal dialog.

In HTML Screenplay format.


INT HOME WORKSHOP CLOSET

(RON puts camera away on shelf and notices River Song Sonicscrewdriver box)

RON
(VO)

Wow, River Song got her own toy when she was in only one episode, that’s cool.

(pause)

Dr David said, “Why would I give her a sonic?”

When did he give it to her? Did she have a sonic during her Matt Smith years?

CUT TO: MONTAGE OF RIVER SONG SCENES with fuzzy edge dream/memory effect as RON thinks about it.

He remembers her wizbang future tricorder/ipad all the time, but not her Sonic.

(Shot with her holding her red shoes in one hand and device in other.)
river_heels_beach
(Shot her showing device to someone)
Geronimo

RON
(VO)

Mmmmm…Of course there was obviously a lot of time he spent with her off screen.

MONTAGE CHANGES TO SCENE OF RIVER MENTIONING THINGS SHE DID WITH THE DR.

(River Tells Rory about Stevie Wonder on the Thames.)River and Rory

(RIVER tells Dr Matt Smith she’ll travel with him anytime)
travel with me thenwhenever you want

CUT TO: RON in the Closet

RON
(VO)

Hey wouldn’t it be cool if they did a parallel Dr Who with Matt Smith and River Song? It could all take place in those off screen times.

(Pause)

You know one of the first things River said to Dr David was….

CUT TO: Scene from The Library where RIVER is looking closely at the Doctor’s face and says:

look_so_young

RIVER SONG

“You look so young.”

BOOOOOMMMM

SCENE ENDS WITH EXPLOSION OF ENLIGHTENMENT AND GEEKY JOY.


She got her Sonic from a Doctor that looked older than David Tennant.

Matt Smith was younger.

Smith never gave her her sonic.

Capaldi looks old.

This would prove Moffat was a genius if he does it. That first River Song episode wasn’t even one of his. He didn’t write the line “You look so young.” Matter of fact he screwed it up by making the next Doctor, the one River spends so much time with, the youngest Doctor ever.

Maybe he decided on an older Doctor just so he could make this line make sense.

Dang, now why didn’t I think of this before I was in a Q&A with Stephen Moffet at the Dr Who Premiere in Cardiff.