the weight loss journey again

The Weight Loss Journey…Again

The Weight Loss Journey, 2022 Version

Some of the links on this site are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link to these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

It has been an ongoing struggle for years. That’s the truth.

And there were times that I just didn’t give a damn. And it shows.

I love my pasta, pizza, and burgers but they are probably killing me, at least at the rate I am eating them. I knew it was time to make a change but I have been down this road before. I even succeeded once or twice in reaching my goal weight.

I haven’t been happy with how I looked or felt for years. While this might sound like a corny New Year’s Resolution, it’s not. I needed to make a change for my health, and for my kids. I started about 2.5 weeks ago with a change to my diet.

Before I get into this blog post I should tell you I am far from a nutritionist or health expert. I just knew I had to make changes to feel better, so I did.

I should also point out I have been declined life insurance coverage because my A1C was high. I was able to find alternative coverage but couldn’t afford the benefits I wanted because of my type 2 diabetes. I am now on a mission to beat it and not let it control me.

I have also come to realize that I eat horribly when I am stressed out. A lot of sweets, carbs, and fried foods. Recognizing why you eat and what contributes to bad habits is the first step in making a change.



What Changes Did I Make?

The first thing I did was quit sugary goods cold turkey. No more cookies, cakes, cupcakes, or cannolis. I stopped eating ice cream and candy. This was one of the hardest things to do. I often stopped at a convenience store and grabbed water, 5-hour energy, and some kind of sugary product.

The irony was the 5-hour energy was because I was tired, sometimes exhausted. The sugary product was because I was stressed, and caused me to feel tired to a point where I felt I needed a nap. The struggle was real.

I started taking multivitamins late last year to help build up my immunity during the pandemic. Also ironic is two weeks after I started taking them I caught COVID-19. I am still taking them and they have definitely helped me feel healthier. It’s an affordable way to build up immunity and increase your energy naturally.

I take GNC Mega Men every morning.GNC Mega Men One Daily

I used to eat a bowl of oatmeal every morning, with a tablespoon of peanut butter. I love peanut butter. Peanut butter is loaded with sugar though so I cut this out in the morning and now drink a smoothie with fruits and vegetables. When I can find a peanut butter not loaded with sugar that still tastes good I will probably go back to oatmeal in the morning.

I eat a healthy-sized lunch loaded with veggies and usually chicken or fish. I have cut out red meat for now. And dinner is usually a protein shake or meal replacement shake.

Most importantly the sugary snacks have been eliminated. If I feel the need for something sweet I will eat a granola bar or something along those lines.

I have been on a water-only diet for years and drink at least a gallon almost daily. This is not a challenge for me. I did not have to cut soda or juices because I was not drinking them anyway. I can tell you when I first stopped drinking soda I lost a lot of weight very quickly.

I also eat very few carbs now. I haven’t been eating pasta at all which is very difficult for me. I don’t eat bread or rice. I substitute it with Quinoa. This is the brand my wife usually makes. It’s good and I don’t miss eating rice at all because of it.

quinoa

There are days that there is not enough time between the kid’s school and their activities to make dinner so I will treat them to fast food. I used to eat it too but have completely cut that out as well. This is something I am working to eliminate from their diet too. I will blog about that at some point down the road but I do notice a difference in attitude when they eat it.

How Is It Going?

It was hard to get started but it is getting easier now. I don’t have as many cravings as I did when I started. I am learning to drink more water when I feel the urge to eat a snack and to handle stress a different way, one of them is getting back to this website.

The worst part of the day tends to be the end of the day. I typically go from 5:30 am to 11 pm every day between the businesses and the kid’s activities I don’t have a lot of time so snacks always seemed necessary. I am so busy until after the kids go to bed that I don’t usually pay attention to snacks until then. Then I realize I am hungry and want a snack but I don’t eat after 6 pm now.


I definitely lost weight but I don’t know how much. My scale is broken but I went down a belt size. I also have more energy and cut down on the amount of 5-hour energy I take.  For instance, I have not had any today. There were some days I was drinking one every 5 hours.

There are days that there is not enough time between the kid’s school and their activities to make dinner so I will treat them to fast food. I used to eat it too but have completely cut that out as well. This is something I am working to eliminate from their diet too. I will blog about that at some point down the road but I do notice a difference in attitude when they eat it.

What Are The Results?

As I mentioned already I have not been keeping track of my weight. I do feel better with fewer aches and pains already. I definitely have more energy. My shirts are starting to fit better and I went down a belt size so there are some measurable differences.

The increase in energy leads me to believe my A1C is also lower but I do not have a way to measure that at home. I am planning to get a physical soon.

I have a long way to go and just today I started doing some exercise. I did a few push-ups. If you read this blog then you know I was running for a while, until I got injured. I want to get back to running at some point but the gym is too crowded in the COVID world, it’s winter so outside is not ideal, and my treadmill broke. But soon hopefully. I will continue to increase what I can at home.

In short, eating better foods, less food, taking in more vitamins, fruits, and vegetables has improved my overall mood, energy and has helped me to lose weight.

I have some weights at home that I can start lifting with again. I will also be purchasing this adjustable dumbbell soon (look for a review).

 

FLYBIRD Adjustable Dumbbell,25/55lb Single Dumbbell

They say a journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step. I have taken a few steps in the right direction now so hopefully, I can reach that destination.

One thing I will tell the younger generations (I am Gen-X) is to take care of their body at a young age. Avoid junk and fast food. Don’t drink soda, etc… It is so much harder to lose weight and get healthier as you get older.  I have successfully completed this journey before only to get off the treadmill and start eating horribly again. It gets harder every time.

 

Getting back on the dreadmill IG

Getting Back on the Dreadmill (Day One of a New/Old Running Journey)

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link to these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Essential Gear for Me When I Run

Getting back on the dreadmill IG

I have mentioned several times already that I am a runner (sometimes).  Well, I didn’t run for almost 2 months, and I can feel it.

I gained weight.  I have aches and pains that I should not have.  I am winded easier than I was 2 months ago.  I messed up.

I also promised Isaiah (my son) that I would start running with him.  He loves to run and he is very fast.  He’s capable of outrunning and outpacing kids 3-4 years older than him.

I did not set a timetable for when I would start running with him.  Despite that, I failed.

I don’t really have a good reason for stopping but I stopped.  I guess I got busy.  It was Summer and I was hanging out with the kids.  I launched a new blog and made some transitions professionally.  I have been busy.  Bad excuse.

Today I got back on the dreadmill for the first time in approximately two months.  I knew I was not going to be able to do what I was doing before I stopped.

I was running 3 plus miles and walking another 2 plus miles every other day.  I got to 6 miles total a few times.  And then I stopped.

Alright, time to let it go.  This is my accountability.  This blog will hold me accountable for maintaining my cardio.

Today I walked at 3.7 miles for 20 minutes and ran at 5.5 mph for 10 minutes.  There were another 10 minutes of cool down walking, but I am not counting that.  I need to meet or beat this mark for the next week at least.

I wanted to talk about what is essential for me to do the cardio portion of my exercise.   I mostly do cardio with a little bit of lifting and body weight exercises.  Today was just cardio.

Here’s my essential cardio workout list.

My sneakers are ASICS Men’s Gel-Cumulus 19 Running-Shoes.  When I walk or run my feet roll inward.  They call this overpronation.

I love Under Armour but their sneakers did not hold up with my overpronation.  I did some research.  I came back with New Balance and Asics.  I am not a fan of New Balance so Asics it is.

I have had these sneakers since March (almost 6 months now), and they have been great.  No issues at all.

I wear a step tracker/heart rate monitor.  Right now I use a Samsung Gear S3 Frontier.  I am aware that the heart rate will not be accurate without a chest strap but it gives me a good indication of where I am at.

It is fairly accurate for rested heart rage and that’s really what I am interested in measuring anyway.

For counting steps, it does a good job.  It’s very close to the number of steps that I do take when walking or running.

I can also control my phone from my watch.  Skipping songs is much easier from my watch when I am running.

Compression socks.  Because of the overpronation and other hip and leg issues that pop up sometimes I often have pain in my calves and knees after cardio.  Compression socks help with this tremendously.

I have found several brands of compression socks that work very well. I prefer Copper Fit though.

C4 Pre Workout.  This gives me the extra push I need, especially when I am feeling sluggish. The one I use is the fat burning version.  I definitely feel this kick in.

Unlike most people, I do not take it 20-30 minutes before working out.  I take it and immediately start working out.

I typically start out with a fast walk to loosen up my muscles.  By the time I am done with my walk the C4 kicks in.

Beats Bluetooth Headphones.  Before Bluetooth headphones, I can’t tell you how many times I accidentally ripped my phone from the treadmill tray and sent it flying to the floor.  These headphones are a phone saver.

Check out all the Beats Bluetooth Headphones on Amazon>>>

Gatorade Post Workout Protein Shake.  This also helps with muscle soreness.  I really look forward to drinking one of these rights after I finish on the treadmill.  I get the protein I need for muscle growth and it helps prevent soreness, which I surely experience after getting back on the treadmill for the first time in 2 months.

This is apparently a hot item on Amazon because I cannot find it a lot of the time.  I wrote a blog post about it a while ago.  You can read it here.  

Hold Me Accountable

Here’s my performance today

Walk 20 minutes at 3.7 mph

Walk 5 minutes at 2.3 mph

Run 10 minutes at 5.5 mph

Walk 5 minutes at 3.3 mph

Walk to and back from Isaiah’s bus stop.  Approximately ½ mile round trip

I will set goals soon.  I want to weigh in this Monday.  Endurance and Heart Rate are important measurements for me.

Day One Done.

Getting back on the dreadmill

 

Why I Allow My Children to Use iPads and Other Devices (With Restrictions) IG

Why I Allow My Children to Use iPads (With Restrictions)

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link to these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

Stop Blaming iPads for Your Child’s Poor Health

There is a lot being said about iPads contributing to poor health in children.  Some claim there are even studies.

Wait?  What?  How are there studies?  The iPad is not even 10 years old yet.  How can there be a study linking a child’s health to iPad usage?

Anyway, this is sort of my rebuttal to a blog post I saw from a mom who does not allow her children to use iPads or tablets of any kind.

The irony is I tried to offer my rebuttal several times as a comment on her blog post, but it kept failing.  Well, I will get the last laugh!

 

Why I Allow My Children to Use iPads, Smartphones, Computers, Game Consoles and even an Old-Fashioned TV

Let me start with a tip.  Do not buy your child a brand new iPad.  If you do, purchase a case made worthy of Fort Knox credentials.

I have purchased my last few iPads on Amazon.  I usually purchase a generation or 2 behind because it will cost a lot less than the current generation.  Check it out>>>>

We are living in a technology age.  In the next few years, we will see more autonomous vehicles controlled by devices become more mainstream.  We are already able to control numerous household devices from a few clicks on our phone.  We track almost everything from a device that fits in the palm of our hands.

Most of us cannot get through the day without our smartphone.  It has our schedule, communications, tracking, to do list, reminders and more.  Some of us even check on our pets on our phone.

Programmers and developer jobs are increasing at a rapid pace.  So are jobs in information security.

Technology is here to stay and evolving very quickly.

I used to do a lot of on-site tech support.  In a nutshell, I would go to someone’s house or office and help them with their technology needs (really wants).

A lot of my time was spent teaching high school and college-aged children how to perform simple tasks on a computer.

If you were born in the late 90s or later this should not happen.  You grew up with computers.

The mentality that iPad and tablet usage is bad for children is very wrong.  Not allowing them to use these devices will put them at a disadvantage.

Many schools now have iPads or Chromebooks in the classrooms.  They use them for school work.  Now I know my kids are not using the iPads for school work for the most part (when they’re home), but they are learning to use the device.

They will not be at a disadvantage.

What Do I Allow My Children to do on the iPad, Tablet or Computer?

Let me start with the rules.  They are as follows:

  • They cannot use any electronics on school days unless it’s for school work which is very rare so far
  • On non-school days they are limited to 2 hours maximum
  • There are certain tasks that need to be completed before using any electronics
    • Eat
    • Take care of your chores
    • Read
    • Practice piano or any other extracurricular activity you participate in
    • Any homework that is not completed yet
  • Usage of electronics is governed by household rules. Meaning if you are grounded for any reason then you are not allowed to use electronics.
  • No phones, iPads, tablets or other electronics at the dinner table. This applies to parents and guests as well.  This also applies when we go out to eat.

They use the iPads primarily to play games or watch videos on YouTube.  It’s not really that different than my generation. We grew up playing video games, talking to our friends on a landline phone for hours and watching a ton of TV.

They do use apps like ABCMouse and Epic.

They do occasionally (mostly Isaiah) take pictures and record videos.  Isaiah wants to start a YouTube channel, but we are still talking about it.

We have conversations with our kids about expectations and the dangers of the internet.  I am not naïve.  I know what is out there.  Education is the best defense.

We closely monitor their usage.  I do have software installed on their iPads to monitor usage and the iTunes account is in my name, so I know what is installed and uninstalled.

They are not allowed to chat with anyone other than family and a few select friends.  Yes, this is monitored.

The YouTube account is also in my name, so I know what they’re watching (and annoyingly enough subscribing to).  Izzy (my 4-year-old daughter is only allowed to use YouTube Kids, but this is still closely monitored because stuff can sneak in.

They use one of my laptops.  It is refurbished and has Fedora (Linux) running on it.  I prefer this because it teaches them there is more than Windows or Mac in the computer world.  They only use the computer for ABCMouse (Izzy) and learning to code (Isaiah).

We are planning to get Isaiah a Chromebook.  It just has not happened yet.

This is the Chromebook he has his eye on>>>

For some, the rules might seem strict.  Well, these are the household rules.

Rules teach children that there are boundaries.  They also teach respect for authority.

Yes, my kids do chores.

Yes, there are limitations to everything, just as there should be for adults.

Yes, we monitor their activity.  Not because we don’t trust them but because we don’t trust the creeps outside our 4 walls.

But iPad Use Leads to Obesity and Other Ailments

Just stop it.  Seriously, stop it.  This is a big fat lie (pun intended).  If anything, Izzy and Isaiah are underweight.  They are both skinny.  They are both very active.

Isaiah plays baseball and is pretty good at it.  Izzy takes gymnastics and we’ve been told she will excel at it.  They both take karate.

Neither one of them walks anywhere.  At best it’s a slow paced job but most of the time it’s a full-throttle sprint.

They have other extracurricular activities.  Isaiah plays piano (for 4 years now).  Not once has someone said he should stop playing piano because it may lead to carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis.

The plan is to have them play basketball this winter.

We go for hikes on a regular basis.  We go for walks around the neighborhood.  They routinely hang out in the backyard just running around.

 

They pretend to help with yard work or shoveling snow.  This usually just leads to more yard work or shoveling snow for me.

They use every piece of furniture in the house as a trampoline.  Isaiah uses the house as his own Parkour gym.

We play board games.  I am teaching Isaiah chess now.

If you think using an iPad leads to obesity, then it is because you are not teaching your kids that there are other things in life besides videos and games.

One of the roles of a parent is a manager.  You do have to manage your children’s time, as rigid as that might sound.

People do not like the word manage but an unmanaged child can become a problem.

What Not to Do Regarding iPads and Tablet Usage for Your Kids

Stop using the iPad or smartphone as a babysitter.  Don’t say you don’t.  We are all guilty of this. We are trying to get something done and our child is driving us crazy.  What do we do?  We hand them our phone, so they leave us alone.

We have all done it.  It might be a phone, an iPad or the TV remote but we have done it.

I see it all the time when we are out.  Parents hand their kids a phone so that they are not making noise or are left alone.  The phone is a babysitter and not a good one at that.

If you do let them use a device then limit their time and monitor their usage.  Be honest and let them know you are doing this.  Don’t try to be sneaky about it.  Trust is important.

Teach them about what is out there on the internet and why you are monitoring their usage.  They will be more likely to come to you when something does happen.

Set rules for iPad usage.  Set the expectations for them being allowed to use any media.

Make sure games and videos are age appropriate.  Our kids are pretty good about this on their own.  Izzy just wants anything with My Little Pony.  Isaiah sometimes tries to push the envelope, but we push it back.

Why is My Child Unhealthy?

Stop blaming everyone and everything else.  Start looking internally.  If you let them sit for hours and hours and hours with an iPad, then that’s why they’re unhealthy.

If you let them eat junk and candy all day long, then that’s why they’re unhealthy.

If they never go outside and just lie around on the couch all day then that’s why they’re unhealthy.

I know some kids have pre-existing health conditions like asthma.  I know some are more prone to being obese.  I get that there are allergies out there.  That should not stop you from getting your child involved in things or being active.

I have had kids on my baseball teams who had asthma.  My son has seasonal allergies from May 1 to May 31, like clockwork.  This is the heart of his baseball season.  He still gets out there looking like Will Smith in Hitch.  He still hustles like a pro.

Go for a walk every other day.  Take them on a bike ride.  Go for a hike.  Play a board game.  Talk to them.

I also recently signed my children up for Kiwico.  It’s a box subscription for age-appropriate STEM projects.  

Check out Kiwico STEM project crates for kids>>>>>

This gives us a chance to sit down and work on a project together.  It really is a lot of fun and a great learning experience.

Doing anything excessively can be harmful to a child’s (or adult’s) health.  Ipad usage is not the reason a child becomes obese unless you let it.  It’s not the reason for other health issues unless you let it be.

They used to say the same thing about sitting to close to TVs (You’ll go blind).  My vision is not what it used to be, but I am far from blind.  They used to say the same about video games.  I do not have carpal tunnel syndrome or arthritis and can type with the best of them.

Be an active parent and your child will be active.

 

 

Why I Allow My Children to Use iPads and Other Devices (With Restrictions)

The truth about apple cider vinegar for weight loss ig

The Truth About Apple Cider Vinegar [Will You Lose Weight?]

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. Keep in mind that I link to these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.

The Dad Tax Honest Review of Apple Cider Vinegar [Does it Help You Lose Weight?]

Let me start by saying I am not a doctor and I do not work in the medical field.  In fact, I have very little medical knowledge beyond my own experiences.

I have been using Apple Cider Vinegar for a couple of years now.  I originally started taking it because I was told it would help me to lose weight.

I see blog posts and claims all over the internet about people having lost weight using Apple Cider Vinegar.  I have heard about the numerous health benefits to using it as well.

Since I have been using it for over two years now I thought I would shed some light on what it does and does not do.

First, let me tell you how I use Apple Cider Vinegar.

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar

This is the brand I of Apple Cider Vinegar I Use.  Get it on Amazon>>>>

I started by drinking 1 tablespoon of Apple Cider Vinegar with 8 ounces of water before every meal.  Be warned, it is not at all easy to drink.

I am used to doing this now, so the taste does not really do anything to me anymore.

I still take 1 tablespoon with 8 ounces of water before lunch and dinner, but I changed up the pre-breakfast intake a little.

Before breakfast, I now take 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar and 2 tablespoons of lemon in 8 ounces of water.  If you want to understand why keep reading.

Does It Help with Weight Loss?

This claim is probably the biggest one I have seen and heard.  I have read numerous blog posts that made this claim.  I have heard it from other people.  So, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.

What a lot of people fail to note is that it helps with weight loss IF you do the other things that help with weight loss.  If you’re working out 3-4 times a week and eating right, you will lose weight.  You don’t need Apple Cider Vinegar for that.

Drinking Apple Cider Vinegar before a meal does make some people feel nauseous.  Feeling nauseous will make you less likely to eat.  If you eat less because you’re nauseous you will lose weight.

I did not lose weight simply by drinking Apple Cider Vinegar before meals.  I had to do the other things too.  It did not make me nauseous so that effect did not work for me.

I would not take Apple Cider Vinegar for weight loss if that is your sole intention, and you do not plan to take other steps towards weight loss.  It’s not going to have the effect you hoped for.  And depending on your tolerance for sour tasting foods you may not be able to stomach it.

If you make it part of your overall health and wellness plan then, by all means, go for it.

Does It Help with Overall Health?

After taking Apple Cider Vinegar for a few months I learned from a friend of mine that Apple Cider Vinegar raises your body’s pH.

Wait? What?  I am not a swimming pool.

Well, you kind of are.  Your body is 75% water.  Having the right pH balance in a pool helps prevent algae and other pool water problems.

Your body has the same effect when your pH levels are at an optimal level.  Having a good pH level helps fight off disease and some sickness.

In the 4 years that I have included Apple Cider Vinegar as part of my health regimen, I have only been sick once.  Considering that I have two young children that have been in preschool this is quite an accomplishment.

The first two years of your child going to a public school are a nightmare for colds and other health issues.  Isaiah’s first year of pre-k was especially tough.  He came home with something new almost weekly.

Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar in Bulk

Buy Apple Cider Vinegar in Bulk>>>

I recently (within the last few months) started taking 2 tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar with 2 tablespoons of lemon before breakfast.  This is to help raise my alkaline even more.

It’s not easy to take so some people add honey and cinnamon (each with their own health benefits).  I do not.  It takes too long for my short attention span and in my opinion, is even harder to take with the honey and cinnamon.

Any Other Benefits of using Apple Cider Vinegar?

I recently read that it helps with skin tag removal.  For this, to work you have to apply it to the area of the skin tag for one week.

I have not tried this yet but plan to.  I will update this blog post when I do.

There is an alternative to Apple Cider Vinegar in liquid form if it’s too much for you to handle.

You can get Apple Cider Vinegar in capsule form.  I have tried this before.  There’s no taste to it and I don’t really have a reason for not continuing with it except that I feel like if I taste it then it is having more of an effect on me.

This is the brand I tried but there are numerous brands available on Amazon.

Apple Cider Vinegar Capsules

Get Apple Cider Vinegar Capsules on Amazon>>>>

There’s No Miracle Pill for Weight Loss

I need to lose weight.  I could afford about 30 pounds right now.  There is no magic pill for weight loss.  If there was there would be no overweight people.

Apple Cider Vinegar is not going to help you lose weight by itself.  The tried and true exercise and eating right is what will help you lose weight.

That’s not to say that Apple Cider Vinegar does not have health benefits.  As you just read it absolutely does.

I have only been sick beyond sniffles once in 4 years.  I am someone who has experienced chronic bronchitis and other respiratory issues in the past.

For that reason alone, I continue to take it and add lemon to my morning routine.

Let me know if you use Apple Cider Vinegar for anything.

The truth about apple cider vinegar for weight loss