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Painful Heartburn - What can I do

Last week was a tough week at work.  When the pressure is on and time is short I stop thinking about what I am putting into my mouth and just keep going.  The things I tend to grab are items that take no prep. Through their good taste provide comfort, and in the end make me wish I had thought things through a little more.  On one afternoon, I headed out of my office for a quick break.  One of my employees, who loves to cook with hot peppers (he grows his own), was there with chips and a fiery salsa he had cooked up at home.  Not being in the best state of mind I started right in.  I must say it was awesome, and I love the way the heat slowly built up over time.  I loved it until, that night as I was trying to drift off to sleep a familiar fire started to burn in my chest. Drinking water, burping, and changing position had no impact.  I would drift off to sleep, only to wake back up on fire.  It continued into the next day.  I have never experienced heartburn like that before.  As usual I started looking for help on the internet.  WebMD, Wikipedia, all had their various ideas.  I eventually came across a web sight called "Tipnut." You should check out the link.  What I was interested in where the ideas for home remedy. The remedy that worked for me was Peppermint Tea.  It was all we had in the house at the time, but it worked, and that is all that mattered

Things I learned through this:
  • I would rather eat smart than go through the pain
  • There are preventative steps you can take - most important is knowing yourself.
  • Better to start trying to reduce the effects of heartburn as soon as you notice it, than to let it continue to build unchecked.
  • Sometimes it can take 12 hours to clear (that is for me this time around)
  • Comfort from stress can sometimes lead to discomfort in other areas.
Be smart.  Heartburn is no fun when it hits full blown.

Type 2 Diabetes - Are Your Blood Sugar Levels Normal?

I was reading an article on Type 2 Diabetes today. As an Administrator for a Skilled Nursing Facility, I am amazed at how many of those who come in for care are suffering from this disease. The impact of uncontrolled Diabetes on a person is something that each person should take seriously. Don't let it catch you by supprise. If you already have Type 2 Diabetes, their are something you need to be doing to insure continued health and well being. The following article, Type 2 Diabetes - Are Your Blood Sugar Levels Normal? states that if you are a diabetic, monitoring your blood sugar levels regularly is essential in keeping your health problem in tight control. Please read the article if you think you might, or if you know that you do, have Diabetes. This is not a battle you want to lose.

My Biggest Dieting Obstacle

We all have obstacles that keep us from pursuing or achieving our goals. We point the finger at other people, circumstances, gender, family of origin, you name it we have probably heard it used as an obstacle for achieving. Examples in my life include, "If I had more money I could drive the car I wanted" "If I had started sooner I could have owned my own business." I call it the IF ONLY SYNDROME. When I realize I am stuck in that syndrome, I realize that the real obstacle isn't the money, or the time, or the...., the real obstacle is me. I will admit there are legitimate obstacles that might keep us from getting to where we want to go, but in my experience, most of my perceived obsticles really have to do with excuses that I make up to justify my giving up.

This is so true of Dieting and Me. I have had some great runs at weight loss with the South Beach Diet. I have dropped many pounds with nothing more than exercise. I have often been heard to blame the fact that I am as heavy today as I have ever been, on how South Beach is unrealistic for the long haul, or that no one could really exercise 45 minutes a day 5 times a week. Today I am blaming all the Christmas Parties and Cookies that others put in front of me and make me eat. The reality is that I choose not to stay on the South Beach Diet Plan because I value something else more than being at 175 lbs. I would rather enjoy eating vast amounts of tasty food than insure my health. I would rather relax, or watch tv, than go to the gym. The reality is I am making choices every day to not reach my goal. I sabotage myself. If I am ever to achieve my goal of weight loss, I have got to come to grips with the fact that it is not others, or circumstances, or unfortunate events that keep me from my goal, it is more than likely me. Once again my biggest obstacle is me. I am my biggest battle. Here is to getting it right. May your battle be easy.

Oregon Ducks - Reducing Stress

Over the last few months I have been wrestling with ways to reduce stress.  While work with its deadlines and performance expectations can make life tough, I have found that often my stress is the result of not practicing self care.  I would describe self care as the act of doing what is needed to take care of yourself emotionally, spiritually, and physically.  It means that you must often times prioritize yourself and your personal needs over others.  As I grew up this way of thinking was though of as selfish.  However, when I prioritize the needs of others at the expense of my own needs I end up feeling frustrated, resentful, angry, used, mistreated, all feelings that cause my stress level to go up.  The secret is in taking care of yourself first, so that you can give the best of yourself to others.  It is really a simple concept, but it has been villainized as wrong, sinful, self-serving, and unloving.  Again, these labels cause me to feel stressed.  This last weekend I decided to put my needs first, and found myself heading to the Oregon Duck, Oregon State Beavers, Civil War Game.  I can't begin to tell you how much fun I had, so instead I will show you.  I shot some video of the time down there.  In the end I came home a better person and able to enjoy and give to those around me.  Hopefully you can see what I mean.

How the Oregon Ducks Versus Oregon State Beavers is Helping me Grow Up

For the last few years I have been working on me.  By that I mean that I have spent years thinking that putting others first, being sacrificial, dying to self, was what the good guy always does. I have worked hard to make sure my wife and kids have had their needs met.  I have a hard time buying what I need.  After a few years of meeting with a councilor, I have started to figure out that taking care of myself is not selfish, it is actually self care. 

So how do the Oregon Ducks fit into it?  They are a part of my self care program.  Doing what I enjoy has taken me to the Ducks vs Stanford, the Ducks vs UCLA, and tomorrow it will take me to the Ducks vs Beavers.  Normally I would feel guilty about leaving my wife and kids at home, but I am growing.  I would feel the need to take them, but I am going with friends.  What makes my becoming a little more health more fun, is that the Ducks are playing awesome football.  What other team scores three touchdowns in 5 minutes.  Who else has a shot at the national championship.  My personal development could not have come at a better time.

Tomorrow I will be on my way to Corvallis at 7 am.  Kick off is a 12:30.  I will be dressed in Green, cheering loudly, and quacking when excited.  Its a big day. Games don't get a whole lot bigger than the Civil War Game. What makes it even sweeter is that I didn't have a ticket this time yesterday.  As I have worked on my self it has led to my making friends (another part I am working on).  And now, one of those friends has invited me to the game. The Ducks are helping me to grow up, and the Beaver game just helps me see it.  This is the part of the battle I like.  May your team win tomorrow.

Waiting to Lose Weight

Ok, I know that sounds like a huge cop out.  But, waiting to lose weight actually makes sense at this time in my life.  I have been busy researching things like Medifast, Weight Watchers, NutraSystem, and a number of others you can find on the internet.  In fact, I might just post a whole bunch of them right here on my page. Next to "How to Make Money on the Internet," "Losing Weight" is the most popular topic. With so many people claiming that they can all help you drop 10 pounds in a week, or 50 pounds in 12 weeks, how do you know which to chose? 

Last week I was listening to the Oregon Public Broadcasting Channel.  On one of their programs they were discussing the weight gain that occurs over the Holiday Season.  The person being interviewed stated that it wasn't the quick weight we gain during thanksgiving that we should worry about.  He said that can be lost quickly by returning to a normal eating pattern.  He said we should all be concerned about the two or three pounds we gain every year, and never lose.  That would me that for someone who has been gaining slow weight for the last 25 years (someone like me), they could easily have put on between 50 and 75 pounds.  I did the math and was angry that he was right.  He said weight gained like that is very hard to lose and keep off.  The quick weight lose choices may drop you quickly, but they don't help you make the lasting changes needed to keep it off.  Over the years I have done a number of diets, I usually lose between 20 and 25 pounds in a 8 week period of time.  The problem is, I can gain it all back over the next three months, and usually add a few more pounds on top.  With that being the case, I need a plan that I can sustain, that will stay with me for life.  That means it can't be powders and formulas.  It can't be food I will not want to eat the rest of my life.  It has to somehow fit with my lifestyle, or help me change my lifestyle.

At work I have a coworker who is nearing the 50 lbs lost mark.  She has accomplished this in 12 weeks.  What has helped her is that she attends a group once a week that talks about nutrition and strategies for losing weight. The group competes against each other to lose the most weight with some significant prizes. She takes what she learns about sugar, and pop, and metabolism, and so many other things, and puts it into practice.  She is exercising and doing what she needs to do.  She said today, that she is learning how to eat, rather than just eating a packaged food.  It makes sense to her.  The next group starts in January.  It sounds like what I need.  Again, my approach to this next round of diet has to do with it being sustainable, doable, allowing me to still enjoy the taste of food and to be able to cook.  And, it also must allow me to lose weight and keep it off.  50 pounds would be nice, 60 would be awesome.  I think I will be signing up in January.  In the mean time I am waiting to lose weight.

Happines in Life - Or, Where does contentment come from

Today I find myself wondering about what brings contentment in life.  I was taught growing up to go to school, learn all I can, get a good job, work hard, get married, have a family, and that will satisfy.  So I set out to do just that.  In the 80's i finished school, married my high school sweetheart, launched my career, started a family, and began acquiring things like cars and houses  Funny thing, they didn't satisfy.  if anything, the left me feeling more empty. Reading Self Help Books didn't give me any answers, religion confused me.  I remember sitting in my office one day thinking, "There will always be someone faster, smarter, better looking, getting paid more, with nicer things."  I realized if that is what I pursued, I would always be left feeling like I missed out.

If anything, I am learning that life is moving to quickly to sit back and watch it go by.  For me, life is about connection, about relationship, about intimacy.  I truly desire to be known more than I desire to be rich.  I want to have friends more than I want a position.  I want to make a difference in the lives of others, more than I want status symbols.  I am learning that my family brings me more happiness than a job, that time with my wife is more important than a promotion.  I am starting to realize that it is possible to pursue something whole heatedly only to find out it was the wrong thing.  I am coming to this conclusion as I watch others give up what is most important to pursue that which does not satisfy.  As the son of a preacher, I have been told this many times.  However, I am just know coming to realize it for myself. I want to make sure that I live a life of No Regrets.  My goal is to make a difference, to me that will bring true happiness and contentment.  My battle to get it right continues.  It all comes down to the choices I make today.

Blood Pressure Woes- Reduce Naturally

As a kid growing up, I remember my dad constantly having to take pills.  As I got older learned that they were for his blood pressure.  He would complain about the cost of the pills, he would try to lose weight, he would start to exercise and then quit.  What I remember saying to myself, was that I would never go on blood pressure medication.

As a result of my saying that, I avoided the doctors office for almost ten years.  I was putting on weight, I was feeling fatigued, and all I could picture in my mind was my dad and his pills.  After much insistence from those who love me, I reluctantly made and appointment and went in.  I was told I needed to lose weight, that I was at risk for diabetes, and that I had - HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE.  I knew it was coming, I had avoided it as long as I could.  The solution according to the doctor was Blood Pressure Medication to solve the immediate concern, and then to lose weight, exercise, and to become healthy.  I have done as he requested regarding the medication, I have tried to diet a few times, and I start and stop exercise all the time. I sound just like my dad. However, there are now alternatives that were missing when my dad was still alive, and that is Natural Ways to reduce Blood Pressure.  Ways to lower the numbers without filling yourself with medications.  If you are looking for Natural Ways to reduce your blood pressure check out this program by Mike Grafstein.  In my battle I am trying to find ways everyday to win without pills, surgery, or other non natural ways. Let me know if you are successful in your battle.

Thanksgiving Weight Gain isn't Our Real Problem

Thanksgiving has come and gone, and with it a few extra pounds.  Listening to my car radio Friday, Oregon Public Broadcasting ran a feature stating that you shouldn't worry about the pounds you may have put on during the Thanksgiving meal.  The dietitian they were interviewing stated that the Turkey was mainly protein and fat, the potatoes were carbs and fat, the pumpkin pie was carbs and fat, and on he went.  What caught my attention was a statement he made part way through the interview.  He said what we should all be worrying about is not the quick pounds, but the one or two pounds that we put on each year.  He said the quick weight will come off quickly by just going back to our normal routine.  It is the routine that causes us to gain weight slowly over time that we should all worry about.

My long term routine has had the impact of adding about 2 pounds a year over the last 25 years.  That is 50 pounds of gaining weight over time.  My routine just keeps adding and adding.  With it comes high blood pressure and the potential for Type II Diabetes.  That wasn't my plan as I graduated college and started my career.  As a result I find myself once again starting on my yearly weight loss plan.  Most recently I have come across a few plans that sound promising.  I will be taking a closer look at one I recently came across on the internet.  You can check it out if you Click Here!  I have grown tired of South Beach Diet and want to try something different even though I have been successful on SB over the years. I would be interested in hearing what diet you have tried with success. I will continue to battle on.

SouthBeach Diet Week 5

I am looking back over another week.  I wish I could say I am farther along than I am, but I have to remember my ultimate goal is long term and not immediate (although immediate would be very nice).  My scale was bouncing around the 216lbs – 217lbs mark.  Starting out five weeks ago at 230+lbs, I am down at least 14.  Just about 3 lbs a week.  If I keep up 2 lbs a week or 8 lbs a month, that will have me arriving at my goal of 178lbs sometime around June or July.  It is worth the battle. 

This week more than others I found myself focusing on the things I shouldn’t have, like excessive beer, chips and salsa, lots of bread, diet pop, quick easy food.  The interesting thing about it, was I wasn’t craving them, I was just aware of the fact that I should be careful of them.  My wife made split pea soup, and my son made refried pinto beans (without refrying them).  These were both very good, but I recognized from SouthBeach, that the cooking process would send it right to the blood stream as they are easy to digest.  I have figured out how to use spices like fresh Rosemary, Basil, etc…. and various peppers, to make vegetables and other foods taste great.  The biggest challenge for me is making the time to eat healthy.  I would much rather do something quick and easy, or eat a candy bar instead of nuts or a cheese stick.  So I have to think ahead.  I have to make my salad for lunch when I make breakfast.  I’d rather not, but as I get into the habit, it is becoming easier.

The other habit that is becoming easier is that of getting exercise.  I have been getting to the gym around 5:30am and actually have started enjoying it.  I can watch the news, listen to music, and when I get home, I feel good about myself and what I am doing.  I am averaging 5 days a week, and lifting weights on three of those days.  So maybe part of my slow weight loss is due to the fact that I am adding muscle while losing fat.

I am still pudgy around the middle, saggy in other areas, but I did notice, the love handles are much smaller.  I may start taking pictures again like I did a few years back when I started this blog, as a way of showing myself the visible progress I am making.  The hard part is that the changes never happen as quickly as I would like.  Here is to continuing the Battle, despite its slow pace.  Good luck to you.

Do You Know Your BMI and How it Relates to Health and Fitness?

Simply put, BMI stands for Body Mass Index.  Looking at my body change over the years I can see I definitely have some body mass, but is that a bad thing. The Center for Disease Control feels it is a good assessment tool for identifying obesity and overweight issues the population.  Many others use it as a screening tool to help in identifying potential health and weight issues.

Some of those issues that tend to be related to obesity are diabetes, cardiac issues, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and health issues related to each of these issues. It is generally excepted that those who are in a healthy weight range generally suffer from less of these health issues.

BMI is broken down into a variety of categories:

  • 18.5 and below, you are considered underweight
  • 18.5 to 24.9, you are in the coveted normal range
  • 25.0 to 29.9, welcome to being overweight and the start of some of the health issues associated with being overweight
  • 30 and above, you are considered obese

Obviously we all want to be in the normal range when it comes to our personal weight.  Finding out what is normal for you is a simple as typing BMI into the Google Search Engine.  You will be asked for your weight, height, sex and age.  I am 5’11 and today I am 219lbs (that is down from 230lbs three weeks ago), male and 46 years old.  For someone my height the scale looks like the following:

  • 131.9 lbs is underweight
  • 132 – 178.6 lbs falls into the normal range
  • 178.7 – 215.1 lbs your in the overweight range
  • 215.2 and above is considered obesity

Today at 5’11 and 219 lbs I am considered to be obese.  In my last doctors visit I was put on High Blood Pressure Medication, told my Cholesterol was high, and after labs it was determined that I am pre diabetic.  The advice from the doctor, get on blood pressure medication, and lose weight.  I have four pounds to go until I move from being obese, to overweight.  Sounds weird to think I will be celebrating becoming overweight, but when it is moving in the right direction that is something to celebrate.  Obviously it will take a while longer, but the real party will take place the day I hit 178 lbs and drop into the ranks of normal.  At that time I will schedule another Doctors appointment to see what impact it has made on my overall health and well being.  Until than I will be battling on to live a more healthy lifestyle in every aspect of my life

Back on Track Week #3 of South Beach Diet

I like to keep people updated on my progress towards becoming healthy.  It is more for me than it is for you, but if it encourages you in some way than great.  If anything becoming a healthier person is a long term process.  Believe me I am looking for a short cut, but they are hard to find, and few between.

As I mentioned a few weeks back, after a year of focusing on other areas of my life (they do play into being healthier emotionally, mentally, and being a basic peace with myself) I am again focusing on becoming physically healthy.  After getting down to 204lbs almost three years ago, I started on December 19, 2009 at 230lbs.  I was feeling pretty down about me. putting on shoes was getting tougher, didn’t like how I was looking, and the worst was a few weeks earlier a little kid was hanging around where we worked and wanted to pat my belly.  Right then and there I new something needed to give.  So on the 19th, Christmas week, I launch the third attempt at losing weight and becoming my physically fit.  I have always been able to drop weight pretty quickly with South Beach, and it fits me, so I dusted off the book and put it back into action.  I stayed on track through Christmas and in the first week, with working out at 5 am, I lost 10 pounds.  I know, lots of it water weight, etc… but for me it was progress.  Than the week following Christmas I got sick.  For me being sick is about trying to feel comfortable, and eating has always helped me feel more comfortable.  Along with my son’s 21st birthday, a New Years Party at our house, and not feeling great, I jumped back up to 227.  Discouraged, bummed, angry, I decided to keep at it.

Today, January 7, 2010, I am back down to 221.  So in three weeks I have dropped 9 pounds.  I should be happy with that.  I am exercising 45 minutes 5 times a week, eating right foods again, and taking my health into my own hands rather than playing the victim and letting life dictate my way of living.  I encourage you to join me in trying to figure out this thing called healthy living.  Bring on week #4.

Balanced Living is Healthy Living

See full size imageTwo nights ago I came home from work exhausted. It had been a long day of meetings, trying to cast vision for the new year, getting departments on board with budgets, a few employee disciplinary issues, all the stuff that takes its toll mentally and emotionally. I had gotten up at 5am to work out, so dinner and the TV sounded really good. What was funny was earlier in the day i was thinking about who two dimensional my life was becoming. Working out and work, working out and work. I was trying to figure out how to build on my relationships with my wife and kids, and with the few friends that I have. All of the sudden the phone rang. My boss had a few extra tickets to the Blazer game that night. My first thought was how tired I was, how this would interrupt my plan for getting mentally ready for the next day via the TV, and then I thought about balance. I quick said yes and tracked down my two boys who where more than willing to drop homework to go to the game.

Blazers lost, but I won. I got to spend time with my boys, We got to enjoy a change of pace, a break from the normal routine, and I got to work on developing my relationship with my boss. The next morning I jumped up at 5 am rather than dragged out excited about the day, not feeling like I am stuck in a rut. Through this and other stories like this I am learning that a balanced life is more important to healthy living than I ever imagined. When I am balanced stress seems to have natural release points whether on the treadmill, through discussions with friends, or the escape of a basketball game. Spending time with those who are important to you keeps those relationships from becoming things that hinder you, and rather puts them into a p;ace of enriching your life. And, balanced living is just fun.

I am trying to find more and more ways to break up my day with things that bring balance. Life doesn’t have to be just about work and working out. It can be about fulfillment, joy and peace. Here’s to finding balance in our lives.

A Change in Focus

Sitting at home tonight I began to reflect upon my day. My work as a nursing home administrator puts me in many meeting, talking with many residents and families, dealing with staff, planning, problem solving, etc… Tonight however, I am not thinking about those things, rather a conversation I had today. In the discussion my friend was describing his overcoming an issue. When I asked what he thought was the reason for it going well he simply said, “I had to stop thinking about what I could no longer do and instead start thinking about living.” How simple and how profound at the same time.

Rather than thinking about all the foods I can no longer eat, I can focus on the things I am able to do as I continue to lose weight. Instead of thinking about having to stop sleeping in, I can instead focus on experiencing life in new ways (running, going to the gym, riding a bike, etc…) I might stop thinking about all I am giving up and instead start focusing on all that I will be gaining.

The battle is tough enough, but a simple change in thinking may make all the difference. It seems logical that we pursue the things we are focused on. If I focus on what I can’t have, or do, I am setting myself up for failure. Instead focusing on the outcome, the finished product, the end goal, I am more likely to get there. Learn from my friend and stop thinking about what you can no longer do, and instead start thinking about living right. Still fighting the battle.


We all need a little help sometimes when it comes to staying on track with our goals of diet, exercise and weight lose. I have tried for years to do it on my own and have not had the success I would like. My wife has encouraged me to join weight watchers or some other group, believing that the social environment and accountability would be a big plus for me. Off course the big minus is they cost. Then along comes http://Sparkpeople.com. This website puts all the tools at your finger tips. There are meal trackers that will even print out the weekly grocery list. There are workout programs. There are specialty groups. Are you a mom of teens, do you have high blood pressure. Do you skip breakfast. There are others out there to connect with. Community is a big part of the program.

The fact that it is free made me a bit skeptical, but as I wondered through the pages I was not asked to pull out my credit card once. I can have my own blog on the sight, I can share my success and failure on line, and get encouragement to push on. It may not be exactly what you are looking for, but for free it is an awesome site. Take a quick look and tell me what you think. To bad I can’t just push a button and have the weight disappear.

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Taking It a Day at a Time

This afternoon I was sitting around the house trying to figure out how to use my time. Typically on a Sunday I would turn on the TV, grab some chips out of the cupboard, some salsa, and settle in on the couch. However, today I was thinking that I need to start changing the way I look at my time. After all, lately as I look in the mirror I am not liking what I see. I got that way by grabbing the chips and salsa, turning on the TV, and taking my place on the couch. Today would be different, it would be a chance for me to do it right. To do something that would make a difference. Maybe I won”t feel any better today, but a year, five years, maybe ten years from now, I will be glad I broke the cycle and did something different with my Sunday afternoon. Here’s to getting older. How did you spend your Sunday???