Category Archives: Diet

Getting off Keto! 4+lbs regained day 1

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Yesterday I invited a young couple out to lunch at Grandpa Charley’s here in Andrews, a fantastic new restaurant here in town. I’m celebrating because I’ve lost 76.4 pounds on the Keto diet and it’s now time to get off that diet. The blueberry dessert I wolfed down took me out of ketosis altogether.

This young couple was happy to celebrate with me, as they are the ones who put me on the Keto diet. It has literally saved my life. I’ve gotten off my blood pressure meds (two of them) and I have a textbook perfect blood pressure without the weight, without the meds. My sugar is great. That may raise now that I’m getting off of Keto. That’s alright. I have quite a bit of room to raise that up before it’s considered even a little high. I’ve gotten off my prostate med. I feel a zillion times better. And the game changer altogether is that now I can exercise.

BUT NOW I NEED PARAMETER MACRO ADVICE!

The squash are just now harvestable and they have plenty of carbs to keep me in carb-metabolism. Fine. But I need parameters and a different calculator for whatever day’s macros according to my weight, height, sex, BMI, level of activity, purpose for the diet, etc.

  • I’ve been using nutritionix.com for food values.
  • I’ve been using the ruled-me.com keto calculator for the recommended values.

I’ll still use nutritionix, but I gotta ditch the keto calculator as it would now wrongly adjust the fat grams in relation to the carb grams.

Since I gained four+ pounds the first day – which I don’t regret at all – I obviously thrive better on calculated macro parameters. Anyone know of anything like this?

Or is this all a matter of calorie counting and exercise?

 

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Keto for EX-Jabba the Hut: NIH vs Mayo Clinic BMI

Some BMI parameters are more accurate than others.

I’ve been using the model from the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda. It’s no work to do the calculation. It only asks height and weight, NOT age, or whether male or female, or other relevant data like muscle mass. Here’s that one:

Various branches of the military have models which are surely much more accurate but – for me – are not user friendly. If you’re more into it than me, go for other military models. But realize that the different branches are also very different one from the other. Stunning, really.

Because of my experience at the Mayo Clinic, I trust them. They have a user friendly interface for their BMI calculator. It asks just a few bits of information, such as sex, age, height, weight, and waist circumference, giving instructions as to how to go about that measurement. They don’t make you buy calipers, etc. Some months ago I noticed that the result varied from NIH about 0.5 on the BMI scale. But now it’s the same. The big difference regards the advice.

This is the advice that came up for me:

Your Results
Your BMI is
24.9

Normal with unhealthy waist. [[ At 25.0 there’s a huge reprimand given to the user. I much prefer what’s here for 24.9… ]]

You’re on the right track! Being at a healthy weight reduces your risk of serious health conditions, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

However [[N.B.]], your waist size [[ 36″ for the belt, but 40″ just above the waist]] suggests that you have excess abdominal fat, which puts you at greater risk of developing obesity-related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes and coronary artery disease. [[ Mayo said I had a perfect heart, but that was ten years ago… ]] Talk to your doctor about what you can do to lower your risk. [[ My primary care physician is away until June 13 last time I checked some months ago. ]]

In the meantime, follow these steps to prevent weight gain:

Embrace healthy eating by choosing a variety of nutrient-rich foods, including fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy sources of protein such as fish or beans and smaller amounts of healthy energy-dense foods, such as olive oil, nuts, and dried fruits. [[ So, I guess they don’t like the Keto diet! But I am looking for a percentage calculator that is not Keto so that I can make the switch of metabolism back to carbs and protein instead of having the emphasis on fats. Anyone know an easy one to use? ]]

Increase your activity level. [[ They got that right. How did they know? ]] Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. [[ I’ll go for the moderate. That comes out to > 20 minutes a day. I don’t know how to do that, as I can’t really run or even walk for multiple days in a row. I’m a bit crippley in a number of ways in the legs and feet and I hate anything to do with anything like a bicycle. Just ain’t gonna happen. Any suggestions? Someone mentioned a rowing machine. Anyone know a good one that is solid? I tend to break stuff… ]] Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise, using a weight or resistance level that can tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions. [[ So, when I get around to this, there are sets of sit-ups, push-ups, barbels, and ankle-weighted quadriceps reps. ]]

Set action goals focused on specific healthy activities, such as improving muscle tone through strength training or starting a daily food and activity diary. [[ I’m game. ]]

No longer Jabba the Hut, I prefer being a guard donkey. This is a donkey’s style of weight lifting, with reps referring to violent shaking of the mortal threat.

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Keto for Jabba the Hut: Poison Ivy steroid and carb set-back, then pressing the reset button to 25 BMI

jabba the hut

Today I clocked in at 198.6 pounds, fully 68 pounds lost on the KETO diet. That puts me at exactly 25 on the BMI scale, the top-end of what is fully considered to be a healthy weight.

So, great! But some weeks ago “the worst case of poison oak seen in Cherokee County by the Cherokee County Health Department” was my experience. I was given a 80 mg injection in the back end of MethylPREDNISolone along with a six-day DosPak of the same. I’m happy to report no side effects, well, except for these:

  • temporary loss of immune system, until the MethylPREDNISolone wears off, say, ten days more or less, not desirable in coronavirus times. It worked quickly, efficiently. It dried everything up in a couple of days not to return
  • promotion of weight gain, like any strong steroid, not what you want with Keto.

Meanwhile, someone said I need carbs to heal. So, I ate a ton of carbs, throwing my metabolism back to carbs, and allowing glycosyl to attract water molecules. So, water weight!

10 pounds were immediately put back on. That scared me. Time to get back on Keto, thought I. It just happens that I went right back into ketosis just as the MethylPREDNISolone wore off. 3.3 lbs were lost three days in a row. All the water weight, etc., gone, just like that. This is NOT Keto-acidosis. No, no. I’m back to losing about 0.6 lbs per day, so, it was about 2.5 lbs of water weight gone daily.

I’d like to head down to about 24 on the BMI scale, which is exactly what my dad’s doctor told him would be a good weight for him. I think he was at 25 BMI at the time as I am now. So, in his honor, perhaps down to 24 BMI…

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Coronavirus Keto hobbies: gardening

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I would never have started gardening if not for the Coronavirus and lockdowns. I do exhaust myself with religious activities that are possible in these difficult times – putting a zillion miles on Sassy the Subaru – but there is also a moment here or there as the days turn into weeks and months.

I would never have started gardening if not for Keto. It’s not that I will be growing anything that is necessarily Keto friendly, it’s that I was so overweight previous to Keto that I just could not do up something like gardening. Never.

  1. Weeding and then weed-eating around Brakeman and the Papal Flag. The flag is a bit disintegrated at the moment. An analogy there. Meanwhile, Brake-Man, appropriately, continues to represent now rusty mankind in all of the effects of Adam’s original sin, putting on the brakes on everything. He’s made out of brakes by my artistic and mechanically minded neighbor to the hermitage of yore. He stands next to the day lilies roaring back to their springtime glories.
  2. Planting Spaghetti Squash seeds next to the rose bush. Who knows…
  3. Constructing seed-boxes – with bottoms – for the top of the steps to either side of the door, in front of Mary and Anthony of Padua. The wood is left over from the hermitage. These are for leaf-lettuce. I’ll be off the Keto diet by the time this gets ready to pick.
  4. Cutting down dead branches from the Ceder trees out back and constructing Tepee style bean poles. My neighbor to the hermitage is graciously going to supply me with enough October Beans to take over the front of the rectory. October beans are loved by humming birds as a fierce battle ground. The beans are so big that you only need a handful for soup.

Still planks left over… I know!

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The storm we had the past couple of days flooded the creek to overflowing, which brought water and debris throughout the rectory lot, lapping up against the foundation of the house, but these seed-boxes might just be high enough to keep their future contents from being washed away.

All the seed boxes are half-filled with the manure of Cooper-the-Therapy-Pony, who lives in the neighbor’s adjoining back yard. Cooper is only about twice the size of Shadow-dog. The rest of the seed boxes are filled with potting soil and then mixed up. These are spread out along the fence for a reason. There are two mounds in each box, six altogether. Three will be for straight neck yellow squash; three will be for cucumbers. The vines are long, but there is plenty of room for them. They will also mature when I’m off the Keto diet.

I’ll have to “ride fence” daily as the vines start to grow to length, making sure that they are tied up to the fence, making the lawn available for easy mowing.

More things to do:

  • Mulch for the front around the October Beans and Day Lilies
  • Perhaps some flowers for the front steps on either side, effectively hiding the fronts of the boxes and honoring Mary and St Anthony.
  • I’m thinking of tomatoes… Perhaps Early Girls… They would actually go in the carport… a peculiar setup there… We’ll see…

All because of Keto and Coronavirus…

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Keto Day 90 = 51 lbs 23 kgs 3.6 stone :-)

That’s averaging 0.56 lbs lost per day, having lost in that time a good week or two with out-of-state activities and no control over the diet.

Getting closer to the goal, the exercise is picking up, and I’m looking to getting muscles back in shape after decades of no exercise.

It’ll be a little while yet, as I’m still about 20 lbs short of the goal. That may be problematic to reach, as I have yet another international conference to go to out of state, if it’s not yet filled up. This time it’s the ICPC, International Police Chaplains Association. That’s in another 26 days from now, which is 14.56 lbs away in Keto time. That will leave me 4 lbs short of the goal, but that may be close enough to go ahead transition off of Keto to something a bit more friendly to taking care of muscles.

Keto has taught me more about foods and discipline and taking care of myself, so the lifestyle, if you will, post-Keto, will also, hopefully, include some motivation regarding taking care of this carcass which, by the grace of God, is to be the Tabernacle of the Holy Spirit precisely because it is, with my soul, redeemed by Christ Jesus.

Having said that, I love the bacon.

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Keto Day 83: Exercise for Jabba the Hut

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A reader sent this in. I responded by saying that “working out” is the operative phrase here. Exercising is key to making Keto successful in the best way – cutting down, btw, on any adverse too much fat in arteries fears.

Here’s my sorry story that Keto-ing is turning around. Though I was already a bit cripplely in the legs, some traffic accidents some 21 to 25 years ago threw me into a wheel chair for a year and then “Canadian crutches” for another couple of years. In my weakness, I let that be an excuse for not exercising much at all, with me then ending up as Jabba the Hut. One time I reached 278 pounds. That scared me, and I tried to go on diets, losing even 30 pounds a couple of times, but hitting a plateau and not knowing anything about how dieting worked. That failed.

I was introduced to Keto by a friend this past November 2019, and my doctor (also a Keto-er) gave me the green light, knowing already that my kidneys were in good shape, that my cholesteral levels were good, that I wasn’t yet diabetic. I’m close to having lost 46 pounds since November 21, 2019, and it’s now only February 11, 2020. I’ve still got some 24 pounds to go before getting just within the upper limits of a “healthy weight” on the Bethesda Naval Hospitals BMI scale. So, that’ll be another 48 days or so, but I’ll add just some days in order to get me just a few pounds into the healthy range. That will bring me up to the Sacred Triduum of Holy Week. Hey! Good Timing!

Not having exercised in so long, and being heavy, I’ve become frustrated in doing even a few sit-ups, a few push-ups, etc., giving up. However, in losing this weight with Keto these simple and basic exercises have started to become possible, but still with only a few repetitions. I mentioned my dilemma to a good friend, and his immediate comment utterly dismissing my frustration was this:

The point of exercise is not what you do or how much of whatever, just that you have a set time every day to exercise.

Brilliant psychology, that.

So, being unwise, and lazy, I didn’t follow that advice, doing up a bit of exercise every couple of weeks, when I felt like it. Even that has helped a great deal. It has become easier to do more than one of whatever exercise, so this will now become part of my day. Since I’m only starting, my numbers for the very few exercises I do for a session are pitiful, but I’ll lay out here what I do for encouragement of those who are in as bad a shape as I have been. Mind you, this isn’t much, but for me, it’s entirely fantastic. You gotta start somewhere.

  • 30 sit-ups, but not entirely regulation in style. I would be DQed by any coach anywhere. But the proper form will come along soon enough. I’m content with starting in a Jabba the Hut manner.
  • 30 reps of weights, well, not really weights. This comes down to a five pound three foot long crow bar with some weights attached to either side. Laughable, really. It’s fine to be humorous with yourself.
  • 30 fake push-ups. I’m still to heavy to do push-ups without hearing the smashing up of the insides of the shoulders, so I do fake push-ups. I’ve made a heavy, tall work bench for myself. That’s in the bed-room against the wall. I put myself at a 45 degree angle with that, chest against the top of the bench, and push up. Easy peasy? Well, it’s just perfect for the shape I’m in, so I’ll do this, even though it’s laughable.
  • 30 sets of a quick 5-count of quadriceps conditioning. The quadriceps are the four muscles that come together just above the knee cap. These get very weak and disappear just as soon as they are not needed much, as has been the case with me the last 25 years or so. A great doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester taught me this trick to get them back into shape. You put some weights on your ankles and, sitting down, bring your lower legs almost up to being straight out, but not quite. Then, straighten them out and hold that position for some seconds, then let them down just a few inches, then repeat. He said that that’s the only exercise that will have a direct effect on the quadriceps, which are essential for everything else. Being bad and evil and lazy, I didn’t much do that, but this is now becoming part of my sessions. It seems like a nothing exercise if you’re in good shape, and a waste of time, and even if you’re out of shape entirely it will stupid for a week or so, but then it will catch up with you, as it did to me once when I put on too many weights too early, against advice. Not being humble enough to take direction is what made me Jabba the Hut.

Keto has really saved this sorry knucklehead.

Yes, I really did do a session of those exercises already today. But we’ll see if I can start adding sessions more than once a day.

P.S. That cartoon above? That’s actually a serious point. It’s soooo difficult to stay the course when you have everyone insisting to throw liberal low-carb food at you while you’re trying to do strict Keto.

Few get the plot that it’s a matter of not allowing a switch-back to a different metabolism every few days because that would be terribly unhealthy. However, I’m slowly learning how to insist on just saying that I’ll be doing my own thing regardless. That’s freeing in and of itself. Good training for all things. It’s such a small matter. But it’s these small matters that will make or break someone. It’s good to learn how to handle these small matters well. I think our Lord speaks about that, doing the small things well, and then…

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Keto Day 82 – Imaginative recipes

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The ice cube soup picture was sent in by a reader making fun of Keto, all for encouragement, mind you. Day 81 was finished by having lost 44.6 pounds. That’s more than 1/2 pound a day, if you’re counting. Still feeling much, much better and full of energy and not hungry and able to exercise and lots of other health and psychological benefits. I’m NOT saying I’ll be on this diet much longer. Just until I reach my goal, which is to be in the upper range of “healthy” on the BMI scale.

BTW, I think ice cube soup is what pilgrims get to “eat” while doing a penitential pilgrimage to Saint Patrick’s Purgatory on Station Island in Lough Derg, County Donegal, Ireland. I think the cooks also throw in a very granules of black pepper for taste. The pilgrimage tradition goes all the way back to the fifth century, when Patrick was there.

Mind you, it’s not the ice cube soup that is in any way Keto. Whilst the pilgrims at Lough Derg relish their ice cube soup after having walked the rock in the ice cold water, they smell the aroma of bacon wafting along from the windows of the warm kitchen of the priests house. “Bacon.” That’s Keto! ;-)

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Keto Day 55: 1 step forward 6 steps back, good fats, bad fats, falling down

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The Day Off this week was extended by three days. It was inconvenient to bring or find Keto-esque food. Once I got a Keto friendly lunch (the meat and cheese platter), other times I was content to devour just one item on the menu that I could find. The problem was the calories (way too many) and not being able to measure anything over against any macros.

In three days I gained three pounds, going from 226.6 to 229.6. So, that’s six steps back as I normally lose on average of just over a half pound a day on Keto. But – Hey! – back home and back to the Keto routine fully, always, mind you, staying in Ketosis.

This is the reason I don’t like to accept even Keto food from others as I don’t know the values (precisely!!!) and even if I did, I might well exceed my macros with that gift, with carbs enough to knock one to a carb metabolism. Not good. This is the one draw back of Keto. But sometimes you have to take a hit for the team. This was the case during these three days.

Now, someone mentioned that there are good fats and bad fats. I know some good fats:

  • Avocado
  • Olives and olive oil
  • Fat from seeds such as flax and chia

But is good fat also to be had from:

  • full fat non-sugar yogurt, butter, cheese
  • pork sausage, pork brats, bacon

I’ve been told that there are bad fats, besides McDonald’s deep fry oil, such as:

  • hamburger fat

Some questions, then:

  • Is all of that true?
  • Are these few points on the lists above correct?
  • Should some be moved?
  • What are others to pursue or avoid?

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Keto Day 54 Jabba the Hut Pros vs Cons

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It’s 14 January 2020 and so far 35.6 pounds have disappeared since November 21.

That’s 0.56 lbs lost per day average.

I started well-into the BMI category of “obese”, as you might expect for someone nicknaming himself Jabba the Hut. But already since December 27 the BMI has dropped into the “overweight” category. My aim is drop down into the top of what is considered a “healthy weight” range. That will still take another 50 days or so, to about 198 lbs.

BENEFIT #1: I’m being further enabled in being available for my duties of being a spiritual father of this parish family.

You have to know, the remoteness of this Appalachian parish means that this is a medical desert so that our local hospital (some 15 miles away) has started to become a mere helipad for being airlifted all the way to Erlanger-Barroness Hospital on the far upper West side of Chattanooga in neighboring West Tennessee.

Driving, that’s about 5 hours round trip rectory door to Surgical-ICU room door. Previously, I would seriously hesitate to start out at 6:30 PM on a dark January night after having been going all day since 2:50 AM what with multiple Holy Hours at the various parish churches, the Sunday Masses, the two socials, the nursing home, and lots of visits to the home-bound. But with the Keto diet – Hey! – I can happily do it. Truly more energy.

I was totally alert even if a bit tired – a good tired – by the time I pulled into the rectory driveway toward midnight. For me, that’s a great result. This alertness also made negotiating the zillion hairpin turns along the Ocoee Ranger District of Cherokee National Forest along the gorge-reservoir of West Tennessee – coming and going – a true joy and even a musical event, making the tires of Sassy the Subaru ♬ Sing ♬.

Maybe I shouldn’t admit that out loud… Too many law enforcement officers listening in…

;-) Keto allows me to have more fun. ;-)

BENEFIT #2: Keto has allowed me to make some friendships. Conversations are struck up with people I’ve never spoken to before but who see me round about town and notice the rather dramatic weight loss and want in on the action. I end up sending them links:

I also mention some dangers for diabetics and for those who don’t drink enough fluids.

The most recent of these events was last night. This was with the most unexpected person in town. I like that. I like that a lot.

BENEFIT #3: My own personal usage of the Keto diet is to jump start healthiness, for which I have a plan:

  1. Get back to a more healthy weight.
  2. Start ever so slowly to exercise in whatever way I can taking into consideration other unrepeatable conditions unique to myself. This was simply quite impossible when being waaaay too heavy.
  3. Tweak the Keto Calculator so that it’s not about losing fat but about gaining muscle.
  4. Finally, get off the Keto diet altogether, going back to carbohydrate metabolism, but this time with the added benefit of being disciplined and healthy, looking to incorporate a wide variety of fruits and vegetables in moderation.
  5. Get off – if possible – any blood pressure meds and such.

BENEFIT #4: Getting squared away. You need mental clarity and energy to get squared away – all things in order – and Keto has provided both, so that I’m starting to do things that I haven’t done for very many years. This is NOT a matter of being determined. It just happened. Keto is providing great attitudinal benefits. This Keto diet has really changed life for the better for me in every way. I’ve been begging the Lord for the wherewithal to do many things, and I think this is partially His answer. Getting squared away sets up a foundational psychological structure. I like it. I like it a lot. And it just happens.

BENEFIT #5: Changing out the Jabba the Hut picture for a Guard-Donkey (Palestinian, of course, as they are called, with all due respect for George Alexander Trebek[!]). All priests should be Guard Donkeys of their sheep, Jesus’ tiny flock.

DONKEY FOX

THE ONLY DRAWBACK OF THE KETO DIET: I mentioned to a parishioner this past Sunday that there was a drawback to the Keto diet. “What’s that?” she asked. “Well, I’m starting to have to get smaller sized clothes,” said I.

♬♬♬ “Oh! You pooooor baaaaaaby!” ♬♬♬ she exclaimed.

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Keto Day 47 for Jabba the Hut. Ooops. Totally *spoilt* edition.

jabba the hut

Controversy: *Cheat days* or *Splurge days* on Keto. What a fright. I guess it depends how it’s done. Priests have an especially difficult time doing up Keto as parish socials wreck havoc on good intentions, with everyone trying their best to *be nice to our priest*. Having made Keto a thing, however, most have learned that I’m stickin’ to it and most respect my wishes to be more charitable by staying alive by taking care of myself rather than being “nice” because I eat everything and more that everyone prepares for the socials.

Keto – being tailor designed for apparently obsessive compulsive but actually incredible results driven continuation – has provided a great excuse to keep the *Be a failure at your diet!” crowd, and the *It’s good to cheat!* crowd at bay.

Until now.

The other day was an anniversary for me – 38 years of priesthood – and a 25 year deputy, knowing I do like steak and knowing it is Keto friendly (he having done the research on all ingredients in secret sauce and spices and extras), secretly brought a charcoal grill to the church campus, hiding it behind the social hall. He disappeared during the homily to get it fired up and super heated and threw on two nine ounce steaks.

What could I do? It is Keto friendly. I’m soooo weak. They were devoured forthwith. A wonderful gift.*

Those sumptuous steaks gave me some overages for the day:

  • Protein: +82
  • Calories: +540
  • Fat: +23

Since my carbs for the day’s planned menu were only 9.56 I thought I would kind of be alright it I just stopped eating for the day and the next couple of days.

But this morning – on the scale – I find out that Ketosis truly is very powerful. Regardless of the overages, I still lost 2 ounces by the next day. That‘s encouraging. Truly a results driven continuation.

I’ve now lost more than 30 pounds. Sometimes it’s two steps down and one step up and repeat, but this is -0.63 pounds per day average.

PS: the gag hat is from a 90 year old ninja lady who leads the Rosary before Sunday Mass.

*But that gives no one permission to repeat that kind gesture!

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Keto Day 36 (AM) for Jabba the Hut

https://www.ruled.me/keto-calculator/

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/lose_wt/BMI/bmicalc.htm

So, day 37 and I’ve lost 23 pounds (+5 more = 28 if you count the prep week which amounted to eating lots of bacon!) I was in the mid-260s. I’m now in the mid-230s. I don’t know where I’ll stop. A number of people independently of each other all said exactly the same thing, that 210 to 215 would be ideal for me. We shall see. There is actually light at the end of the tunnel. This has never been the case with any attempt I’ve ever made. Of course, Keto forces an incomparably more healthy diet than what I was subjecting myself to previously.

  • I sleep more soundly.
  • I wake up with more zip.
  • I don’t collapse at sunset, but can keep busy in the evening.
  • I fall asleep easily.
  • I have much more energy during the day. Today I caught myself actually skipping down the steps of the rectory, much lighter on my feet. This would have been unthinkable two months ago.
  • Much clearer in the head. This is great. I’m getting much more psyched to get back into academic work. Still more progress needed though.
  • Less procrastination with things. This is super significant for my life. I’m able to arrange things and actually move into the rectory. Imagine. It’s been years since I’ve been in this tiny house.
  • This, of course, is having a great effect on my day to day life in general. Really good.
  • The blood pressure is down. I would often have 159/96. Waaaay toooo high. And that was with blood pressure meds. Today it’s 123/80. Still with meds, but – Hey! that’s real progress. If I had that without meds it would be something. But, you know, I’m still on Keto!
  • The blood sugar is normal. It used to be up to like 133 and my good doctor was warning that he was thinking of doing something about this. Now it’s down to high 80s two hours after a meal or about 106 – like this morning – not long after a meal. So, all good.

Truly, the results of this diet are stunning for me. I’m only sorry that I didn’t begin decades ago. I think everyone should do Keto beginning in their mid-thirties, thus avoiding the middle age spread and consquent obesity, avoiding in large measure high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, on and on. Of course, some have learned how to eat well. That’s the rare person. I didn’t. Keto has saved my life. I’m ever so grateful to the one who introduced me to this. I’m learning how to be moderate in my diet with food that is good for health. And… and… everything tastes much better.

Some notes:

  • After weighing myself in the morning, I calculate my BMI and then use those numbers for the Keto Calulator. I’ve learned to make my menu for the day before using that Keto Calculator, with all the macros added up (I created a spread sheet for that in WordPerfect). Whatever I think I should aim for regarding carbs, the menu gives the reality. Using the correct number of carbs for that particular day in the Keto Calculator changes quite radically the number of grams of fat you’re allowed. I’m only figuring this out now. That Keto Calculator can be used for whatever you want, from losing weight to gaining muscle.
  • I’ve been looking up nutrition facts on different foods anywhere on the internet, never using any Keto apps. As I find out, both can be way, waaaaay off, destroying your macros by really a lot. Then I landed on https://www.nutritionix.com/. Very exact. Extremely easy to use. Perfect.
  • I enjoy being obsessive compulsive if there are directly measurable, tangible results: you do this, and that is the result. Very cool. The continuous positive feedback is great. The fatty diet provides that you don’t crave carbs, except just by memory of good things. Fine.
  • My doctor and his wife have both done Keto for years. I suspect that he’ll be interested to check my progress and note all the health benefits that Keto has gifted me with. I wonder if he’ll also check for any increase in cholesterol. I’ll be interested in that as well. That may be unfounded fears of some.
  • My doctor said not to be too obsessive compulsive in doing Keto. I was for the first weeks. But I’ve learned to loosen up a bit, experimenting with the menu a bit, including a stalk of celery here, even a carrot there, but not on the same day as a cucumber. :-)

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Keto Day 19: Humor for Jabba the Hut

jabba the hut

Being a priest, I was preaching away the other day, perhaps the longest I’ve ever preached in the parish (still under half an hour). At the end of Mass, amidst a few announcements, I apologized for preaching so long, blaming the Keto diet for giving me more energy. The nano-second I said that, someone yelled out from the back:

“Eat more food then!”

Ha ha ha. I opened myself up for that one. But I’ll just be more careful about the length of preaching.

Meanwhile, amidst all the fluster of those not wanting me to be on a diet that works and which I really enjoy (and people really entrench about it, with emotion – which leaves me flabbergasted)… meanwhile, ignoring all that, I’m still making progress. Soon I’ll no longer be Jabba the Hut. And I think that that’s a good thing.

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Papacy in tatters! Prayers for Pope?

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One might think that the pontificate of Pope Francis is in tatters. “Pontificates”, as the term is used, is not about the Papacy in se, just about what the results of that particular successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome, happen to be, regardless of whether or not this is to the credit or disgrace of that individual, who, like the rest of us, soon goes the way of all flesh.

In that mind set, one might not think that the pontificate of Pope Francis is in tatters. All the division and darkness and ranker and confusion and greediness and whatever else one might want to add are thought to be purposed, and of good value. I mean, after all these years, always the same totally anti-Catholic, anti-Christ agenda is at work, always one more thing to kick the faithful in the teeth, to gouge out their hearts and trample them underfoot. Hell… But some want that…

The Papal Flag hanging on the rectory is in tatters. One of the neighbors mentioned it, a non-Catholic. He baited me, asking about it, knowing the answer, that the tattered flag is a symbol of what I think is going on. I told him it will stay until either there’s a pope who’s interested in confirming his brethren in the faith, or Pope Francis does this himself. The tattered flag is, therefore, a symbol of hope. I have not given up.

There are other symbols in front of the rectory.

  • A reminder of Jesus’ good mom and ours is still there. Don’t think she didn’t pray for weak Peter when he denied her own Son three times. Don’t think she doesn’t also pray for this successor of Peter, Pope Francis.
  • There’s also a symbol of just another member of the faithful, Saint Anthony of Padua, demonstrating faith in the fact that any of us can still be a saint any time throughout the history of the Church, that is, including us in our own time. That would mean taking the good example of dearest Mary, would it not, in praying for Peter (and his successors)?

“But Father George! You don’t understand! Pope Francis needs our prayers! Therefore, we can’t pray for him! We would besmirch ourselves and agree with whatever we think his agenda is if we prayed for him! We won’t do it! We won’t do it!”

That’s about the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard. I’ve heard it. A lot.

So, does that mean you also wouldn’t pray for me? I’ve crucified the Son of the Living God with my sin. Without Jesus I am lost forever, going straight to hell, forever. And you won’t pray for me either? Who would you pray for then. Guaranteed, you wouldn’t pray even for yourself.

None of us are worthy of anything. Please, pray for me. I’ll pray for you. And let’s together pray for Pope Francis. Just as I fear the loss of my own soul, I fear for the loss of his soul. He’s very old right now, and really very tired. He’s facing all that he’s done. Perhaps we will see the moment when he repudiates all the rubbish. Do we honestly face all that we’ve done? Will we see the moment when we repudiate all the rubbish we ever done in our own lives? Do we even know what the wounds on the risen Son of the Immaculate Conception mean?

If we had the slightest clue about this, the weight of the glory of God would bring us down to our knees in humble reverence before Him, crushed by the horror of sin and simultaneously in awe of the gracious mercy of God.

On that point of mercy – as I rant along – do we mock mercy as not being conservative enough? It’s still the “in thing” to mock, say, the Divine Mercy chaplet as being damnable pious piffle, isn’t it? Let’s see how it is that mercy is founded on justice:

  • For the sake of His sorrowful passion (that’s justice)
  • have mercy on us and on the whole world (that’s mercy).

Or is there a third part to that prayer that would make it acceptable?

  • except for Pope Francis; just send him straight to hell, you know, God, because I’m the judge of the living and the dead and world by fire.

We all stand before Jesus, looking upon Him whom we have all pierced, as we read in the Book of Revelation, the Apocalypse.

So, I remain hopeful. Life goes on. Justice goes on. Mercy goes on.

Take a hint from the picture above. That bird who built her nest just above the bird feeder did that knowing that any and every kind of even malicious bird would also be at that feeder right next to her nest. And, yes, sometimes optimists get the results they hope for. It’s good to hope. I want to go to heaven. I trust in Jesus. Got hope? Do you trust in Jesus. Do you also pray for Pope Francis? Hail Mary…


P.S. A kind of analogy about persistence in prayer:

Progress is still being made with Keto. Just keep at it. Have hope. Even in the face of opposition, which can be great. I don’t know how many times I’ve had this experience, even with those I thought were friends:

  • Hey! Father George! How’s it going?
  • Great! In fact, I’m now doing the Keto diet and I love it!

And that’s the whole conversation. Some just turn their backs and walk away. Upset. So, I call out to them:

  • What’s wrong?
  • Keto is not what’s to be done. Just eat like everyone else.

And then “the back thing” again.

  • I’ll keep praying for Pope Francis however many friends I lose.
  • I’ll keep doing Keto for the sake of my priesthood on this earth however many friends I lose.

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Keto Day 13: Humor for Jabba the Hut

Starting Keto day 13 and 10.1 pounds have taken a hike. Probably water weight, but ketosis did begin the day after beginning.

I’m having a great time with this diet as it gives me a chance to express the sometimes OCD aspect of fallen human nature: “Where am I with my actual numbers so far today vs my macros?” That’s all checked any number of times during the day. But at the beginning of the day those macros are recalculated after weighing myself and then my recalculating Body Mass Index. The macros change but little, but – hey! – those little changes add up and make for a lot of positive feedback.

It’s also good to get some real encouragement from others. That comes because I complain: “Some people go out of their way to convince me to break my diet.” It’s either the “Keto diets are dangerous!” approach, or the “I’ve made something really nice for you to eat!” approach. But then encouragement comes in from others: “No, you do what you need to do. Stick to your diet. Ignore them.” Good to hear. It’s surprising the persistence of those who don’t want your success. Maybe that’s because they should be doing something about dieting as well. But I digress, though not really, as sticktoitedness is key.

As to the humor: I was Keto food shopping at the local supermarket and was having a conversation about Keto and “grass fed butter” at the butter section of the dairy section with one of my parishioners. It was a pretty lively discussion, rambunctious enough that a lady of unknown acquaintance pushed her shopping cart into the midst and declared with the most gorgeous Southern accent I ever heard with an equally pleasant smile, yet with incisive humor:

  • “Glory be! I ain’t not never heard a no grass fed butter, grass fed cows maybe, but no grass fed butter.”

Hahaha! It’s good to have some humor about this kind of thing.

Meanwhile, a parishioner supplied me with some fish, and another parishioner (the same in the story above) gave gave me part of a cow he had slaughtered. Mmm mmm. I love Keto.

Meanwhile, the goal of Keto for me is not to go from the obese Jabba the Hut to the slender Chewbacca, but rather to be the Lord’s good guard-donkey-priest of the Lord’s little flock that He wants me to be (noting, always, that wolves and coyotes and foxes are all good to eat on any Keto menu):

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Day 5: Keto Diet for Jabba the Hut

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  • Blood pressure was excellent the first reading today, with the second being even better at 118/80. That’s really good for me, and that’s after coffee. I haven’t checked my blood pressure in a really long time, so I don’t know what it was just before starting, but I’m sure it was quite a lot higher than that. So, this is really good.
  • A week before starting Keto I weighed in at a Jabba the Hut weight of 266.8. At the start of Day 1 and Day 2 the readout was at 260.1. This morning it was 254.2.
  • I went into Ketosis by the end of day two, with a necessarily imprecise dipstick reading of 15, which jumped to 40 the next day and stayed there until now.
  • I had no experience of any “keto flu”: no low grade fever; no malaise.
  • I feel more energetic.
  • I feel more clearheaded.
  • I have not been hungry at all. No cravings. Not even tempting. I almost have to force myself to eat so as to get the recommended calories, protein and fat.

I’m guessing I’m still losing water weight, but there is real ketosis going on. I’m making sure to eat enough protein and fat not to lose any muscle, just fat. With not feeling hungry, it’s really easy to keep the calories down. Daily intake of carbs is 7g.

BTW: No soda or pop or soda pop. No diet anything. So sweeteners, no “smart water”, no chemicals. No faking out of the pancreas. I do add salt and pepper and garlic powder. Those are freebies.

Warning! I got excellent advice yesterday: no splurge days. And absolutely no stupidity with carbs, such as a full sugar can of Coca Cola. It seems that that traumatizes the cardio-vascular system, hardening it, damaging it, even long term, only once. So, when the diet is over, it’s also a matter of weaning yourself back on to carbs slowly. So, good to know.

QUESTION: Normally I’m a pretty laid back guy, but I’m being OCD about this. It’s the only way. I weigh myself and recalculate my BMI (U.S. NIH) [33.6 a couple of weeks before starting; 32.7 on the start day 5 days ago, and now 32.0], and then recalculate the keto “macros” (https://www.ruled.me/keto-calculator/), which readjust the intake number of recommended calories and grams of protein and fat. I stick to that. That’s really OCD, but is that the way to do it? Or is it assumed that one will stick with macros for a long time?

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Keto Diet Day 1: The outlook is easy now

jabba the hut

Have you ever tried to diet? The other year I tried counting calories. I lost something like 20 pounds if I remember correctly, just eating less and better. The problem with being a priest is that everyone wants to take you to dinner. I almost never ever go, but if it’s not one thing it’s another. We also have socials after Sunday Masses. All sorts of people drop off freshly prepared meals at church and at the rectory also during the week.

It’s easy to fail with a system that merely counts calories regardless of where they come from as everyone says just to cheat with this (whatever they are offering) and then just not eat some other thing later on. Grrr. I survived a mere two months and never went back to the diet and put all the weight back on, having caved in fully to Jesus’ words to His disciples about eating what is put before you, but of course, in an exaggerated and fallen human nature kind of way. Now I’m lost.

Now I’m too big, too unhealthy, and Jesus surely doesn’t want that at all for His priests.

But then I was introduced to the keto diet. I was told to check with my doctor. You have to know, I have the coolest doctor in the world. Not only did he instantly confirm I was fit carrying a carry (a one-time law in this state – don’t know if it still is) – he also being a gun guy – but he and his wife are also keto-dieters. He said my kidney function and all else is just fine and that I’m quite the good candidate for the keto diet. Great!

There are so many things to watch out for, not only calories but also carbs and fats and protein. Since this can only be managed by the person who is actually doing the dieting, it is the perfect excuse to give to those who want to load me up with all sorts of food on any and every occasion. And no one’s feelings are hurt. Great!

The one draw back, which is actually very healthy, but difficult for me because I’m in my car really a lot, is that one has to drink really a lot of water to flush out all the chemicals and horror that has been building up in one’s body. I’ve added water to my daily intake schedule to make sure I get through the volumes required. I’m starting with just over a half ounce per pound of weight. I confess that I’ve been drinking very very little. Which is really bad. But now… Well… We’ll see…

It’s said that malaise will grip one’s heart and mind and one’s very soul – to death – for about three days or so, either fairly quickly, or about a week or two into it. But once getting over that, it’s said that one’s energy levels will be much better. But there’s also the practicalities of travel! But, I don’t want to be stopped before I start. As it is…

 – the outlook is easy now –

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Tết Offensive and… being overweight? Thanks for correcting my world-view.

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It’s now been more than a half century since the Viet Cong set about killing everyone they could, men, women, children and babies during the Tết Offensive of 1968.

While studying in Rome half that time ago, I lived at the same residence for priests as a Vietnamese fellow, a devout Catholic who understood and lived the faith and who today is a priest.

It was then that I had already for some years been taking a certain medicine to keep myself alive, a medicine I take to this day for that reason, a medicine which also guarantees weight gain. I had always been thin as a rail, but now I had been putting on the kilos. Because of that, I had given up on jogging around Rome.

Meanwhile, this Vietnamese fellow, named after the great Saint Ambrose, had seen many of his fellow countrymen hunted down and tortured and killed. He knew how to run, not jogging, mind you, but running in the sense of escape. Around trees. Over and up cliffs. Though destruction.

While walking around or sitting at table his fists would be un-clenched, and then ever so slowly, over minutes, crushingly clenched. It was quite notable, but I’m sure it was just second nature to him. It was fearful to watch, as it seemed his tendons would rip away from his bones, or the bones would break under the strain.

I asked him about it. Not quite isometrics, he explained. These exercises had brought him into perfect physical condition through the years. He insisted that I start doing the same, reprimanding me for starting to become overweight. But just as running for him was not about jogging, losing weight had nothing to do with any sense of good health. It was about an immediate ability to get away from fiendish violence. He asked me:

“If you are heavy, how are you going to escape when they come?

He inscaped into his words all the horror of what happened during his own escapes when they would come to kill. He had stories to tell backed up with horrific scars. Underlining this, he then asked:

“If you are heavy, how are you going to help others escape?”

He asked that with the urgency and anguish of one is actively watching people die because of my not being able to help them. This isn’t one of those “eat your vegetables before dessert because don’t you know there are people starving on the other side of the world” platitudinous reprimands. No. Let me repeat that he asked with the urgency and anguish of one who is actively watching people get apprehended and tortured and killed because of my not being able to help them.

“If you are heavy, how are you going to help others escape?”

This was one of those moments when my entire world view was readjusted, when I knew I had been so utterly out of touch with reality.

Thanks, Father Ambrose, for opening my eyes a little bit more.

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I’ll spare you the pictures of the mass graves…

This doubles for natural disasters, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, terrorism near you, by the way…

By the way, thanks to our Vietnam Veterans for winning that weeks long battle.

P.S. For those who say: “Yes, and transform dieting into fasting as a spiritual thing because the body is to be the temple of the Holy Spirit like the saints say!” Fine. All that. Yes. And I confess I am miserable at all that. Can I just blame my medicine? I mean, at least I’m not gaining even if not losing weight. I could do better. To such enthusiasts with spiritual things I say this: Father Ambrose is helping us to escape our half-measures. The Body of Christ is not just the Head of the Body, Jesus, but the rest of us as the members. Being in good shape is not just about respecting God’s creation and God’s redemption of us in Christ Jesus, merely putting the body into submission because that’s a nice thing to do for God, but it is also about the charity we have for one another in Christ Jesus (see 1 Corinthians 9:22-27).

His urgency and anguish was of one who was actively watching people die because of my not being able to help them:

“If you are heavy, how are you going to help others escape?”

Indeed. And so…

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Butternut Squarrrsh Recipe easy for this donkey in a kitchen

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DONKEY FOX

The neighbors to the hermitage gave me a butternut squash (pronounced squarrrrsh). Another friend gave me a pan to bake it in. Cut it in half lengthwise, they said. Take the seeds out, they said. After that I didn’t follow directions anymore. Last night I threw it in an oven preheated to 395 for 55 minutes. Having scooped out everything orange, and adding butter, brown sugar, salt and pepper… Mmm. Mmm. Now I’m hooked. Because it’s as easy as my mainstay, toast, but this just has to be more healthy. Now, a day later, I looked it up. One whole butternut is 272 calories (before butter and brown sugar) and has starchy carbs just like a potato. That‘s why I liked it so much. It’s like a bowl of pasta or some toast. Sigh. Of course, I could just be a carnivore.

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It’s SO difficult going on a diet. Hah!

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And this isn’t the only one, nor the only party. This is now four parties. I’m promising to diet, but, I have to admit it, I love this kind of thing. To be popular? That isn’t it. It is legitimate, I think, to rejoice in being a Father of the local Family of faith. Why not? Does not a father of any family rejoice when the family has family celebrations? Thanks go to the cake maker / decorator at the local supermarket. He’s been busy making multiple cakes for me. Totally cool! :-)

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Exercising first time in 20 years: St Paul putting respect of the body in context

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It’s always a good idea to see the doctor when taking up a program of exercise. So I did. He said, as expected, that 90% of any exercise program is diet, only 10% exercise. The diet thing is all about calories, he said. I agree. I’m starting that today, finally, finally following up on this post: Stop! Look! Mountains to climb!

In Rome, twenty some years ago, a tourist bus from Greece ran a red light and picked me off, totally shattering my left leg. Operations, wheelchairs, crutches. After that, I alternated between studies and teaching and pastoral activities, but never making any serious attempt at exercise, letting the bus be my excuse not to do so, what with the leg now sporting many pounds of surgical metal. But now I’m sick of being totally out of shape.

I have a simple program to aim at (I didn’t make it up), involving a sprint, a “long distance” run, sit-ups and push-ups. There is a bare minimum of accomplishment for these things. That’s what I’m aiming at right now. This is the very first time, mind you. The sit-ups left my abs churning madly. The push-ups were laughable. The sprint was more of a jog. The run was a run-walk:

  • Missed the 300 meter sprint by 9 seconds
  • Missed the 1.5 mile run by 1 minute and 17 seconds, but I did finish
  • Missed getting all the sit-ups in 60 seconds by 11
  • Missed getting all the push-ups in 60 seconds by 3

Normally, this might be considered a heart-attack waiting to happen, but it’s said that my heart is in perfect shape. So, O.K. But, really, how out of shape can one be? My legs seemed not to exist underneath me. It seemed to take forever to cool down. Today, better. And that’s good feedback.

I did do everything right after the run:

  • Put on supportive sandals
  • Did some light activities, in this case, “playing with guns” as my internet stalker says (actually keeping up with precision usage of tools). This was actually more difficult than I thought, so destroyed was I by the exercise.
  • Refueled the right way with the neighbors of the hermitage: turkey toes[!], collards, mashed potatoes… Well, one fail: ice cream for the ordination anniversary ;-)

I hear that it’s also important not to shortchange a recovery day, today. Just some situps and pushups and setting up a pre-start pre-program for the quadriceps right above the knees, which of anything are in the worst possible shape ever.

 

I’m starting slowly. If any of you have been through this and have some advice, let me know. I know that pacing is necessary. Persistence is necessary. Diet is the most important.

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Saint Paul supports exercise somewhat, but in context and rightly prioritized:

“Train yourself for devotion, for, while physical training is of limited value, devotion is valuable in every respect, since it holds a promise of life both for the present and for the future. This saying is trustworthy and deserves full acceptance. For this we toil and struggle, because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the savior of all, especially of those who believe. Command and teach these things.” (1 Timothy 4:7-11 nab)

God did give us our bodies, so we should take care of them, but not for any moralistic reason like that, but out of love (it is of value however limited), that is, because our bodies, as Saint Paul also says, are members of Christ, are to be temples of the Holy Spirit, with us offering our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God, our spiritual worship, always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be manifested in our body.

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