Latest Updates On Our Health Journey

latest comparison

Chris Comparison.jpg

I’ve just realized I haven’t blogged in quite a while.  Sorry about that!  So here’s my latest update on our health journey.

We went away on a sort of working vacation in May.  Although we managed to eat within calories most of the time, we were eating out every day.  We were also too busy to get in any real exercise until the last day or two.  After we came back I guess I slacked off on my running a little bit.  My weight crept back up around 5 lbs and I noticed my pants were starting to feel a little snug.  Having gone from size 40 to size 32 I am in no mood to undo all the hard work I’ve put in!

So we made a recommitment to get back to the grindstone.   I tightened up on my calories and got back to running.  Our local parks department is hosting a weekly 2 mile fun run.  I’ve been on three of them and each time I have been faster.  Last night the temperature at the start was 85 degrees.  Luckily the run happens at 8pm so the sun is close to the horizon.  At least I don’t have to deal with the full heat of the sun during my run.  This was still my hottest run ever and somehow it was also my fastest ever 2 mile run.  I came in at 17 minutes and 1.9 seconds.  My legs were like rubber as I crossed the finish line!  Last summer I did all my running on the treadmill.  I will still do a lot of my running on the treadmill but I am committed to doing as many of these fun runs as I can no matter how hot it gets.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?

Even on the treadmill I am pushing my fitness.  I now run 3 miles on the hill function.  Which involves a lot of hills!

The net result of this is not only did I lose those extra 5 lbs but I am now .2 lbs away from my goal weight of 155!  Now I have to decide if I want to maintain at a range of 150-155lbs or 155-160lbs.  I’m not sure about that just yet.  I love that losing weight through calorie counting has allowed me complete control over my weight.  If I start to gain weight I know exactly what I need to do to get rid of those unwanted extra pounds.  I don’t need to panic or freak out and go back to my old ways.  I am committed to this for the rest of my life.  And my sugar levels are still great.  This morning my fasting sugar was 77.  I’m hopeful I can stay off medication for the rest of my life.

And Chris is doing great, too.  She is a BEAST at the gym!  She loves lifting weights and I am seeing a real change in the way she looks.  I’m proud of her for sticking with this.  She has struggled with her weight for most of her life and knowing I have inspired her to do this makes me feel proud of myself too.  I haven’t been an inspiration to many people in my life.  I love that we are in this together.  We hold each other accountable.  She doesn’t let me off with anything and I keep her going too.  Our relationship is stronger than ever.  We are both in this for life.  And I will post more often to share our journey.

Seeing Is Believing!

latest comparison

So I just turned 48 a few days ago.  On the 21st to be exact.  The photo on the right was taken that day.  I can’t stop looking at it.  Not because I’m vain or anything.  But because that one photograph sums up everything I have achieved in the past year.  The photo on the left was taken in 2009 when I was at my heaviest.  Just after I had been diagnosed a diabetic.  Looking back at my life then it seems it was almost inevitable that I would become diabetic.  Poor diet.  Lack of exercise.  Serious weight gain.  Becoming diabetic was a serious wake up call.  It took me a while to hear that call.  It was only when the doctor wanted to put me on a second medication that is linked with causing liver problems that I finally woke up and realized I had to do something about it.

So I took up running.  And watched my diet.  I have lost 35 lbs in the past year.  Sometimes when I look in the mirror I can’t see the weight loss.  I know I’ve lost weight.  I know my stomach  is a lot smaller, (I think I just have loose skin issues now which is really annoying because every other part of me is slim.)  But the brain seems to take a while to catch up with the eyes.  Judging from posts I’ve seen on the MyFitnessPal forums this seems to be a common phenomenon.  But in the photo on the right I can SEE how much my face has changed.  For me it sums up everything I’ve achieved in the past 12 months.   It’s a face I haven’t seen in over 20 years.  You see, I wasn’t always overweight.  In fact, all my life up to my mid 20’s I’d actually been pretty skinny.  I guess I slowed down, but didn’t change my eating habits to match.  So the weight gained.  Slowly at first.  But in the past ten years I had a dramatic weight gain.

But now I see my old face looking back at me.  A little older, perhaps.  A few wrinkles starting to show.  A few crows feet around the eyes.  But it’s ME.  The real me.  Not the bloated puffy face I’ve had to look at for a while.  It’s like looking at an old friend.  And I like what I see.  I like how I feel.  I’m so much more confident now when out in public.  This healthy lifestyle is amazing.  I just wish I’d started twenty years ago when the weight started creeping on.  I can’t change the past.  But I can make sure the old me stays the new me for the rest of my life.

What I Have Learned About Weight Loss

Breathe

I’ve been on a health and weight loss journey for the past year.  In that year I have lost over 30 lbs, gotten off Metformin, a diabetes medication, and gone from not being able to run a block without breaking out into a cold sweat to being able to run 4 miles with no adverse affects.

I have learned a few things along the way.

1.  Be patient.  This is probably the hardest lesson to learn.  We all want instant results.  But I didn’t gain the weight in a day or in a week and I won’t lose it that quickly either.  Nor will you.  There are many fad diets out there.  Juice diets, shake diets intermittent fasting, etc.  They almost always promise quick results.  They almost always cost money and almost always are not worth it.  They may help you lose weight initially but when you come off them if you go back to your old eating habits you’re just going to gain that weight back again.  All I did was join a site called MyFitnessPal.com and log my calories.  Every day.  It sounds like a chore but in truth it just takes a few minutes a day.  It keeps me accountable.  I keep track of what I’m eating.  More important, it works!  And it doesn’t cost me a thing.  It taught me so much about my eating habits and how to keep my eating under control.

2.  A bad day shouldn’t derail you.  We all have bad days where we just want to binge.  If you have a day like that just pick yourself up, dust yourself down and start again tomorrow.

3.  It’s all about calories.  If you burn more calories than you eat you will lose weight.  It’s pure science.  If the weight isn’t coming off there may be a prevalent medical condition that is derailing you.  If you aren’t losing weight but you’re convinced you’re doing everything right get yourself checked out by your doctor.

4.  Weightloss is a simple process.  But it isn’t easy.  It takes determination.  Discipline. Patience.  Have I said that word already.  You will learn.  Patience is key.  But if you want it badly enough you will achieve it.

5.  Dieting is simple.  Keeping the weight off is the challenge.  This is the journey I’m about to embark on.  I’ve lost the weight.  I’m determined to keep it off.  Never go back!

6.  The most effective way to diet is not to go on a diet.  Sound confusing?  How many people do you know who go on a diet?  Then come off the diet and go back to their old eating habits and wonder why they’re gaining weight again?  If it’s your old eating habits that caused you to gain weight then of course you’ll regain the weight if you go back.

7.  The scale can lie!  When we want to lose weight we want to see the number on the scale drop like a stone!  Sometimes we hit a plateau and the scale stubbornly refuses to budge.  Don’t get disheartened and give up.  Look for other signs of success.  Look for NSV’s (non-scale victories).  Even when the number doesn’t drop other things are happening.  Maybe your clothes are fitting better.  Or getting looser.  Maybe your collar bones are starting to pop out, or your hip bones.  Maybe you find yourself able to do things you couldn’t do before.  Walk further or run without getting out of breath.  These are all signs you are on the right track.  Just keep doing everything right and the scale will start to drop again.

Through the past year I have learned a lot about myself.  I have patience and if I want something bad enough I can achieve it.  That’s very empowering.

Before And After

before and after

Sometimes when you look in the mirror it’s hard to see just how far you have come when you’re looking to lose weight.  The best way to really judge your progress is take photographs.  If you’re starting out on a weight loss journey I’d advise you to take several photos before you start.  It’s always good to have something to compare.  The photo on the left was taken in 2009 when I was at my heaviest.  The photo on the right just a couple of months ago.   Here I can really see the difference.  I’m almost at the weight I want to be.  It’s time to start maintenance.  I have made a vow to never again look like I did in the pic on the left.  I wasted 20 years of my life looking like that.

Never again!

The past year has certainly been eventful.  Getting off diabetes medication.  Losing over 30 lbs.  Getting fit.  Running.  And this is just the beginning.  I intend to start lifting weights more now.  I’ve lost the weight.  Now I want to tone myself up and get myself in better shape.  The weight loss journey may be ending.  But the healthy lifestyle is just beginning!

My Home Workout Routine

I thought I’d share my home workout routine.

I start with this one.  I don’t know what to call it so I’ll share the video the idea came from.  It’s the very first exercise.  I can testify you really feel it in your abdominal area.  I do 10 of them.

Then I do 10 leg raises, where you lie flat on your back and raise your legs, then lower them so your feet are just off the floor.

Then still lying flat on my back I lift the weights straight up and slowly lower them.  Again I do ten of these.

Still lying on my back  I lift the weights and stretch my arms behind me, before slowly lifting them back up and down to my side.  For the last one I also lift my feet off the floor slightly for a count of ten seconds.  Another set of ten.

I do five sets of each of those routines.

I then move off my back for the next round.  On all fours I stretch my left leg back out so it’s straight out behind me and back down for a count of ten then do the same with my right.  This works on your glutes and thighs.

Then a 50 second plank.  I’m working up to doing a minute plank.

Then ten push ups.

Again, five sets of this section.

For the final round I’m upright.  I do ten squats (although I’m going to increase the number.)

Ten bicep curls.

I lift the weights from my side straight outwards and back down.  Ten of these.

Then what I call my stretch and bend.  Where I lift the weights straight up above my head then bend to touch the weights to the floor.  You guessed it, I do ten!

Then it’s twenty Jumping Jacks.

Then I run up and down the stairs ten times.

Once more I do these in five sets.

The whole routine takes me one hour.

I finish with a delicious protein shake.

This is especially good when I can’t get to the gym or go for a run.

Plateau’s And How To Bust Them

“Weight loss is not linear.”  I’ve lost count how many times I’ve read those words on the MyFitnessPal forums.  And it’s so true.  Most people when trying to lose weight are ruled by the number shown on the scale.

The scale doesn’t move for a few days, or weeks.

Frustration.

The scale goes up a pound.

Freak out and reach for the nearest donut.  This is obviously not working!

But the scale doesn’t tell the full story.

And the scale lies.

I’m close to my goal weight now.  For the past two weeks or so I’ve been fluctuating up and down a pound.  Then I gained an extra pound.

I did not worry about it.  I did not stress out.  And I did not reach for a donut.

It’s all part of the game.

There are other ways to see the changes happening to your body.  Changes that are often more motivating than the number on the scale.

Your clothes start to fit better.

You can see changes in your face.

You start to feel bones you never felt before.  Or not for a long time, anyway.  Collar bones, hip bones.

If you work out, your fitness level starts to increase.  You find you can do things you couldn’t do before.  You can go longer.  You have more energy.

These are the things you need to look for when you’re on a weight loss / health journey. These are the things I used to keep myself motivated when the scale didn’t move.  No matter how frustrating a plateau can be, just keep doing the right activities.  Keep exercising.  Keep counting calories.  Plateau’s are just tests of your willpower and your determination to succeed.

My weight had gone up two pounds.  My wife and I went to a Zumba class on Saturday.  We had an hour of intense movement. And yesterday we had pizza for dinner.  Sunday I dropped a pound.  Today I’m another pound less so I’m back to my lowest weight since I started my journey a year ago.  In fact we’ve both lost two pounds!  Sometimes plateau’s happen because we get into a bit of a rut.  Our bodies get used to our routine.  The old saying, “a change is as good as a rest” is especially true when it comes to a healthy lifestyle.  Doing something different seems to shock the body into getting back on track.  Now I’m looking forward to resuming my weight loss.  I only want to lose another five pounds or so and then I’ll be in maintenance.

For those of you who are frustrated if your scale isn’t moving I hope this helps motivate you to keep on track.  And to stay away from those donuts.  Unless you can fit one into your weight loss plan, that is.

Zumba

One Incredible Year!

Chris before and after

before and after

The Runner.jpgWhat a year it has been, health-wise.  I started my health journey around the beginning of March 2015 after my A1C was 7.2 and my doctor wanted to put me on a second diabetes drug.  I’d already been taking Metformin since August 2008.  That second drug is strongly linked with causing liver damage.  I knew enough was enough.  It was time to take my health seriously.

After a brutally cold winter, March finally ushered in milder temperatures and off I went.  I walked at least an hour every day.  I slowly introduced running, using a variation of Couch To 5K.  My first major milestone was running my first mile.  By late April I was able to stop taking Metformin.  In June my A1C was 5.8.  In October it was 5.5 and I was told I was out of diabetic range.  I’ve lost nearly 40 lbs in the past year through a combination of counting calories and running.

My wife watched my dedication and it inspired her to join me in July.  We joined a gym and we love working out together.  She has lost 40 lbs and she is addicted to lifting weights.  We’re both in this for life.

I’ve been thinking a lot about my parents lately.  They both died way too young.   My dad passed away aged just 38.  He had a brain hemorrhage.  It was so sudden.  My mum died from leukemia at age 54.   Losing your parents so young makes you think of your own mortality.  Neither of us want to die young.  So going on this health journey is the best decision we could have made for our health.  We want to grow old together.

Being active is addictive.  I did an hour workout this morning.  Planks, squats, push-ups, leg raises, weight exercises and running up and down the stairs.  It was energizing!  I’ve actually done this same routine for the past 8 days.  I did each exercise in 5 sets.  For the planks I raised each one from 30 seconds to 45 seconds.  The last plank was for a full minute.  Each week I’m going to slowly raise the bar.  That stops the workout becoming stale.

If you need to lose a few pounds, or if you just want more energy I highly recommend some kind of exercise.  Your body will thank you for it.  It isn’t easy.  It requires commitment, dedication.  But the more you push yourself the better you feel.  And exercise becomes so addictive.  I can’t imagine not doing some sort of activity at least 4 or 5 times a week.  If I miss a few days I feel the difference.  My body becomes sluggish, lethargic.  And it can be a very sociable thing.  I’ve met a great bunch of people on Twitter.  Especially runners.  They are a great group of people and really encourage each other.  If motivation doesn’t come easy for you, finding someone to work out with might be the answer.  Christine and I motivate and push each other.  Accountability can be a powerful motivator.  I’m grateful that the doctor wanted to put me on a drug that’s linked with causing other major health issues.  Whether he intended to or not, he gave me all the motivation I needed to get my ass in gear and get moving.

If I Can Do It, So Can You!

Chris before and after

(The following blog is from my wife, Christine.)

I know many of you have been following our journey into health.  Especially Dave’s personal journey to losing weight, getting fit, taking up running and getting off his diabetes and heart medications.  I thought that it is time I finally wrote from my own perspective.

Last July, I’d just about had it and decided to lose weight and get fit at age 47!  I know that many people would agree with this.  Heck, so do I!  Sure, I have struggled with my weight since before time, (well if it *was* before time I would weigh nothing!) Ok, so it was as far as I can remember well into my teen years!

At first, I was only 30 to 40 pounds overweight.  Not so shabby!  I looked good in those size 14 jeans!   But, with the years and the stresses of life, came the stretches of fat!  Yes, I have tried most things.  Yes, even Weight Watchers.  Yes, I lost weight but then guess what?  Ah, you guessed correct!  More years, more stress and more stretches of the dreaded three letter word that begins with ‘F’!  (At least, I didn’t say a four letter word that begins with ‘F’! *grins*)

Fast forward to last July.  One day I will write a bit more about my struggles and life.  Now, I am very happily married to Dave, for nearly eleven years.  In the last year I have seen him take real charge of his health and fitness, kicking his diabetic and heart medications to the curb!  I have never been more proud of him than when he wrote his first novel.  He has taken up running and uses My Fitness Pal to log everything.  He has lost weight and is fit!  I am watching him and loving what I see and more importantly, what our doctor said to him, ‘you do not need to take your diabetes and heart medications anymore!’ I want the doctor to tell me I don’t need to take my high blood pressure meds anymore.  I want to look good and feel great!  I want to join my wonderful husband in our journey together in getting healthy!

Dave was my inspiration!

It isn’t easy, (who said life is easy?), but using a calorie tracker, My Fitness Pal, joining a gym, eating healthier, taking the Peak Performance Pack and of course with Dave by my side doing this with me, I have lost a total of 69 lbs and 8 inches from my waist and 6 inches from my hips. I am down 5 pant sizes. I am turning my fat into muscle and I feel great!

Dave was going through some old photos and found one of me from October 2005. I was at my cousin’s daughter’s one year old birthday party and dancing away. (This photo on the right is from Dec 2015.)

For other people struggling with their weight, it is never too late to get started! I am willing to help anyone who asks.

So, stay tuned.  The best is yet to come!

Heart Health Awareness

So February is National Heart Health Awareness month.  In honor of that this blog is to help raise awareness of one of the biggest killers in North America.  High blood pressure is known as the Silent Killer.  There are no symptoms.  Millions of people across the country have high blood pressure and don’t even know it.  High blood pressure can lead to strokes.  It’s also the leading cause of heart disease and heart attacks.  Poor diet and lack of exercise are the biggest cause of high blood pressure.

I’ve blogged extensively about how I’ve managed to get my diabetes under control through diet and exercise.  What I haven’t talked about so much is a few years ago I had heart palpitations and was on a heart medication.  For several months even walking up the block was enough to have my heart racing.  My resting heart rate was in the 90’s, often higher.  Exercise and weight loss were the key to getting healthy.  My resting heart rate now averages in the 60’s.  No more medication.  No more palpitations.  No more fear.  Once I took up running everything just fell into place.  I’m almost at my goal weight and am healthier now than I was when I was in my 20’s.

Christine has had high blood pressure for several years.  She’s on medication.  She has joined me on my health journey.  She works out at the gym.  She walks.  Her blood pressure has improved.  She was taken off one of her medications.  We’re working on getting her off the other.  She has lost 68 lbs so far.  I’m incredibly proud of what she has achieved so far.

If you’re overweight or if you’re simply inactive invest in your health now.  Once your health starts to go you’re on a slippery slope.  Your body will thank you for it later.

We are fortunate to be able to shop with a  Wellness company that has several products that give our heart health an additional boost.  Products like Provex CV, designed to naturally lower blood pressure.  FiberWise, fiber in a drink.  Delicious, too!  Phytomega, designed to help lower  cholesterol.  The Peak Performance Heart Health pack is a range of vitamins and supplements designed to keep your heart ticking along nicely.

We are partnering with Bankers Healthcare Group on this post today, a group dedicated to getting awareness of heart health to the general public.  We are proud to be associated with such a great cause.  I hope I have given you the inspiration to get healthy.  Because life is not much fun when you don’t have good health.  It can also get pretty expensive too, with doctors bills, surgery, etc.  It’s worth investing a few dollars to get healthy and save thousands on surgery.

This is their site if you want to learn more about them.

Bankers Healthcare Group

BHG_heart_health

 

My First Vegan Thanksgiving

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It just occurred to me that I haven’t blogged about my new vegan lifestyle for a couple of months.  I don’t want anyone to think I’ve fallen off the wagon and am afraid to admit it.  I haven’t touched a single slice of meat since I gave it up in June.  I’m continually surprised by how easy it has been.  I always used to say I could never give up my bacon.  I used to be a demon for eating meat.  I especially loved bacon cheeseburgers.  I cringe now to realize that for me to eat that, two animals had to be killed.  A cow and a pig.  I feel so sad to think how many of those I’ve eaten in my life. Oh if only I could turn back the clock and change my eating habits earlier.  But I can’t.  All I can do is keep up my new lifestyle.

And I will!

So next week is my first meatless Thanksgiving.  It’s time to go cold turkey.  Or make that cold tofurkey.  To be honest this will only be my 10th Thanksgiving.  I’m English.  I moved to the US in 2005.  In England I always ate turkey at Christmas.  So this Christmas will probably be the strangest of the two upcoming holidays.  We always have big family get togethers at Thanksgiving.  My wife and I are the only non meat eaters in the family.  So we’ll probably bring something to go with the veggies and potatoes.  And we’ll bring our own potatoes with vegan milk and cheese.  My wife always brings her special vegan stuffing.  I’m on the lookout for a special vegan recipe to bring with us to replace the turkey.  Hopefully we’ll come up with something good.  Suggestions would be very welcome. 🙂

I’m looking forward to showing the family that I am vegan for life.  So far they have been mainly supportive.  Although the mother in law keeps suggesting I could eat meat once in a while.  I guess some people just don’t understand. 

I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving this year.  I enjoy the occasions when the family gather together.  I never had that growing up.  My family was scattered far and wide.  So in case I don’t blog before, though I probably will, Happy Thanksgiving for next week to all who celebrate it. 

A Life In Balance

I created this blog and my Twitter account mainly to promote our home based business.  But my blog seems to have morphed into something bigger.  I have written several blogs about the GC Control shakes that I still drink daily.  They are still doing a great job in lowering my blood sugar level when it’s high.  I’ve been drinking them for a year and a half now. Note, I am not touting the shakes as some sort of miracle cure.  I know diabetics are often targeted by snake oil salesmen offering some form of miracle cure.  But the GC Control shakes are an excellent tool to help you control your blood sugar levels.

Recently I became a vegetarian.  I then quickly moved on to become a vegan.  My reasons are mainly ethical:  As an animal lover I could no longer just I ft to myself eating meat.  I’ve already written blogs that go into this.  But I have noticed that there are plenty of health reasons for making the switch.  I’ve already lost a few pounds and I find I have more energy.

As my blog is called 4 Paths To Wellness I feel this would be a good time to delve into what those four paths are:

1. personal.
2. Physical.
3. Environmental.
4. Financial.

More people these days are looking at their diet and realizing there is a connection between what they eat and how they feel.  The vegan lifestyle is becoming more popular, as evidenced by the growing number of vegan foods that are becoming available in mainstream grocery stores.  I was amazed the other night at the array of vegan options in our local Stop and Shop.  Vegan cheese, butter,  mayonnaise and even ice cream!

Gyms have always been popular.  People want to get in shape.  Obesity has become an epidemic.  Diseases like diabetes are consquently on the rise.  There is a definite need to take care of our health.  We need to take back our Wellness!

Diet and exercise are part of two paths to Wellness.  Personal and physical.  But so many people overlook the third path; environmental.  This can have more of a detrimental impact on our health than we realize.  We don’t pay enough attention to the cleaning products we bring into our homes and use daily.  Products that contain so many harmful chemicals and toxins.  We have a real toxic stew in our homes and we don’t even realize it!  Respiratory illnesses, like asthma, and skin conditions, like eczema, are on the rise.  Most of them are triggered by the chemicals in the store bought cleaning products.  We’re conditioned to go on buying them.  Mainly because everyone else does and because we don’t know any better.

There is another way!

While most people are thinking more about two paths to Wellness, personal and physical, we offer a way to align all four paths and help you to create a life in balance.

Veggie stir fry with eggplant

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We had the best dinner tonight.  So good I had to share it.  Well, share it digitally anyway.  Sadly there isn’t enough to go round for all my readers…

We had eggplant stir fry.  The eggplant was a bit of a cheat really.  It was something that had already been prepared.  In place of oil (as we’re trying to keep that to an absolute minimum) we used a can of tomato and basil soup as the base.  We added kale, broccoli, pearl onions, peas, zucchini, chick peas, we added some crumbled veggie burger and some seasonings.  We also added organic brown rice from Trader Joe’s.  Altogether, the meal came together perfectly.  We have a new go to meal.  The whole thing took about half an hour to prep and cook.  Next time I’d love to add mushrooms as I love their flavor. 

The meat eaters can keep their burgers, bacon and hot dogs.  They don’t even begin to compare to meals like this!

This would be good for anyone trying to follow #MeatlessMonday…

My First Vegetarian Victory

I had my first big test last night on my resolve to be vegetarian.  My wife and I went to a block party in Brooklyn.  There were chicken and sausages.  But there was plenty of vegetarian fare too.  My wife has been a vegetarian for over twenty years so the people hosting the party knew to make sure there was plenty of meat free fare to enjoy.  Most of the family didn’t know I’d just become a veggie so they must have been surprised!  So when I went to get my food I looked at the meat and wasn’t even tempted.  In fact I was a little revolted at the idea of eating it.  There was plenty of pasta, eggplant, broccoli etc.  I only needed a plateful.  It seems when you don’t eat meat you get satisfied more easily.  I’m also enjoying not having to put up with that uncomfortable bloated feeling that often comes with eating meat.  Especially red meat. 

I feel more secure and confident in my new vegetarian lifestyle.  Confident that I can maintain this.  Confident that I will never eat meat again.  It’s now over a week since I decided to give up meat.  I don’t miss it at all.  I haven’t had any craving at all for any of the meat I used to consume.  I don’t even miss bacon and I thought I’d miss that most of all.

I’ve also given up dairy milk.  I discovered coconut milk.  It actually tastes better than dairy milk.  I’m looking forward to my first trip to Trader Joe’s as a vegetarian.  I’m going to try vegan cheese and butter.  I’m not sure I’m going to go 100% vegan but I’ll go as close as I can. 

I feel better now I’m not eating meat.  I feel better emotionally.  My conscience is clear knowing no animals have to die for me to eat.  I’ve always been an animal lover.  I no longer felt I could say that and yet continue to eat animal flesh.  I also feel better physically.  I have more energy.  People often think you need to eat meat to get enough protein.  But, in fact, animal protein is actually the worst protein you can have.  Plants have protein.  Nuts and beans have protein.  I also eat a greater variety of food since I gave up meat.  I’m looking forward to experimenting with new dishes.  I’ll be sharing more blogs on my new healthier lifestyle.

Going Vegan?

It’s now five days since I stopped eating meat.  I made my decision Friday night.  Ironically after eating a chicken tikka dinner.  At least my last meat dish was a good one.

I fully expected to miss meat.  Maybe even to crave meat.  After all, I’ve always been fond of a good burger.  Or a bacon and egg sandwich.  But so far, nothing.  Even typing this out didn’t even give me a twinge of regret.  I guess my mind and body are really in sync on this!

It really began last Wednesday.  When , without realizing it at the time, I had my last burger.  It was a Wendy’s Baconater.  I’ve always loved a bacon cheeseburger and Wendy’s are one of my favourites.  Were one of my favourites.  But not any more.  So at least my last meat burger was a good one.  There’s a theme forming here…

Originally I had intended simply giving up meat.  Then I thought ‘I can give up eating cows and pigs, but maybe if I’m at a restaurant that has limited veggie options I can eat chicken.  Them the thought of eating chicken turned my stomach.  And I knew I would never eat meat again.

What I didn’t expect was the thought of going vegan.  It simply seemed too much hassle.  But as I started following people who are vegetarian on Twitter and Google +.  I started seeing all the stuff about dairy farming.  And I wanted no part of that either.  So last night we went to our local Stop and Shop and I bought a carton of So Delicious coconut milk.  I tried it on my cereal this morning and I really liked it!  So now I’ve given up cows milk too.  We have a Trader Joe’s store not far away.  They have a huge variety of vegetarian and, I believe, vegan food.  Maybe I’ll get to try some vegan cheese and butter.  After all, if I’m going to do this, I might as well do it right!

Right?

Not bad for a man who once told his wife she will never get him to go veggie.  She’s been a vegetarian for over twenty years.  I’d made sure she wouldn’t try to get me to change my diet.

I loved my burgers.  And bacon.  And shrimp.  And even while typing this I still don’t feel the slightest urge to go back.  Last night we did our first shop as joint vegetarians.  It was fun and really eye-opening to see all the non-meat food options available in a regular store.  And meat eaters think all we eat is vegetables!

I have my first big test coming this Saturday.  We’re going to a block party.  We went last year.  There will be plenty of meat dishes to try to tempt me.  It’s/mainly Italian food so there will be veggie dishes too.  Pasta.  Eggplant.  But will those meatballs and sausage and chicken dishes try to tempt back to the Dark Side?  I’ll tell you all about it in a blog on Sunday. 

Until then, happy good eating fellow vegetarians and vegans!

Making A Change For The Better

So it’s day three since I decided to become a vegetarian.  This might be the longest I’ve ever gone without meat.  Even when I was sick I would often have chicken soup. 
 
We went out to eat last night, my first restaurant meal since I cut out meat.  I tried eggplant rollatini for the first time and I loved it!  If I’m going to eat like this all the time as a veggie, I won’t even miss meat! 
 
My wife’s favourite food is eggplant parmagiana.  She has been a vegetarian for over 20 years.  I guess we can share when we eat out or taste each other’s meals! 
 
I’ve been reading up on the benefits of various vegetable dishes.  I’m a diabetic and I’ve been reading about how coconut, oats and soy all help regulate blood sugar levels.  So that’s another big reason to stay the course.  I’ve never read about any piece of meat having that sort of benefit.
 
So far I’ve had no cravings for any meat (although I know it’s only been three days and the real test is to come when I’m eating food with other people who are eating meat).  If I do feel any craving then I’ll just remind myself why I made the choice to become vegetarian.  I don’t see any major problem, though.  I simply don’t like the idea of eating meat anymore.  I’ve always been an animal lover and I just can’t live with the idea of an animal having to die so I can eat.  The simple truth is we don’t need to eat meat.  It’s not essential to our diet.  With the choices available to us today we can get all the nutrients we need from eating a vegetarian diet.  Most people eat meat simply because they’re conditioned to, because everyone else does and because it tastes good.  Those reasons are no longer enough to justify to myself any reason to continue eating a creature that had to be killed so I could eat it.
 
 My change came when I was eating a burger several days ago and the thought came into my mind that I’m eating a dead cow.  Suddenly that burger didn’t taste so good anymore.

And We’re Off!

Momentum leads to excitement.

Excitement leads to anticipation.

Anticipation leads to expectation.

Expectation leads to action.

Action leads to results!

Those words came to me a week or so ago.  We’re really starting to see the power in those words.

 

Gathering Momentum

Momentum leads to excitement.

Excitement leads to anticipation.

Anticipation leads to action.

Action leads to results.

Those words came to my head last night.  I know where they came from but this isn’t the blog to discuss that topic.

We’re feeling the momentum.  Business is slow at the moment.  Mainly because we seem to have a million other things clamoring for our attention.  When you have a nine to five type job it’s easy to be productive.  You have set hours.  You show up at a set time, do your work for a set number of hours then go home.

When you work from home it’s equally easy to get distracted.  Family get the idea that because you’re not at a desk in an office you’re available to them whenever they want you.  Plus you have a myriad of personal distractions competing for your time.  Self discipline is critical.  We haven’t fully acquired that, yet.  But we’re getting there.

Last night we were busy setting appointments.  The result is tomorrow we’re meeting with three separate people.  A busy day ahead.  We’re in the business of helping people.  Financially and health wise.  It feels good to be moving in that direction again.  Wish us luck for tomorrow!

We’re beginning to see that momentum.  Excitement is building, leading us to take action.

Now to go get those results!

Using It

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I was just sitting here, remembering something that happened when I was in my eary twenties.  I won’t say how long ago that was, but it was a few moons ago.  Or a fair few…

Ahem.

Anyway, at thet time I was a pretty keen photographer.  Actually, I’d only just gotten started.  I used to carry a camera around with me everywhere.  You never knew when a photography opportunity might present itself.

So there I was at a friend’s engagement party.  I only had a compact camera.  I’d just started out, and on the pay I was on then, I couldn’t afford anything fancy.  So this guy at the party (I learned he was the groon-to-be’s brother) took his camera out of a huge camera bag.  I think it was a Nikon.  All I know is it was pretty fancy looking.  Making sure everyone was watching, he screwed on a big lens, took out a big flash gun, slipping it into place on top of the camera.  Oh, he had all the bells and whistles!

I was all but drooling.

So, he put this impressive looking camera together, and then after looking around the room to make sure he was the center of attention he….

put it all away again.  Without taking a single shot. 

At his own brothers engagement party.

Needless to say, armed with my not so super-duper (but still pretty effective) compact camera, I took photos all night long.  The friend loved the pics too, and ordered loads of them.

So I guess the old saying holds true:  It’s not what you’ve got…it’s what you do with it that counts.

I’ve never really understood why some people are like that.  Do they not appreciate what they have?  Is it an attention thing?  Maybe some kind of status thing?  “Look at me, look what I have.”  It just seems such a waste to have something like that and choosing to do nothing with it.  Some people waste their lives.  Some people waste a gift.  It doesn’t really matter what it is.  Whatever you have, use it.  Take full advantage of it.  Because you can bet your bottom dollar that someone out there, who has less than you have, is making more of it, whatever “it ” may be.

Spring Into Action

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According to the calendar, Spring starts on Thursday.  Although having just been outside it’s hard to believe we haven’t slipped back in time to the middle of January.  The average high right now is supposed to be around 50.  According to my Weatherbug it’s currently 29 degrees.  Only 21 degrees below normal.  In the middle of March.  This has been a long harsh winter.  It’s time for Old Man Winter to get his grumpy butt out of here.  It’s time for some warmth.  At least we’ve missed out on several snow chances this month.  There have been a few snowstorms around, but they’ve all been shunted to the south courtesy of the media flavor of the month, the good old Polar Vortex.  How many times have we heard about the PV this winter.  Way too many times if you ask me.  The PV can bugger off back to its polar home where it belongs.  Bring on the 60’s and 70’s. 

When it gets as cold as this, we tend to hibernate.  I have to admit, I don’t like extreme cold and I don’t like extreme heat.  Am I too fussy?  Just give me 60’s and 70’s, and if we want to head to the beach, some 80’s would be good.  Yes, I admit it, I’m a wimp.  I’m from Britain, where it rarely gets too hot or too cold.  More often than not, the temperature is just right.  Why do I suddenly feel like a character from the Goldilocks fairytale?

Anyway, I have to admit, I could stand to lose a few pounds.  As I’ve already indicated, I hibernate during the winter. And working from home makes it all to easy to hide yourself away.  Thankfully I’ll be able to take advantage of our Vitality range with our company.  We have products that help us have a good workout, that gives us plenty of fiber and products that help us lose weight.  Once we get some decent mild weather we’re going to go walking.  We have an amazing snack bar that is scientifically designed to allow our body to burn excess fat.  And it tastes great!  Bonus! 

So bring on the warm sunny days, when the girls wear fewer clothes and I can get my legs out again.  I’m ready to walk!

Taking Time For What Matters

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Our lives are crazy these days. I’m sure many of you can identify with this. An elderly relative broke his hip last July and spent seven weeks in a rehab center.   We had to sort out his place, as well as visit him.  He went home, but as he was only able to get care for three hours a day for just three weeks, we had to go to his home every other day to help him out with laundry, shopping, cleaning etc.

A few months ago, he had a relapse and is now in a nursing home.  We have to prepare his place to sell it, as well as visit him as often as we can.  As well as prepare our place as we might be moving soon.  That’s a whole other story.

So, why am I telling you this?  I’ve been thinking the past few days, thank God we have this work from home business.  If we had regular jobs, either we wouldn’t be able to take the time off to give our relative the proper care he needed, or we’d have lost our jobs by now.  Let’s face it, what company in America is going to let you take so much time off to care for someone who needs you?  But as we work for ourselves, we can take all the time we need to give our relative the proper care and attention.  Family is so important, right?  They have to come first.  As it is, we both lost our jobs within three months of each other before any of this with our relative even happened.

Time.  We can never have enough of it.  Especially when we work long hours every day.  Our lives are fleeting enough as it is without spending so much time behind a desk, or wherever it is you work. Your job puts money in your bank, pays the bills, puts food on the table and keeps a roof over your head.  But it takes so much in return.  It steals so much of our time.  Time we could better spend with our family.  I work with my wife.  So we live together and we work together.  And believe it or not, it really works for us!  We get on so well.  We’re an amazing team.  As we have been so busy we haven’t been able to devote as much time as we’d like to our business.  But the check we get every month for the work we have already done keeps holding us over.

 

Wild Weather

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So we have another wild week of winter weather on tap.  January had two big snowstorms and a lot of bone chilling cold.  February hasn’t been as cold so far, but the snow just keeps on coming.  Yesterday we had 8 inches on Staten Island, NY.  Tonight we’re expecting snow and ice.  And we potentially have the biggest snowstorm yet.

So, what does this have to do with our business?  Well,  I feel sorry for everyone who has to struggle to work every day through all this inclement weather.  It can’t be any fun at all.

For us, this weather just gives us an excuse to stay home and make phone calls.  That’s the advantage of working from home, you see.  We get to pick and choose when we go out.  And when we don’t go out we can still work.  Making calls, blogging, internet marketing.  It’s all about getting the word out.  We’re not in sales.  We don’t sell at all.  We refer people to our company.  We’re marketers.  It’s fun.  It’s interesting.  Yes, it’s challenging at times.  But I prefer this sort of challenge to slogging to work and back day in, day out.  That’s no fun at all.

 

Keeping Your Integrity In Network Marketing

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Internet Marketing is a huge business these days.  With the wealth of social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Google + and LinkedIn giving us access to thousands of people, it’s so simple for us to get our message out there.  And then of course there are the blog sites such as WordPress.  This is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand, it’s so easy anyone can do it.  On the other hand, it’s so easy anyone can do it.  Even without knowing the best way to go about it.    

When a person decides to go into business with you, whether as a customer or as a business builder, it isn’t just your business that attracts their attention. No matter how good your business is, what’s the first thing your prospective customer is going to see?

You.

You are their first port of call.  You are the person behind the company, the person they are going to talk to.  You aren’t just promoting your business.  You’re promoting yourself.  And as they listen to your sales pitch they are going to be thinking one thing. 

Can I trust you?

Trust is the most important element, the glue that holds your business together.  It’s one of those things that can be so hard to gain.  But, so easily lost.  As you tell them what you have to offer, you need to be up front and honest.  Because if you lie to them, if you make it sound so easy when it’s not, they are not going to stay with you once they learn the truth.  So you have to prove to that person you are worthy of their trust.  To do that, you have to be trustworthy.  Internet marketing isn’t just about making money.  Obviously, that’s the biggest reason we do it.  But, it can’t be our only focus.  If you’re looking for customers you have to provide a good level of service.  It’s not just about making a sale.  Especially if you want them to come back for more.  If you are looking to bring someone into your business to partner with you, then you have to make it all about that person.  You need to put their needs first if they are going to stay with you for the long term. 

Remember, trust is hard to gain but so easily lost. 

W’ve been active on Facebook a lot the last couple of weeks.  We joined a lot of work from home groups.  We’ve seen good practices.  And we’ve seen bad practices.  Some people actually pretend they’re looking for a business to work with and ask you to friend them and send them a message with more information.  When you do, they pretty much ignore you.  But behind your back they’re trolling through your friend list, messaging your friends, trying to prospect them.  I made a post on Facebook about this.  A couple of people tried to make out it wasn’t such a bad tactic.  But we’re not convinced.  Most of us use Facebook to keep in touch with our family and friends.  Most of our family and friends have no interest in networking.  So we don’t feel they should be subjected to messages from people prospecting them. I don’t know, maybe we’re just naive.  We’re in a great business with the intention of helping people both with their finances and with their health.  Yes, we also want to make money.  But not at any cost.  Not at the cost of our integrity.  We want to be able to look prospective business partners in the eye and let them see that yes, they can trust us.  Maybe we won’t make as many contacts this way.  Maybe we won’t make as much money as some of the more bullish networkers.  But we’ll get there.  And we’ll have the satisfaction of knowing we did it the right way and we haven’t hurt anybody.

So what do you think?  Is integrity so important?  Or do you feel anything is justified when it comes to making a buck?

The Joys Of Working From Home!

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Ahh, what bliss.  It’s a delightful, gorgeous spring day.  The sun is shining.  There isn’t a cloud in the sky.  The temperature is near 80, but there’s a nice breeze to keep you from overheating.

Absolutely perfect for moving your office outside.  So that’s what I’ve done.  I’m sitting in our backyard with my laptop open and my phone by my side ready to make a few calls.  One of the biggest benefits of working from home is being able to enjoy the nice weather when it comes.  After the chill of winter and before the heat of summer, this is my favorite time of the year.

I do feel sorry for anyone who’s stuck in an office today!