3 simple things I did to lose 30 pounds and keep it off

I am no diet guru, no fitness expert this blog is mainly focused around anxiety issues. 2021 has been a year where I have decided to broaden the scope of the blog and one of my personal triumphs is something I want to chat about today. I turned 50 on 2.2.20 and weighed 238. I talk about the specifics in my blog post here:

So why am I posting about it today? Because one of the hardest things to do is lose weight, harder still is to keep it off. I have done it successfully and I’ve done it by employing 3 simple techniques below.

  1. I move: That includes scheduled trips to the gym but more importantly I do what I can to move as much as possible. Walk more, take stairs if I can, anything to be as mobile as possible. 2 calories here, 7 there you’d be surprised at how much it adds up. Doing laundry burns calories…
  2. I eat the least amount of processed foods I can: This is harder than it reads as there is processed food in the U.S. everywhere. Further I am not advocating you go out and hunt and process animals, although its fine if you do. The point here is take the time to read the ingredients of the food you eat. If there are more than 5 it’s probably time to consider something else.
  3. I weigh myself daily: Sometimes multiple times. There are several articles on the web discussing the pros and cons of weighing yourself. For me it keeps me honest and If I am ticking up I start to cut back. Couple of weeks ago I was at 216 had a weekend of good food cocktails etc. That week I focused on my discipline and got back to 213 I am not at 208-210 (fluctuates)
The Importance of Sleep
Sleep is the secret weapon to weight loss

Losing weight is hard and if you are on that journey the best advice I can give you is start with adjusting small things. Less sugar in your coffee, one extra walk a week. Its cumulatively where it can be overwhelming. This journey is a marathon not a sprint and small changes you can actually implement become victories which accumulate into a snow ball effect. 2-5 small changes usually get you on the path to 1-2 larger changes.

I will be on this journey for the rest of my life now. I am currently working on more sleep, a hard fight in of itself due to my lifestyle. If you are on a weight loss journey don’t be disheartened, just take one day at a time, be honest with yourself and rack up as many small victories as you can.

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How to be a great dad: How to ensure your daughter has good relationships with men.

This is another post in my series of how to be a good guy/better man. I see all over the web about MGTOW and men checking out and to be blunt I completely understand why. We aren’t going to get into that in this post but I want to make sure I am clear here, traditional gender roles, traditional relationships and traditional marriage might not be for you regardless of gender. I happen to be in one, by choice many years ago and that is the context of this advice.

Children watch adults and mirror behaviors. I don’t think that is going too far out on a limb, it’s how we all learn by exposure to situations, observation and modeling successful outcomes. That out of the way let me state for the record I am no expert in women romantically, I mean I have had a decent amount of romantic relationships in my time but I am years removed from that.

I am however experienced and nuanced in female relationships. I spent a lot of time with my Grandmother and mother, I have sisters, I have a wife, I have a daughter. IMHO I have observed the women in my life conduct themselves in just about every normal situation you can think of. Again this isn’t a post that is pertaining to sex but rather real life (power goes off, flat tires, sick spouses, politics, work issues). So while I am not going to proclaim I am an authority I do have a broad scope of experience.

OMG is this guy going to get to the point….

How do you ensure your daughter has a good relationship with men as a dad? Conduct yourself toward the women in your life the way you would want a man to conduct himself with your daughter. Your daughter is watching you and how you treat women and it’s the most likely influence for her to base her future relationships with men. Treating women with respect, and conversely expecting women to treat you with respect is paramount. Respect leads to trust, trust leads to several positive outcomes in personal relationships.

If you are an angry aggressive man, chances are your daughter ends up with one. Are you a pushover, and are miserable at work and your spouse doesn’t treat you well? That’s likely to be what your daughter does as well. The point here is pretty simple, your daughter is looking to you for more than just the normal emotional support you give children but what she should be looking for in a man in the future, if she in fact wants one.

It’s not just how you behave in the home or with family that is crucial it’s how you expect others to treat you as well. Stand up for yourself, be compassionate but confident. Be understanding but firm. Work on yourself as best you can, work on improvements where you deem it needed and remember she is watching you.

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Tinnitus Sucks

I have Tinnitus. What is that? It’s a constant ringing in my ears. Some days are louder than others but it is ALWAYS there. Millions of people have it and there is no cure. When I was younger I went to a lot of concerts and clubs. I partied a lot and just didn’t care, I’ve literally been in clubs passing a joint (what is it now a blunt?) drinking a beer and leaning back on my friend’s amp while they played at the venue. The early 90’s bar and club scene was a lot of fun I don’t regret most of it but now that I am 50+ my hearing is suffering.

Back then we didn’t have these super charged car bases you see from time to time on the road. I can hear them sometimes a block away and I think about the people in that car and realize that they are doing irreversible damage to their hearing. They will pay for it years down the line, I know I did it. What’s the point of this post?


Now we have ear buds to boot. Our I phones are more powerful than the PC’s we had in the 90’s you can literally listen to pod casts all day, you tube, Spotify whatever you want at max volume. I have no wonderful advice for you above my exclamation above. Think of it this way, if you are one of my younger readers, take a minute and consider what you think life is going to be like at 50, 60 or 70?

There are a lot of really awesome things at those ages. As an example I am enjoying my kids as young adults now its super cool. The choices you are making now will affect you later, trust me this isn’t some scare tactic or B.S. post to scare you. It’s a fact, what you are doing now will affect you years from now. one of the things hardly anyone talks about is hearing loss and the damage you do to your hearing at an early age.

See it’s not apparent early, it takes years for this to manifest itself and it will. This isn’t like smoking where you can stop and over time your lungs heal themselves. Nope, you damage your inner ear and it takes a monumental effort to heal. Why? Because it still has to work. Even if you stuff cotton in it (don’t do this BTW) the ear is still trying to send signals to your brain and when one ear is damaged the other can’t easily compensate.

Don’t believe me? Say whatever you want, I can’t hear you anyway….

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Anxiety – Tips for coping with reopening when you have a chronic illness

Generally, I do 1-2 articles on Anxiety a week since I started this blog. I have covered the topic pretty extensively and like any subject there comes a point as a writer that you run the risk of redundancy. Keeping that in mind there is value in reinforcing good concepts particularly with anxiety. Today we are going to reference an article here that gives you 8 tips for coping with reopening when you have a chronic illness

From the article: “With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) changing mask requirements and states easing restrictions, it’s easy to feel like we’re overreacting. It’s important to remember in times like this, however, that dealing with our anxieties is vital.”

The article covers several good tips on how to cope with our new reality. It’s highly likely you have seen similar tips in your travels before. It’s never a bad thing to reinforce positive inputs when you have anxiety. As an example the article talks about setting boundaries which is a very tricky skill to master. Right now might be the best time in your life to start setting firm boundaries as most people will understand that post Covid things are still dicey for many people.

Did you get the poke ?

We don’t normally shift this quickly as humans, particularly ones with Anxiety. For over a year we heard the constant drum beat of fear. “WEAR A MASK!!!!!” “GET VACCINATED” everywhere you looked someone was shouting something about Covid and how you should be acting then POOF! The CDC issues a new edict and the masks are off and everything is back to normal. This is a huge trigger for some people, maybe you are one of them.

Slow down, take your time and focus on priority situations first. Work is a must, groceries, utilities, helping family. Focus on the most important things in your life first, get into a rhythm under our new reality and over time you can start incorporating new/old events into your life. Maybe your archery club is opening up again? Is the dog park open? Kids back in after school sports? On and on. You don’t have to jump back into everything right away.

Everyone is in the same boat and everyone has to get back in on their terms. Don’t let others around you foster emotional responses based on their actions. I might be fine with taking off my mask and going to the store, you might not be there yet and that’s okay. You are doing awesome, one day at a time.

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Am I contagious?

“Why did you leave your last job?” – How to deal with this question if you were terminated

I have been fired twice in my life, I deserved it both times. Neither was recent but both were during my professional career, meaning I’m not talking about being 16 and getting fired from McDonalds. In both instances I made mistakes and one of them was pretty big. So if you have been fired, I’ve been there. I wish I had some magical advice that would absolve you of this black mark, I don’t, it doesn’t exist. Until you put years (a decade normally) of work between that event and your current gig you’re going to have to answer for it.

In nearly every interview I have been on, and every interview I have personally conducted I asked some form of this question. As the hiring manager I have a limited view of you as the applicant. At this point I have your resume which is the highlights of your career, I’ve done a google search, I’ve looked at your social media if it’s under your name (Facebook, LinkedIn etc.) so I have an impression already. This question though is key and how you answer it makes or breaks my impression.

So here is the first thing to keep in mind as the applicant: The person interviewing you has a work story too. Like I said in the opening, I’ve been fired. Someone gave me another chance, I might give you one. Don’t assume the question is meant to trip you up or expose you negatively, it is meant as a general gauge to know why you want to work here. The hiring manager rarely cares about why you left, but why you want to work there. More money, better commute, shitty boss…..

The second thing to keep in mind as the applicant: Why EXACTLY were you fired? You have to be very specific here and study this and rehearse it in your head. You likely have a formal reason for being terminated from your last job, that formal reason is the ONLY reason. Let me explain. Maybe you were terminated for repeatedly being late. That’s a valid reason, and there may be a valid reason why you were late, I’m not asking for the later. The point? You answer the question directly with as little elaboration as possible and without talking negatively about the prior role.

Some jobs are forest fires

Now a good interviewer is going to ask follow up questions “why were you late” that’s natural and you should expect it. At this point you have a choice. You can be honest, you can be less than honest, or you can lie. It’s highly likely I as the hiring manager that I will never get the actual details of your dismissal, your prior company isn’t going to share it with me, you are my only source of detail for this event. Choose carefully here because lies tend to lead to horrible long term outcomes. That said if you were having an affair with the boss’s spouse at your last job you might want to not share that specific either.

People are terminated all the time it happens you aren’t the first person. If this was a mistake at work you own it, tell them you learned from it and be upfront. If this was a personal situation, like being late because say your kid had an illness, you can share it without playing a sympathy card. If this was a character issue, you stole, you harassed someone, you got into a physical fight with your boss (yes I’ve seen it) these are far trickier and require you to cultivate several references that will affirm you have corrected this issue.

So how do you deal with this question if you have been terminated prior? When in doubt tell the truth. As a hiring manager I am going to respect the hell out of you for owning it, and I will realize how tough that was for you to say it to me directly. Little do you know I’ve been fired too.

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Couple of quick thoughts on “FIRE”

FIRE = Financial independence retire early. It is one of the newer concepts in the finance world and the practioner of it have some amazing stories, many are complete successes. Make no mistake about it, this is an extreme practice in the sense that your goal is to save as much as possible as fast as possible to achieve enough capital to generate income that enables you to retire early. Most of us have been trained by the media, government and financial professionals that you want to work until you’re in your 60’s then retire.

FIRE looks at those principals and proposes “Why not retire at 35 and take back 25 years of my time?” It’s a great concept and If done correctly is absolutely viable and something everyone should strive for. The issue is how do you come to a point where you are able to save 50-75% of your income? That’s essentially the range you’re going to have to hit to achieve this goal to retire in your 30’s, depending of course on your income year over year but that range is generally accepted in the FIRE movement.

What does that actually look like?

  1. No vacations
  2. Cheapest food possible
  3. Second hand clothes
  4. Used cars
  5. Cheapest rent possible
  6. Minimum utilities (no cable, no Wi-Fi)
I’m begging you, no more lists….

To list a few. See this is the hardest part and it’s something a lot of the FIRE sites don’t go into too much detail on. The fact is you have to have extreme discipline and sacrifice for a short to mid amount of time to achieve the long term goal. 10 years of living a minimalist life while accumulating as much income as possible while everyone else lives life? That takes a unique person to pull off but the payoff is what makes it all worth it. Imagine for a moment you have accumulated 400-800K thousand in savings via investments whatever by 35 and have no debt?

Could you live on that for 40 years? Yes, you probably could. You would not be leading an extravagant life style though. New Lexus? Nope. Vacation homes? Not likely. European trips once a year? Probably not. If you invested your money well and the markets return their historic averages which is between 8-10% on a 600K nest egg you would be generating between 45-60K a year (estimated).

That would all be passive income, you wouldn’t be working and you would have the benefit of being able to do whatever you want with your time. FIRE is a very unique nuanced movement it does work, you can do this, but it takes the right person to pull off. I admire the people that have done this, I didn’t I took a more traditional route and now in my 50’s I have a great financial situation but I’m 20 years removed from many of the FIRE practioner. I could probably retire now but that would mean my kids would have to pay their own educations which isn’t horrific, I mean I did it….

Maybe FIRE is right for you, I don’t know. If you really want to retire early you have to start working on it ASAP. Generally, the best way to accumulate wealth is to be debt free so all of your income you generate is not sent to someone else. Simply put, anything you can’t pay for outright you can’t afford and “payments” are giving someone else money so you can have something you can’t afford. You need to get out of that cycle ASAP and stop sending other people your income. Once that happens all your income can be used to generate more income and build your wealth profile. It piles up fast, but it remains stagnant if you do nothing.

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When Anxiety turns into a panic attack

If you have anxiety you might be exposed to, or have had a panic attack. This is the physical manifestation of your anxiety. Often it doesn’t play out as the person think’s it will, meaning the “panic” doesn’t nearly equate to the situation more often than not. However that doesn’t minimize or negate what is actually happening to you. Panic often delves into physical conditions that impact you negatively. Examples:

  • Shortness of breath or hyperventilation
  • Heart palpitations or racing heart
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Choking feeling
  • Feeling unreal or detached from your surroundings
  • Sweating
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Feeling dizzy, light-headed, or faint
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Hot or cold flashes
  • Fear of dying, losing control, or going crazy

The real problem is these attacks can happen at any time. Literally ANYTHING can be a trigger and this is, for a lot of people where anxiety ends up. They live in fear not of, I don’t know, let’s say spiders, but the PANIC that seeing the spider will invoke. I’ve never had a serious panic attack, I have heard in my life when the subject comes up in my social circle there is an immediate dismissal. “It’s not that bad” or “They made a mountain out of a mole hill”.

What that narrative does is it creates the conditions by which someone who might have panic attacks has even more anxiety about it. Our culture celebrates strength and fortitude in essentially all ethnic backgrounds for each gender. Having anxiety that leads to a panic attack doesn’t make you weak, it’s not something you should be ashamed of and if you have people in your life telling you it’s not a big deal you should consider strongly limiting your time with them.

In extreme cases a panic attack can lead to death, either by suicide, heart attack or loss of control of your faculties. BREATHE!

I am not patronizing you, it sometimes is that simple. Even if you are in the middle of a grocery store and you think people are staring at you and you are in full panic, take slow deep breaths. 10 slow deep breaths is a minute of your life, you can do this and any social anxiety you may derive from that 1 minute where you think people are staring at you will dissipate quickly as your panic starts to decrease with every breath.

You aren’t alone, you are not abnormal. You have anxiety and you need to be honest with yourself about it. When in doubt, take a deep breath.

Wisdom from the past, and present…

“Don’t live the same year 75 times and call it a life.”
― Robin S. Sharma

Robin Sharma is an author who deals primarily in business leadership. His resume of companies he has worked with is not only notable but extensive. He is not a main stream name, many people have no idea who he is and honestly would never need to read his material. Like all good authors he, from time to time gives us a pearl of a quote. Let’s discuss it a little bit.

The quote itself is pretty obvious, how do we parlay this wisdom into the present? We are coming off lockdowns and travel restrictions and the narrative is “let’s get back to normal”. Do you want to go back to the routines you maintained prior to covid? Do you want to live the same year again?

Perhaps for you this is the time to continue the disruption of covid in a positive way. Perhaps changing your “normal” is a good thing. I’ve lived the same year multiple times, it’s easy because routine breeds comfort and comfort swallows time. Think of ways you can change your old normal. Travel more? Get a pet? Volunteer? ?

It’s a great time to change your personal narrative and not fall back into the old normal you used to partake in. Before you know it you will be 75, take me for example… I am closer to 75 now than I am 25. Don’t live the same year over again. Try something new, force yourself, who knows it might be the thing that at 75 you look back on and smile.

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“What’s your position on the whole LGBTQ movement”

I was asked this question recently in an email and I had to think about it longer than I anticipated but likely not for the reason you think. I had to think about the word “movement” and what that meant, in context. You see I don’t look at it as a movement per se, I look at it as a reality more pronounced than before. I’m not going to profess to be highly educated in all the nuances of the LGBTQ community you would see right through that. I can however tell you what my “position” is, keeping in mind that I am a heterosexual middle aged white male….

1.4 Personal Relationships

“Sexual orientation, preference, gender, or gender identity should have no impact on the government’s treatment of individuals, such as in current marriage, child custody, adoption, immigration, or military service laws. Government does not have the authority to define, promote, license, or restrict personal relationships, regardless of the number of participants. Consenting adults should be free to choose their own sexual practices and personal relationships. Until such time as the government stops its illegitimate practice of marriage licensing, such licenses must be granted to all consenting adults who apply.”

This means Everyone

This is literally a regurgitation of the Libertarian Party platform but it accurately encapsulates how I view LGBTQ issues. I am baffled at some of the angst we see on all sides. Adults have the right to pursue whatever it is that makes them happy as long as it does not adversely affect others. If you are screaming in my face that I am a Nazi because I won’t fly the rainbow flag at my house, that’s a problem. On the flip side, why would I ever want to deny someone their right to say be a Naval Officer?

If the individual conducts themselves in a respectful legal way, what possible rational could I have to deny them anything? The question on the title was posed to me by someone who is deeply religious, which I am not. To them it was an affront to their religion that someone would engage in behaviors outside of their belief system. It was at that point that I had to conclude that I could not actually provide an answer that would make sense to this person because they were irrational.

What exactly was irrational? The notion that their belief system should be applied, in judgement, to others who do not believe the same. Now the flip side happens too, I’ve seen hundreds of examples of people calling others Nazi’s online because they are religious but this was the question that was asked to me, below is my response.

“I believe law abiding adults should have the ability and right to pursue whatever it is they decide makes them happy. Isn’t that why the gods gave us free will?”

Now the conversation went off on another tangent here because I used the term “gods” not “god” that’s another post for another day. The point? Life is very short and using your time to make yourself happy should be a priority. There is no reason to harm, block or chastise others because you feel differently about their choices. If they aren’t harming you leave them alone.

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For those with Anxiety: How to tell if you have a great boss

If you are functioning with Anxiety bravo you are doing well. Given how crap the world has become with politics, covid on and on it’s a wonder sometimes any of us get out of bed. If you are now back to work (in the states) or have been going to work all along, or if you are in the midst of a huge surge like our friends in India are enduring you likely still have to deal with work stress. Number 1 cause of work stress? Bad Bosses, coworkers are a close second.

If you have a bad boss you already know it, but how do you tell if you have a great boss? There are of course so many in-between that make up the vast majority of work bosses. Everyone has good and bad days you have to understand that. Good bosses? They are out there and that ideally the norm for all of us, great bosses however do 2 things regularly. They ask the two questions below, with the following elaboration…

  1. “How you doing” – This isn’t just the passing in the hall greeting this is them coming to your work area and asking you. They elaborate by asking about your family, your personal hobbies (if they know it). This may seem like a superficial attempt to become your buddy and it may be but a boss that takes the time to ask this and does so consistently does so because they genuinely care about you. Sure it might be that they care you are doing well to better your work performance but they still care.
  2. “How can I help you win” – This, in context to the first question is in all candor likely in reference to winning at work. A great boss understands that in order for you to be very successful at work you have to be doing well in all facets of your life. This question may seem odd and again self-serving to the person asking but anyone that wants to help you win, even if it benefits them as well is an asset that you want to nurture.

Don’t confuse these two questions with some notion of attaining a deep relationship with your boss where you are having BBQ’s together and your families hang out that’s likely not to happen. It is within the context of you doing well at work. A great boss cares about you as a whole person and asks these questions genuinely to help and make your life better. As someone with Anxiety that is a huge win, we need more people in our lives that want to make things better for us, even if it means they gain as well. I’ll take all the positives I can get.

So ask yourself, when was the last time your boss asked you either of these questions? Do they ask regularly?

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