1 year later…. I turned 51 and I lost 25 pounds during covid ! (how I did it)

Hey folks, no this isn’t turning into a “my weight loss journey blog” but I wanted to share with you one of my personal triumphs. I turned 50 on 2.2.20 and I decided I needed to lose weight. I was not obese, I worked out regularly and ate well, but I carried fat like most people. I am 6’1 on my 50th birthday I weighed 238 pounds. Shirts fit, pants were sized 36-38 waist overall I felt in decent shape for someone my age.

So when I decided to lose weight it wasn’t for a health reason, it was pure vanity. I know, that’s shallow and slightly obtuse but it’s the truth. I just wanted to look better. When I was in my 20’s I had abs was athletic, I was hot or so I am told, lol. Fast forward 30 years, still muscular, more fat, less hair, no abs. So 50 is one of those catalyst moments, one of your Gen X friends will confirm this I assure you. You really look at where you are, where you have been and where you are going.

Yes, you are nearing the end of middle age closing in on retirement age and progressing toward elderly. For me 80 is as close as 20 was, and its where I hope to be but still think about where I had been. So I decided to lose some weight. The goal was to get to 200 pounds. I was 195 when I was 24 years old and I thought “that would be cool to get back to that” well, I failed to hit that mark but on my 51st birthday 2.2.21 I weighed in at 211 a 27-pound loss over 1 year.

Squats
Squats = Weight loss

How did I do it? We had Covid, we had holidays, winter, 2020 worst year ever…. On and on. Below is a list of 3 things I changed that resulted in this weight loss that I have managed to keep off.

  1. Intermittent fasting 16/8: Now there are entire blogs and web sites dedicated to this and there are several strategies. I employed the 16/8 strategy, I eat between 12 and 8 PM. The mornings are the hardest because I get up early and it’s a long window. Yes, I’ve had days where I cheated but 90% of the time I stuck to it.
  2. Increased activity:  I walked more than ever before. We had about 3 months where gyms were closed but I still go and went to the gym 3 times a week minimum during 2020. From push-ups at home to driving to trails and walking to more sex (yes!) I increased my physical activity across the board. Shoveling snow instead of the snow blower, raking leaves, mowing the lawn, moving stones I created opportunities to be physical.
  3. Reduced carb intake: I didn’t go full keto but I ate more keto (if that makes sense). I cut out breads, cut out sugars, cut out as much carb heavy food as I could and replaced it with higher fat foods. I didn’t count calories really, but I ate smarter. For example, I made an effort to cut my meal sizes slightly (so instead of three eggs two) and eat more frequently. This meant smaller meals more often which made me full and resulted in me eating less.

Now will these work for you? I don’t know but it’s how I did it. Minimally, increasing your activity and not changing anything else should result in a net weight loss for you. I found the hardest thing was the intermittent fasting personally. I don’t think that is for everyone it just happened to work for me. Changing up what foods you eat was surprisingly easy for me but I am not a vegan or vegetarian so I didn’t have any issues there.

Weight loss is a challenging endeavor, if you embark on it be honest why you are doing it. It made it way easier for me to achieve my goal by being honest that I just wanted to look better. No shame in that IMHO, and if your journey is for health reasons all the better.

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Oscar Wilde

“2020 Worst year ever” – Now what?

This will be short and sweet (well maybe a little sour). We can all agree 2020 was a bad year pretty much everywhere. Hopefully you came out of it with minimal scarring but here we are entering the 3rd week of January. When we proclaim “2020 Worst year ever” that leaves us very little wiggle room in 2021. What happens if things don’t go the way you want it? Will it be “2021 worst year ever?”

At some point we have to decide to push back, 2020 was exhausting at every level. IMHO everyone gets a pass for being lethargic, complacent, compliant, apathetic. That’s over now and its time for a good old fashion kick in the ass. We have to get motivated again, we have to push and retake back the things that make our lives have greater value.

I love going to the movies, it’s a simple pleasure really, it’s been tried and tested and a good formula existed. For me that is one of my goals in 2021 is to go back to a movie theatre, get a large popcorn and soda and watch a great movie. I don’t know if it will happen, but even if I have to travel to another state I am doing it.

I have to get out of my home office.

Why? Because that small thing adds value to my life and I miss it and I’m not willing to just let it go. What was it for you? What did you have to let go of in 2020? Get out there and get it back, no more excuses no B.S. I am not going to let people shame me, I’m not going to stay locked inside in fear. Life is to short and time is running out for all of us. I’m not going to be reckless, I will respect other people and their health concerns, I will continue to wear a mask, but I am going to start clawing back the things that made my life more enjoyable.

I know it’s silly, small and stupid “he wants to go see a movie” I know, but I am doing something about it, I am taking back something I once had. I’m not blaming anyone, I am just fighting back against what was “2020 Worst year ever” are you?

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New Year’s Resolution?

“2020 worst year ever” was the mantra for most of last year. It’s over you made it. What changed exactly from 12.31.20 to 1.1.21? Not a whole hell of a lot really. Change happens when you commit to it, and change is one of those romantized notions that people cling to in the hopes of a better outcome. New leaders, new seasons, new year’s, new clothes, new jobs on and on.

How do you feel? I’m betting you feel pretty close to the same as you did in 2020. I’m not chastising you here I am trying to knock the steam out of a potential failure. So many people pin their hopes on a “new year” a “resolution” and it rarely works out. Why is that? Because the changes you seek are often desired to have immediacy. Simply put, you want big changes as fast as possible and change doesn’t work that way.

What’s going to make 2021 better for you? Have you identified that yet? Changing your life requires momentum and momentum is achieved often by small incremental steps not huge leaps. Sure some people can make massive strides fast and maybe you are one of those people I don’t know. What’s an example, okay let’s try this.

I once resolved to quit coffee…. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…. Ya no.

You want to lose 40 pounds, you make large changes in your diet exercise, you go all in. in a month you are exhausted, you are binging food and it’s just “one cheat day” before you know it its march and the 40-pound goal is gone. OR you could change one part of your diet. “I am no longer going to drink soda” now which do you think will be more successful?

You may stray once and while and chug a soda, but it’s a far easier goal to attain then the mountain you wanted to climb by losing 40. Here is the point. Small Incremental changes lead to long term positive outcomes. By creating large resolutions, we place ourselves in a position to not succeed. I didn’t say fail because effort is a success. Smaller more attainable goals build momentum and create the conditions by which you can parlay them into larger success. Here are 5 small resolutions to strive for instead of one huge one.

  1. Eat less sugar
  2. Save $20 a week
  3. Turn the screens off at 10:30 PM
  4. Take 3000 steps a day
  5. Volunteer once a month

Small changes provide a great chance for successful outcomes. This in turn provides a great chance to parlay those successes into smaller changes, medium changes or eventually into large life altering changes. A new year is a great time to resolve to do better. Put yourself in a position to succeed in 2021 by making a few small changes first.

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2020 – Blog Review – 2021 The Future

These types of posts are hard to do in the sense that as the author you know that its not going to be informative or relevant for many. Meaning, most people come to your blog because they want to read about a specific issue to them that you covered. Yes many of us have devout readers and I suppose to them its interesting. All that said, I think its important to go over the last year and preview what is to come.

2020 – Notes and Summaries:

  • The blog grew over 400% in views and visitors
  • The blog grew 152% in subscribers
  • The blog had total near 7000 hits.

Now those might not be big numbers for your blog but for mine that’s remarkable growth. It takes a long time to build a community when your blogging. I am not doing this for  commercial reasons, its just my little corner of the web. Yes I do some marketing, Twitter, Minds etc but I am not doing the full push. I don’t plan to, I like the organic growth. 2020 wasn’t a great year, I turned 50, my youngest graduated high school and started college. Its been challenging.

2021 – What to expect

  • There will be no ads or solicitations on this blog
  • I will do more posts on finance
  • I will do more posts on current events

2021 I am hopeful the blog will have a similar growth trajectory. 400% growth in views and visitors year over year is a big ask. I’d like to reach 500+ subscribers though, that would be super cool.

Expanding on 2021 what to expect

  • This isn’t a commercial blog I am not doing this for money so no ads or solicitations for 2021.
  • My most successful posts overall as a category were finance related. I cant ignore that and while this wont be a finance blog, I am interested in that subject and apparently so are some of my readers.
  • Now that the wave of politics is mostly over and covid is winding down, I want to write on current events. (sports, movies, culture).

As always the heart and soul of this blog will be anxiety releated. Not exclusive but the context will always be dealing with anxiety in context. I really appreciate your continued support of my blog. It helps keep me motivated when I see likes, or people comment, and people subscribe. If there is any content you ever want me to post about please reach out to me via the contact page. Last, thank you for those who shared my content, reposted and actively helped me promote the blog I really, really appreciate it.

Onward to 2021.

Karac

Dressing to feel good !

More advice from a 50-year-old (me) bye bye 2020.

This is more of a pep talk post. 30 years ago, I was unemployed, out of work, living on a friend’s couch, smoking drinking, partying with absolutely no direction at all. My family was broken, my siblings spread out all over the country, my father deceased, my mother a raging alcoholic. I had no hope, I had no support, I was hanging on by a thread.

Things got progressively worse for me, the 1980’s turned to the 1990’s and it looked like I was going to be homeless and broke. I caught a break, I hooked up with a girl friend who had her shit together. She got me a job at the company she was working at. The boss there told me, and I will never forget this. “You have an opportunity here to change your life, if you mess it up, it’s all your fault”. It wasn’t prophetic, it wasn’t an epic line from Shakespeare etc. It was though a chance, and I took it.

2020 the world was on fire, 2021 is near will the flames subside?

I stayed with the GF for a year, I banked as much money as I could. We didn’t last, she changed jobs and changed boyfriends. I held the job though, I had enough resources to afford a very cheap apt, food, I was living. I was able to reduce my drug intake and booze. I went to night school (the company helped me pay for it). I took a second job, selling men’s dress shoes. I hustled my ass off and did everything I could to generate income and better my position.

By the time I got out of that company I had an associate degree, I cleaned up A LOT, and I was dating my future wife. Fast forward to now, 30 years removed I have two college degrees, a very nice house, financial independence, a great family and a decent career. I have issues still, I struggle with anxiety, I have moments where I am not a fun person to be with.

I never thought I would arrive at this place in my life, I am happy, most of the time.

Where are you now? What do you see 5 years from now in your life? Is it bad? Is it really bad? It’s likely much worse than my situation. I caught a break, but I didn’t know it was coming. I got one shot and I made it work. Life isn’t fair, most of the time it sucks but along the way you’ll likely meet people that can help you, you just have to have your eyes open enough to see that the help is there to take. It’s okay to take help, it’s okay to need assistance.

You must hang in there, imagine for a moment 30 years from now. What will you be? Where will you be? If I can make it, you can make it. 2021 is upon us and it might be your worse year or it might be your best. Eyes wide open in 2021.

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Surviving 2020 & covid

Which box do I get to be in today?

I actually do read other blogs, participate in forum discussions and surf discords. In my journey’s on the internet I have crossed paths with many different people from all over the world, the internet is awesome in that regard. 2020 has been a remarkable year in so many ways. It’s really manifested itself in how upfront and confrontational people are when they are on the other side of a computer screen, masked by a VPN…

So the box question in the title? Quick background. I like many of you I suspect have beliefs that are dynamic. Simply put its hard to just lump us into a category of beliefs based on one singular issue. Of course in 2020 doing this to other people is a sport. It makes it easier to minimalize what they are saying, dismiss it our right and then make them a villain for even daring to think it.

Couple of examples:

  • I was interacting on a forum that pertains to fire arms. Yes, I am a gun owner and believe strongly in the 2nd amendment. On this particular forum there are a lot of very conservative people, to the point where some of them assume that your participation in said forum affirms your political affinity. We started talking about LGBTQ and the military. You can imagine the foolishness that ensued. I hold the position that it doesn’t matter what race, gender, sexual preference a person holds if they wish to serve their country they should be able to with all the benefits as anyone else. As you can imagine all hell broke loose. At the end I was put into the “Radical leftist” box, because I simply believe in equal rights.
  • I was in a discord that was talking about election results. This was a very heavy liberal leaning discussion which doesn’t bother me. The discord is actually run by an old gaming friend of mine and I was talking with 4-5 other people. We started talking about Trump and I stated that I thought Trump did a great job on trade issues, specifically how he handled the trade imbalance with China and how he stood up to them. It got ugly fast, I immediately became a “fascist”. The vitriol was so bad I ended up just log off. Prior to leaving I reminded those I was chatting with (including my gaming friend) that I was no trump supporter I simply believed on that one issue he was right. I swear prior to logging off one of them was nearly in tears, it was bad.
Maybe the answer is to just log off

So I don’t know what box I fall into anymore. I mean there are some things where I am classically a conservative (like gun rights) but personal liberty? I am most definitely far left. I suppose I am a paradox, like many people out there. 2020 has been an ugly year, and it’s been made uglier by embolden people at a keyboard. Sure some of them are trolls but the anonymity of the internet (or the illusion of anonymity) has made average people uglier in how they interact with others.

You likely dealt with some of this too and I am here to say to you, it’s okay. It’s okay to feel how you feel to be passionate about specific issues and to discuss them with other people and be adamant about how you feel. When you come to the point of labeling, canceling, shouting, demeaning, ridiculing, posturing you create a toxic environment where people don’t want to talk to you at all and ignore you.

That is how someone like Donald Trump gets 70+ million votes and how he won in 2016. If you don’t stop now, something much worse than Trump will present itself and all those people you shouted down for years won’t listen to your warnings. It may be that the box you chose to place them in has more people in it then the box you chose to reside.

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Surviving 2020 & covid

Nothing in this world is permanent, not even our troubles. Anxiety SUCKS!

2020 has been a tough year, and for those of us with Anxiety? It’s been absolutely brutal. I know for me personally I have had some very serious moments of complete isolation due to being in a lockdown. I haven’t been to my office in months, I haven’t seen elderly relatives in months. I have been sitting in this same room, working from home for hours, days, weeks, months…. It’s wearing on me and I am sure its wearing on you.

I keep telling myself “nothing in this world is permanent, not even our troubles”. It works for a short amount of time. I’m grasping for anything that gets me through the anxiety moments. Even if it’s some stupid meme I picked up from the web.

I wish I had great advice for you, I wish there was some magic elixir of words that I could type that you could read that would magically reset your anxiety triggers. I can’t, I don’t know what they are. I’m looking for the right mix myself.

I am going to repeat what I said though “Nothing in this world is permanent, not even our troubles”. Some troubles though linger, some troubles are allowed to fester longer than necessary by outside sources. I usually look forward to the holidays, unlike many with Anxiety I do well this time of year. This year? I can’t travel and I can’t see the people I want and its wearing on me.

Nothing in this world is permanent, not even our troubles

Nothing in this world is permanent, not even our troubles

Nothing in this world is permanent, not even our troubles

Nothing in this world is permanent, not even our troubles

One day at a time…. Thank you for coming by and supporting my blog I appreciate it. Want to see more posts like this? Click here.

Henry Ford

Wisdom from the Past – Henry Ford

“When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.”
—Henry Ford

A quote from Henry Ford is likely going to be suspect for some, he is a complex individual. I think we can agree though that this person had a tremendous impact on the world and life as we know it now with his contributions to industrialism. So let’s examine this quote, it’s particularly relevant given the current state of the world.

We are entering what might be one of the most stressful seasons in modern western society. If you have anxiety the holiday season is already stressful enough. On top of that we have a pandemic to deal with, oh and a divisive presidential election. One of the worst years in modern history for people with mental health issues might have one hell of an ending.

EVERYTHING appears to be lining up to create the perfect storm of anxiety. It would be easy to hide away right now, hunker down and hope for the best. As Ford points out in the quote the plane takes off against the wind. You can of course delay life, no one would blame you, and again 2020 has been horrible. That said don’t give in to fear for fears sake.

You have to continue to move forward, you have to continue to heal yourself and continue to improve your mental health. One small step ahead every day is critical, even if you take two steps back the fact that you are trying to take off is the most important thing. What can you do today to help your mental health? No one knows you better than yourself, the runway is clear it’s time to try and take off even if the wind is against you.

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Karac Avalron

An honest look at my Blog & looking ahead to 2021

So as a finance professional I have lived, and died (figuratively of course) on statistics. The statistics for this blog are encouraging yet there are notable issues that need to be addressed. All endeavors often have positives and negatives, so it’s not something I am overly worried about.

So I am coming to the end of my 2nd full year of blogging. This isn’t a commercial endeavor, you’ll notice there are no ads, there are no asks for money etc. Will there be? I don’t know, but what I can say is 2020 was a tremendous year for growth for the blog. Considering where I started and I have not done the full court press of growth (Instagram, Facebook, twitter) I mean some people grow their blog to commercialize it. I basically worked on organic growth hoping people found it based on the content not on the volume.

To mixed results to be blunt. As I write this I am sitting on total 225 followers. Again the aim of the blog isn’t to grow for growth sake, but I do have goals. One of my big targets was 500 followers by the end of the year, that isn’t going to happen unless there is a rush. I am okay with that but one of the main things that is happening is, month over month I increase in visits and views but “likes” have flat lined. This tells me that I am reaching people but they either don’t like what they are seeing, aren’t compelled to tell me they like it, aren’t reading the content, or found the content accidently.

Of course there are plenty of people who do like the content and participate regularly. I want to be clear I am not complaining I am just trying to understand statistics and make a good judgement, as the title says. I have started contributing to other blogs that will eventually drive traffic to this blog. I have worked on SEO as well, that is a long term project. I think in 2021 I will need to branch out on subject matter and cover some more current events. I will always do Anxiety pieces here, it’s the reason I started the blog and it’s my way to put out positives on the subject.

That said I do want to grow, I think that is a natural desire regardless of endeavor. I never had monetary goals for this blog, all of my growth focus was and is followers. From there other things fall into place. For 2021 I want to expand my growth a lot more. I am missing my target for 2020, a year in which many people were home and online. I grew but I thought it would be much higher.

I know it takes years to grow a community and I am committed to it. However this can’t be a job for me, it has to be an outlet. That is my struggle as I look at my goals I fear the only way to reach my goals is to really go all in, I don’t know if I can do it but I am going to try.

Thank you so much for reading my semi rant/private thoughts. I appreciate your continued support of my blogging journey, take care.

Genetics

Can Anxiety be inherited?

Many of us who have anxiety or other mental health issues can give citation to someone in linage who had a similar condition. While we don’t have direct evidence yet that there are specific DNA threads where anxiety triggers live, it’s highly likely that the traits conducive to anxiety and mental health are heredity. Of course there are environmental, relationship, financial and a plethora of other reasons why you could have or get anxiety. It’s not an exact science, but it’s being worked on.

I found a good article here That discusses the notion of inheriting anxiety. I thought it was a very good article and certainly worthy of my time and hopefully yours.

From the article: “As with most things mental health-related, the answer isn’t cut and dried. Yes, anxiety and depression are heritable, according to the psychiatrists I interviewed. But environmental factors, like early childhood experiences, also play a role, interacting with your genes to influence whether you actually develop these disorders.”

Plastic destroys the environment
Hopefully your environment is clean and not full of clutter

Further: “Genetics seem to explain certain anxiety disorders — namely obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) and panic disorder — more than others, Potash says. But research to identify the genes involved in these anxiety disorders is still ongoing, partly because recruiting the vast number of participants needed to yield definitive results takes time.”

Understanding where our individual anxiety comes from is paramount to understanding where we may end up, and how best to combat it. I know that’s part of the end game goal for all of us right? One of the exercises we can perform to reveal this is to look back at our immediate family life when we were younger and attempt to understand how things played out. Essentially what you want to do is recognize the adult realities of your childhood. Did you parents struggle? Why? Perhaps this has contributed to your anxiety.

Simply put, we can’t dismiss inheritance of anxiety and mental health issues from our immediate DNA relatives our parents and grandparents. Spending time attempting to understand their lives and why things played out the way they did might be one of the puzzle pieces you need to understand your situation. What were their environmental factors growing up? What was the social situation? Was there unrest and anxiety abound?

I imagine for kids today in 2020 they will be looking back when they are in their 50’s and saying “god my parents must have really been stressed out…”

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