Posts Tagged ‘health’

So this was a fascinating read over at HuffPo, “The Likely Cause of Addiction Has Been Discovered, and It Is Not What You Think” by Johann Hari, who’s authored a book called Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs. She spent over three years and traveled 30,000 miles researching her book, and ran across a rather mind-blowing notion:

The opposite of addiction is not sobriety. It is human connection.

There’s a lot of good stuff in her HuffPo article so I definitely recommend reading it, but I’ll hit on some high lights from what she wrote below, along with my own thoughts.   (more…)

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After a week of my new healthy eating program, I’m feeling good!  I can feel a difference in the way I feel (with these crazy “bursts” of energy at random times of the day), and I’ve started to notice little things  that are encouraging, including my clothes feeling just a little bit looser.

My Mom, who’s joined Calorie Count with me, sent out an email saying how excited she was to have lost five pounds in the first week.  I was excited for her!  And then I lamented not being able to really measure my successful week in a similar way… because I have no scales.  I just have never thought it worth buying one.  Each time in the past that I went on a diet, I either had scales to weigh in at the meeting, or I was a member of a gym and could weigh myself there.

When I wasn’t on a diet… why would I want scales at home eyeballing me and making me feel guilty?!  So I just never bothered to get one.

This time around I’m particularly excited about Calorie Count and the power of information it gives me.  Logging the foods I eat and tracking the level of 12 important nutrients gives me a powerful tool to measure my success and make adjustments along the way.  Continuous improvement…

At my full-time job, I’m the Quality Analyst for a company that manufactures and sells small kitchen appliances.  I work with a bunch of engineers, and a catch-phrase that comes up all the time is “if we can measure it, we can improve it.”  The engineers of the Quality group make it clear that measuring processes and keeping accurate data is key to continuous improvement for our product.  They of course are referring to machines that make our products, but the principle is the same.  Our bodies are machines, and if we want to improve it, we need to measure it.  Calorie Count is one powerful tool to do so, and scales are another.

Now I know scales can drive you crazy, especially if you’re constantly checking your weight each and every day… but I think it’ll be smart to have a weigh day each week to provide one metric for success on my program, along with taking body measurements too (once I implement my exercise plan).  Also, thinking long-term, once I achieve my goals the scales can be my sentinel to help me make sure I’m staying at my goal without deviating too much.

So I went on Amazon yesterday and ordered some nice, durable scales for my home, along with a food scale to better measure my food intake.  They should arrive next week!  Finally getting scales for my home affirms to me that I’m actually going to do it this time!!

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So Day 6 of my new healthy eating plan is in the books, and that means tomorrow is SPLURGE SATURDAY!!  I get my kids too, so I’m looking forward to basking in the company of my sweet children and topping it off with some treats.  My splurge plan right now is to try a Reuben sandwich from Arby’s, have some ice cream, and once the kids are in bed have a couple margaritas.  I’m still going to eat plenty of healthy foods too. (more…)

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So, a key part of getting healthier is to change my diet.  I’ve been through countless diets over the course of my life, and have done a lot of reading on foods and how your body processes foods, so at this point I know what I need to do.  Of course, knowing is just part of the battle, but thankfully nowadays we have a fantastic tool available to help put that knowledge into action… (more…)

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The Reboot: Bennie 3.0

Sorry I haven’t written much lately.  I guess I haven’t been overly inspired…  Losing my father and both my grandmothers in the span of four months the tail end of last year really knocked the wind out of my sails, and then recently I had a health scare regarding someone who is very close to me (and who seems to be coming through it okay, fingers crossed and prayers for continued success).

While family and friends have been a blessing of support during these times, not having a significant other to lean on for comfort and strength has me feeling particularly lonely and sad, which in turn has made it tough to blog “on theme.”

When I started this blog, I had just gone through a split with my wife, and rather than become bitter about marriage and women, I wanted to use the blog to focus on what I loved about women, to be a source of positivity and joy.   Memories of past relationships have been a treasure trove of inspiration for quite a few posts over the life of this blog… but I’m beginning to feel like I’m scraping the bottom of the barrel.  I really haven’t had all that many relationships so the pickings were slim to begin with.

No… what I really need is to make new memories!

But then I look at myself, look at my life and wonder:  how in the world can I really expect to find anyone willing to date me?  I’m overweight, out of shape, and between working a full and part-time job, and visitation with my kids, there’s very little time I could spend on dates.  I’ve got some discretionary spending, but supporting two kids ain’t cheap.  Plus, my “good” car (I also have an old van) is a hand-me-down from my ex that’s good for shuttling kids around but isn’t really something that would impress a date.

Now, I know I have a lot of positives going for me and have a lot to offer the right woman, but I have to be honest with myself and question whether a good woman would take a chance on me, given the relative downsides I listed above.  The other day it occurred to me:  I’ve got quite a few female friends… so why have they not tried to set me up with any of their single women friends?  The answer:  why would they?

Last week I finally recovered from a really nasty cold, and Thursday I was feeling so much better… and it reminded me of the times in my life where I decided to take my health more seriously, began to eat right and exercised… and once I’d begun to do that, the feeling you get from feeling so much better…  it makes you wonder why in the world you stopped to begin with.  I latched on to that feeling, and decided to get back on the program.  For real this time.  If I want to make new memories, I need to be the kind of man a woman wants to be with.  I’m a good man, kind and generous, smart… really the only thing (I think) holding me back is a healthy body.

I’ve done a lot of diets over the years, and read a lot about health.  I knew what works and what I wanted to do.  So Saturday I planned it out, splurged a bit on some “bad” food, and then this past Sunday kicked it off!  I’ll detail my new way of eating in another post soon, but as of Day 4 everything is going according to plan… and I’m pretty stoked!

Regarding the time and money… well, I have managed to shift my life around to the point that I have each Friday and Saturday off.  Every other Saturday I get my kids, but that still leaves Fridays and every other Saturdays to spend time with future lady friends.  Money… well, that’s not something I see changing for a while, but I’m pretty creative in finding fun things to do that don’t cost a whole lot of money.  I’m not going to be anyone’s sugar-daddy that’s for sure, but I think we can have some fun.

As far as my car… well, this year I do plan on getting a new car.  Or at least, a car that’s “new to me” just not too old.  Assuming my current car holds out, I’m looking at July or so for the purchase… and when I go shopping, I’ll certainly be looking for something that I can be proud to pull up in front of a future date’s house.

So anyway… I suppose the focus of this blog is going to shift a bit to be more about my reboot, becoming “Bennie 3.0” and my quest to becoming the kind of guy my women friends want to set their friends up with.  Should be a fun ride!  What do you think?

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Its the time of year for introspection about the past and contemplation on the future.  This post isn’t going to be about all that, but rather just a small sliver…


Some of the things I’m doing to help me be a better me involves health and fitness.  Now, for the past year or two when reading and researching things I can do to along these lines, one thing that constantly pops up is quality of sleep.  Of course, quantity of sleep is something we’ve known about for years, and if you don’t get enough sleep it disrupts all kinds of things in your body.  But recently I’ve been hearing about quality of sleep– how you don’t get real, healing, deep, rejuvenating sleep unless you are sleeping in darkness.

No, darker than that– like, pitch black darkness.  Because if you don’t, your sleep ain’t doing everything it needs to be doing.

Marie Wetmore recently put up a blogpost on Better Sleep, and she says:

Sleep in an absolutely, positively dark room. You want to clear your room of anything that releases the light, or cover light sources with dark socks or hand towels. Get rid of your digital clock or stick it under your bed. Last, invest in a set of blackout shades, which will block out any city glow or late evening/early morning light.

You want a dark room because the proteins in your red blood cells have a mechanism to detect light and that information is transmitted to the brain, blocking melatonin release.

I’m pretty sure it’s been decades since I’ve slept in total darkness.  Ever since I left my country boy roots behind and became a city dweller (and later a suburbanite), streetlights and porchlights and backyard lights have streamed through my windows and curtains and illuminated my nights.

Now, I’ve long held it as a point of pride my ability to sleep even when sun is streaming through the windows… and yes, I certainly can!  For hours and hours in the daylight.   My work schedule is such that I’m often lacking in sleep several days during the week, so I value the weekend days when I can sleep in and catch up on lost sleep.

The problem though is that my bedroom windows and curtains don’t really shut out much light at all, so from 7am or so, no matter how late I’m sleeping in, I’m sleeping in daylight… and apparently that that sleep isn’t really giving me the health benefits it should be.

Not long ago I was having lunch with my good friend Kay, and asked her if she knew where I could find a sleeping mask.  I figured it would be easiest to just get one of those than to try and figure out a way to block out all the light.  I’d looked into getting one like Fiona’s from the awesome show Shameless:

Fiona's sleeping mask from Showtime's Shameless

Fiona’s sleeping mask from Showtime’s Shameless

They actually sell these on Showtime’s website, but it’s rather pricey.  I looked around for just a regular sleeping mask in a couple stores with no luck, but seeing as how Kay is a whiz at shopping I figured I’d ask her.  She told me I should just get light-blocking curtains, and that she’d seen them on sale at Big Lots.  A couple days later I was in Big Lots and found ’em:

...feel the light-sucking power!

…feel the light-sucking power!

Ooo, energy efficient too?  Sign me up!  Even better– at checkout they were an extra $5 off.  BOOYA!  Melatonin, here I come!

I went home and installed the curtains in my bedroom.  They’re pretty damn ugly, but no matter– we’re talking health here, not style.  I close the bedroom door and the door to the master bathroom.  I eyeball my alarm clock, but it’s set really, really dim and with a red glow rather than a blue glow (blue light tells your body it’s daytime and thus stops melatonin).  I lay down on my bed, turn out the light.

And I’m plunged in darkness.  Insane, can’t-see-your-hands-in-front-of-your-face-darkness.  It actually is a little freaky, but I’m a big boy, I can handle it.  I chuckle to myself, grab my phone and send a text to my friend:


So for the past three nights I’ve been sleeping in blackness.  Last night I went ahead and covered my alarm clock with a box to make it seriously total dark.  I have to say the sleep I’ve been getting feels… odd.  Measurably different.  Definitely a much deeper sleep, and I’m pretty excited to see what sort of health benefits having melatonin-rich nights back in my life will bring!

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