Saturday, December 9, 2017

Down Eighty: Lies and Weight Loss

I stepped on.  The reading two hundred ninety eight pounds.  The next thing I heard "Wow, George I didn't think you were that big.  Nearly 300 pounds."  I can't lie it cut deep.  Out of all the guys that got on the scale at our factory that day I weighed the most.  This was event one that made me realize I was "FAT".

Shortly afterwards I went through the pain of passing gallbladder stones.  When they took an MRI.  My urologist says, "Well you have passed the kidney stones but come in for a chat."  I stop by and he shows me the video and starts in on me.  All I heard was "Here's some fat, there's some fat, every wheres fat fat....."  This guys was about my size on top of it.

The good news is that I had already changed my diet by that point and had dropped ten pounds.  The bad news is that the first thing I did was take my butt up to White Castles after leaving his office.  Fortunately that was the fat man's death row meal. 

I began a regimen of cardio and what I thought were healthier foods to lose the weight.  I easily dropped another five pounds but after that nothing.  I increased my cardio and dropped my calories nothing changed.  I kept telling myself I was building muscle but that was just good old mental masturbation.  The good news is that an event would soon change my life. 

My seventeen year old cousin moved to town.  He lifted weights and asked if I would work out with him.  It was a little weird because I have him by twenty years but I agreed.  Thank goodness.  Lifting weight helped me shed twenty five more pounds and now I was honestly building muscle.  I thought I was looking good and dedicated myself to achieving a six pack.  No, it hasn't shown up yet.   I was still 27% body fat after lifting.

In terms of weight loss I had plateaued again.  I could tell that the image in the mirror was improving so I wasn't overly concerned.  Then the second myth holding me back died.  The myth that fat makes you fat.   Not only only is that not true but carbs are the culprit behind insulin which is the hormones that induces fat storage but it turns out that carbs also made me act a fool, literally. 

A little side bar to explain.  Excuse me.  Through exercise I had calmed my mind enough to discover that I had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).  I am all over the place mentally I had never noticed it before working out.  Now it seemed like I could sense the breakdown so I went to a therapist and sure enough he diagnosed the condition.  I can't lie I'd been warned I had the problem throughout my life but like my weight I'd ignored the warnings.  One of the things that helps defeat ADHD are good fats and carbs just flares up that crazy mind.

The next change I made would help solve my issue with ADHD and lead to losing another forty pounds.  This change was to get on a ketogenic diet.  In the next six months I would go on a calorie surplus to repair my metabolism and mental health.  Then I would cut calories again to drop another forty pounds.  So you might be asking, "How many pounds did you put back on when going on a calories surplus?"  The answer, "Zero".  There were days that I ate in excess of five-thousand calories and I didn't gain a single pound to my morning weight.  In fairness a lot of the sustained weight can be contributed to intensified workouts.  I was spending 90 to 120 minutes in the gym 5-6 days a week.  This was probably over doing it because I ran into some recovery issues.

Now for the problem that you might have with my achievements.  I would estimate that ninety percent of people do not have the will power to change in the way I have.  You have got to be able to take the necessary actions and suffer a bit.  The most amount of will come through the dreaded "Keto Flu."  There is not that much suffering if you consume plenty of water, salt, magnesium and potassium.

So the two big lies that modern nutrition tells you are, "Do cardio to burn fat", and "Fat makes you fat".  A third lie is to eat often or fasting is unhealthy. 

Strength burns fat consistently and strength is achieved by weightlifting.  Do you want to prove this to yourself.  Go in the gym and look around.  Where are all the fat and skinny fat people?  Where are a majority of the fit people?  There may be some crossover but I can guarantee you the one or two muscular people on the cardio equipment spend a majority of their time with weights.  Don't look for the exception. 

Next let's address the claim that fat makes you fat.  Fat doesn't cause insulin to release into your system but carbohydrates do.  Guess what hormone signals the body to store fat?  If you said insulin, good job.  When you are burning carbs as energy your body is going to store some of what you have eaten as fat and then send out that hunger signal so you eat more and store more fat.  The cycle is vicious and seemingly inescapable.  Many of us are insulin resistant and store fat when we eat carbs.  It's simple to test the concept just stop eating carbs.  The initial weight loss is water weight but you'll achieve stasis where your weight doesn't budge unless you have a calorie deficit.  In that case weight will be lost. 

Finally a lot of us have been told to eat often to maintain metabolism.  That might be true if you are eating carbs but not when you are a fat burner.  When you burn fat your body doesn't distinguish between calories consumed and stored.  You simply run at your metabolic rate.   When you are not utilizing resources to digest food your body repairs for up to three days.  We are built to go without food.  It is by design.  This follows common sense.  There is a winter and food is not always plentiful.  Especially when it has to be killed.  Before agriculture the animals being eaten fought back so meals were't easy to come by.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Legalize All Recreational Drugs

Legalizing all drugs without a plan of action would be drastic but is legalization with licensing and regulation a drastic idea.  The first misconception I would like to address is that I am pro-use because I am for legalization. It isn't the case.  I have a brother who is a heroin addict and it is heartbreaking.  My views on legalization are derived from a very personal question.  "How could my brother have been prevented from being a heroin addict?"

The first thing I realized is that the fact drug distribution possession and use is illegal, it doesn't prevent people from participating in the market on any level.  It is very easy to become a manufacturer, distributor or user of drugs and it shouldn't be.  So, currently the least qualified people manufacture and distribute drugs putting the end user at high risk.  

I realized that regulation could create a safer market.  Drinking a bottle of booze could be life threatening.  Now alcohol is a safe product and the answer is regulation.   Far enough back buying a hamburger at a restaurant could kill you.  The product we consume are made safer because of regulations on food productions and distribution.  The entire success of McD's is that they came up with a consistent product and could reproduce the model across the county.  It wasn't because of the delicious hamburger, it was that the hamburgers were safe and reliable.  It would be better and more cost effective to make sure drugs are as safe to use as possible.

The next thing is that users should be licensed.  This does two things.  When requiring a license you can impose certain restrictions such as users must prove they are using birth control.  That's the big one for me, in this case I am not opposed to forced responsibility.  Either have kids or don't use drugs for awhile.   Just like there are classes of driver's license, classes can exist depending on the type of drugs being used.  The other benefit is that a license really makes the choice to do drugs a thought through process.  Users wouldn't be pressured to do drugs and then immediately have access to them.  They would have to go to a licensing office apply, provided proof they've met requirements to become a user and so on.  It puts at least a few hours between the choice to use and the use. 

People have free will.  Laws can't stop that but if you provide a path to pursue a choice while not making it easy people will be less likely to pursue the path.  By putting the cost of the choice before the action instead of after, less people will end up using drugs and with regulation more safely.  Limit the action and provide a safer market.  Sounds a lot better to me than imprisonment, overdoses and violent crime.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Freedom to Use Drugs

There is no doubt that drugs are bad but our freedom should be limited to the end that we do not destroy each other. Our freedom is violated by the fact that drugs our legal.  People who want to use drugs will.  No number of laws will stop those people from using drugs and making what I would consider to be a bad choice.

The greatest issue I have with laws legalizing drugs is that they actually support the criminal element of the market.  Lives are destroyed buy drugs but more lives are destroyed by subjecting consumers to criminal retailers.  Capital markets and legalization are the answer to solving this issue.

The obvious example is prohibition.  I am going to skip the usual arguments and skip to discussing the product.  During prohibition it was not safe to drink alcohol.  Today there is still a tiny market for moonshine but it really isn't a big issue any more.  Most people prefer to get booze in grocery stores where the product is regulated and safe to drink.   There will always be a criminal element in society but most member of society like to know what they are getting and lead a safe life.  I would include drug users in this category.

I am not saying you should be able to just go down to the grocery store and pick up some heroin.  I recognize that these are very bad drugs.  There would be significant problems if people could use hard recreational drugs in the home.  Where drugs are used should be regulated and there should be safety requirements to follow for businesses distributing drugs.  This would make overdosing less likely and keep abusive behavior away from the rest of society.

I would go as far as requiring a license for the usage of drugs but still providing the right of privacy to the license holder.  This way license holder's may be required to meet specific conditions to use drugs.  For instance the issuing office may require the license holder to use birth control or birth control to be in the drug before it is distributed.  Control as a solution to drug abuse is a much better solution to prohibiting use.

Having said this it is important to acknowledge the more regulations between a consumer and he drug the more likely there will be a black market for the drug.  The key is finding the right balance of regulation and freedom.  Absolute restrictions lead to innocent people getting harmed  Where controlled distribution would lead to a safer society and safer products.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Converting From Atheism but to What?

I have been an Atheist my entire life.  I was raised that way.  Later in life my mother went back to religion and for a long time my father pretended to be Catholic.  My father has gone back to being Atheist.  Even though I knew he was never truly Catholic he tried to get me to become Catholic for a long time.  I think it was to impress his second wife, not sure, she didn't even believe he was Catholic.

Like anyone else I question the world around me and I decided that there is a/are god/gods. I did ask for the some signs and I felt I go them.  I wouldn't say anything miraculous happened but to me it was clear.  Now my issue is that I don't have faith and I don't think I should just pick a religion.  Faith isn't a feeling I understand. I am simply not familiar with having faith.  So I am stuck.

Logically, I live in America where the most common religion is Christianity so that is probably the religion I should pursue but it is very important to get this decision correct.  The other issue I have is that my wife is somewhat Buddhist.  She is not a strong believer but her family is more devout.  She also describe her interactions with Christian people as manipulative and fake.  Apparently, she has had a lot of people in the Chinese community approach her with then intent of converting her and when she didn't reciprocate interest they stopped hanging out with her.  To her it was like they were trying to score brownie points with members of their church by using her.

Then you get to Judaism.  This would be appealing to me because it is really where religion began.  Of the three monotheistic religions this was the first.  Then there's Islam.  The appeal is that the book has never changed, which is the reason behind the existence of the religion.  There is undoubtedly influences of man in both the Torah and the Bible.  Than again there are a lot of contradictory information in the Koran but I don't know how much of this information is bias.  I can also admit because of the probable propaganda I have been subjected to I am biased against being Muslim even thought  I know the least about this religion of the free.

Then there are sects of religions such as Scientology and Latter Day Saints that seem like horse crap to me but I think it important that I remain open to these religions as well.  I have very specific issues with these religions but I don't want to be more insulting that I already I have.   To defend myself a bit I think it important that my audience understands my perspective good and bad.  Please, understand that I do my best to be open minded and I appreciate your patience every time you look past an insulting comment I've made.  I believe that find faith will be a battle and may not be overcome by discussing this with other people.  I simply hope discussion will keep me on a spiritual path to finding specific faith.

At the end of the day I am looking for guidance.  I have tried to be as honest as possible and hope to receive your support in the comment section.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Excel: Don't Use Merge and Center

I hate title creators in Excel who use "Merge & Center".  Yeah, I know you can insert columns and rows now but there are still too many issues.  The sad thing is that this is just the lazy man's option.

There is a much better solution to centering your titles.  Simply select the group of cells you would like your title to be and then right click selecting the format cells option.  Click the "Alignment" tab then in the "Horizontal:" drop down box select "Center Across Selection".  If you have a bunch of titles that need to be centered use F4 after you have gone through the process once.  F4 repeats your last action..  You can also use "Paste Special" and select "Formats".

So if you follow these simple step you will no longer annoy me when you design templates and report in Excel.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

SQL for Accountants

My objective here is not to teach you how to write SQL queries.  Instead I am going to draw some comparisons between every accountants favorite tool, Excel, and SQL commands.  My hope is that the analogies I make will help improve your understanding of SQL.

So to get started lets look at an Excel workbook as the database and the individual worksheets as files within the database.  For this exercise we will limit worksheets to information sets only or tables.  Think of the objective of SQL in terms of pulling relevant and related information into a new worksheet.

The first command I would like to cover is the From command.  In Excel this would be equivalent to referencing a worksheet in a formula.  It directs your formula to which worksheet you would like to pull information.

The next command is the Select statement.  This is going to reference the header information contained in each the worksheet.   Much like using an index function.

The where command is like using a filter.  You will specifically designate the information in the Select statements fields that you would like to retrieve.  This is your criteria.

Next is the Join statement this is where things get a little complicated.  I like to think of this statement as though it is a vlookup.  The only difference is that this information doesn't have to be to the far left or do you have to reference columns.  (If you are an advanced Excel use Index(range,match(field)) may be a better explanation).  Here what is important is that information matches from both tables and you can reference the information against each other.   Joins define the relationship between the tables (worksheets to use our Excel terminology).  Note that you would join using the field names.

Let's cover the OrderBy command next to take a break.  This is the same as using Sort.

Now let's cover the GroupBy command.  This is like using PivotTables.  The main thing to remember here is that this is going to summarize the data by the fields you chose to group.  Now the trick is that every field in the Select statement needs to be included in the group by statement unless it is a calculation or aggregate of the other data.

For now I am going to leave this post as is, I may add and revise some information later.  My head hurts.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Political Flexibility

For a long time we have wanted our political leaders to be rigid by viewing everything from a black and white perspective.  Barack Obama, George Bush and all the presidents during my life time have been rigid in their views.  To demonstrate let's look at the current gay marriage debate.

I am going to move past the gay by nature verse choice debate.  Even if being gay is a choice people should have the freedom to make that choice.  That type of thinking is stupid and a waste of time.

Some people discuss allowing civil unions and others don't want it allow gay marriage at all.  The counterpoint is that neither of these represent equality.  Allowing one group of people to get married and not another is clearly unequal.  Allowing one group civil unions and the other to be married is consider seperate but equal and is viewed as an unacceptable by advocates of gay marriage.  Clearly, the big issue is religion.  In this country religious freedom is very important and most religions are clear that homosexual relationships are sinful.  That is just the way it is and religious freedom is much more important in my opinion than sexual freedom.

Does this mean that both can't exist.  I personally would prefer a world where gay unions are allowed by the government.  Not allowing gay marriage is oppressive.  However, I don't think it right to force institutions to marry a couple they believe to be in a sinful relationship.  The simple solution is for the government to focus on civil unions and allow religious institutions to determine whether they will unite a couple in marriage.  This way one group is not oppressed for the sake of another.

The solution is simple once politics are placed aside and mediation between two competing interests are considered.  A win win solution presents itself in this scenario.  To close off remember that other do not have to accept your lifestyle and that is okay.  That closing comment is intended both ways.