Taking Care Of Oneself…

Self-care is undoubtedly the most important step one can take for self-health and a better life. Unfortunately, the shoemaker’s kids often go barefoot, which is a fancy way of saying that the average person will always focus on others’ wants, needs and expectations before dealing with their own. The result of this can include things like chronic exhaustion, burnout and depression, which can ultimately lead to nasty things like alcoholism, drug use and a score of other mental issues to numerous to list.

I’ll admit that I’m guilty of neglecting myself and am likely the worst one, when it comes to helping others and doing more than I should. By the time I finally decide to throw in the proverbial towel and take a break, I’ve usually crashed and need almost more time to recover than what I used to take care of others. This is why it’s so important to take care of one’s own mental health before anything else. I recently found a poster at my work that was provided by the Canadian Centre for Occupational health and Safety. They listed 10 healthy habits for mental fitness and I found the list interesting, so I thought I would share. here we go…

1. Schedule some “me time,” daily…
I’m a big fane of this, and make a point of trying to do so. Whether it’s ten minutes to myself when I get home to decompress or an evening workout, it’s important to have time for oneself. This isn’t selfish and in fact, will put you in a better state of mind to help care for others.

2. Reward yourself…
Stuffed-crust pizza, anyone? In all seriousness, whether you’re trying to save money or simply don’t abide having too many belongings, rewarding yourself for your accomplishments is important as it keeps you motivated and hungry to accomplish more.

3. play to your strengths…
This is a tough one, especially if you’re like me and believe you can do anything you set your mind to. But let’s be realistic for a moment… I’ll never be a theoretical physicist. I love and excelled in maths and physics, but I didn’t have the time, money or resources to study to the degree that was required (pun fully intended) to achieve that particular dream. I’ll never be an Olympic swimmer because my body encompasses at least two swimmer’s bodies and I have the centre of gravity of a rock. I am, however, quite adept at the martial arts and I’ve played to that particular strength in a number of ways. So while one shouldn’t be discouraged from trying something, it’s important to recognize one’s strengths.

4. Ask for and offer help…
This one isn’t just important for good mental health but for life in general. It would be ignorant to believe that one would never need the assistance of another person in life. It would also be wrong NOT to provide help when someone else asks it of you. Not to be confused with being UNABLE to help, of course. But we’re all trying to muddle through life as best we can; helping each other should be something that comes naturally.

5. De-stress your diet…
Honestly, I don’t know what the fuck this is supposed to mean… maybe it just means don’t eat buffalo chicken bites an hour before bed because you’ll spend all night roiling and in pain. Maybe it simply means making sure you eat healthy and from the proper food groups and try not to eat like a seagull…

6. Press pause once in a while – downtime is good…
frankly, I love this list but I can’t help but feel this is a repetition of #1. I mean, maybe not; downtime and time to oneself could be interpreted as two separate things I guess. Whatever. Go re-read #1.

7. Get regular physical activity…
That’s the gospel, right there! And likely the solution to a vast majority of mental and physical health problems that people face. And I don’t need to remind all of you how often I’ve written about exercising regularly. yet another aspect I could stand to improve on.

8. Set goals and stay on target with a journal…
Meinh… journals can be a good thing for some people. I believe quite deeply in setting goals and working towards them. If using a journal or some form of documentation to track your progress, it can’t be anything but good, right? But setting those goals and keeping your eyes on the prize is extremely important.

9. Practice relaxation techniques and get enough sleep…
I consider myself well versed on the former but I could certainly use some work on the latter. Meditation or even just deep breathing will help will lowering blood pressure and calming you. getting a proper night’s sleep is valuable for a variety of reasons that I’ve written about often.

10. Choose a positive attitude…
This is probably the most difficult one, if I’m being honest. having a positive attitude or outlook on life can be difficult, especially if you;’re constantly dealing with the negative aspects of life. it’s absolutely possible but as humans, we tend to bitch, whine and complain about things watt faster than choosing to be positive.

So there you have it. I thought this list was pretty decent and offers up some good suggestions on how to better maintain one’s mental health and increase one’s overall happiness. ☯️

Slide Into This Feel-good Post…

Last Saturday, Nathan finally asked me to make our way to the sliding hill on the east side of our neighbourhood. I say finally because he’s usually spent the last few winters asking to go sledding as soon as there was snow on the ground. This year, he didn’t seem to be so into it, preferring to stay inside and melt his brain with his Netflix kids and Nintendo Switch. I’ve managed to get him outside to play in our yard, which is easy for him to come back inside and resume his hermit behaviour. So it was quite a surprise when he decided he wanted to go sledding.

The weather was quite mild at only -4 degrees and it was a perfect day to go hit the slope for an hour and get some fresh air. We slipped on our winter gear and made our way outside. Nathan had received a snow scooter for Christmas, which is basically a razor scooter with skis instead of wheels. I was anxious to see him use it but he refused, claiming he felt he would wipe out too easily. I brought it along anyway, in the event he changed his mind (and because I wanted to try it myself). We had the hill to ourselves as no one else was there. Not surprising as it was the weekend and it was before the noon hour.

Despite the mild weather, it was quite chilly once we got to the top of the hill and lost the protection of the houses and trees at ground level. Nathan had a blast, whipping down the hill and alternating his runs with his plastic toboggan and crazy carpet. I took a couple of short sprints down on the snow scooter and let me just say that I’m glad no one else was on the hill to see my sorry attempts. besides the fact that the handlebar was too low for me, the foot board was too small and I couldn’t keep both feet on it. This made it extremely hard to keep my balance.

At one point, we had a race with Nathan on his crazy carpet and me, using the plastic toboggan. My heavy weight, whipping down the hill, allowed my gratuitous posterior to feel every bump, groove and edge that was present on the slope. The result was every joint in my body objecting and asking what the fuck I thought I was doing… It was enough to get Nathan laughing at all the moans, groans and the sound of a hundred mousetraps closing as I tried to get up. Where has the time gone?

As with all things in life, despite the fun we were having, some negative aspects reared their ugly faces. The cold temperature and the exertion of climbing the snow hill over and over caused my blood sugar to drop below 4.0 mmol/L, which was a problem since we had only planned on being gone for an hour and I hadn’t brought anything with me. The cold also drained the battery on my pump, which is a bit more of a problem since having the battery go dead for more than a few minutes wipes out all my settings. I really should write that shit down somewhere. But it was fun and we got to spend some time outside, getting fresh air and exercise. ☯️

Are You just Listening Or Also Hearing…?

Relationships involve a lot of work. I’m sure that isn’t news to any of your reading this post, but people often forget that the Beetles were wrong… You most certainly and absolutely do need more than love. I remember a few months before one of my close friends got married. We sat in my garage and had a few cold ones and smoked a couple of choice cigars and talked about his upcoming nuptials. One of the things I explained is that’s although it’s extremely important to love the person you’re with, there are other important components that are required.

Arguably, compromise, understanding and the ability to communicate honestly and openly with the person in question are just as important as loving them and in some cases, more so. And this applies to any relationship in one’s life, friendship, marital or otherwise. Having the ability to be honest and communicate are integral to maintaining the relationship AND maintaining good mental health through it all. Often, relationship failures can be traced to a failure in one or more of these other components and not so much the fact the pair didn’t love each other. But I digress…

The important lesson in today;s post is that as one makes their way through the challenges of life, one needs to do more than just sit and listen. It’s important to actually hear what the other person is saying, as important as it is for them to actually hear you. Often, one person will be trying to start a conversation or impart a message that the recipient simply isn’t getting and this can often be attributed to a lack of hearing, or stubbornness. this can lead to misinterpreted messaging, hurt feelings and a general sense of misunderstanding that will often lead to a breakdown in effective communication. Certainly not conducive to any sort of relationship.

each person is a free-thinking individual with their own thoughts, opinions and positions on whatever matters of the day may be facing them. But the only way to approach such things is with an open mind and an ability to hear what the other person is actually trying o communicate and asking for clarification if you don’t understand. only then can you begin to truly communicate effectively and find the means to compromise and understand the other person’s perspective, which is important to maintaining good relationships. Food for thought… ☯️

Feelin’ The Burn…

It’s not secret that I enjoy trying out new workouts. More than anything else, I fell it’s an important step in keeping things fresh, which in turn will help to keep things interesting when trying to stick to a fitness regime. But different workouts will work different muscle groups and provide different short and long term results, so it’s always good to mix it up and try something different. A couple of years ago, I found a simple body weight workout used by submarine occupants. The idea is that they needed something that could be done on a confined space, without the use of much equipment.

I bring it up because I did the workout the day before last and I’m only today feeling the deep, muscular pain associated with it. But it is a genuinely fantastic workout that works all the large muscle groups and helps to increase strength and stamina. It only takes twenty to thirty minutes to perform and I often use it as an alternative if I’m staying in a hotel or need something quick and easy because I don’t have time for anything else. Admittedly, the portion I use is only part 1 of 2 but believe me when I say it’s enough to get a solid sweat and have your limbs praying for mercy. Here we go…

The circuit is pretty basic. You start with 15 normal squats (pictured above, go all the way down and don’t be lazy) followed by 10 diamond push-ups (push-ups where your hands are touching in front of you, below your chest), 10 regular lunges and 15 regular push-ups. Once you’ve completed that circuit, you start again but this you’ll be doing 14-9-9-14. Keep repeating the circuit and dropping everything by one rep for every circuit. Make sense?

As you work through it, the entire workout should look like this:

Squats/Diamond P-Ups/Lunges/P-Ups
Fall to the floor and pass out… Kidding!

I normally take about 30 to 45 seconds to rest and sip water between each circuit. That being said, once the first and last exercises reach 5 and I’m no longer doing diamond push-ups or lunges, I try to hammer through the last five circuits without resting. It tends to provide that added little bit of burn at the end when one typically wants to throw in the towel. Your lunges can be done with some light dumbbells, if you have them.

For myself, I’ve started doing the entire workout with a 20-pound weighted vest, which has certainly made it more challenging and has given me a better appreciation for folks who live their everyday with 20 pounds more weight than I carry. It’s amazing how such a low addition of weight to one’s overall body makes a significant and noticeable difference. Despite how taxing the workout is, it’s low impact and simple, making it extremely flexible in terms of adding in extras or modifying the exercises.

So there you have it! If you’re looking for something that’s quick, simple and provides an insane burn to your muscles, look no further. I’ve also noticed that this workout doesn’t seem to drop my blood sugars in any significant way. If anything, it sometimes rises by a half point. Remember to stay well hydrated as this circuit will have you sweating out every drop of bodily fluid you may have. And as usual, if you feel unexpected sharp pains, shortness of breath or dizziness, you should stop immediately. Even if the circuit takes a little less than 30 minutes, there’s no reason not to take more time to complete it during the first few times you use it. Stay healthy! ☯️

Trying To Shut ‘er Down…

We’ve all been there… It’s several hours into the night, you should be asleep but you’re tossing and turning before finally staring absently at the ceiling, unable to slip into the sandman’s warm embrace. Although I’ll be the first to admit that there can be medical reasons for this phenomenon, often and for the most part, it’s caused because most people lack the ability to shut down one’s brain. And one would think that we would be in control of our own brain but it just never seems to happen that way…

I talk a big game but I’m notorious for allowing the events of the day and the plan for the upcoming day to dwell in my head, rent-free. This often occurs when I should be slipping into slumber, unless it’s Friday night and I’m enjoying a few libations but that just causes a different kind of poor sleep. But i can certainly attest that whether it’s running through things I’ll say on my way to work, rethinking choices and tasks performed at work on my way home or simply laying in bed worrying about it all, I need to do a bit more practicing what I preach. And now, we’ll get on to the preaching part…

As human beings, we have a tendency to dwell on the past and worry about the future. We think back to things we’ve said and done and tasks we’ve accomplished and we wonder if we could have done them better or differently. We worry about the future as it relates to life and one’s finances. Will I have enough money to cover the rent this month? Can I afford to put gas in the car or do I need to keep taking my bike? Do I have job security? Can I retire in twenty years without working? There’s absolutely no limit to the things that roll around in one’s head at any given time.

However, having this happen when you’re supposed to be getting sleep is not only wrong but potentially harmful. As I’ve written about in previous posts, lack of proper sleep can lead to a plethora of physical and mental issues, not limited to poor cognitive function, increased blood pressure and anxiety. I don’t know about you, but none of that sounds like a fuckin’ spa treatment. This is why it’s so important to ensure you get a proper night’s sleep. And there are a few ways to help that process along.

First and foremost, one needs to learn to shut their mind off. For me, I make a point of blasting some awesome music in the car on my way home and sing along with no apologies (well, the music is awesome to ME, anyways). This helps to reset my mind from the work environment to the home environment. This is a fantastic first step to decompressing and allowing oneself to switch gears. The idea and the whole point is that work should be kept at work. Although some jobs and positions may require some after-honours attention, once your day is done and you go home, work is the last thing you should be dwelling on.

Once you’re home, get on some things that you can do at home. This is more important than we realize because most people have the reflex of getting home and wanting to flop down on the couch and veg out. As appealing as this sounds, sitting idle is one of the worst things you can do, as sitting still gives you too much time to dwell on things. Get up, help make dinner, do the dishes, help your kids with homework and if all else fails and none of that applies to you, hammer out a solid workout, followed by a hot shower and some meditation. Not only will this get you through your evening in a productive manner but it’ll also prepare your body for sleep, which is kind of the whole point.

All the usual things that we all tend to hear about apply as well. Don’t eat to close to bedtime, cut caffeine about mid-afternoon and avoid backlit screens about an hour before bed. All of these things will contribute to helping you nod off faster. Once you’re in bed, closing your eyes and focusing on your breathing is an excellent exercise to help you fall asleep. Focusing on your breathing takes your thoughts away from whatever you may dwell on, otherwise. Long, steady breaths are definitely better than short ones. White noise machines are a light-send, as well. You should try to avoid being like me and using your cell phone to stream Netflix to go to sleep.

All in all, it’s pretty easy to say “shut your mind off and go to sleep.” Accomplishing that isn’t quite so easy. Life brings its own unique sets of challenges, stressors and aspects that cause anxiety so it’s no big surprise that some or most of that will keep a person up at night. But the important aspect to remember is that unless you plan on getting out of bed and going straight in to work when your mind dwells on it, there’s nothing you can do about it in the moment and you should let it go and focus on the task at hand, which is sleep. Food for thought… ☯️

Frosted Fun In Milder Weather…

One of the big things that makes winter drag on for me, is the inability to use my bicycle or my punching bag. Oh, sure… I could be like of those sorry idiots you see riding the city streets on a bike in the snow. But I value my life a little too much for that. And the issue with the punching is imply managing to stay outside in the cold for that long. Even if I only use the bag for a half hour, the extremes colds we get in Saskatchewan are often enough to make it unwise, if not outright dangerous.

That’s why let weekend was a welcome gift, with temperatures actually rising above 0 degrees. Recently, my wife and I have started sending our oldest outside to play on the weekends. That likely makes it sound like we didn’t before and I should probably clarify… Because he now has a Nintendo Switch as well as a disabled iPhone on which to do homework and stream Netflix Kids, he very rarely wants to do anything else. Getting him to play in the great outdoors has become something of a challenge, despite the vast plethora of toys and gadgets he has in his play shed that he can use to entertain himself. but I digress…

On Saturday, I noticed it was only -1 degrees outside. As usual, I shut down all of his devices and coaxed him outside to play. He put in his hour and came back in, citing fatigue. Once he was curled back up in a corner and playing his games, it dawned on me that I should have joined him. The milder weather would have been an excellent opportunity to hit the bag. Instead, I ended up doing a workout inside, as I usually do. Recently, I’ve been trying to push myself to workout on a daily basis so that I can hopefully start to shed some of the winter blubber from my mid-section.

The following day held weather just as nice, so I decided to join Nathan outside and do a 30-minute punching bag circuit that I have on my phone. It involves striking the bag for a full minute, then taking a 30-second break. Wash, rinse and repeat for a half hour. It’s pretty good at working up a sweat and as long as you put in the effort, it’s a pretty good way to burn calories and tone the arms, as well. I got through the circuit and made my way back inside the house, tired and sweaty but satisfied. I noted some pros and cons to working out on the bag in colder weather. And I’m gonna share ‘em with you now…

On the positive side, it was remarkably easier to breathe. Since I usually spend time on the bag in the summer, the heavy humidity and high heat not only make it difficult to breathe but it also brings me closer to dehydration with every punch. I didn’t have that issue. I also didn’t need to stop for water as often or sweat as profusely into my eyes. That being said, now is a good time to remind everyone that just because you’re not sweating, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t work to stay hydrated. That can be a bit of a slippery slope, kind of like neglecting to use sunblock in the winter.

Another good thing is that I had to keep moving in order to stay warm. Granted, it was only about -4 degrees but wearing a long-sleeved dry-fit shirt under a sleeveless hoodie didn’t do much to keep the chill at bay. This resulted in a need to keep moving constantly in order to maintain my body’s warmth. The result is less stopping and less breaks throughout the workout, resulting in a better burn. I’ll be the first to admit that I tend to lag and slow down once I reach the halfway mark of my bag workouts. This was an easy way to ensure that didn’t happen. Keep moving or get cold.

Of course, as with all things in life, there is a con to every pro and this workout was no exception. Although it was great to get out on the bag and blow off some steam, there were some negative aspects to this workout. The first is that my Bluetooth speaker died. Kaput. Done. Useless. Despite having nearly a full charge when I went outside, the cold weather drained the battery and the music died. Don McLean would have a conniption. Worst part is, it died in the last ten minutes or so of the workout, which is when I’m at my most fatigued and need that slight boost that good music gives you, in order to push through.

This same effect happened to my phone, having gone outside with a battery nearing 100%, only to step back inside at less than 25%. Although neither of those things may seem like a big deal, and I’ll admit that they’re not, they still affect the overall workout. But neither of those were as important as the fact that the battery to my insulin pump also drained. Not completely, thankfully, but it still drained. The user’s guide for the pump also clarifies that it should not be kept in constant heat or cold, and this would be one of the reasons why. A more ideal solution would have been to disconnect the pump for the 30 minutes I was outside and preserve the battery. Hindsight, am I right?

Lastly, were my blood sugars. Working out in colder weather has a harsher effect on the body. Not only are you working out but your body is actively trying to warm you up/keep you warm. As a result, my blood sugars dropped quite drastically over the 30 minutes that I slammed the bag. No big deal for someone constantly prepared for blood sugar issues, but less than ideal. And that’s something to bear in mind, should one decide on a workout that takes them away from the house, like jogging or skiing. Close monitoring of one’s blood sugars and good preparation can mean the difference between being in danger or enjoying the milder but still cold, weather.

All in all, it was good to get out of the house and get back to the bag. It certainly renewed my appetite for the striking aspect of my training. Although forms and shadow boxing are great, sometimes you just need to actually strike something in order to properly develop your techniques. I would say that being outside was a positive influence on Nathan but the little lazy ass came and sat in the garage for the entire time I was outside. Despite being supposed to play and get some exercise, he opted instead to just sit there. Bloody kid! My attempts to get him to use the punch pad didn’t fly, either. Oh, well. Here’s hoping next weekend is just as nice and I can put my lessons learned into practice. ☯️

Breaking The Wanted Cycle…

When you tell someone that you have Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, or OCD, they automatically assume that you’re a neat freak or have to organize everything you set your eyes on. However, what most people don’t realize is that there are many different types of OCD and how a person behaves faced with a specific type will differ from person to person. For example, you can have someone who is afraid of germs or being contaminated. This can also be considered as a germaphobe, of course. Then you have the person who always has to finish something they start or has to see something completed, the person who needs order and proper arrangement and the final one, which is a person who will often harbour aggressive and violent thoughts.

One of the important things to remember is that those aspects can often be attributed to other conditions, so if one is thinking that one may have OCD, it’s important to be assessed by. A medical professional. In my case, I have the pleasure of living with a form of OCD that not only sees me try and organize everything I see so that there’s some semblance of order, it also sees me wanting to continue something until I feel it’s finished or completed. Try living that way when you have a full household, including two small children, one of which thinks he’s putting out a house fire every fucking time he uses the bathroom. But I digress,,,

I had enough insight to have myself assessed and evaluated when I went to college and discovered that not only did I have OCD, I also had ADHD, which explained the majority of the attention and cognitive issues I had throughout my formative years. A combination of self-discipline, karate and trying to keep myself from dying due to Type-1 Diabetes complications allowed me to overcome the ADHD aspect. The OCD part of me is a bit more difficult to combat. Especially because I often find myself not wanting to. Although it’s mostly the OCD, I also enjoy organization and order. I prefer to have things neat, clean and see things to their completion. Like an addict who enjoys their fix and refuses to quit, stopping things can be difficult for me, once I’ve started.

In recent years, the appearance of PTSD symptoms have added an unwanted guest to my little acronym party. And since some of those symptoms can mimic or aggravate the OCD and ADHD symptoms, coping can be a significant challenge, especially since some of my earlier coping mechanisms are no longer available. One of the things I’ve been doing in recent years, is writing this blog. Believe it or not, once I started, I had difficulty stopping. And realistically, I don’t want to. It really only became a problem when I started building up a posting streak. It started with me posting for a hundred days in a row, then a couple of hundred. It became a fixed routine that I would write and post something at the absolute butt-crack of dawn so that my followers would have something of mine to read, first thing in the morning.

Before I knew it, I had decided on a goal of writing without missing a day for a full calendar year. At one point, I actually got a couple of weeks away from accomplishing that goal before I somehow missed a day and had to start from scratch. I got it on the second attempt and decided I should try for a cool 1,000 days in a row. I reached that goal just recently and found myself wondering what my next goal should be. I decided I should write as ideas came to me instead of trying to accomplish a fixed goal. However, Mr. OCD still wouldn’t let me skip a day and managed to see me post on a daily basis beyond my 1,000 posts. It took a major amount of effort to actually skip a day and even then, I racked my damaged brain all day, trying to figure out something quick I could post. But I did it.

Then, I managed to take another step in breaking a cycle; I haven’t posted in five days. The first couple of days felt wrong, but I have to admit that by day five, it was kind of nice knowing I didn’t have to sit in front of the keyboard before or after a long day’s work and come up with material to write. Change doesn’t come easy for me and I actually WANT to carry on with my blog, which makes it all the harder. But maybe this is a different type of challenge or goal for me to accomplish. I just commented to my wife that my blood pressure has been significantly lower in the past few days. Less things to complete in my daily routine can mean less stress, which would certainly help lower blood pressure.

This may also be why I’ve been sleeping better, recently. Lately, once I go to bed and fall asleep, I pass out like a rock and don’t wake up until my alarm goes off. Or my insulin pump wakes me. But still… Who would have thought that better blood pressure would make things better. Maybe I need to start listening to my doctors more… The point is, despite my OCD, I still have it within myself to change habits and improve things for myself. And that’s important. Betterment and improvement of self are important aspects of eliminating the suffering in one’s own life. ☯️

Beef Isn’t JUST What’s For Dinner…

It’s a pretty typical scene… The parents work towards preparing a family dinner and everyone sits at the table. One of the children takes one look at their plate and says, “That looks yucky, I don’t wanna eat it…” I’ll give you three guesses as to what he’s pointing at but you’ll only need one. That’s right, he was referring to his vegetables. It’s a pretty common story, one that often carries one into adulthood. I mean honestly, if you put meat, potatoes and veggies on my plate and told me I could only pick two, it’s a pretty clear bet about which of the three would get left behind.

People will often go for the food choices that appeal to their taste and preference, which, on the one hand, makes quite a bit of sense. As an adult, most assume they’ve “done their time” with being told what to eat during their childhood and so, they’ll eat as they see fit during adulthood. Although that concept makes sense in theory, it only carries you as far as what tastes good on your tongue and doesn’t say much for the fact that proper nutrition requires some of the tasteless green stuff that most of us prefer not to have.

in fact, good healthy and proper nutrition requires everything that people who claim to be tying to get healthier avoid. One big one is carbohydrates. On the one side, I try and keep my carbs as low as possible since the more carbs I eat, the more insulin I have to take. Increased carbohydrates can also lead to weight gain, which is a significant pain in the ass to a Type-1 Diabetic in his 40’s who may be trying to slim down the inflated dad-bod. But I the sad reality is that carbs represent a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg scenario, where you need carbs for energy to work out but only the calorie deficit that cutting carbs can bring will lead to weight loss.

For the most part, if I’m eating something and I anticipate working out, I’ll reduce or omit vegetables and carbohydrates since they also act as fillers. Nothing worse than trying to work out and put your all into something when your gut is full and you’re struggling to breathe for two reasons. Although most fitness gurus will agree that the only way to lose weight properly is to burn more calories than you take in, there has to be a balance. You need energy to exercise but you need to reduce the amount of food that gives you said energy in order for that exercise to slim you down.

So, what if you just fight through it? What if you decide you’re an absolute champ and can reduce your carb and calorie intake and just hammer through the effort? There are a number of symptoms and effects that you’ll likely feel as a result, and none of them are pleasant. I found a lovely little article posted by HealthLine.com that covers some of the worst ones quite nicely…

The top one is that you’ll be low on energy. If your take in less than the minimum calories you need in a day, your resting metabolic rate will lower and you’ll constantly feel tired because your body can’t support everything. This can sap your motivation and lead to skipping exercise because you just don’t have the energy? Sound familiar? I may or may not have written a post recently about that very thing. Self-recognizing certain health issues can go a long, long way. But I digress…

Being constantly hungry is another issue. And it plays into the old scenario where you go on a diet and try to lose weight, only to crash and binge-eat on a cheat day because your body is craving the calories you’re missing. It’ll also affect the quality of your sleep. So even if you sleep for eight hours because you’re exhausted from the low energy, that sleep won’t rejuvenate you and will likely be poor, especially if you feel hungry while trying to fall asleep.

There’s a host of other potential symptoms, including irritability, anxiety and constipation. You can click on the HealthLine link above to read further details on all of the symptoms they’ve listed. The reality is that while trying to decide how best to reduce your waistline, you need to be cautious and not reduce your calorie intake so far as to affect the very results you’re trying to achieve. I prefer to keep my meals low-carb, if not only because of the insulin requirement but for the weight loss effort. However, some of the symptoms I’ve described above have been what I’ve been feeling over recent months, which makes me raise an eyebrow. ☯️

A Little Light Before The Dawn…

I’ve always found that old expression, “It’s always darkest before the dawn,” to be wildly inaccurate. I know it’s meant to be metaphorical, but from a literal standpoint, it’s completely wrong. but before I go off on a tangent, today’s post is about more than inaccurate sayings. The winter months bring about a score of issues that the everyday person needs to deal with. Considering the snow, cold, needing to shovel, road and weather hazards and the fact that almost everyone else seems to turn into the world’s worst drivers on account of road conditions (I’m a little bit biased), it kind of seems as though the winter months make it safer and more worthwhile to just stay home and hidden under some warm blankies…

The winter months can be harsh on a person. Since it stays dark for so much longer during the day, it can feel as though one lives in perpetual darkness, especially if your work keeps you indoors all day. Most days, I wake up and it’s still dark outside. I make my way to work in the dark and by the time I typically leave the office for home, it’s either getting dark or full-on dark. This can play havoc on a person’s energy levels and motivation. Contrary to what many of my colleagues would say, a person needs a certain level of daylight in their lives. Not only is this important in order to balance out one’s circadian rhythm but for vitamin D and shit.

The lack of motivation that the winter months bring can affect one’s motivation to do some of the little things through the course of your day, such as working out, spending time with family and ensuring proper nutrition. In fact, most days during the winter, all I want to do is flop down on the couch and binge-watch television for an hour or two before crashing for 12 hours or more. As nice as that sounds, I usually leave the house and get to work around 7 o’clock in the morning and leave work at 4:30 to 5 o’clock, making for a 10-hour day. If I followed that up with 12 hours of sleep, that would only leave about 2 hours of free time per day, which kind of sucks.

It can be pretty easy to allow the rigours of the day and darker, greyer winter weather get you down and keep you from doing what needs to be done to ensure proper nutrition and health. It takes a bit of a push in order to ensure you don’t get kicked in the balls by the winter blahs. And they can sneak up on you without notice. Eat well, exercise regularly and check your blood sugars often. Eventually, the snow will melt, the weather will warm up and weekend coffees on the back deck can become the norm again. ☯️


Well, there you have it folks… After 1,036 straight days of posting, I neglected to submit a post to go live, yesterday. I guess it was bound to happen eventually. After I hit my 1,000-post goal, I was left wondering what my next goal would be with this blog. Theoretically, with the height of the pandemic come and gone and the fact I’m back to work full time, there would be few practical reasons for me to keep hammering to write something EVERY day. In fact, achieving my 1,000 was reasonably anti-climatic, with only one or two acquaintances acknowledging the milestone, even through my blog. But I digress.

I’d like to say that this oversight (if it can be called that) was the result of something external that simply prevented me from writing, but such is not the case. In fact, I had ample opportunity to sit at the keyboard and get something on paper (or rather, on screen), I simply chose not to. Oddly enough, when Thursday evening hit, I felt a strange wave of something come over me. It wasn’t quite nausea, not quite dizziness, tinged with an unfortunate feeling of sleepiness. Not tired or fatigued, like after a long day’s work but actually sleepy.

Given that this can easily happen and having a night where one is sleepy isn’t unheard of, I made certain my blood sugars were level and crashed with no second thought given to how I was feeling. It wasn’t until I noticed the following day that this strange feeling had not only remained but appeared to be worsening. I told my wife about it and we discussed some potential reasons behind the feeling. Given that I recently discovered blood pressure issues, I checked that often but it was normal.

Friday nights are usually my night with Nathan, where we watch videos, play games and eat junk food in the basement. Although we still did this, I wound up crashing at about 10:30 pm, unable to stay awake any longer. I slept solidly and had no issues during the night but imagine my surprise when I woke up and checked the time to see it was past noon! I haven’t slept in that late since I was in my early 30’s. I struggled to get out of bed and quickly realized that my bed was in a fog and I could have easily slipped back insert he covers and fallen back asleep. I started to get concerned…

I made my way upstairs and spoke to my wife about it. I still went about my Saturday and ran errands, went out, even purchased a new television for the living room. All the while, I still felt foggy and couldn’t quite put a finger on what was causing the issue. Saturday night was almost as bad as Friday, with my wife unceremoniously putting me to bed when our toddler went down. I woke up around 10:00 am on Sunday morning and we did some running around as a family, followed by a much-needed 2-hour nap in the afternoon.

I basically spent the majority of my weekend sleeping, which really irks me as I usually have workouts and family plans and things I want to get done. Now, as I try and get at my Monday with the workweek starting anew, I still feel the thin veil of this sleepiness but it appears to be passing. Although paying close attention to all things required (blood sugars, blood pressure, hydration, etc) I still have no idea what may have had me so tired and in a funk. Maybe it’s just mood-based. Light knows I’m a moody bastard! Getting medical attention is no longer a promising prospect, given the state of most hospital emergency rooms, so keeping myself healthy has never been more important. ☯️