On continuing to eat and live keto-adapted

Ugh, Keto, again?

​Many of you have seen some of the pieces I shared with recipes that are keto-friendly.  Additionally, some of you have reached out to ask me for more information.  Recently, however, someone reached out and told me that it is not a sustainable long-term plan.  Now, I don’t know what is considered long-term.  I, also, do not know how long I will continue to pursue keto, but I don’t plan on stopping anytime soon.  I want to share with you some of the tips related to keto.  If you have questions, absolutely reach out to me.

​What is this Keto thing, in 50 words or less?

​Keto, short for ketogenic, is a “diet” that focuses on a macro blend of approximately 80% Fat, 15% Protein, and 5% Carbs each day.  The goal is to get your body to burn fat for energy instead of carbs.  This is accomplished through carb-limiting.

​How long have I been doing keto?

I started the ketogenic approach in Sept 2016.  That places me in the tail end of my 7th month.  When I started, I was coming off of a lean diet that had very boring foods and flavors (or lack, thereof!)  Keto stuck out to me because I could eat all of these seemingly forbidden foods and still lose weight.  Naturally, I did not believe it, but what did I have to lose?

​What are some of the tools that help me to stay on track?

​For all things related to the science behind ketogenic, the two best sites I can recommend are bodybuilding.com and ruled.me.  Both sites offer an incredible amount of information including discussions on the validity and viability of this approach.  If you are curious about it, I would strongly suggest starting there.
​Additionally, for meal planning, I cannot recommend EatThisMuch enough.Their system makes it easy to plan out your meals, and if you pay for the membership, each week, you can get an email of your grocery list so you have everything in one place for when you go to the store.

Why am I sharing this?

​Since adopting keto, I have lost a total of 25 pounds.  I feel great, despite the first week or so with that crappy “keto flu”, but once I added more salt into my diet, that was no longer an issue.  My workout took a hit originally, and there are days where I feel as if I cannot seem to do the same numbers.  However, it has forced me to re-orient myself to stop caring about the weights.  So long as I get a solid workout, with weak arms and all, what does it matter if it is a 35 lb dumbbell or a 45 lb.?

For transparency, I am an affiliate with ruled.me, and any purchase of one of their plans does provide me with some compensation.  That being said, in no way does this take any legitimacy from Craigs’s work on that site.

Flying too high and going too fast! – Helicopter Stories

Helicopters are AWESOME!

My neighbor, such an awesome guy, gave my son an RC helicopter.  His kids had received them but never used them.  LB (my son) was super excited to play with it, but we were unable to get some time to play with it until just the other day.  This thing is nice.  Feels solidly built, has an internal Li-Ion battery and the remote control is the only part that has batteries that need to be replaced.

Crisis Strikes!

I started off nice and slow getting used to the control and lift of the helicopter.  Then I started trying to get it to hover so I could work on control.  Well, I got ambitious, and it went too high then dropped to the ground.  Picked it up and dusted it off, everything seems fine.  However, something is off, as the rear rotor no longer turns.  The helicopter cannot lift off of the ground now.

What popped into my head was something my wife had said to me not long ago.  She had said that I have a tendency to go “all in” on something only to find that when my interest wanes I am already moving on to something else.  I don’t know how to have an alternative there.  I don’t even know what the alternative would be, since I would think that we should be able to move onto something else that interests us.  However, her point was still valid, as there are some times in which I cannot quite decide when to hold, or when to fold.

The helicopter brought to mind the old story of Icarus, flying too high and too close to the sun.  He paid the ultimate price for wanting to go higher and higher.  I thought more about this today when I was taking the tail apart to see if I can figure out what happened.  My curiosity won’t let me quit on this investigation, but it is also kind of fun.  If I can get this working again then it is important not just for the joy it brings to LB, but also for the symbolism associated with the repair and eventual emergence of helicopter 2.0!

I’ve closed with this before, but never has it been so appropriate, so…Onward and Upward!!!

If Communication is such a good thing, then why are we so bad at it?

Communication is found everywhere you look

Everyone professes things like “communication is key to happy and lasting relationships,” or “the key to client satisfaction is communication.”  Yet with all of this focus on a singular element, it seems we are not that good at communicating.  We’ve all been in situations where we could have, or should have, said something but held back.  Additionally, we have all had relationships that have grown out of recognizing incorrect assumptions we have had about an individual.  But why aren’t things better?

​Experience is a funny thing

I can easily recall many situations in which communication has improved a situation.  When delivering bad news I know that delaying the delivery never results in anything positive.  Additionally, when delivering something good, it further enhances the positive experience by sharing it with others.  I would struggle to come up with more than one experience where communication actually hurt a relationship or situation.  That one situation was quite an experience but definitely an anomaly.  Bearing this in mind, I still find myself wondering why I hesitated to share a piece of information with peers.

​Communication is just information sharing, right?

​Though it is a simplified statement, it is not incorrect.  Communicating with peers, clients, or complete strangers does more than provide us with a brief moment of entertainment.  When we share ideas and information we are creating an environment for further growth.  This may or may not happen.  However, you will most assuredly miss 100% of the shots that you don’t take.  I find myself wondering if I could be sharing more, but I know there are some that worry they are sharing too much.

​How do you decide whether or not to share something?

​This is a tough one, and I am sure many others may be more qualified than I am in answering this.  However, one thing I have been considering for myself as of late has been an idea that has been attributed to many included Buddha, Eleanor Roosevelt, Rumi, etc.  This idea is: before I speak my idea must pass through three gates before being shared.  First, is it true?  Next, is this communication necessary? Last, is this message kind?

​That sounds a little too hokey.

​Sure it does, and I am new to this, so trying it really hurts no one.  However, a guide such as this maybe a decent starting point.  After all, there are times when the unkind is necessary to share so long as it comes from a good intention, right?  What do you think of this?

What’s the big deal with active listening?

While I start this story, how about you get in your listening mode…

​According to research, we are not very good at listening.  This is disheartening when you consider the importance of listening: learning, understanding, enjoyment, etc.  Apparently, we listen to, and recall, between 25 and 50 percent of what we listen to.  This means that whenever you are talking to your spouse or boss, they may not be listening to all you are saying.  However, it also means that when they are talking to you, they are receiving the same courtesy.  Hopefully the bulk of the message is found in that 25-50%.

​How do I improve my listening if it is automatically so low?

​In order to improve, it would behoove you to learn active listening.  Active listening refers to a technique that is often associated with coaching.  Don’t let that scare you away, as you don’t need to be a “life coach” or anything like that.  It is simply making a conscious effort to not only hear the words coming from the other party, but to also understand the entirety of the message.

​It help to think about all of the things that happen when you are listening to someone.  You may be distracted by any number of events in your immediate area, or by your counterpoint that you are planning for when they stop talking.  In some cases, your listening may be interrupted simply because you are bored and your mind wanders.  Knowing that these are possibilities should help you to identify when it is happening and re-focus back to the discussion.

​How can I control my listening?

Experts suggest that in some cases it helps to repeat back the other party’s words in your head to reinforce the message.  They also recommend actively engaging in the conversation to let the other person know you are listening.  These affirmations can be based on body language, such as nodding, or through “uh huh” and other vocalizations.  The same experts will point out, though, that you must be careful as some of these affirmations may be misconstrued as agreeing with the speaker.

​Great, now instead of listening, I’m accidentally agreeing…

​To keep this from occurring, it is necessary to interject from time to time and say things such as “what I’m hearing is…” followed by how you interpret the message.  This provides further affirmation that you are listening while also providing reflection points that can be used for discussion.  It is important to note, however, this must be a careful interjection rather than an interruption.

​In closing, keep in mind that when we talk, we are not learning.  We are telling others what we know.  To listen is to learn, and when you consider return on investment, learning wins every time.

Why you should never eat alone, and thereby at your desk…

Why does it matter if I eat alone?

When it comes to eating lunch, many people treat it as a social event.  However, there are also a bunch that choose to eat at their desk during work, or alone in their car.  Just stop!  I have recognized fairly recently that even if I bring a lunch, there is no reason to not have a lunch partner.  This is another opportunity presenting itself for me to learn from someone else, or bounce around some ideas, or simply catch up on his, or her, life.

What do I do to eat?

​Typically, I am the type to sit at my desk and eat.  This is partly due to the fact that I devour my lunch very quickly.  While I could be taking advantage of the rest of my break period to take a nice walk outside, I don’t.  I could also use this walk to further good conversation with a friend or coworker, but I don’t do that either.  The other day, though, I sat down with a coworker and we were discussing our five-year goals, and the multiple paths to reach them.

​The conversation was very enjoyable, and before I knew it, lunch was over.  These opportunities don’t seem to come often enough, but I am realizing that I am the one responsible for that.  I could just as easily reach out to any of my colleagues and ask them to join me.  After all, there are plenty of people at my office.  For the longest time I kept telling myself that I don’t take much time to eat, so there is no need to make something of it.​

​Yeah but I talk to my colleagues all the time, I don’t necessarily need lunch for it.

Of course, but perhaps you should consider inviting someone you don’t talk to frequently.  I got some of this idea from the book ​Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.  Each lunch could be an opportunity to learn something new about someone, or to learn something new about yourself.  I definitely enjoy my opportunities for personal and professional growth.  Naturally, this idea resonates with me.

​What are you asking me to do?

I would like you to pledge that you are going to start by inviting someone that you don’t speak with frequently, to lunch.  You can start off small and reach out to Paul in Finance, or Serena in HR.  Just tell them you’d like to chat with them and see how they are doing.  Be present and enjoy what life throws your way!

Lady Luck can’t have her eye out for all of us…

Sometimes the luck is in my favor.

I know most of you are aware of my Amazon business where I buy and sell a bunch of things.  Whether or not it really can be identified as a business is a topic for debate, I’m sure.  That can be a topic for another day.

This day, however, is going to be dedicated to that dirty idea of “opportunism”.  Whether you call it luck, fate, or fortune, sometimes life presents opportunities that are too good to pass up.  I had one of those encounters the other day.

There is a store I went into that I haven’t visited in a while.  I figured I would just see, on a whim, if there were any products I could resell to jump-start sales online.  Walking through the entire store, I didn’t find a great number of compelling items.  Honestly, my cart had some LED bulbs, and a few jars of coconut oil.  Being ungated in grocery, I can sell it on Amazon, so that was going to be a test purchase.  The bulbs weren’t too interesting to me because it looked like I was only going to be seeing a $1-$2 profit on each bulb sold.  Still a profit though, so I bought everything.

​How is this luck?

I went home and unloaded everything into the house.  I put it all down in my work area so I could list, package and ship everything the next day.  We had some company come over, and I had mentioned to my buddy about the Amazon business.  He was curious about it so I took him downstairs to show him the process.  In doing so, I realized the bulbs are also sold in multi-packs.  Looking at the multi-packs, my small profit just multiplied by a factor of 5.

​So I asked my buddy if he was interested in going for a ride.  We took the Forester because I knew the Jetta wasn’t equipped for this mission.  We drove back to the store, and I asked the first employee I saw, “Hey, how much will you take off the price if I buy ALL of your stock?”  She went to go get the manager, who came over and asked me what I meant.  I explained that I wanted to buy out their entire stock, and he looked at it and said unfortunately they cannot do anything with the price.  It was worth a shot, but I still went ahead and counted out all the bulbs.

Sounds pretty lucky.

​We stuffed the Forester completely full.  To the point that if the store would have required a highway trip, I would have been afraid of being pulled over because there was no seeing out the back.  It took me about 6 hours total to wrap, label, package and ship everything.  They have been selling which is wonderful.

​Nonetheless, luck is no longer in my favor as it seems all of the stores have a cap of 10 per customer now.  I’m not saying I’m responsible, as it could have been just plain luck and a good manager that got me the first purchase.  So the search continues for a profitable and refillable product.

What is in your five year plan?

Do you even have a plan?

The other day I had my monthly team call at work, and one of the elements of the call is “food for thought” story.  I refer to them as “motivational moments”.  The team seems to enjoy them as it breaks up the discussions on work stuff, and provides a little entertainment.  This call’s story was called “5+5=5” and it spoke on the reasons people are not achieving their goals.  See, it is very easy to write out your plan, bucket-list, goals sheet, or whatever you rely on.  However, all too often I hear of people writing them down but then never revisiting them.  I’ve been guilty of it, too.  I found a folded up sheet that had 5 year goals from when I was 22.  I accomplished 1 of the 9…1!!!

I asked my team if they have their plan written somewhere.  Some do, some don’t.  I then asked if they ever pull it out to update, modify, or re-do.  None of them did.  Perhaps you are in the same boat?  Don’t worry, though, because after you read this, you’ll rush to update those plans.

​What is the point of the plan?

​Your plan, whether it be 1-year or 10-years, outlines the items that matter most to you.  Perhaps you hope to buy a new car, or a house, or get married.  Whatever your goal may be, it goes on the list.  BE realistic! If you have no savings and a negative net worth, retirement is unlikely next year.

​The best part about the plan, however, is that once you write down what you hope to accomplish, then you can start identifying the steps it will take to get there.  Now some people find this part daunting, but for me it works best to go backwards from your desired goal.  You want to be financially independent?  You are going to need some sweet investments.  Ok let’s invest some money.  Well, you should probably have a positive net worth.  To get that, it is time to get rid of these college loans.  To do that I need money.  To get money I need more side hustles.

​So at this point I can then start identifying some side hustles to focus on.  Selling items online, copy-writing and editing, web development, the possibilities are endless.

​Yeah, but what about this 5+5=5 thing?

​So the third five is your five-year plan, if you have a ten-year, or a two-year just sub in that number.  Stop worrying about the math, it is just to catch your attention.  Whatever the duration, that is the sum result of the first two fives.

​The first five refers to the five people you spend the most time with, in your life.  Some may even say, these are the five people you care most about, but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case.  You may have heard this, but there is a popular adage that you become the average of the five people you spend the most time with.  This is the first element of the equation.  If your goal is to run a marathon, but the only running your “fav five” (Thanks T-Mobile,) does is their mouths, there is a much lower likelihood of success for you.

​The second five refers to the last five books you read or listened to.  Audible counts, people.  Seriously, why aren’t you reading more?  If you want to be an entrepreneur, read about it.  Are you interested in finance or investing?  Read a book.  Add more opportunities for learning in your life.  You will be paying yourself in something that no one can ever take from you.  Also, unlike in school, you get to choose everything you read, and learn.

​Get out there and plan for yourself…

​Then come back in a couple years and let’s talk about how you did.  I set the bar pretty low, so there is no way you cannot do better than that sheet I found.