A Life Under Construction

sign: under construction

On my desk I have a sign that reads, “The road to success is always under construction”. When it comes to weight loss and getting fit this is certainly true.

It is important to keep this in mind and acknowledge it as an acceptable if not desirable part of the process if we want our journey to be a happy one.

Getting Fit Under Construction

There are three aspects of a fitness program that are clearly affected by the basic nature of the process, each of which is parallel to the idea of being “under construction.” Think of yourself driving down the road and running into a sign reading “Construction Ahead.” When you do you know these three things are true.


Fitness Report: May 2015

Month-May, 2015

As the old adage puts it, you have to roll with the punches. That saying appropriately points to my experience in April as far as my getting fit program is concerned. Or perhaps the one about our best laid plans would be better because my experience in April was more of a change in plans than a setback.

Overall I am once again reasonably happy with my progress this month but I definitely ended up with a different experience than expected. I will share some of it in this report because I think in the end this is a positive move that will only improve my long term chances for success at getting fit.


Little Things Mean a Lot

Small things can sometimes make a big difference. It is fun to find them and put them to work for our advantage.

Small But Powerful Way to Cut Calories

This week I discovered a small help to my dieting work that will serve me well and help me save lots of calories over time. This discovery came altogether by accident, but no matter, it works just as well.


For some time I have been eating a large salad for supper, not every day but often. For my salad I use a shallow bowel about the size of a small dinner plate and an inch deep. Until now I cut up my salad on the plate, put on my salad dressing (lite of course) and tossed it as best as I could with my fork.

Finding the tossing difficult, often spilling over the edge and not mixing the dressing very well, today I got hold of a large, deep bowl to help. I cut my salad into the bowel, added dressing and stirred vigorously. To my amazement the salad looked drenched in dressing!

Here is the discovery. By using a better tossing method I found I needed no more than half the amount of dressing as when my tossing was poor. Half the dressing means…


Fitness Report — April 2015

In some ways March may well have been my most successful “getting fit at last” month to date. Every aspect of my fitness program showed substantial progress. I have even passed a couple of milestones that mean a lot to me.

So far I have not decided on a way to celebrate reaching these progress points. Surely something will pop into mind soon—something other than going out to eat!

Weight Loss Progress

During March I reduced my weight more than in any other month since beginning my fitness program just one year ago. A couple of times I managed to lose 6 pounds but this is the first time to lose as much as 7 pounds.

April 2015 weight loss chart

The month began with my weight at 206 pounds. It ended at 199 pounds. These numbers are remarkable in that they reached two milestones. First, I passed the 50 pounds of overall weight loss, and second, I got below that unwelcome 200 pound mark.

There are a number of factors at play in this improvement in the number of pounds lost in one month. Two are notable and will significantly affect my long term thinking and overall progress.

First, about a month ago I did some…


Exercise Goal Motivation


In my monthly report for March I acknowledged my failure during February to adequately exercise, or at least to follow my own intentions to exercise six days a week.

At the same time I noted that when we fail at anything it is almost always due to a lack of proper goal setting. For this post I decided to share the basics of my plan for improving my exercise regimen by adopting proper goal setting methods.

The First Step in Goal Setting: Statement

The first and most important step in goal setting is to clearly define the goal. Losing some weight is not an effective goal. Losing 80 pounds is better. Getting my weight down to 175 pounds by Christmas, 2015, is a better one. It is specific (can be measured) and it has a time of completion.

Applying this principle to my exercise program is relatively simple because I do not want to set a long term exercise goal for specific levels or types of exercise at this time. Instead, I want to set only a basic goal for consistently exercising, general types (aerobic and strength), and time devoted to it.

Because I do not want to draw too much of my focus away from my weight loss effort and some other aspects of my health planning which are priorities now, I want my current goal to relate only to establishing an exercise base line with the idea of adding to it later.

That said, my new, current exercise goal is this:…


Fitness Report — March 2015

snow on mugo pine

It may not be Spring, but March is a month of expectation. We could have some cold days and lots of new snow (where I live in Minnesota, USA), but we all know that by the last part of the month the snow will be melting and days will begin to get warmer.

This kind of thinking pretty well describes my weight loss progress as well. Right now I am trying to stay the course, get through the grind of the middle ground and look for the light at the end of the tunnel. I can’t quite see it yet, but I know a light is just around the corner so I am fortifying my determination and looking forward to my weight loss “Spring.”

February Weight Loss Progress

Last month I observed that my steady weight loss has been continuing for long enough now that I am beginning to feel really good about the plan I am following. That confidence is getting stronger all the time.


Count Calories by Ingredients

Popped Popcorn

This week I have been working on a article about calorie counting focusing on two of the essential practices that make calorie counting practical for long term success. Check out About Counting Calories to learn more.

In the process I have been made aware of a secondary but important fact that is often overlooked in discussions about calories, the value of thinking about ingredients rather than average results for dishes we prepare.

Why Ingredient Calories Count More

This may seem like a technical clarification that adds more confusion and makes calorie counting more difficult than ever. However, it is in fact useful information enabling you make adjustments in some cases that can make a real difference.


Sugar in Your Food

Sugar, specifically simple sugars in many forms, has become one of the most harmful ingredients in our food. It is a large contributor to the plague of obesity that currently contributes to many health problems in America.

This brief post will not discuss the topic, but instead serves to introduce an infographic I have prepared to point out the importance of checking our food’s sugar content by looking at the nutrition label for hidden sugars.

infographic of sugar hiding in your food


Fitness Report — February 2015

two aprins in hand

Like much of America, our area was hit hard by the flu in January. Several in our household caught the bug. Personally, although I never experienced full blown flu symptoms, I was definitely under the weather for a couple of weeks.

For that reason I look at this last month as being somewhat on hold regarding my overall health goals. But because it remained a period of steady progress as far as my weight loss program in concerned (which is my primary focus for now) I count it as another good month.

January Weight Loss Progress

My steady weight loss has been continuing for long enough now that I am beginning to feel really good about the plan I am following. While I have never had (or attempted to achieve) dramatic weight loss in any month, I have consistently lost a few pounds every month. That has been my goal and I am happy to know I am finding success in achieving it.


Ranting About Salt!

All things evil are not black! Clearly. Indeed, some of the great evils of the world are white: sugar, salt, and processed flour.

It is not that they have no value, but that they have been made harmful do to the way they are used. In my view, salt is the worst.

Salt Is An Invasive Ingredient

salt packages

One of my interests is gardening. In fact I have worked with Minnesota Master Gardeners now for twenty years. One of our ongoing concerns has always been invasive plants.

One of these invasive plants, buckthorn, originally occupied a large area on my property when we bought it. Fortunately, after considerable work and expense, we ridded ourselves of it for the most part.

Unfortunately, I have not had such good luck getting rid of this invasive ingredient in our food, excessive salt. That is why I decided to rant a little in this post about salt—to vent a little.

Why I Find Salt So Challenging

Salt is like an invasive plant in many ways.

  • Its excessive use has spread rapidly.
  • Its widespread use is is harmful to its environment, in this case our bodies.
  • It is hard to get rid of.

Almost everyone knows that the over use of salt is a major contributor to any number of health issues. For a real eye opener…