A Brilliant Diet Idea!!!

I’m into the 10th day of Lent and I’m still 100% compliant with the Whole30. Well, mine is technically “the Whole40” for the forty days of Lent. Check that. It’s actually the Whole46 because I’m going right through to Easter Sunday. Not taking Sundays off. Not ending on Holy Thursday. Yup. Going right through until Easter Sunday.

I’m super Catholic.  What’s that? Yes. Lent started on February 14th and Easter Saturday marks 46 days. Betcha didn’t know that.

Anyway, the whole point is, I’m awesome.

Eating healthy and Whole30 is rewarding and I feel great and blah, blah, blah, whatever, but it sucks. It sucks because I love chocolate chip cookies, Hungry Howie’s pizza, and a thick, doughy, salt bagel with way-too-much cream cheese. Oh, and I love a bourbon drink on a Friday and Saturday night. None of that works on the Whole30.

The Chew-Only Diet

Like a man crawling thirstily through the desert and seeing an oasis, this lack of junk food has me seeing mirages and so I invented the Chew-Only diet.  I keep thinking, ya know, I don’t really need that doughy salt bagel, but if I could just taste it. Oh. My. Goodness. It would be soooooo good. So how about this? I chew it, but don’t swallow?

Hence, my chew-only diet. On the chew-only diet, I can taste anything I want, then just spit in into a Chew-Only Branded spit bucket.

mouth-digestion-2Disgusting? Is it? Reckless? Like, you’re thinking it’s almost like I’m mocking bulimia. OK. I can see I’m bordering on insensitive, but this is different. Before I Chew-Only my favorite meal, I’ll eat my celery and almond butter, some fruit, and maybe a piece of lean chicken and then I’ll grab a piece of banana bread, smother it in butter, chew it, and spit it out. I’ll scoop a big bowl of ice cream. Spoon big spoonfulls into my mouth. Slosh it around. Then spit it out.

Aside from the disgusting chewed food I’ll carry around in a bucket, a bucket I’ll need to hose out and push the chewed food into the garbage disposal, this is the best idea I’ve ever had.

I’ll open a Chew-Only cafe for accepting and like-minded Chew-Only foodies.

“But, Don,” you say, “what if you actually swallow?”  Well, yes, some very small bits of unhealthy food will remain in your mouth and will be swallowed, but only a small bit of food-flavored saliva, and not all those calories and artery-clogging goodies will get into your stomach.

I’ve read that our eating is motivated by cravings. The happiness and joy only happen when my Big Mac and fries are on my taste buds, but everything afterward (an overly full belly, labored breathing, greasy face, regret, sometimes an upset stomach) is crappy.

I could never actually do this inside a McDonald’s (unless they open a chew-only section like restaurants used to have smoking sections) but I know, in my heart, I would be so happy.

Look for my book before the holidays and I’ll tell you when Dr. Oz books me.

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Dad Diary: My Lenten Letter to My Children

Paczki | DonutsYes, I had a pazcki for breakfast. Yes, I’m going to eat my favorite fast food for lunch. Yes, I’m going to have an Old Fashioned this evening, but it’s Fat Tuesday, for heaven’s sake. However, tomorrow, with the first day of Lent, it’s going to be a “first-day” of a new life where I take care of myself, my body, and my brain first in order to be a better father, husband, employee, friend, and human.

All religions talk extensively about the greatest gift we have from God is our body. Do most of us treat our body as a gift?  Ahem. My recent adventure onto a scale at my Dr.’s office suggests, no, I treat my body like a rental storage unit (and my cholesterol results suggested I’m a hoarder and that storage unit has every old magazine I ever subscribed to). I look around any mall or grocery store, or theme park, or sporting event, and looking at most people’s bodies, well, I can see most of us don’t treat our bodies like temples and gifts. I’m not breaking any ground there.

I’m going to change that. Starting tomorrow and pray for me that it’s forever.  44 years are in the books on this body I have. Let’s see if I can get 44 more, and make them healthy and fit.  And now, a letter I wrote to the people who love me. They say, if you write something down, you’re more likely to follow through. Let’s test that theory.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” -Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

Dad Diary: I Promise to Take Care of Myself

My oldest daughter often frowns when I head to the cupboard or fridge for a snack, or if I take seconds at dinner. When I say I had some fast-food for lunch, she gets on my case. She’s right to do that. As I’ve documented many times on this Blog, I have heart disease coming and going on both sides of my family, Alzheimers is out there in my genes, and all by myself I added Bronchiectasis so I gotta take care of my lungs, too.

Basically, I should be 25 pounds overweight and I shouldn’t eat what I eat.

The commercial embedded below that’s running during the Olympics has really gotten my attention. I take care of my house. I baby my car like it’s a vintage classic. I try to keep my dog healthy. My iPhone is updated and my PCs run at their peak performance level. My lawn is artwork. The kitchen? Oh, I keep up on that and it’s an oasis.

Yet, I neglect me.

Why?!?!?

A good family friend passed away this weekend. He lived a great life. Had a wonderful marriage, three great kids, had grandchildren, and only being in his 60s, just seemed too, too young to leave us.  I lost my Mom 13 1/2 years ago when she was only 59.  My Uncle passed away two years ago this month, and he wasn’t quite 70.  I don’t want to be a guy who people say “to soon” about. Now, I can’t say by losing weight and exercising, and eating healthy will guarantee I live forever, but I can guarantee those things will make the days I have better, and let’s be real – of course I’ll live longer.

I’m writing this Blog a mere 48 hours from the start of Lent, and I always try some life-improving promises and I give up bad things, but this year, I’m going to write a letter to my kids. I won’t give it to them, but I’ll read it over and over again. I’m going to promise them that I’m going to take care of myself.

Part of being a Dad is setting a good example and keeping promises to your kids. I’m going to promise them I’ll do everything in my power to make sure I’m around for as long as I can be.

A Too Long Lent Post

About this time of year, there’s never a shortage of Blogs about Lent. Like this one, detailing nineteen things you can give up for Lent that “aren’t chocolate.” I’m going to review the list daily throughout Lent, and then a buncha other stuff.

For example, I’m going to follow along with Dynamic Catholic‘s Best Lent Ever program to be my guide. And below all of this, you’ll see my own personal list.

But what really has me inspired this Lent is, well, my son. He’s twelve, and my family was sitting around talking about what we’re doing for Lent and most of us had the typical stuff. My girls were giving up candy and pop, and my older daughter actually had some pretty lofty and inspired goals, and I was listing off way-t00-many things, as I’m known to do, and my thought is always this: if I stick to 50% of the things on my list, well, I’m good.

But my son had thought hard about it. He said, “Dad …remember your #Project44 thing, well I want to do that around the number ’40’ for Lent’s 40-days. I want to do 40 push-ups, 40 sit-ups, and some other stuff every day, and at night you and I should say a decade of the Rosary before I got to bed.”

Let’s just say, when he was done with his Lent list, all I could think was, “oh, snap, Lent just got real!”

What happened next was completely about my unworthiness and how a lifetime of spiritual and moral neglect might be weighing me down. “But Don,” you say. “I know you. You’re a good guy.”

How ’bout we dig into that?

The conversation turned toward Confession and I threw the random thought out there, “maybe I should go to Confession during Lent,” kinda with the same conviction I might say, “I should start flossing every day,” or, “I’ll switch to decaf.” Sounds good, but let’s face it, I ain’t flossing every day and I love my caffeine.

“Maybe I should go to Confession,” I said, and my kids all said, “we’re going to Confession Friday.” I told them I thought that was “great” and also was filled with pride about the decision to send my kids to Catholic schools. Hey, world, look at my kids. They are good and decent human beings. They will make the world a better place. And then it was like a needle was pulled across a record album and my indignation, self-satisfaction, and arrogance was ripped into pieces.

“Hey, Dad, when is the last time you went to Confession?”

I broke into a cold sweat. I panicked. I put a fork full of food in my mouth hoping the topic of conversation would change before I swallowed. What is this?!?!?! The Spanish Inquisition? I’m not on trial. You kids are like the FAKE NEWS with your gotcha questions. Everyone! Go to bed! How dare you?!?!?

Instead, three sets of eyeballs were staring at me waiting for an answer (the fourth set of eyeballs, my wife’s, was looking away, out the window, as if trying to pretend she was distracted and not part of the conversation …clever …why weren’t the kids asking her?!!?!?

Tick. Tock. Tick. Tock. Chew. Chew. Chew. Swallow.

“Oh, um. Let me think about that. I’m sure it wasn’t that long. Um. Let’s see here. I guess it was, oh, well . . .”

My brain was begging for a large tree to fall through the roof of my house. Or a power outage. Or a ninja to fly in through the window forcing me to fight said ninja off with my fork and knife. But no such distraction came. Only three sets of eyeballs, belonging to a 10, 12, and 14 year old, were looking at me waiting for an answer.

“I guess it’s been, well, when I was 14 years old.”

“Dad,” they gasped in shocked awe. Oh, for your Catholics, it gets worse. Trust me, not for a minute did they think I was without sin in 30 years.

“Dad! You should go,” said one.

“I bet you’ve sinned alot,” said another.

“I’ll go with you so you won’t be scared,” said another child.

“Well,” I said, “it’s not like I’m really a bad person. I don’t even know what I would confess,” I continued, even though “bold face lie” to my children might be a good starting point.

My son asked, “have you broken any Commandments?”

“Probably. Maybe. Only a few, I’m sure,” I replied.

My daughter said, “well, let’s go through them.”

Suddenly I was regretting sending them to a Catholic school and regretting ever trying to be a good, Holy, and devout Catholic. Who am I kidding? I’m highly flawed. So flawed, in fact, my 30 years of avoiding Confession might be because I think I’m a lost soul and if a Priest heard my sins, he might just point at the exit sign.

“Have you lied,” my daughter asked?

“Yes. Wait. Which Commandment is that,” I asked. “Oh, right. ‘Bear false witness’ is lying.”

The kids pressed further and it was revealed I’ve taken the Lord’s name in vain, I’ve coveted neighbor’s things, I’ve skipped Church (which is how Catholics “keep holy the Sabbath” at a minimum), and I’ve dishonored my mother and father. Crap! I’ve stolen a thing or two in my day (my much younger days, I promise) and when I was all confident in that I’ve never worshiped false Gods, my son pointed out I’ve skipped Church to watch football and basketball games and, technically, that was putting Michigan State sports above God and that falls under the “false Gods” thing. My son’s kind of a jerk, don’t you think? Hey. There isn’t a Commandment about honoring your children, so get off my back.

For those keeping score, let’s just say my kids think I’m guilty of 7 out of 10, but let’s face it, if I’m guilty of coveting my neighbor’s oxen (the man has a damn fine ox), you and I both know I’d be lying if not even once in all these years I’ve never coveted something else.

But let’s just go with seven. Seven. Commandments. Broken.

Zero. Confessions. Attended.

If you throw in the seven deadly sins (pride, envy, gluttony, lust, anger, greed, and sloth) on top of the broken Commandments, I’ve got my work cut out for me. But it’s work I need to do, and should do, and will better for doing. Did my oldest daughter come home from school the next day and inform me I shouldn’t be taking Communion each week in my current state? Oh, yes. That happened. Nice.

Consider this Part 1 of my Lenten journey. The first step to fixing a problem is admitting you have a problem.

So, during Lent, I’m going to use the six Saturday’s to attend Confession and work on forgiving myself, being forgiven, and making sure I’m a better person, now and for good.

Here’s my Lent scratch pad. I’m sure right now you’re thinking I’m a horrible person. I’m not. I just need some fixing and Lent’s a perfect time for that. Stay tuned and I’ll pray for you if you comment and if you’re working on a great Lent, too.

Do One Thing for Lent

Maybe my challenge with Lent in the past is I try to tackle three, four, or five things. Heck, this year I have a list of seven things. It sets me up for failure. Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.

Lent is working for me, this year. I confess, to you my brothers and sisters, that I typically suck at Lent. I talk a big game and put on a big show, and then kinda fail and falter and even forget what the heck I gave-up in the first place. And when I say, “forget,” …I mean I block-out certain thoughts and justify that I did pretty good and, hey, I didn’t eat after dinner in the evening 30 out of 40 days. Good enough. I fall back on the idea that Sundays during Lent are a “free day” and act badly then, too.

Not. This. Year.

For some strange reason (maybe divine inspiration) I’m resisting temptation to eat bad things. I’m praying at night with my children. I’m staying off Facebook.

It comes down to something I heard just today on Tim Ferriss’s podcast (with Seth Godin). It’s a concept called “coginitive load” and the best way I can explain it is that “multi-tasking” is a myth, it can’t be done, and by multi-tasking or taking on too many tasks, everything suffers.

Seth Godin (in his May 2014 blog) puts it this way . . .

“Cognitive load slows us down, distracts us and diminishes the quality of the work we do.”

I’m simplified Lent and it’s working. I’m doing one thing. Not eating any food that’s not “whole” or “natural”. Praying daily I stay strong (double dipping on that one, as I’m praying with my kids and asking God three times a night). Whether you believe in God, praying, or just want to call this “meditation”, it’s all healthy and encouraged by thought leaders and gurus. Meditation or prayer. A mental moment to look inward.

One thing. Eat right. One more thing. Not checking Facebook (actually pretty easy when I deleted all the shortcuts and apps from my devices). One more thing. Pray nightly with my children. Heck, I say ‘good-night’ to them, and talk about their day, so it wasn’t much to add quick prayers.

And one final thing. Write daily.

One thing. Every day. Little by little. A better me.

Lent Day-11 Update

The thing about Lent is that it’s a little different than say, oh, New Year’s Resolutions, because when it comes to Lent, you make a promise to Jesus and God. Now, while it’s true those two are pretty well documented as the forgiving type, part of me thinks I should try a little to hit my goals.

Let’s take a look.

Eliminate Facebook and replace those moments with something more fulfilling.

This is the easiest one. I deleted the app from my iPhone and iPad. I deleted the Facebook button from my Chrome Toolbar. As much as I love social media, I didn’t think this would be so easy. As much as I love Facebook, my life is unphased by missing out on where people went on vacation, what they think about the election, and who ate what for lunch and which new restaurant.

Train my dog 15 minutes a day (3x 5-minute sessions)

OK. If I’m being honest, it’s happening once a day. But the change in my dog is noticeable even after a week-and-a-half.

Don’t eat or snack after dinner

Done. Easy. Oh. Wait. Had popcorn with a movie on Friday. Had ice cream Saturday night. Oops. OK. Ten Hail Mary‘s and I’m back at it.

Write/blog for a 1/2-hour daily

I’m doing this, and then some. It feels great. I’m better when I’m creating. Seems silly, but it exercises my brain and stretches my imagination and that benefits my life and the people in it.

Call 2 friends or family members each day

Haven’t called a soul. Gonna have to really pray on this one.

Pray at bedtime with all three of my children.

I’m definitely doing it with the younger two, but the older one and our routine is she watches a show and then comes and says goodnight and goes to bed. I haven’t made her plop down on the couch and pray. This, too, I need to work on.

Do nothing non-work-related withing the 8:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. window and do nothing work-related in the remaining hours of my day.

Check. I’m locked in.

As I fast, begin things, and eliminate things, will ask myself, as Pope Francis is encouraging us, how can I help others with this?

With this, I may have bitten off more than I can chew. I stopped eating in the evening but haven’t figured out how that can help anyone.

40 New Business Appointments

Currently at seven. Seven booked in 11 days. I need to put the hammer down and accelerate the process to get there.

I feel pretty good, but I won’t give myself more than a C+ or B- on this status report. Room for improvement, I say. I’ll do this and I’ll be better for it.

Today I Started the Whole30 and Medium.com

Another fad diet. If The Whole30 is a fad, so be it. It sounds like a great way to eat. Mainly, it’s about cutting grains and sugars and I hope to see increased energy, better sleep, improved breathing, and maybe a few pounds off my 5’5″ frame.

I also started writing stuff at Medium.com. You know me, if it’s new and seems interesting, I wanna try it.

Here is my post. It’s pretty much exactly what I’m writing here. It claims to be a simple interface with writing and content as it’s main focus, and isn’t concerned with making it a perfect, revenue generating blog. It’s about the writing. OK by me. I’m good with  a blogging site that’s more about the writing, as “writing” was a Lenten promise I aimed to keep. Ahem …11 days into Lent, I’m not setting the world on fire. But …it’s not about what I did or didn’t do yesterday, but what I do, today.

I started the Whole30, today. I found another place to write (medium.com to go along with my Tumblr, Twitter, Snapchat, and Instagram …I gave up Facebook for Lent). I wrote a blog entry.

Today. I’m a follow-through kinda guy.