Want to Lose Weight?

by Damon on July 11, 2013

When I first sat down to begin the process of writing this post I had every intention of using the title “How Many Calories to Eat to Lose Weight without Exercise” but the more I thought about it the more that title confined what I wanted to say. So I picked a much more open title that allowed me more thinking room and possibly giving me more of a chance to actually inspire others to make a positive change in their own life.

Lose Some Weight

Before beginning I would like to say that I have never claimed to be a nutritionist, dietitian, personal trainer or anything of the sort. I have also never had any schooling of any kind related to health or fitness and everything I know about these subjects I have either read or learned from personal trial and error. So what I’m about to say, as well as with most things on this site, should only be considered food for thought and I highly recommend you do your own reading and research before trying anything you read here. With that being said let me begin.

The Secret to Losing All the Weight You’ve Ever Wanted

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It’s Been One Year!

by Damon on July 1, 2013

Well, as of June 16th it’s officially been one year since I decided to get back in shape. And I’m super pumped to be able to say that I have done awesome. Though I admit I still haven’t accomplished my original goal which was to have a six pack by my 35th birthday but that’s ok because I have made some amazing changes. For example I’m not sure if I’m in the best shape of my life or not but I am damn close. I’m also stronger than I’ve ever been thanks to the 5×5 method of weightlifting that I have been doing over the past year. (If you don’t know what the 5×5 is you can read about it here.) I also know that I am leaner than I’ve been in probably 15 years and think I could give my twenty year old self a run for his money.

Since last June I have lost 15 pound and dropped 3 pants sizes putting me back into 29’s which is what I wore in high school. And if I go by the most I have ever weighed my total amount of weight loss to date is pushing 30 pounds. And for those of you that have convinced  yourselves that you can’t lose weight you need to take into consideration that during this whole period I pigged out at every holidays/get together and had beer and pizza almost every single week. Now I’m not necessarily proud of this and I’m not saying that you can do this all the time because you can’t but what I have found is that eating a “bad” meal here and there or even a weekend here and there is totally ok. As long as the rest of the time you eat with your head and not with your feelings which brings me to….

Lessons Learned and an Unlikely Teacher

Over the last twelve months I have learned a lot about getting and staying in shape. I’ve also learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned I do have self control, that I can do something that is very hard if I put my mind to it (see my challenges) and that it does feel good to lead by example. I’ve also learned that you don’t have to eat like a fitness model to lose weight and maintain it. I now know that I need way less food to feel full than I ever thought. And when it comes to junk food I’ve learned that some of the things I used to love actually suck, like most fast food and that a good homemade chocolate cake can absolutely blow your mind and your taste buds when you haven’t had sugar in a few weeks. And because of that I now know why some people compare really good food to sex though I still haven’t had any food that was that good.

What all the things I’ve learned have in common and that I still find fascinating is how I learned them. And that is with what has become my best teacher and my most indispensable tool. It’s the one thing that if I had not had, none of this would have been possible, no not my weights or other gym equipment but…. my food scale. You can read here about the first time I wrote about weighing my food and even though it was written only a few weeks after beginning the habit I knew it was going to be very helpful but I had no idea then how much I would really learn. If you want to lose weight I definitely suggest you get a scale, figure out how many calories you need on a daily basis and start weighing and tracking everything that goes in your mouth. In my next post I will show you how to figure out how many calories you should be eating to lose weight, chances are its way more than you think, and the easiest way I have found to keeping track of those calories.

I Suck!

Speaking of my next post, one thing that I am very disappointed with myself about is that I haven’t done a very good job at keeping this blog up to date. Changing this fact is something that I am making a priority from this point forward.  Though the original reasoning behind why I started BlueberryB which was for personal motivation and accountability has worked because the idea of it all has never been to far from my mind. Plus I after a year of eating good and working out on regular basis I feel like I have a lot more to say.

To end with I would like to say thanks to all the people that have read and interacted with me here and on Facebook. It really is awesome to know that other people do read and actually like what I have to say. And if there is any specific subject that any of you would like me to talk about please feel free to leave it in the comments or send me a private message. I would love to hear from you and I’m always looking for something new to research and write about. Thanks again and please help me out by liking and/or sharing this post below it is greatly appreciated.

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Mmm…pizza one of my all time favorites and probably one of yours as well. It is one of the few foods I think I could eat every day. There are justPizza's in the Oven so many possibilities. The only problem is that most pizza is about as unhealthy as you can get. With all the fat, sodium, calories and carbs that make us fat, bloated, gassy and lethargic. It’s no wonder we love it so much! But you know it doesn’t have to be this way. Pizza can actually be healthy and there are hundreds of recipes online for all types of veggie pizzas but don’t worry that’s not what this going to be. If you’re like me and my family sometimes you just have to have some good ol’ regular pizza. So as with so many other things in life we chose to go with the middle of the road type pizza. In other words not to healthy but not to unhealthy you know moderation in all things. Now before we really get into this whole homemade pizza bit you have to know I am not talking that Chef Boyardee crap I’m talking made from scratch crust, freshly browned turkey sausage, turkey pepperonis, fresh bell peppers, mushrooms and fresh hand graded cheeses. Now that’s pizza! And that’s the way we do things at our house, yum. As stated above I do realize that this recipe isn’t exactly healthy but it is way better for you than Pizza Hut or Papa Johns I guarantee that besides that’s why we normally have our homemade pizza as our weekly cheat night meal. Well that enough talk lets get cooking.

“Healthier” Homemade Pizza Recipe [click to continue…]

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I Heart Coffee!

Photo by Nevit Dilmen (Wiki Commons)

Do you consider yourself an addict? I know I do. No, I’m not talking about drugs or alcohol I’m talking about caffeine. Until about a week ago when I slowly started weaning myself from coffee I was a full blown self confessed caffeine junkie. It had been years since I had went a day without a caffeinated drink. Like many people my addiction began when I was young with the occasional soft drink I preferred Mountain Dew. Then in no time at all I began sucking those things down left and right and soon it was all I was drinking. This probably sounds familiar to many of you reading this. Anyways, as I got older my life began to change I was staying up later and getting up earlier. Needless to say I needed something stronger than pop and this is when I found my second true love, Karen being my first, and that was coffee. I instantly loved everything about coffee the taste the smell and most of all, the buzz it gave me. Even when I stopped drinking pop a few years back I didn’t even consider giving up my coffee. As far as I was concerned it was just something I was always going to drink and up till last week that is exactly what I have done everyday. So it should go without saying that I am not crazy about the whole idea of giving up my coffee which is my only source of caffeine, but to be honest it is something I have wanted to do for myself for a long time. Why you ask? Well for several reasons, for one I don’t like feeling like I don’t have full control over my mind and body so when I feel like I am becoming addicted to something (i.e. coffee/caffeine) I get angry with myself for being weak. Secondly I know it is having a negative effect on my personality for example on days that I have had a little too much coffee I become overly tired after the buzz wares off and find myself being less patient with my kids which just isn’t acceptable in my book. I mean lets be honest having patients with kids is something that parents are tested with on a daily basis so who needs to make it any harder, right? And the third reason I want to eliminate caffeine from my diet is that I suffer from mild anxiety and even have the occasional panic attack which if you have ever had one you know how horrible they can be. I know for a fact that these feeling are brought on by or made worse from drinking coffee because they typically happen on days that I have had too many cups. This is especially true on days that are particularly stressful.

Negative Effects of Caffeine

Now I understand that caffeine doesn’t affect everyone the same and that there are even some studies that show that coffee and caffeine actually have some health benefits. But there is an equally long list of negative side effects like

  • Irregular and/or rapid heart beat
  • Nervousness
  • Mood Swings
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Insomnia and other sleep disorders
  • Irritability
  • Upset stomach/diarrhea
  • Panic attacks
  • Prolonged depression
  • Difficulty concentrating

And according to Roland Griffiths, PhD, a professor in the departments of psychiatry and neuroscience at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine “Caffeine is the most widely used mood-altering drug in the world,” he also states that “People often see coffee, tea, and soft drinks simply as beverages rather than vehicles for a psychoactive drug.”  Kind of crazy isn’t it?

Take the Challenge

Now whether or not you admit it if you are drinking very many caffeinated beverages a day then you are probably suffering from one or more of these ailments. You might not even realize that they are being caused by what you’re drinking. And really there is only one way to find out, do this challenge with me. What can it hurt, if you don’t notice any difference then just start back to drinking all you favorite drinks again. But if I’m right and you are being negatively affected then chances are you’re going to start feeling better and who knows if it’s pops your drinking you may even lose some weight in the process. Sounds like a no lose to me.

One Tip for Your Sanity

If you do decide to take this challenge I do recommend that you do like I have done and taper off on the caffeine before quitting cold turkey. The reason for this is that you will more than likely have withdraw symptoms that will include varying degrees of headaches. Some people will get terrible headaches while others will hardly notice anything but just incase play it safe and taper, it’s just easier.

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100 oz. of Water a Day Challenge Update

by Damon on July 31, 2012

I have officially completed my first monthly challenge of drinking 100 oz. of water everyday for thirty days. If you haven’t already done so you can read more about the challenge here. Below are the details of how I fared during the month. Of the thirty days I only had four days that I didn’t make the 100 oz daily goal. The reason I didn’t get the 100 oz. down on those days is because I was traveling and I didn’t want to have to stop and pee while driving. Also on each of those four days I had a minimum of 75 oz. which is more than enough to keep my body adequately hydrated so I still feel the challenge was a success.

Pros of the Challenge

To me there were many good things that came from this challenge. I now know how it feels to not be chronically dehydrated which I’m now sure I was. As I mentioned in the original post drinking plenty of water can and did reduce or even eliminate some of my long nagging aches and pains. For example the fingers on my right hand always seemed like it needed to be popped but the more I popped them the more they became sore. After about a week and a half of drinking lots of water I noticed that this feeling went away. I also noticed that my “bad” knee aches a lot less often than before and when it does ache it’s not near as intense. This next thing isn’t exactly a good thing but it is something that I noticed and that is that before if I had more than a couple drinks when I went out with friends I would wake up with a horrible headache but since beginning [click to continue…]

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So How Much Protein Do I Really Need?

by Damon on July 25, 2012

Back in the day when I read health and body building magazines like Muscle & Fitness on a daily basis I know I read at least a thousand different times how you should eat as much protein as possible. They would then state the plethora of Protein - Meat on a Grillbenefits that protein provides to the body especially for those that were trying to pack on some muscle. The number I always remember being thrown around was 1 gram of protein for every pound you weighed (1g/lb). According to them this was the magic amount that would transform your body to the point that Greek gods would be jealous. So of course this is what I attempted to take in along with every other wannabe hard body in the country.

Back then I wasn’t in the habit of questioning what I read I simply believed that what the magazines were saying was the truth and as long as I followed their instructions I would ultimately get the body I always wanted. Well, luckily I have grown up a little since then and have started a new habit of thinking for myself at least most of the time. I now realize that most of those magazines I was reading were owned buy the same companies that made and sold supplements like protein powders. So the more protein they convinced the world to buy the more money they made and for the most part this is still true but the internet has leveled the playing field. Now instead of going out and paying five bucks for a magazine full of ads and half truths I can just search online for the real truth. And this is what I recently did with the question of how much protein I should be consuming for optimal results. What I found out was two things. The first being that all the benefits I read in those magazines were true and the second being that the 1g of protein per pound of body weight is a much higher number than it needs to be. And here’s the proof. [click to continue…]

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Eating healthy means cooking… a lot! Some people, the ones that don’t like to cook, will see this as negative and some, those that love cooking, will see it as a positive. But one thing is for sure, whether you love it, hate it or are indifferent about it if you want to be healthy you’re going to Polder Original Cooking All-In-One Timer/Thermometerhave to do it. Me personally, I really enjoy cooking when I have the time to do it. Now that’s not to say that I’m exactly good at it though but I do my best. The thing about cooking that has always amazed me is how much different the exact same foods cooked by two different people can taste, especially when it comes to meats. One person can cook steaks and they turn out as dry and hard as cardboard while another person can cook them almost exactly the same way but be moist, juicy and delicious. This is actually a very personal topic for me because not all that long ago I considered myself the king of cardboard steaks and petrified pork chops. It didn’t seem to matter what I did my steaks, chicken and pork chops never turned out.  I was always experimenting with things like different temperatures, times, cuts of meat even switching from the oven to grill but nothing seemed to change. My meats were almost always either raw in the middle or over done, I felt destined to be a mediocre cook. I tried reading about cooking online but that didn’t really seem to help. So as a last resort I started watching cooking shows on TV but most of them just were not very interesting to me. Then I found the BBQ Pitmasters on TLC. Now this show I could watch, at least often enough that I started picking up on a few little tricks. For example after watching only a few shows I noticed how much they talked [click to continue…]

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Don’t Let the Scale “Weigh” You Down

by Karen on July 16, 2012

I felt compelled to write this article because I suffer from a common problem.. weight issues. I have in the past 15 years weighed more than I ever should have. I could blame it on a number of things stress, birthing two children, and many other things but all of these were excuses I used toBathroom Scale disguise the fact that secretly I didn’t like myself enough to maintain a nice physique because well….I didn’t think I was worth it.

I began my weight loss journey which not to be offensive but I hate that phrase about seven months ago.  For years my husband, who has maintained his nineteen year old body, has watched me struggle with my weight and emotions for that matter. Like most women I am blessed with the ability to eat my way to a better mood. Or at least that is the way I always feel about it. It seems the more depressed or stressed I get the more I reach for sugar. I have always been a self proclaimed “chocoholic” and have maintained that reputation even amongst family members. I would show up to family dinners and there was always chocolate fudge, chocolate pie or cake…with my name on it. People would even say “I made this for you.” Even though to this day I can’t turn down a dessert when it is placed in front of me I feel like for the first time I am getting my food addiction under control….slightly.

The Wake Up Call

It first began the day I stepped onto “my beloved” the scale and I was at an astounding one hundred and eighty one pounds. That wasn’t the first time that I had reached that mark but it was the first time while I wasn’t pregnant!! What a [click to continue…]

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Attack the Snack – Fruit Yogurt Mix

by Damon on July 13, 2012

I absolutely love yogurt with fruit in it and have been buying those little cups of it for years, I eat it almost everyday. But a while back when I got on my newest healthy eating kick I decided I wanted to try and cut out as much processed foods Blueberries, Strawberries and Greek Yogurt Mixas possible while at the same time eating more fresh foods. So this is when I started buying big tubs of Greek yogurt and adding my own fruit. And I couldn’t be happier that I did, for several reasons. One is I’m eating more fresh fruit on a daily basis. Two, I don’t get all of the “extras” that come with the pre-made fruit and yogurt. To explain what I’m talking about lets look at the ingredients in a 6 oz. cup of Yoplait Original 99% Fat Free Cherry Yogurt. Low fat milk, sugar, cherries, modified corn starch, tricalcium phosphate, kosher gelatin, citric acid, beet juice concentrate, pectin, “natural flavor”, vitamin A acetate, and vitamin D3. Wow, what a list! Now I’m not trying to say that any of these things are exactly bad for you or can hurt you in any way but if there is an alternative that taste the same or even better that doesn’t have them I think I’ll choose it instead. Besides who really knows what all these chemicals, preservatives, artificial food colorings, artificial sweeteners, and other crap they put in our food really does. I would rather be safe than sorry. So let’s see what the ingredients are for my homemade fruit (strawberries and [click to continue…]

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I first started lifting weights when I was 15 years old. My uncle who was fresh out of the Navy invited me to start going with him to a gym two blocks from my house. I thought this was the coolest thing ever so of course I went. I learned all kinds of things from my uncle and the otherMy Home Gym older guys at the gym. The first of which was how the workouts should be structured for example lift for chest and back one day, legs the next day, arms the next and so on. Then they taught me to do 3 sets of 10 reps on every exercise I was doing and typically we would do like four exercises for each body part. With all these reps and different exercises we were spending a minimum of two hours a day five days a week in the gym. At the time I didn’t think twice about our workout schedule because all I had to worry about was school and being home when my mom told me to be home. And the way she looked at it was if I was at the gym working out I wasn’t out somewhere else getting in to trouble. I also didn’t question the way they were showing me how to lift I mean they had been doing it for years. All I new was I loved lifting and was hooked from day one. But flash forward to today and a lot of things have changed. I now have two kids, a wife, a job, my wife’s small business I help with (Mr. Fix-it and grass mower) and a bazillion other things that make it so that I no longer have two hours a day to spend working out besides that I didn’t want to workout that long anymore but I did want to be healthy and in shape. So a few years ago I decided that there had to be another way to get in shape that wouldn’t take as much time but that still got the job done. [click to continue…]

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