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Posts Tagged ‘self-help’

Battling Inflammation

Everyone knows when they sprain an ankle or bump their head that there’s going to be pain and swelling to follow. Typically we take an anti-inflammatory pill and maybe use ice to make it feel better. That we can all agree on. (Although the use of drugs here could be debated. The body uses inflammation as a defense mechanism to help heal itself. Trying to counter the inflammation certainly helps the pain factor, but also inhibits the healing. Just food for thought.)

Another point to be made in these cases is the injury usually can’t be prevented. Trips and falls are part of life and simply have to be dealt with. The reason I state this obvious observation will make sense later in this post.

However, there’s growing evidence of other types of inflammation that’s harming us. This type of inflammation is avoidable and yet we keep doing it to ourselves – typically without even realizing it.  It’s frustrating that more people (especially doctors) aren’t aware of this and no one educates us.  Of course, that’s why I’m writing this: to spread the word!

GrainsI’ve written about it in this blog before but I’m writing about it again because I think it’s extremely important.  I want everyone to educate themselves as best as possible on how to live a better, more pain free life. Plus I’ve come across two outside blog posts which break down the crux of this problem with much better details than I can provide.  Once again, the problem I’m writing about is what we eat.  More specifically… grains.

But first, I’d like to digress with a disclaimer…

I’m never quite sure how my writing comes across to others, but let me state it for the record here that in no way am I belittling anyone or judging their lifestyles.  A lot of the things I believe and practice are relatively new to me because I’m always tweaking and experimenting with what works.  That’s the important part here – educate yourself as much as you can to make the best decisions for you and your family.  What works best for me may not be best for you, but the only way you know is if you learn about it and try it.  Now then…

Despite your thoughts on Paleo, you should check out these articles.  Many of you will think these posts are crazy, but try to have an open mind.  What if they’re right?  What if you tried out what they’re suggesting?  What if your changes worked and you felt better and/or looked better as a result?  Only one way to find out!

Here are the two blog posts I keep referring to:

I know I’ve seen a number of positive changes in myself and my family since going primarily grain-free.  Otherwise, why would I be so passionate about sharing with you?!

As usual, I’d love to hear your thoughts and results if you’ve tried cutting grains!

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We’re Debt Free and YOU can be too!

13 June 2009 1 comment
My wife and I recently became debt free (except for our mortgage).  Simply put, it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done.  We never had that many debts, but it’s still so relieving and freeing to do so.   No more student loans, car debt, or installment loan (2nd mortgage).  I’m a HUGE believer in Dave Ramsey, his books, and his radio show.  Here’s the key points that we lived by these past 2 years:
  • Budget. Know what you spend and live off of a budget.  You’ll be amazed at how much money you’ve been blowing once you start keeping track of how much you spend and what you spend it on.  After you do that for a little while, then write out a monthly budget.  “Every dollar has a name” as Dave says.  Spend every dollar on paper before the month starts and that way you know where everything fits.  Stick to it!  (and use cash… keep reading…)
  • Credit Cards. Don’t use credit cards for any reason.  Along with the previous point, when you start using cash along with budgeting, you’ll feel like you’ve gotten a raise.  Spending cash is a painful & emotional experience, especially when compared to using plastic!  Use the envelope system to help you stick to your budget.  Plan accordingly or you’ll end up with about $15 for groceries the last week of the month (it’s happened to us before and it forces you to get creative!).  For any utility bill payment or for any online purchases, use your debit card.
    • Note: Everyone wants to use credit cards “for the rewards”.  Think about it: you typically get ~1% back.  Well, you know what?  You generally spend much more than you intend to when you use CCs compared to cash.  So, the 15% more you spend (according to studies) compared to the 1% back doesn’t look so good!
  • Snowball Method. Pay off ALL your debt using the snowball method.  Except for your mortgage, all of your debt should be written out in the order of least to most based on current BALANCE (NOT interest rate).  Continue to pay all minimum balances.  The key here is to attack your smallest debt with all your available income as quickly as you can.  Once you do that, then you get an emotional pick-me-up.  Then, you take the money you were putting towards that (plus the newly eliminated minimum balance), and attack your next debt.  Get this snowball running downhill and there should be no stopping it!  (More detail on Dave’s site)
  • Cars. Don’t lease or finance or buy new!  Dave’s rule of thumb is to only buy a new car if your net worth is in excess of $1,000,000.  Otherwise you can’t take the HUGE depriciation hit when you drive that thing off the lot.  Plus, if you finance (or worse – lease) a car, you’re just throwing money away.  Say it out loud: “finance a depriciating asset”.  Bad idea!  Instead, buy as reliable a used car as you can with the CASH you have.  Then, you can save money every month (see: budget) and eventually sell the used car, add that $ to your saved up cash, and buy a better used car.
  • Your health will improve. Follow the progression: trying to spend less… less money on groceries… less eating out… more healthy meals at home… more time at home… more time with family / exercising… eventually no more monthly debt bills in your inbox.  Result: weight loss, less stress, and better overall health!  Woo hoo!

Imagine…

If you’re not currently debt free… just think about what life would be like if you were.  Minus your utilities (and for a while, your mortgage) you will  have ALL of your paycheck at your disposal!  Can you imagine how quickly you can save up for vacations or cars as well as how much you can invest towards your kids college and your own retirement?  It’s a great place to be.  And MUCH less stressful than the alternative!

Dave’s Quotes:
“Personal finance is 80% behavior and 20% head knowledge”
  • Think about it… if it was all head knowledge, then we wouldn’t go deeply in debt in the first place?!  Once you get your heart into getting your money situation resolved, you’re on your way.  Once you start spending less and attacking your debt, THEN you will start to win.
“Live like no one else, so later you can live like no one else”
  • Make sacrifices in your life now (only buying used cars with cash, don’t overspend, live off of a budget, etc) and your finances will open up a few years down the road.  You’ll be able to enjoy your later years with a paid for house, plenty of money to invest / travel, and then you can retire with dignity.  Just imagine!
“No”
  • We don’t say this word enough anymore.  Not to our kids.  Not to ourselves.  We don’t need to go out to dinner all the time nor do we need every new piece of technology.  Show some self control and all of the above tips will come easier to you!

Finally…

Please leave questions or tips or suggestions in the comments!  I really enjoy discussing this topic.  Oh yeah – and listen to Dave’s radio show!  He’s great and all of the people who call in are super inspiring.  1050AM from 4pm – 6pm in Cincinnati.  Out of Cincy?  Check here.

Who can actually lose weight during pregnancy?

26 February 2009 1 comment

Answer: The guy can!

It seems like most guys gain weight along with their wives during pregnancy, but somehow I reversed that trend.  I’ve been asked how I did it, so I’ll do my best to detail it here.  Honestly, I don’t think one single thing did it, but I have some ideas.  First off, here are some basic premises I have focused on in the past year (not necessarily in any order):

  1. An adult stomach is the size of your fist
  2. Breakfast is the most important meal
  3. Eat more protein and less carbs
  4. Work out even if only for a few minutes

So here are some of the things I changed about my lifestyle to adapt to those premises

  • Eat less!  This has to be one of the biggest changes I made.  I absolutely love food and used to stuff myself at lunch and dinner.  I’d get done eating and just feel sick for an hour.  Next time you load up your plate or get seconds, check out my #1 point above.  You’re obviously overeating
    • Eat s-l-o-w-e-r.  Let your body catch up to what you’ve eaten.  Often times you’ll fill up on less than you’d think when you don’t scarf it down.  Same goes with dessert!  Try to enjoy every bite and you’ll eat less
    • Eating less allows you to snack more too.  Of course it’s ideal to snack on healthy stuff!
    • I’ve heard the ideal amount of meat per meal is about the size of a deck of cards
  • Tweak what you eat.  No one can drastically change their diet and expect to stick with it.  I already leaned towards the low fat versions of foods (which often taste just as good, if not better, than the original), but I’ve now tried to adapt more to #2.
    • I love bread with every meal, but now I eat about half as much as I used to
    • Breakfast – I still enjoy cereal or waffles on occasion, but just not as often.  Also, to comply with #3 I incorporate nuts into my meals: peanut butter on toast (w/banana), mixed nuts as a snack, walnuts on waffles, pecans on salad
    • Drink less sugary drinks!  I’ve never been a big fan of pop, but I do like Lemonade and Kool-Aid.  So, now with meals I won’t have a full glass of those drinks (or more if I’m eating out!), instead I’ll have a half glass
    • Drinking more water can never be understated.  Everyone knows they should be doing it.  Another benefit is that it fills you up between meals
  • Fit in a workout!  Even if you’re on the elliptical/stationary bike/treadmill for only 10 minutes or you go for a short walk, it’s better than nothing.  Also, it’s really easy to fit in a few sets of pushups, situps, or stretching while you’re sitting around the house.  It all adds up!
  • Become more disciplined in your life overall.  I swear ever since I’ve gotten hooked on Dave Ramsey I feel like losing weight has been easier.  When you become disciplined in one area of your life (eg. money), other areas seem to fall into place.  Plus, when you’re trying to save money, you don’t buy as much food or go out to eat as often!

To reiterate, I can’t say what works for sure, but I feel all of these thoughts have contributed to me getting back into shape!  Please don’t hesitate to leave a question or comment here on the blog or send it to me directly.  Good luck!

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