Political and Theological Thoughts

I originally wrote this post in 2016 during the presidential campaign, but i never posted it. I’ve tweaked it just a bit, and finally built up enough courage to post it now that we are again looking at another election.

In this crazy time of Christians vocally endorsing and advocating politicians as the only hope for our country or vilifying other politicians as the destroyers of our country, i’d like for us all to take a large step back for a more theological and Jesus based perspective on politics.

This blog post will not mention a single candidate in any way positively or negatively. This is about a biblical approach to politics, not which candidate you should vote for (or against).

We could try and come up with a fully orbed entirely Biblical perspective of what politics should look like, but that is the realm of books (and many have been written). It is not the realm of blog posts.

I fully expect that my approach will offend some folk. Nevertheless, i will do my utmost to stay biblical in all that i say.

My goal is simple. Let’s try and see if we can come up with some political guidelines and a philosophy/theology based solely on what Jesus said and did as recorded in the gospels. Jesus, as God incarnate, certainly is a solid place to look for guidance, at least in my opinion. So, let’s try.

Labels

There is no such thing as a Christian party in the United States. Both the democratic and republican parties have those who deliberately try and follow some of what Jesus said and did, while blatantly and deliberately ignoring other things he said and did. The same is true of other labels like liberal, conservative, moderate, socialist and libertarian. Each candidate should be judged on their own merit and positions, not on their party or label.

Warning

You will never find a politician who says and does just what Jesus did. Jesus himself could not and would not ever rise in our political structure to a prominent place. His purpose was to change lives and bring us forgiveness and God’s love, not to change any political system.

Things Jesus did not do or say:

  • He did not say one word either for or against abortion, even though it was practiced in his time
  • He did not say one word for or against gay marriage
  • He did not say one word for or against LGBT rights
  • He did not say one word for or against immigrants

Things Jesus did do or say:

  • He said we should feed the widows and orphans
  • He spoke against divorce
  • He spoke a lot about prayer
  • He spoke about heaven
  • He spoke about the Kingdom of God
  • He spoke about hell
  • He spoke about loving each other
  • He spoke about loving our neighbors
  • He spoke about loving our enemies

Conclusions

If you believe that Jesus is a model for things we should seek and the way we should live, then it would seem reasonable to favor a politician who said and did those things.

If you think that what Jesus said or did is irrelevant to politics, then of course you can ignore both those who do and say things like Jesus and those who do and say things Jesus never did. However, don’t make the mistake of labelling those politicians who focus on what Jesus did not say and do while ignoring the things he did say and do, as Christians. They’re just politicians.

If you find a candidate speaking about things which Jesus said or did, that would be a politician worth considering.

If you find a candidate spending most of their time speaking about things Jesus never said or did, that would be a politician who is not concerned with following Jesus. That doesn’t make him a bad politician or a good politician, it just makes him (or her) a politician concerned with things other than what Jesus said or did. Such a politician should not, however, be labeled as a Christian politician.

It’s my opinion that it is best to support politicians who say and do the things Jesus said and did. You may consider other issues to be more important, but i do not.

I would apply the exact same criteria to a pastor, Christian leader or “televangelist” (whatever that is). Are they saying and doing things that Jesus said and did or are they spending most of their time and words on things Jesus never talked about or did?

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Bob Dylan’s “Trouble No More” Bootleg Vol. 13

In November 2017, Bob Dylan released Volume 13 of his bootleg series. The deluxe version was made up of 8 CD’s and a DVD all containing previously unreleased rehearsal takes during the making of his three gospel albums and several CD’s of recordings of live concerts from the tours during that period. My wife got me that deluxe set of “Trouble No More” for my birthday in 2017. I’ve greatly enjoyed listening to all the music from this very exhaustive collection.

The deluxe edition also has 2 books included. In one of the books is a review of the entire set by Penn Jillette. He’s the verbal half of Penn & Teller, and someone whom i respect. He’s a deep thinker, and has some interesting and profound viewpoints on a wide variety of subjects. I don’t always agree with him, but his ideas always make me think.

The thing which really caught my interest is that Penn Jillette is an atheist. Why is he reviewing 8 CD’s of Bob Dylan’s Christian music? And even more intriguing, What did he think of them?

Well, it took some time and work, but i’ve scanned and converted his review in full, and i’m posting it below, because it’s extremely insightful and worth reading by both Christians and atheists. I’m fully attributing and quoting this article in full. I hope this doesn’t violate copyright laws. If so, i’ll need to start a gofundme for legal fees. Since i’m taking the risk on this, please read what Penn Jillette has to say.

IN THE TIME OF MY CONFESSION
By Penn Jillette 


Here starts my confession: I’m a lifelong atheist and a lifelong Dylan fan, so 1979 was a bit rough for me. From the time I started buying his records with Bringing It All Back Home, I bought every Bob Dylan record the day it came out. On August 20th, 1979, I bought Slow Train Coming. I had been warned it was going to be a gospel record but I wasn’t sufficiently prepared. I was shocked. I was bummed. I got a telegram that day from a Christian friend gloating that my boy had seen the light. Yup, a real telegram. 


I listened to that record but I didn’t hear a note. I listened just once, shook my head, and filed it away. My world had fallen apart. I fell back to Street Legal and played that as much as I’d played Blonde on Blonde. “Senor (Tales of Yankee Power)” on Street Legal has: “The last thing I remember before I stripped and kneeled…” and I kept coming back to that line. Out of context it came to represent that last moment before Dylan saw the light. I got an early Japanese pressing of At Budokan and that concert was the last thing I wanted to remember of Dylan before he stripped and kneeled. I loved the sound of Street Legal, Budokan, and later, Infidels. I loved the passion, the searching, the poetry, the images, the big fat band sound. I loved the backing vocals. Everything I loved about those three records was even better on the gospel records, but I didn’t find that out until 35 years later. They were still in shrink wrap.


Yeah, Saved and Shot of Love came out, were purchased, and sat unopened in my collection. I was living in San Francisco at the time. 


Dylan came to town…I didn’t go to the show. It was the first time I passed up a Dylan concert. I didn’t give him a chance. I wouldn’t give him a chance. He never got to preach to me. For Dylan’s gospel years, I stuck my fingers in my ears and sang “Where Are You Tonight? (Journey through Dark Heat)” over and over to myself. I couldn’t face a Christian Dylan. I wouldn’t open my ears, let alone my heart. Finally, Infidels came out and my crisis of faith was over. All was well with the world again. I loved that record. Bob and I had artistic make up sex. 


Here starts my search: Over thirty-five years have passed and I’ve been asked to write my thoughts on Dylan’s gospel period from my point of view. While I was waiting to hear this Bootleg Series, I did a little homework. I took Time Out of Mind off my turntable and finally listened to Slow Train Coming, Saved, and Shot of Love carefully. Gonna change my way of thinking. 


Now Dylan’s gospel records are good. I know the records haven’t changed over these years, so it’s me. I come to Dylan for passion, and profundity. I come to Dylan for truth. I come to Dylan to question what I’m feeling. I come to Dylan to understand what I’m feeling. I come to Dylan to change what I’m feeling. I come to Dylan to knock me out of the trivial. To make life seem more important than TV movies, Facebook and Twitter. I come to Dylan to make life more important than just today, and these records deliver everything I want. At the time these recordings came out, I asked myself, “What’s wrong with Dylan?” Now listening to these recordings full of heart, and truth, and passion, naked power, the question suddenly becomes “What was wrong with me?” 


Not all the songs from the “gospel records” are new to me I had to seek out “Lenny Bruce” as soon as it came out and listen to that no matter what record that was on. some of the gospel songs snuck into my world through the radio, from Greatest Hits compilations, and just through living in our culture: “Gotta Serve Somebody,” “I Believe In You,” “Heart Of Mine,” “The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Alter,”Every Grain of Sand,” and even one of my favorite songs of all time, “Caribbean Wind” is kind of from that period and shares some of the straight forward passion and biblical imagery. I love every one of those songs and catch them running through my brain and heart when I need them. I may have kept the records sealed, I may have closed my heart to evangelical Bob, but he weaseled in there. While doing my homework I was glad to hear these great songs in context. These studio albums got me warmed up for the bootlegs.


Here starts my revelation: When these recordmgs of live versions, outtakes, and rehearsals from the gospel period arrived, I experienced the burning bush. I was on the road to Damascus. These records changed me. I’m not Chiistian, but I’ve changed. I’ve been listening to these records all day, every day, and my life and life in general seem more important. Dylan never deals with the trivial, and these records frighten me with the awful truth of how sweet life can be. Bob has said that the purpose of art is to inspire. I am inspired. I want to be a better person and think more about things that matter. I have the spirit. 


As far as the theological content of these records – I still disagree. One of the many robot-killeis of modern science is that placebos still work, even when the patient knows fully well it’s a placebo. I am the fool who still says in his heart there is no God, but Dylan’s gospel music is stronger than my lack of faith. These bands have a wonderful sound and the songs are great, catchy and important. But the medium isn’t the message, the message is the message, and fortunately for me, I can hear the message on these records as not just the revealed word of Christianity. The singing on this record is some of the best of Bob’s career. He cares. It all matters. Even the sound checks and rehearsals are full of fire. I’ve changed. I no longer care that I don’t agree with the cosmology. Art isn’t supposed to be an essay or a debate. Art must be deeper and richer than theology.


I must face some of my own hypocrisy. I never sequestered Bach’s Saint Matthew’s Passion on my shelf in shrink wrap. I listen to all the Bach sacred music without the chip on my shoulder that I had for Bob. I feel the music, the inspiration and the passion directly. Bach’s faith doesn’t get in the way. The faith is a big part of what I love about it. I don’t pretend to understand what inspired Bach and it doesn’t matter to my heart. I love the music. Was that okay with me because Johann’s long dead and I don’t understand German? I don’t know. I love Ray Charles singing “Amazing Grace.” Why was that always okay with me? Why did it take so much longer for me to hear Dylan’s gospel? I’m afraid there aren’t any good reasons and there may be some bad ones. 


I don’t know why Dylan bothered me more than other religious music and I don’t even know why Dylan’s gospel music bothered me more than Dylan’s other music. Looking back, I never agreed much with Dylan on the prosaic level. I don’t insist that everybody must get stoned. He’s not speaking for me, I’ve never even been stoned, but I love that song. I didn’t marry Isis on the fifth day of May, that’s not me, I’ve never even been in a tomb. I’m not even that sure the times they are a-changin’ and I could make a strong case that all those answers are not blowin’ in the wind. Yet those songs are a constant part of me. Without those Dylan songs in my heart, I would be unable to recognize myself. But, those songs weren’t ever meant to contain my personal philosophical world view. They weren’t about me, they weren’t even about Bob Dylan. They were songs. And songs are more important than me or even Dylan. 


All songs are more important than their literal content. It’s hard to find any song by anyone that I agree with intellectually. I’m not sure old MacDonald had a farm and I never wanted to just hold her hand. Maybe I’m too Sexy (for my Shirt) by Right Said Fred speaks directly for me, but that’s a very short list.

 
I must be careful that my new tolerance doesn’t fall into disrespect. Listening to these records I mustn’t pretend that Bob could be singing about any old thing. I can’t pretend that we can replace the word “Jesus” with “Chuck Berry” and the songs would mean the same thing. They would not mean the same thing. I mustn’t patronize a Nobel Laureate with some sort of ugly work-around of “God to him is what art is to me.” All of that would be an insult to Dylan and I would never do that. So, as I listen to these gospel songs, I try to take his faith and passion seriously and honestly and feel it as best I can from his point of view. I need to let his preaching the word of god speak to me of human conditions, uplift me, inspire me, and not in any way cheapen the depth of his belief.


And not just for these gospel records. Common wisdom is that Dylan went back to being a secular song writer after this period, but that’s a lie. The truth is Bob Dylan never was and never will be a secular song writer: “God said to Abraham kill me a son”- is not “Fly Robin Fly.” “I can hear a sweet voice gently calling, must be the mother of our Lord.” “I’m sworn to uphold the laws of God.” And “Narrow Way” is more about Jesus’s “narrow gate” than an answer song to Sir-Mix-a-Lot.”


Every one of these records starts with a version of “Slow Train,” and for those who are familiar with the previously released versions, it’s a wonder to listen to the passion and the importance grow as the band gets hotter and hotter. I hear “Gotta Serve Somebody” lose its silliness, and it’s a mystery how that happens. Dylan takes the goofy “Man Gave Names to All the Animals” and makes it goofier by changing up the obvious rhymes. Gospel Dylan can be fun. Every version I hear of “Caribbean Wind” speaks directly to me. “I hear a voice calling ‘Daddy,’ I always think it’s for me” and “Paying attention like a rattle snake does.” Oh. My. God. 


The covers he chooses for these tours include Hank Williams’ (as Luke, the Drifter) “Help Me Understand” and the weirdest cover, “Rise Again,” which sure sounds like it’s first person from the Christ’s point of view, and you don’t hear something like that every day. We get to hear Santana wailing on “The Groom’s Still Waiting at the Altar” in San Francisco 1980 (yup, that’s the concert I passed up – this fool said in his heart, I’m not going to that gospel show). I’ve always loved “Every Grain of Sand,” but the versions here are really something else. The ad included here for a Portland show is what’s called in the business “a quote ad,” but the quotes don’t start out flattering to the Bob’s gospel music. The patron wants to hear “rock and roll” and if he wanted to hear preaching he could go to church. It ends with some quotes from people who like it, but make it sound like hard work… it’s a mixed review at best. To my ear the people who are recorded sound like voice actors and that makes it so much weirder and so much more beautiful. Bob is making it clear that this decision is real and wasn’t made for commercial purposes. I even love the marketing of this period. 


My favorite tracks on this record are the two very different versions of “Ain’t Gonna Go to Hell for Anybody.” I was listening to these records while my real friends and social media friends were bouncing from one political outrage to another and every side of every issue seemed to be competing for who could spew the most hate and demonstrate the most damage. To stop my heart from breaking, I just played over and over again:


I can persuade people as well as anybody 
I got the vision, but it caused division. 
I can twist the truth as well as anybody. 
I know how to do it, I’ve been all the way through it. 
But it don’t suit my purpose and it ain’t my goal 
To gain the whole world, but give up my soul. 
And I sang along with it. I screamed along with it. I cried along with it. 


The epiphany: There are atheists in foxholes and there are atheists singing along with “Ain’t Gonna Go to Hell for Anybody.” I’m listening now.

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Weight Loss Goal Achieved! Here are the Results:

At the beginning of March 2017, my weight hit 280 pounds and i decided i needed to do something. I began an eating lifestyle change called OMAD (One Meal A Day). Here is a link to my post containing information on what OMAD is and how to do it:

In depth post about OMAD.

Here is a summary of everything that has happened since beginning this lifestyle change in March 2017:

  • My weight has gone from 280 to 200
  • My pants size has gone from 46″ to 40″, and the 40″ pants are starting to get a little loose
  • My shirt size has gone from XXXL to XL
  • My Cholesterol numbers are now: Total 180, LDL 89, HDL 62
  • My Triglycerides for the first time in my entire life are in the normal range at 145. In the past they have been as high as 1200 and even in my 20’s they were in the 400’s.
  • With my doctor’s permission, i have reduced my medications as follows
    • I’ve gone from 3 blood pressure meds to 2 and my blood pressures fluctuates around 120/70 now
    • I’ve gone from 150 units a day of 2 kinds of Insulin to no Insulin
    • I’m taking half the dosage of cholesterol medication
    • I’m taking half the dosage of stress/depression medication
  • I’m sleeping better and i’ve decreased the pressure on my CPAP machine
  • I move better and feel better
  • My BMI has gone from 40.3 “morbidly obese” to “obese” and now to 28.8 which is just “overweight”

My new goals for the next year:

  • I’m going to continue with OMAD, but maybe relax a little with a few more occasional splurges
  • I’d like to eventually get down to 180 pounds
  • I’d like to fit in a Large size shirt comfortably
  • I’d like to get into 36″ pants comfortably.

Don’t get discouraged:

I hit plateaus twice during the 15 months. Once at 242 pounds and once at 208 pounds. Both plateaus lasted about a month with no weight loss. Your body is changing as you go through weight loss, and there absolutely will be times when it seems like nothing good is happening. Just stay with it. Once your body settles in at the new weight point, you will start losing again.

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One Year Weight Loss Update – 72 lbs!

It’s been a year since i began my weight loss adventure using the OMAD philosophy of eating just One Meal A Day. I’m now at 208 lbs which is a total weight loss of 72 lbs since March of 2017.

Back in July, i had lost 36 pounds. By November, i had lost 54 lbs. It wasn’t a fluke. First, here is a “before” picture because some people asked for it. Below it is a picture of me today, March 2, 2018 wearing an XL shirt, down from a 3XL shirt a year ago. Keep reading!

 

Back in March of 2017 i began a concerted effort to drop some weight. Now, like everyone else, i’ve done this before only to regain the weight right back plus more, so i had been looking for something different, as in not a diet, but rather an approach to eating which i could sustain.

I started in March 2017 weighing 280 lbs. and as of today (March 2, 2018), i’m at 208. That’s a number i haven’t seen on a scale in many, many years. In fact, i’m pretty sure the last time i weighed this much (or should i say little?) was around 1985. My goal back in March 2017 was to get under 200 lbs. I’m getting very close. Once i get there, i’ll decide what goal number 2 will be, but it’s very likely i’ll continue on with some version of OMAD, maybe adding an occasional cookie or biscuit and not being as strict when going out with friends when i’m outside my ‘eating window’ (read about that below). This is a lifestyle change, and one i think i am going to stick with.

Here’s what i want this post to accomplish:

  • Explain the lifestyle change involved in OMAD and how to do it, both the good and the bad parts
  • Give examples of things which have changed
  • Talk about my discoveries along the path so far
  • Give you my experiences about things i thought would be harder than they are
  • Leave you with some new resources in case any of you want to give this a try

I know that as soon as you read the next section, you may well think “I could never do that!” Please, Please, Please do not think that way. I am no super strong-willed person, i’m a regular guy, and everything in this post is exceedingly doable, and honestly, it is easier than you think. Really.

So here we go! This is not something which you buy, enroll in, pay for, or attend any meetings about. In fact, following this way of eating awards you two of the most valuable things in life: you will have more free time every day to do things you don’t have time for right now, and you will save, not spend money. How can you not want to give this a try?

OMAD

OMAD stands for One Meal A Day, though technically it’s not exactly that. It’s based on a concept known as intermittent fasting. Now, take a breath and come out from under the table while i explain what this really is. The word “fasting” tends to cause extreme reactions in many people with thoughts of deprivation, starvation, torture, monks and saints, etc, etc. This is not that.

What people are discovering and studies are just beginning to show, is that positive changes occur in your body chemistry and your metabolism when you can go for a period of time without eating. Chief among the changes are a lessening of insulin resistance (which is the cause of type 2 diabetes).  OMAD is not a cure for type 2 diabetes, so i’m not riding on the wacko train. However, it does improve your diabetes significantly and my doctor will vouch for that.

If you’re saying “I don’t have diabetes”, that’s fine. OMAD will help you lose weight, and be healthier. If you do have diabetes, OMAD will help with your battle to control your blood sugars.

You WILL mess up along the way. A sugar craving may hit you at an emotionally bad time, you may decide you need to celebrate something. My birthday was back in October (i turned 62). My wife made me an ice cream pie with chocolate ice cream, chocolate pudding, Oreo cookies and real honest to goodness home-made Whipped Cream. I ate a piece every day for 5 days. I gained a few pounds. The world did not end. it wasn’t an accident. I made a choice to enjoy that special treat even though i knew i’d gain a few pounds. Now, a few weeks later, those pounds have dropped right back off. OMAD is not prison. It put’s your mind in charge instead of your stomach.

Here’s how it works:

The magic happens when you go for at least 18 hours without eating anything or drinking anything with calories. Personally, i’ve decided to go for 20 hours and only eat during a 4 hour window each day. It’s this simple: you just set a single block of time during which you eat every day. I’ve set my eating time to be between 6 and 10 p.m. Others have chosen a different time frame, but the actual time does not matter at all. Some people set their window for the morning or the afternoon. During that window, i will eat my one meal for the day and perhaps have a snack like some nuts or popcorn. The rest of the day i don’t eat or drink anything with calories. This means you can drink all you want of non-caloric things like black coffee, unsweet tea (with an artificial sweetener if you want), water, diet sodas etc. Personally, i gave up all forms of artificial sweeteners years ago. They tend to trigger or exacerbate my problems with headaches. I drink water and unsweet tea. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but i won’t hold that against the rest of you.

The problem of hunger:

I have lost track of how many times, after finding out what i’ve done to lose weight, a person replied: “I could never do that!”

I am reminded of something Henry Ford said:

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.

Another quote i read this week:

Change will only happen when the pain of not changing becomes greater than the pain of changing.

There is no actual pain associated with OMAD, but there is change, and for some of us, that thought is painful.

We have to address the very large elephant in the middle of the room.

The reason i chose this eating method a year ago is because after 61 years, i’d finally come to the conclusion (i tend to be slow at acknowledging the obvious) that diets don’t work for me because i have no control whatever over how much i eat. I simply can not eat just one cookie or 5 potato chips. I have always been hungry and if i am eating because of my hunger, then i want to eat until i’m not hungry. That’s the way you end up weighing 280 pounds. The mental change required is to decide that just because you are hungry, you do not need to eat. I just acknowledge “yep, i’m hungry”, drink some water and go back to what i was doing. It’s actually easy. It’s just a new way of thinking. I’ve put my mind in charge of when i eat instead of my stomach. I’ll go so far as to say that this mental attitude change is freeing. It’s liberating. It makes me no longer a slave to food, and that is very significant.

Since i have never been able to control how much i eat, instead i now am controlling when i eat. I only eat between 6 and 10 p.m. You’re thinking: “Doesn’t that mean you get hungry when you are not in your eating window?” Absolutely. I have learned that while i am unable to eat just one cookie, i can absolutely eat no cookies. Any time i get hungry outside my eating window, i just tell myself “hang in there, you can eat your fill in a few more hours.” In other words, i can say no and that works, but i can’t say “just eat a celery stick” because when i do that, i’m still hungry. If i eat enough to not be hungry, then i end up at 280 pounds. So i accept the hunger and stick with the plan and the pounds just keep dropping off.

It’s been a year and the hunger is less than before, but it’s still there and i’m ok with that. In fact, it actually feels really, really good to realize that i can now control a part of my life which has been uncontrollable for 62 years.

BTW, the hunger does not grow or get worse. It’s important that you understand this. You likely think that you are just going to get hungrier and hungrier. That’s not how hunger works. You are giving hunger power when you become afraid of it. Hunger pops up, i acknowledge that i’m hungry, drink some water and go back to what i was doing. Hunger does not get worse and worse. You are hungry or you are not hungry. It’s binary.

Here are the pluses:

  • I have achieved control over an area of my life i could not control
  • I am having a victory every day instead of a defeat
  • My weight continues to drop. It is not dropping as quickly now as it did the first month of OMAD, but it is still slowly and consistently coming off.
  • My blood pressure has come down and i expect to be able to decrease my blood pressure meds as my weight decreases
  • My HbA1c (a measure of blood sugar) has gone from 6.7 to 5.6 which is miraculous
  • When i started OMAD, i was taking 150 units of insulin a day. I am down to about 10 units of insulin a day now, heading toward no insulin.
  • I have more energy
  • Because i don’t have to stop and eat for breakfast and lunch, i have more time to do other things
  • And best of all: my mind is clearer. Blood sugar spikes and dips play havoc with your ability to think clearly.

Some details:

  • Do not weigh yourself every day. Once or maybe twice a week is all you need.
  • Weight loss is not linear. One week you may lose 4 pounds and another week you might gain a half a pound. This is a long-term process.
  • I got stuck at 49 pounds of weight loss for about a month and i got stuck at 66 pounds of weight loss for several weeks. Your body metabolism and chemistry is changing during this process, and plateaus are going to occur while your body adjusts. Do not let plateaus discourage you.
  • Once you’ve done OMAD for a month, you can allow yourself a splurge day every 2 or 3 weeks. A day when you might eat 2 meals and have a sweet dessert
  • I’ve found that i make more progress when i eliminate (mostly) bread and things with sugar.
  • Biggest tip: I have discovered that nuts and cheese help tremendously. They provide satiety. They are filling, and that is normally my evening snack.

Questions i’ve been asked:

What about when you go out to lunch with friends or church has a pot luck dinner after the morning service?

I’ve discovered that it isn’t hard at all to just sit and be a part of the group and the conversation and not eat. In fact, i think i participate better when my mind isn’t thinking about eating and going back for seconds or what i want for dessert.

Don’t you feel deprived or like you are in prison?

This is the best part! The opposite is true. I feel like i have freedom from food and i feel in control instead of being driven by my hunger. It’s actually a wonderful feeling.

Here are several informational resources to help you:

I’m going to recommend that you go to this YouTube channel and watch these videos This is just a guy who has lost a LOT of weight, telling how he did it and giving you the basics. This is not a company, it’s not a book, it isn’t anything but a guy helping you do what he has done. I’ve subscribed to his YouTube channel, which is totally free. This is a playlist of 8 videos. Each one is between 2 minutes and 14 minutes long. You are going to notice that this guy is not going to dazzle you with his videos. He’s just a plain, down to earth guy.

This is a book i’ve recently read which is written by a medical doctor and it contains a great deal of information about why and how intermittent fasting works when other ‘diet’ plans do not. The Kindle version is $10.

Dr. Jason Fung book on Intermittent Fasting

 

Dr. Fung also has a YouTube channel with some great information.

Dr. Jason Fung’s YouTube Channel

Please ask any questions you have in the comment area below. My current goal is to get down to 200 pounds. I’m almost all the way there. What do i do when i reach my goal? I’m sticking with eating one meal a day. It’s too good a life style for me to quit it. However, i’ll add some bread or sweets back into my eating once i get there. Or who knows, maybe i’ll shoot for a lower number.

My oldest son and his fiancé are both doing OMAD after seeing my success, and they are both losing significant weight. Ladies, please be aware that you will lose weight slower than men do. I’m sorry, but that’s just the reality. However, OMAD works for men and for women.

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Updated Information on My Weight Loss: 54 lbs So Far . . .

I’m signifcantly updating my post from July with things i’ve learned since then and more information on the How-To of doing what i’m doing.

In July i had lost 36 pounds. It wasn’t a fluke. Here’s a picture of me yesterday wearing an XL t-shirt, down from a 3XL t-shirt 8 months ago. Keep reading!

Back in March i began a concerted effort to drop some weight. Now, like everyone else, i’ve done this before only to regain the weight right back plus more, so i had been looking for something different, as in not a diet, but rather an approach to eating which i could sustain.

I started in March weighing 280 lbs. and as of today (November 8, 2017), i’m at 226. That’s a number i haven’t seen on a scale in many, many years.

Here’s what i want this post to accomplish:

  • Explain the lifestyle change i’m taking and how to do it, both the good and the bad parts
  • Give examples of things which have changed since my last weight loss post
  • Talk about my discoveries along the path so far
  • Give you my experiences about things i thought would be harder than they are
  • Leave you with some new resources in case any of you want to give this a try

I know that as soon as you read the next section, you may well think “I could never do that!” Please, Please, Please do not think that way. I am no super strong-willed person, i’m a regular guy, and everything in this post is exceedingly doable, and honestly, it is easier than you think. Really.

So here we go! This is not something which you buy, enroll in, pay for, or attend any meetings about. In fact, following this way of eating awards you two of the most valuable things in life: you will have more free time every day to do things you don’t have time for right now, and you will save, not spend money. How can you not want to give this a try?

OMAD

OMAD stands for One Meal A Day, though technically it’s not exactly that. It’s based on a concept known as intermittent fasting. Now, take a breath and come out from under the table while i explain what this really is. The word “fasting” tends to cause extreme reactions in many people with thoughts of deprivation, starvation, torture, monks and saints, etc, etc. This is not that.

What people are discovering and studies are just beginning to show, is that positive changes occur in your body chemistry and your metabolism when you can go for a period of time without eating. Chief among the changes are a lessening of insulin resistance (which is the cause of type 2 diabetes).  OMAD is not a cure for type 2 diabetes, so i’m not riding on the wacko train. However, it does improve your diabetes significantly and my doctor will vouch for that.

If you’re saying “I don’t have diabetes”, that’s fine. OMAD will help you lose weight, and be healthier. If you do have diabetes, OMAD will help with your battle to control your blood sugars.

You WILL mess up along the way. A sugar craving may hit you at an emotionally bad time, you may decide you need to celebrate something. My birthday was a few weeks ago (i turned 62). My wife made me an ice cream pie made with chocolate ice cream, chocolate pudding, Oreo cookies and real honest to goodness home-made Whipped Cream. I ate a piece every day for 5 days. I gained a few pounds. The world did not end. it wasn’t an accident. I made a choice to enjoy that special treat even though i knew i’d gain a few pounds. Now, a few weeks later, those pounds have dropped right back off. OMAD is not prison. It put’s your mind in charge instead of your stomach.

Here’s how it works:

The magic happens when you go for at least 18 hours without eating anything or drinking anything with calories. Personally, i’ve decided to go for 20 hours and only eat during a 4 hour window each day. It’s this simple: you just set a single block of time during which you eat every day. I’ve set my eating time to be between 6 and 10 p.m. Others have chosen a different time frame, but the actual time does not matter at all. Some people set their window for the morning or the afternoon. During that window, i will eat my one meal for the day and perhaps have a snack like some nuts or popcorn. The rest of the day i don’t eat or drink anything with calories. This means you can drink all you want of non-caloric things like black coffee, unsweet tea (with an artificial sweetener if you want), water, diet sodas etc. Personally, i gave up all forms of artificial sweeteners years ago. They tend to trigger or exacerbate my problems with headaches. I drink water and unsweet tea. I’ve never been a coffee drinker, but i won’t hold that against the rest of you.

The problem of hunger:

I have lost track of how many times, after finding out what i’ve done to lose weight, a person replied: “I could never do that!”

I am reminded of something Henry Ford said:

Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you are right.

Another quote i read this week:

Change will only happen when the pain of not changing becomes greater than the pain of changing.

There is no actual pain associated with OMAD, but there is change, and for some of us, that thought is painful.

We have to address the very large elephant in the middle of the room.

The reason i chose this eating method 8 months ago is because after 61 years, i’d finally come to the conclusion (i tend to be slow on acknowledging the obvious) that diets don’t work for me because i have no control whatever over how much i eat. I simply can not eat just one cookie or 5 potato chips. I have always been hungry and if i am eating because of my hunger, then i want to eat until i’m not hungry. That’s the way you end up weighing 280 pounds. The mental change required is to decide that just because you are hungry, you do not need to eat. I just acknowledge “yep, i’m hungry”, drink some water and go back to what i was doing. It’s actually easy. It’s just a new way of thinking. I’ve put my mind in charge of when i eat instead of my stomach. I’ll go so far as to say that this mental attitude change is freeing. It’s liberating. It makes me no longer a slave to food, and that is very significant.

Since i have never been able to control how much i eat, instead i now am controlling when i eat. I only eat between 6 and 10 p.m. You’re thinking: “Doesn’t that mean you get hungry when you are not in your eating window?” Absolutely. I have learned that while i am unable to eat just one cookie, i can absolutely eat no cookies. Any time i get hungry outside my eating window, i just tell myself “hang in there, you can eat your fill in a few more hours.” In other words, i can say no and that works, but i can’t say “just eat a celery stick” because when i do that, i’m still hungry. If i eat enough to not be hungry, then i end up at 280 pounds. So i accept the hunger and stick with the plan and the pounds just keep dropping off.

It’s been 8 months and the hunger is less than before, but it’s still there and i’m ok with that. In fact, it actually feels really, really good to realize that i can now control a part of my life which has been uncontrollable for 62 years.

BTW, the hunger does not grow or get worse. It’s important that you understand this. You likely think that you are just going to get hungrier and hungrier. That’s not how hunger works. You are giving hunger power when you become afraid of it. Hunger pops up, i acknowledge that i’m hungry, drink some water and go back to what i was doing. Hunger does not get worse and worse. You are hungry or you are not hungry. It’s binary.

Here are the pluses:

  • I have achieved control over an area of my life i could not control
  • I am having a victory every day instead of a defeat
  • My weight continues to drop. It is not dropping as quickly now as it did the first month of OMAD, but it is still slowly and consistently coming off.
  • My blood pressure has come down and i expect to be able to decrease my blood pressure meds as my weight decreases
  • My HbA1c (a measure of blood sugar) has gone from 6.7 to 5.6 which is miraculous
  • When i started OMAD, i was taking 150 units of insulin a day. I have been completely off insulin for a few weeks now.
  • I have more energy
  • Because i don’t have to stop and eat for breakfast and lunch, i have more time to do other things
  • And best of all: my mind is clearer. Blood sugar spikes and dips play havoc with your ability to think clearly.

Some details:

  • Do not weigh yourself every day. Once or maybe twice a week is all you need.
  • Weight loss is not linear. One week you may lose 4 pounds and another week you might gain a half a pound. This is a long-term process.
  • I got stuck at 49 pounds of weight loss for about a month. Your body metabolism and chemistry is changing during this process, and plateaus are going to occur while your body adjusts.
  • Once you’ve done OMAD for a month, you can allow yourself a splurge day every 2 or 3 weeks. A day when you might eat 2 meals and have a sweet dessert
  • I’ve found that i make more progress when i eliminate (mostly) bread and things with sugar.
  • I have discovered that nuts and cheese help tremendously. They provide satiety. They are filling, and that is normally my evening snack.

Questions i’ve been asked:

What about when you go out to lunch with friends or church has a pot luck dinner after the morning service?

I’ve discovered that it isn’t hard at all to just sit and be a part of the group and the conversation and not eat. In fact, i think i participate better when my mind isn’t thinking about eating and going back for seconds or what i want for dessert.

Don’t you feel deprived or like you are in prison?

This is the best part! The opposite is true. I feel like i have freedom from food and i feel in control instead of being driven by my hunger. It’s actually a wonderful feeling.

Here are several informational resources to help you:

I’m going to recommend that you go to this YouTube channel and watch these videos This is just a guy who has lost a LOT of weight, telling how he did it and giving you the basics. This is not a company, it’s not a book, it isn’t anything but a guy helping you do what he has done. I’ve subscribed to his YouTube channel, which is totally free. This is a playlist of 8 videos. Each one is between 2 minutes and 14 minutes long. You are going to notice that this guy is not going to dazzle you with his videos. He’s just a plain, down to earth guy.

This is a book i’ve recently read which is written by a medical doctor and it contains a great deal of information about why and how intermittent fasting works when other ‘diet’ plans do not. The Kindle version is $10.

Dr. Jason Fung book on Intermittent Fasting

 

Dr. Fung also has a YouTube channel with some great information.

Dr. Jason Fung’s YouTube Channel

Please ask any questions you have in the comment area below. My current goal is to get down to 200 pounds. I’m more than 2/3 of the way there. What do i do when i reach my goal? I’m sticking with eating one meal a day. It’s too good a life style for me to quit it. However, i’ll add some bread or sweets back into my eating once i get there. Or who knows, maybe i’ll shoot for a lower number.

My oldest son and his fiancé are both doing OMAD after seeing my success, and they are both losing significant weight. Ladies, please be aware that you will lose weight slower than men do. I’m sorry, but that’s just the reality. However, OMAD works for men and for women.

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