PD – Week 4

Responsibility and planning. Two keys to my success have slipped the past week, to the point I am getting frustrated. While the point isn’t necessarily to lose weight, gaining control of my health is more important. I know for a fact the weight will come off. However, without the meal planning (SUS, right Julie?) I end up wandering aimlessly in the kitchen, opening and closing cabinets wondering what I am going to eat for dinner.

Now, it’s been 4 weeks and by no means do I feel as if I am failing. I don’t expect perfection, I do expect consistency. Sometimes, we might have to take 2 steps back, in order to go 1 step forward. With that in mind, I need to get control of the menu planning. Sometimes I wonder, “how was I so successful when I started in 2011?” Maybe I am trying to get too creative on the meals. That’s not to say Julie’s recipes are simple…they are. I know I consistently went back Dr. John McDougall’s book, The McDougall Program, including the very simple recipes that John and his wife included.

This time around, I have been supplementing many of Julie’s recipes with other, plant based, PD friendly recipes. A key to this program is the simplicity. Remember the 1960’s Navy adage, “KISS?” Keep it simple, stupid. Why should I try to outsmart the menu or what we know as PD lifers, works? I know my way around the kitchen, and I can usually throw something together in minutes, given the plethora of ingredients I own. So why doesn’t it seem that simple?

Time. One thing many of us wish we had more of. Time is something I seem to lack once I arrive at home. Once I walk home from school with my son, it’s time to help accomplish homework. In that time, I might be working in and around the kitchen, starting dinner for him and wife or pre-cooking something I might use. This hour to 90 minutes is very important. if I don’t get anything accomplished, chances are dinner is going to be a challenge.

After my son is done, I usually commit 30 minutes to an hour to clean kennels and feed the animals (my wife breeds Bengal cats). It’s my goal to have this finish no later than 5pm, to allow me 90 minutes to cook and clean before heading upstairs to shower and hopefully relax with my wife on the nights I don’t have scouting responsibilities.

In the meantime, I am cooking dinner for both my wife and son, sometimes the same meal, others times not. Maybe I just force my son to eat whatever I cook for my wife. How many of us, I am 48 years old, growing up had to eat whatever our parents put on our plate? I am sure we all did, even had to clean our plate if we wanted to get up. I remember sitting there many times, struggling to eat ratatouille, until it was cold and my milk, was warm. Talk about nasty tasting!

This is what meal planning is so important. The Excel spreadsheet I had on my flash drive has been misplaced with links to recipes and my weekly meals planned. Not that I make this as an excuse, but doing all my shopping ahead of time and planning what meals will fall on what days, what will be eaten for other meals as leftovers really helps me organize my life and limit unnecessary time in the kitchen.

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PD – Week 3

Monday starts week 3 of reacquainting myself with the principles and living a Protective Diet. I’ve decided to change logging format to a weekly basis now, rather than daily. While I have many thoughts, it’s easier to post and hopefully have others in a similar situation follow along. Don’t want to feel I am boring readers with information they don’t need or want to read. Hopefully that isn’t the fact and if I can help one person with something I write, then excellent!

Week 3 started off well, but I find myself falling into some frustrating habits. In the motto of the Boy Scouts, “Be prepared!” is something I haven’t been. I’ve been attempting to follow a weekly menu I put forth each week, but after the first 14 days, I’ve started to run into problem. These could easily be resolved if I had time on my days off to follow SUS (Set Up Sunday) as Julie calls it, however, and I’ve said this before my days off are spent working, cleaning the house, doing house related projects. Rarely do I have time to cook for 2-3 hours in preparation for the week. Can I fit it in? Sure, I could make a few early morning adjustments and probably start my day working on SUS before starting my day off.

Going back to Julie and Class 200 – Stop the Snack Challenge, this was a key point that I had been failing on, which saw me start the downward slide. Outside of just a day or two, I have done well. Eating through out the day, has really helped to cut out those between meal snacks. I continue to struggle after dinner, grabbing a snack less than an hour after I eat. Not sure why, as I am satiated but left feeling hungry to some degree. I think there might be a connection, especially on the weekends, as I have been known to skip lunch on my days off, which makes me more hungry approaching dinner time.

Overall, things are still moving in the right direction. As I recall, from reading my words, it wasn’t easy to begin. While I don’t struggle in the kitchen, cooking was challenging, but the longer I followed McDougall and PD, it did get easier. While I have a plethora of recipes, it’s sometimes challenging with so much good food to eat, where to begin.

What I do know, the longer I follow PD, the stronger my conviction becomes. I know what I am doing is the right thing and while the start has tapered off just a bit as I start the 4th week, but continue to adhere to the program and most importantly, always learning.

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PD – Day 15

This is the health I want to recapture from 2014. Trim, fit and healthy. Smiling after my first 50k finish with Otto.

Now 2 weeks in I get to look back on what has transpired since jumping into the PDL pool with both feet. As expected, the water is warm, refreshing and quite comfortable. Thanks in part to the many wonderful people who follow the principles set forth by Julie Christensen, creator of the Protective Diet. While I subscribed to the entire program, I have yet to achieve that 100% PD lifestyle, it’s a goal I will continue to strive to attain. Right now, day 15 as I look back what have I learned?

First, this lifestyle is an ultra marathon, not a sprint. While I have expectations, I know for a fact, if I follow the the Guide to Optimal Health I will see improvements in my overall life. Weight will be down, clothes will fit better. Energy will be up and I will be living to eat, instead of eating to live. The steps are simple to follow and to date, I am setting a good pace in the early portion of my journey back into the Protective Diet lifestyle.

Keeping a journal has been great fun, then again I enjoy sharing my experiences, not only to help myself but to help others who could potentially run into issues moving forward. It was great to hear Julie mention my previous success (56:00 minutes) in Class #200 Stop the Snacks Challenge. What made a difference recently, as Julie cited, was going back and re-reading my PD testimonial I posted  in October, 2013. Reading can influence our decisions, but “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

I know I fall back on this repeated in just 2 weeks. Looking at where I was, bloated, heavy, out of shape and otherwise miserable, living with pains and unsettling blood work numbers. The after picture, taken at a Tough Mudder event and just slim and trim I look. I still remember how I felt that day and may days after it. The feeling was one in a million! Comparable to crossing the finish line in one of my 50 mile races. It’s something that I just can’t describe, but that feeling is short lived if you don’t follow through and resolve to maintain that lifestyle you created for yourself.

While I am not one for excuses, I know I have slipped a few in on my wife, one too many times and they get tiring to hear, over and over. While I don’t have any excuses, I know the mistakes I made, they were made knowingly that it would compromise my health and start me down a dark path, that left unchecked would take me to a place I vowed I would not return to. Looking in the mirror daily I didn’t get a sense of the regression. Stepping on the scale it was more apparent that my poor decisions were putting weight back on that I didn’t want to carry at age 48.

Still a few years away from 50, I vow now to have the best health in my life when I hit this milestone! It WILL be done! Why? Because I have been there before and I have the road map and experience to get there. Setting goals and monitor progress aided me in my journey, thus the reason I continuously write about my experiences, weigh myself and track the foods I eat. All these working together put get me in “my zone” where I feel I have the best chance to succeed.

Next milestone in this journey is 30 days. I know what to expect and where I believe I will stand when I report back. It my intention to “stay the course” and remain engaged with the PDL community for the love and support of those who follow this lifestyle. That aspect alone is priceless. I appreciate all the feedback and comments from those on the Facebook group as we all continue on this journey together.

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More DeNova Repairs!

It’s been far too long since I have taken a shot at DeNova Homes (#dontbuydenova) for their poor craftsmanship and lack of quality control. This has been seen repeatedly in our “new home,” lacking from before we even put down a deposit to confirm our home. If we knew all the red tape and bullshit we would run into with this purchase, we would never have gone through it and held onto our hard earned money. As a warning to future DeNova Homes owners, please rethink your purchase before it’s too late.

Just because I haven’t pushed the #dontbuydenova movement doesn’t mean all is well and good. It hasn’t been and we know it’s not going to get better. In fact it’s getting worse. It’s been a few months, but pulling up to our home in Emerson Ranch, Oakley I saw pick and green spray paint on the sidewalks. Not knowing what it represented I contacted a friend who was a Comcast installer and he gave me his best guess. Following that I Googled it. As the markings fell by the wayside, I didn’t put much thought into over the holiday period.

All the concrete in front of our home was marked, as seen to the left, as was much of our street. To my surprise, I came home last Thursday to see construction and many pieces of sidewalk suddenly missing, as a contractor has started to remove the marked areas. many of these marked with pink were due to cracking and I can only guess the green arrows confirm the portion of concrete to be removed.

A day later, we receive a letter on our door from DeNova Homes dated 1-12-18:

Their estimate of “2-4 days” hasn’t been realistic. Received the letter day after it was dated. While there has been some foggy, rainy weather over the weekend, as of this morning nothing had been addressed nor had all the concrete been removed. The same areas that were pulled out that week had been framed for pouring concrete.

Out of curiosity, I contacted the City of Oakley for clarification of the removal and replacement of the concrete sidewalks. Their response, “We haven’t accepted the concrete improvements yet and our inspector has marked some that we know needs to come out. DeNova jumped ahead to fix those – without notifying the residents or us. It doesn’t look like drainage is related.” The last comment from the city was related to a question my wife asked of the contractors doing the work. Since we owned the house there has been a major drainage issue. While DeNova Homes will claim the lot was “graded for drainage” NOTHING drains. This can be seen very clearly in the front yard right on the property line, as we had a swamp growing in size before a contractor attempted to come out, on the request of our neighbor. No drainage pipe was replace, which tells me there was no real fix to the problem. All the swamp grass was removed and they covered the area with new bark. Guess that qualifies as “fixed.”

My point of contention is, if the concrete poured isn’t acceptable as seen by the City of Oakley, then why the hell doesn’t DeNova Homes address the poor concrete that forms our driveway and patio? I cited on 6/21/2016, in another email to DeNova Homes, “059. Concrete on front porch, in front of door cracking.” The response from their warranty manager, “The crack is not wide enough to repair. No action will be taken at this time.” At this time, so when it does become wide enough, does it suddenly get repaired with DeNova footing the bill? Of course not, by that time the house will be our of warranty and the homeowner will be required to pay the price to repair the poor concrete that was poured.

These cracks are just part of the problem. Along with color footprints in the concrete there are chucks of the top surfaces that have start to break off, compromising the concrete. I guess this is also not the responsibility of DeNova Homes. The concrete being replaced on the sidewalks speaks. Sadly, we are coming up nearly 2 years of ownership and the problems DeNova Homes has claimed to repaired still exist. We still have blue and green tape in our walls signifying a problem area that was never addressed by their sub-contractors.

There has been no worse buying experience than that we have continued to face with DeNova Homes. After this email I will be sending them another email regarding these sidewalk repairs and to question why our concrete problems were not considered for repair. Hopefully discussion reopens with DeNova and they are willing to accept more criticize regarding our home. My wife and I have received numerous contacts from other, new DeNova Home owners and sadly they all have similar stories of poor quality and craftsmanship in their new homes. It’s not just our house. It’s not just us, as we were told it was. It’s a MAJOR problem with DeNova Homes. Not sure why homeowners have not united together and put forth a class action lawsuit against this company and this poor quality homes. Maybe that’s something I need to explore, I am sure there is an attorney willing to go after a developer like DeNova Homes.

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PD – Day 14

Now 2 weeks into the new year and “new me!” Actually, it’s the same me but with the mental fortitude and desire to “get it done” as my running partner always says. This time around feels very similar to how I started back in October, 2011 with a commitment to myself. Some called what I was doing, “short term” and “extreme” but 10 months later the results were shocking! The weight loss, eating a starch based diet was incredible.

This time around, I have found my Kryptonite. Snacking. I know Julie mentioned this recently in Class #200 – Stop the Snacks Challenge. Following her Guide to Optimal Health, I consider myself to be somewhere between Level #3 and Level #4. I’ve already eliminated the “food addiction and cravings” and understand the basics of a Protective Diet living.

While I may never perfect a Protective Diet, I know what my goals are, where I currently am and know what I need to do in order to achieve it. As Julie mentioned, I have achieved my goal some years back. I got a false sense of security that I was “heart attack proof” (remember Dr. Esselstyn?) and I let my guard down slowly. I lapsed into making poor dietary decisions and failed to follow what got me to where I wanted to be. It’s starts with a Protective Diet.

Not sure if its snacking in the true sense of the words, as I have been doing well, while at work avoiding the crap that shows up in the break room. Even during my days off from work, I am not caught in the kitchen too often ahead of a planned meal. My problem comes after I eat dinner, I find myself unsatisfied and wanting to eat more and have dipped into the pantry for some otherwise unacceptable bites.

Currently, I am trying to get myself to the point of feeling satiated when I eat. Right now, as has been the case for a few weeks I feel bloated even before a meal approaches. Eating on top of that only makes me feel like a fat slob, as guilt starts to creep in and I question my determination.

Being able to identify “true hunger” is what I need to key on. Being able to stop at “full and satisfied” is where I need to begin, while staying away from the between meal bites that are aiding that “stuffed and lethargic” feeling I currently have. It’s a terrible feeling I have been struggling with for nearly 2 weeks. Eating until satiated has been a challenge.

I fall back to what I have learned since 2011 and pictures of before and after. The motivation is there! I will succeed but need to fine tune some of the practices of mindful eating in order to take advantages of what a Protective Diet promotes. Reviewing the Goals of Protective Diet Mindful Eating Practices, there is work to be done of what allowed me to achieve my optimal health. For me, the most important aspect is, “experience and appreciate true hunger before meals.” Too many times I notice I am cooking and eating because the clock dictates it’s lunch or dinner time.

I can identify with Jerry and the need to snack because of all the calories burned when running. When I was at my optimal level, I would eat after I got done with a run and follow it up in a few hours with a meal. However, with a foot injury and my current health, I haven’t been all that active on the trails, putting in the miles to justify those “added calories” (snacking) to my lifestyle. In the future, when I get back to where I need to be and the running increases, snacking will return in due time, but that isn’t now.

Maybe writing on my experiences, when “overwhelmed,” sharing my previous and current challenges with others allows me a solution. Just sharing details of what I am doing helps me mentally on a Protective Diet. I know I am not the only one who has struggled. We all have at some point and time. Even Julie, as amazing as she looks and feels now has struggled.

In conjunction with watching Class #200 today, I am challenging myself to “Stop the Snacks!” One step I have already taken, as been attempting to drink more water daily. The past few weeks I start the morning with 32 ounces of water on the way to work. Once I am at my desk, I easily drink 4-6 cups of tea in a 2-hour period. I will revisit this challenge in 2 weeks as I near the end of January to see where I am.

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