Lifestyle Changes

This is not a diet, this is how I eat.I’ll admit I have had very little support in deciding to change my lifestyle, beginning with my eating habits. Support is a cornerstone when it comes to making positive lifestyle changes. To say the results I have experienced are anything short of extraordinary would be an understatement. I ate a very unhealthy diet and working in a stagnate job, eating lots of fried and unhealthy food it was only a matter of time before it caught up and took a toll on my body.

While my wife initially called this changing in diet a “kick” she is proud of the accomplishments I have made in just 9 months. Nine months to see a positive change in how I feel with more energy, in how I look since shedding 42 pounds of excess weight and improvement in my lipid panels (blood tests), reducing my total cholesterol by 88 points (to date).

I have drawn support from many who have come before me using Dr. McDougall’s wisdom and program to achieve success. His Star McDougallers are just a small percentage of people who have made radical changes in their life for the better. Many of these individuals were more sickly than I was when they started, but to hear their stories and see the positive changes only reinforces that the decisions I have made for my health are the right ones.

I read many comments on the McDougall Discussion Board from people who can’t do this program or are going at it alone, with a spouse dead set on not giving up a diet laden with meat, dairy and oils.  Best thing to remember you aren’t alone, the discussion board is a GREAT place to communicate with others, some who have been through a similar situation. Educating yourself on this lifestyle takes time. I didn’t jump in with both feet initially, as I wanted to read more about Dr. McDougall, what he stood for and why I was not healthy or losing weight when eating an industrialized and processed diet.

Many look at me as unique because of my dietary requirements, I now believe this way of eating is normal and wouldn’t consider going back to eating meat, dairy and oils in my diet.  The opportunity to cheat is always present and for some it could be very difficult to pass up that chance telling yourself, “oh just this once, it won’t hurt me.” You then suddenly find yourself making excuses to sneak more unhealthy food and suddenly you are not seeing progress in yourself.

A discussion board regular, Pinkrose has “identified some of the major causes of failure and success related to McDougalling, especially weight management” in a thread titled, Why Fail? He breaks it down into three simple reasons:

1. People remember their history of eating!

2. Some are overly concerned about what others think of their food choices.

3. Some underestimate their ability to adapt to changes.

If you asked me this time last year, I never would have imagined I would be where I am today with my health. I have achieved my weight goal of 175 pounds and continue to work on improving my cholesterol numbers. I still remember what I was eating this time last year. Meats, dairy and oils were a regular part of my diet, it was also not suggested by my family physician to cuts any of these out, even though I had high cholesterol and was placed on medication.

One of my biggest concerns, what others would think. It was frustrating at times, confrontational at others when I attempted to justify this lifestyle. It got to a point where I didn’t care what anyone thought of my lifestyle change, because it was mine and would only benefit me. Many still feel they are registered nutritionist when I bring up my plant based diet, telling em what I need to consume in order to be healthy. I usually listen, with a nod of my head and then move on. Not sure why my way of eating is suddenly the hot topic in the office, when in reality it’s me who is concerned for the health of my co-workers.

Change. People usually hate change. Some don’t believe they can achieve it, while others procrastinate. This way of eating didn’t come easy, but I made progress each day. As I mentioned, I didn’t jump in with both feet, I sort of waded into the waters cautiously. Once I started learning more I gained a confidence that I could achieve results that would end up making me healthier and happier. I had some vices, still do. Along the way I might have slipped occasionally, but I continued make an effort and I saw the changes taking place. No longer did my fat pants fits (size 36), my belt is now on it’s last loop. Shirts that were too small for me, now fit and hang normally. No longer and I self conscience when I take my shirt off in public. At 42 I feel very good about myself. This change has taken time and I have made an effort at goals I felt I could achieve, but required some work.

Knowing what I do now, feeling and seeing the changes I would love to share the success I have had with others. Many start with the excuses as to why they can’t achieve what I have.  More importantly being able to share my experiences and read stories about other like minded individuals have helped me get to where I am today. I am very thankful that I found a solution that fits my lifestyle. A solution that will allow me to eat many wonderful foods without having to count calories or weigh myself to make sure I meet a goal. Don’t underestimate the support you can find online to help you achieve your health goals.

Round 2: XBox 360

Okay it has taken the better part of 2 weeks before I decided to make that time consuming call to XBox Support. As I have stated in the past, this is the WORST console on the market! I would definitely NOT recommend anyone bother purchasing one. Then again the Wii is poo too, but that is another story.

So I went online looking for tips on how to “fix” the “red ring of death.” First let’s start with poor design in the console itself, if indeed it is actually a solder on a connector that malfunctions. I was not going to waste all that much time looking into the problem. The “solution” wrap your 360 in towels for 15 minutes. This “solution” would heat up the necessary solder and your 360 would work. Or would it?

After 15 minutes in towels, I let it cool down and then started it. Viola! It worked…well sort of. I got in about three games of footie before the console locked up on me again. Upon restarting it would lock up. It took about 3 restarts before I was able to get the red ring of death. At that point I disconnected the POS and set it aside.

Today, I finally called customer “support” figuring to get the runaround, which I did to a point. After providing my name, address and serial number, I was asked a series of questions. The only one I got wrong (LOL) was when asked, “Do you plug your XBox into a surge protector or a wall socket?” My answer, obviously, a surge protector. Well needless to say, the kid on the other end of the phone said that the console must be plugged into a wall socket. Yeah, sure whatever jackass keep giving me you $9/hour answers.

I am sorry but plugging the console into a wall socket or a surge protector has NO adverse affect on something internally in your malfunctioning product. If so, then please, please provide me information supporting your FAQ claim, because I beg to differ. But you are Microsoft and are always right, with the best product around. LOL.

So let’s see if customer support can get things done this time around in a timely fashion. Waiting 8 weeks as I did previously was a joke. Let’s TRY and not loose my order again. Oh and that one month XBox Live card, just keep it, what a slap in the face for my time and your below average product.

Urban Terror: Your Life Breath?

While Urban Terror might not be the biggest, the best or most popular mod/game in the electronic entertain industry, we have a very strong following. When it comes to gamers I feel we still have a very strong and dedicated group of gamers who make up the foundation upon which our community has been created. Many are passionate about “their game” and how it plays from version to version.

Of course there is a [usually] small contingent who are disgruntled, upset with development decisions or just never seem to get “their way” when it comes to “their game.” These gamers for one reason or another set out to ruin the fun and enjoyment surrounds Urban Terror from IRC to the Urban Terror Forums to online game play. Some attempts are rather obvious when it comes to hacks or exploits (read cheats) used by gamers for whatever reason. “I just wanted to see what this cheat would do.” Sorry, that’s a line of BS!

Some gamers and supporters of Urban Terror have gone as far as to offer support in the form of file hosting or web sites in order to support the game. Hell, we have our forums and web site hosted by a community member who has never asked for a penny from us, yet we contributed whenever we can in order to offset some of his costs. But the point I am trying to make is, gamers continue to support a 9 year old game. That in itself is just awesome.

Many in the community also understand the development is not paid for their development efforts. Many of us over the years have 40-hour a week jobs, not necessarily related to computer gaming. Some in the past thanks in part to Urban Terror have helped them ascend to a professional development studio like Bungie and Ravensoft. Those past and present put in countless hours of working and supporting the game.

Hopefully gamers can remember we are just like them, avid gamers to varying degrees. While we design,develop and support Urban Terror, it is input and feedback that help to improve the game. Many in the community are understanding when it comes to change. Yeah, we know you hate change, but sometimes change is necessary. Hopefully gamers won’t become belligerent and unruly on IRC of the forums when something they liked [read weapon] has been changed or removed [read flashlight…lol]. Many gamers will take these changes in stride and work on developing their current skills in order to acclimate their style of play to the new version of Urban Terror.

So what’s my point with all these? Not really sure, as I don’t intend to call out anyone in particular. That would be counterproductive. This has been too long of a journey in which I have met many great gamers and people who have played Urban Terror faithfully over the years. Hopefully many keep it in the back of their mind we have jobs and families and other responsibilities to tend to. While Urban Terror might be their life breath, sometimes we, as developers have to take a step back in order to catch our breath.