I know what you’re thinking: “Why did Frank put an exclamation mark after the word ‘vitamins’ in his blog post title? I mean, vitamins are exciting enough without needing an exclamation mark!”

That’s where your thoughts were headed, right?

I’m sure they were!

Krill Oil, 1000mg – More potent than standard fish oil or cod liver oil, Omega-3 fatty acids help with all sorts of things, from adding antioxidants, improving mood, helping skin condition, hair and more. Most medical experts recommend per day 600iu. More info here

Vitamin D3, 5000iu – This and Vitamin K have researchers really excited. Helps with weight control, controls 2,000 of the 30,000 genes in humans, has a role in autoimmune diseases like MS and even cancer and melanoma. It’s a big deal! Although you can get Vitamin D from normal sun exposure, many people aren’t able to get enough time in the sun, and you can’t get Vitamin D in food like you can with other vitamins. D3 is the most potent and hardest to get in foods, so supplements it is. Up to 5000iu per day is recommended by many for adults.

Vitamin K, 90mcg – Lowers the risk of coronary or artery problems, and great for bones too. More info here

Green tea extract – Not sure how much my pills are (I don’t have the original bottle any more), but green tea is an antioxidant, has caffiene (so good to take in the mornings) and also slightly speeds up your metabolism so you burn a little more energy

Chlorella, 1000mg – Recent research is really glorifying this as a major antioxidant. (Antioxidants help slow free radicals, which basically cause aging) This particular one has been shown to help prevent or ease the symptoms of hypertension, anemia, diabetes, acute stress, fibromyalgia, liver cancer and others.

Multivitamin – To top up whatever I might miss from my normal meals. Lots of people who read up on vitamins might say ‘well you just piss out all those vitamins anyway’, which might be true if you’re taking in the vitamins you need with the food you eat. Well, I don’t think I get enough vitamins from the food I eat. Especially when lunch is a protein shake and dinner is a bag of microwave popcorn (common when I’m REALLY low on money). So, multivitamin it is.

Selenium, 100ug -another antioxidant, as well as other possible beneficial effects

I just thought this might be interesting to put in the blog because when people see me popping my pills they wonder ‘what the hell?!’

Just a note – nearly all the links above have sales links or affiliate links to online sales sites, it’s basically impossible to Google anything regarding health issues without finding a site that has an online sales catalog.

My lowest weight in 20 years

I’ve been being much more strict about carbs and sugar in the past couple of weeks, and even though I had a can of Coke today and a couple of small slices of a co-worker’s birthday cake yesterday I’m easily in ketosis (burning fat for body ‘fuel’ instead of carbs – you can tell because of a metallic taste in your mouth…I’m used to it by now!)

About a year ago I started a crazy diet plan I paid for online (didn’t buy the food, just the e-books) and while I lost weight on it I didn’t keep the weight loss going afterwards until I started doing Atkins. I lost quite a bit up to the holidays and have gone back and forth. I never kept track of things very well with the carb counting so I just try to have no carbs at all (Atkins recommends under 20g per day during the Induction or intro phase), which is easier for me 🙂

Anyway this is my weight chart for the past year.

88.6kg (195.3 lbs) this morning, from an all-time high of over 100kg many years ago. This is safely the lowest I’ve weighed in the 20 years since I graduated high school, when I was 180 lbs or so. And wouldn’t you know it my 20-year high school reunion is coming up in a few weeks 🙂

Fat loss check-in

I’ve been at just under 90kg (~197 lbs) for a few days now. Even though my SIX PACK ABS aren’t popping through yet (ha!) I don’t *feel* any lighter, but I guess I’ve been doing something right, because even though I have one or two (or three) cheat meals nearly every weekend I’m maintaining my weight, which is fantastic. A couple of years ago I thought I’d never break through the 210 lb mark, and after I started Atkins I was quickly down to 205, then eventually 200.

My goal for this year was to lose 30 lbs and I’m halfway there. At the rate I’m going I probably won’t lose all 30 lbs, realistically, but if I can lose another 5 or 10 lbs in the next few months I’ll be very, very happy. I’ve taken up mountain biking again this summer and hopefully I can keep up cycling in the evenings when I get home, or if I can’t be bothered do indoor exercises with the kettlebells and stuff I have already.

I can do it, I know I can, it’ll just take a bit more work and time.

Figured out my plateau

So the last couple of weeks I’ve basically stalled on my fat loss plateau. I’d hit 199 lbs once or twice but wasn’t able to stay there for more than a couple of days. The last week or so I’ve been stuck at 91 or 92kg, about 101-103 lbs.

What I tend to do when this happens is track my calories using one site or another, and I realized I was basically eating too much. When I cooked up two 1/2 lb burgers, I’d eat both instead of saving one. When I had 4 pork chops marinading, I’d eat all 4. For lunch, I’d cook up two chicken breasts and eat both.

Plus, not enough salad veg. So for a couple of days last week I tracked my calories and figured out I was eating more calories than I thought I was – I tend to do this every couple of months because I hit a stall.

So for the next couple of weeks I’ll continue with my usually weekday breakfast (bacon or chorizo with 3 eggs) but I’ll have one chicken breast for lunch instead of the two I’ve been having. Dinner will be whatever I have on hand, usually a tuna or salmon steak, a large burger, a grilled chicken breast, or whatever, plus steamed veg from the freezer.

Kind of on a stall with weight loss – time to hit the weights!

I didn’t pig out on food or anything, I’ve never been a comfort eater, but my weight has stayed stagnant for the last couple of weeks, hovering around 90kg or 200 lbs.

Although I’ve lost 15+ pounds in the last few months (about a pound a week) I’m pretty sure I’m in a stall, so I’m going to get back on the wagon and start working out this week.

I should have done some working out last week to get rid of some bad energy, but I just did a 2-hour mountain bike ride today, I’m tired as hell and I’ll lift weights a couple of times this week and do high-intensity interval training 2-3 times as well to get right back into the program I was doing several weeks ago.

So, tomorrow: the weights!

Drew Carey loses 80 lbs and his Type II diabetes on low-carb diet & exercise

Normally I would never link to the People website, but this is a pretty good vindication of the power of low-carb diets:

Drew Carey this past January:

Drew Carey now, after a low-carb diet with a high intensity cardio training program:

A little more here on People

Is that enough proof that a low-carb diet is the way to go to lose weight?

Last week I was dipping into the 200 lb range for the first time since I was 25 or so.

This week, I’ve been under 200 lbs for the whole week so far. The only ‘rules’ I’m following are the Atkins Induction rules – I’m supposed to not have anything with sugar and no alcohol whatsoever, but I have to admit I’ve slipped a couple of times, but nothing really major. Well, except for the entire small bag of popcorn at the movies last week. My weight the next day was still the same as the day before, but I basically restarted the Induction phase, which is supposed to last 2 weeks.

If I continue losing a pound a week, I’ll reach 190 by my birthday, and hit my goal of 180 pounds or so by the end of the year.  Not too shabby.

First – actually second! – weight target hit

First full day of Atkins and I’m below 200 lbs for the first time since the late 90’s or early 2000’s. 90.6kg = 199.3 lbs

So this is my second, maybe my third weight goal achieved on my way to 180 lbs. When I started the year I was about 210 or so, then I wavered a bit and went up to 215, so in May my first goal was to get past 210 because that seemed to be a ‘wall’ that I couldn’t get past for very long before. With 210 out of the way I set my sights on 205, then 200.

I was headed there anyway at some point (see the chart below) so I can’t put all the praise on the new diet – plus I did some mountain biking yesterday – but it’s helping me get past this no-exercise plateau.

Now that I’m biking again I’ll get back into weightlifting, which will just accelerate the weight loss.

If anyone is curious about the New Atkins, New You diet plan, it’s all on their website at, and the book itself is only £4 on Amazon. Here’s the new plan in a nutshell (this is all on their website, the book has a lot of background but if you want to jump right in the full program is on the site):

Overview, Tips and Quick Start Guide, 53-page Carb Counter, Meal Planner

Acceptable Foods List (with Net Carbs count)
Reduce your carbohydrate intake to 20g Net Carbs per day. Salad greens and non-starchy vegetables should make up around 12 grams of Net Carbs per day. Stay on for 2 weeks, but you can stay on for longer.

Phase 2 is Ongoing Weight Loss or OWL
Acceptable Foods List (with Net Carbs count)
Start with 25 grams of Net Carbs per day. Each week, increase daily Net Carbs by 5 grams. Stay on OWL until you are within 10 lbs of your goal, then move to Pre-Maintenance.

Phase 3 is Pre-Maintenance
Acceptable Foods List (with Net Carbs count)
Net Carbs during this phase: Each week, increase daily Net Carbs by 10 grams
If you stall, drop back 10 grams of Net Carbs to find the number of carbs your body is best tuned for. You’ll end up around 60-100g of carbs per day. Once you’ve been at your goal weight for a month, move on to Lifetime Maintenance.

phase 4 is Lifetime Maintenance
Stick to the number of carbs you found in phase 3 (about 120g per day), they call this ACE or Atkins Carbohydrate Equilibrium – this should allow you to eat the foods you like and stay within 3-5 lbs of your target weight.

Starting Atkins properly this week

I’ve been in a bit of a stall, weight-wise, probably because I’m on ‘pause’ with my workouts for a while, and I’ve had a couple extra cheat meals than I really should have in the past couple of weeks.

Still – I’ve lost about 15 pounds and 1.5 inches off my waist, so it’s not all bad.

Recently I got the latest Atkins diet book, just published about a month ago, so I’m going to start the first phase of that, ominously called ‘Induction’. whoooooooOOOoooo…

Anyway, it’ll involve me eating a bit less than I eat now, but not in volume (there’s no calorie counting, thankfully) – still lots of meat and the newer Atkins plans include vegetables for your healthy 5 a day – it’s just a lot stricter than I have been for myself, but it only lasts for 2 weeks, or longer if you want the weight to drop off faster. I was going to start with the second phase of Ongoing Weight Loss (comically called ‘OWL’ for short), but I figure I’ve come this far, I may as well see what the full plan will do for me.

Goal: fillet steak and lobster

Woohoo! This morning I was under 91kg for the first time in AGES.  90.9 to be exact, but who’s counting, right?

All this is thanks mostly to the low-carb diet I’ve been following since the end of May, but I do have to give a bit of credit to the ‘crazy’ Xtreme Fat Loss Diet I did throughout most of May – that got me on the start to dieting right and working out.

So anyway, what’s with the steak and lobster?

Well at the suggestion of one of the users on a low-carb forum thread I participate in, I’m going to have a congratulatory dinner once I hit my goal weight. When I first heard this a couple of weeks ago I was thinking Oh yeah I’ll have a nice fat steak when I hit 200 pounds (about 90kg). But I was pretty close to hitting 200 back then, and at this rate I’ll be under 200 this time next week (awesome).

So when I do hit 200, I’ll celebrate somehow (but not with a whole cheesecake or buying a TV) – then I’ll save the BIG celebration for when I hit my goal weight, which is 185 pounds (84kg). It seems like a long way away, but as long as I keep doing what I’m doing I’ll be alright.

I think celebrating with a super-tasty, home-cooked meal of a big 21-day aged ribeye steak covered with Montreal steak seasoning and a couple of butter-drenched Maine lobster tails is pretty close to the best thing ever. It’s healthy, I won’t be wolfing down pies and sweets, and I won’t be spending a ton of money on a new video game or TV or something like that.

So, yay me and let’s keep it up 😀

Probably going to start taking martial arts classes again

When I was a kid, my parents put me in karate classes. This was after Bruce Lee exploded into people’s faces in movie after movie, but with his popularity came people like Chuck Norris and the first wave of proper martial arts celebrities. This is before Segal (Above the Law), before Rain (Nina Assassin), even before Dudikoff (American Ninja).

I was enrolled because I used to get picked on at school – like many kids – and I guess I was an easy target, because sometimes the bullies wouldn’t let it drop. I never really got beat up (I did get punched in the face in middle school by a MASSIVE kid, though) but the threat was always there. My dad, being an Army Dad, thought I should start taking martial arts classes.

In the late 70’s and early 80’s there were no pads, there was very little protection – the first place I took classes at had a painted concrete floor, like a million mini-malls across America. It was painted red with a huge Yin-Yang symbol in the middle. One time, trying to do the Uncle Sam heel-click from Good Morning America, I broke my jaw and had to go to the hospital and have my jaw wired shut for a while. That kind of sucked. It’s the only bone I’ve ever broken (touch wood).

When we moved to San Antonio from Oklahoma, we looked around for a dojo to join and found one nearby run by a guy named Juarez, I think. He had older sons who were instructors, and his then-wife (girlfriend? not sure) was a woman named Rhonda, who was a really aggressive fighter in the sparring ring. I learned a lot in that school, and when I got busted stealing stuff from the grocery store next door, it was Sensei Juarez that came to get me and call my parents.

Eventually I joined the tournament team, got a ton of pads and routinely got beaten at various Tae Kwon Do tournaments. After a while I got a black belt, but not long after I didn’t feel I really earned it – after all, Shaolin monks don’t earn their top rank after just a few years of grueling daily training, so how did I earn mine after a couple of years of once- or twice-a-week 1- or 2-hour classes?  Besides, seeing little 8-year kids with red belts didn’t exactly boost my confidence in my own black belt.

But still, I had my name embroidered on a belt, and I used the confidence this gave me to stand up to other kids, and eventually the bullies left me alone and worked on weaker and younger kids.

Fast-forward many winters later, and here I am, approaching middle age and trying to get in shape…just to get in shape. One of the things I’ve realized is that I get disinterested pretty quickly with some things in my life, and exercising with the same exercises day after day just isn’t as cool as changing things up from time to time. Right now, on a week where I’m not injured or have anything else going on, I’ll mountain biking one day, lift weights 2 or 3 times and do Tabata intervals twice a week, with one rest day. If/when I start martial arts classes I’ll do the intervals just once a week I think, maybe I’ll drop down to weights twice a week.

So – which classes to take? About a year ago I went to a local kung fu studio to watch them do their thing, and it was interesting watching relative beginners learn their forms and do everything in unison, etc., but nowadays it’s not really my thing. The instructor explained to me that there’s the belt progression and everything from karate that everyone is familiar with, but he also does kickboxing classes which are less formalized and maybe more to my liking. This perked me up, because kickboxing is pretty cardio-intensive, plus there’s still the element of self-defense and even sparring, but in the end I decided not to go.

I think what I’ve settled on is Krav Maga, which is the martial arts style used by the Israeli commando units and taught to people like bodyguards, elite special forces, etc. – hard dudes. Now, I’m far from a hard dude, but when some asshole is in my face threatening me (because, y’know, that happens like every day to me – not!) I want to know I should be able to handle myself and ‘defuse’ things properly. I’ve seen a few shows on krav maga, which is basically a mix of various styles and uses a ‘no rules, no mercy’ approach to getting yourself out of bad situations. From what I’ve seen, it’s kind of a formalized approach to jumping in at the deep end of MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) – you know, the UFC fights and all.

There’s an instructor in the city I live in that teaches in a couple different locations near me, and I think I’ll try them out for their free trial session, and if that goes well I’ll join up (£30/year plus £25/month) and see how it goes.

So, partly for physical training, partly for self-assurance, partly to try it out, I think Krav Maga is my game for the future.