Sunday Clutter Clearing

I have wanted to clear out clutter for a while (years?) now. Today, I finally took two steps in that direction. First, I cleared out two giant trash bags’ worth of clothing from my closet. Second, I set up a recurring milk delivery order from a local dairy.

How does the second item relate to clutter? It means we’ll be putting out less recycling trash. Our milk will come in glass bottles that go back to the dairy. No more plastic milk cartons to recycle. As an added bonus, we’ll be spending our money with a local farmer.

These are two actions I have been wanting to take for at least five years. What finally made me take action today? Well generally speaking, my commitment to make changes for the better in my life and to document those changes on this blog helped. But more specifically, when I woke this morning, I simply decided that today was the day to start. Simply deciding to act can yield big dividends.

It also helped that I am doing this in baby steps. It’s hard to make big changes. Although I emptied out two trash bags’ worth of clothing from my closet, the closet is still stuffed with extra clothing. And I have still more items to get rid of that are stored in our attic.

I put a time limit on the clearing of clutter. And I told myself I did not have to finish it all today. Or even tomorrow. I’m going to save these sorts of activities for Sunday afternoons when my family is typically lazing around the house. It took no more than 20 minutes.

I can spend 20 minutes a week clearing out junk or taking other steps to reduce the amount of waste I bring into the house. Anyone can. It’s a good place to start.

Some reading I did this morning that helped motivate me:

Saving money through minimalism on Becoming Minimalist

Taking your own advice is the hardest pill to swallow on The Minimalists

Ten tips for a zero-waste household from YES! Magazine

Why I Won’t Be Stepping On The Scale (for the next 30 days)

So the good news is that in the 17 weeks I’ve been eating low carb, I’ve lost weight. The bad news is that all of the weight came off in the first six weeks. Since then? Nothing.

No pounds lost. No inches lost.

This is quite unlike the experiences of other bloggers I’ve been following who’ve adopted some variation of a low-carb/slow-carb diet and have seen the pounds melt away. Like Carlo, who lost 42 pounds in his first four months, or Fathacker, who lost 29 pounds in his first 19 weeks, and LoseASkinnyChick, who’s lost 44 pounds this year.

I have made progress on the blood sugar front. Morning fasting levels have dropped from the pre-diabetic/diabetic range to high normal. This makes me happy. Post-prandial blood sugar levels, which were high, are now completely normal. And my pants, which loosened up immediately after the initial weight loss, are still loose. So that’s proof of actual, bonafide weight loss.

And let me tell you, the feeling of a loose waistline does not get old.

But this “plateau” — midwestern prairie is more like it — is getting me down.

In moments of complete self-delusion I tell myself that I’m losing fat and gaining muscle and that I haven’t lost any inches around my waist because my skin just hasn’t had time to shrink up. A fantasy that I was shocked to see laid out in this post from Lucas Starbuck of the most-excellent Four-Hour Body Couple site.

But I know that’s not likely the case with me.

In the 10 years I have been obese, I became a master at self-deception: Convincing myself that having one bowl of ice cream would not turn into the hoovered consumption of the entire pint (or quart, or gallon). Convincing myself that I’m actually quite healthy because I can (and regularly do) run (up to five miles) or bike (25 miles) nearly every morning. Even though I have an MRI-documented fatty liver, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and an apple-shaped abdomen.

So it’s time for further action.

Because. There. Is. No. Way. I. Am. Turning. Back. On. The. Only. Success. I. Have. Had. In. Ten. Years.

So I’ve resolved to do two things over the next 30 days:

  1. Stop weighing and measuring myself because the lack of progress is making me crazy. And when I get crazy from not seeing progress on the scale, I am much more likely to eat poorly.
  2. I am going to —dare I say it? — Start. Eating. Less.

Although eating less food goes against the Gary Taubes theory of it’s not how much you eat, it’s what you eat, I do need to give my broken metabolism a fighting chance — however slim (no pun intended) though it may be — at burning up accumulated fat stores. I think that can only be accomplished by eating less so there is an actual opportunity for the burning of accumulated fat stores to occur.

I would be curious to hear from anyone who has lost significant amounts of weight — especially those who did it by adopting a low-carb diet — what their initial experiences were.

Why this blog?

About a year and a half ago, I started posting my workouts to my Facebook page as my status update. To my surprise, they immediately caught on with my Facebook friends. They received lots of comments and “likes.” And when I ran into people offline, I was astounded at how many told me that they not only looked forward to my daily updates but that the updates inspired them to get out and exercise, too.

That experience has prompted me to start this blog, which is an account of my attempts to live better: Specifically, over the next year, I have three goals: losing approximately 75 pounds; dramatically reducing my carbon footprint and living more sustainably; and applying principles of minimalism (doing less, buying less, owning less) to daily life.

I suspect that if I’m able to succeed in these three areas, I will see side benefits: being a better spouse and parent; being in a better mood generally; being more efficient at work (I am self-employed); being a better friend, etc.

For now, I am doing this blog anonymously. It will get kind of personal and I’m not sure how public I want to be. It’s one thing to note on Facebook that I swam two miles before breakfast. It’s quite another to publicly detail my struggles with weight and debt.

Through it all, however, I am hoping that my public posts about trying to live better will, like my Facebook page, inspire those who read these posts (and some will, eventually, I hope!) live better, too.

Acne here, acne there, acne acne everywhere!

Jimmy Moore has a new podcast up (Low-Carb Conversations with Jimmy Moore and Fruiends) chatting with some folks about the impact of low-carb living on acne (I haven’t listened yet, but I’m sure it’s great — his stuff always is).

And Seth Roberts posted this week encouraging high school students to take on big pharma and the medical establishment with some n=1 experiments on — you guessed — acne!