Archive for July, 2014

We never really die

July 27, 2014

Powerful statement in the new movie, Lucy:

We never really die.

Imprint and nurture positive habits

July 27, 2014

According to scientists, the “imprinting” of a habit can take as few as 18 days and as many as 254 days, with 66 days being the average to make the behavior automatic.

A habit grows by repetition and is imprinted in your neural pathways. Your brain changes.

Just as repeating the act builds the habit, missing an exercise session weakens it. I know that some people feel that it they don’t give 100% effort, the exercise session is “wasted”. I disagree. The lighter exercise session may not build more strength or endurance, but it helps to keep the habit intact.

Habits free us from making decisions by creating and nurturing positive, almost automatic actions.

John Balik

Diary of my move to a low-carb diet

July 25, 2014

As I get older I have noticed that my body is more sensitive to sugar and sweets: my energy fluctuates widely, I get sleepy after eating sugar.

Recently I read an article [1] which says there is increasing evidence of a connection between high blood sugar levels and dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Time to go low carb…

… I have been on a low carb diet for nearly two weeks. Interesting changes are occuring in my body.

The first day of the diet (Sunday) I felt disoriented and low energy. I wee’ed a lot. I lost 3 pounds overnight. The next day I felt better and continued to feel better and better all week. By the end of the week my energy level was rock steady. No more yo-yo in my energy levels.

On Saturday I went for a 30 minute walk followed by a very intense workout. I felt tired all day. The next day (Sunday) I went for a 90 minute walk first thing in the morning. Upon finishing the walk I felt drained. That entire day I was more drained than I have ever felt in my life. I could barely move. All I wanted to do is sleep. “There’s no fuel in the tank”, I thought. Interestingly, a couple days later I reflected on that and realized what had happened: since I was not giving my body carbs to replenish the cells energy, I literally was “out of fuel”. The next day my energy was back to high levels. Apparently it is taking my body longer to replenish the cell’s energy stores. My body hasn’t yet made the switch to using fat as its primary fuel source; it is still relying on carbs for its energy source.

This past week I have felt good: my energy is high and steady. My wee smells kind of strange.

Update (Sept. 7, 2014): I have been on a low-carb diet for 8 weeks now. It has been remarkably easy to maintain the diet. Initially I was tempted by breads and sweets but not any longer. My energy level is constantly high. No more yo-yo energy cycles. I have lost 7-8 pounds in the 8 weeks. I think that I have gained some muscle. My abs are more ripped than they have been in many years. This week I listened to a doctor on the radio talking about recent research showing that low-carb is a heart-healthy diet. That made me feel good as it confirms that I am on the right path.

Update (Sept. 15, 2014) Good article: Low-carb diets may beat low-fat options for weight loss, heart health

[1] High Blood Sugar Linked to Dementia

It’s easy to write stuff that’s hard to understand

July 6, 2014

Today I listened to an excellent talk by U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins. He said something that really struck me:

It’s very easy to write poems that are hard to understand.

It occurred to me that this is true not only of writing poetry, but of all writing. It’s easy to scribble down a bunch of jibberish that no one can understand. It’s not so easy to write clearly and simply.

I have always admired writers and speakers who are able to take a complex topic and express it in a clear and understandable manner.

What is fundamentally important is a sense of tolerance

July 6, 2014

I like to think that I’m always right and my way of doing things is the best and everyone should do it my way. Today I heard a talk which shattered my illusion:

We sometimes elevate our own notions, even our best notions, too highly. It seems to me that we can universalize our ideals too much. What fundamentally is important is a sense of tolerance. What’s of prime importance is not any particular [approach or way of doing things], but rather the tolerance that gives rise to an acceptance of others even if they [do things very differently]. [Philip Hamburger]