Journal Entry 327 – Christmas Shopping / Low Fiber

The end of the year is approaching quickly. It has been a very busy year for sure, but a good one. I’ve done a lot more Christmas shopping this year than in years past. I decided to buy something for each member of my team (6 people) and also have the family to buy for as well. I got a nice Amazon Gift Card recently though, so that should come in handy.

It is actually snowing here pretty good today. We are expected to get around 3 inches or so, so maybe working from home tomorrow. I only had a 1.5 day weekend, since this was my long work week. However, this was the last long week I will ever have as our hours have shifted back to Monday thru Friday. 🙂 No more rolling weekends.

I plan on shifting to somewhat of a Carnivore / low fiber diet for the time being. My diet has been good for the most part, but somewhat too chaotic for my liking. I tend to overdo it on fiber sometimes and rely too heavily on green vegetables and beans. These foods taste good, but it leaves a weird sensation of having a full stomach (and bloated stomach), but not really being satisfied in terms of hunger. I’ve been eating a very high fiber diet for a long time and I think the low fiber will act as somewhat of a “Gut Reset.” I plan on keeping the carbs low as well, however, I really don’t think white rice or low fiber bread will cause much of a problem if I did eat it. For example, a good Chipotle order would be a bowl with white rice, chicken, veggies, and salsa. No beans. The fiber would be pretty minimal in this meal. For meals made at home, I’m shooting for half a bag of greens max. The rest would be meat. I also plan to minimize Quest Bars and other “Low Carb Products” that tend to be jacked up with excess fiber. Coffee, jerky, hard-boiled eggs and protein powder during the day.

The main reason for trying this is sometimes when I go long periods without food, I really like the way I feel. I feel light and my stomach is super flat. However, when I eat a lot of carbs or fiber after (this is often for me), I lose that feeling. It takes a long time of no food to get rid of that “heavy” feeling. I noticed if I keep the fiber low, especially low carb, I can eat without the feeling. This diet is definitely worth a shot. The low carbs also flush excess water weight and inflammation that too many carbs can bring. It’s also minimalist in nature, which suits me well.

Costco steak jerky is where it’s at. Very good value tastes great and it has much lower sugar than other brands. I also got some Bison from Aldi which was $7.99 a pound. That is about as cheap as it gets.

The Giants almost blew it again last week, but we managed to get the win. Although it still probably doesn’t matter at this point as we have lost too many games. I’m also playing Uncharted 4 on PS4. So far so good!

 

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Journal Entry 326 – Date Night

It’s going to be a short post this week. I had a very busy week at work, even though it was only a four day week. It tends to slow down after the Holidays, but not so far. We probably had our busiest week to date recently so hopefully, it slows down a little for the rest of the year.

Sarah and I had a date night this Friday at Cooper’s Hawk. The wine tasting at Cooper’s Hawk is great. They pour a stout amount from each wine and it is always at least 8 wines you may try and can even try a couple more if you ask for it. I also had a $15 birthday credit from my wine club membership that you can use on food or alcohol. We decided to go to the bar after and get some sparkling wine. I went with Almond and she went Raspberry. Muy bien. Due to the perks of being a wine club member, you get a free bottle of wine each month, so I picked a Blueberry based wine, which tasted amazing.

The Hokies had a great game yesterday and earned a bowl game. A little last minute “season-saving” on their part. The Giants snatched defeat from the jaws of victory against the Eagles. Unbelievable. They had the game wrapped up in the first half and then decided to stop playing a little early. There goes our season. However, the Cowboys SOMEHOW beat New Orleans, so they are likely to win the division regardless at this point, so it may not have ever mattered anyway.

Another week of training plateaus. I plan to maybe back off strength training to 2 times a week with 3 days between each day. This way I can hit it at full strength. The days in between I plan on doing stretching and bodyweight movements, but nothing overly stressful. I plan on taking at least one day completely off as well.

Journal Entry 325 – Thanksgiving 2018

Had a nice 4 day weekend for Thanksgiving this year. I took some extra PTO on Wednesday and Saturday (4 and 5 hours respectively) because my brother Justin flew into Richmond with his wife Rebecca and my little niece Abby. We don’t get to see them often, so it’s always fun when they come to visit. We did a lot of eating this weekend and looking forward to getting back to my normal diet. I did a pretty good job of not overdoing it too much and ended up making 3 recipes that were lower calorie but tasted really good. Went with a greenbean casserole, brussel sprouts and pumpkin crisp (Splenda). I also had some Turkey but tried to focus on the volume from these foods without getting into the higher calorie foods. Not going to lie though, I’m not a big Thanksgiving food person. I mean the foods are okay, but not my favorites. If I’m going to spend that many calories on eating something, it is not going to be on those foods. I did drink a decent amount, since my brother was there, so that also increased the calorie load quite a bit.

I have browsed some Black Friday deals and ended up getting some new sweatpants for the gym. As a minimalist, I look at some of the things being sold on Amazon and laugh. It really is amazing how much crap is out there, yet people keep buying it. There is one thing I really want to find though and that is a pair of wireless headphones. I listen to headphones every day and really just want a pair that will last all day without having to be charged and also a pair I can adjust the setting right from my ear. I will keep you posted on these.

Hokies somehow pulled it out of their a$$ on Friday against UVA. I thought we were going to lose for sure. The playcalling was HORRIBLE down the stretch. It’s like our coach wanted us to lose by being ultra conservative against a much better offensive team. We got lucky by stripping the fumble in overtime. That is the only reason we won, but I will take it!

Giants play against the Eagles today, which is a borderline playoff game for the rest of their season. If we can win today, I think we will carry this momentum for the rest of the season and somehow sneak into the playoffs by winning the division and overcoming our disastrous start. Our division is garbage and an 8-8 or 9-7 record could easily win it.

The only training I did this weekend was pushups, squats and stretching. I plan on getting back on low carbs the rest of the week and try to push past my plateau on bench.

PS – Costco Steak Jerky is by far one of the best deals on Jerky you are going to find. It is a 12oz bag of $9.99 or if you are lucky enough $6.99 on sale. It has very high protein and low sugar compared to most Jerky’s. I stocked up yesterday. Costco was also empty after the Holiday. Best time to go.

Journal Entry 324 – 28th Birthday

I turned 28 years old on Wednesday, November 14th. For some reason, this age sounds old to me and I don’t feel that old haha. That being said it was a great birthday that I’m pretty much celebrating over 4 days. On my actual birthday, Sarah and I just hung at the house and got some Chipotle and Halo Top. Thursday night we went out to Grapevine (favorite restaurant) with my parents and Friday we had some sushi from a local place. To finish off, we are having a party tonight at our house with some close friends. It should be good times. I should rename it “birth week” haha.

The Giants finally won on Monday night to get to 2-7. It was an interesting game though because the team chemistry felt great. The players were acting like they won the Superbowl afterward. This could be a great thing moving forward for the rest of the season. There may be a slim chance, we could win the division if we win out and the other teams drop a few more games. The Redskins are 6-3, so they would have to go 3-4 for us to beat them. Which is possible because their remaining schedule is not a cakewalk. Same for the Eagles. That just leaves the Cowboys, who have an easier schedule than the other teams, but honestly are not that far ahead of us believe or not.

I finally matched my previous bench press PR on my birthday. 225lbs for 8, 7, 5 reps.  My parents gave me some Orgain Protein Powder from Costco both Chocolate and Vanilla, per my request for a gift. This protein is impressive in terms of micronutrient content. It also mixes pretty thick, which I have missed in my protein powder.  The Chocolate is better than the Vanilla as the Vanilla tastes like it has too much greens powder in it. I’m not sure I’m going to make these a staple though, as the taste just isn’t strong enough, but we will see.

Until next time!

 

Journal Entry 323 – Finance

The end of the year is approaching very quickly. I can’t believe the Holidays are almost here. Very busy year overall and I have spent more money this year than any year to date. A first house will do that to you. That being said my Net Worth is still looking pretty good. Similar to writing this blog, working out and eating well, personal finance is a huge topic of interest for me. My interest in personal finance is what led me to my current job, to begin with. My current job has taught me a tremendous amount about the financial industry. I’m not an expert compared to some people but consider myself strongly inside of intermediate territory. I could compile all you would need to know into finance in a few simple tips:

  • Get out and stay out of debt. 
    • This one is probably the most important. If you understand this, then you likely have your ducks in a row. Don’t get behind on credit card payments, don’t buy a car you can’t afford and have $3-400 a month payments with interest or any other instrument of debt. Many places offer financing on just about any expensive item and you want to be wary of this. Financing implies you will be paying interest and this means more money you have to pay then the initial cost of the item. BEWARE.
    • A mortgage is somewhat of an exception because paying off a house is unrealistic for most people.
    • I have talked to some very smart people and some of them still haven’t grasped this concept, which is shocking to me. Do you really need a $40000 SUV with huge tires when all you do with it is commute to work or the store? – Probably not.
  • Invest in a 401(k) ESPECIALLY if you have company match (free money)
    • Be a loyal employee. It costs a lot of money to hire people and the longer you work somewhere, show up and do a great job, the more the company likes and invests in you.
  • Invest in a Taxable Account
    • Taxable accounts are the new savings accounts in my opinion. You can withdraw the cost basis (the money you put in the account – after-tax) tax-free and the money will grow far more (investment earnings) than it would sitting in a checking/savings account.
  • Keep 3-6 months of savings in your checking and savings and move the rest to a taxable account or other savings account
    • The value of your money in checking and savings accounts actually loses money each year due to inflation. Keep an amount that feels comfortable to you here, but save the rest.
  • Beware Lifestyle Inflation
    • This is a tough one, because it kind of happens automatically. Lifestyle inflation is basically earning more and spending more to match it. For example, say I got a $25000 annual raise. Most people would go “Hell Yeah” and spend it all by getting a bigger house and a nicer car even though they were fine with what they had before. Some of this is just the way society is set up as it is highly materialistic. Smart people take this money, pay off debt, invest it (which essentially means you will earn more money down the road) and live the same way they were living before. Quality of life is the same before the raise, but their wealth would increase tremendously.
    • Image result for fight club you are not the thing you own
  • Get rid of things you no longer use.
    • This is actually a very underrated tip for saving money. I shudder at the thought of hoarding. I’m possibly the only person in my family that is a minimalist or non-materialist. When your house becomes piled up so high with crap, you don’t even realize what you have any more. We don’t live in a third world country, therefore, we do not need to collect goods as if our life depended on it. Clean out your house and really go through everything you have to see if you truly need that item. Odds are if you don’t use it every day and haven’t seen it in years then you don’t need it. This doesn’t apply to pictures or family heirlooms, but mainly to excessive clothing that you don’t wear or any material goods, decorations that you would be better served getting rid of.
  • Buy Quality over Quantity
    • This may sound like I’m recommending never to buy anything. This is not so. I mainly recommend getting all of your debt paid off and your savings in place (investments or savings should be automatic. There should never be an excuse not save each month. Set up savings like you would an automatic bill payment). When you do buy something, make sure it is a quality item. This is something you would use daily or use for a long time before replacing, but it is also something you can afford. Never use financing to pay for a small item. Obviously, I don’t recommend buying too much quantity of anything, unless you actually need the volume of what you are buying. Buy nice things within your means, not a lot of things.
  • Appreciate Money
    • At an early age, I learned to appreciate food. As a fat child, I learned that it was through food that I was grossly overweight for my age and height. From that day forward, I manipulated food to achieve my desired effect. Which for me was to be slim. I have gone through one hell of a learning curve with food and can honestly tell you that when I eat something I appreciate what it is doing for me. I look at cheat meals as something I have earned and the rest of the time I choose foods that I know are benefiting me. (Protein, healthier fats, low sugar, green vegetables etc..) I only learned to appreciate food after it became scarce, however. The same is true of money for most people. Most kids or people even have no concept of what it means to appreciate money. Personal finance is not even a required class in school. (frightening thought) So when most kids graduate college in mountains of debt, then get a job that can barely pay the bills, money then becomes scarce. THEN they appreciate money. Unfortunately, it takes going through this for most people to “wake up” and truly appreciate it what money is and how to manage it.
    • Other people that don’t follow the rules above are in the same boat. They could make plenty of money and still be broke because they are truly idiotic with their spending habits.
    • You also have people on the other side of the coin that are so rich, money is no longer appreciated. It just becomes what Leonardo Di Caprio coins “Fun Coupons) in Wolf of Wall Street. Something to waste on material goods. This mindset can lead you to ruin down the road if you are not careful.

This actually ended up being a lot longer than I thought haha. I may add this under a new article. Ideas just kept hitting me as I was writing.

My strength is stuck in a plateau. Going to bump up the protein and calories by 2-300 to see if this helps. Other than that been keeping it pretty low carb still and my weight is hovering around the 178lb mark.

Sarah and I went to DC last week, which is why I didn’t post. We met up with my brother and his wife, as it was my sister-in-law Rebecca’s birthday, Sarah’s birthday and little Abby’s birthday on Halloween. She was much bigger than the last time I saw her! It was a fun time though. Sarah and I went to a few museums and then ate out at some local restaurants. On Sunday, we drove back and chilled most of the day and then went to Red Salt Chophouse and Sushi with Sarah’s parents for her Birthday dinner. The Sushi was great. I got Batman roll and Black Russian roll, mainly because I like the names.

 

Journal Entry 322 – Updates

Since my last post, I decided to update the site a bit. I updated the background to look more like an actual journal and took down some pages that I thought made the blog look crowded. As a minimalist, I like the upgrade a lot. After reading some of my older articles, I’m not sure I agree 100% with all of them anymore, but it contains good information nevertheless.

Last weekend Sarah and I went to a co-worker and friend of mine’s wedding. It was great! The venue was a country setting and somewhat isolated from outside distractions. Everyone had a good time and the food and drinks were on point. 🙂

Unfortunately, this past week was very stressful. This is my long weekend and dear god it could not have come sooner. I really just felt like I needed a break. A break to get things done and just to relax and get out of my everyday grind. I think both physically and mentally I was starting to wear down. My gym performance is still plateaued, unfortunately. I plan to keep roughly 2 heavy days a week and the rest are going to be bodyweight movements and stretching. These movements have felt fantastic recently and heavy lifting has not felt so good. I think the extra rest from constant heavy weights every day is going to help break me through my plateau.

My diet has been so-so for the past week. I’ve been craving more oatmeal recently and I must say it is delicious. It’s also very filling. I have about 100-150grams to play with each day, so it is pretty easy to fit in. As for the brand, I always go with Quaker Oats Weight Control or Lower Sugar Maple and Brown Sugar. Hands down the best ever.

Sarah and I went to Grapevine Wednesday night with Sarah’s mom Laura and her Grandma. It was a great dinner! I think they now like the restaurant as much as we do. Sarah and I also had a date night last night. We went to Cooperhawk for some wine tasting and then went to Plaza Azteca for dinner. Copperhawks’ wine this month was not good haha. They usually have at least 3-4 wines that are good, but this month it was a very weak selection. We didn’t end up eating dinner until like 9:30-10:00 PM either. It was very delicious though.

Other than that I plan just to take it easy for the rest of the weekend. We are having some people over tonight for drinks, so that should be good times. Until next week!

Journal Entry 321 – Final Fantasy XV

For the first time in awhile, I started playing a Final Fantasy game. The last one I can honestly say I enjoyed was Final Fantasy X, which came out 17 years ago. Since then when I have played Final Fantasy it was a remastered version of an old game. I’m currently playing Final Fantasy XV for the PS4 and it has been good so far. The graphics are incredible, the fighting is fun, but can be confusing and the storyline is average so far. I like the characters, but they are far from my favorite. So far I would say 7 out of 10. I haven’t finished the game yet, so the rating may change, but this is an early impression.

Hokies had a big game last night and played great in the first half. Went into self-destruct mode in the second half. Sometimes it is hard to watch. The Giants have a big game against Carolina today. We are 1-3 so far this season, but a great way to think about it is we still have 75% of the season left. Plenty of time to turn things around and start scoring some points and winning games. After 15 years of being a Giants fan, I still delude myself into high hopes no matter how bad my team is. 😉

Nothing exciting to report in the gym. My strength is about the same. I did feel very weak earlier in the week, but got stronger towards the end. Diet is still low carb of around 100g a day and I have not cheated at all this weekend. Had a decent amount of wine last night, but technically that is low carb. 😉 Weight has been going down over recent weeks and seems to have settled around 177.5lbs. I did reach a new low of 174.4 lbs last week, but it was due to major dehydration and not an accurate representation of weight.

Next week is one of my friend/co-workers weddings. I can honestly say weddings are one of my favorite things to go to. Everyone is in a great mood and it is always an incredibly fun time.