Empowering people to live a longer and healthier life through diet, exercise, and spiritual practice.

busy fam

Everyone is busy. Right now finding time for healthy meal planning, exercise, and meditation is like trying to find the red Easter egg my brother had hidden in the strawberry patch. It is a challenge.

Sunday, the day before Labor Day, my wife and I did some planning for the week. We were looking forward to Monday off. We headed out to the local Sprouts Market for the good seasonal sale items. We grabbed bunches of needed and wanted fresh vegetables. In the afternoon, I did some meal planning and prep. I baked Muffin Tin Eggs. There are variations of the recipe online. I greased a standard muffin tin and then lined each cup with deli meat. I put in a tablespoon of chopped spinach, a tablespoon of shredded cheese and then cracked an egg in each cup. I baked it at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. I just popped them out and refrigerated. The result was 6 breakfast on the go meals. Next, I penciled out the weeks’ dinner menu. I remembered the plan vegetables first.

Mon.-garden salad, fresh broccoli, cauliflower rice, and grilled burgers.

Tues.-zucchini and fish.

Wed.-broccoli and chicken breast

Thurs.-break, night out

Fri.-fresh steamed vegetables and salmon.

If I have that much planned, I can make a nice dinner with having to think and figure it out at the end of a day.

Exercise this week included a long walk on Monday while listening to a health and fitness podcast. This walk was important because a clear message came to me during the walk. I had to write it down when I got home. I emailed it to a couple of advisors for review. One advisor called me back after a positive response and said it looked like a mission statement…and so it is. Empowering people to live a longer and healthier life through diet, exercise, and spiritual practice.

On Saturday I hustled my body and my wife out to Palos Verdes to Terranea Resort for their Nature Walk, bird education and hiking to Point Vicente Lighthouse. Then we enjoyed a salmon lunch on the patio. That’s a good day at a classy spot.


The coming work week will be 14 hour days so I am reviewing my schedule and planning to make it a healthy, happy time.

Here is a list of blog and information sites I regularly read and use as resources. You can use what you went and leave the rest.

Fit to Fat and Back online resources








Be healthy, and let me know what you think of the Mission Statement




Winter Season Adjustment

This blog never was about being on a diet to lose weight; it is about my attempt to return to fitness with My Fitness Triangle, Food plan-Exercise plan-Peaceful spirit. I am restating that because I am stuck. After my weight dropped to 225 pounds and I was feeling good about the progress, everything came to a standstill. The pounds stopped dropping off and my back went out.


The Plateau

It took me about 3 years to make the psychological and physiologic adjustment to living in the Great Northwest, a place with winter. I grew up in Southern California and that is how my head and body worked. In the rustic outback of Oregon, I learned there are jobs and tasks to go with each season. As the weather and temperature change, your mind and body go through changes too. I believe something similar is happening to me now, an adaptation period. The Mayo Clinic defines a weight-loss-plateau: “Muscle helps keep the rate at which you burn calories (metabolism) up. So as you lose weight, your metabolism declines causing you to burn fewer calories than you did at your heavier weight”.  https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/weight-loss/in-depth/weight-loss-plateau/art-20044615.

Here are 4 things they say to do. 1). Reassess your habits. Research suggests that off and on loosening of rules contribute to plateaus. 2). Cut more calories. Further cut your daily calories. 3). Rev up your workout. Increase time and intensity plus add weight training to increase muscle mass which will help burn more calories. 4). Pack more activity into the day. Think outside the gym. Walk more, use the car less, do more to burn calories. This all fits for me.


Basal Metabolic Rate

    I used to work with a guy who looked really lean. His name was Cleary. He would park his car about 3 blocks from our work front door. I asked him why? Cleary said he used to weigh over 300 pounds and now was 187. I was amazed, so I ask what diet he had used. He said he had not used a diet but rather had used portion control and walking to lose the weight over a 3 year period. He said he parked his car each day farther and farther from where he was headed to get more activity until it was now his healthy habit. He had the answer for him.

  WebMD on weight loss plateau says the #1 tool is “Imagine you healthy and vibrant”. This is from Katherine Tallmadge, MA, RD, author of Diet Simple, “The mind is a strong tool__use it to achieve what you want. Have a vision of success”. I like that and I can meditate on My Fitness Triangle.


  If I stick with my plan it will all work out. BMR is on my side. Basal Metabolic Rate is the minimum number of calories your body organs need to function while you perform no activity. I think of it as the amount of energy I’d burn if I stayed in bed all day. I used an online BMR calculator to find that my body uses 1806 calories a day on that. I am doing a 2030 calorie a day plan, at some point, my weight has to come down.


In the spirit-Dave

TONGVA : The Local Native People


Tony Horton is a Personal Trainer, Author, and Creator of the P90X Extreme Workout. He has a Ted Talk telling everyone about health and fitness. His focal points are 1. Move, at least 20 minutes or more a day with a variety of activities, 2. Consistency, 5 to 7 days a week, 3. Intensity, push to add and do more, 4. Purpose, why do this stuff, 5. Food, he describes eating right. This should sound familiar to my readers. Google: Tony Horton Ted Talk and you will get 10 minutes of motivation.  My last weeks’ exercises were a good variety of activities. I swam in Huntington Harbor, walked through Gum Grove Park which is a Tongva tribal camp area in Seal Beach, and lifted weights in my garage. These were accompanied by my regular neighborhood walks on off days. A variety of activities is supposed to speed weight loss and fitness. The weather was hot so most activities were early, but a good week.

active-bikes-cyclist-26407315 per cent

Eating Right

   I read an online article in To Your Health from 8/1/18 titled A Groundbreaking Way to Live Longer. It claimed the Fountain of Youth can be found by reducing your calorie intake by 15 percent over a two year period. The article cited a study published in Cell Metabolism indicating that your body processing less may equate to less cell damage. That sounds good. A lot of aging studies are published in Cell Metabolism. As I mentioned, MyFitnessPal has set my caloric goal at 2030 calories per day. I think that is probably an easy 15 percent below what I was eating.  At some point, I’ll look at 1724 as a new goal, not now. I am still working on this goal as a challenge. I went out to eat 3 times last week and I tend to overdo when out. I found myself making good choices but too much volume. I guess I’m still struggling with that moderation thing.

big mac meal                 photo-1521311142520-bcabe7e1b5ef

  No Fast Food. Do you still eat at McDonald’s? Big Mac has 540 Propylene Glycol washed calories, add french fries and it goes to about 900 calories. Ugh. Propylene Glycol is a version of ethylene glycol which is as dangerous to consume as antifreeze. Its food function is to prevent products from becoming too solid. 90% of all frozen burgers have this. Ugh.


In the spirit, Dave



   My daughter asks me for the specifics of the diet for my PLAN. She thought pulling the details from the blog made it unclear. Here is my food plan.

The Fitness Triangle Diet


Eat Fruits or Vegetables with any meal or snack.

Eat Clean Whole Foods.

Eat Organic, in season, local when possible.

Eat Less Meat: grass-fed, free-range, wild caught when possible.

Use Olive Oil or Coconut oil

Do keep to a calorie count appropriate for your goal.


No Fast Food.

No Soda, diet or other.

No or limited Processed Foods.

Limit Starches, bread, and wheat based products.

Limit Dairy.

Watch out for Sugar, Nitrates, Sodium, High fructose corn syrup.

Watch out for anything with a really long name.

Remeber everything in moderation including moderation.


The keys to weight-loss success

  Successful weight loss requires long-term changes to your eating habits and physical activity. This means you need to find a weight-loss approach you can embrace for life. You’re not likely to maintain whatever weight loss a diet helps you achieve if you then go off the diet and revert to old habits.

  Diets that leave you feeling deprived or hungry can cause you to give up. And because many weight-loss diets don’t encourage permanent healthy lifestyle changes, even if you do lose weight, the pounds can quickly return once you stop dieting.

  You’ll likely always have to remain vigilant about your weight. But combining a healthier diet with more activity is the best way to lose weight, keep it off for the long-term and improve your health.


What oil is best?

   My choice is Olive Oil or Coconut Oil.  There is a lot of talk and controversy around Canola Oil. It markets a benefit as being high in Omega 3. We want that. The issue is that it is made from a GMO developed in Canada and Monsanto is involved, I am OUT on this. We want cold-pressed virgin oil.

In The Spirit, Dave


Lake Tahoe

Food Plan-Exercise Plan-Peaceful Spirit

July 24, 2018: weight 227 (-13)

Vacation. Will it be a nightmare for My Fitness Triangle? My wife and I headed off to Lake Tahoe for a family gathering last week. The event was my youngest daughters’ 40th birthday. This event makes me officially old. Most all the clan was there except my younger son who is in the Navy and was not allowed to take time off for a birthday party. The Navy still needs good men. I knew I wanted to stick with my fitness triangle while on this trip and I knew I should cut myself some slack so that I would not miss the enjoyment of the event. There were 7 girls there; 3 daughters, 2 granddaughters, an ex, and a wife. Someone was sure to be dieting and my wife is a known smart eater. Those two facts would and did create a safe space for me.


Food Plan. Most of the travel eating was pre-planned. As we rushed out in the early morning, we went straight to the McDonald’s. It’s on the Don’t List, no fast food. Egg McMuffin is only 300 calories and very filling so I skipped the ugly stuff and moved on. A full Mcdonald’s nutrition chart is in the store and online. There is not much there I should eat and it is an unhealthy addiction for me. Car snacks were cherries and nectarines for me. My wife added whole grain crackers and peanuts. Away we went. We split a Mahogany Smoked Meats sandwich in Bishop (yummy) and enjoyed the drive.

  Our first night was at The Tahoe Valley Lodge. My Tahoe daughter had arranged a nights stay while others occupied her house room that was to be ours. It is a really lovely place and we ate next door at a Mediterranean restaurant. I had a greek salad and a lamb wrap, both were good and on the Do List, veggie or fruit with any meal. It was easy to stay in the plan. The big family spreads also were Food Plan friendly as they all included fruits and veggies. I just had to pick the right products. The choice was mine.

Exercise Plan. There is a lot of sitting and talking at these gatherings as we catch up on each other’s activities. Opportunely, my wife and I go a little stir crazy without some activity. As the troop drove to a nearby lake to sit and talk, we walked the 20 minutes to get there and fed our activity need. That worked for everyone as there were fewer bodies to haul. My activities during our four-day stay included 2 hikes/walks of 30 minutes or more, a 10-mile bike ride (beautiful), and 2 swims of 20 minutes. My wife did all those things but 1 of her swims was noteworthy as it was about a mile. It was too far for me. At this altitude, exercise can be taxing. It is over 7000 feet. I found myself sucking a couple of times for lack of air, but what a great place to suck.


Peaceful Spirit. Being at peace can be an issue at our family gathering, All the different personalities are bumping heads. I found my breathing and higher power gathering space in my daughters’ backyard. It worked fine for everyone except the dogs. When I can keep myself in order, the other issues seem to line up better. Each morning I went off to the backyard, coffee on an outside table and followed my breath for a few minutes. It always helps me. As we loaded the car to come home, as we said our goodbyes, the dog finally snapped. It bit my wife. We were now headed for the ER, vacation over. She needed a stitch and meds. She was a trooper on our 500-mile drive home which included long roadwork delays and a couple of thunderstorm down pores. Find your breath and focus there.

  We are back home and we have made visits to our local stores to restock our favorite fruits and veggies. My wife is healing but still traumatized as is my daughter, the dog owner. We are grateful for all the hospitality and compassion we received.

Do you need a food plan? Review my Do’s and Don’ts in the June 24th blog, “Food for Thought”. Also, check out the “Pegan Diet” in Woman’s Health Magazine. Dr. Oz is talking about it too. https://www.womenshealthmag.com/weight-loss/a19983443/pegan-diet/

Have a question? Send it in.

In the Spirit, Dave




Mind over matter: July 10, 2018 weight 228 (-12)

When the Mortgage Company I worked for moved into its new offices, there was a separated small corner room. In this room were 2 large leather recliner chairs and 1 small table. Some of my co-workers called it the nap room and for them it was. In my mind, this was the meditation room. It was a place to take a quick break and decompress when the business got too stressful. I would walk in, sit down, and breath. This is meditation. Being able to release stress is the third key to fitness.


    You and I have heard the simple psychology of a Type A or a Type B personality. Type A is associated with coronary disorders and other stress-related issues. These “aggressive personalities” have huge benefits to the world, but they must decompress or risk dying prematurely. It is with premature death in mind that I started to meditate. Meditation has many forms and is different for each person. There can be a spiritual component to meditation which I will not cover here. Meditation can be practiced without it. Here are some of the physical benefits: reduced stress and reduced depression, reduction of blood pressure, fewer headaches,  increased productivity, and muscle and joint tension reduction. I like the benefits.


    The following information is on page 5 of The Power of Meditation.


“Regardless if you choose to meditate for spiritual reasons or for physical

and mental health, meditation generally consists of the following elements:

  • A relaxing environment: whether it is in the woods, by the lake, in a

studio, or in your living room, mediation usually occurs in an

environment that is physically comfortable and free from noisy

distractions. Some people choose to sit on a cushion and focus on

their breathing in complete silence while others may choose to lay on

their beds and listen to relaxing music.

  • Posture or movement: during mediation, the participant will generally

sit in a specific posture, such as with the legs crossed, spine straight,

and hands resting on the knees. Sometimes participants will lay

down or engage in specific movements, such as with yoga or t’ai chi.

  • Focus: while meditating, the participant will focus on a number of

things from their simple breath, the feeling of energy moving through

the body, an object, a value or ideal, or a word or phrase called a


  • An open mind: during meditation, the participant allows their mind to

let thoughts flow through their mind without judging them. Often

times, the meditator will observe the thoughts instead of suppressing

them and then gently bring their focus back to the intended subject.”


What I do is find a quiet spot, sit for 5 to 20 minutes and focus on my breath. The quiet spot is so I am not easily distracted. I will add soft or meditation music if I am easily distracted. There are plenty of free YouTube or other music choices. Incense can be added to help create a mode or change the energy of the room. I sit in a chair with my feet uncrossed and on the floor. My focus goes to my breath, feeling it move in, out, and all through my body. I focus my attention on sets of 3 breaths. 3 breathes in and out. 3 more breathes focused as the energy moves from head to toe. At this point, I can usually separate the flowing body energy from the breath. I focus on this energy. If I become distracted, I return my attention to my breath. Focusing on the energy allows me to dissociate completely from the days’ issues to unconsciously drift or focus on something different from my physical surroundings. This focus is usually my choice. Sometimes the focus seems to have a power of its own and I am an observer. That is okay too. The power of this state of being is amazing and well documented. Take 5 minutes and focus on your breath; in through your nose and out through your mouth and relax.

In the Spirit, Dave

click in this picture.



Define: Torpor (n). A state of mental or physical inactivity. Lethargy; apathy. www.dictionary.com

Jim Ryun

Trying to balance my simple exercise program with my available time and personal energy variations is a challenge. I purposely planned a minimum amount of time 6 days a week for 20 minutes so that the workout would become habitual. “Motivation is what gets you started. Habit is what keeps you going.” Jim Ryun. Jim Ryun, the Congressman from Kansas, was the first High School student to run a sub-4-minute mile. Every High School track kid of my generation knew who he was. He was interviewed by all the sports writers. One statement he made stuck in my head. Jim was asked what the hardest part of his workout was; he replied that it was putting on his shorts before he got on the track. The implication being the battle was between his ears. I talked to friend Diana about the blog. She has always been a caring person and she has always been going 100 miles per hour. Diana said her husband goes to the gym to keep his strength up for pulling in the big ones. He is an avid fisherman. He had been on her case to walk more. Diana said she didn’t have time and then listed all the things she needed to do. It was a lot. This is what my head does too.


 Walking around my block is 30 minutes. Walking to the park and back is 45 minutes. Resistance training at the park is 25 minutes. Stretching in the patio or family room is 20 minutes. Weight training in the garage is 25 minutes. After I get started, most days I go longer than the prescribed time or distance. I vary my pace. I like it. I am trying to find different places to walk. I have done a lot of local hiking trails like the little trail behind Gum Grove Park in Seal Beach. My improved diet has resulted in less joint pain. I am hoping I will be able to run again at some point. I am also swimming during my aerobic time. I like the beach so I am ocean and bay swimming as well as the local lap-swim pool with the same 20 to 30 minute time frame in mind. I am also doing some biking but I have to double the allotted time to make it an aerobic activity. It is all good.

park fitpark center

   The resistance training is minimum for my personality. You may want to increase it, especially if you are rehabbing from something. In my athletic days, I spent 3 hours a day for 7 years in the weight room. I tend to overdo in this area, so I keep it to the minimum. I focus on chest, arms, core, and quads.  The activity is 3 sets of 12 to 15 reps at a minimum of 3 exercises. These same muscle groups must be stretched too.

  There are 2 more points. 1. Nothing is difficult except between my ears. I have met the enemy, he lives between my ears. 2. I cycle from overactivity to dull and unmotivated. I have to recognize that and keep moving.

Here is a link to “8 Habits of Highly Fit People” from Livestrong.com.



In the Spirit, Dave