CUTTING THE FAT!

‘The Skinny’ on diet pills!

CUTTING THE FAT

(This is part two of a two part series on nutritional supplements. For part one read ELIXIRS OF LIFE?)

Of the more than $30 billion annually in the USA on dietary supplements, the majority on the purchases are spent on  weight-loss products.  An estimated 45 million Americans go on a diet each year, and Americans spend actually $33 billion each year on weight loss products when you start to include things like diet-foods and diet beverages. Most of this money is completely wasted.

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As with other nutritional supplements, Weight loss supplements come in three forms: pills, powders, and liquids.

Although vitamins weren’t discoverer until 1912 and only started being marketed in 1915, weight loss supplements actually precede vitamins by decades, having been first sold in the late 1880’s. Being overweight is not an illness, BUT is a health problem which can lead to many other health complications including various illness such as diabetes and heart disease.  Additionally, carrying excessive amounts of weight on your body will also lead to depression and an early grave.

When people think of weight loss supplements, diet pills are the first thing that comes to mind. As most of these products come in pill form, we will use the terms ‘diet pills’ and ‘weight loss supplements’ interchangeably throughout this article.  

Diet pills are sold two ways, by doctor prescription, or over-the-counter. They all have side-effects, and most are not intended for long term use because they can lead to other serious health issues such as heart-attacks, stroke, seizures and death. Years ago, a weight-loss bar I was eating regularly, the ABB EXTREME RIPPED FORCE bar which contained a combination of caffeine and (the now-banned) ephedra had that very disclaimer. I decided I’d rather be dead than fat so the warning was of little concern to me.

Some of these pills can be addictive, and all of them loose their effectiveness over time as your body builds up a tolerance to the active ingredients. Many of the products contain caffeine as an ingredient.     

Four prescription weight-loss drugs are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for long-term use: bupropion-naltrexone (Contrave), liraglutide (Saxenda), orlistat (Xenical) and phentermine-topiramate (Qsymia).

The non-prescription diet pills sold over-the-counter are too numerous to list, but they come in four categories:

  • Appetite suppressants
  • Diuretics (water pills)
  • Thermogenics (fat burners)
  • Metabolism Boosters  (stimulants)

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Over-the-counter weight-loss-pills are mostly herbal supplements usually containing any or all of the following :

  • Garcinia cambogia (recently pulled from shelves)
  • Glucomannan
  • Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA)
  • Raspberry ketones
  • Forskolin
  • Chromium
  • Green tea
  • Bee pollen
  • Maroon bush
  • Damiana
  • Alfalfa
  • Butcher’s broom
  • Olive leaf
  • Parsley
  • Green tea
  • Dandelion
  • Mate

They may or may not contain caffeine, and / or similar stimulants, and may or may not be fortified with additional vitamins and minerals, usually in the form of a proprietary blend that is purported to help you lose weight fast!

“Running is real and relatively simple…but it ain’t easy.” ­– Mark Will-Weber

By the numbers

  • A pound of fat is 3500 calories.
  • The Standard American Diet (SAD) is 2000-2500 calories a day.
  • A slice of cheese pizza is about 250 calories.
  • A McDonald’s Big Mac is 563 calories.
  • On average a 5K run will burn between 300 and 400 calories.
  • The fattest man who ever lived was Jon Brower Minnoch who at one point weighed 1,400 lbs. He died in 1983 just short of his 42nd birthday.

Men were meant to climb mountains NOT become mountains. I am NOT endorsing fat-shaming.  It is IMPOSSIBLE to fully enjoy life in such a disgusting condition. There is a reason the term is morbidly obese. IF you are carrying a few extra pounds, know that I too have struggled with my weight for years before I hit upon the proper combination of diet and exercise that worked for me. Notice I said diet, not diet-pills.  I am still overweight, but in the past three years I have lost 75lbs and I can run faster and further than I ever have before.  A few weeks ago, I ran up a small mountain with friends, and today if it doesn’t rain I will be going for a 10K (6.2 mile) run with some of those same friends, just  for fun.

The diet pills are placebos. If you are losing weight fast you’re losing water weight, not burning fat.  

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The ONLY proven way to reduce weight is through diet. Eat REAL food, not DIET food. Don’t drink DIET soda, drink WATER. Water is one of the seven essential nutrients your body needs. Jesus had water, he didn’t need Diet Mountain Dew.

It is also impossible to lose weight by exercising. Exercising is VERY important and works in conjunction with a healthy diet. Exercising tones and builds muscles. Increasing muscle mass will increase your metabolism, BUT you can gain calories faster by eating then you can burn them off by exercising, so dieting is the key. There is no magic pill. As always I wish you success and happiness!  

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ELIXIRS OF LIFE?

Or Snake Oil?

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(This is part one of a two part series on nutritional supplements.)

If you’ve ever walked into one of the vitamin store chains, you’ve seen dozens of shelves filled with thousands of bottles or packages of nutritional supplements from hundreds of manufacturers. Aside from things like protein bars or meal-replacement bars, these supplements come in three forms. Pills, powders, or liquids.  

The first thought which may have crossed your mind is do I need ALL this to be healthy and strong? The answer is YES, and NO.  No one pill can supply all the nutrients found in wholesome foods.

Americans spend more than $30 billion a year on dietary supplements — vitamins, minerals and herbal products, among others — many of which are unnecessary or of doubtful benefit to those taking them.

Let’s be logical about this. If you REALLY needed a bottle of everything sold in the health store,  you would not be able to afford to buy a bottle of everything sold, and even IF you actually could buy a bottle of everything , taking that many pills at once would either make you very sick, or very dead. So what DO you really need?

Every human being requires seven essential nutrients to ensure life and long-term health.

Depending on your body type, age, and sex, you will need different quantities of the seven nutrients at different times of the day, in differing amounts.  Eating too much of the wrong foods at the wrong times will have disastrous health implications.  The same can be said of not getting enough of the right nutrients in your diet.

These seven nutrients are:

 Water, proteins, carbohydrates, lipids (fats), vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber.  

To simplify it even further nutrition = food = fuel. All food is composed of one or more of these seven nutrients. It’s that simple. The proper balance is the tricky part. Some foods are higher in nutritional value, while others are really bad for the body.  A candy bar may have the same amount of calories as a piece of fruit, but the fruit is better even if the candy tastes sweeter.  We only NEED ‘nutritional supplements’ when the food we are eating fails to supply what is actually needed. This is when some people turn to vitamins and other pills to meet their needs.    

What may REALLY surprise you is that vitamins as we know then have only been discovered just over a hundred years ago. The word for them didn’t even exist until 1914. Here’s a little history.

In 1912 scientist Gowland Hopkins presented the first evidence that lack of certain nutrients in a person’s diet  could be harmful. He discovered the existence of what came to be known as ‘Vitamin A’, which is essential for good eyesight.  A year prior in 1911, fellow scientist Casimir Funk had isolated a previously unknown nutrient  from rice polishings. This unknown nutrient became known as ‘Vitamin B’ The term ‘Vitamin’ itself was coined by Casimir Funk as a contraction of the words vital and amine. Amines are organic compounds derived from ammonia  when hydrogen atoms are replaced by hydrocarbons or other radicals.

The first person to formulate vitamins in the US was Dr. Forrest C. Shaklee. Shaklee introduced a product he dubbed “Shaklee’s Vitalized Minerals” in 1915 which he sold until adopting the now ubiquitous term “vitamin” in 1929.

In 1940 One A Day multivitamins were first sold.

In 1968 Flintstones Chewable Vitamins were introduced to encourage children to get their essential vitamins.

In 1976 the now-defunct conglomerate American Cyanamid started manufacturing Centrum Multivitamins.

( The Centrum brand and its parent company went through several acquisitions until it ultimately became the property of Pfizer in 2009. Centrum was originally marketed as having 100% of the essential vitamins your body needed from A to Zinc. It is still the most sold multivitamin in the world.)

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Your body DOES need vitamins, but you should be able to get those eating proper foods, not pills!   

The 13 essential vitamins your body needs are vitamins A, C, D, E, K and the B vitamins: thiamine (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), pantothenic acid (B5), pyroxidine (B6), biotin (B7), folate (B9) and cobalamin (B12). The four fat-soluble vitamins—A, D, E, and K—are stored in the body’s fatty tissues.

What  about massive doses?

Every one of those vitamin , mineral, or herbal pills sold in most health stores or direct from the manufacturer falls under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 which regulated the market, more or less. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has a listing of the recommended daily allotments (RDA) which according to the government is exactly what we need. Whenever the government starts dictating how you live your life, it’s a bad thing. To err is human, but government intervention is the way to really screw things up. (Consider how many times they’ve re-designed the Food Pyramid Chart for one example.)

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While you are free to buy whatever supplement you wish off the shelves, understand that many of these products do not have to go through the same screening process as actual medicine does.  This is why you can buy vitamins and supplements that boast massive percentages that exceeded the recommended daily allowance.  (The mega multi-vitamin I personally take vegetarian Natures Plus Source of Life lists it’s B12 as having 16,667% of the RDA.)   

The supplement only needs to list the ingredients, the ratio percentage compared to the FDA’s daily recommendation, and the disclaimers that the product MAY help with this condition or symptom, but is NOT intended to  treat, cure, or prevent  any condition, symptom, or disease.  So basically, you are experimenting on your body with questionable substances which may or may not work at all, and could turn out to be harmful in the long term. (Remember when the FDA banned the dietary supplement ephedra in 2004, AFTER 155 deaths, and most recently began issuing warnings about garcinia cambogia supplements.)

If you find a product that you use, and it really makes you feel better and it works,  great! Continue using it, at your own risk. There are several supplements that I swear by because they work for me, and there are many others that I have tried and given up on as being of little benefit. Most of the time, you are wasting your hard earned money and you will never know in the short term if any of the supplements ever really helped at all. If you live to a ripe old age, maybe it was the because of the supplements, or maybe it was just good genes.

Chew over that and come back next week for part two  CUTTING THE FAT! The Skinny on diet pills!

As always I wish you success and happiness!      

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TEMPTED?

You are stronger than you think!

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In the USA, the 4th Thursday in November is Thanksgiving Day.  The American holiday of Thanksgiving traces its roots all the way back to 1621, when colonists held a harvest feast with local natives. So the holiday officially originated in what was known as the ‘New World’ at the time. In 1863, Abraham Lincoln declared an official Thanksgiving day to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Because some years had a fifth Thursday in November, this date was later changed from the last Thursday to the 4th Thursday by Congress who passed a law on December 26, 1941 fixing the date after a public outcry when President Franklin D Roosevelt kept changing the date from year to year.

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The first official, annual Thanksgiving in Canada was celebrated on 6 November 1879.  In 1957 Canadians established their Thanksgiving Day as the 2nd Monday of October, (which is Columbus Day in the US). Thanksgiving may pre-date both the US and Canada as countries, but it began here on the North American continent.  Over the decades other traditions such as the Thanksgiving Parade, football games, and certain foods have evolved with the holiday, and in some instances it has spread to other a few other countries. There are nine other nations besides the US that have a version of Thanksgiving which is associated with giving thanks for the bounty of the annual harvest.  Canada, Norfolk Island, Liberia, and Granada have similar versions of the ‘traditional’ Thanksgiving associated with the USA.  Germany, China, Japan, South Korea, and Japan each have their own unique versions of a ‘thanksgiving day’.    

Financially, the average cost of feeding a family of ten, with leftovers, is under $50.00 according to the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual survey.  That of course is ASSUMING you have a sane amount of food, and make most of the food from scratch. Some families go way overboard with with holiday meals.  

The beginning of the holiday season marks an abundance of calorie-laden, rich fattening foods, coupled with less physical activity as people spend more time indoors to avoid the chill of winter, and lessening amounts of daylight. For people struggling with their health and finances, Thanksgiving dinner marks the first half of a double-whammy, as next month they get to do it ‘once more’ with a fattening, expensive Christmas dinner.

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Focus on what’s important.

My first permanent health decision as an adult occurred in college when I made up my mind once and for all to become a vegetarian. This was a lifestyle choice that my late mother could not quite wrap her mind around.  My mother DID NOT COOK.  I kid you not, the woman could burn water.  We ate our holiday meals at my aunt Arleen’s home. Thanksgiving dinner was easy, there were many choices that were ‘meat-free’ on the table. Christmas dinner was not. That first Christmas I refused to eat my aunt’s famous lasagna which she slaved for days to make. She made the sauce from scratch, she shredded the mozzarella by hand on a cheese-grater, she browned Italian sausage and ground beef, boiled noodles, mixed cheeses, and assembled pans of lasagna. Enough to feed everyone, except one resilient vegetarian, who ate cheese pizza while everyone feasted.  Fortunately my aunt understood. The following year, she made a small, special, personal cheese lasagna for her favorite nephew.

So, you have to ask yourself, what’s more important? The food on the table? Your personal health? Or, are the people seated around the table the real reason to celebrate? 

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Choose wisely.

Just  because there are NINE different desserts doesn’t mean you MUST eat each and every one of them.  Heavens to Betsy  if you should miss aunt Betsy’s special cracker pudding.  Or Grandma’s famous jasmine rice pudding with golden raisins and chopped pistachios. Or cousin Ethel’s pecan pie. Believe it or not, some of the more common desserts like pumpkin pie are available year round. The special family dishes that your family worked so hard making are the more important dishes.  The dishes that they made as a token of their love for their family and friends gathered.  Yes, there are signature recipes that are associated with the people we know and love, but the people are the important part of the gathering.  So ignore the more common foods when planning the meal, and highlight the dishes that are unique to your gathering.  If there are still too many choices available, your other option is smaller portions.  Maybe a table spoon of the cranberry relish, or a half-scoop of mashed potatoes.     The key is not to over-eat.

Water is your friend.

So you STILL have a plate of high-calorie fatty foods after making the agonizing choice of passing on the coconut custard pie with whip cream topping and nut meg.  Limit your drink choices to water. A glass of water before, during, and after a meal will fill you up while helping to metabolize fats and flush toxins from your system.  The sparkling juices, sodas (and in some cases alcohol) only add empty calories and will ruin your diet.

Eat S-L-O-W-L-Y

The food may all taste delicious, but it still takes about 20-30 minutes for your brain to register that you have eaten enough food.  By eating your meal at a more reasonable speed, you might discover that you weren’t   really starving to death after all, and you might actually get to participate in the lively dinner chatter around the table.  By giving yourself time to actually eat your food instead of shoveling it in your mouth, you may find that that second helping of whatever is not needed, because you are full.

Keep active

Yes, it’s winter and the days are shorter and colder, but there are still ways to stay active. If you are a runner like myself, you can still find winter 5K races, even on Thanksgiving Day in some cases. You just have to dress appropriately for the weather.  If you don’t like being out in the cold, there’s always the gym.  Many fitness chains have extended holiday hours, or  24hr locations to accommodate the heath conscious individual.  The key to success  in maintaining your healthy lifestyle is to MAINTAIN it.  If you fall off the health-wagon for ONE holiday meal, it’s not the end of the world. That ONE SLICE of pumpkin pie didn’t make you fat, giving up did.  So enjoy the healthy choices you made for your meal, ignore the items you passed on, and celebrate the day with your family and friends. As always I wish you success and happiness!  

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YOU CAN’T ‘FAKE’ STRONG!

Only the strong survive!

you cant fake strong

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.­–Paul the Apostle ,  Philippians 4:13

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One of the most common breakdowns associated with cars are flat tires. When tires are low on air, you can generally see that they need air as you approach you car, but most people do not make a habit of taking the time to inspect ALL FOUR tires on a regular basis, instead looking at the two that face them as they approach their vehicle.  Fixing a flat can be as simple as adding more air, or plugging a small leak. Ignoring the problem can result in serious damage to your tire, car, or even yourself.

According to Goodyear Tires:

“Maintaining proper air pressure is an important factor in tire safety and performance. If a driver experiences a flat tire or loss of air pressure, they should slow the vehicle gradually and carefully pull off to the side of the road as soon as possible. Driving on a flat tire can cause internal structural damage to the tire, may lead to wheel and vehicle damage and may result in poor vehicle handling and control — which could lead to an accident, injury or death.”

You may be familiar with the phrase “the road of life”. As you travel down the road of life, you are the vehicle which carries you on your journey. Like the four tires on a car, you have four categories that determine IF you will have forward momentum, or if your journey will end abruptly.  Your car has both front and rear tires. One each on the passenger and driver sides. You can still drive on a bad tire,  ignoring all the warning signs and neglecting repairing that tire until disaster occurs. Likewise YOU yourself have YOUR four ‘TIRES’ divided into two sides, and keeping all four at or as close to full strength as possible are vital to determine how far you will go down the ‘road of life’.

The two sides are your HEALTH and your WEALTH. Your HEALTH is your WEALTH, and your WEALTH is your HEALTH. HEALTH has two sides as does WEALTH. Your HEALTH is both PHYSICAL and MENTAL. Your WEALTH is both FINANCIAL and INTELLECTUAL. You need all four  to be at your maximum strength to go far in life, but running on three will carry you along for a little distance, and a brief time.   You cannot ‘fake’ strong, you are either strong, or you are weak. A strong person can things that a weak person cannot, and that is an undeniable fact of life.  

How strong are you:

FINANCIALLY

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 “There is treasure to be desired and oil in the dwelling of the wise; but a foolish man spendeth it up.” Proverbs 21:20

If you have zero debt and just $10 in your pocket, you are richer than 25% of Americans. Do you spend EVERY cent you get?  The reason the wealthy amass such huge fortunes is NOT because they have stolen it from the poor, but because they have mastered the art of handling money. Getting financially fit means taking the time to develop spending, saving, and investment plans.

 

INTELLECTUALLY

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“How much better to get wisdom than gold, to get insight rather than silver!” –Proverbs 16:16

Knowledge is power! Education opens doors to greater ventures and better opportunities. The accumulation of ‘USEFUL’ knowledge and ‘USEFUL’ skills will result in greater possibilities of  employment. Having specialized knowledge in technical jobs or trades will get you hired faster than unskilled laborers. There are many classes being offered in colleges and universities nationwide that are totally worthless. Graduating with a degree in ‘gender studies’ or ‘lesbian dance theory’ is a surefire path to poverty. As poet Charles Bukowski once said, the world doesn’t need poets. Would a restaurant hire a chef who couldn’t cook an omelet?  The world needs doctors, teachers, farmers, and builders. An auto-mechanic may not be a glamorous job, but the next time you need your car fixed, you’ll be glad  if they are experienced and competent.  

PHYSICALLY

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“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, who you have received from God? You are not your own: you were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your bodies.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19-20

When you take care of your body, you can fight off illness faster, recover from infirmities, and lead an active lifestyle. Life is meant to be lived and enjoyed. How can you enjoy life if you are too weak and sickly to join your friends and family in various activities? Watching is fun but it is not the same as participating in the fun. Getting physically fit means taking time to eat healthy and exercise regularly.       

MENTALLY

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“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light”. – Matthew 11:28-30

Depression is not a sign of weakness, it is a sign of having been too strong for too long. Eventually everyone hits a point when we tire. When things go badly, we tend to focus on our troubles instead of counting our blessings. The Bible is the word of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and is infallible and without error. When we focus on the world, it’s a depressing place. When we turn our focus to Jesus, we see that with God, all things are possible, and that when  God is with us, no one can stand against us. The Bible is a book filled with hope for something better than this fallen creation. The answers to all of life’s problems can be found in the pages of the Holy scripture, yet there are many who are reluctant, or totally against reading this book for themselves. I was an atheist when I was a teenager, but in college I became a Christian when my one professor challenged me to go to his class on the Bible and read through it cover to cover. I can honestly say I am a better man with God than I ever was without God.   People may disappoint you, lie to you, and hurt you.  Jesus is always good, faithful, and true. What if the one book that you are dead-set against reading is the only book which could provide you comfort and answers. Wouldn’t it be wise to take the time and discover the truth for yourself?  Isn’t it time to fill your ‘TIRE’ with the ‘breath of life’? As always I wish you success and happiness!   

TIMING IS EVERYTHING!

Every second is precious.

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“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing else.” ~ Peter Drucker.

It’s been said that ‘fools rush in where angels fear to tread’. It’s also been said that ‘he who hesitates is lost’.  We all live in the moment and there is no ‘right time’. People who wait for ‘the right time’ often wait forever and never accomplish anything. Ultimately it all comes down to proper timing. Each day, we all get the same 24 hours and how we spend that time is up to us. We also all have dreams, some big, some small, some practical, some unrealistic, and occasionally some totally bizarre. Like our time, realizing those dreams is also largely up to us. Highly successful people manage both their time and their money exceptionally well in order to accomplish those dreams and goals. Your future success is determined by what you do TODAY. People who chose to do nothing accomplish nothing and have no future. That same group is the most vocal about how successful people have somehow held them back in life, and that life is unfair. They refer to successful people as being obsessed. The important thing to remember is that obsessed is just a word the lazy use to describe the dedicated.

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If you truly want to improve your life, you cannot procrastinate, and you must attack your goal with full fledged determination. If you do this, you will succeed in life because most people are lazy. The important thing is to start! Do not put off for tomorrow what you can do today! Make a checklist of the things you need to do, and arrange them in a logical order so that you do not undermine your progress by having one chore undo another. For example, if you were  cleaning your kitchen, you would clean the counter tops BEFORE you swept the flour. You do not want to be counter-productive. The more efficiently you use your time, the more you can accomplish. Some tasks can be done simultaneously, others must be tackled one by one. Highly efficient people write things down and work from lists.

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Schedule EVERYTHING including downtime.  Dedicated people tend to over-schedule and burn out due to stress. Everyone needs a break. It’s OK to burn the midnight oil occasionally, but if you are constantly working late, sleeping little, and avoiding rest periods, you will begin to break down from stress. There’s an old adage: “early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.” If you feel you are not having enough time to do everything you need to do, you may need to cut out time-wasting activities. If you spend HOURS sitting in from of the TV, or playing games on the computer, then those bad habits are holding you back. I allow myself plenty of time in the morning by waking up earlier than I technically have to. This allows me time to have breakfast, pack lunch, exercise etc.  I allow a few extra minutes on the commute to work in case of construction or gridlock.  When I have tasks like shopping, I save time by making a single large loop and hitting all my destinations in the most efficient manner as to avoid back-tracking or going out of the way.

Remember, the future belongs to those who work for it. Do not neglect your health, no not neglect your finances, and if you have a family ESPECIALLY do not neglect them. People are ephemeral, we will all die one day, and it will be when we least expect it. The same goes for our friends and family.  How you spend your time is up to you. Will you waste it? or will you make the most of every moment? Only time will tell. As always I wish you success and happiness!      

SPARE TIME?

Living in the Moment!

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“We’re all going to die, all of us; what a circus! That alone should make us love each other, but it doesn’t. We are terrorized and flattened by trivialities. We are eaten up by nothing.” – Charles Bukowski

There are at least two things that differentiate the highly successful individual from the unsuccessful crowd.  Firstly, they handle their money quite differently than the average person. Instead of spending every cent the moment they receive it, they budget their money, save much of it, and invest.  Secondly they do the same thing with their time. 

You may be familiar with the old adage ‘time is money’.  In a very real sense it is. When you work at a job, you get paid for your time. When you invest over time, you get a return on your investment.  In fact, time is more important than money because money can be replaced, but time cannot. Every moment wasted is gone forever. Unsuccessful people usually whine about how unfair life is because they don’t have as much money as Jeff Bezos or Bill Gates.  Here’s the main point. Rich or poor, Successful or not, every single person on Earth gets the exact same number of minutes each year. 525,600 minutes each and every year, with two exceptions. The year we are born, and the year we die. How we spend that year is up to us.

When I started writing my weekly blog InstantCoffeeWisdom over two years ago, the first article was The 52 Week Challenge. It was a weekly savings plan to be done over the course of one year, the end result being  $1350.00 saved to be used as you wish. Every year, I take a great vacation at the shore in Ocean City MD, that is my decision. I know many people who always whine that they never have money for vacation, so the first year I focused on microeconomics (personal finance) to help demonstrate ways to budget, cut expenses and hopefully achieve that goal set by The 52 Week Challenge. The second year, I focused on the bigger picture, exploring macroeconomics, and explaining how religion and politics are interconnected to economics, and why you should have a firm grasp of all three. Hopefully you were able to understand my points, see where I was leading you, and you were able to reach the same conclusions.  As I embark on my third year of blogging,  I’m going to focus on the topic of time. As I already stated, time is money, and we each have EXACTLY the same time each day, week, month, and year, despite financial disparities. How we spend our time is entirely up to us.

When I was a still just a young boy, the biggest time waster was the TV. I had family members whose entire lives were lived vicariously through the television. As a child, it was my ‘babysitter’. Plop me down in front of the set with a plate of snacks and I was good to go. My 77 year-old aunt does nothing but watch TV all day, or sleep. It doesn’t seem like much of a life to me, but she’s 77 and you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I got rid of my TV a decade ago. I’ve saved thousands of dollars over the years by ‘cutting the cord’. If I do decide to watch some program, almost everything is available online and I can watch it when it’s convenient. Although the letters TV  are an abbreviation for Television, it should stand for TIME VACUUM because this activity is just a  waste of time that can suck away hours of your life each day if you let it. Now the biggest waste of time and productivity is the mobile smart phone.

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The smart phone  puts the sum total of human knowledge in the palm of your hands. You can load it’s memory with apps to help you track everything financial or health related. It is a tool that in the right hands can increase productivity and knowledge, and likewise can kill it in the wrong hands. In my youth, phones connected people. Now they divide people. The typical smart phone user touches his or her phone 2,617 time every day, according to a study by research firm Dscout. Extremely addicted individuals use it twice as much as that. The phone is NOT reality. When you spend your time looking at your phone instead of living your life, you are wasting your life. You are cutting yourself off from life and missing all the wonderful things the world has to offer when you bury your face in your phone.

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Human lives are terribly short. We live at best about 120 years, but that is not guaranteed. There are preemie babies that live a few hours, or a few days.  My father died when he was 57. I missed out on all those great father-son moments growing up without a father as a result.   We are ephemeral, a vapor, and but a blink of the eye of God. We live our lives moment by moment, stringing each moment to the next like pearls on a string. We should do our best to make those moments shine.  Time cannot be replaced when it is gone, and neither can people. The greatest gift you can give a person is your time, and the second greatest gift you can give is your undivided attention. 

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One of my close friends has cancer. I pray for him every day. I hope he beats it, but ultimately that’s in God’s hands, and worrying about it won’t change that fact. If God wants us here on Earth, it’s where He wants us to be. No man can know the mind of God, but He’s in control even if it doesn’t make sense to us now. It is up to us to use our God-given free will to be stewards of our resources, which includes not just money and possessions,   but our time and our health as well. Make every moment count and interact with people instead of tuning out the world. As always, I wish you success and happiness!       

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CONQUER THE WORLD!

Ask me how…

conquer the world

Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. – Dale Carnegie

The world is made up of two types of people. Those who talk about doing things, and those who go out and get those things done.  According to a recent article printed in Business Insider  about a third of Millennials think that they are worse off today than they were ten years ago.  The question that really begs to be asked is what were these ‘eager young space cadets’ doing over the past decade to improve their lives? The overwhelming response was nothing. They stayed in the same dead-end jobs for fear of finding a better job. They didn’t invest in the stock market for fear of losing money. They didn’t save because they had just enough to make ends meet, and they feared they wouldn’t be able to.  The end result of doing nothing is nothing. Nothing happens unless someone makes it happen. You will never be able to conquer the world until you learn to conquer your irrational fears.

Do the thing you fear to do and keep on doing it… that is the quickest and surest way ever yet discovered to conquer fear. –Dale Carnegie

If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self. – Napoleon Hill

Many times, we are held back by bad habits. Laziness is chief among all bad habits. We put off for tomorrow what could be done today because we ‘don’t feel like it’ or we ‘don’t have time’ or we have ‘something better to do.’ Motivation can be difficult when we don’t see immediate results, but all things take time, and Rome wasn’t built in a day. This goes for all bad habits from poor eating habits to addictions to failure to exercise regularly. If you start something, keep at it until the task has been accomplished. Never give up. Focus on doing what you can, and then going one better.    

“Always dream and shoot higher than you know you can do. Do not bother just to be better than your contemporaries or predecessors. Try to be better than yourself.” ― William Faulkner

If you believe that something is impossible, and you don’t attempt it, you will never know if it could have been accomplished. Trying once and failing is not an indication of impossibility, it’s just an indication of inexperience and lack of knowledge. No one was ever an expert the first time they did something, and if they happened to do it perfectly that first time, it was dumb luck. You’re an expert when you can consistently deliver the same results, and that takes time and practice.   

Energy and persistence conquer all things. – Benjamin Franklin

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For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope. –Jeremiah 29:11

Make plans! If you fail to plan you plan to fail! You need to know where you are, where you want to be, and have the steps to get there. You need to know what direction to go, what tools you’ll need to accomplish your goal. It’s not going to happen overnight, but it won’t happen at all unless you take to proper measures beforehand. Spontaneity is great when you’re stuck and need to think of something to get you back on course, but it’s a terrible way to live your life. All successful people take notes, make plans, and work from paper. Again, if you do nothing, nothing will happen. You got this! You just have to believe in the possible.

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I believe that in the end the truth will conquer. –John Wycliffe

As you continue moving on towards accomplishing you goals, You’ll encounter a lot of fake news and negativity. You need to cut the dead-weight that’s holding you back. Unhappy, unsuccessful people will be jealous of your attempts to better yourself. Success is the best revenge. There are many people you will meet throughout your life who will never accomplish half the things you do, and they will try to make you feel bad about yourself by calling you greedy or selfish. What they think of you says more about them then it does about you. Your success does not doom them to failure. They doomed themselves to failure by doing nothing and just want you to feel sorry for their poor life choices. You can’t help them, they are the only ones who can help themselves, and they don’t want to for whatever reason. If you have access to the internet, you have access to the sum total of human knowledge. Ignorance is a choice, knowledge is power, and the truth will vanquish any lie in time. Stay focused on your goals and they will become your accomplishments. You got this, and no one can take that away from you!  If you can conceive it, and you can believe it, you can achieve it! As always I wish you success and happiness!