Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The 600 Calorie diet Update

Our blog this past summer about the 600 calorie diet was prompted by a study at Newcastle University in the UK which showed amazing results in the loss of fat deposits around internal organs and the remission of diabetes type 2 of obese people that stayed on a 600 calorie diet for only 2 months.  These results seem to indicate that it is the extremely low calorie diet forced on the patients after the surgery, rather than the removal of a patient’s intestines, that provides the benefit of the popular gastric bypass operation.

Though we have lost weight during our four years in Hawaii, the results have been extremely slow, particularly when compared to advertisements for weight loss products, programs, and the participants on the Biggest Loser TV show. We were eating below the 2000 calorie diet that is used by the government for their recommended daily allowances (RDA) of vitamins and minerals (Tyler at 5’11” was eating 1600-1800 calories a day and Chris at 5’ 8” 1200-1400 calories a day). But getting below a BMI of 25 (being Not Fat), seemed years away at our level of progress. The frustrating thing was that we were exercising 6 days a week and our goal was only to lose 4-6 pounds a month, nothing over the top. We wanted to lose fat, not the muscle that we are painstakingly working to keep and enhance. We would have been happy with losing only 2 pounds a month; but instead we were losing about a pound every other month.

The results of the 600 calorie diet study combined with the outrage from doctor’s that claimed 600 calories a day was equivalent to starvation, highlighted for us the current distorted view of how many calories an average person needs in a day, especially older adults like us.  So in August, we started greatly restricting our calories and carefully writing down everything that we ate.  Chris started quizzing every thin 60+ year old women she met to find out how many calories they were eating. She was surprised to find that most knew exactly how many calories they consumed each day and their numbers were all near or under 1000 calories a day!

We set our goal to 600 calories a day, but in reality we were never able to eat only 600 calories. However, just having the goal reduced our calorie intake substantially and suddenly we started making progress on our weight loss.

As a part of cutting our calories back, we had to make every calorie count in vitamins, minerals, and amino acids to keep us healthy and energetic and we took supplements. From July to November of this year (5 months) we both lost the 20 pounds needed to get our BMIs under 25. We were able to maintain our moderate exercise regime and rarely had hunger attacks.  Eating so few calories, we were able to identify the amount of calories we can eat and not gain weight. For Tyler, the best daily intake turned out to be 1250-1450 calories and for Chris it is 900-1100. Now, when we occasionally overeat, just 300 to 400 calories seems like an incredible, overfilling feast.

With these calorie levels, we hope to continue to lose weight toward our "Wealth BMIs" and remain trim as we grow old.

Merry Christmas!!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2012 Year of the Water Dragon

Every year we research the predictions for the next Chinese year and about the animal associated with the new year because we find the advice of Chinese astrologers helpful.  The Water Dragon year, which starts January 23, 2012, ushers in a blast of energy making everything seem larger than life and blowing things all out of proportion. Like the last Dragon year in 2000, when everyone claimed the Y2K problem would cause planes to fall out of the sky and the electric grid to crash, 2012 is already being heralded as the end of the world.

Though 2011 Rabbit year had plenty of turmoil left over from the Tiger year in 2010, the world’s leaders spent a lot of time on Rabbit diplomacy.  As in past Rabbit years, treaties and agreements galore were signed and those that criticized or pointed out the unpleasant realities of the world economies and human sufferings were ignored and shut out. Cunning and subterfuge were rewarded over open and honest communication and Rabbit overindulgence was rampant among the wealthy. 

The 2011 Dragon will be transformational bringing a very different energy to the world. Direct communication, ambition, drive and the fight for authority will create turmoil and aggression in the world. Rabbit diplomacy will be out the window and honest communication and open conflict back in fashion. But Dragon conflict is not necessarily a bad thing.  Unlike the chaos and disaster associated with dragons in Western folklore, the dragon in China is a sign of good fortune and happiness. The year of the Dragon is considered a good time for getting married, having children, starting new businesses, and making money.  Everything this year, good or bad, will seem bigger than life and larger in magnitude leading to an apex of change for the world.

Cosmic forces will be powerful during 2012.  The sun is predicted to have storms, or Coronal Mass Ejections, which will cause power disruptions and other problems during the year and peak in December 2012. The Chinese believe three symbolic stars are powerful this year, the star of the Aggressive Sword which brings hostility, violence and aggression; the star of the External Flower of Romance which brings infidelity and marital discord; and the star of Powerful Mentors which brings support from influential people.  

Being Roosters, we found the Rabbit year stifling for our hen-pecking and argumentative personalities. We are looking forward to the energetic 2012 Dragon year, where direct communication and controversy are back in fashion.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Finding an Ideal Home in Hawaii

When we arrived in Hawaii we were told most newcomers return to the mainland within four years. Yet after four years living in Hawaii,  we cannot imagine ever leaving the islands.  However, we have met hundreds of people over the past years that regret the house or condo they own in Hawaii and wish they had known more about the climate, laws, and culture before they bought.  Instead of the tropical paradise they envisioned, they own a hot, moldy house in a rain forest community they do not resonate with.

The stories of miserable people in Hawaii planning their escape back to the mainland, as well as happy stories from the people who found their paradise in Hawaii, inspired us to write the book, “Your Ideal Hawaii Home: Avoid Disaster when Buying or Building in Hawaii”.  The book describes the common misconceptions people from the mainland US, Canada, and Europe have about Hawaii; it provides information and resources to help people dreaming about a Hawaii home find the right place.

Here are a few of the misconceptions about Hawaii that are covered in the book.

Hawaii’s Climate
Most visitors to Hawaii don’t realize that the resort hotels in Hawaii are located in the few extremely dry climate zones on the islands. The residential areas, however, are mostly in the less pricey, tropical climate zones with average rainfalls of 80 to 300 inches a year.  We have met so many people that bought their house after a sunny vacation in Hawaii only to be completely miserable living under a downpour of rain that never lets up.

Hawaii house design
It is easy for people from the northern climates to recognize the lunacy of building a grass shack in a cold climate;  you would likely freeze to death in the winter.  But the same thinking does not seem to apply when they build their house on a tropical Hawaiian island.  Without any research, people spend their life savings on a house with thick insulation, large windows that do not open, short eaves, surrounded by large trees and foliage. In Hawaii, these homes are solar oven hell-houses that retain heat, attract bugs, grow mold, cause heatstroke, and cost a fortune to keep cool and dry.

Hawaii is in the Tropics
The perfectly manicured grounds and air conditioned rooms in a Hawaii hotel hide the fact that the islands are in the tropics. Though this may seem obvious, we have met many newcomers horrified by the size of bugs and sorry they moved to Hawaii just over that. Living in the tropics means big bugs, tropical parasites, and getting overheated while trying to keep up with the fast growth of plants. Tropical flowers and fruits are a beautiful sight to behold, however, maintaining a garden and controlling bugs in the tropical humidity and heat is more work than many realize.

Property Laws
Property laws in Hawaii are a unique combination of historic laws, articles in the Hawaii Constitution, and Hawaii Revised Statutes. Land use laws, historic claims, and permits, implemented by state and county organizations, are restrictive and no title is entirely free of encumbrances.

The book is available in Kindle ($4.99) and paperback ($9.99) versions. You can view the table of contents and read the first chapter free, by clicking on the Amazon link below and selecting “Look Inside”.

Our hope is that the book helps people planning to buy or build in Hawaii find a home on the islands with a climate they love and in a community where they can flourish.

Let us know what you think.