Sunday, July 9, 2017

Day #22 and TMM

Checking in. It's Day #22.

Weight 344.2 (down 3 pounds)
Blood Sugars 107 (wow I haven't had sugars this low in years in the mornings)

Book finished: "Emergence" by Derek Rydall (excellent, highly recommend)

Car audio started: Jim Butcher's 1st book from the Codex Alera series "Furies of Calderon". Loving it so far. This is way different from The Dresden Files books, but so far it is really good.  Who knew that you could take a challenge from a fan about two lame subjects and write 6 books about it and have it become a best seller. (Pokemon and The Lost Roman Legion.  And just to be fair, it was lame in the fan's eyes)

New foods:


  • Keto fried chicken - mmmmm...so good. 
  • Keto riced cauliflower chicken soup.  Chicken and rice! OMG this is so good.
  • Keto ice cream - heavy whipping cream, with strawberries and Splenda.  Mmmmm mmm good.


Starting tomorrow morning: The Miracle Morning 30 Day Challenge.  Yep, it's time.  I've put this off long enough.  I just watched a keynote by Hal Elrod that was his first one back after going through chemotherapy.  You know, it gave me that kick in the pants of "what the hell am I waiting for." Lots of great takeaways.  Here is the video if you want to watch.  He teaches the whole method of The Miracle Morning in this hour and shares his story.  He is an amazing inspiration.


So while Hal teaches the method here, I highly recommend getting his book for a lot of in-depth information on the Life S.A.V.E.R.S. and how to get the most out of them.  I've read through it twice now.  Something I don't normally do with a book.  I may go back and reference it from time to time, but I rarely reread something.  

Starting early tomorrow morning (5 am is my plan) I'll be doing
  • S.ilence - 10 minutes of meditation with my Calm app.
  • A.ffirmations - 10 minutes of affirmations with one of my Paraliminals recordings.
  • V.isualization - 10 minutes of visualizing my weight loss and health recovery journey.
  • E.xercise - 10 minutes of stretching and some form of exercise to get my heart rate up a little.
  • R.eading - 10 minutes of reading from Jon Vroman's "The Front Row Factor".
  • S.cribing - 10 minutes writing in my Diaro journal.

This will be the 60 minute routine (maybe more) to begin the day.  I'll report back in here on my blog as I go along with my weight loss and TMM (The Miracle Morning) journey.

Also, listen to Hal's podcast.  It's one of the best podcasts on the internet.  The diversity that he covers with subjects on success and self development is part of the reason I undertook this journey I'm now on.  I wouldn't have heard of Jon Vroman or Derek Rydall if I hadn't downloaded some of these podcasts to listen to on my commute.  I listen to podcasts in the morning on the way in and I listen to fiction on Audible in the afternoon drive to unwind in what is sometimes 2 1/2 hour traffic home.

Buy the book.  Try it out.  At least watch the video above.

Musical inspiration for the week. Lori Diamond & Fred Abatelli - "OM". I love this song. I did a video for them for this song that you can watch below. Great artists, excellent album and just the most kind and loving couple I've ever met in the indie market.  I used to play them on my radio show and now I listen to them at least once a day.


Have a peaceful and positive week everyone! 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Day #15

I decided to try something different today. Updating via the Blogger phone app.  Yeah, bad idea.  It didn't save, didn't upload and basically lost everything I typed.  Ah...live an learn.

So, Day 15.  Blood sugars 111 for fasting. Weigh-in 247.2 (another two pounds).

New foods tried.

Mashed Cauliflower. Oh boy, does this taste like mashed potatoes.  Yum.

Almond Flour Pizza Crust. OMG, this is so good.  Definitely a keeper.

Coconut Flour Bread.  First batch was weird.  My wife is retrying the recipe as I write this.

I'm also going to start sharing the reasons I'm switching to way of eating and getting healthy.

Reason #1 - I'd like to live longer.
Not only for me, but for my family.  I don't want to be kicking off early because Type 2 Diabetes takes my legs, kidneys, eyes and heart.  Nope, I'm going to fight this.  I have a clear vision now and it involves hiking, traveling and enjoying a more active lifestyle in the coming days.

I'll share more reasons in the weeks to come.

And now for a little inspirational music for the day.  From my musician friend Jennifer Thomas.  An uplifting piece of music that I have on my positive and motivational playlists for when I walk and work.  She has a new video coming out tomorrow that I will share when it's released.  If you don't own Jennifer's albums, go buy them.  You won't be disappointed.  Jennifer also has a Patreon page.  You can be part of the production of her latest videos and help support her as an artist.  Pretty cool perks she has too.  Have a peaceful and inspiring week everyone!



Sunday, June 25, 2017

Day #8 - Firebird Rising

Day 8

Started off with a 113 blood glucose. (Yes!)  Weighed in at 349.2 pounds  That's 4 pounds since day 6.  Picking up more energy.

My portions have been getting smaller, because I become more satiated while eating.  We've done a little heavy whipping cream in our coffee and boy am I loving that!  So decadent.

I've started to track my numbers again in MyNetDiary.  I have used a lot of different calorie/macro trackers in the last 7 years. This one I always go back too, because there are no advertisements and I get to track my glucose levels. You can also track medications, but that feature needs a redesign. The reason I went back to it, is I wanted to see just how many fewer calories I'm consuming. Which yesterday, I came in about a 100 under budget.  I also set the carb goal to 20 a day and the other goals adjusted to fit.  Pretty cool feature.

I wonder why some of these tracker apps don't share information about Keto diets.  I paid for premium on this app which to me is worth it for all the great extra features you get and it's cheaper than MyFitnessPal.  That site/app still throws a ton of ads in front of you for Under Armour (who bought them) and the Premium membership is too high for what you get.  The database on MyNetDiary is better as well.  So if you're looking to check out a great tracking app/site, give it a try.
I didn't like any of the others I tried.  Spark People and Noom Weight Loss are good apps, but their database is lacking and I'm not a big fan of Noom's way of eating.  I've always kept the free account versions of all of these, just to get the newsletters, because there are always great tips.

Well, that's my app rant.  Just wanted to drop a post, because I'm excited as more weight melts away and my blood sugars are starting to stabilize.

The reason you see my blog name as Firebird Rising (someone asked me).  The Phoenix has always had great meaning to me.  When I was younger, my best friend used to write awesome superhero stories. (I always loved them Scott)  We chose our names. I can't remember his, but I love the name Vagas.  A football player had that as his last name.  I thought it was cool.  So my superhero name became Vagas Firebird.  It has stuck with me as a name online for years.  I love images and the story of the Phoenix and the chance to rebuild out of the ashes daily from the choices that might burn us down from the day before.  The picture is from  The Phoenix card which comes from the Hidden Realms Oracle deck by Colette Baron-Reid.  Beautiful deck.  Pictures and messages are amazing, if you're into that sort of thing.

So everyone have a peaceful and less stressful week.  I'll check back in next week at this time.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Day #6 - Pushing on through


So it's Day 6.  From reading blogs and groups on Facebook, plus reading some tips and techniques from DietDoctor.com; I've read that the first two weeks are the hardest as your body switches from carb burning to fat burning.  I have hit a few bumps, but nothing serious so far:


  • Headaches
  • A few leg cramps (but not bad)
  • Lethargy (but not too much) 
  • A few moments of constipation, but even that didn't last very long.


I started at 368 pounds.  This morning I weighed in at 353.8 pounds!  15 pounds down in 6 days.  Now, mind you, some of that is probably water weight, but it's a good start.  Things I'm starting to noticed:

A little more energy in the morning
Breathing easier
Back is going out less, but that will take some more weigh loss to correct
Able to walk a little further than I have been without being out of breath
I'm less hungry. That's the cool part.
My sugar cravings are subsiding.  We had one last night and did some berries in high fat Greek yogurt.  It was like ice cream...kinda.

I have not done my measurements.  I'm going to wait on that until the two week mark.  First day was 59" on the waist and 57" on the chest.

I took this week off as a Staycation, so that I could get adjusted to my new WOE (way of eating).

So far the menu has been:


  • Burgers off the grill
  • Broccoli with shredded cheddar and butter
  • Eggs (I love eggs) scrambled, omelet and hard boiled for lunch
  • Cottage Cheese - high fat
  • Salads
  • Chicken off the grill seasoned with Penzy's 4S (awesome spices)
  • Alice Springs Chicken (grilled chicken, butter basted afterwards with sauteed mushrooms, bacon and topped with cheddar cheese.  A homemade kinda-honey-mustard made with Splenda, Real Mayo and Mustard) Good stuff.
  • Some salami, hard cheese and olives as a snack while having a glass or two of Cabernet at night time.


Big difference is the blood sugars as well this week.  I started off between 130-150 range for fasting blood glucose levels over the last few weeks.  Each day it has steadily dropped.  128, 124, 110, 109, 103.  During the day, the range has been 75 to 95.  I've actually dropped off of Glimepiride and Byetta for now, because I was dropping low the first couple of days.  I'm still on my Metformin, Jardiance and Actos for right now.

I'm really enjoying this WOE.  It's also been super fun doing this with my wife.  As we traverse what works for us and what doesn't, it's been fun to explore our dietary options.

I also received my new phone this week, so that's been exciting too and we went and got our library cards as well.  I forget how much I love libraries. Ours is amazing too.  We might take a trip to the big one in downtown Aurora today.

Whew...I know, it's a lot for an update, but I'm really excited about where I'm going now.  I hope that everyone is having a great summer so far and I will keep everyone posted in the weeks to come.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Day #1

Here we go kids.

The Father's Day gift that I give to myself is to start my Keto journey. Some call it LCHF, some call it Keto Dieting, some call it Atkins. It's all roughly the same. I have some great friends who are having awesome success with this lifestyle eating change. (I don't want to call it a diet)

My ultimate goal is to get back down to 220 pounds. If I go further than that, then great.

Here are the reasons I am doing this.
  1. To put my Type 2 Diabetes in some form of remission
  2. To be able to be active again. Walk, hike, bike. I'm missing too much.
  3. To take longer walks with my wife, kids and dogs.
  4. To just feel good again.
  5. To live longer.

There's a whole bunch of other reasons as well. I'm going to check in on here and keep a picture diary.

Day #1 368.2 pounds.





Thursday, May 18, 2017

Struggling But Waking Up


I'm not sure where things fell apart for me.  

You get up, you try to do your best in the world and regain something that you once had and it just seems so far out of reach.

I'm talking about my health.  Let me share, because it brings some perspective to me and might help someone else.

83 to 87 - around 200 to 215 pounds.  More active than I am now, that's for sure.  Nothing sport related.  
87 to 91 - shot up from 215 to 355.  Stress and emotional related eating. Quit smoking in 91.
91 to 92 - went on Richard Simmons Deal-a-meal went back down to 225 and was featured in his newsletter in 94.  
93 to 94 - became vegetarian, went down to 180.  Bones were showing.  Not health for my big boned body.
95 to 96 - gradually put on some weight again.  Still vegetarian, but brought it back up to 200 to 205 Walked at the Morton Arboretum a lot and all over Naperville during these 91 to 96 years.
97 to 99 - put a little weight on to play Jake in the Blues Brothers.  Went up to 235 to 245.  98 I went back to meat.  Smoked again till 99.  
00 to 04 - hovered between 245 and 260 drinking more, started smoking again in 2003.
05 to 08 - hovered between 260 and 280
2008 - Quit smoking for good this time.
08 to 10 - Boom, up to 380.  Smoking gone, no exercise and emotional eating from job tanking.  Add to that undiagnosed sleep apnea at the time.
11 to 12 - Dropped back down to 325 with low glycemic diet. A little walking.  Got my CPAP. Diagnosed Sleep Apnea and GERD.
2012 - 12/7/12 my D day.  Diagnosed Type 2 Diabetes.  A1C 11.2 Blood Sugar that morning was 582.
13 to 16 - Mild weight gain.  Various medications.  Swings down and then back up.  Went down to 298.  Went up to 335.  Hovered there.  Exercise all over the place.
2017 - A1C high, 5 medications and a new one that has made me gain weight back. Diabetic neuropathy (nerve pain in the feet).  My pants aren't closing very well, problems breathing, back goes out (and I mean severe lower back pain and spasms) when I walk more than a block.  My sugars were normal for a while, but now starting to run high again.  My A1C dropped down to 6.6 at my last visit. Managed diabetes range. Weight at the doctors office was 365.  Now 370 after a couple of weeks. Add to that the fact that I'm struggling with panic attacks, anxiety and depression, which I have started taking a medication for.  

So at 52, I'm a mess.  I get mixed signals about what I want to do and where I want to go with career. I get mixed feelings about what I want to learn and what I want to do for my health and well being. And I'm not talking mixed signals from others.  I'm talking mixed signals from my own dialog. 

"Yeah, wouldn't it be cool to go into Data Science."
My mind says, "you're too old to relearn all the math you need to know to even begin to be in this field."

"Yeah, wouldn't it be cool to write some novels and some self help books?"
My mind says "when are you going to find the time...what do you know that someone would want to know...you can't write self help, you're a mess, look how fat and old you are....no one wants to listen to a fat old guy." the fight goes on internally.  

Enter a book called "The Miracle Morning" by Hal Elrod.  I started reading this last month and finished it pretty quickly.  I drank in the podcasts on his site, which are awesome.  Inspiring pods from Honoree Corder, Jon Vroman, Christine Hassler, Ryland Engelhart and Jon Berghoff to name a few.  Just incredible stuff.  I feel like a sponge right now.  Jon Vroman's book just came out called "The Front Row Factor".  I just spent my last couple of dollars that I had this week to get a copy of it. His interview with Jon Berghoff on the Achieve Your Goals podcast that is from Hal Elrod's site, was one of the most inspiring talks I've heard in years.  Not only that, but it's making me rethink a few things.  

I seem to be chasing after something that isn't there, instead of living in the moment and healing myself.  I got out of the radio shows, because I felt the need to shift my purpose.  I thought I knew what I wanted it to be, but I'm not so sure anymore.  So while I'm deep diving into what I want that to be when I grow up, I'll still be heading towards some form of Data Science, which I might only try to focus on one aspect of it.  A lot of what I already do, can be considered as data science, but it isn't labeled that at the moment.  It's always about semantics in IT and ADA (another damn acronym). 
The writing piece I really want to do, but we'll see where that leads too as well.  I think my big main focus for me is to get my health under control.  Lose the weight, exercise, meditate and eat healthy. I'm also going to start practicing the Miracle Morning.  If you have not read this book or have been mildly interested in reading it, I couldn't recommend it more.  It's what started this ball rolling.  Hal Elrod is a genuine guy.  He's also battling a rare form of cancer at the moment and Jon Berghoff has stepped into do his podcasts for him while he heals.  My gratitude for him is immense.  He's helped to wrench me out of my rut.  Mr. Vroman took it a step further last night, while I was stuck in deep traffic riding home.  I am really looking forward to diving into "The Front Row Factor".  If you are not familiar with Jon's foundation, The Front Row Foundation, go check it out.  It's a very cool Wish model.  

So, what about music?  Well, I'll always be creating music.  I'm just getting into working on a side project with a great songwriter.  So I'll keep you all informed as that becomes available.  I still want to do a duo performance project with my wonderful wife.  We'd like to do some ConcertWindow style shows and then start branching out into the community to perform at various venues in the area. Music is in my blood.  It always will be.  I have plans for a new piano album and a new ambient meditation album as well.  Plus I have always wanted to record a guided meditation.  Mike Sherrill has told me several times that I'd be good at putting people to sleep.  (said in his voice. kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk) 

The mojo is working again.  Time to pull myself out of the quagmire that I have been stuck in for quite some time.  Time for the Sleeper to Awaken.  Stay with me my friends as the phoenix tries to rise from the ashes once again.  

"A person needs new experiences. It jars something deep inside, allowing them to grow. Without change something sleeps inside us, and seldom awakens. The sleeper must awaken." (Duke Leto Atreides - "Dune")

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Deep Thoughts

This year has got off to a crappy start in some ways. In others it's been pretty cool.  You never realize how powerless you can be until illness and disability hit you. Five weeks of coughing, losing sleep and then cracking a rib from coughing and being disabled right in you tracks. Every movement hurts. Every breath. Every fart, cough, burp, nose blown and BM, hurts. Even eating to some degree. But when you can't sleep for three days while your body adjusts, it just sucks on all levels.

You become grateful for the little things. Being able to lay down and get at least six hours without a sharp knife pain in you back, is one of them. You realize that:

  1. You have to lose weight.
  2. You have to really focus on your meditation practice so that you can bypass the nawing pain.
  3. You have to start exercising to get your back muscles back so that this doesn't happen again. Or at least to get it to the point where it takes more before it happens again.
  4. That you really need to focus on those things you've been putting off. Because something like this teaches you that it could have been worse and you might not ever get those things done if you had something more disabling happen to you.
  5. That the person that you married is there for you no matter what. Through thick and thin, you are a team and you'll do anything in you power to take care of the other person no matter what happens. That's pure gold right there and true unconditional love.
  6. That your animals know something is wrong and you need love and comfortable cuddles.
  7. That it's okay to show that scared child that's within you and that it's not being weak to cry or show it.  That this whole "toughen up and be a man" thing is horseshit.
  8. Happiness is found in your state of mind in the moment. The second you can breathe deeply without pain is a great moment.
  9. You will heal.
  10. You will get better.
  11. You will move on.
  12. And you will probably forget some of this stuff.
  13. But you have this blog entry to remind you.

So for now, rest, heal, focus and let go. Tomorrow will be there for you, as will all the stuff on your to-do list.  Positive thing for today? Pain has backed off a bit and coughing has almost subsided.


May you all find peace of some kind today.