All posts by Mitch Mitchell

I'm an independent consultant in many fields, so I have a lot to share.

How I’ve Lost 11 Pounds

For the last couple of months I’ve been part of a test being run locally on diabetics. Since I’ve been diabetic since 1997, I know a heck of a lot of it but have learned a few things here and there. It’s been an interesting process, and there’s still a ways to go.

spinach stir fry

One of the things I’ve sort of been forced to do is look at foods I’ve been eating in a different light. I’ve had to track the meals I’ve been eating every day, along with the times. I was given a book to help me “diagnose” certain things in certain foods and come up with daily totals. One week I had to measure carbohydrates and try to stay under a certain number. Another week I had to measure fat, and another week I had to measure protein.

Some of the numbers were eye opening. I was told that I was supposed to be having less than 55 grams of fat a day. That meant that what I’d been eating for breakfast, a meal I normally skipped but was told that I needed to try to eat during this study, was putting me on the wrong road immediately. Turns out 2 English muffins with butter and peanut butter was 37 grams of fat; ouch. One day I went to a restaurant for lunch and had 6 grilled shrimp, 1/2 rack of ribs, a small baked potato with butter and broccoli; that meal came to 71 grams of fat. You don’t even want to know how many grams of fat one trip to one of my favorite restaurants was, where I had a burger, fries and ice cream.

I was also told that I’m supposed to eat around 4 – 5 carb groups a day. That’s between 60 and 75 grams of carbohydrates per meal, 4 meals a day; yes, I was supposed to eat 4 real meals a day. My English muffin breakfast was at 4 carb groups, so there it was a fine meal. But that second meal I mentioned above came in at 6 groups, and the third meal I mentioned came in at 9 groups; definitely not good.

Once you start thinking about how you eat, you’re ready to make some changes. That’s probably the goal of the program in the first place, getting us actually thinking about it instead of just knowing it. There was also an occasion to view a movie online that my wife sent me called Knives Over Forks that my wife sent me via email that I had no plans on fully watching, but I’m glad I did. There was a guy in the movie who described symptoms that I often feel, and except for the fact that he also had high blood pressure and a cholesterol level that blows mine away (as in way too high), his symptoms matched mine.

I decided to change up my eating habits for awhile, just to see what would happen. The movie talks about a “plant-based” diet, which of course means more of a vegetarian diet, and that was going to be an issue since I eat few vegetables. I had to think about what I would eat. I like spinach and I like beets, both of which stuns many people because I guess it’s not a favorite of anyone else.

I decided I had to change up how I ate spinach, because I would boil it to death then add lots of butter and salt. I decided I was going to saute it in olive oil along with a few other vegetables that I will eat, those being cabbage, onions and carrots.

I also knew I had to toss some kind of meat in there to help make me full because there was no way just eating vegetables would last me longer than maybe an hour. To that end I decided to go with chicken, shrimp and salmon. I have more of the vegetables than the meat, but it’s a nice mix. Along with some spices, I’ve been surprised by how much I like this meal, and my wife has even bought fresh baby spinach, which not only cooks really fast but brings a better taste than the frozen spinach I’ve always purchased.

Obviously I couldn’t only eat this though. So I bought salad stuffs and have that from time to time, and even though the fat content of the only dressing I eat might be a bit high, since it’s the only real fat I have it’s fine for an occasional meal. I also discovered lactose-free milk, being lactose intolerant, and the dietician recommended eating bran and corn flakes if I liked it, which I always have. Since I buy 2% milk it’s only around 5 – 10 fat grams per bowl. And when I eat out I’ve been eating Caesar salads with grilled chicken, grilled shrimp or both.

Oh yeah, y’all knew I just couldn’t totally leave my sweets. So I get to have one chocolate milk a day if I want and I get to break from Friday dinner time through Saturday midnight. However, I’ve found that when I break from the other meals that I can’t eat all that much, so I’ve brought foods home and thus not had to buy a second meal out unless my wife ate what I brought home.

The question is what changes have I noticed? I still don’t sleep all that well, but I’ve only had a couple of instances where, after eating, I’ve felt bad, and none of it was due to the new foods I’ve eaten, but due to eating something when I didn’t have a choice to eat healthy, such as at a couple of meetings, and in those cases my chest burned and one meal put me to sleep 30 minutes after I got home. Not feeling bad after many meals is a major step forward.

The big two, however, are that my glucose level overall has come down, and I lost 11 pounds in less than 3 weeks; whoa! I expected the first might happen, but never thought about the second at all. Frankly, the second one is having a bigger impact on my staying good than the first, because it’s been 6 years since I’ve been able to actually lose some weight, and right now I’m at my lowest weight since 2006; just amazing. I’m 10 pounds from the weight I was able to get down to back then, and if I can continue this I’ll get there.

Oh yeah, I have done some exercising as well, but I haven’t gone overboard. I’ve maybe exercised 2 or 3 times a week, mainly walking, and that has a big influence on my glucose, and the cardio probably doesn’t hurt with the weight loss either.

I don’t want to say my buddy Evelyn is right, but I guess I have to say she was on the right track. I’m not going to become a fanatic, and I know that at some point I’m going to have my ice cream and cake. But I think this is a meal plan I can stick with easy enough because it doesn’t cost as much as what I’d been doing, cooks fairly quickly, and I like it. Still, I might have to find something else I’ll eat besides spinach that I don’t feel I need to add a bunch of butter to.

So, what do you think? Is this something you could do for yourself?
 

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How To Focus Better – A Review

I get free stuff all the time, both through regular mail and email. I received this manual titled “How To Focus Better” by Hulbert Lee and debated where the best place might be to post a review on it. I also debated how to review it. In the end, I’m going to play it straight forward, which usually is what I do anyway.

Hulbert Lee Focus

It’s a very short manual, which is why I’m calling it that instead of a book. At 44 pages, which includes the cover page and table of contents, I wasn’t really sure what I was getting, but it looked good. And when I read the first part of it, which was talking about what focus was and talking about the brain, I started to believe I wasn’t going to like anything about it.

Then it started getting better. The overall truth about the manual is that if you’ve ever spent any time reading books on how to live a better life, then you’ll have seen a lot of this, with some variations on the theme. Within chapter titles like Energy, Clarity and Accuracy, Lee gives short and peppy advice on what you can do to move towards these things. Taking energy as an example, advice like get more sleep and exercise more is something you’ve heard before, and he gives you ideas on how to try to achieve these things.

The last part of the manual has more to do with changing your mind to try to achieve some of the things you want in life, things that might help you focus on your goals. Something that I found interesting is when he talked about identifying your values and the possibility of having to shift your values if you’re concentrating on the wrong thing. For instance, instead of dreaming about buying a new car change your value to something like wanting to achieve success, being more patient, or even focusing on what you need to do to move in a positive direction.

My overall impression is that some of you might have read this stuff before, but it’s a good manual to have because it’s short and punchy. Once you get past the very early part of the book everything else is kind of uplifting and will get you going if you need a boost.

It’s easy to refer back to if you ever need to do such a thing, which you probably will. I say this because I actually read this back in February after he sent it to me and I’m just getting around to writing the review, which might make it seem like my focus wasn’t that good. However, as I think about where I am right now, I can honestly say that I put a few of these things into practice and many things in my life have improved since then. So, maybe in its own way it got through to me without knowing it.

Check out the link above, which will take you to his site where you can get this manual. I think it’s worth your time to check it out.
 

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WordPress, Windows And Linux Servers

Last week I tried loading a new blog onto one of my friend’s accounts. I know how the process goes in trying to set up a new blog. You go in and create a new directory, while waiting for it you create a new MySQL account with all the information you’ll need, you go ahead and configure the WP-Config.PHP to what you need, and then when the folder is ready you upload everything and you’re good to go.

Except I wasn’t good to go. The sucker wouldn’t work, and I was getting this strange error message: Your PHP installation appears to be missing the MySQL extension which is required by WordPress.

Only it wasn’t missing anything as far as I could see. I ran a few things and figured something must be up, and at the same time there was a new WordPress update to 3.3.2, so I figured maybe that was the reason. I went and deleted all the files that I’d uploaded and then uploaded the new WordPress, making sure the correct WP-Config.PHP file was there.

I tried it again; same error message. Time to go and do some research, which y’all know I’m big on. And you know what? There’s a lot of mess out there that’s technical gobbledy-gook, and none of it make sense. Okay, some of it made sense, but little of it was anything I could do anything with. I did try some of the things I read, and of course none of them worked.

When all else fails, it’s time to call tech support. I did just that very thing and told the guy who answered the phone what the error message I got was saying. He told me that it was because my friend bought the Windows server package instead of the Linux server package and that, at least with them, WordPress wouldn’t work with the Windows server.

You know, no one tells most people this, but when offered a choice between Windows servers and Linux servers and it’s not your home system, you should always go with Linux. Windows is more stable across the board but not very flexible. I remember my trying to get something to work on someone else’s website some years ago and eventually found out the problem was that they were on Windows servers.

What to do? With 1&1, who he uses and who I use as well, all you have to do is go in and change it in your software package. What happens is that it can take up to 24 hours, though it probably won’t take longer than an hour most of the time, and the account will convert from Windows based to Linux based with no problems. Well, one thing you need to know. Anything you have on your Windows account will be deleted, so you need to back everything up first. Also, any MySQL accounts you’ve created will need to be recreated.

Truthfully, none of that is a big deal. My friend now has his blog, although he’s yet to put anything on it, and everything loaded smoothly. The main reasons I wrote this post is because I couldn’t find this specific information written anywhere and I figured it was time to simplify this stuff. So, if you’re new to this type of thing and you’re going the self hosting route, make sure you purchase the Linux (also known as Ubuntu to some people). And if you’re trying to load a blog and you get that error message above, check to see if you have a Windows package and switch.
 

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Black Web Friday – 4/20/12

Could it be that time already? Yes, it’s time for another edition of Black Web Friday; yay! I don’t have anything else to add so let’s get right into it.

Black Web Friday

David Richeson is a young guy but his site 360° Success offers motivational posts based on something called “hermetic philosophy”. It’s all very uplifting stuff and personally, I don’t think enough people are checking it out. I found one of his posts titled The Power of Why a very interesting and short read that explains why we all need to probe more, ask those questions we might be afraid to ask because we’re afraid someone will look at us funny; great stuff. It’s a traditional blog commenting system but he moderates comments.

I met Danyelle Little on Twitter first and discovered her blog The Cubicle Chick from there, which is what got her listed on my 29 More Black Social Media Influencers post last year. In a way hers is a non-niche blog that’s more geared towards women than men, even though there are a lot of things there that men would also be interested in. She’ll talk tech and entertainment, then she’ll switch to child rearing and losing weight. Yet it’s all done in an entertaining way; I like her style. Standard blog commenting system.

I’m just going to be truthful here; many of you probably won’t want to visit this blog I’m highlighting, but I think you should. It’s written by Brother Jesse Muhammad and titled Brother Jesse Blog, and it’s about issues concerning black people, plain and simple. He doesn’t hide his loyalties or opinions on what he has to say, and that’s pretty refreshing to me. A post that particularly impressed me was on the topic of black on black violence because often when there’s a crime where a black person is killed by a white person someone else white eventually says “how come you don’t complain when a black person kills another black person?” Yes, it happens every single time and I’m tired of hearing it and Brother Jesse addressed it; good for him. This is a Blogger blog.

Oliver Willis‘ eponymously named blog is about politics, and I love his tagline: “Like Kryptonite to Stupid”. Occasionally he’ll write about his favorite football team (the team I hate most, being a Cowboys fan), but his political point of view is illuminating and he’s got the chops to back it up, whether you agree or disagree with what he has to say. A very intriguing piece he wrote in February concerned the Tea Party; check it out if you dare. lol

There you go, 4 diverse blogs for your review this week. Then again, these posts really are about diversity in more than one form, which is why I’m doing them. Enjoy your weekend folks!
 

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Making Money Is Not Evil

Back in November I tackled the subject of making money in a post titled Are Your Views On Money Holding You Back. I pretty much made it clear that I tend to believe most people hold themselves back because they see rich people, or at least people they view as doing very well, as untrustworthy, and even though they want money themselves they don’t want to be seen in the same light by others.


by 401K via Flickr

Lately there’s been a lot of bashing against people who write these “make money” blogs. Yes, a lot of it is warranted, but not because they’re writing about making money.

The bashing comes because most of the people writing about it aren’t making any money at all. Some of those people might be making some money, but they’re not making a sustainable living wage. If you’re making $20 a month by blogging, you’re certainly not an authority on it. If you’re even making $1,000 a month, that’s actually pretty good but it doesn’t make you an authority on it.

Some years back, one of the topics I used to write about all the time were the affiliate marketing programs I was testing; I tested a lot. With each program I tested, I wrote about it, what I saw, and if I’d made any money off it and how much. Late last summer I started a series on all the programs I’ve tried and talked about the kind of money, or lack thereof, that I made. You can see an example of my talking about these affiliate programs here. In my mind it was the most honest way to talk about these things. I mentioned Commission Junction in that post, saying I love how many things they have and how it offers lots of options for advertising, yet also admitting that I’ve not made a lot of money in, what is now, 4 years.

Making money is NOT evil; how you make it might be. Those that pursue income by lying or being sneaky are evil. Well, that might be a bit strong but go with me here. When I was first learning about selling items online I purchased a book from a site called Rich Jerk. The book was actually pretty good, and its follow up, which was a series of extra chapters, weren’t bad at all either. They have an interesting schtick that I didn’t mind of being rude to customers; I thought it was pretty funny.

Then one day they sent a special link to show us how we could make some easy money online. It took us to a video where this guy showed us a way to make money using Craigslist. What he did was find an image of a cute dog on Google, and used it in an ad on a squeeze page. Then he posted something on Craigslist about the need to give his dog away to someone because he was moving and couldn’t take his dog with him. Within hours he’d had around 25 people send him email asking about the dog. What he did was reply to every person, telling them he’d found someone for his dog, and then talked about the training he did on his dog and sent them a link to his sales site. And he actually ended up making 7 sales from it, since his squeeze page was for a dog training manual.

Some call that effective marketing; I call it smarmy. It’s that kind of thing that keeps the hairs on the back of my neck raised high, wondering if certain things are scams or not. And that’s a horrible way to go around the internet thinking, but it’s also the safest way.

Please, go out and make money. I want everyone to live the life they want to live, which I hope is a happy life. Just do it honestly; trust me, if you don’t, you will eventually get called out on it, and then where will you be?
 

Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2012 Mitch Mitchell