Spring in February

The weather here in Milwaukee, like much of the Midwest, has been crazy warm for a while. Warm spells in February aren’t unheard of here but this one is longer than usual. While I’m a little bit worried about triggering perennials to bud out too early and then get damaged as temperatures return back to normal, it’s been nice to get outside. The kids and I have been to a few parks, they’ve broken out shorts already, and the ground thawed enough that I was able to do a partial clean out of the chicken run.

Changing seasons has me thinking about change in general. We’re on a good financial path right now. We ended 2016 low in savings but we’re quickly making up that ground in 2017 and by the end of March should be able to resume a more aggressive debt payment schedule. Maria’s variable rate student loan keeps creeping up but the priority remains the much higher mortgage rate. But in mid-January I realized something else did need to change.

I was gaining weight most of 2016 and by early January 2017 I was 240 pounds and feeling sluggish, bloated, and blah most of the time. I was trying to diet but it was clear I was having a hard time moderating carb intake. Despite ridiculing grain-free and, even more so, low carb diets I decided to try eating very low carb. I’m in a ketogenic diet group for inspiration, support, and ideas but I don’t track strict macros. Instead I eat completely grain-free, and eat small amounts of fruit and high carb veggies like potatoes and carrots.

For someone who loves to bake with wheat flour and has invested in such things has stone flour mills, this was a big plunge. Amazingly, I feel great and rarely deprived. I still struggle with cheating certain sweet things, like dark chocolate (in excess), but surprisingly I don’t miss grains much at all. Except beer – I do miss that! – but I should be able to add it back (in moderation) once I reach my goal weight range. Also interestingly, I used to only be able to tolerate cheese in moderation without having bad gas and sinus congestion, but now I can successfully use cheese as a good source of fat and protein with very little discomfort at all.

In a bit over a month I have lost 10 pounds. My mood was, for a week or two, quite unstable – particularly anxiety – but that seems to have also settled down. Combined with the warmer weather I’ve been feeling good enough to be more active again, both doing cardio and some resistance training again. I need to get in shape for the gardening season, after all!

Another change I’ve made is developing an interest in firearms. I’ve always been casually interested in guns but never to the point of even buying one. We recently bought a pistol intended for self-defense use and I’ll be getting my CCW permit in the next month or two. I take the required training class in March and should have my permit to carry by early April. In the meantime, I’m carrying around the home all the time to get used to the weight of a gun and evaluate my choice of holster. Occasionally I will open carry while at parks and such. While perfectly legal in Wisconsin, I do however prefer to wait until I can legally carry concealed when in public.

The pistol I chose, for those curious, is an FNS-9C. It’s a little heavier than single-stack carry guns but it fits my hand nicely and I’m already turning out pretty good groupings at the range for my experience level. I’ll be saving up to buy another gun soon, probably a .22 caliber pistol or rifle, depending on where I can find a good place to begin teaching the kids basic gun safety and marksmanship. I may also set up a little Airsoft range in the garage. They’re too young for most of the ranges around here.