Chronicles of Kyle

Humble Husband * Fond Father * Enthusiastic Educator * Lover of Life

Category: Thriving Thursday

No S Diet Plus

My No S Diet Results article has gotten quite a bit of traffic and comments. I wrote that piece back in 2018. Some people have asked me if I have still been following the No S Diet guidelines. The simple answer is YES. The realm of possibilities with this protocol are quite endless. What I am currently following is what I, myself, call the No S Diet Plus.

No S Diet Plus

I will make this article brief, as it is simply an insert, to the long, detailed article I initially wrote about the No S Diet. Before I I get started with what currently works for me, let me introduce myself. My name is Kyle Ballou and I am 35 years  old. I am an educator and have three young kids of my own.  A person must eat to live. I get that. However, because I was always so busy, I sometimes ignored this important detail of life. Sometimes I would skip meals altogether and then attempt to catch back up by binge eating and/or eating food that was not wholesome. I became attracted to the No S Diet for it’s sheer simplicity–No Sweets, No Snacks, No Seconds, EXPECT on days that start with S. 🙂  However, I took it up a notch. Read on find out what my  “Plus” is with the No S Diet Plus…

Intermittent Fasting

I have been intrigued with fasting for a while now. There are many ways to go about fasting that can be read HERE. My approach is the 18:6 protocol coupled with the No S Diet. Fast 16 hours, eat during an 8 hour window. Why did I add this part to the diet? A couple of my reasons.

  1. My busy lifestyle had me skipping breakfast anyway, so it was actually natural for me to take in my first meal at 11ish.  My only adjustment was when I stopped eating.  In this case, my fasting window is from 7 PM-11 AM. A big chunk of that fasting window is while I am sleeping.
  2. Fasting has many health benefits that can be read about HERE.

No S Diet Plus Results

Once I added this to my regimen, I have been losing a pound or two a week, like clockwork. My wife also does it and it fits our busy lifestyles so well.  At the end of our fasting window, we are more intentional in making healthy meals because our bodies are ready for them.  With this, you can choose to continue your fast through the weekend or since those are your “S days” (free days) you may decide to forgo the fast on those days and start back Sunday evening into Monday morning.

Disclaimer and Tips

Before starting any type of diet or exercise regimen, it is important to consult with a doctor beforehand.

Another tip is that if you become hungry during your fast, a glass of skim milk always helps satiate me and gets me through any hunger pangs.

Also, diet coupled with exercise is crucial in fast tracking your weight loss endeavors. The 10,000 rule is powerful–10,000 steps a day is a great goal to set for good health. That is all well and good but documentation is the number one thing to hold yourself accountable and consistent. I started off by using  this journal HERE to manually write down my fitness and food journey.

When that became too monotonous,  I turned to a comprehensive health tracker like the one HERE. This gives me a holistic view of my health all the time–diet, heart rate, sleep, exercise, nutrition–a one stop shop for wellness. With this I am quickly able to tweak any part of my lifestyle that could be derailing my efforts.  While this was a bigger investment, I decided to get more serious and not put a price tag on my health.

I only share these two bits of information as what has worked for me in fast tracking my results and is in no way something that has to be purchased but writing activity down does help. Be intentional. 🙂

Give No S Diet Plus a try and see how you like it. Here’s to your great success stories!

Dad Bod Prevention Protocol

Dad Bod Prevention Protocol

This blog post will not be full of fluff. My body is already enough fluff without putting more here. Enter– Dad Bod Prevention Protocol.

This is for men who are tired of a dad bod or men who have bodies softer than than the throw pillow that supports their back, as they plant themselves on the couch.

There were three Ss that came to mind when deciding what I wanted in an exercise routine, since kids, jobs, and other obligations consume much of my time now.

SWEATJust move!

SUSTAINABILITYSomething that won’t make me so miserable that I won’t stick with it.

SIMPLICITYMinimal equipment. Functional fitness that will make me stronger for daily life.

This routine won’t get you show ready, but again, that’s not my intent. Toning is my intent.

Minimum Viable Prevention (MVP)

These exercises can be done daily without any problems. If need be, they can be done every other day, and on off days, walk or jog as far as comfortable.

Push-Ups

1 set of 10

Set-Ups or Crunches

1 set of 10

Repeat this 10x

I kept the rep range low because I am just that out of shape. This was doable for me and something that made me sweat but did not make me question if I would stick with it. A stronger core and a firmer chest are ways to save yourself from full-blown dad bod or soft bod. Possibly not an end all, be all, but a start, nonetheless.

I finish the last part of the routine with either exercise bands or 20 lbs dumbbells.

Flex Curls into Shoulder Press

1 set of 20

Lying Skull Crushers

1 set of 20

Repeat this 5 times

Feeling Super Ambitious?

Put the treadmill on full incline and walk at a moderate pace with light dumbbells for 15 minutes.

Conclusion

That is it. This is not earth shattering stuff, but it is something that absolutely anyone can do daily. But how many will actually commit to the Minimum Viable Prevention daily? I am traditional all the way. If this is done early, one could also do something else of an evening to really up the ante, or this could be done before bed. To add more to the diet side of things, check out my No S Diet Results article. What part of your physical life will you change today? Just move. 🙂

Full Body Workouts: Thriving Thursday

This Thriving Thursday I discuss ways that I have moved for the week. To look at last week’s Thriving Thursday CLICK HERE. Today I share with you two different full body workouts that I did. One is a workout that can be done anywhere. All you need is the gumption to actually do it. The other is if you have a gym somewhere that has the proper equipment– not a lot of equipment but just a few basic things.

Full Body Workout #1

Full Body Workout 1

Last weekend my brother sent this to me. He said it was a good workout and something that he had been doing. I always like hearing what other people are doing. I like this workout for a few reasons:

  • Simplicity and No Equipment– I completed this workout on the area rug in my living room. It can be done anywhere which makes it nice with vacation and other traveling coming up.
  • Increases Heart Rate-From the get-go, your heart rate increases and it stays that way for the duration. I might add that the exercises are staggered, so that some are more intense than others which allows a person to catch his breath throughout. On some of the more difficult exercises, I split them into sets. The workout is still quite effective, even if you have to do this as a modification.
  • Quick and Efficient-My brother said according to his Apple watch the routine showed him burning 300 calories. This could easily be done twice a day and could make a considerable difference in weight loss. It took me roughly 20 minutes to complete it. Someone in tip-top shape could probably do it in 15 minutes.

Full Body Workout #2

For the second of two full body workouts for the week, Leah and I went to the exercise class at the local college.  Below I list what we did. This was an extremely difficult workout. Each exercise was done for a minute for as many reps as we could do.

The first five exercises I did with a 45 pound weight plate. This could also be done with dumbbells if you prefer. The videos shown below are with dumbbells and some with weight plates but we did the weight plate for simplicity.

1. Standing Skullcrusher

2. Standing Front Shoulder Press

3. Bent Over Row

4. Oblique Twist into Should Press– Note: We did more of an upward motion and raised it to the opposite shoulder. For example, if we started at the left hip, twist and lift above the right shoulder. Do one side for 30 seconds and the other side for 30 seconds.

5. Standing Curls w/ Plate

6. Medicine Ball Toss with a Partner–Note: Both people will be doing the same twisting movement into a toss. If you don’t have a partner twist and throw it against the wall.

7. Kettle Bell Front Swing–Note:  We alternated hands on each swing and did a light weight since it was for a minute. We also brought it up a little higher than the guy in the video below.

8. Next was the front isolation–I held two ten pound weight plates, one in each hand, arms extended straight out in front of me for one minute. So painful!!!

9. Medicine Ball Slams

10. To finish, we did an ab exercise of our choosing.

We did 2 rounds of what is listed above. Each exercise was for a minute as hard as we could go. Reminder: As stated earlier, the first five exercises I did with a 45 pound plate for simplicity.

Once we were finished with this, we got on the spin bike and did 30 second blasts pedaling as hard as we could and 30 seconds of rest at a slow pace for three sets. Then we did 30 second blasts pedaling as hard as we could followed and one minute of rest at a slow pace.

We cooled down by walking a few laps around the track.

Since I have become more motivated to move, I have been looking for something that will give me some equipment at home but is also very minimal, a portable workout station, and something that I can travel with if I need to. This product was intriguing to me and something that I may end up buying. Has anyone else used this? Please leave a comment down below if you have any experience with it. It seems like it is something that would come in handy. CLICK HERE to take a look.

Conclusion

I have had a pretty good week with these two full body workouts, as far as breaking sweat goes. My diet is still a work in progress. I weighed in at 230 lbs last night which is motivation to continue moving. I plan to start back with the No S Diet protocol. CLICK HERE to read about it. I also plan to couple the No S Diet with an intermittent fasting approach. This seems to fit my busy lifestyle best.  More to come on that next week. Take Care.

Full Body Workout and 300 Abs Workout

Today is Thriving Thursday in which I share with you something about diet or nutrition that I have focused on for the week. I am by no means a guru of fitness or diet, yet I do enjoy studying it and incorporating something weekly, even it is a few walks per week. Today I wanted to share with you the full body work that our fitness instructor at the local college shared with us, along with a 300 abs workout I always enjoy doing.

My motto is “just move”. I also feel like the magic number for optimal results is one hour on any particular day a person commits to exercise.

Start off slow. Possibly two days per week. When your body becomes used to it, incorporate three days with a day of rest every other day. Eventually go to five days with a different body part each day, or my favorite, and best bang for your buck, full body aerobic exercises. For some great additional exercise ideas, check out this website for some tips by CLICKING HERE.

Full Body Workout and Abs Workout

The last few weeks I have been attending exercise classes at the local college with my wife, Leah. This is a great opportunity to spend some time with her and also get in better shape. Above is the workout we did this week.

Below I discuss some of the things we did this week. We usually go on Tuesdays and Thursdays and go for walks or something light on the other days. With kids, this is the most realistic for us.

The first exercise our instructor did with us was frog jumps. This movement incorporates explosion and increases a person’s heart rate, while gassing the upper legs. This can be done with reps or by keeping time. Your preference.

The second was wide stance squat pulses. These also provided a nice burn. We usually do these for 30 seconds, 45 seconds, or 1 minute, depending on your fitness level.

The third exercise was narrow stance squat pulses which actually hurt me worse than the wide stance. Time was the same for these depending on level of fitness.

The fourth exercise was squat into a shoulder press. I loved this exercise because it incorporated many muscle groups–shoulder, arms, and upper legs. Decide a rep range comfortable for you in which your muscles start burning. Be your own judge with where you are at this point.

The fifth exercise was the squat with one arm raised holding a dumbbell. This again worked the upper legs and also required some balance as one arm was raised. After so many reps on one side switch arms.

Next we did push-ups in which we shifted our weight from side to side after every push-up. The other we put one hand forward and one hand back and did a push-up and the alternated our hand position. We finished with diamond push-ups with hands close together. We did ten reps of each style. I usually pick out three from the video above for ten reps a piece, total of 30.

Do the above exercises for 2-4 rounds depending on fitness level.

To finish we worked abs. This has always been my go-to ab workout. It works all parts of the core, and it also gets a good sweat going.

Conclusion

This was a nice full-body, cardiovascular workout. If interested in a diet that I use often with great results CLICK HERE to read about my No S Diet Results. No bells and whistles, just a common sense approach.  As mentioned, we usually exercise twice per week at this point and also incorporate some walking or jogging on off days.  When coupled with a healthy diet, there is a considerable difference in how we feel. I share this mainly as my own journal to refer back to or for anyone wanting some inspiration or possible ideas. Have a blessed day.

No S Diet Results

No_S_Diet

Hi Everyone! Today we will talk about the letter S. That sounds like something I would say to one of my online ESL students, but it is sort of true in a way. I am at that time of year where I start to think about ways that I can improve my diet and nutrition. Yes, I am that guy. I become an inferno of good intentions at the first of the year. While this idea may get on some people’s nerves, I remind myself that taking initiative anytime is better than no initiative EVER. I have never been a fan of fad diets or something that is highly restrictive. Enter the No S Diet and my results following it.

***CHECK OUT MY 2020 UPDATE BY CLICKING HERE***

Simplicity

You see, I am terrible at measuring out my food. I hate counting calories. I definitely have no idea where to start with counting macros. Kids’ activities, full-time jobs, and second jobs have us all tied up, so some nights a peanut butter sandwich is a victory. If I do something, I don’t want to think of it as a diet. If I attach “diet” to it, I won’t do it. I am more motivated by a change of lifestyle or a set of principles to guide me–easily applicable. That is the reason the No S Diet was so appealing to me–not so much a diet but a 3-step set of guidelines to live by.

Simplicity Breeds Sustainability

With simple guidelines, there is more structure and sustainability. I might add that along with sustainability is the reality of implementing a safety net to offset failure (more on that later). So many times, if we have a bad day, we feel that we are failures and fall back into bad habits because we fell short just one time. The No S lifestyle has always worked for me to help me lose my extra unwanted weight. The results don’t happen over night, but I am of the mantra that slow and steady win the race.

What Are You Talking About?

I stumbled upon the No S Diet as I was looking for a minimalist approach to eating that wouldn’t make my brain hurt in the process. Reinhard Engel and Ben Kallen are the minds behind this thinking, or diet, if you wish to call it that. They have a No S Diet blog with a wealth of knowledge on the topic. Maybe the inner English teacher in me is the reason this intrigued me so much–the repetition of the S sound–well, that and the sheer simplicity of it. There is a short list of guidelines. Ready. Set. Go– no snacks, no sweets, no seconds–except on days that start with S. Isn’t that beautiful?

My Personal No S Results

After reading all the information from the website. I wanted to wrap my mind around all the details. As a result, I bought the book which can be purchased CLICKING HERE. The book discusses a few of the major questions that people often have, along with other strategies to fast track success. I learned about this regimen in 2013, and I find myself going back to this mindset again and again. I started to incorporate this diet with a few tweaks that I will mention later. What I noticed was that I did not feel deprived of food at all. I was still eating wholesome food and felt satisfied. At the time, I wanted to lose about 10-15 pounds. Much to my surprise, I followed these three simple steps, and I lost my 10 pounds in about 2 1/2 weeks. I was hooked. Of course, when one reaches his/her ideal body weight, the weight loss will slow down, but still there is gradual healthy weight loss.

Mnemonics Are Powerful

Remember the days when your math teacher taught you “Please excuse my dear Aunt Sally” to remember the order of operations. Or do you recollect the time when you could not remember which side was east and west on the map, so your teacher taught you “Never eat slimy worms.” Both of those mnemonics have helped students remember important sets of information. The same is true for the No S Diet. The simple repetition of the S sound, that revolves around nutritional best practices, has always been what I revert back to. Bye bye, low carb. Adios, Atkins. Au Revoir, Keto. Shalom, IIFYM. Bon Voyage, calorie counting. Of course, there is some fine tuning to each of the three principles of the diet, but when put it into practice the correct way, they can yield powerful results.

Number 1.) No Sweets

There are the obvious things that come to mind when you think of this one. Candy of any sort needs to be cut out. Soda must also be eliminated. I even added another guideline to my own personal approach of this framework. Many may say fruits have sugar or are sweet but fruits in their original state were fair game for me. When choosing fruits, I typically went for berries or melon. Eliminate any foods that quickly convert to sugar such as potatoes and bread. Replace those with slow carbs from this list to get you started.

Number 2.) No Snacks

For me this was the toughest one. If I found myself hungry, it was oftentimes due to thirst more than hunger. When following this methodology, I found that it was so important to hydrate. This also satiates you to get you to the next major meal. If all else fails and you find yourself wanting to bury your hand in a bag of chips, a zero carb protein shake in between a meal helps with hunger.

Number 3.) No Seconds

Loading down a plate with a balance of all of the food groups will help with the temptation to go back for seconds. This is something I also tweaked in my approach. I found it was the times that I packed a plate down with all protein/no carbs or all bad carbs is when I wanted seconds or was hungry a few hours later.

Days That Start with S

In my opinion, here is the beauty of it all. Saturday and Sundays are your days. I notice that most of my social gatherings occur during the weekend. These days are the safety net that I mentioned earlier. They save the person from failure. A person can remain sane with safety net days in place. Special days are also fair game–birthdays, holidays, etc. My tweak to this was to indulge but don’t overindulge. I found after a while I did not want to eat to a point in which I was sick or too full.

Harvard Healthy Eating Plate

Above is a nice graphic of what I like to consider when planning my meals following the No S Diet to provide accelerated results. This is totally optional and you don’t have to use it. I am just discussing what I used. While this looks like the food pyramid you saw back in school, it is actually quite different in the recommended food allowances. I also saw the best results with my cholesterol and blood pressure when I focused on eating lean white meat (turkey or chicken) Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday and I focused on eating fish on Tuesday and Thursday. My red meat day was typically on Saturday, but sometimes I switched that day for Sunday, depending on my schedule.

Sample Weekly Meal Plan

Note: Prima Della Oven Roasted Turkey and Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts are your friends.

Monday: Breakfast: Snap Peas (Just because I love them and they are quick), Turkey Bacon, Whole Grain Toast, Berries or Melon.

Lunch: Turkey Sandwich on Whole Grain Bread, Low Sodium Green Beans or Mixed Vegetables, and a Handful of Berries.

Dinner: Chicken, Brown Rice, Steam Fresh Bag of Vegetables, and a Banana

Tuesday: Breakfast: Snap Peas, Turkey Bacon, Whole Grain Oatmeal, Berries or Melon

Lunch: Tuna, Whole Wheat Triscuits, Low Sodium Green Beans or Mixed Vegetables, and Apple Slices

Dinner: Turkey, Whole Grain Roll, Black Beans and Banana

Wednesday: Breakfast: Snap Peas (Just because I love them and they are quick), Turkey Bacon, Whole Grain Toast, Berries or Melon.

Lunch: Turkey Sandwich on Whole Grain Bread, Low Sodium Green Beans or Mixed Vegetables, and a Handful of Berries.

Dinner: Chicken, Whole Grain Roll or Brown Rice, Bag of Steam Fresh Vegetables, and a Banana

Thursday: Breakfast: Snap Peas, Turkey Bacon, Whole Grain Oatmeal, Berries or Melon

Lunch: Tuna, Whole Wheat Triscuits, Low Sodium Green Beans or Mixed Vegetables, and Apple Slices

Dinner: Turkey, Whole Grain Roll, Black Beans and Banana

Friday: Breakfast: Snap Peas, Turkey Bacon, Whole Grain Toast, Berries or Melon.

Lunch: Turkey Sandwich on Whole Grain Bread, Low Sodium Green Beans or Mixed Vegetables, and a Handful of Berries.

Dinner: Chicken, Whole Grain Roll, Sweet Potato, and a Banana

Saturday: Indulge but don’t overindulge.

Sunday: Indulge but don’t overindulge.

Note: Don’t forget the simple protein shake in between meals if you are tempted to snack.

Additional Option to Use with the No S Diet

No_S_Diet_Results_Slow_Carb


If the weekly meal plan that I provided above seems too overwhelming or just gets old, the graphic mentioned here is simplistic to follow with using the No S Diet protocol. The 4-Hour Chef by Tim Ferris offers approaches that make meal prep seem very doable and that also gives you a pretty decent balance. The only thing I would suggest is still incorporate a tiny bit of fruit to satisfy your sweet tooth. You can check out that book here. As you can tell with the diet plan and the slow carb graphic, there is some variety, but much of it stays the same. I am a creature of habit, and it seems to make things easier and more sustainable for me to follow, especially with an extremely busy work schedule.

Sunday Meal Prep

Some prep does go into this plan, and I have found that the best containers are those that are disposable. Losing one isn’t as stressful as that lone tupperware one you have to restock daily. With disposable ones, you are able to prep for an entire week, and if you are mindful, you can get more than one use from these containers. There is a peace of mind in knowing when you open the fridge Monday morning that all of your lunches are ready. The container we like can be viewed here.

Next Steps

In conclusion, I mainly wrote this to hold myself accountable. Am I a dietician? Nope. Do I eat clean 365 days per year? Absolutely not. But I do know what has worked for me numerous times in the past. Time to focus again and take action. The basis for my thinking comes from the No S Diet framework, while also incorporating other simple ideas I have come across along the way. I also tried to pick and choose foods that offered short prep time. Does a person have to follow all of the food guidelines that I suggest? No, these guidelines are more for my own action plan, but anyone is welcome to use them to generate some of their own ideas. However, a person can simply use the three simple rules of the No S part and still experience great success at a slower rate, of course. Taking that approach may actually be more doable to start. However, I do think balanced meals are key. I hope this helps someone. I am sure it will help me to just see my plan in writing. Happy New Year and New You! 🙂

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