The 15 Pound Challenge: Part 1

It’s been a full month since I started the 15 Pound Challenge, and I’m feeling pretty good! If you haven’t read the 15 Pound Challenge introduction be sure to check it out here to know what this is all about.

In Part 1 I am going to be focusing mainly on what my wife and I are eating during the 15 Pound Challenge. Part 2 will have all the details about our workouts, and Part 3 will have the results.

Like any significant life change the beginning is often the hardest part. Turns out, Callie and I are no exception to that rule. We both had a pretty rough start to the month. Callie came down with something and was sick the whole first week of June. And I… slept too much and didn’t eat enough. She really had a legitimate reason for having a bad start, but what is my excuse? It’s hard making new habits!

After a few days, though, we both got on track and started to see a difference early on.

So what are we eating and drinking during the 15 Pound Challenge?

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The 15 Pound Challenge: Introduction and Weigh In

Recently, my wife Callie and I were inspired to do something about our health. Neither of us is in bad shape really, but we are definitely not where we want to be. We don’t drink or smoke, and we rarely eat fast food, and on any given day you could look in our refrigerator or pantry and find a mixture of healthy organic foods among the quick and easy processed not-so-healthy foods. Still, over the last couple of years we have let our health slip behind things like work, entertainment, and leisure. We both know our health should be a top priority but sometimes life happens and we need a kick in the pants to get back on track. Well, after a recommendation from my brother, we watched a great documentary called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead by Joe Cross (it’s on Netflix for free!) and got just what we needed to shake things up around here!

Callie has been mentioning over the last few months how she wishes she was 15 pounds lighter than she is now. And I’ve been thinking over that last few months how I wish I was 15 pounds bigger, stronger, and faster than I am now. That’s right, I’ve actually lost 15 pounds of muscle over the last couple of years in part due to a very fast metabolism, lack of consistent exercise, and not eating the right diet for my body type. Basically, I want to gain 15 pounds of lean muscle mass. So I got to thinking…

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8 Words to Help You Do the Work That You Were Made to Do

At some point in your career you have probably wished you were doing something totally different. You might have told yourself something like this, “Here I am wasting my days away making widgets when so many other people out there have careers that actually matter.”  You might think doctors are doing it right since they help the sick and injured, or the person working at Red Cross handing out supplies at disaster zones, or the pastor at the church down the street.

All three of those careers are wonderful, but are they for everyone?

For me, it was the people serving in churches and around the world doing mission work that I envied the most. I thought those careers were the real deal and if I wasn’t doing that kind of work then I hadn’t quite made it yet.

Then I found something that blew me away.  While reading the book The Legend of the Monk and the Merchant author Terry Felber revealed to me an important fact with only 8 words:

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How to Live With a 0 Credit Score

The credit score is a rating system designed to encourage you to remain in debt for the rest of your life.  If you don’t believe me, see for yourself.  The borrower is slave to the lender and I sure don’t want to be a slave to anyone.  And because of my choice not to use debt my credit score is 0, but I don’t mind.  Like anything else, your situation may be different than mine, but this is what I have learned in my experience.  If a company gives you too much fuss about not having a credit rating just go somewhere else. There are simply too many choices out there to be bothered by a company with no common sense.

Take a look below and find out what some industries require to do business if you have a 0 credit score.

Electric Utilities

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How to Uncover the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage

Note: This post is about marital sex and some of what you read here may be too blunt or straightforward for some of you.  However, if you read on with an open mind I can assure you what you learn here will develop a foundation for the best marriage you can imagine.  Also, I am a firm believer in sexual abstinence before marriage.  We won’t get into the details of that in this post, but perhaps that’s a topic for another day.

If you are married or hope to be married someday then I have some good news for you.  The book Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage by Dr. Kevin Leman will do exactly what its title says and teach you everything you need to know about this particular subject.

 If you have a great sex life:

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A Quick Guide for New Bible Readers

If your life is out of balance, in particular your spiritual life, then I’ve got great news for you.  There are only two steps to creating balance.

1. Read the Bible.

2. Do what it says.

Since this wouldn’t be of much help if I didn’t go into any more detail, I’ll help you get started.

When I first opened the Bible I didn’t understand a lot of it, but I figured if it had held true for thousands of years then there had to be some good stuff in there.  So I gave it a shot and it changed my life.  That change was definitely not overnight, more like a few years of reading, but nonetheless it absolutely changed my life for the better.

If you haven’t read the bible but are curious about it, read on because I’ve put together some information that should help.

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Why You Should Use Social Media and How to Use It

I won’t go into details, statistics, or provide info graphics about social media.  Honestly, most articles written on this topic are outdated in six months.  For the sake of balance I’m just going to introduce you to the three main social media sites that I use.  I’ll describe each of them briefly, how they can benefit your social life, and share some best practices for each.  Hopefully this post will ring true a little longer than six months!

What is Facebook?

A place to connect with friends and family (and business) to share what’s going on in your life or find out what’s going on with theirs.

Why use Facebook?

Since I’m not exactly a social butterfly, Facebook helps me stay in touch with friends and family that I otherwise would not keep up with outside of the occasional get together or family gathering.  If you think Facebook is a waste of time please reconsider. Use it as a tool to create balance in your life!  Since most of your friends and family have an account, use it to connect with them.  To make sure it remains a useful tool and not a distraction you need to implement a few boundaries.

Best Practices:

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The Best Way to Track Your Health is With Fitbit

One of the most measurable ways to find out if you are out of balance in your physical life is to step on a scale.  Are you satisfied with the number you see, or would you rather not look?  Either way, you could probably make some adjustments to your lifestyle to improve the balance in your physical life.  The good thing about your heath is that you’re in control of it (well, that could also be a bad thing). You get to decide what you eat, what you drink, and whether you exercise or not.

Even when you do decide to make healthier decisions it’s still difficult to stay motivated and keep track of your diet and exercise.  I recently came across two awesome tools that will help you stay motivated and keep track of the numbers.  I actually own both products and have already recommended them to my family and friends because I truly believe they can help people live healthier lives.

What are these two tools that I find so helpful?

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The Secret Behind a Successful Career

Rhinoceros Success by Scott Alexander is one of my all-time favorite books.  It was what inspired me to make this website!  The reason it is so awesome is because it actually contains the secret of success!  After years of searching I was thrilled to have finally found it! Do you want to know what that is? Straight from the book,

“The secret of success is, naturally, becoming a rhinoceros.”

Most people are sheep or cows.  They keep their heads down in the pastures and stay within the safe confines of the fences.  Alexander says “[they] just don’t believe they can achieve and, consequently, they don’t try. They don’t give it even one good charge! They see all the opportunities floating by them, but believe success is for a few handpicked rhinos…Cows will tell you they are being realistic.”

So how will becoming a rhino help you live a balanced life?

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How to Make A Personal Budget

Planning in advance is critical to having a balanced life. This post will cover how to exactly how to make a budget the balanced way. Before the next month begins sit down and think about all of the things you will spend money on for the upcoming month. The budget should be your playbook for allocating your money before it’s spent, so you will know exactly where it’s going, and not wonder where it went.

Before we get into the nitty gritty, if you’re starting a budget for the first time, you need to determine how much debt you have and determine the total market value of your assets. If you have never done this before it may take a couple hours, but is important for understanding the big picture of your personal finances.

Once you track down those numbers, separate your income into three categories: giving, saving, and spending.

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