Happy Anniversary Joey!

Seven years and counting!


Dr. Mao's 8-Week Program - Week 2 Sleep

This focused on sleep.  Now this is one area I really don't have a problem with, especially after I quit drinking.  In fact, neither of us have a big problem with it, but since it is part of the program, we decided to do it.  I have to admit, though, I did it a bit half heartedly.

Our tasks for the week were:

1. Cut back on coffee - Now this has been something I have been working on for awhile for precisely this reason.  I really effected my sleep.  As I am getting older I am becoming much more sensitive to caffeine.   I just to be able to drink until 3 or 4 pm and sleep fine, but that is not the case anymore.  It totally keeps me up.  What I have done to cut down is to bring my own coffee to work in little thermos Joey got me from Costco.  It holds just enough for about 1 large cup of coffee.  I use what's left over from what I make each morning.  Also, since I am not buying coffee anymore I am not tempted to get other treats at the coffee shop.  Also, while $2 a day does not seem like anything major it adds up over the course of a year - $520!  I can put that money towards a trip and get a good night's sleep!

2. Imbibe herbs to sleep tight - I have said it before and I will say it again, I don't really like tea.  I bout Alvita Valerian-Mint Tea for this step, but honestly I didn't drink it every night.  I like to watch a bit of TV with Mojoe before I sleep, so I don't really have time for tea.  However, if you need tea this is the one that has the ingredients you need.

3. Create a peaceful place for sleep - I think we have a pretty peaceful sleeping area, but it could use a bit of straightening up!  I did not do that this week, but I do have a peaceful sleeping space.  One thing that Joey and I bought a couple of years ago is memory foam mattress topper.  I did not get the exact one I am linking to, but that gives you the idea.  These are truly wonderful.  When I first got ours I ended up getting one for both our moms and a couple of friends.  At the time, I found a great deal on one at SmartBargains.com.  They can have some great deals on bedding and have much better prices than Overstock.  In fact, the Big O is a big no for me.

4. Stretch yourself to sleep - It's amazing how just a little stretching can totally relax you, especially if you don't do it regularly.  The book provided some very simple stretches and I did find them helpful.

5. Practice sleep-friendly meditation - This is something I have practiced for years, but it's good to remember.  The book goes through an easy way to calm your mind and relax your body starting with your head and moving to your feet.  I usually do it the opposite way, but you get the idea.  I also find it extremely helpful to imagine myself in my favorite quiet place.  However you do it, it's important to get all those random thoughts out of your head so you can fall asleep.  They will be taken care of in your dreams, but you need to get there first!

So, our second week is done and we are on to the third - Create Energy and Stamina.  Now, this one I can use!  I have decided that I am going to try to continue to cut back on my coffee intake throughout the rest of the weeks along with my water intake, which I have been quite successful at!  Also, some of our diet books are coming in and we are going to soon have to make a decision on what diet plan we are embarking on.  That should be interesting.

Happy Easter!

I couldn't resist just one more:

Looks like one got out!!

Dr. Mao's 8-Week Program - Week 1 Wrap Up

We got through the first week of this with no problems. That's really no surprise since this isn't really all that hard, but worthwhile and some things were harder than I thought they would be.

1. Drink 8-glasses of water - This one was the most important task for me and it was a bit harder than I thought it would be.  I really had to make sure I scheduled my glasses out during the day and it was important that I started early enough in the day to get enough in before I drove home from work.  Drinking that much water naturally makes you use the bathroom frequently so I need to make sure I stopped drinking water about 2 hours before my 1-hour commute home.  With that in mind, it was pretty important for me to start drinking my hourly glass of water at no later than 9:30 each morning.  I had to go to the rest room about every hour after that so that was also my cue to have another glass of water.  I also keep a pitcher of water on my desk so that I have no excuse not to drink it regardless of what I am doing.  It is a good system.

One thing I did find is that I was getting horrible heartburn.  Could I be getting heartburn from water?!!  That seemed odd.  Well, it turns out I was and it is not that uncommon for people that suffer from heartburn.  I was really bummed about this until a coworker gave me a little tip.  Put sliced lemon in your water.  That seemed too easy, but guess what? It totally works.  I put a whole sliced lemon in my water pitcher each day and no more heartburn!

2. Drinks two cups of detoxifying tea - With all that water drinking I have to admit that adding more liquid into my daily routine was not easy.  I mean, I still needed my coffee!  Seriously, though, this wasn't my favorite part of the routine.  I had my tea in the afternoon and again before I went to bed.  Yogi DeTox Tea seems as good as any I suppose.  As I said before I don't particularly care for tea, but if I need to detox this would be a good one I guess.

3. Get a plant for fresh air - I did this at the beginning of the week and got a little plant to put on my desk.  Besides giving me air, it makes me happy to just look over at it and it reminds me that I am on this new journey for a better, healthier me!  Each time I water it and take care of it I remind myself that I need to do the same thing for myself.

4. Take a 20-minute walk - This was hard to work into my day and it really shouldn't be.  When I think about it there are many times I easily waste 20 minutes looking at Facebook thinking that I am going to find something earth-shattering in my news feed - refresh, refresh, refresh.  So, I really tried to take that time and walk.  Usually I walked to the market or something.  Having a goal really helped me.  I have to admit on the days I did walk, I felt much better than those I didn't.  20 minutes isn't really as long as it sounds.

5. Close my eyes and breathe deeply for 10 counts - For the life of me this one was so hard to remember, but I found a time that I always remembered to do it and went with it.  I chose to do it in the morning in the bathroom.  That's kind of embarrassing, but it's the only time I remembered.

So, how do I feel after this detox week?  Well, pretty good and I am happy that I am making the water thing part of my life.  Naturally that is the one task that I am choosing this week to carry with me for the rest of the program.  Now on to Week 2!

Dr. Mao's 8-Week Program - Week 1

Today Joey and I started our 8-Week Program. Week 1 is Detoxify Your Body and the tasks are:

  • Drink 8 glasses of water
  • Drink 2 cups of detoxifying tea
  • Get a plant for fresh air (you just do this once)
  • Take a 20-minute walk
  • Breath for 10 counts
These seem easy enough, but they are things I have not easily been able to incorporate into my daily life - especially the water.  No matter how hard I try I have never been able to get myself to drink eight glasses of water a day.  Today was different.  I actually did it.  All I can say about that is tinkle, tinkle, tinkle.  In order to make sure I drank all the water I needed to I placed a big pitcher on my desk and had a glass after each tinkle break, which was about every hour or so. I also keep a little tally on a piece of paper so I know how many glasses I have had.

I intend to have the tea after lunch and before I go to bed.  I didn't go with the tea he recommended from his site, because that seemed like a product placement to me and I prefer to shop at my usual online stops.  I got Yogi DeTox Tea at Amazon.  I got the six pack because I needed enough for both Joey and myself.  The tea smells better than it tastes, but it's really not bad.  I am not particularly a fan of tea, so we will see about this.

I got plants for both Joey and myself over the weekend and since that is just a one-off thing, that was pretty easy. I just need to remember to water it and make sure my birds don't eat it.

I work in a nice office park, so walking for 20 minutes was enjoyable.  I like to walk with a purpose so I decided to walk to the market since I needed to pick stuff up anyway.

The one thing I know I am going to forget it breathing for ten counts, which is really the easiest thing of all! I will just try to remind myself before I go to bed.

I really like the way this book is set up.  It starts with a a short questionnaire then explains why your five tasks are beneficial. Each day there are more tips and a couple of questions for you to answer.  I think this is going to be a good exercise for both of us and I am looking forward to seeing if I feel better at the end of this.

Dr. Mao's 8-Week Program

While Joey and I search for a weight-loss program, I thought it would be a good idea for us to develop some healthy habits.  You know, those things that we are all supposed to do and feel guilty about not doing?  Drinking eight glasses of water, daily exercise,  getting enough sleep.  All of these things are simple enough, but for some reason are so hard to make a habit. I have to admit that Joey is way better at all these things than I am. He is very disciplined. I, on the other hand, am not.

Usually when I set about developing a healthier lifestyle I make a list of things I "should" do.  This list usually ends up consisting of about 25 daily items, none of which I ever do.  Who could conquer such a list?  I usually just look at it then have a cookie.

The other day when I was walking home from therapy, (since I am crazy as well as chunky), I noticed a book in a store window - Secrets of Longevity - Dr. Mao's 8-Week Program. I checked it out and it was exactly what I was looking for!  A program to help us add healthy habits to our lifestyle.  The book is divided up into eight chapters plus an introduction and an epilogue.  Each chapter starts with a short questionnaire covering one topic and gives you five items to complete each day.  At the end of the week you select one of these items to continue doing throughout the 8-Week program.

This book is really well-written and easy to follow.  Each day you are given healthy tips regarding these tasks and have a few questions to answer about your goals and progress.  This really makes incorporating new habits much simpler since I can handle five habits much easier than 25!  None of the tasks are difficult, but there are some things you have to buy in advance.  I was able to get everything online and it ran about $60 total for both of us.  I found everything at Vitacost.com and will list them as each week goes by and make a big list at the end.

So, now we start our journey.  Let's see what Dr. Mao has in store for us.

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About Sean & Joey

Joey and I are just a couple of guys living in San Francisco. I love cooking and we both like trying new things. Planning our meals is one of our "together" things. I hope you enjoy our blog! - Sean


This blog is dedicated to the two most important people in my life - my mom, Ernee Jean O'Brien, and my partner Joey Concepcion. They both have showered me with unconditional support and love and have always encouraged me to be myself. I will always miss my mom and I don't know what I would do without Joey.

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