2012-12-31

This is how I lose weight

This is how I lose (and maintain) weight.


Advantages:
  • If you stick to it, it works. Reliably.
  • Spreadsheet tells me when I can eat, how much I can eat, and how much protein I should get in the near future.
  • It helps me follow a nutrition plan where I eat 20 or more grams of protein in every 3 hour window, and 130-160 grams of protein every day. This means I actually lose fat, instead of muscle, and keep most of my muscle mass.

Disadvantages:
  • Requires an aptitude for numbers.
  • Requires food with nutritional information, and/or constant look-ups on a site like TheCalorieCounter.com.
  • Requires weighing most items you consume, i.e. all items where the nutritional information is not framed for a practical, reliable serving.
  • For meals consisting of multiple ingredients, requires a cook willing to weigh every single ingredient, as well as the end result.
  • Some exercise is still necessary. You don't get any protein while you sleep. Muscle will atrophy if unused.

I've been using this system for 6 years. It has evolved from pen and paper to the spreadsheet on the screenshot.

It's a demanding system. However, if you aren't genetically gifted, in my opinion it's the only way to reliably lose weight, short of surgery.

My natural appetite is high; I'm attracted to low protein food high in sugar. If I stop sticking to the system for a period of several months, I lose all sense of how much calories is what, and find myself eating servings double the size I should be.

If you want to lose weight, hit the gym, lift weights, build muscle, and stick to this system.

2012-12-20

AA sells impossible connection, blames gov't, declines responsibility

So I needed to go to St. Kitts, and purchased a return ticket on American Airlines from Costa Rica to St. Kitts, via Miami.

It turned out the return connection didn't have enough time to make it through immigration in Miami. I was not unusually held up in any way - I even ran from the airplane to immigration. It's just that the lines this time of year are so long, by the time I was through, I missed the connection to Costa Rica.

The surprising part is, American Airlines declined responsibility. "We have no control over immigration," they said. Yes, but you put millions of passengers through Miami every year. You know how long the lines are. Why do you sell tickets for connections which you know a person can't possibly make?

"We won't pay for your hotel if you were delayed at immigration," they said. But I wasn't delayed - not compared to any other passenger. I just went through the normal process.

"The connection time is legal, you had one and a half hours to get through immigration." What does that mean, legal? "It means that you had enough time." But I didn't have enough time. I went through the process I had to go. I even ran from the airplane to immigration. How could I have possibly done anything more?

"We spoke to the government numerous times, it's not our fault they don't have enough agents. It's always going to be like this when government is involved." But you sold me a ticket knowing full well how long the lines are going to be this time of year. And if your argument is that government is bad at planning, how come I needed to stand in line another hour, to have this conversation with you?

"Best we can do is a discounted rate at a shitty hotel so you pay $80. Also your next flight is 24 hours from now, and we will give you a discounted rate for only a day. You can also spend this time at the airport."

American Airlines. "Responsibility. We've heard of it."

2012-12-14

People will lie for no reason

People will lie for no reason, and keep it up for years:


The overall percentage of people who are driven to keep up a lie for no reason is probably small. But sadly, this needs to be considered every time we hear an anecdote.

"What possible motivation could they have to lie about it?", I would ask myself, when I would hear an incredible story.

Well, there you go. No motivation needed.

2012-12-13

Condominium for sale in Frigate Bay, St. Kitts

St. Kitts is a small, green, sunny island in the Caribbean. It's part of a two-island federation, St. Kitts and Nevis, located about an hour's flight east of Puerto Rico. The islands are an independent nation, part of the Eastern Caribbean Community, and part of the British Commonwealth.

We moved to St. Kitts in May 2007; we are originally from Slovenia. Living on the island has had its benefits and shortcomings. For my part, the shortcomings were largely outweighed by the warm, all-year-round sunny weather. I just love that about living on the island. My wife, however, prefers more of a city environment. After 5+ years on St. Kitts, we are looking to make a new home in Costa Rica, and to sell our condominium in St. Kitts.

Price

I'm looking for something in the range of USD 525,000. That's about $150k less than what it cost me 5 years ago, even before inflation, and less than its recent appraiser's valuation, which is $595 - $640k.

The reason I'm pricing it like that is, we used the Citizenship by Investment opportunity that came with buying the condominium. It is therefore no longer of interest to those who seek to invest to obtain a citizenship. However, it is of interest to buyers who would buy it for the place it is.

Location

The condominium is located in Frigate Bay, in one of the most attractive areas of the island, where many expatriates live, and most leisure activity takes place.

It is located 100 yards from the Atlantic beach, and 500 yards from the Caribbean beach. You can see the exact location on Google maps, here.

The development is 10 minutes by foot from the Marriott Resort, a nice hotel where you can find a spa, some shopping, a well-equipped gym, and a collection of restaurants. The Marriott golf course is right in front.

The Caribbean beach nearby has a promenade of open-air restaurants and bars where beach volleyball, water sports, and night life happen.

A neighborhood convenience store, a coffee shop, and several restaurants are within walking distance, 5 minutes away.

For bigger needs, the main town on the island, Basseterre, is 5 minutes away by car. A majority of the large stores on the island, from groceries to home improvement, are on the side of town that's easily accessible from Frigate Bay.

The international airport, with daily connections to Miami, neighboring islands, and elsewhere, is less than 10 minutes away.

Size and Layout

The condominium occupies the top two floors, 3 and 4, of a residential building that has 5 other condominiums sharing the same stairwell.

The condominium is rectangular in shape, with an inside floor area measuring about 55' x 30', totaling about 2870 square feet with both floors (265 square meters). There are additionally two balconies, one on each side of the building, bringing the total area to about 3500 square feet (325 square meters).

Downstairs, there is a large kitchen that extends into a large dining and living area, surrounded by 3 rooms, a utility room, and 2 bathrooms. There are views of both the Atlantic and the Caribbean.

The kitchen is Italian, by Aran, and has many cabinets, large working space, and an island. It is one of the nicest parts of the house.

Upstairs, there is a large living area, surrounded by 2 rooms and 1 bathroom. One of those rooms is our master bedroom, which includes a walk-in closet. The living area upstairs has a view of the Caribbean.

Infrastructure

The condominium has cable TV and internet access via The Cable, as well as a phone line and internet access via LIME. In our experience, internet access is reliable - surprisingly, better than in Costa Rica.

The electricity comes from SKELEC, the government electrical company. There are outages from time to time. Sometimes all is good for a few months, and sometimes the power is out every other day, a few hours at a time. I include a couple small generators with the unit; you could have a larger one installed.

All windows in the condominium have hurricane shutters, which are motorized, operated with a switch, and have a manual backup. By closing shutters, it is possible to make all rooms completely dark.

Every room has a separate air conditioning unit; if one fails, the rest can be kept air conditioned.

Photos

You can also find photos of St. Kitts I took in past years, here.

Access and parking:


Entrance stairwell:


Kitchen:


Stairs:


Upstairs living area:


Upstairs bedroom:


Upstairs bathroom:


One of the downstairs bedrooms:


One downstairs bathroom:


Other downstairs bathroom:


Utility room:


View from north balcony:



View from south balcony: