I used to hate weighing myself.

For most of my life, my scale has been my enemy. Every time I’d weigh myself, my scale would remind me of my failures. It made me feel like I wasn’t disciplined enough… like I was eating too much… like I wasn’t eating the right kinds of food. As a result, I simply avoided scales whenever possible. Once, in a doctor’s office, I refused to weight myself with all my clothes on because — holy cow — that would make me look even heavier!

Then about five years ago, I began a gradual quest to regain my health by losing my excess weight. It all started after I saw heavyweight boxer George Foreman being interviewed on TV. When the host asked this giant of a man how much he weighed, he said “257 pounds.” My heart sank because as I was sitting there, I realized I weighed more than he did! Until then, I knew I’d been gaining a “little weight,” but I was in total denial about how bad I’d let myself deteriorate in this area. I decided it was time to begin a lifelong plan to change me eating habits. Well, five years later, I am much healthier than I used to be… but I’ve never been able to reach my weight-loss goal. I need to go just a little farther. I still need to lose my final 20 pounds.

Then something happened that made me begin to like my scale. I saw a little snippet in Men’s Fitness magazine about a new high tech scale called the Tanita Ironman. Tanita is a commercial scale manufacturer, and chances are your local doctor or hospital has medical grade Tanita scales in their offices. The article described how the Tanita Company has used digital technology to re-invent the common household scale. They’ve invented a new scale that not only weighs you but also gives you a series of eight other full body measurements including…

  • Body fat as a percentage of your total weight — which I think is the single most helpful measurement. A good percentage here will just about guarantee you excellent health.
  • Body water as a percentage of your weight — to let you know if you’re adequately hydrated. For many of us, this is a commonly overlooked area in our daily lifestyles.
  • Muscle mass weight — the weight of muscle in your body. It’s good to gain weight in muscle, but bad to gain weight in fat.
  • Physique rating — an assessment of your physique according to the ratio of muscle mass to body fat in your body.
  • Daily calorie intake — an accurate estimate of how many calories you can consume within the next 24 hours to maintain your current weight. I use this to create my daily eating plan.
  • Metabolic age — the average age associated with a metabolism similar to the one you currently have.
  • Bone mass weight — the weight of your total bone mass, an indicator of overall health and strength.
  • Visceral fat weight — the weight of the really bad brown fat that surrounds your vital organs and causes high blood pressure, heart disease, and type two diabetes. Icky stuff.

So I bought one of these Ironman scales and was immediately blown away by all the helpful information it provides. Now I enthusiastically weigh myself every morning and can immediately see the effects of my food and exercise choices from yesterday. The accurate readings (within one tenth of a pound) motivate me to be more disciplined with my food choices and my exercise habits. The scale also pointed out a dangerous problem area I didn’t realize I had. It showed me I have nine pounds of dangerous visceral brown fat around my mid-section. It’s dangerous because visceral fat acts like a blanket, insulating and heating up the liver, kidneys, and pancreas. Just like any piece of equipment in our printing firms, our vital organs cannot function long without breaking down when they operate at too high a temperature. One of my goals for 2015 is to lose 4.5 pounds of visceral fat by the end of the year.

TanitaIronmanScale

So now, my scale isn’t an enemy. It’s a friend that offers encouragement and positive support daily — and when I make a mistake, it lets me know right away!

Maybe you could help yourself and improve your health by investing in this oh-so-sweet little high-tech gadget!

The model I bought was called the Tanita BC-350 Body Composition Monitor, and it is available on Amazon for about $239.00. That isn’t much when you consider all the life-changing medical information it provides.

My name is Mike Stevens, and I am a printer.

{ 0 comments }

A few years ago, I began to realize I had fallen into a self-destructive bad habit. Every day, I was working hard at the print shop and would often go home tired and fatigued, only to be greeted by “messes” everywhere. Do you ever feel the same way? Do you ever feel like you never get to relax because there’s an endless list of stuff you need to pick up, clean up, organize, or manage at home after work each day? I confess that I often felt that way.

Here’s a 4:30 video of me explaining how I overcame this de-energizing doom loop in my own life. Click the image below to watch it.

rational_minimalism_screenshot

Five years ago, I’d never heard of “Rational Minimalism,” but today it has literally changed my life. As a result, I save more money, spend less time cleaning and organizing my stuff, and sometimes actually have free time after work to just sit and relax without feeling guilty that I need to be cleaning my garage, organizing my utility room, or taking care of a dozen other endless tasks that used to consume my free time.

My name is Mike Stevens, and I am a printer.

{ 0 comments }

How to print a creative wedding invitation

November 11, 2014

Many of us don’t like printing wedding invitations, but we love to print postcards. Here’s a way to do both! The picture shown above is actually a very creative postcard wedding invitation I recently received in the mail, and it really grabbed my attention for a couple of reasons: First, the picture of the couple […]

0 comments Read the full article →

How to save $11,484.00

November 5, 2014

Would you like to save $11,484.00 over the next 22 years? That’s the promise promoted by the manufacturers of some LED light bulbs I recently purchased for my home at the local Fargo Costco warehouse store. I had never heard of LED light bulbs until a few years ago, when my then managing partner, Dave […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Every man needs a good pair of socks

October 22, 2014

OK, I never thought I’d be writing a blog post about socks. You see, this all started last year when my mother-in-law asked me what I wanted for Christmas, and I answered “socks.” So sure enough, one day in December, a package arrived from her. Inside, I found a Christmas present labeled “To Mike.” It […]

0 comments Read the full article →

The day I met the ghost of Babe Ruth

October 2, 2014

Sometimes in life, you experience something unexpected that really causes you to stop and think. I recently experienced a rather emotional “unexpected moment” in Detroit, Michigan. Let me explain. Although I have lived in North Dakota for many decades, I actually grew up in Michigan and graduated from high school there. As a boy, I […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Thoughts about employees and their cell phones

September 3, 2014

If there’s a more provocative topic in the printing industry, I’m not sure what could generate more debate and opinion than whether or not employees should be allowed to use personal cell phones on company time. Do you allow employees to use personal cell phones while on the clock at your printing firm? In case […]

0 comments Read the full article →

How to have a better brain

August 21, 2014

The LA Times recently completed an interesting four-part series on how learning and memory work. And the New York Times wrote about the importance of physical exercise for neurogenesis (the creation of new brain cells). Did you even know it was possible to do something that would help your body create new brain cells? A […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Don’t be complicated

August 6, 2014

“Our life is frittered away by detail… simplify, simplify.” – Henry David Thoreau Are you like I once was? Do you ever think that sometimes you make the simplest decision more complicated than it needs to be? Are you so addicted to trying to make things so perfect and impressive that they turn into a […]

0 comments Read the full article →

The 10 Commandments for a Printer’s Marriage

July 16, 2014

1. Don’t place others before one another. 2. Let nothing on earth become more important than your marriage. 3. Don’t bring a bad day at the print shop home with you. 4. Remember to worship together. 5. Love and accept one another’s family as your own. 6. Don’t harm one another with words, attitudes, or […]

1 comment Read the full article →