Simple Diet

Simplicity and minimalism are related systems but they are not the same. Simplicity says to do things as simply as possible. Minimalism says to decide what’s important to you and get rid of everything that keeps you from that.

With both of those in mind I started thinking about weight loss systems.

Most diets work.

As long as you follow the rules for that specific diet including their rules for a maintenance program once you reach your goal weight.

Weight Watchers works because their points system causes you to eat fewer calories.

The rice diet works because when you can only eat those few foods you tend to eat fewer calories.

South Beach, Paleo, and Keto work because they limit your consumption of carbs which usually results in eating fewer calories.

Residential food programs work because their limited menus mean you eat fewer calories.

Beginning to see a trend here?

If calorie reduction is the common denominator of all weight loss programs, why not just focus on the calories?

So I decided to get rid of the clutter of special programs and go for simplicity.

Back in April, I told I want to lose 100 pounds in two years (that’s a safe rate which tends to result in keeping the weight off) and it told me I need to eat 1384 calories per day.

When I was at Structure House they gave me a formula for figuring out your calorie needs. It says when I reach goal weight I will need about 1300 calories per day to maintain that weight.

So the simple diet for me is to eat 1300-1384 calories per day.

Of any food I want.

Cheesecake? Sure, just count those calories.

Potato chips? Sure, if that’s how I choose to spend my calories.

FitDay lets me enter what I eat into their database and it tells me how many calories I am consuming.

And there will be no transition to a maintenance program since by the time I reach goal weight I will have been eating the right number of calories for two years.

Easy. Simple. Not cluttered.

And working.



The Run Around

Yesterday was the opposite of staying home.

We drove all around the Minneapolis area doing errands. In fact, we made ten stops.

1. The post office in Hopkins, Minnesota, to pick up they mail they’ve been holding since last Saturday. That was long enough for them to hide it. They finally found it in with the Certified Mail.

2. White Castle to eat sliders. The real ones. Not the tiny burgers lots of places are selling now under the guise of being sliders. There’s only one White Castle burger and we occasionally crave it.

3. Super Target to buy groceries. We are, once gain, having trouble buying my “milk”. No one seems to carry Mocha Mix or Coffee Rich anymore. Neither did this store.

4. Galyans to try to buy light weight dishes. Our RV needs to loose weight again and this is the easiest way for us to do it. At least it would be if we could find some light weight dishes. We’ve already tried REI but, while they had some, theirs didn’t say you could microwave them. But at least they had some; Galyans didn’t. We did buy more freeze dried food there, though.

5. Camping World. Their lightweight plates are not pretty but they do go in the microwave. As long as you don’t cook bacon on them. We’ve already melted two of these plates by cooking bacon. Now we have a special bacon rack. We also asked a Camping World employee about moving our rear license plate. It is being obscured by my Segway. She said they’d have to charge their minimum labor of $50 to move it but if they had to move the lights, too, it would be more like $200. So now we need to find out if South Dakota requires the license plate be lit.

6. Super WalMart. Still trying to buy my “milk”; still no luck.

7. Batteries Plus trying to buy two new batteries for my camera. Mine have been recharged so many times they don’t hold much of one anymore. The first store didn’t have them but they sent us to a second store to get one. We still need to visit a third store to get another. Apparently, there are five of these batteries in the Twin Cities area–one each at five different stores.

8. Broadway Bar & Pizza. Nearly forty years ago some friends took us to a tiny bar on Broadway in North Minneapolis saying they had really good pizza there. They were right. That bar has given way to urban renewal but there are now Broadway Pizza places all over the Twin Cities. We always try to visit one while we are here. The one we visited this trip is in Plymouth near where we used to live and it is very popular. We had to back into a parking space because their lot was so full. We’re so glad we have a small RV that can fit in one parking space if the back can hang over the curb.

9. We drove into the setting sun back to the park where we stopped at the dump. No we did not have a Robin Williams experience there. It did take a couple of tries to get our RV lined up properly, though. Their dump is at the base of a hill and there’s a solid fence alongside the hill so it’s hard to see where you need to stop.

10. The fresh water fill. We have only an electrical hookup at our site so we stopped for fresh water. We must have been as close to empty as we have ever been.  We really pushed the limit today–we think. It would be nice to get a sight gauge installed so we could really know how low we are instead of just knowing we are somewhere between one-third and empty.

We finally pulled back into our campsite at Baker Park Reserve just in time to get plugged in before full dark.  It’s a fairly level site but we decided to improve our angle by using the leveling blocks this time.  It’s also a 50 amp site; we only need 30 amp electricity but we like being close to the storm shelter at this time of year so we are paying a couple extra dollars a night for that privilege.  Apparently, that’s how much my peace of mind is worth.



Staying Home

We are at Baker Park Reserve, the place 10 miles from our former house where we first camped as full-timers. We have lots of errands to do in the area but we are not doing any of them. The Twin Cities are under an “extreme heat warning” because the heat index is forecast to be over 100ş today. So, we are doing what we did under those circumstances when we lived in a house. Staying in with the air conditioner running doing computer stuff. We don’t like this weather but we do know how to deal with it.




Leak #1:  the one in our cab area that let’s it rain in when driving through a downpour. Dave called Winnebago and made arrangements for them to fix that one when we get to their factory–probably Friday.

Leak #2:  one of our detectors went off last evening. We thought it was smoke although we couldn’t find a source. We opened windows and vents and it dissipated. Then about 1 a.m. the alarm went off again. This time Dave decided it was probably a propane leak. He used our find-the-propane-leak gadget which said the leak was probably somewhere by the stove. But there’s not much you can do about a propane leak in the middle of the night so he turned off the propane, cracked open a window and the ceiling vent, and we went back to bed. This morning Dave is unable to find any evidence of a propane leak so maybe it was something else in this park that won’t be a problem once we leave here. Unless our detector goes off again, we’ll try not to worry about it. If it does go off again, at least we are headed to the factory; they can fix it.

Leak #3:  sticky spots on the floor this morning. Are they from the rain that came in through the vent during the night? Rain isn’t usually sticky, though. While fixing breakfast, Dave found the leak  In a carton of Coffee Rich thawing on the shelf of the door in the frig. It’s not yet thawed enough to be able to pour it into another container. So the carton is now sitting in a freezer bag back in the door now that Dave has cleaned up all the mess it made.

It’s good to have Dave ready and able to deal with all these leaks.



Heading Home

On vacations in the past whenever we’ve turned in the direction of home it has been hard to get the vehicle to stop. Hurry becomes the word of the day. So I figured we’d be home in a few days and I could do one post about the entire trip.

Guess what? We are no longer on vacation. This is where and how we live now. So when the weather forecast ahead of us said severe thunderstorms with hail we just stopped where we were. And stayed stopped for days. In fact, we are still stopped.

So here’s my notes from the first part of the trip home.

We got up at 7 a.m. the day of our departure from Lake Aire RV Park near Hollywood, South Carolina, did a bunch of chores and were on the road by 10 a.m.

The first interesting sign of this trip said “Carpet Baggers.” It was the name of a floor covering store. Given what the original carpetbaggers were I was surprised to see someone advertising themselves that way. I wonder how business is?

We stopped at WalMart for groceries. At least it was once a Walmart. Now it is a Food Lion. With only half the items on our list.  So, guess where we’ll be stopping later?

Once again our engine lost its turbo boost as we were getting on the freeway. This is becoming more irritating as time goes by.

The next sign said, “Instant Grassification.” It was a billboard advertising a sod company. I admire the advertising people who are able to come up with these clever phrases.

For lunch we got tempted by the billboards advertising Maurice’s BBQ so when we found one on our route we turned in. Odd but tasty. I’d never had yellow BBQ sauce before. This one was called Maurice’s Southern Gold BBQ Sauce. You could buy it by the bottle right there in the fast food place. So, I picked up a bottle and read the ingredients. It did not sound like something I’d be willing to eat. So, it’s probably good I ate it before reading the ingredients, huh?

The next WalMart we found had a horrible access so we didn’t turn in.

We drove through a down pour about 1/4 mile past a rest area when it started raining inside! On me! We have a leak! I shoved a bunch of tissues up around the visor until we could stop and check it out. As it turned out only about one tissue’s worth of water came in but it is very worrisome nevertheless. Why is water coming in? Dave’s bed is up there! We DO NOT want to have problems with mold. This needs further research.

The turbo cut out again. Each time today and at least some of the times previously we’ve been going uphill. We do not know if that is significant or not. This needs further research, too.

We camped for the night at Croft State Natural Area. It took a few tries to get level enough–not level mind you–but level enough. By the time we did we were far enough from the electrical box to need to use both our extension cords. But, it was a quiet place to spend the night.

The next morning we were once again up and out by 10 a.m.

Again our engine lost it’s turbo. This time were coming out of the North Carolina Welcome Center where we had, of course, stopped to pick up a highway map.

The next amusing sign said the next exit was U.S. 64 and it would take us to Bat Cave. Suddenly a deep voice said, “Come on, Robin. We need to go.” OK, it was me that said it but it made Dave laugh.

We passed under the Blue Ridge Parkway. Someday we would like to drive that. We tried once before but we were too late in the season; they closed it the day before we got there.

The next sign said, “French Broad River Basin.” Is that “broad river” or “French broad”?

We stopped for lunch just west of Asheville, North Carolina. When we were ready to leave our “check engine” light came on and our Scan Gauge threw a code! So we pulled into a Ford Dealer’s used car lot making a salesman start drooling. I got the job of explaining our check engine light came on so we needed a place to stop while we figured out what that meant. Dave’s research indicated it was something to do with the EGR valve and that could affect our turbo. So we started looking online for a Sprinter dealer who could, maybe, fix it. There is one ahead of us in Knoxville, Tennessee, who has three Sprinter mechanics and it is  open until 8 p.m. We figure even if this code puts us in what known as “limp home mode” which restricts you to driving 30 m.p.h or less we could get to Knoxville by 8 p.m. Fortunately, we got to drive at our regular speed so we got there mid-afternoon. In the meantime, I got a kick out of the fact the code was a 404 error.

On the way to Knoxville we drove through a short tunnel that made our ears pop then we drove out of the tunnel into another down pour. It didn’t rain on me this time, though.

Finally into Knoxville, Tennessee, where the mechanic at Jim Cogdill Dodge replaced our EGR valve. I sure hope that fixed the turbo problem, too.

It was now about 5:00 in the afternoon and we were headed for a SKP park. They tend to close their offices early so I called to see if they had a spot with electrical we could have if we got there in the next half hour. She said yes because she agreed with me when I said it’s too hot to not have air-conditioning. We did not make it there by 5:30 closing but she waited for us, gave us a site, and said come do the paperwork in the morning. We love the way SKPs are willing to take the extra step to help one another. So we are safely tucked into Raccoon Valley RV Park, just north of Knoxville.

We planned to stay two nights but that is turning into many more than that. We stayed here so long we actually had to go into town to buy groceries and pick up medicine today. But we are having great discussions about the implications of buying a car to tow. Maybe we won’t do that yet. Maybe we’ll wait until after we drive the Blue Ridge Parkway and the Natchez Trace. Maybe.



p.s. Rumor has it the rain problem is a warranty item so we may be able to get it fixed for free.  Maybe we’ll go home by way of the Winnebago Factory.