3D Printing Basics

I started 3D printing around Thanksgiving of 2021 and have been sharing my achievements and projects with friends, family and acquaintances. Frequently there are those that ask, what is it and how is it done. Below is a link to a very brief and basic explanation at a very high level of FDM printing.

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3D Printing – Here we go

I’ve been a 3D print lurker for as long as they’ve been around in the maker community. I watched the line of RepRap models expand and change. I watched as several 3D printer brands made there forays into the market with many fading into oblivion. I also watched as many promising brands and technological ideas fell by the way.

But, I always held back because I knew that they could very easily be a time suck. Something that I would enjoy and likely become frustrated with the amount of free time I wanted.

In September of 2020 I found myself out of corporate life and realized, I didn’t need a job (I counted toward the great resignation I guess). Fast forward several months and I realized that I should take up hobbies that I had been putting off. So I dusted off the idea to take up 3D printing.

Thanksgiving of 2021 and I bought myself an early Christmas present of a Creality Ender 3 V2 . What took me so long?

Actually it was logistics supply chain. I tried buying through three different Amazon vendors that advertised a good price, but once I made the purchase after a week or so I’d get a message that my order had been canceled or wouldn’t be shipped for several months. This took a few weeks of trial and error.

So, instead of messing around any more I went to the Creality.com website, figured out they had a US presence and placed my order. I had my printer in a week.

I will share as time goes on.

28 June Keto Curious – I Quit

It’s official. I’ve called an end to my keto experience.

Why? Stick around to find out.

First, as mentioned previously there is continuous forethought and effort involved. Planning meals, menus and shopping. That meant tracking all the elements of the diet. Ensuring enough of the right fats and proteins. And in a household where no one else is keto minded or supportive, it’s an uphill climb.

Second, I heard complaints of mood swinging. I would have my cheat days and my keto numbers would be reduced. Getting my numbers back in line seemed, from other peoples observations, to result in being grumpy and moody.

Third, I hit a plateau at 7 to 8 pounds maximum loss. 5 in the early stages and very few beyond that. It was a lot of continual effort with little additional benefit. I felt it was unsustainable. I resolved myself to resigning from keto.

My assessment of Keto. It does have value. BUT you’re much more likely to be successful with a supportive household environment where it can be a permanent adoption and you can focus your efforts on the details and nuances to persevere and overcome hurdles.

4 June Keto Curious -Progress??

29 May I woke up and the scale finally showed movement. Two pounds lower than yesterday’s weigh in for a loss of 6.

I thought “Okay”, maybe this is progress. Maybe I turned a corner.

Yeh, I don’t think so. It was the only date that low. Okay, so up to now I’ve been circumspect about specifics. Why? Well, there personal.

When I first started I was 215 pounds. I was 214 pounds when I started actually tracking on a fairly regular basis. On May 12th I recorded 211. I bounced around 211 to 210 until May 29th, when I recorded my low of 208.4. Since then I’ve been between 209.4 and 210.4 pounds.

Can I call it progress? It seems marginal at best. I must be doing something wrong. And I’m getting tired of it’s impact on everything. It feels like hours every day revolve around my prepping meals that are carefully choreographed.

I don’t even try to measure ketosis levels because I can’t trust my meter.

So, I look at my larger metrics. My BIA seems to have reduced by 1.5%. 28.9% to 27.4%. But the level of accuracy on that is so so, but it is trending in the right direction.

My waist appears to be 1.5 inches smaller. Not huge, but probably the biggest notable improvement.

My belly button measurement has reduced by roughly 1.25 inches.

And both my biceps seem to have increase a quarter of an inch.

With this real slow progress, I’m afraid of burnout and giving up.

I must be doing something wrong. I’ll do some homework to hopefully identify my problem. But, I’m beginning to lose patience.

Okay, I’m going to continue to persevere.

28 May Keto Curious Week 3 – Frustration!!

Week 2 had gone well and I thought I deserved a bit of a reward so I planned a cheat a cheat day. “Plan” is probably a bad label since I had a hard time getting clarity on how to cheat without destroying progress.

In my homework, I discovered that following my particular plan (high fat, lo/no carbs, and mid protein) really allowed for a cheat meal, NOT the 24 hour marathon glorious binge fest that seem to be recounted by some in their click baity headlines. Okay, I’m cool with that, but it pointed out that I needed to learn more, but I thought I had enough information.

I had checked my ketone levels with the breath meter that had arrived during the week before. My first reading was 2.1, which was considered moderate ketosis. I didn’t check again for several days leading into my weekend. Honestly, things got really hectic and I lost track of daily metrics for several days, like taking metrics one out of three days.

On the spur of the moment, my daughter was in town so we planned lunch at a nice outdoor eatery. I thought, perfect timing for a cheat meal. The place had a great variety of food options. I ordered a grouper sandwich with onion rings and for desert I have a scoop of ice cream. That was a Saturday.

Life continued to be busy, but I went right back on the keto diet. I was still plateaued on my daily metrics with no marked increase or decrease. I was around 27% BIA and in a single pound of the weight I quickly achieved during that first week. I tried my keto meter Tuesday following the Saturday cheat meal and my heart fell. If the meter was right, it was clear that I had kicked myself way out of ketosis. Completely. My reading was a .1, which meant I was barely beginning keto over again. Ugh.

Thursday my reading was .7 and today my reading was .6. That doesn’t indicate real ketosis according to the meter. I expected to bounce back to a decent reading at least.

That was difficult to grasp. But as I thought about it, I begin to question the accuracy of my meter. The only way I could test my theory is if I get another unquestionably accurate tester to confirm against and I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

Either way, it was a blow to my morale. But I made a six week commitment and I’m going to stay with it.

I struggle with whether the diet is worth it. I mean, if I’m not actually in ketosis then why the heck am I putting myself through all this effort?

And yes, it is effort. It’s not easy. There is the time constantly researching the right and wrong of keto, whether it’s books or Youtube or online blogs. Then there is the extra time and expense shopping for keto friendly food or ingredients, there is the actual prep and cook time. And the emotional effort of staying on top of things, which only now seems to have become a challenge as the effort doesn’t seem very fruitful. Then again, it has only been three weeks of my committed six weeks.

I have a feeling of progress, but I can’t seem to measure or capture it in a meaningful way. I have times where I don’t feel as bloated and grab my flab to check for marked change.

I give a huge shout out to those that go through all this effort while maintaining a career and family.

Today’s summary: Still at 4 pounds lost, 27.4 % BIA. My other metrics, I’ve received resistance from my assistant who believes that weekly tracking of those metrics are inappropriate.

21 May Keto Curious Progress

15 May was a weird day. Our family went to a Renaissance fair here in Florida. During the day while walking around I really felt a bit odd. The feeling was a bit woozy and disconnected. Having been through a number of physically strenuous things in life, I knew this was a minor alert. But if I didn’t address it immediately, it potentially could progress into a fainting spell. And the last thing I wanted was to ruin the day for everyone over my stupidity.

Thankfully we were just walking up to food stands when this feeling hit. I got a large bottle of water and a hot dog. Of course I tossed the bun and ate it with a little mustard on top. That seemed to take the edge off and I felt better for a couple hours.

I believe this was a combination of keto flu symptoms and dehydration. Apart from that day, I felt minor symptoms the rest of the week.

I ordered a breath ketone meter to check myself.

During the week, I did decide to try working out regularly for three days this week. Interesting personal observations. My soreness post workouts seems less. I was able to perform full workouts each day and felt less sore or achy the day after. But is it psycho sematic? I don’t know, but I’ll take it. It’s a positive indicator.

I have to remind myself that it’s still early in the process. Plus, I haven’t allowed myself a cheat day. Which, based on some sources, is important to overcoming plateaus. I can’t call it a plateau yet, but it’s been pretty flat for this week.

I’ve made a promise to myself that I would commit to keto earnestly for six weeks at the minimum. I am honestly recognizing that for every thing I learn, there is so much to learn and potential mistakes that I can make.

Speaking of learning, I realize that there is sooooooo much keto information out there to digest. And it’s sooo easy to miss details. Keep a list, journal, document, or all of the above to track, retain and look back at things. Take notes while watching Youtube or reading.

I’ve been using my Fitbit app and Charge 4 to track my food and exercise log along with all the other metrics. I’ve been tracking metrics on a spreadsheet. My intention is daily to track body weight and BIA (bio impedance analysis) based on my bathroom scale. My infrequent metrics cover neck circumference, biceps, belly button, and waist. Of course, this is as much to ensure I’m doing the right thing, but also to examine trends.

I’ve also purchased a breath ketosis meter. Reviews indicate that breath ketosis measurement is relatively accurate where blood ketosis measuring is more accurate. I chose a breath meter for convenience. When that arrives, my intention is use it infrequently to ensure I’m in ketosis and check if I’ve been knocked out.

So let’s sum up where I am. I’ve been measuring weight and BIA based on my scale. I’ve lost about 4 pounds. My BIA dropped an average of 1% so far. That was achieved by the 15th, but since that day, the needle seems to have stalled on those measurements. On the 21st, I took my latest infrequent measurements and saw both belly button and waist measurements reduced by less that 1 inch. Positive indicators.

Summary of tools I’m using now: Fitbit app and a Charge 4, keto breath analyzer(when it arrives), a tape measure designed for body measurement, my bathroom scale, Tom Delauer Youtube series and to a lesser degree keto books and magazines on the side for variety. I expect this list to grow.

I didn’t go into what I’m using for workouts since it’s not diet related. Maybe I’ll touch on that in future.

Magnesium, Wow!

Through following the course to get started with ketosis, I added magnesium to my regimen. But it really made a big difference when I took it just before bed.

I’ve relied on melatonin to make me sleepy on many nights in a week. But honestly, since taking magnesium I haven’t once. I wear a Fitbit consistently and my sleep score average has gone up from a low 70 average to 80 average. I used to have maybe one night a week in the 80s and the rest were 60 or 70s. Now, it’s five nights a week.

I credit magnesium with this huge improvement to my quality of life.

14 May Keto Curious Progress

I started my journey on May 7th. I did it cold turkey and with calorie reduction. I decided the first few days I would run at deficit of 500 calories. I based my daily caloric budget on my Fitbit, which adds calories with activity.

At the same time, I re-introduced magnesium supplements into my regimen. According to Tom Delauer, taken before bed, it could help with sleep among many other things. Here’s a link to the one I first heard about Magnesium. I saw an amazing improvement in my Fitbit measured sleep score.

I also decided that the first week of keto, I would take it easy on workouts. Last thing I needed was to get faint or suffer in the middle of one of my routines away from the house.

My beginning was a bit awkward in the bathroom. I had the runs for periodically through the second day. Not painful, but I was definitely losing fluids. From what I understand this is normal. My gut felt a little off, but not painful. Then I was a bit constipated for a day or two. And now I’m normalized.

The first few days after the initial 48 hours, I was mindful of my gut. My gut was still a bit off but not painful and no discomfort. Just different.

I ate well and really began to understand that being satiated on keto was a real thing. I didn’t always have a breakfast right away in the morning because I would still feel full from the night before. If I was late for a meal, I never got that ravenous discomfort or headache like I would with processed carbs.

I also spent part of this time on my own spreadsheet and sorting out how I was going to track what I was eating. I wanted it to be simple with what I had on hand so I didn’t have to spend a lot of money. I decided on two sets of measurements. Those I would perform frequently [as much as daily] and those I would perform less frequently [like weekly]. Frequent was weight and BIA (bio-impedance analysis) from my current floor scale. Less frequent measurements include: Height, weight, BIA, neck, belly button, waistline and bicep. I’ll go more into my logic on why these some other time. Ultimately the logic was collect enough varied metrics so that if I didn’t see progress in one area, I might with another.

I normally started my day with scrambled eggs that included cooked (wilted) spinach, chopped peppers, occasionally a few cherry tomatoes and maybe some black beans.

For lunches, I mixed it up with various salads using canned tuna or leftover beef or chunks of chicken breast. I made sure the sauces were keto friendly. My two favorites: Italian dressing – made from a packet using virgin olive oil and red wine vinaigrette. Store bought spicey buffalo sauce.

I also busied myself reviewing keto recipes. It adds to the variety of what you have available. There are tons out there on the web and on Youtube. And of course with substitution of some ingredients there aren’t many recipes that can’t be created in a keto friendly fashion. Exact replicas, no, but reasonable enough to satisfy most cravings.

As for weigh ins, I do them first thing in the mornings. Same is true for my measurements as best as I can achieve. I know the the BIA (bio-impedance from my scale isn’t to be relied on.

Of course, the wife is appreciating the fact that I am cooking far more often since I want more control over my diet. Getting to the 14th wasn’t that hard.

Keto Curious prelude

Let’s jump right in. Why am I keto curious? I’m newly retired and I have a spare tire of at least twenty pounds. I can no longer run or jog without severe knee pain which makes big calorie burn sessions more challenging without large investments of time.

The extra size and weight make me uncomfortable. Compared with my age group, it’s not so bad. But my internal need say it’s too much. I’ve been carrying this extra weight since 2011 of course with periodic fluctuations. For a period of time after quitting alcohol and all those extra calories, I lost weight, but progressively I’ve inched back up.

I took a few baby steps in preparation. Trying to remove junk from my diet. Like using Stevia sweeteners for my morning coffee. Or curbing my pizza intake to half a pizza, rather than a whole pizza. But, without removing things altogether, I was still consuming breads, cakes, and sweets along with suffering from severe cravings for them.

I wasn’t successful at dropping the terrible twenty pounds. In fact, for nearly a year, I was stuck at a fixed weight that I could never get to swing more than a few pounds and can easily be attributed to water weight.

In the meantime, I did some reading and looking around. Keto style diets seemed to be the oldest and most validated actual diet programs out there. Apparently the principle of ketogenic dieting has been around since 1921 and been utilized to great success for diabetics and athletes.

There are other programs out there with a successful track record. But this one seemed to personally be the best fit for me.

My original source information came from Tim Ferriss “4 Hour Work Week” and “4 Hour Body”. (By the way, NONE of my links in this article are affiliated with me in any way. I receive no compensation directly or indirectly). His principles are simple and ultimately is a variation on the practice of a ketogenic diet that he terms the slow carb diet. Satieting carb cravings with the use of allowable carbs.

Next was a few small keto magazines from the grocery store checkout. Which were far more about recipes rather than day to day principles and practice.

Ultimately, my best source came from YouTube. His name is Tom Delauer. I like his channel because it is filled with years of videos beyond what any book covers and clearly he knows more than the superficial common information. And if you see him, you can tell he knows his stuff. He is bulk, buff and can talk circles around nutritional and diet subjects. Some of his explanations can go very deep in the tech talk.

Here it is early May. Wish me luck.

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