How do you know that my data is public?
OK - let's clear this up first before we go into what a VPN (Virtual Private Network) is, and how to protect your data by using one.
So how do I know your data is public? Well, I don't know that it is public in the way that this blog is public, but I do know that it could be, and very easily.
How would that happen? Well, it would just take the will of one of the many millions of capable hackers from anywhere in the world. Every day there are breaches of privacy and data that harms innocent users of the Internet. They are able to, once having peered into your stream of data, they can see everything you do, and get information on things like payment information, banking information, all documents, emails, and literally any ingoing or outgoing, sensitive information. This information can be used to do a load of harm, like wiping bank accounts clean, stealing personal identities, and releasing information that could be damaging if made public.
Is there a way to protect my data and browse the Internet privately?
The simple answer is yes, and yes.
And the simple solution is to go buy a VPN service.
What is a VPN (Virtual Private Network), and how does it work?
A VPN is a system that allows your connection to be hidden behind an extremely sophisticated system of encryption. Just like with everything else on the planet, there are good VPN systems, which typically cost more money, and there are bad VPN systems, which can be as low cost as FREE (the FREE ones don't actually work. If you look into this, you will soon discover that this is true).
The ones that work go through the process below where they are in between your device and the Internet, and they go through a process of cloaking your IP address, blocking unwanted connections, and encrypting all data going in, and coming out, which all allows you to browse anonymously, and safely.
Go get one. I won't make any suggestions because I've only tried one. Go out there and do some research. I think you will find that the prices are reasonable, the options are good, and that the benefits make having a VPN very worth trouble and service fees.
The ridiculous rise of Internet talk shows, podcasts, and broadcasted entertainment options for the new generations!
Podcasts, YouTube Channels, Twitch.tv, oh my!
If you don't know what I'm talking about at this point, you've been living under a rock. You need to get a connection to WiFi or 4G wireless as soon as possible, do a search for anything that seems like it might be interesting, and pay attention to the fact that videos and live streaming are absolutely everywhere. It's not just famous people - like Anna Faris on her podcast, or Joe Rogan on his YouTube channel - it's millions of Joe Shmoes who are sharing live experiences while video gaming, playing PokemonGO, cooking the next thing that will also be viewed on their Instagram, or being retweeted on Twitter.
When did this all happen, and what does it mean for people who are afraid of all the change?
Well, first of all, it's important to even understand that this is happening, and it's not going away, unless something happens to where we legally can't do it - which I don't see coming what with all of the money advertisers are also making from all of this.
To answer the first question - it has been happening for a long time, a little over a decade - where people started podcasting, and sharing a lot of recorded videos online. Most of these people were seen as wasting their time, or being outright dangerous for posting on the Internet where they will never be able to retract their statements, or truly take down their content for good. Now, more than a decade later, a lot of people who started back then are rewarded with huge subscriber bases, with 1000s of YouTubers, Podcasters, and individuals on websites like uStream and Twitch, having over 500,000 subscribers, and making tons of money off of their loyal fans.
I think this is the new way of entertainment for people who aren't old or who aren't boring. Let's face it, if you are still paying $100 a month for cable you are either terribly boring, and nobody gives a shit about you, or you are old and you've had a lifetime of watching television that was picked for you, and you are just set in your ways. The only people I know who are 30 and under who have normal cable/satellite subscriptions are people who get it as an added benefit to their HOA or apartment dues. People who are a part of any of the younger generations are subscribing to Hulu, Netflix, HBO GO, or none of those and instead subscribing to individual entertainers like the infamous, and annoying as shit, PewDiePie.
All of this is generally great. If nothing changes, we will all be able to find hundreds, if not thousands, of entertainment options all across the web, available at the rate of speed at which we are connected to the Internet (which is pretty fast for most of us), and we won't have to watch anything we don't want - except for the commercials in between. I believe the only people who will have a problem with this will be the cable companies and everybody else in that industry who was desperately clinging to the old Cable TV model, and of course, old people, or people who are boring and can't decide what they want to watch for themselves - but I'm sure the likes of YouTube and Twitch will have a solution, even for them!
When I was growing up, I was not a fat child. I didn't have issues with a poor diet, either. That's not to say that I was a gymnast, or that I never ate McDonalds.
I was lucky enough to eat healthy, made-from-scratch and with love, home cooked meals at least 325 days out of the year.
I'm also lucky that neither my mom or dad are overweight people, so I didn't get any unlucky genes. I was skinny, and pretty much bullet proof until I was about 22 years old. So what happened?
I lacked Discipline
I was eating crap for a long time. By crap I mostly mean foods with a lot of bread or grain, and also stuff that either had lots of sugar already, or lots of ingredients (bread included), that turn into sugar in the body.
I was capable of eating better, so I should have been eating better.
I love cooking and have the time to do it, so I should have been eating better.
I have enough income to buy healthy foods, so I should have been eating better!!
BUT I LACKED DISCIPLINE!!!
It's not that I wasn't aware that every year I was about 5lbs heavier than the year before, or that I had to buy new pants to fit around my fat waist every year either. I started gaining weight at 22, when I was around 185lbs. At 190lbs, I liked the added weight. I was filling in around all the places on my body where I thought I looked feeble.
As I got heavier, my chest got fuller, my legs got very powerful, my arms gained only slightly in size, and everything else looked proportionate and attractive - until one day I put a shirt on and I realized that my belly was poking out. It immediately hit me that I had officially the best case ever of "dad bod", which is just a super nice way say that you're fat, although you used to be in shape, and that if you don't do something soon, you are going to get fatter and it's going to be hard to get back to a non-dad-bod look and feeling.
I was miserable. For the first time I didn't feel good about my physique. For the first time I felt really unhealthy. I realized that I had let myself go.
Eating Better - a Long First Step With ZERO Weight Loss
The first thing I decided to do, since I already liked cooking and knew that I had to change my diet first, was to cook more of my meals. I realized I was missing a lot of tools in the kitchen that I didn't like not having, but I didn't let anything become an excuse. I went out the next day and bought a bunch of stuff I felt I needed. I knew I needed a new chef knife, so I went to Costco and bought a 2-pack for $12. They are awesome. I knew I needed some new pots and a cutting board, so I bought those off Amazon. I bought the cheapest, yet still high-quality items and I started finding recipes I wanted to try, and I also started making up my own recipes. Within about a week I realized that I really, really, loved to cook. I loved to make my own meals. I loved to think about the recipe and how hot things were and tasting them in between to season more or less, and zoning out until the I "wake up" to find a delicious meal waiting in front of me. I lost almost no visible size, and was hovering around about 200lbs, but after about a month of cooking at least 4-5 dinners a week and every breakfast, I began to have more energy, and I began to start to think about losing weight seriously.
I started to cut down on fatty food, and I tried many different diets. Nothing stuck, and I actually started to gain lots of weight.
What The **** Is Going On?
It's 1 month later and I weigh in at 210lbs - What do I do now?
I stopped eating like a slob, and I started cooking home cooked meals that were delicious and hearty. I barely used any sugar. Isn't eating non-processed foods supposed to make a huge difference? Why am I ballooning in weight? Why am I getting BIGGER?
My Wake Up Call - 220lbs & 27% BMI
Basically long story short I was just getting bigger and bigger and started worrying about my health, big time. I went to an LA Fitness to get my proper weight and BMI measured, and when I was told that I weight 220lbs and had a 27% BMI, I was embarrassed and totally determined to make those numbers be a thing of the past.
I got serious and started researching a lot of stuff. I got into the science of weight loss, and stopped listening to people. I came to the conclusion that I need to stop eating so much bread. I also came to the conclusion that I would start a workout regimen. I knew, from previously successful diets that restricted carbs, that discarding bread would make a big difference. It has. I also knew that exercise was necessary. Diet was not enough. My metabolism was officially out of it's youth stage, and I needed to help out.
Time to Sweat - and Starve - and FINALLY GET HEALTHIER!!
That week that I had made the decision to make a change, I signed up at my local MMA gym, American Top Team, and started going to mobility and conditioning classes immediately. I was taking just 1 - 2 classes a week for 3 weeks, and then on the 3rd week I started working out on my off days at my neighborhood gym. Simple workouts. Nothing longer than 20 minutes. Sometimes the workouts would last 10 minutes. The length of time didn't matter to me. I just had to go, and I had to sweat, and I had to be breathing deeply when I was leaving the gym.
Those were my three goals. GO - SWEAT - BREATH
Here I am. I'm in the thick of it. I'm just starting my 4th week at American Top Team, and I've been without a loaf of bread, a single strand of pasta, a slice of pizza, or an ounce of beer for 3 weeks. I'm hungry a lot of the time. When that happens, I eat no more than 15 pieces of seeds and/or nuts. Every lunch I have a small salad, a palm full of meat (never pork - afraid of the trichinosis- it's usually fish, steak, or chicken), and I don't eat any beans or grains, like rice or black beans. I am also making sure that I eat something good for gut health at least twice per day. This means anything with probiotics. I usually have a few pieces of pickled vegetables before or after a meal, and every now and then I drink Kombucha tea. Both of these things are packed with healthy probiotics that support healthy gut flora. I have perfect bowel movements, and I have more regular trips as well. I have never felt better.
This is not complicated stuff. I am just doing what I know is right. It all comes down to discipline. I do look to the Internet for advice, but 99% of it is just following through with what I know is right, and it's working. It's nice to be proud of yourself. The same efforts that can give you pride, in this situation, can get you skinny, healthy, and happy.
Where Am I Now, & What's Next?
Now I'm at 211lbs - a 9lb drop from 3.5 weeks ago. Not dramatic, but my pants aren't tight anymore! I am also stronger, and I am much less tired on any given day. Most of my workouts are done with body weight. I do HIIT and lots of plyometrics since all I'm trying to do now is build stamina, increase endurance and core strength, and keep my metabolism pumping.
At least once a week, however, I do use weights, and it's usually when I do my kettlebell circuit.
I follow this one -> Kettle bell Workout - Click Here fot the YouTube Video, it's awesome.
I never do it the whole way through. I usually just pick a few from this workout and do 2 sets of whatever I'm doing. The first few times that I did this workout, I used the very lightest kettle bell I could find. Then I bumped up to 12kgs. Today I used a 22kg kettle bell. The goal is not strength right now, it's just a good sweat, and gaining a good foundation of lean muscle. I feel awesome and will keep this up for probably one more month until I switch to a regimen that consists mostly of two things: strength + explosive movement. Also, I start my first MMA Striking class tomorrow. I plan to start my first no-gi BJJ class on Monday, and I will continue to do my workouts on my off days at the neighborhood gym, with 1 MMA Striking class per week, 1 no-gi BJJ class per week, and 1 mobility or conditioning class per week.
I will also continue to not have any grains. I will also continue to not add any sugar or eat things that become sugar, like beer, and bread. I will continue to consume good fats that come from foods like avocado, nuts, fish, cooking oils (EVVO, Macadamia Nut Oil, Avocoado Oil, Coconut Oil) and so on. I will also continue to eat raw vegetables with most meals, and I will also continue to make sure that I will max at only a little bit bigger than a palm full of animal proteins with each meal - and that when my plate is done, I will not refill it right away with a 2nd helping, but rather weight 1 hour and have a handful of nuts to curb my appetite.
I presume I will continue to lose weight, build lean muscle, think even more clearly, sleep better, have better dreams, and so on, and so forth. I'll update later. This all comes down to discipline.