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Archive for the ‘accountability’ Tag

Specificity   Leave a comment

One of the people I know loves to watch baseball.  Myself, I’m not a big fan of the sport, but I’ll watch it with her when she has it on.  She really gets into the game, including speaking to the television, encouraging her team on to greatness.  This led to a funny exchange the other day.

She was watching her team play and she said to the screen, “Ok, we need a hit here.”  After a few pitches the player hit the ball, right into an out.  She wasn’t happy about it and wondered what had just happened.  I said, “he did what you asked.”  She looked at me with an incredulous look.  “You asked for a hit and he did hit the ball.  You never specified what kind of hit you wanted.  Details matter.”  She looked at the screen and said “Ok, I want a home run.”  Sure enough, when the next player finally connected with the ball, he knocked it out of the park for a home run.  She looked over at me with amazement and I just repeated, “details matter.”

Now, I’m not claiming that she caused the home run.  I do believe in the law of attraction, but I doubt this was a case of it working.  I think it was more just a funny coincidence.  But it’s a funny coincidence that makes a great point.  Specificity in direction is important.  Details do indeed matter in life.  This is especially true in goal setting.  The more specific you are about your goal the better the chance you’ll realize it.  There are a number of reasons why this is true.

First, it really isn’t a meaningful goal if it isn’t a specific one.  Think about it.  How accomplished will you really feel if your goal today is to exercise?  It’s a very vague goal.  Pick up a semi heavy object and put it back down and you’ve essentially reached your goal.  Move ten feet farther than you needed to today to achieve your to do list and you’d have hit the goal as well.  But will you feel any sense of accomplishment meeting those benchmarks?  Probably not.  Now set the goal “I’m going to go on a 15 minute walk.”  That’s substantially more specific then “I’ll exercise today.”  It specifies not just that you’ll exercise but also what kind and for how long.  When you go out for that walk and return 15 minutes later you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment because you met a specific goal.  How strong a sense of course will depend on how much your goal pushes you to achieve it.  If you can easily walk 15 minutes then it’ll be a small sense of accomplishment.  If you’re just starting out and live most of your life sitting down, you’ll feel a great sense of accomplishment.

Second, details make it measurable.  “I’m going to make more money” is vague.  If I walk down the street and find a penny I’ve reached my goal.  I have more money then I did before.  I can stop trying now.  “I’m going to earn enough money to buy a ticket to go visit my friends in Alaska” is specific.  That penny I just found won’t cut it.  I could find a penny every day for a year and I wouldn’t even be able to buy a snack on the plane, let alone the ticket.  So I haven’t reached the measurement yet.  I need to keep going to reach my goal.  The goal posts are in a very specific location so I know how long to keep working at it.

Finally, to create a specific goal you’ll be required to think about it.  Using the first example, when creating an exercise goal you need to consider many factors.  What kind of fitness level are you trying to achieve?  Are you more interested in muscles or endurance?  Are you looking for fast results or do you have time to achieve your goal?  By considering all these factors you’re creating goals that are more relevant to you.  The more relevant the goal is to you the more likely you’ll achieve it.

You’re also going to create more reasonable goals when you think about them.  Using the second example, if you want to go visit your friends in Alaska you also have to consider different factors.  How will you get there?  Buses will get you there but will take days.  So flying would seem more reasonable.  How will you fly there?  Private charter would be really cool, but if you’re saving for the trip in the first place, it probably isn’t very reasonable.  First class tickets might be a bridge too far as well.  So now you’ve considered your options and your goal is to buy an economy ticket on a commercial airline by saving your money where you can.  That’s a very reasonable goal.  The more reasonable your goal is, the more you’ll believe in your ability to carry it out.  When you create unreasonable goals your subconscious knows you don’t stand a chance of making it and will sabotage every effort you make toward the goal.

So as you move forward into the future setting goals on how to improve your life, make them specific, measurable, and reasonable.  Give yourself every chance to succeed and you will.  Set yourself up for failure, and you’ll easily reach that goal too.  Me, I’m partial to hitting home runs.  Have a great day.

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YouTube Is Up and Running   Leave a comment

Ok, so this will be a short post.  I filmed my first video for YouTube and posted it.  I did this on Wednesday.  I had a short waiting period as I had friends of mine go view the video first to make sure there wasn’t any issues.  I am now ready to post it here.  The video, obviously, speaks for itself.  I would just say that I’d appreciate it if you left a like and a comment.  I only know what to improve when given feedback.  As an example, one friend mentioned my filming it with the blinds in the background put too much light behind me so I look a little too shadowed.  I agree.  So whether it’s content or cinematography, feel free to let me know what I can do better.  If you just straight up liked it, feel free to leave that in the comments too.  Have a great day.

Monthly Update   Leave a comment

I did the September update a week later than usual so this one is actually only three weeks.  I weighed in at 279.8 pounds this morning.  This is a great goalpost for me because now that I’m under 280 pounds I know for sure I’m over 100 pounds lighter than my heaviest recorded weight (which was in the 380s but I don’t remember exactly what it was).  The September weigh in was 280.6 pounds, so over the three weeks I lost 0.8 pounds.  This sounds like a small number until you consider the fact that on the weigh in two weeks ago I gained nearly 8 pounds.  So I’ve lost 8.2 pounds in two weeks, which I think is pretty neat.

My body fat this time is 37.8%, and was 38.2% at the last update.  That translates to 105.8 pounds now and 107.2 pounds then.  So even though my weight only went down .8 pounds I’ve actually lost 1.4 pounds of fat.

My muscle mass is 27% now, and was 27.1% then.  This results in 75.5 pounds now and 76 pounds then.  So I dropped .5 pounds of muscle.  Not psyched about that, but I do keep in mind that this is an estimated amount, not a certain one.

I am 48.1% water now, and I was 47.7% water then.  That right there explains the difference between total weight loss and fat/muscle loss.

Overall I’m good with this weigh in.  When you look at it from the perspective of the last two weeks I’ve made huge progress.  But even looking at it from the three week perspective, the bottom line is I still lost weight while I was retaining water better.

Exercise wise I did rather well this month.  I closed all three circles over 75% of the time.  I got the monthly award on the Apple Activity app.  I did 45 workouts in September, which is 6 more than August.  And this is more anecdotal in nature, but I notice that my breathing is lighter most of the time, suggesting I’m cardiovascularly more healthy.  I definitely feel a lot better.  I move easier.  I’m more flexible.  I definitely move around more.  My body just seems to work better.

I have more energy, which has translated to getting more stuff done.  I’ve been squaring away my living space.  A number of the self-improvement books I’ve read lately seem to carry the common theme that your physical environment is a reflection of your mental one.  And my room was cluttered and messy.  There is still a bit of room for improvement, but overall my physical environment is getting a lot more ship-shape.  I’m sure it’s not coincidental that I’ve been feeling better on the inside as well.

My meditation practice is getting better.  Or deeper would be another way of saying it.  My mind doesn’t race as much and I feel like I’m reaching a deeper and more relaxed state.  That’s no doubt helping with the greater feelings inside as well.

As usual I’m including pics with the update.  The pic with the black t-shirt with grey sleeves (with the pic of Mark Sheppard from Supernatural) is the current progress pic.  The Superman shirt is from last month’s update.  The red shirt is the first update pics I took.  And finally, a pic from back in 2013 which is me probably at my heaviest.

See you in a month for another progress update.

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09/17/2018 Weigh In   Leave a comment

So this weigh in was a bit of a surprise.  Unfortunately the surprise was in the wrong direction.  I weighed in at 288.0 pounds, which is 7.4 pounds more than last week.  My muscle mass went from 27.1% last week to 26.5% this week.  In pounds that’s 76.0  to 76.3, so that small gain was a bit of good news.  Body fat went from 38.2% last week to 39.3% this week.  In pounds its 107.2 to 113.2.  And finally hydration went from 47.7% to 46.8%, or 133.8 pounds to 134.8.

So six pounds of fat gained in a week.  That seems a bit much to me.  I did have my day off from Keto this week as the 14th was my birthday (I turned 48).  And that was the Friday before my Monday weigh in.  When I first saw that gain my immediate thought was that it had to be water weight, but then I ran the numbers.

The good thing is I didn’t let that quick weight gain ruin my mindset.  I didn’t panic or feel bad or get down on myself.  I realize that there is any number of reasons it could shoot up that quick that won’t necessarily apply to next weeks weigh in.  I keep in mind that while the weight the scale shows me is likely to be very accurate, the other numbers are best calculations from the electric impedance of my body and not definitive numbers.  It could be that the water and fat readings are backwards and next week when my body has had time to get rid of the excess retained water my drop in weight will be as impressive as this gain.  It could be it’s all accurate and I just put on the fat, and I’ll get rid of it like I have the other pounds I’ve lost.  I still feel good about what I’ve accomplished overall and still feel confident that by mid year 2019 I’ll have gone as far as I can in weight loss via fat loss (other than skin removal if I need it).

Whereas my numbers didn’t show improvement in my physical goals, they were part of a bigger picture this past week of my mental improvements.  I don’t get carried away with these feelings, but in the past when I’ve had setbacks or the numbers weren’t as big as I’d hoped there was a little bit of disappointment in the back of my mind.  Not so with this one.  I didn’t feel bad at all.  And that attitude stayed with me throughout the day.  In what would usually be the kind of day at work that would have me clocking out in a foul mood, I actually kept a positive disposition.

I think a good deal of that is the fact that I’ve been much better about repeating positive affirmations to myself throughout the day.  I always intend to do it, but by the second or third bump in the road I’ve just gotten so consumed by the negative things happening it just falls by the wayside.  This time though, each time my mind felt it was looking in the negative direction the little voice in the back of my head reminded me to repeat a positive affirmation a few times.  That kept me happy the whole day.

Plus I’ve been doing much better with planning my life and not just meandering through it.  I think that the goal setting is part of it.  You just feel better when you’re working towards your goals.  But I think the activities themselves to reach those goals are having the biggest impact.  I’m writing more and planning more in my head which brings the creativity out.  This creativity leads to visualizing a better future.  Visualizing a better future leads to better visualization, which is creative, and creates a positive feedback loop.

When I first started the blog back up it was partly to get back into writing.  And now I’m working on a book.  And when I get done with that one I’ll immediately start the next.  And I’ve started planning out my first video for YouTube.  The main incentive when I started all this was creating a new income source to have better control of my life.  So, obviously, I wanted the blog, the books, and the videos to be very well received and very successful.  In talking with a coworker yesterday I’ve come to realize that while I won’t be upset if they turn out really well, I’d still be doing the same thing even if I knew right now it’ll never be successful enough to be a source of income.

The thing is that I’ve come to realize that the biggest benefit of all these things is I’m trying.  I’m actively living my life with intent.  And that’s what is bringing the happiness. Even if it isn’t as successful as I want I know I’m doing my best.  You can’t control the outcomes, only the effort you put into it.  And that thought is where I’ll end this post.  Just keep trying.  Have a great day.

 

Writing a Book   Leave a comment

So I’ve started a new project.  Well, that’s not entirely accurate.  I’ve restarted a project I began a few months ago but let fall by the wayside.  I’ve decided to write a small book about the basics of the Ketogenic Diet.

The aim for this book is to be a quick read.  Less than an hour.  If I can, less than half an hour.  I’m not worried about filler, just the basics.  I’ll include a list of resources at the back of the book that will allow anyone who wants more than the basics to keep learning.

I’ve been working on it for about 6 hours now.  Taking a break to give myself a little time to get refocused.  I’ve made a lot of progress.  Since it’s not designed to be long I’d guess I’ll be done writing by the end of the weekend.  Then I’ll need to edit it so the content is sharp.  Along with that I need to design a book cover.  I think I’ll go the easy route with that by just using the same image for the front and back of the book.  I’ll be creating it only as a Kindle book so I don’t think having a separate image for each makes the same sense as it would if it were a physical copy.

I’m finding that there’s a lot more to it then I imagined.  It isn’t as easy as just opening a word processor and banging out a book.  Logical progression is an issue as well as getting it into a format that Kindle can use.  Thankfully Amazon made researching all that and getting the tools necessary to do it really simple.  I didn’t even know this before today but they even have a free program to alow you to see what the book will look like on a Kindle simulator on your computer.  Having read a few Kindle books where I wondered why they formatting was so awkward, this just made it all the more odd. Why wouldn’t you use the simulator to know how it’ll turn out before you ever upload it to Amazon?  Maybe they did and it just turned out wonky anyway.  Guess we’ll see how mine goes.

When I get it published I’ll leave a link on here for the book.  I haven’t fully decided yet but I think that I’ll be offering it as both a Kindle Unlimited title and for $0.99 if you want to buy and keep it.  Don’t see charging more than that considering how short the book will be.

Along with the book project I’m finally completing, I had another idea I started a while ago but never followed up on.  I like doing this blog, and will continue to do this blog, but I want to try to reach more people in other ways.  So I contemplated having a YouTube channel to track my progress as well.  I even got so far as creating the channel.  Just never made a video for it.  So that’s on the agenda now.

Like this blog, the channel will cover both The Ketogenic Diet/Lifestyle, my progress with it, and also how I’m working to be a better person on the inside.  I don’t have a lot of experience with video production so I’m sure it’s going to look a bit amateur at the beginning but I’m thinking it’ll grow in production value as I grow along with it.

When I get my first video posted I’ll add a link here for people to follow.  Mainly today I just wanted to get a post out where I stated I was doing these things because accountability.

I turned 48 yesterday and spent a little time thinking about what I’ve done with that time.  I’ve led a good life so far but when I thought about it, it’s really been the last year that I’ve been most proud of.  I’ve made a lot of improvements.  Lost a lot of weight, both in terms of body fat and bad habits.  But I still see a path ahead of me where I’ll get better still.  I don’t know how the book or the YouTube channel will turn out, but the best part is that in just doing them I’m already better because I’ve tried to be better.  Although I’m hoping the success isn’t just in the trying, of course.

That’s all for now.  Time to get back to the book.  Thanks for coming along on the journey so far and I hope you join me on these new journeys.  Take care.

Monthly Update   Leave a comment

So this will be my monthly update with pictures.  My weight as of this weigh in is 280.6 pounds.  My first weigh in for August had me at 285.4 pounds.  So I lost 4.8 pounds.  I’m pretty happy with that considering I did take a week off from keto while I was in Bellingham, Washington.

My body fat was 38.2% for a total of 107.2 pounds of fat.  At the August weigh in it was 39.0% for a total of 111.3 pounds. So I lost 4.1 pounds of fat.

My muscle mass was 27.1% for this weigh in, translating to 76 pounds of muscle.  For August it was 26.7%, putting me at 76.2 pounds of muscle.  So I dropped a little in that category.  Not surprising as all the exercising I did in Bellingham was simply walking.  Also, at .2 pounds lost this could be the result of the small inaccuracies in determining my muscle mass through electrical impedance, as the scale does.

That leaves around half a pound lost somewhere else.  Probably water weight.  I’m ok with all this.  The vast majority of my weight loss this month came from fat, which is exactly where I want it to come from.

My starting weight on this journey was 352.6 pounds.  My body fat was 52% and my muscle mass read 25%. But I’m guessing it was well under 25% as that’s as low as the scale goes for muscle mass, and it didn’t go over that until near the end of May.  So overall I’m down 72 pounds.  I’ve lost 76.2 pounds of fat.  So I can’t be sure what the other 4.2 pounds gained is.  Could be muscle.  Could be water.  I know going by the first time my muscle mass percentage did change I’m up a pound of muscle.  At the end of the day though, the most important thing I want to track is my current weight and body fat lost.

I’ve been back on keto for a few weeks now owing to using the second weigh in of September for my monthly check in.  So the October check in will represent a smaller time window.

Right now I’m averaging 9 pounds a month.  A lot of that is due to a huge weight loss near the beginning of the year.  So I expect that number to drop.  Lately I’ve been around 4 pounds lost per month.  Based on that it’s looking like my weight loss for the year will be just under 90 pounds.

That’ll put me within 12 or so pounds of my initial weight loss goal.  I used 230 pounds for that goal because I wanted to wait until I was 230 to narrow down what I thought would be a healthy weight for me.  So when I hit that mark I’ll have a new goal to reach for.  It’d be easy to speculate what that would be now, but I’ll resist the urge.  The only prediction I’ll make right now is that I should be hovering around whatever that will be by around mid year 2019.

This makes me very happy.  In two days I turn 48.  I’ve been this heavy for at least two decades of that.  To think that what I took around 28 years to gain, and held for nearly two decades more, could be wiped away in a year and a half.  Amazing.

When I reach that point there may be other health decisions to make.  The most obvious being the real possibility of loose skin and what I’ll do about that.  But that’s a concern for 9 months from now.  As for right now, I’ll just enjoy my victories and keep plugging away a day at a time.

The progress pics are below.  The Superman tee is the current weigh in pics.  The blue t-shirt and red shorts are last month.  And I’ve included the first pic for overall comparison.  See you next month.

Back Up and Running   Leave a comment

Ok, the internet at my place has finally been fixed.  Sorry it took so long.  For my first post back I’m just going to go over last Monday’s weigh in.  I know I usually have pics for the first weigh in of the month but when the internet went out, and I knew that I wouldn’t be able to post, it slipped my mind to take the pics for when I could post.  As such this weigh in on Monday will be my monthly weigh in with pics and then next month I’ll go back to the usual schedule for the monthly.

As I mentioned in my quick post about the internet going out, I didn’t think about the fact that the scale wouldn’t upload like it normally does. I looked down at the last second, just as the reading went away.  I wasn’t sure if it was 282.5 or 282.8 pounds.  Turns out 282.8 pounds was the winner.  Now that I have all the data I also know my body fat was 38.5% and muscle mass was 26.9%.

The last weigh in for August (the 27th) had me weighing in at 283.0 pounds with a body fat of 38.7% and the same 26.9% for muscle mass.  So in order that would be .2 pounds lost overall, a .6 pound loss of body fat, and a .2 pound loss of muscle mass.  Doing the math that means I was carrying an extra .6 pounds of water weight, give or take.

The biggest reason for this small loss would be the three days I spent in bed due to the flu.  It might have been the keto flu, but it wasn’t that bad the first time so I’m guessing regular flu.  Even though my food intake was low, my exercise levels were obviously way lower due to being bed ridden most of the days.

On the whole though, the fact that I still managed to go down a little bit in body fat while spending almost half the week laid up is not bad.  Certainly not a great way to lose weight, but I’ll take it.

Now the one exception I’ll make to putting off the monthly update until next week is the exercise challenge I made for myself during the last monthly update.  To meet the goal I’d need to close the exercise ring 21 out of the 28 days between weigh ins.  I got to 20, so I was 1 short of the goal.  I’ll make 2 opposing points about this.

Point 1, the more negative of the two, is that while it would be easy to say that had I not been sick those three days I’d have met the challenge, that’s simply incorrect.  I could miss 7 days total and subtracting the 3 due to illness I still had 4 extra.  And I didn’t close the circle on those 4 days.  Being better is about being honest and the truth is on those 4 days I let laziness get the best of me figuring I had extra days to burn.  That came back to bite me in the ass at the end.  So the object lesson is, since we don’t know what tomorrow will bring, do your best today and don’t put things off.

Point 2, the more positive one, is about goal setting.  Let’s say I had set my goal for just half the days.  Well I went well past that mark, so that would have been an easy goal.  We don’t get better setting easy goals.  We get better setting harder goals.  While I wouldn’t subscribe to setting unrealistic goals, setting goals that will require you to work hard to accomplish them is a good idea.  Here’s the thing with that though, they’re hard goals and you have to be reasonable with yourself should you not succeed.  Going back to the fifty percent goal, had I gotten to the 14 days mark it would be easy to get lax and I may have only did a couple extra, getting to maybe 17 or 18 days.  By going for 75% of the days I knew the finish line of 21 days was farther away and I worked at it longer.  So yes at 20 days I only accomplished 95% of the goal, but got in 2-3 more days of work because of it.  So which is better, 129% of an easy goal (18 days/14 days), or 95% of the harder goal (20 days/21 days)?  Obviously the latter, as long as you don’t beat yourself up for “failing” to reach your goal.  That’s the key.  Set the goal high but be reasonable with how you view the results.

That’s it for this post.  Haven’t decided if I’ll do another post a little later tonight or tomorrow.  So either I’ll see you in a bit, or see you tomorrow.  Either way take care and have a great day.