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Archive for the ‘being better’ Tag

Traveling   Leave a comment

I’m still traveling between my home and Washington State. I’ll be there on vacation for the week. But even on vacation I still want to take some time out to share.

I woke up early this morning to the realization I was about to spend the better part of my day going from Nashville to Bellingham. Including a five and a half hour layover in Portland I was dreading. The whole trip seemed daunting and probably draining.

On the way to Nashville I received notification that I had won a giveaway I entered on Instagram. I hadn’t even made it to the flight and things were looking good.

I got to Nashville and in under twenty minutes I had checked in and made it through security to my gate in an airport I’ve never flown out of before. While waiting I met a nice woman in the gate area and we chatted until boarding.

I got on the plane for the flight from Nashville to Dallas and out of habit asked for a seat belt extension. You see the last time I flew was well before my keto journey began. The flight attendant, looked at my waist, smiled and said, “I don’t think you’ll need one, sir, but if you get to your seat and do ring the bell and I’ll bring one”. I got to my seat and she of course was right. I didn’t need it. I’ve lost enough the belt fit fine.

When I boarded in Dallas for the flight to Portland the flight was packed, except the seat between me and the nice young lady in the aisle seat. We had a nice comfortable ride and chatted most of the way. Made the flight a pleasure.

Now I’m here in Portland at the beginning of my five and a half hour layover and you know what, I’m happy. I’m not dreading it anymore. The amount of time hasn’t changed from this morning when I dreaded it, my mindset has. I’ve had a wonderful day of travel and this will be part of it. It’s all about perspective. You can choose to view things positively or negatively. I’m just glad my day today has shown me that positively is the better way. Take care.

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Momentum   Leave a comment

So I’ve been waiting until I get home at night to try and post and there’s one drawback to it. I keep nodding off before I post. My momentum has stopped because I’m sitting in bed doing nothing that requires energy. It wouldn’t take a lot to fix this, just a little movement. That would create enough momentum to keep me going.

How big can a little momentum be? I’ll answer that question with one of my favorite trick questions. I can give you $1 million right now or I’ll give you a magic penny that doubles in value every day that you can’t spend for the next 30 days. Which do you choose? Most people would give me a quizzical look and say “the million bucks, obviously”.

Here’s the reason it’s a trick question. While the penny is literally as close to nothing as you can get in US currency it does have value. Double that value every day for 30 days and that lowly penny becomes over $5 million dollars. If you take the million today you’re getting less then 20% of the money you could have if you were patient and waited for the momentum to build.

How does this relate to life? Well a lot of us will avoid doing small things based on the faulty premise that because the “penny” doesn’t have much value why bother. But even a penny doubled over time can have amazing outcomes. I’m not saying if you can do .01 push-ups today you’ll be doing over 5 million by the end of the month. I’m saying that if all you can do today is a penny’s worth of work do it and try to build on it tomorrow with the momentum you’ve created. Who knows how far that will take you? I do know if you do nothing you’ll stay where you are. Take care.

Monthly Update time.   Leave a comment

Yesterday was the monthly weigh in.  The results were good, but below what I needed to ensure I would be at or below 280 by the time of my trip to Bellingham.  I weighed in at 285.4 pounds.  That’s 7.6 pounds down from last month’s update.  A solid amount, but unfortunately it drops me just below averaging 10 pounds a month.  Not a complaint, just an observation.  My body fat percentage was 39.0% so I’m carrying 111.3 pounds of body fat.  Last month I was at 40.3%, amounting to 118.1 pounds, a difference of 6.8 pounds.  Muscle mass came in at 26.7% for a total of 76.2 pounds of muscle.  Last month it was 25.9%, totally 75.9 pounds, for a gain of .3 pounds of muscle.  That doesn’t sound like a lot but considering my usual method of exercising is walking with just a small amount of body weight exercise I think that’s pretty good.  The remaining pound of difference, give or take, comes from lost water weight.

As for exercise I think I could be doing a little better but I wouldn’t call my performance bad.  I get in at least one exercise session a day, and manage to close my 30 minute exercise ring half the time and get over half the ring 90% of the time.  There were also a number of those full ring days where I actually went well into a second ring.  Another fact to keep is for whatever reason my Apple Watch is widely inconsistent on counting exercise time. To reliably count it I need to have the exercise app tracking an activity.  So there were plenty of times I was getting a walk in that didn’t get reflected in the numbers because the watch didn’t view it as exercise.  Next month’s goal is to have at least 75% of the days be closed rings.

Food tracking wise I again have to report poor progress.  The food tracker requires inputting specific food amounts which requires weighing.  I just haven’t devoted the time in preparing meals to do the weighing.  I know I should but I get busy and don’t get it done.  Not making excuses but I think it’s also because as long as I’m following the basic keto guidelines in what I eat and I’m making progress, good progress even, I just haven’t prioritized this because it isn’t “essential”.  But I also remind myself that I have no way of knowing how much better I could be doing if I were to optimize my performance by including more accurate tracking.

And finally it’s picture time.  The top picture is this month’s progress pic, and each picture below it is going back in time.  The split image ones are my progress pics each month going backwards.  The one of me in the shorts and grey USA t-shirt was just a happy pic for me to take.  The shorts are waist size 48 and they fit comfortably enough to wear. At one time I wore a size 60 waist, so progress.  The one in the Flash t-shirt would be my “starting pic” which was actually a week or so after I started because I hadn’t thought to take one on day 1.  And the last pic of me in the black jacket goes back to 2013 when I was heavier still.  Don’t know if that was at my heaviest, which was 380 pounds, but it was close if not that.  When I see today’s progress pic and look all the way down at that it amazes me just how much progress I’ve made.  But there’s still a ways to go, and I’m confident I’ll get there.  Thanks for support and I’ll see you next month.

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I Love it When a Plan Comes Together   Leave a comment

These were the words Hannibal Smith would utter at the end of most missions for the A-Team.  He’d usually have a big smile on his face and light up a cigar as the rest of the team looked on with incredulity. That’s because after all the planning they did, the plan would usually fall apart, and the team would have to rally to pull off the victory.  So the plan never really did come together, the team did.

What if you had a team like that?  A team that managed to triumph no matter how far off the rails the plan goes.  Well you can.  We’ll call the members of your team skills, habits, and mindset. And everyone can train these team members to allow them to rally against the worst case scenarios that appear in your life.

Skills are tools you can place in your “tool bag” to call upon as needed.  They can be physical traits (running fast, lifting heavy objects) or mental traits (the ability to strategize on the fly, seeing patterns, identifying potential outcomes or variations on current events).  So when you find yourself stuck at home and can’t get to the gym, no problem.  Using your skills you identify different workouts you can do with the supplies at hand at your house, develop a routine on the fly, and get the exercise in that you intended at the gym.  The plan fell apart, but it came together at the end.

Habits are patterns of repeated behavior.  Your mind and body actually miss them when they don’t occur.  People who feel bad when they don’t get to the gym do so because it is their habit to go there.  Their minds and bodies miss the stimulus a habit provides. The trick is to create positive habits, because your mind and body miss the stimulus whether it’s good or bad for you.  Being in the habit of reading broadens your knowledge.  Being in the habit of going to the gym strengthens your body.  Being in the habit of eating well does so as well.  When you’re in the habit of doing things that benefit you, this builds resiliency.  No matter what bad things befall you to take the plan out, you’ll find a way for it to come together.

And the final team member, mindset, is like your own Hannibal Smith.  A well schooled and creative leader.  If your mindset is positive and always tries to see the good in situations, hiccups in the plan don’t turn into bad feelings, they’re opportunities to try something different.

Did you know that the physiological responses of fear and emotion are the same?  What separates them is mindset.  If you view it as negative it’s fear, if you view it as positive it’s excitement.  Seems to me that excitement is the better mindset.  And that’s why it’s important to develop a positive mindset.  How you look at things shapes how you react to things which shapes which actions you take.  Do you want to be positive mindset Hannibal Smith who loves it when a plan comes together?  Or do you want to be Colonel Decker, the negative mindset that’s always flustered by how the A-Team always gets away?

These are your team members.  And just like on the show, these guys didn’t just become the A-Team the day they showed up.  They became the A-Team because they worked at it and trained to be the best.  To be the team that can take on any obstacle. So starting today spend time meditating on the skills, habits, and mindset you need.  Begin training your team.  Don’t wait until the plan falls apart.  It’s too late then.  Work your mind and your body.  Create productive and healthy habits.  Reinforce the positive in your thinking.  Spend time each day developing your team.  The team that can have a plan fall apart and still have it come together in the end.

07/30/2018 Weigh In   Leave a comment

Made a little better progress this week.  My weight was 288.2 pounds, down 2 pounds from last week.  My body fat percentage went from 39.7% to 39.5% which is a 1.4 pound difference.  The .6 remaining pounds was most likely water weight. My muscle mass percentage went from 26.2% to 26.4%, which means I stayed pretty steady at 76 pounds muscle mass.

I have to admit that I’m happier about this result for a bad reason.  I was a little lax on exercising this week.  It wasn’t that I didn’t exercise.  Or that I didn’t do a good amount of exercising this week.  Honestly, though, I know I could have done better.  As I get lighter and in better shape there’s no reason why I shouldn’t be exercising longer and more intensely.

On a good note, I am noticing that my heart rate stays lower while I exercise.  This being another reason I know I should be pushing harder.  But it’s also a good sign that I’m getting fitter each day.  Definitely need to get out more and increase my jog time.

Nutrition wise, while I still need to do a better job of tracking on a more consistent basis, I am doing a better job overall of meeting my keto needs while getting more protein in.  I’ve tracked my ketone levels on meals where my protein intake was very high to see the effect and my blood glucose level still stays in the fasted range.  One reading was slightly above 100 mg/dL, but since that’s the top for when you are actually fasted I’m not too worried about that.  Especially since my lowest blood ketone reading was .7 mmol/L. Well into the ketosis range. I may try to squeeze in a little more protein but I don’t want to accidentally overshoot and ruin the results I got this week.  I wanted to be at or below 280 pounds by the time I went back to Bellingham to visit.  As that’s two weeks away I’m pretty sure I won’t make it but I’d still like to be as close to 280 as I can get.

That’s all for this weeks weigh in.  Hopefully the doubling of last weeks weight loss will be a continuing trend.  Or at least if it holds steady it’s due to greater fat loss offset by more muscle mass gains.  On the whole though still moving forward and that’s all that matters.  Take care.

Keep Going   Leave a comment

This morning when I woke up I wasn’t feeling well. I had a really bad headache and was tired, even though I had just slept the night away.  The easiest thing to do in that situation is just go back to bed.  I have a job that offers paid sick leave, so why not just call in, roll back over, and go back to sleep.  But the easiest way isn’t always the best way.

I had another choice I could make.  Get up and get moving and see how things played out.  So I headed to the bathroom, took some Advil, and took a shower.  When I shower I start off with a warm shower to wash myself, and then finish off with a 5 minute cold shower.  This, as you might imagine, usually wakes me right up.  Not so much this morning.  I was still a little tired and the headache was still there.

After my shower I will meditate for about 20 minutes.  So I lay there in my bed and tried to meditate.  With a pounding headache that wasn’t so easy.  But I persisted.  Over the course of the 20 minutes the headache lowered in intensity but was still there.  The relaxing while helpful for my headache left me even more tired.  I would usually take a 15 minute walk after the meditation but I knew that wasn’t happening this morning so I went straight for my morning coffee.

The coffee helped a lot.  But still not feeling 100% and a bit ahead of schedule since I didn’t do that walk, I decided to give myself a short nap.  I told myself if I still felt under the weather when I woke up I had permission to call in.  I set the alarm for 45 minutes later and laid back in bed.  A little before the alarm went off I woke up on my own feeling way better.  My headache was gone and I felt alert and awake.  I got dressed and headed into work.

At work today I was paired off with a female coworker to do a job.  It was just the two of us so we could speak freely.  We had a great conversation and had a lot of fun hanging out, I mean working, together.  It made my day.  And it wouldn’t have happened if I had just called out, turned back over, and went back to bed.  I’m not advocating ignoring your body and pressing on no matter how much your body tells you to stop.  I’m just saying don’t give up right away. Try to make a day of it.  If you can, keep going.  Who knows what your day will bring you.  What I do know is you’ll never find out if you just take the easy way out.

Dartboards   Leave a comment

In the last post I talked about finding out your why.  And once you’ve found out your why, walking the path towards your why.  Today I’d like to talk about dartboards.  This seems like an odd right turn, but the dartboard is very connected to walking your path.

You see, staying on the path is a series of foot placements. One right in front of the other. And where each foot lands determines how well you stay on the path and how quickly you reach your goal.  And that’s similar to a dartboard.

Now, keep in mind I don’t play darts so this is a very rough analogy.  The dartboard is divided in two ways.  It has a center circle, the bullseye, surrounded by ever larger circles until you reach the outer edge. It’s also divided into 20 wedges starting at the bullseye, getting wider towards the outer edge of the board.  Each subdivided area of the dartboard has a numeric “score” attached to it.

So the goal in darts is to get to zero by subtracting the points obtained from where the dart lands on the board.  The exact rules aren’t important for this analogy, only making sure your darts land in the right segments is.  Each dart can be looked upon as a step.  And each dart that hits the board gets you points which are subtracted from your score. Just like every footstep reduces the distance between you and your goal.

Here’s the important thing about darts.  You can’t get points if you don’t throw the dart.  The time you spend standing there worrying about how many points you’ll get, or not get, from the throw is time you’re not making any progress.  Which is silly.  Simply throw the dart.  Assuming you don’t miss the board, the lowest score you can get is a 1.  While a 1 may be the lowest progress you can make, it is in fact progress.  Even if all you get are ones you’d still, eventually, hit zero (your goal).

But of course it’s always best to aim.  The better you aim the dart the greater the chance you’ll get a higher score. And that moves you to your goal quicker.  It also has a side effect.  The more darts your throw with aim (intention) the better you get at it.  The better you get the more likely your aim will result in accruing the points you are trying for.  Just as the better your intention and focus is will result in a quicker journey down the path.

Again though, all this is contingent on actually throwing the dart.  So don’t be fearful or hesitant.  Don’t get frozen by concerns that may or may not ever come to pass.  Just throw the dart knowing that with each dart (or footstep) you’re getting better and better at achieving your goal.