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Archive for the ‘best version of yourself’ Tag

Your Great Experiment   Leave a comment

I was talking today with a coworker about the ketogenic diet.  She was interested in knowing what I was doing to lose so much weight since the beginning of the year.  And I didn’t mind sharing.  In fact, I’d say that the problem tends to be getting me to shut up after I get started talking about keto.

As much as I love keto and as much success as I’ve had with it, though, I always try to remember to share that not every diet will work the same for everyone.  And I think that’s a good thing for everyone to remember for a great many things in life.

When I first tried losing weight a long while ago I tried simple calorie restriction.  It’s worked for many a person, but not for me.  I lost a little weight at first but after a short while my body just adapted to the lower calories by slowing down my metabolism.  I was tired and cranky all the time.  My cravings went up, and soon enough I just broke and went back to eating what I used to, and lots of it because I was starving.

I tried creating a caloric deficit from the other side of the equation, increasing the calories I burned each day via more exercise.  Again, I lost a bit up front, but then I just started feeling hungrier all the time and eventually broke again.  And I felt terrible to boot as I know that lots of people have lost weight this way.  So what was wrong with me?

Over the years I tinkered with lowering calories and increasing caloric burn in shifting amounts but it all wound up right back reaching the point where I lost the willpower to keep at it.  So eventually I just gave up trying for a while.

Then a few years ago my friend wanted to try the Whole 30 plan.  She felt it would be easier if she had an accountability buddy to do it with her and asked me if I would go Whole 30, too.  I got a copy of the book “It Starts With Food” by Melissa and Dallas Hartwig.  I liked the premise of it and felt it was something I could stick to for 30 days, especially if my motivation was to help a friend.  So I told her I’d be happy to try it.  I dropped a lot of weight quickly and was really happy with the results.  I felt better and had way more energy.  It’s a great diet plan that has worked for a lot of people.  I highly recommend it and have included an affiliate link to the book below (just click the pic).

The problem came after the 30 days was over.  If I had continued to follow the Whole 30 eating plan I have no doubt I’d have continued to lose weight.  The worst mistake I made was after the 30 days was up I decided to reward my willpower with a mocha, as I couldn’t have one for the last 30 days.  It seemed innocent enough.  After all one mocha wouldn’t erase all the success I just had.  And it’s true, that one mocha didn’t.  But the mocha I had a few days later, and the trip to Dairy Queen I justified using the same “just one” principle, plus other justifications slowly led me back to my old habits.  So the diet was great, my desire to stick to it wasn’t.  The only difference was instead of reaching a breaking point where my will just snapped, it was more a slow downhill slope that eventually created enough momentum to knock my willpower out.

This brings us to January 1st of this year.  I started the keto diet.  Like with the Whole 30 I wanted to be prepared by studying up on it.  So I purchased a copy of “The Ketogenic Bible” by Jacob Wilson and Ryan Lowery (there’s also an affiliate link for it, just click the pic).  And I started doing research online, including following people on YouTube who were living the keto lifestyle.  And a friend of mine had great success with it so I was really excited to see what it held in store for me.

The best part was that I knew I wouldn’t fall into the same trap I had with Whole 30.  Although I do enjoy one day off from keto a month, I knew the rest of the month I needed to be strictly keto.  Unlike the Whole 30 where one mocha wouldn’t wipe out all the rest of the proper eating I was doing, one mocha on keto stops the diet in its tracks.  Doing that for one day a month is ok because it won’t override the other 29 days of staying keto.  But it’s definitely knocking you out of ketosis on the day you do it.  A day of fasting after my day off and I’m quickly back in the game.

And it’s worked.  I’ve steadily lost weight on keto.  Sure, there have been a couple of upswings in weight since the beginning of the year, but I’ve still managed to lose a lot of weight.  Because I’ve stuck with it.  I’ve found what works for me.  I clearly needed the disciplined nature of keto so I couldn’t allow myself to make excuses.

Which is why I titled this post “Your Great Experiment.”  Not every diet your friends have had amazing success on will work for you.  Or the supplements that your friend has taken that increased her endurance while running may not move the needle for you at all.  Or running itself may be a terrible exercise choice for you.

The thing to keep in mind is, just because one thing didn’t work for you, doesn’t mean you’re destined to fail at all things.  Thomas Edison famously stated that he didn’t fail 10,000 times developing the lightbulb, instead he discovered 10,000 ways not to make a lightbulb.  He experimented with a lot of different methods and one finally paid off.

So treat your life like a great experiment to find your best version.  Try this, that, or the other.  Figure out what works, and keep it.  Find out what doesn’t work, and discard it.  But keep running the experiment every day.  Eventually by implementing all the things that work, while not wasting time on the things that don’t, you’ll arrive at your best version of yourself.

Was I happy I had failed so many times before?  Of course not.  But I kept running the experiment and eventually found what works for me.  And now I keep running the experiment by continuing with keto while trying new things like meditation (it works and I’m keeping it) and supplements (a lot don’t work so I don’t waste my money on them, but a few have shown promise).  And I’ll continue to run my experiment until my final day so that when my time comes to an end I’ll leave with a smile knowing I’ve done everything I could to be my best version.  Have a great day.

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Own the Day   Leave a comment

For today’s blog post I’ve decided to do a book review.  Looking through the Kindle at the books I’ve recently read, “Own the Day, Own Your Life” by Aubrey Marcus was the one that jumped out at me.

I first discovered Aubrey from listening to Joe Rogan.  This led me to listening to the Total Human Optimization podcast.  If you consider listening to it keep in mind three things. First, the name has changed to Human Optimization Hour.  Second, it has a new host (Kyle Kingsbury), and I haven’t listened to it with him in the driver’s seat so I can’t speak for the quality of it now.  And third, some of the content is explicit so if that would be offensive to you, definitely give it a pass.

Now back to the book.  The whole book is about improving yourself by making small changes to how you start your day that compound on each other to produce a better you. It’s very much like the concept I mentioned in yesterday’s post about a little boulder. The idea is that instead of trying to create a change or event in your life that fixes the whole rest of your life in one move, a rather unreasonable and unlikely plan, you should focus on owning one day.  When you learn the skills to own one day, you can own any day. String enough days together and own them all and you naturally own your life.

Instead of seeing things in big picture terms, which can be very ominous and unwieldy, the book gives you a list of small changes you can make in every day practices that will add up to owning your day.  And owning one day is a much more reasonable and manageable goal to have.

Each chapter covers a specific topic.  Some of the topics covered are nutrition, sun exposure, exercise, and even how sex can figure into owning the day.  Aubrey breaks those topics down into four important areas.  Getting owned, Owning it, Prescription, and Now do it.

Getting owned explains the problem.  How does this particular area typically affect most people’s lives.  The answer is inherent in the section title.  How are you getting owned by this situation?

The Owning it section is a general discussion about how you can accept responsibility for the area and begin a process of changing things for the better.  This naturally transitions into Prescription.  Prescription is a much more detailed section on specific steps or processes you can take action on to improve that area of your life.

Finally comes Now do it.  This is, as Aubrey puts it in the book, the “kick in the pants” to get you started implementing the Prescription.  It ends with what he calls the Three Pointer. Three important points from the chapter you need to focus on to be successful.

Occasionally there are other additions to the chapter.  He includes Pro Tips, which are additional tidbits of information that you don’t have to include in the process, but can give you better results if you do.  Deep Dive covers extra resources to further broaden your knowledge base on a given topic, if you really want to know all the nuts and bolts. And last are Caveats, which will let you know what the risks involved in some of the Prescriptions are.

Although the book is designed to be read start to finish, I don’t think jumping around from topic to topic in the Table of Contents would be too big a problem.  Some of the chapters will reference other chapters before it and why a previous Prescription will set you up to better deal with the current Prescription.  In that case you could just jump back to the referenced chapter and get the information.  All in all though I do think that at least on the first read through you should go from front to back.

As far as readability goes, he made the book very conversational in tone.  That makes for an easy read.  Aside from the Deep Dive areas he keeps the discussion at a layman’s level. He doesn’t use a lot of jargon that might be confusing or interrupt the pace of reading. There are a lot of pulp culture references, so if that isn’t your thing it could be a little distracting I suppose.

It’s definitely not a one read book.  There’s a lot of great information in it, so you will want to go back over places in the book as you put the plans into action.  And by the way it’s designed it’ll be easily usable as a section by section reference book after the first read through.

If you are interested in an easy to read book with lots of helpful advice on how you can make small changes in your day that will have big down the line effects on your life, it’d be hard to beat this book.  If want to get a copy for yourself I’ve included an Amazon affiliate link to the Kindle version of it, just click on the picture below.  On that page you can also select a hard cover, paperback, or audio version of the book.  It’s a great book, but wait, there’s more.  There’s a Facebook community (coincidentally called the Own the Day community) you can join with tons of people ready to help you apply what you’ve learned from the book. And also to share success stories with.  The book seems a little pricey, but measured against the improvements it can bring into your life, it’s a bargain indeed.  The choice is yours.  Should you decide to buy it, I wish you happy reading.

Are You Being Your Best Version?   Leave a comment

How many times have you gone to an action movie, and after watching the hero pummeling all the bad guys into submission, left the theater imagining wha it would be like to be the hero?

Maybe he was an amazing martial artist.  You see yourself blocking punches or dodging kicks and then swiftly countering with precise and lightening fast attacks of your own.

Maybe she was a cop, arresting and bringing the bad guys to justice, or possibly the morgue.  You think of all the bad guys you could confound if you also had the training and the badge.

As a kid I used to love watching the old Christopher Reeve Superman movies.  Well at least the first two.  They went a little off track starting with number three.  I’d dream of what it would be like to be stronger than a locomotive.  Able to leap tall buildings in a single bound.  Being faster than a speeding bullet.  I’m sure we all enjoy striking the Superman pose, or Wonder Woman for the ladies.  I’ll be 48 in a few days and I still day dream from time to time what it’d be like to just go up, up and away.  Flying through the air without a care in the world.

And there’s nothing wrong with any of that.  A healthy fantasy life is, well, healthy.  It’s great to have dreams, even if they’re impossible ones.  No matter how much I dream about it or try to become him, I’ll simply never be the last son of Krypton.

The question is, with all the amount of time you dream about being this hero or that incredible person, how much do you actually spend thinking about being the best possible version of yourself?

Do you really want to be some martial arts master getting into fights with the baddies all the time?  Probably not.  Is it really your dream to be a detective like in the movies?  I’m guessing you’d prefer not to have that many people shooting at you in the course of 2 hours.  Besides, of all the characters you could be, why not be the one you were destined to be, you!

And if you’re going to be you, why not be the best you possible?  Doing that will require you to think about what that version of you is.  And it can be anything you want, even if it’s a cop or a ninja.  You just need to spend a little time figuring out what you want to be.

So take a little time today, or in the next few days, to go somewhere quiet.  Sit or lay down in a position that’s comfortable for you.  Close your eyes and think to yourself, “if I didn’t have to worry about how I would get there, what kind of life would I love to be living?”  Maybe you’ve always wanted to be a writer.  Perhaps a millionaire.  Could be money has nothing to do with your dreams. You’d rather be a healer or a teacher, even if it doesn’t mean big bucks for you.

Just keep sitting or laying there with your eyes closed imagining that future.  What do you do each day?  What’s your job?  Do you even have a job?  How do you spend your free time?  What kind of clothes do you wear?  Where do you live?  What do you look like?  Most importantly, how do you feel?  If it’s happy or content or relaxed or it just plain feels right, chances are this is your best version.  The key is while doing this, don’t worry about how it could come true, the limits you think you have to live within, or the probability of success.  Just dream about living life as the best version of yourself.

And once you’ve decided, then you can spend time figuring out how to get there.  You have to set the destination first before you can consider the path you’ll take.  It might be a difficult path, or it might be an easy one.  Maybe your best version of yourself isn’t that far from who you are now.  Then again it could be a life you’ve literally only dreamed of.

From there you start setting goals.  And then you keep breaking those goals down into smaller goals.  And maybe even again if you need to.  You just pare it down until you have a list of goals you know you can knock over one by one.  Whether the list is long or short is irrelevant. You just take item number one and get it done.  Then on to number two.  And you just keep going.

Along the way I’d recommend meditating regularly on what you visualize as your best version.  Times change and so do you.  Even if you come to the exact same dream you’re reinforcing this view of you in your mind.   If it changes then it’s easier to course correct earlier on the path than later.

But always break the goals down into smaller goals you know you can accomplish and keep moving forward.  You’ll get there eventually, and when you do you won’t care about the journey any more because you’ve arrived at the greatest destination possible.  The best version of you.  Take care and have a nice day.