Archive for the ‘mindfulness’ Tag

Weekly Vlog 2019-03-27   Leave a comment

This week’s vlog is up on YouTube.  It’s about worry and what you can do about it.  Hope you enjoy it.  Leave a Like if you do.  If you agree, or even if you disagree, leave a comment here or there.  Subscribe and click the bell if you want to be immediately notified every time I post a video to YouTube.  Hope you’re having a great day.  Peace.

Quick thought   Leave a comment

If you’ve spent any amount of time driving I’m sure this has happened to you at least once. Maybe it’s a billboard you’re trying to read, the police pulled someone over and you just had to see who, or someone on the sidewalk you think is attractive. For whatever reason your eyes go from straight ahead down the road to the right side of the road.

What also happens, although you didn’t intend it to, is your hands go right as well. You generally find this out when you look forward again and realize you’ve drifted to the right. But occasionally you find out when your tire hits the shoulder and your attention is snapped back forward by the sudden change in road feel.

This is the nature of focus. Whether you intend it or not you head in the direction of your focus. And how far off the path you go is directly related to how long you lose focus on your true goal.

So for today make sure to stay focused on your true goal. If your goal is to be more positive, every time you catch yourself looking at negative “billboards” off to the side say to yourself, “remember, eyes forward” and refocus on being positive. If your goal is to lose weight, when you see that fast food outlet coming up, look forward down the road to how you’ll feel in your new body.

Whatever you’re doing keep focus on where you want to go. Because the reality is you’ll wind up where your focus is whether you wanted to go there or not. Have a great day.

Quick thought   Leave a comment

It’s easy in a moment to make a quick decision based on what’s expedient in that moment. And while that quick decision might work in the short term it can have long term repercussions. Stop and consider the long term ramifications of your choice before implementing it.

As an example, you’re tired and on the way home from an exhausting day of work. You don’t feel like cooking and you know there’s nothing meal ready at the house. In that moment it’s easy to decide to stop off at a fast food drive thru and get something quick. It’s only one meal after all. How much can that hurt?

Well, it can hurt a lot down the road. If you’re on keto, as I am, you’ve just knocked yourself out of ketosis. You’ll have to get back into it which takes time and slows progress. Also, if you’re having to tell yourself it’s ok it probably isn’t. Which means you may feel bad about yourself later. Finally, every time you take the easier route you make it that much easier to do it again later.

The decision took care of an immediate issue but created three more to deal with later. Kicking the can down the road only works for so long and then you run out of road.

It’s your decision though. You’re an adult. Make your decision and own it. But do yourself a favor and stop a moment to consider the long term ramifications of your short term decisions. Have a great day.

Quick Thought   Leave a comment

In the United States yesterday it was Thanksgiving. A day to spend being thankful for all the blessings you’ve received. Here’s the thing, you can be thankful any day, and every day. Whether you live in the U.S. or not. So why wait for that one day a year. Find things to be thankful for every day. After all you attract into your life what your mind dwells on. Have a great day.

A Quick Thank You.   5 comments

I restarted this blog on 03/28/2018 to document my keto and mindfulness journey. When I did I had assumed it would probably take a long time to gain any traction. And now, less than 8 months later, I’ve already exceeded 500 views and have 50 followers. Maybe that’s actually lower numbers than I could or should be at. Maybe they’re really good numbers. What I do know is I’m grateful for all the times people stopped by to view my blog, and I’m grateful for the 50 people who decided to come along for the journey. When I get to my first anniversary (of the restart anyway) I hope to have come farther still. Thank you for your support. Have a great day.

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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Fear Itself   Leave a comment

Last night it rained a bit, and early this morning it rained a bit more here in northern Alabama.  Shocking, I know.  So when I drove into work this morning the roads were a little wet, and there were a few sprinkles along the way.

The road conditions were not perfect, but not bad either.  There was a car in front of me most of the way to work.  If a vehicle approached our road from a side road he’d start slowing down.  If he came across a puddle in the road he’d swerve a bit to miss it.  When people would pass him on the left he’d quickly move right as far as possible.  His driving gave me the distinct impression that he was fearful of driving on the wet roads.

It wasn’t that any of the things he did were inherently bad ideas.  Puddles can hide pot holes so avoiding them would seem wise.  Except these puddles really weren’t that big which meant it was really unlikely there was an issue there.  Sometimes people ignore stop signs so slowing down for the people approaching on side roads could seem a prudent precaution.  But the vehicles on the side roads were going really slow and showed no signs of bolting out.  And giving someone a wide berth when they pass you would seem reasonable, if he wasn’t moving so far to the right he was crossing the line and driving on the shoulder.  He appeared way more fearful than he should have been under the circumstances.

When you experience a small amount of fear, that’s a good thing.  It’s your mind’s warning system telling you to start being more vigilant.  Experience too much fear and it quickly become negative.  You begin overreacting and stressing out, neither of which is good for you.  If the level of fear rises high enough it can even be crippling, keeping you frozen and unable to react at all.

Making things worse is the fact that your mind doesn’t know the difference between a real threat you should fear, and a perceived threat, that only has the potential for harm because a perception in itself isn’t harmful.  Seneca famously stated “We are more often frightened than hurt;  and we suffer more in imagination than in reality.”  Or more simply, fear’s bark is often much worse than its bite.

So how do you fix this?  How do you keep fear at the smaller level of a simple warning system?  You be mindful.  If you are keeping yourself focused on the here and now there’s less time to focus on the fear.  If you aren’t focused on the fear, it can’t grow.  If you’re focused on the here and now you can make decisions in the present moment, not the feared future.  And when you’re making those decisions mindfully and calmly you’re seeing more options and making better decisions.

Mindfulness is a form of meditation, which means it’s stress reducing, which reduces anxiety and fear.  It promotes calmness, which reduces fear.  It makes you happier, which reduces fear.  It enhances gratitude, which reduces fear.

Why focus on an imaginary future of fears and worries when you could spend that time quietly thinking to yourself that “you’ve got this” and that “I am more than enough.”  Focus on the good things in life.  Or dwell in fear.  The choice is yours.  Me, I’m going with calmness, happiness, and gratitude.  I hope you do to.  Have a great day.

 

A little boulder   Leave a comment

I used to watch a lot more television then I currently do now.  I would get lost in wonderful adventures as they unfolded before my eyes.  Which is why I don’t watch as much anymore.  I’d rather be spending more of my time doing things which nurture and nourish my mind.  Reading and meditating being big parts of that

Having said that there are always lessons to be learned if you look closely enough.  And one of my favorites comes from Superman: The Movie.  What kid wouldn’t be fascinated by it.  Christopher Reeve was a great Clark Kent, but an even better Superman.  The movie had a classic villain in Lex Luthor, played by the amazing Gene Hackman.  Great storyline, great special effects (for the time), and top-notch acting.  You watched it and you felt like a hero.

If you haven’t watched the movie, beware, there are spoilers ahead.  It’s a great movie, so if you hate spoilers go ahead and get a copy, watch it real quick, and then come back and finish the post.  Go ahead.  I’ll wait.

Back with me?  Good.  During the movie a large dam breaks and Superman has to save a town in the path of the raging waters.  How does he do it?  Does he pick up a mountain and drop it in the path?  Nope.  Does he use his freeze breath to turn it into a big iceberg? That isn’t it either.  What he did was push a couple of rocks over.  And those rocks hit other rocks on the way down, that went on to hit other rocks, that went on to start an avalanche of rocks that created a new rock dam which stopped the water in its tracks.

One little action, begat another action, which led to big things.  What a wonderful lesson that is.  Superman, as powerful a being as he is, didn’t go from start to finish in one big move.  He started a cascade of smaller actions which created big results.  And if it works for a guy running around town in blue tights and a cape, it can work for you too.

Take my case for example.  As I mentioned in the beginning, I don’t watch as much television as I used to.  I didn’t go from watching hours of tv a day to pulling the plug on the cable.  Instead, I just came to the realization that one of the shows I was watching just didn’t really have any benefit for me anymore.  I didn’t even feel entertained by it.  And so I stopped watching that show, adding an open hour to my schedule.  That was the first small step.  I used the extra time to read more.  Another small step.  Reading opened me up to new ideas which did benefit me, leading to more steps.  And then the cascade happened.  I sat down and thought about the shows I was still watching.  A number of them were just as bad about squandering my time.  So I stopped watching them as well.  Now I had a lot of extra hours in my weekly schedule.

I still have this really nice 4K television that I enjoy using.  I just use it for viewing things that are more beneficial.  I watched “The Magic Pill”, which is a documentary about the ketogenic diet.  It’s on Netflix.  In fact there are a lot of good documentaries on Netflix. There’s also a lot of great information to be found on YouTube as well (although I will mea culpa to a few funny cat videos along the way).  YouTube has videos on working out, van life, the ketogenic diet, and mindfulness to name a few.  You do have to be mindful that it’s very much like Wikipedia.  Go into it knowing that just because it’s on there doesn’t make it 100% true so take it all with a grain of salt.  But there is plenty of good information to be found there.

All of this information has led me to better life practices.  I meditate more.  I’m learning how to write better.  I’m learning music again.  I spend time making plans and goals using methods I’ve learned have worked for others.  And that cascade of rocks continues.  Each little act getting me closer to being saved, like the village.

So this week, knock a rock over.  Just make sure it’s in a direction where it will hit another rock.  Let those rocks hit more rocks for you.  Let the movement create a cascade of energy that propels you forward until you reach your goal.  All because you took a small action with intent and precision.

You don’t need one big action that solves everything.  You don’t need to have godlike powers because you were born on Krypton.  You just need to be willing to knock over a rock.  And just like Superman, knock over another rock from a slightly different vantage point to compound the results.  Start today.  Let the actions compound.  And in time you’ll have created your own damn, stopping the things which are putting your village in jeopardy.

Choose to be the hero of your own life’s story.

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.