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Archive for the ‘self help’ Tag

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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Making adjustments   Leave a comment

Last post I talked about Hannibal Smith’s famous line “I love it when a plan comes together.”  I used to love tuning in every week to the A-Team just for that line.  But that’s a tv show, and this is real life.  At the end of every episode there was closure on that particular plan/event.  Occasionally it might take 2 episodes to wrap it all up.  But in short order the story goes from start to the plan coming together.  In life, having the plan come together generally isn’t so quick or efficient.

No matter how well you plan, or how good a plan it is, there’s always going to be something or things you just can’t account for in advance.  Even if it’s a great plan that gets you close to where you want to be, it’s likely there will be room for improvement.

That’s why you need to be agreeable to making adjustments.  It’s easy to get so caught up in your original plan that you don’t see that it isn’t working for you.  Or feeling that you should finish what you started.  It’s why a lot of people will keep reading a book they don’t really like.  Not finishing it is quitting, and you don’t want to be a quitter.

But is making an adjustment quitting?  Not really.  It’s learning to spend your time in a more efficient and beneficial manner.  If you stop reading a book you aren’t getting anything out of you have time to read a different book you may glean something from.  You’re still reading, it’s just more useful material.  Same with your plan.  Making an adjustment might take you off the original path, but you’re still moving towards your goal.  You’re just on a better route.  Maybe a faster one, maybe a more efficient one.

It’s only quitting when you stop trying.  It’s only quitting when you completely give up on your plan because you aren’t seeing the results that you want. Making adjustments is just smart.  Pilots do it all the time to get from location to the next.   So keep an eye on your goal off on the horizon. And if you need to, adjust the rudder a little bit to keep heading in the right direction.  Don’t be so married to your plan that you miss the goal entirely.

Hope you’ve had a great day and see you in the next post.

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.

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.

Why are you doing this?   Leave a comment

Probably the most important question you can ask yourself.  I’ve done a couple of posts about acting with purpose.  Living your life not on auto pilot, but with definite intention.  When making the decisions that will move you forward along your path you should do so willfully.  This brings up the question, why are you doing this?  After all, how do you know which path to take if you haven’t figured out where you’re going?

The way to find that path is to know your why.  And the obvious way to find your why is to ask yourself why.  Unfortunately this isn’t a Google maps search.  You can’t just type a destination into the search window and be given a clear cut path to your goal.  Instead it’ll take time and meditation on the questions of why.  And that’s because to get to your why you need to keep whittling things down.

We all tend to create broad goals for ourselves.  Why are you exercising?  To get in better shape.  But that’s a broad idea.  A sprinter and a marathon runner are both in athletic shape but both have to train completely differently to reach success in their endeavor.  So you whittle it down.  Why do I want to get in better shape?  To be able to do more with my time.  Why do you want to do more with your time?  Because I feel I waste time.  Why do you feel you waste time?  Because I don’t think my actions have a real impact.  And you keep going and going until there isn’t a new why to ask.

This might be because your answers have become circular.  This is where the answer to why goes back to a previous answer.  So see what’s in that circle.  Like above you might ask the next why as “why do you feel your actions don’t have real impact?”  The answer to that could be because you keep repeating steps.  And you ask why do you repeat steps?  The answer is because they don’t have any real impact.  So the answer to why are you doing this is to have an impact.

Another reason you might not have a new why to ask is you’ve whittled the why down as far as you need to go.  There is no next step, you’ve figured out your why.  Again, going off the original series of why questions your next question may be “why do you want to have an impact?”  And the answer may be that you want to live your life to benefit others, not yourself.  And that answer resonates with you.  You’ve reached your why.  You wish to be of service to others.

And finally you may not be far enough along on your journey to fully understand your ultimate why.  Maybe you only get as far as you wish to be of service to others and that works for you for a while.  And then one day a why pops into your head.  Why do you want to be of service to others?  You’ve spent enough time serving others that you’ve become better.  More self aware.  And now you need more answers.  So you start asking why again.

And that’s how you keep walking down the right path.  You keep asking why.  Maybe one day you reach your destination.  Maybe you spend a lifetime looking.  Either way you’re living your life acting with purpose.  And that’s a good life.

07/09/2018 Weigh In   Leave a comment

Posting this a little late again.  I apologize for that.  I’ve tried to tell myself that it’s because I’ve not been feeling well.  I’ve lived in the great Northwest most my life and now live in Madison, Alabama where this time of year it is both hot and very humid.  I’m doing better then I was last year when I first got down here but the bottom line is this weather still doesn’t agree with my Northwest physiology.  But that isn’t the real reason, and I know it.  For the first time since I started weighing in I’ve gone up in weight without it being connected to my day off from Keto.

Not sure why, or what’s different in this past week.  I ate like I normally do and I’ve been good about exercising even in the heat and humidity.  It wasn’t much (gained .6 pounds) but I know it was body fat as my body fat percentage went up from 40.3% to 40.5%.

Were I a betting man I’d guess it’s because there have been some personal stresses in my life due to changes I’m making.  I’m not happy with my current job and I’ve been looking elsewhere. That creates a bit of uncertainty in my life and that creates stress.  I’ve been meditating each day and thought I was keeping it in check but it’s the only thing I can think of, other then the weather.  I suppose the weather could be partly to blame, and that would suck as it’ll be a few more weeks of this and I wanted to drop at least 5 more pounds before I fly back to Washington State for a visit. However I’m most inclined to believe it’s the stress.

And that creates a little more stress.  That’s the problem with stress is that it so easily builds on itself.  The thing is though I know that’s it now.  So I’m being hyper vigilant about my thoughts.  When a doubt or a criticism creeps in I quickly correct it.  On the whole I just know I’m making the right choice.  That this is what the universe has in store for me.  And I focus on that.  I’m working on adding what I call “mini meditations” into my day where I just stop and relax my mind and repeat positive affirmations in my head.  I’m also journaling regularly to get the thoughts out on “paper” (my journal is on my iPhone/iPad) which makes it easier to deal with them.  I just keep first and foremost in my thoughts that these things are endurable and I’ll be better on the other side.  So to that end I’m going to do a daily post for the next week as a trial run to see how that goes. Maybe it helps me, maybe it helps someone who reads it.  Either way I’m all about taking steps to be a little better today then I was yesterday, and a little better still tomorrow.  Take care.

 

Positive Mindset   Leave a comment

I mentioned this during my last weigh in and wanted to go into a little more detail about it now.  In dieting we tend to get caught up in taking care of the physical aspects of it.  Calories in versus calories out.  Exercising regularly.  Eating healthy.  Sleeping well.  All these things are great, and you should be mindful of them, but you should be more mindful of being mindful.

The whole point of getting in shape, for me anyway, is to live a better life.  And that’s generally how people view the journey.  When I get into shape my life will be so much better.  When I hit my weight goal things will be so much better.  Once I’ve got those amazing six pack abs my life with the ladies will be so much better.  Everything is a future event where somewhere down the road when a certain criteria has been met, I’ll be happy.  This is a terrible way to live a life.  Why wait to be happy, do it now.

Dr. Eric Berg (https://www.youtube.com/user/drericberg123) has said many a time that the problem with our mindset when it comes to losing weight is we feel we have to lose weight to become healthy.  He puts it the other way around.  He says get healthy so that your body loses the weight naturally.  He is a proponent of the ketogenic diet and I highly recommend following him on YouTube.

I think that when it comes to happiness we make the same mistake.  We assume we’ll be happy when all these positive things have happened to us.  Which is a never ending pursuit.  It always puts happiness down the road somewhere.  So we need to begin turning our view around on that.  Become happy to get the positive things to happen in your life.  Adopt a positive mindset and positive things will begin to appear in your life.  Whether you believe it’s the Law of Attraction, cause and effect, or you see what you want to see in life, it really doesn’t matter.  If you maintain a happy disposition and your life becomes better, who cares about the specifics of how.

Speaking of how, how do you become happier.  The simple, and very stoic, answer is you can’t control situations, but you can control how you react to them.  So starting today, when you feel sad or angry or bummed, stop and think to yourself “How would things be different right now if I chose to be happy?”  I think that happiness is a “muscle” like the rest of your muscles.  The more you work at contemplating happiness the stronger your happiness muscle gets.  And just like when your real muscles get stronger you can more easily handle heavy loads, as your happiness muscle gets stronger you can handle  heavier emotional loads.  I’m not suggesting this is a quick and easy fix or that you’ll have results overnight.  Far from it.  Just like it takes a long while to pack on solid muscle, it’ll take time focusing on happiness to build that level of emotional resilience where you’re just happy all the time.  It’ll be a long journey but when you arrive you’ll see the trip was worth it.