Advertisements

Archive for the ‘self help’ Tag

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.

ECC3E788-9503-4AEA-A355-BD6A5440FB77image2B315EB5-F857-480B-B199-04C0FA869761IMG_1493

Advertisements

Tending your Garden   Leave a comment

I heard the best analogy today.  The person mentioning it didn’t know who originally said this other than they knew it’s an older idea, and he thought it may be Earl Nightingale.  If you know who came up with this analogy please feel free to let us know in the comments.

The analogy likened ones mind to a garden.  When you start a garden you have a new patch of soil.  The soil doesn’t really care what you plant in it.  It isn’t like you plant carrots and the soil says no and grows cabbage instead.  The soil is an unbiased medium.  It just waits for you to plant whatever seeds you want to.

The mind is the same way.  It takes in whatever you choose to plant, without judgement or reservation.  If you plant doubt, you’ll grow more doubt.  If you sow the seeds of fear, you’ll be fearful.  However, if you sow the seeds of prosperity, you’ll prosper.  If you plant healthy thoughts and goals, you’ll be healthy and move in a healthy direction.  The mind simply doesn’t care, it waits for you to decide.

But that’s only part of the picture.  You see if you want good things to come into your life (money, love, happiness), you can’t just plant the seeds and wait for the results.  If you’ve ever had a garden (or even just a house plant), you know that for the seeds to grow you must regularly tend to the garden.  If you just plant the seeds and leave them, sure, there’s a chance you might get some fruits from it.  But why leave it up to chance?

Once you’ve planted the seeds, go back and regularly tend to your garden.  Water your seeds.  Make sure there’s plenty of sunlight.  If you see weeds creeping in, go pull out the weeds before they ruin your seeds.  As the plant grows, trim and prune it so that unhealthy parts of the plant don’t go back to infect and destroy the healthy parts.

What mental crops do you want?  It’s easy to say that you want roses (or whatever your favorite flower is).  But are you truly planting rose seeds?  If you want to be happy think happy thoughts.  When you start having thoughts that aren’t happy (mental weeds), root them out and destroy them.  Give it plenty of good food to grow strong like books on meditation or self-help guides.  YouTube channels that promote positivity and being better.  Spend time meditating to enrich your soil.

Same goes for money.  If you constantly dwell on the lack of it, those are the seeds you plant.  And you will grow lack.  So grow the seeds of abundance.  Nurture your abundance plant by being grateful for the things you already have.  Feel you are worthy of more.  Take steps to create different pathways for the money to come to you.

Or being in shape.  If you’re constantly planting seeds of a bad body image you’ll grow more self-doubt.  So plant seeds of self acceptance.  Be happy with who you are.  Feed your soil by looking in the mirror and smiling at yourself.  Literally water yourself.  The same H20 that makes your plants healthy and strong does the same for you.

Whatever it is you want in your life, plant the seeds of desire for it.  Go back regularly to tend to your garden and remove factors that might hinder your progress.  You’re garden is your life.  How well it turns out is directly proportional to the energy you put in to it as the gardener.  I’ll leave you with that thought, have a nice day.

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.

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.

 

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.

Energy   Leave a comment

This is not so much a benefit of not being hungry as it is more of a tag along experience.  The reason why you don’t feel hungry on keto is because you have a better gas tank all of the sudden.

Think of it this way.  Imagine I owned a dealership that had two nearly identical cars to sell you.  Every detail about the cars was the same.  The style, the color, the price, all identical save the fuel source.  With the first car you’d get a range of around 2,000 miles.  The other car has a range of 30,000 miles.

Well that’s how your body works.  When you rely on glucose as your fuel source you can only store 2,000 or so calories at a time.  That’s regardless of your size and shape.  2,000 calories, maybe 2,500 if you’re lucky.  That’s why your body craves food so much on a glucose based diet.  You go through a lot of your fuel tank each day even if you aren’t particularly active.

Now look at the person who is keto adapted.  Your fuel source is ketones.  Even if you’re lean and athletic you’re holding on to 30,000 some odd calories in your tank.  Way more than you’ll burn in a day, even if you’re very active.  So there’s no sense of urgency in your body to replace the fuel as you use it.  That sense of urgency of course is hunger.

How does this play out over the course of the day.  Well if you’re glucose based as your day goes on you’ll actually see the needle moving on your fuel tank.  And then your body becomes nervous.  It doesn’t want to wait until the tank is about empty, as we often do with our cars.  The body feels there’s a scarcity of food and it acts now to protect you.

Using the car analogy, if you are flying down the highway at 80mph and you realize that you need to start conserving fuel, what do you do?  You slow down of course.  You decrease the amount of fuel you need to burn and try to become more efficient in how you’re burning it.  As a human you experience this as tiredness and lower performance.

Now think of the ketone powered vehicle.  It doesn’t worry because even if you’re super active you’re likely only going through 10-15% of your fuel supply.  So there’s no need to take emergency measures to make sure you can go until the next fuel up.  In fact you could go a few days without fueling up before it becomes an issue.

So how does having all day energy play out for you?  You get more stuff done.  There’s no mid day taper off of performance.  You’re not wasting time having to refuel throughout the day so that’s more time you get to spend doing whatever you like.  When you wake up in the morning you don’t need to rush to fill the tank to get started.  You wake up with a sufficient fuel supply on board so you hit the ground running.  And staying up later isn’t an issue either, although you still should get a good nights sleep every night.  In an interesting “paradox” since I started I have more energy during the day but when it’s time for bed I sleep like a baby.

All of that is great and all, but I’d say the biggest energy boost goes to the biggest energy hog in your body, your brain.  It’s such a small part of your body but it uses about 20% of your daily energy expenditure. I’m not a biology major or medical professional, that’s just the figure I’ve seen in most everything I’ve read on the subject.  Brain fog, that feeling you get where it gets harder and harder to think and concentrate, is an energy issue.  When you switch to ketones you not only have a much larger reservoir of energy for the brain to use, it’s an energy source it finds easier to use.  You stay alert and awake all day with better mental focus and clarity.  And it’s not hard to see how that will improve your productivity throughout the day.  Imagine reading faster and comprehending better because you’re not having to keep going back and rereading passages due to brain fog.

All of this because you have more fuel on board which translates to more energy throughout the day.  So let’s get back to the car analogy we started with.  I have the same two cars to sell you.  The only difference is one will get you 2,000 miles down the road, the other 30,000 miles.  Which one are you going to buy from me?  The answer is pretty obvious.  So now the question is which body do you want?  The one that has a small tank and gets cranky when the tank isn’t full?  Or the one that can go for days without a fill up and still run at top performance?  Which brings us to the third things I mentioned, fasting.  And that is a topic we’ll cover in tomorrow post.  Hope you’re having a great day and see you soon.

Distraction   Leave a comment

So first on the list of things hunger does to you is distraction.  If you’re hungry that’s what your mind will focus on.  It makes perfect sense from a biological imperative standpoint.  If you felt hungry but then your mind could wander you might not get around to eating.  Since hunger is the body’s way of informing you more fuel is needed, that would mean eventually you’d run out of fuel.  That, obviously, would be very bad for you. So once you get hungry your mind wants to focus on that need.

Now when you’re at work or doing something where getting food soon isn’t very likely you might be able to get your mind off of the hunger for a short bit of time.  But go too long and the hunger pangs will reassert themselves and they’ll be much harder to drive away this time.  We already covered why being really hungry is bad from a food choice perspective.  What we want to cover today is more of a quality of life issue.

For every moment you’re focused on your hunger you’re not focused on something else.  Like say that job that’s preventing you from getting up right now and taking care of the hunger pangs.  Lack of focus on your work leads to lower job quality. Lower job quality leads to poor performance reviews from your superiors.  And that can affect you in the wallet.

Or how about with friends.  If you’re focusing on your hunger you’re not focusing on the people you’re interacting with.  This can lead to interpersonal issues with the people you care about.  It gets even worse when you go from hungry to “hangry”. Then you’re compounding the distraction with grouchiness and irritability.

Or what about opportunities to make things better for yourself?  If your mind is on your hunger, you might be missing other things.  You might have missed a sight that could have brought a smile to your face.  Maybe someone you don’t know was being pleasant to you and you didn’t catch it because you’re distracted.  Maybe that person could have been a really good friend, or maybe more.  You’ll never know if you’re distracted and miss the opportunity to meet them.

How about the drive home?  The drive between work and my home is full of trees, and pastures, and streams.  It’s very scenic in some areas.  If I’m just focusing on what I’m going to stuff my face with when I get home I’m missing the relaxing view most of the way home.  Or maybe a cute critter or two along the way.  Or even the occasional fireflies that come and go around here.

The key is when you’re distracted you just don’t know what you’re missing because, well, you missed it.  And once you’ve missed it there’s usually no getting it back.  So if there’s an easy to way to deal with the distraction of hunger, mainly just not feeling hungry, why  not do that?  I’m almost never hungry and it makes my life so much happier.

I spend considerably less time on thinking about food. Just a little bit before shopping once a week and then maybe a little bit at the beginning of the day.  I don’t even really spend much time thinking about food when I’m eating.  Eating for me is more about getting nourishment in then it is about a pleasure response for quieting my hunger.  Sure I enjoy the food I eat. It’s delicious  But it isn’t the same kind of response as when you fix a sugar craving.  All the rest of the day I’m focused on what’s right in front of me.  Mainly because I’m not hungry.  It’s also because my keto diet just powers my brain better, but that’s for a different post.

So that’s it for distraction.  Tomorrow I’ll cover how you make the best use of all this undistracted time, having more energy.  Until then, how you have a great day.