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Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Afraid To Fail

Note: So far I found five excuses not to write this and it's not even the first line.

Change

Why is it so hard? Why do we resist it so? What about change terrifies our lizard brain so much that we seek to destroy ourselves just to not try?

Why are we so afraid to fail?

Do we feel unprepared?

I talked about quitting smoking a decade before finally finding a real reason. A reason strong enough to override my irrational belief I would never quit. I had to find a fear more ferocious than the pain of quitting to take my first real step.

Before, I was pacing without real direction. I had to Dig down deep to find determination to travel the painful road between where I was and where my goal lied.

Backstory

My dad died when I was two. I never knew him on a conscious level. Later in life, my step dad died due to cancer from smoking. I watched him wither away at the hospital.

I watched as my 9 mo old son look at me with a sad curiosity as I lit up near him because I just had to have a hit of nicotine.

I had to quit.

But I just couldn't do it. I knew what could happen, but I wouldn't take the step.

I felt unprepared.

  • I didn't know how to quit.
  • I didnt have all my ducks in a row.
  • I didn't have contingency plans for when i had my next nicotine fit.
  • But I didnt want to leave my kids without a father...

I didnt know how, but i realized I needed to figure out something. I had to take action and figure it out along the way. This was a train headed right at me, left or right wasn't important, just the fact I had to move.

A Step

So I took a step. I lasted 3 hours without a cigarette that day. I told myself as I inhaled the nicotine from that next cigarette, I lost. I'd never quit. I'd never figure it out.

But I had to.

I tried patches, gums, e-cigs. Nothing worked. I was such a failure. But it wasn't just about me anymore. It was about my family. I had to try again.

But this particular night, I met with a burly guy named Tommy in a garage across the railroad tracks. I shared my story like an addict, desperate for another drag but more desperate finally for a cure.

At the end of our talk, he pitched a vape pen in my direction. Sold. This vape pen would save me from myself! Not even half way home I lit another cigarette.

I am the worst.

After 3 more days of trying to quit smoking and failing, I ran out of cigarettes. I immediately wanted to buy another pack!

What happens if I had a stressful day? I would need a smoke. If I didn't have one, who know what would happen. I'd lose it on someone! I need it to stabilize me. It was an emotional net.

No Net

I needed to learn to survive without the net.

It was hard, but not as hard as I feared. I got stressed but I didn't melt down on anyone. I struggled, but I overcame.

Sure, the vape pen helped in the beginning. It helped me transition this 'undefeatable' habit into another one. But it the end, it wasn't the vape pen which had the power.

It was me.

Surviving The Fall

It's been 2 years and 6 months since I quit. And yes, I've had a few cigarettes since I quit. They make me sick to my stomach. I put them out before I get halfway through them.

And you know, I used to beat myself up for having a smoke... But narratives only serves a purpose when it serves a purpose.

I don't have an emotional attachment to them. I'm not addicted. Heck, I don't even enjoy them the few times I tried.

Realizing this helped me out in other aspects. Just last week, I had a donut and got pissed off at myself for eating it. It's good to remind yourself it's bad for you but punishing yourself for eating it is worse that eating it.

Refocusing

Instead I found to remember how infrequent I have that urge. 90% of the time I'm happy saying no to the donut. 90% of the time I'm happy saying no to the cigarette.

That's flipping amazing!

That's an A in life!

What things in your life do you beat yourself up for which you actually doing a stellar job on? Maybe you should take a minute to think about that.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Helpful Hypocrisy

Many times I fail on the advice I give. Of course, I'm not perfect. I know I'm a work in progress too.

But many times when I fail on my own advice, I struggle with the feeling of failure. Or rather I struggle with the feeling of the fear of failure. There's a difference.

Even though I know failure isn't the opposite of success, it's a prerequisite to success. Even though I know progress is the true benchmark of success. I still fall into the trap from time to time.

Then instead of remembering the 9 time I overcame, I fixate on the 1 time I stumble. Have you even found yourself in the same scenario? Have you ever fixated on the failures?

Look, even Michael Jordan missed shots. Even the greats in baseball bat miss 2 out of 3. We all go off our mark but if we spend time concentrating on the missed shots, we miss more by not shooting. I'm not saying don't look where your shot went. I'm not saying don't recognize where you stumbled. Do that. You need the self awareness of where you head.

I'm saying stop staring it all day. Recognized what you did and turn back to your target. Fire again. Focus on your target and keep shooting. It's okay to recognize stumbles. It's great to remember what happened so you can better overcome obstacles in the future. But don't stand and stare at the faults all day long. Don't paralyze progress by fixating on failings

Stop staring at the sidewalk your stumbled on. It's paralyzing your progress. Return focus on your target. When your head turns backwards, you miss the next crack. If you aren't looking ahead, you are more likely to stumble of future cracks.

Perhaps that's what you're afraid of so you stopped moving. Perhaps the obstacle you barely overcame gave you a feeling of fear you will fail future fissures. Is it the trips in your past you focus on which slow you down? Are you so scared of repeating your mistakes, you stand still? Are you paralyzed, preventing yourself from progressing forward toward your goals. Is that what is stopping you?

Stop staring at sundered sidewalks of your past. Get your head out of your past. Stop standing still. Rotate your head back toward your goal and start focusing on the remaining path. Use the knowledge of the past to overcome the obstacles of the future but leave the fear of failure behind. You don't need that.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Diets of Deprivation

You don't have to deprive yourself to lose weight.

A diet of deprivation is starvation! Stop defining goals on can't. Good things don't grow from seeds of negativity.

Instead, work on switching worse habits with better habits. It's not about perfection, it's about progression. Make a discipline of continual improvement.

You can't solve problems with the same level of thinking that caused them. Switch up a few variables and discover a new solution.

Take the wheel and explore until you find something that works, then worry about upgrading your autopilot.

Though we be products of our environment, we have the ability to create our own environment. We have the ability to change. Try immersing yourself where you want to be. At least try to immerse yourself at the halfway point.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Buried In Bread

In the beginning of this year, I quoted Bilbo Baggins from J.R.R. Tolkien's The Fellowship of the Ring.

“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”

Since then, I have come to find there is always too much bread.

Bread is something you can't control. There's always another interest, another issue, another emergency demanding your immediate attention. What's more, none of us has enough butter or attention to consider the amount of bread piled on our plates. It grows by the minute.

Good News. We can control is where we scrape our butter. We control where we pay our attention. Ask yourself, where do you pay yours?

2015

In 2015, I scraped my butter over everything I could get a hold of. With work and family, I was ran a Dungeon & Dragon's Adventure League for the Greater Houston Area. That was 3 full time jobs itself and I didn't even know what I was doing. I also dedicated a lot of my butter to video games and to a structured, role playing game theology vlog.

Note: You can still see most on my videos on Youtube.

All that doesn't even attempt to encompass other hobbies I also had in 2015 and before.

I look back and ask myself, How did I manage it all?!

I didn't!

I just stumbled through life!

What's funny is I don't feel I do much better now. Sometime it feels like I'm in less control!

But then also I realize how much more mindful I am to my surroundings. I have the same amount of time, but now I'm more aware where I spend it. And... now I can see many of the time traps I'd got lost inside last year. Reflecting, it's pretty impressive how far I come. Go Me! Even better news is... If I can do it, you can too!

Expected Destination

In my first draft, I mentioned missing my expected destination, but where did I expect to be last year? Dwelling on it, I blew goals out of the water I( never even had. I never dreamed I'd be able to do half these things!

How could I know the route I would take? Could it be done faster, better, more efficient? How can I even know that, much less answer it?

What I know now is, I am better today than I was last year. By progressing, I'm getting better. Even in failures, I'm learning. I'm adapting, making better decisions with better knowledge.

Don't expect to apply perfect amounts of butter on all relevant breads of life. Instead, learn which breads are relevant. Focus your butter there, and neglect the stale bread.

You might not realize you're improving, you may doubt your progress. Look again! You may be blowing things out of the water you never envisioned back then. Here are a few victories I encounter I didn't plan for this year.

  • I can deadlift over my body weight. In January, I could barely climb 3 flights without taking a break.
  • I can wear a medium tshirt. I wore larges in high school, 20 years ago.
  • I can do 20 proper pushups in a row. In January I couldn't do 5 sloppy pushups in a row.
  • I can go halfway across the monkey bars without swinging my body. This one is still hard for me to believe.
  • I can maintain a happy vegan lifestyle (I can still eat meat but I don't 'need' it). I mocked vegetarians most my life (sorry).

Food For Thought

There's enough people to worry about the mundane. Focus on more important things like becoming mindful. Focus on calming the raging storms of thought.

Slow down to focus on the important. Endeavor for wisdom, physical, spiritual, and mental.

Taking time to make another's day better. Share revelations. Help others out. Be the change you enjoy seeing in the world.

Stop hiding from what's important. Do the work. Put in the time and effort. Dig deep to reach things of value.

Remember your failures too. They are valuable.

Monday, November 14, 2016

GMB Elements

This weekend I attended a disc golf tournament. I didn't take part in the tournament itself, I was just there to support it. While there, I took the opportunity to run around and have some fun with the kids. I don't remember last time I had that much energetic stamina. I could keep up with them all!

One of my favorite parts was with the organizer's kid. We were bear crawling up hills, hopping like frogs down, and moving like monkeys. It was great fun doing that without gasping for breathe after 5 minutes. Or course, Anyone who's followed me this year may recognize those moves I referenced. They are the keys to GMB's Elements.

Looking back, I remember when I first found out about GMB Elements. I was looking for an exercise routine to get into shape. Elements was one of my final choices, but in the end there were 3 reasons why I didn't pick it.

  1. Because I felt it would be too elementary for me.
  2. I wasn't interested in flexibility, just getting into shape.
  3. Stronglifts is free and came with a handy app to track progress.

Reasons (or Excuses)

Let me tell you how wrong I was about the elementariness of the Elements routine. More than once, I collapsed before the warm-ups was over. The energy and focus to hold a squat opener when you've evaded stretching for 30 years is ridiculous! More than once, my daily exercise consisted of lying on the mat, exhausted.

I also found flexibility and stabilization is important for strength training. Without a stable surface, you can not build a strong structure. You can only get so high before your form crumbles and if lucky, you don't injure yourself when you get there.

Once I could deadlift my bodyweight and started focusing on my form, I saw I was doing so many things wrong!

  • My back was in compromising positions.
  • My legs weren't steady and it was causing lower body issues.
  • I was getting plantar faciastis from over compensating.

Don't get me wrong, the training material was great. It's that my listening material is not so much. I tried to rush through the program for max gains and am a bad representation. I recommend trying the routine. I don't recommend rushing through it.

Last reason, I didn't think Elements was worth $75 when I first saw it. Why pay that much money to walk like a bear, monkey, or frog? It is a ton more in-depth. In fact, the information in the 1st week overwhelmed my lazy self so much, I ended up doing it twice. There is a lot of material you can go through and the video tutorials with Ryan and Junior are quite in depth.

I came to find out, Like in Stronglifts, I tended to rush through the program. I attack the more difficult variations before I have a grip on the easier variations. Yes, it's a consistency of mine. I'm impatient. I am working on my mindfulness and patience.

Findings

Elements kicked my butt, but I'm getting stronger, more capable. Before, when I recorded my movements, it was just for self evaluation. But now I'm at the point where I'm doing cool stuff and I kinda want to share it. So I am! I think the stuff I'm doing is great!

What's more, I can do it anywhere Just today I bear crawled and did 'baby parkour' in front of a hotel before lunch. It was great! It's also a lot less embarrassing now that I've done it a few times. A few people with me are now interested in the program. it's cool showing people cool stuff.

Anyway, I'm trying to be more reflective. This was on my mind. I wrote it down. Now I'm sharing it with you. Icing on the cake, here's some videos I was talking about. If you enjoy them, toss me a like and comment. See you next time.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Interview Prep

A videographer recently asked to interview me. I figured it prudent to dwell on my past to better convey it to the interviewer. Mindfulness is still something I struggle with so any prep I have is good. Anyway, while pondering, my mind chased a few rabbit holes. They were insightful, but maybe not what the interviewer wished to frame. I want to share them with you.

It's hard talking about the past, I look back and wonder, what was I thinking? Where was my head at? In 2015, I was over 300 lbs. Obese, depressed, feeling like an empty shell of a person. I Felt I lost all my passion in life. So many wasted opportunities I squandered floating down the lazy river of life.

Looking back, my life wasn't even that bad, but I kept comparing myself to others. I focused on how other families had more time, more love, more success. I ate that up. I devoured the toxic fruit before me. Looking back, I'm wondering why was I tripping? It's hard to get back into that mindset... or is it?

Reality, it's still a battle. I still hear I can't do that. I won't ever make my wife happy. My kids won't ever grow up to be functioning adults. But I'm learning to recognize that voice and tune it out.

You know what, there's another voice in there too. It's telling me I can do it. My wife, overburdened at work and exhausted at home loves me with all her heart. She's not neglecting me! She's TIRED! I can't go run off into another room and expect her to chase me down and give me attention.

And my kids. I am so fortunate to have kids as good as these. Sure, they have their problems but who doesn't? Stop comparing them to the highlight reels of Facebook. Let it be well with my soul these kids will grow up to be wonderful pillars of society.

I realize, I have a long way to go. To be honest, the path never ends. It's continues as far as you take it. The challenges on aren't necessary harder, but different, because you haven't been there. But also, I'm also come a long way! Sure it was painful but it was worth it.

It's cool someone is interested in the story. I hope you are too. Let me know if anything on my blog has effected you. I'd love to maybe interview you.

Monday, November 07, 2016

Giving Bad Directions

Giving directions to a place in Houston does you no good if you're in the middle of San Antonio. Direction matters but so do current positions.

You can make great time going west on I-10 but if you're in San Antonio, don't expect to see Houston for some time. Of course, going west from Beaumont is a great idea if your destination is Houston.

What I'm saying is before you tell someone to take an offramp, find out where they are.

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Supplements are Additive

Supplements are additive. They only work if you work. They don't counteract damages from bad diets.

Instead of loading up on supplements, start a food journal. Become aware of the food you eat. Then, start making small changes and track your progress.

If you need help doing this, message me.

Saturday, November 05, 2016

Protein Shakes

Those protein shakes look amazing but they don't outperform bad diets. Stop falling for fool's gold.

Until your eating habits change, you're going to remain where you are. Good news, change doesn't have to be hard and it doesn't have to be radical. All you have to do to start is change one thing but change that one thing today.

Health isn't binary. It's an ideal and every day you have the opportunity to progress toward it.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Fighting my Failures

I suck at push ups. What's more, this year, two friends nominated me for the 22 push up challenge for veteran suicide awareness.

Yeah, I did 5 before giving up. Not 5 days, 5 push ups! That bad!

After my first failed attempt, day 1, I told myself I'll just hold off on the challenge until I get better... But If I never practice, I'll never get better. Right?

I needed to set up a routine to do push ups so I could get better, so I could take on the challenge.

Backstory

This wasn't the first time I met a challenge I couldn't overcome. This January, several coworkers created a stair challenge at work. 6 flights up and 6 flights down, once a day.

Well, the first day I tried, I barely made it to the 3rd floor. That's right, in front of everyone else, I had to stop, sit down, and recover.

My legs were on fire and my breathe was gone. I felt pathetic I was so embarrassed. I knew the next morning everyone would meet back and they'd stop at my cubicle on the way to see if I was going.

I wanted to quit so bad. But I was also terrified I could only make 3 flights of stairs.

The Plan

So I decided later that same day to try the challenge again. I didn't get much further, but over the next few weeks I was able to reach the 4th floor without stopping. Later I made it to the 5th floor, and finally I reached the 6th without needing a break!

Of course, by that time, half the group quit but I realized I doubled my ability. Holy cow!

Why couldn't I do the same for upper body? I decided to try incline stair push ups.

Level 1

I began easy. There are 12 steps per half flight, counting the landing. Because of my height, I could use 8 of those step to perform my exercise. I decided my first challenge was to do 1 push up for each performable step. Simple!

Well, the last one was tougher than I'd like to admit but I did finish 8 inclined stair push ups my first day. Looking back, it doesn't sound like a solid victory, but it was to me. Shoot, entering the stairwell was a victory.

Confident, I tried the same challenge later. 16 in total plus a good work out at the gym. I was content with the day but I knew I could do better tomorrow. I needed to up the difficulty.

Level 2

My next routine was a pyramid of 20. 1,2,3,4,4,3,2,1. That's more than my body was used to. You should of saw my first attempt. My triceps were on fire!

What's more, my second attempt of the day was even worse. It was going to be a struggle to get 40 push ups in a day.

Still, I made the decision to do this challenge no matter what. After a few days, I finally completed it without a significant break. I was so proud of myself but it was only a single step on the road toward victory.

Level 3

For my next challenge. I decided to try an ascension of 46 incline stair push ups. 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8. What a challenge! It was, in fact, a little too challenging!

By the time I was on 6, I was was finding muscle fatigue and failure. The last 3 steps I spent more time recovering than actually putting in the work.

So the next day I reversed the routine from 8 to 1. I was much more able to accomplish the revision so I stuck to it.

Level 4

After a few days, I accidentally did 10 push ups on the first step.

I decided it would be a great challenge to up my current routine to a descension of 10 to 3 push ups to build strength and conditioning. Twice a day, that's 104 incline stair push ups!

I'm also performing Elements from GMB. My shoulders and arms are getting their work out! Believe me!

I'm also going slower and focusing on the form, looking to land perfect push ups. That bumps up the difficulty quite a bit.

22 Push Up Challenge

I finally think I can start to attempt my 22 push up challenge. That mean a lot to me. It's incredible. To be honest, I didn't think I could be able to do it this year. Of course I won't if I don't try.

So I'm going to try. And maybe I'll suck the first few days. But at least I'm moving toward that goal.

Maybe you can use this to reach your goals too. Can you use this routine to improve your body strength? Are you wondering how you can even complete a 22 push up challenge?

Let me know. Good luck!

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Back on Track

The last few months, I've been ranging around 210-215 lbs. in weight.

As you may know, my original goal was under 200 lbs. by the end of the year.

The thing is, I'm happy about current weight. I look great and I feel great!

So now I am wondering why should I even lose more weight?

What's more, instead of going for my original goal, how about I work on another goal (which I have been doing).

My new goals are strength based and skill based, like pistol squats and pull ups.

Revelation

Well yesterday, I had a revelation.

It is a lot easier to lift 200 pounds than it is to lift 215 pounds. 15 pounds is significant!

I realize remaining where I'm comfortable will prolong my journey toward my next goal.

It would behoove me to get under 200 pounds. Not like I can't gain the weigh back once done, right?

Anyway, I get more into it in this video. I hope you like it.

Share

If you know anyone trying to lose weight, send them my way. Maybe I can help them out.

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to share this message.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fighting Frustrations

I got frustrated last week because I wasn't as flexible as I wanted to be. I mean, it's only been 36 years of me trying not to stretch, why can't a perfect it in 2 weeks, right? Ridiculous, right? I laughed it off until I realize I do it all the time.

I remember, I spent years tying to perfect a way to quit smoking. Guess what? The right conditions never fell into place. The puzzle never solved itself for me.

Outside Half Priced Books, I scrambled to get far enough away from my 9 month boy, John to light a cigarette. When I did, he reached up his read to see where I was and what I was doing, then frowned a heartbreaking frown. It was that moment when the distance between where I was and where I wanted to be became too painful. there, I decided to take my first imperfect step to quit.

Guess what? I didn't get it right the first time. I stumbled and immediately reached again for a cigarette. Many times I did this on my imperfect journey quitting. But in the end, giving up was no longer an option for me.

Through pain I decided giving up was no longer an option. No matter how imperfectly I traveled toward my goal, I'd get there, somehow.

I also remember spending years trying to find perfect ways to lose weight. I've always been big, even in the army. Every weigh in, I skirted the cusp of obesity and military ineligibility. Of course, I constantly considered losing weight but figured not every way would work. What's more, it just wasn't worth my time unless I knew which way was right and had the time to commit to the action.

That recipe helped me pack on 100 pounds of fat. I also lost my libido as well as my general passion for the world. In the end, I chalked it all up as it's just who I was. But one day while sitting on a bench watching my kids run about, I decided to try something. Just one imperfect step towards healthier life. 5 minutes later, I stumbled, out of breath. But after the kids went to bed, I decided giving up was no longer an option for me. The pain between where I was. Me, a lazy, obese, a depressed shell of a person. And where I wanted to be, the coolest dad on face of this planet.

That distance was too painful for me to remain were I was. The pain got too great. After tucking the kids to bed, I started walking the block.

I remember that weekend, I got a bag of kale to try. After all, it's a super food and I wanted to become a super dad and a super husband It the nastiest thing I tasted! But there where lots of nutrients in it. It was, no doubt, better for me than the double serving of cinnamon toast crunch I slurped down each morning.

So I learned how to blend it with frozen blueberries to mask the taste. Later, I bought a nutribullet to mask the texture. It was worth it.

Now, instead of sugar crashing at 10 and starving by 11, I have natural energy into the 2 pm hour. Then, I enjoy a sizable nutritious lunch which is surprisingly pretty low in calories. That meal sails me right through the calm waters of the day until dinner. It also helped me drop 90 pounds in a year.

So yeah, I get frustrated. I get frustrated at the lack of immediate progress I make day to day. But that's not what real change is. It's about a consistent change applied over an amount of time.

Anything worth while costs time. What I'm saying is anything worth while takes a while. But someone spinning around every week lunging in new directions each time won't get far. Pick a direction and stick to it for some time. I recommend 6 weeks. Then look at your progress and adjust. Last off, be prepare to get uncomfortable. There's a pain in change but as I've said before, you only grow out of your comfort zone.

Friday, October 21, 2016

How Macarios lost 71 lbs

Recently in the Gamer for Weight Loss group, one member had a wonderful announcement to make. Originally at 340, Macarios is now at 269 pounds. That is amazing!

I just had to know what he did to accomplish such a feet. He provided 3 keys to his success. I want to share and comment on them here.

1. He Removed Junk Food From His House

It's so important to remove the negative temptations from your life where you can. You see, it takes willpower each and every time you actively resist temptation What's more, we all only have a certain amount of it.

Sure, it grows over time with practice but keeping junkfood around your house really stacks the conditions against you in an already difficult journey.

I mean, how much energy do you expend resisting surrounded?! You will burn out so quick. It's only so long most people can stare at a donut before it's down the gullet.

If you're a recovering mindless snack muncher like myself, try this instead. Keep highly nutritious, low caloric whole foods in the kitchen and make junk food hard to obtain. When snacking, don't bring the bag with you, make a serving, then put up the rest before you begin snacking.

That way, you have to go though extra steps to get a second helping. Maybe those extra steps will be enough to not chase seconds but hey, if you do, at least it's a cognitive, mindful choice instead of an mindless impulse.

Another thing, if you find yourself repeatedly compelled to buy junk food at the store, make sure you have a nutritious meal before you go out. It'll help you resist the urge. While there, consider listening to a soothing soundtrack while shopping. That way, if you are junk food triggered, the music can help calm you, enabling you to resist those urges and giving you permission to tell yourself no.

One more thing, when picking up groceries, when in doubt, leave it out. You can always go back to the store and pick it up later. This happened from time to time while discovering a diet that doesn't deprive you, but enables you toward your goals.

2. He Eats Only Chicken and Broccoli for Dinner

This is easy for some yet impossible for others, In the beginning of my weight loss journey, I tried meal prep and by day 3, I was sick of the same old thing. Of course, now I can go 5 days with no problems. My kids are even getting used to it. I called this being nutritiously boring in the past. It's a skill like everything else and I think it's a great skill if you really are serious in losing weight.,

It's also great for meal prep because you can fix 5 days worth of food for just a little bit longer than 1, then you have 4 days of freed time to do more, like game, play, or workout. Once I discovered how much more time I had prepping nutritiously boring meals, I fell in love.

3. He Works Out

Bodies are meant to move. So move. Even walking the block is a huge improvement from nothing. Prioritize a time to move. Still water breeds poison.

We know sitting for hours on end is bad for you Dedicate some time to move, Get up and stretch. Get the blood pumping and help flush the built up toxins. Combine that with drinking more water and you'll be well on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

What tips do you have for losing. I'd love to hear them. Let me know in the comments below and don't forget to subscribe or follow me to keep up with my personal progress. Thanks for reading this. Cheers!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Encouragement

There is a point where an incline looks flat. Don't let it fool you into believing you are not making progress. The ratio for improvement can only go to far per skill set. After, it's severe diminishing returns.

Don't get frustrated at the apparent lack of progress. If you're putting in the work, somethings happening. Get transparent in your accounting, and find out exactly what that something is.

Have faith in the system. If you're changing strategies every week, you might be running around in circles. Dedicate 6 weeks to a plan and stick to it the best you can. Log your progress so you can see your improvements. Don't trust your memory to remember where you were day 1, day 7, etc. Write it down.

At the end of your time, review your progress. What worked, what didn't. The adapt your strategy for the next 6 weeks. Also stop looking to be perfect. Look to progress. Too many people try a body builder's routine and wonder why it's not working. Start simple. Two cokes a day to one coke a day is progress. Drinking one extra glass of water is progress.

In the end, these all make up the bricks of success. Build your success one brick at a time.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Make It Worth Your While

Anything worth doing is worth doing poor.

Anything worthwhile takes works and it takes a while.

Work With Your Worst

Work with what you have, but start now.

Start with your worst. Start with your most unprepared attempt. It's okay.

And it's okay if you don't make it. It's okay if you don't figure it out the first time.

Think About It

Did you quit after your first fall learning to walk?

Did you give up after your first time you wrote the alphabet wrong?

Did you quit after the first time you got the answer wrong learning math?

The point is, imperfect your path towards progress. Stop waiting for perfect conditions to start.

Do Something With It

I feel someone needs to hear this:

I know you're starved for time but you also hate the way you feel. Find 5 minutes. Do push ups on your knees. try for 10, take a break, try for 10, take a break.

I know you hear 5 minutes can't counteract sitting at your desk all day. And I know right now you can't help the fact you are stuck to your desk all day.

Take the 5 minutes and do something with them.

If the 5 minutes is all you have right now, that 5 minutes is enough! Take it, do something with it. Do something with it today.

What Does It Change?

I was there. I told myself, what's the point? It's only 5 minutes. I told myself it's only 10 minutes. I told myself it's only 30 minutes. I told myself it's only an hour. What can I do in a hour that will change me?

And I found out. 1 hour of doing nothing, changes nothing.

But 5 minutes of action, of making one change. Of doing one extra thing. Of replacing one worse habit for one better habit.

That changes everything.

Your Little While

Sometimes you may have only a little while. Remember to make that little while, worth your while.

And while you put in the work, write a record of it. It's worth it.

Because, when you're in the middle of working your while. You may miss the worth you are accumulating in those whiles you have worked.

But when you write down the work you worked in your whiles, you will discover your work has much worth. You will find it worth while.

You Are Worth It

Remember, You Are Worth It!

You are worth the work!

You are worth the wait!

You are worth the challenge before victory!

Now go. Imperfect your way toward progress.

Inspired By

Friday, September 30, 2016

Opposing Strategies

Last night, I went to bed with a plan to wake up and seize the day. This morning, I woke up with another. It was to hit snooze as many times as I could. Guess which one won?

Yup..

Why did the new plan win? Last night, I was confident I'd be up by 5:30. I'd drink 2 glasses of water, stretch and meditate, and read for 30 minutes.

Fast forward to morning...

What a horrible idea!

Who would ever decide such a dumb idea when you can snooze 30 minutes more?!

Sound familiar?

It's a daily routine. Now, some days my nightly strategy prevails but lately, the morning strategy takes the day.

I know the better choice yet I pick the more convenient.

I need to start stacking the conditions in my favor again.

More specifically, I need to move my alarm away from my bed so I have to get out of bed to turn it off. Then, while standing and out of bed, I have to decide whether to return to bed or to continue to stay awake. I have found when I'm already up, I tend to stay up and I tend to be more productive with the day.

I Highly recommended for anyone who struggles to get up early. Move it close enough for it to wake up up but far enough for it to inconvience you to turn it off. My place is in the bathroom. You'll want to test it on a day you don't have to get up early (because if it's too far away, it might not wake you up).

Try it and tell me how it works for you.

Update

These strategies also work in food nutrition. Here's a video I made about stacking dietary conditions in your favor.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Checked It At The Door

Again, on the first day after my ground shaking, earth breaking decision to change... again, I sleep in. Growling with grumbles, today is not a day I want to deal with. Before 8 AM and I'm already done. I'm exhausted! Irritable! Am I the only one who feels this way?

I even went to bed at a decent time! Sure it was later than I wanted but earlier than normal. But even with more sleep I wake back more tired than before. I just want to give up. My legs are sore from Monday. My back, stiff from Tuesday. My mind is fluttering like an annoying gnat in a field of uncut grass in the summer. I'm quick to distract. I feel I've only had an hour of sleep. Tell me if you've had a day like this.

This litany of lamentations! Confronted with the negativity of this world surrounding me in Scirocco Sandstorms..

But winds also bring change.

Even in a maddening dust storm of doubt, I discover things I miss staring into the storm. Like I got up this morning. Even on the wrong side of the bed, grouchy with attitude up to my ears to a disaster of a house. I got up. Wouldn't the real disaster be if I had no place to house my family? And yes, John was being whiny, Emily was moaning, and Colin was groaning but Anne Marie came down and helped me get the family sorted when I felt like I was about to lose it. Did I even thank her for that?

And you know the perpetual traffic jam packed where I caught every red light? I made it to work and I even somehow was early. I don't know how but it worked out.

Man, why am I so down on myself? Now that I wrote this, I'm feel a lot more grateful for this day and looking forward even more to tomorrow. I guess there's something about counting your blessings and naming them one by one after all, right?

Talk about checking entitlement at the door.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Where it all Went Wrong

I sit slouched, wondering where it all went wrong. Wondering why there's no will to work out. Wondering why I have no passion to pen a purposeful message.

Did I fall asleep at the wheel while speeding down the freeway of fantasy and miss my turn? Here I was, making great time, but I look up and the signs are foreign to my goals! In fact, it looks like I'm heading back to whence I came! What's going on? How did I complete an entire 180 degrees back into the way I was?

Then I ask myself where resilience went. Where is my ability to bounce back into the face of opposition? Where did the will to war against dragons go? Did I drop it at the 7-11 of discipline while smuggling a tasty kake. Did I dispose it for a bowl of Blue Bell Camo 'n Cream? All I see is the dreaded dragon of my old bad habits breathing down on me. What happened?

Am I weak willed? I struggled with temptation today and fallen more oft than resisted. My breakfast started with a chocolate chip cookie! What's more, I played a video game for lunch instead of being active. Somehow I made it to the last week of a step challenge but here I am, sitting and playing a game. With a prize is so close I can taste it, I sit on my butt feeling sorry for my inability to act.

The fact is I'm burnt out. Looks like one can burn out of the good stuff too. 85 pounds gone in a year and my jets just stopped firing. My engine stalled. My propeller seized still. I look around and see the inevitable free fall back to my origin.

How did it happen? Did I miss orbit by just a meter? Am I doomed to fail at the apoapsis of my perceived progression toward a healthier lifestyle?

Or did I forget I can create my own energy. Is this failure actually positioning me for a new place which enables me to achieve my future if only I seize it. That my pain I experienced over years can ignite my purpose and power me past?

That maybe I'm not weak willed, but need to redress the fundamentals which got me here in the first place. Then I could continue building on the foundation that got me here.

That maybe what looks like weakness is just instability. I Just have to correct it with determined discipline. Once I build back these basics, I will be even stronger than ever.

That maybe I should just get my head out of my past and start staring back at where I'm heading. Instead of staring at the cracks behind me , how about I start forecasting the crack ahead of me. It's less startling to have a car pull out in front of your when you expect it to happen. Maybe I need a course in defensive goal reaching. How about I turn my head away from the past and the distraction and start focusing on the road ahead, again.

Maybe I needed to taste the madness of life again. Maybe I can make my mess into a message which will help someone break though their barrier! Get your head out of your past, you're no longer there and start stretching you head eagerly to the future. Cause you too have somewhere to go!

Friday, September 09, 2016

Stopping on the Sixth

I catch myself slipping into a lax state. I am conflicted about this.

For one, I deserve a break now and them. Even God broke up creation into 6 days. He even called the day good and stopped. He even rested the 7th day.

I don't think God took that time because he needed the break. Instead I think he gave us a model on how to do things. To chunks tasks and rest between. To take a break every so often.

But how much rest is too much rest? What's the balance to work to rest ratio.

I think it's in the same place. 1 day of work and 6 days of rest doesn't bear fruit, it grows weeds. But 24 consecutive days of work doesn't really bear you more fruit faster.

I know I've dedicated a ton of time on certain subject and became upset when the fruit of my labor doesn't produce in my preferred time line. There's been many times I've walked away from the field which will inevitably bear fruit seemingly minutes before first bloom.

Had I the patience and perseverance to endure one more day, I would have been able to rest and enjoy the fruit of my labor. But instead I walked away on my 6th day. Stopped on my 6th lap around around the wall of my personal Jericho. I gave up right before I had it, then allowed the weeds to once again overtake my field.

How many times have you?

Friday, September 02, 2016

10 Things Worth Sharing

Since starting a journal, my life has changed, drastically, for the better. Accounting my thoughts, recording good quotes, recalling wisdom and insight. Now when I have a bad morning, I feed myself positivity stored in this book. Imagine the same action on good days! You propel you mood into an orbit of positivity. Great things happen.

What's more, I can feed others the wisdom I've written. Many of my blog posts are derived from words in my journal. Many words in my journal are derived from inspired blog posts. Those new words help me write even better articles to positively influence more people. It's a blessing!

I want you to consider making your own journal. Recording your own thoughts to come back to, to return you to the positive when you are down, to propel you to an orbit of positivity when you are up.

Do this for 6 weeks. Record at least one thing daily. One quote, one proverb, one piece of advice to yourself, one reminder you are good enough, one reminder you are worth the effort you put in and you are worth even more effort so push, push, push because you will make it!

I challenge you to do this. Just Six weeks! It will change your life. Money back guarantee! I also want to offer you a few of mine to get you started.

  1. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.
  2. Care enough to fail. - Seth Godin
  3. A cloudy nigh doesn't mean the moon isn't there.
  4. You cannot change your destination overnight, but you can change your direction - Jim Rohn
  5. Make time for health and health will make time for you.
  6. Don't settle for an identity of sadness.
  7. You are not the thing you struggle with.
  8. Desire without a decision is a dream.
  9. You don't produce good fruit is bad seed.
  10. Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. - Nelson Mandela

Monday, August 22, 2016

Caring Enough to Fail

Having 3 kids, a wife with long work hours, long commutes, and many other 'things' coming at me proved problematic for living a healthy lifestyle. Or so I thought in January 2016.

On the surface, there was no way I could fit an hour of 'gym time' at night. By the time Anne Marie got home, I was exhausted!

But Looking back, i realized I was giving up before I even started. Why not? I believed I would fail if I tried. I had no hope!

Of course, the person with no hope of succeeding isn't even going to try. But, the only sure way to fail is to not try.

I was making excuses. I was content enough with being discontent, I didn't 'care enough' to fail.

"Care enough to fail." - Seth Godin

I believed my work would be of poor quality because I had no time. But isn't poor quality better than nothing?

How long must we starve our goals in anticipation of the perfect solution? And what good is the perfect solution if it is never executed?

For we won't know the perfect solution until the solution was acted upon. Until it is said and done, do we really know what will work?

Stop starving goals

Instead, feed your goals with small somethings until you find significant success.

It doesn't have to be perfect, it just has to be something. Start with one worse habit turned into one better habit.

One increasingly optimized event after another as you progress along your journey to your goals.

2 is an optimization of 1, even when the eventual goal is 100. If you can't find your way from 1 to 2, how do you expect to go from 1 to 100?

Stop holding out for the perfect solution, and start solving. As you move, you'll learn better ways.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Drinking from Dangerous Wells

Most of us know drinking salt water is bad. (And for those who don't, the salt dehydrates you more than the water hydrates.)

But in many aspects, we continue drinking from the dangerous wells of life and wonder why we aren't being satisfied.

One aspect is weight loss.

Dangerous Wells

Junk food is a dangerous well.

When you drink (or in the case, eat) from the dangerous well of junk food, you are selling your self short term. Stop forfeiting your future for fleeting fixations!

You are trading what you want most for what you want now. The junk food looks good now, but the dangerous well of junk food will leave you with less then whence you arrived. It looks good now but it always looks better before than it feels afterward. You know this.

Struggle

I know it's tough. I struggle too. But the only way we get tough is by getting tough. Declaring no to dangerous wells toughens you so you can fixate your gaze on your goals. Stop compromising on your goals, stop selling

yourself short term 'solutions'. They 'solve' nothing. These dangerous wells are devoid of 'well'ness. Seek instead the wells which bring you toward your goals. They are worth the walk.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Juggling Better Balls, Churning Better Butter

In January I wrote about Doing Less to Do More.

I look back and wonder how I managed so many different hobbies and how little effort I put into each one of them. I was juggling!

The interesting thing I found out about jugging, nothing stays in your hand long enough to grow, change, or evolve you. Everything is always in the air. You don't have time to dedicate to the ball in your hand. Another ball, another hobby, another facebook group or post, another video game or youtube video is falling fast towards you.

And you just can't have the falling 'thing' drop. No no no! You can't have that, can you? I remember so many times I'd drop all my important things. I'd forsake critical things for one distracting ball descending, because it was shiny.

What shiny balls are you chasing? What hobbies are you so fixated on, you drop your other balls in your life?

Oh wow I went somewhere with that. That message was for me 10 years ago and I missed it for 9 of them. How many years are you willing to miss it?

Change

Of course, my life also changed from last year, from 10 years ago. I'm not the person I used to be because I became a better person. Tell yourself now. You don't have to stay where you are. You are not stuck. You can drop those shiny distractions I'm representing as balls in this particular analogy. At least for a little while to get a grip on the balls you need to focus on and get them back to where they need to be. You can't juggle ten balls when you struggle with two.

But yeah, this year different. The situation has changed. The environment has changed. We live in a house twice as far from work, so there's a longer commute. Anne Marie works downtown Houston, so she can't get home until after 7:30 on a normal day. God forbid she's overworked which is almost daily and sometimes not even being able to see the kids goodnight.

In many ways, I feel even more spread thin than before! But the time I do have, that time, I've found how to make it more meaningful. What I'm saying is, while I still only have two hands to juggle, I found better balls.

While I still have little butter to spread and too much bread around me to spread it on. My butter is richer. My butter is creamier. My butter is healthier and more nutritious. And I'm picking up better bread. Someone needs to hear this.

It's not that you need less bread. There will never be less bread in life, not in this age. We have an plenty of bread showering us from the sky. We are drowning in content we consume continuously!

It's not about the bread. It's about your butter.

We all only have a limited amount of time on this Earth. I can tell you right now for a fact, you'll be dead a lot longer than you will be alive. So your butter. the thing you give your attention to matters,. What butter are you churning? What balls are you juggling?

Monday, August 15, 2016

On the 7th day

I love when blogs inspire creative juice within me. Stuff unconnected yet link magically from the wisdom of others. A shout out to Pfit blog which inspired this post.

Even God rested on the 7th day.

And I don't think he needed to rest. I think he did it to remind us we needed to rest.

You see, God wasn't done on day 6. He still did stuff on day 8 and he's still doing stuff today. I think he wanted to model a strategy for us. One that WORKS.

It's like gardening which I found I'm horrible at (but that's a different story). I think we can agree working 1 day and resting 6, the weeds will overtake the garden.

But what if you tend to your garden 14 days in a row? 21? 28? How much better, how much faster will your garden grow? Where do the diminishing returns start to kick in?

Another thing I realize is God didn't just rest on the 7th day. He sat back and relaxed each evening too. "It was good" He saw.

I imagine after a good day of work, he proceeded to take an Epsom salt bath in the golden garden tub in the sky with a crisp glass of Shiraz at his side and some Christopher Tin in the background.

He could of worked all day and all night, 28 days straight. He could of snapped his finger and had it done in under a second.

But he stopped after seeing a good job done each day for 6 days. Then on the seventh, he set it aside, made it holy, and rested.

So many I work with get discouraged falling off the wagon after 2 weeks of hard work at weight loss. I mean, sometimes I have to talk them from leaping off a dietary ledge into the bustling traffic of junk food.

My heart goes out to them. Here they are, doing so well, SO well. And after 2 weeks, they are crushed, ready to quit after 1 bad day. 1 bad day!

Sidewalk Analogy

Picture walking down the sidewalk. Now, Look down as you walk and do you notice something? Every 10 or so fee, there's a thin strip of wood.

There's a reason there's a strip of wood after every 10 feet or so of side walk. The world moves! It cracks, breaks, and crumbles daily!

Likewise the world cracks, breaks, and crumbles plans! Sometimes, those plans are yours.

But when you stumble over life's cracks on the sidewalk of life, remember the reliable strip of wood in front of you! It prevents the destruction of the world from continuing to destroy your entire path. It'll prevent your entire plan from being destroyed too.

So take that rest every 7th day. Place that reliable strip of wood down in your plans. Make a day of rest, a day you can unwind a little bit. A day you can ease off your restrictions for a minute before picking your mantle back up again. I'm not saying to eat the whole cake. I'm not saying to eat the whole pizza.

I'm saying, if you looking to lose 1 pound a week, go for a calorie deficit of 600 for 6 days. On your 7th day don't aim for a calorie deficit. That's still 3600 calories for the week.

And stop focusing on the crumbled sections of sidewalk you tripped on. Push past the best you can. Overcome obstacles when they appear.

But there's no use in worrying about them. They're already at your back. You have a reliable thin strip of wood in just a few more feet. And You got a whole new section of sidewalk in front of you that needs your focus.

If your focus on the crumbled sidewalk behind you, you're gonna keep tripping on things.

So head forward. Because you have a goal. You got somewhere to be.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Wasting Motivation?

Motivation won't get you far if you don't have direction.

Imagine your foot planted, pedal to the medal, tachometer redlining, in the fast lane of a super highway ... but, your car is in park.

How far do you go? And how long can your survive like that without blowing your motor?

No amount of motivation will help you if you are not willing to take a step in a direction. Without direction, motivation is wasted.

So, get out of park. Shift goals into gear and start moving toward them.

It's scary. I know. I feel you. But what is more scary? Taking taking step, or remaining where you are?

Terror

You see, taking the step might seem terrifying, but it's the anticipation we really fear. That's why there's so much build up in scary movies.

Alfred Hitchcock said "There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it."

Many of us are so scared to 'fail' we never try in the first place.

We aren't machines. We aren't perfect. We won't always get it right the first time and that's beautiful.

Usually 'failure' isn't nearly as bad as we fear it will be. But 'Not Taking a Step' is.

So again, what is more scary, what do you fear more? Taking a step or remaining the same?

Taking the step takes you out of your comfort zone. But then again, nothing grows in the comfort zone.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

The Cup Before You

Imagine a cup front of you. It's a nice cup, 20 oz container with a catchy logo on on it. As you come close to it, you notice it is filled with dirt.

As hard as you try, you just can not seem to empty the cup. Perhaps it is bolted down.

Now as you ponder this cup, a stream of muddy water begins to flow from above and down into the cup, filling it up to the brim. Now it's overflowing.

You hear the question behind you, "How do you clean the cup?".

Monday, August 08, 2016

What We Repeatedly Do

"We are what we repeatedly do" - Aristotle

But what do you repeatedly do? What are your habits?

And... How are those habits working out for you?

Do you have a habit of eating junk food? I did! Reese's Peanut Butter Cups were my willpower's cryptonite.

I would see them lying about my mother in law's house and I could tell myself no... But with each hour there... My head would keep turning toward them.

And she wonders why I never want to bring the kids over. Woman has chocolate everywhere!

Out Of Gas!

Well, Eventually the fuel that powered my willpower would run out and the gravity of my addictions would draw me closer and closer.

I'd feel the urges. Taste it on my tongue from across the room. Feel my skin warm in anticipation of the sugar rush. Can anyone testify on this with me?

It's painful repeatedly resisting the temptations of treats! Of course, it doesn't help having your kid plop down next to you with a handful of Andes mints.

But each week, I grew stronger. You'll grow stronger too. And the weeks you think you fail, you're still progressing.

Remember, change is immediate but the results are not. Instead, results are inevitable if you persist through the change.

Don't allow a bad day destroy your week. Don't let a bad week destroy your month. It breaks my heart how many people just give up after they stumble and fall.

That was me for 10 years. It doesn't have to be that way.

There's a better way.

Friday, August 05, 2016

Not Immediate, Inevitable

It was Spring 2014 and I was carting my 9 month old son through a Half Priced Books in his favorite stroller. I we there to scour obscure RPG supplements to breathe more life into my campaign. I sat sprawled, books circling me as people walked past toward more popular genres.

A plastic motorcycle flies by, missing my head, followed by a mischievous cackle. I smirk, grab the toy, and return it to John as I mine the tome for literary nuggets of golden inspiration.

But there was no gold that day and John was ever increasingly demanding for my attention from his buggy. The anxiety was also creeping back into my mind as my mouth dried from dehydration. I needed a cigarette.

Returning the books to shelves in no order, I cart John outside, 25 feet from the entrance to the edge of a covered area. I then proceed to pace 10 more feet away, deftly producing cigarette and lit lighter in motion. By 9 feet, I was already devouring my first drag.

Not Immediate

I turned and glanced at John who curiously considering me with cherubic cheeks. Then, as cigarette smoke filled the space between us, he let loose a moan of discomfort and frustration. In response, I took another drag.

After 10 year of trying to quit, I knew I was shackled to this flaming stick of tobacco between my fingers. It is was it is.

I took another drag and glanced back. John, restrained in his black stroller, delivers another glance of disapproval. He reached his short, stubby infant hands up to the air expecting I would drop everything to run over and embrace him. At least, that was my interpretation. But first, I needed to finish my cigarette.

I bring the cigarette back to my lips. Smoking in front of my 9 month old boy, who does that? What is wrong with me? The weight of guilt pressed down upon me.

I took another drag. No! I stopped half way. Why am I doing this? Don't I want to see him all grown up? Don't I want to see him have his own family?

His namesake, my father, died when I was two. My stepfather died of lung cancer. I saw what it did to him with my own eyes. Do I want my baby to see that?

Do I want that? Because with each drag I move one more step closer to that reality! No I will not allow this no more.

I took another drag. But how? I tried for 10 years. Doesn't matter. I'll find a way. I dropped the cigarette and snuffed it out with my shoe.

Inevitable

That's the moment I proclaimed emancipation from cigarettes. I began looking into ways to kick the habit. Later that week, I purchased my first "Vape Pen" from a tattooed guy named Tommy. He ran a VapeShop from his garage somewhere in a run down neighborhood in La Porte. I smoked two more cigarettes that night.

Later that week I ran out of smokes and I wanted to have a cigarette so bad but instead I clinged to my vape pen. It wasn't easy. But the results were inevitable. I haven't bought a pack of smokes since.

After 3 months of vaping, I finally got down to 0 mg. I wasn't interested in blowing clouds all day.

It's been 2 years since I quit smoking. I wasn't easy and the result weren't immediate. But it was inevitable.

"Change is immediate, but results are not. Instead, results are inevitable if you persist through the change."

- Justin

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

Recording Meals

I've recorded my meals for over a year now. Yeah, it sucks in the beginning but it gets kinda interesting for a week or two when you get a few meals saved.

It's not glamorous.

But the results are. It's not immediate, but it's inevitable as long as you keep the faith.

Some Weeks

I recorded my meals for over a year now. The thing is, I haven't recorded 52 weeks worth of meals. Not even close.

What I did was log my meals until I found a few I enjoyed which also helped me reach my goals.

Once a had a few days worth of nutritious meals, I'd get nutritiously repetitive and schedule my nutritious days. I didn't need to log them. I knew they were already healthy.

That way, I only needed to focus on the other days of the week. And even if they weren't perfect, I knew I could trust the days I already scheduled to be nutritious.

There were even weeks I don't log any of my meals because I know what I'm eating will help me lose weight. It's not glamorous but it's an awesome and liberating feeling.

Freeing!

Other Weeks

There were also weeks I didn't log any of my meals and I would drift off course. Every once in a while, I would get complacent.

Sometimes I lose interest in the existing recipes and be ready for something new. Other times I'd "fall off the wagon."

But once I realized this, all I needed to do was start logging what I ate again until I found a few more meals which fit my goals.

I now have weeks worth of meals I can rely on which I enjoy and help me reach my goal.

In The End

It's not immediate, but it's inevitable. And it's not a diet of deprivation.

I can eat desert. I can eat carbohydrates. I can even fall off the wagon.

Cause I have weeks worth of meals I can rely on which I enjoy and help me reach my goal.

I have that from recording meals

  • It help you stay on track
  • It helps you save money cause you know what you need to buy at the grocer.
  • It helps save you time, and stress. I highly, highly recommend it.

Monday, August 01, 2016

Chapter 5

Do you start reading a book at Chapter 5?

Chapter 5 may be where the hero wins but without Chapters 1-4, Chapter 5 loses context.

Chapters 1-4

The shining sword the hero used to slay the dragon. You know, the weapon he found in Chapter 4. That's the reward for overcoming his final obstacle. The one which enabled him to face the dragon in the first face.

The sturdy shield which saves his life during the epic battle. You know, the gift he received in Chapter 3. That's from saving another's life with the skills he learned in Chapter 2.

The tome the hero reads which exposed the dragon's greatest weakness. You know, the book he discovered in Chapter 2. That's from relentlessly scouring the streets, seeking until the right information was revealed.

The scared child afraid of the vile dragon. You know, the boy from Chapter 1.

That was the hero.

Chapter 5

You see chapter 5 is great. It the great victory. But Chapter 5 would have never happened without Chapters 1 - 4.

Why do you expect your journey to be different?

Friday, July 29, 2016

Not every opinion is worth listening to

When you have goals, it's important to find others who's beliefs line up with them. Is not it easier to communicate with those in agreement?

Imagine getting fitness advice from someone who doesn't care about fitness.

Don't surround yourself with the wrong people and expect the right results to fall in your lap.

Dumping Friends

Then should you dump friends who don't share you views?

Just because your friend doesn't share your interest in fitness or weight loss doesn't mean you can't share other interests. I know many gamers who don't care about weight loss.

No problem! I still love them and we still frequently hang out.

Of course, if they ever do become interested, they know who to talk to.

Imposing Views

The issue arrives when their goals impose on your goals.

If you struggle with overcoming an addiction to sweet deserts and your friends keeps offering you ice cream, their goals are imposing on your goals.

Listen, it may be a good intention invitation and perhaps you haven't communicated your struggle properly to them.

Before assuming ill intent, clarify your struggles. Let you goals be understood.

But if they consciously persist to impose on your goals, they're being bad company. There's only so many times you can sit with ice creamers before you ice cream yourself.

The analogy works better with smoking

Drawing Circles

I'm not saying to unfriend all your ice creaming friends. I'm not telling you to stop caring for your friends. It's not a you vs them mentality.

I'm talking about limiting their influence on you. Being selective about the people who affect your decision making.

Those with input in your life will shape who you become if you allow it. You need to be aware of this.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Inventorying Your Environment

"You are a product of your environment. So choose the environment that will best develop you toward your objective. Analyze your life in terms of its environment. Are the things around you helping you toward success - or are they holding you back?" - W. Clement Stone

Would you hold a weight loss meeting in a donut shop?

How about an Alcoholic Anonymous Meeting at a bar?

How about a smoking cessation class at a cigar lounge?

Environment matters

But environment isn't just location, it's also the people you surround yourself with.

Are the people you surround yourself with helping you reach your goal or are they holding you back?

Maybe it's a good time to take inventory.

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Product of Your Environment

I will never fully understand the life of an Iranian in Tehran during the regime change. No matter how many books read, movies watched, nor people interviewed I can never truly be a product of that environment.

But your environment does not define you. It also doesn't have to be static.

Your past doesn't have to dictate your future.

Sure, your past is important, but not nearly as important as your vision for the future

Or rather the way you see your future is more important than what's happened in the past.

But changing your environment takes a conscious decision, it requires conscious effort, and sometime the results are also not immediate.

Circle of Friends

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” - Jim Rohn

The people you spend the most time with have the greatest influence on you. Those are the people you surround yourself with. Your environment. Look at them? Where are they in life compared to you?

Typically most of them will be around the same level as you.

That's great if your goal is to remain the same.

But what if their goals don't align with yours?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Be Ambitious

But not foolish.

It's great wanting to lose 100 pounds in 1 year...

But trying for 2 pounds a week for 25 weeks is hard when you struggle to lose 1 pound a week.

And what do you do when you start hitting your plateaus? Progress isn't linear.

Do you eat less?

If you're already are your minimum viable calorie consumption, you're starving yourself.

Fasting is great, but it's not a long term solution. Starving yourself is a great way to retain water, compromise liver and kidney function, and throw your hormones out of whack.

Consider the alternative.

If you have been gaining weight, first learn to stabilize your weight.

Try a weight stabilization diet for a few weeks and find out what's sustainable for you which also achieves the goals your are looking for.

Once you learn how to maintain your weight, practice losing 1 pound a week.

That about a 500 calorie deficit a day. A combination of dietary habits and increased exercise will get you there easy.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Misplaced Blame

On my About Me page I mention how I was depressed without hope and I believed my family was falling apart before my eyes.

Looking back, I realize I was deceiving myself, devouring unhealthy thoughts.

I started to believe my family was against me and began self fulfilling the negative prophecy in my mind.

False Narrative

With the false narrative, I added to my 10 ton bag of lies and began to misplace blame. I started looking for reasons why my family was 'broken'.

Days they didn't have energy to clean, I'd fill my plate with the fruit of resentment thinking. "If only they loved me, they'd help me pick up this house."

What's more, when Anne Marie mentioned how I also forgot to finish a chore, I would be quick to anger, pointing out how it was me always bending over backwards. Busting my butt. Cooking, cleaning, taking care of the kids.

Relationships

But it's not easier to fit a square peg in a round hole by pushing harder.

I was planting orange seeds and expecting apples. Then I'd anger when sickly navels appeared.

Relationships don't work out so well when you keep score. It's not about checking the boxes.

It's about connecting a deeper level. Being more intimate. A relationship is about relating. Go figure.

And that's exactly what I wasn't doing. Relating. Understanding. I was too caught up in my false narratives, I never even bother asking my wife whether they were true.

Looking back, I realize my depression wasn't because of Anne Marie and the kids. They were reasons I fought it. I am forever thankful.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Pokemon Go. Greatest Social Game to Date?

My friend Gregory states "Pokemon Go is the greatest social game to date".

That's high praise but he has a point.

For years MMOs kept him, myself, and millions of others in our houses. We were connected in MMOs, but only virtually. Physically we were hidden in dark hideaways double clicking relentlessly at a glowing monitor.

Not a sterling definition of social.

But now millions of people are leaving their house and heading to parks and community centers to catch them all. Millions of people are now outside, walking every single day, meeting others they would have never met otherwise.

There are already reports of Pokemon Go couples. Players who met chasing Pokemon now going on dates. Like I stated in Pokemon Going, it's only a matter of time until Pokemon Go is mentioned in wedding vows.

What's more, savvy businesses owners are capitalizing on the craze. They are intentionally placing Lures at PokeStops near their location to attract potential customers. They also run specials for Pokemon Trainers.

That's genius marketing!

Shoot, in Grand Rapids where Gregory lives, it looks like a perpetual concert downtown. Thousands of people chatting and cheering at Pokemon captures and PokeGym victories line the city.

Power strips provide by random Pokemon Trainers line the avenues with phone chargers of all types so anyone can connect and play without worrying about their battery dying.

Do you think Pokemon Go is the greatest social game to date? If not, what game is? Let me know.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.


Anne Marie & Psyduck
Photo court Chris & Nataly

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Monday, July 18, 2016

All Mirrors Lie

At work Michael mentioned he uses a mirror to determine his fitness.

I had to ask him, "So what does fit 'look' like anyway?"

What does fit look like?

Lying Mirrors

I realize many people do it. I know I have.

But when we determine our 'health and fitness levels' by looks, we are doing our self a huge disservice, physically and mentally.

The body is a fast fading facade.

Don't slide down that slippery slope.

PS

By the way, mirrors don't lie. It's just the stories we tell ourselves looking in mirrors aren't always accurate.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Nutritionally Repetative

When I suggest batch meal planning, the most common opposition is "I get sick of eating the same thing over and over!"

But aren't you also sick of being unhealthy?

Following my proven plan will save you time, money, and stress at the expense of being nutritionally repetitive.

Following no plan will cost you time, money, and stress. You'll likely also have a harder time tracking nutrition and will probably lose less weight.

So what are you more sick of, being unhealthy, strung out, out of time, and broke?

Or being nutritionally repetitive a few times a week?

While you're thinking about it, let me introduce you a secret weapon I call Mrs. Dash.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

MyFitnessPal

My wife decided this week to rededicate herself to weight loss. She want to lose 50 lbs by years end.

This is an aggressive plan. Losing 2 pounds a week for 25 weeks is not a cake walk. I'd love prayers and well wishes.

One of the way I'll be supporting her is by counting my calories with MyFitnessPal. If you don't use a calorie tracking app and are looking to lose weight, I highly recommend it.

If you do have it, please connect with me. My user name is Hamenopi. I'd love to encourage you on that platform.

What more, I'm continuing my journey to from over 300 lbs to under 200 pounds. Currently I'm at 218.5 lbs. I'd love for you to motivate me past the finish line.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Pokemon Going

You might not know Pokemon stop locations originate from Ingress Portals. Since I played Ingress, I knew where the local stops were most cluttered for efficient play. So today at lunch, I had a quick bite and headed over to one so called location. It's name, Fullerton Park.

Fullerton Park was alive with people walking the perimeter! Every so often, the people in turn would look down at their phone, swipe a few times, then keep walking.

Young people, old people, healthy people, and no so healthy people; they all were there. I saw at least 10 people, more than I've ever seen during the heat of the day before.

What more, they were all waving and nodding to each other. From time to time, they'd stop for a quick chat before continuing. I talked to three of them for a bit, walking with them around the lap for some time.

We talked about locations they've been and strategies they used. We talked about teams they're on and other interests we shared. I had a great time and the least of this was actually playing the game. I got to meet some interesting people.

My Thoughts

I think this application has great potential to be a community organizing game. In fact, I see several Pokemon Go community walks and pub crawls already on Facebook Events.

This game is bringing new people together. It won't surprise me to hear about Pokemon GO being were a couple met in the future. Imagine this game mentioned during wedding vows!

All in all, I think this game is great. Not because you are catching Pokemon, but because you might catch a new friend or two in the process. They're not just jobless kids.

There are lawyers and doctors circling those trails too trying to catch them all. How could this not be an excellent marketing tool?

I'm going to try to hit a park once a week and see who all I can meet. I think it would be great networking tool. What do you think?

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Pokemon NO?

I think back to when I was a kid. I remember clearly still the original Pokemon. I loved that game! I played that game for MONTHS! So of course my attention diverts when facebook erupts in Pokemon pics and chatter.

Shortly after that, I see walls upon walls of Pokemon GO hate. It alarmed me some of the people with such strong negative opinions about the game. Apparently this game turn people into zombies and idiots!

So I got curious and I installed it to see what the rage was all about. I also wanted to see if I was the very best, the best there ever was.

So far I noticed these interesting things about the game...

  1. The application doesn't run unless you tell it to.
  2. It doesn't force you to stare at the screen.
  3. It doesn't order you to run out into traffic.
  4. It doesn't compel you to capture Pokemon while driving.

In the end, Pokemon GO is just an application. It's the user who applies it.

Analysis

The application doesn't create anything except an experience. Some people who tend to make bad choices are going to play Pokemon GO and make more bad choices. It's not the game making the decision, it's the person.

On the other hand, there's communities socializing in parks all over this country while catching Pokemon. These communities are already thriving. For some of these people, this is the most exercise they have got in a long time, and they are enjoying it. For that, I am glad.

They are also building friendships with other people sharing common interests. It's pretty amazing, looking at it for that angle.

Just because a subset of a community makes bad choices doesn't make the entire community bad. This goes for Pokemon Go players, Christians, Ethnicities, Cultures. Whatever.

I want to share a positive story I received regarding Pokemon GO.

Testimony

Michael's Story

... it's fantastic, it's getting me off my lazy butt, that's for sure.

In the last three days I've gone out of my way to take lengthy walks outside and just yesterday my fiancee and I went on a short walk around Hermann Park that ended up being about 4 kilometers, which considering our previous activity level, is very nice!

... it's having a similar effect on other people. We were walking around talking to other people who were out catching pokemon, too, and it was awesome. Half the people at the park, if not more than that, were doing the same thing and so everyone's exchanging tips and telling people where they say this or that pokemon.

That's kind of an amazing thing for a single app to do, it just created this community overnight, or reinvigorated one that has existed for many years.

Nataly's Story

Been playing it with [family] a lot .... We love bumping into other families playing it.

We've had an overall positive experience. Love that it gets us out of the house and encourages us to walk. I've met new people in the community and parks that have been empty for ages are being used.

Note

Last night my wonderful wife and I ran into Nataly and her crew at Boondoggles Pub. Completely unplanned. We talked about Pokemon and a bunch of other things.

About every 5 minutes, we'd peek at Pokemon, tag the Pokestop, and capture available Pokemon. It was a great time.

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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

How I Saved Money Eating Organic

Last week, I shared how by using simple accountability principles, I was able to identify certain key problem areas in my weight loss journey.

By identifying them, I was able to increase my weight loss an extra pound a week. That is insane! What's more, I also was able to enjoy better brain food via books and get more well needed sleep.

1 stone, 3 birds.

Another thing I noted was how I was just throwing away food. Leftovers accumulated in my fridge, tossed week's end for a fresh supply.

Houston! We got a problem here!

I'm here hemorrhaging food and money while complaining about the price of organic produce! It not something I could just bandage.

Some were just small portions but others could be re-purposed into new meals with ingenuity.

Come on! There has to be a better way!

Luckily I was building my nutritional play book and found a few. I want to share them with you.

Food Hacks

Every week I was discarding Italian style ground beef to make room for Mexican style ground turkey. It was an endless cycle of needless refuse going on and on.

Realizing this fact, one day I asked myself an interesting question. Why couldn't I just salt, pepper, and garlic one bunch of one meat? Then toss that same meat in Taco or Pasta sauce the day of the meal for added flavor.

Worth a shot, right?

Well the food came out great, the food was devoured. The kids asked for more. The wife complimented my cooking. I knew then, I had something in the works. Let's see how far I could take it.

Lettuce Hack

Every other week, we would also waste an entire head of lettuce. Come on! No judging. We've all done it, right?

Now my hack for iceberg lettuce is removing the outer layers Monday Night for Taco Tuesday lettuce wrap tortilla alternatives before chopping the rest into Monday Night salad.

Stir Fry Hack

Mondays are also typically chicken, broccoli, and rice night. Don't hate the stereotypical healthy dinner!

Another hack is re-purposing Monday's leftovers for Friday's Asian inspired chicken stir fry. It's pretty much the same meal done different.

I mean, sometimes I need to cook up some extra rice, noodles, or veggies but the chicken is already prepared. Chop it up, add stir fry sauce and olive oil, and fry.

Results

Because I began to reuse leftovers and re-purpose meals, my food costs for a family of 5 dropped. The result? I was able to transition to an organic dominant diet.

This is a case study of one so I don't know if this is typical but it's at least worth investigating. Try it out.

To You

How much money could you save by eating healthier? In the end, for me, quite a bit. That's another huge victory I discovered.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Boob Tube Zombie

An interesting part of accounting is you can build a nutritional play book. You also end up learning a lot about yourself.

One thing I found out is I'm far more likely to consume a ton of calories after 10 pm. 2 tons when watching TV with my wife at night.

Popcorn appears. Wine appears. Chocolate appears.
It's there. It's convenient. It's easy.
So it's consumed. Mindless. Without Account.

Destroyed Progress

I started tracking and accounting for it. You know, the whole accountability part. I woke to a glaring hole in my diet, a devious deficiency in my nutritional strategy.

I was a late night food druggie!

No matter how good I did during the day, when I watched TV after 10, without thought I'd destroy all my work!

Boob Tube Zombie

If you're anything like me, 4 hours vanishes every time I look at a TV. I'm not even saying Binge watching from time is bad but when it's the norm, that's the issue.

Last year, a decent sleep was the actual exception. I would watch shows all night while snacking and would get about 4 hours of sleep.

Guess what?! Next morning I was a boob tube zombie. Walking tired and groggy, I'd end up making more bad dietary decisions to stay awake. It's a vicious mindless cycle. Unsustainable.

Sounds familiar?

Solutions

So now I go upstairs at 10 pm with a glass of water to read a book. It's been a great! That extra 1000 calories a night actually is easier to avoid on the other side of the house.

I also get more sleep this way. I'm usually happy with 30 minutes of reading and go to bed by 10:30. Now instead of 4 hours, I get 7-8.

I wake up refreshed and happy instead of tired and groggy. I'm also not dragging in the morning so I' m able to make better breakfast decisions. Win Win!

Notes

I found I burn about 100 calories an hour sleeping. While great, the kicker is not consuming the offsetting calories at all! It's dodging the temptations while burning the sleep engine! It's great!

Of course, usually once a week I will still watch TV at night. Those nights I still consume more calories then usual but it's now the exception. I'm also more aware of what's going on.

The process is less mindless and I can better control it. The goal isn't always to cut all the junk food in your life. The goal is to be healthy. Health isn't just the food you consume.

Health is also the time you enjoy with your friends, family, and loved ones.

One more thing

Another interesting part of accounting I discovered was how I cold save money by eating healthier food.

I'm going to dig deep into this topic in this week's newsletter. If you aren't subscribed. Now's a great time to join.

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