Thursday, April 21, 2016

Overcoming F.E.A.R.

This is part of a series, the previous post is here.

Overcoming F.E.A.R.

False Evidence Appearing Real

The issue now is How to Overcome Anxiety.

In particular, I'm talking about the anxiety or F.E.A.R. of failure. Understand failing is just an event and failing doesn't make you a failure.

Thank of it this way:

You are an archer shooting at a target. If you miss the target, you failed to hit the target. It does not make you a failure at archery. That's why quivers have 20 arrows! Learn from your miss. If the arrow veered to the right, adjust to the left and try again.

That's called adapting your strategy. Keep adapting your strategies until you find your mark and hit your target.

From there, consistency is King. Just because you hit the target once doesn't mean every shot afterwards will hit!

Falling Off The Wagon

I think this is what gets people most people. They have a few good weeks, fall off the wagon and miss their mark a few days in a row. They then give up in disgust, convincing themselves they were never good at archery.

Come on man!

Anybody who's held a d20 knows you can always roll a 1 twice in a row.

It's the same in life.

Pick up that bow and try again, soon you'll gain some proficiency in making that mark.

The next step now is tagging the bulls-eye.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

This 10 Ton Bag of Lies May Prevent You From Achieving Your Goals.

While losing weight I found something very peculiar. Not all weight I needed to shed was physical. Stay with me here. I was carrying around a lot of emotional baggage.

  • I still thought negatively about myself.
  • I still considered myself fat.
  • I wasn't confident I could lose the weight.
  • I didn't believe I could I could truly be healthy.

Basically I was balancing a 10 ton bag of lies on my shoulders. The name of that bag was F.E.A.R.

While fear is an emotional response to an actual threat, F.E.A.R is an emotion response to False Evidence Appearing Real.

I think many of us struggle with this. F.E.A.R. is an illusion. there's no real threat of immediate danger. A tiger's not jumping out of the bushes to eat you. F.E.A.R. is just a horrible fairy tale we tell ourselves where we don't live happily ever after.

F.E.A.R. is anxiety. It comes from our own perceived thoughts, not reality. And even though we can't always control our feelings, we can control how we respond to them.

Shout out Richard for helping work through some of mine.

The Stronghold of Anxiety

Let's ask, Do past failures justify a fear of future failures? Only if you are doing the exact same thing. Of course, if you are performing the same actions with the expectations of different results, you may have a more pressing issue.

More than likely you learned thing fro past failures that now stack conditions in your favor and if this is your first try, your anxiety might be purely an imaginary stronghold.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

This Gamechanging Symbolic Gesture Helped Me Double the Rate I Shed Pounds

(Excerpt of a larger post)

One symbol gesture I use is a simple 3x5 note card with my goal on it. It says states my goal weight and my deadline.

"I, Justin Hamilton, will weigh under 200 pounds by December 31st, 2016."

It has my name denoting ownership, it has my goal weight and it has my deadline. Who, what, and when. If so inclined you could even add a why, where, and how. My why is to be healthy, my where is anywhere, and my how is anyhow.

One interesting thing I find is with this card, I'm better able to overshoot my capabilities. From June 2015 to January 2016 I lost 30 pounds. Following the trend, I surmised I'd get to 210 by the new year so I challenged myself that extra 10 pounds.

Well by April I hit 230 and I'm already in the high 220s. Sticking to my new trend, I should by under 200 by July which would be amazing. Using my note card definitely helped me do this.


For the first 3 months, in the morning I'd look at it. When I was shopping groceries, I'd think of it. When there was cake, I felt it burn in my wallet. There were times I chose to eat the cake and to buy the treat. It's not there to punish you. It's there to be a reminder, something to be aware of.

Now it's April and my habit is automatic. I still keep the card with me because what if I start forgetting my goal if I don't. I don't know.

What if I have a horrible day and just want to eat (or drink) my feelings away? That card is there and it is real. It will remind me of the promise I made to myself. Even if I do go all out and binge eat one night, it will be there tomorrow. Not to judge me for that night but to remind me of tomorrow.

How many times have you broke your promise to yourself? Was it deliberate? Or rather was it just because you did reminder yourself of the promise enough time for it to become a part of you?

Monday, April 18, 2016

Pants Don't Fit

Several Christmas' ago I received a pair of pants that were too tight for me. Ashamed of my weight, I just hid them in the back of my closet. Every once in a while I would come across them and remember just how overweight I was and just feel a deep sadness before pushing them once again to the back of my closet.

Thankfully I woke up and grabbed control of my life. My autopilot was heading straight into a mountain of sickness and disease.

Remembering the pair of pants in the back of my closet, I moved them front and center so I'd encounter them every time I was in my closet. Each time I saw them, I told myself someday I'd fit in those pants. Some days it was easier than others. More than once I wanted to hide the jeans again and forget about my mission.

But as time went on, it got easier to see the jeans and what was once a negative trigger became a trigger of hope. Still I could not button the pants but now I could at least get them over my thighs. I could see progress!

Then one day,

...the most amazing thing happened. I tried to put them on and the fit. They fit more comfortably than I expected. They weren't even tight! I made it back to my size 15 years ago.

You can too. It's not going to be easy and you might want to quit a little way in but trust the process and see it through. You'll get there and when you do, it's a wonderful feeling. I danced in those pants like a fool for minutes! I deserved that dance. I earned it. You can earn yours too.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Perfection Kills Pretty Good

The aim for perfection has sabotaged many people throughout history.


Why do we strive for perfection? If you know, please tell me.

Perfection is reserved for the Gods, it doesn't exist for us. If anything, it is an illusion, right?


Let's strive to do our best with what we have. Not THE BEST but rather OUR BEST or THE BEST "WE CAN" AT "THIS TIME".

If it isn't our best work, are we just then wasting our time? Aren't we also wasting the time for others?

And definitely share your best works with others. It will:

  1. Help others do better best works
  2. Help you do better best works

Because when you share your works, other may share their thoughts. Take that those thoughts and test them against your heart. The ones that ring true may help you produce your next best art.

Of course who you share your work with matters. Stick figures are masterpieces to 5 yr olds and object oriented design patterns is greek to most people.

Missing Your Mark

Sometimes your best will completely miss the mark. At least you fired your arrow. What's more, by missing, you don't fail. You just learn one more way that doesn't work and that bring you closer to the goal.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Rocket Science

You don't need to know Rocket Science to lose weight. Of course, it helps to become knowledgeable in nutrition if you want to go far.

But if you're just looking to lose 20 pounds, it's pretty easy.

  • Eat Less
  • Do More

ZenHabit's summed it up even better in this article.

A diet is healthy when it:

  • gives your body nutrients it needs,
  • without giving you too many calories (too many calories leads to obesity over time),
  • or unhealthy things (like too much saturated or trans fat, nitrates, excess sodium, unhealthy chemicals).

It's that easy... in the beginning. Of course the next natural questions are

  • How many calories should I consume daily?
  • What nutrients do my body need?

Great news! There are apps for that.

  • I use MyFitnessPal.
  • Another great one is LoseIt.

They are both free and help you track calories and nutrients. Of course, they only work if you use them.

Friday, April 08, 2016

A Practical Programmers Guide to Weight Loss

Today at work I'm trying to encourage someone to recursively call design patterns. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, you are not alone. Many people will be happy to never learn highly adaptable application strategies.

It honestly can provoke headaches just from thinking about it.

I find the same about health and nutrition. People get a headache just thinking about it. There's just so much info and half of it contradicts the other. Which end is up? Just tell me what to EAT!


But once you break through the terminology and get your hands dirty, you realize it really isn't that hard. It's just accounting for your variables and tracking them for a while.

Manipulate Your Variables

Once you know what to expect, you make minor manipulations to aforementioned variables. Record the new values and verify they are heading toward the right direction.

So many times in programming and in weight loss, people are trying to write one application that covers everything the first time. Then they wonder why their weight is out of bounds and their energy is null.

It doesn't work like that.

Track your variables and try to account for exceptions as they occur. Break complex functions or strategies down to simplistic tasks and look for ways to replicate them.

When something isn't working as anticipated, debug the process. Locate where the natural stream diverges and work on that aspect until the natural flow leads to where you want it to go. Sure, there are so fringe cases which will still throw you for a loop but don't let it crash your entire application.

Handle it. Debug it. Squash the bugs you find. Carry on.