-->

Friday, January 27, 2017

Turning Heads

Losing 100 pounds turns a few heads.

It also raises quite a few questions like.. How?

I've always struggled with that answer. How..

I mean, I didn't go on a strict diet or start a dogmatic routine at a gym.

I just got tired of where I was and curious where I could go.

I figured the product in front of me was just the sum of my actions multiplied by time.

If I changed a few actions, replaced a few habits, over time my product would change.

The things is...

I didn't have time for the gym or exercise. I'm a husband and a father of 3 young kids who daily need help with homework, food, attention...

Still something had to change. I figured the best way to find time was to record how I used the time I had. After a week I realized how ineffective I was with the time I had.

With a few changes to my schedule, I found I had a lot more time than I thought. Not only was it less stressful, I also found I had more time to prepare better foods for my family. Those foods helped me lose 100 pounds.

Only, I don't know how to be compelling about journaling. Not yet.

But food...

It's been a passion of mine my whole life. I can talk about food. It's just now it's healthier food.

So that's what I'm going to start sharing. Recipes I make, as I make them. Photographed, streamed together in digital albums accompanied with instructions on how I made them.

There are many ways to make these recipes, if you're curious about alternatives, contact me. My recipes are ever alive and constant change as my nutritional requirements also change. Most recipes I make are vegan. I'm not dogmatic and I eat meat, but these meals are delicious and super effective. If they weren't I wouldn't share them.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Super Bowl LI

Well my dreams of a Texans vs Cowboys Super Bowl in Houston were crushed this year.

Maybe next time, right?

Growing up, I wasn't much of a football guy. My brothers were. I preferred Nintendo, RPGs, D&D. I wasn't even interested in Madden.

Then John came along. I don't know where he got it from but the boy breathes sports. I put on cartoons and he's bored. I put on sports and he's glued. I don't get it.

He's always looking to 'Down Set Hut' any minute, any day. Always looking to punt the ball, dive on it, and rush into an end zone. His love for the game even ignited mine.

But the Houston Texans. Come on man! Give us a break! I guess it could be worse.

Anyway.

Super Bowl LI, it's coming up and the kids are all a buzz about it. They simply can't wait to see the big game. I can't wait to see the Puppy Bowl Halftime Show.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Landing Hot in Brazoria

After our journey to Healthy Way Dairy and Runge Park, we still had plenty of time to kill. So I decided to drive. I didn't know where but I figured we'd find something.

We did.

After a bit of driving, we came across the Brazoria Wildlife Refuge. Canadian geese were flying in formation overhead. I guess they have Google Maps too.

Down a county road, we came across the Alligator Marsh Public Hunting Grounds. We weren't too excited to visit for obvious reasons. We were close to the Freeport beaches so I sent a text to Anne to see just how long exactly are we supposed to be gone.

Discovery

Down the road, I saw more birds in formation, behind them appeared to be the outline of a plant looking kite. It wasn't a kite. I stumbled upon an airfield! The planes were doing trick moves. What's more, it wasn't a normal airfield, it was an RC airfield!

Twitch decision, I pulled in to get a closer look. The kids faces adhered to the windows, staring at 2 planes stunting wonderful maneuvers.

This was why I was lost! I let the kids know, sometimes it pays off to get lost.

What We Found

We get out to investigate, I make sure to remind the kids not to touch unless given permission.

After ogling a minute, I great a man named Marty pulling plan parts out of a trailer. He's teach his daughter ow to fly. After a few minutes chatting, he offers to let my kids take a turn.

I was incredulous!

Does Marty want his airplane to splatter across the marshes?!

That's when he explained his remote has an override feature and he can take control with a press of a button.

And could he!

Have you even seen a 6 yr old try to fly a plane for the first time?

Brrrrrmmmmmm!

Straight down it went, only pop right back up, overridden each time.

It was mesmerizing!

After a few turns, Emily got a shot. Their eyes were so wide flying the RC airplane I knew what they were going to be begging for the minute we left!

Finally I got a shot at it.

I got to give my kids credit. Flying an RC airplane is tough. I almost crashed a few times too. Luckily Marty was there to calmly override each time. Finally I got a few great backs and then I knew, I'll be begging Anne for a RC Airplane at soon as I get home.

Go figure.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Saturday Morning Adventures - Santa Fe Texas

Saturday Morning, Anne Marie wanted the kids out of the house so I decided to go on a mini road trip with them. Our first stop was to the Healthy Way Dairy Farm. A friend of mine mentioned you can get raw, unpasteurized milk from there. It peeked my interest.

This farm is in the middle of an unincorporated neighborhood in Santa Fe, Texas. By the time we reached it, I was questioning Google Map's authority and accuracy. Good News, in the end, I didn't find the wrong way, I found the Healthy Way Dairy Farm. Thanks navigation!

The place had quite a few cows, some ready for milking. Farmers where busy running tractors back in forth as the cows mooed and moved about. In the front of the farm, there was a small lot and a small red shack set up as a store. Inside, there are refrigerators full of gallon and half gallon jugs of milk.

Milk from a single cow source. The cows are even named! As an American used to getting milk from a store, that blows me away.

So does the price. $10 for a gallon of milk? What a sticker shock! But then I wonder how much lower quality the big box store milk is. How many corners do they cut to get their prices down to $2.something per gallon and still make a profit?

Makes you kind of say... HRMMM.

There's also free range eggs there for $7. You can contrast with a big box normal dozen for about $2 too. What corners do they have to cut?

Of course, the flip side of the thought was this farm is price gouging! The thing is, if so, no one would buy from them since there's plenty of alternative choices for a lot cheaper. This place would go out of business if they where unreasonable with pricing.

But, people are buying from them! This leads me to believe a gallon of milk and a dozen eggs may actually be worth $17. I wonder what other things we should be paying more for.

In the end, I didn't buy anything. After all, we just began our road trip. I'd hate for $10 milk to spoil! After watching the cows moo some more, I noticed the kids were getting antsy. I opened back up Google Maps and caught sight of a local park. That's a great reward for them indulging me this opportunity.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Hiking at Jack Brooks Park

My 6 yr old son has been having some problems at school so I decided to take a day off with him. I decided we should go on an old fashioned hike together. I imagine a father would take his troubled son out to experience nature in some world like ours.

Well after a quick look at biking and walking trail in the area, I came across this app called AllTrails. It's like MapMyFitness (another great app) but for parks and trails. Go figure. Looking at the list of trails, I discovered one labeled hard.

A hard trail? How does one even make a hard trail anywhere near where I live? For those who don't know, Houston resides on prairies and marshes. I live on the subtropical marsh side. Yay mosquitoes! The only elevation we see down here are from the overpasses.

Anyways, I've been to this park about once a year. Backstory. My daughter's biological father played disc golf and her grandmother holds a yearly disc golf tournament in his honor benefiting my daughter. There's 2 nice disc gold courses at this park. There's an RC airplane field and an archery range too. What's not seen is a huge network of trails in the woods. I figured, why not?

We get there, the only ones there and begin to scope out the area. There are a few visible walking trials and a few horseback trails. I remember seeing the signs from before but it never registered until now. The network f trail on my app led me to a mountain bike course. I figured if a bike could do it, out feet could too so with a little persuasion, we entered a black marked course.

It was pretty fun. There were many hills and dips along the way as we strafed strafed small steams leading to a local bayou. I was quite impressed, I didn't even expect a change in elevation. It was so uncommon for the area, the trail names Hell and Dragon's Back actually made sense. There were some interesting trails. Some of them provoked thoughts of investing in a mountain bike. There were a few cool jumps and sharp declined wooden ramps. One called the spider bridge.

We spent about an hour there and I loved it. Colin was relieved when we got back. He was concerned we'd happen along a tribe of ravenous honey badgers. The only thing we encountered was a fat turtle in the middle of the path. I loved it. He didn't hate it. We bonded.

Anyway, the moral of the story is if you ever go near Hitchcock Texas and you get a hiking bug. Definitely check out Jack Brooks Park. I loved it and will be back.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

January Challenge : Your Own Character Sheet

If you're anything like me, you love a set of shiny dice. I tell you, I have so many sets, I could start a business! It was an addiction of mine for the longest time.

Another one was models. I have a ton of models, painted and plain, used and still packaged. They are all collecting dust between campaigns and sessions!

But even with all these shiny bells and whistles, the game doesn't get far without a pen & paper, right? Gadgets are nice, but the don't tell the story. A nicely painted models can't tell you his INT or how many hitpoints it has.

That's vital statistics!

Your Character Sheet

The have a log for our heroes for a reason. We need to keep track of where the hero is at.

But do you bother keeping a log for yourself? Keeping a log forces you to reflect on each day rather than trudging through life like a mindless zombie with no INT score.

A journal helps identify patterns, both good and bad, and enables you to course correct when you start charging full speed toward the edge of a cliff.

Challenge

Let's establish a habit of journaling each day's progress.

Grab a notebook and record your food for the day. Add how you felt and factors which may contribute like working out, sleep, and social factors. Anything that may help. It doesn't have to be perfect day 1. You'l begin to learn what important to you and your goals as you go.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A New Year

2017 brings a new year and with it, a new direction. A direction out of hiding in the shadows into a world I am no longer ashamed of myself.

Funny, how shame even creeps on me after all the success I've experienced. You'd think by now I'd find the cure!

But shame is a slithering, sneaky, serpent of a dragon, not easy killed. I submitted and hid in shame for years. The thing is, just like in weightless, I can't cancel out the years with a couple of days.

Shame

And I don't even know why I struggle. I've spent time trying to figure it out. The result? Nothing other than I am afraid to the shame of failure to the point of paralyzation.

For so many years, I could't stand losing. I was (still am in ways) ultra competitive. Even my wife refused to play board games with me for years because of it. We're only recently getting back to where will break out a game.

5 years ago, I'd get mad at the table if I rolled a 1. Man, I had some issues. Still do. They are as prevalent as a Time subscription with the content of a Seventeen mag.

Progression

Funny now how I get excited when I roll a 1. It gives me the opportunity to fail forward. To tell an interesting story.

I get to share a story which may bring at someone to the edge of their seats. I could captivate entire tables sharing how heroes recover from certain critical failures...

Then I realize I too am a hero. At least I'm being heroic. These transformations have been brave. It's taken a lot of courage to accomplish them and even more to talk about it. Even more yet to talk about my failing along the way.

Scalability

The cool thing is it can apply to smoking, to weight loss, and to fitness. I can shine light on my journey to tell an interesting story. I can inspire another hero to adventure! You could be that hero.

Look, I have overcome tremendous odds and am still going. I ripped my old system of thought to shreds. I knocked out my internal lines of resistance in the third round with a crushing victory.

Every obstacle I overcome looked mighty and great. But I was greater because the obstacle was fixed and everyday I had the change to grow. I'm victorious over my slain serpents and defeated dragons. You could be too.

Struggle

Yet in all this, I struggle to carry my confidence forward. It's not easy. But time and time again it has proven worth it. Every time I failed a certain goal within a certain time but later overcame, that victory was sweeter.

We don't know our time line and some obstacles are bigger than we first thought. But those obstacles are overcomeable. Those achievements are achievable.

Don't expect a paved path, expect the plateaus. But also have faith God moves the mountains but know he moves them through you.

Victory

I am because I choose to be. I declare it. I am because I can purposely lean into the discomfort. I can squeeze my own sensitive spots and provoke triggers which drive me toward action.

I'll grind the game until I know I win. I'll work my faith until I succeed. I am certain I have won. It's just a matter of time until the victory is announced.

I just may be halfway around the victory lap before it's announced. That just gives me a head start toward my next goal. I'm going to crush it. Will you?

Monday, January 09, 2017

Fighting Food Addiction

Ever notice some foods you just have trouble with overeating? I know I do. Well, if you're anything like me, you go HAM at Italian and Mexican food restaurants with the bread & chips. Bread & chips aren't even the enemy, I just go to town on them, killing complete baskets on autopilot.

The thing is, I have the same problem with them at home. I'd go to the store and each week would perpetually purchase problem foods. Unhealthy Foods I craved, I put in the basket without a thought. It wasn't until I started purposely keeping them off my grocery list, was I able to fight the addiction.

Yes, you'll want those foods, you will crave them. Your saliva will kick in when you get to that aisle. You may even automatically reach for them on the shelf. I did. Many times. There is a psychological struggle that comes with addiction and overeating. But, you can't over eat what you don't have. Sure, there's a struggle, but the struggle doesn't have to be eternal. You can break it just like one can break smoking.

But what about that struggle? Should you live in torturous night sweats, dreaming about your forbidden foods? There's a better way.

Find alternatives

When you start working to change some dietary habits, you don't have to quit cold turkey. Instead you can get creative and find some alternative indulgences. They don't have to be raw broccoli. They don't even have to be textbook nutritious. They just need to be better than your old addiction.

Let's face it, the perfect replacement for all your favorite treats doesn't exist. There are no perfect choices. But there are better choices. A 150 empty calorie snack is better than a 500 empty calorie snack. What's more, you're not as addicted to the new food. You have a higher chance of stopping sooner with a newer, healthier food.

Sweet tooth? Instead of ice cream consider chopping up a fruit and nuts. Mix with some Greek yogurt and freeze it. It's going to hit similar sweet flavor receptors but it'll be healthier. Also, man it's just hard to eat a tub of Greek yogurt.

At the store, be mindful of your addictions. Keeping a log of what you eat may clue you in to a few you didn't even recognize. I recently found out, I'm an anynonymous fruit snack junkie. So is my 3 yr old. We now walk by them. I want them, he wants them. I cry on the inside, he screams on the outside. But after a few weeks, his urges subsided. John will still ask, but now he doesn't throw a fit when I say no. Sometimes it's good to tell your inner junk food child no. He may scream for a few weeks, but he'll thank you later in life.

Until Then

Until then, you'll feel deprived at times. You'll think about the food. I need you to embrace this so you aren't surprised. Know it's going to suck for a little bit. It's not comfortable but discomfort isn't always a bad thing. Life without discomfort makes it hard to cope with even simple stresses. For true success, you need to endure some unpleasant urges and feelings. And no, it's not easy. If it was, you'd of already done it. It's supposed to be difficult. You are moving in a new direction.

But that's the nature of training. From nutrition to exercise, train yourself to handle the unpleasant and the feelings will stop.

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Frodo's Fading Resolutions

Have you noticed the gym is a little less crowded already?

Only days into the new year and many well intention resolutions are already fading fast.

But is this even a surprise?

How foolish are we to believe a few days of willpower can override a deep ingrained habit?

Creatures Of Habit

We are creatures of habit. We strive to find levels and routines we can protect, a place where we can stay. Kind of like a Hobbit Hole.

The thing is, if change was easy, everyone would do it.

It's not easy. It's uncomfortable. It takes time and effort and you're most likely going to fall down and get a little dirty along the way.

What's more, without a map, you might as well be traveling through Mordor to get to your destination. You got to also be able to read the map.

Accountability Partner

That's why you need an accountability partner. Think of it as a Sam to your Frodo. Someone to help guide you along your adventure through weight-loss of whatever resolution you've decided to take on.

Someone to cheer you on when you're unsure. Someone to stick out a hand when you trying to get back up. Someone willing to get in the dirt with you while you go through the difficult transition of change.

Because change is painful. It's good to have a friend to ease it. It's good to have a partner who'll come with you on the journey.

Help

Sometimes you need help from someone to remind you the process is worth it. Someone to help you up when you stumble and to help Shepard you back when you run towards your old habits.

Find someone who's made that hard transition so it won't be as hard for you. Maybe that person is me. I have a few spots left. Once full, I won't have any more opening until April. Can you afford the wait?

Friday, January 06, 2017

2016 In Review

What a year!

If you said last January I'd be cartwheeling and performing pull ups, I'd of looked at you crazy. Why would anyone even do that?

At the beginning of 2015, I couldn't scale 3 flights of stairs without stopping for breath. I couldn't perform 5 consecutive push ups without dropping to my knees. Sure, I was down to 250 but obesity wasn't the only thing 35 years of laziness caused. I was out of shape and fitness wasn't even on my radar.

Backstory

It started with 2015. I was juggling excuses like a circus clown. I was so fixated in trying to control everything, I payed no mind to the talents I possessed. What's more, I wasn't even in control.

My first step on the path toward success was becoming aware of where I was.

So like how a gamer builds a hero from a peasant in a RPG, I began auditing where I was so I could get to where I wanted to go. I was the level 1 unlikely hero.

Now in D&D, you audit abilities and rank skills to measure success in given activities. A moderate jump may have the difficulty check of 10. If you have 8 ranks in acrobatics, you might as well add a back flip into the mix since you still have the 20 sided dice called life to add to your total.

Reality

The thing is, my physical ability scores were low and my corresponding skills were dusty.

But how do I get from where I was to where I wanted to be?

I audited what I could control. What I did, when I did, daily. My choices.

Looking back, I wonder how I got anything done with such a schedule.

I remember, I didn't.

The Shift

Once I wrote my variables down, I began to see trends, habits.

They were what I had control over. In identifying my habits, I found I could manipulate them. I found I could change my choices. When my habits started to change, so did my life.

Seeing it work, I used the same principles on mindfulness, fitness, and weight loss. I would write down where I was at, then start testing the variables. The improvement I encountered this past year was remarkable! No longer was I hoping to find a perfect skeleton key answer to solve all my problems.

I was no longer seeking the magic pill of success.

Now, I was making small changes to small things weekly and reaping results!

Mountains Moved

The kicker is, nothing I did was hard. Sure, it was uncomfortable, sometimes it felt painful, but not hard! There were some scary dragons but none more powerful than what I could handle. Some I thought would take me had me fearing all hope lost. But as the pain passed, I rose from the mental ashes stronger, more able to meet new challenges.

Things that tripped me up, I learned how to expect them. I discovered how to expect their arrival. These horrific events no longer terrified me. I could push through them. I am more and more emboldened with each trial I persevere.

Yeah, God does moves mountains, but he moves them through you.

More Work

Don't get me wrong. I got a lot of things wrong this year. I realized how jacked up I am. There's a lot of times I was a complete jerk to others. I'm still working on that.

But I no longer see it as a self condemnation. I no longer see myself as a failure for failing. I see it as an opportunity for growth. I see it as a lesson to learn.

And that's what I'll continue to do in 2017. I will push my abilities to grow my abilities. I will not bury and hide my talents but will grow and invest them.

Goals for 2017

  • Focus on Empathy and Building Relationships
  • 100 Blog Posts
  • 10 Lives Changed
  • 1 Public Speaking Event

Thursday, January 05, 2017

Change In The Air

Once again, the year is new and resolutions are on the rise. Many sick of the old stand tall and declare change in the air. With defiance against old habits, they swear this year will be different. This year will be new!

The bad part is, most resolutions are given up before they come to fruition. The goals die before given a chance to live.

But how do we see our goal to the finish?

The biggest way I lost 100 pounds and quit smoking was through accountability. I kept a journal and confided in people who wanted to see me succeed. Along the way, through trial and error, I learned tricks to help me succeed better. It has been an amazing journey.

But the journey isn't over. As I ascend to my next peak, I realize mastery over the basics is crucial. That said, I'm looking to take in a few people for a wellness mastermind group. This is a group where your chances of success will multiply exponentially. Together we will share successes, failures, and will motivate each other along the journey, helping one another to reach the next level. Just like in D&D.

Who's interested?

Wednesday, January 04, 2017

With Change Comes Challenge

With every change come a corresponding challenge. Big changes come with big challenges. I'm reminded of this with my most recent road trip.

I live in League City. It's between Houston and Galveston. For our Christmas break, we decided to take a trip to New Mexico. That's over 750 miles one way. Over 12 hrs of driving. We also have 3 kids.

Now it you're a parent, you're already nodding your head. But if you aren't, kids, particularly 3 and 6 year olds, start unraveling after 3 hours in a car ride. If we're honest, they start unraveling as soon as they get in the car but it's bearable for those first 3 hours. It helps when there's scenery. The thing is, after Houston, there's not much scenery between Houston and San Antonio. Just a lot of flat lands and rolling hills. Not much obvious change.

It reminds me of my weight loss journey. I made a change, a resolution. I decided things will be different! I hit the road of life with new habits!

But after a while, I realized none of my scenery was changing. I wasn't losing the weight I thought I should be. My willpower started to unravel. My are we there yet' wasn't getting there yet quick enough. I begin to question whether what I was doing worked...

There were many times in the past where I'd give up. Told myself it is not worth it. The landscape isn't changing. It'll never change. I'm just stuck. Ever felt stuck? Ever felt like you were going no where even with your wheels spinning?

This trip resonated with me. An impossible task, a 12 hour car ride with 3 kids. Other people have done it before. Other people have even gone further that this and survived! But we're not all Fords. we aren't from an assembly line. We weren't all made the same. These other people may had kids who knew how to road trip. My kids? Yeah right. But it still had to get done.

My wife and I planned a strategy to keeping the kids pacified and us sane. She saw a things I missed. I saw thing she missed. Together we blueprinted a far superior game plan together then we could have on our own. How many times in the past has pride prevented me from seeking another's perspective?

That's the beauty of us all not being the same. We see things from different angles. When we compare our views, a bigger picture emerges. I discovered the same effect in my smoking cessation and my weight loss. When I began to seek out other views was I able to find hidden paths.

The thing is, we could of figured out better plans eventually but how many times would we go through trials and errors? On that note, how many time are you willing to go through the same trials to find solutions to your errors? How much better would it be to learn from the errors of others? How much better would it be to learn from their successes too?

It's important to use wisdom from your past but for significant success, we must leverage the wisdom of others. That's why it's some important to be in a community of like minded individuals.

The thing is, being in a community isn't enough. You have to engage with that community. Sure Wallflowering feels safe but will rarely help anyone. In fact, it usually retards progress. If you're in a group, engage in it. Ask questions, share stories, commune.

The size also matters. Too big and noise overtakes true conversations. There's not much time to stick to an issue.

Small, intimate, micro communities are the best. I'm talking about at the most 10 engaged members all excited to help each other succeed.

That's what I'm looking to build. A small micro community of friends eager to help each other succeed. A place were you don't have to worry about being vulnerable. A place you know others will invest in your success.

A group which will last for a few weeks but will develop relationships which will last a lifetime. If you're interested in something like that, let me know. Space is limited.

Tuesday, January 03, 2017

Same Variables, Different Results

"Stop giving same variables expecting different results."

The third day of January, my birthday, I want to face my fear. My fear of how others will feel about my failings.

You see, I'm pretty insecure. Better than before, but I still struggle daily. I need to confront my fears. I need to stop running from this Dragon and finally face it down. I need to reveal the ugly lizard casting large shadows for what it really is!

I know my words aren't for everyone. They might not work for every person coming across them. But my words are not for those people. We are not all assembly line creations. There's no one size fits all.

My words are for who they work for. Distilling my message to satisfy imaginary critics diminishes the chances it will actually help someone. But hiding words in order to appease people who might not exist, I'm robbing the people who might actually need to hear them.

I know these words help people. I've seen it first hand. By restricting them, I restrict the life and love I can give to others.