Week 2 into the Challenge: Thumbs Up!

Well, so far, so good!  I have been enjoying the food and feeling so full and satisfied after every meal.  The first week I lost 7 pounds, which is great!  I figure a good portion of that was water weight due to the low sodium content of the food I eat now, but that’s cool.  It’s Wednesday, the 20th today, and the interesting thing was that over the weekend I actually gained weight.  I’m not sure how that happened, but the scale told me on Friday I was 216.2, then on Saturday I was 216.6 and then on Sunday I was 216.8.  On Monday I was back to 216.6…very odd.  I didn’t change anything that I could think of and I am definitely NOT overeating or “cheating” on the diet.  At 216 and eating about 1400-1800 calories a day, I am definitely not getting too many calories.  Weird.  I didn’t drop down from 216 until today, and I dropped 1.4 pounds since yesterday…also weird.  I was stuck at 216 for a total of five days, from Friday to Tuesday.

On Friday, though, I did cut off the end of my thumb while slicing up some lettuce, so I thought perhaps my body was reacting to that and caused me to retain more fluids to maintain blood pressure?  I lost blood, but I didn’t think it was THAT much.  I sliced 1/8-1/4 of an inch off, but I missed the nail.  I had to go to the urgent care clinic and they fixed me up.  Check out the photo:

IMG_2234

It HURT!  Ugh.  So, perhaps the trauma and stress of it all affected me and my body went into some sort of preservation mode?  I dunno.  Whatever.  With regards to the accident, I wasn’t using proper technique and stuck my thumb out there, was in a hurry, and chopped that bit of it clean off.

Other than that, the weirdest thing that happened to me was that I didn’t poop for two days.  The Sunday evening before I started the challenge I went to Chipotle and had a burrito…I thought perhaps that is what stopped me up.  I won’t go into the gory details, but suffice it to say that there was evidence the flour tortilla of the burrito was the culprit.  Anyhoo, I got back to normal BMs on Tuesday.

So here I am on Wednesday, ten days into it, and I haven’t cheated.  I haven’t strayed from the path, and I am really, really enjoying it.  Today was the first day that I felt different, like I had a clearer head and more pep in my step.  I am looking forward to the next few weeks to see what happens to my body!

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6-Week Challenge…?

Alrighty then!  I’ve officially started Dr. Fuhrman’s “6-Week Challenge” and I know what you’re thinking:  “Tim, are you nuts?  It’s almost Christmas!  No one starts a diet before Christmas!”  Yeah, I know.  But here’s the thing…I don’t consider this a “diet”.

What is a “diet”?  Well, the dictionary has two definitions:

  1. The kinds of foods that a person, animal, or community habitually eats.  “A vegetarian diet.”
  2. A special course of food to which one restricts oneself, either to lose weight or for medical reasons. “I’m going on a diet.”

Most people think of definition #2 when they hear the word “diet”.  I am done with that garbage because if there is one thing that the American experience has proven over the past 40 years or so, it is this:  Restricting one’s food in order to lose weight does not work.  Sure, it works temporarily, but once the “diet” is done, the vast majority of people end up going right back to where they were before the “diet” or even worse.

So I am done with dieting.  I’m going to eat the way I want to eat…actually, I’ve been doing that my entire adult life.  No one MAKES me eat what I do because that is my choice.  So, then, if that’s simply what I already do and I’ve been eating poorly, how do I change that?  By knowing.  What do I mean by that?  I mean that I need to KNOW what I really want, to really accept that and dig into it, and then my actions (in this case what I put in my mouth for food) will follow.  It’s a matter of the heart and mind.  Maybe that sounds too deep when it comes to food, but I don’t think it is.  What I do is activity that arises out of what I believe, what I value, and what I love.  I can talk about this or that all day every day, but what do I DO?

For the past few years I have been moving, gravitating towards a more healthy diet and this is the point that I fully engage with what I know to be true:  I will only continue to be sick, overweight, and fatigued if I continue to eat the way I have been eating.  I am making a change and that right quick!

As the old parable goes, “There were two frogs on a log, and one decided to jump into the water:  How many were left on the log?  Two!  Making a decision is not action.”

I am tired of expecting my life to change rather than doing something to change it.  I am now acting, I am engaging, I am moving forward, jumping in with both feet.  The first six weeks, 42 days, are intended to get my body re-adjusted to what it was designed to do:  eat healthy.  It is not a matter of forcing my body to do something good for itself, it is a matter of getting rid of all the garbage in my system that has been causing the addictive cravings to that same garbage.

Beginning Monday I ate 100% Nutritarian, I also did yesterday.  And I am going to do so today as well.  How do I get through 42 days of a Nutritarian diet when I have been eating poorly for so many years?  One day at a time.

Yesterday’s food:

  • Breakfast – Orange, banana, 1/8 cup of walnuts (no photo)
  • Lunch – Salad, homemade leftover Creamy Cabbage soup, and a green apple
  • Dinner – Salad, Bean Pasta with Cauliflower in a Garlicky Walnut Sauce, and watermelon

 

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, “I am full!”  I don’t remember eating this much at any time in my life.  I am simply full after every meal, and my weight has gone DOWN, not UP!

And what is happening to my weight?  Well, check this out:

  • Day 1 weight:  223 lbs.
  • Day 2 weight:  221 lbs.
  • Day 3 weight:  217 lbs.

You read that right, six (6) pounds down in three (3) days!  OK, so most of that is water weight because of the low-sodium foods I’m eating, but still!  It’s very nice to see that scale move every day.  When I saw my weight this morning I literally said out loud, “No way!!!”

Perhaps you’re wondering why I weigh myself every day?  Simply to stay on target.  In their seminal book, Willpower (and making significant changes in one’s life), Baumeister and Tierney point out that decades of case studies and experiments have shown that regular, daily check-ins on one’s progress significantly aids in sustaining positive change.  So the researchers have found that people who weigh themselves daily stay on target far better than those who weigh themselves weekly.  And so I weigh myself every day at the same time:  right after I wake up and before I get in the shower.

And that’s it for now, folks.  I know no one is reading this, but it is a good exercise for me in self-control to do an online journal like this every day.  I have no goal of what time to post other than to post every day, so I’ll work on doing that.

Cheers!

Back at the End of 2017

Well, here it is eleven months since my last post.  Elveen months!  It’s been a rough year for me.  I won’t go in to all the gory details, but suffice it to say that I was dealing with some health issues in my family and in myself as well that I didn’t deal with in a very healthy way.  However, over the last couple of months I have regained my footing and am back on target.  I suppose that is the constant theme of my life the past 7 years or so:  Stay on Target!

So as part of staying on target, I am taking Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s Six Week Challenge (from his book “Eat To Live“, which is amazing!) and am looking forward to it.  If you don’t know about Dr. Fuhrman, you should get to know him and what he has to say because for me it is life changing.  Seriously, life-changing.  He promotes a style of eating (NOT a “diet”) that focuses on getting the highest nutritional bang out of our food’s caloric “buck”.  This style of eating he calls “Nutritarian”, like the terms Vegetarian or Vegan, it denotes more a philosophy of eating rather than a method of eating.  A Nutritarian is basically someone who focuses on filling up at each meal with highly nutritious, low-calorie foods such as green vegetables, beans, onions, mushrooms, berries, and seeds every day:  forget calories, forget portioning, and forget pretty much everything you’ve ever heard about “dieting” because recent science shows its off.

So anyways, I’ll fill in some basics in coming posts, I just want to get back on this horse and get into the habit of posting.  So here ‘goes…

This morning I had an orange and a banana as well as 1/4 cup of raw, unsalted almonds for breakfast.  I forgot to take a picture, but everyone knows what those foods look like so…meh.

For lunch I had a HUGE salad (from the salad bar at work) with no dressing (yeah, I do enjoy it without dressing) and a bowl of homemade “Creamy Cabbage Soup”.  And now I am stuffed.  I think that is one of the things I really love about the Nutritarian way of eating is how full I feel after each meal, how satisfied I feel, and how I don’t get “hunger” pangs between meals.  I put the word hunger in quotes because what I have always thought was hunger is not that at all:  it is withdrawal symptoms from food addiction.  (More on that in another post.)

I’ve attached photos of lunch.  The yellow chunks in the salad are NOT cheese (a no-no in the 6-Week Challenge), they are in fact cantaloupe.  I’ve also got some watermelon in there for good measure!  YUM!

OK, so if I know all this and am following this plan (I’ve been following it 70% of my eating the last couple months) then why am I posting?  For a couple reasons:  1. If I explain it to someone else it helps me understand it all that much more; and 2. For some external accountability.

That’s it for now.  I have a laptop through work now so hopefully I will have more opportunities to post when I am at lunch or home from work (I have to bring it home with me).  Here’s to the next six weeks of my 100% Nutritarian adventure!

Stay on Target

I realize I haven’t posted in a while, but the good news is that I haven’t “fallen off the wagon” with my physical recovery.  I had so much going on that I had to focus on a few things so I could do them well.  One of the things I let go was blogging.  And I succeeded at the other things that I needed to in order to get more healthy.

I thought I’d re-start blogging and just try to get a few posts in each week, or perhaps at least one a week…I’ll see what works.  Baby steps and all.  So here is a post from the Nerd Fitness program, “Rising Heroes” that I think is a good first post for me as I start trying to write more.

If you’d like to see what I’ve been focusing on and how I’ve been succeeding the past seven months or so, go to the article about me, “How Tim Walked Himself to a 50-Pound Weight Loss.  Wait.  What?”  I think the pictures alone speak for themselves but he article is good, too. 🙂


Stay on Target!

I was writing this as a response to a post [in Rising Heroes] and it got long, and then I realized how the concepts really helped me so I figured I’d share it with you heroes in hopes that it may help someone else in the rebellion, especially those who may be thinking of giving up after this week.

What makes the difference between a person who succeeds at the concepts shared in Nerd Fitness and someone who does not? I don’t think it is because those of us who have lost a lot of weight (60 pounds since June and counting for me), gotten ripped, gone on epic adventures, or continued to level up their lives on a regular basis are special snowflakes or gifted mutants. We are regular rebels, fighting the same fight with the same starting gear and stats as everyone else in the galaxy, or at least on this planet.

I can only speak for myself, and as I consider how I did it, I mean how I was able to succeed at this, I think it mainly comes down to finding my Death Star. (Hang with me here…)

I have A LOT of things wrong with me. I mean a lot. If you’d met me a few years ago you probably would have gotten fed up with me and written me off as an arrogant jerk (which I was). So when I started my journey towards health I was overwhelmed with where to start because I had so many things that needed fixing! I felt a bit like perhaps the Rebels did in Star Wars when they first started resisting the Empire, as they considered how vast and overwhelmingly powerful the Empire really was. But then they came across the plans for the Death Star and everything changed: they had a moment of clarity. All the occupied planets, naval threats and blockades, unjust taxation and so on simply melted away in relation to the utter and complete doom that the Death Star spelled for the entire galaxy. They had to take it out!

And so they embarked on a single-minded task of blowing that sucker up. Did they have other problems of infighting and disagreements within their own ranks? Yup. Did the Empire still harass, imprison, and kill their fellow Rebels? Yup. But compared with the awesome firepower of the FULLY OPERATIONAL battle station that was called the Death Star, all those other things were like pee shooters.

I had to find my Death Star (AKA my “Main Pain”) and work to defeat it. That is how I measured success for me: was I defeating the Death Star? If the answer was yes, then even if I had a misstep in a smaller area of my life, I didn’t go into panic mode, I simply adjusted. And I kept hammering away at that Death Star.

And that’s what I did. Simple.

But not easy.

But also not impossible.

My Death Star was my weight, which had swollen to the size of a small moon and threatened the existence of my “Galaxy”, which was me. I hope you never have to have a “come to Jesus” meeting with your doctor like I did. It sucks. Period. No, really, it sucks. My blood ran cold, I had flashes of my kids when they were younger, my heart was racing, and I wondered if I was in a bad dream. You don’t want that. My galaxy was threatened on a scale I had up to that point failed to consider, much less comprehend. I had my moment of clarity.

Did I know exactly how to defeat the Death Star? Nope, but I had a pretty good idea that it had something to do with an exhaust port…er, nutrition. So I set my targets on Nutrition and blasted away.

To avoid the “Come to Jesus” meeting in your life, I encourage you to do some work to find your own moment of clarity. This is the moment when those Bothan spies hand over the plans to the Death Star! It doesn’t have to be perfect, and maybe the Death Star will be different next year, or maybe even next month, but at least you will have a target that you throw all your resources at to defeat. And don’t forget your wingman and the other Rebels around you who are here to help you!

So what is your Death Star? I dare you to name it! Take a piece of paper and write down three things in your life that threaten your existence, well-being, or health. Is it your weight? Your lack of mobility? An addiction? A phobia that you can’t explain? Your lack of follow through? Laziness? An inability to take healthy risks? Poor relationship choices? Write three things down, and be specific. Then carry that paper around for at least a day and think about it. Maybe talk with a trusted friend or family member about what they see are the biggest threats to your way of life, your “galaxy”.

Simply pick your target…

And then lock S-foils in attack position…

#ForTheRebellion #AttackPosition #RisingHeroes #DeathStarFalling#TyrusRising #NeedMyWingman

Spider Bites

I’m a bit disappointed.  I got bit by a spider on my back while I slept and I didn’t get any spider powers.  Grrr.

But I did get a migraine headache, lethargy, was thirsty as all get-out and thought I had the flu!  So the little bugger did give me something, I guess.  He also gave me a 2″ welt on my upper back that hurts and itches.  Jerk.

So now I have this itchy mound of flesh on my back that is just plain annoying.  And of course I end up thinking weird things, which is where I get this blog from, so here it goes:   Little things, if left undone, tend to cause big problems.

More specifically, I usually think of the big things in my life as going pretty well, so then I think that everything in my life is going pretty well, so then I don’t worry about the little things, and then I get bit.  One of those little buggers bites me right in the keister and it causes me a lot of heartache, headache, whatever-ache.  For instance, I have been over 5 1/2 years sober from gambling, I’ve been working my current job really well for over 1 1/2 years, been going to small group meetings regularly, and I’ve been there for my kids.  Sounds good, right?  Sure!  I look around and see that all the major pieces seem to be in order…at least the ones that everyone else around can see.  But what about the ones that people can’t see?  What about the ones I seem to overlook?

Like what do I do when I come home from work?  Is my first instinct to take 15 minutes to gather myself by talking with my son, making a cup of tea, reading the news, etc.?  Nope!  I switch on the computer or television and vegetate.  Or what do I do when I have 15 minutes to spare?  Do I pick up around the house or do that odd chore that’s been nagging me?  Nope!  And so it isn’t any wonder why the dishes pile up, or the carpet is dirty, or the checkbook isn’t balanced, or the kitty litter stinks, or the…whatever isn’t in order.  See what I mean?  I look at the major things and think things are alright, but miss the minor things.

Sometimes the minor things aren’t so minor and when they aren’t attended to, they start to itch.  But I like focusing on the major things so a lot of the time I am too oblivious to the itch:  I’m a big-picture kind of guy and love to interact with abstracts.  Unfortunately I miss the little things and I’m finding out those little, pesky, annoying things, if left unattended, can add up to a really big, huge, ugly mess.  So I will be the kind of guy who pays attention to the itch.  I have friends who feel that itch and I’ve always found it to be a sign of their weakness, but not any more.  Maybe you have a friend like that or are a person like that:  you can’t leave the house without a quick sweep or wipe of the counter or whatever.  God bless you folks!  I will be more like that!

For me it gets really basic like putting the dishes away after I use them or adding that purchase to my checkbook or slowing down and chewing every bite thoroughly before swallowing.  And I hate that, but it’s a thing so I will pay more attention this next week on those things.  I will recognize that those little things are important because they are like a small cog in the big working machine of my life.

I’m sure this welt won’t go away any time soon (it’s HUGE!), so I will use the itch to remind me to scratch not only the welt but also those areas in my life that need attention.

So thank you, little spider-dude, for helping me realize that I need to pay attention to the little things.  Of course, if I ever see you, I’m gonna squash you flat!!!  Just saying.

My Side of the Street

I’ve got this person in my life that I cannot avoid who keeps causing me grief.  I don’t believe they do it intentionally, but they seem to be pretty good at it.  Have you ever had someone in your life that just rubs you the wrong way and, try as you might, there seems to be no way to straighten things out?  Now I’m not talking about someone who punches you in the face or does stuff really over-the-top, I’m talking about a person who you interact with on a regular basis that just causes…well…messes in your life.  Wreckage, really.

If it was someone I could just walk away from or unfriend on Facebook, I would gladly do so, but I can’t.  They aren’t a relative (which is a good thing) but they aren’t someone that I can completely avoid in my life.  They just keep causing messes.  It’s irritating.  Ever have someone like that?  Maybe you have someone like that right now like I do?

This blog entry is my opportunity to share something a mentor of mine told me that helps me focus and the important and not get bogged down in the ridiculous.  I’ve made it into a parable, and I hope it helps you as much as it has helped me.

Sometime in the mid-1900s here in Chicago there were three shopkeepers who had shops near each other on Main Street: a Butcher, a Shoemaker, and a Chemist.  Every day the shopkeepers would go downstairs, open their shops (folks lived above their shops in those days), and sweep the sidewalk in front of their shops.  They did this every day, day-in and day-out.  They would greet one another and any passers-by and then, when they were finished, open up their shops.

One day the Shoemaker took his lunch hour see the Chemist for some aspirin for a headache.  As he left his shop he noticed that someone had dropped some butcher paper on his sidewalk.  With a grunt he picked up the paper, crumpled it into a tight ball, and walked over to the Chemist’s shop.  He got his aspirin and, after a nice chat, went back to his store.

On his way back to his shop, the Shoemaker stopped off at the Butcher’s and, making his way quickly past the lunch-hour line, threw the butcher paper on the counter.  “What’s the big idea dropping this garbage on my walk,” he demanded.  The Butcher just asked, “Whadd’ya mean,” and slammed his cleaver down on a thick slab of meat.  After some heated words back-and-forth the Shoemaker stormed out loudly, and angrily made his way back to his store.

The next day as the Butcher was taking his mid-afternoon break he noticed that someone had dropped a bag on his sidewalk.  Upon further inspection he discovered a receipt for the Chemist’s store.  The Butcher didn’t want to make a scene at the Chemist’s like the Shoemaker had done to him the day before so instead he began waving the bag around while he went inside to get his broom and dust pan.  He then dropped the bag back on the sidewalk and began to sweep the entire walk, all the while complaining loudly that “someone” (at which point he would gesture knowingly in the direction of the Chemist) had so insensitively dropped garbage on his nice, clean sidewalk and now he was forced to clean up in the heat of the day.  It was a big scene, brought quite a crowd, and took up most of his afternoon.

Later that same day as the Chemist was closing up shop, he noticed a shoeshine tin on the sidewalk in front of his store.  Upon further inspection he noted that some of the polish had spilled out and had dried in the afternoon sun into a nice.  He looked up and down the sidewalk, but didn’t see anyone that might have dropped it, though there were several people in the area.  He picked up the tin, walked over to the Shoemaker and asked if he had dropped it, which the Shoemaker denied because he had been in his shop all day long with his son teaching him the business.  With a shrug, he walked back across the street, unlocked his store, tossed the tin in the garbage, grabbed his broom and a cloth and proceeded to clean up the shoe polish.  After a a half hour he was satisfied it was clean, threw the trash in the can, and whistled to himself as he locked up his store for a second time and headed home.

Too often I am like the Butcher or the Shoemaker when it comes to people causing a mess on my side of the street in my life: I assume it was done intentionally and that I am just an innocent victim.  I make a fuss and complain or go off on someone for dumping trash in my life (for causing wreckage if you will) on my side of the street.  Wouldn’t it just be simpler for me to ask what happened, clean it up and move on?  I am going to have to clean it up one way or another, so why add extra mess to an already messy thing?

I need to be more like the Chemist and realize that people are messy, and if I want people in my life, I am going to be confronted with the messes that normal, even healthy people make.  There is no way around it:  People are messy.  Everyone has a toilet at home, right?  That’s because humans are messy.  Period.

Unless I want to live with wax mannequins that represent the people I want in my life, I am going to have messes in my life…even well-intentioned messes!  Even messes from people who really, really, really, genuinely love me!

When confronted with a mess on “my side of the street” it seems I have one of three choices:  1. Let it just sit there and expect someone else to clean it up; 2. Complain about it and clean it up; or 3. Work on cleaning it up without making a bigger mess.  Option one never ends well for me and just leads to resentment, bitterness, and broken relationships.  Option two doesn’t work either because I just end up with a pity party, a victim mindset, and a missed opportunity to build relationships and prevent worse messes.  It also takes a lot longer than just cleaning it up!  Option three may not be easy, but it’s a good option and one that I will try to do more of in my life.

And that goes for when I make messes on the other side of the street, too.  Am I going to confess that I made a mess, acknowledge the wreckage it has caused, ask for forgiveness, and work to clean it up?  Or will I pretend that I’m perfect and do whatever I think is right, even covering up my messes?  Oh the applications of the parable are vast!  I like it!

So I will work on my side of the street.  I will sweep every day, ask questions about the messes others seem to make in my life (rather than throw accusations), and do my best to keep my side of the street clean.  I can’t control the other side of the street, but I can do my best on my side of it.  And that just makes for a good, happy Shop.

The Tau of Ow

Yesterday and today I HURT!  Ow!  The Marines have a phrase they use when confronted with pain after a workout:  “Pain is just weakness leaving the body.”  Well, I sure have a lot of weakness!

I did my workout “boss battle” last week by facing off against “The Widowmaker” in the Nerd Fitness Academy.  The Widowmaker had me doing lunges, knee push-ups, and side planks in order to move up to Level 3 workouts.  I didn’t have a problem with the lunges or push-ups but the side planks for me were murder!  I made it through and went to Level 3 body weight workouts.  Then the pain began.  At first it was like the “good” hurt I was used to for the past few weeks at Level 2, but the it got more intense…like Level 3 was telling me, “Here’s Johnny!!!!”  Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a “good” pain but it is now in parts of my body that I have not paid much attention to so it is a constant reminder of how weak I am.

Take my forearms, for example…those suckers ache!  I take a day between workouts to rest, and I figured that the soreness (that’s a more accurate term than ‘pain’ for what I’m experiencing) would go away after a day but it hasn’t.  That’s because the last two workouts (it’s a weekly rotation of three different workouts) have worked my forearms, and they don’t like it.  They don’t like it because they are a part of me that I thought was pretty strong, but in reality is pretty weak.  I’ve massaged, I’ve stretched, I’ve used cold and hot water…and while they feel a bit better, The Soreness is still there.  The Soreness doesn’t lie to me.  The Soreness is a dose of fresh, hot reality.  I need the Soreness.

In the past I would use Soreness as an excuse to take an extra day of rest and then get back to it.  Invariably, however, I would take yet another day of rest and before I knew it it had been two weeks since my last workout and I would just forget about it and move on.  Not this time, though, something is different.  I know that the increased intensity in workouts and my friend Soreness are new for me and I will get used to them.  I also know that Soreness will go away as I continue to work out and do so consistently.  I just need to keep at it and I won’t be getting quite as sore so often as I do now.

I know these things to be true, which is a different mindset for me this time around.  This time I am not working out to look better, though that is a part of it.  I am not working out to lose weight, though that is a part of it.  And I am not working out simply to set a good example.  At my core, this is about me doing the right thing, about being a Good person.  That in and of itself is worthy of its own post, and I may get to that tomorrow, but for now all I can say is that the WHY behind my working out is H-U-G-E and taps into a vulnerable spot in my heart and mind that until a few weeks ago I didn’t even know existed.  (Would you like to know my Big Why?  Well, hang on a day or two.  Don’t rush me!)

So for now I am happy that Soreness comes for a visit after my workouts because while he shows me how weak I still am, he also affirms that I am on the right path towards a stronger, healthier me.  He helps me remember that if I want what healthy people have, I need to do what healthy people do.  It’s all part of the plan.  Ow.

Compartmentalization

I’ve been told that nutrition is 80-90% of the work that is being physically healthy.  I don’t know that is 100% true, but if 74% of doctors surveyed agree, there is a 96.25% chance of it being 100% true, perhaps 98% of the time.  🙂  Whatever.

Regardless of the stats or percentages or whatever, eating right is a big part of it.  I get that.  It makes sense.  If I eat foods high in calories but low in nutrients I’m going to need to workout A LOT in order to burn those calories, but then I’m left with a nutrient deficiency.  I’m not talking vitamins or minerals, I’m talking phytochemicals.  The 10,000+ body-supercharging chemicals we discovered a mere 18 years ago.  And those phytochemicals only come from plants, of course, being phyto and all.  And while plants are generally high in phytochemicals and other micronutrients, they are typically low in calories from macronutrients.  So I need to eat a bunch of plants to get healthy.  I get that too.

What I DON’T get is why, in God’s green earth, is it so difficult to get those good foods in my mouth?  Why, when we are the most technologically advanced civilization in the history of civilization, are we still having to cook this stuff ourselves?  Perhaps because that’s what it’s supposed to be like.  If I spend money, time, or whatever on something I tend to value it more.  <Sigh>  OK, so I have to cook or prepare food or whatever.  Hrrmmm.  I still don’t like it. So there.

But I’m a guy, so I try to figure out how to do stuff with the least amount of effort, right?  I mean, that’s what we do with a lot of things:  vacuuming, lawn mowing, garbage disposal, car repairs, pregnancy, etc.  I’m a guy, and we compartmentalize.  Time saving steps, that’s what it is.

Here’s the logic, as I see it.  If it takes me 30 minutes to prepare a meal for two people (me and my son) of chicken breasts, veggies, and a salad, it will take 30 minutes out of my day every day to do that.  Since I am not a cook or recipe enthusiast, I pretty much make the same thing or a variation of it a few times a week:  cooked macro-nutrient food (meat, pasta, fish, eggs, bean burger, etc.), a vegetable on the side, some other form of different vegetable to go with it, and perhaps a fruit something or other.  So if I cook that thing pretty much every day, how long does that take out of my week to prepare?  Perhaps another 2 hours?  Four meals times thirty minutes each?  But what if I prepare those meals ahead of time?  It only takes slightly longer…maybe 45 minutes to grill a bunch of chicken, cook a bunch of black bean burgers, steam veggies, mix up a salad, etc. for a few meals.  That saves me like 2 hours during the week!  w00t!

So now we get to where our civilization has improved far beyond our ancestors:  microwave-safe meal prep containers.  Yes!  The future has arrived in my home!  It has a compartment for everything I eat in a meal!  So now I can make gobs of food on a Sunday and put them in containers that my son and I can reheat throughout the week.  I can even ask him what he’d like and I can make it ahead of time so that if I am stuck at work he can still have a good meal instead of throwing mac and cheese on the stove.

It basically solves three problems of mine:  1. I don’t like to cook, but now I can look forward to cooking on Sunday because it means I need to do less of it throughout the week; 2. I struggle to put healthy food on the table due to my not liking to cook because it’s easier to just grab a pizza on the way home, but now I don’t have an excuse to do that; and 3. I struggle with eating more than I really need because when I used to cook during the week I would measure my portions based on how hungry I was at the time, which invariably had me over-eating, but now I put the right portions in on Sundays when my mind is clear and I’m not hungry.

I’ve also found out that meal planning is much easier and I don’t have to go to the store as often.  So I think I’ll continue working this little program of mine and perhaps expand it in the coming months.  Why not cook several meals and prepackage them so I can add some variety?  Perhaps I may even enjoy cooking, now that it’s not so frequent and feels like a quest rather than a chore.

Slowplay

I’m now fully into the Nerd Fitness Academy program and am enjoying every minute of it, even the part that has me seemingly micro-manage my eating (because I have never really managed my eating in the first place).  It’s been a good challenge for me as well as a source of pride and joy.  Taking my nutrition and fitness and making a video game out of it is a brilliant concept, and I’m grateful that Steve Kamb let the rest of us nerds in on his secret.  I’ve been able to overcome obstacles these past two weeks that had previously been impossible for me, both physical and mental.  I feel like I’m on a roll and I’m just getting started!

Which is why I appreciate Steve’s word of caution to his fellow nerds like me:  take it slow.  That’s always been one of my character defects, taking things too fast or jumping in 100% and expecting everything to be great now almost instantly.  Instead, he encourages the slowplay approach to it and that has been difficult for me.  I think, oddly enough, it’s the toughest thing for me right now.

I want it all right now!  I dug in and slowly made my way through the first few sections which had me explore my motivations and also understand different ways of thinking about fitness, nutrition, and myself.  Then it was on to workouts and – BANG! – I want to go past impulse speed to warp 9.9!!!  I’m discovering in a very tangible way that there are some things I have an almost impossible time waiting for in this life.  It’s like when I play WoW, Fallout, or even Civ 5…I want to level up as fast as possible so I can pretty much destroy anything in my path and explore everything I want to explore.  But that’s not how it works in real life.  There are no shortcuts, unless I want a shortcut to crash-and-burn.

So as I enter week three of my physical recovery journey from obese dude to healthy-sized dude I am learning to take the program slowly, to pace myself, and resist the urge to shove it all inside me at once.  I am on a mission to reset my “default habits,” and that will not happen overnight.  It took me a long time to get my body to where it was when I started, and it’s going to take a long time to get it healthy.  It’s like when my mother used to tell me to chew my food thoroughly so I would get all the nutrients…if I try to swallow it all at once I’ll only get a belly ache, or worse!

Fuel for the Do-Gooder

Today I was asked to consider what inspires me.  Then I was asked to write it down and put it somewhere visible as a reminder.  I figure I’ll also write a bit about it in this here blog.

What inspires me?  That question begs another in my mind:  to do what?  Doesn’t inspiration lead to action?  So it’s a pretty open question that got laid on me, but I’d like to pare it down a bit.  (I enjoy paring things down from large to small because it forces me to find what I truly believe and value.)  So what inspires me to…do anything?  Nah, too broad.  What inspires me to…take action?  Hmm, that’s warmer.  What inspires me to…do something I think is a bit amazing, even surprising.  What inspires me to do Good?  Yeah, that’s more like it.

Obviously I Googled it.  Duh!  I ran across a good article on Business Insider about what inspires successful people and figured I’d use that as a spring-board to get my juices flowing.  However, I wasn’t just thinking of inspiration in business (yuck!), but I figured a nudge in the right direction couldn’t hurt.  I read some really great sources of inspiration for people that are amazing, and the article is a great read, but I wasn’t getting anything.  Until, that is, I got to a scruffy lookin’ dude at the bottom of the page…right where I’m sure he wanted to be.  (Seriously, once you read his stuff you’ll know he loved that.)  Shane Snow is inspired by flawed people and underdogs.  BINGO!

I’ve always been inspired by flawed people and underdogs who overcome and rose above what the world has seemingly limited them to be.  Even before I discovered in an extremely painful way how flawed I am (sometime I will tell you about it), I drew inspiration from the flawed, the underdogs.  In grade school and through college I was always drawn to the people on the fringe, the broken people, the flawed people.  When I began mentoring young men in college and grad school it was like I was a magnet for the messed up.  I became surrounded by people who struggled with severe depression, anxiety, extreme anger, debilitating insecurities, and self-doubt.  The seemingly powerless, the downtrodden, the hopeless, the poor, the homeless (slept in my home for several months), and the guys the “normal” people thought were weird and steered clear of on general principle.  This is no wonder, looking back on it, because it was simply me finding “my people”.  Back in those days, when I was receiving praise and accolades from those around me for how great a guy they thought I was, I knew that I wasn’t.  I knew that if they saw the inner part of me they would have been shocked.  This wasn’t a healthy man trying to help the unhealthy, this was a flawed man simply trying to find others like him.  At the time I didn’t even realize I was doing it.

I simply love, and I mean deeply, genuinely, achingly love flawed, broken people.

And so they inspire me because I am one of them, and I have felt the power of another person reaching past my failures, my flaws, my pain, my remorse and touch me.  That touch oftentimes meant the difference between resurrection and condemnation, and I know many of them don’t even know they were doing it.

I am inspired to find flawed, broken people (the world’s underdogs) who have overcome.  I want to be with those people, to do what they do so that I can have what they have.  I am inspired to find flawed, broken people who have not yet overcome.  I want to be with those people, to love them by sitting  and listening, giving them a ride, a meal or a place to stay, and letting them know they are not alone.

They inspire me to examine my own life and look at the dizzying depths of my flaws, the breadth of my brokenness, and the pervasiveness of my powerlessness.  They inspire me to change, to grow, to be honest and open about my flaws with people who love me.  They inspire me to write, to speak, and to encourage others to explore the realities they may have ignored or shut out for so long in their own lives.  They inspire me to do Good.

So I’ll soak up more of that which inspires me to be a Do-Gooder who continues to do more good today than I did before.  And I won’t look back.