Monday Morning Storm Rush and Fundamental Philosophies of Success
I really should have requested a day off today. After the powerful emotions of the week and the crazy schedule—I needed a slow Monday. Instead: CUE—Thunder and lightening! My Monday morning started abruptly with me oversleeping my alarm and then awakened by severe weather alerts informing me that I needed to be on the air NOW, not in 45 minutes.
I quickly called a co-worker who rushed to the studio to report on the approaching storms as I pulled myself together, rushing through the rain toward the studio. So this is how we’re going to be, huh Monday? Really? No morning non-weighted strength training workout, no hot breakfast, no writing, commenting, or e-mail returning? No coffee?? That is simply unacceptable! I grabbed a banana and an orange and waited long enough for the first cup to brew. Some things just can’t be missed. Or so I’ve told myself.
I settled into the hot seat, was briefed on the approaching weather, took a sip of coffee and cracked the mic just as radio alarm clocks were blaring all over North Central Oklahoma and Southern Kansas at 5:59am: “At least Mother Nature was considerate enough to give us a beautiful weekend, good morning---a severe thunderstorm warning is in effect…small hail, torrential downpours, and sixty-mile per hour winds waking you up on a Monday.” This wasn’t going to be a slow Monday.
Even when a day starts like this, it’s still better than anything I ever felt before. This transformation inside and out has truly been something I could have never imagined in my wildest dreams. My choices with food are no longer dictated by the stress of the moment. My choices are not determined by my sometimes-fragile emotions. My food choices are separate from my emotions or circumstances, and this is a clear sign of success over my food addiction and extreme dependency. Food is no longer used for gentle comfort…that job falls squarely on an inner peace that lives inside, rendering powerless the tumultuous issues that always had me running for something pleasurable, in my case: food.
In my daily time travels---I visited June 7th, 2009 and found the following excerpts that highlighted some of the fundamentals of my success so far:
I failed to even notice that yesterday was exactly 100 days shy of one year on this journey. Wow, we're moving right along! One thing that helps me is not worrying about time. I've written about this many times. I use to worry about how long it would take me to lose down to my ultimate goal, just thinking about the time commitment needed was always enough to discourage me. And when I would become discouraged I would fail. More time would pass, then I would notice a calendar months later and feel bad because I knew that if I would have just stuck with it back then, I would have made some amazing progress. Not worrying about time is something I knew I needed to embrace on this journey. At the same time, I've had to be very careful not to allow myself to rationalize bad choices because, “hey I'm not worried about how long this takes!” My goal everyday is to make good choices with my food consumption and exercise. So far I've done just that. And all along the pages of the calendar have been turning. I'm pleased with the amazing progress in a relatively short period of time.
Recently while reading another weight loss blog, I noticed a couple of different experts giving advice to a young man who is on a mission to lose even more weight than me. First of all let me say this: I'm not an expert, I've said this many times. I also respect the opinions of people who have studied nutrition and fitness. However, I found it really hard to read some of the advice that was being given on that blog. And here's why: As a nutrition expert you may know exactly the best foods to recommend. But telling someone like me at 505 and this young man at nearly 600 pounds (he was over 630 when he started) to get rid of most everything we've enjoyed eating and immediately go out and buy only certain foods, in my opinion, is a recipe for failure. You're proving the science of it if they stick with it, but you're forgetting about the psychological element. Sure, if he eats only what you recommend he will lose weight and be healthier. But…
What happens later? What happens when he realizes that he never learned how to eat anything else in a responsible way? I read a comment on this young man's blog that ordered: “the waffles and cream cheese have got to go.” Really? Completely? Never eat another waffle again? And cream cheese? I've enjoyed both on several occasions along this journey and I'm doing fantastic. Eating better and making healthier choices must evolve along the way. It's something that happens naturally. You shouldn't force it. You shouldn't throw away everything in your kitchen and go out and buy a bunch of stuff you wouldn't normally eat. That's the fastest way to feel deprived and that's a feeling that leads so many off the wagon.
That's why I always say, keep it simple! Eat less and exercise more. Eat what you like, but do it with knowledge about calories, and limit your intake to a certain level, I've chosen 1,500. My choices often hinge on one question: Is this a good calorie value for me right now? The better choices come naturally. Early on this journey a typical snack for me was often a little 110 calorie bag of Funyuns. Now, it's apple slices marinated in lemon juice or a banana. I just had some turkey with mustard on a slice of light sourdough. That's a little better than a typical snack I might have had early on. The thing is, many people ask for this kind of food advice. I have no idea, the young man may have done that. “Just tell me what to eat and I'll eat it.”
Listen, I'm pretty passionate about this as you can tell. I've been there, I know the pitfalls that exist in trying to lose weight, this is not my first ride down this road. I've analyzed my past failures and scrutinized my periods of success. I've taken those periods of success and analyzed why they were not permanent. What I'm doing and have been doing the last 266 days is the result.
This is important to remember: You can't change a lifetime of horrible eating behaviors by cleaning out the pantry and fridge and replacing everything with healthy stuff. If you do that, you're deciding not to deal with those behaviors, rather just forget about them and hope they never come back. There isn't a favorite food of mine that I can't enjoy in a new responsible way. My behaviors with food have changed dramatically and without ever making a special trip for a cart full of recommended items. Keep it simple. Eat less and exercise more. Then, as you lose weight successfully, your eating habits and choices will naturally improve. Perhaps you decide at a certain point to incorporate certain recommended foods to optimize your performance. But it should never be a “all at once, here's what you're eating now” type of deal.
A friend of mine, Melissa Walden, is a fitness and life coach. She studied at The Cooper Institute in Dallas. I keep remembering her response to a question at a “Lose To Win” seminar. The question was from someone just starting out and it was all about the carbs and fat grams and other food stats. Melissa told her the best thing for her to do at this point was “keep it simple,” by focusing on calories only and getting that exercise! Melissa went on to say exactly what I've said all along: When you have been doing wonderful for awhile, that's when you can decide to focus on fine tuning your daily intake.
Back to the future---here and now: I weighed 332 when I wrote all of that, and now at 250—my beliefs couldn’t be stronger.
I enjoyed dinner tonight with Amber, Courtney, and both of their boyfriends. We all dined at Pizza Hut. This place can be a minefield of bad choices, or it can be enjoyed in a responsible way. My strategy was very simple: Water with lemon, three slices of thin crust veggie, and eating slowly---visiting with the girls, enjoying the company---smiling, laughing, and loving. Isn’t that what this is all about?
My struggle today was clearly in the workout department. I missed spinning class when my nap took a little more than it should have. I decided on a bike ride instead---and nope---ended up doing some non-weighted squats right before laying down. This small effort hardly counted, I swear. I mustn’t let the shambles of a workout schedule last week (with good reason—I’m not complaining) effect my performance this week. If I’m able and I still don’t do it…whom have I to blame? The man staring back at me in my rearview mirror, that’s who. Oh look how far we’ve come, but watch it! Keep the eyes on the road ahead! Let’s confidently move toward our goals, shall we? Yes, we shall!
Thank you for reading. Goodnight and…