Have you ever asked yourself the question “why does he always have so much energy, why does she seem to always be happy and smiling”? I believe at one point we have observed someone who seems to be at a different level in terms of peace, happiness or fulfillment, but why is it? I am not entirely sure myself. I feel there is a lot of reasons why one would feel at peace and today is the day I choose not to conclude as to why. What I do want to share is my personal experience that has taken place over the last 40 days.
I wrote an article called Eating Healthy is the New Cool last month, that highlighted my past, present and future situation around the topic of health. Today I want to share what I learned, the changes I’ve made and the results of my progress. Before we dive into the details, I must give credit where it is due. My great friend Chris Carlson has been my biggest influence towards my goals of being the healthiest version of myself. The best part of it all, he never told me what to do, he just leads by taking action himself and that’s true leadership, my friends. On top of it all when I was not disciplined or had setbacks, he always showed me grace and just encouraged me to keep going.
I was fortunate enough to hang with a group of systems engineers for a period in my life, who taught me so many timeless principles, that if correctly applied consistently over time, you can achieve success in any area of your life. The principle that I use daily is PDCA (plan do check and adjust). It is as simple as it sounds. I knew I could take this principle and apply it to meet my health and fitness goals. Have you ever heard the phrase “you don’t know, what you don’t know”? I love the thinking about that message, it keeps you humble and the ability to be a hungry student. So, 40 days ago I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I applied the PDCA system and just kept going through the process.
I had a great plan, no sugar, no legumes, no grain, weighing in twice a day for accountability, intermediate fasting for 16 hours per day, I had it all figured out. Then the “check” part of my plan showed up on the scoreboard and the results were not satisfactory. Time to make some adjustments, after some time of reflection, I realized I didn’t like the feeling of weighing in twice a day. As much as I was telling myself to be emotionally detached from the outcome of the results on the scale, I still felt discouraged about the results when it wasn’t in line with my goal for that week. The problem I had with changing the plan, was that it was working, working for the purpose I wanted it to, which was accountability. By weighing in every day, it keeps me focused on what I was eating, then BAMMM it hit me like that massive bug on the windshield that just smears all over the window when you use the wipers, so then you must pull over to the gas station, to find that the super awesome clerk of the day who decided not to put fluid in the containers with the squeegees. I probably should have shown that young man or woman some grace, they probably broke up with their loved one that morning and the local veterinarian called to say fluffy didn’t make it through surgery.
To my previous sentence that had nothing to do with the story. I want to point out a quick truth before I go on. Before you decide to get upset with something about an action they took, show them grace because you never what is happening in their world that day. Funny story, there was a couple who had an older minivan and from time to time the horn would get stuck and from the stories, they shared it would get stuck at all the worst times. Can you imagine that couple driving past a funeral home when all the loved ones are walking out to their cars with tears in their eyes and you drive by and the horn gets stuck? The people there morning over uncle Joe who was the most upstanding citizen in the community and here comes the classic Chrysler Town & Country with the wood side paneling and the horn is going off obsessively, I have a feeling those wonderful folks probably might have a few choice words for the family truckster driving by, I hope I drove my point home. Show other’s grace in all circumstances, you never know how your response could send off a trigger of events for both you and your family and the person you decided to share your infinite wisdom with.
Back to my aha moment, I realized that the scale worked well for accountability, but the area that was missing was the tracking of daily calorie consumption. That’s when I decided to find an app that I would keep track of my food intake daily, the results were staggering, in just one day I was able to identify the problem, I was eating too much, some of you are thinking holy smokes that is brilliant and the other 99% of you are thinking, he’s special. So let me get this straight if you eat fewer calories each day you will get closer to your goals? I understand it’s borderline genius. It was an incredible feeling and guess what? I gave up weighing in every day and decided to weigh myself once a week. For the last three weeks, I have logged my calories for every meal for every day. I started to notice some impressive results since I made the adjustment, I was well on my way.
Habits are very easy to form, unfortunately, the good ones are very difficult to achieve. However, with strength, will power and sheer grit you can get anything done. For almost 60 days now I have been very disciplined as to what I eat and most recently how much of it. I am feeling good about my progress and what my next steps look like.
I decided to start adding another discipline to my daily schedule and that is my fitness goals. I want so bad to train for triathlons. However, I have made the decision to be disciplined financially and I am going to delay the gratification of the tri-bike purchase, my next step is to set a hefty goal and go earn that bike. It will be a sweet, sweet victory that day I am able to go get fitted for my bike to start the lifelong journey of becoming a triathlete. I love to keep things simple, that way they are duplicatable over time. So, I have decided to set a personal goal to exercise every day for 30 minutes, it sounds easy right, but having discipline every day of your life will be one of the most difficult things you’ll ever chase, but if you do, the rewards will be like nothing you’ve ever imagined. I have been around people who are and the results in their life both personally and professionally are almost unbelievable.
The best part of having a goal to exercise every day for 30 minutes, is if for some reason you missed 36 days that year, you would have been at 90% of your goal. I am very confident that if you exercised for 329 days for the next year, along with a well-balanced meal plan, that you would probably be pleased with the results. As for my results, I weighed in today just for the article and I currently weigh 237.8 compared to 250 lbs. just 40 short days ago. This is not about me, I am sharing this for my own personal record to be able to reflect on years from now. But if for some crazy reason my attempt of writing this article will inspire someone to make a change, it would be a wonderful accomplishment.
I do understand how others may feel great every day. I told Chris this week that I have never felt better in my life. It is so fulfilling to make health and fitness a top priority in your life. I can’t begin to describe how thankful I am for others around me who support my goals. Through this journey, I feel good physically, but the area that I totally underestimated is the mental health of accomplishing something that makes such a significant difference in your life. I challenge everyone to ask themselves one question, are you living a life of fulfillment? If not, take time to yourself and define what fulfillment means to you. That’s the hardest part, once you define what you want, then go after it with everything you got.
Stay healthy my friends,