Category: Motivation

The Perfect Weight Loss Hack

Cool things, shower thoughts, advice, and independent thinking from someone who’s been around the sun a few times.

  • Clickbait titles amuse me and I couldn’t resist. Anyway, I’ll reveal the hack over the next few posts. Here’s the first part. Go find a BMR calculator that includes activity level. This one seems to work well. Enter in the data and see what your number is. Now here’s the crazy part – go eat less than that number. I guarantee you’ll loose weight. Boom! Mind blown. More to come.
  • I was fascinated by this article. I had no idea that there was such a thing as the Open Skies Treaty and we actually let other countries conduct surveillance flights over our military installations. I can’t decide if it’s no big deal, or our openness will come back to bite us some day.
  • I haven’t been very good lately at keeping up with friendships. The older you get the harder it is. It’s certainly a perishable skill that I need to work on. Been thinking about it, so I contacted a couple of buddies I hadn’t seen in a while and made arrangements to meet for lunch and a couple of beers. It felt good. Go do the same.
  • Watched “The Dawn Wall” last night. Well worth a watch but not as well done as “Free Solo”. The “rules” for big wall free climbing are unclear and the movie never explains it, so there are parts that may leave you wondering why they’re doing some of the things they do. At any rate, I may have to go dig out the climbing shoes. What could go wrong?
  • I’ve never been a huge fan of Lindsey Vonn. Her persona always seemed very cold. I was more of a Julia Mancuso fan. Lindsey recently launched a YouTube channel. She’s much warmer than I thought and has a dry sense of humor you don’t normally see.
  • I made a huge step in my street photographs. I actually went up to someone as asked if I could take their picture. If you’re not an extrovert this is a very weird and intimidating thing to do with a stranger. Wasn’t a great picture, but I crossed that hurdle.
  • Data tampering? But, they’re scientists how could this be? In related news, U.S. Oct-March temps were the third coldest recorded. But whatever.
  • Both political parties are full campaign mode trying to inflame their bases. Independent of the realties of each sides message, the left has gone full negative by devoting all its time to attacking the president. Traditionally people want to vote for something, not against something. It will be interesting to see what happens this go-round.
  • The Insta360 looks extremely cool. Inspiring enough I may have to dig out the GoPro and film something.

Song of the day: Florence + The Machine “Kiss with a fist”

Notions Of Cool V.018

A random list of things and shower thoughts that an old Gen X dude finds cool or worth pondering.

  • This is a perfect example of what’s wrong with news today. I like to think I’m reasonably plugged in… and I had absolutely no idea this happened last week. 1000+ people dead and 1.5 million at risk of water-borne disease or starvation. Meanwhile, Bob in Ohio was outraged at something someone said. We have a fantastic panel to discuss…
  • A neat video about cycling. I couldn’t do it, but a great reminder that we’re only here once. If you get hit by a bus tomorrow, are you happy with what you’ve seen and done?
  • Speaking of bikes, my town is installing this in one of the downtown parking garages. Yay for bicycle friendly!
  • Jim Acosta is the very definition of douchebag. I get it, he generates equal love and hate traffic. And yes, there are Acostas on all sides of the political spectrum. Sad that this has become the new norm for “news”.
  • I did not hit my weight target this week. It’s mostly meaningless… just a goal. Next week for sure.
  • Bullet Journal update: it went strong for a month, then faded. I still like the idea. I resolve to resurrect the habit.
  • A patient was unhappy with his diabetic menu choices, so his wife brought him Burger King and a supersize chocolate shake. When his blood sugar was 320 he was shocked. He was actually angry and accused us of giving him some “pill” that was making his blood sugar go up. It was a battle to convince him I had to give him insulin.
  • “This will be your favorite patient. Super nice and rarely calls for anything”. Sadly as a nurse, I hear that in report maybe once every three or four weeks. The vast majority of the hospital population are grumpy, sour, demanding people. They’re also in the worst possible health – much of which is due to lifestyle choices. I see a clear correlation between your upbringing, mental attitude, emotional stability, and overall health outcomes. It’s not rocket science, but it’s striking when you see it in front of you every day.
  • My internet went down for approximately 7 minutes today. It was a terrifying vision of the pending zombie apocalypse.

Song of the day: Charlie Feathers, “That certain female”

Is A Bullet The Answer?

I am not a list making or post-it note kind of guy. I am confident that I’ll remember everything. Which, of course, I never do. I’m not a planner other than some vague goals floating around in my head. As a result I’ve been feeling like I’m just drifting from day to day doing whatever task or activity seems to pop up at the moment.

I’m not unhappy with that other than a feeling that time is accelerating and I’m not really accomplishing anything. A few days ago a video popped up on YouTube about bullet journaling. I don’t know why I felt compelled to click on it, but an hour or so later I was convinced enough to give it a try.

The traditional bullet journal is an analog book and a system of tracking and planning. Looking at some of the examples people put together… they can be very artistic and clearly they have time on their hands. That not me. I’m not going to lug a book and a pen around. Way too hipster.

So yesterday I created a digital bullet journal using Microsoft OneNote. Because it syncs to the cloud, it’s available on all devices and I’ll have it available everywhere. I probably spent two hours putting the basic format together. I must admit I really liked the act of thinking about what big ticket things I wanted to get done in the next six months. But it does seem silly writing down the things I want to do today. I’m thinking about them already – why write down what I already know I need to do? I’m all-in though. I’ll keep at it for long enough to decide if it’s helping.

Is this going to make me more productive? A better planner? I don’t know. I do recognize that actively thinking about and committing to words the things I want to accomplish makes it more likely I’ll work to achieve them.

Who knows maybe a year from now you’ll find me in a coffee shop ordering a double soy no whip frap, then sitting down and opening a fancy hardbound bullet journal. Maybe.

Which Path Is Right?

I’ve been on a bit of a health transformation. I finally hit a point where I said to myself, enough is enough. So I’ve been focused, made some good changes, and feel better. It started by following some inspiring people. I had literally spent a week of watching motivational videos (while eating chips) and I thought, stop being such a poser and get your ass up and start doing something.

There are a number of influencers that got me going, but the two main ones are Jocko Willink and David Goggins. Jocko is famous for “Discipline equals freedom”. He gets up at 0430 every day and works out, posting it on Instagram. The more discipline you have in getting all the everyday mundane things done, the more freedom you’ll earn in the rest of your day and life.

David Goggins is a great story. Unmotivated. 300 lbs. Decided he wanted to be a navy seal, lost 100 lbs. in 3 months. Went on to have a great career and do some ridiculously challenging stuff. He’s got lots of good pep talks around things like staring at his shoes for 30 minutes trying to get motivated enough to go for a run. I can relate. Anything is achievable if you want it bad enough.

I love that stuff. Lately I’ve been up at 0400 most mornings getting my workout in. Posting it on the IG for accountability. Strict with my diet. Feeling like life is too short to waste it sleeping in and not getting shit done.

And then I saw a quote the other day that stopped me in my tracks. Paraphrasing – “None of us are getting out of here alive… eat the delicious food, walk in the sunshine, jump in the ocean… there’s no time for anything else”.

It’s true. All this may end tomorrow. Laying on my deathbed what will I relish more – that I was disciplined and got my tired ass up at 0400 every day, or that I enjoyed good food, a cigar, and a some adult beverages? I know it’s silly but that simple quote made me wonder what, at my age, am I doing skipping meals, eating strictly, and being so sore from workouts I can barely walk? Will I really be happier five years from now?

Which path is the right path?

Like anything, balance is probably the right choice. I recognize that if I swing too far to the indulgent side it carries consequences. I won’t be able to enjoy the outdoor activities I like. I’ll probably throw a clot and become a vegetable, cutting years off my life. On the other hand, I don’t want to miss out on nachos. If I get hit by a bus tomorrow am I really going to care that I was ten or twenty pounds too heavy?

I don’t know the answer. At the moment, I have a goal and I’m going to work my ass off to get there. Once there… I think I’ll make a point of ensuring I indulge from time to time. Because it’s true – none of us are getting out of here alive.

Rock Bottom

I am not a mental health professional, nor do I play one on TV. But I am a reasonable observer of human behavior. Since my work days are spent at a hospital I get to see a wide spectrum of the human condition. And in watching both my own behavior and the rest of the zoo around us, I’ve come to a conclusion. To make a change you have to hit rock bottom.

This applies to weight loss, exercise, alcohol and drug use, any sort of destructive behavior. To make a real change you first have to hit whatever your rock bottom is.

For some people rock bottom is finding out their favorite jeans are a little too tight. Others, it’s hitting 400 pounds and being unable to participate in life. One guy may make a drunken fool of himself at a party and decide that’s it. For another it may take being in the hospital detoxing and full blown DT’s.

The unfortunate truth about this is that the lower and further down rock bottom is… the harder it is to climb out. It can be done but the success rate gets exponentially smaller.

So what can you do about it? I’m certainly no expert, but I think that constant self-inventory is vital. Be brutal. Look at yourself naked in the mirror. Get on the scale daily. Can you do a single pushup? How many bottles of alcohol are you going through in a week? Don’t hide from it. Hopefully at some point you’ll decide that today is the day to make a change.

I’m sure plenty of real experts can offer better approaches. All I know is what I’ve seen and experienced myself. Until you hit bottom… and then go a little bit further down, you’re not going to make a change. Forcing a constant inventory may not be the best approach, but it can’t hurt. Easier said than done, I know.

The sooner you come to grips with your reality, the better your chance of success. Go watch some motivational weight loss stories on YouTube. Watch a video of someone going through DT’s. Right now, can you run up and down a flight of stairs without gasping for air? Are you truly happy with your current state?

Maybe today will be your rock bottom.

I Failed. And I’m Ok With It.

Last year I signed up for a race. 100 miles of gravel with some pretty significant climbs. I kinda sorta trained for it, but not like I should have. For my last training ride I rode about half the course. I realized that, while I think I could have finished, it would have been a complete suffer-fest. As race day got closer I agonized over what to do. Finally with my tail between my legs, I bailed. Forfeited the sizable entry fee. No t-shirt, belt buckle, no swag, no bragging rights.

Since then I’ve been getting frequent emails to sign up for this years race. I just got a new email offering a training camp ($$) to help ensure success. I also got notification to enter the lottery for another race that’s always been on my list, the Leadville 100. I’ve agonized over these – wanting to avenge my failure, to prove that I can do it. I’ve gotten my credit card out multiple times, ready to sign up.

What I’ve realized lately is that much of that is about my own personal vanity. The only reason I’m doing it is so I can post on the Facebook and Instagram, giving some self-deprecating comment but secretly wanting all the likes and congrats from the community. But you know what? I’m 53. I don’t give a rats ass any more what people think.

I’m going to keep training hard, riding my bike, running, and being active because I enjoy it – not because I’m trying to prove something. I don’t need a race t-shirt to validate my self worth.

I’m not knocking doing races. If you’ve never run a 10k or a marathon and you need to sign up to have a hard goal to work towards, that’s awesome. Do it! If you’re competitive and actually in the mix racing (as opposed to just trying to finish) then keep after it. I’m not either of those things and I’m ok with that.

I’m still going to work hard. We all have some level of vanity and competitiveness that doesn’t go away. My goal is to be that old guy that passes you on the climb on our local trails. And someday, if I get really crazy in shape and think I can be competitive for my age class… I’ll toe the line again.

But then again, I like beer too much.

Paying the Man

This is my new favorite saying. I blatantly stole it from Josh Bridges. Go look him up – he’s an impressive dude. The saying is a perfect encapsulation of how the world works. Nothing is free. If you want something, be prepared to work for it.

In Josh’s world it’s physical performance, but it applies to everything. Want to lose weight? You’re going to have to pay the man. Restrict calories, follow an appropriate diet, and work out. Don’t want to do that? So sorry, isn’t going to happen. Want to excel at work? Pay the man. Long hours, bust your butt, outwork your coworkers. Want to be a successful entrepreneur, artist, student? Pay the man.

I’ve started saying it to myself when I think about doing something. How bad do I want it? Am I willing to pay the man? Sometimes the answer is no, and that’s ok. I find it helpful to clarify in my head what I really want vs. what might be nice. I’d like to learn Spanish, be a better cook, and be better at my job… but right now I’m not willing to pay the man and I’m good with that.

It doesn’t mean you don’t do those things. It just means I’m satisfied with the current state. Being a better cook would be nice, but it’s not important enough to me right now to invest in reading, watching videos, buying supplies, and practicing.

It’s a simple phrase. Start applying it everyday and you’ll find it clarifies your thoughts and actions. Focus your energies on only those things you’re willing to pay the man for and you’ll be happier and more focused.