Positive affirmation

“What we believe about ourselves and life become true for us”

If we expect and believe that life is a struggle for us and that people treat us badly then that is what our experience will be. Likewise if we love ourselves and believe that we deserve all good in our lives and have a right to loving healthy relationships, that is what we will experience.

In a commercial world where every ad is designed to make you think you lack something, you are not good enough or you don’t have enough, it is important to remind yourself of who you are, or even more importantly who you are capable of becoming. While standing in front of the mirror and affirming to yourself the person you will become seems strait out of the SNL skit “Daily Affirmation With Stuart Smalley” , it really is a great way to get back into a motivated mindset.
It’s not about telling yourself a lie. It’s about starting with the end in mind. If you are not even sure what you want out of life, how are you ever going to get it?
You don’t have to stand in front of a mirror or wear a cable knit sweater vest when you do this, but envision the person you want to be in 1 year. Who is that person? What do they look like? What has that person accomplished in the past year? Now work back from that vision to find the steps you need to take to get there.

I want to here from YOU. When you looked at yourself a year away? what did you look like? What had you accomplished? I am excited to hear your vision of yourself.

Priorities

As I would expect, the Reboot post worried Allan. He is a good friend.

From Allan’s post DAY 367, WEDNESDAY, APR 27, 2011

Tibetan monks, TV stars, athletes, Harry the guy that shines my shoes, they are all on a plan, whether it is written down to follow or not. Obese people have no plan, we eat until we are tired of eating. We need to be trained. I am not trained and it has been a year and a day. I hope I can be trained within this second year. Every day is a reminder that I need to get healthy, stay the course, follow the plan, not eat a cookie, and try to beat the reaper. Every freaking Day. After 3 months of following a plan, or 12 months Mike, it is not going away. Again, one word my friend, PATIENCE. This is a struggle, it is not rocket science, and it is not the hardest thing you will ever do. This is what we have to do to give us the strength to do the hardest things we will ever do. All good, but chill out and just stay with us !!! I love the Allan reference of course, and I will preach to you what I have found for as long as you will listen.

I’m not going anywhere except the gymJ   & I am not exhausted of you Allan, just with being fat and with the struggle to organizing my life around a healthy lifestyle. Being fat is easy to fit into my daily routine.  There is no planning on getting fat, my brain can go on auto pilot doing that.

I have just gotten to a place where I am letting other things that are important be put aside. I realize almost nothing is as important as my health but they are important all the same. I just need to manage my time better to do more with my time without taking away from the gym and planning out meals and reading inspirational blogs. Losing weight is priority 1. I just need to fit in more than priority 1.

Working it out and taking every word of your advice to heart with gratitude.

Thanks friend.

Getting Started

I got an email from someone today and in answering her questions I learned a lot about … well what I have learned. This will be a permanent post under the “Getting Started” page.

The person wrote,

Hi! my name is XXXXX and i have been reading your blog. i cant tell you how inspiring it has been to me. i too am very overweight and know i can do it alone but i dont know where to begin. my family and friends want to to get the gastric bypass surgery but i dont know. i feel like enough is enough, my health and my life are on the line and i want to take charge of it myself. i dont want to take the easy way out, as i feel the surgery would be. if you could possibly tell me what plan you are using. your progress is nothing if not inspiring. i have slowly but surely began walking. there is a park near my house and i never took the time to even walk it and enjoy it. i feel like a failure for not noticing that God had provided me with a place i can go to, a sanctuary of sorts to weight loss success. i guess what i am saying is that, ive begun to move, i just need help learning to eat or to not eat so much and what to eat, etc. i greatly appreciate any help you can give and any information you can share.

thank you and God bless,
XXXXX

I responded,

There are no secrets to weight loss. It is a matter of persistent tracking, hard work and a LOT of self refection. It’s impossible to understand all the reasons one lets themselves get to where I was when you are at the beginning. Getting the ball rolling from a dead stop is hard.

Following someone a plan laid out by someone else is a great starting point. It takes the guess work and the trial and error out at first. I suggest, at least at first, NOT using meal supplement plans. Slimfast and the like are not a sustainable way of living in my perspective of things. The following are things that have been critical to my success. I am not a doctor or a nutritionist. I am not selling a diet or a solution.

For starters, You will need to have a few tools:
  • Food scale
  • Measuring Cups and spoons
  • Scale (don’t know how much you weigh but I got this scale that measures up to 550lbs off Amazon.com)
  • Body Measuring tape
  • Set up an account at MyFitnessPal. It’s free.

I have found that any plan worth following will have the following aspects. Choose a plan you think you can stick with that encompasses the following:

1. Be accountable to someone other than yourself. When you get to a place where you have let yourself go, you have trained yourself to believe lies. I had to tell myself my lifestyle wasn’t that bad, that I was eating what a normal person was eating…. Find a person or a group who will help you see when you are not being honest with yourself. I chose the blog world because I needed to hear from people who had to start as far back as I was. No more “you just don’t understand” excuses.
2. Get an extensive physical. It makes no sense to beat yourself over the head trying to lose weight without understanding where you are at medically. There are a slew of things that will stunt your weight loss efforts. Get your blood work done! Have your doctor check you thyroid and insulin levels. It sucks to get a physical when you start but some of my most rewarding moments are my doctor’s office checkups when I can report to my doctor the progress I am making.
3. Get starting measurements:
  • Food – As much as you may want to start a diet today. Don’t. It sounds weird but eat the exact way you have been eating for one more week except measure it. Write down everything you eat. Don’t leave out anything. Get a food scale & measuring cups so you can be precise. You will feel reluctant to eat things because you have to write them down but do it anyway. After the week is done, enter everything you have written into MyFitnessPal to get how many calories you used to eat.
  • Body measurements – Weight, height, and body measurements that MyFitnessPal suggests.
  • “Before” pictures – Standing in front of a camera at your fattest is not fun. Looking back at them after you have come a way is priceless though. Keep in mind, while you may be horrified at the thought of letting other people see these pictures, one day you may have come far enough that you do want to share them to inspire others.
  • Evaluate average calories burned – MyFitnessPal does this for you when you set up your Goals
4. Set 1 goal – A Weekly calorie deficit goal is the ONLY goal you need to set. Everything else is an appendage to it. I suggest a daily caloric intake of 1200 calories at first. 1pound = 3500 calories. If you want to lose 2 pounds a week, you will need to have a net deficit of 7000 calories a week. The math:
Calories in – Average Daily Calorie Burn – Exercises Calories = Deficit
Deficit x 7 = Weekly deficit
Weekly deficit / 3500 = Approx Weight Loss Per Week
Food composition will take you a while to get a hold of. A good rule of thumb is a deck of card size protein, a single or half portion of carbs, fruits & Vegetables. Drink a ton of water. Your water bottle should be with you at all times.
Multivitamin is a good idea. I take a Centrum daily.
5. Track, Track, Track – for at least 3 months, track religiously. You will learn more than you could ever expect about yourself, the food you eat and life in general.
  • Track calories in and out daily
  • Write a daily journal about what you have learned, your frustrations, your successes, what motivates you. Share it with someone you trust.
  • Track body measurements weekly
  • Take pictures along the way. I only do it like every 3 months.
I PROMISE IT WILL SUCK SOMETIMES. But I also promise that if you do it, you will lose weight.
Good luck and feel free to contact me.
See Allan’s blog as I am in his competition and following his Double Dog Dare Plan.

Reboot

I always thought that as I got thinner, the closer I got to my goal, the more motivated I would become. I think I let my success corrupt my brain a little because I find myself slumping.

I have accomplished a lot since I started and there is no reason to stop now. During brief moments of insanity, I even find myself saying that I am happy with my weight where I am at, just as long as I am not SUPER FAT. Sooooooooooo dumb. Blame it on the weekend vacation up in Logan, blame it on the December weather we got over the past couple days now that it’s almost May but that crap is not in my control. My attitude, commitment and drive ARE something I can control.

Time again and pull up my big boy pants and do it just because it’s what I should be doing. Losing 300 pounds is not always fun or exciting. Just like kids, it’s a lot of hard work, patience, practice but sooo worth every tear drop and every drop of sweat.

I know Allan, “ze plan! ze plan!” Sorry for the totally obscure Fantasy Island reference. But every time I hear Allan talk about “the plan” that is all I can think of. Tracking calories, going to the gym, constantly telling myself not to eat this, telling myself to drink more water …. I am exhausted mentally. I thought that these things were going to somehow meld into my day and take almost no thought after a while. In some ways I guess it has but still…

No drastic fails or big giveup here. A lul in commitment and a relaps in apathy. Most days I can get myself motivated but once and a while I just need someone to shove me outy the door to the gym.

Please stay tuned as I reboot my brain.

 

Weight loss is basic math

Sometimes I wish I could just record conversations Karlie and I have about weight loss then have someone transcribe them on my blog. Conversation just has a way of bringing out interesting insights into the whole process.

Investing is tricky business these days. Invest in a company today and they may be gone tomorrow. Invest commitment and effort to an employer and in the end, it is only the manager that determines a promotion. Invest talents into school work and it’s the teacher that decides the grade at the end of the term.

All the things I have invested my time, talents, money and sanity over have my success tied ultimately to how someone else feels, acts or perceives things. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it just means that there is only so much control I have over my success. Weight loss is ultimately determined by ME and ME alone. AM I the only one who thinks that is AWESOME!?

Of course I believe that others can encourage, inform and inspire weight loss in another individual. If I didn’t believe that, I wouldn’t give a crap about this blog. Something about the mathematics simplicity of losing weight excites me. There is no ancient mystery of weight loss success. It is not a concept that can only be understood by only a select few individuals. It is MATH! Simple as addition and subtraction.

– 3400 Calories ( What I burn each day just living)
+1200 Calories (The calories I eat in a day)
–   700 Calories (The average calories burned at the gym a day)
============
– 2900 Daily Calorie Deficit

Okay, I know I said there would only be addition and subtraction but we are going to do some hard core multiplication & division next. Get out your calculator if you need to.

   2900 Daily Calorie Deficit
x       7 Days in a week
==========
20,580 Weekly Calorie Deficit

Last equation I promise.

20,300 Weekly Calorie Deficit
/  3,500 Calories (The approx equivalent to 1 lb of body fat)
==========
5.8 Pounds Lost Per Week

Now I have no illusions that any of these numbers are perfect or that any measurement of these variables is exact but no matter if you are following a trendy diet, using weight loss surgery or taking medications to stop you from eating, ALL methods are rooted in this math. Now usually I HATE me some math but these numbers are indisputable. Will the scale always read 5.8 pounds lost each week? No, but poop, pee and food in your belly aside, yes. So what if the scale reads something different? Does that mean the math doesn’t work? No, it means that Mike didn’t count the noodles he picked off his kid’s plate or the extra oz of meat he justified sliding on his plate at dinner.

Get support. Find people who are already succeeding in what you want to accomplish but know that even with the best help in the world it only comes down to you and the numbers you put into the equation and when you step on the scale remember that it was you and the math, and math don’t lie. But just to be sure the number is right, try to go to the bathroom just one more time 🙂

Fat Guy vs. Fit (The voices of my inner struggles)

Today at the gym I wanted to hit it hard to start off my week right. I started with 20 min of interval training on the elliptical. I do 4 min at a challenging level and on the 5th I go as hard as I can sustain for 1 min. It sucked. I wanted to work hard but my body was fighting me all the way through the first 20 min. At the end of the 20 min I had close to 350 calories according to the machine and I started to decide what to do ….

I don’t know if I watched too many cartoons as a kid but sometimes I imagine 2 different forces in a battle of fat vs. fit. Each represented by a guy on each shoulder.

Fit guy says “The hardest part is over. Just get to 500 calories. You can do that.”
Fat guy says, “Holy crap! Get me off this machine of death! Haven’t you done enough already?”
ME: Shut up fat guy! I am trying to listen to fit guy!
Fat: “Don’t listen to that idiot! We need some chili fries!”
Fit: “Look at you. You are already at 500 calories now! I bet you can hit 750.”
Fat: “Yea right! More like he’d like to eat 750 potato chips right about now!”
ME: Shut up fat guy! (I smack him off my shoulder)
Fit Guy: “1100 Calories! What a great workout on the elliptical.”
ME: Yea, I feel great. I am going to do a slow cool down on the treadmill for 200 more calories.
Fit Guy: “That will be a new personal best! Way to go!”
Sometimes you just have to tell your fat guy to shut up!I am so glad that I am finally listening to my fit guy. It doesn’t mean fat guy is going to stop showing up but if you listen enough to the voice that encourages and lifts you up, the easier it is to send fat guy packin.

Discipline

124 pounds down on an average of 5 pounds a week. After so many weeks of the same, I am getting a little bored with the whole thing. Discouraged? Not at all. Just the routine has become a little monotonous. But, as I have written before,

“Character: The ability to carry out a worthy decision after the emotion of making that decision has passed. Character simply stated is doing what you said you were going to do. If you develop a reputation for that, do you have any idea the effect that has on self-perception? Its immense, just immense.”   -Hyrum W. Smith-

If the only time I kept with exercised and followed a diet plan was when it was exciting and new, I would still be 524 pounds. Still, there are things I can change up, without compromise my commitment. With spring here I will be getting out of the gym more and finding excuses to be active outside.

The food has been going well and I am not as bored with that end of things. The menu changes enough to keep it interesting. Who knew a fat guy that could bury a large pizza all by himself could find himself content and satisfied with only 1200 calories a day?

I was talking with my Grandpa George last night and told him, “Even though I am eating less, I think I actually enjoy food more eating less.” Why? For one, I am trying foods I never would have considered. Faced with a menu at a restaurant, my selection would quickly narrow down to the most filling selection on the menu regardless of what the food was. I was more worried about getting full than I was about tasting the food and enjoying the meal.

Grandpa George said he feels, in a way, responsible for some of the ways our family thinks of food. Anyone who knows my Grandpa knows that he has a true passion for cooking. He doesn’t just make a meal. He crafts a meal. He enjoys blending flavors and trying new recipes. Needless to say, dinner at his house is anything but dull. He shared with me that he feels responsible for some of the mentalities in our family because he would show love through food. Some truth to the mentality but hardly the culprit of years and years of overeating.

Now that my family knows I am open to discuss my weight, eating, exercise… My dad pointed out how this whole journey is simply a lesson in discipline. Last night at his house, my mom made a yellow sheet cake to top with strawberries and whip cream. I said out loud, not to anyone in particular, mostly to myself, “I could eat that whole pan of cake. That’s why I can’t have any.” He pointed out the amount of discipline it takes to make constant choices like that. Discipline is one of my Dad’s favorite topics. I remember many talks about it as a kid. This time I think I actually listened and processed what he had to say though. Isn’t it amazing how much smarter your parents get as you get older?  🙂

Overwhelmed

After talking it out with my wife, I decided that the grey cloud over my head as of late is because I am overwhelmed with so many tasks and it takes me so long to figure out where to start when I have a moment, by the time I figure it out, I have no time to do it. Much like I let my weight get out of hand, my organization and planning need an overhaul too. I mean, HELLO! I used to work for Franklin Covey. The founders literally wrote the book on time management. I have been to seminars and taken time management classes with my wife. It’s not a lack of know how, it is a limitation of my tools and a lack of execution that causes me so much trouble.

Last night, instead of going to the gym, I took time and made a list of over 65 things I need to get done, want to get done, want to accomplish.

In the process I discovered a few things that I need to make planning and managing my time efficient.

1. I need to plan with Karlie weekly
2. I need to plan my day before I go to work
3. I need a tool that fits the way I work to keep track of my tasks, schedules, contacts & documents

  • It needs to be wholly or partially electronic. I have to much information coming at me to be paper oriented
  • It needs to be portable, something I can have with me at all times
  • It needs to be connected (able to communicate schedules and tasks with others)
  • It needs to help me, not distract me.

Has anyone invented something like this?

I love the tactile aspect of Paper but it’s not connected. Because it requires constant updating and is not integrated with processes I need to use with work and school, they are more work than they are worth.
Handhelds & Phones keep me connected and do not require constant updating but are a distraction and are to small to be effective in planning.
Laptops fit all the criteria but are not instant on and require “sit down” time to be truly useful.
Tablets fit the bill but the countless apps & games are hard not to be distracted by.

How do you find balance in your life? I don’t want to be a fireman in my own life, running around all day putting out fires. I need to put some time and deep thought into getting back to a place where I am on top of things so I can focus on my weight and still get everything else done.

One Day

One Day
This whole time I was one day away,
one day away from success.
Who knew the power
that 24 hours
could have on becomming my best?
I’ve always had the intention,
of a healthier life and physique.
but my thighs ar still rubbin’
and my blubber’s still blubbin’
because of the day I would seek.
This whole time I was one day away,
only one day from leaving my sorrows,
But intentions can’t win
& fat never finds thin
if the day that you change is tomorrow.
(A little poem I wrote for myself. I have been reading a lot of Shel Silverstein with my kids.)

You are doing great! What’s different this time around?

I love that I have become an advocate and a walking example for others. I realize that sounds like I am conceded and boasting but my intention couldn’t be further from that place. I am just so excited to be able to lift others while I climb. It’s not because I am anything more than anyone else, if anything it’s the opposite. I was 524 pounds. I let myself get there and created the problem myself. Do I feel accomplished for facing my problem, sure. Does that make me better than someone who has never let themselves get to 524 pounds in the first place? No.

Why then do I find inspiration from other weight loss bloggers? Are they doing anything that is groundbreaking or unique? No. Then why do stories like Sean’s and Tony’s and so many others inspire me and help me? I submit that it is recognizing the ability of a person to make such a drastic change. It is not the change in the doing but the change in the being that inspires us.

The difference in the do and the be was illustrated so perfectly by Lynn G. Robbins.

“Many of us create to do lists to remind us of things we want to accomplish. But people rarely have to be lists. Why? To do’s are activities or events that can be checked off the list when done. To be, however, is never done. You can’t earn checkmarks with to be’s. I can take my wife out for a lovely evening this Friday, which is a to do. But being a good husband is not an event; it needs to be part of my nature—my character, or who I am. Or as a parent, when can I check a child off my list as done? We are never done being good parents.”

“Because be begets do and is the motive behind do, teaching be will improve behavior more effectively than focusing on do will improve behavior.”

It was in the moment of hearing these words that I understood the answer to the question so many people have been asking me. “What’s different this time around?” or a question my wife is often asked, “Are you worried he will gain it all back again?” The simple answer is that this time around, it has been a change in the be and not just the do. It’s not changes in my eating or exercise that have made the difference this time around. It is the changes in Mike Badger. I am not the same person I was at 524 pounds. I had to make a conscious change in being.

Who are you? Do you have a “to be” list?

While we have a specific competition/plan we are following right now, my wife and I just joined a second weight loss competition. Someone in our extended family is hosting a “Biggest Loser” type challenge and we got in on it. On the way over to Kar’s cousin’s house for the weigh in, I was thinking about that change in being.

I said,

“It’s funny how we are going over to do a weigh in right now and I am thinking about going out to eat. Wanting to go eat out will never change will it? The difference between now and before is I just know I can’t. It’s not really even a choice I have to make because it’s part of who I am now.”

Do I have the desire to eat a loaded cheeseburger, a whole bag of fries washed down with a milk-shake? Everyday. Do I have the ability to eat that food? Give me 10 min. and my debit card and I could show you. But I still can’t do it. Why? Because it has now become against who Mike Badger is. Because the be is the focus, the do happens as a result.

Robbins also pointed out,

“Do without be—hypocrisy—portrays a false image to others, while be without do portrays a false image to oneself.”

If we do things that have the appearance of being healthy, we are putting on a show. As a fat guy, people always want to give their advise to “help”. The people that drive me crazy are the people who have a TON of information to give with little evidence of conviction or application themselves.

I have always know that my health was important and often “portrayed a false image” to myself of what healthy behavior was. At 524 pounds I actually convinced myself that eating a 4000 calorie meal was normal. I invented these whacked out ideas to create a false image for myself. I felt like I had to convince myself in order to get through my day. Any resemblance of confidence and self-worth I could conjure up made life tolerable.

If you want to find inspiration in my story, realize where the inspiration comes from. It is the power to change. It is the God given ability to recognize something within ourselves that we loath or are ashamed of. To confront it and change not only our actions in life, but to fundamentally tap into the unlimited potential that is in each one of us. Don’t focus on changing your diet or exercise. In of themselves they do not contain the power to change.

You have within YOU the power to make a change. A change in how you define yourself and who you are. Only YOU can chose to change your mind, change your heart, change YOU. When temptation arises and you are starring decision in the face, it’s not a question of “what will I do”? It becomes a question of “who will I be”?