Weekend Why

Earlier this week, I wrote about the importance of why. A clear and powerful why propels you towards your goal. It is also very important to revisit your why. Often life changes. This weekend, I will spend time reflecting on my why. Is it still applicable? Do I need to modify it? Is it working? Spend time everyday with your why. It will move you towards your goal.

The Power of Why

Where I work, one of our teams has the motto #KnowYourWhy.  This is brilliant, if you can follow it.  To succeed, you need to know why you want to succeed.  Some say that to get to your true why, you need to answer “why” you want to do something seven times. I didn’t need to do this here but because I discovered my why.

Over the weekend, Naomi Osaki lost in the third round of the US Open Tennis tournament.  She is a player with an incredible amount of talent.  She won the US Open last year and the Australian Open this year.  Yet after her loss, she made the following statement – ““I feel like for me recently, when I win I don’t feel happy, I feel more like a relief. And then when I lose I feel very sad. And I don’t think that’s normal.”  To me, this is an example of someone who is searching for her why. If you don’t know your why, your likelihood of success is low. 

To be effective, your why is something you must have.  It cannot be a should.  The difference between “I must lose weight” and “I should lose weight” is the difference between success and failure.  I long thought I SHOULD lose weight.  But when I looked at that picture, my should became a must. 

Yet, my why is more complicated than a picture.  I have long known that obesity is significant risk factor for many health issues. Yet, I have been fortunate that most of “health statistics” were within normal range.  I also know a lot of your health is dictated by your genetics.  Because I was adopted, I knew very little about my genetics until recently.  Add to all of this, in November 2020, my state was one the leaders in the county for COVID19.  Everything I was reading about COVID19 pointed towards obesity being a significant comorbidity.  My oldest brother had just died from COVID19.  Though I didn’t know it when I made the decision to take action, my other brother soon would contract Covid19. 

In the end, all these factors motivated me to not be a statistic.  I was scared that my years of not caring for my body would finally catch up to me.  I wanted to take control of the things I could control.  I resolved that I must lose weight.  In addition to better health, I didn’t want my sons to bury me when they were young like I had to do with my father.  I didn’t want my wife to be young widow. I wanted to see my youngest son graduate from high school.  I even worried about who would take care of my dog if I died.  I knew I didn’t look well.  What I finally admitted was that I didn’t feel well either.  I was depressed (perhaps not clinically but still down).  My why is that I wanted to lose weight and become healthier for me but mostly to make sure that I am around for my family.  Every day of my journey, I remind myself that this about a better health so I can enjoy life with those that I love.  They are my why.   

So, to sum up the last couple of posts, to get where you are going, you need your map.  Your map includes your why and your what.  In a perfect world, you would write them down.  Though I didn’t initially write them down, every morning I said to myself my goal weight.  I looked at the picture and I thought about why I was doing this.  Knowing my why, made the challenging days easier.  Once I had these two steps set, I was ready to tackle the next phase which is how.  This is where I started gathering facts but more about that later.  Have a great week!

One Year

One year ago today, I received word that my oldest brother Jeff had tested positive for COVID. He would pass away in his sleep 11 days later. This picture is the last one I ever took of him.

The death of my brother is the most painful experience in my life. It took me to a dark place. Today, I am going to celebrate. I am going to celebrate his life and the lessons he taught me. I am going celebrate by focusing on what I have and not what I have lost. I am going to celebrate, in part, by watching my students play football, cheer and march for the first time in nearly two years.

The last year has reinforced that I can’t control much. I can’t control what happened to my brother. I can’t control the virus. I can only control my focus and my response. Today I chose celebration.

Listen to yourself

This week I wrote about the importance of focus. The likelihood of achieving a goal is much greater if you know what you want and why you want it. In this busy, hectic and overstimulated world it is difficult to find focus and direction.

Take time this weekend to get away. Turn off your phone and listen. Listen to the birds. Listen to the wind in the trees. Just listen. The answers to your questions are within you but you have to listen. When you listen, it will become clear what direction your life needs to take. Have a great Labor Day weekend!

Know where you are going

Recently, I took a trip to my hometown.  Because I had been there many times before, I knew exactly how to get there and didn’t need a map.  It’s easy to navigate in familiar places.  However, when we are in unfamiliar places, we often need some help.  When I don’t know exactly where I am going or how to get there, I use a map or ask for directions.  If I don’t do this, I may not get where I want to go.  The same approach applies to weight loss (or frankly any major life change).  To succeed, you must know where you are going and what you want.  You must get focus.  This is the first of a couple of posts about what I mean by focus and how it helped me. 

What do I mean by focus?  I mean getting crystal clear in what you want AND why you want it.  After I looked at the picture, I knew what I needed.  I needed to change.  Rather than saying I needed to lose weight, I got picked a specific number by a specific date.  My what was to weigh 200 pounds by the time my youngest son graduated from high school.  This gave me roughly six months to lose the weight.  It meant I needed to lose about 8 pounds a month.  Every morning, I reminded myself of the specific goal.  I still do this, EVERY DAY.  It helps get me in the right state to face the day.   

It is my opinion that this specific goal, revisited every morning was key to getting the focus I needed to lose weight.  This was the first time I had set a specific goal.  My previous weight loss attempts were nonspecific.  I was hoping to lose a few pounds.  I would lose weight until it felt right, or life got in the way.  I’ll be honest, in November 2020, I thought I was crazy for picking a goal to lose nearly 50 pounds.  I started the process alone and didn’t tell anybody, not even my wife.

Looking back, I know that I set a SMART goal. SMART is a common acronym which stands for:  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound.   There is a lot of information on the internet about SMART Goals.  My goal was SMART because it was specific.  I wanted to weight 200 pounds.  It was measurable because I had a scale and could check my progress (I’ll write more about weighing in on another post).  It was achievable because people can lose 50 pounds.  It was realistic.  It was time related because I wanted to achieve the goal before my son’s high school graduation in May.  

A SMART goal alone isn’t enough.  You need to have your why.  In my next post, I talk about my why.  Have a great day! 

Focus is reality

“Always remember, your focus determines your reality.“ – George Lucas

One of the three pillars of my weight is focus. Knowing what you want and why you want it is essential. My focus this week is on my family, my career and myself. I have objectives and tasks I want to accomplish in each of these areas. More to come on focus tomorrow. What are you focused on this week?

Happy Weekend

How do you use the weekend? For many people, the weekend represents a time away from the office. A time when you can do the things that are important to you. A time for a different routine. I view each day is an opportunity to move your life forward in small increments. I didn’t lose all of my weight at one time. It was a gradual process. It was the result of small actions each day towards a goal. This weekend, I will be working on my next blog post, playing golf with friends (unless it rains), spending time with my wife and planning the first week of class. What will you do this weekend?

Fat, Fifty+ and Fatigued

My journey began in November 2020 during the height of the COVID pandemic where I live.  The per capita cases, hospitalizations and deaths were some of the worst in the United States.  The tension from the US Presidential election was in the air and the outcome not certain.  I was still grieving my oldest brother’s death from COVID in September.  I was trying to stay positive.  I was trying to be thankful everyday.  Then I took the picture and everything changed.  I was fat, over fifty and fatigued. Something needed to change and it needed to happen how.

At my peak, I weighed 252 pounds (perhaps more).  At the time of the picture, I weighed 246 pounds.  I have never publicly admitted my actual weight before and am embarrassed to do so now.   Today, I weigh 186 pounds. I lost most of the weight in the first four months. A few more pounds melted off over the next four but I have mostly steady. Recently, I committed to getting to 170 pounds which is the weight I believe is the best fit for my body.  Not since 9th grade I have weighed 170 or below.

Throughout this journey, many have asked two questions:

1. How did you do it?

2. Do you feel any differently?

This blog is my attempt to share my journey and answer those questions.  I seek to share what I have learned including,  what worked, what didn’t work and other tidbits. What worked for me, may not work for you.  Yet, I hope it helps or encourages others to seek a healthy lifestyle.  Because I have struggled with my weight for most of my life, I have a lot of experience “trying” to lose weight.  

How I feel today is substantially better than November 2020.   I have more energy.  I have less pain.  My knees and back no longer hurt after a walk.  My sleep improved.  I no longer have acid reflux (prior to my weight loss, I was a Rolaids/Tums junkie).  My heart rate is lower.  My blood pressure is lower.  My cholesterol is lower.  Every major health marker is better. So, yes I feel differently.  I had to purchase a whole new wardrobe.  My clothing sizes are the same as high school and college.  Mentally, I am more focused and happier. 

Though I have struggled with my weight most of my life, this time is different. I feel it and live it. This time, I have changed my habits for good. How did I do it?   I have broken the process into three areas.  FOCUS, FACTS, FORGIVENESS. 

Over the next few posts, I will describe in detail each of the above and how they work together. 

If you want to join this journey, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and follow my Facebook page dedicated to this group.  I hope it helps you.  If you have questions, let me know. 

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