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You Want McDonald’s or What?

“You want McDonald’s or what?” he asked, after I told him that I was hungry.

“Sure,” I said.  He slowly extended the middle finger of his left hand to press the turn-signal lever.  He glanced over his right shoulder, then into his rear-view mirror before slightly turning the steering wheel.  The loud high-pitched hum of tire-road contact and the deep murmur of the 1986 Honda Civic engine waned as we slowed, changed lanes, and pulled into the McDonald’s parking lot.  Sitting in the passenger seat, I waited quietly for the last shriek emitted by the blue car’s brakes.  He sat lazily in his chair and pulled up his emergency brake.  The sound awkwardly broke the silence with a boisterous zipping noise.

He turned off the engine and looked at me with hopeful sadness.  His black beard was growing thick, covering the skin under his chin and climbing halfway up his cheeks.  It had also merged with his mustache, providing a neat scruffy border around his lips.  He smiled halfway and said, “ We should hurry.  Your mother will be mad if we miss your flight.”

“Ok,” I said obediently.  I pulled the door handle on my right and stepped out of the car intently.  My father exited from the other side of the vehicle and we both turned toward the entrance.  He grabbed my hand as a car passed in front of us.  His grip was firm and commanding.  After the car had passed we walked slowly to the door.  My legs pulled against my body with reluctance.  The three-hour drive had made me tired and sleepy.

My father opened the door and allowed me inside.  As I walked in, I noticed a train above the tables and chairs to my right circling the room where the wall and ceiling met.  It rushed along its tracks steadily, whistling here and there amid the hustle and bustle in the open kitchen.  Below I saw restroom door, placed squarely at the end of an aisle created by two rows of chairs and tables.  The walls were painted an array of colors, forming several imaginary characters.

I looked behind me for my father.  His beat up blue jeans paced toward me.  I tilted my head up to see his face as he scanned the room and laid his hand softly on my back, guiding me toward the counter.  As we walked toward the counter, I glanced over the room once more.  There was a condiments stand to the right and a half raised wall exposing the playground outside to my left.  The playground was behind a huge glass window beyond more tables and chairs.

We stood behind about five people patiently waiting for our turn.  The forest of tall people standing in front of us blocked my view of the menu.  I turned around for one more look at the playground and watched the other children play.  My hunger became less important and my want for playtime increased.

“Come on, boy,” my father urged.  He was standing next to the counter across from the ticket lady.  They both stared at me impatiently.  I walked up to the counter and my father grabbed my hand.

“What do you want?” he asked.  I looked up at him and we stared at each other. “Tell the lady what you want,” he said.  I turned my head up toward the menu.  Slowly deciphering what it read, I replayed the display I had seen earlier.

“Um…I want…the number …four,” I said indecisively.  The lady quickly punched her finger into a machine and handed my father a piece of paper.  He grabbed my hand and pulled me away from the counter in search of a table.  I turned and gazed at the playground.

“Can we sit outside, Dad?” I pleaded.

“You want to play with those kids, don’t you,” he replied with a smirk.  I smiled back at him, trying to hide my deep excitement.  “Ok, let’s go sit outside,” he said.  I eagerly pulled his hand toward the back of the restaurant under the train and through the glass doors into the dining area next to the playground.  As we found a table, he gently stopped me and said, “Before you can play, you have to finish all of your food.”  We sat at the table.  I stared at the children with great envy and a noise came over the loudspeaker.

“Wait right here,” my father said.  I sat impatiently.  All the waiting made me anxious.  He returned holding the tray of food firmly between his palms.  As he walked toward me, his draping green shirt pulsed with the movement of his legs.  My feet swung back and forth above the ground sitting in my chair awaiting his arrival.

He sat down across from me, passed my food and readily began unwrapping his burger.

“Finish it all,” he said.  I began eating my food, first picking at my fries with the occasional bite of the burger.  My father looked at me with a smile, ”Are you excited about seeing your cousins in Toronto?”  He seemed somewhat nervous.

“I guess,” I replied, half staring at the happy children and half eating.

“We’ve got a long way to go.  We have to pick up your mother and luggage in Killeen on the way to Dallas to catch your flight at six,” he commented.

“Yeah, it’s a good thing we came back for my passport,” I replied, for a moment trying to keep up with the conversation.  We conversed a while longer.

I near finished my food and gazed at the other children.  One of them wore a plain white polo shirt and khaki shorts.  His short and shiny brown hair cupped his scalp just above his freckled face.  He ran back and forth from the playground to what appeared to be his grandparents, occasionally sipping on a happy meal drink.  The grandparents smiled at him from the dining area while he interacted with the other kids.

“Can I go play now?” I asked.

“Sure,” he said after glancing over my plate.

I hopped out of my seat and rushed to the playground.  I slipped off my black suede shoes, placed them into the shoe holder, and looked around eager to meet a new friend.  The kid in the white shirt and khaki pants approached me.

“What’s yer name,” said the boy.

“Koby,” I replied.  My shyness took over my body.  Making friends was always somewhat awkward for me.  I looked at the floor timidly, rocking back and forth.

“Hi, I’m Tim,” he informed me.  I said nothing.  “You wanna play hide-and-seek?” he asked.

“Ok,” I said.  He smiled, quickly raised his hand and tapped my shoulder.

“You’re IT!” he screamed and scrambled up the tiny ladder into the playscape.  Dodging the other children, he giggled and laughed with excitement as I chased after him.  Crawling through tunnels and traversing play nets we played for several minutes, trading the “IT!” disease back and forth.  From time to time, I would glance over to the dinning area where my father sat to see if he was watching.

Eventually, Tim’s grandparents told him that it was almost time to go.  Over the course of our playtime, we had argued numerous times over who was the faster of us both.

“You wanna race?” I finally asked him, aiming to prove myself with sheer confidence.

“Ok,” he said “but get ready to lose.”

“Nuh Uhh,” I replied, “You get ready to lose.”  I knew I could beat him because he was much shorter than me and I caught him several times during our game of hide-and-seek.  We lined up beside each other at one end of the aisle created by the fence and playscape.  The fence was composed of bricks that were piled about four feet high.  It had several brick pillars that stuck out slightly every four to five feet.  Iron rods stood vertically atop the bricks in a lined formation.  The fence cornered about twenty-five feet ahead, creating a sidewall and back wall composed entirely of brick and iron.

“You wanna race to that wall over there?”  I asked eagerly.

“Ok,” he smirked.  We both slightly crouched, awaiting the moment of release.

“On yer mark…get set…” I called out preparing myself for victory.

“Go!” he screamed and darted across the playground floor.  I ran after him excitedly and quickly caught up to him.  As I passed him, he began to lose his footing.  He leaned forward, reached up to me and grabbed the bottom of my shirt.  “He’s trying to keep me from winning,” I thought and pried his hands from their firm grip on my shirt.  As I sped in front of him and touched the far wall, he fell forward and forcefully rammed headfirst into the corner of a brick pillar.  I looked behind me and saw the frightful display.  Tim was on the floor wailing in pain.  His hands covered his face as he squirmed trying to find relief.

“Are you ok?” I asked nervously, running over to him.  I tried to remove his hands from his face to assess the damage.  Blood fled into his palms.  I pulled his hand back to reveal a deep gash lodged in the left part of his forehead.  His screams eventually attracted his grandparents and a few other onlookers.  Horrified, in fear of persecution, I ran over to my father in the dining area.

“What happened?” He asked grimly, “There’s blood on your shirt and all over your hands.”

“I was racing Tim and…and he fell.  It wasn’t my fault.  I promise!” I answered short of breath.

“Oh no,” he said looking me up and down.  “Go and clean yourself up.  Don’t worry you’ll be fine.”

I went over to the glass door leading back into the ordering room.  I glanced behind me and noticed a small crowd of people gathered around Tim.  I opened the door and raced by the tables and chairs, passed the line of people waiting to order and turned into the aisle where the bathroom door stood.  I heard the train whistle and passed the colorful characters on the wall.  I opened the door, ran into the bathroom and locked it behind me.  I saw myself in the mirror as I frantically tried to wash the blood from my hands into the sink and wipe it from my shirt.  I was shaking.

After a few minutes of washing and scrubbing, I looked at the figure standing before me.  His eyes seemed hollow.  His black and white striped shirt bore orange-brown stains near the shoulder.  He and I stood there quietly contemplating Tim’s fate.  I looked down at my watch and back up at the figure.  “Was it my fault?” I asked him.  “Did I push him into the wall? Will I go to jail?” I thought.  I brooded over the situation for some time and finally convinced myself to come out of the restroom.  My father was waiting for me just outside of the door in one of the chairs.  He stood up and extended his hand in order to take mine.

“Let’s go,” he said quietly as we both walked toward the exit.  The flashing colored lights almost blinded me.  A large white truck was parked outside of the door.  Tim lying still on stretcher was loaded into the back of the truck.  His grandparents and a few other people stood, weeping, around him at the back of the vehicle while a man in a white button-up shirt pulled the truck doors shut.

We both entered the old beat up car.  My father started the engine.  I pulled down the vanity mirror above me revealing the same figure I had seen in the bathroom earlier.  The orange-brown stain remained.  I stared at the figure a short while and put the mirror back in its place.  We pulled out of the McDonald’s parking lot and drove away.

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clomid, synthroid, zithromax, accutane, celebrex

Managing Change

by on February 6, 2011
in Health, Musings, Relationships, Self, Spirituality, Work

If there is any one thing that you can guarantee, it is that things change.  Forever, in the sense that things, lifestyles, people, objects, do not go through change is a figment of our (and Disney’s) imagination.

To maintain such thoughts and expectations as one ages is naive and childish at best.  What makes us grow as individuals is how we respond the change.  Thus, personal, organizational and societal growth are all conscious decisions.

Change in any form, whether perceived to be good or bad, is a very complex experience.  It can be difficult at times.  What we must look at in these moments is our relationship to change.  How does it make you feel?  How has it made you feel in the past? And what does it make you do in response?

In looking at this relationship, the emphasis should be on who or what has control.  Does the situation control you? Or do you (your conscious mind) control the situation?

Gain Knowledge

The best thing that you can arm yourself with during times of change is information.  This includes, information about yourself, about the world around you, about the relationships between the various objects in the context of change.

As you gather information, you will begin to see patterns as they emerge.  You will begin to see modes of causality and correlation.  This information gathering requires creativity, ingenuity, courage, and an appetite for discovery.

You will try things and fail.  You will expect things and they will not show up.  You will be disappointed, but if you hold strong, you will also be rewarded with knowledge.

Information: The Emotion Mitigator

As you become more knowledgeable, you get better at making predictions.  Things become more clear. Over time, the clarity turns into familiarity.  Sooner or later, you don’t have surprises any more and change has ended.

This process is easier said than done.  Emotions add a layer of complexity to the equation.  Emotion is the reason knowing your relationship to change is important.  Feelings of fear or over confidence may cloud your judgement.  Your beliefs about what is going on is based on how you feel, not verifiable data.  You lie to yourself without even knowing it.

This is where information becomes important.  When you have a disappointment, when you come to believe that something is true about the world around you, and the way things are moving, go to the data.  It will either confirm or deny your feelings.

With this kind of confirmation, you can make sound decisions about what you believe, and what you plan to do in response to change.

Perfection is not Required

No system is perfect.  No one makes the right decision every time.  There are instances where you simply do not have enough information, and waiting will not impact the outcome one way or the other.  The emotions might run high, your thinking is clouded, or you just don’t have time.  Ultimately, you still have to make decisions, you still have to make a choice (even if it is the decision not to make one).

As mentioned before, change will happen, with or without you.  You have one of two choices, you can manage that change, or the change will manage you.  It’s completely up to you.

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My Personal Fitness Project: Month 1

I have some very interesting numbers and observations to share with you.

Here they are:

Basics

  • Weight: 248.5 lbs. (3% decrease)
  • Body Fat: 27.3%   (6% decrease)
  • Stand Heart Rt: 49 bpm
Size Measurements (inches)

  • Biceps: 14.25 Left 14 Right  (10% avg. decrease)
  • Chest: 43 (26% decrease!)
  • Stomach: 39 (12% decrease)
  • Waist: 40 (5% decrease)
  • Thigh: 26 Left 27 Right (11% avg. decrease)

Total Inches: 203.25 (13.8% decrease)

Strength

  • Pullups/Min: 6 (100% increase)
  • Pushups/Min: 45 (29% increase)
  • Situps/Min: 27 (29% increase)

Total Avg Increase: 53%  (number skewed see pullups/min)

Endurance

  • 1 Mile: 11m19s (10% decrease)
  • Avg Heart Rt: 144 bpm
Flexibility

  • Fingers to Toes Stretch: One inch over feet

You can view my initial numbers for comparison here.

Initial Reactions

In starting this project, I only wanted to make progress.  I chose one month as my benchmark because I wanted any results achieved to be clear.  I figured, if I didn’t get results in one month, I was not doing anything worthwhile.  My suspicions were correct.  I did in fact make progress.

Gym Attendance

My gym attendance was not perfect.  I planned to attend six days per week for four weeks, that’s 24 days total within the 28 day period.  I actually attended 19 times according to my records.  This means that I had an 80% attendance record.  The last week, I missed three days, due to excessive muscle strain (I discovered that I’m not superman…).

Eating Habits

I had a 99% success rate on my eating habits.  71 out of my 72 healthy meals followed the diet that I outlined here.  14% of my time was spent eating complete junk.  Let me explain.  4 days were reserved for eating whatever I wanted, in however many quantities I wanted.  I had a lot of fun with that!  During one meal, I ate an entire medium deep dish pizza.  During another, I devoured 3 ginormous homemade pancakes.  It didn’t stop there. I had biscuits, apple pie, burgers!  It was an event each time!

Other Observations

Generally, my mood, energy levels and focus increased, from day to day.  This week in particular, because I missed 3 days of working out, I noticed more fatigue and tiredness in my body than usual.  This is more a testament to the importance of maintaining progress in the right direction.

Tweaks, Changes, Improvement Areas

I did not do a very good job of planning my meals.  When I did not plan my meals very well, I saw drops in energy because my body did not have the proper fuel.  I missed a few breakfasts and dinners, because of poor planning and a busy work schedule.   I will put more emphasis on this in the coming weeks.

I did a good job of not feeling guilty if I missed a work out.  I focused on what could be done in the moment to help my situation.  I’m not perfect, and perfect is (luckily) not a requirement for this to work.

My Fun Food Day is on Saturday, but they have started to leave me down for the count on Sunday.  I’m tired.  I can’t focus and I have minor headaches.  The massive calorie, carbohydrate, and sugar intake spike probably sends my body into shock.  I may start to tone it down (I can’t eat as much as I used to).  I will also move the start time to Friday evening, this way the 24 hour period ends earlier, which gives me more of a recovery time.  My Sunday workouts will now be first thing in the morning to stave off the energy droughts.

Lessons Learned

1)  You don’t have to be perfect
In school, if you got 80% of the questions right on a test, that would be a borderline C+.  That’s considered slightly above average, but not exactly anything to write home about.  I successfully made it to the gym only 80% of the time I had planned, and still achieved measurable results.  Perfection is not required to succeed.  Progress and consistent action over time is.

2)  Believe in Yourself and Be Patient
This might seem a bit melodramatic, but hear me out on this one.  I told lots of people about my little diet plan, and I heard all kinds of things.  “You are going to do what on Saturday?  That’s going to undo all the work you put in during the week!”  or “Eating after a certain time is not good for you!”

If the person wasn’t walking around with washboard six-pack abs, I didn’t listen to them.  Could I have gotten more dramatic results? Sure.  Was I perfect? No.  But, I made considerable, measurable progress by focusing on action and also having fun.  Things take time and I have to be patient.  I could have easily panicked the moment someone disagreed with my plan and changed it.  That would do nothing but confuse my objective and create conflict in my own heart.

3)  Don’t stop
Some days I didn’t go to the gym because I was simply tired.  Other days, I was tired and I still went.  If I skipped one day, I made a commitment to go the next day.  I tried very hard, not to missed two days in a row.  And even if I did, it wasn’t too late to get back on schedule.  I have to keep moving in the right direction for this to work.  If I quit, I won’t get what I want.  It’s that simple.

4) Hold Yourself Accountable
I wrote in my last fitness post that I would report to you guys the week of the 24th.  I had to keep my promise.  I didn’t want to look like a fool.  This kept me focused, honest, and consistent.  I would look like a joke if I didn’t deliver results.  So I had to if I wanted to walk around with my head held high.

My next report will be the week of February 27th, 2011.

Thank you for reading.  If you enjoyed this post and want to keep up with how my project is going, please subscribe via Email or RSS.

Blue Pill Or Red Pill?

by on January 22, 2011
in Health, Musings, Relationships, Self, Spirituality

The Honesty Policy

We’ve already covered the issue of asking yourself the right questions, but what use are those questions if you don’t answer them honestly?

Honesty is our best attempt at representing and communicating the truth, whatever that is.  In our society it can be understood in one of two ways, through verifiable evidence or through trust.  The way in which it is understood depends upon your relationship with another person.  If they are a stranger, you rely more on verifiable evidence.  If they are a dear friend who has displayed a track record of presenting valuable, and factual information, trust is the currency of choice for the exchange.  This interaction exists on a gradient ranging from strictly evidence (or complete lack of trust) to strictly trust (or complete lack of evidence).

This understanding of honesty raises yet another question in response to how we think about our lives: What kind of relationship do you have with yourself? Can you trust your own representation of reality and fact?  What is your track record?

True Lies

The problem with honesty in dealing with the self is that it is too easy to tell yourself a lie and believe it as the truth.  There is no one there to tell you that you are wrong.  You know that friend who was in that really long relationship with that one guy, who was kind of a douchebag, and just so happened to break up with her.  The emotion that came out of that experience colors the thought patterns that take place within her mind.  She might say something like: “All guys are jerks.” or “All the good guys are taken.”

Too often, we take these blanket statements, which are really representations of our feelings (both good and bad), and understand them as truths, undeniable facts.  This type of thinking and behavior is dangerous.  It clouds the mind with supposed facts, or assumptions rather, that are actually feelings.

If these feelings are strong enough, they compel us to close off opportunities before they start, break off what could be otherwise fruitful relationships, and act in ways that some people might describe as being closed-minded.

What to do

One question that I struggle with is: how do I know that I’m being honest?  How can I trust myself?

For me, the answer has been to look outside myself for verification.

I ask myself the following: What data out there supports my current opinion?  What refutes it?  Sometimes there isn’t data out there, and then I go about the business of collecting it.  Once you have that data, you will have a much more accurate and clear view of your reality.  Things might not be as bad as they seem, or they could be much much worse.

In other instances, I ask a trusted friend for their opinion.  In these instances, I don’t just ask anyone.  Not everyone understands your situation, and doesn’t necessarily know the complexities involved.  Go to someone who has been there and done it before, and came out on the other side better than they were when they entered the situation. Sometimes, I even pay for the advice, to make sure that it is accurate, and dependable information.

No matter what process you use, focus on getting the most accurate picture of reality before making choices.  Sometimes the “surprise” that caught you off guard, may have been staring you straight in the face and you didn’t even know it.

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Are you Afraid of Death?

by on January 13, 2011
in Musings, Self, Spirituality

Consider this. There are 24 hours in one day, 365 days in one year, and about 80 years, give or take, in one’s lifespan; assuming you don’t find yourself in a terrible accident or with some fatal illness. If you do the math, that’s about 2,522,880,000 seconds in an average life.

Now, plug your age into this equation:2,522,880,00 – (age x 31,536,000) = The amount of time/life you have left.

The numbers here are arbitrary. The point is that you have a limited amount of time until you die.

What are you doing with that time? This is your life, the time you spend in consciousness having the experience of perceiving reality. What are you devoting it to? Who are you giving it to? What are you willing to die for? A higher cause? A God? Your family? Your work? Freedom?

Our society wants us to believe that committing suicide, for example, is an eternal sin. It must be prevented at all costs. The truth is that it is simply a choice, an individual value judgement made in time that illustrates death’s higher value compared to life.

Who gets to make that choice? Certainly a five year-old child is incapable. Focusing on this question takes us beyond the scope of this post. For argument’s sake, we will assume for all considerations that any persons in question are full-grown, law abiding, physically and mentally healthy adults.

Value

In this case, the individual has the right and capability to take his own life if he so chooses.  All we have are our choices.  Now, if we have this much control over our will to live or die, why do we choose not to control our lives, influences, habits, and emotions in way that is consistent with the life we wish to lead?

Because it’s hard.

Nothing worth doing or having is easy to obtain, because chances are there is steep competition. When you make a decision to go after something big or lofty, you need an emotional foundation rooted in a faith and a determination that is so strong, you are willing to die trying. This is the key to accomplishing anything worthy of greatness.

You don’t have to look far into human history to find numerous examples.

You can be certain of a few things:
1) It will be difficult.
2) Lots of people with try stop you
3) Despair will try to befriend you
4) You will succeed (or die trying)*

You Decide

The last point is up to you. You have to decide whether or not that goal or objective is worth giving up life. You have to understand what you get at the end of the tunnel or after climbing the mountain. And you decide whether to quit and go on to something else. Find and identify the object, activity, experience, or person(s) that is worth more to you than your life. Fight to keep and protect it. You will soon find that nothing else matters and your self-defined purpose will become more clear.  You have a reason to live.

How do you define life? Is it time? Is it flesh and blood? Is it an activity? How much is that goal worth to you? What are you willing to go through to get it?

I leave you with Martin Luther King, Jr. - A man who won’t die for something is not fit to live.

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Regarding New Year’s Resolutions

by on January 5, 2011
in Musings, Self, Work

It’s 2011.

So what?

The reality is that you are no different than you were yesterday.  You haven’t changed who you are.  You haven’t lost the weight you wanted to lose.  You are not different from the person you were at the end of 2010.

Yet somehow, we have convinced ourselves that the start of a new year, necessitates some sort of change; as if time passing show how changes us.  Sure, we get older; we make new friends; we win; we lose.  But the fact remains, you not too much different.

Time means nothing unless we do something with it.  We are creatures of habit.  Think about the very first cigarette you ever smoked, the first super jelly donut that you ate, or any other habit that you currently want to break.  What were the circumstances that led you to take that action?  Not that doing those things are necessarily bad, but you did go and do it a second time, and a third, and a fourth.  Why?

What I’m getting at is that to achieve a habit-forming goal, you need repeated action.  You may not have set out to be a chain smoker, but you certainly put in the time, and perform all of the actions to get you there.

If you’ve set a new year’s resolution for yourself, remember that your focus should not be on the losing of weight, the quitting of the smoking, or the trying of becoming a better person.  Focusing on that will inevitably force you to quit, because your energy directed at the goal, not the activities that will get you to the goal.  To form a habit, you have to perform an activity once, then twice, then a third time, so on and so forth.

If you want to lose weight, direct your energy toward being at the gym and performing a very specific set of exercises, a specific number of times per week, for an indefinite period of time.  If you want to quit smoking, direct your focus toward providing distractions for yourself when you feel a craving, carrying enough nicotine gum with you throughout the day, or finding some alternative habit.

Put simply, do the things that people who have already achieved your goal do.   Emulate successful people, then find your own groove.

I leave you with an improved version of Nike’s famous slogan:  Just do it, over, and over, and over again.

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My Personal Fitness Project: Ground Zero

It’s time. I officially started the project today. Below are the facts.


The Diet

My diet will consist mostly of the following staples:

Meats and Proteins

  • Salmon
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Tuna
  • Turkey
  • Egg Whites
Carbohydrates

  • Oatmeal
  • Broccoli
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Lettuce
  • Beans
  • Mixed Veggies
Fats

  • Avocado
  • Guacamole
  • Olives
Liquids

  • Water
  • Tea
  • Coffee
Supplements

  • One A Day Vitamins
  • Protein Powder
(Theoretical Six-Pack goes Here)

I will improve upon and refine this list of foods over time as I continue to establish a routine.

Why This List?

I’ve lost weight and have been in shape in the past. However, I did so when I was able to spend several hours per day in the gym. These days, that’s not very practical for me. I decided that I wanted something that was fairly easy to follow. This means, minimal time spent in the kitchen and no rigorous calorie counting requirements. My other concern with calories is that this information isn’t always reliable or readily accessible. This makes eating simple: stop when I’m full.

The foods needed to be highly accessible not only in the grocery store, but also in a restaurant. I eat out at least once per day. Typically I will consume one item from each section (with the exception of Supplements) with every meal. Sustainability is an important requirement for whatever plan I follow. I will not get any less busy as life goes on. With this system, I don’t have to think much about my next meal.

Working Out

For the time being, my workouts will last a minimum of 30 minutes per day, six days per week; cardiovascular exercise for three days and strength training for three days. Each exercise will target a specific area. On strength days, I will focus on either Upper Body, Lower Body, or Core exercises. On cardio days, I will switch back and forth between running, biking, and rowing.  To provide variety, I will experiment with the kettlebell also.

The Research

Most of the data I am operating on comes from this book and this book, with modifications. Body-for-Life worked for me in the past and Four Hour Body has referenced bits and pieces from the BFL brand. Most of all, it’s backed by what I believe to be verifiable data and it made sense. I know BFL works because I’ve seen the results for myself in the past.

Measurement

I cannot legitimize progress if I do not measure results. Here are the baseline Stats:

Basics

  • Weight: 256.5 lbs.
  • Body Fat: 29%
  • Stand Heart Rt: 50 bpm
Size Measurements (inches)

  • Biceps: 15.5 Left 16 Right
  • Chest: 58
  • Stomach: 44
  • Waist: 42
  • Thigh: 29.5 Left 30 Right

Total Inches: 235

Strength

  • Pullup/Min: 3
  • Pushups/Min: 35
  • Situps/Min: 21
Endurance

  • 1 Mile: 12m34s
  • Avg Heart Rt: 143 bpm
Flexibility

  • Fingers to Toes Stretch: Zero inches over feet
(Sex Appeal Goes Here)

The Fun Part

One day per week, I can eat whatever I want in however many quantities that I want, provided that I have followed the plan for the previous six days. Hello pizza and pancakes!!

For specific questions about my diet or my exercises, simply make a comment and I will respond.

I will perform the test again on January, 24th 2011. If I’m not working at all, it will show. If I’ve done well, it will show. Numbers don’t lie, (un)fortunately. Until then, stay tuned via Email or RSS. Thank you for reading.

How to Drive to Any Destination

by on December 21, 2010
in Health, Musings, Relationships, Self, Spirituality, Work

1. Start driving in that direction
Just go. You don’t have to know the entire route, sometimes you’ll find clues along the way. That’s what stopping at gas stations is for. :-)

2. Ask for help
There are two ways to do this: call someone you know who has been there, or stop at a gas station (preferably nearby) and ask for directions.

3. Plan
Sometimes you can find a map.   It may be a good one, but if it sucks, make extra time for detours, dead ends, huge potholes, and maybe a couple of flat tires. Oh, and make scheduled stops for gas!

4. Be Flexible
Remember those detours I talked about earlier?  What about that crappy map?  Sometimes you might have to go a different route in order to get there.  You might even feel lost!  There are many roads that lead to the same place.  Trust that you are going in the right direction and look for signs, and landmarks to show you where you are.

5. Avoid Distractions, Detractors, and Accidents
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t go! It’s your car, not theirs! Also, stopping at every tourist attraction on the way will increase the time it takes to get there. I know those billboard advertisements are awesome!! But, keep in mind that you are trying to get somewhere!  Know that you are going to get there.  Practice safety and believe in your ability to prevent accidents.  Watch the other drivers closely, their carelessness might keep you from getting to your destination.  Nobody likes car accidents.

6. Exercise Discipline
Don’t drink and drive! It will blur your vision. If you get tired, stop for a break, and when you regain your strength get back onto the road. And if Vegas is not on the agenda, just don’t go!

7. Review
Measure and look at your progress over time. Are you making good time? Pat yourself on the back. Have you gone astray? Look for ways to get back on route, and then repeat items 1-6.

8. Celebrate
Eventually (in a longer time frame than what you expect), you will get there. And when you do, party like you did in 1999 (with the friends you meet at the destination)! If you didn’t do a good job of partying back then, let them show you how it’s done!

These steps can apply to just about any journey. Remember, they are only effective once you have decided where you want to go and have committed yourself to the trip.

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My Personal Fitness Project

My Personal Challenge

I’m planning a major lifestyle change.  Currently my eating and exercise habits are not where they need to be in order to achieve my goals.  The results have shown in the fact that I don’t have the physical stature that I’d like to have.

Remember that thing that you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t gotten around to doing?  Well, this is mine.

I’ve made all kinds of excuses for myself.  Now, it’s time for me to suck it up, spend the time, and the energy that it takes to create real results.

I am a firm believer in Practice What You Preach.  I not only want to help others through my writing, but I also want to help myself.  And this is a medium for doing it.

The Plan

Over the next year (I know, weight-loss New Year’s Resolutions are trite and overdone), I plan to undergo a complete physical transformation.  I will document and record everything that I do.  Each week, I will post a recap of everything that I have done, complete with, charts, graphs, and a daily diary.  I will also post new information that I find out through research, trial, and error.

I believe that numbers do not lie.  I also believe that if you wish for improvement you must record you actions to identify trends and make changes accordingly.

Remarks and Reasons for Doing This

I’ve been in great shape before, during my younger days (which wasn’t that long ago).  I’ve since adopted bad habits because of a few reasons:

  1. I did not maintain the correct mindset
  2. I lost my will to improve and became lazy
  3. I did not cultivate the proper emotions to keep me going
  4. Bad Influences
  5. I quit (making a habit of) doing to right things

Due to the reasons stated above, I have experienced:

  1. Lower Energy Levels
  2. Problems Sleeping
  3. Tension in my back
  4. High Stress Levels

In examining myself, I feel strongly that this is the most important thing for me to do for myself right now.  I’m telling you about it, because it will hold me accountable.

I will post the details of this project in the coming weeks, as I am currently in the planning stages.

Questions and comments are welcomed. Until then, stay tuned.  Thank you for reading.

Is there something in your life that you’ve been putting off or making excuses for?  I’d like to know what it is and what you plan to do about it.

clomid, synthroid, zithromax, accutane, celebrex

A Window into Your Soul

by on December 13, 2010
in Health, Musings, Self, Spirituality

Raise your hand and look at it.  Twist it.  Move your fingers about.  Now, put your hand back where it was.

How did you do that?  No, seriously.  How did you move your hand from where it was, make a series of complex movements, and return it as though nothing had happened?

A scientist would tell you that your brain sent a message through your central nervous system to the muscles in your hand, which caused your hand to move.  This may be an oversimplification, but consider this: what caused your brain to send the message in the first place?

How did you move your hand?

Decision’s Anchor

Some people call it the will; others call it the soul or the spirit.  I’ve heard it referred to as the deeper or higher self.  However you wish to describe it, whatever you choose to call it, you know what it is that I am talking about, because you feel it.  It is you and who you are, deeper than flesh, deeper than bone, deeper than the cells that compose your body.

This thing that is intrinsically a part of you is the seat of both desire and decision.  It is the medium through which we feel emotion.  It gives us the capability to make sacrifices, indulgences, and simply experience life.  It is the house in which consciousness resides.

My Point

Why is it that some people are able to rise out of the depths of poverty, abuse, and psychological oppression only the flourish in the riches of higher society, seemingly unscathed, and happy?  How is it that some people can survive war, genocide, and similar near-death experiences only to retell the tale decades later, thankful for having had the experience?  By that same token, how does a kid, born into opulence, fall from grace, confused, depressed, and ready to take his life?

It happens in the same fashion and through the same medium you used to simply examine your hand.  The choices you make and actions that you take are the functions of the will.  This has been the case since the day you were born.

The Will to Act

It is a well known fact that action is the means to change and accomplishment.  You cannot turn on the light in a room without flipping the control switch.  To become and stay fit, you must diet and exercise.  To grow money, you must work, save, and invest.

Action is not a new concept.  We know that it is required if we are to secure our goals and dreams.

So, what about that last twenty pounds that you wanted to lose?  Or the garage that you wanted to clean out? Or that car you wanted to restore?  That thing you’ve been meaning to do, but you haven’t got around to doing?  Has its priority left you?

You know what you have to do to get it done.  Why is it not done already? And why are you not working on it?

Have you examined whether or not you have the will to get it done?  Have you examined your will at all? Have you lost it?  If so, can you find it?

May the Force Be with You

Your will has immense power.  It has deep reservoirs of energy, which it uses to control or fuel the emotions, and execute our decisions.  Do not ignore it.  Care for it.  Cultivate it. Grow it.  Fight for it!  Train it to do the things that (will) create the things or experiences that (will) make you happy.

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