The Importance of Why

We set out early this morning.  It wasn’t so early that it was still completely dark, but early enough that the world had not woken from its sleep.  My wife had to head back to the house shortly after we departed and I was left to trudge through the morning alone as the trash truck crept through the neighborhood as quickly and quietly as possible.  The world somehow seems more familiar during these quiet hours while I’m out on my walk; like a brief, living snapshot of a simpler, more trustworthy, time.  It isn’t until the neighborhood starts to wake up that the modern realities of human behavior steal away the simple joys that I am mentally revisiting during my walk.

The sound of the birds has become so regular that I’m taking it for granted now and the playfulness of morning critters has become an overlooked comedy that I only absent-mindedly watch.  I think this is why we call it routine.  My morning walk has become a chore.  A daily activity that I must check off in order to feel accomplished… complete.  Chores aren’t exactly enjoyable, are they?  I found myself lost in my thoughts this morning and, based on the complexity of the last few days, my thoughts weren’t exactly positive.

Unfortunately, real life doesn’t cease to exist when we engage in a total life transformation.  Work, schedules, bills, relational difficulties, assholes on the road, etc., are only the beginning of the routine that has come to make up modern, American life.  It is SO easy to get discouraged and lost inside your thoughts as you embark each day only to find that most days you feel more like a bug than a windshield. Depression, anxiety, loneliness, heartbreak…  haven’t these become so typical in our lives that we don’t even treat them like major life issues anymore?

Given these circumstances, I find that I regularly battle discouragement with this entire wp-1487178569811.pnglife makeover.  Honestly, I have shut off some of my coping skills and have yet to find enough replacement coping skills to help me regulate everyday life without feeling tempted to return to old patterns.  Well, today was no different.  As I walked, I became discouraged about the endeavors that I have been making.  Somewhere along the past few months, I internally started to feel silly about my blogging efforts.  These thoughts came to life as my internal dialogue took on a relatively negative tone.

Who do you think you are?  Do you really believe you have anything important to say?  Why would you expect to grow when you know the man in the mirror and you know he’s not a person worth a whole heck of a lot?  I mean, you have immediate family that doesn’t know you are blogging and other family members that wouldn’t know your web address!  If you can’t even get the support of those closest to you, why would any complete strangers care at all about the fact that some random loser in Missouri is losing a few pounds? 

I caught on to the conversation and utilized a few skills I still have to interrupt it!  Stop it!   Get out of your head!  This is for you… nobody else!  These weren’t just positive statements to myself.  These are truths about my mindset that I was using to try and keep myself on track!  So, I tried my best to shut off my brain, focus on my breathing, and concentrate on my pace.  Man, I wish I had a pacesetter so I knew I haven’t slowed down.  Stop it!  You don’t have to find a way to turn every single internal conversation into a negative criticism of yourself! 

Anyone know what I’m talking about?  Those times when we are beating ourselves silly and we don’t really know why and we can’t seem to make it stop?  I have those times more than I care to admit.  Honestly, I think all healthy adults do.  We are our own worst enemies.    With continued resolve, I worked through my morning walk and tried my best to keep the inner voices at bay with positive self-talk and placing my focus on the things in the moment that I could control.

It’s freezing out here!  You have closed three miles, let’s have an easy day and go eat some breakfast!  I rounded the corner for the last section of my walk… encouraged somewhat by the end of my morning journey.  Let’s pick up the pace for the home stretch!  Count your steps…  “Good morning,” I hear.  I look up to see an older gentleman waving at me as he retrieved his trash can.  “Good morning,” I reply.  He turns to head back into his opened garage but wp-1487178565533.pngthen stops, turns around and says, “As hard as it is, you’re really gonna make it.  We’re rooting for you.  You’re never gonna believe it, but we root for you every time you walk by!”  Stunned, I think I said, “Thank you,” but I can’t be sure.

Instantaneously, I was transported from an internal boxing ring and back into the shoes of a man that has been working his hardest to accomplish his goals and take his life back from obesity.  Despite the fact that he had no idea, the man’s willingness to turn around and say that which he had been tempted to leave unsaid thrust me out of my discouragement and into reality.  I am doing it!  I have every reason to be proud!  I do have a message to share!  I am not worthless!

Encouraged, I finished my walk and, thankfully, I was able to hold back the tears of joy as I realized there are good people left in the world and that what I am doing matters for more than just me.  I need to write down WHY I am doing the weight loss and WHY I am blogging my journey.  Then, I need to post these where I can see them every morning.  Life has a terrible habit of clouding our feelings and thoughts which makes it easy to lose track of why we are pursuing difficult goals.  Thankfully, today, I got a wonderful reminder from a kind soul that there are still good people in the world that CARE about others, but I won’t always have that and neither will you.

Having easy access to the THINGS YOU KNOW and YOUR WHY is imperative for surviving those moments when you are tempted to cave because it all seems so pointless.  If you are doing this journey, I would encourage you to identify your WHY and WRITE IT DOWN.  This has to be more than just to lose weight or you’ll quit the first time the scale betrays you.  This has to be FOR YOU because you don’t get to decide if others will care or how much they will care throughout the entirety of your journey.  PUT IT IN PLAIN SIGHT so that you regularly force yourself to read YOUR TRUTHS and keep on track with YOUR GOALS.

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • To avoid an even more unhealthy relationship with the scale, I will only be doing weigh in information during my weekend blog post.  Thanks for understanding 🙂

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Embracing the Adventure

wp-1486954712248.jpgGood Lord, I can’t get enough of these beautiful weekends!  I relish every minute outside in these absolutely gorgeous Spring… er… Winter days.  I can’t even believe how that sentence needs to be typed.  It’s WINTER and the temperatures got into the 80s yesterday!  I would love to have a situation where I worked two days of the week and had the other five days off (and make the same paycheck… or more… of course!).  I simply can’t get enough time to spend outside doing what I love the most:  exploring nature and getting healthy!

This weekend brought me a fantastic visit with my family!  I was given a last-minute opportunity to jump in the car and drive to my home town and spend the day with my aunt, uncle, cousin, mom, dad, sister, brother, nephews, nieces, and some in-laws!  For the first part of the day, I visited with my inspirations:  Uncle John, Aunt Melinda, and my cousin, Anna.  You see, three years ago, they set out on a journey to find true health which wp-1486954487893.jpgled them to the jogging/running lifestyle!  Given the content of my last blog post, you can bet your prized goat that I wanted to talk to them about SHOES and, boy, I found my way to the right people!

From 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., we talked about life, oils, and health!  I can’t even believe how long and how easy it was to talk for this length of time without once thinking of food or having any realization of how much time had passed.  I learned from them about shoes, they learned from me about oils, and then I learned from them about health building tools!  It was an amazing time and I can’t wait to see them again.  If not sooner, I know they will be joining me on my upcoming Color Run… our first 5k!  It’s gonna be epic.

If you know me, then you know that when I get my sights set on something, I pursue it with everything I’ve got.  With the VAST AMOUNT of information I learned, I had to act on the information they shared with me.  So, today, I woke up with the goal of visiting the shoe store they recommended.  I must admit, I was easily distracted from my goal when our buddy, Liz, called with a seducing offer of a hike at Lake Springfield.  So, with a quick calculation of times, I set a preliminary itinerary and we set out for the day.

wp-1486954386337.jpgFirst, we went to Lake Springfield and hiked around the park for at least two hours.  We may not have walked very far (three miles), but we did a lot of off-road hiking and A LOT of steep, large hills.  The change up was exhausting and exhilarating at the same time!  Our neighborhood has slight hills, but we can also choose how to take the worst ones.  However, at the park, there was no foreknowledge of what was coming or how to take it… we just went.  I was blown away at how far my body has come.  I wasn’t nearly anything close to fast, but I did it without dying or having to stop for a break.  I felt so empowered.

As we wrapped up our hike, we all realized we hadn’t eaten yet.  If you follow my Facebook page, I’m sure you know all about that!  HAHA.  If not, you can still feel free to click the link below to take a visit and see more about this part of our day on my Facebook page!

After our lunch/dinner, my wife and I headed to our local Fleet Feet Sports in Springfield, MO, and embarked on an entirely new journey for ourselves:  good running shoes.  Thanks to the information and recommendation I got from my aunt and uncle, this was the starting point for us to learn the proper footwear for this new endeavor in our lives:  walking.

As we pulled up to the building, we both werewp-1486955172737.jpg overcome with similar feelings of embarrassment and shame.  We were daunted and, honestly,  believed that we would be laughed out of the store by the people that really should be in there.  So, as I walked to the building, I decided that I was going to document our journey.  This blog has been started by a man that knows very little about what he is doing and I have been learning in front of you readers from the moment I launched the site.  If I feel daunted and silly going into a store targeting runners, I know others that find their way here will experience those feelings, too!

Neither of us had ever been in a store with so little variety in products.  Shoes, tools for runners, clothing for runners, etc.  That was the extent of it.  Additionally, neither of us wp-1486955200247.jpghad ever been in a shoe store where there were NO boxes of shoes on the showroom floor!  While we were there, our sales agent evaluated our feet, examined our stride and detailed how a shoe needs to fit our feet to meet our specific needs!  After this very invasive feet interaction, she began retrieving specific shoes that met the criteria we had discussed.  She accepted our feedback and retrieved items we requested, but both of us ended up going with the recommendation from our salesman as they truly felt the best on our fewp-1486954419224.jpget!  It was a new and empowering experience as our sales agent educated us about the characteristics of a walking shoe that will meet our needs and improve our walking experience.  Our sales lady was so observant that she confirmed something I had began suspecting, but never had evaluated, for a few years – I have one leg that is shorter than the other!  She also found out I have been wearing a size 12 shoe and I should be wearing a size 10.5!

When I started this journey, I began on the premise that I was going to do this on my own and I was going to show people you don’t have to pay a company hundreds of dollars to help you loose weight.  However, I have learned this week that it is OKAY TO ASK FOR HELP and it is IMPERATIVE TO OBTAIN the proper gear to protect my feet, ankles, and legs, so that I can keep wp-1486954430072.jpgmaking the progress that I have been making!  Coming from a guy that has NEVER spent more than $30 – $40 on a pair of shoes, I can tell you that I experienced an entirely different type of step today.  The wonderful pair of shoes I had been wearing weigh than twice what these shoes weigh and feel nowhere near as comfortable for walking!  After getting home, I took a quick 1.3 mile walk in them so that I could get an immediate feel for them.  I literally felt like I was gliding as the cushion, which adds to my height substantially, absorbed every step and my feet began to develop a new relationship with the harsh pavement that has been beating the hell out of my feet and ankles!

I can’t wait for tomorrow’s full walk with my new pair of HOKA walking shoes and putting them to the full day’s test.  Now, do I want to do 4 or 5 miles?  Hmm…

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 358.4 pounds
  • Total loss  91.6 pounds (34.3% of my total excess body weight)

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Revelations and Frustrations

Anyone else excited for warm weather?  These last few mornings have been absolutely beautiful and my insides are crying for the regularity of warmer weather and the life that comes with Spring.  For now, though, I am enjoying the sun as it rises earlier with each wp-1486571562543.jpgpassing morning and the beautiful songs of the birds in our neighborhood that continue to remind me that warmer weather is on the way.  The added activity of squirrels and bunnies also help to create the scenes that reassure my soul that the chilly days of Winter are limited.

Last week, I think I pushed it too far.  My beautiful wife was ill for a few days and I had to walk by myself.  As a result, I was left to my own devices to determine the days, speed, distance, etc., that I would be walking.  It was difficult to walk alone and, since I wanted to be lazy and stop, I reacted by pushing myself every single day.  What I didn’t plan for was my wife getting better and wanting to utilize the remaining days of the week to get moving!  I also didn’t know the weather was going to become extremely beautiful and I would find it IMPOSSIBLE not to be out in such amazing weather.  As a result, I ended up walking 7 days without taking a day to rest and I was left with a hugely sore ankle.

This experience left me with a few revelations that I would like to discuss today and I’m hoping y’all have some insight into these situations that will help me be more effective than I was last week!  Yes, I exceed all my goals for last week.  However, by being more effective, I mean I want to be fully confident and comfortable so that the changes and success continue!

  1. It is incredibly difficult to walk this journey alone.
    • Over the years, I have made numerous attempts to try losing weight.  Despite the various methods that I attempted to use to meet this goal, I always had someone that was engaged with my efforts on some level.  However, in each of those cases, the person that was engaged with me did not follow through and I dropped out of the efforts shortly thereafter.
    • One major difference this time was that my wife got involved in the changes and has been committed to them.  Having a partner in this pursuit has resulted in us always having someone pushing for healthy choices on those days when we don’t feel like it or are tempted to be lazy.
    • Yet, when you are walking the road with someone that is not participating or is not as committed, the temptations to quit or stop are EVERYWHERE.  On the road, your body cries out for you to stop and there’s nobody around to push you forward.  At meal time, it’s incredibly difficult to stick to healthy eating if someone around you is eating things you enjoy but are choosing not to have. Having had to cook most of our meals as two entirely different meals, I can also understand how freaking inconvenient it would be to cook one meal for yourself and another for your family.
  2. It is incredibly difficult to walk this journey with someone.
    • My wife is over 100 pounds lighter than me and is working at a different pace than I am.  So far, we have been able to walk together just fine.  However, as we progress, our goals are starting to take different turns and we have begun talking about whether our best bet would be to separate our exercise times or not.  This could be directly related to my ankle, but my wife has been having to set her pace off me.  So far, this has been fine, but what if I get to a place where my speed just isn’t enough to beneficial for her?
    • Each week, our scale comes calling and it’s time to weigh in.  While I have been losing weight and can see those results on the scale, my wife has been plateaued.  Her clothes continue to get smaller. Also, we have added walking and have clear proof that her calf muscles have developed AMAZINGLY, but the scale has become a point of contention.  For the last four weeks, despite doing everything right, she hasn’t lost a single pound.  She fluctuates between the same four pounds… just ounces away from her goal of losing her 50th pound.  It has been extremely hard for her to celebrate my losses on the scale when she continues to struggle to get below her next major weight goal which is so very close for her!
  3. I am in huge competition with myself.
    • The first five-mile walk that I did was the first time that I had to walk alone.  I didn’t think much about it because I had been challenged and I wanted to meet that challenge.  During this last past week, though, I learned that this was not an event… it is a condition.  Each day last week, while I was walking alone, I would set a mental distance goal before starting my walk.  However, I found that I went further each day and began seeking faster and faster times.  I also experienced a significant amount of frustration when I was unable to beat my previous times.
    • However, the voice inside that is constantly pushing me to work harder, go further, etc., is not the only internal voice that I struggle against.  While I was out there alone, I also struggled against other internal voices.  Voices that challenged me for pushing myself so hard or torturing myself.  Voices that tempted me to find faulty logic to abandon some of my goals and re-establish a more balanced way of life.  Voices that constantly begged me to stop… slow down… rest.  By the end of the internal conversation, I got confused and give up.  I mean, seriously, there is a time for everything.  The key to this everything has to center on BALANCE and finding balance in a world filled with such extreme changes can be SO difficult.
  4. I never knew how much the various aspects of a step could impact the execution of a comfortable walk. 
    • I have come to realize that I need a personal stepping coach.  When I first started walking, I didn’t even think about how I walk let alone analyze the way that I move my feet.  Lately, I have been noticing how important everything wp-1486571531159.jpginvolved in the process of a step actually is.  HOLY MOSES!  Learning to lose weight or how to exercise should come with its own Bachelor’s degree. Seriously!
    • I have a tendency to walk with my right foot, but only lift up and drop my left foot which causes a lot of pain if I am not conscious about how I am taking my stride.  Once I started paying attention to that, I found that I wasn’t following through the entire stride of my left foot which caused increased tension and soreness in my left foot.  Am I really a person that has pay THIS MUCH attention to something I have been doing my WHOLE LIFE?!
    • I also have to admit that I am a complete moron when it comes to knowing what makes a good walking shoe and what would make a good walking shoe for me and my wife.  I own these wonderful Sketchers with memory foam or whatevers, but I have NEVER paid attention to whether my shoe is actually good for walking five miles!

I don’t know how you feel after reading all of this, but I feel incredibly frustrated.  I have never put forth on this blog that I am an expert or that I even have a clue what I am doing when it comes to exercise and weight loss.  Honestly, though, I have always tried put out information that I know or that I am confident with.  Today, I feel like I am just verbally venting to anyone to anyone that may read this blog!  I don’t even know if that’s against the rules of blogging or not.  Haha!  Oh well, I guess I have made it clear that I am pursuing openness, vulnerability, and honesty.

Let me know in the comments below what struck your thoughts as you were reading my revelations.  Maybe you, dear reader, are holding an important key that I have been missing or have been overlooking.

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • To avoid an even more unhealthy relationship with the scale, I will only be doing weigh in information during my weekend blog post.  Thanks for understanding 🙂

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Weight Loss Competition Update

I missed my weekend blog!  The biggest surprise is that I knew I was going to miss my weekend post and I did nothing to salvage the situation.  You may have noticed, but the WHOLE theme of my blog is reclaiming and actively living my life.  With the temperatures in the 60s and 70s, the last place I wanted to be was in front of my computer screen!  So, I missed the blog because I was out living my life!  I’m cool with it.  Hope you are, too.

So, I mentioned a few weeks ago that I was entering a competition!  We are quickly closing slique-maintainin on the halfway point of the first phase of the weight loss competition.  I know I just started with Young Living, but everything that I have used from them has been amazingly effective.  The money-back guarantee and a weight loss product from them were too much for me to resist… especially when you look at the awards for winning the competition!

The requirements of the competition have been to make some health goals, track my measurements, and purchase/use at least one of their CitraSlim kits.  I have been utilizing the cheapest option which is the Slique Maintain kit.  Slique Maintain comes with one box of Slique CitraSlim and one bottle of Slique Essence.  I also order a second box of Slique CitraSlim so that I have a full month supply of the capsules. You can read more about the product here:  Slique CitraSlim Product Information Page

So far, I have lost over 17 pounds on the scale since I started taking CitraSlim despite the fact that I started walking and my leg muscles have obviously been developing quickly to keep up with me going from NO physical activity to walking between 3 and 5 miles a day.  I’m ecstatic!  Additionally, on the third week of taking CitraSlim, I had everyone – including people that see me every day – telling me how much thinner my face looked.  I can also share that I went down another pant size!

I’m sure some of you have questions about what is in the supplement that I am taking for this competition.  I will share these panels with you so you can see the natural goodness for yourself!

 

citrislim-nutrition

After the first phase of the competition is over, I will post my goals, starting and final measurements, and whether or not I won the first phase of the competition.  I can’t wait to see where I end up!  Expect to hear more in just a bit over four more weeks!  I will immediately be launching into the second phase of the competition which has the opportunity for much greater rewards!

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 361.2 pounds
  • Total loss  88.8 pounds (33.2% of my total excess body weight)

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I Got Scammed by a Multi-Level Marketing Scheme

Greetings from the beautiful Ozarks where the birds have my body feeling like we are in the fourth week of March rather than the first week of February.  Each morning as I embark on my morning walk, I long for the first few minutes of sunlight as the world begins to wake up and my neighborhood begins to come alive with a flurry of workers preparing to head off to their jobs.  Just before they do, though, with just the first few rays of sunlight, the birds begin to sing their songs and Mother Nature begins to radiate with a joy and beauty that humanity has yet to even recreate effectively. It is my favorite part of the day!

Earlier this week, I talked about the mental journey that has accompanied this life change and the importance it played on me getting started and sticking to these changes that have been occurring.  I’ve also talked about the next phase of my journey before:  healthy, fresh foods!  However, I have yet to openly share about another aspect of my journey and it has been just as crucial to my pursuit of health as anything else.

I work as a mental health counselor.  My typical clients are teenage boys, but in my private practice, I occasionally get to see marital clients, adults, etc.  During my time as a counselor, I was introduced to one of the most interesting people I have ever met.  Let me introduce you to Jenni.  Jenni works in our office wearing a variety of different hats.  For most of the week, she works as a life coach, a kickass Zumba instructor, and a parent aide.  For a small part of the week, Jenni works around the counseling office as an office assistant (which is a professional way of saying she does everything)!

Back in August, Jenni began a new adventure in her life.  I heard about this adventure and I internally wrote off her choice off with criticism and concern.  However, I’m a GOOD friend and didn’t tell her my thoughts.  Rather than thinking I am somehow better at making her choices than she is, I chose to ask how I could help her get started.  A few weeks later, we were having a class.  Jenni and her friend, Amy (remember her from a previous post?), were sharing Jenni’s new adventure with us.

wp-1483903726304.jpgEssential oils have been something I have been toying with over the past year.  I’ve used mainly lavender and tea tree oils.  Despite having some minor success, I wasn’t experiencing anything to write home about.  So, as Jenni and Amy shared their information, I stayed planted on my phone… researching how to prove them wrong.  After they got done, I even looked at them and willingly asked their first question.  Per my recollection, my question was, “Y’all know this is bullshit, right?”  I’m relatively ashamed of my thoughts and opinions and my QUICKNESS to dismiss something before giving it a solid chance.  However, I’m completely ANTI-HIPSTER FAD/NONSENSE.  To me, that’s all this oils crap sounded like.

Because I hosted the party, I won an oil of my choosing (smart move, Jenni) and I selected an oil that I felt would help with something I was actively experiencing.  After the party, I tried the oil with much sarcasm and, honestly, condescension. Twenty minutes later, I was texting Jenni to say that I believed the oil was working.  The first time, my wife and I both wondered if the change I was experiencing was a somatic effect.  However, it kept working and then it worked for my mother and my sister.  My curiosity for exploration was peaked.

Being the logical guy that I am, I evaluated the costs of the products that I wanted to try and compared it to the price of their starter kit – which would make me a member.  For the three oils I wanted to try and the diffuser, the total cost was going to be about $170 dollars (I must mention that I wanted some very expensive oils.  Most oils tend to cost $20 – $30 dollars).  For the kit of 12 oils and the diffuser, the total cost is $160… which do you think became the better value?

Before I could make my final selection, though, I had to address my feelings about MLM schemes.  More than once, someone I love has been involved in these stupid things and it has never worked out well.  At best, my loved ones fell into a business that required money and promised money that never came.  At worst, my loved one purchased tons of product he could not sell and he ended up throwing away over $750 worth of stuff and struggled to pay his bills for several months afterward.

The idea of an MLM company terrified me and I didn’t want to end up in a system where I was ultimately being ripped off so the people that engaged me in the product could profit off me.  However, there was something different about Young Living – I already knew that one product does way more than the distributors are even permitted to tell me thanks to regulations.  Also, there was only one minimum to keep my membership and maintain the 24% wholesale cost:  $50 a year on product.  Was it really that easy?  A no-risk MLM that’s not designed to gain money off me?  No closets filled with useless products I won’t use?  Just buying the products that I want for the health goals of me and my family?

After asking tons of questions (thanks, Jenni and Amy), I embarked on my new journey.  I did buy the 12 oil and diffuser starter kit (thanks to a special promotional oil).  As I obtained my oils and experienced the desired improvements, essential oils did become something to write home about.  What I didn’t know before meeting Young Living is that the essential oils I had been buying may not have been 100% unadulterated oil.  You see, the only requirement for a bottle to be labeled 100% Pure, Therapeutic Essential Oil is that the bottle must only contain at least 5% of the pure essential oil on the label.  That is a DEVASTATINGLY LOW level of quality.  Young Living does everything from planting the seeds to processing the oils so there are not various companies trying to profit off a bottle of oils which results in dilution and oils that have been processed from plants grown using toxic methods.  Young Living doesn’t use these toxic methods and guarantees a 100% pure and NONTOXIC oil.

I wish I could tell you all the success stories that I am having since I added essential oils to wp-1486002107617.jpgmy family’s wellness and weight loss goals.  I have taken pictures and utilized Fitbit to track these changes for myself.  The success I am having is not somatic… it’s real.  I have no shame in the fact that I have joined Young Living.  The ONLY product I have ever spent money on is products that I have wanted to try and I have experienced significant success with EVERY SINGLE ONE.  The only storage that I have built is the products that I don’t want to run out of because they have become vital to my everyday life.

But wait… I thought the title of this post was that I got scammed.  Well, you see, I did.  I was the indirect victim of two MLM schemes that were designed to make their money off their distributors without concern about their distributors being able to make any money or not.  What I am finding with Young Living is that I got scammed into believing that MLM companies are all scams designed to steal your money by the two schemes that my loved ones got involved with.

Today, I see multi-level marketing happening all around me.  Whether I am buying a product at a brick-and-mortar store or online, the amount of money I spend for that product has been increased in cost to help pay for everything that got that product to me: the creator, manufacturer, truck driver, owner of the store, the manager of the store, the lower level employees at the store, etc.  With Young Living, I get products I want and the profits go to pay for Jenni’s house payment and Amy’s car payment, etc., rather than some CEO’s vacation home or monthly vacation.

I’m not going to use this blog to try and sell you any oils, but I will be mentioning them from time to time because they are a part of my life and they are a HUGE part of my journey towards wellness as I have used oils to aide in everything from my sleep to my digestion.  Have any of you used essential oils as a part of your pursuit of living above the wellness line?    Let me know in the comments below.

Sign up now! 

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • To avoid an even more unhealthy relationship with the scale, I will only be doing weigh in information during my weekend blog post.  Thanks for understanding 🙂

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Failure… My Mental Journey Of Weight Loss

Failure is a familiar concept for most of us!  How many times have we made a commitment to ourselves only to find ourselves falling short of that commitment and feeling like a failure?  Come on, now, be honest with yourself.  January 1 just passed and the largest majority of us have already failed at something we committed to just mere weeks ago.

I’m no stranger to the crushing guilt of failure and I’ve shared that with you all previously on this blog.  Unlike last time, though, this time the failure is my own.  I fell short of my goals this week.  Sitting in this chair last Sunday, I made a commitment to add a Wednesday morning blog post and I missed it on my very first week!

When I was contemplating the creation of this blog, the one thing I read over and over again was the importance of consistency.  Every successful blogger stressed the importance of consistent posting and following through on commitments.  I’ve butchered that this week.  I could outline all the excuses that I have for why I missed my commitments, but I feel that it would be a waste of time and energy.

While I’m on this topic, I felt like it would be a great time to share how failure has impacted me.  Several months ago, I was in a therapy session with a teenage boy when I realized my words, while amazing, were kicking me right between the eyes.  In that moment, it literally dawned on me that my weight was nothing more than an externalization of the internal feelings I had about myself.  I hated myself.  I felt like a horrible failure.  I wasn’t good enough.  I wasn’t strong enough.  I wasn’t man enough.  As a result, I had punished myself and literally buried myself under 250 pounds of excess fat.  I had become the very physical representation of the thoughts I had about myself every day because I viewed myself as a failure at life.

It wasn’t until I faced that very difficult reality that I was empowered to begin the process of change.  You see, losing weight has been so much more of a mental journey than a physical journey.  Before I could truly be successful at losing weight, I had to be honest with myself about the problem and face the reality of the situation I had put myself into.  I had to drop the inner defenses I had built to protect my ego from the crushing reality that I weighed 450 pounds.  It was only after I had this moment of self-awareness that I was able to fully grasp the problem and begin the process of planning and pursuing change.

How many times do we deal with our uncomfortable feelings through an unhealthy outlet?  For me, the weight problem was the culmination of multiple issues:  eating to improve my mood, using my weight to hide from others and attempt to hide from uncomfortable life experiences, and the externalization of nasty and hateful opinions I held about myself.  Despite having a life filled with success, I had a failure identity forged out of my failure to properly acknowledge my successes and an unhealthy commitment to cling to the life events where I had missed success.

Taking on the goal of losing 250 pounds of excess body fat takes a large degree of self-confidence and self-esteem.  Before I could be successful at that goal, I had to face down the issues that kept me mentally paralyzed and had created the issue in the first place.  With this round of weight loss, I originally committed to beginning the weight loss journey on January 1, 2016, but I didn’t actually start until September 11, 2016. Why?  Because it is impossible to find it in yourself to form and succeed at a goal like weight loss if you have no inner resolve or self-worth to enable such a journey.

It took that extra time for me to begin the journey of identifying and unpacking the life circumstances and thought patterns that had forged the failure identity that was keeping me buried.  This process took me from January to September to complete enough to be empowered to make this change, but I still have to fight this battle every single day.  Despite the fact that my wife and I are both mental health counselors, this change was not easy and it took a LONG TIME.  Unfortunately, this new way of thinking and living is NEW and UNCOMFORTABLE.  It fits like a glove that is too small and it doesn’t happen for me naturally.  I have to FORCE myself to live within my new life choices.

Therefore, despite my overwhelming failure with my goal on this blog, I experienced overwhelming success in the area that I put my attention and energy:  walking.  Last week, I was excited to announce that I had walked over 10 miles.  This week, my wife and I walked much further and even seen our best pace ever.  Thanks to another friend of mine, I had been challenged to work up to five miles in a single walk prior to February 1, 2017.  Yesterday, I met that goal when I walked five miles in a single walk and achieved my best pace to date:  19 mins, 43 seconds per mile.

So, as I sit here relaxing on this beautiful Sunday evening with Stress Away rolling out the top of my diffuser, I turn my eyes to another week without any unnecessary guilt or inner turmoil over the areas I fell short this week.  I call them unnecessary because they won’t fix the problem, but keeping those emotions around could definitely create a failure identity that keeps me trapped. Rather than allowing my human condition to create an atmosphere of failure and defeat, I am celebrating my successes and looking only to build upon them in the coming week.  I will reach my health goals and I will succeed at building a place here that inspires others to find their own path to wellness.

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 364.8 pounds
  • Total loss  85.2 pounds (31.9% of my total excess body weight)

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Challenges

Greetings, readers, from the medium that I have come to think of as home.  Welcome to my comfort zone.  Regardless of my goal for openness and honesty, my blog has become my shelter where I can share openly from in a way that feels safe to me.  Just a little bit ago, however, I tried on a new platform as I was challenged to step outside of my comfort zone. Today, I embraced Facebook Live.  Yes, everyone, thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I spent a few minutes giving some tips to a weight loss group I am in.  These tips were largely drawn from a post I shared earlier on this blog about preparing at the beginning of the week to enable a successful week of eating.  It was odd and uncomfortable, but I jumped in and gave it all I had.

This week has seemed to focus on one thing:  challenge.  Oddly enough, this challenge has all seemed to come from one source (ahem… AMY!!!!… ahem).  Despite my overwhelming success in the area of weight loss, Amy took it upon herself to encourage me to seriously make a full-hearted run at winning the weight wp-1485141516049.jpgloss competition that I have entered.  Unlike everyone else, I’m well into this process and I’m not getting those impressive first week numbers.  I’m losing at a steady pace and the introduction of the weight loss competition went almost unnoticed.  This also led to a rather passive participation in the competition.  Maybe I didn’t really believe I had a shot since I won’t be losing those big numbers.

However, Amy sent me a message and asked how she could encourage me to start doing exercise as a part of my weight loss.  She also did a live video demonstrating some exercises she is incorporating as a way for her to get moving and try and loose those pounds for the competition.  People… you never get to choose when inspiration strikes.  For me, when I saw Amy and her workout partner, Amanda, struggling with these exercises on LIVE VIDEO, I realized that 1)I’m not the only person that is out of shape and finds exercise exhausting, 2)they had the courage to do these exercises on LIVE VIDEO as a way of encouraging our team and 3)I had no more excuses to hide behind.

This week, Amy challenged me to step out of my comfort zone with weight loss.  I’d love to wp-1485141480076.pngtell you how miraculous the results are, but I haven’t dropped any impressive numbers.  I can, however, tell you the increased level of energy and the joy of accomplishment I have felt as I racked up  10.59 miles on the road this week.  To ensure that I continue to work at this goal, I have registered in my first 5k run.  It is in Springfield, MO, on April 22, 2017, and I would love for anyone to come out and join us!  Message me if you’d like to join our team!

It has been these challenges that have encouraged me to push further, press deeper, and work harder at the goals that I have had up to this point.  I want to loose this weight, but I also want to win this competition.  I may not get those big numbers that the newbies are seeing, but I have one thing they haven’t got:  four months of consistency.  This isn’t a crash diet or short-term commitment.  This is a real life change and I’ve settled into a stride that keeps me consistently losing weight at a very healthy pace.  This week, however, I found a way to increase my efforts as I seek to be the top male in my age group.  I want to win and I’m going to work for it.

Similarly, though, I have felt the need to increase my efforts with this blog, as well.  I want to reach out to those that want to lose weight and show almost every single one of them that there is someone who is worse off than them that is doing this successfully.  I want to be in contact with every person that is discouraged or passively dreaming that they didn’t have to struggle with the excess weight that impacts everything from their daily self-care rituals to their mobility or self-esteem.  I don’t think I can do that making one post a week.

I’m not sure exactly how I’m going to do it, yet, but I am going to be increasing my efforts with this blog, too.  I started this to be a community of support for those that are wanting or striving to lose weight.  If I want that goal to be realized, I’m going to have to work at this goal more intentionally.  I am committing to adding one more blog post per week.  Up until now, I’ve posted mainly once per week on the weekend.  Now, however, I am going to post once on the weekend and once on Wednesday mornings.  I have several other ideas, but I’m not ready to commit to any of them just yet.

For now, though, it’s back to taking my life back…

  • September 11, 2016: 450+pounds
  • Today: 369.6 pounds
  • Total loss  80.4 pounds (30.1% of my total excess body weight)

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