It’s 3 days after Thanksgiving, and you are tired of turkey and leftovers. So, you decide to go out and eat or order on UberEATS. What do you do to stop adding to the pounds? Here are 5 proven methods to stop from overeating when eating or ordering out!
1. Track before you attack. The first rule is always to figure out what you will have before departing. Most restaurants now post nutritional values in menus on their website. Read the menu, pick your menu items, and record the calories before departing. Like a good soldier, never eat without a good plan of attack.
2. Bring it to Boots! Portion control is the key to keeping your weight down and your friends happy. In my case, my friend is a bear/dog named Boots shown below.
I always think of my buddy Boots when craving a big steak. I then make a conscious choice. I eat 5 oz. instead of 10 oz of a Porterhouse, cutting my calories in half and making my dog leap in delight! This trick also works with humans, but it is more fun with dogs. Half your plate and make your friend feel great!
3. Stop the cravings at the Concierge. Rule 3 works best when traveling, but is easily modified during the current pandemic. I had access to a concierge lounge back in BP (Before Pandemic) time, when I was traveling a lot for work. I would hit the concierge lounge and load up on vegetables before going to a restaurant for dinner. Many times, I would skip dinner and just eat in the concierge lounge. I lost over 100 pounds following this trick. I swear by it! The approach still applies even with limited or no travel. Eat some vegetables or small appetizers at home before ordering or eating out. Fill up on veggies, instead of filling out on steak and burgers!
4. Eat like a Plebe. The faster you eat the more you repeat (think Buffet). When I eat out, I go back to my training and eat like a Plebe! We learned to eat slow at West Pont, by squaring our meals, so we would not wolf down food.
Here is how you square a meal. You lift your fork straight, bend your fork at a 90 degree to your mouth, straighten your arm back out, and then bring you fork completely down. You do not bring your fork back up until you completely chewed your food. On top of this, you needed to take small bites to be able to recite knowledge to senior cadets without your mouth full. All served to slow how fast we ate, and cut down on our food intake, while practicing good manners. 35 years later, I still eat like a Plebe.
5. 3 out of 5 Ain’t Bad. I cannot claim this last rule, since I learned it from a colleague. Every meal at a restaurant usually includes 5 options: bread, appetizer, entrée, dessert, and alcohol. The simple rule is to keep it to three!. Either Bread, Drink and an Entrée or some other combination. Remember scrap 2 and keep 3! While I can’t claim this idea, I can confirm it works and claim the below song parody to emphasize. Make like Meatloaf and remember.
Each morning I wake up with a why in my heart and head; sometimes two! What is a why? A “why” is the motivation for taking on something difficult and the purpose for doing so. A why drives you forward even when you feel you can’t go on. Why’s are imperative to change a bad habit or get out of a rut.
I did not always have a why nearby. I did not have an overall cause or purpose from 2007 to 2014. I wandered without a why, for those seven years. In the process, I gained over 100 pounds, lost my drive, and in general was a bear to be around. The years of wandering without a why are described in this blog: Fit to Fat: Lessons Learned While Doubling My Weight
Then three things hit simultaneously at the end of 2014 that got me back on track. First, I learned that I had a serious health issue caused in part by my weight. Second, I received an invite to my 30th West Point Reunion. Third, I received a discount to Weight Watchers (now WW) through my company. The three combined to develop that first why. I decided to lose weight and increase fitness to look presentable for my 30th reunion and regain my health!
I was introduced to the power of “why” at Weight Watchers and have expanded my understanding through my own story and experience. Here are 4 things you need to implement your unique why.
1. Visualize Your Why. It is important to have a visual representation as to the outcome you want to obtain. A visual representation serves to remind you why you are making the change and helps to keep you motivated when times get tough. One way to do that is to create a Vision Board; a series of pictures and text snippets that visualize your goal.
Below you see the visual representation of my first “why” that I created at WW on the Hay House Vision Board app (located here Hay House Vision Board). I wanted to do two things as represented in this Vision Board: to lose weight to look decent for my reunion and to get healthy in memory of my parents. Pictures include my company from West Point, a picture of my parents, my WP graduation picture, a picture at near peak weight with a classmate, an image of my family, and me working out in support of my mission! I topped it all off with my class moto “For Excellence We Strive, 85”.
I looked at the Vision Board each day. It drove forward when times got tough. I looked at it after getting through TSA with my CPAP machine, so I could get good rest on a work trip. Or when hitting the hotel gym at 9 PM after work. Or when avoiding a beer and eating vegetables at the concierge lounge. Slowly but surely it kept my eye on the prize as I lost 100 lbs. before the reunion.
2. Adapt Your Why. Once you obtain one “why”, focus on another. Whys are not static. The excellence of today is the mediocrity of tomorrow. A new reason or mission can drive you on to greater things. Here are three of my subsequent “Why’s” to show you what I mean.
First, my reunion served to stoke two new motivations. Having lost 100 pounds, I wanted to lose the other 50+ lbs to achieve Lifetime designation on WW. Second, I wanted to do something to remember a fellow officer who was lost in Afghanistan by supporting returning Veterans. Combining the two, I created my second Why that led to the creation of the McEvoy Memorial Walk in support of the Merivis Foundation. I trained from August to Veterans Day in 2015 to walk 50 miles in one day in support of Merivis and the Young Marines of the Capital Area (read more here Go Big to Get Small – The Art of Improbable Goals ). In the process, this why drove me to my Lifetime weight goal and raised funding for these worthy organizations. Here is a YouTube clip on the walk https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PaaijB9ybX4
My next goal was to maintain my weight and support the children of St. Jude’s by becoming a Certified Spin Instructor and riding the entire 4-hour St. Jude’s Ride for a Reason. I talk about this motivation in the following blog Spinning is Winning! A Ride for A Reason.
Spinning helped me maintain my weight, diversify my exercise regime, help a worthy cause, and gain a new skill. Now I was ready to play it forward with my current Why.
My current why came about due to two events: a milestone birthday and the ongoing pandemic. Having been given so much, I wanted to pass it on to others. I came up with a new acronym for my Why – CRAFT. The acronym stands for Coach, Religious, Author, Friend, and Teacher. You can read more about CRAFT here 5 by 5, Rumination on a Milestone.
In simple terms, I wake up each day whether in this blog, my continued workouts, or wellness programs paying it forward. It is now my mission to teach others how to heal both their body and soul, especially during this difficult time. To impart what I have learned through example, stories, and wellness programs. Read about one such wellness program called Peloton Pandemic Pandemonium here .
3. Share your Why. When you determine your why, do not keep it to yourself. Share it with friends and family to help prod you on and keep you on track. The ability to share helps you immensely. I am grateful both to my WW Round Rock Saturday group and my sister in law Sheri and niece Rachel for creating Facebook groups. These communities allowed me to share my motivation and progress toward health. Live and share your why with friends to keep moving forward!
4. Wake Up with Your Why. I end with the beginning. Each day you can take concrete steps to wake up with your why. I accomplish this through journaling and meditation. I use the Kindness Journal (located here Kindness Journal) to help prompt me along to realizing my why.
Each day I record three “I am statements” to help me visualize my end goal. Here is a recent example in pursuit of my current why: “I am a devoted coach that passes on the lessons that have served me on my health journey to improve the lives of others”. I also visualize my favorite moment from the day before and list the thing that I will do today to help make the world better. The journal helps me focus on why I was put on this earth. Along with meditation in the form of prayer, I remain fixed and progressing towards my why.
In closing, do not wander and wallow in the unknown without a why. Instead, visualize your why with these four simple tricks and build a better future for yourself and others!
Peloton for those uninitiated is a virtual platform for cycling and other exercise programs. You can ride with other cyclists around the world virtually! You can do so either on the Peloton stationary bike or by using the Peloton virtual service available on your phone, with your own equipment. On Peloton Live In-Studio rides you can compete with other cyclists on the virtual leaderboard. They have excellent instructors who are fun and uplifting like my four favorites Jenn Sherman, Leanne Hainsby, Alex Toussaint, and Kendall Toole. The others are great too!
I had used the virtual Peloton app as a supplement to my gym spin class. But now decided to get the bike. I loved it from the moment I got it. And it made me think that my fellow work colleagues would love it too. So, I and a friend came up with a virtual stress valve program appropriately called Peloton Pandemic Pandemonium. Each week we pick up to 3 live rides and post the time and date on our company’s local website. People join with our group’s hashtag and we have a fun virtual race. Also, we give each other virtual high fives and chat as we ride.
Peloton Pandemic Pandemonium helps us stay healthy and happy during these difficult times. Here are the three major ways that PPP helps to keep you sane in these insane times:
1. Endorphins! Spinning, especially the Peloton variety is an endorphin rush. The mixture of music and interval exercise brings a flood of endorphins that helps to counter the darkest thoughts. The endorphin- exercise connection is well documented (read here WebMD Article). PPP is the way to crush, despair with an endorphin rush!
2. Tune-in and Sing! I love exercising to music. Nothing is more relaxing and stress relieving then belting out your favorite tunes as you spin. The good news about PPP is you can sing in the comfort of your own home. No embarrassment and no drowning out by the person next to you. But watch out! Singing too loud while biking at 100 RPMs can nearly cause you to pass out. I need to watch it the next time we do another Hamilton (Robin Arzón) or Bon Jovi (Kendall Toole) theme ride. (Need to add Jenn Sherman’s Epic Sing Along Series).
3. Community. Peloton and our company group PPP is a community. We care about each other. We high five when people hit a milestone and pick them up when they fall-down. In addition, theme rides really help celebrate commonalities and share hardships and trials. One of the best such rides is Kendall Toole’s ride on World Mental Health Day which focused on the importance of Mental Health. See my thoughts especially on Veteran’s Mental Health here. Mental Health Thoughts
So, there you have it. Three ways Peloton helps you with the Pandemic and Pandemonium of today! Message me or comment if you would like to participate in PPP!
One of my favorite songs is Simon and Garfunkel’s “Feeling Groovy” and nothing makes me feel groovier than taking a slow walk Saturday around Lady Bird Lake in Austin. The song goes something like this with apologies for some modifications:
“Slow down you move to fast,
Got to make the Saturday last,
Just kicking down Lady Bird Lake,
Austin is great and feeling groovy.”
Here is a picture I snapped last weekend during my weekly trek. These turtles sure know how to Slow Down, bask in the sun, and feel groovy.
While the word Groovy may have been out of vogue since the Seventies, slowing down to regroup is still key to a better life. Even more so in this time of constant noise and nuisance. Nothing restores the soul and the spirit then a good podcast, a crisp wind and nature all around.
Slowing down is the key to the healthy and happy life. I seldom miss a Slow Walk Saturday for the following three reasons:
1. Time to reflect and adjust. When we are running from one task to the other, there is seldom time to reflect, learn from experiences, and adjust. I find that when I slow down and quiet my mind that I come up with the answer that I need. Proof point? I have been so busy with work and life that I have been having writer’s block. A few minutes and miles and I had ten new ideas when I had been stuck for at least a week. Sometimes the best thing when you are struggling for a solution is slow down, quiet your mind and be thankful for the nature all around you.
2. Destress and feel blessed. Nothing stokes compassion and soothes the soul than to experience nature. It is hard to feel hassled when you see 20 turtles sunning on a log or see a bird take flight. It is a wonder this world! Our role is to revel and reflect the love of God in his creation. Not to strive and stifle. Slowing down makes us thankful for the pauses and pleasures that are in each day!
3. Listen and learn. When you are alone with your thoughts and those of a good book, you learn new things about yourself and your place in the world. I recommend to everyone the library application Libby which provides audio books for free if you have a library card. I have learned so much while walking and listening from how Changing your Habit can Change Your Life to How to be 10% Happier. Truly my Slowdown Saturdays have made me a better person!
Life is not a sprint. It a slow walk to the better angels of our nature. So, take the time to slow down and feel groovy.
On this one I reach back almost 40 years to examine the lessons learned from four men who were then as they are now on the cutting edge of fitness and health: the four football coaches of Northern Burlington Regional High School in the late seventies – Coaches Charlie Pirrello, Hank Kearns, Carmen Pastore, and Gary Smith. Beyond football, these four men taught me more than fitness. They taught me and others how to be men, to put team before self, and to judge on merit not title, race, or creed.
Coach Charlie Pirrello, the head coach of the fab four is a
legend in NJ High School Football. The
2018 inductee to the NJ Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame he has led 7
teams to the State Championship in his 50 years of coaching. The first of these was led by my 1981 class
that won on the last play of the game.
Unfortunately, I had moved to Texas after my Junior season and missed
it. But I still felt part of the team
and loved seeing my quarterback (I was a Center), Chris Warrington throwing the
Hank the Tank Kearns, the Defensive Coordinator and JV Coach,
was equally a big influence in my life.
His nickname Tank was an understatement; he was more like the Hulk. I still remember when the linebackers were
not deploying correct tackling form, he jumped in there without pads and flattened
the running back! Hank is still a
fitness inspiration to me. I follow he,
Coach Pirrello and Pastore on Facebook and Hank is either biking or doing some
other fitness activity.
Carmen Pastore was the Offensive Coordinator. A former college
football quarterback Coach Pastore helped orchestrate our vaunted Veer Option Offense
that first came into vogue in 1975. It
was cutting edge then as it is now.
Last was Coach Smith who taught the backs. My brother’s coach, I remember him for his
humor. One day I went up to look at the
depth chart. Instead of seeing Donnie
and Gary Grier the names on the list where Abnormal and Normal Grier. He gave me the nickname Abnormal because of
my intensity, the fact that I was on the line, and the way I yelled at the top
of my lungs “Huddle” when gathering the team.
I wore that name like a badge of honor since I was a gruff lineman and
linebacker while my brother was a defensive and offensive back.
The Fab Four are great coaches and leaders of men for these
four and many other reasons:
Constantly striving for excellence through
learning and adapting. The coaches
of NBC were constantly looking for new ways and techniques to get better. I looked forward to each summer training
sessions when the coaches would return with the latest fitness techniques. Two I remember distinctly are the Total
Fatigue Weightlifting Circuit and interval running with proper technique. Total Fatigue included completing a circuit
of weightlifting that went from largest muscles (legs) to smallest muscles
(triceps). I still do the regime today
since it has become one of the key approaches to gain muscle mass and
endurance. Back then it was new. They also emphasized negative training (2
seconds up and at least 4 seconds down).
Next was interval training where we first practiced our running form (I
still attempt to run like Hank the Tank taught me to this day) before
completing sprint intervals. One last
thing that sticks in my mind is there willingness to adapt when something did
not work. One year our football camp included three a days and we really worked
hard – overly hard. The coaches realized
that we worked out too much resulting in a few injuries. The next year they adapted when they added a
rest period in Coach Pastore’s pool which resulted in a better record.
is as important as perspiration. Each
year the coaches made a playbook that we needed to memorize from cover to cover
and guard with our lives. The secret sauce
of the playbook was not just the cutting-edge plays from the Veer Option, it
also contained fitness and nutrition tips and life lessons. I wish I still had that playbook because the
quotes were so inspiring. But you can
get a good feel for them by reading Coach Pirrello’s Twitter feed. Here is one recent one. “I am your coach. When you get discouraged, I
will encourage you. When you come up short, I want to help you come up big next
time. And I will never give up on you even if you give up on yourself.” Charlie
Pirrello. He never gave up on us and
today I still draw inspiration from these four great men.
Judge each man by his merit. The late Seventies and early Eighties was
a difficult time to coach. The drug
culture was in vogue. In addition, there
was sometimes difficulties in race relations.
NBC had one of the most diverse teams in the state having McGuire Air Force
base in our school. Also because of
McGuire Air Force Base, we had new people coming into team each year. I remember distinctly the day Willie Drewery
joined my class in my Sophomore year.
Unknown to the program at the time, he was welcomed in with open arms
and became a linchpin. He later went on to a Professional Career. The coaches never differentiated on race,
creed or color. All that matter was your football ability and the content of
your character. One way they enforced
this is making the team hold hands in the huddle and by teaming up weight
training partners from different races and cultures. Lastly, our pre-game ritual included listening
to equal doses of Bruce Springsteen and Chic that had a big hit at that
time. In this way, we avoided the
fighting that went on in some of our rival schools.
Care for Each Player. The coaches spent time with each player if
they gave a 100% and strove to be a team player. My brother was a football talent, playing Varsity
his sophomore year. I was less of a talent
playing second team Varsity and first team JV.
Even so the coaches never neglected me and worked with me to make me the
best player I could be. ,They also were
always there for you. I still have the
note from Coach Pirrello to my new football coach when I had to leave for Texas
for my Senior Year. I still choke up
reading it and the care Coach P gave. I
was never going to break Franco Harris’s Freshman Rushing record like my
brother, but he and his coaching staff still treated me with the same respect
and care. To this day, one of my
greatest awards is winning MVP for the Junior Varsity team my Junior Year. To me, winning that award for NBC was the
highlight of my high school athletic career and one of the highlights of my
One last thing to say.
Charlie was not only my coach. He
was more importantly my World History teacher and one of the best teachers I
ever had. He was just as inspirational
and engaging in class as he was on the field.
40 years is a long time and a blink of the eye. Whatever the years, the fab four still shape
the man I am today!
I had the good fortune in my early adult life to be in the Army. One of the perks in the Army is that you are paid to work-out every day. It was part of your role description and responsibility. An unfit soldier will put himself and his platoon at risk. I therefore had the pleasure and pain both at West Point and later active duty to exercise on a regular basis. Sometimes, it was exhilarating like singing cadence at the top of your lungs while on a battalion run. Other times brutal, such as the yearly Obstacle Course administered by the Department with a Heart at West Point. All of it good, necessary and part of your job description!
This all seemed to change when I left the Army and joined
the consulting world. Early morning
calls replaced morning PT. Long hours on
planes and in front of a desk slinging code took a toll on my health. It seemed in my mind at the time that fitness
and taking care of myself was no longer part of my job description or even
opposed to it. I and companies at that
time did not yet see the impact of wellness on work. The drive for more billable hours and seemingly
higher productivity dominated. This corporate culture (or my take on it)
resulted in weight gain, lost health, and a decline in productivity over time.
Like the Army, corporations have now come to realize that being
fit is a necessary part of the job.
Indeed, wellness is almost as important to the survival and strength of
the company as it is to an Army platoon.
Here are three reasons why:
Improves Decision Making. The enemy of all good decisions is
stress. Exercise and fitness help relieve
stress and keep away fatigue. A simple 20-minute walk will provide a few
minutes to clear your mind, allowing you to focus on the problem on hand. Better yet, get up and walk around the office
when taking a phone call meeting when things get heated. The simple step of
standing up will shake off the cobwebs that tend to collect during back to back
Comradery. The best thing about the Army was the
comradery. One way it was built was through
morning PT. While I am not advocating
each company go on a company run each morning, I am recommending a common
fitness program like Accenture Active. This
program has really helped me to know my colleagues better through fitness
events (MS 150, Annual Veterans Walk, etc.) and programs (active rewards
programs, Fitbit competition). One
example was a random competition that I and some colleagues engaged in on one
Saturday. One of my friends started a
Fitbit weekend competition and although we were all in different states, we
kept apprised with the others’ progress. We all engaged in friendly and sometimes hilarious
banter through the Fitbit app as we each surpassed 10 miles.
on Sick Days. Staying fit helps to
keep you out of the doctor’s office and in yours during working hours. Research conducted at Brigham Young University, the Center for
Health Research at Healthways and the Health Enhancement Research Organization,
suggests unhealthy eating is linked with a 66% increased risk of loss of
productivity while lack of exercise
is associated with a 50% increase risk of low productivity. My experience bears
this out. Before returning to fitness, I
was habitually hit with bronchitis and, at least twice a year, pneumonia. Both resulted in sick days and loss of
productivity when I worked through it.
Since returning to my target weight in Nov. 2015, I have had neither
bronchitis or pneumonia. Not sure how many
days have been saved but approximate it as at least a week a year. And, an increase of productivity on those
days that I should have been recovering and drove through and worked despite my
These are just the top three reasons why you should consider staying fit as part of your role description as a consultant. Increased productivity, esprit de corps and better decisions are just three reasons exercise is an imperative in the working world. Let me close with a cadence I wrote for my team as we run from one project to another:
I recently read Pivot to the Future, a new book by Accenture’s Omar Abbosh, Paul Nunes and Larry Downes. I highly recommend it for all IT professionals and, less expected, for individuals seeking weight loss. The concepts in the book can help those striving for a happier, healthier life!
Pivot to the Future highlights the key elements
of Accenture and its client’s recent success. The key point of the book
is to show how Accenture and other top tier companies are releasing trapped
value by continuously conducting a Wise Pivot. A Wise Pivot is leveraging
the lessons of the old and applying them with the tools of new in releasing
As I thought about it, I
applied this concept in my weight loss journey to build a better, more fit and
engaged me! The new tools that I applied
were the research and technology provided by WW and others to drive into new habits,
new thoughts, and new ideas while leveraging the old!
1. A New Take on Habits – In every bad habit, there is the seed of a good habit. Charles Duhigg explains this in his phenomenal book, The Power of Habit. Each habit consists of a trigger, a method to get a reward, and a reward. The key concept is it is sometimes hard to change the trigger or reward, but you can achieve it in a different way. All you need to do is pivot to a new method of achieving the reward and its manifestation.
One example of how I did this
was my addiction to Diet Coke. Even
though it is called Diet Coke, it is not good for diets (although somewhat
better then leaded coke). I used to drink 4 – 6, 16 ounces of Diet Coke’s
a day, which was not good for my heart condition and weight at the time (358
lbs.). After studying this habit, I
realized the reward I was getting from drinking Diet Coke was an energy boost
to momentarily take away fatigue and satisfying my craving for carbonation. I soon realized my fatigue was attributable to
a lack of hydration. I therefore
switched out Diet Coke with sparkling water that better reduced my fatigue and
hydrated me! Now instead of consuming double or triple my daily allowance of
sodium and caffeine, I am satisfying my fatigue and carbonation fix while
hydrating! I Pivoted to the New through
my examination of the old (read more on this here https://weightlossleadership.com/2018/04/13/fat-to-fit-again-the-power-of-habit/).
2. A New Way of Thinking – Another key element where you can seize on the old to achieve the new is thoughts. We often focus on negative memories when we are dealing with a problem. But likely there is an equally compelling positive experience to counter the negative one. The key is finding the positive and discarding the negative. Two ways to emphasize the positive and disregard the negative is mindfulness and keeping a gratitude journal. These two new practices have often helped me to find a positive example to counter the negative ones racing though my head. Also, it is important to remember that each failure is a lesson to propel you forward! Here is added insights on how to change your thoughts and change your life. https://weightlossleadership.com/2018/07/01/stop-the-negative-talk-and-take-a-walk/
Ideas from the Old Each old idea holds the root of the new!This
is as true in wellness as it is in business.
Here is an example of an old idea turned new idea in health.
Calorie counting has been an element of weight loss ever since people have sought to lose weight. However, we have subsequently learned that not all calories are created equal. A calorie of protein satisfies more than a calorie of saturated fat. Likewise, it once was thought that a good dose of fiber could counter the ill effects of sugar (not true).
The way I blend the old idea of calorie counting with the newest research on wellness is to use WW’s Smart Points. Since I began, 4 years ago, WW has changed their point system three times; each time incorporating the new research of weight loss with the old discipline of watching what you eat. Each change built on the former one and research to build a better path to wellness. Instead of chasing fads, I believe mixing the new with the proven tenets of the past to build a better future!
You too can change the old you
into the future healthier you. Use these
three concepts to create a healthier you and a better world.
This Friday marked a major milestone on my road to recovery from a major heart procedure. A little worse for the wear but not so bad if I do say so myself. Luckily our instructor did not end her usual unleash song, Tina Turner’s Rolling Down the River. I would have ended up breaking Rule 2 below and looking more worn. I simply can’t resist going 120 RPM’s on the chorus of that song.
For those of you follow my blog regularly, you know how much I love spin class. I fell in love with the music, movement, and madness that is spin about a year ago. It is indeed one of my favorite ways to relieve stress. But before getting back in the saddle, I first had to follow these three rules:
1. Rest, recover, relax. This first rule was the hardest for me. Having lost a ton of weight a few years ago, I was nervous that taking time off to rest and recover would throw me back off track. So, I did a very stupid thing and broke this rule. I went for a long 5 mile walk the day after returning from the hospital. Initially, I felt great as you can read in this blog. https://weightlossleadership.com/2019/02/13/a-heart-filled-with-gratitude-and-love/ But, it was not to last. During that whole week, I was recovering from the walk.
If I was going to get healthy,I needed to go back to the basics and follow this first rule. So, I took the entire next weekend completely off and rested and relaxed. It did a world of good and sped up the healing process. It is very important to take time for yourself and relax after surgery before diving into your normal regimen.
2. Ease back into exercise. The second step after taking time to rest is to ease back into exercise. As much as I wanted to, I did not get on the bike until three weeks later. Instead, I went back to basics and walked at a much slower pace and for shorter distances than that first Sunday. This less strenuous regimen provided two major advantages. First it allowed the bruise around the insertion point to heal. Second, it gave me a benchmark on my heart rate and gave me confidence the procedure had worked. I now was ready to take the plunge (or in this case the seat!
3. Unleash without fear. The last step is perhaps the most important one. Once you have taken the time to recover, you cannot be afraid to test the limits. It is the same lesson we all learned as kids. Get back on the bike when you have fallen off! I did watch my Fitbit carefully the first few songs but then gave into the vibe! You must trust in the professionalism of your Doctor’s and your own preparation. Get back in the saddle and ride!
And that is what I did and will continue doing. This coming Saturday, I will again be participating in Lifetime’s Ride for A Reason to fund the good work of St. Jude’s Children Hospital. Last year I rode all four hours and will hopefully do so again if the three rules allow. Please consider supporting the good work of St. Jude’s through a donation at the link below. The last picture is of me after last year’s event. https://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR?px=4996114&pg=personal&fr_id=103544
Last Thursday I had the pleasure to attend the Austin Chamber of Commerce Business Awards with some of my Accenture colleagues from the Austin office. We were finalists for two awards – the Employee Wellness and Environment award for large offices. Here is the group at our table.
Smiles abounded at the table even though we did not win. Why were the smiles so broad? I can’t speak for my friends, but I can speak for myself. I was smiling because Accenture’s wellness programs helped save my life!
This may sound like an overstatement. I promise you it is not. Before I became an active participant in Accenture’s wellness program I was on a downward trajectory. Too much stress and not taking care of myself drove up my weight and ruined my fitness.
The bottom hit at halftime at my son’s senior homecoming game. My son was nominated as Homecoming King and I and my wife were to escort him on the football field. Carrying over 300 lbs. on a hot Texas evening, my calves became so tight I could barely move. I had to momentarily move behind the bench and stretch out my legs. Luckily, just before I took the field my legs stretched out enough so that I could hobble onto the field.
My wife and son were kind but that was a close call with my health and only one of many. I had to do something. So, I explored Accenture’s wellness programs and they came to the rescue. Specifically, these five programs helped me to lose over 170 pounds, restored my health, and improved my outlook on life and ability to handle stress.
Wellness check-up – Each year our company provides for a free wellness checkup for employees and their spouses. The wellness checkup is followed up by recommendations and assistance as well as a discount on your insurance. The wellness checkup indicated that I had a health issue. I was contacted and followed up with a more complete physical (also discounted through the company) that verified the issue and provided the proper diagnosis. With the treatment prescribed, my shoe size shrunk back down two sizes. It also helped provide me with enough energy to seriously attack my weight problem.
Employee Discount Program for Weight loss program – I now had the immediate health issue under control, so I looked around for a weight loss program. I was toying around with a liquid-based diet since it worked in the short term in the past when an email appeared in my email box offering half off on Weight Watchers for a year. With that single email and discount, my life was forever changed. Those who regularly follow my blog know the impact Weight Watcher’s has had on my life; leading me to lose over 170 pounds in a year and a half. The Why’s of Weight Watchers! I still attend every week. But the first step to this life changing program was the Accenture discount email that I received on January 1, 2015 (Yes, I kept the email as a memory!).
Accenture Active – Another program that was key to my transformation was Accenture Active. I was one of three leadership journeyers during the first year of the program. In this role, I was afforded weekly sessions with the other journeyers and a fitness coach. In addition, I had the opportunity to blog on a weekly basis as a means of encouragement to me and to others. Also, the program provides a Fitbit to each employee and their spouses as well as a program called JIFF that allows you to get prizes for meeting wellness goals and tasks. With the Fitbit and the encouragement of JIFF rewards, I went from being able to walk 1000 steps a day to 10,000 steps or more daily.
Mindfulness Training – With my fitness on the right trajectory, I had to tackle the underlying problem for my health issues in the first place – my reaction to stress. Accenture again came through with a program. My boss worked with a local company to provide mindfulness training for leaders. In the class, I learned the practice of meditation and mindfulness that I use daily. I may still have some moments, but this program has really helped me in focusing on the now and not worrying unnecessarily about the future.
Truly Human Campaign – I had my head and body half way in order, so I now had to turn to my heart. Accenture has a program for that also called “Truly Human”. It provides programs and advice on how to leverage the unique talents of individuals. It provides exercises and tips on how to be kind to both yourself and your colleagues. I wrote about the importance of taking care of your heart as well as your body in this previous blog. Feed your soul, heal your body The Truly Human campaign helped reinforce my daily practice of thankfulness journaling and capturing positive events in a happiness journal.
I want to thank Accenture for my new lease on life. To end, I will close with a catchphrase from my time at Accenture Active – Life’s Attractive When Your Accenture Active!
For many, losing weight and keeping it off is akin to warfare. It was for me. Many days during my year and a half journey to lose a 178 lbs. I felt like I was in the Battle of the Bulge. I was pummeled on all sides by my enemies – junk food, worry, and inactivity. I needed the right weapons to beat back the break in my defenses and drive to victory. And I found them in these five key weapons in Weight Loss warfare:
Bananas – The banana is the ultimate weapon in defeating junk food cravings for several reasons. First, they are very discreet and compact. You can hide them in your backpack or briefcase and pull them out whenever a junk food frenzy hits! Indeed, they were my weapon of choice in defeating my arch nemesis – Peanut M&M’s. Second, they come with their own protection a removable skin that keeps them clean and ready to eat in all sorts of terrain – Nature’s MRE. Lastly, they sustain for the long haul with their fiber and potassium. Eat one and you can drive past a full candy bowl without slowing down.
Sneakers are the ultimate weapon against our next enemy of health – inactivity. Sitting and remaining dormant are two of the most powerful armaments in our foe’s arsenal. There are more expensive tools to defeat them – gyms, the latest exercise equipment, etc. – but I have found the trusty sneaker to be the most effective. Sneakers are like the famous Kalashnikov rifle that the Soviet’s used in WW II. You could drop the Kalashnikov in the mud or march in the rain and it would always fire when you pulled the trigger. Likewise, sneakers are a lost cost, effective way to beat inactivity. For example, when I am out of town for work and know I will be away from the gym, I find a hotel about a mile or two from the workplace, lace up my sneakers and take a twenty-minute walk. I then switch into my shoes and put them in my backpack; along with my trusty banana that replenishes my potassium! There they remain until ready for access with my next bout with inactivity – lunch!
Audiobooks – Two other enemies in the struggle against weight gain is lack of knowledge and boredom. Audiobooks are the perfect antidote to both. Take them on a trek while walking on a trail and you will forget the foes trying to drive you away from your objective. I have whiled away the hours listening to James Patterson as I worked off the weight. Next, audiobooks provide you inspiration and knowledge to counter the enemy’s every move. For example, The Power of Habit taught me how to counter the triggers to eating. Walking with audiobooks strikes fear in our nemesis to health!
Weight Watchers – An effective game plan and strategy is the greatest force multiplier on the battlefield. Weight Watchers provides that game plan with its program Freestyle. The program provides you the structure, support and tools to defeat cravings and the disinformation campaign that our modern lifestyle deploys.
Your Mind – The most powerful weapon in the weight loss struggle is your mind. The harbingers of weight gain use worry, negativity and self-loathing to distract you and bring you down. To counter them, practice mindfulness and positive thoughts. This will counter the senseless eating that often accompanies worry and restlessness.
The winning combination of the five weight loss weapons will bring you success. Use them and drive to victory and a new you!