I have a secret weight loss weapon when traveling on the
road – coffee cups. This wonderful tool
is ubiquitous at hotels. Here are three
simple weight loss hacks related to coffee cups:
The first is the obvious one – use it for coffee. Nothing gets the constitution working better than coffee. I drink one cup and you are ready for the rest room. But stop at one or two or you will have the opposite result since coffee is a diuretic. Also, if you are older like me and walking to the office you may not make it to the office a second time!
The perfect hard-boiled egg container. Almost as ubiquitous as coffee cups at the hotel breakfast counter are hard boiled eggs. They are a perfect source of protein and a great way to satisfy mid-morning snack or for lunch. A standard coffee cup can hold 3 large hard-boiled eggs. Place a lid on it and label it and now you have a ready-made free lunch to stick in the office refrigerator! See picture below of my friend adopting this new craze. Coffee cups can also serve as containers for the fresh fruit that is often set up on the breakfast buffet (don’t forget bananas and apples in your backpack). You could also use coffee cups for oatmeal. All three serve as wholesome snacks and lunch on the run. You also can save money if not on an expense account (or save your expense account to splurge on dinner!)
Larger cups for infused water. I love that a lot of hotels are now providing fruit infused water at the hotel. But I do not love the little dinky plastic cups with no lids. Answer – use coffee cups with lids and get 16 ounces of delicious water (to wipe away the effects of the second coffee).
There you have it. Coffee cups are not just for coffee anymore. Instead, they are a secret weight loss weapon for people on the go!
The other day I went to see “The Art of Racing in the
Rain”. At first, I was not sure why I
wanted to see it. I hate driving cars,
especially in the rain. Just ask anyone
who has had the misfortune of driving with me.
I am also not overly fond of Dogs.
I despise being headbutted and sniffed by my daughter’s overly
affectionate Pitbull or any dog not named Boots (he is OK).
So why did I absolutely love this movie about a racing car
driver, his family, and his Dog Enzo?
And why did I cry a river of tears when (spoiler alert) both the
driver’s dog and his wife died? A bit
because I am the ultimate sap! I punch
my fist in the air when Mr. Smith saves the boy scout camp and weep at every Walton
episode. But this was something
more. Then I realized. The movie reminded me of my Brother David,
his love of cars, his recently departed
wife Debra, and their dogs – Alvin, Jasmine, Zooey.
David has loved cars ever since he was a little kid. One of the most memorable events of my childhood (and one that haunts my dreams) is when David, I, and Gary were waiting for my parents in the station wagon to go on a trip. David all of 4 years old sat in the front seat. Suddenly, he switched into the driver’s seat, shifted the car in neutral and started steering the car like a crazy man. My brother and I were helpless as the car backed down our sloped driveway. We drifted down the hill across a major road (safely thank God) and ended up in the neighbor’s front yard across the street. My parents rushed out to get us and I will never forget the joy in David’s face or terror in the eyes of my brother and me!
Terror was also in my eyes every time I drove with
David. He treats the Houston highway
like the Daytona 500. My heart races as he passes cars, barely missing the bumper. I in contrast drive like the future Grandpop
I aspire to be. He has translated his
love for cars into a career as a truck driver.
He can drive the biggest rig with
speed and precision. He was a lot like
Denny, the movie’s lead, except he drove trucks instead of cars.
Also, like Denny, David loves dogs. In this, he is like his namesake, Uncle
David. Both love Dogs with a passion I
cannot fathom. Uncle David currently has
8 and David 4. They bring them both joy
and I never realized why. The dogs yap
and yip. Not my cup of tea. Until the movie showed me why – Dogs are more
empathetic than people. They can realize
when you are hurting and give you just what you need to race through the rain
and not crash into the wall of life.
Enzo kept Denny whole by driving with him as the rain pulsed
down. Likewise, David and Debra shared
the latest antics of Alvin, Jasmine, Zooey, and Cuddles. David would make Debra’s eyes twinkle with
his imitation of the dog’s barking for Debra’s return. The dogs
also helped my brother to be strong for his wife through unconditional love.
In closing, there are two quotes from the book/movie that
really resonate with me. This one is a quote from the movie. “If
a driver controls his own conditions, then the rain is only rain”. David through his dog imitations and frequent
Facebook posts worked to control the uncontrollable. In so doing, my younger brother taught me a
lesson of how to keep strong through the storm.
last quote is from the mind of Enzo the dog.
It is so poignant and meaningful I cannot do it justice. To me it will always mark the moment that
Debra passed and reveals the true nature
of her kind soul.
her soul leave her body as she exhaled, and then she had no more needs, no more
reason; she was released from her body, and, being released, she continued her
journey elsewhere, high in the firmament where soul material gathers and plays
out all the dreams and joys of which we temporal beings can barely conceive,
all the things that are beyond our comprehension, but even so, are not beyond
our attainment if we choose…”
before you go to bed be like Enzo, David, Debra and their dogs. Race on through the rain and love
unconditionally. Turn away from the wall
and toward new life through love!
When people start on a weight-loss journey, they talk too much. They talk about the latest diet they are trying or the latest fitness craze that they are meaning to get to tomorrow. But talk is cheap. You need to listen to lose! Listen to your heart, listen to your body, and listen to others.
Listen to your heart. The you that you are meant to be is one heart beat away. So, listen what your heart is telling you to do. Do not turn to things that stress you out. The latest fitness craze does nothing if your heart is not in it. It just stresses you out and will cause you to stop when you are discouraged. Instead, do what you love. Also, be thankful for what you have. A thankful heart is a stress free, restful heart. Stress is often the reason for losing sleep and gaining weight. Lastly, strive for a goal that inspires you. Your heart needs to be in it to win it!
Listen to Your Body. Your body knows what it wants. That is the reason too many hamburgers and fries give you indigestion. Feed your body with the good stuff. Choose vegetables and fruit over candy and sugar. Remember, just like listening to someone, you must listen to your body closely to understand what it is saying. You may think is saying I need sleep when in reality your body is saying I need to exercise and get energy, or I am dehydrated, and I need water.
Listen to Others. Some people are struggling as you are and may have caught on to something new that you have yet to discover. Others may have won their battle with weight and have inspiring stories and important teachings to tell. Also, when you have met your target, listen to others to pass on your lessons and to provide you with a reason to stay on track.
Like all things, you learn more through listening than talking. So close your mouth, open your ears to Listen, Learn and Lose!
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:
He was larger than life, his name – Big D,
Born with a heart of gold for all to see,
He loved and fought for his family,
A hero and a teacher, he was everything to me.
Water’s for tear drops, Dickel’s for drinking,
you always knew what Big D was thinking.
Whether at a baseball game or Union hall,
There was never a doubt on what side he’d fall.
Chorus: Big D was not perfect, but he showed perfect love, In the right direction, you didn’t need to shove, He always led, never followed, His pride he at times swallowed, Guided by a nudge from the Lord above.
He drank a little, cared a lot,
His friends, Big D never forgot,
Luby, Pete, Andy, and John,
None of them forgotten, all of them gone.
We lost him that day, out on the land,
And what followed seem like it was planned,
For God conspired to bring forth new life,
Baby calves to ease the sorrow of his kids and wife.
Chorus: Big D was not perfect, but he showed perfect love, In the right direction, you didn’t need to shove, He always led, never followed, His pride he at times swallowed, Guided by a nudge from the Lord above
Bridge: Love endures, Faith abounds, In the silent solace that was found, From the last story he told his family , We love you forever, Our Dad Big D.
Chorus: Big D was not perfect, but he showed perfect love, In the right direction, you didn’t need to shove, He always led, never followed, His pride he at times swallowed, Guided by a nudge from the Lord above.
If you want to read more about the stories behind the ballad read these blogs on Big D:
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.
Counting calories, exercising, and mindfulness are all
common tools for weight loss. But one
critical tool that people sometimes fail to consider is music. The right song at the right time can drive
through that last mile. It can take your
mind away from the stress and away from late night refrigerator raids. Lastly, a timely tune can inspire you through
the hardship, the self-loathing and to a new you.
I can testify to the power of music in curbing the calories
and the negative thoughts. I could name 100’s
of songs that kept me going in my 170 lbs. weight loss journey. More importantly, music has been instrumental
in keeping the weight off.
Each person is different.
My songs may not be your songs but here are my Top 5.
Theme from Rocky – This one is my favorite song for two scenarios. First, it is hard to stop going no matter how tired you are when you here the first note of the Rocky theme. Many times, I was on my last leg only to go another mile after hearing Rocky. Second, I have a food strategy based on the Rocky theme. The equivalent of an Apollo Creed, first round punch is my weekend eating habits. In my case, I tend to eat too many Smart Points (unhealthy calories for you not in WW) on Saturday after a long week and my Saturday weigh-in. I usually end up with very few weekly Smart Points by Sunday. That is when the first chime of the Rocky song comes into my head. The rest of the week I eat healthy, exercise and gain back some of the weekly Smart Points. The whole time that I am doing the Rocky strategy the tune is running in the back of my mind. If you want to use this strategy, here is a link to the Rocky Theme. https://www.youtube.com/watch?reload=9&v=liPSTWdYiKs
Don’t Stop Believing, Journey – There were many reasons for me to give up when I first started losing weight. Tipping the scale at over 350 lbs. with sleep apnea and a heart condition to boot, it was hard to believe I would ever turn it around. Roadblocks and obstacles stood around every corner. But, that is when I would crank up Journey and run through the stirring chorus “Don’t stop believin’, Hold on to that feelin” . The feeling and dream that I held on to was I could again be healthy. NEVER stop believing! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcjzHMhBtf0
One Thing Remains, Jesus Culture – This may be the least traditional weight loss song, but to me this is the most important. Self-hatred and fear were two things I had to overcome both in getting healthy and life in general. When you don’t know were to turn, you should seek love. To me, Jesus is love. And as the song goes “His love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me”. This has become my favorite song when facing the negative thoughts and fears running through my mind. I am forever grateful for our Life Teen Minister for introducing it to me. Another benefit of this song is I sing it so loud when it comes on that I am sure to drop a pound or two. For you have not had an opportunity to hear it, here is a link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6_KXsMCJgBQ
Shake it Off, Taylor Swift – My cycling instructor Corey often mashes up songs with those of Taylor Swift to inspire us. He says that Taylor Swift goes with everything and he is right, especially when it comes to weight loss. Besides the song being so danceable that you must move, its lyrics are compelling. To paraphrase, if you have a bad day, instead of eating a bag of M&M’s just shake if off! I included a link just in case you were heading to the refrigerator now to drown your day! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfWlot6h_JM
YMCA, Village People – This is a no brainer. First, it talks about going to the gym! So, if you are thinking about staying on the couch, just turn this oldie up. Second, it is even more danceable than Shake It Off and it comes with its own choreographed dance moves! Last some of the lyrics resonate including the initial ones “Young man, there’s no need to feel down. I said, young man, pick yourself off the ground. I said, young man, ’cause you’re in a new town. There’s no need to be unhappy.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CeADaAg0f_w
Get happy and lift yourself off the ground! Find your own songs or use these to melt the
pounds and become healthy!