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!
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!
Most people try anything and everything to lose weight when first starting. They will try the latest supplements, liquid diets, eating only select foods (cabbage soup anyone), the hottest fitness craze, eating at only certain times – you get the picture. Let’s do A through Z and sticks to the wall and un-sticks my diet.
I was a proponent of the more is more approach for years and it didn’t work. Over the years as my weight climbed and my hope failed, I tried everything, many simultaneously, from being a vegetarian (failed because M&M’s are not meat!), popping Green Tea pills, cleansing in various ways, the latest exercise craze, and on and on… Then I discovered two things. Weight Watchers (WW) and the book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18077875-essentialism . Both teach the same thing – Do less, but better. The key to weight loss and a better, more successful life is by correctly assessing the few important priorities, focusing on these priorities exclusively, and dumping the rest. Mr. McKeown provides how to do this in his book and WW in its classed for a Essentialist’s Playbook for Weight Loss.
You can lose 170+
pounds like me by not doing everything but these three things:
Track everything you eat or drink. The best way to know how to lose weight is to
track what you eat. By consciously tracking
your food intake, you will better understand portion control and the trigger
foods you need to avoid. You use this
along with weekly weight tracking to find out what works and what foods to
avoid. That way you focus on what works,
rather than trying everything that doesn’t!
Be kind for yourself. You can’t focus on what is important if you
are unhealthy in body or your soul. It
is therefore important to focus on your health both mentally and
physically. Take time to journal
positive thoughts, rest, and relax. A
few minutes a day of being kind to yourself will not only help you lose the
stress that sabotages most people’s health.
Take time to exercise. Study upon study have shown that sitting is the
equivalent or worse to smoking for health.
It does not take much to get the exercise your body needs and craves. Get up for 10 minutes every hour and take a
walk. Also, block out 30 minutes in the
morning to recharge and energize.
Bottom line: You do
not need to do A through Z to lose weight and be a better you! All you need is the essential 1-2-3! Go out and practice Essentialism to gain a
new body and soul.
The key to improving your health and losing weight is your environment. We in the 21st century live in a toxic environment. Artificial food, false friends, and feelings of discontent lead to stress, weight gain and self-medication. To embark on a journey toward health, we need to put away the fast food, vitriol and anxiety of everyday living to embrace real food, real experiences, mindfulness and thankfulness.
I know I lived in that environment up until a few years back
and experienced its negative consequences.
With ready access to Quarter Pounders, Diet Cokes, and M&Ms, I doubled
my size and diminished my disposition.
These unhealthy eating practices were exacerbated by too much face time at
work and Facebook for leisure. The
result was an unhealthy, grumpy middle-aged man who could not walk around the
block. Something had to change! Only when I started to change my environment
did I change my life!
There were three aspects to my environment that I decided to
change in January 2015. Weighing more
than all but three of the heaviest players in the NFL with a goods deal less muscle
tone and height, I had to take the following actions to change my environment
and restore my hearth:
Changed my food environment. The first aspect that I set out to change was
my pantry. There were several nemeses
that I had to swap out. The first was
Ice Cream. I was an absolute ice cream
fanatic. So much so that I created an
acronym for my Ice Cream addiction – ICR.
This is how it is used. Once my
kids could drive, I would call out – “Hey, Kyle can you go on an ICR. Get me a large M&M blizzard and get
something for everyone else.” ICR if
you have not figured out yet is Ice Cream Run and it supplemented the ice cream
I already had in the freezer. In
addition to Ice Cream, I kept a pantry well stocked of chips, peanut M&Ms,
and a big 1-gallon plastic container of mixed nuts. All available for ready access whenever I
became stressed. This had to change so I
sought out alternatives.
I initially replaced my DQ Blizzard with
Skinny Cow Ice Cream sandwiches and eventually Non-Fat Greek yogurt with Banana’s
(I still stay away from Ice Cream totally since it is a trigger food). I replaced peanut M&M’s overtime with WW
Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie flavored bars that are individually wrapped, the
same calories of a two peanut M&M’s and less likely to gouge on by the cupful! I replaced chips with a crunchy, healthy
alternative that absorbs Salsa just as well – Broccoli. I dealt with my Mixed Nut affliction in a
similar way that I did Peanut M&Ms.
I swapped out the tub full of Mixed Nuts from Costco with individual
packets of smaller size that are less likely to gouge on in fits of stress
eating. These and other food changes got
me one third of the way to a better environment.
Changed my social and work environment. The next thing I needed to do was change up
how I spent my time. During the day and
into the early evening I was spending time locked to a desk in conference calls
or directing my team. At night, I read
the latest political debates late into the night on Facebook and Twitted. Both resulted in too much work time and not enough
downtime. Additionally, the constant
diatribe of uncivility on social media was stressing me out. I could feel the cortisol racing through my
veins as I dealt with the next work issue or latest political debate.
I decided to take two measures to change my
social and work environment. First, I vowed
to get up and move for 10 minutes each hour and to block out 1 hour for working
out in the morning. Additionally, I
vowed to leave no later than 7 PM unless the world was ending. At first, I thought these actions would
detract from my work effort, but I was wrong.
Instead, it fostered communication between my team and I and provided me
with the respite to come up with better actions.
The second thing I did was make a
determined effort to spend less time on social media and to spend that time on
positive feeds. I accomplished this in
two ways. I monitored and reduced my
time reading social media. When I could
not reduce it as much as I hoped, I decided to change my feeds and to listen to
mindful podcasts. I actively sought out positive
Facebook groups such as Spreading Positivity and liked their content. Over time, my Facebook feeds have changed
because of this determined effort from politics to positive messages. Many of these serve as inspirations to my
blogs! I have switched my environment
from Trump to Tranquility!
my internal environment. The most
important environment to change to get healthy is the internal dialogue running
through your head. The change in the
social and work environment helped a lot in this endeavor, but I was still
having negative thoughts. To counter
them, I took up meditation and mindfulness.
I have used the Headspace application as well as the Christian
Meditation blog to get mind off the problems running in my head to the progress
I am making in my heart!
Changing your environment is the first step to changing to
the new you! I did it and so can you!
Recently there has been a lot of controversy on the song “Baby It’s Cold Outside”. Now, I am not going to get into the controversy. No. Instead, I decided to use the melody, which I love so much, and make new lyrics that are appropriate for those losing weight!
Here is the song with the lyrics directly below:
I really should go play,
But it’s cold outside,
I got to get away,
But it’s cold outside,
I need to exercise,
So, I don’t get fat,
What do you think of that?
I have to go, go, go,
But my body says no, no, no,
I really should go and do my exercise,
But I despise,
The cold, the cold, the cold, THE COLD!
Most of us hate to exercise when it is cold outside. But it is a necessity if we are going to keep on our weight loss journey. So, how do you get your exercise in, when you don’t want to go out? Here are five tricks of the trade.
Bundle up and play! A key to good health is getting sun. So, the first thing is to layer up and get outdoors. Winter is a good time for high calorie burning especially if you are in Minnesota which I will be in a few weeks. So, layer up and have some fun with winter sports such as cross-country skiing, and sledding (as long as you are climbing up the hill after sledding down!) Take advantage of these great sports that are only available in the winter (or early spring and late autumn when you are in the frozen tundra up north).
Romp around in your romper! Those Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Jack LaLanne fans out there know the power of the romper. The founding father of exercise, Jack, and Abe Weisman, Tony Shaloub’s character on The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel show us how it is done old school with simple calisthenics. Whether you are in the warmth you are home or in the Catskills as Abe, old school calisthenics can get your heart pumping. If you have YouTube,you might even want to one of Jack’s old TV routines shown here. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y4A3mdG5zbQ
Take your Dog for a walk! Some dogs are conditioned to walk in the cold. Boots, our Bernese Mountain Dog, gets way more active when its get’s colder. As you can see from his thick coat and bear like appearance, Boots loves the cold and can walk a lot further when it is 30 degrees than 100 degrees in Austin. So, take care of your body and take your dog on a walk to escape that pesky cat.
Dance fever. This last one comes from my daughter Kate the Great. When she gets done from a tough day teaching high school, she goes home, turns on the X-Box and “Just Dance”s. Whether with an X-box game or to some Venmo videos of Taylor Swift (I personally love “Shake it Off”, dancing is an excellent way to shake off the pounds!
These are just five ideas to keep in shape during the winter months. There are many more like chopping wood for your own fire or hot yoga, but these will suffice for now. Bottom line: Don’t get old, just because it is cold. Exercise and have fun!
Over the last few months, I have been training to be a Spin Instructor. The thought that I could be a spin instructor a few years back was unimaginable. Cresting at 358 lbs., I could not ride a bike for more than a few minutes without one of two things happening. Either I would throw out my back, or so much pressure would be applied to a certain area that it would become numb, worse yet.
I only started to do spin after I had dropped some weight. Then, I fell in love with spinning. Part of it was the music, part of it was the exhilaration, but most of it was my instructor, Corey Ellis. You can read more about this hero of health in this blog. Heroes of Health Series, Episode 2 – Corey the Cycling King
I knew I had to go that extra step after finishing 4 hours of spinning during Lifetime Fitness St. Jude’s Fund Raiser – Ride for a Reason. I decided to get certified as a Spin Instructor. The added benefit is I get to be trained to Corey. See the picture of me, Corey, Kaisa, and another cyclist after the Race for the Cure.
On October 20th, I will get the chance to teach part of a Spin Class for the first time and I am totally stoked. I have come up with my Simple Set (a series of spinning intervals timed to a music) that speaks to both my weight loss journey and obstacles that we all need to overcome in life.
I have come up for a title and a subtitle for my Simple Set. The main title is For Excellence We Strive. The secondary title is called “Don’t Stop Believing, Even When You Are Living on A Prayer, Because You Could Be on The Edge of Glory” (a careful read will tell you the name of my songs!). Here is the meaning of the two titles.
The main title is “For Excellence We Strive” for two reasons. First, it is the motto for my class at West Point, the class of 85 (more later). The second reason is during the training, the cyclist will have three opportunities to strive for excellence only to be beat it in the next interval. Why? Because the excellence of today is the mediocrity of tomorrow. You must always strive for excellence, and when you achieve your goal, it is not time to revel and become complacent. No, it’s time to strap on your cycling shoes, clip in, and race to beat your previous best!
I will not repeat the second title but instead tell you why I picked the three songs:
Don’t Stop Believing – Journey. This first song represents the start of my weight loss journey and simulates climbing up a hill that slowly ascends. As you make the first few steps on the path to health, it is important not to stop believing you can do it. Even though the climb is getting harder after the first few moments of success, you need to keep pushing.
Living on a Prayer – Bon Jovi. This second song is prefect for the mid part of any weight loss journey. Three times in this song, you climb up as you pray that you overcome the next obstacle that is in your way. And three times, you reach the exhilaration as you find success; only to meet the next hill. I also picked this song because it has the lyric “Oh your half way there, oh Living on a Prayer”. I remember my half way there moment on my weight loss journey. It was at my 30th West Point Reunion when I had lost one half of my weight goal (see picture below)
Also, many times as I got stuck, I was Living on A Prayer. Praying that I would not give up. Praying that I could do it. Praying for a New Life!
On the Edge of Glory – Lady Gaga. I will not lie. I picked this last song as a tribute to Lady Gaga after seeing her performance on a “Star is Born”. But, then I realized how well it fit. Ask any Lifetime member of Wellness that Works (the organization formerly known as Weight Watchers) and they will tell you the last few pounds to your goal are the hardest. But it is essential not to stop when you are on the Edge of Glory. The song is perfect for this last set because during the verses you climb large hills but then at the end you feel the exhilaration of the chorus as you spin out at 110 RPMs!
So, there you have it. I am on the Edge of Glory and hopefully I will achieve it on October 20th. If interested, message or text me when we solidify the exact time. It will be at Lifetime Fitness Austin (still trying to figure if it is North or South).
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!
I was temporarily derailed on my Weight Loss maintenance program the last few weeks. So much so that my Lifetime standing was potentially threatened. The first two weigh-ins this month I was off by two lbs. Not the worst thing but I really cherish my Lifetime distinction.
What got me slightly off track? It was not dramatic. I did not suddenly binge eat a bunch of M&M’s or stop exercising. Nor did I stop my other good habits (in fact they saved me – more on that later!). No, it was three items that without the habits that I learned at Weight Watchers would have derailed me permanently.
I think of these external items as the Weight Gain Axis of Evil! Before the discipline and training I received at Weight Watchers, this Axis of Evil caused me to balloon up in a matter of weeks. The diagram below shows the three elements of the Axis:
Here is how they impacted me in my temporary setback.
Travel woes. Both weeks I was traveling for work out of town and had a delay on some of the flights. Plus traveling two time zones away.
Work Stress. I was taking on more work responsibility while still retaining my current work. In addition, I had a packed two-week schedule with deadlines and planes to catch.
Lack of Sleep. I could not sleep for the most part driven by the first two elements of the Axis. First, I kept thinking it was 5 am when it was 3 am because of the time zone difference. Second, I had to catch planes early in the morning and late at night. Third, the work stress and the tight schedule made me anxious making it difficult to fall asleep.
I caved in the past before Weight Watchers when I confronted the Weight Gain Axis of Evil. I would wake up too early or go to bed too late causing Cortisol to race through my veins. Then the stress elevated the cortisol level and the fatigue factor, making me eat more and exercise less. The result in the past; easily a five-pound weight gain in a week with additional weight gain until I could get of the loop.
This time however I was able to recover from the fleeting set back with the lessons I learned from Weight Watchers. Here are the 5 items that helped me.
Don’t Panic! – Like the Hitchhiker traveling the Galaxy (one of my favorite books), Don’t Panic! I remembered the rough patches I had before and how I eventually was able to overcome them. I was not going to let a two-week setback remain permanent. Remembering my Weight Loss Journey when I lost 170+ pounds, I knew if there were fits and starts in weight loss, there would also be partial setbacks in weight maintenance.
Look beyond the Scale – There are more things to Weight Watchers than just the scale. According to the Lifetime member rules, I only need to weigh in once a month to maintain my status. But comradery and the friends I have gained at my Round Rock class means more to me then a temporary loss of Lifetime status. THEY WERE THERE FOR ME AND I WILL BE THERE FOR THEM.
Listen closely at Class – While you are at class enjoying the comradery, listen! Two lessons from the last two classes helped me get back on track. One was the practice of mindfulness (see 4). The second was the discussion of the “The Power of Habit”. After class, I reread excerpts from that book and tweaked a few of my habits that had grown stale and needed tweaking!
Mindfulness – Weight Watchers has teamed with Mind Space to teach members the practice of mindfulness and meditation to overcome stress. After attending and participating in the recent mindfulness exercise that was introduced recently, I restarted my practice to handle the extra stress of the last few weeks. With the calming effect of mindfulness, I increased my sleep and it was deeper also.
Blue Dot Focus – I never lost my habit of tracking even during my set back. But I did lose the focus of trying to get a blue dot award (staying in a recommended point zone for a day). I had become astute at using every one of my weekly points and some of my activity points. In so doing, I had been paying less attention of hitting a blue dot 5 out of the 7 days in a week. This week, I went back to that goal and in so doing retained some of my weekly points.
My 5 ways to defeat my Weight Gain Axis of Evil may be different from yours. Indeed, you may have a different Axis. The point is to examine and to attack your weight gain nemesis with optimism, pluck and the lessons of Weight Watchers. In closing:
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!