Category Archives: Exercise

I Asked

I moved my bedroom from the living room into a bedroom this morning. If that sounds byzantine, it was. I’ve lived in my living room for almost four months. I also exercised and then went running. Whether it was toward something or away, I’m not certain. But I ran. And it felt glorious. It was the fifth time this week and the first in a long time where I felt like I might become airborne as I did so. I bought a set of athletic pants that fit me properly. They are 28-30 small adult/child size. Someone nicknamed me “Babypants.” I don’t take offense. I earned the size. And if you see me running and think I’m doing it strangely, that’s more than okay, too. Doing the work and looking stupid is okay by me. I’m going to look (and sound) stupid quite often. I look forward to it. It puzzles me that people are afraid of looking stupid, saying the wrong thing, or believing that other people have the magic formula for style, method, or appearance. We owe it to ourselves to be as strange as we naturally are.

When I got back from running, the husband of a caretaker for one of the tenants here spent his time waiting by blowing the leaves off the walkway. He watched as I ran up and down the staircase a few dozen times. “Getting your cardio in again? I saw you run up from the road.” I laughed. “Well, I have 30 years worth to catch up on.”

Earlier this week, I did a reset and asked the universe for a couple of favors. Not because I’m deserving of them – but because I’m not. It’s the first time I’ve dared to do so in a long time. The biggest ask is that I avoid calamity or demise for at least another year. A year is long enough to transform anything.

In the same way, I’ve diligently said, “I don’t know” with much greater frequency this year, I’ve also started asking. It’s a tangent to my propensity to state my truth without trying to wrangle someone into a specific reaction. It’s been a wild ride! Those who respond with incredulity that I ask are forgetting the fundamental truth: it’s never wrong to ask; it’s only wrong to respond irrationally on either side of the asking. It’s the cousin to honesty, a thing everyone claims to desire yet few embrace without grimace or discontent.

As I write this, someone texted me in response to another ask. Life can be so precious and quixotic at times, can’t it?

Ask
Ask for what you want or desire.
If you don’t, it is a certainty you’ll never get it.
Ask of life and ask of people.
The answer, though bitter or not what you sought…
It’s at least the truth.
Everything starts from there
Ask

Love, X
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G.Y.F.S.T.


I laughed my butt off the first time I saw TikToker Darrin Robinson’s “GYFST” post.

His acronym accurately surmises the ridiculously easy way to improve your life.

It all starts with an implemented commitment to change and do things differently. To stop repeating what hasn’t worked.

I’ve added it to my “Choose Your Hard” and “Nothing tastes as good as this feels” list of mantras.

I find myself repeating it when I’m doing pushups or using dumbbells. It is the most profane and profound mantra to internalize.

Just do it. Differently. And you’ll get something different.

Adjust as needed. Just KEEP adjusting until you find a way.

Love, X
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P.S. I made the picture…

The Other World Nearby

My apartment simplex can’t be described as pretty. It doesn’t need to be. I wish it were a wash of color and eccentricity. It has its pockets of interest and intrigue. With a bit of effort, I could transform the entire look and perception of this place. No matter how wild my tastes, there’s no way the result could be lesser than the status quo.

At the street where the parking lot meets Gregg, Poplar Street ends at the railroad tracks. I listened to the excursion train passing this morning as I lay in bed, not wanting to exit its warmth, even as I felt the urge to jump up and find the cool air outside to greet me – and wave at the passersby on the train. At the terminus of Poplar, there’s a crosswalk that leads to a trail pass-through to the neighborhood behind me, serpentinely connecting Gregg and Poplar to Yates, which branches to several other areas and College Avenue.

I love this pass-through. It opens another world to me without much walking to enter it. When I lived on Vanleer in Springdale, it was land-locked in a huge loopy and closed set of streets. There were a couple of places where such pass-through sidewalks or trails would have made using the neighborhood safer and more convenient. The pass-through here at Gregg is relaxing, efficient, and a welcome feature of this area. It’s genius. It’s Fayetteville.

This morning, as I let my feet lead me through the back neighborhoods, it was beautiful and much warmer than you’d expect for mid-November. I could smell the mountains of untended leaves, as well as hear the voices and sounds of hundreds of people moving about on their Saturday mornings.

Every person I waved to waved back. One person offered me a cup of coffee to go. “Next time, I promise!” That’s customer service on a neighborhood level.

I took a picture in front of one of my favorite nearby houses. It’s on Miller Street. It makes me think of the quote, “If yellow is such a happy color, why don’t more people use it?” This house, with its screened-in porch and simple old-style lines, strikes a chord in me. It’s the perfect house to imagine Thanksgiving dinner, full of raucous people and mountains of untouched food on every counter.

Thanks for the trail connection through the neighborhood. It’s made a world of difference for me and my link to those around me.

The Banana Apple Rule

Despite what I’ve been eating, I still weigh about 148 lbs. There’s a ‘but’ here.

I can’t tell y’all how many times I’ve stepped on the scale lately, expecting to be over 150.

I think back to when I had the vision of what I’d look like. I didn’t expect a huge abdominal scar. But I love that it’s there. Really.

I’ve worked really hard since surgery to change my body. It’s working. My muscle mass is increasing. That creates the issue of burning more calories at rest than I previously did. I was wrong about needing to incorporate more weight training into my routine. Wrong seems to surround me when I think about what I thought I knew. I’m so grateful that I can do pushups again. Before my surgery, they were like meditation to me.

Now that I have a Fitbit, I know how easy it is to surpass 20,000 steps just on a normal day, one without a “walk.” I was fat with the same amount of activity. For years. That tells you how many bad choices I was making with the foods I was eating. It’s the fundamental truth of losing weight. Generally speaking, it’s the only reason you’re not where you want to be.

Fitbit watches are great for metrics. I thought I wouldn’t find it interesting. I was wrong, as usual. I got the 3-month trial premium plan. It tells me my heart rate, O2 level, sleep patterns, snoring, and of course steps. The threshold is 10,000 steps. It’s obvious that I will always go over 20,000 if I’m working. If I take a long walk through the streets around me, I can hit 30,000, or 50,000.

The Banana Apple Rule has helped me. If I go into a store, even an inconvenience store, and there are apples or bananas, I buy one and eat it. It’s a bit simplistic, but it works. It might not stop me from eating a bag of something stupid; it reminds me of why making different choices is a necessity.

When I lost all the weight, I didn’t change anything except what I ate.

Now that I’ve eclipsed a year of different choices, I feel humbled. No matter what else has happened to me, I can’t resist running up the stairs or wanting to hurdle over the side as I go down them, wondering if I might float.

When I think about where I was thirteen months ago, I float.

Thanksgiving is approaching. I thank the universe every night that I’m still here. I’ll make a lot of dumb choices because I’m human. But I’ll also make a lot of moments better because I’m still alive and being me.

Love, X
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Taste Torture Love

During the cheesecake fiasco at Whole Foods the other day, I bought a reasonably-priced jug of protein powder. I should have known!

Anything reasonably priced at Whole Foods is 100% a mistake. Trust me.

It’s like buying your auto insurance from a guy named Honest Pete. You just don’t do it.

This brand is plant-based. Today, I made ten servings of it. The label said “French Vanilla.” The flavor is so opposite the label that I decided it is a new form of reverse marketing.

I made mine with skim milk. When I took the first gulp, the truth is that I thought it tasted like a chalky fart.

Yes, you read that right.

You know how you drive past a weird part of town and realize that the municipal wastewater treatment plant must be nearby? It was exactly like that but without the nostalgia. You have to drive a mile to rid the smell from the interior of your car.

The grit and residue left in my teeth was remarkable. Had someone thrown an urn of ashes in my face, I wouldn’t have noticed, probably even if threw the actual metal urn in my face, too. I decided that it reminded me of a mix of flatulence, diet tonic water, black licorice, and the tears of Tibetan monks.

As I stood there drinking it, I read the label. I couldn’t find “bile” anywhere in the list.

By the time I finished the serving?

I realized that it tastes so terrible that I LOVE it.

Just ignore me if I swallow and shiver as I imbibe it. I wouldn’t be surprised if I grow horns or an extra ear after drinking this stuff.

It’s rancid. I’ll buy it again if I catch it “on sale” at Whole Foods. Or possibly in their dumpster. Yes, I’m conflicted!

Love, X

Personal

It wasn’t until I sat down with a counselor to recap the last few months of my life that I realized how important the ritual of pushups had become. I started on June 1st, after listening to my cousin Lynette, aka Blue Dress Project. Part of my wish was to start doing only what could be sustainable. Pushups are an effective total-body workout – and they can be done anywhere, require no equipment, and are a tremendous incremental workout. Most of my shoulder pain disappeared as my ability to do a lot of pushups crescendoed. Lynette likes to tease me about my reluctance to add more physical activity to my life. I was cautious about further damage; all of that concern turned out to be pointless, and especially because it wasn’t my shoulder that turned traitorous to me. Isn’t it amusing that we worry about things, only to discover that almost none of what we expect comes to fruition – while the stuff we’d never expect blossoms and distracts us?

My job is much more physical than most people realize. When I was fat, it was hard for people to see me and imagine that I walked miles every day and moved tons of medical supplies. Now that I’m thin, people seem to have no doubts. It’s a lesson in self-image and the oddness of how your body sends messages to other people, even though we don’t like to think so. I don’t take it personally. I wish that we had a way to pull people aside and say, “I’m concerned. You’re overweight, and your health is probably suffering.” Yesterday, I went to work for a bit to celebrate a co-worker’s birthday and retirement. I’ve known her for 16+ years, and her absence will be a strange void, especially at 4 a.m. While I was at work for the short visit, a few people who’d not seen me in weeks were shocked at my transformation. They’d forgotten that I’d lost almost 90+ lbs before my emergency surgery. In the interim, my body shape has changed and become what it’s supposed to be, except, of course, for the permanent scar and reminder of life’s capriciousness. Though people have had months to watch my body melt away, they still have an old image of me in their heads. They laugh when I tell them, “Never again.” The other component of my transformation, the mental one, is invisible to me. That’ll take longer to percolate and replace the old me.

Since my surgery four-plus weeks ago, I haven’t been able to do many traditional pushups. In the last couple of days, I’ve done a few, a very few, carefully. I’ve also done more by leaning on the kitchen counter or deck landing to minimize any potential stress to my abdomen. I’ve given the dumbbells a lot of work, but it’s not quite the same, especially since I have to be extremely careful. A return to work is approaching like a snowball. After a few weeks with post-surgery dumbbells, I’ve discovered that I enjoy the ritual of repetitions and increasing fatigue.

My counselor knew I’d started doing pushups because my therapy slightly overlapped the date I started back in June. She looked at me in surprise when I told her I had made it to the point I could do 1500-plus in a day. I also told her that the irony was that I decided to limit myself to 500 a day three days before my emergency surgery. “Just 500?” she said and laughed.

I find myself shaking my head at the irony of spending a year eating healthily and getting in the best shape of my adult life, only to find myself hospitalized for the first time as an adult.

Until I had to stop doing them after surgery, I hadn’t connected the dots explicitly about how pushups are exercise and meditative. They incorporate counting, breathing, and a bit of simultaneous mindlessness. For anyone reading my posts about them, I admitted countless times that I often used them to counteract anxiety. Over the last five weeks, I realized that the habit and instinctive desire to do them was always in the back of my mind. I realized that I had been so successful early on because pushups were my single-best anxiety tool.

One of my most effective tools to help cope with anxiety was taken from me. I have a lot to be thankful for, regardless. Like so many other non-physical ailments, stress can quickly derail anyone, partly because it’s invisible to other people until it manifests itself with undesirable behavior.

It’s evident to me that pushups became an addiction. People scoff at the idea that something perceived as so healthy can be an addiction. It’s one of the reasons I’d already decided to reduce my maximum to 500 a day. It’s still a lot – but not crazy. Going back to work, there’s no doubt I will get more exercise than I probably want for a while.


I’m going back to work on Monday 4 weeks and 6 days after my emergency surgery.

People ask me about my most significant setback during my recovery.

It wasn’t the pain, the staples, regrets, or the disconnectedness I often experience.

It was the unexpected vomiting spell I had last Saturday. Don’t worry; it wasn’t physical. Because I’d hit my physical limit with exercise for the day, I didn’t have the easy tools to trick my mind into quietness. I WANTED to do several hundred pushups, don’t get me wrong. The stress and anxiety hit me like a brick. It was over relatively quickly. I knew immediately I’d oddly strained the muscles on the left side of my stomach, away from the vertical scar running down the valley of my middle. Though the external stressors hadn’t diminished, my focus shifted immediately to damage mode – and my mind sidestepped ongoing anxiety. After abdominal surgery, the surgeons give you constructive advice such as, “Don’t sneeze too much. Or cough. And especially don’t vomit. Or force yourself as you go to the bathroom. Don’t worry about a ‘little’ blood.” Thanks, Doc – now that’s all I can think about.

It was a moment of clarity.

The foolishness of letting external stress affect me like that washed over me. After losing all the weight and getting into surprising shape, I’d already survived an unexpected physical setback with the surgery. Even doing things well, the universe needed a laugh at my expense.

And so it was after I vomited. It reinforced my decision to see a counselor again. People are stressed more than ever, or so it seems. I don’t want to point fingers at the circumstances that led me to be quickly sick. The truth is that it is on me to continue to learn new habits and not internalize things, no matter how crazy, dramatic, or wild they may be. The world is inevitably going to shock me, and people will behave in self-destructive or ridiculous ways. (This explains why some people like rodeos or fashion shows.)

I have to learn to stand quietly, even if I’m in the eye of the storm.

I have to learn to stand quietly, even as people act disturbingly.

There will always be storms and also people to cause anguish.

To expect otherwise is both a form of attempted control and surrender of my peace. I’d forgotten to take control of the thoughts running through my head, justifying it because my concern was for someone else who couldn’t pull up out of their flight path.

I don’t want to disengage from people. Most people are pursuing their interests without inflicting damage. Now, more than ever, I need other people to share moments.

During this most prolonged dormant period of my adult life, I tried to take advantage of the downtime and channel my loneliness. People roll their eyes when I tell them I don’t understand boredom. There is SO much to do, books to read (all non-fiction in this irregular period), TED talks to watch and listen to, colorful art and projects to finish, and a universe idly waiting for me to engage. Not to mention my favorite, writing. I accidentally wrote a 100+ page story in the last few weeks, one so intensely personal that I don’t know if it will ever see the light of day. I became friends with the lengthy spiderweb of streets around my apartment, including many dogs who need attention.

I laugh when I think of all the surprises I’ve done within a few miles of my apartment. Some were noticed, but not all. Some undoubtedly caused happiness or laughter. Others? Probably confusion. I tried to do random acts of kindness (and many not so random). I can see a couple from the landing outside my apartment, one of them ridiculous. I can’t believe no one noticed or asked me, “How?”

I’m not sure what the message of this is supposed to be. And that’s okay. Not all sharing can be tied up with a bow.

Maybe you learned something about me. I learned something about myself. Not all of it is good. Anxiety is a real issue, and if you suffer from it, sleeplessness, or depression, or just want to feel better in life, there is help. All of it starts from within, in an attempt to be who you’re supposed to be. If you have a day or thirty years ahead of you, you might as well try to live in the best way you can. All of it centers on being honest and being surrounded by people who light you up.

Go find your fire. Start with an ember if you must. Just start.

Love, X
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Love, And The Risk Of Wet Shoes

A few days ago, I walked five times, each a long, unplanned meandering. Though I almost always answer the call of the sidestreets, on the third time I cut through to reach the trail that traverses Northwest Arkansas. I’d lost track of time listening to TED talks about love, psychology, work, technology, and language. Ideas make my feet lighter than air. The creek along the trail wasn’t fast-moving, but its sounds, intermixed with the rustle of the encroaching trees and camouflaged birds, transfixed me.

A few minutes later, I reached one of the breaks in the foliage, one exposing a series of stones strategically placed across the creek. Without thought, I stepped off to cross the rocks. “Be careful,” I told myself. As everyone knows, river stones can be beguiling in their slipperiness. All of us have hopefully experienced the momentary horror of knowing we’re going to fall in, no matter how madly we windmill our arms for balance. My surgery incision tends to call out to me when I’m pondering crossing a fallen log, jumping a park bench, or climbing a tree. Oh, how I miss climbing trees! I’ve climbed fifty in the last year, even when the wind was dormant and the sun baked the upper reaches of the available trees. Few things can provide such a unique perspective. Sitting on a live thing, smelling the pungency of the leaves, and most of all, watching things and people move about with no concern for the possibility of someone sitting above them in the branches.

Halfway across, I forgot that I was crossing and stepped to the left, my feet submerging into the water. My shoes filled with water and my socks became soggy. I walked several yards through the middle of the creek. It was heavenly and my hot feet dispelled that heat into the water. I stood there, feeling the sensation.

“It’s nice, isn’t it?” asked a voice.

I looked around and saw no one.

“I’m over here,” the voice said. Because I was concentrating, I saw the woman sitting on the bank, her back against a tree. She had a book in one hand and a large bottle of soda in the other.

“Yes! It is fantastic. Sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.” I turned to walk back toward the traversing stones.

“You can stand there in the creek if you want. It’s everybody’s to enjoy,” she told me.

“What are you reading?” I asked her.

“Where The Crawdads Sing,” she told me, holding the book up.

“What a coincidence. I read that. It was a beautiful story.”

“Yes, this is my third reading.” She smiled.

I turned and walked back to the stones and away from the creek. All the way home, my feet squished as I walked. This time, I had not been the observer. Someone else had found a secret place and a way to enjoy it. My feet didn’t feel so wet any longer. All I could think about was the cool water and reading place by the creek.

Love, X
*

Weight & Exercise Thoughts

(A long read, of course! 🙂 ) 

“Your body reflects what you do habitually.” I’d add, “Your life is the same.”

Choices. Habits. Focus. 

Stupid buzzwords that also are true. There’s no magic formula for most of it. It’s just consistency and using our intelligence and creativity to let our bodies do what they are supposed to. It also requires silencing that negative voice in your head. You are not your past or your past choices, even though that’s precisely what most of us think when we’re alone with our thoughts. Life would be staggeringly bad if we believed that we were incapable of striking out on a new path. I look at my hands each day and find it impossible to think that I bit my fingernails for 50+ years. It’s stupid. I look back at my pictures, and even during years when I was appreciative of life, I can’t help but wonder how much more life I could have experienced if I’d woken up sooner. I can’t recapture those years, but I can tuck them away as a constant reminder. 

I’m a few days away from my original year-long health/weight plan. My brother died on October 5th of last year. Following that, I had the morning where I thought I had covid and felt like I would die. It seems like five years ago. But I still feel the gong of that day in my head when I remember ‘seeing’ my new self. Over the last several months, I’ve worked on reading, watching, and absorbing as much science-based material that I could about health, weight maintenance, and exercise. For me, it is painfully obvious why most people fail in their efforts. 

I know people read some of my thoughts and wonder why I feel like I can give advice. All of us have our moments and experience. I know what I learned and what worked for me. Almost everything can be boiled down to wanting to change and then experimenting with what I thought I knew versus what works. I can’t help but be a little evangelical about it because not a day passes when someone doesn’t express a desire to get control of this aspect of their lives. I’m insistent on telling them that they can, even if they do so, without disrupting their days with crazy programs and “musts” that don’t hold up to science. Major change can be achieved incrementally, one little choice and habit at a time. 

I started on June 1st with pushups. Within weeks, I was doing hundreds a day, culminating in me doing 1,500 some days. That makes me laugh. A week before my emergency surgery, I decided to limit myself to 500 a day for maintenance and modify my diet to add protein and more calories, in part to shift to more muscle-building. How ironic that I’d made the shift just three days before my surgery on Monday, September 13th. It is unfathomable to me that it’s been only three weeks. For anyone who doesn’t know, my surgery didn’t result from overexertion. I had a tiny bit of scar tissue that caused my intestinal loop to get lodged in the void created by the scar tissue and cut off. The only way I could have ‘caught’ it would have been to have a colonoscopy very recently; even then, surgery would have been required. 

The surgeons look out the small loop. Pain saved my life, even though I will never forget rolling around on the cement floor of the ER for hours. Being thin made my recovery incredibly faster. Since then, I’ve followed the advice of surgeons and nutritionists. I’ve used dumbbells relentlessly so that my transition back to work will be less eventful. What happened to me could happen again – or to anyone. I’m thankful it wasn’t a tumor, a heart attack, or an aneurysm. After I woke up alive, I found out that my initial CT Scan had a mass that looked indistinguishable from a tumor. The surgeons thought it was going to be a complicated surgery. They were surprised to find it was straightforward. Life’s lottery gave me a pass for another day. 

In a nutshell, here’s the gist: the simplest way to stay thinner is to control what you put in your mouth. (Sounds obvious, doesn’t it?) Beyond that, move around, preferably with activity. But while you’re at it, get rid of the idea that you have to artificially block off time or engage in rigorous (and likely boring) traditional exercise. Walk your dog, cat, or opossum, vacuum, play frisbee, walk across long parking lots instead of hovering by the door. Be creative. 

Anywhere from 75-90% of every calorie you burn is from just living. You burn 10-20% of your calories exercising at most, and that’s pushing it. Yet, most people jump into health kicks thinking exercise is the critical component. It’s not. Controlling your diet and maximizing your ability to consume and burn calories when you’re not moving is key to any long-term weight maintenance routine. Since most of your calories are burned from everyday living, the biggest bang for your time is derived by taking the effort to control what goes into your mouth. The second biggest results from moving, no matter how you choose to do so. 

Exercise is essential for a lot of reasons. But you’re going to have to get over the mindset that it’s the single solution to weight maintenance. You’ll note that most healthy people incorporate activity into their everyday lives. It does not need to include weight-lifting, running, or other dedicated activities. If you enjoy those things, knock yourself out! If you don’t, find something that works for you – things that don’t cost you a fortune, injure you, or make you resent activity. We have so many options to entertain ourselves. 

Most people don’t stick to unnatural attempts to exercise. Much of the gym universe is predicated on taking financial advantage of people’s inability to stick to life changes that become habits. All that time you spend driving to and from the gym would be much better served walking or finding ways to stay active during your day. (IF you’re not going to stick to it long-term, I mean) And if you do enjoy the gym, by all means, go! If you find that the routine of the gym galvanizes you into continuing with exercise, don’t think I’m saying it’s a waste. It’s not. Any routine that works for you is worth the effort, no matter what it is. If you’re willing to learn new comfort zones, you’ll more likely stick to what works for you. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. 

And if you don’t, find inexpensive equipment to achieve the same result at home. Most of us are not athletes. Feel free to run if you want to. But a 180-lb person burns about 170 calories running a 10-minute mile. You burn roughly 100 calories walking a mile. This isn’t a cardio-versus-exercise post. The point is that if you commit to a sustainable diet and activity, you’ll be more likely to be successful. Sheer bouts of willpower don’t work very well. And they contribute to that creeping feeling of failure or disappointment when you fall off the wagon. 

Quit fighting the science that tells us that slower-paced exercise yields almost the same benefit as intense bouts of bone-wearying exertion. If you do activity or exercise that builds muscle, you’re going to burn more calories when you do give in and sit on the couch. You don’t have to spend an hour at a time to get healthy. However, you have to commit to making habits that make staying fit and healthy an inevitable consequence. Taking six ten-minute walks yields almost the same health benefit as an hour-long walk. 

If you do build muscle mass, you’ll burn a lot more calories than by simply losing weight. It’s one of the reasons you need to keep in mind that muscle will increase your weight and keep you healthier and adjust your metabolism. And you’ll look better and feel better. I’m not anti-weights at all. I’m anti-starting-what-you-can’t-always-continue-to-do. Every activity you choose pushes other alternatives out. If you’ve got the time and stamina for weight training, that’s great! I don’t want you blaming your perceived ‘failure’ for not going to the gym. You don’t need a gym if you have the motivation to do things differently. 

Recently, someone I know was lamenting that she hadn’t “went to exercise the entire week.” I asked, “But if you’re at home on the couch, you can do 1,000 exercises. Pushups, dumbbells, walk in place, run in place, etc. If you can watch four hours of tv, you can definitely do 30-60 minutes of activity – and still watch tv while you do it.” She looked at me blankly, knowing I’d eviscerated her excuse. “Yes, but a couple of those evenings I was at sporting events or with a friend.” I paused. “Okay, but you can still do a lot of activity when you’re at a sporting event or a friend’s house. Or, heaven forbid, while you’re working. Instead of getting out your phone, do sets of exercises. How is that any ruder than ignoring your friend while you’re on the phone? You can still talk to your friend even if you’re on the floor doing pushups. You have to normalize your choices and stop normalizing your excuses.” My sermon was over. 

Use incrementalism to achieve the same objective without devoting your precious time to artificially forcing yourself to exercise. If you can’t do it the rest of your life, you’re making it worse for your future self. 

Pick something you know you don’t need. Doritos, for example. Eat less of them. Just that tiny step will, over time, reduce your weight and improve your health. Keep adding small changes by choosing differently. If you’re not hungry, stay out of the kitchen. If you can, don’t bring home things that you know you can’t resist. Use them as treats rather than staples. In our world, there are so many options we can choose from instead of empty calories. You’re not going to get where you want to be by doing the same things; change is mandatory. 

It’s day one for you, rather than “one day.”

Keep moving. Eat less. 

Find ways to make food both enjoyable and rational. If you don’t choose to do this, your hard choices are already made for you – and the person you’ll be next year will have to deal with your current inability to focus. 

Food is not going to stop being delicious. Food manufacturers are beyond incredible at what they do. They design foods that make you want to eat more. Don’t feel wrong about being normal and loving such foods. Feel bad that you know it and won’t choose a different way to react. 

So what if you binge on terrible foods? It’s more about the arc of your effort than a single day. Eat a large pizza or a pan of lasagna. A single day’s extravagance will not derail you. It’s all mental. 

Choose your hard until it becomes easy. 

I’m just a few days away from October. I started my journey and promised myself I’d take a hard look after a year. Despite having surgery, I’m more convinced than ever that I’ll never be fat again. 

It’s just math: keep my intake lower than my exertion. It’s not much of a secret formula, is it? You already know all of this. 

WW, Jenny Craig, and the hundreds of other programs are out there if you need them and if they work for you. But it is entirely possible to achieve your goals without paying for an extra program. 

The secret is a desire to be the person you want to be and find a way to get there. 

Put it into literal action. 

Love, X

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P.S. Yes, that picture behind me is of a monkey seeing my reflection in the handheld mirror..