Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Seriously, what is with the attitude?

I've been getting a lot of positive feedback from my fellow Spark Buddies about my attitude, so I thought I would take a moment to blog about it. 

First, what I'm not. I'm not walking around everyday like a medicated mannequin. I'm not Pollyanna, deluded into thinking that life is all kittens and rainbows. And I'm not immune to the frustrations, obstacles and problems of life. 

Like everyone else, I am subject to the stresses and strains of everyday living. I am struggling to keep a business open, employees working, and income coming in to my own checking account. I worry about paying my bills, keeping my home, and taking care of my family's day-to-day needs. And I am a bundle of nerves everytime I try to lock down my future employment plans. In other words, I have issues. 

But as much as those things can keep me awake at night, I make a conscious choice that they will not control my life. I don't bury my head like an ostrich and ignore them, but I don't let them consume me, either. I take the time to evaluate what is happening, identify any actions I can take to influence outcomes, and then do what I can do. 

Beyond that, though, I do not waste time worrying about things outside of my control. I ask myself, "is there anything I can do to control what is happening?" If there is, I do it. If not, my worrying only increases my stress levels. It saps my energy and tears at everything I am. I am short with family and friends, unpleasant at work, and generally not fun to be around. And who the heck wants to be that guy? 

So who am I and how do I keep a positive attitude? I'm an optimist. I believe that when all is said and done, life is truly a joy and a blessing. And everyday I am reminded of that. I am loved beyond anything I ever dreamed I could be. I have friends that would move time and tide to help me if I had need for it. And I am fortunate enough to have days filled with reasons to laugh and live and share and feel and experience. As trite as it sounds, life is good and I never want to forget that. 

And when I falter? Yes I have days that overwhelm me. There are times when my own fears and weaknesses obscure the good, when I can only see the problems. How do I get through those times? One choice, one decision, one moment at a time. I find one thing, one good and positive thing, and I cling to it like a life raft to carry me through. 

How does that play out here at Spark People? Simple. When I am feeling discouraged about my weight, or I am tired of a scale that won't move, or I feel frustrated with my body or my food or my workouts, I log in to Spark People and go right to the "Panic! Button" message forum. No, I don't post a request for help, though I certainly may someday. Instead, I start reading what others have posted. I look for opportunities to reach out to people who need a boost. I'm no expert (I'm talking about you, amazing Coach Nancy!), so I don't offer advice beyond my comfort level. But I can offer support and encouragement. I can remind them that success is inevitable if they stick with the basics, they deserve to be happy in their journeys, and they are surrounded by Spark Buddies who want them to be successful. 

And the most important part for me is that the more I encourage others, the more I feel encouraged myself. It's impossible to stand up and cheer for someone else and still feel down. (Ever see a gloomy cheerleader? Not likely). As simple and naive as it sounds, the truth is that helping others is the best way to help yourself. 

Wow. That was a lot of writing this morning. I didn't intend to write so much, but I feel very passionate about this topic. If I had a magic wand and could make one change for everyone, it would be to help them see beyond their worries and fears and view their full potential, instead. There is so much more to each of us and our lives than just our daily struggles. 

I matter. Each of you matter. We are all valuable and our lives have meaning. It is only when we believe those words that we stop existing and begin truly living. 

(Originally posted at SparkPeople.com.)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Junk Food For The Mind.

I've been spending a lot of time lately monitoring what I am eating. I read nutrition labels, watch for serving counts, and pay attention to portion control. It's important that I take in the good stuff and skip the bad. 

So why do I let so much other bad stuff into my system? Why do I spend time reading about trashy celebrities and hateful television hosts and ranting politicians? Why do I bother reading articles about Hollywood feuds and racist rants? 

It's junk food for the mind. And I don't need it. It does nothing for me, and in fact, I think it poisons my mind a little bit more everyday. So I'm going to be more mindful of what I allow in. 

Don't get me wrong. I'm not going to put myself in Pollyanna City, pretending that all is wonderful in the world and that nothing bad is happening. That's not reality. But I am going to eliminate the silly and wasteful consumption of useless information. 

For example, as a former Active Duty Marine, I'm always mindful of the situations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In fact, just yesterday afternoon I was honored to see a friend receive his second Bronze Star for illustrious and brave courage under combat fire. And because of my connections to the war, I see stories like this, read them carefully, and say a prayer for those lost and for those who loved and cared for them. 

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — Eight American troops were killed in a series of attacks in southern Afghanistan, officials said Wednesday as Taliban militants pushed back against an effort to secure the volatile region. 

But there are other stories that I no longer need to read. I don't care if Bristol Palin is engaged, if Lindsay Lohan goes to jail, or if Mel Gibson goes on another drunken, racist rant. I don't care what happens to Roman Polanski, the Kardashians or a single Real Housewife of Any City. 

Enough with the mental junk food. Being healthy is more than just about the body. It's about the mind and the spirit, too. And this guy is going to start truly caring for myself by being way more careful about how I fuel myself mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Podcasts, iTunes and Universities

Anyone else taking advantage of the iTunes/University partnerships? Right now, I'm downloading Stanford University's "The American Founders and their World (HIST151)" course. These are the audio lectures:

  1. Jefferson, Madison and the Problem of Slavery in an Empire of Liberty

  2. How Radical was the Revolution and how Reactionary was the Constitution?

  3. When Abigail and John met George and Charlotte, or, The American Rebellion Viewed from London

  4. Washington's Frontier and Hamilton's Marketplace: Visions of Post-Revolutionary Greatness

Each lecture is approx 2 hours, and they whole thing is free to anyone with an iTunes account... also free. They're pretty cool, and courses are available in nearly every subject. There are audio and video presentations, depending on the course.

Am I the only one listening to these?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Q: When Is Quitting Not Quitting?

A: When it is just another step on the road to continual improvement.

I started a 30 Day Challenge twenty-one days ago. I'm not doing it anymore. How is that not quitting?

One, because I already met my goal of losing thirteen pounds and getting under 200. Two, because my trainer cautioned me that after three weeks of solid cardio, my body was adjusting to it and needs a change. And three, because I'm already planning my next mini-challenge.

The old me was far more rigid. Sign up for thirty days and you do thirty days or else you're a failure. But that mindset is more a problem than a solution. Why would I want to continue doing a program that (a) has already delivered the hoped for results and (b) isn't the most effective use of my training time?

So now what? I'm enjoying a couple of days off from physical training (but still eating right and tracking my calories!) while I create my next challenge. I'm adding weight training to my cardio workouts to get the most out of my time in the gym. I'm thinking a two week period is enough to get into the routine, then I will get measurements and set up a longer-term goal.

And one other change... no more daily weigh-ins. I had my reasons for doing that before, but going forward, once a week is plenty. I'm not chasing a number on the scale, I am pursuing long-term fitness results.

I'm excited. I feel like I successfully completed my challenge because I lost the weight, I got back into a healthy routine, and I refocused myself on fitness and health. These are all very good things, indeed.

Here I go again. And I can't wait.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Hooray for me! I won the lottery!

I did, right? I mean, I got this email and everything...




Yahoo!! International Lottery Organization

Bangkok Branch Office

Address: 3 Sukhumvit Lane

Bangkok 10400 Thailand

Yahoo! Mail announces you as one of the 25 lucky winners in the ongoing 10 Years Yahoo lottery Award of the New Year Held this month.

All 25 winning email addresses were randomly selected from a batch of 50,000,000 international emails each from Canada, Australia, United States, Asia, Europe, Middle East, Africa and Oceania as part of our international promotions program which is conducted annually, consequently, you have been approved for a total pay out of ONE MILLION UNITED STATE DOLLARS ( $1, 000. 000.00USD).

This Lottery was promoted and sponsored by a conglomerate of some multinational companies as part of their social responsibility to the citizens in the communities where they have operational base.

Further more your details (e-mail address) falls within our Bangkok representative office in Bangkok Thailand, as indicated in your play coupon and your prize of ( $1, 000.000.00USD) will be released to you from this regional branch office in Bangkok Thailand.

Your fund is now deposited with our Bank/Security Bangkok Bank of Thailand and insured in your name. Due to mix up of some numbers and names, we ask that you keep this award from public notice until your claim has been processed, and your winning Cheque have being sent to you or remitted to your account, as this is part of our security protocol, to avoid double claiming and unwarranted taking of advantage of this program by participants, as has happened in the past.


These are your identification numbers.

Ticket number.....................154-12872774-09

Serial number.......................21370-7

Lucky number...................27-50-23-94-66-40

Ref number...................Y.TILB/6362362114/26

To begin your lottery claims, Please contact our Yahoo Lottery Co-ordinator as follows,

Name: Dr.Sammuel Boon-Mee

Email: ylottery60@yahoo.com.hk

Tel: +668-1692-0653

You are to send the completed verification form below to the co-ordinator whose email address is given above so that you will be advised on what to do to get your prize money. Congratulations once more!!







7. SEX




Remember, all prize money must be claimed not later than one month time. Any claim not made by this date (within one month) will be returned to HER MAJESTYS DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY. And also be informed that 10% of your lottery winning belongs to (THE PROMOTIONS COMPANY). Because they are the company that bought your ticket and played the lottery in your name.

Note also that this 10% will be remitted after you have received your winnings prize, because the money is insured in your name already.

NOTE: In order to avoid unnecessary delays and complications, please remember to quote your reference and batch numbers in all correspondences with us, Furthermore, should there be any change of address, please do inform our Co-ordinator as soon as possible. Yahoo lottery is a free service that does not require you to be a Yahoo! Registered user.

An original copy of your lucky winning ticket and your deposit certificate will be sent to you by Administrative Remittance Operation Manager of Bangkok Bank Of Thailand.


Once again from all members of our staff and thank you for being a part of our International Promotions program.