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What’s the combo?

July 8th, 2011 at 10:58 am

When we don’t know the combination to our internal lock (how to unlock the best versions of ourselves), we tend to stop trying to open it.

If you are anything like me, you wait until things get so uncomfortable that you have no other choice but to get up and do something about it, or you get sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Of course, I am referring to being out of shape. The problem is once we get off our butts and decide to hit the gym (a minimum of three times a week), or change the way we eat, we do it for a few weeks or months and taper off for lack of instant results. The same pattern often applies to making more money or getting things done.

I have always been my worst enemy when it comes to patience, consistency and biting off more than I can chew.

We get used to how we are now as if it were normal. We think this is who we really are and who we are meant to be. No.

When I was carrying around an extra 50 pounds, most days I just felt blah… I seemed to always feel like crap, but I masked it well. It was either through humor or by trying to look cooler than I was. I was one of those thick Dudes you see out there dressed like a skateboard punk sporting a Van Dyke or Goatee. I still kind of dress that way.

If I had to go somewhere, attend a meeting or go out to dinner with the friends we only see once every six months, I’d want nothing more than to just stay home. My discontent was especially apparent when I had to do something requiring me to dress up, like having to attend a wedding. There’s nothing worse than feeling buck-bloated while trying to find something nice to wear that doesn’t fit any longer, especially when your signature look is baggy shorts, an oversized t-shirt and slip-on vans.

I thought it was normal for a guy like me, headed into his 40’s, to be husky, thick, heavy, whatever you want to call it.

Stumbling upon my local nutritionist, he showed me the effectiveness of documenting my daily eating habits, and for the first time, allowed me to see the invisible. Writing down everything I was putting into my mouth and assigning a caloric value to it gave me a baseline to start working on changing all of the little eating mistakes I was making (and repeating) causing me to feel like sh!t.

The funny thing is that we didn’t instantly change what I was eating, avoid this, don’t eat that… or start hitting the gym for an hour a day to start to melt away those extra pounds… Instead we just focused on one thing. Eating less food.

Focusing on food-portions initially (as opposed to lumping in food choices all at once) was cool because I got to eat all the stuff I was used to eating and because I was documenting it for the first time, we were able to look at all my grub each week and make little adjustments to slowly reduce the amount I was eating. If I was eating 3400 calories in my first week, we lowered it to 3200 for the next and 3000 the week after that.

The process was training me to get good at estimating the number of calories contained in the foods I was eating and it was teaching me a lesson in patience and consistency. I had to patiently log all my food, look at it, lower it slightly (each week) and be consistent week in and week out so my body didn’t even see the change coming. It was slowly becoming habit. My new eating lifestyle.

As I was lowering my intake week by week, some weeks holding steady trying to figure out the magic number of calories I could eat to be both full while shedding excess weight more often than not, I started to become more aware of my food choices. I started to see which items were actually satisfying my hunger versus just being eaten for yum factor (sweet, creamy, doughy, etc.). It was a side effect of getting good at logging everything I ate. My realizations (and some solid tips from my nutritionist) gave me the ok to start to swap out my normal eats for things that did a better job of warding off my hunger, or keeping me energized when I was riding motocross or working out.

We are all a bunch of know-it-alls when it comes to who we are, what we like, how we like it, etc.

Reality is often based on self centeredness, so naturally “my way is the best way.” If we surrender to trying something new, like going through the extra effort of writing down everything we eat, we suddenly have the potential to sculpt our likes and dislikes into decisions that can prove to be more useful for us in the long run than what we originally thought was best for us in the first place.

It’s ironic how the things we like are often the things that are causing us the most pain.

The key is starting slow, focusing on one thing at a time, get good at it, learn from it, so you can make the necessary changes required to maximize your results over time. Once you are in control of one area of your life, teach what you’ve discovered to others, it gives you the confidence to start to go out and master the next item on your list, and so on.

Marco from Leanbymarco.com gave me much more than the assignment of writing down everything I eat, he provided patience when I wanted to derail myself because I wasn’t seeing the big picture. He offered a fresh perspective regarding things I was experiencing in my everyday life that were affecting my eating. Most importantly, he showed me the combination to my inner lock allowing me to finally feel in complete control of food and not the other way around.

Go and say hello to your local nutritionist. Heck, visit a handful and start hanging out with the one that best kicks your ass. » Bryan

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