Are you carrying the people from your past?

I’ve recently been doing some spring cleaning, well better late than never. Seeing the things I’ve held onto was an interesting perspective on human psychology. I had so many things that served no functionable purpose, except they were attached to a memory, along with a lot of stuff that was somewhat broken but thought, well you never know, I’ll get it fixed, or I could need it some day. How much stuff do we stay attached to, that doesn’t actually help us? The amusing part was that I had thought I had already gotten rid of anything I didn’t need. Then I was thinking, really, you thought you needed this?

There was one box that I almost didn’t go through, because I knew I had gone through it before and so I needed everything in it. I figured what the heck, I can try again, and when I did, I realized how many memoroabilias I had been keeping. Things that would just be junk normally, scraps of paper, broken trinkets, brochures, etc., I had assigned meaning to. But the stuff I should have gotten rid of years ago, was stuff from damaging relationships, friends, bosses, coworkers, etc.. 

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I would hold onto these things to remind myself of the past, but then I realized I have been carrying around these people with me. And jeez they’re heavy. I had this, screw this moment, and got rid off all of it. I want to keep looking forward, not be pulled back into those moments where I had doubt and regret and fear of failure. I can remember them well enough, without carrying them in a box. I was really just surprised with myself. I had enough nerve to end those jobs/relationships etc. but not to get rid of the items attached to them? So strange. Well that’s one load off my shoulders now. The funny thing was I was so certain throwing it away would be stressfull, but it felt really good when I actually did. It was like, that part of my life is over, so I’m going to treat it as such. I’m not bringing you with me, there was a reason it ended in the first place. It felt liberating getting rid off all that junk and clutter. And the best part is feeling like you have more space for the future, instead of being weighed down by the past. I can’t believe I couldn’t do it years ago, but I’m glad I did now. Maybe it just means you’ve grown emotionally, once you can let go of the past, well hopefully anyways, that or my dislike for clutter has just gotten stronger 🙂

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Visualize your Achievements 

Yesterday I was grabbing a jacket out of my closet, and I grabbed the wrong one. They both had similar colors and materials. I hadn’t worn the other one for years because it was pretty tight, and I don’t like the feeling of a tight jacket. But I was in a hurry, and I didn’t want to find the other one, so I was like, well heck why not. It was loose! I just stood there for a minute in disbelief. I knew I had lost weight, but I guess it feels so gradual to yourself, that I didn’t think it would make that big of a difference. Then I started thinking, what about some of the nice jackets I have that I haven’t been able to wear in forever, but I’ve always kept them just in case. There was one that was pretty expensive, and it’s rare for me to buy expensive jackets, so I couldn’t make myself get rid of it. It was crazy, it fit perfect. Like when you slide in to your best outfit, not too loose, not too tight, just right. So a couple lbs here, a few more, a few more, and just keeping going consistently in one direction definitely paid off. I have lost a bit of weight, but when you do it over time, it’s hard to judge it with your eyes.

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Then there’s the psychological aspect. I mentally know, I am starting to be able to wear my nicest clothes. Meaning, all those times of saying no weren’t for nothing, and I’ve gotten better at self control. Self control aside, I’ve also learned a lot about the diet world in general and how things are stacked against you. Knowledge can change your life, which certainly did that for me, well applying what I learned into actions did. 

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Now here’s a fun experiment. Say you’ve lost a pound, or 2, or 3. Whatever the number, you can adapt it. I was holding a bag of raisins the other day and it was 1 pound. I also had a bag of frozen blueberries and that was 3 lbs. Now holding those, and realizing that that was how much just 1 pound of fat weighed, was really startling. It reminded me of 1’st grade where the guest speaker brought in a pound of fat to show us what it looked like. They showed us the health problems that came from it as well. It was really gross as a little kid, but one thing hasn’t changed. Your literally dropping weight off yourself, which is going to make daily functioning much easier. 

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Your body needs energy to run, and the more weight you move around, the more energy it needs. So maybe 5 lbs doesn’t seem like much. But go pick up a 5 lbs bag of frozen fruit, and see what that feels like carrying around. If you want to lose say, 20, 40, 80, etc, that can have huge impact on your life. A lot of people could handle losing at least 40 lbs. Which is equivalent to carrying a full box of paper around. It’s a huge relief for your body to drop that weight and move efficiently. Visualizing tends to help me when I don’t feel like I’ve made much progress. Just go physically pick up the weight you’ve lost to remind yourself. The important thing is to feel confident and be healthy, and to fit into your favorite clothes 🙂

Joyous June, wait it’s already here?

Can you believe it’s June 1’st 2017? Weren’t we just celebrating the new year? This is

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Can you believe it’s June 1’st 2017? Weren’t we just celebrating the new year? This is the other day of the year that I like to reflect on what I’ve done, and where I plan to go. June 1’st will always be a memorable day for me. It was the day I met a boy (isn’t that how it normally goes), who completely changed my life. Now the great thing about meeting someone, learning from them, having a crush, or falling in love, is that their participation is not required for your self growth. Sometimes our feelings run away, which may bring a whole set of challenges that we have never faced before. This is our moment to learn who who are, where we could improve, and what we are capable of. Did you ever do something completely out of character while under the influence of love? 

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It can change our personalities, opinions, passions, beliefs, even values. And it can swallow you up, which is when you see a person who has no self identify in a relationship. Or, you can take those and challenge yourself on every angle, clarifying who you are, sharpening your mind, self awareness, abilities, and the direction of your life.

I definitely chose the latter. Maybe not always consciously, but that’s just fine. As an individual I’ve grown from the connections with others. Weak minds can be easily swayed, manipulated, and controlled. Over confident minds do the exact same thing. If you learn to trust your instincts, take care of yourself, and never stop analyzing a situation, you will be protected from dishonest people. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected. Never allowing myself to think that I would always be able to tell if I was being deceived. Trust is built over long periods of time, where the person proves their character. Unfortunately, I didn’t know how to guard against such people when I was a young teen, so I got to learn the hard way.

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However, the lessons I learned from those experiences had a profoundly positive impact on my life. Take advantage of hardships to grow in ways that others can’t. Life experiences can change you in ways that nothing else can. You can surprise yourself with your actions, thoughts, and words when your interacting with others. We all need quiet time, but it is important to see what happens when life gets challenging, and your thrust into a hectic situation. Do you stick to your values, do what you planned? Or does the pressure sway you into doing what others want? If so, why is that happening, and what can you do to change it?

Pain can serve as a motivator to improve our lives, and better our futures. Or, it could cause someone to give up, or stop trying. If you’ve gone through a tough painful situation, and have learned something from it, then you are making the most out of it, and using it to your advantage. Like I said, you don’t need another’s consent for them to improve your life. It just depends on you. I’ve learned some of my most valuable life lessons from some of the worst people. Painful experiences motivate me to figure out what the heck is going on, how to stop it, and how to prevent it from happening again. When things are going good, I don’t tend to make life altering decisions, because, well, things are going good, so why ruin it?

Have you ever become better or stronger after going through a negative relationship? Are you grateful for meeting the person, even though you’d never want to go through the situation again? You can let it hinder you, or use it as a launching point to develop yourself. Either way, looking back on the year so far, are you where you thought you’d be? June marks the halfway point. Is there anything you want to accomplish before we hit 2018. Now would be the opportune moment. I might not be able to do everything I want, or know everything I want, or even have everything I want, but I’m working hard each day for it. I’m satisfied with that. I’ve got goals, I’m improving myself a little each day, I know where I want to be, what I want to do, and I’m working to get there. I can be proud of that fact, even if things aren’t always perfect. Life can trip us up in a lot of ways, but you just have to keep moving forward. In other ways, life surprises us with great things we never saw coming. 

As for me, June 1’st will always be a day to remember, but what will it be for you?

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Angel’s Food

Our bodies really are amazing. Sometimes they surprise you when you least expect it. Take my sleeping pattern I set up. I started setting my alarm for 7 hours of sleep every night. I was planning to gradually change it to 6, but since I’m on a restricted diet right now I figured 7 would be better for resting. Last night I got to bed a bit earlier than before, and I was like, well 7 hours from now is going to be super early, so I’ll just keep it at the typical wake up time which would be 7 hours and 40 minutes from now. I just thought it would be too early if I set it for the usual 7. And low and behold, exactly 7 hours later, my body woke itself up. And I wasn’t even that tired, my brain already started functioning, and I didn’t feel like going back to sleep. I’m still in shock, I can’t believe my body could regulate itself so well, that I could wake up so ridiculously early, and not even be tired enough to want to stay in bed. It feels like it’s going, ‘okay, so what are we going to do today?’. Unbelievable. Now I know the secret to these people I always thought were superhuman early risers with wills of steal. Just set a pattern, and connotate waking up to something positive. Your body will handle the rest. 

The wierdest thing is you don’t feel tired, I just can’t get over that. Which is really cool, since I never thought I would be an early riser, and it would be easy to do! The first day or two was the only major challenge. It gives you so much extra time, and instead of attaching waking up to work or school, it gets attached to your personal time that you can use however you’d like. 

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One other cool thing I learned yesterday was about the benefits of watermelon. I’ve been on water fasts before, but did you know watermelon is 92% water? Plus there are a lot of vitamins and minerals in it to help with dieting and detoxing. Of the top of my head I remember that it’s good for your muscles, it’s got fiber, protein, prevents cancer, and even a nutrient that’s good for your kidneys. A whole mini watermelon was around 200-300 calories, so you could eat a whole one a day, and stick to a calorie restricted diet. A lot of people use them for watermelon diets, or to break a fast. All the water is good to help flush out toxins that got stirred up while you were dieting/fasting. It surprised me that they were first discovered in Egypt. When I picture Egypt, watermelon definitely wasn’t the first thing that came to mind. They were so esteemed, that Pharaoh’s/Nobles were even buried with them. 

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Now their is a debate about the whole organic/not organic thing. Supposedly they are fine to have conventionally grown, because their tough rind keeps out the chemicals. (The rind is also edible by the way, I’ve never tried eating it though) However, since the fruit is practically all water, I figure it can easily be affected by it’s surroundings. Even the soil it grows in, could quickly change the substance of the fruit. Man, I would love to be able to get one from 100 years ago, before most of the soil was saturated with round up. Anyways, I still think Organic is better, but that’s not scientifically speaking. As far as I’ve learned, I think Avacados are the only fruit that’s not unhealthy conventionally grown, but I typically still buy organic, because I want to support the organic farmers. Though that would be a whole seperate discussion all in itself. Either way, that delicious childhood snack is great to keep you healthy and balanced as an adult. So do your body a favor and slice up some watermelon this summer 🍉🍉🍉

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Why, ‘Cookies or Health’ is the Wrong Question 

If your making a sacrifice to better yourself, focusing on what you can’t have is a recipe for disaster. I see the clips all the time that give you two options, something like this:

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And I would think, well I know camera shots make you look bigger than you are, so she’s pretty darn skinny, which isn’t my ideal, but I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t all that motivational. So I thought about it and realized something. If someone is asking if I want cookies, or a thin body, the choices have vastly different circumstances. The reason dieting is so hard, is because we can have instant gratification with a cookie. How long is that slim body going to take to get? Weeks? Months? Years? Depends on the person, but it’s long term. Cookies? 3 seconds to open a bag, and I’ve got my reward. The guilt, sugar crash, and fat come afterwards. Where as for dieting, the misery comes first, and the reward comes later. But when I would see the ‘would you rather have a cookie or a great body’ type add, I knew what the point was, but I would still want a cookie. Which I realized is because I can have it now.

Which brings me to my next point. Don’t focus on what you can’t have. If I sit and think about the things I want but can’t have, it’s only a matter of time before my mind will go, screw this, and I’ll end up caving. Especially if you do any long term dieting or type of goal, you won’t make it if your always thinking about things you don’t have. I’m not one to just use ‘modern’ healthy motivations either. And by that I mean, if it motivates me, pretty much anything goes. I’ve read plenty of articles that say don’t use negative emotions as a motivator because it’s bad for you. No, what’s bad for you is being overweight, constantly eating toxins, and hating what you look like. Once I realized I could use anger as motivation things got exponentially easier. Most of the time I don’t need it, but when you start, and things get tough, it can be a lifesaver.

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My anger fueled some of the most challenging parts of my diet, as it was the only thing stronger than my desire for food. And you don’t have to keep at it forever, maintaining weight is way easier than loosing weight (despite what is commonly said). Especially after what you know you went through to lose the weight in the first place. I was mad at myself for a while, and that got me through the initial cravings when I didn’t have much progress with my diet yet. That anger turned to appreciation. I’m now thankful that my old self decided to stick to the plan day in and day out. I couldn’t today get the results I want, unless my past self had already got the ball moving. So no it doesn’t turn you into a ball of negative emotions. Fitting into your old clothes has the exact opposite effect. So use anger or whatever to get through that initial stage. Once you get traction it’s easier to keep yourself on pace. 

Bottom line, focus on what you want, not what your missing. It’s okay to use anger as a motivator. It’s fine to be mad with the shape your in, or the unhealthy habbits you have created. It just means you believe in yourself and know you could do better, be better. Don’t let others derail you because they say it’s healthier to be overweight and feel good, then to actually have a healthy body with self control. Nothing feels better than having that healthy body. And don’t feel bad if you see a guilt trip add with a cookie or a slim figure. Cookies come with instant gratification, that’s why it makes you feel more guilty than anything. But there’s nothing wrong with that, just get the image out of your head, and focus on the rewards of accomplishing your goal. If all else fails, get mad at the cookie. 

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The Myth of Starvation Mode

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Since my first diet years ago, I heard about the dreaded ‘Starvation Mode’. It was always this looming threat that if I ate too little, it would all be for nought. The typical explanation is that your body will try to hold onto any excess fat, because it believes you are starving, and you will stop losing weight. This belief has caused quite a few diet headaches while trying to lose weight, but not eat to little. And if I did calorie restrict I felt like I was destroying my metabolism. I wish I knew then, but I’m glad I know now, that it’s just not true. The less you eat, the more weight you lose, period. The actual starvation mode, is something that kicks in once you get down to about 5% body fat. I’m pretty sure none of us will get to that point, and what the heck would you be dieting for anyways? So for all normal persons, it never kicks in. A lot of times this is cited from an experiment conducted in Minnesota, where the men on the diet stopped losing weight after extended periods of low calorie intake. However, the absolute absurdity of it, is that they looked like this:

http://www.aworkoutroutine.com/starvation-mode/ (Participant of the Minnesota Experiment)

Before ‘starvation mode’ kicked in and their bodies started holding on to fat. Now, will most people get to this point? Absolutely not, and yes they would need to gain weight. So the great news, is you can simply get as skiny as you’d like without having to worry about your body fighting you back. When your eating less than your burning, that’s when your body uses the extra fat you’ve got piled on for fuel. It will always use the food your consuming first. Once it runs out, it goes, ooh look at all this extra fat, I can use that to keep going, and converts it to energy. Fat is actually burned more efficiently than the sugars in your food. Which is why people often hit a euphoric stage after extended fasting. Their bodies start processing fat for fuel, which helps their brains and bodies function better, then when it was running of the sugars in their diet.

Now what about your metabolism you say? Surely that slows down with calorie restriction? Well yes, but it doesn’t come to a screeching hault like so many of us have been told. You will keep losing weight, but the smaller you get, the less energy you need. In order to maintain their weight, a 300 lbs man could easily consume twice as many calories as a 150 lbs man. The overweight man simply needs more calories in order to keep that extra weight on. If he lost all that weight and got to 150, he would need half the consumption to stay at 150. Now he could think, oh my gosh, my metabolism has slowed down so much, but that’s just not the case. If you get to a lower weight, your just going to need less calories to function. The only exception is for those who also gain a lot if mucle. If you excercise a ton, and have a lot of muscle, your body will naturally burn more calories, which means you can eat more. But just standard dieting will reduce your daily needed caloric intake. 

I swear this stuff just gets started from food and weight loss programs. Don’t eat too little, or you won’t lose weight? That’s like saying if you stop drinking water, your body is going to hold on to it and it’s called dehydration mode. No, you need water, and not drinking any, isn’t going to make your body magically hold on to extras. You’ll simply get dehydrated. And with food, you’ll simply lose weight. Simple, yet it’s got to be one of the most widespread diet myths out there. And clearly what is being taught isn’t working, as there is a huge weight problem going on right now. So maybe not listening to the standard diet process would be helpful? 

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I don’t know about the rest if you, but the most discouraging aspect of a diet is if you Don’t lose weight. It’s called burn out, because your not making any traction. If you stick to a supposed diet, and the scale stayes the same, it can be extremely frustrating. When your slimming down, you’re going, yeah I can do this. It’s just how our psyches work. Humans are results driven, and it’s practically impossible to stick to something that isn’t getting results, or getting them fast enough. If you were losing a few pounds a month, you’d have to have a will of iron to keep dieting. And the increase in diet plans along with the increase in waist bands, is proof normal people can’t do it either. 

So bottom line, you dont have to worry about starvation mode or destroying your metabolism while on a diet. Starvation mode is there to help you out when you really need to gain weight. Like when you are literally about to starve to death, not from cutting out dessert and snacks. And you don’t have to buy some fancy diet plan either. I never used one when I hit my weight goal, and trying to do a ‘standard’ diet, while worrying about starvation mode, is what made my weight go back up. Since I started ignoring it, I’ve gotten close to me goal again, and it shouldn’t take long to hit it. Then with intermittent fasting it will be easy to sustain, as well as healthy. Hopefully this helps with your diet, I wish I could have learned it sooner, but I’m more determined than ever now that I do.

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How to succeed at waking up early

So I’ve been working to keep to a sleep schedule the last few days, and I first saw a difference today. For some reason my alarm was set to a different day, so I didn’t get up as planned, however, I still woke up way earlier than before, and was functioning enough to be able to study some Japanese. Which I didn’t expect to see a difference so soon. If you want to try getting up earlier, try to get something you really enjoy and do that first thing. Be it T.V., music, food, just something positive that will help wake you up. If you have something fun to look forward to, it makes it a lot easier to adjust. Then you can switch it up to something more productive once your body gets used to waking up early. I think that’s why a lot us fail getting up earlier, because we instantly try to attach it to working out, or something like that. Then you mentally have to get over getting out of your warm bed early, and getting your workout on. By the second or third day, our motivation gets pretty drained.

Once you get in a pattern, your brain will start waking up at that time, and you won’t feel half asleep. Much easier then to exercise or study, since your not fighting yourself to get up and stay awake. Honestly, I don’t know if the same holds for caffeine/coffee drinkers. If I have caffeine it’s rarely, and in tea, so I’m not sure how that would affect someone’s wake up pattern. Though it doesn’t hurt to try 🙂 My main thought is successful people tend to get up early. So it must be worth doing. Having the morning to yourself is nice as well, gives you time to plan the day, get started on tasks early, or spend time enjoying a hobby. Just be prepared for the first early morning. When my alarm went off, I was going, why?? its so early, this was a dumb idea. But a few days later, I’m starting to wake myself up without the alarm.  Not as early as I plan to be, but it’s progress, and I’m starting to get things done. That was a breakthrough for me though, get up and do something fun. Not dragging yourself out of bed to do something productive. It’s easy to switch once you adjust, but just start with the time change. I didn’t have to argue with myself to wake up today, I was already good to go. 

Researching the topic, the hardest part of getting up early seems to be getting out of bed. Which is probably why my routine has been working, getting up early doesn’t mean getting out of bed. If I knew I was about to freeze, and leave my comfy sheets, the odds of me failing would increase significantly. 

(The normal methods for getting up early would just make me hate it more and more, I mean water thrown on you first thing? Yeah that’s not going to inspire much motivation)

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However, if all I have to do is unlock my phone and start reading the news, or my favorite show, my brain starts waking up, with me only having to click a button. Your not wasting your time if your setting a new pattern. And your associating early rising to something positive, instead of the worst feeling possible of getting out of a warm bed. No wonder I could never stick to an early schedule before. Every morning I was associating my brain to a negative connotation. 

(Things not to focus on the first morning you try to get up early)

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(Things to focus on, aww, seems so much better)

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We’re told not to use smart phones, t.v., smart pads, etc., before bed because it keeps our brains awake and makes it harder to sleep. Then why not use that to your advantage when waking up early? Even if temporarily, if it gets your brain used to working, thinking, even laughing at that time, then I’m all for it. That could be a good idea, watch a sitcom, or comedy show to get you more alert. Get yourself to have a good connotation to the morning, and you’ll have already won the war.

Forcing yourself to get out of bed through sheer willpower = 😩😧😴😪

Having something enjoyable when you wake up, even if still in bed  = 😩😐🙂😀