Mark Matteson publishes his Sparking Success EZine Street newsletter on the first Wednesday of every month. The next newsletter will go out on February 6, 2013
Freedom from FAT!
(A Waist is a Terrible Thing to Mind!)
by Mark Matteson
Middle age is when your broad mind and narrow waist trade places.
I said that last month and I am saying it again. Why? It happens to 75 percent of the population. My weight gain was gradual. I only have to look at pictures of myself from age 35 to 45 to see the expanding waistline and double chin. It happened five pounds a year for ten years. The process was sneaky, gradual, and relentless.
I was an HVAC technician from age 18 to 28 years and lived a very active life. At age 29 I began working in sales. The next year I began coaching youth basketball. My habits changed. Instead of playing, I sat. Instead of climbing ladders, I did paperwork. My metabolism changed along with my habits. Have you ever heard these Rational Lies before?
We are big-boned in our family! Have you ever seen a skeleton? It's what is ON the bones that matters!
It's my metabolism. It goes right to my stomach. (Ladies, insert thighs into this rationalization.) It's NOT your metabolism; it's your PORTIONS, dude or dudette!
The things we say to ourselves to make unhealthy behavior okay are creative, brilliant, and deadly. For Americans who are 60 pounds overweight, the chances of heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer's, and stroke increase by 60 percent!
"The jig is up!" Have you heard this phrase before? I researched its meaning: A ruse or trick that has been discovered; the game is over; the time of reckoning is here! On the other hand, a JIG is a sporty or lively dance!
For me, the jig was up October 2, 2009. I conducted a team-building seminar in Boston. Afterward, I went back to the Marriott where I was staying and went for a swim. I stepped on the scale for the first time in years. It told me I weighed 297 pounds! "What!? That can't be! The scale must be broken!" (Rational Lie #1) I put my hand on the counter and eased onto the scale, as though sneaking up on it gently would somehow change the outcome. This time it registered 298! "What! That's crazy!" (Rational Lie #2) I went to the front desk and asked for a tape measure. I put it around my waist. Forty-six inches! "No!" (Rational Lie #3) I sucked in my gut and measured again. Forty-five and one-half inches! "Something's wrong here!" (Rational Lie #4) I then made a big mistake. I went back to my room, took off my shirt, and looked in the mirror. I could hardly believe my eyes. I was fat!
When the police arrest you, they take two pictures, front and side (at least, this is what they tell me). When I looked at the pictures I had just taken, I freaked out! Like Chris Farley in Tommy Boy, I was the fat guy in a little coat! At that moment, the jig was up. The dance was over. The day of reckoning was here. A rising deep inside me began to emerge, like a volcano. I had not been this angry with myself since the eighth grade when I was cut from the junior high school basketball team. My reaction was the same, the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, acceptance, and action!
I grabbed a 3 x 5 card and wrote, "I feel great at 258! I am proud of my 36-inch waist. I love to work out five times a week!" On the back of the card I wrote down five reasons I wanted this goal:
- My children would be proud of me.
- I would live longer.
- I would have a great seminar story.
- I would look and feel better about myself.
- I would prove to myself I could do it.
I made up five 3 x 5 cards and put them everywhere: on the dashboard of my car, in my journal, on the mirror where I shave, in the book I was reading, on the toilet tank in my home-office bathroom. I began to say that #1 goal aloud 10 to 15 times a day with positive emotion. "We become what we think about." It became my Magnificent Obsession, my mission. During the next few months, a process emerged. I call it D.A.S.H. It is Four Steps to Change:
D = DECIDE
A = ASK
S = STUDY
H = HONE
Every great accomplishment in my life began with a DECISION. This I would do, come hell or high water! This would happen no matter what! I committed the goal to paper. I attached deadlines: How much by when? I set goals in six-month increments. Waist Goals: "42" in three months, "38" in six months, "36" in twelve months!
I asked middle-aged men and women what THEY did to lose and keep the weight off. They told me things like:
I cut out bread.
I started walking everyday.
I cut my portions in half.
I cut out sugar.
I bought a belt that reflected the goal.
I read books to learn what I needed to do (like Fit or Fat by Covert Bailey).
I joined a health club.
I wrote all these ideas down in my journal. I began doing what they did: I asked myself what can I do? What am I willing to stick to doing?
I read every book I could find on the topic. I became a sponge for wellness information. I scoured the bookstores and Amazon.com. Here is the short list of books I studied. Some of them I read more than once.
- Body for Life by Bill Phillips and Michael D'Orso
- Younger Next Year by Chris Cowley and Henry S. Lodge
- Fit or Fat by Covert Bailey
- The Secret by Rhonda Byrne
- The Game of Life and How to Play It by Florence Scovel Shinn
- Creating Health by Deepak Chopra
- Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan and Maira Kalman
- The Healing Heart by Norman Cousins
- Healthy Aging by Andrew Weil
- SuperFoods Rx by Steven Pratt, M.D. and Kathy Mathews
The Super Foods, in no particular order, are beans (navy, pinto, lentil), blueberries, broccoli, oatmeal, oranges, pumpkin, salmon, soybeans, green tea, tomatoes, turkey breast, nuts, yogurt (Greek, non-fat), olives, and spinach. I committed to incorporating these foods into my daily diet.
Certain disciplines and strategies emerged that were contrary to what I had done (or not done) during the past ten years:
Skip breakfast and work out first thing in the morning, and then wait an hour before you eat. You will change your metabolism.
Success comes in threes. The three things I committed to six days a week were: P-Q-E! Portions, Quality, Exercise! P = Cut my portions in half. Q = Salad instead of fries, grapes instead of chips. E = Exercise. Walk four times a week. Swim three times a week. I started slowly and gradually increased distance, intensity, and duration.
Keep what works; toss what doesn't. A new philosophy emerged. I went from living to eat to eating to live. I changed my relationship with food! I began to look forward to going to the gym. I made new friends and gathered ideas about working out. I lifted weights for the first time in 15 years. I took a yoga class. Before I knew it, I was working out 45 to 60 minutes a day, six days a week.
My adult children asked me to join them at the gym. My oldest, Colin, said to me one day, "Dad, you look great. No food tastes as good as skinny feels. Keep up the good work. I am proud of you."
The result? Three years later, I have a 36-inch waist. I have lost 50 pounds of fat. I now have a new jig.
How about you? Is it time for a new jig? Is it time to add a WELLNESS Goal to your New Year's resolutions? A waist is a terrible thing to mind. My sincere wish for you in 2013 is you enjoy Freedom from FAT! If this 55-year-old guy can do it, so can you! The best is yet to come, especially if you are fit.
|Book of the Month |
by Bill Phillips and Michael D'Orso
If you could only read one book on the subject of wellness, Bill's book is the one. This book has become my workout bible.
It has everything you need to completely change your physique or figure: inspiring stories, pictures, ideas, charts, and chapters on food intake. Body for Life really is the only book you need to begin a 90-day commitment. I have read it at least ten times. My copy is annotated, marked up, highlighted and dog-eared.
The limits you are living with right now, in every aspect of your existence, have been created by your mind. They are perceptions. And they are holding you back. You are capable of far more than you think you are.
How do you go from HERE to THERE? To achieve something you've never achieved before, you will have to do things you've never done before. What do you need to START doing? What do you need to STOP doing?
Don't let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might as well put that passing time to the best possible use.
To watch a Bill Phillips' video, click on the link below.
Mark Matteson gives over 75 presentations each year. Book him now to secure the inspiring message that will spark your group's success! To watch Mark's demo video, go to: www.sparkingsuccess.net. Call 206.697.0454 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.