Rethinking everything!

Since my last post, a LOT has happened, and a lot of nothing too.

Let me elaborate on the “LOT” part anyway:

Unless you’ve been living under a rock (or off the internet, easily confused between the two) the last few months, you might have read the viral Gawker article from the “Science Babe” Yvette d’Entremont (aka SciBabe) going after “Food Babe” Vani Harti, titled “The Food Babe blogger is full of shit“. Basically, it puts much of Vani’s contradictions under a microscope and exposes her for being a fraud who knows nothing of what she’s talking about, despite her claims of being some sort of food guru. Granted before this I had never heard of the Food Babe, but the warning was appreciated.

SciBabe’s article also created an overnight backlash against what many would call “woo”, or any unsubstantiated claims without scientific backing. Practically overnight came the rise of the skeptic. I have to admit that the article had an impact on me, causing me to re-evaluate and re-think many things I took as cannon. Many things I looked at and took at face value, assuming the one’s providing me with accurate information had done their research. I wanted to believe. I wanted to think that everything had a natural cure for it and we didn’t have to rely on “Big Pharma”. Now, I realise the info they were giving me was not only inaccurate (lemon water changing blood ph is still one of my favourites), but they couldn’t provide proof of their claims besides “studies show”. Many of those said studies either did not exist, or came from dubious sources. I’ve always called myself an open-minded skeptic, but this taught me to take my questioning to a new level and look at the evidence at hand and face some of the new truths: GMO’s are not evil. Bees are not dying in record numbers. Organic is not better, and uses just as many “toxic” sprays as conventional farming, even though they come from natural sources. Lemons will not cure everything. Correlation is not causation. And it’s the dose that makes the poison. Hell, even water is toxic if taken in large enough quantities. I’ve started to go through my FB page and remove some of the articles and pictures that can’t scientifically be verified, or are misrepresented by trumped-up claims. I can’t in good conscience promote ideals like that anymore.

What I also got from the article, was an introduction to a fitness writer by the name of James Fell at Body For Wife. James has become my own guru in a way. He has exactly what I’ve been looking for; someone who’s going to give it to me straight with no BS. He’s not trying to sell me on products, supplements or a system. He’s honest, to the point, tells it as it is, and can scientifically back his claims and methods. He’s done his research on research. I’m not going to go on about him or I’d be here for a while. I highly recommend anyone to check out his website and follow him on FB.

As for the lot of nothing, well that’s been everything that’s happened (or hasn’t) up until about a month ago.

That will be the next blog post.

One last time…

Been there...

Been there…

If there’s one phrase I need to eliminate from my vocabulary, this is it.

It’s the bane, and the source of many failures for every overweight person out there.  It’s the thought process of needing to go and have a gorge of favourite meals as if you’ll never be having them again after adopting a new eating plan.

The problem with this is that you’re now eating a bunch of foods that you should really be avoiding in the first place, and it’s never really ever “one last time”. Somewhere in there you’ll always find an excuse to have it again, which in a way isn’t such a bad idea. When I first started, I knew that denying myself my favourites were going to be recipe for disaster and a setup for failure. As with anything (and as I often repeat) moderation is the key. Eat a small amount and slowly to satisfy the craving. You don’t need half a Pizza when a slice will do. Rewarding yourself with your favourites is also a good motivator, just don’t be too generous with yourself! After a while you may find yourself not wanting some of your “rewards” as badly as you did, knowing the extras calories it’s putting into you body that you really don’t want and now have to work off!

Granted, there are some foods or types of foods (like processed and fast food) that should be dropped entirely. However the real “last time” for them should be the time before you had the thought that this was going to be the last time! Eating any of that now is just a crap-load of bad calories that you don’t need.

Anything is possible, if you know H.O.W.!

I like anyone who can teach me something new or help put a new perspective on life.

During today’s Doctor visit (everything’s going smashing from his perspective BTW, details to follow) he shared a nugget of wisdom with me. He said that to make effective changes in your life, you need to know the acronym H.O.W.. It means HONESTY, OPENNESS, and WILLINGNESS.

Damn! One for the Doc!

Let me break it down into how I define it:

HONESTY – I have another blog post in draft form called The Lies We Tell Ourselves that touches on this subject. The bottom line is that at some point, you have to quit lying to yourself. “I don’t need to change my diet” or “I’m perfectly healthy the way I am” as examples. You need to really take a hard look at things and realize that whatever it is that you’re doing, isn’t working. The lies create a comfortable trap that we’re more than happy to sit in while waiting for it to eventually snap shut. You stay in the trap, you die. Bottom line. Being honest and realizing that change is necessary opens up the door for:

OPENNESS – For the change to come, we must be willing to accept new ideas and new methods, some of which may completely rock our worlds and what we’ve believed over time. Because what we were doing before wasn’t working, those methods and ideas must be put side for new paths of learning, whatever they may be.

WILLINGNESS – The road to Hell is paved with good intentions. Whether you’re a saint or a junkie, if you do not have the willingness to change, no change will come. Even if someone could force you to do it, the change would not last because even though you may want it, you have to be willing to do what is necessary for those changes to come. Nothing is possible without this.

You want to change? HOW to do it is right here! No matter what you do or want to do, someone can show you the path, but nothing will happen until YOU take that first step. And that’s just part of the willingness, now isn’t it?

Stepping up your game…

As of today, I’ve lost 34 pounds since starting in late July/August of last year.

Now, I am proud of this achievement and I don’t take it lightly, but lets face it… I did this with a half-assed effort and without much risk. I may have gone out of my comfort zone on a few things, but with one foot still firmly planted on the other side of the line. But, for a guy who’s struggled with his weight for the majority of his life, this is also the MOST I’ve ever lost that I can recall. So for me, if that is what it takes, then so be it. I’d rather do it slow and keep it of than something quick and not let the habits fully set in.

I’ve seen testimonials of people losing great amounts of weight within a year doing a variety of programs. I’m not going to compare myself to them and kick myself in the ass for not losing as much as they have, as they’ve probably dedicated themselves wholeheartedly to whatever program they’re on. There does come a time where one needs to step out of their comfort zone and take bigger strides toward their end goal.

For me, that time is now.

The running is OK. I’d like to stick with it, but I’d also like to add something else. I had been looking at programs  like P90X and Insanity, but found out recently that it’s better to be in good shape for P90X and even BETTER shape for Insanity! Well, those are out for the time being. What has piqued my interest again is DDP Yoga ( http://www.ddpyoga.com/site/index.php/en/ ). I first looked at this back when Diamond Dallas Page was calling it YRG, or “Yoga for Regular Guys”. Back then I had bought one of the DVD’s but never did much with it. Wasn’t ready I guess. Now, I’m looking for something more and I like the principal of it. Many of you may have seen the viral video of Arthur and the amazing transformation from a disabled veteran on crutches, to running.  If you haven’t seen the video, here’s the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qX9FSZJu448

I like to watch the video frequently. Not that it inspires me (although it is inspiring); I use it as a reminder. Every time I feel like I can’t do something, I watch that video and say to myself “Your Excuses are Invalid!”.

The next (and I’m predicting most painful) step as well is to take control of my eating habits. I’ve made a lot of changes in my habits in the last 6 months: I don’t eat fast food anymore. My pop consumption is next to nothing, compared to what it was. I try to cut out processed sugar and use natural sources – like honey- instead. I’ve cut down (working on cutting out) on processed foods. I have more fruit and vegetables in my meals. Big strides, but I have room for more improvement too. Despite the improvements, the one thing I’ve never really addressed is how much I eat, good or not. Portion size is what got me in trouble in the first place. So, I found an app that should help count my calorie intake, and hopefully I can adjust what should be a proper portion for me, as opposed to eating whatever I could until full. It’s a new learning curve, fighting 40 years worth of learned habits.

I’m setting a start date after my next Doctor’s appointment, which is next Friday. Wish me luck.

Why INSANITY and P90X is Not a Good Choice for Beginners

Considering I was looking at these programs before, this may have answered a couple of questions I had. Moving on until later… DDP Yoga just might be my next project I tackle.

fat man lean man

Before I start, I just want to say one thing – I love the Beachbody products, including P90X and INSANITY. I use them personally and often recommend them in my coaching. The problem however, is that I get people approaching me saying ‘I need to lose 100 pounds, so I’m starting INSANITY (ASYLUM, P90X, P90X2) tomorrow.’

Now don’t get me wrong, I love their motivation, but my heart always sinks when I hear this. Why? Well because although INSANITY, ASYLUM, P90X and P90X2 and the rest are great programs, they are designed for people who are already in good shape, but want to get into great shape. For someone just starting out, the intensity of these programs can prove too much.

Doing an exercise program is about adaption. The body adapts to the activities you subject it to. If you sit on the couch all day it will be adapted…

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For Parminder: Rest in Peace.

Paminder Hundal July 12, 1973 - July 01, 2012

Paminder Hundal
July 12, 1973 – July 01, 2012

In writing, every good story contains a tragedy somewhere in it. My story is no different.

While growing up in Prince Rupert, Parminder was my best friend. When I left Rupert in 1988, I kept in touch with Parm for a while, but as with time and distance, we grew apart. There’s times throughout the years I would wonder how he was doing and where he was, as I often do with people from my past (some I’d hope to hear of messy ends, but I digress). A couple years ago, I get a Facebook message from Parm asking “Is this the Jason that used to live in Prince Rupert?”.

I couldn’t believe it! He found ME!

We chatted online a few times and gave each other the Cliff Notes version of our lives over the years. We talked about meeting up – whenever one of us was in the other’s area of the province – and sitting down over some beers and catching up. Before  going to India, he insisted in calling and talking, even if it was just for a few minutes. It was good to hear his voice again after all those years. Still sounded like him, just with more maturity in the voice. We joked around. “You haven’t changed a bit!” he said, when in fact I had. I was not the same person he knew, and I couldn’t wait to show him that. He was supposed to be passing through my area and we talked about meeting. I never got the call. Next time I’m in the Lower |Mainland, I thought. We had gone down through Vancouver a few times but they were whirlwind trips. Next time, I thought.

There’s always next time.

On July 2nd in 2012, I read a Facebook post he was tagged in that filled me with shock, sadness, and regret. One of his brothers had posted “R.I.P Bro!!! Will love and miss u forever!!!“. I kept wishing that this was a bad inside joke I wasn’t privy to. I waited to see if the punchline would come. The only thing that came was an outpouring of condolences from friends and family.

Now, next time would never come.

I was informed by a family member that Parm had a heart attack while his wife and daughter were out. His daughter found him when they came home a couple hours later. Here I was severely overweight and feeling generally like crap. I pictured myself in the same situation and envisioned my son finding me as Parm’s daughter found him. At that time I was just over 2 1/2 months away from my 40th birthday, and Parm was less than 2 weeks away from his 39th. A chill went up my spine. I forgot he was younger than me!

I had been sitting on my ass for a few years feeling sorry for myself and generally feeling awful. I had mulled about doing something to improve my health, but it never went past that. Pure laziness on my part. I had no real “kicker” to get me off of the couch and start looking after myself. I had nothing, until now. This finally scared me, and with an upcoming doctor’s appointment, this would be the start of my journey. Today is the one-year anniversary since I learned of his passing. During this time I’ve lost almost 35 pounds and looking to lose another 35 or more afterwards. I’ve learned to get out and enjoy the outdoors again and hold family time precious.

They say everything happens for a reason, and some believe that spirits – in human form – come into our lives to guide our course and experiences here on earth. Parm’s cousin told me that during the last year of his life, he went out of his way to make sure he got in contact with people from his past. In a way, its like some part of him knew. I often wonder if Parm’s death was his spirit’s sacrifice of time on this world so I can learn from it and continue mine, perhaps to be an example to others as opposed to a lesson. I’ll never know that truth while bring part of this world, but if this is true, thank you Parminder for making such a sacrifice.

Enjoy the day and the opportunities it brings. One day, there will be no more ‘next time’.

Educating the Unedjumakated.

I firmly believe in gay marriage. Why should we be the only one’s to suffer? – Eric Idle

Now, it’s currently almost midnight my time, but I couldn’t wait to get back and start writing about this. This happened earlier this morning so some details might be a bit sketchy.

Thanks to George Takei’s Facebook page, I had an idea that something big happened here in the US (where I’m writing this from at the moment) for marriage equality, however the details I didn’t know since I’m not being a resident. I just knew it was something big for them. Congrats.

As we’re getting ready to leave for the day in our hotel parking lot, an older gentleman a couple of cars down said to us “Did you watch the news this morning?” Did I miss something? I thought to myself. “No” I replied. “So you didn’t hear about what happened there?” he asked. Dude, could you get an more vague? What’s this guy’s angle? I thought. “You didn’t hear about them repealing DOMA and allowing gay marriage?” DOMA? Isn’t that… oh wait… oh no way… this isn’t seriously happening! I played stupid (I do it well!). To skip some of the conversation and get to the point, he then said “They say this is an issue between adults, but my concern is for the children!” Um… what? What do children have to do with this? I’m going to guess he’s concerned about how the children would be raised? I still haven’t completely figured out his angle, and mostly because I was flabbergasted that this was actually happening!

Jeanne replied to him “So does that mean when someone commits a crime, they shouldn’t go to jail so it doesn’t affect the child or the family?”

That’s my girl! One for her.

He hangs his head. “Hmm.Yes. I see your point.”

Then he raises his head and said “I’m just concerned that a man and a woman makes a child, two men and two women can’t make a child.” So the world population is going to suddenly drop? I said “There’s plenty of children being born and in need of homes. It doesn’t matter where the love comes from, a child just needs to know the love.”

He hangs his head. “Hmm.Yes. I see your point.”

My wife closed the hatch of our SUV and he noticed out license plate. “Ah, you’re from Canada” he said, because apparently the Vancouver Canucks t-shirt I was wearing wasn’t enough of a giveaway. “You guys don’t have a problem like this up there I imagine?” I said “No, we’ve had gay marriage for a while now and have had no problems.”

At this point I’m pretty sure I heard his bubble burst. He hangs his head. “Hmm.Yes. I see…”

He then raised his head again and said “well you see, I’m just praying…” Ah, NOW I get the angle! “.. for a good outcome. I just don’t know what the outcome of all this will be”

I’m sure the expression on his face changed as the scowl crossed mine, I can only take so much ignorance. “Outcome?” I said, “The only outcome is going to be less ignorance and more tolerance being taught to a new generation who knows only love, and not a love only on conditions. Again, it’s not going to matter if the love is from a man and woman, a man and man, or a woman and woman, LOVE IS LOVE!”.

I thought of it later, but I should have reminded him that Jesus said to “Love each other as I have loved you”. Last time I read a Bible, I’m pretty sure there wasn’t an “unless…” after it.

He was silent and nodding his head. He was kind enough to shake my hand and introduced himself, and asked my name in return. “Jason” I said. He nodded and said “A good strong name”. This is the moment where I wish I could turn back time, tell him my name was “Francis” or “I’m the boy named Sue” just to see if I would get the same reaction. He wished us the best and we did in return and parted ways. I don’t know if what I said got through or he decided to gently part as he did not find the kindred spirit in me he was looking for.

I honestly had to later look up DOMA to see what exactly it was about. As I had heard someone say before, complaining about gay marriage is like complaining about a pizza that someone else had ordered for themselves.

I have to admit that in my younger days, I too was anti-gay. Once I lost the belief system that fueled that prejudice, I lost my reason to dislike. It seems silly that with all the troubles in the world, we have to legislate and constrain two people who want to commit themselves to each other. Our energy is far better focused elsewhere than to stop someone from loving another. Silly, isn’t it?