Thursday, June 13, 2013
The making of an action hero pt5
Entry #4 How do you motivate yourself? Deciding to live well is easy. Ask me if I want to eat healthily, exercise, lose weight, and live better and the answer will be a resounding yes. Ask me if I want a bacon cheeseburger and the answer is often as not also yes. I love food. I love cooking, I love eating, and I love the full sensory sweet of a beautifully prepared meal complete with ambiance, presentation, and company. So yeh, deciding to eat better is easy. Eating better, not so much. It’s funny the things that stick with you. I remember a Flintstones episode where Fred was compelled to lose weight. He went to a support group to help fight his appetite. Their solution was to steal his food right from under his nose any time he was in public. At the end of the story, after Fred hits his goal, he goes out and orders a huge meal. The episode ends with Fred howling with rage as one of his supporters steals his victory dinner. Queue laugh track and fade to black. I don’t want to live that way. In this cartoon example, Fred has no strength of will. He relies on other people to enforce his diet. As the end of the story shows, the only way he can keep the weight off is by continuing to rely on others. Yesterday the Brunette and I finished rereading a young adult fantasy book called The Wretched of Muirwood. The magic of that world is based on surrendering to the power of the universal unconscious at one hand but also derives purpose and direction from the desires of strong willed individuals. Doubt and worry weaken a man while confidence and courage can literally change the course of history—causing the flows of magic to reshape events. I like that. One of the characters says at one point that “It begins with a thought.” He means that one’s future, the course events will take, is defined by a distinct act of mental resolution. That’s what I need to do. William Wallace dies well because he refuses to be broken, to give in, and to be less than entirely committed to his cause. I must do the same. I have to use language that supports that mindset. In fact, it should be “I will use language that supports that mindset.” There is no need, have to, must, should, try…etc. Those are conditional statements. I—will—be successful. Another book I read recently called the red circle, discusses how perspective snipers are taught to think out how their successful shots will be taken in advance. They mentally model every move, every reaction, and every contingency so that when the moment comes success is a foregone conclusion. I do this already for work and gaming. I’m going to find the specific training materials referenced in the book and formally implement them. If it starts with a thought, then I’m going to make sure it ends successfully with that thought as well. I’m not a fan of self-help books, feel-good literature, and self-worth programs. The ones I’ve seen essentially have the subject telling themselves “I’m a good person” over and over again. I suppose if you say it enough you’ll believe it…until something happens that challenges that belief. You can con/rationalize your mind into accepting anything short term. My experience has been that long term those comforting fictional barriers come crashing down—further damaging confidence and self-image in the process. You shouldn’t have to convince your mind that eating well, exercising, and making good choices are desirable. Unfortunately your appetite and activity levels are based on more than logic. Every day presents hundreds of chances for you to master yourself. It makes sense to me that by understanding why I make certain choices, mentally preparing to make better decisions, and orchestrating events in the most favorable manner possible that I’m setting myself up for success. That is self-help to me. Not deceiving your mind into believing something your heart and hunger oppose, but rebuilding your preferences and behaviors from the ground up. Having a strong support network helps a lot. I know my family and friends—especially now that I’ve told them I’m serious will work with me. At some point though it comes down to me. I’m going to have to walk into an eatery and decide what I “want.” I won’t always be in a good mood. I won’t always have the chance to strategize my order in advance. At that point having a friend ask me if I really want that burger isn’t going to help. I’m going to give myself the means now so that when the opportunity comes I will have the motive to make the best choice. This is good, hopped up on self-confidence. I’m going to need that. This morning I faced the talking demon for the first time. Michael Night gets a talking car with lasers and super speed. I get a talking scale with a measuring tape. I guess I’ll have to work my way up the audio-accessory ladder. The number was 313.28. That’s not bad. I think the last time I saw my doctor I hadn’t eaten in a day in a half and I came in at 309 or so. That probably means I’m losing weight already. We’ll know soon as I have to go back in July for my 2013 physical. There’s another benefit of going through this process, I don’t have to dread the doctor’s scales twice a year. I’ll know damn well what that number is and I can own it. I’ve started designing the lair. I’m going to need a full sized desk at some point. The room isn’t optimally set up right now. It used to be that the brunette and I shared the entire apartment. We’ve since come to claim certain territories. The idea is to set up the room so that it makes better use of the available space. I need a fully functioning hero-cave, a place where I can relax and tune out the world for a bit. Food was good quality today. Dinner was pasta with meatballs. Dessert was a fruit smoothie made of half fruit and half no fat frozen yogurt. I left yesterday’s crackers open over night, rendering them stale. I trashed them, mainly because if I left them there I was going to eat the rest of the bag stale or not. I will drink a glass of water before each meal and one after to fill the gap. My portions were fine today; I will simply be smarter about the frequency to moderate the urge to graze. Intake: Breakfast=A small bowl of crock-pot oatmeal with blueberries, a banana, and a glass of half water and half cranberry juice. Work meal=a ham and Swiss wrap, an apple, a snack sized portion of nuts and crasins, and a hand full of unsalted almonds. Dinner started with a banana to curb the urge to snack, 2 small bowls of pasta and meatballs, and a fruit smoothie for dessert. Today represented the last of our meatballs and a third of our frozen yogurt vanishing. I’ll have left over pasta salad for the next few days while others finish off less healthy leftovers.