Discipling the Body

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You (probably) know what to do

Sometimes you already know what to do. I don’t mean you posses some inner esoteric knowledge from the universe, I mean you don’t need another book, another CD, another online program, another documentary or more information. You need more action.

Action is hard. Is requires planning and organization, both of which can take time. Time is scarce and we don’t always know where to start. So, start small.

Start with drinking a glass of lemon water in the morning. That’s pretty easy to do. Then move onto cutting out obvious sugary drinks and candies. This can be harder to do, but it’s not complicated.

Then move onto removing or eating foods you already know you shouldn’t.

Which diet to do? Pick one. Trust your intuition. Stay away from diets that overemphasize one food. The broccoli diet, the Twinkie diet, the carrot soup diet.

Meal planning can take time, this is true. But don’t delay because you think one more book, one more workshop is going to change your life.

You probably know what to do. Just start.

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Monkey in the Middle

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Remember that game? No one likes being stuck in the middle


I’m 7.5lbs down. I should be happy about that. I mean, I am. I can feel my jaw when much more readily when I rest my chin on palm. My belt is on its last notch and will soon need to be replaced. And my wife and friends have already noticed. I should be happy, excited even… But I’m not.


Why is that?


I am both afraid of failure and of success.


Yes. Both. At the same time. 


It’s ridiculous.


I know I’m not alone in this, but it still sucks.


Fear of Failure

I can’t get excited because I’ve failed so many times before. So much weight lost and regained. So many starts and stops. I’ve wanted to completely give up so many times, but I can’t. I can’t give up on my wife and my son. My wife has been so incredibly supportive of me, I can’t even tell you. I’ve never experienced such loving support as I have from my wife. So thankful (though, I’m sure I never show it enough).


The real question, is am I learning from my failures and making adjustments, so that, at least if I do fail again, I fail forward (as John Maxwell would say) and don’t keep doing the same mistakes over and over.


Fear of Success

This is actually bigger for me, but is tied to the fear of failure. When I picture what it would be like to succeed, I get very excited. I would be so happy, so energetic, so joyous at having accomplished this goal, I don’t even know how I’d react. There is of course always the danger of loosing focus and regaining the weight. Maintenance is always a struggle, but failure does not have to be inevitable.


Ultimately of course the reason I don’t want to get excited is I’m afraid of what I’ll have to do when I reach my goal weight. I’ll be out of excuses. I’ll have to perform. I’ll have to do that big race or whatever else I use my weight as an excuse for. That’s why I’m afraid of success, because I’m comfortable being the Andrew that has excuses for anything he doesn’t want to do. What would happen if I proved that the excuses were lies and not true? I guess I could come up with new ones, and I’m sure I’d be tempted too. No one would let me get away with it though. There’s almost an unwritten expectation that if you achieve such a monumental goal, that you will live to the fullest. And why not, you’ve bought yourself a new lease on life.


I’m scared because I think I can be great. I think I can do great things. I can be a great father, maybe even inspire others to change. But, it scares me, so much. I’m so used to living in the land of low self-esteem that I don’t know what I’d do if I actually believed in myself. If I loved who I was and was actually happy.


This is my struggle. I struggle against fear. Fear of failure and success. Remember playing monkey in the middle? Ya, I didn’t like being the monkey either.

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Lost…. one day found.

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Here’s the truth about weight loss. It’s fucking hard. It’s so damn hard. Because it’s a fight that goes on Every. Single. Bloody. Day. You have to choose to overcome the comfort of your bed, for the early morning exercise. You have to choose to educate yourself, to shop properly, to make time to make healthy food and to eat that and not the bad stuff. It’s hard because it’s so tied up in how we feel about ourselves at the very core of who we are. It makes you question your worth. It you make hate yourself. And if you don’t like yourself, how can anyone else. It can effect your relationships with other people and you can start pushing people away.

I lost about 40-50lbs when I first got married in 2010. I gained a little back, but have maintained it more or less. That’s good news. Now, I’ve trying to loose at least 20lbs (Doctors orders, I have sleep apnea), but ultimately want to loose 60lbs total, to get to 200lbs. Whereas the first period of weight loss seemed effortless, this time around, it’s torture. I just can’t get any traction. I keep loosing the same 5lbs over and over and over…

Granted, I have a child and full-time job, whereas before I was a student and my wife and I didn’t have our son yet. So, I had more flexibility in my schedule, to plan and execute a diet plan. I didn’t really even exercise that much.

Now, I’m just so tired, busy, and overwhelmed with life, that I barely have time to plan meals, let alone prep them. Weekends are a near busy (seriously, I need a 3 day weekend). I vacillate between feelings of hope and hopelessness. I don’t really remember the last time I felt really “strong”. That feeling you get when you feel totally committed, pumped up, and certain that your goal is achievable. I don’t even want to say I’m re-commiting, because how many times can someone recommit? You’re basically just training yourself to lie to yourself, so why continue with that pattern. It does more harm than good.

It’s true that I’m exhausted and with exhaustion comes emotional eating, or an attempt to gain more energy. Along with this comes the notion that ordering in is easier than cooking.

The guilt is rampant. Guilty about the time I’m loosing for my own life and for my family. Guilty about squandering the goodwill of my family and friends who have been so supportive of me through the years. They’ve lifted me up and carried me through the lows and cheered me on through the successes. I feel like I’ve let them down.

In other words, I feel horrible. I feel like I keep moving forward, but will just keep getting pushed down. I’m just too stubborn to admit defeat, so I foolishly just keep trying. That’s either admirable or folly, I guess only time will tell.

It’s so damn hard.

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Get your mask on . . .

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This Tuesday I go for what I think is my final sleep consult before I get my CPAP. I got the results of my initial sleep study a while ago and it turns out I stop breathing 14 times an hour. That puts me on the high end of the mild scale (surprisingly enough). What that means is that it isn’t mandatory for me to go on CPAP, I’m only doing it to see if it will help me as I loose weight. Loosing weight is sort of the end goal anyway.

So, Tuesday I find out what pressure to set my CPAP too, pick it up for a 4 week trial, and we will see how it goes.

I’ll keep you updated.

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Breath of Death


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So, it turns out, I likely have sleep apnea. A potentially life threatening condition where the patient stops breathing for a period of time while sleeping. I am being sent for a sleep study by my doctor to get it diagnosed and the severity evaluated. This video shows what happens to someone during an apnea episode. Frankly, it’s frightening.

In the short term, I may need a CPAP machine. Affectionately known as an elephant mask. People I know who have used one, say they have never felt better. Essentially, a CPAP, maintains a certain amount of pressure in your throat, so your airway doesn’t collapse during inhalation.

Long term solutions involve lifestyle changes, such as:

  • Avoid alcohol and medicines that make you sleepy. They make it harder for your throat to stay open while you sleep.
  • Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese. Even a little weight loss can improve your symptoms.
  • Sleep on your side instead of your back to help keep your throat open. You can sleep with special pillows or shirts that prevent you from sleeping on your back.
  • Keep your nasal passages open at night with nasal sprays or allergy medicines, if needed. Talk with your doctor about whether these treatments might help you.
  • If you smoke, quit. Talk with your doctor about programs and products that can help you quit smoking.

The primary one that concerns me, is weight loss. As my weight decreases and even as my activity level increases, I should see a reduction in such episodes (unless there’s an actual anatomical defect in my ENT).

I am thankful to my wife for telling me when she witnessed me having an apneic episode. If stopping breathing doesn’t set you on the path to life, I don’t know what will.

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My Why: 13 reasons (and counting) why I want and need to get healthy


If you’re going to make any significant life change, you need to come up with pretty compelling reasons, as to why it matters to you. These reasons are the only things that are going to get your through the rough patches, and keep you moving forward.

Any worthwhile book on health and fitness, will address this questions. An excellent one is Way of the Seal and from the business world, Start with Why.

1. My wife wants and needs me to stick around as long as possible. She loves me and worries about me. She needs me to help raise our son.
2. Our son needs his father to help teach him about God, and love and respect. He needs to know me.
3. I have so much more to see, do, and give to my family, friends, and the world
4. I want to be able to save my own life
5. I want to be able to jump, run, twist, turn, pull up, push up swim, bike, run and do anything I want to with my body.
6. I want to be able to participate in any sport/event I wish. Like this or this.
7. I want to show everyone that has encouraged me, believed in me, and not given up on me, that there efforts have not been in vain. It shall be rewarded.
8. I don’t want Aidan to see failure in his father, but success. Indeed to teach him perseverance and success.
9. Success at weight loss will inherently bring improved self-image which will improve other aspects of my life
10. Travel season gets harder the less fit I am, so I need to increase my fitness so I have to spend less time recovering
11. To think more clearly, listen more effectively at work and home
12. To inspire others that it is possible to get healthy amidst a busy schedule
13. Any excuse for a party. Let’s celebrate!

What are your reasons? #fitdad