TSA#5 – Why Diet’s Don’t Work

Jan 28, 2013 by

See if any of this sounds familiar…

(Sometime after Christmas)

I’m going to go on a diet on January 1st.  This is the year that I get into shape.  for reals.

But since it’s not January 1st yet, I am going to indulge and let myself eat whatever I want because after January 1st, the diet IS ON!

(Mid January)

OK, the diet is on, but it really sucks to not eat anything fun.

Next weekend is my birthday.  I get to splurge on my birthday.  After that, the diet is back on!

(early February)

Superbowl parties don’t count.  Of course you have to eat all those fun snacks and appetizers.

And we have to go out for Valentines day and you can’t go out AND be on a diet so I’ll just have one fun night out and then back to the diet.

Also, chocolates.  You have to have chocolates and candy for Valentines day.

And wait, what??  Girl Scout cookies are out now?  Well crap, I have to support my nieces and buy several boxes.  They have to sell 450 boxes to get to go on the cruise.

(March-ish)

I admit I should not have eaten all those boxes of Girl Scout cookies, but dammit if there isn’t anything better than frozen thin mints.

Ok, the Diet is going back on now.

Easter is coming up or something lets get on this fasting for 40 days thing.

(April-May)

Crap, spring is coming and summer soon after.  I better get back on the diet and get in shape.

I’m going to do really well this month.  Shoot wait, I have my friends big birthday bash and a work trip this month.

I’ll splurge on those and just get on the treadmill a little extra next month.

(June)

When did summer get here already?

Time for a juice fast

(July)

Just fasts suck.  I want a cheeseburger!

Ok, I’m just not going to eat anything until the big party at the beach next week.

(August)

Summer is almost over and I still need to get with my diet and get into the real shape I know I can.

No more parties or splurging.  I can do this!

(September-October)

Where did summer go?  How is school starting already?

Who has time to cook?  I’ll just grab something quick from the fast food place, but I’ll try to be healthy.

I’ll just get a salad…and fries.

And this year I WILL NOT pig out on all that Halloween candy

(November)

OK, I said I wasn’t going pig out on all that Halloween Candy, but it’s just cheaper to buy it at Costco.

Next year I should not buy it on Oct 1st and keep it around the house.  That was my downfall.

And with Thanksgiving coming up, I should probably just put the diet on hold for a bit, until after the holidays.

(December)

I really need to stop overeating on all that holiday food, but those sugar cookies just remind me of Christmas so much!

And eggnog!  Who doesn’t love a glass or two of eggnog.  That is what Christmas is all about.

But right after Christmas, I am going on a diet.

Well, I should probably way until after the first of January to start the diet, with all the new years parties and such.

That’s it!

I’m going to go on a diet on January 1st.  This is the year that I get into shape.  for reals.

And that is why diets don’t work.  Insert your own birthdays and anniversaries and schedule into the above timeline and you get an unattainable goal.  We have stuff to do.  We have places to go, and people to see. We have lives.

So what is the answer?  How do we fix that endless cycle?  How do we get into a healthy cycle?  It’s simple.

Eat less, move more.

We have two big problems with our American diet and lifestyle.  We eat too much, and we sit around too often.  The portions of serving sizes have gotten huge and we sit around all day and the combination of the two is killing us.

So what do we do to fix this?  We are going to eat less and move more.  No fad diets.  No get slim quick schemes.  No pills or powders.  We are going to make this very simple.  We will eat less and move more.

Part 1: Eating less.

The good news about the ginormous portion sizes if you are a couple is that you can split any meal and have more than enough food for both of you.  This not only saves you the extra calories, but you also save money when you are going out to eat.  My wife and I do this all the time.  We share a meal and sometimes even have leftovers.  If you are going solo, eat half of your meal and take a break.  Often times I rush through a meal and then after stuffing it all into my mouth realize I ate too much and feel terrible after.  Slow down.  Take your time.  Understand that it’s too much food and you don’t have to eat it all.  Eat half and stop.  Take a few minutes.  If you are still hungry then maybe eat more, but 90% of the time you will be full and can take the extra’s home for leftovers.

Also try cooking at home a little more.  You can better control your portion sizes and not eat as much.  Put less food on your plate.  You will eat what you have in front of you.  Try smaller plates or bowls.  If you have a smaller surface area you won’t be able to fill it with so much food.  Again slowing down here is important.  Take a smaller portion size and eat that.  Then get up and go get more if you really need it.  You will find that you don’t need it.

Lots of great recipes on the Food & Cooking section.

Part 2: Move More

If you sit at a desk all day like I do its important to get up and move around.  I have a big bottle of water at my desk that I try to drink and get up to refill often.  I also go running at lunch.  This is a nice way to break up the day for me.  If you can’t exercise at lunch, try to get into the habit of doing it before or after work.  Take the dog for a walk in the morning.  Go for a jog with the family in the evenings.  Get up off the couch and do something.  Turn off Honey BooBoo and spend that time walking around your neighborhood.  Go for a hike on a nearby trail.  Ride your bike down to the local park and let the kids run around.  Just get up and do something.  Start small.  Walk around the block.  Then when you can do more, walk around 2 blocks.  Get into the practice of turning off the TV and doing something active.  Once you make this a habit you will start to see big changes in your health and weight.

So this is your Truly Simple Action of the week: Eat less and Move more.

Resolve to eat smaller portions and start the habit of getting up and off the couch to get more movement in your life.

That’s it.  Simple huh?

Also a quick note on foods to eat or not eat.

You know what’s good for you and what is bad for you.  It’s not hard.  If its growing out of the ground its probably good for you.  If it has a lot of ingredients and chemicals that you can’t pronounce then its probably bad for you.  Throw away the bad food and go out and buy good food.  This will help you on your way to a more healthy lifestyle.

Ben…

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TSA#4 – Count Yourself Blessed

Jan 21, 2013 by

I am 37 years old. Today. That is weird to me as I’ve never been 37 before, but so far so good.

As I am getting older and having the birthdays each year I find myself reflecting a bit more on where I am at, where I’ve been, and of course where I am going. One thing I am reflecting more and more on is how blessed I am.

I would like to think it’s due to all the wise decisions I have made over those 37 years, or it’s because of my positive outlook on life, or maybe my desire to live a more simple and happy life, or it’s none of those things and maybe I’m just very lucky. I haven’t cracked the code on that one yet, but I am very grateful for the people, the experiences and the wonderful things in my life and that has made all the difference.

He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has.”
- Epictetus

If you are a stuck in a rut or unhappy with your present circumstance, this is how you get out of it and back on course to where you want to be. Pay attention as this is so simple most people miss it.

 

Be grateful.

 

Your Truly Simple Action of the week is to be grateful.

Pause for a moment and be grateful of everything you have in your life. Close your eyes and be thankful for your family and friends who have been with you and helped you get to where you are today. Take a second and realize the amazing lottery of life that you have won just to be able to be born in a country where you have access to things like running water and electricity and a computer to read these words. You have far more than you realize and the path to getting more of all of these great things is being thankful for the great things you already have.

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.”
- Eckhart Tolle,

This is the foundation of living a happy life. It is important to have big dreams and goals and plans for the future but if you don’t already recognize the great things you have you will never reach for the greater things in the future. And conversely if you are always focused on the bad things that are happening to you or if you are always preoccupied with what you don’t have, then you will never have the things you want. It all starts with being grateful with what you have and where you are today. You have so much more than you realize.

My birthday wish for you is that you realize how blessed you are. Take some time out each day this week and be thankful for the people and things in your life. When you go to bed each night rattle off a list of the awesome people in your life. As you get up each morning give thanks for all of the great opportunities you have that day to do amazing and wonderful things.

When you start to do this you can’t help but wear a giant smile on your face as you think about all of the great things in your life. Your outlook on the day changes and you stop focusing on all the things you think you are lacking, but rather you realize the truth of how much you already have. Upon this your life can change.

Take some time out today and think about all the great things in your life. Start a list. Rattle off as many as you can while you are in your car driving somewhere today. Turn off the TV and take a few minutes to really understand how much you have to be thankful for and let that feeling guide you this week.

Let me know where it takes you.

Ben…

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TSA#3 – Watch what you are watching

Jan 14, 2013 by

I had planned on following up on the getting organized part 1 post from last week, but I had an epiphany last week.  So if you didn’t get started with last weeks post, get on it now.

I spent last week in Las Vegas at the Consumer Electronics Show and wow.  Let me tell you about all of the amazing products that no one needs…ever.  The 110 inch 4k TV was impressive to look at but seriously.  110 inches?  4k?  Who needs this?  Who is asking for this?  And apparently the big trend this year is the rise of devices and gadgets from China.  Apparently China can now crank out more TV’s and widgets faster and cheaper than Japan and such, so expect those cheap devices to be flooding into the US market soon. Yippee.

The real epiphany didn’t hit me on the chaos of the show floor, but rather back in the quiet of my hotel room, where there were only two 48 inch flat screen TV’s.  I don’t say this to brag that I had an awesome hotel room, but as a side note the Vdara hotel was the best hotel I’ve ever stayed at in Vegas and they were amazing and definitely earned my repeat business.

Now back to the epiphany.

I try not to watch too much TV.  I try.  It doesn’t always work.  Sometimes I just veg out and waste an evening in front of the TV.  I also try to delicately walk the line here between someone who is trying to do more with their time and not being that douchebag who goes around telling everyone that they do not own a TV.  I own a TV.  I own 2 TV’s.  I did however cancel my cable several years ago and here’s where the epiphany comes in.

Epiphany: Holy crap there is a lot of shit on TV.

I cancelled my cable because I wanted to watch less TV. I didn’t want to get rid of my TV altogether because I like watching movies and there are some TV’s shows I like.  I just wanted to watch less of them.  So now when I want to watch something its a deliberate choice that requires me to seek out that content.  I can’t just sit in front of the TV and flip channels until I find something.

I miss the flipping.

Since we don’t have cable TV at home, the wife and I love to flip channels when we are out at a hotel.  This is tremendously addicting.  It’s fun to see what is on all those 300 channels, but that fun quickly ends when you realize that there is a lot of shit on TV.  I don’t just mean bad program or low quality shows.  I mean shit.  It is horrible.  But that was only one part of the epiphany.

It’s not just the horrible shows on TV, it’s the commercials.  

Again I’m sorry if I’m getting a bit too preachy here, but hear me out on this one.  Even before we cut the cable I had a DVR that would automatically skip all the commercials so It’s been a great many years since I’ve been exposed to them.  OH MY GOD, the commercials.  I can’t imagine anyone buying anything after watching and listening to these things, but they must work otherwise they wouldn’t be there.

If you think I’m nuts, try this next time you watch TV.

Here comes your Truly Simple Action of the week:
Watch what you are watching.

This weeks TSA is probably the easiest yet.  I want you to watch TV.  

Watch TV during primetime when all the big shows are on.  This is when all the big money is spent on commercials.  Pick your favorite show(s) and do 2 things.  First write down what each commercial is selling and what category it belongs to.  Second, close your eyes and listen to the commercial only.  Don’t watch it.  Only listen to the words that are being spoken and really listen.

I don’t want to get into whether a show is “good” or not.  You should know that.  Is the show entertaining with good actors and good writing or does it expose bad people in bad situations to make you feel better about yourself?

The point of this exercise is to not only take a step back and really look at what you are consuming, but to really understand what you are subconsciously consuming hour after hour, day after day.  Look at what you wrote down.  What are you being sold?  What is constantly being pushed in front of you?  Do you need any of it?

It’s the commercials that just confounded me, and specifically the drug and pharmaceutical commercials that seem to proliferate the airwaves.

I literally could not believe what I was hearing.  Commercial after commercial.  I thought I had stumbled upon a SNL parody at some point.  These commercials can’t be real can they?   How could anybody consider using this product after hearing all of those side effects?   They sound worse than the disease they are aiming to help!

Perhaps I am naive here.  Perhaps I am very lucky to not be suffering from any of the ailments these drugs aim to cure.  Perhaps.

Or perhaps the cure to having trouble sleeping is to get up off the couch for 4-5 hours a night and go for a walk and get some exercise.

I’m not saying you need to throw away your TV.  I’m just saying you need to be VERY aware of what you are watching.

If 2013 is your year of simplifying your life and getting things accomplished, you will find all the spare time you need to accomplish those goals when you limit how much TV you watch.

Be aware of what you are watching and make some good choices about how much you watch.

Ben…

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TSA#2 – Get organized part 1 – Clear your space to clear your head

Jan 7, 2013 by

I hope you had fun with the first TSA of the new year.  There is nothing quite like that feeling you get from it.

Now onto the second Truly Simple Action and your little project this week.

Simplifying your life involves a great deal of being in the right state of mind and being in the right state of mind requires you simplify your physical space around you.

When you are constantly surrounded by a space that is cluttered and in disarray it taxes your mind. No one likes taxes. No one likes to be in a constant state of stress and chaos, but often that’s exactly how we live. We all have those friends who chaos seems to follow them around. Visiting their house and catching a glimpse of how they live is a revealing tale of the chaos they surround themselves with. I once visited a friend who was having a problem with fly’s in their kitchen as evident by the fly strips hung everywhere, yet there was no attention paid to the HUGE pile of dirty dishes stacked up in and around the sink causing the fly problem in the first place.

Often we put bandaids on the problems never seeking to fix the root cause of the problem. We move piles of clothes from the bed to a chair to a dresser to the floor, but never take a minute to put the clothes away. We shift papers from one stack to another, but never take a minute to go through them or just recycle them and get them out our space.

Having these piles of “things to get to” or just crap everywhere is a constant stress. Whether conscious of it or not, just seeing these things every day causes your brain to think, “oh yeah, got to put that away” or, “must clean up that mess…later”. It’s these subconscious thoughts that nag our brain every time we look around causes feelings of anxiousness and stress that you don’t need. So were going to fix it, and it will be easy.

You’ve vowed to simplify your life. You’ve decided that you want less stress and more happiness and that state of mind requires a space that will allow those emotions to exist and thrive.

Your Truly Simple Action for this week is to clean one room.

That’s it.  Easy huh?

This room needs to be where you spend the most time. This may be your bedroom, or your kitchen, or living room. Close your eyes for 5 seconds and think about your daily routine and think about where you spend most of your time. That is the room you will clean.

First purge everything from the room that does not belong in that space and put it way. Don’t just put it somewhere else to be put away later. Put it where it goes. If it does not have a space, decide if you need to keep that item or not, and if you do, find it a home where it can live. Next with everything that’s not supposed to be in that space, clean the room. This doesn’t take as long as you think it does. Get out the iPod and put on your favorite album and take 10-15 minutes to just clean. Clear off all of the flat surfaces. Dust and wipe them down. Pick up everything off the floor and vacuum. Keep as many things out of site as possible.

Having a clean minimalist space is a wonder for your mind. All of a sudden when you spend time in that room you will notice yourself being more relaxed. Your mind won’t’ be racing with all of the things you need to clean or fix or put away. Your mind can slow down and take a breath.

It’s an amazing feeling.

Now take a few moments to pause and relish in that feeling. Look around. Take it all in. Breathe deep and enjoy it. If you want to increase this mental peace, repeat this process to your other rooms. I recommend doing your bedroom as well. Having a clean and uncluttered bedroom where you can relax in the space that you see last thing before you go to sleep and first thing in the morning is wonderful. Imagine going to sleep with a quiet mind and waking up with a clear head ready to tackle the day. This space is important and can set the intention and mood for the day and thus your life.

Now if you’ve got junk piled to the ceiling and no where for it to go you might need to do a big purge.

Try this:

  • Put everything away that has a place
  • Take everything else and put it in a big pile in another room.
  • Once that room is clean go back to the big pile in the other room and start grabbing items and ask yourself a few questions:
    • Do I need this?
    • Have I used this in the last 6 months?
    • Can I just get rid of it?

Make a few smaller piles from the big pile. First pile is trash and its helpful to just get a trashcan and throw any and all trash in there. Second pile is the pile to sell. If you’ve got stuff you don’t need, but others might, put it aside and put it on eBay or Craigslist and make some extra cash from that stuff. Third pile is the pile to give away. All old clothes and such go in this pile and you will donate it to the Goodwill.

Clean that room.  Clean a couple if you can.  Once you get started you’ll realize how easy it is.  Just get started.

Ben…

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TSA#1 – Help out a Stranger

Jan 1, 2013 by

Welcome to the first of the Truly Simple Actions for a new year.  Here’s how this works.

I have created a list of 52 simple things to make you and the world around you better.  Each week, on Mondays, I will post one simple action that you need to take that week.

Each week + one thing = life better.

Simple huh?  That’s the idea.

TSA #1:  Help out a Stranger

This week’s TSA isn’t about you, but you will most definitely get the benefit from this.  This weeks simple action is to help out a stranger.  This week you must break out of your routine and think of someone else.  You can be creative in how you accomplish this, but know this going in:

The more you do for someone, the better you will feel.

If this sounds scary to you start off small.  Let that car merge in front of you on the freeway.  Let that person who only has a few items check out ahead of you at the store.  It’s these little things that simply make that persons day better.  That feeling travels forward.  Then if that starts being more comfortable, step it up a little.  Pay for someones coffee behind you in the drive through or buy someone a meal that needs it.  Donate to a good cause to help others.

A big part of these simple actions that I propose each week is seeing tangible benefits that are demonstrably real, and this is why I started with this one.  Helping out someone else gives you a HUGE smile on your face and a wonderful feeling inside.  It is such a great feeling that you will want to continue doing nice things for others to keep the feeling going.

It’s a wonderful addiction.

So that’s it.  Right now, get out a sticky note or piece of paper and right down on it: TSA #1:  Help out a Stranger

Put it somewhere you will see it often and get going.  Think about some fun and simple ways you can help others and do it.  If you’ve got some great ideas, please post them in the comments.

Happy new year everyone.  Let’s start off 2013 right and make this year simply awesome.

Ben…

TSA = Truly Simple Actions The goal of the TSA project is to improve your life and help make this world a better place, one simple action at a time.  Take time this week to do this one simple thing.

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