So I couldn’t decide between two quotations to start this post, but as I wrote it, I found that there was enough to discuss that warranted this being a two-parter, so you my faithful reader get DOUBLE BONUS QUOTES…just a week apart.
So welcome to Week 4 of The Captain Hammer Project (TM).
Wow. Has it already been a month?
Week 1 saw the announcement of the plan, and set this crazy thing into motion. It’s been a bit of a whirlwind so far, and it’s really just starting. I guess I knew that there would be people cheering me on, but I didn’t expect quite the surge of well-wishes and support that I’ve received. Admittedly, the original idea was to create an expectation for results and then use that expectation as motivation to stay on course. So it’s actually pretty awesome that there has been such a tidal wave, as my energy to keep my end of the deal has risen proportionately to meet the enthusiasm.
Week 2 I talked a little bit about what you use to motivate you internally. Music is fantastic for that for any number of reasons. The emotional impact of music is undeniable, and through it, you draw on your own power source, which is why it’s so incredible. The songs themselves don’t make me better. They DO remind me of my own power to change myself. Also, for those of you who are looking for good workout music, I have not found something better than Girl Talk. I defy anyone to stay still to that. It’s great for walking (which kinda becomes mobile dancing) and cardio. I have found “Era Vulgaris” by Queens of the Stone Age to be my go to weightlifting album. Give it a try.
Week 3 introduced another challenge (I think I’ve lost count of how many I’m up to now). Competition brings out the best in some, the worst in others. I fall into the former camp…most of the time. Though the end will justify the means, one might be able to construct the argument that every aspect of my life right now is about winning these competitions. Not just the fitness ones, though those are stacking up. Keep them coming. I’ll show you. I’LL SHOW YOU ALL.
Which brings us to now. I guess I should go weigh in and see how I’m doing, but seeing as I’m not in a place where I can do that (as of the writing of this post) I’ll go ahead and talk a little bit about what I’m doing. I’m assuming that there may be onlookers that are interested in forging their own path to fitness; perhaps it’s a legion of fit people who know all of these things chanting “go fatty go!” On the likelihood that it’s the former, I’m going to talk about precisely what I’m doing to take charge.
And it’s all really simple.
Change. Avoiding all of the political dialogue that has surrounded this concept, let’s focus on what “change” translates to at our basic human level. The biggest obstacle to fitness (and really, so many other concepts) for many of us is ourselves. And I don’t mean that in a “I’m so out of shape I can’t exercise” (I’m no doctor, but I’m fairly certain the only time that’s true is when you’re dead) way, but speaking largely from a mental perspective. Change is hard. Sure, everybody knows that already though, right? Right. So I’m going to repeat it. CHANGE. IS. HARD.
If it was as simple as it seems, then none of us would have any of the problems that we’ve largely inflicted upon ourselves, would we? It’s just a question of mind over matter and willpower, isn’t it? It’s important to understand the enormousness of this concept. The truth is yes, it is a question of will, but those who fail it aren’t necessarily weak. The bar is set very high. This is a CR17 encounter, and it never ends.
We can only effect change through a LOT of dedication, perseverance and raw determination. It’s easy to desire and difficult to achieve in a long-lasting capacity…because really, that’s what we’re talking about. There is a simple fix, a simple solution, but it being simple doesn’t make it easy. It’s a slippery slope and sometimes all it takes is a tiny relapse into a bad habit to bring down what you thought was a Tower of Iron Will like a House of Cliched Metaphors For Frailty. So I’m going to talk about dealing with and avoiding some of the more common pitfalls.
- OMFG WHY IS THIS TAKING SO LONG?!? This has to be the most common one. You eat healthy, you exercise, you do everything right. You weigh in, your number has shifted down a little bit (and sometimes it doesn’t). You do this for weeks, and even though there is plenty of evidence to your shrinking, you don’t see any dramatic changes in the mirror. It can be a little frustrating. We live in a culture defined by instant gratification, and this is something that will simply not be governed by those laws. The weight gain didn’t happen overnight, and the loss isn’t going to either. Patience.
- IT’S SO HARD – Here’s another one. People think that because they’re making a commitment to living healthy that they are forever banned from everything that they love. Denial is a foundation stone of failure in this game. Not the act of denial but the mindset of it. You want something and you become resentful that you can’t have it. This resentment eventually grows and manifests in any number of negative ways, like binging. The trick is to not get there in the first place. Take eating out for example. When you’re going out to dinner with friends, are you going more for the act of fueling your body? Or more for the experience of going out and enjoying conversation that just happens to include a meal? I’m guessing the latter. Most restaurants have healthier options these days. Same for the movies. You go to the movies to see movies, not to pay $40 for popcorn. A change in perspective goes a really long way here.
- I CAN’T DO IT – So, you’re doing really well and you decide that you can reward yourself with a cheat (this could be a whole topic by itself. I cannot for the life of me understand the mentality of rewarding healthy decisions with unhealthy indulgences). What starts as a reasonable “cheat meal” becomes an unreasonable cheat meal, which becomes a cheat day, which has little previews during the week and then you realize that you’ve completely stopped really paying attention to what you’re eating. My solutions here are simple. First, I don’t reward good behavior with bad choices. I reward good behavior with rewards. A new book to read on the stationary bike. I support a game on Kickstarter. Best one: I reward myself with a hike, which segues into…
- I DON’T HAVE TIME TO EXERCISE – Um…bullshit. You don’t MAKE time. This one takes mindfulness. No wasted movement. Park at the far end of the lot. Take the stairs. Take a 20 minute walk every day. I guarantee you everyone who makes this excuse has plenty of time wasted throughout their day. Stop making excuses, and just do it. Every little bit helps. Seriously. You don’t have to kick your own ass at the gym to have it count. Taking a 20 minute walk burns waaaaay more calories than sitting down for 20 minutes of television. It’s also more rewarding. Endorphins rule. Kids are no excuse to this either. They would love to go on a walk with you.
This post is going long, and I think I’m running the risk of getting preachy, but the truth is, everything I’ve railed against here are things that I have been guilty of in the past, and things I will probably struggle against being guilty of in the future. And I’m guessing that some of these things may seem awfully familiar to you.
These changes are possible, but they take effort, and that effort has to be consistent. None of these are temporary solutions. These have to become “the way things are” now. If you look at this as a means to an end, you’re missing some pretty key points and will ultimately set yourself up for failure.
Changing your mindset is difficult. We are creatures of habit, and no one is making the change with us. We see others doing the things we used to do, and it reminds us more of what we aren’t doing than what we are. But what you ARE doing is so much better. You know it, I know it. So act like it.
NEXT WEEK: My routines and my plan to keep the challenge alive at GenCon