Week 58: Vacation Week Challenges

This week has been our annual family vacation at Indian Lake. This means that we have 4 houses full of family and lots of people, lots of fun and lots of relaxation.

While vacation is absolutely great it also presents both opportunities and challenges for my Operation Melt journey.

So Much Exercise

Let’s start with the most positive part of vacation when it comes to healthy living – tons of exercise.

Without the normal time pressures of a weekday morning, I had the chance to get long workouts in nearly every day this week. This included a new personal record run on Friday morning of 6 miles – there was some walking mixed in but mostly a run.

The average morning started out with some food, water and coffee. Then I would maybe do yoga to get some solid stretching in for 20 minutes or so. Then I have built a short warm-up circuit that includes lunges, push-ups and jumping jacks to get my heart and muscles going. After the warm-up I would go for a run or a walk, but it was most often a run. This would usually include a trip around the islands along the water and would almost always by a 5k or more of running.

After my run, I would often come back home and hope on my bike for another 2-3 miles of riding.

In total, I would usually burn about 1000 or more calories per day in tracked exercises. But there were some days that I was 40%-50% higher than that.

I also discovered this week that I really enjoy going for runs through small country towns. I don’t know the town very well so I get to explore while running and get to see fun new things along the way. It definitely keeps things interesting and keeps me from getting bored during my runs.

 

Lots of Food and Drinks

While all of the extra exercise is great on vacation, it is only part of the story. As you should know by now, if you have been following my journey, exercise is only half the equation for healthy living. The other half is diet. What you put in your body is as, or more, important than what you do with your body after it is fueled.

Vacation time for me means that the calorie intake goes up!

There is lots of eating at restaurants with fewer healthy choices. So this means an increased intake of burgers and such. Fortunately there are also lots of home cooked meals with the family that present more healthy options. Plus these meals tend to be pretty heavy on the fresh veggies, so that is positive.

There is also an increase in alcohol consumption for me versus my normal day. It is easy to grab a beer while playing croquet or bocce. It is fun to go site at the lakeside bar with a drink and listen to live music. We enjoy our local wine room. Plus a new brewery tasting room opened on our island chain with pretty high-calorie beers.

We also have had several late night poker games with my 11 year old niece who is really good at it.

On top of all of this I add the snacking. I am really good at skipping the snacks when I am at home on a normal day. But, at the lake, I seem to eat more snacks because they are just there. I have learned that I fall into old habits of mindlessly eating when the snacks are in front of me and I am focused on other things.

Even though I have worked so hard to lose over 125 pounds and I love the new me, the old me is still there and old habits die hard. This week was a definite reminder that this journey doesn’t have an end point. I am never going to reach a point where I can say “done!” and just stop working on it. This is a new life for me and one that requires constant diligence.

Unstable Weight

The good news with all of the extra eating is that it was mostly offset by the exercise. But the high alcohol and high sodium diet this week, paired with inconsistent water intake, has led to my weight being incredibly unstable all week.

I was super excited to start my vacation at my new low, and latest goal, weight. 199.0 pounds! I knew that I could likely expect some fluctuations from my starting weight and I was right. Through the first few days, my weight went up almost a pound each day. Then my weight fell back down for a few days back to the 199.2 point. Then, this morning, I was back up a bit.

I know that I didn’t truly gain weight because the math doesn’t support a real weight gain. It is just my body reacting to the foods and holding water in to offset the sodium and alcohol I ingested and that made it into my blood. Plus increasing exercise (and sweating my butt off) but not necessarily always meeting my water intake goal means that my body holds onto more water than normal.

I know the weight gains are temporary and not real gains, but it doesn’t really make me feel any better when I step on the scale and see my weight has gone up. I have goals and my weight needs to only go down!

My Goals

Speaking of goals… I spent some time this week working on defining new goals now that I have hit my target weight. Over the next week or so I will finalize those and will share them in an upcoming blog post.

Stay tuned to hear what happens after I achieve such a big goal and need to start focusing on fitness goals that are NOT weight related!

Check back next week for more!

Last week’s stats (7/16-7/22):
Distance walked/run: 36.8 miles (+2.26 vs. LY)
Total calories burnt: 22,699 (-7,537 vs. LY)
Total calories consumed: 15,007 (+1,771 vs. LY)
Weight change: 0 pounds lost (-3.9 vs LY)

Reflections on Leadership: Leaders Can Make a Safe Lane Change

Welcome to my latest edition of my Reflections on Leadership article series, my weekly reflections on what it means to be a great leader. I hope that these thoughts can help you with your own leadership development journey.

My mission for Operation Melt is to help you melt away all of the obstacles to achieving your goals, not just your fitness goals. So, helping us all become better leaders is fully aligned with that mission. Maybe this will help achieve the Operation Melt vision…

To create a world where goals never die of loneliness.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your perspective on this topic, my Reflections on Leadership series or anything else via a comment on this post, a share on social media or message me directly.

Weekly Inspiration

Leaders Can Make a Safe Lane Change

Picture this….

You are driving along in your car and realize that you need to change lanes. You go through all of the steps to make the lane change. You put on your signal, you check your mirrors, you look over your shoulder to check your blind spot and then you make your move into the other lane.

HONK… CRUNCH!!!!

You just changed lanes on top of another car!

How did this happen? You went through all of the steps in the process, how did it fail?

If you are like many people in this situation the failure was in how you followed the process.

While you executed all of the steps you only focused on the process not the result. You didn’t really look in your blind spot, you just went through the motions. That car was certainly there when you turned to look but you didn’t notice because you weren’t focused on the right thing.

When you focus on checking a box instead of on the intended result you increase the probability of poor (even catastrophic) results.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying process is bad. On the contrary… I am a process guy. I think properly designed and executed processes make the difference between coincidental and predictable success. But it has to be the right process and it has to be followed.

Mindlessly checking the process steps off the list in autopilot does not mean you will be successful. The citation, your deductible and your increasing insurance rates will back me up on that.

So what is the alternative?

Start by asking yourself “why does this process exist, what’s the goal?” Knowing the purpose of a process that you are engaged in, and all of the steps included in it, is a solid first step to ensuring that your focus will be the results versus just checking a box.

A second important step is to work on continually evolving and improving the process. It is when processes become stagnant that you tend to operate from a position of autopilot when going through them. If the process was constantly improving, not only would it become more efficient, you would have to be more deliberate when engaging in it so you don’t skip steps.

Finally, question the process. Does this really need to be a process or just a framework or guiding principles? It is far easier to consistently follow processes if there are fewer of them and they are the important ones. Everything else can simply be a set of guiding principles that help you make the decision as to what should come next.

Call to Action: stop coasting through processes simply to check a box. Know why the process exists, keep improving it and question if a process is needed at all. Plus always make sure to really check your blind spot and not crash into other cars!

Thanks for listening!

Week 57: Believe the Impossible, Achieve the Impossible

“Your goals are impossible”

You can’t lose over 100 pounds in under a year!

You can’t get back to your junior high weight at age 41!

You can’t just decide to do it your way, you need a professional to help!

You certainly can’t continue to drink alcohol or eat pizza, BBQ and junk food!

You can’t run a 5k just 12 months after weighing in at 325 pounds!

You can’t just decide to create your own 5k race with no experience!

You’re a workaholic and there is no way you are going to change that!

You can’t lose your job and be happy about it!

You’re out of a job, you can’t be picky, just take a job and get back to work!

You can’t become an athlete and inspiration to others in your 40s!

You can’t just decide to write a book about fitness!

There is no way you are going to be successful with this journey!

You can’t change your life just by deciding to do so!

You are just a normal guy, you don’t have any superpowers!

To be clear, nobody ever said these things to me directly. But I know they thought them. There were even times when I thought them myself. In many ways this journey seemed impossible on the surface. But I refused to let that stop me.

I believed that this “impossible” journey was possible. By believing the impossible I achieved it. I have transformed my life and this has become the most meaningful goal I have achieved in my life.

I have conquered obesity just like I previously conquered the poverty of my childhood. I have achieved so much that I think I have also conquered a life of mediocrity and I can never go back.

Think this guy will ever be held back my “impossible” again? Watch me!

Goal: Achieved

As you may know if you follow me on social media or read my Thursday blog post, I achieved a big goal this week.

On Thursday morning, I crossed the 125 pounds lost milestone and got myself under 200 pounds for the first time since maybe 8th grade. This was my stretch goal, this is the “what coms after 100 pounds” goal and I was super excited to get there.

Who would have thought just over 13 months ago that I would make this decision, make this commitment and make this work?

My life has transformed so much in such a short time. I have new habits that have given me a new body. I have new interests and passions and a newly discovered purpose in life. I also have a new job that doesn’t make me feel like a failure every day. I have confidence, I know that I can accomplish anything and I know I have something to contribute. Plus, I know that I have helped many others along the way and will continue to do so.

I even have a vision for what I am trying to do through Operation Melt: to build a world where goals don’t die of loneliness.

I think I am even going to start keeping track of all of the goals that I help myself and others accomplish. I bet I can help influence one million goals to come true in the next 10 years. What do you think?

Time for New Goals

That brings me to an important question… now what?

I have now accomplished all of the goals I had previously defined and wrote down for this journey. I have other things that I am working on, but I am now without a next set of goals. So I need to set some new goals or I am just going to coast. I am NEVER just going to coast again in my life!

I am in luck! This is the first weekend of my annual Indian Lake vacation. During this week we spent 10 straight days at Indian Lake (except for any times we have to drive back for meetings in Columbus) at our house. Plus the rest of Liz’s family is up here in 3 other houses to, so it is a big family vacation.

The reason that this is notable is that lake week gives me lots of “me” time. This is time when I can exercise, when I can write or when I can focus on any other hobby or interest.

This week is going to be a kind of life planning retreat for me mixed in with all of the food, drinking and merriment. I am going to work on figuring out a framework for my goals so I know that I am thinking holistically. Then I am going to figure out what is important to me as my next set of goals. I am not looking years into the future, but I am going to focus on what I want to achieve by the end of this year.

My hope is to share some of my new goals, or at least some of my directional thinking about them, in my post next Sunday.

Looking Back

I spent some time looking back at my performance from a year ago and I learned a lot about how crazy I was at the start of this journey. Now that I am including year-over-year comparison information in my weekly stats it is becoming clear that I overdid it a bit at the start of my journey.

For example, there are multiple days at the beginning of my journey when I barely got over 1300 total calories for the day and I was burning around 5000 calories a day. I don’t remember feeling like I was under-nourishing myself or starving myself, but I was clearly under-eating a bit. It wasn’t every day by any means, but it was more frequent than it is now.

As I have progressed through this journey I have learned a lot about the science and art of fitness as well as about my body. I try very hard now not to under-consume calories for a day because it isn’t healthy and it isn’t productive. When I have done that for any prolonged period of time (either because of under-eating or over-exercising without an associated increase in calories) I have stopped losing weight and don’t perform as well.

I tell this story because it is a good example of one of my biggest beliefs in fitness… the best time to start a fitness journey is today. You are going to make mistakes and you are going to learn as you go. But none of those mistakes (so long as your doctor has signed off on you getting started) is unrecoverable.

Just get started!

In fact, you don’t even have to have decided your goals yet before you get started. Just get moving and get to tracking your data so you have the information you need to make better decisions.

Check back next week for more!

Last week’s stats (7/9-7/15):
Distance walked/run: 37.17 miles (-0.37 vs. LY)
Total calories burnt: 23,008 (-8,479 vs. LY)
Total calories consumed: 13,824 (-151 vs. LY)
Weight change: 3.8 pounds lost (+0.6 vs LY)

Milestone: Over 125 Pounds Down & Under 200 Pounds

Big milestone achieved today… I have past the 125 pounds lost mark and am now under 200 pounds for the first time since junior high!

Strangely appropriate day to achieve this milestone… my first ever publicly shared milestone was the 25 pounds lost mark the day before vacation a year ago. Here we are the day before vacation again and I lost another 100 pounds since that point.

The other interesting part of this milestone is that this is where I said I would stop focusing on weight and move to other goals. Kind of nervous about that because I haven’t figured out the next set of goals yet.

I did go ahead and set a new weight goal but I reduced my speed of weight loss. As a result, the day I head out on vacation my daily calorie target went up by a bunch. It is like the universe knows!

Next chapter here I come!

Reflections on Leadership: Leaders Care About The Messages They Send

Welcome to my latest edition of my Reflections on Leadership article series, my weekly reflections on what it means to be a great leader. I hope that these thoughts can help you with your own leadership development journey.

My mission for Operation Melt is to help you melt away all of the obstacles to achieving your goals, not just your fitness goals. So, helping us all become better leaders is fully aligned with that mission. Maybe this will help achieve the Operation Melt vision…

To create a world where goals never die of loneliness.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to share your perspective on this topic, my Reflections on Leadership series or anything else via a comment on this post, a share on social media or message me directly.

Weekly Inspiration

Leaders Care About The Messages They Send

At risk of getting on a soapbox here, I hate laptops and mobile devices in meetings.

I know, I know… you are using it to take notes. It is more efficient than using paper. It is the digital age, we need to operate digitally. I have heard all of the arguments. I understand all of the arguments. I have used all of the arguments myself.

Unfortunately laptops/devices in meetings usually (not just often) leads to bad behavior.

We have all been there, right. You are trying to share important information with a group of people in a meeting. You are working collaboratively to come to the best action plans to accomplish important goals. But all you hear around you is click, click, click and ding, beep and you see no eyes on you. Are people listening, are people paying attention, do people care? It is frustrating and annoying, right?

Some notable and non-isolated experiences I have personally had with this include:

  • Receiving emails from other people in the meeting with me, while I am talking, about completely unrelated topics
  • Having to repeat myself multiple times through a meeting because somebody wasn’t listening
  • Having somebody say “sorry, I wasn’t paying attention” and not even be embarrassed by it
  • Watching people work on unrelated work while I was teaching them something important
  • Hearing the click, click, click of note-taking when there is nothing that needs noting
  • Watching people text each other while I am talking to them

 

Those are just a few examples but the list goes on.

The problem with devices in meetings is that they are digital distractions. They empower people to tune the meeting out and focus on other things. If they are going to do this, why are they even in the meeting? Meetings are expensive uses of time and need to be focused on accomplishing the task at hand and then getting out of that room. This is harder when people are distracted.

This becomes a magnified problem when you are a leader. If you are a leader in a meeting with your laptop and you are multi-tasking or distracted, what message are you sending?

  • I don’t care about what you have to say
  • Something else is much more important to me right now
  • You don’t deserve my full attention
  • You don’t really matter to me

There is a chance that the information being delivered to you in the meeting was carefully planned, prepared and practiced. It is possible that the person talking to you has been waiting for weeks to have an audience with you to share their thoughts. It is possible that the person is nervous and that they are using all of their courage to stand up in front of you and present. At the very least the person presenting is trying to accomplish a goal.

Then you take this moment to text somebody or to work on something else right in front of that person’s face.

How do you think that makes the other person feel?

What message did you just send to that person about their value to you?

What message did you just send about your own leadership?

Was the other thing you were doing that important?

Was it worth it?

If you cannot be fully present for the people who look to you for leadership maybe you need to reschedule. Or maybe you shouldn’t be a leader of people. The one thing that you an give people without any extra work or cost is your undivided attention when they are sharing information with you.

If there is a meeting you are in and everybody is engaging in this bad behavior, maybe there is another problem to deal with. Why does this meeting exist? If it isn’t valuable enough to hold the attention of the participants, maybe the meeting needs to go away.

Make sure that you are setting the standard and leading by example. If you set the expectation that the meeting is important and that the people are important, other people will follow. Isn’t that what leadership is all about?

Call to Action: buy a notebook! Stop bringing your laptop to meetings. If you can’t do this, at least make sure that you are not emailing, surfing, working or otherwise distracted in meetings. Give the presenter your attention, try to really listen to what he/she is saying, ask questions, be an active listener. You will absolutely be a better leader!