Good Days and Bad Days

Welcome to my Operation Melt weekly update where I share the ups, downs and lessons learned from living a post weight loss fit life.

Deliberate Positivity

For the past 76 days I have started each morning by sharing my daily Pandemic of Gratitude (#PandemicOfGratitude) post across all my social media channels. This is a daily habit I started as a response to all of the negativity I was reading when this quarantine of the world begun. Since that point I have essentially refrained from participating in the online negativity no matter how tempted I have been sometimes.

Beyond these daily posts I have intentionally maintained a positive voice in nearly all of my writing. I celebrate my wins and milestones and I try to remind people of the best of life and that they can accomplish anything. This is a deliberate choice I have made because the world has plenty of sources for negativity and woe-is-me writing.

Am I Sending the Wrong Message?

Lately I have gotten concerned that my deliberate choice to stay positive might be sending the wrong message about the realities of my life.

My life, just like yours, isn’t perfect.

I am not always in a positive mood and things don’t go my way. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes I have aches and pains. Sometimes things break and need fixed. Sometimes I have strained relationships. Sometimes I react in a way or say something I shouldn’t have. Sometimes I let events from my past have too much control over today.

More than all of those things that directly impact me, I also get impacted by the world around me. Sometimes I am sad. Sometimes I am scared. Sometimes I just don’t understand they world around me and the choices of those who are supposed to be “leaders” in our society. And sometimes there are things I see that make me just want to stay in bed and hide under the covers.

But I don’t hide from it! I dig deep, I muster up my courage and go out and live. More than just living, I keep pursuing my goals and keep leading others through the world towards their own goals.

Good Days and Bad Days

You know the saying: he has his good days and his bad days. This is really how life is for me and for all of us. Though I don’t have many bad days per se, just some bad moments that I have to react to and not let them make the whole day bad.

I am a believer in E+R=O and understand that I can’t necessarily control all of the events that impact my life (though many are in my control) but I do control how I respond to them and that is what drives the ultimate outcome. I want my outcome to be a life of general happiness, positivity and success so letting whole days turn bad isn’t in my plan.

Leading The Way

There is another outcome, another O, that is very important to me. I have a passion for (May even be my calling) helping people achieve their goals and live their happiest lives. If I respond to negative events by contributing to the negativity people will be too busy drowning in the negativity around them and won’t be able to achieve their goals. So I am trying to do my part to lead the way to a better world.

This means that I am not going to do things to contribute to the excessive amounts of negativity in the world. I am choosing to go a different way. I am keeping these thoughts and my bad days away from the social media megaphone. This not only helps me stay in the frame of mind that I want to be in, but it also helps those around me.

My only exception is when I think an experience that I have had can help somebody else. When this happens I try to frame it as a lesson learned and share it through my blog or my direct mentoring / coaching of others. I have done this throughout my journey.

Please don’t mistake my leadership and deliberate positivity for a problem free life. We all experience our ups and downs in life, that’s what life is about. The fact you are going through your own challenges and bouts of negativity doesn’t make you wrong, it makes you human.

Tell Me What You Think

Tell me what you think about today’s post or anything else. Send me a note via the Contact Me link above or leave me a comment on social media.

Want my Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox weekly? Make sure to add your name to my email list by clicking the Email List link above.

Want to learn more about how I used project management as a tool for success in my weight loss journey? Pick up your copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year from Amazon.

About Operation Melt

Operation Melt started as a blog to share my transformational weight loss story. After I achieved success with that goal it has evolved into a platform that I use to help inspire, motivate and equip people to achieve their own personal and professional goals so they can live their best lives. My goal: to build a world where no goal ever dies of loneliness.

Easy to do the Wrong Thing

After taking you along on my journey to get fit by losing over 100 pounds in under a year, now I am sharing my quest to crushing goals while I live my life of fitness in a post weight loss world. My hope is that something I share resonates with you and helps you live your fittest, most productive and happiest life.

“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing.”

Theodore Roosevelt

My new M&M habit…

On my kitchen counter I have a number of jars of snack items stored for easy access. These items include tea bags, almonds, fried chickpeas, trail mix and M&Ms.

Lately, as I walk by, I have found myself mindlessly grabbing handfuls of M&Ms or trail mix. I know that mindless snacking is not the right choice for my fitness but I haven’t been too concerned about this. I tend not to even log the calories from this snacking because each M&M is just 4 calories so a handful it’s just a nominal addition to my day.

I didn’t realize just how much of a habit this has become until I was buying my third big bag of M&Ms in two months. Then I did the math that each bag is a total of about 1400 calories. That’s a lot of extra calories that I am mindlessly consuming. And I am justifying to myself through a phrase that I have learned to consider a big red flag: it’s just.

Always easy to do the wrong thing…

I have concluded that the real reason I am mindlessly snacking, no matter whether I am hungry or not, is because it is easy. Always having the M&Ms on hand and readily available in the jars on my counter make them very easy to grab as I walk by. They are setup perfectly for stress eating, bored eating and many other poor choices. Plus, not logging the calories in my food tracking app makes it easy to ignore the dietary impact.

There is a big lesson here: in many areas of our lives it is easiest to do the wrong thing and the right thing is usually much harder. But the easy path often leads us to failure.

The easiest foods to eat are usually the ones that are most detrimental to our nutrition. Packaged, processed foods are often packed with calories, fat and sodium. Some of them are even engineered to be addictive so we keep coming back and even eat them when we aren’t hungry. Fresh, clean foods usually require a bit more planning and effort to prepare. It is harder to mindlessly snack on healtier foods on complete autopilot. Similarly exercise is a harder choice than not exercising which is why so many people live a sedentary life.

Choosing the easy path over the right path is one of the leading causes of poor fitness, but it doesn’t end with fitness. There are countless other ways that taking the easy path is not the right choice. Just a few examples include:

  • Poor leadership is often driven by the ease of avoiding conflict and hard conversations.
  • The same ease of avoiding conflict leads to many of the unresolved issues that cause strained relationships.
  • The endless wall / feed on social media helps drive addiction to screen time and disengagement with real life. The same effect also comes from endless video streaming and 24-hour news.

One of the most impactful and dangerous ways that people choose the easy path over the right path is choosing digital over human contact. Hiding behind digital contact only because human contact is too hard enables many of our worst behaviors including the negativity I talked about in my previous post.

Our path and success in life is based on our choices and sometimes those choices require us to take the hard road not the easy road. If we always take the easy road our goals will certainly die of loneliness. If we take the harder path and take the risk of trying we can crush our goals.

Tell Me What You Think

Tell me what you think about today’s post or anything else. Send me a note via the Contact Me link above or leave me a comment on social media.

Want my Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox weekly? Make sure to add your name to my email list by clicking the Email List link above.

Want to learn more about how I used project management as a tool for success in my weight loss journey? Pick up your copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year from Amazon.

Plan But Pivot

After taking you along on my journey to get fit by losing over 100 pounds in under a year, now I am sharing my quest to crush goals while I live my life of fitness in a post weight loss world. My hope is that something I share resonates with you and helps you live your fittest, most productive and happiest life.

Plan But Pivot

I had a boss who created a strategy for our IT organization called plan but pivot.

The concept was that we were going to diligently plan our upcoming year of projects and work and start with everybody on the same page. But a year is a long time and lots of unpredictable things can happen so we need to be ready to quickly reassess the facts presented and change directions as needed.

Plan but pivot was a good reminder that we can only control what we can control but we need to be ready for a curveball and react. It is also the concept behind one of my other favorite life strategies E+R=O.

Throughout my fitness journey this plan but pivot concept was an important part of my success. I had lots of times when my very well thought out plan took unexpected twists and turns and my only option was to react accordingly, or pivot.

One example of plan but pivot that I faced was with my basic goal itself. I planned to lose 100 pounds in a year but I reached that point after just nine months and I was out of work with a plethora of time on my hands. My original plan was just to stop at 100 pounds but I chose to pivot and continue my loss decided to run a half marathon.

This lesson of plan but pivot applies well beyond you fitness life. It applies to our families. It applies to our careers. And it is one of the most important concepts in project management. The realities of quarantine life are a clear example of how plan but pivot has impacted us all, none of us planned to be sheltered in place for a few months, right?

I find new examples every day of places in my life where plan but pivot is an important strategy. Just this week, and I won’t bore you with the details, I had events pop up that challenged plans that I had created and I needed to pivot to both respond to those changes and to act on an unexpected opportunity.

Continuing to be a master of plan but pivot is one way that I continue to maintain a life of fitness. Living fit isn’t just a straight line from point A to point B, it is a long, winding road full of required pivots.

My point is that we have to set goals and create plans. This is one of the biggest keys to living a life that feels successful. But we also need to expect that those plans will get challenged and that we need to be ready to react when needed. The better we are at responding to change the more likely we will successfully achieve those goals.

Tell Me What You Think

Tell me what you think about today’s post or anything else. Send me a note via the Contact Me link above or leave me a comment on social media.

Want my Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox weekly? Make sure to add your name to my email list by clicking the Email List link above.

Want to learn more about how I used project management as a tool for success in my weight loss journey? Pick up your copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year .

My Hazardous Mistake

This was week 151 of my Operation Melt journey that started with my goal to escape obesity and lose over 100 pounds in under a year. For more than two years I have been sharing my journey to both keep myself accountable and to help you as you work to crush your own goals.

Make sure to tell me what you think via the Contact Me link. While you are at it, please consider purchasing a copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year.

Before we get started…

As I have moved through my journey I have become more in touch with my body. I have learned to listen to every pain, when I am hungry, when my nutrition isn’t right and a number of other things. But it doesn’t stop there. I am also more in touch with my mind, my feelings and emotions. As I have repeatedly said, this has been more than a physical journey.

That’s where this weeks post comes from, my heightened awareness of my mind and emotions. While it may not me immediately clear how this topic ties to my fitness journey, but please bear with me. It will all tie together.

One quick disclaimer before we move forward… I don’t mean this to be a rant (though there is some of that) and I don’t mean this to be political at all (though, like a horoscope, you may be able to read into it what you want).

Finally, this post is a little long. I am trying to make posts shorter these days but this one has been bouncing around in my head for a while and I want to get it out there. So thanks in advance for investing the time to read this one.

I made a mistake…

Over the past week I have spent a few hours reading comments on social media. There have been several stories about COVID-related closures and gentle reopening plans. These stories were interesting to me and I decided to read the comments.

This was a horrible mistake that I regret immensely as these comments were full of things that I wish I had not read.

Let’s start small, the comments were full of hate, anger and negativity. People selfishly and aggressively responding to each other without even hearing what the other person was saying. And the comments were ripe with insulting and dismissive (not to mention over-used) terms such as “Karen” and “boomer” and “sheep” and “snowflake.” But this was just the start.

Then there were the factual inaccuracies based on ignorance and political opinions. People were using fake facts and questionable (to be generous) news sources to make arguments that even a child could see were false. Plus there were the miracle cures and medical advice that people were spouting based on things that their favorite politicians hyped (with questionable motives) or that they heard on talk radio. And don’t get me started on the plethora of conspiracy theories.

The situations I have already mentioned are just the start and things, if you can imagine it, got way worse from there. Next up was the veiled and blatant racism, sexism and anti-Semitism that quickly appears in these comments. This hate wasn’t just directed at each other but at public figures trying their best to navigate this unprecedented pandemic. Many of the commenters weren’t even trying to hide their hate speech. This hate speech often deteriorated to people comparing others to Nazi’s, some of the most hurtful and ignorant rhetoric.

And this leads us to some of the worst of the worst. There were more than a few threats of violence towards each other and towards public figures. People who fancy themselves as brave patriots hiding behind there immense arsenals of guns claiming that they have the right to force their opinions on the people. The same people believe it is their responsibility to liberate the people from the restrictions (including something as simple as facemasks in tight quarters) designed to protect their fellow citizens. There is a dangerous irony here!

And don’t get me started on the terrible grammar, spelling and mastery of the English language possessed by the VAST MAJORITY of these commenters’!

Clearly spending any amount of time reading these comments was a huge mistake; it was really starting to make me sad and angry. That’s when it hit me, as innocent as this mistake might sound it is actually insidious and can be very hazardous to my health. And you could be making the same mistake!

Hazardous to my health…

The first way this could be hazardous to someone’s health, but not to mine, is related to pre-existing conditions. If someone is prone to depression, anxiety or anger, these comments could absolutely trigger them. I don’t fully understand those conditions and what does/does not trigger them but I am am assuming this doesn’t help.

Next is the obvious health implications from spending hours reading comments on social media. When I was sitting in one place reading the bottomless serving of negative comments I wasn’t active. I was just sitting and not getting any activity. This is bad for any of us.

But there’s more because health and fitness isn’t just comprised of one or two things, it includes all things. Sure, we all know that fitness includes what we put in our bodies – food, drinks, hydration, vitamins. We also know that fitness includes how we move our bodies – exercise, cardio, muscle building. Most people will also concede that fitness includes broader health items including seeing a doctor regularly, treatment of underlying conditions and getting sufficient sleep.

I believe that fitness also includes what ideas and other external factors we allow in our bodies. We are responsible for keeping out the negative influences in order to properly care for our mental health in addition to our physical health.

The kind of negativity included in these social media posts can get in our brains and fester. It can bring us stress. It can bring us feelings of hopelessness. It can bring sadness. It can bring anger. But it can only cause these things if we let it.

Like everywhere else in our health and fitness lives, we have choices. It is up to us to make responsible choices for how to prevent this negativity from harming our health.

So, what can we do?

Let me start by saying that we cannot stop this problem at its source. The same rights that afford me the privilege to share this blog with you also allow others to express themselves too. This includes protecting the most vile and ignorant of comments. But I would encourage you to use each platform to report comments that go too far – blatant racism, threats of violence, etc.

The easiest solution to this problem, and the one I should have embraced, is not to spend time reading comments from people you don’t know. And, whatever you do, certainly don’t engage with the commenters. These people are trolls who live off of creating conflict and anger. Don’t give them that pleasure. Read comments on things you post, things your friends post and stop there.

Next, we should each be educating ourselves about the truth and reality. Do this through reputable, researched, fact based sources. Avoid sources where you can’t tell if they are reputable or that you have never heard of before. There are tons of sources online that exist simply to advance political opinions, see products or to mislead the public. Remember that knowledge is power.

One other thing that I have found comforting is to remember that these negative, hate-filled comments represent only a minority view. Yes, they are a loud and growing minority, but the vast majority of people are not filled with this hate.

I spend time seeking alternative stories including examples of the best of humanity. This includes stories of healthcare workers who are working tirelessly to care for the sick at significant personal risk. Seeking out inspiring and uplifting things helps to keep my mood and energy going the right way. And every little bit of positivity helps.

Finally I am working to be a leader in this space. I am working to share positive and uplifting things every day – like my daily gratitude post. I am going to continue to avoid posting negative things including negative comments on news stories and other social media posts.

The only way the negativity wins is if we let it and I don’t plan to stop leading the charge against it.

Tell Me What You Think

Tell me what you think about today’s post or anything else. Send me a note via the Contact Me link above or leave me a comment on social media (I promise to read comments on things I post).

Want my Operation Melt updates delivered to your inbox weekly? Make sure to add your name to my email list by clicking the Email List link above.

Questioning My Motives

This was week 150 of my Operation Melt journey that started with my goal to escape obesity and lose over 100 pounds in under a year. For more than two years I have been sharing my journey to both keep myself accountable and to help you as you work to crush your own goals.

Make sure to tell me what you think via the Contact Me link. While you are at it, please consider purchasing a copy of my book Operation Melt: How I Used Life-Changing Project Management to Lose Over 100 Pounds In Under a Year.

I work really hard…

It is probably no secret to my readers but I work very hard at my fitness.

I don’t think I have ever worked as hard at anything as I have worked to get fit and to stay fit every day. I make, mostly, good food choices and log everything that I consume. I track all of my exercise and many other metrics daily. I read about fitness. I talk about fitness. I post about fitness.

But my hardest work is that I exercise a lot! I walk and run approximately 10 miles per day and sometimes more. I work with a trainer to build muscle and well-rounded fitness. I set and crush goals, I participate in races, I push myself to perform better today than I did yesterday.

Plus I occasionally go above and beyond even for me. This weekend, for example, I decided that I wanted to run a little longer than my normal and ended up running a solo half marathon that I had not prepared to run. I am feeling that on the day after.

I work very hard to not just get and stay fit but to continue to perform better and better. But am I doing it for the right reasons?

This week I questioned why…

This week I finished listening to a book that I thoroughly enjoyed. The book was written and narrated by Peter Sagal from NPR’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me – one of my favorite radio shows/podcasts. His book is The Incomplete Book of Running where he discusses his favorite pastime. He talks about the role that running had played through his life and does so in a humorous way.

In his book Sagal shares a quote that has stuck with me all week. The quote is from Jonathan Reynolds in his play called Fighting International Fat.

“If you’ve ever been fat, you will either be fat the rest of your life or you will worry about being fat the rest of your life.”

This quote hit me and really got into my head. It caused me to question my own motives.

Is this the reason I work so hard at my fitness? Am I just worried about being fat again?

I know that there is some truth to this quote and that it might be part of my motivation. I have only been fit for a couple of years and it still isn’t routine for me. Plus I know several people who have lost a lot of weight, got super fit only to gain the weight back and have to go through the process again. One stat says that roughly 80%-90% of people who lose weight will gain it back. So why wouldn’t I worry about it a little bit?

But it is bigger than fear…

I started this journey with a goal of losing weight and getting fit. I wanted to fix my longest and most embarrassing baggage that I was literally carrying with me. And I have done that.

But along the way I also relearned that I like pushing myself to get better. I like being able to do something today that I wasn’t able to do yesterday. I like that feeling of pride when I hobble across a finish line in a hard race where I am never going to be the “winner” but know that I really did win.

So is the reason for all of this hard work actually based on fear? There certainly is some of that as I don’t want to slip backwards and undo all of this progress. Hopefully that fear will actually disappear over time as I continue to live life as a fit person. But I really do think my motivation for all of the hard work is bigger than the fear.

Maybe I will define my motivation with an alternative quote which doesn’t just apply to my fitness: I have accomplished so much. But I can still do better so why would I settle for anything less? It is worth the hard work.