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I Am Not A “PUSSY”!!!

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I am not trying to be offensive.  I’m just being real.  If you really want to know what it took for me to learn how to take control of my mind, you will get that by reading this.  Offensive or not.  I rather be truthful and accurate about my own experience, instead of provide you with some half truth.  I guess I could have said, “I am not a PUNK” or I am not a “LOSER”, but that is not real.  That didn’t happen to me.

Once I’d realized that I could transform my life, by taking control of my mind, I put one of the worst things that I could think of into my head.  It actually started out when I decided that I had to quit chewing tobacco.  Which was several months prior to starting my transformation and building the body that I desired to have.

I started chewing tobacco when I was a senior in college at the age of 22.  Twenty-three years later, I was still chewing.  I unsuccessfully quit several times.  I would think about things like how gross my habit was and how it would make me feel in the morning when I was dehydrated from it.  Sometimes my breath stunk from it.  I even damaged keyboards and entire computers.  In one case I dumped chew spit on a $3,000 MAC.  That was one expensive tin of Skoal.  I had to buy a brand new one.  I also knew that it had a negative effect on strength and muscle development.  I thought about losing my jaw to cancer and even had numbness in my throat and check along with other strange sensations.  Fortunately, none of those problems currently exist.   Based on doctors and dental visits, I have no medical issues from chewing.  I use to watch the singing cowboy commercial (TRUTH – “You Don’t Always Die from Tobacco”) and think, what if that happens to me.  I would rather die than go through that.  None of these things made me quit.  But they did make me think about quitting.

One day I realized that I could quit if I really wanted to.  So I thought about one of the worst things that anyone could call me.  “PUSSY”.  Next thing I know, I would reach for my tin and in my head, I would say, “If you take that, than you are a PUSSY!!!”  It’s funny.  It worked.  I don’t want anyone calling me a PUSSY, including myself.  I wasn’t a PUSSY, because I chewed tobacco.  And I don’t want to say that it was easy to quit.  But it was all because I convinced myself that if I could not control my own mind than I was a PUSSY.

When it came time to starting my transformation, I decided to use the same motivation.  Obviously, a lot more than that motivated me, but this helped.  And within the first week, I was a PUSSY one time during the whole 16 weeks.  It’s not something that I can settle for.  I rather be a BAD ASS than a PUSSY.   My greatest strength is my MIND and I do control it.  I can break bad habits and enforce good ones.  I AM NOT A PUSSY!!!

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BABY STEPS ARE A BUNCH OF CRAP. BRAINWASH YOURSELF.

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I don’t believe in baby steps.  Baby steps are an excuse to hang on to some of the things that are holding you back from a healthy lifestyle.  Let’s just say you are trying to lose weight and start living a healthy lifestyle.  You also smoke and drink frequently.  To live a healthy lifestyle you are going to have to start eating healthy, start training with weights  and by doing cardio.  You will have to stop smoking and drinking.  I’m not opposed to drinking but I have cut way back.  And by “way back”, I mean that drank about as much this last year as I did during two nights out, the year before.

Obviously, if you have not been active, it would probably be a good idea to get a physical to make sure that you don’t have anything that may become a problem if you push yourself “too hard.”    But no matter what you are going to have to push yourself.  The longer you continue with your training and cardio the more you should increase your intensity.   You don’t want it getting too easy.  DON’T JUST GO THROUGH THE MOTIONS.  That is one thing that I consider when people say baby steps.  They just go through the motions and take it easy in the gym and call it a work out.  When I walk out of the gym my shirt is soaking wet.

When people talk about baby steps they also plan on making a few changes at a time.  So they will cut certain things out of their diet but maybe keep a couple of unhealthy things in it and they also cut back on drinking from 3 times a week to twice a week and they continue to smoke.  So I guess they plan on implementing their plan over the course of their transformation.  So maybe by week 4 they are going to clean up their entire diet and by week 6 they will only drink once a week and by week 8 they will smoke one less pack a week.  It’s all an excuse.  More than likely what will actually happen is that they will push their healthy deadlines back and they won’t give up the cigarettes or the drinking.  And their training and cardio will be ineffective.

For me it was coming to the realization that if I made my changes all at once that it would actually be easier.  Baby Steps will prolong the “Suffering” (I never suffered.  It wasn’t easy but I never suffered.  If you do suffer, you need to work on “Controlling your Mind”).  I convinced myself that it was mind over matter.  I convinced myself that if I couldn’t succeed than I was weak.  If I couldn’t control my own mind I was weak.  The key word is WAS.  I am STRONG enough to control my own mind.  I can achieve my goals   I can S.W.I.M.™ (Self-Control, Will Power, Inspiration, Motivation).  When you can conquer the bad habits and the addictions all at once it actually makes you stronger.  It adds to your motivation.  And when you succeed you will never forget what it took to get you there.  

Don’t Look For The Easy Way Out

When I was in high school, I thought that I must be a genius because I came up with a new formula for some geometry problem.  The best part was that it was easy and I found my solution very quickly.  It worked out great for me until the day that I took the test and my formula failed to produce the correct solution to the problems.

Easy isn’t always better.  I still do like to think outside of the box, however I am not always looking for the easy way out.  In fact I find that the harder I work the bigger the payoff is for me.  When I workout, I am usually going in solo.  In the past when I had a team around me or even a workout partner or trainer, there is usually some kind of competition.  I don’t want to fail, give up or give less effort.  If I am doing someone else’s program I have to keep up. If I am leading the program, I want to make sure everyone else knows how hard it is.  So, when I go into the gym by myself, I know that I can’t make it easy on myself.  I know what it feels like to train hard and I know what I should feel like when I go through my workout.

When I train, I work more focus more on muscle endurance and activating my core and my stabilizer muscles.  For others, it might be more about having a 400 pound bench.  I’m more about increasing my overall athleticism.  I change-up my workouts every day.  I take exercises and make them harder.  When I bench, I might  pick my feet off of the ground or might do rows from a plank position or I might do dynamic push-ups (drop from an elevated level and push back up to it from the ground).Screen Shot 2013-04-19 at 3.39.50 PM

If it is an exercise that is too hard to do, I will work on it until I can perform it.  I am currently working on one-legged squats.  I’m using a TRX to help me keep my balance.  I’m planning on being able to do these unassisted, within a couple of weeks.

When I accomplish something that I consider hard.  And I continue to do it, I find that it actually becomes what I consider easy in many cases.  Increase the difficulty and conquer your next challenge.  Learn to S.W.I.M.™ 

Test Yourself and Make Yourself Stronger

Midwest Spartan 10

It’s all about controlling your mind.  I came up with S.W.I.M. (Self-Control, Will Power, Inspiration, Motivation), because it reminds these four things are what it takes to not only transform but to help you achieve all of your goals.  They all come from inside you and if you listen to them you will be able to control your own mind.  If you want something bad enough and you know what you have to do, you will do it or you really didn’t want it.

When I started my transformation, I was tested every day.  It could be walking through the Super Market and passing by the bakery.  In the past I would check to see if they had any cookie samples that they had set out.  I’d grab a handful of cookies and eat them as I walked around the store.  It really didn’t matter whether they tasted good or like crap, I was already planning on circling back, for seconds, thirds or fourths.  I love free stuff, even crappy cookies.  It’s funny how I can walk by these samples and look at them and even if they look good, know that I won’t be munching on them while I walk around the store.

Another big test is going out to a bar with friends and sticking with water as your drink of choice for the night.  I use to drink once every week or two and if I went out-of-town, it was almost every night.  I decided that I wouldn’t totally cut drinking out but I didn’t want to be spontaneous.  I didn’t want to drink every time I had the opportunity too.  By spontaneous, I mean that I will plan it out several weeks in advance.  If friends ask me to out with them this coming weekend, I will probably go.  I’m not going to become anti-social.  But I am not going to drink.  Usually, people try to get me to do a shot or drink a beer.  It almost becomes a game.  When I head home, I actually feel like I accomplished something.  There are a lot of advantages for me when I do this: I save money.  I have no hang over.  Most of all I am strong enough to control my mind and continue with my healthy lifestyle.

Eating out can be difficult because I don’t usually know what will be put into my food and there will be bread and appetizers brought to the table that I would have scarfed down in the past but now I bypass most that.  I do try to find things that will work within my nutrition guidelines.  If I can’t find them I usually try to order something that I can make a lot of changes too.  I also think about what a restaurant might do to my food. Such as adding steak butter to my steak and ask them not to add it.  Check out my video on ordering breakfast in a restaurant.  

At the beginning of my transformation I started running in Obstacle Course Races.  These races have tested me physically and mentally.  They provide me with a new way to compete against others as well as myself.  They force me to push myself.  Climbing ropes, going across monkey bars and running 9 miles are only some of the challenges that I face on these races.  They are also things that I would have never thought that I would do at the age of 46 especially since I haven’t done anything like it for over 20 years.  

I don’t really feel like I am missing anything.  And I do take a cheat meal once in a while and I will drink a beer once in a while.   But more than anything I feel stronger by walking into the fire and not getting burned.  

The Power Of Mind Control

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The most important part of my transformation has been the psychological aspect.  That is how I came up with the acronym S.W.I.M. (Self-Control, Will Power, Inspiration, Motivation).  Honestly once I figured this out and thought about what it meant it made my transformation that much easier for me.  It allowed me to set a psychological goal if that makes any sense.  It was tough at first but after a little while it became easier.   At this point it’s almost funny.  I figured out how to control my own mind.  I looked at how many things I did out of habit or temptation.  I was addicted to food.  I felt peer pressure.  If I went out to dinner, I would eat anything that hit the table.  Not just a slice of bread but usually about 2 loaves.  How many appetizers could I cram down my throat before my main course?  If there was calamari, I was probably eating two appetizers.  If I went to a bar, I drank.  What else would you do in a bar?  (I’ll still go to bars once in a while but rarely drink).  If I walked into the supermarket I would walk by the cookie section about 10 times for the free samples.  I would buy 3 boxes of Oreo cookies to save for my “cheat day”.  I would than convince myself that I was just going to eat one and save the rest for later.  Within 3 hours the first box was gone.  The next two might make it for about 3 more days.  I would travel and convince myself that I needed  to stay out of the gym during the entire trip.

I took at look at how my lack of self-control had made me feel crappy about the way I looked at myself.  I realized that it was a weakness.  I was WEAK!  I couldn’t control my own mind.  I felt like I had an addiction and had no control over it (I actually did).  How could I be that weak?  It was embarrassing.

Once I became honest with myself and could actually look in the mirror and say that I need to lose 40 pounds not 10.  I need to realize what else is affecting my life.  What do I need to do to make this transformation?  5 days a week in the gym (already doing that), running 5 days a week (right now I run 4 days a week.  2 days are light and 2 are tied into my workouts).  Stick with a nutrition program that I can live with, without cheating.

It’s amazing how many situations I end up in where I pass on things that I would have jumped all over in the past.  I actually feel really good about myself when I sit down to dinner with friends and don’t touch the bread, which I use to gob with butter.  I don’t need it.  I wanted it.  My health is more important and the truth is that when you can control your mind over things like this you can also control it over other things.  I chewed tobacco for over 20 years and every time I quit I constantly thought about it.  I needed it when I drove, drank, or had stress.  I had a lot of stress.  I could not even tell you the day that I quit.  It is irrelevant to me.  It really doesn’t matter since I don’t think about it.  I almost forgot to write about it in this post.

It is important that you enjoy the food that you do eat.  6 healthy nutritious small portioned meals a day that include both carbohydrates and protein.  Be creative with your food.  There are plenty of things that you can eat that taste like they are bad for you because they taste so good.

Being able to control my own mind influences many other aspects of my life.  It also makes me consider how my actions may affect other people.  I rather be a positive influence than having a negative influence or no influence.  I have also realized that I can do much more now at 46 then what I ever thought that I could.  I don’t set limitations for myself anymore (this will be a future post).

I would challenge to try something next time you go out to dinner with friends.  When bread is brought to the table don’t eat any for the entire meal.  See if you can resist it.  If you don’t like bread try using this with a similar situation.  Pass on cake at a party at the office.  Don’t bother getting some just to bring home and eat later.  Just pass it up.  This is less about your nutrition than it is about being able to control your own mind.

If you thought that this post was about bending spoons or controlling someone else with your mind, sorry to disappoint you but the truth is that if you can learn how to do this than you will change your life for the better.  You will accomplish more.

TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE AND LEARN TO S.W.I.M.™

What Is A Midlife Crisis And How Will You Face It?

On April 2, 2012 my life changed.  I made the decision on that day to commit to transforming my body.  Little did I know at the time that I would grow more in 2012 then ever before.  Not only would I drastically change my body over a 12 week, no 16 week, actually I think this thing is a lifetime transformation challenge.  I would change my mind (how I see things, how I am influenced, how I make decisions, etc…)  and my life.  I can not really say that I was unhappy or miserable prior to accomplishing my transformation, but I wouldn’t say that I was exactly happy.  Maybe it was more that I had my moments.  I wasn’t really honest with myself.  As my transformation progressed I became happier every day.   Obviously there have been situations that have happened in my life during this time which may have brought sadness, but I have also been able to continue on with my life in a positive way.  I am excited to wake up every day and I enjoy doing things that I may have missed out on in the past.

At 45 years old I guess I decided that I wanted to meet life head on.  As a little kid I grew up playing soccer and swimming on the swim team.  Once I entered High School, I moved on to football and wrestling.  I  continued with football throughout college. Towards the end of college I moved on to rugby which I played for the next couple of years.  Up until this time I was always involved in pick up games of basketball, team handball, handball and football.  Since high school I had also worked out.  Around the time I turned 25 all of this came to an end for the most part including the working out.  Every once in a while I might walk into the gym but it wouldn’t last.  In 1998 I competed in and became a Runner UP in the Bill Phillips 2nd Body For Life Challenge.  This new inspiration helped me focus on my health and fitness and got me into the best shape that I had been in during my adult life.  I was able to straighten out my nutrition and got into the gym on a regular basis.  This changed my life for the better.  I felt like I was doing everything that I had to do to continue with my healthy lifestyle.  I let it go.  I continued to work out but my nutrition was not good.  My head was not in the game.

In the back of my mind I knew that I wasn’t.  I was having trouble  being honest with myself.  I wanted my competitive life back.  The life that I left behind 20 years earlier.   For those last 20 years I was consumed with work.  60, 70, 80 hour work weeks.  My life was my work.  Sure work can be fulfilling, but aren’t there other things in life?  Once you enter the workforce is there limited time to do things that you really want to do?

I remember the days when we were forced to do one sprint after another at the end of football practice after you beat the hell out of each other.  I had a never quit attitude and would push harder and harder.  One day it all came to an end.  Let’s be honest, I never liked running and I still don’t.  Once it all ended there was no reason to put myself through the torture of training.  Training for what?  Turkey Bowl?  That’s once a year and just like every year I am going to go out and pull a hamstring or sprain an ankle or crack heads with someone else.  I don’t have to train for that.  I don’t have to torture myself for that. Well I do work out and I’m in good shape.  I can walk by the mirror, suck in my gut and see how great I look.
Well I guess that was about the time that my Mid Life Crisis set in.  I realized something was wrong.  I’m working out but I don’t look like I did in 1998 when I finished Bill Phillip’s Body For Life.

This was what helped motivate me to launch my new transformation.  Another Bill Phillips contest (Transformation Challenge).

This is when I started to learn to S.W.I.M.   For whatever reason I missed a lot of this in my first transformation.  Mostly the psychological side.  The part that could influence other parts of my life.  Also what made me decide to go even further on my “Journey to be Fit”.  The part that removed my limits.

I realized that I only have so much time on earth and I already let so many things pass me by.  I’m not going to miss out on something because I can’t make a decision or because I am waiting on someone else.  If I want to do something I am going to do it.  What does NIKE say?  I had been considering doing a mud run for about 5 months.  This is after I noticed the Tough Mudder.  However, I saw that the Tough Mudder was 12 miles and there was no way that I was going to run 12 miles.  Like I said.  I hate running.  I looked around a little more and noticed some shorter races.  Some of these were only 5k’s.  I already was running about 3 miles a day.  No problem.  I did my first race a few weeks into my transformation.  On Saturday, November 17th I will do my 7th race.  It’s a Spartan Race in Fenway Park.  On December 1st I will do my first Tough Mudder.  (I thought you said that you hate running?   Yes I did, but these obstacles are a blast.  The competition, challenge and achievement make you realize that you are alive.

I have a lot of people who wonder what the hell I am doing with my life.  Over the last 10 weeks (not long after completing my transformation) I have driven up to Plainfield, IL and stayed for 4 days and 3 nights each week.  I go there so that I can train at Xtreme Speed, which is a performance center owned by a friend of mine.  These guys are very intense.  I decided that I want to be on a whole other level.  In order to do that either train with people who have the same goals.  People who want to be where you want to go.  Or people who are already there.  These guys are already there.  I missed two weeks because I also went to Jackson, WY to have some new and old injuries treated by a friend of mine that does some amazing things with healing injuries and even illnesses with his own formulations.  (I will have more on my blog about him soon).  I also had a trip to Denver where I attended Bill Phillips new Transformation Program.  Basically all of my recent trips have been for myself.   It’s not like I stopped working.  I can work from anywhere.  I just made the decision to do things that I wanted to do.  At this point it is anything from sight seeing (places like Red Rocks in Denver) to training (which I love, especially when it is something different.  I also have another performance center that I will be checking out in the coming weeks) to running in mudruns or obstacle races.

I love the challenge.  I love being able to compete.  I love being more athletic than I have been since I was 25.  It’s never too late.

Is this my Mid Life Crisis?  If it is… Bring it on!  I’m turning 46 in 8 days and I look like I’m in my 30’s and feel like I’m in my 20’s.  Over the last 7 months I have totally transformed my body, mind and life and brought competition back into my life.  I also hope that I can help influence others to join me in this life changing experience.  

Nutritional Guidelines That I Followed During My Transformation

The most important thing about my transformation was and still is mostly psychological.  It is all about controlling my own mind.  I have to make choices and they include not eating processed foods, sugar, drinking alcohol.  It also means that I  will make sure that I eat 6 healthy meals a day.

More Self Control.  Know when to say when.
Portion control is something that people have a great deal of trouble with and I was no exception.  When people eat out the portions are typically huge.  An easy way to figure out a good portion is to look at the palm of your open hand and that is what your protein portion should be.  Your fist would be your carbs and for vegetables that would also be your fist.

I don’t really like to refer to what I eat as a diet, because I believe that the word diet comes with a negative connotation.  People try diets.  People do diets for a set amount of time and in some cases an undefined period of time.  Low carb no carb, grapefruit, 30 day diet.  These are diets that you can’t stick with.  I guess you get on them and lose some weight and go back to your old ways.  You are setting yourself up to fail.  Planning is a great idea, however, I don’t like to plan to fail.  If it happens, I’ll learn from it but I don’t want it predetermined.  In 1998 when I did the Body for Life and got my body fat into the single digits, I was on a diet that I couldn’t stick with. It was pretty much a bodybuilder diet.  All of my food was bland.  If I wanted to get crazy and spice things up, than I would put spicy mustard on my bland chicken.  In some cases I would also cut my carbs.  You do cut fat, but you also burn muscle and you feel like crap.  I stuck with it for a long time. Eventually, I failed.

My new program had to include a nutrition plan that I could stick with for life.  I had to enjoy my food.  Based on my past history this would have been impossible.  I didn’t think that I could find something that was good for you that also tastes good on a daily basis.  I learned enough from the turkey baster diet to start looking into organic vegetables and fruits and free range chicken and eggs and grass feed beef.  Plus seafood.  First of all this way of eating tastes so much better than the crap I was buying prior to my transportation.  I already knew that processed foods were not good but still had to have the self control to avoid those foods.  I got rid of all of the food that I no longer allowed my self to eat.  I cleaned out my cabinets and it all went to a food drive.   Instead of getting sauce out of a bottle or can, I started to make my own with organic tomatoes and other organic vegetables.

The following are the guidelines that I set up for my transformation and that I continue to follow:

It provides more of a view of what to eat and what not to eat. I did make changes throughout my transformation but most of it was early on.  I still make changes occasionally.   I started screwing around with a different diet and dropped it close to the start of the program because I looked at it and realized that I could not do it for life.  I didn’t think that I could do it for another day.  Oh, I guess I couldn’t.  The nutrition program that I ended up following is awesome.  The food is great and I can do it for life. I don’t feel like I need a cheat meal and I am not anxious. I have been ripped before and ate bland food and it doesn’t work as a life style. You always want to cheat. There are lots of options with the way that I eat.

When I finished the first 12 weeks I had started to pay attention to calories for the next 4 weeks, in order to see how many calories I was eating. They ranged between 2500 and 3000.  I eat protein and carbs with every meal and I have 6 meals a day. Protein intake is close to my body weight in grams. I am estimating that I eat around 200 or more grams of protein a day.  Typically, my carbs in my first two meals come from Oatmeal. It ranges between 1/2 a cup and a full cup.  Oatmeal takes a long time to break down and it is low on the glycemic index. The other meals are usually sweet potatoes which break down quickly. Sometimes I replace them with brown rice or quinoa. Carbohydrates are fuel.  These foods will provide you with energy and will help you build and retain muscle.  They also possess many other benefits.  I actually use them in several different recipes.

Carbs
Vegetables – I eat organic vegetables – for the most part I stick with spinach and asparagus, sweet potato and occasional will add other vegetables to food that I make.  There are plenty of choices.
Fruits – Go with organic here also – tomato, avocado, grapefruit, bananas.  I add a number of other fruits to my diet as well.  Tons of choices here also.
Grains: I stay away from grains with the of exception of oatmeal, quinoa, brown rice.
Nuts: They are high in fat and carbs, however they are very nutritious and should be a part of your diet.  Just don’t overdue it.   I probably eat almonds more than any other type of nut. And I do eat peanut butter or almond butter every once in a while.
Protein – I stick with food that doesn’t have hormones or other crap in it. Grass Feed Beef, Bison, Seafood (usually fish), Free Range Chicken and Eggs

The way I define processed is anything man made.  This includes bread and pasta.  Both of which I love.  When people talk about carb loading the day before an event, I don’t consider pasta.  I eat, extra sweet potatoes and oatmeal.

I eat RAW honey and cinnamon 2 to 4 times a day.  Both of these are very beneficial.  If you are going to try it out make sure that you get RAW Honey.  In order for your body to digest it easily it has to be RAW.  Processed honey will cause your blood sugar to spike.

I replaced table salt with Sea Salt because table salt has a negative effect on your body and Sea Salt provides electrolytes and minerals for your body.  It contains some great health benefits.

I take supplements which includes a good protein powder every day.  If I want additional carbs with my protein shake, sometimes I will add half of a baked sweet potato to it.  One way to see if you are taking a good protein powder is to check the label and see how high Cholesterol is on the product.  Good protein will be low in Cholesterol.  Typically it is going to be more expensive.

I also add Metamucil or Psyllium Husks to my regular diet.  It adds needed fiber to your diet and has many benefits including reducing cholesterol.

This is my sample diet on a typical day

I add things to my diet which will help burn fat, lower cholesterol, provide energy, lower blood sugar and other things that play a role in being healthy.  If you take a look at any of the recipes that I put in my blog, you will notice that I put the benefits of the ingredients at the end of the recipe.

Wake up
Make a shake with 3 raw eggs, 1/2 a cup to 1 cup of oatmeal, raw honey, cinnamon  sometimes add protein powder sometimes add a banana or other fruit – add a couple ice cubes

Run within one hour

1 hour after run
3 egg omelet with tomatoes, onions, garlic, hot peppers

cup of oatmeal with honey and cinnamon and a grapefruit

or
Oatmeal Pancakes
Grapefruit

3 hours later
Almond Coconut Honey Chicken
Tropical Sweet Potato 

Spinach

Prior to workout
Protein Shake with half a sweet potato blended into it

Post workout
I take a recovery product that has carbs and sugar immediately after workout (I stay away from sugar other then post workout)
Protein Shake within 15 minutes of my workout ending

1 hour later
Seared Tuna with Mango and Ginger
Asparagus

3 hours later
Protein Shake

I usually get my carbs from vegetables at night.

Water is an important for health and it will also help fill you up.  Drink 50% of your weight in ounces of water,  plus 16 ounces for each pound that you lose working out.  I try not to drink water 30 minutes before or after I eat.  It can interfere with digestion.

I allow for one cheat meal a week.  However, it usually ends up being once every two weeks.
It could be pizza, pasta, pf changs, a steakhouse where I eat bread, ice cream or something out of the ordinary for me.  It never seems as good as i use to think that it was.  Still tastes good but i eat so many other good things that are good for you.  To tell you the truth I have felt terrible the day following a cheat meal several times.  My body isn’t use to some of the things that I rarely eat and it reacts in a negative way.

Self Control and Will Power are crucial for your diet.  I still go to dinner with friends and I am very careful when ordering out.  There are plenty of temptations when you go, from bread to alcohol.  You have to be strong enough to control your mind.  Also, if you don’t plan on eating something that comes with your meal it is always better to have it removed from your plate before it is brought out.  Remove the temptation.  Plus it’s a waste of food.

Funny thing is that people think that when they are trying to lose weight, they can’t enjoy their food.  That is exactly what I thought because that was my past experience.  Not only are my regular meals good but I eat several things that make me feel like I am cheating, including the Oatmeal Pancakes.  If you love chocolate checkout the recipe in my blog for Coconut Flavored Chocolate.

Planning is another important aspect of the nutrition program.  I wrote down everything that I planned to eat and followed up with what I actually ate during every meal, every day.  I got into such a routine, even though my meals varied that after about week 8 or 9 I stopped writing anything down.

Enjoy your food and make it work for you not against you.  Take advantage of the healthy benefits that these foods provide.  Learn to S.W.I.M. to improve your life.

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