Anyone who has tried to lose that extra five, ten or fifty pounds know it all too well. It ainít easy. The diet, the exercise, the discipline; all seemingly designed to kill you. You fight and struggle for every last pound to shed from your frame, only to feed the hunger pangs with the wrong food and be right back where you started.
Most of you know this feeling. You feel helpless. You feel trapped. You feel frustrated. At times, you may even feel desperate. You may think that you have to change something drastically to get the results that you are seeking. You may even abandon your routine altogether.
No, Iím not here to preach the latest diet fads to run across the country. What I intend to tell you today is that dieting is a lot like life. How you approach a diet, what you put into it, and even what you think about it will determine the outcome. Then, Iím going to relate how you can look at your life and do the exact same thing. Iím not preaching. Iíll tell you that this is what I believe and this is what has helped me. You can do what you will with it. Iím just trying to help you get through this world with a minimal amount of aggravation.
There are a few principles that we have lost in this country that are killing us. Not just morally, but physically. Diabetes got so big that had to make a second classification for it. High blood pressure is a leading killer in this country, and can lead to heart attacks and strokes. The list goes on and on to you may not be able to get out of a burning house because your butt canít fit through the door. Think Iím kidding? About ten years ago, a man had to have a WALL removed so he could go to the hospital for chest pains. That is an extreme example, but no more extreme than his weight. Somebody should have called Jared.
Principle number one that we have lost in this country is this: if you want it, you have to work for it. How many diet pills on the market today advertise that you can lose weight with no diet or exercise? Translation: no work will be involved. You can have the dream body that you have always desired and not lift a finger. I have a few problems with that.
The first problem I have is that this statement is a lie. It is the largest advertising scam that has ever been created. Iím not saying that you will not lose any weight. But what weight are you losing? Everything in your body contributes to the weight of your body. That means that fat, muscle, water, hair, skin, and everything else has a weight. Hair does not weigh very much. Shaving your head is not a smart diet. But taking these pills and sitting on a couch isnít any smarter.
The first week or so, you will lose mostly excess water. After that, without a smart diet and exercise plan, you will be losing muscle. You might lose a little fat, but youíll lose more muscle than anything. That means that you are losing weight and you are still fat. Plus, the more muscle you lose, the unhealthier you become. Remember, your heart is a muscle.
My next problem is that anything worth having is worth working for. To have your six-pack abs just handed to you seems a bit cheap. Where is the work that you put into it? Where is the badge of honor that you wear when you show them off? Where is the pride in accomplishment? Are you really that easy?
If you have something just handed to you, you donít appreciate it as much as if you had worked for it. If you are just handed a great body, you probably wonít take care of it the way you would if you had worked hard to get it. Which car did you take care of better, the one Mom and Dad gave you or the one you had to buy yourself? Starting to get the picture?
Hard work, though essential, is not enough. Hard work leaves you tired and sore. You have to feed your body the proper fuel in order to recover from the hard work. A proper diet will do most of this, but supplementing with extra protein and vitamins will round out the plan. Feeding the body the wrong things, after all, is what got you in this mess to begin with. What makes you think that you can keep eating this stuff and get different results?
You may work very hard at your job or on your relationships and the like, but what fuels the work? What motivates you? What drives you? These are the things that will get you from one milestone to the next. And yes, it matters what the motivation is. Setting positive and REALISTIC goals is the best approach that I can think of. Saying you want to be Arnold in six weeks when you look like John Candy is not being realistic.
The same thing applies to your life. If you start a new job, it is not realistic to say that you want to be running the place in six months. Bad idea, and you are going to make a lot of enemies. I started a new job three months ago after being at home with my kids for eighteen months. I had been out of the field for six years. I went in and decided that there were a few things that I wanted to motivate me. First, I wanted to clear the probation period with flying colors. Then I wanted to learn all the machinery that I could. I have passed those goals and now am being motivated by wanting my productivity to be at 110%. When I hit that mark consistently, Iíll move it up to 115%. These are realistic goals.
Be careful to not get too down on yourself when things go wrong. And they will go wrong. How you handle this adversity will greatly determine your success. If you have a good plan, stick to it. Life changes all the time. Stick to your core values, but change the way you do things.
I once worked in an architectural office, and one of the guys that sat near me was gay. I am known the world over as blunt and no gray area. I think it and say it almost in the same second. My message was not getting through to him and I couldnít figure out why. Finally, I asked him questions and tried to have a non-issue related discussion with him. He was more than willing to talk then. It took about four months, but I had built up a friendship with him that I could now start to talk to him about the Bible and what God said about being gay. He listened much better this time around than he did the first.
Did I change my convictions? Nope. Did I loosen my death grip on my sexuality? Nope. I just changed the plan and did away with a frontal assault. I hear from him from time to time. I canít say Iíve changed his life. But he respects my opinion, and if he ever wants to talk about his lifestyle, he says he will come to me. That is what I am talking about.
Life is not easy. Anybody that tells you that is lying to your face. It requires work, motivation and the ability to get through the hard times with your values and sanity intact. Just remember that you are not in this by yourself. God is more than willing to help. I will help all that I can. You probably have friends and family that want to help but donít know how to bring it up. But you have to help yourself, as well. You can do it. You just have to get up and go do it. Write me if you need any help.
Mark A. Bradley
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Mark, I tried to read your three articles you posted today, but my old eyes keep jumping around because of the lack of white space between paragraphs. Sorry, I gave up. I hope you will consider editing these articles and adding the white spaces. I hear this same complaint from others, so Iím not alone in the "old eye syndrome!" Thanks, and , God bless.