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Look Harder

Rafiki: Look down there.
Simba: That’s not my father. That’s just my reflection.
Rafiki: No, look harder.
[touches the water, as it ripples Simba’s reflection changes to that of his father]
Rafiki: You see? He lives in you.
Mufasa’s ghost: Simba.
Adult Simba: Father?
Mufasa’s ghost: Simba, you have forgotten me.
Adult Simba: No. How could I?
Mufasa’s ghost: You have forgotten who you are and so have forgotten me. Look inside yourself, Simba. You are more than what you have become. You must take your place in the Circle of Life.

That dialogue is from one of my favorite movies The Lion King. In that scene, Simba is wrestling with who he is and who he is. (Yes you read that right.) Who he is and who he is.
He’s Simba. A scared lion who is filled with doubt, guilt, shame, fear, and unbelief. A lion who has run away from his past mistakes and poor choices. Yet, that very same Lion is the sole heir to Pride Rock and is the rightful king. In fact, everything the sun touches is his kingdom.

How can he be both? How can he be both a king and a nomad? Full of fear yet full of strength? Which one is the real Simba? The reflection or the lion looking in the water.

A major lesson was taught in that scene. What was the lesson? There’s a difference between fact and truth. The facts were Simba abandoned his family, played a role in his father’s death, and was living a life unfitting of the King of Pride Rock. A life ripe with pain, agony, and anguish from his past.

And the truth? Well, the truth was simple. He was the rightful King of Pride Rock and had all the rights, power, privileges and authority that come with such a title. He was strong, fearless, courageous, full of valor.

You’re probably asking “What in the world does this have to do with weight loss?” I’m glad you asked! It has EVERYTHING to do with it. At one point I was the fact filled Simba. I wrestled with the same things he did – doubt, guilt, shame, fear, and unbelief. Basically, my past. Past attempts at weight loss, past bad decisions nutritionally, etc.. However, this last time, I “looked harder” in the water and saw my truth.

My truth was I was powerful beyond measure. I was a conqueror. An overcomer. Once I realized that truth, I was ready to return to my weight loss journey just as Simba returned to Pride Rock to take back his kingdom. In my case, my kingdom was my health. And I did so with confidence knowing what I was and who I was.

So whenever you feel the facts dominating your thoughts, might I suggest you remember Rafiki and Simba at the river on that clear, dark night in the jungle. If you don’t see your truth immediately (And you very well might not), it’s okay. Look again. Look harder and the reflection of truth concerning who you are will become clear.

Remember facts can change (and will change). The truth however, remains constant.

 
 

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August Update

Where has the year gone?!?!? We have six months left in 2013. As I mentioned in the July update, June was an okay month. I regained focus in July. I think this month’s update reflects that.

Click to see the August update.

fyi – Click on the picture to enlarge it.

 

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July Update

Okay, We’re in July! The 2nd half of 2013 is upon us! June was an okay month. Definitely not my best month. I completed another 5k and decreased my time. I admit I coasted quite a bit in June. But I’ve refocused and set goals. I have two weddings in October to attend. (I’m in one.) So that provided a goal for me to work towards.

Click to see July’s update.

fyi – Click on the picture to enlarge it.

 

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Why This Time Was Different

I get e-mails from time to time from people who read my blog. Some are weight-loss related. Some are words are encouragement or notes of similar stories. Every now and then I share them (and my response) through the blog. Below is one of those e-mails. Well a portion of it anyway. Of course it was used with permission.

Antuan,
I’ve been following your blog for a while now. You’re an inspiration. I quit on my goals every two or three weeks but I find myself drawn back to your blog and your words give me hope. It’s like you’re talking directly to me. I have a question. You mentioned that you tried multiple times but this time was different. What made this time different?………..

My response

Hey! First, thank you for following and reading my blog. I don’t take that for granted. I’m humbled that it helps you. To think I was really close to not starting the blog. Also many thanks for e-mailing. I enjoy reading the emails. I actually wish I got more. They inspire me like crazy. lol

On to your question. (Great great question by the way!!) I’m going to answer your question with a question. lol

“There were 3 frogs on a log in a pond. One of the frogs decided to jump off the log. How many frogs are now on the log?”

The answer is 3. The frog merely decided to jump off the log. He didn’t follow his decision with actions.

This time around not only did I decide I would change my lifestyle, I followed that decision with actions. I just kept taking action that went along with the decision I made. I took action when I felt like it, when I didn’t feel like it, etc… And the biggest thing? I didn’t beat myself up when the action I took went against my decision. I knew in the grand scheme of things my actions were headed in the right direction. (Check out my entry on having a short memory)

Make sense? I hope that helps. I can’t wait to read your e-mail about how your life has changed for the better and all the success you’re having with your weight loss!

-Antuan

Here’s the post I made reference to in my response. Check it out.

 
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Posted by on 06/28/2013 in Inspirational, Weight Loss

 

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June Update

Okay, May has come and gone. I accomplished a good bit in May. I completed my first 5k. Increased the intensity of my workouts. Learned a lot about myself. Can’t wait to see what the 2nd half of the year brings. Can you believe it’s already June? I think I’m starting to see progress.

I didn’t quite get the same pose for this month but next month’s pose will be the same as the previous two.

Click to see June’s Monthly update.

fyi – Click on the picture to enlarge it.

 
 

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Lesson from Mile Two

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Today I had a great experience. I ran and completed my first 5k. All along my goal was to run the entire 5k and not come in last. I prepared for weeks. I ran the course multiple times training for these few minutes. My outfit was picked out weeks ago – complete with shorts to match my shoes. A shirt that I wasn’t comfortable wearing but needed to wear for motivation for my next 5k. (Yes, I’m hooked.)

My playlist was set. An hour and five minutes of songs that would help me run 3.1 miles. I’ve learned many lessons through this process. Lessons like I can do whatever I set my mind to do. Growth is found outside my comfort zone. But I was reminded of one the greatest lessons at mile two.

There I was running… Hitting my zone…. Music was blasting in my ears. I had talked myself out of walking twice by this point. Then I saw this little boy up ahead. Sweating, walking, head down. I saw his mom urging him to continue. He was having no part of it. For whatever reason, our eyes met. At this point, I hadn’t uttered one word to anyone on the course. After all, I was focused. I was competing with me, myself, and I. Goals needed to be accomplished and nothing would stand in my way!

Then it happened. I took my earphones out for the first time. I introduced myself.”I’m Antuan. What’s your name?” He looked up at me, with his hair disheveled, sweat on his face and said softly, “I’m Matthew.” I asked him if he was okay. He just looked at me. “How old are you?”, I asked. “Eight”, he said. I told him I was new to the area and needed a friend to help me finish this race. I asked him if he’d help me finish the race. He said yes. I then asked his mom if it would be okay if Matthew and I finished the race together.

Once she gave her approval, we gave each other the fist bump and started off on the last mile. We ran it slowly, at his pace. At this point, my goals were a distant memory. For one mile, Matthew and I talked, jogged, encouraged each other, and vowed to finish the race together.

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We finished it. Crossing the finish line together. (Ahead of his mom as a matter of fact!) He looked up at me and said “We did it!” I replied, “We sure did buddy. We sure did.”

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The lesson in all that? There’s no greater joy than helping someone else along the way. We all need each other to accomplish great things. No man is an island. I was reminded of that today.

Matthew helped me way more than I helped him. He reminded me that we’re in this together. We can accomplish more with others than by ourselves.

After the race, Matthew sought me out and brought me a banana and water.He told me this was his second 5k. I responded “Whoa! You’re amazing, buddy! This is my first. I hope to run as well as you one day.” The smile on his face as he ran off was priceless. That smile, that moment, was worth far more than any goal I set out to accomplish with this 5k.

Thanks for the reminder, Matthew.

 
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Posted by on 05/20/2013 in Exercise, Inspirational, Weight Loss

 

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Slow Down To Speed Up

I recently had the misfortune opportunity to really see how much my lifestyle has changed. I had to listen to my body tell me I needed rest from 5k training. For an entire week, I did nothing but rest. (That drove me absolutely crazy!) No running, No weight training. Nothing…..

A few short months ago, that would have certainly spelled doom and destruction to my weight loss plan. This time, however, was different. Instead of mentally checking out for a week concerning all things weight-loss related, I found myself poring old food and exercise logs. I paid closer attention to what I was eating. After all weight-loss is 80% mental and 20% physical. How many times have I said that? Oddly enough, I was even more engaged in the process.

Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up. That’s exactly what I was reminded up during my rest period. I was refreshed, rested, and amazingly I was more productive when I returned to working out.

If you’re not experiencing the results you think you should. Instead of simply trying harder, and continuing to do the same thing and expecting the same results (Isn’t that the definition of insanity?), slow down. Review your logs, identify areas on which you can improve and go from there.

Sometimes you have to slow down to speed up.

Hmmmmm… Seems like I mentioned something about that here and here

 

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New Monthly Updates

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Okay, I’ve been thinking how to make this blog more. More what you may ask? Just more in general. More helpful. More inspiring. More accountable for me.

One of the things requested in e-mails was more pictures. I’m working on that. In the mean time, what I’ve decided to do is post monthly updates in pictures. It’ll be a picture of me at the beginning of each month. The picture will be taken in the same clothes so you follow my progress monthly.

I chose a shirt that is painted on. (for the time being) Out of all my too big and loose-fitting shirts, why did I choose this one? Well, #1 I need the motivation to do more. #2 It would be difficult to see that I’m actually making progress in an already loose shirt. So I chose a shirt that was already a size smaller than what I wear and has shrunk quite a bit because I threw it in the dryer. Once again being vulnerable and forcing myself to be accountable. (Hey it worked the first time. So here goes!)

Click to see April’s Monthly update.

fyi – Click on the picture to enlarge it.

 
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Posted by on 04/03/2013 in Inspirational, Weight Loss

 

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Lessons From The Treadmill

I’m training to run my first 5k in May. I’ve been talking about doing it for a while. Now I’m actually doing it. (That’s another blog for another day.) At any rate, I’m on week 4 of the Couch to 5k program. This is the first week where it got hard. (for me anyway) Alternating between running for 3 and 5 minutes for 30 minutes. For me it was grueling, it was hard, and it was the most rewarding so far.

I was reminded of three valuable lessons while doing the workout.

You can do more than you think you can
I’ve never been a runner. I’m the guy who absolutely loathed P.E. class when we had to run a
mile. But in week four, I’ve realized that not only can I walk on the treadmill, I can run on it
for 5 minutes straight. Doing more than I thought I could. Now I know, if I can do 5 minutes I
can do 8 minutes (that’s week 5 of the program)

Pain is temporary
During the last 5 minute run, my legs hurt, lungs were burning, breathing was labored. The thought of ending the run prematurely quitting definitely crossed my mind a time or three. But I kept going and finished it. Wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I finished, the pain that was so unbearable seemingly quickly dissipated. I realized that the pain (well strong discomfort) that I was feeling wasn’t as bad as I thought. Imagine how I would’ve felt had I quit early.

Greatest growth comes when you leave your comfort zone
This whole thing is outside of my comfort zone. Running in a race, 1/2 a mile no less a 3 mile race is so not me. It’s something I’ve never done and training for it is something I’ve never done. But there in lies the beauty of it. I’ve grown in the 4 short weeks I’ve been preparing for it. I’ve run more. I’ve become for fit. I’ve become more confident and most importantly I’ve gained more belief in myself that I can do anything.

Those are three major lessons I’ve learned on this journey. I was glad that I was reminded of them while on the treadmill. Remember you can always do more, pain is temporary, and growth occurs outside of your comfort zone.

 
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Posted by on 03/25/2013 in Exercise, Weight Loss

 

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Three Questions….

dI’ve been reflecting lately on how I’ve been able to finally turn the corner on my health. What made this time different? How was I able to keep going?

The answer to those questions(and many others) was answered in three questions I asked myself the first day I started. Unknowingly, the answer to these three questions shaped the foundation for my weight loss.

The first question I asked myself was “What do I want?” The question, at first glance, appears simple. However, it really required thought for me. What did I want? Did I just want to lose weight? Did I want to be healthier? It took about an hour to answer that question. Knowing what you want is essential. It begins to bring clarity to what you’re looking to accomplish.

With the answer to the first question in hand, I moved on to the second question. “Why do I want it?” When you figure out what you want and why you want it, you start to get an emotional tie. I’ve found that by having an emotional tie to what I wanted, a need to accomplish it was created. The need was so strong that I became almost obsessive over it. (I prefer the term laser focus.) That focus, obsessiveness, whatever you want to call it became the seeds of discipline that sprouted into a no excuses attitude.

Lastly, and maybe most important, I asked myself “What was I willing to give up to get what I wanted?” In my case, it was an hour of my day to exercise. I was willing to give up a couple of hours of sleep so I could exercise before going to work. I was willing to give up soda. You get the point.

Everything has a cost associated with it. You have to decide if what you want, why you want it, and the things you’ll have to give up (some temporarily I might add) are worth the cost. And if it’s worth it, are you willing to pay the cost.

For me, it was definitely worth it. And looking back on it, the price wasn’t nearly as expensive it appeared in the beginning.

 
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Posted by on 03/13/2013 in Inspirational, Weight Loss

 

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