Tuesday, April 13, 2010

John Nelson Weight Loss Challenge: Week 11

Last week John gave himself a sweet birthday present--dropping 30 pounds in 70 days to get under 300 pounds for the first time in years. We still have 44 days to go before the May 20th weigh-in. How much did John lose this week? How much money can we raise for the Wounded Warrior Project? Will he be able to climb Big Bear to watch Lance, Levi and Dave Z?

Hm...maybe we should just relax and focus on the now. At least, that's what John says he's doing...

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” - Buddha

This is a new week. That is all I can think about for now. The diet is starting new again after some time off. This was, as I said last week, on purpose. The last week was a time out in a sense, where I took myself off the regimen of the diet for the moment. After two months straight (even the shortened February) of watching what I ate, being concerned about working off the calories I put in, was wearing on me. Combined with the realities of real life stresses, I just needed some time off.

My expectation was to gain some during the week of indulging myself in the fun of a birthday, with cake (ice cream, vanilla), sushi at a buffet down the street, and a few glasses of wine. Now, I have to admit, this break was strategic, since it was my birthday, my mom was up here for her birthday (75th), and I got a promotion at work. That was the primary reason for breaking the diet. But at the same time, the last week in March really showed me that I was tired of watching my habits.

Everything should be done in moderation. And time should be set aside for fun. This is what I did. I set aside the time to relax my stresses, enjoy my good fortunes, and eat a piece of candy, while candy was available.

The result was a four to five pound gain. I’m back at 302-303. But, it isn’t a worry.

On Sunday night I watched a documentary on Buddha’s life. I got a lot out of it. Strangely, what I got out of it was that I think that anyone who makes a conscious choice to take a philosophical stance is Buddhist. I also got a bit more though, especially when it comes to this diet and challenge.

First, the documentary explained that suffering, or discomfort in the way things are, is natural. If I am fat, so be it. It is natural to be this way. If I acknowledge this suffering, I can then begin to overcome the suffering and find the joy that I seek. Yes, I’m beginning to sound like a monk. So, with this challenge, I have acknowledged that I must lose some weight in order to climb the mountains of California in May. That is my joy. That is what I seek. But also, knowing that I am fat and then knowing that a diet is needed, I found joy in doing this challenge. That in itself made things easier. I chose to diet. The diet did not choose me.

Second, everything has a balance to it. For every calorie I eat, another must come out in order to balance my weight. However, if I tip the scale toward reducing the amount I put in, the body reacts to level the scales again. This was the plateau I had two weeks ago. My body moved toward balancing things for me, against my mind’s notions, but in my best interests, nonetheless. By doing something out of the ordinary, we try to regain the ordinary. Chaos happens everywhere: in society, in our minds, and even in our efforts to change. The tendency of nature is to find balance. For me, I must continue to trick the body to believe that all is well, even though my caloric intake is chaotic. Ultimately, I will find balance at a lower weight, and hopefully, my body will accept that.

This brings us to rest. Not all things can be constant. There comes a time when we should stop our progress, if not to look back on the journey, but to also raise our heads to see how much farther we must go. I took the rest time in the first week in April so that I can begin the last part of the journey. But also to stop and look back on what worked and what failed. Rest is both to recharge a weary body and to rekindle the soul. Rest is a means to stop and take inventory of what has happened, and also a chance to strategize on what is to come.

The final part was of the Buddha’s call for compassion for one another. During this challenge, Kevin and I have been talking about the simple gift of a donation that we are trying to accomplish with this diet. The more I can lose, the more help the wounded warriors may get. That has been an inspirational and imperative part of this challenge. Each time I see a muffin or milkshake, another bowl of cereal or seconds at dinner, I’m reminded of why we took this journey in the first place. To show our compassion, our satisfaction, our thanks, and our support of our veterans who themselves have suffered and continue, perhaps, to suffer still. If others are to find their joy in life, society must contribute. This diet is more than just a man losing weight for himself. This diet challenge is one of those little ways for us to show compassion for our fellow man.

“He is able who thinks he is able.” - Buddha

I do think I am able. Now that I’ve taken time to figure out what need to be done, I’ve begun this new week. This is a new week. That is all I can think about for now. The diet is starting new again. I’ll be riding a lot more this week, outdoors until Thursday night, then indoors as I dog sit for my dog Slyder after his leg surgery. Poor little guy. I’ll get out for a long ride over the weekend somehow, but I’m not counting on it much. This means that my caloric intake will have to be watched, carefully. In the past, fruits in the morning have resulted in the best means for me to maintain my vitamins and cravings later in the day. That will be a priority. Proteins will be high on the list, with little touches of carbohydrates to fulfill needs for energy. By all means, snacks will be the taboo that I will spurn religiously. This is the plan. This is why I stopped to look back, but not dwell upon the failures, and find goodness in the success. This is why I stopped to look forward and figure out what was plausible and what was a dream. And why I must begin this new week, my mind concentrating on the present, all the time.

I must concentrate and not falter, in order to do my best for the soldiers and myself. I must think of every moment and morsel I put into my body, and every step of this journey. I must burn off what I have eaten, and not think of my meal the next day. I must think only on what I have now, what I must do now, limit my desires, and yet balance the needs of the mind with the needs of the body.

In the end, hopefully, this journey along to the path to enlightenment will be a successful one, where body, mind and soul will be grateful for the efforts. Where I will be 290 pounds by May, the Wounded Warrior funds will be increased, and our souls will be satisfied that our simple giving has done our karma some good.

“Health is the greatest gift, contentment the greatest wealth, faithfulness the best relationship.” - Buddha

You are able, brother, you are able.

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