John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Diet Update

jyb_musingsDone! 

Almost…

A little over six months ago I saw a friend, Kent Oyler, and told him I had just started a diet. He asked me my weight goal and I said I didn’t have one yet and he thought that was a mistake. I agreed and then asked Kent, since he was my height and in great shape, what he weighed. He told me and I said that was my weight goal. It was 27 lbs for me to lose. 

Last night I reported to Kent that I was actually only 3 lbs away from my goal of reaching his his weight. But Kent then reported that he had actually gained 3 lbs this summer and we were now at the exact weight.

I raised me arms in exultation….feeling, for a moment, like I had achieved my goal of attaining Kent’s weight. But being honest with myself my real goal is still about 3 lbs away and I’m hanging in until I reach, well, both goals!

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Tooting my Own Horn

jyb_musingsThere’s nothing wrong with tooting your own horn from time to time. If you don’t, who will? Right?

As baseball legend Dizzy Dean famously said, “It ain’t braggin’ if you’ve done it.”

Well, this morning it finally happened for me. I was the very first customer of the day at the Springhurst Starbucks in The Summit (or whatever they are calling it now).

I didn’t win a prize of any kind and the Barista wasn’t even going to tell me until I asked solicitously if I was, in fact, today’s first customer. After a brief pause while she fished through the cash register for my change, she looked up and without making eye contact, sighed and said, “Yep. You are.”

Those words, “Yep. You are,” were just what I was hoping to hear after so many mornings asking that same question and getting a “Not quite,” or “Almost,” or “No,” or “Are you serious?” (Followed by whispers to a fellow Barista.)

Finally, today is the day, fittingly on the day we celebrate our nation’s birthday, that I finally made it as Starbucks “First Customer of the Day.”

Dizzy Dean was right.

In fact, I’m thinking of taking the rest of the day off. But only until tomorrow morning.

Erica and Matt Chua: He Said-She Said: Missing the Holidays

Most of the year being away from home is just fine.  Daily life doesn’t give us much to miss, but the holidays are a different story.  Do we want to be at an ugly sweater party?  Yeah, you betcha!  Do we want to be feasting on unhealthy food just because it’s a holiday?  Of course!  Here are the key things about the holidays we miss.

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HE SAID…

December is a deceptively good month at home.  The fun of the holidays outweighs the fact that in Minnesota the temperature drops below freezing; a mark it won’t rise above until sometime in May.  While the air outside becomes frosty, inside it’s a different story, the warmth of people abounds.  Everywhere becomes festive, downtown Minneapolis hosts a nightly parade, stores that seem barren in the summer are wrapped in decorations, and people open their homes to share great food, catch up, and drink a little too much eggnog.  Overall, December is a month that I wish were longer.

Ever seen The Hangover?  At the end they find a digital camera with photos of the night before that show scenes that are unbelievable for even those that were there.  Our friend’s holiday party is like that.  Part of you wishes there were no digital cameras and facebook, but you also realize that’s a big part of the fun.  The party doesn’t really celebrate the holidays, rather it uses the holidays as a reason to party, in costume.  This year’s theme, Punk Rock Christmas, will celebrate the decade we were born in, but too young to rock mohawks and leather jackets without our parents’ agreeing to pay for them.  Being the season of giving, there is a gift exchange where you can expect to walkaway with household essentials such as stuffed bobcats and profane inflatable objects. This is one holiday party that is a shame to miss.

Stuffed bobcat!?  You know you want one and the gift exchange is a great place to get it.

A close second to missing Punk Rock Christmas is being able to indulge in eating without shame.  The holidays are a time when it’s seemingly OK to catch up with family while holding a plate that only contains prime rib, lamb, and turkey.Sure, there are plenty of other things I could put on my plate, some carbs for example, but why?  Spending time with loved ones and a plate of meat is what makes December different from Thanksgiving when people will plop sweet potatoes onto your plate against your will.  The holidays are all about food, family and friends, which makes December a great month.
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SHE SAID…

I have always had a white Christmas, being from Minnesota having snow on the ground is a sign that the holidays are just around the corner.  While we have chased summer weather around the world, I miss the snow that tells me it’s time for holiday parties, ice sculptures and long standing family traditions.  Sure I wish I could attend friend’s ugly sweater parties and play secret santa, but what I miss most is our traditional  Christmas Eve meal and our eclectic Christmas Day gathering of friends and family.

My plate of food with Swedish meatballs, Swedish sausage, lefse and a tiny bit of obligatory lutefisk.

Read the rest of…
Erica and Matt Chua: He Said-She Said: Missing the Holidays

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Dear God

jyb_musingsDear God, 

Don’t get me wrong and please know I am just trying to help.

I appreciate you keeping up the regular supply of much needed water to us. But splashing us every few days with water everywhere with these rain storms just makes it seem like you aren’t keeping up with the times. Nobody down here is saying anything yet about your old fashioned water deliver methods but I worry they eventually will–you know how we are. And who needs that?

For example, I was at a Thornton’s early this morning (the one off Shelbyville road in Louisville, KY across from the Starbucks) and out in front there are, like, 50 cases of bottled water all lined up in neat rows. (I think it’s that fancy water that comes from the French Alps. And if the French can transport tons of water in neat little bottles, I know you can come up with something even better than that!!)

Look, it’s 2014 and there are all kinds of ways to deliver water to us that are way more efficient than the old way of just raining it down on us every few days without notice.

If you want me to ask the bottled water guy at Thorntons for some ideas for you, I will but won’t tell him I’m asking for you. We can keep it between us.

Just trying to help,

John

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Facebook Diet Update

 

10422129_10154374013165515_2145931767846929601_n10338713_10154374013220515_5125868687903418794_nSo, I got a haircut.

And I lost 23 lbs.

(Jan 2nd 2014 vs July 2nd 2014)

I’m calling it the “Facebook Diet” because a key motivator is regular Facebook updates on my progress.

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Out with the old –and too big.


21 months ago I bought a pair of jeans that are 34w as an incentive to fit into them 2 months later. 

21 months –and 21 lbs– later I fit into them. Not what I would call “a comfortable fit” but I am wearing them anyway.

And got rid of all my 38w pants today along with a few other (now) oversized clothes.

jyb_musingsOff to Evolve consignment store and Goodwill.

And 19 months late is still better than never. Or even 20 months later.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Forrest Gump

jyb_musingsGuess what? 

If you are simple and from the South one day you will grow up. Maybe you are 51, like me, when it happens. Maybe younger; maybe older. 

But one day you come to realize that life really isn’t like a box chocolates.

It’s a painful realization at first. But you will just have to deal with it.

Even Forrest Gump, at age 51, would probably say life is really more like eating a piece of Peanut Brittle with sensitive teeth.

Don’t get me wrong. Life is still good. But we have to learn, even here in the South, life is more complicated than we thought—and that we can’t chew if we want to enjoy life and have it last a long time. Especially with sensitive teeth.

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Thought for the day

Today I will go slower to go farther.

And if I get too far ahead of myself, I will speed up.

Josh Bowen: Living to Die or Dying to Live: 5 Steps to Being You

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else, is the greatest accomplishment.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

joshRecently I was reading an article I found on Facebook called 5 Regrets of Dying,” and the first regret was “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” This got me thinking about life in general and how I see people who live their lives for someone else and not for themselves.

I can be accused, justifiably so, for being a workaholic and someone who is passionate and borderline obsessed with his work and craft. But I will say for all that I sacrifice; personal time, vacations, time with friends and family, I do my work, not because I have to but because I want too. I lead this life the way I want. Everything is my choice. Some people will love me and some won’t. That is the nature of life.

So putting fitness aside, I thought I would write about life in general. And pose the question to everyone; “Are you living to die or dying to live?” Here are five steps to separate yourself from everyone else and be who you are suppose to be:

1. Radical Self-Responsibility

We have become people who always point the finger at others. As to say it is always someone else’s fault or problem why we are where we are. At the end of the day, the responsibility falls on our shoulders. If you didn’t workout today, that is your fault. Manage your time better. In order to get out of the usual and become someone of distinct characteristics, we must take full responsibility for everything.

2. Stop Caring What People Think

Right or wrong we all care what people think of us…to a degree. I care what my family thinks of me. However, I do not let them sway me one bit. Some people will love you, others will not, stop caring what those who only want the worst for you, think. “Wolves do not fret over the onions of sheep.” Are you a wolf or a sheep? You pick?

3. Stop Being So Superficial

At the end of the day, we will all die and the way we looked or the things we had will not matter. What will matter most is the impact we had on the people we leave behind. Treat your body right but don’t obsess. Have nice things but realize they are only just that, things.

4. State Your Opinion

This is a difficult one. In today’s landscape, having an opinion can be looked at as a hindrance more than a benefit. However, I was always taught to stand up for your beliefs and to give your opinion if asked. To this day I do not shy from stating my opinion no matter how unpopular it is.

5. Realize Life Will be Over Soon

To quote a phrase, “I’m not here for a long time, I’m here for a good time.” None of us are here for a long time. We are given a certain amount of time on this earth and we must make the most of it. If you want to try something, go try it. You want to start your own business, go start it. Fear absolutely nothing and careless what anyone has to say about it. Leave a legacy someone could be proud of. It will make a vast difference in the world, trust me.

We were all meant to be extra-ordinary in our lives. But you can’t do this from your desk or your couch at home. You must get off your ass and change your mindset on being you, the real you. Show people who you are. It will make a world of difference.

 

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Dreaming

jyb_musingsToday I learned that if you wake up from a dream in which you drank down 3 full glasses of water and 3 bottles of water and were looking for another cup of water to guzzle when you awoke, chances are high that when you wake up you will discover that you feel thirsty.

And it is likely you will get out of bed and stumble sleepily into the kitchen and quickly drink one and a half glasses of water and half a glass of lemonade. And then go back to bed and turn off the light.

Turn on the light again after 2 minutes. Stumble back into the kitchen and drink down another half a cup of really cold ice water. Then post about the experience on Facebook. And calculate that in the past 20 minutes you have drank a total of 8 and a half glasses of liquids, real and imaginary. You then make a mental note to yourself that it isn’t as difficult as you had thought to drink 8 glasses of water a day, as everyone seems to recommend — although admittedly 6 of your glasses of water were drunk during a dream and shouldn’t really count.

You will then get back in bed and turn out the light.

And still feel thirsty.

Saul Kaplan: 100 Calorie Bite Size Snacks

photo-saulOne of the great things about having the kids around the house this summer is the temporary return of snack food.  But this summer is different; the snacks are all lined up in the cupboard in 100-calorie bite size packages.  As if the packaging alone will ensure portion control and make snacking consistent with our attempts at healthy living.  Of course it only works if you stop with one 100-calorie package, which I seldom do.  While snacking I have been thinking about the idea of bite size packaging and wondering if breaking up big hairy social goals into 100-calorie bite size packages of work tasks would better enable us to harness the power of social media to get more stuff done.  

Social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook are incredible at stirring up the pot but not as good at serving the meal.  I have been amazed at the way social media enables the exchange of ideas.  The school doors are open 24/7 for life long learning.  Diverse communities of interest arise spontaneously reacting to world events, spectacles, and provocative ideas. But how do we translate interest and commentary into action?

I am fortunate to interact every day with passionate and motivated innovators who agree that we must transform our health care, education, and energy systems.  We also agree that the technology we need is available today to enable transformative change. This is our window of opportunity. Tweaking the current systems won’t work.  We need real systems change and the key will be to unleash the power of social media beyond exchanging ideas to taking meaningful action.  What if we could make it as easy to take an action step, as it is today to contribute and react to ideas?  The way forward is to break these seemingly overwhelming social tasks down in to bite size 100-calorie packages so that social media enabled communities can engage by rolling up their sleeves and contributing deliverables that will advance these important causes.

We have to get better at asks.  Asks have to be simple.  Asks must be accessible at the point of interest.  Asks should not require more than 140 characters.  It has to be easy to say yes and to accomplish the bite size task.  There should be immediate feedback on all completed tasks and it must be clear how the task fits into the bigger picture contributing to the overall social objective and systems change.

Social media platforms have the potential to move beyond talking about changing the world to actually enabling us to change it.  We can accelerate progress by breaking down wicked goals in to 100-calorie bite size packages that are easier to snack on.

 

Josh Bowen: 12 Steps to Eating on the Go

Life is busy. We live in a world that goes a hundred miles per hour, everyday. Eating healthy can sometimes get put to the back of the line. From day to day travel to business trips to flying on airplanes, learning the best ways to eat better when we are busy can be challenging, but they can be done.  From the appendix of my book 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom here are 12 steps to eating on the go:

Preparation

prepared 1. You either prepare to succeed or fail. Preparing your lunch ahead of time would ensure you didn’t stop for fast food on your way back to the office.

2. Knowing what restaurants are on the way on a three hour business trip that serve healthy options would allow you to stay within your healthy eating strategy and not go for convenience. If we prepare, we can succeed.

Know Your Food

knowfood 3. Anytime I go to a restaurant I know what my choices are going to be. I have either looked at their menu online or I have frequented there before. I know what I am walking into.

4. Use nutrition apps to look at menus and food items before sitting down for dinner. This will help you better understand the food quality.

Bring Healthy Snacks

healthysnacks 5. If you are in an airport your choice of healthy options are slim. Bring almonds, nuts, Quest bars or fruit with to curve your appetite an prevent you from making a decision out of convenience.

6. Know the ingredients and how to read the food label on the back to know what your are eating.

Know How to Order Food

how to order food 7. Different restaurants use different things to cook with. Some use olive oil, some may use butter. Either way, I always ask for my food to be prepared without butter or seasoning.

8. If it is chicken or beef I asked that it be prepared over an open fire and grilled. This cuts down on all the extra calories the cooking process can add. Drink Water

drinkwater 9. On the go we sometimes forget about hydrating ourselves. Water keeps us hydrated but also decreases the hunger signals and keeps us full.

10. Keep big bottles of water on you at all times and refill as necessary.

Say No to Fast Food

no fast food 11. If it has a drive through, say no!

12. If you have to stop for something quick choose grilled chicken over beef and baked potato over French fries.

 

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