Macro, Micro, and Meta-Mucil


There is actually a “Method” behind the madness…

Motivation is what gets you going.  Habit is what keeps you going.If you’ve been reading my blog recently you know where I’m coming from:

333-335 lbs at my heaviest,
not healthy in any sense of the term,
and certainly not fit!

But I’ve not really talked very much about where I’m going.

And I’ve not talked very much about how I’m getting there.

Oh, I will…  I definitely will.  Watch for future posts on specific techniques.

For now, so you have some context in which to place this post you are reading, I have to very briefly give you a broad overview of what is going on as I make this journey to Health & Fitness.

Basically, I’m applying organizational skills that I acquired from my former life as a librarian to the task at hand.  Business practices like Gantt charts, procedural assessments, time management techniques, task efficiency studies, task check lists, etc.

The reality “on the ground” is that my life is in a certain state (one which I don’t like).

I strongly desire it to be in a radically different state!  Getting from here to there, because there are so many moving parts, requires a systematic approach, which in complete candor, does not come naturally to me.

Healthy HabitsBut after reading the Fat Trap, I know that if I want to achieve my desire to have a fit, healthy body capable of dancing, which will make me a happier person on innumerable fronts, then I must be systematic and hyper-vigilant.  Nothing else will produce the desired change in states.

The solution: keep the “big picture” in mind as a motivating factor and “focus” on a few simple things at a time, until those things become ironclad, unbreakable habits, then the “focus” can move to the next thing while the “habitual” items keep running on their own because well, uhmm, they are habitual.  LOL

Habits don’t require thought.  They are the things that you do all the time without thinking.

e.g. when was the last time you actually thought about exactly what you are doing as you make your morning coffee?  Or brush your teeth?  Yes, you’re doing it but are you thinking about what you are doing? 

Well, now you will be the next time you do it because I’ve planted a pesky little thought in your brain.   Bwhahahahahaha  my evil plan is working….

And there you have my “secret approach” which is going to lead me to success on my journey: one thing at a time, every thing in my life is going to be examined, to be thought about, and either tossed out, replacing it with something better, or retained and improved.

The Big Picture a.k.a the “Macro”

Carrot Dancer - Welcome to my brain.

The dude on a string is a ballet dancer — NOT Peter Pan though the resemblance is uncanny.

I am a VERY visual person.  So visual that I sometimes think in pictures — literally.  My “thoughts” are more like a series of still images or mini-movies than words or sentences.

I’ve been told many times by many different people: “Tony you’re a very good writer” which, frankly, has always puzzled me because inside my head, it isn’t words at all:  it is pictures, high-definition wide screen special effect laden Hollywood blockbuster movies with a dramatic sound track backing up the action.

So, when I say “the big picture” I mean it quite literally.

And the “picture” I have of me is one of a distant day where I’m happy, healthy, fit, and above all, dancing:

  • I see myself competing again, first in line dance, then maybe couples and eventually Pro-Pro (where I dance with another pro, though technically right now I’m still an “am” or “amateur” because I’ve not yet taught any couples lessons or classes)
  • I see myself teaching both line dance and couples (at which time I’ll not only be a “Pro” in Line Dance, I’ll be a 100% Professional Dance Instructor and will now longer qualify to compete as an “amateur”)
  • I see myself being a coach and dancing Pro-Am with students. (student is the competitor and the coach a.k.a. Moí, is just a warm body so the student has a dance partner in the competition
  • I see myself competing for a spot on the Team USA for the WDSF Games and winning that spot of course!  LOL
  • I see myself at the World Championships of Country Western Dance winning the Advanced Male Line Dance Division in both Classic and in Showcase and moving into Crown (the very top level division for folks 40+), then I see myself dropping down into Advanced Open and competing to qualify for the Superstar Division (highest line dance division 18+).  << this might take a while… LOL  But hey, it is my fantasy world and it is just within the realm of possibility… with a little luck and a LOT of hard work!

ALL of those images can be summed up in a single word: Dance.

A couple days ago I was working on my computer and I BURST out laughing because I had this image pop into my brain of me, the “mental” aka “conscious me” riding the very stubborn “physical me” like a donkey.  And the “carrot” wasn’t a carrot.  It was a dancer. (recreated just above)

DANCE is my Real-World Patronous

Another image that shows up on the movie screen in my head on a regular basis is based on the Harry Potter books.

For those who are NOT Harry Potter fans, a Patronous is a magical construct called into being to protect a wizard against these nasty evil icky creatures called Dementors.

To pull off the spell you wave your wand (GETCHER mind OUT of the gutter!)  It isn’t THAT kind of wand!  Hmmph!

Well, you wave your wand, envision a “happy moment” and say the incantation “Expecto Patronum!”

And a ghostly figure appears and protects you from the evil Dementors.

I think my Patronus would look like Tom Daley, the British Diver.  The dude put on some moves in a charity lip sync/dance video! Woot!

…and he’s just sooooooooooooo CUTE!  How could any nasty critter have a chance against that smile of his?  Hmmm???  But I digress….  🙂

food scaleWhenever I am tempted by Pizza or Sonic or Braums Burger or Whataburger or whatever may be causing me to almost stray and make any sort of poor choice, I think “Dance.”

That thought triggers a FLOOD of images in my brain and I metaphorically put all those images on to an imaginary scale, like the scale of justice, not a bathroom scale.

So on one side is whatever it is that is tempting me.  On the other platter on the scale goes all those dance related things that I want to be a part of my life and Tah Dah!

In fact it happened today on the way back from the Braums Mini-Market.

I drive right on past the Braums Drive In, the  Jack in the Box, the Sonic Drive In, the Chipotle, and I carried my food up the stairs, including the 1% Braums Milk which I had gotten at the Mini Market, and I pull out my can of Slim Fast from the pantry and I have a Slim Fast Shake for lunch instead of any of the fast food items which were calling my name.

But what about the Micro?

successWell, the devil is in the details.  The fundamental premise of my journey is that NOTHING is going to be too small to be examined for its positive or negative impact on my health and fitness.

If NO THING is too small to be examined then it follows that EVERY THING must be examined

Folks there are a lot of THINGS in “everyTHING!” Of course you can’t do it all at once.  So you do it bit by bit.  Ya gotta start somewhere. You pick one thing, analyze it, decide what or how you are going to change it, make the change, repeat it over and over until it becomes a habit.  But where do you start?  Here’s how I narrow it down:

Objective:  Be a dancer, a World Champion, using my body to teach dance and thus have a steady source of income to supplement my pension and by teaching Pro-Am students be able to travel to dance events around the country and the world and… and… and…

OK, that’s a bit overwhelming…

Objective: to dance again

LOL yeah, right.  Well back in the early part of this year, doing laundry was a challenge!  Dancing?  Especially competitive dancing?!  Now?  LOL!  Yeah, right!  I don’t see any magic beans or fairy godmothers around with magic wands to slow down time so…. uhmmm we’d better think a little smaller.

Objective: get my body healthy and fit enough to start dancing again, at a social, beginner level

Ok, better but still too big… WAY too big.

By the way, anyone who has ever written a college English paper will easily recognize exactly what I’m doing.

What I’m doing the same step by step reduction that you do when you are coming up with a Thesis Statement.  So, Parents, the next time your kid is gripin’ and moanin’ and ask “What’s the point? I’m never going to use this after I get out of school!”  Bring them to this blog post and make them read it.  So there!  English Teachers of the world Unite!  Rise Up!  Raise the Baracades!

♬  ♫  ♪  “Can you hear the people sing?…. [ mumble mumble something something ] …a SONG of angry men!”  ♬  ♫  ♪

Oh… uhmmm… sorry, got carried away there… where was I?

Getting from Macro to Micro…

Uhmmmm,  yes,  I was narrowing the focus, determining what should be done in the initial phases of my journey to health and fitness.

Hello class, can we say “Gannt Chart?”  Sure, I knew ya could!

Objective: start making permanent changes that will improve my fitness and health

Hmmmm STILL way to big, but more focused.  But the concepts / tasks are starting to narrow enough so that we can at least ask questions which will narrow it further:

What simple changes can I make now that will improve my health?

What changes can I make that will be low cost and/or save me money?  (which is yet ANOTHER bit of the puzzle)

Answer: I can improve my diet / nutrition.

To which we ask:  How?

Success is a journey not a destinationAha!  Remember that my intent is to make changes that last for decades, not days. So I reach into my “bag o health & fitness knowledge” which I’ve acquired over the course of 52 years of life on this here planet and I choose:

Objective: cut out the fast food.

Objective: drink more water

Objective: augment / offset my current less than ideal diet with supplements like multivitamins and fiber supplements.

MUCH BETTER, but we still need this to be quantifiable, to be measurable, so we know whether we are actually achieving it:

Objective: Limit myself to one visit to a fast food joint and/or restaurant per month.

Objective:  Drink 1 mug of water a day

Objective: take 1 multivitamin a day (One-a-day Men’s Health)

Objective: take 1 joint supplement a day (Osteo BiFlex)

Objective: take one dose of Meta-mucil (for fiber) per day

Ya Gotta Love those Motivational Cliche’s

One step at a timeRemember, that I started this journey the last week of July, on July 26th, to be specific.   Since then I’ve found myself developing a “bag o cliches” which surprisingly, actually do help keep me on track:

  • PROGRESS not perfection
  • Teeny tiny steps are still forward steps!
  • Good, Good-er, Good-est (yes I ar colleje edumacated)
  • Objectives not goals (more on this in a later post)
  • It will happen when it happens as long as it is happening. (more on this in a later post)

Allow me to illustrate the concept of “Progress not perfection” and “Good, Gooder, Goodest”:

Goodest: — get all needed fiber and minerals and vitamins from healthy wholesome balanced meals (which ain’t gonna happen for a long while because a lot has to change to get to this point like I need to learn how to actually uhmmm…. cook as opposed to open it and nuke it, and my income needs to go up in order to afford healthier nutritious foods and I need to learn how to plan a monthly menu and… and… and…)

Good-er: — take a daily multivitamin supplement and a daily dose of fiber supplement (something which I can implement now)

Good: Reduce fast food to a once a month happening rather than a once a day happening. (the proverbial “lowest hanging fruit” and which I begun immediately back in August)

The time before “Good” — the local Domino’s delivery guys all knew me by my first name.  A dark period in history.  We won’t discuss.

There, dearest readers is a real live example of what I mean when I talk about “itty bitty steps” or “bit by bit” or “progress not perfection.”

About that Meta-mucil

When I envisioned “moving more” as part of my journey to get healthy and fit, I never thought it might mean that kind of ahem movement.  However, somewhere around the beginning of August the importance of having fiber in ones diet was brought home to me.

My gut feeling is that fiber is important.

Go ahead, I’ll wait while you think it through….

Eeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwww!!! 

Ah, I see that you got there.  LOL

Yeppers.  The dreaded C word.  The plumbing got a bit backed up.  As a result, I have become a great fan of Meta-mucil and I now take 1 dose per day.  And everything is moving along snappily.  Woo Hoo.

It took me most of August and September to “get the habit down” but now that daily dose is a regular, pardon the pun, part of my morning.   And in complete candor, having a daily, uhmmmm “constitutional” does make one feel better and dare I say it “healthier.”

Other “almost habits” that I’m working on now…

Good habits - bad habitsI call them “almost habits” because because I think I need another month before they solidify into Gen-U-ine 100% ingrained iron-clad habits.

NO FAST FOOD

The “no fast food” has been surprisingly easy to do.  Looking back over my Quicken reports, I see that in Jan – July of this year I ate fast food an average of 6 times each month.

In August I ate four times at a fast food joint.

In September, I ate out two times — One at Popeye’s because I had been SERIOUSLY CRAVING it for a couple of weeks!  The other time was at Chipotle.

In October, I think I’ll be able to easily meet my goal of only one visit to a fast food joint and/or restaurant.

Good! – Good-er! – Good-est!  Woo hoo!

Supplements:

Taking the daily multi-vitamin and the daily joint supplement are also mostly habits. More so than any of the others.  It is now rare that I miss taking any of those three daily does.  I take them right along with my two medications which I take on a daily basis.  Those too are almost at 100% taken every day.

Eventually I hope that my financial situation improves and I can buy better foods, and my cooking skills & knowledge improve so that I can actually end up not needing the daily supplements of vitamins, minerals, and fiber.

Next time:  We Get wet…

Water:

OMG! Who knew that getting into the habit of drinking WATER would be so hard.  Hey… progress not perfection… right?  We’ll leave the tale of the water or lack thereof for another post, all by itself.  🙂

So there you have it. Small, achievable objectives which cumulatively will add up to huge changes in my life.  I’ll cover others but this gives you an idea of the approach I’m taking.

I am making progress.  And eventually these tiny bits will combine with other bits that I’m changing and it will all reach critical mass and the music will start playing and I’ll be dancing my way across that dance floor that right now is just in my head.

See ya on the dance floor!

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About TxCowboyDancer

Eight time Country Dance World Champion. I love to dance. In the middle of a journey, transforming myself from "unemployed and out-of-shape" to "in-shape and full time dance instructor, writer and graphic artist."

Posted on Wed, Oct 1, 2014, in Misc and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Good post Tony! Thanks

    Like

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