Operation: Autumn Aggression

The winter puts a lot of people into a funk, and many people can suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which is basically a fancy term for the winter blues.  I have to admit, my motivation level has been extremely low over the last few days as it’s starting to get colder and darker every day.

When I was younger, my friend and I started running in November when the soccer season ended to prepare for the next season.  We ran 1.4 miles every day before school.  Sometimes, motivation can be found when you have someone who is battling the same fight that you are every morning in sub-freezing weather.

So it’s time to issue a challenge – a week-long “operation” – to myself and to others in the world who are impassioned enough to join me.  I plan to issue a different operation every Sunday to challenge and motivate all my friends, family, and readers out there.

Katniss knows a thing or two about overcoming challenges

Operation Autumn Aggression:
There is no “can’t” this week.  For those that are working to eat well and stay in shape… do you remember why you started?  Remember it now.  You wanted to better yourself, because you’re worth it.  So do it!  This week ends one month and starts another, and so we’re going to leave October with a bang and come out firing in November!

Primary objective: Workout harder than you did last week.  If you’re like me and struggled last week, get back on track and push yourself!  If you killed it last week, kill it even more this week!

Secondary objective: Hit your calorie targets this week with healthy foods.  Halloween candy may tempt you, but don’t let it consume you.  You don’t have to completely shut it down, but make moderation a priority.

Feel free to join me in Operation Autumn Aggression.  Monday through Saturday – LET’S DO THIS!  If you leave a comment for me, I WILL respond back, and will absolutely follow and support you as closely as I can during the entire week.


Good luck everybody!



Appreciate But Don’t Deviate

Those of you going through any type of weight loss program can certainly understand me when I say that stepping on that scale is a terrifying thing.  A million different thoughts race through my head when I pull out the scale… did I do enough?  Even if I did, will my weight go up? (it has before!) How long will it take me to get to my goal weight?  How will I react if this number is terrible?  I’ve seen a lot of people on the Calorie Count community wonder why they may not be seeing the results on the scale that they want, especially those who really have the dedication and the drive to work on it.


The way I see it, there are three possible outcomes when you step on the scale.

Outcome 1: The disappointing result isn’t nearly what you thought it was, due to unexplainable weight gain or a small plateau.

Outcome 2: The result is a realistic product of the work that you’ve put in for the week, but not necessarily as much as you would like (because let’s be honest, we’d all like 5+ pounds per week).

Outcome 3: The result is surprisingly better than you expected.


In the last few months, I’ve hit each outcome a bundle of times, but I think I’ve finally realized the secret to handling all three.  Appreciate, but don’t deviate.  Go back and read each outcome above, then read your corresponding advice below.

Advice 1: The body works in strange and mysterious ways, and there have been many times where I’ve done an hour of workouts per day and eaten extremely well only to see my weekly weigh-in go in the wrong direction.  You know how well you’ve been doing and you know how much work that you’ve put into this journey.  Appreciate, but don’t deviate.  Long-term goals are much more important than short term victories.  Keep doing what you’re doing!  Hard work and effort on a consistent basis will pay off.

Advice 2: Try not to minimize your accomplishments.  You have completed a solid short-term goal and are setting yourself up very well to achieve your long-term goals.  A positive step is a step in the right direction.  Appreciate, but don’t deviate.  Keep up the good work and keep charging forward.  Continued dedication will bring the desired results.

Advice 3: This is a huge win for you, and congratulations on your accomplishment.  It’s now time for you to prove that it wasn’t a fluke.  After a big win against a tough team, there’s a term in sports that’s called the “emotional letdown”, which usually refers to a post-“big game” struggle.  Appreciate, but don’t deviate.  Your commitment to this big win needs to be sustained over the long haul.  You did it before, and there’s no reason to think that you can’t do it again!


Regardless of whether you haven’t started, you’re just starting, or you’re right in the middle, I wish you the best of luck in your journey.  Don’t forget that even small victories are victories, so remember to appreciate them.

Getting Better With Age

In life, there are certain things that people will say to you that you will never forget.  I wrote about one such quote in a previous post, Practice Makes Permanent.  Today, I go down a different path to remember a conversation that wasn’t so positive.


Here’s the scene: It’s 10 years ago and I had just started my sophomore year of college.  Two of my friends from high school were getting married and I had come back home for their wedding.  Many people from my high school were in attendance, including a few of my former teachers.  As I was talking and discussing with one of my former teachers what I had done for the last 2 years, she smiled and told me, “That’s so great.  I’m glad you finally got your life together.”


Wait, what?  Finally got my life together?  Did I not have a good life in the first place?  I may not have been a straight A student, but I got pretty good grades; never caused trouble; never disturbed class; got accepted to a great college.  Was my life not together in high school?


To be honest, that conversation disturbed me for many years (come on, who remembers most normal conversations after 10 years?).  I had a lot of respect for this teacher (and still do!), but I was disappointed to think that my self-image may not have matched up with what I truly had been.


I’ve been fortunate over the last few months to meet a lot of inspiring people in the CC and blog community, and what I have come to realize is that life is a journey where many people strive to improve on a daily basis.  Upon setting my weight loss goal, I told myself that not only was I going to get down to my goal weight by the end of December, but I was going to spend all of 2014 trying to get in the best shape that I have ever been in.  I want to improve and get better every day.  A better husband, a better runner, a better son, a better weightlifter, a better brother, a better worker… a better person.  Every year, every month, every week, and every day, I want to see progress.


I challenge my readers to go out and do the same.  Wake up in the morning and challenge yourself to improve.  Pick something that you want to get better at and do it.  Whether you try to improve at your job or improve a workout routine, making the effort to better yourself will be absolutely worthwhile.  The results of your improvement may come quickly or may come slowly over time, but if you are making the effort, you should go to sleep every night knowing that you will achieve your goals.


And now I look back on that teacher and say thank you.  The words that I have mistaken as a criticism for so long were actually just words of wisdom, and have driven me to realize how I need to start living my life.