Weight Loss Tip Booklet - 151 Simple Ideas

 
 
I’ve heard tell that dog owners (or “guardians” as some prefer) look like their dogs. I did not realize with how much haste that transpires.

We have been considering adopting a dog for a few years. As with any important project, we began by identifying what we wanted. One, he must be a rescue dog. Two, she must not be bothered by our two cats (of course how they respond to the dog will be their decision). Three, we wanted a smaller dog that had some personality but was not hyper.  Those were the “must haves,” the remainder were “would likes.” We surfed websites, monitored our newspaper, and checked shelters and animal control with regularity.

Welcome “Jack.” He’s a five-year old mini-Schnauzer with a persuasive, mostly subdued personality who loves our backyard, follows me like a shadow, is housebroken (yay!), and even understands some commands, allowing me the option to train him even more; something I wanted. While I write, he has already taken to lying in his bed, apparently content to watch me type. (I guess he’s hard-pressed for entertainment.)

As for similarity — although I did not think of it when I picked him up; he already resembles me (or I do him). His hair, although dark of base, is basically “silver,” slightly disheveled, and he sports a gray goatee in need of a shave. More striking is that he is also into yoga; I’ve seen him doing “downward facing dog” repeatedly. (Insert rim shot here…)

The one attribute of which I am NOT fond is that, although he slept through night one without incident, he is evidently an early riser, quite contrary to myself. A perk of self-employment with one’s home as the office, is the ability to grab a few extra winks each morning, since my commute consists of four stairs. Alas, I fear those days have passed, as Jack is part rooster, prone to rise with the sun (especially ill-fated since this is summer and first light is unfortunately early).

Therefore, today, I awoke far earlier than was my pattern. My wife, snickering wickedly, commented, “Looks like your days of staying up late are over.”

Growling (yet another similarity with a dog), I dragged my carcass from my bed to begin this new, unexpected routine. Change had once again scampered into my life, this time in the form of a twenty-pound canine that could not wait to take a walk. “I must teach him the command, ‘sleep,’” I wearily lamented as I secured him in his harness.

But that’s the way it is, isn’t it? We make our plans and move forth into the yet to come. We believe we’re in control — but it’s illusion. Life steers; we are passengers. Whether changing how we eat, seeking mental health, developing relationships, financial planning, or simply adopting a furry friend, the results of our actions cannot always be predicted nor controlled.

So, once again, I am fine-tuning to the unexpected, a progression without end, and one in which we all engage non-stop. Sometimes, the adjustments are painful; other times, thank God, they are minor. Yet it is unavoidable.

I detest getting up early; it fouls my mood.

But, conversely, I can be buoyed by the outpouring of warmth from this newfound community of “dog people,” which has already been as heartwarming and loving as the joy elicited by Jack when I reach for his leash and we head out into the (too early) morning. It’s my choice.

Now, which one of us is really training the other?

About the author:  Scott “Q” Marcus is a professional speaker and the CDO of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com, a website for people and organizations who are frustrated with making promises and are ready to make a change. Sign up for his free newsletter at the site or friend him at facebook.com/thistimeimeanit. He is also available for coaching and speaking engagements at 707.442.6243 or scottq@scottqmarcus.com.
 
 
I’ve had a revelation.

Since the “great recession” of 2008 (which appears to still be in process) came trampling through our economic landscape, I have been — like so many others — waiting and hoping for the rebuilding. When will things get back to how they were? Can we soon return to easier times of job security and stable wages? My ship is weary of white caps; I long to navigate calm seas. When can we be there?

While pondering such issues, it fell hard on me, like a load of gold bricks sold on many radio talk shows as a “hedge against hard times.” The economy — and our lifestyle — will NEVER return to how it was. The “good old days” (such as they were) are in the rear view mirror and we have no reverse gear. We cannot turn around and they will not come back.

That's an upsetting — some might say "terrifying" — concept. Never again will we be able to conduct our lives and businesses like we did “back then.” What we are now experiencing is — and will continue to be — the “New Normal.” Until our last days, and those of our grandchildren, “different” will be “ordinary.” Future generations will study the heyday of the 1990s and early 2000s much the same as we picture the gay 1890s or the early 1920s; wild, excessive, booming — and only imaginable as images in history books.

I don’t mean to be a downer, but it’s time we bow to an ever-apparent reality and accept facts for what they are, not what we long for them to be. Denying the obvious delays the inevitable, which furthers great hurt and denigrates our lives. Striving to maintain an illusory status quo by rejecting reality prolongs its effects; and makes worse the pain.

Having said that, I do pride myself on being positive, while understanding that the set up of this column might appear less than optimistic. Yet, it can be. Due to this unhappy situation in which we find ourselves mired, we are becoming more resourceful, better planning our expenses, accepting gratification in that which we took for granted previously, and we are contributing more to our local communities.

These are wonderful changes. Many considered getting “more involved in our communities” or “cutting back on frivolous spending” numerous times before. However, until now, the pressure was not convincing enough to force action. “One of these days…” has arrived. It is today.

Significant change is always born of fear, force, or pain. No one gets up one morning, totally content with life, and says, "Let me see how I can change it.” Rather, when circumstances become too uncomfortable, we decide to do something different. The great recession has inflicted much fear and great pain, and has forced upon us harsh change. Although things will never be as they were, we overlook that they can be better. We will have tools and techniques never before considered. We will at some point re-establish equilibrium. Our world will forever be altered; yet it will also be unique with a new set of advantages and benefits; unknown to us today, but surely waiting over the horizon.

The quicker we accept that there is no turning back, the speedier we will face the future — and the faster we will experience these new advantages.

Some might disagree with my analysis; I accept that. However, should I be off track — and society does return to “how it was” — there’s is no down side, for if we adjust, we will be healthier and stronger for having worked together and supported each other through these times.

About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a professional speaker and the CDO of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com, a website for people and organizations who are frustrated with making promises and are ready to make a change. Sign up for his free newsletter at the site or friend him at facebook.com/thistimeimeanit. He is also available for coaching and speaking engagements at 707.442.6243 or scottq@scottqmarcus.com.
 
 
Being a news junkie, I’m glued to the cable networks. Wedged between the peccadilloes of badly behaving starlets and inappropriately tweeted photos, the anchor brings in two political panelists to discuss the upcoming election (Already? Really? Oy!) To feign “balance” he has a GOP strategist and his Democratic counterpart (as if there are only two sides to a story – but don’t get me started). I don’t remember the first question, and frankly, it doesn’t matter; but what I do recall was once the argument commenced, it became animated without delay. Lots of energy and of course, disagreement, exchanged between the duo.

It could have been either one; but in this case it was the GOP guy who started “powering” over anything stated contrary to his position. When the Dem countered, the Repub would shout him down, yelling ever louder. He didn’t call names; he wasn’t condescending; and – to be honest – he made logical sense (although I disagreed). But this is not about politics.

After the “discussion” ended, I had a mental image of him talking to his friends off-camera. They were probably all high-fiving, shouting, “Wow! You blew him out of the water,” or “He couldn’t hold a candle to you.” Congratulations would abound; backslapping would ensue.

That’s when it dawned on me; his intention – as far as I could discern – was NEVER to have a discussion, but rather to prove his point; and that’s what showed.

The number one law of change: Intentions direct actions.

When a client asks for advice, my first reply has become: “What’s your intention?” Almost nothing matters more in one’s actions or communications than understanding that unassuming question. Unfortunately, most of us do not take the time to dig deep enough to analyze that. The result is we find ourselves in a most unhappy place.

Let’s take a simple example. You’re upset by someone else’s comments. Your feelings are hurt. So, you decide that you “need to talk to her.” That’s fair; and if done well, it’s even “healthy.” But if the intention of what you’re trying to achieve isn’t clear to her, you’ll get in hot water. If the intention is to “give her a piece of your mind,” your communication will be much different than if it is to better understand what she meant, or to heal a rift. If you are looking to minimize the chance of conflict and actually accomplishing something, slow down long enough to understand the intention (preferably BEFORE opening your mouth; but it’s never too late).

This is because attitude transmits louder than words. A popular study went so far as to say that what we say accounts for less than ten percent of our communication; it’s tone and body language (attitude) that matter most. In effect, we might be able to massage what we say, but it’s a heck of a lot harder to mask what we feel.

We can apply this same principle to our own actions.

When trying to change a habit, it’s imperative to first analyze what is the intention of the offending behavior. What does it get us by continuing it – and what is the resultant cost? Once we realize why we we’re doing it —our intentions — our next question can be “How do we achieve those goals without the unpleasant side effects?”

Every behavior is born of positive intention; one designed to make our lives easier. Unfortunately, if we don’t look beneath and understand those intentions, we can create a mess, even if that wasn’t what was intended.

About the author:  Scott “Q” Marcus is a professional speaker and the CDO of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com, a website for people and organizations who are frustrated with making promises and are ready to make a change. Sign up for his free newsletter at the site or friend him at facebook.com/thistimeimeanit. He is also available for coaching and speaking engagements at 707.442.6243 or scottq@scottqmarcus.com.
 
 
Most of life is done by rote.

For most of us, alarm clocks buzz the same time every morning. The average grocery store stocks over 38,000 items; yet the standard shopper goes to the same store every week, usually on the same day, and chooses from the same few dozen items every outing. We become brand loyal, eating our meals at approximately the same period every day, leave for work at a uniform time, drive a standard route, and return home at a consistent hour every night. Evenings consist of consuming one of a few “favorite” dinners. Entertainment consists of books or magazines from a few select genres and a stable of favorite authors; or maybe a regular line-up of TV shows, which we watch while sitting in “our usual place,” and snacking — or not — on the same foods we had yesterday at the same time. At day’s end, we retire at the same time, even sleeping with the same person (hopefully), only to repeat these patterns come dawn.

This is not to suggest we are unimaginative, bland, nor boring; rather to illustrate that we are creatures of habit; no if’s, and’s, or butt’s about it.

Reality is these habits make life easier. Picture the above scenario where every single day consisted of an entirely new routine. Exciting? Sure — for a little while. After that, just plain exhausting.

The downside of a life assembled on a foundation of habits are the “side effects;” those unexpected results of our patterns. Make no mistake however; they are every bit as much a part of the habit as are the results we seek.  For example, if I’m bored, I eat. If I’m angry, I eat. If I’m sad, I eat. It’s a common routine. It allows me to feel better fast. After all, chips or ice cream not only alleviate boredom, but also go a long way toward holding negative feelings at bay — for the short term. The side effect is a weight gain. I get to feel good quickly, for the simple price of obesity long term.

Conversely, some people read a book when bored; when sad, call a friend; and when angry, take a brisk walk. (There is a clinical term for such folks: “Skinny.”) Whereby their habits also provide comfort, the side effects are healthier. Should I long for such results, I must also develop similar habits.

The thing is that it’s extremely difficult to “drop” habits. Since their sole purpose is to fill voids, simply abolishing them make those holes more painful. This in turn, triggers the very behavior we were trying to banish — which puts our actions at odds with our feelings. In a case like that, emotions almost always win out and the habit — and its side effects — strengthens.

To break this cycle, one must replace the offending behavior with a counterproductive one. So, rather than saying, “I won’t eat when stressed,” develop a plan, such as, “I’ll take a walk when stressed.”  Providing you don’t also grab a candy bar on the way out the door, the anxiety is still diminished — without the pesky side effect. Yes, feels awkward at first (because it’s not yet a habit), but given a few repetitions, it eventually forms a new, healthier, habit.

We never really get rid of habits. We put them in cold storage; we can thaw them out whenever we choose. Unfortunately we do that more times than we consciously choose, which is yet one more habit we can change.

About the author:

Scott “Q” Marcus is a professional speaker and the CDO of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com, a website for people and organizations who are frustrated with making promises and are ready to make a change. Sign up for his free newsletter at the site or friend him at facebook.com/thistimeimeanit. He is also available for coaching and speaking engagements at 707.442.6243 or scottq@scottqmarcus.com.