Tag: health

Be The Best You Can Be

This article is dedicated to my life long friend and mentor Ronnie Gray Cash. My brother from another mother.

Years ago I had the good fortune of having an older mentor who took me under his wing and taught me some valuable lessons about life. Despite being functionally illiterate, Ronny was an extraordinary craftsman and artist. I learned a great deal while watching him turn random pieces of wood, metal scraps and such into fine art, all the while talking to me about living life to the fullest. Ronnie taught me to be the very best I could possibly be at anything and everything I should ever take up in life. Actually, his admonition was to always be the damn best at every endeavor I should take on. He taught me that anything worth while to take up in life was worth putting a 100% effort into. He taught me to never slack at anything, and I have lived my life trying to live up to the lessons he taught me. The ultimate irony being with this highly intelligent man was that he had quit school at a very young age, about 13, in order to work and help support his family.

The most mesmerizing masterpiece Ronnie ever crafted was his rendition of an old time masted warship that he worked on for sixteen years before calling it done. No detail from bow to stern was missed, not even down inside the ship where he had crafted miniature cannons out of brass that could actually be loaded with a small amount of black powder in order to shoot bb’s. The female figurehead he carved for the bow was so finely detailed you could have imagined a woman posing for it while he carved. Looking at the ships steering wheel, you could imagine crashing through high waves in an unruly ocean while heading off to fight battles for country or plunder. I could dream of climbing up the ropes of the main mast to the Crows Nest with a telescope in hand to watch for signs of land in the distance such as the slight haze variation of the horizon you see when land is still quite far away. I could imagine the joy sailors would feel after months at sea when they would spot a sparrow, as these birds would always lead you back to shore. These little birds are such a part of sea going lore that sailors will often have a pair of sparrows tattooed on their chests or back to remind them to always return to their homes when they could. After I became an actual sailor I never got sparrow tattoos, but I did return home when I could where I could sit and chew the fat with my mentor, my brother Ronnie, and still learn lessons of life from this wise man despite my having been around the globe aboard Navy ship a few times in real life.

A good portion of who I am today is a result of my brother Ronnie Gray Cash taking me under his wing when I was still a wild ass teenager that was having a difficult time navigating life.

Today, Ronnie is now 70 years old, and I will be 56 in just a few short weeks. I have had my ups and downs in life as a good many other people have. But, no matter how hard life has kicked me when I was down and out, I have always got up and fought my way back to the top.

I get agitated when people tell me “that’s easy for you to say” when I give advice to them. Life has not always been kind to me either.

But, I always get back up.

In 1997, 16 years after enlisting, I lost my career in the Navy when our government decided to draw down our numbers in the armed forces. I went into a deep funk for a few years. A depression combined with Post Traumatic Stress that I began to believe I could not kick. I gained a tremendous amount of weight, and was no where near being in good physical condition. It was Ronnie’s words from the past that woke me to the reality that I was becoming a weak man. I was a 250 pound bloated slob when I decided to clean up my diet and to get back into shape physically and mentally.

I dropped 110 pounds from 250 pounds to 160 pounds with a 30 inch waist. I began running again, which made me once again enjoy life. Soon, I cleaned up my weight set and began lifting again. Next came mountain biking. By 2008, I was 45 years old and in top physical condition again. I was eating clean, weight training three days per week and biking 60 to 70 miles as well.

Also in 2008 I found out I could return to military service in the Army Reserve National Guard and would likely be able to return as a Staff Sergeant. I did not believe this would be true, but went to have a chat with a recruiter anyhow. He informed me that with my physical condition and military history he could indeed bring me back in as a Staff Sergeant. He also informed that a part of coming back in at this time meant that I was sure to have a combat tour in Iraq or Afghanistan, possibly both. These terms were acceptable to me. I re-enlisted, went home and asked my loving wife what she would think if I told her I could get back into military service. She looked at me and said the obvious, she instinctively knew I had joined and gave me her full support in finishing my military career even if it meant combat deployments.

Shortly after I signed my re-enlistment papers I was shipped off to the Army’s Warrior Transition Course at Fort Sill Oklahoma. The Warrior Transition Course (WTC) is essentially Basic Training for Veterans returning to military duty. At WTC we went through almost all the training basic recruits endure with the exception of only a few areas being as we were not raw basic recruits. I was not only one of three Staff Sergeants returning to duty, I was also anywhere between 15 to 20 years older than the 255 other soldiers in my training evolution. Because of my rank, I was automatically assigned the position of Platoon Sergeant over 85 other soldiers. I took it all in stride despite having been a Navy guy with no experience with the Army culture. I took the position and did my best, and I was good.

As a Platoon Sergeant, I led our morning physical fitness training and formation runs. I was just shy of turning 46 years old, but I still was able to physically out perform many if not most of my soldiers in our morning calisthenics. During our formation runs, as with Ruck Marches, my place as Platoon Sergeant was at the front of the formation leading the way. Because of my position, there was not going to be any falling back in the runs or ruck marches. Our morning formation runs were 5 miles, I set the pace and we went hard. Anything less would have had me getting swarmed by the Drill Sergeants as they already could not believe a 45 year old former sailor had the nerve to join their beloved Army in a senior leadership position. The same was true with our timed ruck marches where we had to go from Point A to Point B while carrying 100 pounds of combat gear in a prescribed amount of time. As difficult as this was, I lead from the front as a good Platoon Sergeant is expected to do. There was no allowance for me to slack because of my age. I was a Staff Sergeant and had to carry myself as so. Lack of experience with the US Army did not matter, I had to learn on the go, and had to be damn good at improvising when I did not know some of the established procedures set by the Army, and the particular Cadre running the training. I had to be on top of my platoon from before sun up to well after sun down. As the Platoon Sergeant, I made it a point to arise, shave and be dressed in my uniform before my troops were out of their bunks. At night, I did not retire to my bunk until I was sure I had given my troops the opportunity to speak with me about any of their injuries and or concerns. A good Non Commissioned Officer (NCO) will always place the welfare of his troops before those of his own. This I did, I took my NCO Creed to heart. I was damn good at my position.

As Ronnie taught me in my youth, be the best at what you take on in life.

In August 2009, I suffered a very debilitating spinal injury which brought my life to a screeching halt. I herniated the disk at L5 S1, squeezed it like a jelly donut to the point it encapsulated my sciatic nerve which caused permanent damage and now a life time of chronic pain from my right butt cheek all the way down to my right foot. Not a day goes by that I do not have some degree of discomfort if not outright pain.

As a result of this spinal injury, I endured a series of three epidural spinal injections. What these are is the doctor uses fluoroscopic x-ray guidance to inject a dye and then a steroid into the epidural space in the hopes it will decrease inflammation and your pain.The injections did not work for me.

November 2009, I underwent spinal surgery where the herniated disk material was removed along with a bit of arthritis that most of us over the age of 40 have in our spines. This was followed by 2 months of physical therapy after I healed, yet I still suffered a great deal of pain. I returned to the doctor and was sent for an MRI where it was confirmed that my sciatic nerve had been damaged and also was now scarred over. I was doomed to a life time of pain, and was told to never return to heavy weight training again in my life.

I was not content to lay around and not resume living my life to the fullest possible. I figured I could live in pain and be inactive, or I could live in pain and still enjoy my life as best I can. I had a choice to make and chose the latter. I decided to resume living as I see fit, and have zero regrets. I embrace tough challenges in life whether it is under the barbell, on a difficult hiking trail or in any other endeavor. I do not accept mediocrity out of myself. I began lifting again with an empty barbell and worked my way up to squatting and deadlifting over 400 pounds which caused my doctor a great deal of concern to say the least. I also began eating upwards of 6000 calories a day to fuel the heavy lifting I had worked up to and gained enough weight and body fat to skew my blood lab numbers some and also to cause a elevation in my blood pressure. But, I had proved to myself that despite what is sometimes crippling pain, I could still live my life fully.

People say it is easy for me to say when I give advice about diet and physical fitness.

Yet, none of them were ever there to see how many tears I shed when working to regain my mobility to squat to a proper competition depth, or just in getting myself into a good starting position to pull a heavy deadlift without once again injuring my spine. No, none of these people have ever seen me cry in pain after a workout that was triggering horrible sciatic pain brought on by a simple impingement of the damaged nerve. None of these people were there to know what it was like for me to learn to walk normal again. After my injury, it took me a year to learn to not have my right foot pointing out at an acute angle and dragging when I walked. Every step was a conscious effort in making my right foot do what it was supposed to do pre-injury. None of these people ever seen the tears of pain this brought on either.

I have always had good nutritional knowledge despite not always using it in my past. However, when I decided to lose the weight I had put on after my injury while rebuilding my capacity to train once again with heavy weights, I put this knowledge into use. I took off 70 pounds and dropped to 9% body fat which I maintain through clean eating and exercise. People always ask for nutritional advice and what do I do to stay fit and trim, I get the same answer from them quite often when I tell them I do not ever eat added sugar or processed foods, nor do I eat in restaurants. And, I exercise vigorously on a regular basis no matter how the rest of my week may be going. I always make time for physical fitness. I treat it with the same importance as I do my job, it must be done even when I do not feel like doing it. Period.

That’s easy for you to say!

What I want to know is why do they think it is easy for me. Granted, it is now, but I too have had an addiction to simple sugar and carbohydrates. I too know what it is like to get those cravings for food so bad that I would become “hangry”.

What I do know is that adopting my methodology is not impossible for those who try. I am not that different from anyone else except for the fact I do not ever take the easy road in life and I believe that when you take a difficult task and work it long enough, it will soon become easy. My dietary habits of clean eating, measuring and weighing my foods comes easy. It is just what I do, it is my lifestyle and I guarantee I can cook a full meal quicker and cheaper than you can go through a fast food drive through and order utter crap to feed yourself and your family. While this may be acceptable on occasion, you are doing yourself and your family a huge disservice when you feed them in this manner on a regular basis.

Friends, Brenda Sue and myself are certified by American Fitness Professionals & Associates as Nutritional and Wellness consultants. Our certification process required many hours of intensive study in order to become certified. We take nutrition and fitness seriously, and love sharing information with you, our wonderful readers from around the world. We both live the life that we teach to others. We live this every day, and despite our certifications being in hand, we still study nutrition and fitness in order to bring you the best and most current information with no sugar coating or bull shit. We tell it like it is, and pull no punches. Our blog is unique in that no one else brings you this information from a male and female perspective. We are unique in that we address weight loss and management from a holistic, whole body and mind approach in order to best serve you. We do not only address a limited number of topics, we address every aspect of what it takes to achieve and maintain a healthy and fit body. We put out this blog as a labor of love to help others and have never charged for any of the information in our over 500 articles and recipes.

We live to be the best we can be. We want to help you to also live to be the best that you can be in health and wellness. We believe hard work and discipline actually makes life simpler rather than harder. This may take a little effort, but a life without chaos is easier any day, any time. We believe in planning our days, weeks and months. We believe in measuring our goals in exercise and fitness. I know that my weight remains within ounces of being the same from week to week, yet I still weigh myself every Saturday morning first thing as a form of accountability to myself. When I train with my weights, I log every weight used for each lift along with every rep of every set. After all, how can you judge success if there is no measure? Remember too, what gets measured gets done.

Be the best you can be my friends, thank you for reading and God bless.

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Succeed

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Decide Now

How many times have you tried to get healthy? If you are anything like I was for most of my life, your answer is “I lost count.” There is still hope. The answer to this dilemma is simply deciding what is most important to you.

One Last Time

This is not to say that it will be easy in the beginning of your final commitment. I say “final” because when you truly commit, it’s done. You will not be perfect in your commitment but you will stay committed. When you vary from your program, you will suffer the consequences and get back on track. The trick is to stay committed. In order to stay committed, you must be willing to be miserable at times in the beginning. You have used sugar and excess, poor quality food as everything from a tranquilizer to a party drug. You will be in withdrawal, especially from sugar. It may not be fun or pretty. The outcome will be, however. Are you in this for immediate gratification or long-term wins? Do you want to be the old, broken down,¬† fat lady or the old, strong, fit woman who makes people wonder exactly how you manage to be that strong and healthy “at your age.”? Personally, I truly enjoy being the strongest person in the room at 62 and looking good enough in a bikini to wear one if I want to do that. ūüėČ

The Agony and The Ecstasy

As you go into your initial withdrawal period, you may be horribly depressed and anxious. You may not. If you are, just realize that it will pass and you will emerge a different person. Is that appealing? Do you want to be different or are you content the way that you are? I was not content with extra weight and a low level of fitness. You may get away with that for years and be relatively content but the day will come that your lab numbers will turn on you. I developed high blood pressure and the medication that I was prescribed was a horrible drug. When I quit eating any added sugars and started working out really hard, the high blood pressure fixed itself. I don’t take any medication whatsoever. I work a full-time, high stress job and care for a special needs family member and blog. I believe in David’s Way because it fixed me. I eat a high protein, low carb diet. I DO NOT do keto. I lift heavy weights and eat more protein than a non-lifter but read David’s articles¬†Protein Supplements¬†and¬†Pragmatic View on Protein¬†for some good guidelines concerning protein intake.

Plan Success

A common mistake that many of us make is not planning our meals. Because I am so busy, I have to make food a high priority. It’s a little ironic that the health freak in building is the one who eats all the time. Since I do not eat added sugars, sometimes it’s a little difficult to get all of my 1800 calories/day. Go to the¬†Calorie Counter¬†and determine the number of calories that you need each day for success at losing, gaining or maintaining your weight. I have a high calorie, high protein shake when I first get up and make a lunch to eat here or carry to work and still eat a baked fish and vegetable plate at work and sometimes still have calories to eat after work. I have to focus on getting all of them because I will not be strong for my lifting unless I eat all of them. So many younger people that I work with come to work without eating anything of substance. When we don’t eat nutritious meals, we feel justified to have that Iced Death By Sugar Double Mocha Latte Frappe that just sets us up for cravings and hunger throughout the rest of the day and evening. We also feel justified to binge eat because hey, after all, we haven’t eaten, right? Plan your meals and follow through with nutritious, whole foods and stop cravings in their path.

Boost

Always get your doctor’s permission before beginning any exercise program. Once you have discussed this critical issue with your doctor, decide what you want to do to be active. At one time I was an avid swimmer because I liked it. It was great for a while but after a few years I began to want more. Now I lift heavy weights. You decide what is best for you. Whatever you decide, make it your job. Put it first. Don’t do it “whenever I have time” or when you “feel like it”. There are many days that I don’t feel like it. There are even more days that I don’t have the time. David taught this to me. It’s critical. If your health is important to you and you have your doctor’s permission, make your workout the priority in your life. I live to lift and lift to live. Everything else comes after that. If you don’t make it your number one priority, you will not do it as often as you need to do it. There will always be friends and family that want to commandeer your time. There will always be something else on which to spend your money. Again, decide now. Do you want to be fit or just whine and complain because you’re not? Anti-depressants and anxiety medications won’t fix a saggy butt, they will just make you learn to live with it.

Rest

Learn to say “No.” to extra work and social engagements that interfere with getting some sleep. If you burn the candle at both ends, schedule some serious down time every chance that you get. On my off days I stay in the bed until I have a really good reason to get up. Domestic chores can wait. Most appointments and people can wait. Remember, there will always be people who want your time, money and energy. Choose carefully how you will use these precious resources. Make sure that the recipients of your resources are worth it. If we get too tired and wired we overeat and it’s usually carbs that tend to deposit around your waistline and increase belly fat which increases cortisol levels that create havoc in our bodies. Get some rest.

Measure Your Success

Keep accurate records of your weight and fitness goals and progress. David says that “What gets measured, gets done.” I have been lifting for about a year and a half now and I have learned to keep meticulous records of my lifts. That way I have specific goals. This week I set three new Personal Records with my deadlift, an unusual week but a wonderful week. This would not have happened if I had not kept detailed records of my weights, reps, calories, rest and state of mind when I was lifting. Study your program and psyche it out. You are an important project. Act like it.

Reach Out

Make sure that you have support in your endeavor to be healthy. We are here. We will answer your questions and reply to comments. You can leave comments on the articles or use the¬†Contact¬†button to send us an email. You can also fill out the “Subscribe” information on the¬†Home¬†page and receive every article in your inbox. There is also a Forum where you can start or add to an existing discussion for additional information, just click the Forum button on the¬†Home¬†page. You will have the unique advantage of both a male and female perspective from people who live this program at no cost. It’s free. Take advantage of this opportunity to improve your health today.

10 Ways To Have A Good Day

1-As soon as negative thoughts enter your mind, replace them with something good.

If the thoughts are about your failure on your fitness journey or eating plan, immediately analyze why it happened and do it right this time. Don’t wallow in it. Fix it.

2-Be proactive, not reactive.

That’s really the key to everything, the aforementioned regimen debacle or going to a difficult job or dealing with unpleasant people. Whatever the difficulty, we can let it control us or we can study and decide how to remedy the situation. I was recently approached with a very unpleasant fellow. Instead of allowing him to pull me into his world, I simply answered that I don’t argue with people and ended the conversation. Take control. It’s less tiring and you win.

3-Stay hydrated.

We are mostly water. Hydration is so important that staying well hydrated is even considered to help stave off dementia because the brain suffers in a dehydrated state. Drink your water.

4-Eat real food.

When we eat processed food our stomach has nothing to work with. Our stomach is an amazing organ that contains hydrochloric acid that can melt metal. It’s designed to break down food. Your stomach will empty faster if you eat processed food. It’s already broken down. When your stomach gets empty, you just might get “hangry”. This makes for a miserable day and usually over-eating. Eat the good stuff.

5-Walk it off, outside.

If it’s at all possible, include outside walking in your day. “Walking is the best restorative exercise” (David Yochim) You stretch your muscles, burn a few calories and walking underneath trees gives you a dose of phytochemicals that are good for your mind.

6-Sit down sometimes.

When I was growing up, I was conditioned to stand all the time. While we don’t want to be sedentary, you do need to sit sometimes. If you have a job that requires a lot of standing, on your breaks elevate your feet. You will get an instant sense of relief that will decrease your stress.

7-Flex those calf muscles.

Whether you’re walking on the job, outside or even as you elevate your feet, work those calf muscles well. They are considered your second heart because they return blood to the heart. It will decrease fatigue throughout your body. When you are sitting without your feet elevated, do calf raises. Just raise your feet up on your toes and flex, repeatedly. Keeping the blood from pooling in your legs will also help avoid the possibility of blood clots in your legs when you travel.

8-Stick to your workout schedule.

Sometimes when life gets hectic, our workout is the first thing to suffer. Don’t let that happen. You are in control of your time. Do it.

9-Make sure to eat enough.

As ludicrous as this sounds, sometimes when we are highly regimented concerning what we eat and we stay well nutritioned, we may get busy and skip a meal, especially if we don’t eat added sugar, because we don’t have cravings and seldom experience intense hunger. Your state of mind will suffer. You will get anxious and less able to control your emotions. Get your calories.

10-Keep moving.

When life throws us a curve ball and we don’t know how to cope, it’s easy to lose focus and drift. If we do that, we don’t eat right. We don’t work out right. We avoid confrontation and procrastinate. Keep going forward. Stay on your program. Your program will be your saving grace in difficult times. It will help you get through otherwise impossible situations. It will generate the neurotransmitters that stress depletes and you will emerge from the hard times a Victor, not a Victim.

At David’s Way we don’t do Victim. Play to win. Create your life.

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Beware The False Profits

As is often the case when one decides they want, or need, to change their body through weight loss or strength training, they have an idea of what they would like to look like yet have no idea what it is going to take to get there. Of course, the intelligent move is to find a supportive group of like minded people to help you along your journey of weight loss or sculpting. Being as it can be difficult to find actual people who are of the same mind, a logical place to go fr support is any of the many social media support forums. Strength training and body building web sights have excellent forums where you can interact with other meat heads whose eyes do not glaze over when discussing the finer points of a deadlift or bench press. There are good forums on weight loss web sites too where you can interact with others who are also trying to achieve a healthy body weight. Many times our close family and friends do not really understand, nor do they care about how many reps and sets you do on a given lift under the barbell, nor do they have any interest in counting calories every day in order to maintain a healthy level of body fat. Face it, with all the obese and sedentary people among us today, you will find that a lot of them actually may despise your attempts to be a better and healthier you. Don’t believe this, try talking about exercise and good nutritional habits with one who obviously cares nothing at all about living healthy Refusing a piece of birthday cake, can sometimes bring scorn from those you are close to. This being the case for many, the obvious choice for support is often online forums where hopefully you can share your struggles and triumphs without being judged in a negative manner.

Don’t believe your lying eyes.

When it comes to body building or sculpting through strength training, following Instagram seems a good place to find inspiration of what you can do with your body. Instagram is full of pictures of people in phenomenal shape. You will find pictures of men and women whose body’s are muscular and very well defined. You will find a plethora of people who have single digit body fat percentages as if these body types are the norm. If you want to sculpt your body, there is no shortage of body’s you might want to emulate on Instagram.

However, what you do not see is the work and total dedication it takes for these people to achieve their physiques. You do not see the extreme dieting some of these folks go through to look so ripped for a picture shoot. You do not see the lens filters nor body make up that create the images you want to copy for yourself. You do not see the hours on set where countless pictures are taken for only a few select to make it out for public consumption. There is always much more than meets the eye with many of these Instagram models. That being said…

For those who are legitimately healthy through all natural means, you do not see the many hours dedicated towards healthy nutrition or exercise. You have no concept of how many months, or more likely years, these people have spent towards looking a certain way. For most if not all people, it is naive to believe you can take your unfit body and recreate it into one fitting for a Instagram model pictorial in only a few short months.

It is perfectly alright to look towards people on Instagram for inspiration to create a better and healthier body for yourself. But if you do this, please ensure that you temper your expectations with reality and common sense. Understand that not all of these people actually look like the images you see portrayed in their professional photo shoots. Do not sell yourself short by attempting to become what is a manufactured image.

Use caution when dealing with the celebrities on popular weight loss forums.

When it comes to losing weight, many people are not surrounded by others who are supportive of their journey. A good many might find themselves actually being sabotaged by loved ones. If you have experienced this, you can attest to how you might have just celebrated a loss on the scale, only for your significant other or someone else bringing cake and ice cream into your home and consuming it in your presence. This is aggravating as all hell when you have a weakness for these sweet treats that you are attempting to defeat. If you find yourself not being supported, it is a positive move to use a forum on your weight loss web sight or app. Weight Watchers has their Connect social media forum where you can potentially interact with over one hundred thousand other individuals on journeys very similar to your own.

On Connect, you will find others who are just beginning the program as you might be, as well as many who have made their goal weight and maintained it for many years. It can be a wonderful place for support when you are trying to get your weight down to a healthy BMI level. On this particular weight loss social media, you will find many people who are extremely helpful and can help you navigate your way through the Weight Watchers program, and then, there are those who have become popular celebrities of Connect where you have to take them with a grain of salt, or totally reject them.

The smart money is to reject those who appear to be building a cult of personality. You want to reject those who get angry when you question their methods or advice. You want to reject those who have stories that do not align with reality. You might want to watch how these cult builders interact with others who have asked them questions only to get vague or rude answers in return. When this happens, it is because they are frauds who care nothing about helping anyone but themselves, even if they portray themselves as everyones cheerleader.

As on Instagram, you might find a few individuals whose images appear to be entirely manufactured for who knows what purpose. You might find an individual who has all sorts of advice yet you can only find a before picture of them and others that are fairly current, with zero to be found from the middle of their journey of weight loss. This should be a red flag to you.

Be leary of the individual on a weight loss forum who is well over 50 years old, claims to have lost 100 pounds in a short time, who is also very lean and cut, and has no visible sagging, excess, leftover skin. While it may be possible, it is not likely that one this age can get down to a single digit body fat percentage with a one hundred pound loss, and not have signs of loose skin unless they have had a procedure to get rid of it. A surgical procedure is fine, if needed and you can afford it. What I am getting at is one who claims to be all natural with no procedures. This kind of individual you should not attempt to emulate, exactly because they are not truthful in how they met their goal.

Be mindful of the fool who only appears to know his business about physical fitness simply because he can afford a lot of equipment, yet has little understanding of physiology, as evident from their self inflicted injuries that have occurred simply as a result of their physical fitness routines. When you see one hopping around while doing push ups and/or doing clapping push ups, know that they have no concept their shoulders are not meant for this kind of stress.

If you see one who does any type of resistance exercise in a manner totally different than anything you have ever seen or heard of, you might not want to emulate them as there may just be a very legitimate reason you have never seen their movements before. Be leary of taking advice from one who appears like they should be interacting on a body building forum rather than collecting followers on a social media designed for those who are not in shape and attempting to get there. There is likely an explainable lame ass reason why they are establishing themselves as King of the Hill where no real competition exists to them.

The bottom line.

If you have made the descision to lose weight in order to improve your health, good on you. Congrats on making a life changing choice for your betterment. When you begin this journey, you want to proceed in a healthy manner where you learn to eat nutritiously and ease your way into physical fitness if your doctor has cleared you to do so.

It is really imperative that you find a support network where you can be lifted up when your plan falters, and a place where you can celebrate your achievments with others who truly appreciate your efforts. But, along the way, be extra mindful of those who sit atop pedestals of their own creation, who appear to be the picture of perfect health and fitness. Sometimes, what you see is deceptive marketing by professionals or those with an agenda of some sort. While you should aim your sights high, be leary of trying to hit an unrealistic target unless you are prepared to expend the time and efforts to get there with the knowledge that some of these superstars are actually damaging their very own health in order to look like a million bucks.

If you are female, be extra leary of the guy’s who are building a cult of personality on social media, and who also seem to only attract female followers. There are predators out there who seem nice online that might actually be setting you up for a personal encounter with ill intent in their hearts.

If you follow social media as a means of support, ensure you procede with caution, knowledge and common sense. If you get a bad vibe about ones sincerity, trust your instinct and avoid them. Go forth on your betterment journey with the sole intent on being the best you that you can be, and do not worry yourself with attempting to look like a social media celebity. Many of them are false profits, even when they give themselves cute little names and do cute little things in order to get you to follow them.

Be your own person, be the best you can be and have no regrets.

Fine Tune Your Life

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I spent this day dealing with some important issues that were causing anxiety in my life. If I believe in living life to the fullest and teach that, I must conform to my teachings. I initiated vocational rehabilitation for a family member that was not thriving, investigated the job market and addressed another family member’s diet. Tonight I am blogging and lifting the Iron. Life is good.

Avoidance

The biggest mistake that we make when we are faced with anxiety producing situations in our lives is to avoid the problem and live in misery. I’ve got to tell you, I lived most of my life that way, never again. Because we dread dealing with difficult tasks, we tend to back away from situations that create stress. Instead, we choose to live with perpetual stress which takes all of the color and joy out of our lives. Quite often well-meaning friends and family will support avoidance because they believe that change is just too hard on everyone concerned. For a moment, they are right, but only for a moment. While there are some things that can be easily avoided such as air travel or swimming, there are other things that cannot be easily avoided and can turn into chronic stress. Those are the things that we have to fix.

A Taste of Poison

When we are terrified of change, we can go slowly. Make small changes over time and eventually make the leap to a complete metamorphosis. If changing jobs is too stressful yet you are miserable in your current job, slowly research the market. Don’t plunge. Research, study, think about what you want to live with. Research until you are actually wanting to make the change. If there is a family issue that needs work, again, do your research. That way you will be prepared to initiate and culminate the difficult task. After much research you will have confidence that you know what you are doing and the transition will be much smoother. There are times when these types of changes occur abruptly and in those times, stay ahead of the curve with ongoing study. Never be caught without an answer. You know what is causing you anxiety. Get prepared now to deal with that and when the time comes, you will be confident.

Role Models

My secret weapon for dealing with these types of changes is to have great role models. Sometimes we want to be like people that are not handling their lives well. Now, I ask you, does that make sense? If they are not happy or successfully navigating their lives why on Earth would you want to emulate them? It makes no sense. Fine tune your life by choosing someone who is good at handling stress and manages their health well and ask questions and listen to what they tell you. It won’t do you any good to ask questions unless you do what they say. If you choose your role model(s) well, you will be able to trust them. If you don’t trust them, you have chosen poorly. Choose again. Emulating others who have handled your type of stress well will reduce your anxiety when you have to face the feared situation. When I jumped off of that 250 foot tower ziplining, I just did what the ones in front of me did. I didn’t even have to think about it. I put my brain on hold, listened to my guide and imitated what I had seen. It was amazing!

Don’t Play Ignorant

So much of what we perceive as depression is the refusal to deal with issues that make us miserable. Whether the refusal is because of fear or laziness, the result is the same. We wallow in the misery of a life that we are not suited to or rather a life that is not suited to us. We fear the hard work that it will take to rectify the miserable situation. This even applies to our body image. We can hate the level of fitness that we live with but unless we dig in and do the hard work to change that body, we will live, and die in it. Sometimes much sooner than necessary. Ignorance is not bliss. Sometimes ignorance is death, sometimes just misery. Either way, it’s our decision.

Emerging Color

For so many years, I felt like the Earth right after it’s initial creation, void and without form. The color was gone from my life because I lived with a situation that sucked all life and energy right out of me. Change seemed like the wrong thing to do. I should have known better by my level of misery. I deceived myself into thinking that my actions were noble, a sacrifice for someone else, when I was dead wrong. The truth is, we would both have been so much better off if I had just followed my heart and ended my suffering by changing my life. When I finally did that, I also eased the suffering of the one person for whom I was sacrificing. Misery is a good indication that something needs to be fixed. Analyze the situation and move forward. Since I have begun to fine tune my life, color has returned and life once again has meaning. Sometimes the problem is someone else but if that’s true then remove them from your life. If the problem is you, discipline yourself in the area that needs work and create the life that you want and need.

Health Implications

Unresolved conflict and dysfunction are known causes of depression and anxiety which are known to take years off of your life. So, do you want a short miserable life or a longer more relaxed and contented one? Is it more difficult to change or to live in an emotional Hell? While some changes are extremely stressful nothing is as stressful as hopelessness. Hopelessness is believed to play a role in ischemic heart , or the heart not getting adequate blood and oxygen supply. (1) Don’t starve your heart. Fine tune your life today.

 

(1) https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8347738

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Are We There Yet?

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Every time that most adults begin a weight management program, the first question in our minds and quite often out of our mouths, is “How long will it take?” I was naive enough to ask David this question when I first began lifting heavy. Not wanting to discourage me, he didn’t give me a direct answer immediately. As time unfolded I began to understand the answer that he finally gave, “The rest of your life.”

Moving Goals

In programs where I just wanted to lose X number of pounds, I could safely estimate how long it would take. When I began David’s Way however, everything changed. I was losing pounds but I was also gaining lean muscle. When I achieved a specific number of pounds lost, my goals changed. Now I wanted to add shapely muscle. I wanted to be strong and look like it. That first goal of “Lose 20 pounds.” (David), was met quickly with Intermittent Fasting but that was only the beginning. I had achieved a quick loss of pounds but was nowhere near the type of body that I wanted or the strength. It was necessary to press on. I wasn’t there yet.

Digging In

There are sessions of weight training that are long and arduous. There may be moments that surprise you with a gain in strength that you didn’t expect at that moment in time, but for the most part, hours, days, weeks and months will pass in blood, sweat and tears or what seems like it anyway. It will be hard. You will want to quit. You will feel inept. You will also feel like the King/Queen of the World. You become formidable. It is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. Your confidence will soar as you realize that the same will that raises you from a heavy squat will get you through anything that life throws at you because nothing is any harder than that squat. You will refuse to let go. You can’t go back. You are a Winner.

Metamorphosis

As the Iron begins to change your outside, it is changing your inside to. The deltoids in your shoulders/upper arms that were not there before exemplify the confidence and determination that is building inside your mind and heart. The power that you thrust into getting that deadlift to move will move you to conquer the “little foxes that spoil the vine” on your job. “There’s always something.” (Gilda Radner) that has the potential to ruin your day or your entire life if you allow it. When you realize that you are in control of that barbell that is a true beast, you will realize that you are in control of almost everything in your life by controlling your reaction to those things. We call that being proactive instead of reactive. Take control of things in your life just like you take control of that bar and you will increase your strength in all areas.

Go Deeper

As I move along in my program, I constantly look for flaws in my form because I have high goals for myself and form is everything. With good form I will be able to lift more, longer, stronger and hopefully injury free. I do everything in my power to avoid injury. When I see evidence that a specific program or lift is known to cause injury, I know that is what I don’t want to do. I question the intellect of someone who readily accepts injury as a normal part of their fitness regimen. Healthy living should avoid injury, never running towards it. As I continually work on my form, I gradually buy equipment and accessories along the way to help me with that. My best idea as of today was my power rack that gives me a place to dump the weights safely if they get too heavy or if something goes wrong. So far the only injury has been to a cell phone, may it rest in peace. Word to the wise, if you are using a standard bar with locks, use them…every time. One of the greatest things about my Olympic bar is that I don’t have to use locks. These are things that you learn as you go deeper. I never thought that I would use “one of those big ole’ bars”, (an Olympic bar that weighs 45 pounds and is 7.2 feet long) but now I can’t imagine lifting any other way. Occasionally for a light lift, I’ll use my standard bar. I can’t wait to get back to the big ole’ bar. I love my Olympic bar. It means that I’m a badass who has worked hard to get to where I am and that bar can take me anywhere that I want to go.

Do It Again

As I struggle to perfect my deadlift, David has realized that my valsalva, a breathing maneuver used to increase power during lifting, may not be right. He was right. Although I knew what to do, I was losing focus and losing tightness throughout my body during my deadlift which was allowing a bit of a curve in my spine. This can’t be. It has to be corrected. I have been using a velcro closure lifting belt that will stretch a little. That can contribute to lost tightness so David advised me to get a latch belt, which I have ordered. I have also ordered a hex bar, which allows you to stand straighter during your lift. I have been lifting for about a year and a half and have just done these things. In lifting as in other areas of life, we are ever learning and ever correcting.

No, We Are Not There Yet.

We will have many twists and turns and detours and as long as we keep giving it our best effort our lives, and our lifts, will improve. We will not just magically “arrive” one day and be at the end of our destination. David says that “We don’t own our present level of fitness. We are only paying rent.” This means that we must continually search for better ways to do and be better at what we do. If we quit working at it, we will lose our fitness. When I finally got that answer, “The rest of your life.” in answer to “How long will it take?” I was already beginning to understand. The more you fix in your body and in your life, the more you find to fix. In order to be our best selves, we must continue down this path indefinitely. Anything else is falling short of our full potential. Come on. Stretch yourself. Get accustomed to doing and being your best. Work at it. Strive for it. Never quit. Always endure. You are all you’ve got so make yourself excellent in all ways. It will not be easy but it will be worth it. Just get up and go again.

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Why Do I Even Care About Your Obesity? Our Children and Our Future as a Nation

Why in the hell do I care about you?

Why do I give a damn about helping you to manage your weight through good lifestyle habits of proper nutrition and physical fitness?

Because obesity is a human tragedy unfolding before our very eyes.

Every year, the percentage of people who are overweight, obese, or morbidly obese continues to unnecessarily rise. Every year our expenses for medical care continue to rise as well. We can sit around and bitch about Big Pharma, Big Medicine, Big Insurance and the government all day long. Yet, none of this bitching ever addresses our own personal responsibilities towards our health care expenses. If you are broke from health care expenses, you had better take a deep look inward towards how you live your life. If you have a gluttonous appetite and do no exercise, you are solely responsible for your health problems short of a few maladies.

Our lack of control over our own damn appetites is killing us.

Our lack of self control and discipline causes our obesity which is directly responsible for causing inflammation in our bodies, type 2 diabetes, heart problems, fatty liver, metabolic syndrome, cancers and more. Every bit of this is preventable if we gain control over our appetites and move our asses with exercise. Movement that gets the blood flow going with an increased heart rate. Movement that burns off your glycogen stores and then fat. Movement that does not accomplish glycogen and fat burning is better than nothing at all, yet is damn near useless in helping you to live a healthier life. Counting actions such as running your vacuum cleaner as exercise is not going to win you any prizes, it will not even get you into second or third place. Nope, this kind of movement only means that you are just one step ahead of the total couch potatoe. Maybe not even that much.

Your life will always become the business of someone else when you are careless with it.

You might think your life style is no business to anyone else, but what happens when you need extended care from family, friends or health care professionals. Can you say it is still not their business how you live? If you believe you can, you are some kind of selfish. Your actions will always impact others in your life. Even when we step up to care for our loved ones with no complaints, and provide care for you out of pure selfless love, your lifestyle descisions can and will affect others. This is a truth in life you can not avoid. Even if you decide to live as a hermit and die unattended and alone in your home, someone will have to live with the mental impact of delivering your corpse to the morgue. Hopefully, you have not decomposed too far when they arrive to retrieve your body.

Obesity is dooming our children to a life of illness.

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), in the United States, the percentage of children and adolescents affected by obesity has more than tripled since the 1970’s. Nearly one in five school age children and young people (6 to 19 years old) in the United States are obese. This is unsatisfactory and unnecessary as obesity is preventable. Parents, if you are allowing your child to become obese, you are doing them no favors in life.

About 25% of children in the United States aged 2 to 8 years have a chronic health condition according to CDC. They have chronic health conditions such as obesity, asthma, behavior/learning problems, and other health conditions that can all be traced back to unhealthy and improper nutrition and lack of physical activity.

Parents, you owe your children guidance in living healthy. While they can recieve nutritious meals in school, you have a responsibility to feed them healthy foods at home. Get rid of the Pop Tarts and sugary cereals that you are feeding them for breakfast. And for heavens sake, quit feeding them from fast food drive throughs simply because you are too lazy to prepare a porper meal for them at home.

If you have the time and money to feed your kids from a fast food drive through, then you have the time and money to feed them a healthy home cooked meal. Using the reasoning that you are too tired to feed them healthy is a lame ass excuse that comes from laziness on your part. Your children deserve better out of you.

From US Library of Health and Medicine, Nation Insitute for Health:

Psychological disorders such as depression occur with increased frequency in obese children. Over weight children, followed up for 40 and 55 years were more likely to have cardiovascular and digestive diseases as compared to those who were lean.

Let this sink in to your thoughts for a few minutes. If you do not do anything to contribute to your childs good health, if you let them eat crap foods and not exercise, you are directly responsible as a parent for their current and future health problems. If reading this causes you to be angry, I really do not care because the anger can only come from you not accepting your parental responsibilites to your children. Being as your children did not ask you to bring them into the world, you must place their well being first and foremost over everything else in life.

Ponder this young lady’s sad story I found on a weight loss forum:

I am currently 348 lbs. I am 23 years old.

I have major health problems associated with my weight. I have major heart issues, my heart rate gets up into the 200’s with me just standing up. I have type 2 diabetes, I have chronic pain in my bones and muscles. I have been obese since I was a kid.

I suffered from depression and anxiety growing up. I was bullied a lot. I had suicidal thoughts when I was just 8 years old. Food was, and still is a gateway to ease the pain.

I have two beautiful children. But, I am unable to care for them on my own. I can’t enjoy my life. My days are mostly sitting around watching everyone else live. I am unable to exercise due to my heart rate. But, I was told that if I lose 45 lbs, they will do a pacemaker. I’ve seen multiple heart doctors. And all have suggested weight loss surgery.

This is a truly sad story, and it is not unusual in it’s very nature when you follow any type of weight loss/management social media forums. Read this young lady’s story again and consider how many lives are being affected here. Seriously consider what lifestyle actions could have been taken to prevent this unfolding tragedy. If you are a loving parent of a child who suffers from obesity, please love them enough so this does not become their sad life story too.

Welcome To Better

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I Commend You

If you are a regular reader of David’s Way, I commend you for improving your life. There are so many people who are content with the status quo, whatever that is. That’s fine as long as the status quo is good but, have you ever known the people who are content with disaster? You know, the ones who just accept that “things are bad”? If things are bad, change them. You are most likely geared to make your life better if you are reading this blog, because that’s what we do. We try to make our lives and yours, better.

One More Time

The main difference between those who succeed and those who fail is simply that the successful people just don’t quit. We keep getting up no matter how many times we are knocked down. When people choose to give up, it’s quite often just before a victory. Think back to the times that you have been so tempted to just quit trying. Shortly after that moment passed, something changed a bit for the better somewhere in your life that made you glad that you did not give up. Hang on. Your victory is at hand. Get up, one more time.

How Were Things Before?

So, if you decide to quit, what do you expect to happen? Will you suddenly be content with a sub-standard life? Will the misery and dysfunction just suddenly cease to exist? Probably not. If you were discontented enough to begin a change, what makes you think that you will somehow be content with the same situation now? Press on to your goal. You will encounter great difficulty, no doubt. Anything worth having is a lot of trouble. If you want an easy life, good luck with that. We are supposed to work hard. We are mysteriously and wonderfully made and incredibly resilient. Don’t ever think that you can’t do anything. If you want to, you can. If you remind yourself of what you will return to if you quit, you will most likely keep pursuing your goals.

Create Your Life

It’s true. Most people would quit. Do you want your life to be like theirs or do you want something better? Quitting will give you a moment of relief, but only a moment and then the stress of dysfunction will overwhelm you. Decide what you want and then research about how to get it. Once you have done your research, dig in and work for what you want. The lazy people who quit will never have what you will have.

Perspective

If your job is hard, rejoice that you can pay your bills. If you can’t, get another job. If withdrawing from sugar is driving you crazy, rejoice that you have the initiative to improve your health. If it rains out your hiking trip, rejoice that you have a chance to catch up on all that blasted paperwork that you keep putting off. David has a twist on the glass half full or half empty perspective that I love. He says that it doesn’t matter if it’s half full or half empty, refill it. Refill your life and celebrate.

Potential Is Everything

Every time that you are tempted to quit, think about the potential of not quitting. There is an equal positive reinforcement to the negative reinforcement that makes you want to quit, so if what you’re doing seems impossible, you can rest assured that the reward of conquering that issue is hugely rewarding. Before you quit, think about the reward.

Be Strong

If you were strong enough to begin this journey towards self-fulfillment and health, you are strong enough to continue. Breaking out of old habits of failure and sickness is hard. Making that decision is the hardest. You have shunned traditions and habits of everyone around you. You have become”different”. Stay different. Get healthy and stay that way. We’re here for you. Read the Homepage and discover all of the tools available to you here at David’s Way at absolutely no charge. Take advantage of all that we have to offer you and create and live your best life now.

Your Genes Are Not To Blame

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Take Control

At Davids Way we teach to be proactive instead of reactive. This simply means to be creative and in control of your life as opposed to just accepting every negative event that life throws at you as inevitable. Believe me, this makes all the difference in the world in your level of happiness. If you believe that your “weight problem” is genetic rather than a result of what you put in your mouth, you will always be overweight. David wrote about genetic contributions to obesity and Type 2 Diabetes in his article¬†here

It’s Up To You

Genetic links to obesity have been studied at length. According to T.H. Chan of the Harvard School of Public Health, while there are genes that can contribute to obesity in ways such as interaction with fried foods in a unique manner, everyone who has these genes does not become obese. (1) It is not your destiny. It is still your choice. If fried foods make the scale go up, the answer is, “Don’t eat fried foods.” I don’t. It’s a choice.

Genes Are Not King

The research has made it clear that these genes make a very small contribution to obesity risk. Genes are not your destiny. Healthy lifestyles can more than compensate for these cellular differences. While there is a single gene mutation that can contribute to how often or intensely we feel hunger, it is rare and can be managed. If I eat empty calories, foods with little nutritional value, I stay hungry. If I make every calorie count with quality nutrition, I rarely experience true hunger. The key is to make absolutely sure that every calorie is a good nutrition source. I have to get the recommended amount of protein for my body as a heavy weight lifter and avoid all added sugars.

Familial

When I was growing up, my mother was obsessed with my weight. While that was not really a completely good thing, one of her strategies to control my weight was to remove empty calories. She provided healthy, wholesome meals and baked a cake no more than once a week. Sometimes she would go weeks without having any desserts in the house. When I followed her plan, I would lose weight. I had friends who appeared to be genetically blessed to be thin. When their moms furnished an abundance of junk foods with sugar, those genetically blessed creatures would fatten up. This supports the statements in the various studies that a healthy lifestyle can change your destiny while poor food choices can exacerbate the tendency to put on weight.

Genes Are Not The Cause

While genetic anomalies have been observed, the number of¬† affected genes is an incredibly small percentage of our total gene pool. Their ability to affect the amount of fat on our body is insignificant when we make good food choices and get active. The genes of humans have remained largely the same throughout history so it is changes in society that have made a negative impact on obesity rates. Environmental changes that make it easier to overeat far outweigh any genetic input. Changes that curtail physical activity also contribute to the current explosion of obesity. Easy access to food 24 hours a day contributes on a large scale. The current trend to sit all the time even after leaving our jobs is deadly. While I love the internet, I do not allow it to prevent me from working out. I turn this off and get under that barbell or bridle up my dog for a walk. Sometimes I grab my backpack and head into the wilderness for a long hike. On those days, I fuel my workouts with adequate calories of healthy foods but never use that activity as an excuse to overeat. I actually gained weight one time because I would swim laps for two hours and then go to the yogurt shop for a “healthy” sundae. There is a huge influx of added sugars into our diet. It’s up to us to cut it out of our lives if we want to be healthy. Our habits create the body that we live in.

Your Choice

Knowledge is power. Since you have read this article, you can no longer use genetics as an excuse to be unhealthy. What will you do with the information provided here on the blog? Will you continue with unhealthy habits and pay the ultimate price with your health and eventually your life? While some¬† people believe that they had rather die than change, death is not usually quick or painless. Death caused by the complications of obesity is usually long and painful. Make a decision today to be your best self. and live a rich, rewarding, full life able to be active with your grandchildren and enjoy doing things that only a healthy body can do. It’s up to you. Get proactive today. Read about being proactive here¬†and¬†here ¬† ¬† ¬†

 

(1) https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/genes-and-obesity/