Friday, March 28, 2008

Best Solution - Weight Loss - Update 1

Today I hit a milestone in my weightloss plan. I dropped from a size 44 waist to a 42! Woohoo!!!

In my recent fascination with finding the best solution to a problem, I thought I would update my post from March 11th. My weight loss plan is based on 9 principles:

1. Daily Weigh-ins.
2. Calculate daily caloric intake needs.
3. Subtract 1000 from principle 2's calculation.
4. Divide the remaining amount over five meals and a late snack.
5. Try to eat healthy foods and stay frugal.
6. Exercise regularly.
7. Cycle Caloric Intake.
8. Evaluate Weekly.
9. Constantly look for ways to improve.

The Principles

Principle 1 - Daily Weigh-ins:

I weigh myself every morning to keep my weight loss goal firmly in my mind every day. I weigh myself at 5:00 AM every morning for consistency. I also use pretty much the same clothes - shorts and a light shirt when weighing in.

Weighing in every day also shows me if I "lose consciousness" of my weight loss and begin to slip. Seeing the numbers rise the next morning really focuses me to evaluate what, if anything, I did wrong the previous day.

Principle 2 - Calculate daily caloric intake needs:

I now use a great website I found since my March 11th post to calculate my daily caloric intake needs. I use the RMR calculation instead of the BMR calculation. I highly recommend reading all of the articles on this site. I particularly found the Calculating BMR and RMR and Calculating Daily Calorie Needs very helpful.

Let's take a look at an example of using this wonderful website. Let's say you are a 30 year old woman who is 5'7" tall and who weighs 187 pounds. You could calculate your ideal weight and discover your ideal weight is 139 pounds with an ideal range of 118 to 159 pounds. You realize you need to lose 187 - 159 or 28 pounds to be in your ideal weight range.

So you need to calculate how many calories you need to maintain your weight in one day. There are several ways to do this and you decide to use the BMR/RMR calculator. You have to make a decision on your activity level. You walk 3 times a week and decide that you are lightly active. The results of your calculator are a BMR of 2255 calories and an RMR of 2201 calories.

You want to lose 1 pound a week for 28 weeks so you subtract 500 from your daily intake need. Using the RMR calculation that means you can eat 2201 - 500 or 1701 calories per day for the first week and lose 1 pound. Of course you'll have to re-evaluate your weight and calories each week to maintain the weight loss.

Principle 3 - Subtract 1000 from principle 2's calculation:

This step is based on the theory that if you take in 3500 calories less than what your body needs, you'll lose one pound. I find this theory to be pretty accurate. So to lose 1 pound per week I would need to take in 500 calories less than what I need on a daily basis 3500/7 days = 500/day. To lose 2 pounds, I would need to eat 1000 calories less per day. My goal is 2 pounds per week so I subtract 1000 calories from step 2's calculation.

Principle 4 - Divide the remaining amount over five meals and a late snack.

On Monday through Saturday I eat at the following times:

6:00 AM
9:00 AM
12:00 PM
3:00 PM
6:00 PM
9:00 PM - Cup of milk only

I spread my total daily calorie count as evenly as possible across all meals except the 9:00 PM meal in which I just have a cup of fat free milk. I don't like eating after 6:00 PM.

I am a diabetic and eating 5 smaller meals helps me control my blood sugar and helps prevent me from getting that hungry feeling and it works great!

Principle 5 - Try to eat healthy foods and stay frugal:

I don't eat perfectly, I sometimes like to eat things I actually want to eat, like a cheese coney every once in a while. I do eat healthy most of the time, high fiber whole grain cereal (Kashi) as well as lean meats and vegetables.

I don't like fancy recipes and meals that involve 12 different ingredients. I am trying to watch what I spend and typically eat easy to prepare inexpensive healthy foods. I buy cereal, bread for toast, fruit cocktail in pear juice, chicken breasts (when they're on sale), fat free milk, etc....

I shop at Walmart most of the time and have a strict budget. I only buy what I need for the week and am able to save money and eat healthier at the same time.

Principle 6 - Exercise regularly:

Exercise is obviously important in any healthy lifestyle change. I walk at 2 1/2 miles per hour for 30 full minutes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I just began doing this because I hurt my hip in 2007 and have had to take it easy for a while. I will increase my exercise progressively until I'm exercising daily for 30 minutes at a minimum and at a higher pace.

Principle 7 - Cycle Caloric Intake

If you eat 1000 calories less than your body needs long enough, it will adjust and burn 1000 calories less than it did before and you'll plateau (stop losing weight). It has been suggested by some to cycle your calories once or twice a week to fool your body into burning the same amount of calories.

Every Sunday I eat 200 calories more than my body requires. The next day I might stay the same or even gain a little bit of weight but it's enough to convince my body that it doesn't have to go into "starvation mode" and drop my metabolism.

If I plateau in the future anyway (so far so good), I may step up my calorie cycling to two days a week (with a couple of deficit days in between) but that would be the maximum.

Principle 8 - Evaluate Weekly

Evaluation is a necessary principle and I do this every week on all of my goals. First I review my goals - what is it I'm trying to do? Then I measure against specific criteria - in this case did I lose 2 pounds this week? If I was successful on my weekly goal then great, if not I need to try and figure out what is going on and make necessary changes to improve my system.

I would only change a system if at least 2 weeks of data supported the need to do so. I already recalculate my calories once a week at a minimum. To tell you the truth I do it everyday as I have the information in a handy spreadsheet. Planning the entire day of eating takes me about 5 minutes now so it isn't even a bother.

Principle 9 - Constantly look for ways to improve

This system is working great and I'm beginning to see less and less of a need to change anything but that doesn't mean I'm not looking.

I think it's hilarious when I tell people of my success. The first thing they do is suggest changes to my system. Hello! I said it was working perfectly! Doesn't matter, folks just need to prescribe changes from their own experiences. I guess I do the same though so it doesn't really bother me. I listen to them with the intent of possibly getting some actual good suggestions. The calorie cycling was one such suggestion from a friend of mine.

I will continue to read and learn about healthy habits and incorporate the "pearls" into my system. I can't wait until I'm ready to do the P90X system, but that day isn't until late in 2009. But having those eight-pack abs will be worth the wait!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The best solution so far

The Egyptian philosopher Ptolemy theorized that the Earth was the stationary center of the Universe. About 1400 years later, Nicolaus Copernicus displaced this theory with his theory that the Earth actually moved around the Sun. This was a better solution in explaining how the heavenly bodies moved.

The theory was not well received. In fact, 90 years after Copernicus released his theory in De revolutionibus orbium coelestium , Galileo Galilei was convicted of grave suspicion of heresy for "following the position of Copernicus, which is contrary to the true sense and authority of Holy Scripture,"[21] and was placed under house arrest for the rest of his life.

People have a hard time accepting different ways of seeing the universe. It is hard to change from one way of thinking to another. Stephen R. Covey calls this a paradigm shift. I, however, am starting to embrace new ways of thinking.

The more I learn different ways of looking at the world, the more I realize that my way of thinking is flawed. For example, I used to believe there was a job out there I would love so much it wouldn't even seem like work and I wouldn't be happy working until I found that job.

I now believe that I can choose to be happy at my present job and I am proving that this way of thinking is a better solution. I still believe there is a job which I can naturally be happy doing and I'm still searching for it, but this dream job is no longer the only way I can be happy.

Asking the question "Is this the best solution I've found so far to address this problem?" is quickly becoming my new habit of choice. I ask myself this question in regards to my health habits, my money habits, when dealing with other people in my relationships, when meditating on my religious beliefs and so on.

I am now constantly trying to improve the process by challenging my current ways of thinking and doing things. I have a weight loss program that is working very well. I recently watched a show called I can make you thin featuring Paul McKenna. I found that my system of weight loss utilizes very similar techniques as his system. I didn't find much reason to adopt anything he suggests but at least I viewed his suggestions with an open mind. I currently don't have any "issues" with my system, it is the best solution I have found so far.

I am also very happy with my financial plan and the way I live my life with balance using the 8 habits that Stephen Covey has taught in his many books. I am confident I have very good systems in place to help me live a live of health, wealth and happiness.

But I'm still looking to improve them.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Have a vision - part II

In Have a vision - part I I discussed creating a vision from a story. This is a pretty fun way of coming up with your ideal life and is an entertaining read when you want to review your vision and goals.

Another way of writing out a vision statement is to just list detailed major goals by human dimension. The six major human dimensions I have identified are physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual and financial.


Your physical dimension deals with your physical health. It involves goals such as weight loss, exercise, running a marathon and having six pack abs to name a few.


Your mental dimension deals with goals of the mind such as learning to play the guitar, memorizing scripture and learning to program computers.


Your social dimension centers around relationships. It can involve goals such as having one on one talks with your children each week, being more romantic with your spouse or working on smiling more.


As the social dimension deals with your interaction with other people, the emotional dimension centers on your personal emotions and attitudes. Some goals in the emotional dimension might be to stop using "victim language" or working on being more responsible.


Your spiritual dimension deals with your belief system. Some spiritual goals might be to live your life based on your list of values, reading the Holy Bible regularly, meditating/praying regularly and helping others with your time and money.


This dimension focuses on money and possessions. It is the easiest dimension to make goals for in my opinion. Objectives like being debt-free, saving a million dollars or owning your dream house are just a few financial goals.


In order to have balance and the best chance for complete happiness possible, you should work on all six dimensions. Goals for these dimensions should be SMART. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely.

The following is a vision statement in the format I've described. All dimensions have been addressed and all goals are written in good detail. The SMART goal process will be detailed even more during the plan process ( a future post). These are just a couple of goals, a complete vision statement would contain much more.

I will weigh 189 pounds by December 25th, 2008.
After achieving this goal, I will never let myself become more than 9 pounds overweight.
After reaching 189 pounds, I will complete the P90X 90 day challenge and will get some six-pack abs.

I will become a Sun Certified Java Programmer (SCJP) by December 31st, 2008.
I will become a Sun Certified Java Developer (SCJD) by June 30, 2009

I will internalize the 30 principles found in Dale Carnegie's "How to win friends and influence people" by December 31st, 2008.
I will meet with my family every Sunday and discuss the family goals.
I will meet one-on-one with my daughter every Saturday to help her with her goals.

I will form the habit of thinking before I speak to avoid negative habits such as criticizing, complaining and sarcasm.
I will spend 15 minutes each night going over a list of things that I am thankful for to consciously acknowledge that my life is really good.

I will spend a minimum of 30 minutes each night studying the King James Bible and will complete the entire bible by March 31st, 2009.
I will work daily on my personal development in all six dimensions of my life.

I will be debt free (except for my mortgage) by June 30th, 2010.
I will have a six-month emergency fund by June 30th, 2011.
I will save 15% of my gross income into my retirement accounts starting July 1st, 2011.
I will help my daughter pay for college starting August 1st, 2011.
I will pay off my mortgage completely by March 31st, 2015.
I will have my dream house built on May 1st, 2020.

This type of vision statement also gets into the specific planning of the goals. It describes the goals specifically and gives dates in which the goal will be accomplished. It is not, however, a complete plan. I will post about having a plan soon.

The best approach, in my opinion, is to have both a story-type vision as well as a goal oriented vision. This will make for some inspiring reading on the weekly evaluation process.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Have a vision - part I

Today I want to write about having a personal vision. My Daily Discipline process involves 4 key parts:

1. Having a detailed written vision of my perfect life.
2. Having a detailed written plan on how to obtain my vision.
3. Having a detailed written system that forces me to complete my plan.
4. Execute! Execute! Execute!

The first step is to have a detailed written vision. You do this in the form of a story that goes through the major dimensions of humanity - the physical, mental, social, emotional, spiritual and financial dimensions. The story must describe your perfect state of each of these dimensions but should also be a fun look at how great life will be.

Another way, and the version I use, is to simply list each dimension and the major goals I have in each dimension. I try to be as detailed as possible and I visualize a typical day in my perfect life from waking up to going to bed.

The following is an example of a personal vision using a story. My real one is a little different (not by much!) and yours will probably be different too and that's okay, it's your vision after all.

My Perfect Life (a typical day):
This morning I woke up the way I always do...naturally. I haven't used an alarm clock in years. I don't have a job and the kids are grown so I don't need to take them to school. I have no place that I have to be in a hurry, my day starts when I wake up.

I look over and see my wife already awake looking at me. "Good morning", I say softly, "Feel like having some breakfast?"

We get ready
at a leisurely pace and then head to our local Bob Evans for breakfast. We talk about the day and what we plan to do. We are in the process of seeing everything there is to see in all 50 states. Today we decide to travel in the motor home and have a mini-vacation in Gatlinburg Tennessee, taking in some shows and visiting the best local restaurants they have to offer. (Social/Emotional - Relationship with my wife)

The stock market opens in about an hour after returning from breakfast. I look through the Investor's Business Daily and review some picks that I've been watching for a while. I currently manage our personal portfolio of over three million dollars. I love investing! (Financial - managing our money).

Next I review our business portfolio. We have a construction company, a farm and a bookstore. I check my phone messages and see my accountant called to remind me of the monthly manager meeting happening in 2 weeks where I get an update on our business results and needs. We will be back from Tennessee by then so no problem. (Financial - We are set for life!)

My wife meanwhile has packed up some things for the trip. We take an hour or so and work out in our in-home gym. I weighed in at 190 pounds this morning (1 pound over my ideal weight). I keep track of my health religiously. I used to be a type-2 diabetic and definitely don't want to go back to those days again! (Physical - taking care of our health)

While working out my wife mentions our cooking class coming up. We are constantly learning new things and recently signed up for a class on Italian cuisine. Italian food is my favorite and we can currently make over 50 different Italian recipes alone. This class deals mainly with white and red sauces and different techniques for making pasta. I, in turn, tell her about a ballroom dancing class that is coming and we agree it would be fun to learn that skill as well. (Mental - constantly learn new skills)

We finally get packed up, in the motor home and on the road to Tennessee. Of course now it's almost time for lunch so we decide we'll stop at Red Lobster for our favorite seafood! Meanwhile, my wife calls my daughter, who lives in Tennessee, and lets her know we'll be coming down to stay at our cabin outside of Gatlinburg. We agree to meet her for dinner. (Social/Emotional - Relationship with daughter)

She also calls my son who lives in Texas and talks with him for a while. We will be going back to Texas to visit him and his family in two months. While we're there we'll make a stop in Houston and visit Joel Osteen's church. We've been to his church many times and love going there when we're in Texas. (Social/Emotional - Relationship with son) (Spiritual - Church service with Joel Osteen)

(End of vision)

Okay, I think you get the idea. A personal vision should be fun and reflect a balance of goals you want to accomplish in all dimensions of your life. This example isn't nearly as long as my real one. In my real vision I detail my dream house, cars, pets, physical accomplishments, skills that I've learned and so on.

Visions can also change. As you review your vision each week, you may realize that something you thought you wanted isn't as important as before. Or you might add some things you just didn't think of in the first couple of drafts. Your personal vision will also grow to reflect new goals you think of after accomplishing your initial goals. Life is a journey, not a destination. The purpose of life is to have purpose and a personal vision will help you focus on the purpose you have chosen.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

How to love what you do for a living

About two weeks ago I was told that I would be taking over support and development for a project consultants had created for my company. I was a little worried because I knew this project involved technologies that I didn't know at all.

Turns out I was right to be worried. Last week I spent about 75% of my time going over the high and low level details with the main consultant on the project. My brain was hammered with so much information that I would go home each day physically and mentally exhausted and with a slight headache.

My background in development up to this point was basic Java with some rudimentary skills in Perl and a proprietary software product we use for our point-of-sale application. The new project I would be taking over included over 22 technologies I knew very little if anything about.

This kind of situation is pretty normal in my field of work so I wasn't overwhelmed or shocked my boss would do this to me but I did have a lot of work to do. This made me look at my career introspectively and I didn't like what I was seeing.

In recent years I had grown lazy in regards to my career and wasn't striving to learn anything new in my field. Having skills in Java and a few others, I decided, simply wasn't enough anymore. I wanted to be excellent at what I did for a living!

Excellence at what you do is key in loving what you do. The old saying goes "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing right". I would change this a little and say "If it's worth doing, it's worth doing with Excellence!"

So instead of just going into work and doing enough to not get fired, what if we went to work and WOW people with our excellent performance?

What if everyone took this stance at their jobs? Look at fast food for example. What if your fast food sandwich actually looked like the one in the picture on the menu? What if you were greeted at the counter with a smile and an eagerness to serve you? What if the person bagging your meal made it a conscious effort to make sure the order was completely filled? What if there were straws in the bag for each drink, salt, pepper and ketchup packets for food and the right amount of napkins? Hey, what if your fries were actually hot? Sweet!

What would the results of this kind of attitude be? You would stand out, in a positive way, from everyone else. The day would fly by quickly because you're deeply involved in what you are doing. You would probably be promoted. And, you would definitely love what you do for a living a whole lot more. Sounds pretty good if you ask me!

So, with this in mind, I realize I have a long but exciting road ahead of me. I have a list of 22 technologies written down in the order I want to learn them. I have plans to get certified in as many of these technologies as I can to show others I know this stuff. I have habits on my habit worksheet that force me to study every day. And I have a mediocre reputation at work to crush with my new outlook of excellence!

Wow! That's exciting! Enough blogging for today, It's time to get started!

Kidney Stones

Yesterday began great with me weighing in at 263 pounds, down 1.2 pounds from the day before and meeting my weekly goal.

After taking my daughter to the eye doctor for contacts/glasses, I came home and went to bed for a well earned nap. I woke up an hour later at 3:00 PM with pain in my left kidney. I had felt pain like this twice before - the dreaded kidney stone.

I'm not going to explain what kidney stones are here but I will say they are very painful. The last time I had one, I waited about 30 minutes before going to the emergency room. By the time the staff had me hooked up to the IV and was about to give me pain medicine, the stone had passed and I was fine.

So, like an idiot, I decided to wait it out this time. Dumb! After two hours and thirty minutes of excruciating pain, nausea and vomiting, I decided it might be best to go to the emergency room.

Morphine to the rescue! One shot of morphine and some nausea medicine and I was feeling no pain. After a cat scan the doctor told me there was a stone about ready to pass into my bladder. They pumped me full of fluids and the stone came out with no issues. It was 9:30 PM when I got in the van to go home.

I was starving so I had a reasonable dinner and went to bed. Eating right before bed isn't the greatest idea but I was exhausted from my day.

The fluids and the late dinner cost me this morning on my daily weigh-in. I weight 264.8, a gain of 1.8 pounds. Oh well, I have to look on the bright side. I have no pain this morning and I'm sure my body will normalize over the next day or so.

On days like yesterday, when life throws something at you totally out of your control, you just need to deal with it and shrug it off. Today I'm back on my routine and know the weight will come back off.

Like the old saying goes "Obstacles are those things you see when you take your eyes off your goals". I've been doing my daily discipline routine successfully now for two weeks and my pride is deeply involved. Letting yesterday's setback get me down wasn't even an issue. It's time to focus on today!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Life's Order of Precedence

Today I begin Baby Step 2 of Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover. The seven steps of the makeover are as follows (paraphrased):

Baby Step 1: Save a $1000 emergency fund.
Baby Step 2: Perform the debt snowball on all debt except the home mortgage.
Baby Step 3: Complete the emergency fund - 3-6 months of net household income.
Baby Step 4: Invest 15% of gross household income into retirement accounts.
Baby Step 5: Save for your children's college education.
Baby Step 6: Pay off the home mortgage.
Baby Step 7: Have fun, invest and give.

This is an eye opening order of precedence for finances. An order of precedence, in the way I'm discussing it today, means the order in which you should do something. It's amazing how we are taught the incorrect order in which we should spend our money and everyone accepts it as ok.

For example, most folks buy a house, cars and other items on credit before having an adequate emergency fund. This causes us to live a paycheck to paycheck lifestyle which can be financially fatal when an emergency crops up.

Most of us make plenty of money but because we "tie it up" with payments for cars, houses, credit cards and so on we can't enjoy our income to the fullest potential.

I'm teaching my teenage daughter Life's Order of Precedence she should follow when executing her life plan. The following is a list of what we've discussed so far. The items with a period separator indicate things that can be happening simultaneously.

1.1. Save money for a car and your education

1.2. Get a great high school education

1.3 Discover what you want to do for a living

2.0 Get scholarships and grants for college

3.0 Go to college for your career choice

4.0 Get a job in your career.

5.0 Get adequate health, dental and life insurance coverage. Health and dental are far more important than life at the moment. Life insurance is really for when you are married or have debts that your family will need to pay when you're gone, but you won't have debt!

6.0 Don't get married until you've completed steps 1-5. If you want to get married, waiting until step 5 is complete should make life easier.

6.1 If you're having children, it's ok to have them now. I recommend not having a child unless you can put $2000 per year into an ESA (Education Savings Account) for them. This is just a suggestion and not the sole determiner for having children! They will appreciate it if you have over $100,000 waiting on them for college, believe me!

7.0 Save 6 months of income as an emergency fund

7.1 Save 15% of your gross income into retirement accounts.

7.2 Save money to pay cash for your house, if you're buying one, otherwise rent inexpensively until you do. Don't get a loan for your house! If you simply can not wait until you have saved enough cash for your house, then make sure you follow these 3 guidelines:

1. Pay no less than 20% down
2. Get a loan for no longer than 15 years.
3. Get a fixed rate mortgage, never an adjustable rate mortgage!

8.0 Enjoy your life!

Notice none of these steps involve debt. I'm teaching my daughter that debt is dumb, cash is king and the paid off mortgage has replaced the BMW as the status symbol of choice just like Dave Ramsey says at the beginning of his radio talk show.

If she were to follow these guidelines, I'm confident her life would be a very happy one, at least as far as finances go. I myself wish I had these steps explained to me when I was her age. I am now working on trying to undo what I have done financially these past 20 years.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

My big goals

I started thinking about how many really big goals a person can have in life and I was surprised when I discovered that there weren't very many. Here are some of mine:

The House

A nice house is probably on everyone's want list. I have a list of features that I must have in my dream house. They are:
  1. A one-floor plan.
  2. A bedroom that is at least 400 square feet.
  3. With a huge walk-in closet
  4. A master bathroom with a whirlpool tub for two.
  5. Two other bathrooms minimum
  6. Three other bedrooms minimum (1 at least 300 square feet)
  7. A huge laundry room with plenty of space for detergents, folding clothes, etc....
  8. A library with comfortable lounge chairs and lots of books!
  9. A meeting room. (Sort of like a conference room - with a projector, white board, etc....)
  10. Personal offices for my wife and I.
  11. A Solarium to drink the morning coffee in all year 'round.
  12. An exercise room with about 500 square feet and all the trimmings (mirrored walls, weights, machines, etc....)
  13. An in-ground swimming pool (in-doors would be even better!)
  14. It must be extremely efficient (Solar powered?, heavily insulated, heat pump, etc....)
  15. It must have a humidifier built-in to the heating and cooling system.
  16. A large kitchen with a buffet-length island.
  17. A large dining room which comfortably seats about 15 people for those holiday gatherings.
  18. A 3-car garage
  19. Lots of Storage space


Not taking medicine for any health problems
Being my ideal weight
Maybe even being athletic (muscle toning and cardiovascular).


Being debt-free (including the mortgage) - No Payments!
Cool cars, trucks, boats, and other toys.
Having a large emergency fund though losing my job wouldn't be a problem since I wouldn't have one.
Large amounts of investment cash making me a comfortable living.
Buying what I want, when I want.
Eating out at our favorite restaurants.
Giving money away to church, charities, family, friends and even complete strangers (wouldn't that be cool?)


Constantly increasing my knowledge of the world, people and God so that I am forever stimulated by life. Sounds corny, but hey, it's my goal!


Helping others achieve their dreams through gifts, education and just being a supportive friend.
Helping my community by giving back through volunteer time and donations, especially to the local library.

That's about it

Ok, so those are some pretty big goals, but my point is, there is not a lot of them. Several of these are fueled by achieving the wealth goal. Have I mentioned Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Easy Weight Loss

I'm usually pretty lazy (I'm working on it) so I wanted to come up with a way to lose weight without too much effort. My buddy Dan has a revolutionary weight loss plan he describes as "Eat Less, Exercise More". Hmmm, Sounds like the plan for me!

Eat less, exercise more is really all there is to it but it's obviously not as easy as it sounds or I wouldn't be overweight to begin with. So this post describes my thought process for losing weight and the plan I came up with to eat less and exercise more.

To begin I weighed myself and came in at 271.8 pounds. Ouch!

I then checked height and weight charts for men to see what my ideal weight would be. For a 6 foot 1 inch tall large framed man (that's me) the ideal weight would be about 189 pounds.

I have never been under 194 pounds as an adult so this would be a challenge. I was very happy at 194 pounds when I was in the military so weighing 189 pounds would be great.

So now I had some problems to solve. One issue I've had with weight loss plans in books is the specific foods they tell you to eat. Sometimes I can't find Laughing Cow cheese wedges (South Beach) or I don't want to spend a lot of money buying healthy foods that are weird or expensive. Paying over $325 per month for Nutrisystem or something similar just to feed me alone is ridiculous! I vowed only to eat foods that I could get at the local Walmart or Kroger.

Next I decided on the amount of weight I wanted to lose each week. The general consensus is that two pounds is a healthy amount. Sounds good to me.

So how long will it take to get to 189 pounds losing 2 pounds per week? That was my next question. I break out my handy-dandy spreadsheet program and run the numbers. Starting on March 3rd, 2008 it will take me about 42 weeks to lose the weight. Cool! That's less than a year! I will be 189 pounds on or about December 17th, 2008. Merry Christmas to me!

So now I had to figure out how I was going to lose the weight without some pain-in-the-butt life change. I am a type 2 diabetic so I also had to think about blood sugar control.

The "Eat Less" of "Eat Less, Exercise More" means exactly that. The first thing I had to know was how many calories I needed to maintain my weight. I searched online and found a website that will calculate this figure for you.

I punched in my weight, clicked on male and chose Sedentary for a lifestyle as I am initially not exercising (more on that later). The number of calories I need to maintain my weight is 3734.

In order to lose a pound of fat in a week, you need to take in 3500 calories less than you need for that week. That means 500 calories less than you need per day. So, If I take in 3234 calories a day for 1 week, I should lose 1 pound. Since I want to lose 2 pounds per week I need to take in 1000 calories less per day than I need. That means I can eat 3734-1000 = 2734 calories per day and lose 2 pounds per week.

As a diabetic, I'm not supposed to have big meals because it spikes my blood sugar. So I decide to have 6 meals per day spaced out 3 hours apart. I also allow myself 1 cup of milk at the end of the day (3 hours after my last meal). Here is how it divides out:

2734 - 90 calories for the cup of fat free milk = 2644 calories over 6 meals

2644 / 6 meals = about 440 calories per meal. This means I don't need to really count calories per se, I just need to make sure when I eat every 3 hours not to go over 440 calories for the meal. If I do go over, I need to make sure I eat that much less on the next meal.

Spaced 3 hours apart starting at 6:00 AM, my actual eating schedule and meals look like this:

6:00 AM - Breakfast - I eat a bowl of Kashi cereal with 1 cup of fat free milk every morning = 300 calories

9:00 AM - 2 slices of Ezekial 4:9 bread with some Smart Balance butter = 250 calories

12:00 PM - Lunch - A banquet dinner (anything around 330 - 450) calories.

3:00 PM - 1 can of Fruit Cocktail in Pear Juice - 210 Calories

6:00 PM - 1/2 Small Bag of Dole Lettuce Salad with Fat Free Catalina Dressing - 150 Calories.
1 Baked Chicken Breast, Pork Loin Chop or 2 Talapia Filets = 250 Calories
1 Medium Baked Potato with Smart Balance and Mrs Dash Seasoning = 275 Calories.
Total Calories: 675 Calories

9:00 PM - 1 cup of fat free milk - 90 Calories

Total Daily Intake: 1975 Calories

Believe me when I say that I stay satisfied when eating like this and I only am taking in about 2000 calories a day when I can have 2734. The result? Well, the first week on this diet I was down 6.4 pounds. I'm currently working on my 2nd week. Maybe I'll hit my goal in October instead of December. Happy Halloween to me!

As for the exercise part I'm currently not doing any. I intend to start at 250 pounds. There are two reasons why. One, I hurt my hip in August of 2007 and am still recovering. Two, my treadmill is rated for no more than 250 pounds. When I hit the 250 mark in about five or six weeks I'll start walking for 30 minutes every morning. This will increase my daily caloric intake needs, in other words I could eat even more calories.

Well, there it is. Not too fancy and not too difficult. I re-evaluate my caloric needs and calculate the "per meal" figures each week. I may not lose 30 pounds in one month like some fad diets promise but one thing's for sure, come mid-December I will be my ideal weight.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

The Ultimate Habit

The Ultimate Habit is to create new positive habits or break old negative habits every 30 days. Today I will be showing you some of my system for achieving all my goals. I will warn you, however, that this system is a work-in-progress and I don't consider it done by any means.

I wanted a master system that would force me to do all the things I needed to do on a daily basis to achieve all my goals and keep me from quitting. I use what I have called a Weekly Habit Worksheet. Here is an illustration of one similar to the one I use:

As you can see I list all of my daily tasks in the order they will happen and I have check boxes under the day(s) they should happen. Every line item is a habit that I want to perform on a regular basis.

They are not always daily habits. For example I only trim my nails, beard, ears and nose once a week. Ears and Nose? Yeah, I'm getting old.

Just about every item has been forgotten at one time or another before using the Habit Worksheet. Some weren't being done at all, like the trimming of the ears and nose. (Eewww!)

Now I remember to do everything on every day and it keeps me focused on doing the mundane little things that just make life a little better as well as the monumental goals I have set for myself. After viewing it you may ask how it keeps me working on really big goals. It really doesn't list out things a person might be trying to accomplish like building wealth, increasing education or losing weight. The Habit Worksheet is only one document in a complete system. Other documents I use include:

A goals list which is viewed when I Review OneNote Goals (W, M, Q). W=Weekly, M=Monthly and Q=Quarterly in case you were wondering. OneNote is a Microsoft product that is really cool! Click the link to check it out. All of the documents I list here are in OneNote and get reviewed when I do this one habit.

A Planning Calendar which shows upcoming appointments, birthdays, and events.

My weight management plan which is super simple and working very well. I'll blog on this later.

My vehicle maintenance plan. I also have habits to check mileage on our vehicles every Saturday. I can then schedule routine maintenance when needed. I have a separate entry for my wife's Jeep because she leaves early for work on Saturday mornings so I check the mileage before she leaves the house.

I have an ideas list. I review this when I do the Review cell phone recordings habit. My cell phone has a voice recorder and I'm constantly recording an idea when it pops into my head. I place these ideas into my ideas list. I have a one hour commute and am often thinking of new blog posts when I'm not listening to an audiobook.

My financial plan which is really Dave Ramsey's financial plan. I do have some tips and stuff that I list to help squeeze out every dollar while doing my six baby steps of the Total Money Makeover. I am now constantly challenging our budget and habits to see how I can speed up my makeover. I'll blog some of these things in a later post.

So I have processes and plans in place to

  1. Be my ideal weight (and stay there for good this time!)
  2. Be safe, debt-free and then mega-rich
  3. Be a great father, husband, relative, in-law, friend and employee (and eventually business owner/employer)
  4. Be generous and help others
  5. Hopefully go to Heaven when it's all over

If life is worth living then it's worth living with Excellence. Whether you live it with excellence is entirely up to you. Have a great day!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

How To Build Iron Self Discipline

Motivation is great but discipline is better. The Daily Discipline is a process I created to help me achieve some big goals and to also keep me doing the little things consistently that keeps my life and my family's life running smoothly.

The process I use is not rocket science and to some will be common sense and for others a bit weird. I believe in systems so I created a master system to control, as much as possible, every aspect of my life.

I am 38 years old and have spent my life looking for the answer. How to live an exciting, purposeful life filled with wealth, health and happiness. It is only now that I believe that I have found that answer. Now I need to use it. I need to get down to action because therein lies my problem.

I have been a planner for decades. I have created plans to achieve dozens of goals. The plans were brilliant but I never took action and therefore they were worthless. Planning without action is a complete waste of time.

The only time I ever made progress on my goals was when I was motivated. Those rare days when I had energy and a desire to make progress. The motivation fueled the action but only until the motivation, the feeling, wore off. I would then quit my goal and by the time I was motivated again I would have to start over only to repeat the "temporary progress-to-failure" pattern.

Sometimes I thought the answer was to keep myself motivated, but how could I do that? I thought about it one day (when I was feeling energetic) and asked myself what things motivated me? I came up with watching certain inspiring movies like Rocky, if I wanted to work out, or The Secret of my Success if I wanted to work on my success goals. I could also listen to certain audio books on goals and achievement that would get me pumped up. So there it was! My answer - I would simply listen to motivating audio books or watch inspiring movies when I needed to be motivated. That would certainly work right? Wrong.

The problem was I didn't have the motivation to watch the movies or listen to the audio books - unmotivated is unmotivated! What to do? Another day when I was energetic I again pondered the problem. Why can't I be disciplined enough to stay motivated? That's when the word discipline hit me.

My problem wasn't about staying motivated it was about being disciplined enough to do the things I needed to do to achieve my goals when I wasn't motivated. I needed discipline!

So, I started to study discipline on the web. I searched and searched until I formulated what I believed was the Best of the Breed explanation on discipline and how to build it.

Building discipline is like building strength through weight lifting or building endurance through long distance running. You must exercise your discipline to make it stronger. Neglecting this exercise will make you a weak-willed, often tempted quitter! Ouch! That's harsh, but true.

Anyone starting a weight lifting program doesn't begin by piling 400 pounds onto the bench press. That's a good way to kill yourself. The secret to weight training is progression. By starting small and adding weight over time, you gradually build up your muscle strength.

For example. You might start by pressing 100 pounds eight times and that's all you can do. On your next workout you press 100 pounds nine times. The next time it's ten times and then eleven and then twelve. After you reach twelve repetitions you increase the weight to 105 pounds. Your first attempt at this weight yields only eight repetitions. You're back to square one and your repeat the process until you can do the 105 pounds twelve times. Then you raise the weight to 110 pounds then 115, 120, 125 and so on....

After four or five years of consistently doing this, you might be pressing that 400 pounds we mentioned earlier. My brother and many of his friends accomplished this goal back in their high school and college football days!

Now for an example in progressive exercise of your discipline. Let's say that you get up at 7:00 AM every day. You actually get out of bed at 7:18 after hitting snooze twice - yeah, we've all been there. The problem is you're always feeling rushed in the morning getting ready for work. You would like to have time for a workout and a good breakfast but you just can't seem to wake up in time.

The next day you set the clock for 5:00 AM. You wake up at 7:37 because when the alarm went off, you turned it off without even remembering doing so! You scramble out of bed half groggy rushing to get ready to get to work without being late. You've just tried to lift 400 pounds right from the start. Not fun.

Here's how to do it progressively:

For one day resolve to do something simple. How about giving yourself an extra 10 minutes to get ready? You know that the snooze button is a deeply embedded habit right now and you're not even going to mess with it. So you set your clock to 6:50 AM. You know you'll hit snooze twice which means you'll be getting up at 7:08 AM, ten minutes earlier than before.

Everything happens as planned. That was easy! It was barely a change from you're normal routine. Should you try for twenty minutes? No. You should see if you can do it again. Can you do it for two days in a row? Three? Can you get up 10 minutes earlier every day for seven days in a row? If you can, you're now ready to increase the weight.

Now repeat the process except move the time up by ten minutes. You're now setting the alarm for 6:40 AM, you're hitting snooze twice and actually getting up at 6:58 AM. It should be easier on day 1 this time than on day 1 the first time. If you blow it, don't go back to setting the clock for 6:50 AM, you've already mastered that time. Your goal is to hit one day in a row (smirk) at the 6:40 AM setting, then two, then three until you reach seven days in a row. Then move it up by ten minutes again.

This example may seem a little silly, but remember you're not just trying to get up at 6:40 AM. You're really exercising your discipline. After a while you'll be getting up at 5:00 AM without even hitting the snooze bar once. You're pride will take over and you will not want to drop back into your old habits. You should do this every day including the days that you're off of work. You'll thank yourself for this habit when you discover how much time you have every day to get things done. When you've reached the ultimate goal, getting up at 5:00 AM, you should make sure you can do the goal for 30 days, not just seven. What do you do after 30 days?

Your goal is now a habit and with each new good habit you form, you lift your discipline level up a notch. You are now a more disciplined person than you were 30 days ago. What you need to do now is start over with a new habit. How about that morning workout? Using progression, it will be all too easy

Friday, March 7, 2008

Best of the Breed

When you read enough books about a particular subject you will eventually discover the Best of the Breed. These are the books that actually give you two to four hundred pages (or more) of quality information that stands out above all other books in their category.

This is my list of Best of the Breed books in their respective categories. I am not saying they won't be replaced by another, even better, book someday (Well, I am saying that for the last one) but these are definitely the finest works and worthy of ownership.

Audio Versions

Before I give the list, I want to say that one great way to stay motivated on a particular subject is to buy the Best of the Breed book in audio format. I listen to these CDs on my 1 hour commute to work. When I do, I get fired up all over again and rededicated to the material. I will say that being disciplined is better than being motivated but "self-inflicted" motivation is still an effective tool to keep on track of your goals.

Internalizing What You Read

It's not enough to read a book. Information that is life changing should be internalized. I have a simple definition for internalizing a book. Here it is:

If you can't teach it to others from memory start to finish, re-read it or listen to it again until you can.
Internalizing a book will make you an authority in some of the vital dimensions of your life. You'll be rich, successful, healthy and bound for Heaven. What more can you ask for?

Personal Finance

Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover is awesome! I am so excited about being debt free and building huge wealth in just 7 years (when I am only 45 years old). That is debt free as in no payments, including my house, woohoo!

Today I had a huge discussion with my wife about Dave's 6 simple steps to financial freedom and she is on board and ready to make sacrifices to get to freedom as fast as possible. This is literally our only financial focus for the next 7 years.

I won't reinvent the wheel with a summary of this book, you can read those on Amazon, but I will say that I have never been so excited after reading a finance book and I highly recommend you add this one to your library!


I love systems that tell me what to do, how to do it and when to do it and William J. O'Neils book does exactly that concerning investing in stocks. I have invested for years and my first three or four years were horrible (don't invest in stocks until you know what you're doing)! O'Neils book taught me how to choose winning stocks, when to invest in them and, the hardest part, when to sell.

It's unfortunate that I won't be investing in stocks for a while because I'm currently following the Total Money Makeover and the investing step is now a few years away but I will faithfully listen to the audio edition of How To Make Money In Stocks until I'm ready to get back to the market.

Human Interaction

No other book comes close to explaining how to get along with others. This book is full of useful information with very little fluff. Every chapter had me either saying "That's right" or "Wow! I never thought of it that way!". I thought this book was so excellent, I bought the unabridged audio version and enjoy every minute of it.

Mr. Carnegie details 30 principles worth memorizing and implementing with sincerity when interacting with any human being (including your in-laws - Ha!). When talking about his book I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise. (Read the book and you'll understand).

Personal Effectiveness

I have listened to this audio book so many times I could probably recite it verbatim. This book really taught me I need to take personal responsibility. I haven't done that yet but at least it taught me I need to do it. Just kidding! (sort of)

Covey divides his book into 3 personal habits, 3 public habits (dealing with other people) and one encompassing habit that allows you to perform the other six with peak efficiency and effectiveness.

The biggest benefit I've received from this book is the skill of listening. Covey does a superb job of teaching a skill that is not taught by anyone else - school, parents, churches or otherwise. My parents used to tell me I need to listen. It seems like a lot of people tell other people they need to listen (to them of course). The problem is I didn't know how to listen and I didn't learn until I was 25 when I first read this book. Get it.


Napoleon Hill has interviewed more people viewed as successful than I will probably ever meet, successful or otherwise. In this book he details 17 principles he found common in all of the people he interviewed.

This was another book I bought in the unbridged audio format. Every word is necessary, relevant and very useful. I am implementing every principle in my Daily Discipline process. Success is not a matter of if but a matter of when.


Money, health, relationships and the Earth will all pass away. The best insurance in the world is not Whole Life or Term. It's Holy Insurance.

Let me get one thing straight - I can't prove anything in the Bible is true. I'm not going to try and prove to you it's true either. It rather annoys me when Christians tell you the gospel as if they know it's fact in worldly terms. They don't. They may know it's a fact in spiritual terms but spiritual terms provide no proof to others.

I believe Jesus died on the cross to save me from my sin because I choose to. Christians have a little buzz word called faith. Simply put, it means to believe without proof - end of preaching. :-)

Anyway, I love the King James Bible because it's poetic and a beautiful translation of scripture not to mention I have a Baptist background.

I didn't place the Bible last because it is the least important on the list. I placed on the bottom to signify that it is the foundation of all success in any area of your life. All the above books simply take what's already in the Bible and explain it in a different way. If you have a plan to be healthy, rich, successful, and so on, shouldn't you have a plan to live forever? This is definitely the book to internalize.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Journey Begins...

Hello and welcome to the The Daily Discipline. The Daily Discipline is the ability to do something consistently every single day. It is the key to accomplishing any goal that you may have no matter how large or small.


In this blog we're going to talk about improving our lives one day at a time. We'll talk about losing weight and getting to your ideal weight in less than a year - even if you're 100 pounds overweight! You can do this by investing 1 Saturday of your time and following 1 simple pattern everyday.


We'll learn about becoming financially independent 1 day at a time by simply implementing habits that take about 30 minutes or so. It really is not a matter of if you'll ever become rich but a matter of when and it's not as far off as you might think!


We'll discuss relationships and how to improve your marriage, your relationships with your children, being a better coworker and a better friend.


We'll study principles, those unbreakable, self-evident rules of life that, when obeyed, will bring us peace and happiness. Examples of principles are acting with integrity, being trustworthy and taking responsibility.

Cool Stuff

Finally, we'll learn about some really interesting things that make life better like how we can migrate to a job we love without sacrificing our lifestyle, how to choose a spouse that is perfect for you (if you don't already have one), how to raise our self-discipline until we unerringly do everything we determine to do and much more.


In conclusion, this blog is about balancing our lives and attaining Health, Wealth and Happiness.