Three Words for 2017

3 Words 2017

Happy New Year – 2017.

Over the past few years (here’s a link to 2016) instead of choosing to create a list of resolutions I’ve picked three words that create a theme or an outline for the upcoming year. As always, big thanks to Chris Brogan for turning me onto this idea!

Why Three Words?

Let me say this first, I like lists. Like most “list people” I love the feeling of accomplishment and checking off the items on my list. When I think of a list I automatically think of getting a task done and then moving on. So, when I think of resolutions they aren’t something I just want to “get done”. I want to create more than a resolution and a checklist, I want to do things that lead to a long-term lifestyle change.

As I look ahead a year from now what do I want my life to look like? What story do I want to tell and create?  To create that life story it takes more than a checklist, it takes a blueprint of sorts. By choosing three words I have a guide that I can apply to different areas of my life throughout the year.

For example, when I set a health goal for myself I will use my three words to guide me in my approach. I’ll use those three words in relation to the food I eat. Those three words will provide motivation in regards to my exercise. Hopefully, you get the idea.

My Three Words For 2017

Grit

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, grit is defined as “firmness of character; indomitable spirit.” Angela Duckworth (author of the book Grit), edited this definition to be “perseverance and passion for long-term goals.”

I’m wanting to develop a tenacity and a grit in my approach to the physical, mental and spiritual areas of my life.

Execute

Moving beyond planning and “dreaming” to executing on my ideas and plans.

Disrupt

Intentionally doing things that disrupt my life and my routines that lead to new experiences and lifestyle changes.

That’s it – those are my three words. Those are the three words that I’ll be thinking about and letting guide me over the next 365 days.

Let’s roll!

 

My Transphormation Starts Today – Final Week – Update 1

This has been an incredible year – plenty of ups, downs, twists and turns but being a part of the MyTransphormationChallenge has been a constant source of encouragement. It has pushed me to become better in many areas of my life, not just health.

So, as the final week is happening I wanted to share it with you through some videos. I’m going to share some of the highs and lows, what eating habits have helped me the most, what types of exercise have been the most beneficial, supplements that have helped and the power a being part of a community.

My hope is that this week will encourage you to end 2016 strong so you can head into 2017 and make it even stronger.

 

 

 

Obese and Depressed Was Not My Purpose

Before and after weight loss and depressionHave you ever found yourself waking up each morning with a feeling of depression and defeat? Have you experienced times where you felt your health habits were out of your control, that you were a slave to your appetite? I found myself in that position, at some level, for more than two decades.

On the left side of this picture you see a guy who was spiraling into depression and dealing with increasing health issues with each passing week. On the right side you see a guy who took control of his health and now takes on each day (well, most days – ha) with optimism and positive expectation instead of dread.

Being overweight has plenty of physical challenges but it also has many mental and emotional challenges. For me, the mental side of things was significant. I didn’t even realize how bad it was until I started to lose weight, exercise and get healthier. I thought the way I was feeling was just the way it was.

Studies have shown that obese people are about 25% more likely to experience a mood disorder like depression compared with those who are not obese. Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys reported that 43% of adults with depression were obese, and adults with depression were more likely to be obese than adults without depression.

Because of the depression and lack of motivation it wasn’t easy to go to the gym. It wasn’t easy passing by Taco Bell and the convenience store on the way to and from the office to pick up my favorite comfort food. But, the more I said ‘NO’ to staying in bed and eating the wrong things and started saying ‘YES’ to the gym and better food choices the more the depression lifted and the more motivation I had.

Five Things That Got the Ball Rolling

  1. Community – I joined a health challenge that was organized by one of our local hospitals. This 12 week challenge required weekly weigh ins and connected participants through social media. Because of the community, encouragement and accountability it was much easier to start my health journey.
  2. Goals – In the beginning I didn’t set realistic goals and because of that I was easily and regularly discouraged. But, when I changed my mindset from a “quick-overnight-weight-loss” view to a “entire-long-term-lifetime” view it allowed me to start setting more realistic and achievable goals.
  3. Education –  I found blogs, books, podcasts and YouTube channels that taught me about exercise and diet. With everything I was learning I tried to keep an open mind and discover the approach that worked for me.
  4. Food – Understanding the impact that specific types of foods had on my health, specifically my emotional health. I realized that there were foods impacting my emotions as much as physical body.
  5. Supplements – I experienced there were supplements that helped me mentally and physically. Over the course of time I tried several different supplements and discovered the best ones that helped me achieve my goals.

Three Ways Exercise Helps Your Depression

The Mayo Clinic reports the following ways that exercise helps.

  1. Releases feel-good brain chemicals that may ease depression (neurotransmitters, endorphins and endocannabinoids)
  2. Reduces immune system chemicals that can worsen depression
  3. Increases body temperature, which may have calming effects

Make The Right Decision TODAY!

Overcoming poor health begins with making the decision to change today and then making that decision again the next day and the next day and the next. I love what Tim Bauer, or as he’s known by his fans, Tinier Tim says when talking about his incredible weight loss. Tim says, “I didn’t lose 225 pounds, I lost 1 pound 225 times.”

As you make the decision to exercise each day you’ll feel better emotionally. When you make the decision to eat right, even it’s just a little bit each day, you’ll feel better emotionally. Don’t believe the lie that exercise and diet don’t affect how you feel mentally.

You Determine the Results

You have what it takes to exercise tomorrow. You can choose to eat healthy and not let the cravings control you. Make the decision today that you will start, you will take steps forward. And then make the decision that even if you stumble and fall off the wagon you will get back up and start moving forward again.

If you have questions or just need someone to encourage you, I’m here for you!

2016 Transformation Update

2016 Fall Update Pic

Left Picture (2012) Right Picture (2016)

Wow, I just noticed that the last time I provided an update on my 2016 health transformation was more than a few months ago. The past eleven months have been solid and I’m headed into the final weeks of the year with more determination than I began the year with. My fourth and final health and fitness challenge of the year (My Transphormation Starts Today) ends on December 31st and I’m pumped.

Highlights

When I started this year I was still facing some pretty significant health issues even though during the previous two years I had made some great strides. A few of the highlights from this year include:

  • In 2011 I was diagnosed with fatty liver disease, NOW IT’S GONE
  • Cholesterol levels are NOW NORMAL
  • Blood sugar is NOW PERFECT
  • Lost SIX inches around my waist
  • I’ve continued to trade pounds of fat for pounds of MUSCLE.

Struggles

Over the course of the year I’ve had my share of sports injuries; from lower back pain to joints, muscles and tendons. There were also a couple of run ins with the flu early on. But, each time I felt good enough to get back into the gym and back on track I did it right away.

Then the middle of the year hit. After the first three challenges were completed I took my foot off the gas a little. I never quit hitting the gym but my intensity lessened. I never fell off the wagon with my diet but I became more relaxed and not as diligent with what I was putting in my mouth.

3 Things That Helped RE-FIRE Me Up

As the summer ended I hit the reset button and got back into the routine I began the year with. There were three things I focused on that helped push me and poured fuel on the fire to focus on finishing the year strong.

  1. Refocused on my why – understanding why I began my health journey almost three years ago.
  2. Filled my mind with podcasts and information that educated and motivated me.
  3. Looked for people to connect with that would be a positive influence on my transformation.

Don’t let a few (or many) struggles keep you down. Take one, two or all three of things that helped me and give them a try. You and your health are worth it!

 

Your Employer Deserves Your Best Health

One of the top reasons I started getting serious about my health a couple of years ago was because I was becoming less and less effective at my job. My position is very demanding and requires a lot of mental and physical stamina. I’m involved in the online marketing world which requires you to continually learn and adapt to new things and if you aren’t totally engaged you fall behind. My employer hired me and was paying me to deliver, but because of my extremely poor diet and lack of exercise I was unable to keep my end of the deal.

I felt terrible and honestly had a lot of guilt because my choices impacted my employer in a negative way. My choices made me overweight with zero energy to perform my job.

Brain Fog

The effect that my diet and lack of exercise had on my brain was noticeable, not only to me but others including my bosses. For too many years I brushed off the impact that the food I was eating was having on my brain. For the majority of my professional career my days began with the ritual of stopping at a convenience store or fast food joint. I remember when I would begin my days with a slice of breakfast pizza and a Diet Coke. The initial taste and rush that food would bring was great. Seriously, the taste and feeling it would give me was amazing. But, within two hours I would crash hard, I was no good to myself or anyone else.

In a recent Harvard research study the following was reported

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps regulate sleep and appetite, mediate moods, and inhibit pain. Since about 95% of your serotonin is produced in your gastrointestinal tract, and your gastrointestinal tract is lined with a hundred million nerve cells, or neurons, it makes sense that the inner workings of your digestive system don’t just help you digest food, but also guide your emotions.

When your digestive system is filled with the wrong foods it impacts everything. For me, my brain was in a literal fog by the time I would get to work. It was extremely hard for me to concentrate on the tasks at hand. I would sit in meetings and at times be in a stupor, not engaging or contributing because my brain was in such a fog.

Wrong Fuel In The Tank!

When you start to pay attention to the fuel (the food) you put in the tank (your body) you start to realize just how much it impacts every part of your life. I began removing sugars (carbohydrates) and processed foods and within days started to notice a difference. When I started to eat a “clean diet” I started to reap the benefits of more energy and clear thinking within a few weeks.

Three Reasons Your Employer Deserves Your Best Health

  1. They pay you to do a job and deliver results; poor health = poor results.
  2. They provide you with health benefits – the less you have to use your health insurance the better for everyone.
  3. They are connected with your current and future success – the healthier you are, the better you perform and the better their bottom line is and the more you are rewarded.

There are more than three reason, and I’ll talk more about those in the future, but for now those three will do.

So, what are you going to do? Are you going to become healthier so that your career and employer are better?

Your employer deserves your best and you deserve the results of doing your best.

So…do it!

What Do The Final 100 Days of 2016 Look Like For YOU?

100 Days Left in 2016There are 100 days left in 2016!

Do you take time during the changing of the seasons to reflect? For me it’s a natural time to look back and use it as a checkpoint to see if I’m on pace to achieve the goals I have set for myself. The rhythms of the season are a reminder of where I’m at, where I’ve been and where I’m going.

So many times we start the year with higher energy and a ton of motivation to make positive changes. We make up our minds and set our will to lose weight, learn a new skill, start exercising, landing a new job or any one of a hundred other things.

Just because you may have had some challenges over the summer or stumbled doesn’t mean you have failed. If you are still breathing, struggling and fighting it means you are alive! It means you still have a chance to stand up and move forward.

Now is the perfect time to look at the next 100 days and ask yourself; will I finish strong? Will I end this year strong? Will I move closer to the dream and life that I have envisioned? Over the next three and a half months will I push harder and make steps towards my dream?

3 Things I’m Doing To Finish Strong

  1. Why – I’m thinking back to January and remembering why I set the goals I set for myself.
  2. Reading – Setting aside time each day to read motivational blogs and inspiring stories.
  3. Listening – Loading up my podcast library with new podcasts that feature content from people who have faced struggles but have overcome and kept pursuing their goals and dreams.

So…renew your focus and be determined to finish out 2016 strong!

 

 

How My Health Transformation Started

Change Begins In a Moment

The moment my change began was a few days after my 45th birthday. I found myself in my doctor’s office (the picture below) for an annual wellness visit and all was NOT WELL. I was busting the scale at mochris rainey 45 years old before picturere than 270 pounds. My 47″ waist was as round as my 8-year-old was tall. My blood pressure and cholesterol was out of control. I was never diagnosed with sleep apnea but when you wake up in the middle of the night gasping for air you don’t need a doctor to tell you something is wrong. My mind was in a continual fog. I wasn’t able to concentrate and focus which impacted everything from my personal to professional life. The list was long.

What Was I Thinking?

That wellness visit only confirmed what I saw in the mirror every single day – the guy I was looking at needed to make some significant changes quickly . But the biggest thing I struggled with wasn’t what I could see in the mirror. My biggest obstacle was found between my ears – my thinking. Food has always been my “go to” for comfort and quick relief in times of stress and challenges.chris rainey before

Life hasn’t been short on challenges and stressful situations to find lots of “comfort” in food. Late night snacks, early morning snacks, mid-morning snacks, afternoon snacks, fast food and junk food binges were the norm for me. Many mornings I swung by the convenience store to grab a slice of “breakfast pizza” and a large diet soda – yeah, I said diet, because you don’t want to add unnecessary carbs and calories, HAHAHA! And then, on the drive home, after a hard day at work, I would stop by the store again to grab a soft pretzel (my kryptonite), something sweet and of course a diet soda, HA! If you work hard you deserve to “treat” yourself – right?!

Decide to Fight!

The “moments of change” continued to take place. I began making the right decisions and saying NO when I wanted to grab fast food to “comfort” myself. I made continual decisions to fight to change my mindset and I do mean FIGHT! I knew if I didn’t change how I thought about food, exercise and overall health the future was not bright.

I was not willing to let the middle of my life become the end of my life because of bad decisions and stupid habits.

Challenges & Transformation

I started making changes with my diet and began to exercise. Over the next two years I lost over 50 pounds and almost 10% of my body fat.

70 Pounds Lighter - January 2016During year one I started to make small changes in my health. I participated in a weight loss challenge and placed in the top 20 of almost 1000 participants. This challenge was a catalyst for me and as the year continued I made several small changes that added up.

Year two was pivotal. I got serious about my eating habits and embraced more of a paleo, ketogenic, low-carb lifestyle. I got serious about exercising, hitting the gym 5-7 days per week and working out for 1-2 hours each time. Half-way through the year there was a psychological shift and I started to crave working out. I could literally feel a change taking place in my brain; the fog and unclear thinking started to disappear.

Even in the midst of a handful of sports injuries throughout the year, I didn’t stop. At times I had to take some days or weeks off to let my body heal. But, as soon as my body was feeling good enough to resume workouts I was back in the gym.

Now I’m in year three of this three year transformation.  To kick off this year right I joined four different health challenges; The 2016 Golds Gym Challenge, Bodybuilding.com 250K Challenge , a challenge with co-workers and then a year long challenge sponsored by 1st Phorm called My Transphormation Starts Today.

I’m more motivated than ever to continue to transform my life. I’m not settling with where I have been. I know I’ve got more and I am determined to grind and do whatever it takes to live my life with NO REGRETS! I don’t want to stop with changing my life but I want to inspire and challenge others that transformation is within their grasp as well.

2016 is the year of MY TRANSFORMATION!

My 3 Words For 2016

IMG_2576Last year I tried the 3 word experiment inspired by the amazing Chris Brogan. If you aren’t familiar with this alternative approach to New Years resolutions check out this post from Brogan where he explains it. In addition to choosing 3 words I took on the challenge of writing 10 ideas each day inspired by the incredible James Altucher.

In 2016 I’m again writing 10 ideas everyday. I’ll also be focusing on becoming 1% better each day. 1% better each day with my health, gaining knowledge, more effective at my job, relationships, awakening dormant dreams and more. Again, this idea came from James Altucher – you can read more about it here.

3 Words

My three words are Grind, Regret and NO! These three words will help guide my 10 ideas each day and provide me with the fuel to become 1% better each day.

GRIND

Grind is more than action to me – it’s a core value. There is no such thing as an overnight success. There is no such thing as something for nothing. What there is such thing as is people who GRIND are people who succeed. When you put in the work you get results. No pain, no gain is real. When you grind you see and experience results.

REGRET

Regret is a powerful two edged sword. You can let regret overcome you and cause you to be depressed or you can let it fuel you to become better. Last year I posted an article on LinkedIn about the topic of regret – you can check out it here. This year I’m embracing the word as a positive. I’m looking to the future and asking myself the question, “If I don’t _(fill in the blank)_ what will I regret?” If I don’t continue to improve my health, what will I regret? If I don’t continue to grow in my professional skills, what will I regret? If I don’t GRIND what will I REGRET?

NO!

NO! with an exclamation mark – you read it correctly. I’m committing to saying no to more and more things. If it’s not helping become 1% better in any area of my life than I’m saying NO! to it. And trust me, this is a challenge. I’m a guy who loves “shiny objects” and “squirrels”. Before FOMO (fear of missing out) became popular I was/am addicted. So, to try and help me overcome my addiction to FOMO and stay focused on things that will bring real value to my present and future I’m going to say NO! more.

If I say NO! to unimportant things I can GRIND at the important things and have NO REGRETS!