Downsides to Weight Loss

I’m not going to dwell on this in future writing and I certainly don’t want anyone to use this as an excuse, but their are few downsides to weight loss. I dropped 45 lbs last year with a few more to go, but here’s what’s been weird about the results.

  1. I’m cold all the time. I live in Florida and now I wear a hoodie in any weather below 85 F.
  2. People want to congratulate you, but they don’t know how. I get questions like “Did you want to lose the weight?” Yes, yes I did. People are afraid that I got sick and they don’t want to congratulate me on getting sick. I get it. Just tell someone they look good and move on.
  3. Weird things don’t fit…like my wedding ring…or the temporary silicon wedding ring I bought when my wedding ring didn’t fit. Now I’m just waiting until I hit my goal to get my ring resized. (In fairness, COVID made it a lot more difficult to get the ring resized last year.)
  4. The store still won’t have your size. I’m now a large/extra large in shirt depending on if the materials will shrink. Way better than a 2x/3x. But now I walk into a store and find S,M,2x,3x…grrrrr.
  5. You can’t go back to eating the way you ate before. What got you fat in the first place will get you fat again. Like women having a baby, once the body figures something out, it gets better at it.
  6. You still have to deal with all the stuff. Emotional eaters still have to deal with their emotions, they just can’t use food. Stress eaters still have to deal with stress, just not with food.
  7. There is a lot of support out there and a lot of people who subtly try to sabotage your goals (you can have one piece of cake). Supportive people and neutral people are a huge help. I’m fine with neutral. Just let me do my thing. Avoid unsupportive people. Maybe ask them to be less helpful.

New Lizard Wong Book Coming

I’ve started work on a new Lizard Wong book. No details yet, just that it’s in the works.

What’s in your backyard?

I live in the oh, so boring suburbs, and yet I know things go on in my backyard at night. I see the tracks the next morning and I know we have animals partying all night long. I also know we have black bears that travel through the neighborhood. We’re near a wildlife area and apparently, bears don’t pay attention to signs.

One day I got curious about the party that goes on in my backyard every night. A relative offered up a game camera and I was all set. This was my first pass so I screwed up the time somehow, but this footage was circa September 2020.

Daily Rituals

Late in 2020 I read Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey. The book takes a look at how 161 various artists work, or worked, using a mix of diaries, first-hand accounts, interviews, articles, etc. The list includes notables like Charles Darwin, Andy Warhol, John Updike, Twyla Tharp, Benjamin Franklin, William Faulkner, Jane Austen, Anne Rice, and Igor Stravinsky. It’s a diverse group for sure. There was some tedium to just reading the different schedules people keep, but a couple of things stood out.

4 Hours

Many, many of the artists, maybe most, focused on their craft from 3-4 hours a day. That’s it. They wrote, painted, sculpted, whatever, for about 4 hours. The revelation here was that it’s less about spending an entire day doing something, and more about intense focus for a shorter period of time.

Consistency

That intense focus for a shorter period of time was also very consistent. It was at least every weekday, for some, every day. What it was not, was painting into the wee hours of the morning or writing when the mood struck. A workman-like approach is as important for creative endeavors as it is for any other important thing we’re trying to do.

Morning

Without doing the math, at least a plurality of artists worked better in the morning. Somewhere in the 7a to 1p timeframe, they found 4 hours that worked for them. Some artists were late risers and would get rolling around 9a, but they’d push for 3-4 hours and break for lunch.

Not everyone does their best work in the morning, but a lot of people do. The key here is to figure out when we do our best work and use that time for intense focus. Hint: it’s probably morning.

The Mundane

If all these artists only “worked” 4 hours a day, what were they doing the rest of the day? Was this a collection of lazy Bohemians? Not all. The list of global artists was extensive spanning hundreds of years. Everyone was different, I’m just pointing out patterns that struck me.

Many, many of the artists profiled took some downtime in the afternoon. They went for walk, took a nap, etc. Yes, many of them drank and would head somewhere for a drink earlier than we would today. Reading between the lines, they were also doing work at the bar or the pub in the afternoon and early evening. This is where word of mouth, the social media of the day, spread to others. Being in a consistent place at a consistent time was part of communication. If you needed to talk to an artist, you could find them every afternoon at their favorite watering hole.

The key, successful artists tackled the more mundane aspects of their art during a less productive time of the day.

Saying No

Finally, a key theme was saying ‘No’. A relentless focus on trying to do something great requires NOT doing a lot of other things. That means saying ‘No’, a lot.

When I think about a typical corporate job, taking control of your calendar by saying ‘No’ or delegating tasks to others allows us to consistently spend our most productive time of the day intensely focused on our most important items, but only for a few hours. After that, there is plenty of time to deal with the more routine items.

Yes, this is a bit of an ideal, but shooting for the ideal and falling short can still make us much more productive today than we were yesterday.

Weight Loss Success and Failure.

I’ve put off posting this because I wanted to wait until I’d either hit my goal or my reached my timeframe. It’s been a year since I really pushed on losing weight, so it’s time to talk about it.

Prior to 2020, I’d worked off about 15 pounds over a couple of years by watching carbs, but it was really slow. My new goal was to lose another 50 pounds in 2020. That would put me at a normal BMI.

In the end, I failed. I only lost 45 pounds.

I say I failed because I didn’t reach my goal within the time frame I set. Still, I succeeded because I am healthier than before by every measure. Too often we’re unable to see the good that can come from failure. Am I a few pounds short of my goal? Sure. Am I healthier? Yes, and that was really the point. Getting healthier is a pretty nebulous outcome. Fifty pounds is measurable, so that’s is where the goal came from.

Sometimes the challenge is not losing sight of the bigger picture while focusing on tasks. In this case, there wasn’t any negative content from failing. The deadline was arbitrary. It was there for focus. Does it irritate me that I came that close and didn’t finish? You bet.

I have plenty of excuses for why I came up short. There are some good ones in there too. A global pandemic is one. The stress of having my wife’s grandmother at home under hospice care for 3 months is another. In the end, I managed to lose 45 pounds while others put on a covid 15. I don’t have anything to complain about.

For 2021 I’d lose to lose another 15 pounds. Five more to get to a normal BMI and ten more after that to have some room for normal fluctuations. I’m working to focus that irritation of not quite hitting my goal into a final push. Frankly, I think that there are many good things that got started in 2020 that will finish in 2021. This is just one of them.

Losing the weight wasn’t easy, but if I can do something hard like this, you can do something hard too.