Drive By Wisdom: Letting Go of the Outcome

In this Episode of Drive By Wisdom we’ll look at how letting go of the outcome can help you achieve your goals with less stress and more engagement.

Play the short video below.

You Know It’s Been A Good Summer When Your Feet Are Tan

It’s hard to believe that summer is winding down.  Here in Minnesota the Minnesota State Fair starts soon and wraps up on Labor Day.  Nothing in Minnesota signals the end of summer than our State Fair.

Take a look at your feet and notice what shade of color they are.  Do they look like they’ve been exposed to the sun?  Are they a darker shade than normal?

You know it’s been a good summer when your feet are tan because that is a  sign you’ve been outside.  Not only that, you’ve been barefoot and your feet have been connecting with the earth, the sand, and water.

Is that so important?  If you think about our evolutionary history, we have spent more time as a species outside than in.  We have spent more time barefoot, connecting with nature, than we have been with shoes on.  We have been exposed to fresh air, sunshine, and solid earth below us.  We are wired to be outside. But most of the time we are relegated to being inside most, if not all day.

This summer I’ve made every attempt to be outside. That’s easy on weekends and on vacations, but I’ve given my best effort during the work week too. Over lunch, I’ve walked outside in the park behind my office complex and I’ve taken most of my conference calls outside as I walk.

I’ve found that I get more out of my conference calls when I’m walking. When I am at my desk, it’s too easy to check my email, surf the web, or look at updates on LinkedIn. (You know you do this too) But when I’m walking while on the calls, I’m more focused and find it easier to pay attention. I think it’s because I’m outside and I’m moving.

This summer my feet have been exposed to the sun, earth, and water through spending time sailing at the family cabin, walking barefoot at the park, and swimming in both lakes and pools. My feet have a healthy glow (even though my arms still have that farmer’s tan).

As Summer winds down I want to encourage you to get outside every moment you can. Walk in the mornings, at lunch, or after dinner.  As the days get shorter, take a flashlight if you need it. Go to your local park or trail system. Walk, hike, or run.  Regardless of your ability, get outside.

I’m a stickler for being outside because it’s so good for our mental and physical health. My goal is to get outside regardless of the season and temperature.  For those of you that live in cold country like I do, you’ll understand the challenge with that.  But I find even when it’s cold, its great to be outside as I shovel snow, cross country ski, and take winter walks.  It’s all good (but I do prefer warm weather).

My feet will start to lose their tan as the days start to grow colder here in MN. That’s OK and I’ll look  forward to being outside in beautiful  MN fall weather.

 

(What questions or topics would you like me to write about?  Send your ideas to dennis.robert.bird@gmail.com)

Why Does 2 Day Shipping Seem Like An Eternity?

Credit: Ruben Bagues

Credit: Ruben Bagues

Two day shipping? Can’t I have it now?

When I slow down enough to look around at how my expectations are changing, I’m amazed that I’m not more frustrated. The way we get our information, products, and services is rapidly speeding up and our expectations for delivery is shortening.

Amazon is working on same day shipping and delivery and their competitors are trying to keep pace. But is that a good thing? I’m not sure.

For those of us old enough to remember dial up internet, think about how long it took to access the web compared to today. Now if I have to wait more than a few nano seconds for a website I’m annoyed.

I have no wish to go back to old days of slow service, but I think we need to understand that this push for faster and faster service is causing problems in other areas of our lives. It often leads us to take short cuts to get what we want.

I’ve had the frustration of having knee pain the last couple of weeks. My initial impulse was to take ibuprofen and run through the pain.  That’s a short cut mentality.  The reality is that the pain is a symptom of something larger, maybe overuse or a mechanical issue with my running form. What I’ve done now, is to take time off running and focus on building the muscles around my knee, stretch, and do some other conditioning while it heals.

My knee is getting better, slowly, but I  don’t want slowly, I want to feel better now. That frustration can lead to more injury if I’m not careful.

Where else do we take short-cuts?

  • In our relationships
  • In our health
  • In our careers

There are times I want my relationships to improve so I make the needed phone call. That helps, but for my relationships to really improve I need to make those phone calls on a consistant basis. There are no short cuts to good relationships.

I have attempted many shortcuts to my health with crazy diets and products that produced short term results, but long term failure. What I’ve learned over the years is there is no short cut to good health. Good health takes consistent, day in and day out, lifestyle change.

At times I see people who are frustrated that their career is not growing fast enough. But it takes time to build expertise and it takes more time to build a reputation around expertise.  We have all heard about those who seem to have a fast rise to success, but if we dig deeper into their story, we’ll see there were many years of struggle and effort. There is no short cut to success.

We live in a short cut culture, and what I’m working on is to live a process oriented life where I take small, tangible steps each day to be my best self.

I encourage you to slow down, live in the moment, and ask yourself this one simple question:

What can I do right now to be a better human being?

This isn’t about winning the Nobel Peace Prize, it’s about taking small steps toward your best self.

 

 

(Let’s work together on becoming our best selves. If you have a problem or topic you’d like to hear my take on, click on contact and send me an email. If this is on social media, respond by making a comment.)

 

What They Won’t Tell You When You Want to Lose Weight

Credit: matehavitaliy

Credit: matehavitaliy

We are rounding the corner to a new year and  many of us will be making resolutions to lose weight, again.  This is the number one resolution of the year and yet the vast majority of us are struggling with our health.

The marketing hype is starting up again about quick weight loss programs, exercise equipment, and gym memberships.  There will be an unrelenting barrage of commercials for diet foods, shakes, and supplements that promise easy weight loss with no hunger and no exercise.

If someone is trying make money based on your need to lose weight then they have a vested interest in not telling you the complete truth. In fact, they have a vested interest in having you regain the weight so that you’ll be a returning customer.

Is this cynical? Maybe, but if everyone who is overweight and obese lost weight and kept if off the diet and exercise industry would implode.

 

Here is what you will not be hearing from anyone trying to make money on you:

Losing weight is hard. Really hard.

Keeping if off is harder.

You will have to drastically change your life.

You will have to change how you eat, permanently.

You will have to exercise for the rest of your life, consistently.

You will need to buy and prepare your own food most of the time.

You will be uncomfortable and discouraged.

Does that sound hopeful?

No, but it should give you a dose of reality.  There is no drug, no program, and  no surgery more powerful than your determination to take control of your life.  You can lose weight by eating real food that is available everywhere. You can exercise in your home, your neighborhood, and if you want, your local gym.

What we need to do is change our lifestyle. We need to change how we eat and our relationship to food. I’ve kept  70+ pounds off for more than 10 years and I have had to work for it. I have to change how I eat and I can’t let up.  When I lapse into bad habits I pay the price with a few pounds. When I get back on track I take them off.

Weight loss and maintenance is not hard because of how you need to eat and exercise. It’s hard because we live in a culture that is bent on getting us to eat more. We are bombarded by processed food, most of it junk, everywhere we go.  If you are trying to lose weight you have to know that you are under attack from well meaning and not so well meaning people and companies.

This is why determination and lifestyle change is so important.

It takes discipline to say “no” to bad food.  It takes strategy to navigate eating out and at parties. It takes self-compassion to get back on track after mistakes.

When you achieve your health goals, think of all the energy you’ll have and the things you’ll be able to do. It’s worth the pain and effort and you’ll never want to go back.

If you want to lose weight and keep it off, I have some ideas for you that are on my website www.dennisbird.org.

 

  • To help you learn to say “No”  listen to:

Are You in the No

  • To help you with your mindset:

Building Mental Toughness-Interview with Shaun Goodsell- Part 1                                                              Building Mental Toughness-Interview with Shaun Goodsell-Part 2

  • For a simple strategy to implement a weight loss plan:

How to Lose & Maintain Weight

  • To help you pick up after a failure listen to:

We All Need A Little Compassion From Ourselves

 

In January 2016 I’ll be releasing chapters of my book Get Smart and Get Slim. This book summarizes many of my ideas on weight loss and maintenance.  Sign up to receive my emails on www.dennisbird.org to get updates on when new chapters are available.

I’ll also be releasing an interview with Dr. Bert Herring, author of AC: The Power of Appetite Correction.   My first interview with Dr. Herring on the Fast 5 Diet can be found here: Fast 5 Diet

 

 

 

4 Reasons We Regain The Weight We’ve Lost

 

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Photo Credit: Morguefile-Clarita

I’ve been there time and time again. I’ve lost weight through hard work and determinism, increased my exercise only to regain the weight.  Frustrated and defeated, I often gained a few more pounds to make matters worse.

Why is it that it’s so hard to lose weight and keep it off?  The title of my blog, 5Percenters,  refers to the research from the University of Virginia that only 5% of people who lose weight can keep it off for more than 3 years.  More people will have success in quitting smoking.

I’ve lost 70 pounds and kept it off for more than 10 years.  That makes me a 5Percenter when it comes to weight loss and maintenance.  But this doesn’t mean I’m out of the woods.  I used to be 80 pounds lighter, but over the last year and a half I’ve crept up 10 pounds!  How can that be?

 

Here are 4 reasons we regain weight we lose

#4. Junk Food Creep.

During you diet you cut out the junk food, snacks, and treats which contributed to your success. Now that you’ve lost weight, you think “Well, a little won’t hurt”, but a little bit becomes a little more and slowly over time you slipped back into old eating patterns. The food tastes so good and is so calorie dense that you that your brain loves it and wants more.  Is junk food addictive?  The junk food manufacturers hope so and it feels like it sometimes.

#3. We are bombarded by  food where ever we go

It’s not bad enough that we’ve allowed more junk food into our lives, we are bombarded by food options at every turn.  We are making more food choices everyday than we have before.  Brian Wansink, Professor  and Researcher at Cornell University, states we make 300 food choices per day!  We make choices of what to eat at breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We make choices as we walk by candy dishes and bakery trays at work. We have to make choices at the gas station and even hardware stores. We are utilizing tremendous willpower to say “no” to all the junk that’s out there, but at some point our willpower gets weak and if not prepared, we give in.

#2 We don’t have a good support system

Losing weight is hard and keeping it off is harder. We need other people to partner with us and support us in our goals.  You may be the only person in your family that needs to lose weight. You may be the only person in your family who is willing to lose weight even though others do too.  If we can enlist others to join us, whether we live with them or not, the accountability will keep us on track. Your desire to get healthy can also be a catalyst for others to start their process.  Be a change agent and get your friends and family to join you.

#1. We haven’t changed our lives and thinking

The reality is that diets don’t work because they are often unsustainable for the long term. What we need is lifestyle change.  If donuts are forbidden on a diet, why would they be an acceptable part of any lifestyle?  I know that in my process once I came to the conclusion, “I have to change my life and the way I’m thinking about this”, my ability to keep weight off increased and has led to long term success. If you lose weight by using a diet strategy, achieve your goal  and think,”now what do I do?”  You haven’t changed your lifestyle.  A successful strategy is where you lose weight and change nothing, because your new lifestyle is healthy and good for life.

 

My encouragement to you (a reminder to myself) is that losing and maintaining weight is a life long process.  It takes hard work, planning, and support to achieve any worthwhile goal in life. Losing weight is no different.

Partner with me on your journey to becoming your best self.

 

For more information on how to change your thinking and create effective strategies check out the Podcast and Blog sections on my website.

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Would You Please Stand Up and Get Outside

credit: RHaynes

credit: RHaynes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It shouldn’t be an earth shattering concept, but being outside is good for us.

It’s more than a nice experience to be in a beautiful environment, it’s good for your health. In the article, “Spending Time Outdoors is Good For You”, from the Harvard Health Letter,  researchers have found the following benefits to being outside:

  • Your vitamin D levels rise
  • You’ll get more exercise
  • You’ll be happier
  • Your concentration will improve
  • You may heal faster

In other research conducted by David Strayer, professor of cognition and neural science at the University of Utah, he found that being outdoors increases brain creativity and problem solving skills. In an experiment he conducted, he took a group of students on a 4 day trek in the wilderness and then tested them on cognitive tests.  The students returning from their wilderness experience scored 50% higher than their peers who stayed home.

If we look at the course of human evolution, it’s fairly evident that we have spent more time outside and being confined to houses, office buildings, and our cars are a modern development.  Our last 150 years is a blip on the human timeline.  Being outside is not a nice thing to do, I think it’s how we are hardwired from our earliest days as humans.

I know that when I get outside I’m happier, more creative, and find that it enhances my relationships. Part of my lifestyle is to go outside as much as possible, regardless of the time of year and weather.  Living in the upper midwest doesn’t always make that easy, but I think it’s a good idea to apply the Boy Scout rule for bad weather:

Plan B, is Plan A with rain

I have to give credit to the Scouts, they don’t let bad weather hold them back from being outdoors.

My encouragement to you is to incorporate more time outdoors as part of your overall health strategy.  Stand up and Get Outside.