Friday, March 16, 2012

The Struggle Eternal (Positive Living)

Life is a wheel. Sometimes the rudders slow down, speed up, or burn at us. The main point is that as long as time is linear, there is constant motion. That can be a great thing, for our failures can seem like a poison diluted in the ocean of time. The only problem is that our successes and victories become watered with time as well.

We tend to take this personally, like the forces are against us, and maybe in some sense they are. But, we need to understand that this happens to all of us and that the restart button is a part of life. It can seem to be constantly against you if what you work on washes away like it never existed.

You find work hard, and you have nothing to show for it, because turmoil happens again and people forget what you have contributed. This is the root of most stress.

Lack of gratitude. It's the cause of what we find most unfair in society.

"Kim Kardashian makes all this money, while airline pilots struggle to feed their kids. All the injustice in the world!"

When results don't match effort, we feel used. That gets to us. Occupational burnout comes from the feeling that our work is never done, because in reality, it never is.

It can happen when we work on a project by ourselves or when we pursue something as a team effort. Whether we blame ourselves or external factors, something is not working.

It is at this moment where we are tested, where the men are separated from the boys, where the "posers" leave and the "crazy ones" (as Steve Jobs called them) get their moment to shine. It is at this time that champions are made.

I can talk about this all day, and Nike, Gatorade, and whatever fitness company can market a thousand ads about this concept, but when you come into contact with this is when you will find out whether you can do this or not.

For most people, they find that they will fold on the first couple of tries, more out of fear than anything else. It will take a while to go all the way, but it can be done.

It will be difficult, but possible. And when you do it once, you know you can do it again.

Bite the bullet and deal with the douche-chills, cause it's going to happen. All the incidents of drug addiction that have occurred between entertainers are an example of the insecurity that happens when we undergo a new journey. You don't have to partake in such self-destructive behavior, but understand that the agony is something everyone goes through.

Mediocre culture is the product of people who valued persistence over talent. There are a lot of people out there who are gifted and talented, but they don't believe in themselves or they are waiting for some mandate from heaven that will never come.

The road to success is extremely uncomfortable. It's uncomfortable for a bunch of different reasons, reasons that can only be found when you walk barefoot in the hot desert sun. Artistic hyperbole aside, there are obstacles on any worthwhile journey, but with time and dedication, it will happen.

Take pride in hardship. It's the best way to deal with it. If you find yourself battling addiction while trying to lose weight and struggling in debt, write a book about it. There might be a spot in Oprah's Book Club for you.

Think of it like brushing your teeth. There's no endgame to brushing your teeth. We all do it and accept it. Your goals should be approached in a similar fashion. It's not about the fifteen mile hike you took a week ago. It's about the little walks you take everyday.

Monday, March 12, 2012


Negative vampires will always exist in some capacity as long as everyone wants to create some drama. Monday morning quarterbacks will always tell you that you can't do it. We react to this by asking "what have you done with your life?" and we find that when we stack their accomplishments against ours, we win.

Goals take up a lot of time. We determine who we are by defining our dreams and what we reach for. In effect, we want our lives to reflect on the effort we put into what we believe in. The dreamer wants to be given credit for what he remembers seeing after he wakes up.

"Ignore the haters". It's basically doctrine at this point.

But sometimes, we come across someone that's indifferent to your goals, but for different reasons.

It might not be a hater. Rather, this person we come across might be very supportive of our goals. They may have done nothing wrong.

This is the one-upper. This is the guy at the gym who is currently on vacation from his Ivy League school who is also good friends with your girlfriend. This is the guy who knows more about movie trivia than you do, and he's friends with someone who has a direct line to JK Rowling/Michael Jordan/whoever your childhood hero is.

A lot of fear can come from the one-upper in that we find that whatever little amazing tidbit we have about life has already been discovered by this individual. This fear means that our identity and the goals of our life mean nothing because someone can do it so much better.

But, here are some things to consider:

You all have different starting points:
Some of us are born rich. Some of us are born poor. Some of us are born middle class and cannot get government benefits. Whatever the starting point is, life is not about where you were, but about where you are going.

Don't fold your hand before the game's over. The one-upper might get hit by a truck for all we know, and a vacuum might open up. Don't stop because someone else is leading you in the score. You're still in the first quarter. Don't give in.

No one brings baggage to the table:
Unless you're promoting a book exploring your battle with heroin addiction, you don't greet people talking about all your shortcomings and weaknesses. We try to impress people when we first see them. It's highly likely that one-upper's have an inferiority complex.

They could be hiding something. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but at the end of the day, we are all human. Batman gets scared until someone brings out the Kryptonite.

Set yourself against your goals, not anyone else's:
If you want to get better at math, you will always lose if you compare yourself to Stephen Hawking. If you want to get a better jump-shot, you'll never start if you compare yourself to Michael Jordan.

Goals are about growth. It's about getting better. If you're a competition junkie, knock yourself out, but if you cannot win against yourself, you won't win against others.

Step up to the challenge:
Sometimes we lack direction in life. Success can make us feel guilty. Adversity quickly changes that. Commitment to stopping the competition is a great reason to get up in the morning.

Or collaborate:
If you can't beat 'em, join 'em. It's easy to see people as a threat, but if someone has the same tastes that you have and they want to make the same changes to the world that you do, what's not to love? See if you can contribute something to what they're working on. There could be an awesome chapter about you in the book of this guy's life.

Challenges stop us from being cocky. In any form of greatness, rivalries happen. Welcome it.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Buy Weight Loss Terrorists on Kindle now!

Hey guys,

I just wanted to note that Weight Loss Terrorists is available on Kindle right now.

You don't even need a Kindle to buy it. Just download the free Kindle reader and start reading.


Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Brain Is The Strongest Muscle

A lot has been said about the various diets, workout plans, and nutritional supplements that we are convinced will work like some elixir and make the fat go away. We have been led to believe that the quest for some "fountain of fit" will allow us to gorge our faces at the buffet while our chiseled abs remain impervious to the effects.

Even if you were to find such a thing, human nature would make you tinker with it. You would eat fried chocolate eclairs just cause you can. Your arrogance would be your caloric downfall.

There may even be a short period of time (after hard conditioning) where we find that this can actually happen. But, what goes up must come down, and you might find yourself at the bottom of a mountain that you now recognize as your stomach.

In order to live out your dreams, you need to have the right mindset. A lot of us have goals that we keep off into the distance. We fantasize about what we are going to do this summer vacation.

We say "I have little time to do what I want with my busy schedule, but when vacation comes I will do half of everything I've ever wanted to do ever", and yet when the vacation comes, we find that it's impossible to sleep all week and see the world at the same time.

Our dreams seem like an amazing picture in the background of our lives. We like looking at it from where we are, but the difference between achieving your dreams and letting life pass you by is that the achievers go out and be part of that picture.

Sometimes we are afraid to be part of the picture. It's one thing to look at the Empire State Building as a country bumpkin (or a city boy looking at a tractor...whatever), but going inside the Empire State Building does not seem as glamorous as it does from the outside. We find obstacles on our way there, people do not share the enthusiasm for something we find valuable.

We hesitate because for some strange reason, the opinions of idiot strangers matter to us.

In reality, you shouldn't care. If it's your dream to go to the Empire State Building, do it, and don't worry about anybody else, because believe me, no one's going to worry about you. The people in life who should take the second to overthink what evil they are about to commit are either a) never the ones that do, or b) thinking about it and doing it anyway

I'm not saying go out and pursue self-destructive behavior, but if your dream isn't hurting anybody, hell, if your dream is making the lives of the people around you better, you should pursue it like a rottweiler.

The only thing guaranteed in life is you, your dreams, and your deathbed. You want to not pursue something because a degenerate somewhere told you not to? That's ridiculous.

Great people have always had opposition. Superheroes have supervillains. Normal people aren't super, and neither are the haters. We all indulge in hating on people every once in a while. I have uncreative talentless hacks, it's the monster I wake up to fight every morning. Sometimes when I feel I've created something that doesn't feel unique enough, I even hate myself.

But when you decide not to do something to better ourselves out of some need not to hurt someone's feelings, what does that accomplish? Not much. You don't go to the gym because your older sister is fat, and she mocks you for working out? What do you accomplish by bending to her pudgy needs? Not much.

Two pudgy sisters, which isn't to say you can't work it, but your sister will then hate you for having a personality.

In my own personal experience, I find that bending to a hater's needs will not make them accountable in the future. They're not going to thank you for worrying about them, they're going to throw you under the bus and hate on you for being inferior.

So workout, develop a personality, become talented, do something with yourself in whatever little time you have left in the day. I hope you're doing some push-ups while reading this. I'm not, but I've been working out this week, which has been the first time in a while.

Baby steps still burn calories.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Weight Loss Terrorists: The First Three Pages

Anne began her day like she began most days. A couple of pancakes. She enjoyed cooking them, it was a therapeutic process. A stack of French toast, using the recipe her Nana gave her just before she passed away.

She prepared a little cinnamon on a grapefruit, cause she was a firm believer in tradition. "Four parts of the pig", her nickname for the collected group of ham, bacon, pork chop, and sausage she served for herself was delicately eaten.

And to conclude it, she ended with two pairs of eggs: one scrambled, the other over easy. She hated choosing as a child, so she figured she had both.

She remembered watching distant acquaintances on their weight loss plans, diets, and workout regimens suffer from heart attacks, car accidents, and other bizarre acts of God knowing that they did not indulge in the culinary world they were surrounded in. "I could die tomorrow" she always thought.

Sometimes people would say this to her as a cloaked way to tell her to stop eating, but she decided that she was going to go out buffet style. "Every calorie brings me closer to Jesus" her Nana would say. Of course, Nana got her wish, passing away at the age of 61 from the complications of several health factors.

If her family sued the food industry, they could point their finger at the tobacco industry, which would pass the buck to the wine industry. And they would all have a point.

Anne was always complemented on her ability to keep her figure and diet in her youth. She thought it would last forever, rationalizing this by saying it was the one thing she had in the world to make up for her shortcomings, the thing that made her unique. However, after her first daughter, things did not go the way they always had.

She had changed mentally, and so had her body.

She pushed against the need to exercise, pointing to the ever wonderful hip-hop culture and their desire for larger "cabooses" as a way of telling herself that her body was merely "forming to the times".

Anne continued this "milf-licious" motif until she one day found herself ripping a pair of pants with the words "juicy" stitched on the backside. Sometimes, tragedy is the only wake-up call. Yet, it was something she always talked about and never did. She ended up, giving the last excuse she would use in a lifetime of excuses: her husband still loved her. And he did.

After the two hour extravaganza which she called "daily breakfast" had ended, Anne got a phone call from her husband's boss. Stephen didn't show up for work today. Anne told them that she thought it was odd, but maybe traffic had something to do with it. She would give her husband a call, despite the fact that her boss already did that, and see what was up.

A dial of buttons led to automated voices and misplaced calls. What was going on? Anne pondered several fictitious scenarios (most tended to drift to sewer mole people) and she couldn't figure it out. Then she wondered, "what if it was an affair?"

The question of adultery was never really something that crossed Anne's mind throughout the entire span of their marriage. The main reason of course, was that Stephen was too afraid of rejection. Anne spent a good deal of time getting Stephen out of his shell in the early days of their relationship, spelling things out and what not. It wasn't impossible that he could be cheating, but it just felt unlikely.

Then again, Anne looked over the slaughtered remains of her complete breakfast and it occurred to her that maybe something could have happened. Desire, guilt, hardship, desire. It was how she recalled her emotions, and often times, she dealt with hardship by desiring something. High calorie somethings.

Anne had asked for a workout machine one Christmas, as a way to tell the world that she cared about herself and was willing to make a commitment for the better. Yet, the kids went back to school and the only workout she got from the machine was when she dusted it off every once in a while.

She had tried it once on a whim, and her children laughed at how awkward she was on the machine. Pretty much killed it for her, until now. Anne laid down on the workout bench in her attempt to pump iron. She had a small grip of the bar until the phone rang.

"Hi, is this Anne Kitts?"
"Mrs. Kitts, I'm afraid to inform you that your husband has been kidnapped"
"Kidnapped? This doesn't make any sense"
"Of course it does. I'm the kidnapper"

It was a distorted autotuned voice. Maybe T-Pain was making a concept album.

"Go to the police station. I'm giving them a hard time, and I will fill you in on what my demands are"

Sometimes the scariest events in our lives make us give the blandest answers.

"Okay" said Anne.

A new set of fictitious scenarios grew in her head. Was this a joke? Maybe it was a kidnapping from a jealous lover she didn't know about. Or an abduction from someone who was angry that they couldn't have him. She didn't want to get started on the mole people.

Anne rushed down to the police station. She found Officer Winter standing behind a desk while on the phone. A journalist tried to shove a tape recorder in his face.

"I'm talking to somebody, I'll do your shit later"

The journalist backed away. Anne approached Officer Winter with a sense of worry.

"Are you Anne Kitts?"
"Did you get a phone call from someone claiming to kidnap your husband?"
"Said they would do that" said Winter.
"What happened to my husband?"
"We found your husband's car on the side of the road. Security footage shows that there was a struggle, and he was seen getting pulled into a van"
"Oh my God"

"We're not sure how many people are involved, whether this was organized or some lone assailant. We are talking with everyone who knew your husband on a professional and personal basis. Anne, do you know if your husband had enemies?"

"No, I don't think so"
"This wasn't some random kidnapping. This was something that was premeditated. This was personal"

Anne tensed up.
"There might be some little college rivalries, but nothing to this extent" she replied.

"Mrs. Kitts, if you can think of anything, anything no matter how insignificant, please tell me. We are doing the best we can to find your husband, but we only have so much of the puzzle"

"I will do my best" said Anne. The odd sense of duty excited her.
"Winter, we have a transcript coming. It's from the kidnappers" said one of the desk clerks.

Winter signaled Anne over. They waltzed to the fax machine where a message came in. They glared at it. Shock with a dash of confusion. Winter checked around. Anne held her face back in disbelief.

"Is this some kind of a sick joke?" Winter asked.
Anne cried. Winter hugged her for support.

"Don't worry about this, we're going to find out what's happening" replied Winter.

The note transcript, written from cut magazine clippings, read like this:

Dear Anne Fat-ass,

I will give you your husband back if you can lose enough of that belly jelly over the next six months. Don't do any funny stuff either. Slice your stomach, I slice his throat.


Your Personal Trainer
Welcome to the Weight Loss Terrorists blog. This blog is organized to promote my ebook Weight Loss Terrorists, about a woman who has to lose weight over the course of six months or a deranged madman will kill her husband. It's a black comedy that can be best described as Bridget Jones meets Rocky.

Over the course of the next couple of weeks, I plan to blog weekly about the themes that this ebook explores.