Today is officially 173 days since I began Hashi Mashi on June 21, 2012.
What lessons have I learned from this experience which I can apply to other areas of my life?
What lessons have I learned that might be useful to anyone else who is interested in effecting change in their life.
The Top Five Lessons From Hashi Mashi
Never give up
Sure, that might seem trite and obvious, but there is a probably a reason that people commonly say that to each other. It is not just for irrational comfort. There is a real value in never giving up, in pursuing your goal no matter how absurd it might seem to someone else. If it is your dream, then go for it. In the area of physical and emotional fitness, it does not seem as dramatic as in the movies, when the heroine is tied to train tracks and she never gives up , and is saved within a hairs breadth by the leading man. On the other hand, the way you feel about yourself, is pretty important, essential, critical to having one good day after the next, and there is no question that our physical fitness levels affect how we feel. I have been on diets since I was 3 or 4 and had my first weight watcher pizza muffin. Have I said many times “I give up”? Oh yea, many times. I was so uncomfortable in clothing, out of clothing, just about doing anything. I am so grateful that I never gave up in fact, because every time I said that “I give up”, I still did not, I was still searching for some way out of my food prison, never feeling full and satisfied despite having eaten (usually processed food). So this is the first lesson. Do Not Give Up, Ever! Whatever the challenges are, just focus and bear down and enjoy the challenge.
Or, as Tony Robbins has said, and I still remember this line of his, “Success Leaves Clues”. You see someone who was successful losing weight, losing fat, getting lean, being able to finally fit into clothes? There is a good chance that you can model and replicate what that person did to accomplish his/her changes. Of course you must choose a path that feels comfortable to you. If the person did 2 hours of cardio a day or lifted 3 hours a day or only ate cucumbers and carrot juice, you have to make a choice if that would be a comfortable path for you, something that you could stick to in order to achieve the same results. I have browsed around the internet often enough to get a sense of the actions of people who have made fairly dramatic transformations and you can do the same. If the results resonate with you, then you can achieve the same, just follow a similar path.
Okay, so now you have chosen a path. You have been on the processed diet for most of your life, like many people who grow up in an industrialized country with industrialized food. And you have seen the results of people on different websites, like Mark’s Daily Apple, Bulletproof, Stronglifts Stefan Pinto, and once you make a choice, be consistent with it, don’t go from vegetarian, fruitarian and carnivore in one day. It does not work! I know, I have done it myself. Be consistent on a chosen path that has produced results, the path that seems comfortable and practical to you and then stay on it, as best as possible.
Once you are on a consistent path, now you can practice gradual improvement. It is most noticeable in pushup numbers and the pounds of free weights that you are lifting, but it also applies to the foods you are eating as you can keep on improving the quality of your foods. Make gradual improvements without putting too much pressure on yourself and over the long haul, these gradual increments will really add up to becoming significant changes in your physique and even mental attitude.
Love Real Food
This might seem obvious, but it is not. Our culture glorifies food in a colorful high tech box. I have grown up on the same processed foods as you have. My body did not start to change until I removed them from my daily menu. Sure, once in a while I imagine a treat can be in order on a birthday, holiday, special occasion. But for daily consumption, start loving real food. What is real? Vegetables are real. Make vegetables the main course of your meal. Get the best quality proteins that you can for your meals, for vegetarians that can be beans, tempeh or tofu. For me, I am not a big fan of tofu, because it is also pretty processed, but if you are, then go for it. For everyone else, go for grass fed beef over grain fed and organic produce when possible. Fruits are real for a great snack. Cherries, Blueberries, Raspberries, Persimmons, Grapes, Pineapple, Cantaloupe, you know these fruits. We are fortunate to have these foods available everywhere, in Whole Foods, Trader Joes, at the corner Deli, all over the place, just choose fresh. Not too complicated. Add a few nuts that you like or avocado and you are pretty much there.
The reason that I did not include exercise as the essential here yet, is because I know from my own experience that when I was exercising, doing cardio, doing situps, lifting weights, when my diet was processed, it did not matter, I rarely got below 230lbs. It was not until I went for real food only that my body began to change and the exercising started to have impact. Could be that I should include a paragraph on real strength movements like pushups and free weights as opposed to machines, perhaps I will add that later on. But the reason I omitted it now is to emphasize how important the real food is over the exercise in my view. What do you think?
These are the 5 essential lessons which will benefit anyone who follows them. People call me slim which is hard to believe after a lifetime of being chunky, fat, husky and pudgy. From not being noticeable in a suit, or even being able to get a suit off the rack without substantial tailoring, today, I can and I did!
Please leave your comments or experiences as well. Thanks so much!