Self-discipline is strength.
Right thought is mastery.
Calmness is power.
~James Allen (As a Man Thinketh)
[By: Martin Grunburg]
Today we’re going to focus on the first sentence (above) from Allen’s magnificent work, As a Man Thinketh: “Self-discipline is strength.”
It may go without saying, but it’s worth reiterating: Self-discipline begins with SELF.
So, my question to you is, how do you regulate and modify your personal self-discipline? Or, better yet, do you?
When was the last time you tried to institute a new behavior/develop a new discipline, or add control and constraints to an existing behavior?
Were you successful?
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
A bit of background:
For the first 45-ish years of my life, it seemed I could eat whatever I wanted, as much as I wanted, whenever I wanted.
I realized, though, about 18 months ago, this is no longer the case.
The new “reality” was very different.
I was at least 15 pounds heavier than I wanted to be. I wasn’t sleeping too well and felt fatigued and lethargic almost daily right around 2 or 3pm.
It’s Your DIET, Stupid!
The strange part to me was I had remained as active as ever, running, surfing and hitting the gym (nearly daily workouts). But it was fairly clear that I was only gaining weight and body fat.
I circled back to my local underwater dunk-tank body-fat tester and checked in at a fairly surprising 16.3% body fat!
Upwards of 16%. For some people that may seem low, and for others that may seem high. For me it was the highest I’d ever recorded. (I began recording out of curiosity right around the time of my second Ironman in 2006.)
I needed to reverse the current fat-gaining trend!
To Carb or Not to Carb, That Is the Question
Let me first say that changing my eating habits was far more difficult than I’d imagined.
The good news is I had at least a few tricks up my sleeve, and furthermore, I knew a thing or two about behavior/habit design. ; )
Hence, if the question was to “carb or not to carb,” the answer was/is a resounding “NO!”
Above all, limiting the carbs (and sugars) was my first order of business, since I knew I was still as active as ever.
Yet, as a lover of ALL things carb-related (chips, pasta, bread, etc.), constraining my carb consumption was not going to be easy.
ENTER: The Substitution Solution!
Habit is driven out by habit as a nail is driven out by a nail.
–>> Bagels in the morning? Nope…just boiled egg.
–>> Chips in the afternoon? Nope…just almonds or peanuts.
–>> Soda, Snapple, ANY beverage? Nope…water or soda water.
–>> Fish tacos or sandwiches at lunch? Nope… salads or a bread-modified sandwich.
–>> Alcohol? Enter constraints!!
Beer? No more than 2 (lite) beers at any day/time.
Bourbon/Whiskey? Just 2 or 3 times per week.
Diet vs. Lifestyle
Here’s the thing…
At the proverbial end of the day, the gold lies not in the changes themselves, but the ability to craft new behaviors and new habits at will. It’s not necessarily easy, but the good news is it gets easier, over time, because of the magical force of habit.
Hence, substituting those habits/behaviors you already have with new, favorable, predetermined choices — incredibly — becomes its own habit! And, that is what is powerful. That is what compounds.
As a result, today, some 18 months later, I habitually drink water with every meal and I habitually snack on nuts instead of chips. I habitually eat salads and make better lunch and dinner choices.
Keep this in mind: As great as diet plans like Medifast or Jenny Craig and many others are, realize that a major piece of their solution is simply to provide you a SUBSTITUTE — a replacement alternative for your eating HABITS.
First of all, it’s important to point out (again) that this was not an overnight fix (“the man who moves mountains begins by carrying small stones” ~ Confucius), although you will notice when you look at the chart below, once I became aware and had a baseline, that is when the diet/habit experiments began.
Today’s Weight: 178.8 Down from 194.6 lbs = 16.1 lbs Lost
Today’s Body Fat: Approx 12.8% (Total guess ; ) See chart below! Was 13% back in May of 2018.
That’s right — with some basic awareness and simple dietary substitutions I was able to “turn-back” the clock an incredible 12 years! According to this chart, I’m basically the same weight in 2018 as 2006, but I have increased my lean muscle mass and decreased my body fat by nearly 2lbs.
I keep coming back to Emerson’s great quote: “All life is an experiment and the more experiments you make the better.”
On a semi-related note: Either a gentle reminder or swift kick in the *ss? (you decide)…
We already have over 50 participants enrolled in the Get Unstuck Course — and it’s ONLY Free only until 11/16/18.
Until next week my friends…