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I had the distinct honor to be asked by Kate Whitlow and her family to speak on her dad’s behalf…and then hurricane Irene decided to rip up the East Coast and ruin all of  my flight plans.  I was devastated that I could not be in the room with so many other fine people to pay tribute to a man whose life had the incredible impact on so many…Bob Whitlow was truly a unique person…and when one uses the phrase “1 in a million”…Bob fits into that category without question.

So here’s what I had planned to say on that warm day in August in the Oakland hills.  From what I gather it was an amazing day and I am thankful that my brother and folks were able to attend:

When I see all of the people in the room that span so many strands of time that Bob linked together…how we all are like some type of weird extended family I cant help but think…Bob would laugh at the fact that there is standing room only for a guy that couldn’t stand.

I went back through a couple Facebook groups and some emails that a few people exchanged and found some common themes to describe Bob…I am sure there are more…but here’s a few: Dedication, inspiration, fun, love, caring, the yardstick by which many teachers will forever be measured, calm in the storm, experiential, witty, interest in each child, timeless connection, imagination, creativity, personal experience, empowerment, encouragement, Doy, activity, laughter, heart, music, continuous change, community, risk taking, experimentation, and encouragement…

Like many of you in the room…I had the advantage…no…really the dumb luck of entering Charquin as early as I did.  I was 6…doesn’t everything seem to happen by luck when you are 6?

Charquin was a unique place.  It was a place where we all got to strive to define and redefine educational goals.  We got to replace obsolete assumptions about curriculum, testing, and literacy, and professionalism with a holistic understanding of teaching and learning.  It was a very human process with cooperation, respect, and lots and lots and lots of negotiation

The Charquin philosophy created a space where there would be no remedial readers or math students.  Each student was respected as an individual and as an important member of the community.  Each student would be encouraged to use reading, writing, and math as tools to learn what they need to know.  Students would not be measured against a standard.

The Charquin classrooms provided children with many opportunities to find meaning in their world…and to manage their own learning and use their literacy to effect change in their world…not the world…their world.

In my first grade year I remember following Bob through the three class at Laurel elementary…half pestering his determined walk…a walk that was probably away from me…at last I said in desperation I said “Hey dad can you help me with this math?” and we both stopped in our tracks and looked at each other…I remember feeling embarrassed and he was definitely shocked…but Bob brushed it off casually saying “as long as you don’t call me “mom” we wont have a problem!”  We both laughed and he sat down on the floor with me and said…”so lets look at the math.” He was always quick with the right things to say.

In the beginning at times the kids and parents…particularly the parents… were more perspiration than inspiration.  With parent meetings and committees Bob said a few years ago that my mom was a pain in his ass…but he was thankful to her because it pushed him to get his masters…to continually learn…to expand…to validate why he taught the way he taught.  I know he was thankful to my folks and all the other parents…and that benefited all the kids to come after.

I asked a few of the kids I was in school with and a few others I was not to give me a perspective of impact on how Bob shaped us:

Kamrhan Farwell (Renee Miller) 1974-1978 said that none of us kids were held up as the good kid, or the smart kid, or the best kid, over the others. We were just kids, each very different from the next. She remembers bonds, created during our time in centers and at a host of sleepover parties.

Jodi Rice from the class of 1978-1984 said that Bob always knew how to make every student think they were his favorite…how true…and he carried that through his career.

Michael Hunter from the class of 1982-1989 said that Bob fostered a relationship between equals. His teaching was founded on this equality; on the understanding that children should simply be thought of as parents who hadn’t been hobbled by experience, and that parents similarly could be thought of as children who try to dress up their impulses with fancy vocabulary.  What an elegant way to explain that we all truly never grow up…and neither did the Slob.

Renee Miller brought up something that had a big impact on the early years…and that was Bob’s accident. She mentioned…as we all did… feeling such incredible loss for him. That this young, exciting and creative teacher who we all looked up to had been cut down. But when she saw him afterward, Bob didn’t really seem to see it as a tragedy. It didn’t change his desire to be a master teacher, lifelong learner, etc. He was still the same Bob. It was in how he handled that in his own life that she learned most from him.

One of the later memories I have from Charquin was the addition of sex education in the classroom…and that came at a time where Bob’s life took a different turn and we all went along for the ride…so we have both Kate and Kathleen to thank for that…even if it was a bit early for some of us.  So your arrival Kate…prompted much discussion…at home and at school.

When I had my See Ya Bye at Laurel Elementary School I remember being excited to go to a new school…maybe too ready for a change…and the following year entered Burbank elementary.  When I got to this new place the rows of desks were weird and my most frustrating memory was feeling like I had to actually having to downgrade my education…I had the benefit of cubby holes, stations with bean bags, no fences…the choice to expand in ways that many do not…Downgrade your education?  When do you get to do that?

So I should say that we…the kids…are thankful to the lineage of learning that Bob fostered.  He created a legacy that is far more powerful than currency…as evidence by the people standing in this room.  In 1990 Bob wrote an unpublished thesis titled “Instructional Materials and teacher change: confessions of a liberated teacher”…I think we all know in some shape or form that Bob has truly been liberated and continues to shine on us all with more lessons to come forth.

Thank you.

Charlie Murdach

August 27, 2011

 

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We all do it…we rationalize things into the ground.  And to top it off we rationalize in a way that helps our perspective…so then we are rationalizing what we are trying to rationalize.  It’s a pretty funny storm when you think about it…and at the end we feel good about ourselves.

Allow me to digress…your AFI-Q is a mathematical measure of your own breaking point…the point of your own no-return…when you give up your moral, ethical, psychological, or physiological compass and keep going…even though it is against all of your goals, needs, desires, plans or projected outcomes.

The AFI-Q is defined as the “Awww-Fuck It Quotient”…where it is the outcome of an experience divided by the breaking point of a behavior.

I actually developed the AFI-Q with a college roommate (Eric Wallace) at CSU Sacramento in the late 1990’s.  It started to go down like this:  If you were going out on the town with friends but had things to do the next day (goals, desires, needs, projected outcomes, etc) and you planned on having a few drinks on that night…there would eventually be a time when you would have to ask if you had reached your AFI-Q.  Maybe you had two or three more drinks more than planned and you then started to procrastinate or put off what you had planned the next day…that would be the point of reverse rationalization…”Aww fuck it” and you would keep drinking.

The AFI-Q can be applied to anything…it is in some sense a universal law.  It can be applied to running (I’ll just run one more mile/day per week/race per block), to weight lifting (I’ll just lift one more set, swing my KB or CB another set, I’ll max one more time), food (i’ll just have one more piece, one more serving, one more piece of something), to money (i’ll just spend a little bit more on this last thing one more time), to alcohol (would you like another drink?  Yup), or anything for that matter when you can go to a point of no return and then decide IN THAT MOMENT that you will change that specific behavior tomorrow…but not right now…

The AFI-Q can be dangerous as well…be careful what you are trying to rationalize…because with some things there are truly points of no return.

So the next time you are reaching for the chocolate cake, another beer, feeling good about another set and know that it could NOT be good for you…ask yourself: “Is this my AFI-Q?”

Choose wisely my friends and apply the rules 🙂

Prequel

The last time I saw Bob “The Slob” Whitlow in person was September 2010.  I have always made it a point to stop by when I made it back to CA from the Right Coast.  In September 2011 he was stuck in KPACC in San Leandro and he delighted in the fact that I was bringing him real coffee…against the doctors orders.  “We’ll just up the Lasix,” says Bob.  That’s one lesson that has permeated with Bob ever since I met him as a 5 year old…”Better to ask for forgiveness than permission.”   I am sure this was the carbuncle on Joel Thornley’s (the former District Superintendent) ass for some time with Charquin. Bob lived to fly under the radar to get things done…and taught others to do the same.

After my September trip I got off the plane in NH and we started talking every week.  Being on the East Coast, when Bob couldn’t sleep at 3AM I had already been up for an hour with a kid or two.  So the texts would fly back and forth “You up?”…”Yup!”  The phone would ring in either NH or CA.  We played online Scrabble sometimes going back and forth all day…game after game after game…sometimes 5 games going simultaneously…I think I won once…he kicked my ass every time…and the one time I won I think it was a gimme.  I could tell when he wasn’t doing well because it would take him longer to form a word…then the minutes would stretch to hours…the hours to days…till about July 2011 he forfeited our games…and I knew something was really wrong.  Email, text, and calls all went unanswered…I was worried.

I wrote this letter (below) in April of 2011 after mulling it around between the ears for some time.  I sent the letter to Bob and we talked about it a lot over the phone.  I asked him, amongst other things,  “What good is a eulogy if you don t know how people feel about you when you can still stare them in the face?”

Every time we hung up the phone there was an “I love you” exchanged.  In this current time, a bit of advice…If you don’t do it now, you best start doing this with those in your life that matter most…aint no reason to hold back.

There are more lessons that Bob passed on (i.e. doing multiplication of 9’s with my fingers, learning to cartoon, drawing 3D perspective, etc)…and I am sure those will rise again.  This a bit long…but keep in mind…this is not for you…this is for Bob Whitlow.  It is my thanks to him…my way to honor him with what he gave me over the 38 years we knew each other…and he knew it.

Here’s how it all went down from the perspective of a 5 year old…that’s looking back after 42 years…

The Exponential Impact of 1

Dear Bob The Slob Whitlow,

For some reason I have been thinking about what I would say in your pre-membrance in thanks for what you have given me.

What can I say?  I have known you longer than some, shorter than many, and can only attest to the impact you have had on my life.  So for this I say: “Thank you.”  Two words that are seemingly benign unless you know the history.

My Beginning…

So I guess it was 1975 when I entered Charquin with this rag tag group of misfits that were either handpicked by “forward thinkers” or thrown together because we didn’t fit in.  At any rate, we all cruised along together in this Petri dish experiment within the “normal” school of Laurel Elementary in Castro Valley, CA.  I remember talks of budget cuts, scrapping the program, zip code switching, having teachers come and go, and a bit of strife with the other kids that were in school but in “outside classes.”  We were the outlaws…the “special kids” tucked at the end of the building with our own access to the playground…accident?  Nope.

On the other hand, I also remember being a tight knit group of kids that got to play, experiment, learn, socialize both in school and out, and grow up together in a safe learning environment.  The major constant with this rag tag group was you…The Slob.

The King Pin…

It is interesting that over 35 years later, I can reconnect with someone I went to Charquin with in the early 1970’s by looking at your Facebook page or better yet, by sitting next to you and talking about people in common that I share a slice of my life with.

We have all grown up in some shape or form to do amazing and creative things…kids that are now parents (some not all), a group that spans the globe as members of this funny little hippy fraternity…people that I can call up and reconnect with in an instant because of some crazy bond that we formed on the Tot Lot before the evil school district took our ship and sand away and rebuilt it with a redwood and tan bark monstrosity.  Some of those kids and parents have died…some cannot be found…but if they resurface for some reason its easy to begin again from where we left off because we have a lot of history.

The Neural Rolodex

I have some interesting memories of my years in Charquin.  We had the coolest field trips (i.e. our annual trip to Alcatraz.  Angel Island.  Ano Nuevo.  Camping trips to Lake Chabot.  Sand blasting with Bob Kersey.  The Half Moon Bay Pumpkin Festival…to name a few.  As a kid these trips seemed to be flawless, but only to learn later on that most one of these field trips were not “sanctioned.” I do remember a bit of scrambling to fit into a caravan of parents cars, however, the one car you did want to get in at some point was the drop top Buick.  To let the top down when you were sitting at a light…it was beyond awesome.

There were parties at friend’s houses for various birthdays…Jay James, Andi Havercroft, Sean Marconi, Chris Morby, Adina Zeller, Liz and Aaron Edens, Debbie Kerns, Castle and Troy Redmond, Lynn Reddoch, Chris Kersey, and Troy Norman, a short list of players from a long crazy play.

Some other memories I have are very powerful ways that formed me as a human being that will be immeasurable.  The way we were educated in Charquin was truly experiential…we learned by doing and feeling.  No desks.  Cubby holes.  Corners of the rooms fashioned into “class rooms.”  “Around the rug” time.  Gardens.  Dogs in the classroom.  More than one classroom tied together…I think at one point we had three rooms.  Easy access to the outside.  Big windows.

Growth

Whether by design or by accident I feel that our education pushed us differently.  It could have been through making No-Bake Cookies for the tenth time with Robin Zeller.  No one ever refused No-Bake Cookies.

A unique portion of the program was parent involvement.  With parents in the classroom as teachers, they tended to be not only parents, but people.  So many of the parents involved were unique and amazing and we tended to be called out on our own shit when it needed to be.  In my 6 years of involvement I was met and matched by so many parents in so many cool ways that I was given a true tapestry of how I could learn from a situation.  I like to think this was by design.

My First Trust

Why in the hell would someone believe a 6 year old?  I dunno…but I felt like you did.  At one point someone had stolen some money out of one of the parents purses and we were each called into a room with you… one at a ti

me.  You kneeled down to my level and said to me: “I know you didn’t take the money, you wouldn’t do something like that, but I have to bring you in and ask you the same question.  Did you take it?”  I said “No” and you patted me on the shoulder and pushed me out the door.

It was the first time that I remember an adult taking me for my word and trusting me.  Trusting me?  Nobody had talked with me like that before…outside of my parents. 

Legacy vs. Currency

It has been said that the average kindergarten teacher should be valued and paid $300,000 per year based on the sphere of influence they create over that one single year for the kids in their class.  Having spent 6 years with you in the most formidable times of my learning life I can honestly say that I could never compensate you enough.

It has also been said that legacy is better than currency…and this is the type of legacy that you have created through me:

People I work with

I work with people every day and help them re-frame their lives through physical movement and a change of intention.  There is something in each interaction that comes from you to them…maybe it’s a silly joke…maybe it’s a story…maybe its blunt profanity…but I can feel you there.

My kids

I have three wonderful children.  When my oldest son Max was entering kindergarten you and I talked at length about the pros and cons of Montessori, Waldorf and going with public education.  We chose public education based on our discussions, my experience with Charquin, the local K-8 school and the community of which my family is a part.  My children will all benefit from your patient advice.

My “Yes”

Before Max was born you gave me a piece of parental advice:  “Learn to say yes to as many things as possible.”  Now having three kids I know you didn’t mean everything.  But what I have come to realize is that you meant don’t immediately say “no.”  Be patient and thoughtful enough to consider the other answer.

Knowing how to feel

I currently stay home with my children as well as run a business.  My children get the benefit of having dad around and (hopefully) benefit from some of the experiences that I had growing up.  I remember some of my actions and reactions to circumstances when I was little and see the same things percolate up in my kids.  Based on our experiential education I see and remember what it felt like in my body…whether it is happiness, sadness or frustration and I like to think that I can talk with them in a different way to help them through it…or at least relate.

The thirst

I like to think what I learned from Charquin was a thirst for experiences, new ideas, for creativity, and the ability to look and dream outside the box…and that gets passed down to my kids.

I told you this story a while back…when Max was 4 we were coloring and I asked Max how many “sides” the paper had.  He thought for a moment and said “6.” In my mind a blank piece of paper had 2 sides…front and back.  So I asked him to show me…so he traced each edge of the paper, put his hand on the top, flipped it over, and put his hand on the back…looked at me and said “See?  6 sides daddy.”  I knew we were in for it.

If my kids choose to have kids I would assume that they would pass down the things I have shown them (through you) to their kids.  Your influence is multi-generational.  Not only is your influence multi-generational in my family…it is the same in other families…so it is also exponential.

The Stew

I am sure there are other mish-mash aspects of my life that I can attribute to things we have talked about, what I learned from you or observed when growing up.  I am thankful for all that you have given me and I can unequivocally say that I would not be who I am today without your care, friendship, and love.

So again…I say two little benign words that have a huge and personal meaning when said to you:  Thank you.

I love you very much Bob.

Charlie Murdach, April 10, 2011

Thanks for all of your kind thoughts on my birthday!

A friend of mine posted on my Facebook page the other day that I should have a happy 41st birthday…and then I had to ask my wife how old I was…she laughed and did some reverse math that I still couldnt understand to prove to me that I was ineed…42.  It was pretty dang funny.

So for the fantastic day Itrained one of my favorite clients Jane Gee, got home and  had breakfast with the family, a great cup of joe made by my barrista, and then hung out with the kids for a bit.  I got a great work out in that consisted of a Tacfit warrior high intensity day, and then clubbell mills 8 X 11 on the minute for 8 minutes as well as Kettlebell two handed swings 8 X 11 on the minute for 8 minutes…then to polish it off with 42 single mills on each arm and 42 KB swings for my 42nd birthday.  Its such to say that 42 straight reps is no big cheese for some people I know, but it’s pretty easy till you get half way…then the mental stuff kicks in.

Then compensation moves and a shower.

Found a tick imbedded in my chest.  Call the doctor cuz I couldnt ge tit all out.  First tick of the season.  Yuck.  Minor surgery the next day with the nurse practitioner and a dose of Doxy…nice.

I survived taking all three kids to bugaboo creek for lunch…dessert first please!  They were awesome…love my kids.

Then back home to play in the yard.

In the afternoon I taught two bootcamps to great sets of ladies…during the break between camps I went home to find my family finishing up the birthday cake which we destroyed without a single knife cut but instead 4 forks…back to camp..and then home to hang out with the family a it more 🙂

It was a great day…fun fun fun.  I have the best family ever!

Thanks for your time and consideration and being a part of my day!  Love Charlie

The Fat Boy Sandwich

I am in the midst of the dreaded Hallmark hallway of death (from November to Mother’s day…and this time…right now…is the Fat Boy Sandwich.  The Sandwich is the time between Valentines Day and Easter…when you quite haven’t finished your Valentines candy and you get smacked with the Easter candy.  Yes my friend…the damn Peeps are in the stores as we speak.

It’s been a while.  I have lots of posts running around my head, but really it is a matter of daylight…or time that I can keep my eyes open.  So let’s go…

Ahhh the Pepsi Corporation…

This week was Max’s school vacation week and one of the days he chose to go to Chuck E Cheese…ahhh the home of fine cuisine.  Needless to say we got drinks and I found myself staring blankly all of the non-options.  I know…I know…there ar little buttons you can get regular water from…and even soda water…but I just found it amazingly overwhelming that 99 percent of the ad space in front of your face contained sugar…it was stunning.  So I ask Max, “Do you see where to get water anywhere here?”…”What water daddy?”  Can’t blame him…he’s 5 and never gets to drink soda anyway and was blinded by the opportunity to have soda anyway…but still…it’s hard to find.   From a branding perspective…mission accomplished.

Nestle Toulouse

I have been pretty proud of myself since I have gone off of sugar.  It’s not that I don’t get cravings…cuza they come on wicked bad sometimes.  Usually it’s because I am bored, tired, or depressed…and I find myself wandering the kitchen looking for stuff.  But here’s the rub…there is a 1/2 open bag of chocolate chips in the pantry that I havent tried to crush yet.  A few weeks ago I opened the pantry door to get something out for one of the kids and a cloud of chocolate chips hit me with a big fat nasal slap.  I have been good, pulled them out…and put them back.  I would say that for the most part I am about 95% sugar-free.  I am good with the overt sugar…and am working on the covert sugar.  Even if I do eat something a bit sweet I can feel when I need more…and then stop.

Where’s the stuffing?

I have found that I over-eat by habit.  I can rationalize the fact of training so much for so long that it was impossible not to go into caloric deficit.  But now life is a different story.  So I began doing something I have always been challenged by…and not very successful at.  I began counting my calories.  Easy solution right?  Harder than I thought….and a big wake up call.  I started using a iPhone application called My Fitness Pal…not a whole lot of reasearch…it just works right and has a web-based site as well…suprisingly it has tons of food items (and random ones at that) so it makes things easier to track.  I guess I had no idea about calories in…and here’s my beef:  cereal…1/2 a cup for oatmeal…3/4 of a cup for some others…I have been used to eating double or maybe trip that amount.  Almonds?  24 almonds is a serving.  24?  What?  The idea of how little I need to eat from a serving perspective just blew me away.  When I was training for Ironman one of the grand experiments is to 1) find out how much you can eat with an elevated heart rate…and then 2) find out how little you needed to eat without bonking…but I never worried about the serving size…what a weird conundrum.

One of the reasons I like My Fitness Pal is because it starts out with a given amount of calories in the morning and every time you eat something it subtracts what you ate and you know where you stand…eat too much at one meal or snack…annnnnd…welllllll…you gotta eat less.  It’s taken me about 2 weeks to kind of recalibrate what I need.  it’s interesting and like I said…a wake up call.  So basically I am trying to create a negative caloric deficit…without feeling like I have to eat my fist most of the time…

So next we talk about the training…cuz I have fallen into a pretty interesting paradigm that fits for me…

let me know how you are doing, Charlie@4seasonfitness.com

ouch

Trim that fat

I lost 5 pounds since I posted last…r u awake?  So where does one begin?  I have been asked this question many times in my life as a movement professional…and my usual answer is: “Where you are now.”  It might sound hokey and contrived.  It might sound stupid.  It might sound too easy.  But truly… you can begin at no other point from where you are now, with your understanding, with your history, with your future and with your desires, goals and plans.

You need to be here…right now.

It’s funny reading “Potatoes Not Prozac” has really opened up some doors for me, in a super fine way.  There has not been a page that I have read thus far that has not made me sit back and go…”huh…that’s why I have felt like that.”  A good friend asked that if people without a sugar addiction can get something out of it…I said “yes.”  I think so many of us, even those without a sugar sensitivity, have a difficult time relating to food.  And if you have little relation with food then you don’t know how your body feels, what it needs, what it desires.  Part of that process is learning when, what, why and how to eat.

For me the first step was something I had done for years…eating breakfast.  Sounds funny, but how many times have you heard one of your friends or family say, I am not hungry so I don’t eat breakfast?  Luckily I have never had this problem…when I get up in the morning I have to eat…or I will start gnawing on my hand.  A little realization about this was that if I didn’t eat right away…it would start to pass and I would feel great.  I felt thin, in control…lean even.  Apparently, when you don’t eat your brain will release beta endorphins because your body is under stress.  That stress and beta-endorphin release masks your blood sugar crash…and I crash hard.  Beta endorphins make you feel gooooooood and are pain killers.  So this is step #1 in how to jack my brain chemistry…don’t eat and throw the beta-endorphins off track with other aspects of my chemistry.  That realization of feeling lean and in control was a trippy realization…one that I liked…but was bad news…and a sure-fire way to mess me up in the long-term.  So here’s where I am:

I have read the book Potatoes Not Prozac and am applying the steps in the process.  Step one…cut a hole in the box…just kidding…Step One is:  Eat Breakfast With Protein Every Day.  Not everyday but Thursday…not everyday but Sunday…every freaking day.  I remind myself that I am eating for my brain and my health.  We will discuss the hierarchy of fat loss and an exercise program for it in a bit…but for me this is my first step.  But wait there’s more.  There are four parts to Step One…and this is where it gets interesting…and challenging.

The Four Parts of Step One:

  • Eat enough protein for your weight with breakfast
  1. Get yourself on the scale…even if you don’t want to.  Divide your weight by 2.  (Example:  I weighed in a 199 the other day…I divided 200 by 2 and came up with 100.
  2. Your goal is to divide the number you get (100) by however many meals you eat in a day.  If it’s 3 then I will eat 33 grams of protein in each meal.  If it’s 5 meals…then I divide my number by 5 and eat 20 grams of protein per meal.
  3. I hate counting calories…but looking for new sources of protein and things to eat is kinda fun…as long as it doesn’t make my brain hurt.
  4. Should you eat if you are not hungry?  Yep…I am eating for my brain and trying to reconnect with my “hunger” system and not allow things to get out of control.  I am eating to balance my chemistry.
  5. What if I go to the gym in the morning?  I bring Protein powder and drink it 1) either when I am done or 2) before an hour has passed from waking…
  6. Sounds like a lot of protein huh?  Consider this…the USDA says that you should have 0.8g/kg of protein.  For me that would be 72.8g of protein…so it is a bit higher.  If you are in endurance sports, one of my hero’s Dave Scott has said that you will need more than that to improve recovery.  I agree, not because he’s my hero…but from personal experience.  So here’s the thing…go with the way that you have to think less and act more…for me it is easier to take my weight, divide by 2 and get after what I need instead of pulling out a calculator and converting pounds to kilos etc.  Simplify.  Believe me, the only kind of math I am good at is jock math (400 splits (track or pool), reps, weight, time, etc) so don’t stretch me!
  • Eat a complex carbohydrate with breakfast
  1. I found this to be interesting because I had no idea what  “serving” looked like of any of the following complex carbs.  I always overestimated…a “serving” of oatmeal is 1/2 cup.  A serving of some other hot cereals is 1/4 cup…dang!
  2. Here’s some examples of what I like to eat in the AM: Oatmeal, Brown rice, Potatoes with skin, Brown rice cakes, whole grain wheat free crackers, Steel cut oats, Whole grain cereal…you might get the picture…if not hit google.
  • Eaten within one hour of getting up
  1. This is the one that has posed a challenge for me.  What if I go to the gym?  What if I go for a run?  What if I go to Yoga?  I still gotta eat for my brain to balance my chemistry.  if I am at the gym I bring a protein shake and eat 1/2 way through the workout.  if I am in yoga class I walk over to my bag and drink my shake.  If I am going for a run I drink the shake before the hour is up.
  2. I found it funny that I would at first push this “hour” to 59 1/2 minutes and then shove something in my mouth.  I am working on dialing that time back so I can relax and eat well before that hour is up.
  3. If you have kids…this can be tough…especially with Max being 5 and Madigan being 1…it’s tough to get my food down before theirs but I am working on it.
  • Every day
  1. So back to this…you have to eat breakfast with protein and a complex carb everyday.  No excuses. Everyday.
  2. Here’s the other thing I thunk…you need to make your breakfast and meals for yourself.  If someone else does it for you then you are not in control of yourself.  If someone else is doing all the work, you are not be in control of what you eat and when you eat…it’s a way of putting yourself first and forming a foundation of self-care.

All this has worked.  I shaved 5 pounds with no significant effort…just a shift in how I approached feeding myself with intention and stabilizing my brain chemistry.  I am off to order my food journal and plan my work outs based on genetics (what?????) and performance goals.  I haven’t felt this good and stable since I was training for Ironman…it’s a good feeling.  See you later!

Peace, Charlie (charlie@4seasonfitness.com)

Thoughts and love always appreciated.

Standing Fat…

Fat David

Stand and Be Weighed...

So you are armed with information…you feel good and you are moving forward.  Right?

Well, at least this is how I feel.  I have had a couple friends say that it is all “a problem of will power.”  You don’t get it.

I have had friends say “just don’t put it in your mouth or stop.”  You don’t get it.

I have had friends say “just be aware of what you are putting in your mouth.”  You don’t get it.

And it’s OK with me if you don’t get it…I am not you.  I don’t have your “will power, your awareness, your mindset”  I have mine.  And yes…the frosted animal crackers that are in the cupboard…they scream my name at night and scratch on the inside of the cupboard door.

So here’s the sticking point, I have tried all of the awareness pieces.  I have tried will power, I have tried lots of stuff that you wouldn’t fathom…and it has been difficult.  So I am not saying “Yeah!  Total addict over here!  Come poke the addict!  Want some sugar Charlie?”  I am not trying to glorify this position…I am just amazed that the information I have read so far has “clicked” for me and explained some feelings, some depression, some guilt, some challenges I have had in my life…annnnnnd I thought I would share.

Willpower?  Got it.  Ever run 100 miles?  Willpower.  Ironman?  Willpower.  Don’t ever talk to me about willpower and “lack there of” when I have done these things but stuggle to keep the damn Lindt Bar out of my hand and from springing open.  Its from two different sources of willpower (physical and biochemical)…and maybe you still don’t get that…so oh well…and big sigh.

Talk to yourself to “not eat something.”  Done it.  I reach for the refidgerator or start wandering around the house when I am home looking for something to eat (boredom) and the voices in my head say: ” You don’t need to eat anythig right now” and yet there have been times when I eat it anyway…and it has been something sweet.

So here’s where I stand with me now:

  1. I am working on cutting all of the sugar out of my diet.  This includes all the white stuff (flour, processed sugar, white breads and pastas made with refined white flour, packaged high-calorie snack foods (even tortilla chips make me swoon for sweets), high-fat convenience foods, packaged cakes and cookies, boxed meal,  breakfast cereals, processed meats).  Safe to say I don’t eat much of this anyway…but the processed stuff I really got it in for.  I am doing my best not to say “forever” but “just for today.”
  2. Eliminating overt sweets.  I have kids…kids by nature love treats.  I am staying away from them.  I have been good at eliminating high fructose corn syrup from our house for the most part, and thought “well, at least we will have real sugar!”  Not a too bad a switch, but not so hot for me.
  3. Looking more into covert sweets.  I guess I have been a pretty good label reader, and now it’s on like Donkey Kong and Dancing Prawns at Dawn.  For real though…I didnt’t know there was so many ways to cloak the same substance.  Check the alternate names for sugar…for me I just thought I was eating healthier…brrrrnt (that’s a buzzer sound).  I was still just trading sugar for sugar.
  4. I have a more healthy approach to what I am trying to accomplish.  I have been made aware by my own education and have a bit of a direction to go.  Work on the healthy diet, work on the healthy lifestyle (again), and eat things with purpose and intention.  I now look at most food a bit differently.
  5. I am going to be gentler with myself and understand that this is a challenge for me.  I will control the sugar I can control…there are times when it is impossible, but I will be good to myself and be prepared and creative in alternatives.
  6. I am going to pay attention to what food tastes like in my mouth and what types of sensations it provides (sugar?  salt?  desire?).
  7. My goal last year was to get to 180 pounds and less than 10% body fat.  I got to 182 pounds and 12% but never really felt “lean” and it was a struggle to get there.  My goal for this year is 177 pounds and 9%…and I know I can do it.  My approach is different.  I’ll share that with you tomorrow…it’s very different, even from my Ironman days.

I read in some book the other day that the average New Englander eats 6 pounds of ice cream every year…wow…gonna be an interesting summer coming up.

Love to hear from you in responding to this post or at Charlie@4seasonfitness.com

Peace, Charlie