Ocean travel without a boat

Journal of Peter Greenwell

Tag: health (page 1 of 2)

Kettlebell adventures begin

I got hold of a 12 kilogram kettlebell and am currently going through various sites and YouTube videos to find an optimal workout. I’m starting to prefer the kettlebell over traditional dumbbells because of the aerobic component. I’m not after muscle growth, but rather an all over fitness regime concentrating on tone and weight loss. I will post updates as I progress.


The bell of kettle

A revelatory book explored

A self-help book

The light bulb came on

If How-To’s Were Enough We Would All be Skinny, Rich and Happy – Brian Klemmer

I’ll be the first to admit that this post’s title would most likely fail SEO critiquing. On the plus side, it can certainly not be described as clickbait. No 10 reasons for blah blah here.

Anyhow, onward and upward. Some time back, my local library had a sale, disposing of excess inventory. I bought about 15-20 books for the princely sum of $10 Australian. A few were fiction, but most were non-fictional works on topics that I possess a passing interest in (at the least). This book was one of them. The title itself was intriguing, as I’ve sat and glossed over quite a few how-tos in my day, on a wide variety of subjects – including personal improvement.

This one is short at 149 pages, divided into ten chapters including an epilogue. Each of these chapters cover themes and concepts that could easily stand on their own, though there is ample inter-relationship, making this book a cohesive whole.

This book is strongly recommended.

Chapter 1: The secret

The key point of this introductory chapter is that we see things and the world tinted through sunglasses. While wearing these, we are loath to view the world (or anything) in any other colour or hue apart from what these glasses show us. We stubbornly adhere to the ingrained belief that there is nothing beyond this view, and you’re foolish to even try to describe the world in any other terms. So take them off and see what the world truly looks like.

Chapter 2: The Formula of Champions

For me, this chapter was the awakening. The formula to success is Intention + Mechanism = Result. This may well be self-evident to many, but the kicker here is what an intention is. The author argues that people intend to do things at two levels. There’s your stated intention – I’m going to lose weight – but your true intention is – it’s all too hard or it takes too long – therefore the formula collapses before it even starts. I’m proof of this intention vs true intention paradigm, just have a read of the Operation 47 pep talks I’ve posted here.

Once your true intention becomes what you’re truly desiring, then half the battle is won.

Chapter 3: The Key to Relationships

In this chapter, the author discusses the self-destructiveness of what he calls the 3R’s – resentment, resistance and revenge. He asserts that feeling these three emotions is natural. It’s not about avoiding them, but redirecting them into positive energy. Some excellent guidelines are provided to do precisely that.

Chapter 4: Responsibility

This one is self-explanatory. Taking ownership, and having the liberty to make choices.

Chapter 5: To think is to create

This chapter sums up the differences between the conscious and the subconscious. The author asserts that it is pointless to pep yourself up at a conscious level if your subconscious isn’t in line with it. It then discusses visualisation as opposed to imagination. Visualisation of wants and desires aid in realising them. Again, this is a landmark way of seeing things for me, much like what was discussed in Ch. 2. They’re limpid concepts that remain obscured to most people.

Chapter 6: Your vision 

This chapter is about goal-setting and some different ways of approaching them. Short and sweet.

Chapter 7: The power of balance

This is another one of those epiphanous chapters. Here, the reader is asked to visualise, or actually draw, a diagram based on four different aspects of your self (that’s not “yourself”) – physical, emotional, spiritual and mental. Although the author is writing from a Christian point of view, he does stress that spiritual can mean whatever it means to the individual.

These aspects are rated out of ten with one being the least. The object is to balance the four aspects in harmony, without one or more having outliers and thus putting you out of balance.

Chapter 8: Oneness vs separateness 

Discusses how essentially that no human is an island. It goes on to explain that most of us have an ingrained us and them belief regarding others, and the object of this chapter is to remove this and become inclusive with those you formally excluded (mentally or otherwise). By doing this, life comes win-win for all concerned, rather than win-lose or lose-lose.

Chapter 9: an action attitude…first day, last day

How not to burden yourself with unwarranted fears and the like. Dreams are easier and simpler to achieve if the road ahead is cleared of all foreseeable trouble. Plus it tackles the subject of procrastination by asking you to roleplay your last day, and what would you do and/or achieve before you died at the end of that day.

In other words, there is no moment like now to get things going. See excuses for what they are.

Chapter 10:  Rags to riches…applying the philosophy 

Delves into a case study of an Hawaiian man who makes kites and yo-yos. This chapter is all about achievable goals and the art of goal-setting. Gives a ten point philosophy to make the transition from poor to successful, and most of these points were touched on in previous chapters, particularly win-win and visualisation.

The book then concludes with a summarising epilogue and an exhortation to being faithful and true to yourself while on the to a better life.

Eldath the role model

Mid 2014, I started a program I dubbed Operation 47. The idea was to get down to 100kg by my 47th birthday, which at the time of writing this, was less than a week ago.

It never happened.

I don’t need to soul-search or deeply ponder why it never happened. The whole idea was just too hard. The weight loss component was easy when I applied myself – all I had to do was adhere to a daily limit I tracked through an online application – and it worked; I lost 20 kilograms. I know it can be done.

But too hard an idea or not, I need to improve myself, physically and spiritually. I just do. I could describe it all as a mid-life crisis but I don’t feel like I’ve even gotten to any kind of “mid-life” yet. And yet here I am: forty seven years of age.


So what does the Dungeons and Dragons goddess Eldath have to do with any of this? Well, for some background on who she is/was, I recommend this site which gives a thorough rundown, but the condensed version of it is that she is a goddess of peace. And that’s peace in a tranquil setting, such as waterfalls, pools, rivers, groves and the like. Pastoral or sylvan peace. Pacific introspection and harmony with yourself and all about you, in a natural setting removed from the hubbub of city life.

I’m not a theist or a deist in any way – to be sure, I’m as atheist as they come, but I’m not blind to the benefits religious spirituality can give someone, even if luminaries like Carl Sagan and Richard Dawkins regard such things as delusions. Many religious people live whole and fulfilling lives. Lately, I’ve been keeping track of a website I stumbled upon quite by chance, written by an Irish clergyman named Patrick Comerford.

Eldath's holy symbol

Eldath’s holy symbol

Canon Comerford’s blog is full of inspirational material and though I’ve never met the man, I can tell from his writing – and the passion in his writing – that he lives a meaningful and spiritual life.

Something to emulate, right?

I think so, yes but here’s something: I’m not a Christian – I was christened into the Anglican creed, but as I said above, I’m an atheist. The concept of an invisible divine being watching over us is both illogical and egocentric in my thinking. Plus, what makes a god that derives from desert tribespeople of the Levant the right god compared to say, Svarog of Slavic mythology? Because more people believe in the Abrahamic god therefore he must be true?

I’m getting off track here. No, I have no more belief in Eldath, a goddess invented by a Canadian librarian and role-playing gamer, than I do the god of the Bible, but I can empathise with the comfort and spiritual joy having faith in a supernatural being can bring. So, I’m retooling Operation 47 into something more life-encompassing than just simple weight loss.

I’ve outlined what I intend to do in a page.

Must get back on track

I have been in some sort of diet limbo for a couple of months now and it’s not good. I haven’t weighed myself in a while and I’m not keen about doing it either. There’s no way I’m at 117 kg any more.

I can’t forget the reasons why I started Operation 47 – that’s the initiative. When things waver, go back to the reasons I began this weight loss regime. Health, smaller clothes, fitness…if I can be slim again there’s nothing I can’t achieve. Success is a slippery slope, in spite of that being a logical fallacy. So, I must get Operation 47 back on the rails. Here we go. Let battle commence…again.

operation 47

Halfway there…

operation 47

Alrighty, read this post, if you’re of a mind. It’s the start of my weight loss goals. I wanted to lose 40 kg by the time I’m 47 which is in December 2015. Well, it’s now 8 February, 2015, and I’m just a touch under halfway there. When I weighed myself the other day (Tuesday, 3 February) I was at 116.7 kg. That’s nearly twenty kilograms lighter than when I started this whole calorie counting thing four months ago. My gut feels “caved in” – my arms and legs feel smaller, the shorts almost fall off my hips.

I have no doubt I’ll be 40 kg lighter by December 2015. In fact, the way I’m going, I’ll be even lighter.

Once again, it’s all been too simple. I’ve just counted what I’ve eaten and drank of a day using myfitnesspal.com and stayed at or under the allotted daily kilojoule allowance. No stupid diets, no beans-only main meals or cold showers (like I read in one book on “revolutionary” weight loss), no meal replacement powders, no shakes, no eating only lettuce and spinach. No excuses.

Just measured what I eaten and drank. Hell, I still eat stuff like pizzas and McDonalds on occasion.

So, if you need inspiration and you’ve found these posts through Google, look at all the Operation 47 stuff I’ve written. Hopefully, it’s motivating.

Serious progress is serious

operation 47

When I weighed myself this morning I was 119.1 kg. So I’m finally below 120 kg. I haven’t been under that particular target since around 2003-2004, at least. Since I’ve started this counting calories (or kilojoules rather) gig, I’ve shed 17 kg. While I’m not quite a fount of exuberant energy (yet) I do feel lighter. Clothes sit looser on me and it’s easier to get up from a chair or out of bed. That’s when my back doesn’t give me grief, which is a story for another day.

As I’ve said with nearly other Operation 47 entry here, it’s been too easy. All I do is count calories and stay under a certain limit each day. It works. The weight is falling off.

Can write off the holidays

operation 47

Well, I’ve tried to maintain calorie counting and watching what I eat and I’ve been largely successful, but no, I guarantee I’ve put on weight this last week. When I weigh myself tomorrow, that suspicion will be vindicated. No big deal – silly season is coming to an end, 2015 is nearly upon us then it’ll be full steam ahead. I’ve lost 15 Kg since I started Operation 47 and there’s no stopping me now.

Edit: surprise, surprise – I actually managed to lose 500 grams. I’m at 120.1 Kg.

Quite amazing really…

operation 47

It was my birthday yesterday, and we spent some of the day over a friend’s house out in the country. A Christmas party. I’ve been keeping track of what I eat and drink for just over two months now on myfitnesspal and I’ve lost fourteen kgs in about eight weeks, mainly by sticking to (or staying under) my daily kilojoule allowance, which is currently at 7800 kJ. But yesterday, I relaxed things a little and ate stuff I ordinarily don’t touch any more like chips (crisps), marshmallows, gummy lollies, cake, crackers, dip and so on.

You know, I felt blah afterward. I’m so accustomed to eating healthier food that reverting to processed sugary stuff even for a day did my body no good. It was like being poisoned. In return for my splurging on garbage yesterday, I’m having a light one today, aiming for about 5000 kilojoule maximum.

The moral of this story? If you train yourself to eat and drink healthier, your mind and body will readily tell you what isn’t so crash hot for you.

Weight and the losing thereof

operation 47

I’ve been at it for six weeks now, and I’m down to 125.9 kg. When I started to get serious about weight loss, I was 136 kg. Just by counting calories (or kilojoules if you like) and staying at or under my prescribed daily limit (8159 kJ), I’m losing weight steadily. 10.2 kg in six weeks to be precise. And guess what? I feel good doing it. I’m not starving or eating nothing but rabbit food. I’m just not eating the processed stuff I was before – salami, cabanossi, et al. No cereal either and I try to reduce my bread and pasta intake. Nothing to do with ketogenic or Atkins diets or anything; they’re chocker block full of kilojoules. Your average plain bread roll has about 750 kJ in it.

I’m aiming to eat good quantities of fruit and vegetables too. Most days I’m successful at it. At Christmas time this year, I’ll be at or around 120 kg, which will be the lightest I’ve been in probably a decade.

All because I decided to count calories using myfitnesspal. Too easy.

Operation 47 updated

operation 47

Since I started with Operation 47, I’ll be frank and say I’ve made generally zero progress. Up until a week ago. Why? Simple – I wasn’t paying attention to what I was eating and drinking.

For the last week, I’ve subscribed to a site called myfitnesspal. This place allows you to set a goal – such I’ve done with Operation 47 – and then log everything you’re doing to reach that goal, i.e, everything you eat and drink, and the exercise you’re doing. It has an exhaustive list of foods and drink, and the best thing about it all? You can record packaging barcodes with your mobile phone which saves a lot of manual data entry.

phone screenshot

In the week I’ve been using it, I’ve encountered one product that had no listing and I had to enter it manually, which ended up being a cinch anyway.

Counting calories (or kilojoules, if you like) – that’s what it’s all about. Heretofore, I wasn’t counting anything, just logging what I ate, which didn’t serve much of a purpose save bookkeeping. With myfitnesspal, I can accurately record everything that goes down my gullet. I’ve not gone over my daily calorie allocation (8494 kJ or 2030 calories).

So, my optimism that I will succeed with Operation 47 has returned.

Edit 14 October, 2014 I am at 133.2 kg. That’s a loss of about three kilograms. 

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