My name is Neale Bacon. I have lost (so far) 200 pounds with no pills, potions, shakes, short cuts or surgery. Join me for tips and tricks I learned on this journey. There may even be a laugh or two along the way.

Archive for the ‘accountability’ Category

Focus.

focusWhy is it so hard to maintain focus? There are a few reasons. I will tell you up front that this is going to be a personal blog post because lately I have been very unfocused in a number of areas and I got thinking about WHY?

Lately I have been unfocused about my weight loss, my food plan, my exercise, this blog, and a few other things.

I will try to give you a few reasons I think I have been unfocused, and maybe you can relate. Together we might even find some answers and steps to refocus.

First, I suffer from a condition called Seasonal Affective Disorder. At this time of year in the area I live, it is very dark and grey for days on end. Loads of rain and gloom. SAD makes you feel tired all the time. If it gets bad enough, some people have to use what is called light therapy- sitting under special lights to make up for the lack of sunlight, and the resulting lack of vitamin D.

Because of my lack of energy, I have only been getting out to the gym once a week instead of the 3 times I had planned to do. I have fallen behind on my food diary because I just didn’t feel like filling it out one day, and I would blink and a week had gone by.

I have started taking my vitamin D again and have been feeling a bit better. I am not a doctor and not saying this is what you should do. Always check with your doctor first.

The sun is coming back slowly but surely, and the days are getting longer and that is helping too.

Secondly I have to admit to a tendency towards being lazy. I can drift off my plans and just need to pull myself back on track. This is why I have always been bad at journalling.

Thirdly, like so many, I can become discouraged at a lack of results. I should know better. I should know that this takes time, but it is especially hard when you hit a plateau. That discouragement at a lack of results becomes a slippery slope, but I have a good support network. My wife pointed out to me how I had gone off track with my food plan, and has been helping me get back on track.

I have to confess something now that is kind of difficult. I have been discouraged by the results of my blog. I know there are a few folks following me, but I just can’t seem to grow this blog and I have even been thinking “What’s the point if no one is reading. Maybe no one cares.”

That same feeling has been creeping into my efforts at becoming a motivational speaker. I have been thinking Maybe no one wants to hear what I have to say? Maybe people are still looking the quick fix, and that’s not what I offer.

My work as an entertainer has dropped off as well, though as I speak to other performers they tell me the economy is effecting them too.

This realization leads me to number four – plain old self pity. I have come to realize that a large part of my problem lately has been a good old fashioned pity party. Part of that is from focusing on others instead of myself, which is something else I should know is not the way to be.

So what is the solution?

First there are a few things I can do about the SAD. I am taking my vitamin D with my multi vitamin, I am back on track with eating more fruits and veggies and I am taking time to get relaxation as well as proper sleep.

Second thing is what do I do about leaning to the lazy side? It is up to me to pull it together. Part of that is setting a time every day to make sure I log my food. I set it in my calendar like an appointment.

Third I will stop focusing on others- at the gym, other bloggers and other performers. I will acknowledge my own accomplishments and achievements, and even start giving me non-food rewards. This is something I had done before but for some reason had stopped.

Number four is the hardest. I just have to tell myself (as you have to tell yourself) ENOUGH! Stop the pity party and get on with it.

So why have I written all this? One is to get it off my chest, if only for myself, but the other is that I hope by sharing some of these things about myself, that you may recognize them in yourself and start to refocus yourself.

Here is my plan to refocus. You can take from it what works, and leave what doesn’t work for you.

I need to refocus in three ways – first spiritually. For me that means more time in my Bible, and more time in prayer. Second – mentally. For me that means stop the pity party and as the jocks would say, get my head (and heart) back in the game. Thirdly – physically. For me this means to refocus on my food plan and on my physical plan.

It is never a bad thing to stop once in a while if we feel we need to regroup. It is not wrong to acknowledge what has gone right.

I am proud of my 190 pound loss and I know I will get to goal. I know that the closer I get to my goal the more challenging it becomes. I hope you will all be along for the ride because I plan to continue sharing.

I want to ask a huge favour. If you have ever gotten anything from my blog – a tip, an idea or even a chuckle or two, please tell others and get them to follow my blog. Not “like” when it posted to Facebook, but actually follow me.

Until next time, have a happy and healthy day!

refocus

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News Year’s Resolution or New Year’s PLAN?

new years I have never liked the term New Year’s Resolution because to me it was always too vague and seemed doomed to failure even as they were being written.

Why do I think they are doomed to failure? It is simply because we make the resolutions like we make goals – too general and therefor too hard to measure our success, which often leads us to give them up.

I prefer to use the term New Year’s Plans. What’s the difference? The difference is specificity. A resolution is I want to lose weight. A plan is I will track my food and exercise and plan to lose 20 pounds by June.

It’s been said many times that goals should be SMART ; Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. This is what makes the difference between a resolution and a plan.

I’d like to give you a few tips on how to make your New Year’s Resolutions into concrete New Year’s Plans.

  1. Once you have made specific plans, don’t keep it a secret. Tell everyone. Tell your friends and family, and (if you dare) put it out on social media.It is not that you want to nag you or keep track of you, it is is simply that you are hoping for their encouragement.
  2. Get Your Friends and Family Involved. Similar to tip one but more than just telling them your plans; recruit their help. If you are planning on going to the gym more, encourage one of them to go with you. If you plan to eat healthier, maybe take a cooking class with someone or share healthy recipes with them.
  3. Write everything down, and use other media like photos. Write down the plans, but also your progress (with photos if appropriate), how you are feeling, and even your challenges. I suck at writing things down (as you can tell from my sporadic postings) but one of my plans is to not only track my food but also my exercise by keeping a food/exercise journal. When it comes to food, we have a say in TOPS “If you bite it, write it.”
  4. Actually make a plan. Planning ahead will help you stay on track. Again, going to my plan of continued healthy eating and exercise, I have planned out a schedule of gym attendance. I have booked appointments with myself as it were. Days I am to be at the gym. Even planning what types of exercise to do on what days. I also want to try planning out my meals and especially my snacks (a weak area I must confess)
  5. Don’t quit. Did you know that generally speaking, only 8% of people achieve their New Year’s Resolutions. The main reason people don’t achieve them is they simply give up. People moan “It’s too hard” or “I didn’t know it would be this hard”. Did you know the number one resolution people make is to get more exercise or lose weight. Did you also know that most people quit going to the gym within 6 weeks? Change is always hard. As my kids are fond of saying Suck it up, Princess.
  6. Keep the list short. Don’t make it too hard on yourself. As I said, change is hard so maybe just make one change at a time.
  7. Don’t think in absolutes. If you say “I am never having chocolate again” for example, you are setting yourself up for failure. I can almost guarantee you will have a piece of chocolate, and when you do you will go to the “I blew it” mindset. The rest of your plans will soon go by the wayside because you will think you can’t do this.
  8. Take advantage of mobile technology. There are tons of apps out there that can remind you to do the things on your plan. Set appointments on your calendar for the gym, check out places like the App Store for reminder apps. There is one called Healthy Habits. It is free but limited to tracking 3 habits (like drinking more water etc) but you can upgrade to track more.
  9. Find substitute activities. Do you watch too much TV and your plan is to watch less? Then plan a different activity. Maybe plan to read more this year. Find books you really want to read or re-read an old favourite.
  10. Lastly, reward yourself (no food rewards) for “good behaviour”. When you reach a certain milestone or goal, take yourself to a movie, buy a book or DVD, or some other reward that makes you happy.

In keeping with my own advice, I am going to share with you my New Year’s Plans.

  1. Go to the gym 3 days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday ideally)
  2. Journal my workouts in a workout diary
  3. Journal my food in a food diary
  4. Lose another 20 pounds by my trip in July
  5. Take my certification course as a Weight Loss Specialist

That’s it. Short and sweet. Now, it doesn’t mean I can’t revise this list or add other things but this is a start.

When I get to July, and hopefully have achieved my 20 pound loss, I can plan my final loss to goal. I still have 35 pounds to my goal, and I want to be there by the end of 2016. By breaking it into chunks, it will be easier and less discouraging. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.start something

I know not all of you are on a weight loss journey, and you have to make your New Year’s Plans your own. Maybe it is learn a new language, or take a night school class, or even change jobs or careers.

Your list and your plans are yours. Don’t think you have to do all the usual things everyone else does.

Don’t think of it as resolutions. Think of it as an action plan.

I have something for you to add to your list. Please share this blog with others. Blogs live and die by their followers and I have a loyal group of followers but a very small group.

I think I have a lot to offer and a lot of people would enjoy it and benefit.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy New Year!

Accountability

Accountability. It can be a big, scary word. It sounds like it carries a fear of punishment or something, but that’s not it. When you ask people if they have someone with whom they are accountable, they often don’t know what to say. This is mainly because they don’t know what it really means.

In the world of weight loss, or at least in MY world of weight loss, accountability begins with yourself. You have to first and foremost be accountable to yourself because it is your body and more importantly it is your health. You need to be healthy first of all for you.

Many years ago when I worked in the addictions field, people would say “I need to get sober for my wife, husband etc” or “I need to get clean for my kids”. No! They had to get clean and sober first for themselves, and the bonus of it was that their partner or kids got back the person they should have been.

It is like that when we lose the weight. Our families and friends get back the person we should have been. The reason I started this blog and have started working as a motivational speaker is that I finally found my way on this weight loss journey way later than I should have. I missed years of being able to do things and I created years where my family worried about the real possibility of me dropping dead.

Accountability begins with you, but YOU are not enough. I can say that because I know that I am not enough to keep myself accountable. I have been blessed to have a wonderful supportive family. My wife has literally been with me through thick and thin (well thinner).

I have also been blessed to have found the group called TOPS. I have talked about TOPS before, but TOPS stands for Taking Off Pounds Sensibly. It is a weekly accountability group. We meet weekly and begin with a weigh in. We then have the business part of the meeting, but before that we have what we call Roll Call.

Roll Call is when we go around and we share if we are up or down. It is up to use if we want to share how MUCH we are up or down. If people have had a good week, this is our chance to brag a little. People will often ask “What did you do this week differently?”

It gives a chance to share and support each other, but knowing we are going to weigh in each week, it helps keep us accountable for what we eat during the week. It also keeps us accountable for our exercise, or lack there of.

We don’t just support each other on meeting day. We stay in touch through with other members throughout the week via phone, email, Facebook or in person.

One of my favourite parts of our meets are after the business, one of members will do a program. These are usually around 30 minutes and are followed by lots of lively discussion. What are the programs about? They can be fitness tips, healthy eating ideas, really anything related to health and weight loss.

Why is it my favourite? Because when our members present these programs, they present (or share) something they have learned and in turn are able to help fellow members. One of the things we hear most often in programs is people saying “I never knew that” or “I hadn’t though of that”.

I don’t know much about Weight Watchers but I assume their meetings are much the same. There are other support groups out there like Overeaters Anonymous.

I also have friends I have met online through Facebook or other places and they are following my progress. They ask how I am doing. They ask me what they can do to lose a few pounds. This helps me stay accountable to them, and in turn to myself.

Accountability is so important on this journey. It is too easy to go astray or to lie to ourselves about what we ate, or how much we exercised or got activity in our week.

If accountability is too “heavy” a word, how about support network?

I have mentioned before that I have watched some of the weight loss shows like My 600 Pound Life and I am often stunned at how little accountability or support some of these people have. In fact they often have people in their lives who not only DON’T support them or give them accountability, but work to sabotage their progress.

Why would a family member or friend do that? That is a subject for a whole other post, but some people will be intimidated by your weight loss. I have heard people on these shows say they are scared that if the family member loses weight, they won’t be needed any more, or that if they become attractive, they will find someone else.

That is there own insecurity talking and it is being put upon the person losing the weight. I say this because on this journey you may find you have to distance yourself from some people. Part of being accountable to yourself is not being around people (in person or online) who try to sabotage you or those who won’t support you. The ones who say “Oh you’re fine” when you know there is something very wrong.

When you find your accountability people, hold them tight. They will be a big part of your future success, but remember, accountability begins with the person in the mirror.

Until next time, have a healthy and happy day!

weight loss path