About Fogdog's Weight Loss

Don't Focus on the Goal...

If you've followed this blog you know that I've struggled for many years with improving my health. I've finally reached a point where I've managed to maintain a small amount of success. Now it's time to take the next step, but I believe it requires a new way of thinking.

Instead of trying to get healthy, why not shift focus toward learning how to build healthy habits instead. Follow me as I try to teach myself how to Engineer healthy habits that will allow me to take my health to the next level. Let's see where this experiment goes!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Healthy Living...From Truth to Myth

When I turned 40 I made a commitment to myself that my personal health (both physical & mental) would become a priority in my life.  It took me almost 2 full years of false starts to figure out that I had to start with the mental part first. 
Once I started to focus on my mental state and I began to realize how it was affecting me, it was as if the floodgates had opened up and all these thoughts just started rolling in.  As I read more and more about how the brain works, positive psychology, and even exploring a little into the Buddhist philosophy, I started to realize something.  I realized that not only were a lot of my beliefs and perceptions about myself and the world around me completely wrong, but those actual beliefs and perceptions were what was keeping me from being happy and achieving my goal of becoming healthy. 
Below are just a few of the more important "myths" that I used to hold as truths…

Myth #1 - In order for me to be happy I need to... 

This is one that I’ve thought of before, but never truly believed it until recently.  Maybe you feel this way too; in order to be happy you need to “fix” yourself.  I’ve commented on other blogs about this before and I also wrote a blog post about it some time ago.  You think "Once I lose weight or quit smoking or {fill in the blank}, I will then be happy!"  You don’t need to "fix" yourself in order to be happy, you can choose to be happy right now just as you are (and it will probably help you to fix those things you want to work on).  The problem with needing to fix yourself first is that even if you manage to fix something, there will just be something else that you need to fix before you allow yourself to be happy.  If we all couldn’t be happy until we were perfect then the world would be chock full of unhappy people because I haven’t met anyone yet who was perfect.

Myth #2 - Making health and fitness a priority requires sacrifice in other areas of my life

This belief was something that I needed a little proof before I truly embraced it.  The thought process was this… There is only a finite amount of time in the day, so if I make health and fitness a priority something else will suffer like my career, my home life, my hobbies, etc.  The problem with that belief is that it only looks at time and not quality.  So I guess it is true that I spend a little bit less time at the office or "networking" over beers with the big shots.  However, I’m more productive at work than ever.  I’m generally happy at work, my mood swings are gone, and my stress levels are down.  Is that a sacrifice?  Or how about my home life… I trade 30 minutes of lying on the couch watching TV for 30 minutes of working out.  I help my wife with the food and the cooking now (still a work in progress) instead of sitting around waiting to be served.  We go on hikes with the kids on Sundays instead of binge drinking on Saturday night and then spending Sunday hung over and irritated.  Is that the sacrifice we are talking about?  When you think of sacrifice, don’t make the mistake of just looking at time.  Healthy living can and should mean better quality of life all around.

Myth #3 - I can only learn from those who know more than me about a particular topic

Here’s the problem with this belief… If you think you can only learn from people that know more about something than you do, then as you learn more and more, the field of people you are willing to learn from and listen to shrinks until there is no one left!  Eventually you just stop learning and once that happens life just passes you by.  Coaching youth sports over the last few years has taught me that you can learn from anyone at any time, regardless of their knowledge about a subject.  You just have to be willing to hear them.

Myth #4 - I don’t “deserve” to be healthy because I haven’t earned it yet

I think there’s a lot of people that carry this belief… “You gotta pay your dues!”  While this is true of a lot of things, it simply isn’t true when it comes to living a happy, healthy,  or fulfilling life.  What's worse is that often we view "earning it" in terms of suffering.  When you tell yourself you haven’t earned it yet or you aren’t deserving, you are really just putting up your own roadblocks toward achieving it.

What's ironic about this myth is that we don't ever seem to have a hard time telling ourselves we "deserve" to be unhealthy.  Ever tell yourself you deserved the whole chocolate cake because you were so healthy all week long?

Myth #5 - My Life Has No Purpose

I saved the hardest one (for me) for last.  For the longest time I’ve wandered aimlessly feeling like my life has no purpose.  I’ve read books and blog articles and any literature I can find about finding my life’s purpose; my mission in life.  All this searching has left me with the belief that my life simply has no purpose.  The true reality is this…My life has purpose, I just don’t know what it is.  Maybe even more important, I don’t really need to know what my purpose is in order to lead a happy, fulfilling life.

You ever lose something and become obsessed with finding it even though you don’t really need it right away?  You search high and low in the same places over and over again.  You know you should just stop, but the act of finding it actually becomes more important than the item.  After a while you get so frustrated and eventually you give up.  A week later you find it while doing something totally unrelated.  At that point finding it was easy.  A week before finding it was a miserable experience.  This is my new view on having a purpose; I don’t really need to know what it is right away, so I’m going to stop making myself miserable trying to find it.  It will likely reveal itself when I least expect it.

Change Comes From Within

If you really want to change and become a healthy individual, it has to start from within.  Once you figure out how to question your own beliefs and perceptions, you start to become aware of how much of what you think you knew was actually wrong.  It’s when you hit this sweet spot, true change can begin to take shape. 
[Photo: Flickr / BK]


  1. FD, you are so right about change comin from within. I think that it is what can help trigger everything and get you going. I throughly enjoyed you post. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Everything has an opportunity cost. For me, the working out trade off is sleep. But it's the ONLY time I'll do it consistently (first thing in the morning) and I gain other benefits from it. So, the cost is less than the payoff, thus worth it. :) I learned a long time ago that happiness comes from being productive and true to myself (and a lack of drama, I am someone who desperately needs peace.) My weight, my feeling unworthy and down, that's just an easy distraction to beat up on myself without causing harm to others - but it also prohibits me from being who I was meant to be. It's a hard habit to give up though, kicking yourself.