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Archive for the ‘Growth’ Category

I made a decision exactly 1000 days ago today. It’s really not anything special, and tons of other people have made this decision, and so much more. But it was a decision to take back the health I had let slip through my fingers for so many years.

I’ve posted about this enough over the last nearly 3 years. The truth is I’ve been
“in shape” at this point for more of those 1000 days than not. I don’t even really remember what it was like to be 50 lbs overweight anymore. I don’t remember what it was like to not be able to run a 5K whenever I want, or test for my 2nd degree black belt a couple of weeks ago.

The picture on the right is who I am now. It’s who I used to be, but had forgotten. I’m thankful for some of the health scares I had that woke me up. Even though they had nothing to do with being out of shape (viruses, appendicitis, etc…), they still made me aware of how frail we all are, and that, while I may not be able to control whether I get hit by a bus or something else, there are many things I CAN control with my health. Not only myself, but my family deserves that I do all I can do to be healthfully here for as long as I possibly can.

I have nothing to sell you except hope. I’ve used no special diet (I hate that word. I prefer “nutrition plan”), I’ve used no pyramid scheme or shake or supplement. I’ve simply made a daily commitment to my nutrition and exercise plan. Daily. 1000 of them in a row, in fact.

If you find yourself in the place I was 1000 days ago, I simply urge you to start. Be reasonable with your nutrition plan. The 8oz. cheeseburger I ate tonight was fabulous, and I don’t sweat eating it one bit. I wouldn’t have had a problem eating it while I was getting in shape, either.

Those who deprive themselves of foods they enjoy on a regular basis will find themselves overindulging in moments of weakness. Those who are unrealistic in their exercise goals will injure themselves and slip back into a sedentary lifestyle. Those who have milestones in their minds that are not reasonable will find themselves discouraged and giving up before any real breakthrough happens.

You CAN do this! You GOT this! It’s up to YOU!

Just start! And, if you stumble, it’s okay! I don’t care whether you use MyFitnessPal, some other app, or just pen and paper, log everything you eat, and log every exercise you do DAILY, with a knowledge of what it will take to meet your goals, and it WILL work for you.

It WILL!!!!!!

Go get your health!

-BB

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Back in July, I posted about the beginning of a new, healthier lifestyle (tied in with a spiel on setting goals) I was embarking on. Within minutes, I was bombarded with offers from well-meaning friends about the latest and greatest supplement they were taking that was changing their lives and guaranteed to change mine too. Man, these were some seriously awesome products being pitched at me, with phenomenal reports of results!

I don’t begrudge any of these friends offering me their products… I’m sure they have had their lives changed, and are healthier because of their belief and buy-in of those products. However, having started out at the end of July weighing in at 225 lbs on a 6’0 frame and BARELY able to WALK, much less RUN a mile to, at the middle of November, weighing in at 194 lbs (still not to my target, but getting there rapidly) and regularly jogging north of 4 miles at a time, with a personal best distance of more than 7 miles, I’ve found the secret to fitness and weight loss that puts all others to shame. Guys, this will change your life, and make you healthier than you could EVER imagine!

It will make you drop pounds and increase your fitness and cardiovascular profile by leaps and bounds in as little as 3 1/2 months, and make all your friends ask what the heck you’re doing to get so fit!

What’s more, I eat whatever I want. Wanna know where I’ve eaten? Try this list: Wendy’s, Culvers, Chipotle, Chick-Fil-A, McDonald’s, D’Arcy’s Pint (the 2000 calorie horseshoe), Chinese Buffets and all you can eat Walleye at Top Cat’s in Springfield…

At home, I’ve eaten spaghetti, ziti, lasagna, steak, and burgers…

I’ve had Red-Velvet cake, I’ve had beer and wine. I even pigged out at the Signature Chef’s Auction for the March of Dimes last week.

All that, and in around 3 1/2 months I’ve lost over 30 pounds!

Are you ready for the answer? Just keep scrolling down, because I’m about to give you the secret to changing your life!

Hard work.

Yup, that’s it. Hard work…

I haven’t taken a supplement, shake, or pill from one of these multi-level marketing brands this whole time. In full disclosure, I did purchase a soy-based protein powder that I usually mix with skim milk for my breakfast (and, oh my gosh, it has REAL SUGAR in it! For shame!) and I do take a glucosamine supplement to help with my aging knees. I buy them both at Wal-Mart, folks… Wal-Mart… Doesn’t cost a whole lot.

Also, I religiously log every single calorie, every single day on MyFitnessPal. I religiously log every workout of every kind on MapMyFitness, which then ports those burned calories over to MyFitnessPal so that I have a reasonably accurate count of how many calories I’ve consumed and burned.

In short, it keeps it in front of me. There are days that my Net Calories Consumed exceeds my goal of roughly 2080 to lose 1 lb per week, but more days than not, I come in well under (which explains the more than 1 lb./week average, of course.)

It causes me to think about what I’m eating, and when I’m eating it. If I know I’m going to be pigging out of an evening, I just scale back more during the day… or perhaps I run a little more to help buffer the calories… whatever it takes. It causes me to stay on top of things.

I basically just don’t eat as much of the things I’ve always eaten… And I exercise a WHOLE lot more. Weight loss really is a matter of simple math, no matter what anyone tells you. You have to burn more than you eat. If you don’t do that, you will never lose weight.

I could barely walk much of the time when I started out at the end of a run. I won’t tell you I have no pain anymore, but I’ve built strength in the muscles surrounding my joints, and I’m getting less pain, not more, even though I’m doing more miles than ever.

As I approach my weight goal, I’m mentally preparing for what I view as “Phase 2” when I will still run and do cardio, but I may scale that back a bit to make more time for strength training. Phase 1 for me has been mostly about reducing weight and improving cardio.

The truth is I absolutely hated running before I started this, and I still hate each and every step. However, the immense satisfaction I have at the end of a run makes it worth every single step…

Hard work… yup, that’s the secret. The discipline to tell myself “no” on overeating, and the discipline to get up at 5am (or find time when I might want to do something else) to put in the miles on the pavement when I really don’t want to.

Hard work… I hope you guys will buy a ton of it!

It WILL change your LIFE!

-BB

P.S. First: A HUGE thank you to folks who have been encouraging me along the way! I still have a long way to go!

Second: This was not meant to slam anyone who has offered me their products… Please don’t take it that way. I’m just trying to make the point that it’s not so much a “system” you can buy your way into, as it is a decision to change your life. You can use whatever system you like. If the culture of your supplemental company helps you achieve your goals, I think that’s a great thing.

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I’m out of shape… WAY out of shape.

I used to be able to do all kinds of things “fit” people do. Now, I’m a plump, typical, 6’0 tall, 225 lbs. American who really needs to do something about it.

I also can’t remember the last time I ran one complete, consecutive mile without walking through part of it… It’s been a WHILE.

I’ll also soon be entering the last few years of my 30’s. I can feel the clock beginning to tick…

This past week, I decided enough is enough. No more excuses about my (legitimately) bad knees keeping me from running, or that there’s no time to exercise, or that eating health(ier) is just too difficult. So I started doing something…

I started walking.

On Monday, all I did was walk a mile. Tuesday, I mixed in some running (if you can call what I did “running”). Wednesday, I mixed in some more running. Thursday, my body told me I needed to pace myself a little bit and not run so much. Moments ago I just finished Friday’s walk/run. It may have been even harder to get through than Thursday was.

Something occurred to me as I was pushing for one last stretch of running hard this morning: I know that my “ideal” weight for my frame is somewhere around 180-190 lbs. That should be my goal, right? I mean, anything in there would be a HUGE improvement over where I am, right?

Then I realized I was wrong. Living a healthier lifestyle should be my goal. Let me explain:

Living a healthy lifestyle is not an end result. It is a series of habits, activities, and choices one develops and adheres to as a part of who he or she is. The end result of having better health (i.e. target weight, lower blood pressure, etc…) will naturally flow from that.

Am I saying I should never think about getting to that 180-190 lbs mark? Absolutely not! It’s something to strive for, to be sure.

However, whether your goal is for your company to reach $1,000,000 in sales for the first time (or $1,000,000,000 for that matter) or whether it is for your family to spend more time together doing meaningful things instead of watching TV, or for you and your spouse to spend more time in prayer together (another thing I need to do a better job leading in), I’d like to offer up for consideration that perhaps your daily focus is in the wrong place if you are focusing solely on that end result.

Once you know where you want to go, I submit that it is better to focus on the daily habits and activities that will get you to where you want to be. There are SO many things that can come up to get in the way of your ultimate end goal, that you ARE GOING to fall down, perhaps many times, en route to it.

Larry Bird didn’t become the greatest free-throw shooter in the history of basketball because he focused on the end goal… He focused on shooting more free-throws every morning before most people even wake up. Apple didn’t become the juggernaut it is because Steve Jobs focused on becoming the highest grossing tech company in history. No, he focused on making sure that DAILY, he and his team were focused on delivering the greatest customer experience possible.

I’m trying to keep this in mind as I think about where I am right now. I’m not looking to be the next American Ninja Warrior (right now, anyway). I’m not even focused on running a half-marathon. However, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t tempted to focus on getting back down in that 180-190 lbs range.

But what I realized today is what my commitment must be. I am committing myself to stay focused on making better daily choices to lead me down the path to a healthier lifestyle. I will stumble – sometimes due to circumstance, and sometimes due to choice – but overall, I will get better at this day by day.

At some point, weighing 185 lbs (or becoming the next Ninja Warrior) will come.

In your personal, family, spiritual, community, and professional life, what are you focusing on? The end result, or the daily activities that get you where you want to be?

Both are important, but the latter is far greater than the former.

 

Blessings,

-BB

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It’s been quite a road we’ve been on since making the decision to leave the financial services industry. What a wonderful, impactful career it was, for which I am most grateful!

After many interviews with many companies from many industries, I have found a local firm that is 100% employee owned, and provides their services not only locally, but on a national basis as well, and it is in an industry I never thought I’d find myself in.

I’ll not post the name of the company on here at this time… if you’re interested in that, you can check my LinkedIn profile once I’ve had a chance to update all of that in the next few days, as my official start date is not until tomorrow (4/16/14), anyway. I will tell you that I’m now in the I.T. industry.

Thankfully, I don’t have to know how to setup a network or desktop support to be successful at this. I simply have to do what I’ve always been good at: building relationships and helping people find solutions. I will have an amazing team behind me who actually understand all the technical stuff, and I’ll pick a lot of it up by osmosis over time.

I have many friends whom I respect greatly in this industry, some of whom, I suppose, I will now be a competitor on some level with, but this is an exciting opportunity I simply couldn’t pass up, and I definitely look forward to what the future brings!

I will still have my part-time, referral-only insurance practice available to friends, family, and past clients who may need help with their life, disability, or long-term care insurance, but obviously my working hour focus will solely be on my new career, and I can’t wait to get started!

All of our family and church have been extremely supportive, but my biggest support and gift in the earthly life from God is my wife, Jenny, who never stops believing in me, no matter how many times I drop the ball, or how many times I fall. She is always there to help me back up, and she is my greatest treasure. I love you baby!

Thank you all for your prayers and support over the past few months. It’s certainly scary to not know what is next in life, professionally speaking, but God has been faithful to provide every step along the way. He is good, all the time!

Beneath His Mercy,

-BB

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As many of you may know, I had a rather unpleasant weekend, as one of my internal organs decided to try to kill me (my appendix).

I’ve been totally humbled and appreciative of the outpouring of love and assistance provided to my family and me over this time. The texts, phone calls, messages, and prayers lifted up have been a blessing.

As I am at home continuing to recover, I’ve been thinking about that word: “appendix.”

Depending on context, it could refer to what many to believe to be an “extra” organ, superfluous to human digestive function, but a part of the whole, nonetheless…

Or, it could refer to that section at the end of a book which contains additional information, sometimes superfluous, never part of the main point of the piece, but still again, part of the whole.

Sometimes, the appendix to a book can be absolutely fascinating of itself… but it has very little to do with the book itself.

It got me to thinking about the superfluous parts of my life… The extra stuff that, whether good or bad, has helped shape and define me over time, but may or may not be important to my overall progress in life for me to hold on to.

We’ve all got that kind of stuff, those kinds of relationships, those events on our timeline, those moments that sometimes we include and bring to our present circumstances or relationships, but really don’t add much to the “conversation” of “us.”

And sometimes, like the one I just had removed, our appendix can be full of puss and infection, waiting for the right time to destroy us completely.

Perhaps my biological appendix isn’t the only thing that needs some surgery. Perhaps I need to review some parts of the “appendix” of my story and cut some things out. The peripheral can distract from the goal, and life’s just too short for that kind of mess.

We all must be intentional to periodically take pause and review our lives to be sure we’re making the most of every opportunity to have meaningful impact on those around us, and keep everything that can distract or destroy out. It’s hard work for anyone, but if we are to leave a legacy, we must. We only get so many beats of these hearts inside our chests, and no one knows how many he or she may have.

How about you? Anything you need to remove from your appendix to make sure you keep the main thing the main thing?

Blessings,
-BB

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“It is in the difficult times that we learn what we are truly made of… and in those times, we may find it is time to refine our substance.”

I have no idea who said that, or if I just came up with it on my own – but it came to me sometime last week. It has been a constant thought as I have been going through this professional transition over the last few months.

As a believer, husband, father, son, friend, business man, and all around citizen of planet Earth, the “stuff” I am made of is going through a time of refinement right now.

In reality, we should always be seeking to grow and refine our substance, but you know what I mean – There are moments on the timeline of each of our lives when we get to make some defining choices as to the kind of person we are going to become over our lifetime.

A phenomenal business leader in my community says all the time, “If you’re not green and growing, you’re brown and dying.” If he happens to be reading this, he knows who he is. I don’t have his permission to use his name here, but he should know that the things he’s preached to me and others over the years “sticks” with us. At least with me, anyway.

“Behold, I have refined you, but not as silver; I have tried you in the furnace of affliction.” – Isaiah 48:10 (ESV)

“The crucible is for silver, and the furnace is for gold, and the Lord tests hearts.” – Proverbs 17:3 (ESV)

In times of waiting patiently, searching for what’s “next” professionally, or in any other area of life, it is natural to begin to wonder “Why, Lord? Have I done something that is deserving of a refining time? Is there something in my character that needs to be purged?”

While the answer to that question is always technically “yes” (All have sinned and fall short of God’s glory – Rom. 3:23), it would serve us well to remember that Job had done absolutely nothing “wrong” at the time of his testing (Job 1:8), yet he experienced sufficient difficulty to last several lifetimes.

God has in NO way promised us ease and comfort in this life, and any “gospel” you hear that promises riches, comfort, and ease, should be met with immediate skepticism and rebuke. (John 16:33) The Christ-follower’s reward is not in this life, but in the life to come (Matthew 5:12).

It is our duty in this life to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God” (Micah 6:8) regardless of our circumstances. Much like the apostle Paul, whether in times of plenty or in times of need, we must learn to be content with our circumstances in the Lord. (Phil. 4:11-13)

In no way do I suggest that you or I should not strive to better ourselves or to attain personal or professional goals. What I do suggest is that nothing is guaranteed, and when everything falls out from under us, whether it is wealth, health, or relationships that fail us, we should walk so closely with our Lord that He is always enough to satisfy the longings of our hearts. To know that He may not always provide our wants, but He will always provide our needs. (Phil 4:19)

O Lord, that my substance would be wholly of that nature, for it is not. I confess there are times that I find my heart longing for other things. Things that cannot satisfy eternally. Only You, O Lord, can satisfy the hearts and souls of humanity.

What’s your substance, friend? You may or may not be going through a “refining time” right now, but perhaps you need to pray for it to come. Perhaps your substance needs to have the dross removed, and the impurities burned away. It can be intimidating to face such a time, but to become the best version of ourselves, we must face these moments from time to time.

I’m not just talking about the accountability to progress we should all engage in… I’m talking about a special time of extraordinary refining… a deep cleansing… a purification.

What do you want your substance to be? What are you willing to go through to make it the best it can be in this life?

The path to greatness is through the fire.

Beneath His Mercy,

-BB

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