Beard Beginning - September 2012

Beard Beginning – September 2012

Thirty-six days ago I decided to get rid of some excess fat that had attached itself to my body over the years. At 5’ 10” and 225 pounds, I unscientifically estimated myself to be forty pounds overweight.

Longer Beard, Larger Boy - December 2012

Longer Beard, Larger Boy – December 2012

Forty pounds.

That’s a small child.

Or three large Thanksgiving turkeys – with stuffing.

I can’t say that my surplus of gooeyness was uninvited, since my own eating habits caused it, but it was certainly unwanted. It was too easy to accumulate, and had the appearance of being too hard to eradicate.

How could I possibly have gained forty pounds? More importantly, how was I going to lose it?

It seemed too big to tackle – so I started by tackling smaller pieces of it. I signed up for MyFitnessPal and started keeping track of my daily calorie intake. I told myself that when I lost twenty pounds, I’d shave off my beard, and when I lost all forty, I’d shave my head as well.

Then, I followed the calorie goal that MyFitnessPal set for me, and I stuck to it, one day at a time, 1500-odd calories per day.

In the first week, I lost six pounds.

Then I didn’t lose much for a few days – but after that, it steadily kept coming off, about three pounds every five days or so. By day thirty, I’d dropped nineteen pounds.

Then I stopped losing – for six days.

That twentieth pound simply did not want to come off.

Yesterday being Valentine’s Day, I allowed my frustration to get the better of my judgment, and I ate more chocolate than I probably should have. That’s why I was surprised when I checked my weight this morning, and found that I’m no longer quite the man I used to be.

To put it more specifically, I’m now twenty pounds less of the man that I used to be. Twenty pounds plus a beard – whatever that might have weighed.


Shaving a Few - February 15 2013

Shaving a Few – February 15 2013

It felt pretty fantastic to shave off the beard. I’d been looking forward to it for more than a month, and the act of doing it was an exclamation point on the halfway mark of my goal.

If I had focused on the total weight I needed to lose, I probably would have quit after two days. But by focusing only on each day’s goal, the shocking immensity of the 40-pound goo ball I needed to get rid of didn’t instantly overwhelm me. I lost weight about twice as fast as the program projected, and it never seemed too difficult or unattainable. The crazy part is the amount of sweat and exercise it took.


I didn’t do a single push-up, not one sit-up, no squats, bench presses, or sun salutations. No running, jumping or even walking beyond the normal getting-from-one-place-to-another stuff.

Halfway to my goal, with no exercise.

Clearly, this first half of my weight loss journey proves that if you take in fewer calories than you burn, you will lose weight – with no additional effort.

Therefore, losing weight is not hard.

Changing your behavior – that’s the hard part.

It’s hard, because your mind controls everything about your life. If you don’t change your thinking, you’ll never change your life. Old thinking says that 40 pounds is too much to lose, too hard to get done – so go ahead and stay fat. A new perspective says that losing one pound is simple – so just repeat that one simple act, forty times.

My old thinking told me that writing a 100,000 word novel was too hard. It was too much work, it would take too long, I’d never get it published without an agent, and no agent would even take my calls unless I’d already published a bestseller.

Screw that.

If I write a thousand words a day, I can get a rough draft of that novel done in four months.

With Amazon and self-publishing, authors don’t need agents anymore.

For that matter, authors really don’t need the major publishing houses anymore, either. Self publishing is a reality that makes it possible for authors to write, publish and sell their books without outside help.

Listening to old excuses is a cop-out.

My life is too short – and so is yours – to piss it away listening to false excuses, never accomplishing anything worth mentioning, never doing anything worthwhile.

Look at your dreams.

Are you moving toward them, or are they getting farther away? Are you actively figuring out what needs to get done to accomplish them? Are you breaking the big tasks into smaller, measurable ones that are easier to complete? If not, you can start now.

It may seem hard, but be assured that you only really have to change one thing to make yourself a shadow of what you once were.

Change your mind.

Your life will follow.