Discipline Is a Product Of Motivation

I watched this last night: it’s a panel comprising of Tim Ferris, Leo Babauta and Susan O’Connell (Zen Monk?) talking about “The Art Of Life Manangement”. It’s a 1:40:00 video so not a quick fix, but it’s worth a watch if you’re interested in those people and that sort of subject matter.

One of the takeaway points I remember is Leo saying that “discipline” is a product of motivation. You can’t make yourself “be more disciplined”, it isn’t something you can buy in a store or take a pill for. What you can do though, is engineer better motivation. The more motivated you are to do something, the more disciplined you’ll be at doing it.

So if you’re struggling to lose weight, count calories, or hit the gym, just “willing” yourself to be more disciplined isn’t going to work. You need to go a layer deeper and examine your motivation.

And So It Starts!

Man, I’m so excited – my new trainer (Marchy) is a professional strength & conditioning coach, who currently works with Bath Rugby, which is a premiership team (highest standard of the game in this country). His day-job is working with elite, international rugby players to improve their strength/fitness/speed; on the side, he has setup a business offering his services online/remotely, which means I’m going to get some of the best advice possible. I’m not sure I can overstate how cool this: I’m being trained by a guy who trains the people I watch on TV.

It starts tomorrow. I’ve got a weights testing session in the morning in which I need to determine how much I can lift for various movements, so that he can tailor the regular workouts around my current ability. In the evening I have regular club-training, but also have some “extras” to do, depending on how hard we’re pushed; I’ve got a feeling that the normal rugby training offered by the club is going to be more about organising the team/skills/moves, rather than fitness and conditioning, so the extras will be a way to tag on some fitness work. The preliminary schedule looks something like this:-

Mon: fitness drills (various HIIT).
Tue: AM – weights; PM – club training + extras.
Wed: fitness drills (various HIIT).
Thu: AM – weights; PM – club training + extras.
Fri: Rest
Sat: Game Day!
Sun: Active recovery (swim)

So 4 days of workouts followed by a game, with some rest days in between. I’m going to hit this new regime so hard, I’m so up for it! This is the start of taking my journey to another level, it’s no longer just about “not being obese” it’s about being an athlete. But best of all, it’s going to be centered around playing rugby. My usual running schedule has been scrapped for the moment. Every now and again, probably when there is no match at the weekend, I will put in a long run to test my endurance, but being able to run a half marathon has dropped down my priorities a little. Maybe nearer the race we’ll switch things up a bit, but I’m sure it’s not going to be an issue – if I’m fit for rugby I will be able to run the distance. One thing really stuck in my head when I spoke to Marchy is the following: “If you’re working with me, I’ll be very surprised if you’re not the fittest player on your club team”. Fuck yea, that’s what it’s about! When I look at the players on my team there are some reasonably fit guys, and even though he knows this and he knows my current size and background, he’s expecting make me fitter than that.

My work hours are down to 20hrs/week now and this is now turning into my first experiment in lifestyle design: I am working enough hours to pay my bills, and freeing up the rest of the time to pursue whatever my heart desires. Today I also enrolled in the Open University to take the first course that will eventually lead to a degree in Philosophy/Psychology (just for fun). My life over the next year will be a mixture of work, study and training; perfect.

A progress picture

I’ve been pretty slack in doing progress pictures. I don’t have any proper, staged “before” shots, which is a shame. Probably like a lot of obese people I didn’t (and don’t yet) like people taking pictures of me. I do have some pretty bad “before” shots of me out with friends, when I get some¬†equivalent “in progress” ones I’ll post them up (probably when I hit my 100lb milestone and buy some clothes that fit me ;)).

For now, here’s what I’ve got:-

In Progress #1
In Progress #1

2008 was a “big” year. The picture above is from a holiday with some friends and I think that was when I was my heaviest; it’s definitely the largest shirt I bought and I remember hating having to buy it (5xl). The november face-shot was 408lb, the february one is 360lb.

I found a lump

I was doing some prodding around my body recently and found a strange lump. Turns out it was my hip bone ;). Hello again!

The last few days have been good ones. On Monday evening I attended my first cookery lesson (breads and soups). I’m not sure what I expected, but the kitchen we used was really cool; 8x Rangemaster double ovens, massive stainless steel work surfaces and loads of Le Creuset gear. It even had a camera built into the ceiling which could tilt/pan in order to record demonstrations (kinda like a TV cooking show). We make forcaccia (with diced onion), granary bread and a simple carrot coup.

I try not to eat much bread but I do sneak a few rolls for quick¬†sandwiches, or with a poached/scrambled egg at breakfast. I think I could justify the effort of baking myself a loaf each week :). The soup was simple but tasty: carrot, onions, leek, celery cooked up with a bit of butter and flour (a roux, don’t you know, that we turned into a velout√© with some stock!). This lesson was a great introduction and I can’t wait for more; I’m particularly looking forward to learning how to bone a chicken and how to fillet a fish (+ a 3hr lesson dedicated to chocolate!).

I missed my gym session on monday because of the lesson. A weak excuse considering I knew it was happening, but I’ll fix it for next time. Yesterday was cardio (check) and today was Lower2 (check). I’m all over my decision making this week, so far good food and good exercise :).

In addition to getting healthy, the new me is also trying to kick my favourite past-time: procrastination. I have a list of NYE resolutions / goals and every day I’m making progress on at least one of them ‚Äî this is a major win for me and I feel in control of my life. There is nothing I’d rather be doing than what I am right now, and that makes me feel happy.

Simplifying My Life

This post isn’t weight-loss related, but it is about my life. I’ve enjoyed writing personal posts (and it doesn’t get much more personal than that), so am going to also use this blog to also log my thoughts about other areas of my life too.

Something I’m trying to achieve this year is to simplify my lifestyle, strip it back to the bare bones and redefine my direction and purpose. I find simple things are elegant, they do their job without¬†superfluous¬†clutter or distractions. One of my favourite quotes is from Antoine de Saint Exup√©ry:-

“Perfection is attained, not when no more can be added, but when no more can be removed”

I am not a pack-rat, but I have more stuff than I make use of. Six months ago I moved apartment and had a round of de-cluttering, yet I still have boxes of stuff in my new place which have remained unpacked, stuff that I value in some way but do not use in my day-to-day life.¬†My first goal is to sell/give-away/trash as many of my¬†possessions as I can.¬†That sounds a little crazy, but why? I have a bookshelf full of DVDs that I never watch, and another with books that I never read. I’ve a Playstation that I never play on, a TV I never watch and clothes I never wear. What positive contribution to my life do these things make?¬†I want to be in a situation where everything I own has a clearly defined purpose and where I only own enough things to realise my needs. I want to look around any room I’m in, and everything I see will have a purpose and be important to me.¬†It is¬†exhilarating¬†just thinking about doing this.

Next up is to source all of my food locally and create all my meals from raw ingredients. Homemade everything! This is partially to get a better control of my food to aid losing weight, but also to support local farmers/producers and do my bit for the environment. I’m also going to also take a look at recycling and see if I can reduce my waste output, which should be fairly low anyway.

I also want better control of my finances. I don’t have any financial problems or worries, but I never read my statements and I don’t know exactly what I spend my money on. I want my spending to be lean, organised and reduced to the minimum. As a part of this I’m also going to eliminate all paper-based statements that currently get sent to me, as well as automate all of my regular payments. This new lifestyle is going to be frugal, I will only spend money on things that I must and which I have scrutinised.

This is going to be an interesting process if nothing else!