Monday, February 29, 2016
Today feels like a bonus day. For my wife and me, it's one extra romantic day to add to "Valentine's Month." I'm going to soak up some sunshine on this exceptionally warm 55º day while cooking up some steaks on my Weber barbecue grille. It's the perfect day to be leaping. How about you? Do you have any special plans to celebrate this special day? Savor it. It only happens once every four years. Happy Leap Year!
Sunday, February 28, 2016
If your life is missing something, it may be time to check your confidence meter and see if that's the source of your problem. Low levels of confidence contribute to all sorts of issues, like relationship troubles, lack of sleep, sickness and work challenges. That promotion you've been hoping for may not happen until you boost your confidence. Here are some ideas:
- Start small. Work on the areas of your life you already feel comfortable with. Minor improvements go a long way.
- Ask your friends for help. They know what your strengths are. Ask them to identify them for you and get some advice about making your best qualities stronger.
- Stop doing the activities that highlight your weaknesses. These things can be done better by others. The best use of your time is working on activities that you can handle better than anyone else.
- Build on your achievements. Confidence increases when you put together a series of victories. Use your momentum to your advantage.
- Get back up every time you fall. Each punch you get in life is a lesson. The more punches, the more wisdom. You will become unstoppable and your confidence will show.
Saturday, February 27, 2016
Mel Gibson said it best in his Braveheart speech, "they may take our lives but they will never take our freedom." I picture him leading my fellow countrymen in a modern day war against debt. Where are the frugalites? Are they running and hiding? Do they choose not to face their debt challenges head-on? I know first-hand how difficult it is to get out of debt once you find yourself in the muck. You must stand up and fight. Today is the day.
Here's an excerpt from Braveheart. Pretend for a moment Mel Gibson is speaking directly to you about your debt challenges. Listen carefully to what he says. When the clip ends, decide if you want to become a frugalite. I'm going to be writing more about this topic and I would love it if you join me on the road to financial freedom. Are you in? Have a great day.
Friday, February 26, 2016
Mother Nature never fully revealed herself to me until I moved to the Midwest four years ago. That's when my comfort zone was pushed to new limits, especially in the depths of Winter. The training wheels were removed after the first year and she tested my optimism with a -34º arctic wind. "Stay home today," my wife tempted. I shook my head no and added extra layers before departing. Nothing was going to stop me from the full experience. I passed the test and became fully Iowan on that record-setting day. My secret? One word. Invincible. Don't leave home without it. Use it year-round. Have a great day.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
This quote called out to me this morning. It summarizes what I'm feeling in my heart. Some of the challenges I'm dealing with have been with me a long time. I believe it's the warrior spirit inside me that keeps me going in the face of adversity. May this quote help you face your greatest obstacles. Don't give up. Don't give in. You are being shaped. Have a great day.
Wednesday, February 24, 2016
Do you ever surprise your friends when you do the things you do? I'm referring to those times when your actions seem extraordinary, even magical. You pull a rabbit out of the hat when you have no resources. You make problems disappear into thin air. You hypnotize others with your mesmerizing ways. These are all gifts bestowed on you. You are the only person in this world uniquely qualified to do the work assigned to you. Your challenge is to figure out how to develop all your gifts so you can make the magic happen consistently. Study. Rehearse. Everything you do is to prepare you for that moment when you're called to center stage. Make sure you're ready. Have a great day.
Tuesday, February 23, 2016
You have two choices on your road to a healthy life – Excuses or action. If you're reading this, you must be looking at the action option. Excuses are so much easier. Everyone I know has their favorite. They blame their genes or their upbringing. They blame the economy. Action people look in the mirror and say, "let's get moving." Sooner or later, obstacles will appear. Expect them. Treat them as hurdles to jump over so your muscle strength improves. Or walls to climb over to build upper body strength. And when you find yourself underwater, there's your opportunity to learn better breathing techniques. The key is action. Keep moving.
Beware of the excuse makers. They congregate around the water cooler selling their excuses to anyone who will listen. Whatever you do, don't buy them. Run away from them. They are cheering for you to fall and they secretly hope you won't get back up because if you do, their excuse becomes invalid. Avoid debating them. You can't win a war of words. Action is your best weapon. Show others the road to a healthy life ahead by your own example. Your picture of good health is worth a thousand words, especially around the water cooler. Have a great day.
Monday, February 22, 2016
I'd like to give a shout out to Mrs. Caveman today. She took a big step forward over the weekend in the direction of a healthier life. It's not easy when the man of the house keeps rearranging the steps every time he thinks he's found a better configuration. I must confess this is encoded in my DNA. I like tinkering with all things healthy. The one lesson I learned about steps to a healthier life is action is required. Step forward. Climb. Move. Turn your unhealthy life around.
We've been living next door to an amazing health club for nearly four years but decided not to join until other parts of our lives were in order. This weekend we made it official. We're members. Mrs. Caveman starts her first fitness class tonight. I'm so proud of her. My hope is that her action steps will inspire others to join the fun. My challenge for you today is to take the first action step to a healthier life. What are you going to do? If you need help, let's do it together. Come back any time for ideas. I'm going to keep rearranging my steps until I get them right. Have a great day.
Sunday, February 21, 2016
A wise man once told me, "if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans." I know I made a lot of people laugh when I shared my plans with them. I thought I had every minute detail worked out. One day I woke up and discovered Plan B. Some may debate its origin but I know where it came from. All I can say is I'm following Plan B and I'm all in. The one thing I can say about Plan B is that I really don't have any control over it. The only part of the plan where my input is needed has to do with my attitude. Attitude is the game changer. I can be happy in all circumstances regardless of the outcome. You can too. Give happiness a try. Have a great day.
Saturday, February 20, 2016
The temptations to pull out that credit card are always there. They appear out of nowhere, like the Borg from Star Trek, attacking innocent victims with their battle cry, "Resistance is futile...you will be assimilated!" Maybe it's a good thing my TV is unplugged for six weeks. There are no ads to pull me or the Mrs. off course to a debt free life. We are moving ahead at warp speed and nothing will stop us. My secret weapon is the envelope method. If there's no cash in the envelope, there's no shopping.
If you're serious about getting out of debt, consider the cash envelope method. I use one for my vacation fund and set a savings goal before the vacation begins. I use my credit card to book hotel rooms and plane tickets but pay them off with the cash in the envelope as soon as the bill arrives. This keeps me out of debt. Another envelope is used for emergencies. If an emergency comes up, we tap the envelope and repay it quickly. It works. Try it. Be careful not to touch the envelope for anything other than its designated purpose. Your vacations will be more fun and your emergencies will be nothing more than minor inconveniences. By the way, if you see any Borg-like salespeople in your life today, just tell them, "we will not be assimilated." Your cash envelope is your best defense in the debt battle. Have a great day.
Friday, February 19, 2016
Lite living is our household mantra. It's an attitude. I didn't become a "frugalite" overnight. It's a series of baby steps. I remember navigating the Kern River with my oldest son when he was a teenager. The rapids reached stage IV and were barely navigable. We fell out of the boat several times but we finally reached our destination. At the end, my son looked at me and said, "Dad, that was really fun. Let's do it again." In order to become a champion frugalite, you need to fix your eyes on the goal and decide you're going to get there no matter how challenging the obstacles. Falling out of the boat is part of the journey. Frugalites never give up. They see joy in the whitewater rapids and find a way to navigate during troubled times.
Every morning when you wake up those stage IV rapids are waiting for you. If you want to live like a frugalite, choose wisely at every turn. Plan ahead for the danger zones. Avoid temptations. Have fun. It's not about depriving yourself of a joyful life. It's all about maximizing the resources and opportunities at your fingertips. Seize the day. Have a great day.
Thursday, February 18, 2016
Want more satisfaction with your life? I know the secret. It's not mediocrity. It's your willingness to experience situations outside your comfort zone. There's no easy way to get there. Go ahead. Leap. Don't worry about your heart skipping a beat. Live your life to the fullest. Just do it. Have a great day.
Wednesday, February 17, 2016
Frugality – the quality of being economical with money or food; thriftiness.
Frugalite – a lighthearted person who pursues frugality as an authentic way of life (you won't find it this word in the dictionary. I made it up during my morning writing session).
Do you like all things frugal? I must confess I started my frugal ways somewhat reluctantly. Over time I found my lifestyle changes to be more to my liking. It was as if my pallet for simplicity changed. I lost my taste for expensive cars and high dollar mortgages. Debt left a bad aftertaste in my mouth and I decided to eliminate it from my diet. Something happens to your soul when you dedicate yourself to this kind of lifestyle. I'm no longer a prisoner. I'm free. I'm a frugalite!
The next step in my journey is to connect with others who share my values or desire to downsize. I think it will be fun to build a community of frugalites. There may not be a place for this word in the dictionary but we can all fit in here. Who's in? Do you want to be a frugalite? Join me. Have a great day.
Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Happiness. I'm studying it. I'm researching it. I'm living it. It comes easily for some and it's more difficult for others. If happiness were a color, what color would you put on? I'm known for wearing blue Nike running shoes at my day job. I call them my blue zone shoes and they fit well in my "happiness zone." My feet are comfortable and I can enjoy a short run any time during the day when the opportunity presents itself. Here are five ideas to help you expand your happiness zone:
- Read about others who are happy. My next book on my reading list is "The Blue Zones, Lessons for Living Healthier from the People Who've Lived the Longest," by Dan Buettner. It was recommended to me by someone I met last week who is really happy.
- Surround yourself with plants. The really happy person I met last week has plants in every nook and cranny of her office.
- Hang out with happy people. I believe happiness is contagious. So is snarkiness and cynicism. Check out your circle of friends to see what you might catch.
- Do what makes you happy. My top three happy activities are playing tennis, writing and swimming. They contribute to my overall sense of well being.
- Be happy. I've spent the last seven years of my life forcing myself to do things that aren't really on my happy list but are on my "necessary" list. I'll share more about these activities in later stories. The point is simple – you can be happy in all circumstances if you choose to do so.
Monday, February 15, 2016
Congratulations to two players who split the $100 cash prize in the caveman biggest loser contest which ended on Valentine's Day. The 45 day social media game ended in a tie when players reported their final weight loss numbers and Yvonne D. and Christine P. both revealed they each lost 17 pounds. Players were encouraged to give up processed foods and eat mainly fruits, veggies and nuts.
The game was inspired by Dr. John Mulligan, a cousin of the caveman who was testing the idea that giving up certain foods which cause inflammation can reduce blood pressure readings outside the ideal zone. When the caveman lost 35 pounds during Phase I of the experiment, friends and family members wanted to join and Rock, Paper, Caveman was started on January 1. Every player in the game reported weight losses and reduced waistlines. Christine P. reported she will use her prize money to buy new capris since the weather is heating up in her home state and her old clothes no longer fit.
The caveman who volunteered to be the lab rat in the experiment plans to expand the social media game once additional sponsors are added to the mix.
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Happy Valentine's Day. Mrs. Caveman and I are celebrating this day with a fresh blanket of snow on the ground. It's a great day to crank up the fireplace and celebrate our love. For us, every day in February is "Valentine's Month." The little surprises add some spice to our lives.
Today is also the final day in the Rock, Paper, Caveman game I started on New Year's Day for a group of friends. If you check back tomorrow, you can see who wins the biggest loser competition. The objective is to maximize your health while losing weight by eating mainly fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and seeds. I believe your good health is the best gift you can give your loved ones. It's never too late to get some love in the air. Commit today to making better food choices and decide to increase your activity levels. Don't let a few snowflakes prevent you from some outdoor fun. Have a great day.
Saturday, February 13, 2016
One of my friends will win $100 tomorrow on Valentine's Day for being the biggest loser in my social media game. They heard about my caveman food experiment and decided to give Rock, Paper, Caveman a try. The idea was to see if giving up processed foods for 45 days and eating mostly fruits, veggies and nuts could help with weight loss. I was the first lab rat in the experiment, originally designed to see if my high blood pressure issues could be resolved without medication. I reached the ideal blood pressure range during the first week of the experiment by giving up all processed foods and changing my eating habits. My 35 pound weight loss got my friends interested in joining the experiment. I'm really happy for them. It's not easy to give up your favorite foods. 45 days may seem like a lifetime when you're trying to change things up.
If you would like to find out who the biggest loser is, click here to visit the game page on Facebook and check in on Valentine's Day. Stay tuned for the rest of the story. These food issues have been slow cooking in a crock pot for a hundred years. My social media game isn't going to fix America's food problems in 45 days but I do believe the results achieved by my friends will help others make better choices and become healthier in the generations to come.
Friday, February 12, 2016
This may sound strange to some of you out there in the bloggage world, but I think I found the key to my purpose in life this morning and it's so incredibly simple you may want to adapt it for your own personal use. My purpose is to expand my happiness zone to include as many others as possible, one day at a time, one story at a time and one person at a time. Here's what I mean:
- Every moment is filled with limitless possibilities and choices. My focus is on the best choice based on my personal experience and knowledge. There is no lingering or indecisiveness. Once I make a choice, I move forward to the next set of circumstances and choose to be happy with all outcomes.
- The only baggage I choose to carry with me on my travels is one small carry-on bag filled with experiences from all previous choices. There's no room for grudges, excuses or guilt. The carry-on bag will help me make better choices as I progress in my journey.
- Each person I meet allows me an opportunity to expand my happiness zone. They have their own unique experiences and stories to share. We are all connected. There is great joy in sharing the road with others.
- Every story I write, no matter how small or insignificant, is worth sharing because this is my opportunity to expand my happiness zone. The best part of the story is in the sharing.
Thursday, February 11, 2016
Consistency is what get things done. Small doses of consistency on a daily basis help you become strong enough to handle challenges in your life. I make sure my consistency pill contains two vital components – diet and exercise. Skip these pills too often and bad things happen to your body and your mind. Take them daily and you will find yourself on top of the world.
What's in your consistency pill? If you need to change your pill or add an ingredient that's missing from your life, today is the day to make the appropriate adjustments. Have a great day.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Overwhelmed by all demands you face in life? It's easy to slip when you're pulled in multiple directions. I have an idea for you. It's really simple and it helps me get through the times in my life when I have a lot on my plate. Here goes:
Focus all your attention on the next 24 hours. Don't worry about what happened yesterday, last week, last month or last year. Forget about it. Your next 24 hours are all about what is going on in your life that needs attention. Use the time you used to spend dwelling on the past and get busy living. Avoid spending too much time thinking about future activities. Devote all your energy to what's going on in your life right now. The future will take care of itself if you do all the right things today.
These are the questions I ask myself every day that help me stay focused in the moment:
- What are the best foods to eat at each meal that are going to help me have the most energy?
- What can I be working on in the next hour that will enhance the quality of my life?
- What do I need to stop doing so that I no longer waste time?
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
"Your firefighter buddy says eggs are no good," my wife told me as I bit into my fried egg covered in mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, almonds and walnuts. We're in the food debate together and she's reading Rip Esseltyn's book, "the Engine 2 Diet," during her lunch breaks to gain more information about nutrition. Most of our conversations lately are about food.
For me, food choices are easier to make when I view my options the way Thomas Edison looked at light bulbs. His detractors wanted him to give up because he was floundering. He pushed forward, telling his naysayers, "I'm finding out what doesn't work." His first 1,000 attempts helped him discover the right solution.
I know one thing for sure, there are no u-turns in my food pursuits. My old choices would have ended up with "lights out" and I would have died prematurely. That leaves three more uncharted choices – right, left or forward straight ahead. I'm going to keep experimenting and keep researching. As for eggs, I re-introduced them in my diet and I'm watching my cholesterol numbers to see if there are any changes. I suspect the while Rip got a lot of things right in his book, he may have failed to grasp how the body handles outside cholesterol when it is digested. There is so much to learn. Just make sure you're not standing still when it comes to nutrition choices. Get active. Enjoy the journey, no matter what direction you decide to go. Have a great day.
Monday, February 8, 2016
I called timeout on my belly at the end of my summer vacation last year and the timeout is still not over. It was supposed to be a 45 day cessation of regular eating. I use the term "regular" meaning "the average American diet." This is the diet that's slowly killing us. The only way I was going to win the war with my belly fat was to cut the main supply line and smuggle in some fruits and veggies. It turns out I was suffering from something food related that caused my insides to inflame and my blood pressure to spike out of control. The excess belly fat my body was storing was a symptom something was very wrong. I thought my belly fat was part of the normal aging process but I was incorrect. That's why I extended the 45 day timeout period. Something really special happens when the inner caverns of the large and small intestines are flooded with foods rich in nutrients that haven't been processed to the point where the body no longer recognizes it as food. That's the moment when the conflict ends. The brain and the belly form a truce.
My hope is that American belly wars will come to a conclusion. Can it be as simple as declaring a 45 day timeout on your belly? If you're willing to give up processed foods for 45 days and eat mostly fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and seeds, I believe you have a chance to find new life. Some of my friends and family members are in the final week of their 45 day experiment and the results are astounding. Click here to check in on the group. Please share this story with anyone you know who is searching for a way to deal with their belly. I'll be happy to share my story with them. Have a great day.
Sunday, February 7, 2016
Some of my friends and family members are engaged in a social media game I started to inspire weight loss and improved health. The biggest loser wins $100 on Valentine's Day. I was the first lab rat in the experiment to see if food changes could reduce my high blood pressure readings. The alternative would have been a lifetime of prescription medicine. I'm happy to report that this lab rat is feeling good and all health issues are fully resolved. Now it's time to cheer on my friends and family members who gave up their Super Bowl pizza for a shot at the hundred bucks. This race is going to be a photo finish.
If you're curious about the game, type Rock, Paper, Caveman in your search bar on your Facebook page or click here for the link. Enjoy your Super Bowl Sunday and have a great day.
Saturday, February 6, 2016
There is one aspect of my food journey that really gets my blood pumping and that's sharing the road with friends and family. My mother was shocked when she picked me up at the airport last month. She knew about my food experiment and why I gave up so many of my favorite foods but she said the photos I sent her didn't reveal the whole picture of my good health.
I knew something special was happening when my mother recounted her memories of grandma's homemade tortillas to my cousin John, the doctor who initiated the food experiment that saved my life. Mom told me she is willing to give up tortillas and revamp her food menu in order to kick Type II Diabetes in the butt. She is already down seven pounds in two-and-a-half weeks. Others in my test group are reporting astounding results. It turns out eating the way our ancestors ate is good for your health. I gave up processed foods and eat mostly fruits, veggies, nuts, beans and seeds. Next month I will be visiting my physician for a six month follow-up since I last had my lipid panels checked. The results aren't really for my benefit because I know how I feel on the inside. The results are for others who may want to share the food journey with me on the road to optimum health. My hope is that my story will inspire others to make changes to their food program. I hope my grandma will forgive me for giving up her tortillas and for convincing my mom to do the same but I think she's smiling from above as she watches us learn how to improve our health. Have a great day.
Friday, February 5, 2016
Like it or not, you are a walking billboard and your sign reveals much about your health. You may feel you're safe because your message blends perfectly with millions who live in America. Not so fast. Ask yourself, is it possible my walking billboard is not a reflection of what God had in mind when he created me? Did I somehow change the message by mistreating my body? I was guilty of this. That's when I decided it was time to downsize my over-sized belly.
The truth is you are what you eat. Eat healthy and you look healthy. Make poor eating decisions and your walking billboard is visible for all the world to see. Unfortunately, if you fail to make changes, your sign is taken down early and your message is removed prematurely because of a heart attack, stroke or other food related disease.
My hope for you today is that you will choose to separate yourself from a sea of sick billboards dotting our country and become a walking billboard of good health that inspires the next generation of people who will inherit this planet. What message will you choose to display for others? You don't have to answer. Your billboard speaks for itself. Have a great day.
Thursday, February 4, 2016
Late Bloomer: A late bloomer is a person whose talents or capabilities are not visible to others until later than usual.
Are you worried you haven't found your purpose in life yet? Take a deep breath and let go of your worries. I've been so busy battling my demons these last several decades that I failed to see what's blooming in my garden of life at the ripe old age of fifty-five. Many in my age group say their best days are behind them. They let their waistlines get out of control. They stopped exercising. Today I'm saluting all the late bloomers in the world who refuse to let time be a boundary.
It's never too late to be what you might have been. Think about that today when you go out into the world. If you want to plant a garden in the Winter stages of your life, today is that day to get busy. Don't make excuses. Be that rose that blooms when all the other flowers in the garden have withered. Have a great day.
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
The smartest person in the room isn't necessarily the one who will change the world. The one to watch is that individual who oozes passion from the depths of his or her own soul. This is the one who will move mountains. Why? Because this person always finds a way to get things done in spite of any shortcomings he or she may have.
I believe the greatest asset an individual can possess is love. Love inspires passion. When you are so deeply in love that you will let go of everything else in the world in order for love to blossom, then you know what I'm referring to. You know where passion comes from. You can feel it inside you. Your passion will lead you to places and people you never would have dreamed to be possible if you only paid attention to the intelligent ones who measure risk and probabilities of success. The smart ones advise you not to follow your heart because you will surely fall and you may get hurt. But the passionate ones know love heals all wounds. They know you can't put a price tag on chasing dreams even if your net may appear empty to the outside world. Follow your passion. Live the dream. Have a great day.
Tuesday, February 2, 2016
It's not about 100% agreement. It's not about hiding your feelings. It's about being present in the moment. Relationships won't survive if one individual in stuck in a previous chapter or another is so concerned about the future that they start skipping over things that matter today. Living in the moment together requires commitment. When it's done right, it's like watching a pair of ice dancers skating in harmony. And when the rhythm isn't there, everyone cringes. It's painful to watch.
Are you afraid your storybook may not have a happy ending because you and your lover are out of sync? Take a moment today to share why you're not on the same page and work it out. Listen to your partner. Let the words soak in. And don't be afraid to adjust your timing so the two of you can live on the same page. Turn the pages together and enjoy the journey. Have a great day.
Monday, February 1, 2016
Mrs. Caveman and I shared everything you see pictured above in this morning's breakfast meal. The fruit on the plate in the upper left was blended in a high speed blender along with the oranges, bananas, 1/2 avocado, celery and spinach. I fried the egg in coconut oil and added almonds, walnuts, tomato, onion and mushroom on top with a dash of salsa. This is how I kick-start all my mornings and the routine keeps me going until lunch.
If you're having trouble getting out of bed in the morning, take a look at what you're eating. You owe it to yourself to feed your body what it needs to power through your day without feeling like you have an anchor tied around your belly. Have a great day.