As a Physical and Health Education major and a personal trainer throughout University it was kind of embarrassing to find myself in a place where my scale hit 272 lbs around 2 1/2 years ago. Now part of this can be blamed on my sedentary lifestyle while I was at home dealing with my anxiety and sleep issues but much of it was to blame from my lifestyle throughout my 30’s. My 30’s were busy building up my speaking ministry, lots of travel, lots of work, lots of bad choices in restaurants, lots of second helpings during mealtime and the busier my life got less and less exercise.
Yesterday when I hit my scale and it said 231.8 I was pretty excited. My goal was to lose 40 lbs and then I would reevaluate. There have been a number of people who have asked me over the past few months how I was losing the weight. Perfect question for a little blog. Here is what I did.
Diet and Exercise. That’s it. No specific diet or specific exercise routine. Just watched what I ate and exercise daily (if I could)
Diet – I made simple sustainable changes in my diet
I stopped drinking calories. No more pop (soda for my U.S. friends), no more orange juice, no more apple juice etc.
I stopped having a second helping of any meal. This was always hardest at Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving
I began to have 1 smoothie a day to replace a meal (usually breakfast ). I bought a Magic Bullet which has been awesome. You can have hundreds of combinations of smoothies. My favourite is Protein powder, fruits (your choice), Progressive VegeGreens & PhytoBerry powder, Cocoa (this makes it taste like a chocolate milkshake), flax seeds, omega 3 liquid, yogurt and sometimes a banana. Below is a picture of what I would usually put into each smoothie. It is important for me to note that my smoothies were for health as well as weight loss. I choose to add those healthy items to my smoothie for my wellness.
I began to try and have 1 salad as a daily meal (usually lunch). See image below. Every salad was different. Lots of veges and always protein included ( chicken, egg etc)
Eating out at restaurants I always blamed as a reason but this was really a choice for me. When I am on the road speaking, I now eat pita’s or schwarma’s when I can. If I am stuck out at a burger joint I would have a burger, side salad and a water.There are lots of better choices at restaurants. It is still hard to make the right choice when I am out, sometimes I crave fries so I will allow myself what I call a handful and stick to that.
I cut down on evening snacks before bed
I cut down on my consumption of bread. When I have eggs I now only have 1 piece of whole wheat bread with it. Not 2 or 3
I drank lots of water
For snacks I would have fruit, nuts (small handful of almonds or sunflower seeds)
I switched margarine back to butter
I cut out all Aspartame from diet
Exercise – I try and exercise daily
I took up running when I was 38. I continue to love my runs (2-3 times per week). Below is a screen shot of the running app I use called Endomondo. I also bought a heart rate monitor
I started using an app on my phone called MOVES. It tracks how many steps I get a day. The minimum you should have is 5000 and the suggested is 10,000. Some days when I was working from home I would only get 1200 steps a day. When I was out I took the stairs anytime I could. I would park farther away at a mall or grocery store so I could add in more steps. Little changes add up over time. Below is a screenshot from yesterday.
The days I was not running I added in weights. I was using the 2 weight routines from the P90X workouts. I also had a few other stretching and cardio routines I would add in to change up the routine.
Cheating: I also cheat in my diet and exercise. Last night I had a burger and fries for dinner (with water). Sometimes I take a day off of exercising. You can treat yourself once in a while, just not everyday.
For me these changes have been ones that are sustainable in my life. It is a new healthy lifestyle that I hope to continue. I have set a new goal of 220 for my weight. I don’t really know what the perfect weight it as everyone one is different. My goals now are to keep up my healthy lifestyle. Being a guy who is 6’6″ tall I think that around 200 might be perfect for me.
Nietzsche once talked about for anything great to happen there needs to be a “Long obedience in the same direction” So what can you change in your life today? What is one thing you can switch to move you more towards a health sustainable lifestyle?
Love to hear in the comments what has been helping you in your journey towards a more healthy lifestyle. What has worked for you? What has not?
Porn: So much struggle and addiction and so little answers, solutions and freedom. One of the best discussions for those of us coming from a Christian Worldview would be from a blog from Tim Challies called 7 Reasons to Stop Looking at Porn Right Now. He goes through each of the reasons below
The Cost to your Soul
The Cost to your Neighbour
The Cost to your Family
The Cost to your Mission
The Cost to your Witness
The Cost to your Saviour
The only one I might add to this list is the Cost to your own Body. As I am working through my research for a talk on pornography called “The Porn Project” I have been fascinated to find an entire online community (not faith based) equipping, supporting and empowering people (men and women) to stop watching pornography. It is often called the “NoFap” movement which is not a Christian movement at all. In case you are wondering what Fap is, it is a bit of Internet vernacular for the act of self-love (masturbation). So the NoFap movement is asking people to stop looking at all forms of porn and stop masturbating. People often say to me that their porn addiction is not hurting anyone. From Tim’s blog it is hurting some of the largest areas of our life. What seems to be missing along side these thoughts in our Christian community is the realization that there are also physiological issues with long term masturbation to pornography from Porn Induced Erectile Dysfunction, Sexual Exhaustion etc. Many people I talk to seem to think that these physical issues are a joke and are not true.
Below are a few videos for you to watch. It takes such courage to open up and speak as these people do about such a private struggle. Please remember this are not Christian groups so you may find some rough language.
As I travel I talk to men and women nightly who talk about addictions to porn. I have hundreds of emails of people struggling in their Christian faith due to issues with porn. I have heard from a over 100 women who have told me that their marriages were destroyed from their husbands addictions to pornography. Pastors tell me it is an epidemic in their youth groups and throughout adults in their churches.
While I am finishing my research on this talk I thought it would be interesting to see if I could find 100 people who would want to take part in a small experiment. Rather than talking about all the ways porn has hurt us I would love to see how getting rid of porn in our lives helps us, especially those of us coming from a Christian Perspective. I am open to people who are not faith based to take this challenge. Love to here your thoughts as well.
So here is the experiment:
I am looking for 100 people who are interested in taking a 60 day (2 months) challenge to be completely porn free in your life.
To some of you 60 days might seem like an eternity. I would respond and say that if you cannot go 60 days without porn or sexualized media in your life than you probably can at least acknowledge that you are struggling with this. Also, during this journey if you fail, then try and think why you failed (were you alone too much, tired, angry etc). learn from your setback, and try and get back to the journey.
This video gives some great advice on how to do this.
Practical stuff: I will NEVER be posting your names anywhere ever. I am interested in your journey goes:
If you are interested in being part of this journey you just need to let me know. Send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or hit me up on any social media. Then as you are going through your journey keep a small journal. Write down anything you think might be interesting. Some questions are below. You can send me thoughts at the end or anytime in the middle. If anyone worries that someone might see your email. It is only going to me and I will never share this information with anyone. If you are really worried make a fake gmail account and email me from that. The goal is not to shame anyone but to look at a journey like this together.
Here are some questions I would love to know. You can add any more you like.
How hard was the decision to stop? Where you able to stop? Did you relapse?
What kinds of things did you have to change?
Did you have any withdrawal affects? What were they? When in your journey did you have them?
Thinking of the areas that Tim talked about in his blog. Tell me how if affected your: Soul – did your faith change?
Neighbour – Did you thoughts change about the people in the videos? Your neighbours? Did you look at woman (or men) different when you saw them?
Did it change your engagement at church?
How did the reboot affect your relationship with your family? As a parents did you feel freedom that your family would not find pornography on your computer etc?
Did you find you engaged more with the areas you feel called to be involved in? Volunteer?
Did you find that your witness changed? Did you feel like less of a fraud?
If you are married how did your relationship change with your wife or husband?
Anything else that you found in your journey to be noteworthy.
So what does this journey include. Anything sexual. That includes looking at sexualized images on social media (some of you might have to delete people you are creeping through their photos on Facebook or Instagram), all pornographic websites, TV and Movies with nudity and overt sexuality and any other areas from your thought life (fantasy or remembering past sexual encounters) to anything else that would turn you on sexually (I am not including regular sexual intimacy within marriage).
For Christians it should be enough for us to stop from a Theological standpoint (Scripture) but I think it will become very real very quick if you take this challenge that porn might have its hold on you. Many guys online (see websites #7 (Your Brain on Porn) and #8 (Your Brain Rebalanced) at the end of this blog talk about brutal side affects after Dopamine is no longer being drenched onto your pleasure centres in your brain. Many of the comments on the side effects are within just days of stopping. All I can say is why not try and live 60 days without porn and see how it goes.
During this time I would also encourage you to spend more time with God in prayer and Scripture reading. I would also encourage you to exercise, eat better and get lots of sleep. You might also need to talk to a counsellor to help you walk through this.
It would be awesome if you could share this blog around through email, other blogs or on social media. Thanks
I will leave you with this awesome poem for your journey:
“I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost… I am helpless. It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again. I can’t believe I am in the same place. But, it isn’t my fault. It still takes me a long time to get out.
I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I still fall in. It’s a habit. My eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.
walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.
I walk down another street.”
― Portia Nelson, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk
The Romance of Self-Discovery
If you are looking for other great resources there is so much great information on all of the websites below. Please take some time to go through them. If there are any great articles, books or other resources please send them to me and I will add them to this list.
“In the things we agree on Unity, in the things we disagree on Liberty, but in all things Love”
Can I just encourage people (speaking mostly to the Christian community) who are having discussions on the new Sex Education Curriculum to do so with respect, thoughtfulness and in all that we do …love.
If someone has a differing opinion than you on this topics it does not automatically mean that
they are not a Christian
they are (all pulled from blog comments on a number of sites today) stupid, ignorant, crazy, bull headed (my favourite), bad parents, crazy liberals, …
It is really discouraging to see all of the vile comments all over social media as people are discussing something.
I wonder how many people will never set foot inside a church due to the comments they read.
I think the one really good thing in all of this discussion is it is forcing all of us parents to think through how we are talking about these topics with our kids in our own homes.
It is challenging the churches and youth workers to evaluate how we can come alongside parents and support then in these tough conversations.
We teach our kids to ask for help when they need it and as we watch our children mature we remind them, “If you ever need anything, just ask”. As adults, though, when we need help ourselves, we rarely ask for it. This is certainly true of me in my own life. For years people have said to me, “If you ever want to do something and cannot afford it, just ask”.
So let me be very clear: Now, I am asking. I really need your help. I have been the Executive Director of Worlds Apart since 1997. In fact, back in 2005 I left my teaching job to go into this ministry full-time. To this day my passion to see youth, parents and leaders connect their ancient faith with their modern world motivates me to find better ways to bridge this gap. Presently, there are 2 main projects that I can use your help with:
1. One of the largest questions students and parents email me about is the topic of sex. I have a talk called the.sex.talk, which is a large broad conversation on this topic. It is a very practical talk about creating a sexual ethic in our Christian lives. Basically how we connect our faith and our sexuality. It walks through topics like media, theology, consequences and other practical advice. The filming, editing and printing of this talk will cost approximately $11,000.
2. As a speaker I have noticed that there are very few statistics from a Canadian perspective. I would like to create a site to create some Canadian stats in our Christian community. Before I come to a speaking date I would be able to send a church a link to a list of questions. When I come to that church I would be able to leave them with a list of stats for their congregation dealing with issues from faith, mental health and other topics. It would help that church see where there might be some issues and then look at how they can program better for those areas. We could also offer the church some suggestions and resources to help with areas that people in the congregation might be struggling with. The cost for the create of the website, professional creation of questions and design is about $11,000. (Raised $5000)
We are also continue to look for 200 people who will support the work of Worlds Apart at $120 a year. This minimal donation runs at only $10 a month. I presently have the opportunity to speak across Canada to tens of thousands of students, parents and leaders each year.
I am asking you to consider financially supporting us as we pursue the initiatives above. Donations can be assigned to a specific project or simply directed to the charity for use where needed.
To donate online go to www.brettullman.com, click “Main Speaking Site” at the top, and choose the “Support” Tab on the right side of the website. Then click the CanadaHelps button.
To donate by mail please make your cheque payable to “Worlds Apart” and address them to: Worlds Apart, 68 Ashbury Blvd, Ajax, Ontario, L1Z 1M8.
If you have any questions please contact me through social media or email me at email@example.com.
Thanks so much for your time,
Brett Ullman (www.brettullman.com)
For the past year I have been posting daily free books for the kindle. People often write me and ask how I find these books. It is quite simple. I signed up for a daily email from the site below.
I have built up a collection on my kindle of over 800 books. Some of these I am reading now and the rest are there for when I or my family find those topics useful for their lives. It is great to have a library of great books available for different seasons of your life. Enjoy.
Over the past few years I have been taking a little personal survey after being together with anyone where a conversation was had. This could be at school, church, conferences, going to the movies with friends, and other get togethers you can think of. What I am watching is how conversations go. My wife (Dawn) is a master question asker kind of person. She would pepper you with tons of questions if you are together on all areas of life, faith, family and other. She is genuinely interested in what is going on with people. What is weird to me is when people are not interested back.
How many times in the past year have you been together with someone and after you were with them you realize that they did not ask a single question about you, your family, your children, your job, your hopes, your dreams … basically anything at all about you?
For me I find this is around 50% of all of my conversations. It is like we seem to be losing the art of conversation. In my mind sometimes while people are talking I have the desire to say “Enough of about you lets talk a little about me!” I have yet to use that 🙂
Now my first response is to call people Narcissist’s.
Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes. The term originated from the Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water.
Calling people names does not solve anything and it also does not give anyone the benefit of the doubt. I sometimes wonder
Have people been raised by parents who have taught them they are the only thing that matters?
Are people just that bad at conversation that all they can talk about is themselves?
Do people just not care about each other?
Are people just Narcissists today in society?
I remember from reading a number of John Maxwell’s books that he always talks about “adding value” to people. The idea is that if you are going to spend any time from a few moments to a long conversation that goal is going to be to add value to that person’s life through your conversation.
When you begin a conversation with someone ask yourself which of these people you are going to be:
Here I Am type of person – Is it all about you. What you can tell the other person about your life etc
There you Are type of person – When you see someone you are thinking of how you can find out more about them. What is going on with their life, family etc. How can you “add value” to them in this conversation.
The truth is that all conversations should end up being a little of both of these. If someones ask you how school is going the next question you would usually ask back is “How is school going for you?” For people who struggle in conversation, you can just take any question someone has asked you and ask that same question back to them.
Process: Over the next week try and be very mindful of what type of person you are being: Here I am or There you Are
Below is a great article with some more thoughts on this topic. Enjoy