Snoman's Journal, 05 April 2011

Week #1
Where Are You Now? Where Are You Going?

Colorado has 53 fourteeners.
"What's a fourteener?" you might ask.
It's a rocky mountain that has an elevation of over 14,000 feet. These are big beautiful mountains that reach far into Colorado's crystal clear blue skies.
Each summer, beginning when I was seven years old, my Dad would get the whole family together, including my brother and sister and Mom, and we'd all pile into our little Volkswagen and make the two-hour drive from Golden, a small town at the base of the foothills where I grew up, to the rugged Continental Divide. This mountain range is home to many of the towering fourteeners. And it was here that our family spent a great deal of time when I was growing up. In fact, climbing these mountains is my most vivid childhood memory. And by age 12, our family had climbed virtually all of them on average, a 12-mile trek which took six to eight hours each.
Looking back today, I realize that my Dad knew exactly what he was doing. He was helping me learn, by direct experience, essential skills for a successful life. For example, it's important to know precisely where you're starting from and exactly where you're going in order to get anywhere. Once you have these clear coordinates, then and only then can you choose the right path for going from point A to point B by way of the most efficient route.
You also learn to never climb alone. It's not safe and the risk of failing to make it to your destination is too high. It's also essential to properly plan and prepare for the climb before you begin. And once you get started, you have to take it one step at a time, and stay focused on the moment you're in.
Another lesson that I learned is that there is high probability that you'll experience adversity, even setbacks, during the climb. For example, the summer weather changes fast in this part of the country. It can be clear and sunny skies when you begin, but by the time you reach halfway, the sun can disappear behind rolling dark clouds with high-voltage lightening and booming thunder which echoes through the mountains. And then, of course, pouring rain, even snow in early June and late August is not uncommon. It does little good to hold on to the fear that this invokes. So you learn to feel the fear fast, let it run, and let it go. You also learn to stay close to your group, especially in times of adversity.
Beyond that, what can I say it just takes a lot of good old-fashioned work to get to the top. And there are times when you don't think you're ever going to get there its just too far to go and your legs and lungs are doing a remarkably good job of convincing your mind that you've reached your limits. But halfway up the mountain is never a good time to quit. It's then that some encouragement from your partners who are side by side with you and also embarking on the same challenging quest can help you the most. Even a few affirmative words and understanding, would always give me an extra boost.
Most of all though, what I learned which has been embedded into my mind, heart and soul from these incredible experiences is that there's no other feeling quite like reaching the top. Standing there, on top of the highest mountains in the Rockies knowing the amount of work, energy and determination it took to get there, makes it all worth it. And from up there, the view is amazing - just inspiring beyond description and the mind seems to expand as far and wide as the horizons.
Through these experiences, I learned early on that setting and achieving challenging goals was its own reward probably the most satisfying and fulfilling thing I've ever done.
Today, I'm still climbing mountains. My aspiration of helping to transform the nation from worst to first in terms of health and fitness within this lifetime, and perhaps even within ten years, is Mount Everest to me. In a way, it's a ridiculously challenging goal, and one many people say is impossible. But yet in my mind, in my understanding and belief, it is possible. I feel it and know it. And yet I realize that the only way to get there is one step at a time. And as I see it, each and every individual health transformation is a step in the right direction and a necessary one to get where we want, and need, to go. Which brings me to you, to your personal transformation journey over the course of these next 18 weeks. My intention is to do everything I can to help you successfully climb to the top of the mountain you need to climb. And so let's begin.

YOUR TRANSFORMATION JOURNEY: GETTING STARTED
For me to help you achieve success in your transformation journey, we both need to know, right up front, two vitally important things:
1) Where you're starting from.
2) Where you're going to.
Without these two key coordinates it would be impossible to measure your progress and success. It also makes it difficult for others to support and help you along the way. But when you are clear about where you are and precisely where you're going, myself and others in the community will be able to know and understand what this climb is all about for you and we can help you get there.
When we don't know where we're going, how can we tell if we ever get there? We can't. We're going to be lost at the beginning, middle and end of that journey. It's a game we can't win so it's one we're not even going to play. And even if you know where you're going, how can you choose the right path if you are uncertain about your starting point? Consider the example of a GPS system in a modern car. In order to guide you, it needs you to enter that very same information.
To me, the meaning of transformation is quite simple and it pertains to just what we're talking about here. It's going from one point to another, or more specifically, one state of being to another. The iconic symbol of the butterfly communicates this and a couple more important points which help us define transformation. Long before the Internet, before books, before most people could even read or write, symbols and allegories were the universal language, conveying concepts directly to the soul. Today, such archetypes continue to speak to us. And in this case, the metaphor of caterpillar to butterfly connotes three things:
1) Transformation is going from a lower to a higher state of being.
2) It's the ending of something old and the beginning of something new.
3) There's a degree of permanence, of irreversibility to it.
As we move forward, keep these points in mind as they are important differentiators between this process and conventional diets, workout programs and other self-improvement plans which deal merely with exterior issues. Whenever we try to change ourselves from the outside in, it never lasts. We lose weight only to gain it back. Or we might get motivated for a short period of time but it doesn't last. We might temporarily change our habits and patterns through self-restraint, but individual willpower is simply not enough to keep us on the right path for any considerable length of time.
You see, as long as were still the same, deep within our being at the level of our thoughts, beliefs, perceptions, and intentions we simply haven't undergone true transformation. It's because, inward processes always precede external forms and events. And so that's where we begin; we turn our attention inward as we begin this first step of self-appraisal.
Where are you now with your inner-state of being?
That can be a tricky question to answer so let me help point you in the right direction with this following list of self-inquiries.
HEART AND SOUL
Three values for my life, which I hold deep within my heart:
Here's an example:
1) Living a spiritually honorable life is my highest value. To me that means being honest, forgiving, authentic, humble, kind, grateful and of service to others.
2) Being the best parent, spouse, and friend that I can be is a big priority in my life. Being there when others need me is important.
3) I value my health and well-being.
EMOTIONS
In recent days and weeks, the three most predominant inner feelings I have been experiencing can be specifically described with these words:
Heres another example:
1) Unsettling concern about my weight and heart health; fearful that I might not live my full life.
2) Anxious, low energy, embarrassed about my condition; sometimes isolating because of it. Not interested as much as I used to be to do things that were once fun.
3) Feeling down, trapped, stuck; confused and unclear about how to break out of it. I feel like I want to change and better my life.
This pattern of feelings may or may not be something you can relate to. Certainly, if you've been involved in a healthy way of living in recent weeks you might be coming into this process feeling pretty good and you might be intuiting that this is an opportunity for you to be doing great! What's special about this program is that it allows each of us, no matter what our condition, the same powerful advantage of clarity and self-awareness.
MINDSET
Three beliefs about my ability to change, which are evident through my past behavior are:
The key to coming up with the most helpful answer to this self-inquiry is to look for the beliefs that might limit you and your progress. And what I mean by the ones which are evident in your past behavior are the preconceived notions that often give rise to seemingly valid reasons as to why you can't do something, even if it's good for your health. The external conditions of our lives reflect our inner beliefs. These are different than our values and often conflict with them. It's vitally important to reveal the most troublesome ones and remember, to do that you've got to be brutally honest and courageous in your confessions.
Real-life example:
1) I can't. Other people can lose weight and become healthy, even happy but I can't. I don't have the time. I don't have the money. I don't know how. I've got the wrong genetics. Now's not the time.
2) I don't deserve to be healthy and happy. I'm not worthy of it.
3) I can't change because the people around me and my circumstances in life prevent it.
Now again, this example may or may not be something you can relate to but we all have misperceptions and beliefs that limit our potential no matter where we are on the path. 'Im convinced that we always have a next level of personal growth that were capable of and, in fact, that higher level seems to always be calling on us to break the barriers of our current conditions and reach up for it. Essential to making that leap, is continually bringing these kinds of beliefs out from our unconsciousness into the light of our awareness. This is powerful stuff friends.
BODY
Three objectively verifiable and measureable statements which reflect my physical health right now are:
Example:
1) First A.M. scale weight: 217 lbs. mid-section measurement at the widest point: 46 inches. Bodyfat: 31%.
2) Cholesterol: 234 ng/ml. Blood pressure 142/87 as measured by my doctor.
3) I'm attaching my before picture taken from the front and another from the back.
Notice the first statement to describe where you are now physically requires just a common scale and tape measure. Both of these can be very helpful in describing your starting point, but I don't recommend that you base your daily or even weekly success on these measurements as we move forward. Once we get started, we'll be focusing much more on evaluating daily progress by whether we've done the work we need to do, in order to help our bodies and lives transform from the inside out. Using a tape measure or scale to check in on your physical results is something I'd only recommend doing every two to four weeks. I bring them up now because it's a rather common trap that we can all get stuck in and it can negatively affect our motivation and confidence. Believe me, the results will be there in the long run if we simply take it one step at a time and do the work we need to do.
It's also very helpful if you can include an important measure of your internal physical health. Cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure can really help our doctors monitor and protect our heart health.
And finally, to complete this process of self-evaluation which we have followed from the inside out, it's time to take your before photos. To do this, guys simply throw on a pair of workout or dress shorts, and stand face forward with no shirt and have someone snap a couple of quick pictures. Alternately, you might be able to set your camera on an automatic timer, stand in front of it and get the snapshot you need. Then stand facing away from the camera to get a good shot of how you look from the side. And then one where you're facing the opposite way so you have a record of how you look from the back. Gals, you'll want to do the same thing except, of course, wearing shorts and a sports bra or tank top. (Undergarments, bikinis and Speedos probably are not the ideal attire in case you decide to share your photos with a friend or group in the community. Im just trying to protect you with this recommendation.)
And now it's time for a really fun part of this assignment I want you to look forward 18 weeks from right now and envision what you want the results of your transformation to be. And again, to help guide you I've got a similar set of self-inquiries.
HEART AND SOUL
Looking forward, 18 weeks from now, describe three things that you are doing which indicate you are more in alignment with your heart-centered values.
For example:
1) I'm regularly making time for conscious contact, through prayer and meditation, with my spiritual nature and Divinity. My daily actions and behaviors are primarily from a place of goodness and in the interest of what's best for others, not just myself.
2) I'm able to both care and be there for my family and friends when they need me because I'm regularly doing the work that helps me become stronger and healthier in all ways.
3) I'm honoring my physical health by properly exercising and nourishing my body, as well as giving it optimal amounts of rest so it can continue to recover and renew each day.
I trust that with your before description of your values, you were able to identify your truly redeeming and even beautiful values when you turned inward to do some in-depth heart and soul searching. What I've discovered in recent years by coaching and guiding people through deeper aspects of transformation work is that most all of us have very similar values within our soul.
To me, it's affirming to notice this as I believe it's one of those special signs that we are all connected by the same universal intentions. Another thing I notice is that far too often the way we're actually living can be pretty far removed from these values. When that happens, were living in conflict inner conflict, between what our mind tells us is urgent each moment of the day and what our heart is telling us is truly important.
Being conflicted like that is a primary cause of the chronic stress that so many people in the modern world suffer from and eventually succumb to in the form of disease and even premature death. It's like having one foot on the accelerator and one on the brake - it just burns the motor up. It doesn't have to be like that. In fact, the moment we start moving in the direction of alignment the tension begins to dissolve, and in it's place, a massive outbreak of harmony begins to emerge. Seriously though, what I've experienced in my own life is that when I allow my heart to lead (rather than the brain in my head) life becomes a whole lot easier, healthier, and more enjoyable.
Now keep this in mind, it's all about the progress, not perfection. When we become aware of how pure and good the values and intentions deep within our heart and soul really are, we might also realize that they might be difficult, even impossible, to fully align with, at least when were still living in the physical world. The stories of the one, or depending what you believe, one's, who've achieved that level of transmigration/transformation are legend within the sacred narratives. But hey, we can always try right?
For me, aligning with heart- and soul-centered values is my guiding transformation intention. (Please remember intentions come from the heart to the mind not the other way around.) And that is why I continue working to make healthy changes in my life in order to make a difference in the lives of others. It means I clearly understand that the best way for me to make a difference in the world is to make the right changes within myself. It means I understand that difficulties in the external world such as the hatred of terrorism, the devastation of greed and/or consumption and the pandemic of preventable ill health sweeping the modern world can only be changed from within. And that means within you and within me. Our greatest responsibility in this life, and our highest call to duty, is nothing other than the total transformation of our being our consciousness our heart and soul. That's the one change that alters everything. I believe that's our fundamental purpose and if we are all so blessed to achieve that in our lifetime, I believe that well go to the next level knowing wholeheartedly that we have each made the most of our life and it's potential. (At least thats what I'm counting on!)
EMOTIONS
Looking forward, 18 weeks from now, the three most predominant inner feelings which describe what I'm experiencing are:
Example:
1) Confident about my state of health with my weight under control, and a good indicator from my doctor that my heart is becoming healthier than ever.
2) At peace with the condition of my body; happy with the improvements I've already made and continue to make. I have no apprehension about it; in fact, I enjoy going out and being actively involved with others, doing the things that I really enjoy.
3) Finally free to be me fully authentic and alive. Clear and certain that my life is moving in a positive direction. Excited and inspired to continue transforming my life.
You'll see by comparing the before feelings to the after that what you've got is a complete 180 - it's just a total turnaround. When Transformation yields this kind of emotional renewal, it is absolutely and totally life changing. Perhaps more than anything else, we experience life through our feelings. It's not really being out of shape or overweight that bothers us; it's how we feel about how we look that tends to get the best of us. It's interesting that the shift to positive emotions is both a cause and an effect of our improved health; feeling good and being happy is a significant source of our well-being and also losing weight and becoming more fit also makes us feel great about ourselves. So when everything starts to come together, were getting a synergistic effect.
MINDSET
Three new beliefs about my ability to make changes for the better that are evident from my transformation success so far:
Example:
1) I can. I'm living proof that I really can make challenging changes in my body and life. I firmly believe I have the ability to accomplish other challenging goals.
2) I can accept my success in this process and I can feel good and worthy of it even if I make a mistake or experience a setback. And certainly, I can feel good about myself when I'm achieving at higher levels than before.
3) No matter what's going on around me and in the external world I can always do something to improve myself. No one else is to blame; I am responsible for the condition of my life and I accept that.
Here we see another incredibly powerful transformation of a person's mindset and perceptions. The limiting beliefs have been transformed into positive, empowering ones. With this kind of change, the expectations of others, and the subsequent frustrations and resentments, are virtually eliminated from your everyday life. In its place, a centered, mature and inspired mindset comes forth. Again, this is the kind of shift that honest to goodness, can change our entire experience of life for the better. (And can you believe we used to stop at just the body? What silly kids we were... at least I were, I mean I was. =)
BODY
And now, the physical.
Three specific statements which describe the transformed condition of my body, 18 weeks from now, which are objectively verifiable and measureable are:
Example:
1) 18 weeks from now my body weighs 188 lbs. My mid-section measurement at its widest point is 34 inches and my bodyfat is 15%.
2) 18 weeks from now my cholesterol level is 185 ng/ml and my blood pressure, measured by my doctor, is 125/68.
3) 18 weeks from today, looking at my after pictures you'll see a healthy, well-conditioned body with 39 lbs. less bodyfat, stronger muscles, and with an improved, youthful posture. And on my face you'll see an authentically confident and joyful smile, bright eyes and an overall look of somebody who has just achieved an exciting transformation in their life.
You know what these are folks? Right they're your goals! Each of these three statements are specific, objectively verifiable and have a timeline and deadline built in. Once you've gotten to this point, be sure to read and envision the condition of your new transformed self which these goals statements describe. There's tremendous power in seeing and feeling what it's like then, right now in this moment. I read my goals at least once a day and optimally first thing in the morning when I wake up and last thing in the evening before I close my eyes and go to sleep. It's also very helpful to share your three goals with others who will be part of your support structure during the transformation. The more they understand about your objectives, the more we can all help you get there. Got it? Good!
Conclusion
By the time you've answered all of these key questions, you will have taken a quantum leap forward in the right direction. you'll be remarkably clear, perhaps more than ever before, about where you are now in your heart and soul, your emotions, your mind and body. And you'll also be surprised at how inspired and enthusiastic you've become about getting where you've decided to go. You really can imagine the way it's going to feel and how it's going to be. And mark my words, when you take it one step at a time, follow the path and persevere through both sunny and stormy skies, you will absolutely, positively get there. I believe you can do it; in fact I know you can. Do your best to take my word for it now. By the time you reach your mountaintop, you'll know it too. I promise.

Diet Calendar Entry for 05 April 2011:
2686 kcal Fat: 63.94g | Prot: 244.02g | Carb: 293.53g.   Breakfast: Cod Liver Fish Oil, Fish Oil Omega 3, right light, Dry Roasted Almonds (with Salt Added), Protein Powder (100% Whey Protein). Lunch: Footlong Oven Roasted Chicken Breast, Baked Barbecue Potato Chips. Dinner: 100% Whey Protein Powder Gold Standard - Rocky Road, spaghetti sauce, Whole Wheat Spaghetti (Cooked). Snacks/Other: Dry Roasted Peanuts (Without Salt), Sweetened Iced Tea, Lightly Salted Rice Cakes (fit&active), 100% Whey Protein Powder Gold Standard - Vanilla Ice Cream, Clif Bar - Crunchy Peanut Butter, Creamy Peanut Butter, Sweet and Hot Beef Jerky. more...
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