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Part 5: Purposely Mindful Progress

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I stepped off prepared with everything I knew about diet and exercise. Which is to say, Not much and much wrong. Starting with all fat is bad and a calorie is a calorie. I began to chart a course away from dietary fictions.
Last Modified: January 15, 2023

Purposefully Mindful Progress

By September 1 I was two and a half months in. I had lost 23 pounds. Doesn’t seem like a lot for that length of time but I was rolling like the tortoise rather than the hare And repeat.

I had seen a few people crash thirty pounds off in a month. Seen the same people crash forty back on in two months. And repeat. I had done that path. I was determined to think outside the box and find the way. Survival demanded I stay course to the end. The trick was to find a way that it didn’t suck totally. A path I could walk repetitiously within the context of my own individuality. Routines are actually more easily established than maintained. A new eating style is great for a month, maybe even two, but unless we learn to approach eating mindfully enough to give ourselves leeway for life then when set ourselves up for failure.


John In September
September 2014: More And More Treadmill

Ego can be your friend or your enemy. It is an untamed animal that begs domestication. Self transformation requires that it be molded into your vision of yourself.

Everyone is different

And that’s the thing. Everyone’s life is different. We all have different core values, aspirations, ways of processing external information and influences and internal emotions and responses. We are all different. The routine that makes you tick most efficiently will be different than anyone else’s. Success for me was finding the patterns that were most authentic to myself, and then adjusting those patterns as needed over time as my understanding of myself and my needs grew and improved. I suspect this will be the case for you as well. 

Your path to your own best self is your path. Your journey. All anyone else can do is help you find it. And you actually already know much of the what’s and where’s regarding your path. You just don’t know that you do. My best hope is that something I write or some facet of my story will trigger an “Ah Hah!” moment for you where you get a good enough glimpse of your path to make progress from right here right now. Beware of folks with answers for sale. Caveat Emptor, buyer beware, is never more true than in the age of the internet and easy solutions to complex problems. There are none.

And if you are Fat, Sick, and Triggered, your options on paths available may be limited, but capitalism and marketing will make those options seem endless. 

Individuality is a word that is going to roll on out a lot from here on. I have mine. You have yours. Yours is different than mine. In nearly every regard. That is why every “diet plan” has its successes and failures. For the successes that meant the plan worked within the framework of self for them. The failures. Not failures. Just not in alignment with the individual needs of the person who was unable to make it work. I had to silence all those voices. That was part of my individual path. To tun off all of the noise. All of the people with a plan for me to fix myself.  I had to learn to listen to myself. Beginning with understanding that I wasn’t actually broken, just misaligned.

Fat Loss April 2025
April 2015: Pants Size 38
June 2013
June 2015: Size 36 Pants
November 2015
October 2015: Size 34 Pants
March 2016
March 2016, Size 34, Standing In 48'S
May 2016. Size 32. A Different Person
May 2016, Size 32, A Different Person In Very Many Ways

Critical Ingredients: Spirituality, Mindfullness and the power of Visualization

Aside from diet and exercise, by this point I had begun fine tuning my food intake and exercise patterns. In part using research. By research I do mean more than “google it.” I took nutrition and fitness courses online. I began to swap out foods for better foods with similar properties. I began implementing the things that worked for me.

It was about at this time that I began to notice that I was happy. I had only lost a few pounds, but I had undergone a complete emotional transformation. Look at the pictures. The story is there.

Here’s where the old diet and exercise mantras fall into the back drop and give way to the more important aspects of my total transformation. Because while learning some of the mechanics I was considering in great depth the head game of it all. 

I began to grasp how small a part of my journey weight loss was. There was a deeper game afoot. One of self-realization coupled with self-actualization. Of which weight loss and a much greater level of agility ad endurance were a smaller part of a greater transformation through non-physical processes beyod diet and exercise. 

1. Visualization - the art of seeing the ideal self

Learning to see a different me in my head than I saw in the mirror was a tough thing to grasp. My psyche saw the contrast between the self I wanted to be and the self I was and thought I was trying to BS myself. And on some level I was. I had to convince myself that the visualization of the slef I wanted was real, therefore possible. That level of visualization has to be approached meditatively.

When you build a vision of your ideal self, and use meditation to focus and solidify that ideal self to the point that self is with you throughout your day, the path to that self becomes much clearer. I don’t know how that works. I just know that it does.

2. Mindfulness, the art of the here and now

There’s tons of science around the power of mindfulness with regards to behavioral transformation. But it is also one of the terms that gets culturally mystified. It isn’t rocket science. It’s simply being right here right now. 

Our heads tend to drift into the unpresent ideal. That ideal being the ideal interpretation of our past events, failures, successes. The ideal outcomes for our futures. That ideal is and always will be unpresent. Fix the past, control the future. Fun game to play. Hard to win.

Victory, whatever that means for you, is only found in the now. 

3. Spiritual Practice - The art of connecting

People often confuse spirituality with religion. As a fat, sick and triggered guy I had a religion. Finding spirituality wasn’t the same. Religion is all too often all about ritual. Spirituality is about connection. Connecting to nature, self, the divine is part of the key to having a transformative mindset.

Sculpted Ego: Defining and refining The Ideal Self

The driving part of my consciousness needed to be molded from current self to ideal self. I needed to see who I wanted to be in my head, I had to visualize my ideal life to the point that that life became real to me. 

Building this visualization of my ideal self was, and is an ongoing evolutionary process.  Benjamin Franklin is quoted as saying; “Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.” These are the tragic souls who just stop growing as human beings. My first understanding about even beginning was that growing as a person was a central part of developing that ideal self. Viewing that ideal self not simply as a vision of physical appearance, but a holistic self. Balanced across  the multiple dimensions of life and rooted in personal truths.

I cannot express enough that my journey to my ideal self was a journey in self-awareness beginning with the questions: 

  1. What is the most genuine expression of me. 
  2. What does the most authentic me look like? 
  3. Physically? 
  4. Emotionally? 
  5. Spiritually? 
  6. How does the most authentic me view and express self within the scope of my individuality? 
  7. How do I become true to that vision of me. 
  8. What does that person do? For work,? For Play? 
  9. What relationships does that person have and with whom?

Formulating that vision for me came in stages, In part because I was embracing an organic experience and learning as I went. In part because I didn’t have anyone about to tell me this shit. You have me. How awesome is that?

Even so, you will still have to ask yourself a set of very similar questions on your own journey. 

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