Authentic & Uncensored

Life, Health, Desire, Philosophy… And Whatever Else Comes to Mind

Is losing 20 lbs really my priority???

I went away for the weekend and came back 5 lbs heavier. In just 3 days! I weighed 142.9 lbs on Friday morning… and 147.9 lbs on Monday morning.

And between Monday and Tuesday morning I lost 3.6 lbs (on Tuesday I was down to 144.3 lbs). Obviously, most of what I gained was water. So what happened? Well, on the weekend I ate a bunch of wheat (I had blood taken for allergy testing T morning and wanted to be sure that if I react to wheat/gluten that it would show up). I also ate a bunch of sugar.

Anyways, I find myself at a crossroad, trying to figure out if enjoying delicious food, or losing the weight, or just gaining exceptional health and vitality really my goal. And I really can’t decide. I think that if I was forced into a corner, I would have to pick exceptional health and vitality. But delicious food is so important to me and my enjoyment of life. What I really need to do is figure out which delicious foods fuel make me feel exceptionally healthy and full of vitality. And what I can enjoy (and in what quantity – I really need to learn how to be satisfied with less) while still reaching my goal weight of 125 lbs.

Step #1: The allergy testing and meeting with a naturopath to develop an eating plan.

It’s fall, so the days are getting shorter and darker (stupid, yucky clouds and rain 😦 ). And I am craving comfort more and more. I’m going through a period of transition at work, so I’m somewhat stressed about that. I don’t particularly like work to begin with, so it’s hard to get excited about getting up and going. I’m feeling very unappreciated (by everyone – friends, family, work…). I’m not happy with my life right now – I don’t get to spend the time doing the things I want to… instead I go to work and sit on the couch like a blob. I’m feeling puffy and frumpy. Here I am dumping all my insecurities out into the world. Maybe ranting about them is better than comforting myself with food (which of course isn’t something I want to be doing so it actually makes me feel worse about myself…).

Step #2: Chill out. Go do something fun and relaxing. Right now.

Corporations Exist. Get Over It.

I will use the word corporation, but I mean equally any business, company or enterprise. Here is just about everything you need to know about them:

  1. Corporations exist to make money.
  2. Corporations make money by providing a product/service that people are willing to pay for.

Of course a corporation exists to make money, that’s why it was started. If a corporation stops making money, it will eventually cease to exist.

Corporations make their money by providing a product/service that people are willing to pay for. This is called TRADE. If lots of people want the product/service offered, or are willing to pay lots of money for the product/service, then the corporation makes lots of money.

If people are not willing to pay the price requested for the product/service, then they don’t buy it. In this case, the corporation must change the price they charge, or the product/service they offer, or risk going out of business.

Corporations also provide people with jobs. This is simply another form of trade: the corporation pays the employee to provide a useful service. The employee is TRADING their time and energy for money.

Occupy WHAT?!?

Do the people involved in the “Occupy _____” movement have any idea what they are really protesting? Somehow, I don’t think so.

We have the standard of living that we do precisely because of capitalism. Here’s the deal with capitalism: “they” wouldn’t get rich if “we” didn’t pay for the product or service they offer. If someone become a corporate giant, it’s because they are able to do something faster or better than anyone else. So why shouldn’t they make money?

The only real monopolies out there… are the governments. You see, there is nothing FORCING you to purchase a product or service from a corporation. But you HAVE to pay for government services, WHETHER YOU WANT THEM OR NOT.

So shouldn’t we be protesting governments instead?

Any “redistribution of wealth” scheme is really a “let’s reward the weak and lazy” scheme. There is absolutely no incentive to rise above the lowest common denominator.

Now, I avoided the protests, but I wonder just how many of the protesters are wearing name-brand clothing… or using an iPhone… or drinking Starbucks…

Finding Freedom, Part 2: The Traps

There are two types of Identity Traps:

  1. The belief that you should be someone other than yourself.
  2. The assumption that others will do things in the way you would.

Each person in the world is different and unique. Each person has their own knowledge, understanding, perceptions and attitudes. Each person acts in a way that will get them what they want – and acts in a way that will avoid consequences they don’t want. Certain actions will produce certain consequences… you can’t change that. And you can’t change the nature of other people. But you can control who you interact with and how you interact with them.

The Intellectual and Emotional Traps:

The Intellectual Trap is the belief that your emotions should conform to a preconceived standard. Remember that an emotion is an involuntary response to something that happens. Observe your emotional reactions and take them seriously. Learn what makes you happy (and unhappy). Then you can change things around so that you experience situations that create happiness, and avoid situations that create unhappiness.

The Emotional Trap is the belief that you can make important decisions at a time when you’re feeling strong emotions. Thinking is the conscious, deliberate, volitional attempt to perceive identities and utilize them.  You think in order to observe, identify, create, and establish the conditions necessary for your happiness. But at moments when you experience strong emotions, your thinking is usually clouded.

The Morality Trap is the belief that you must obey a moral code created by someone else.

No one can decide for you what is moral or right. Doing what is right is doing that which will bring you long-term happiness. Only you can determine your personal mortality.

A personal morality is a set of generalized rules that steer you away from potential disasters and remind you of what you must do to achieve long-term desires. It is an attempt to consider all the relevant consequences of your actions and to answer the question:  “How can I get something I want without hurting my chances for other things that are more important to me?”

The Unselfishness Trap is the belief that you must put the happiness of others ahead of your own. But everyone is selfish; everyone is doing what be believes will make himself happier. When someone calls you selfish, it’s because you are not doing what they selfishly want you to do.

Too often it’s assumed that in a relationship one must sacrifice their interests for the benefit of another – or make others sacrifice their interests for you. But there is a third option: a mutually beneficial relationship where no sacrifice is required. Your happiness depends on your freedom to gratify your desires.

The Group Trap  is the belief that you can accomplish more by sharing responsibilities, efforts, and rewards with others than you can by acting on your own. But groups can’t think or act – only individuals can.

Groups require compromise. And it takes both time and effort to arrange that compromise. In a group endeavour, the rewards are shared between the members, yet we have no control over the efforts of the other group members. As the group gets larger, each individual’s participation becomes less relevant to the outcome, and each individual’s incentive is reduced.

There are four Government Traps:

  1. The belief that governments perform socially useful functions that deserve your support.
  2. The belief that you have a duty to obey laws.
  3. The belief that the government can be counted upon to carry out a social reform you favor.
  4. The fear that the government is so powerful that it can prevent you from being free.

Governments are really a giant group trap. They have no power to achieve something faster than the free market can provide. They don’t add anything, they merely replace what is available on the market. Governments take away individual choice. If the government doesn’t want something, it prevents individual consumers from getting it. And if the government wants something, it forces the individual consumer to pay for it, whether they want to or not. EVERY government regulation is enforced with violence.

The government trap that I struggle with the most personally is the obligation to obey the law. I was brought up to be a law-obiding citizen. But my rational brain understands that the only relevant concern with obeying the law (or not) should be the personal consequences to myself: what I will gain by disobeying vs. what I will lose should I get caught.

The Despair Trap is the belief that other people can prevent you from being free. Once you realize that you don’t have to please everyone, there is a whole world of relationships available to you.

The Rights Trap is the belief that your rights will make you free. By implication, a right to something means that someone else must provide that something, whether or not he wants to. Rights are invoked only when there’s a conflict of interest. Otherwise, there’s no need for them. Forget about your “rights”.

The Utopia Trap is the belief that you must create better conditions in society before you can be free. Trying to change society is an indirect alternative, it’s far simpler to find a direct alternative within the society to get what you want.

The Burning-Issue Trap is the belief that there are compelling social issues that require your participation. The issues were there before you were born, and will continue beyond your death. Why concern yourself with them when you only need one partner, one job, one set of friends and one place to live? Find the life you want and let the rest of society be.

The Previous-Investment Trap is the belief that time, effort, and money spent in the past must be considered when making a decision in the present. Once you’ve spent the resources, they’re gone.. Why waste time dwelling on them? What you must consider is how to spend the resources you have now to maximize your current and future happiness.

The Box Trap is the assumption that the cost of getting out of a bad situationis too great to consider.  The box is any uncomfortable situation that restricts your freedom. Recognize that staying in the box requires you to pay a price: you must forego more desirable alternatives. And recognize that there is a price you can pay to get out. There is a choice, and the choice is yours.

The Certainty Trap is the urge to act as if your information were totally certain. We can never be totally certain. It’s important to realize that we never have all the information and that there is always a risk. Walking into a decision with your eyes open gives you far more control over your future – and your happiness.

Recalibrating My Weight Loss

Today’s weigh-in put me at 143.3 lbs. Shit. I’m not quite on track to hit my goal of 125 lbs by Christmas.

Time to recalibrate and reevaluate.

First, New weekly targets to get me back on track. Instead of the original 1.6 lbs per week, I now need to lose 1.8 lbs per week for. My weekly targets become:

  • Oct 17: 141.5 lbs
  • Oct. 25: 139.7 lbs (I am SO looking forward to seeing 130-something on the scale)
  • Nov. 1: 137.9 lbs
  • Nov. 8: 136.1 lbs
  • Nov 15: 134.3 lbs
  • Nov. 22: 132.5 lbs
  • Nov, 29: 130.7 lbs
  • Dec. 6: 129 lbs (Under 130! Whoo Whoo!)
  • Dec. 13: 127.4 lbs
  • Dec 20: 125.8 lbs
  • Dec. 25: 125 lbs

Second, I need to shift my attitude towards food for a little while (aka until I hit my goal). Instead of looking at food as a delicious, sensual, wonderful part of life… It is simply fuel for my body.

Finding Freedom, Part 1

This past summer I read Harry Brown’s book How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. I loved it. It’s about being true to yourself and facing up to some of your (perhaps unconscious) assumptions about the world so that you can achieve your own personal freedom.

Brown defines freedom as “Living your life as you want to live it.” I think that’s a pretty damn good definition of freedom. Brown believes (and so do I) that freedom is possible for everyone and that we can achieve our own freedom without having to change anyone else. Brown believes that if we are not free, it’s because of one of two reasons:

  1. We are not aware of the many alternatives available to us, and/or
  2. We have accepted without challenge certain assumptions that limit our freedom.

Brown calls these assumptions traps, and has identified 14 of them. But first, a few important tidbits about happiness and freedom.

Happiness is an emotion. It is what we feel inside of us as a result of what happens to us. You can’t just decide to feel happy (no matter what all those self help books say). To switch from an unhappy or indifferent mental state to a happy one you must change your circumstances.

WHAT makes you happy depends on your own unique nature. Your happiness depends on ability to recognize and fully accept your personal nature.

Everything we do is motivated by the desire to feel happiness and to relieve discomfort. To achieve our goals, we make either positive or negative decisions. A positive decision is one in which you choose among alternatives to maximize your happiness.  A negative decision is one in which you choose among alternatives to minimize your unhappiness. Free people spend their time making positive decisions.

When making choices, there are also direct and indirect alternatives. A direct alternative is one that requires only direct action by yourself to get a desired result. An indirect alternative requires that you make someone else do what is necessary to achieve your objective. A free person automatically thinks in terms of direct alternatives, asking himself “With things as they are, what can I do to make things better for myself?”

We are all different, and for that exact reason we can make exchanges with each other that are mutually beneficial. Each participant trades something they value less for something they value more, improving their own situation without hurting the other person.

Realize that no one owes you anything. To get what you want from someone else, you must appeal to their self interest.

Everything you want in life has a price. There is a price to pay to make things better, and a price to pay to leave things as they are. Good decision making is based on recognizing that what you are gaining is more valuable to you than what you are giving up. In everything we do, there is always a risk. And for every risk, there is an accompanying liability: the price we must pay if things don’t go as desired.

Freedom is Achievable

The world is actually quite simple:

  • Each person seeks their own happiness, and
  • Everything that happens is the result of a prior cause.

You are sovereign. You have one life, and you rule it completely. Everything that happens in your life is the result of your choices. You have the choice to be free.

I love my friends, but…

I love my friends, but they are so damn hard to plan anything with. I mean, really, how hard is it to say “Yes. I can do that.” or “Yes. I’d love to come for dinner.” or “No, I’m sorry but I can’t come.” Very hard. Apparently.

I know that some of them don’t know their work schedule very far ahead of time. But still, they could say “I’d love to. I let you know on (day X) once I get my work schedule.” And then get back to me on day X.

I know that sometimes people need to check their schedule or check with their significant others. But couldn’t they say “I’d love to, let me check my schedule.” Then get back to me later that day or the next day.

Do I expect too much?

Is it too much to ask for a commitment?

When people don’t get back to me, I feel so fucking unappreciated. Don’t I deserve the courtesy of a response? All I’m asking for is a yes or no answer. I’d really like to know how much food I need to buy for a dinner party. Or how much wine to get for a wine tasting.

I don’t mind if you say no. That’s totally ok with me. Maybe you are busy. Maybe you just want a quiet night. Maybe your just not interested in that activity or event. That’s fine. But please get back to me and say “Thanks for the invite, but I won’t be able to make it.”

And when you say “Yes, I’ll be there” please be there. I don’t like last-minute cancellations. For one, they make me feel rather worthless… that something came up that’s more important than me. (Ok, I understand that there are sometimes urgent matters that do come up. Like your mother dying or you puking your guts out). But more importantly (to me anyways) is that you, my friend, just lost a little bit of my respect. You lost your credibility. How can I know that you will follow through on the next thing you “commit” to?  How can I trust you?

Maybe my respect doesn’t mean that much to you. Maybe you don’t really want to be my friend. That’s ok. I don’t mind. But please be honest with me.