Project 365

January 21 – A Lifelong Pursuit of Happiness

“Happiness: a good bank account, a good cook and a good digestion.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Jean-Jacques Rousseau was an 18th century philosopher, who was born in Switzerland and died in France. (Yes, I Googled him this morning). I had to find out a bit about him to know the context of this quote. I have long said that money and its pursuit are not a major focus in my life. I want to earn enough at work to be comfortable at home, but I don’t need a tremendous amount of excess. I guess that is the part of the quote that gave me pause.

Breaking it down in my own terms what it says to me is that to be happy, I would need to have money enough to get buy, a good and healthy diet coming from an amazing cook, and to be blessed with great digestive capabilities.

Rich is not a word I would use to describe my circumstances. I would say that I have the financial resources to do the things I want to do, while still having meaningful work to do. So, for me…check.

I have said here many times that my wife is an amazing cook. It is actually hard to keep her out of the kitchen. Because she is also a chemist, she gives a lot of thought and effort to the science behind her food. The result is that she is able to masterfully copy what she sees in restaurants and cooking shows, and to synthesize many magazine and cookbook ideas into really great, original food. So, for that one…check!

As to digestion, I have an iron constitution. I rarely have any issues with that department. Digestion…check.

So, I should be happy, right? According to Rousseau I have the key elements. Truthfully I find myself to be content with my lot in life most of the time. I don’t think it is solely because of these 3 elements, although they do contribute. Having a great family is important. I have 5 amazing adults who call me dad (including my daughter-in-law), and 2 beautiful grand children. I have a fairly long list of close friends whom I love very much, and with whom I can have equal measures of fun, support, and thought provoking conversations.

Then, why do I struggle with happiness from time to time? I mean, the objective evidence is right there. I have enough money, good food, a bowel system that works, a beautiful & supportive wife, great children and grandchildren, and friends. I even have hobbies that give me both challenge and satisfaction.

Perhaps the answer is that one cannot objectively measure happiness. One cannot sit and write out a checklist such that when all of the items have been scratched off, happiness occurs. It just doesn’t work that way. I am not saying that I am unhappy. As I said, most of the time I find myself to be quite content. There are days when I am less content, when unhappiness creeps into my life.

The reflections in the Weight Watchers book today are centered around those who might be stalled in their progress, like me. It talks about envisioning yourself being able to do things that your present weight might be keeping you from. In my case, one thing that resonated was around clothes. As last year wore on to the end I found my clothes fitting poorly. Earlier in the year I was proud of the smaller sized clothes I was comfortably wearing, but in December (and January), those same clothes have been tight. As much as the number on the scale, I don’t like that trend. And it is a driver for me to want to get back to where I was in the summer.

Today’s quote is about happiness. On balance I think I am in a very good place. One thing I know about myself, though, is that I don’t rest on any laurels that may come my way. I may be happy and content, but that doesn’t mean I won’t still try to make myself just a little better.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day…Pursuit of happiness is a lifelong endeavor for me. While I may be happy in the moment, it doesn’t mean that I am not still trying to make myself just a little better.

“It is only possible to live happily ever after on a day to day basis.” (Margaret Bonnano)

Hey, I am here writing for two consecutive days! Woo hoo!

I had planned to write that as my opening sentence since yesterday morning. A little bit of humor, and over-congratulatory steam for the new venture. When I got up this morning and read this quote, I actually had to chuckle – at least after I thought about what this quote means.

In fairy tales, the prince and princess seem always to live happily ever after. Whatever trials they faced in the story is resolved, and their life becomes one of bliss from that day forward. Fun and soothing idea for children. Those of us who are married know that “happily ever after” only ever works if it is accompanied by constant, diligent effort.

Somewhere along the line I was told that one should never “congratulate” a newly married couple. “Congratulations” should be reserved for recognition of accomplishment. On their wedding day, the couple really hasn’t accomplished anything yet. The better thing to say is “best wishes”. As a person who has been married nearly a third of a century, I most definitely can attest. Getting married is easy, staying married is hard work for both people.

What this quote is saying (in the context of this book) is that when it comes to weight loss, and being more healthy, one can only have a happily ever after, one day at a time. With that in mind, here I am on day 2. I promise not to count every day that I am here, I would find that quite tedious. What I do plan to do for myself is to focus each morning on making this day as successful as I can. Experience tells me that I am going to have good and bad days, and good and bad weeks. I will have weeks where I am a rock star and melt pounds off my body, and weeks where I stumble. I will also have weeks where I work my figurative ass off, only to see the scale stall, or even go up.

Bobby-C’s thought for the day Make today the best it can be. Make every choice, about every urge, and every meal count.

January 1 – “It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.” –James Gordon, M.D.

Good morning, and Happy New Year!

A few years back a friend gave me a book of daily quotations that were meant to inspire the reader. I used that book as my inspiration to conduct a 365 project of blog posts over at www.bobby-c-blog.com. The discipline of having a daily goal to write and post my thoughts was a great way to improve my writing, and my thinking. As 2017 dawns, I am taking up a new project 365 here at Bobby-c-Health.

A friend and fellow blogger found a book of daily Weight Watchers meditations on Amazon. I searched and found one called Weight Watchers Success Every Day. 365 Meditations for Your Weight Loss Journey. For a few dollars (most spent on shipping), I bought the book. Each day there is a quotation, a few paragraphs written by the authors, then a Tip for the Day. Shamelessly, I am going to use a similar formula for my 365 project. I plan to use their suggested quotes (at least most of the time), as my writing prompt. I will give thoughts from my experiences, both past and present, and then end with either a tip for the day, or a personal challenge.

The title of this post is the quote for today. As Jackie Gleason used to say “and away we go…”

January 1 – “It’s not that some people have willpower and some don’t. It’s that some people are ready to change and others are not.” –James Gordon, M.D.

In the years leading up to March 1, 2014, I was mostly lost when it came to my weight and health. I had tried a few times to lose weight. Once I even lost a substantial amount. Each time I gained it back, and added to my top number. The truth was, I wasn’t ready for a significant change in my life. I was seeking a “diet” or a “quick fix”. One thing I have struggled to understand in the nearly three years since that morning is what was different for me that time? As I write this year I will explore that, and share with you my thoughts. Right now the truth is that I am not entirely sure.

On June 10th of 2016, I weighed 216.4 pounds. Since then my weight has been on the rise. I don’t actually know what I weigh today, because I haven’t had the courage to climb on the scale for my post-Holidays ugh fest (more on that tomorrow). I do know that I will likely be more than 20 pounds up from that day. Another thing I will be exploring in my writing is why that happened. Since then, as you can see by looking back at previous posts, I have tried a couple of times to do better, to stem the tide and turn things back in the right direction. Each have had only sputtering success.

Today I feel ready for a change. I want to get back to the mojo I had in 2014, 2015, and the first half of 2016. I want to get back to daily walking and tracking my miles. I want to get back to accurately tracking and measuring my food. In short, I want to get my crap together.

But here is the catch, and why this quote rings so true. I don’t know if I am really ready to change. I don’t know if my heart and soul are in it, or if it is just a mental exercise. If it is the former, I will get back on the track I desire. If it is the latter, then this 365 project will sputter, as did so many other efforts.

The doctor quoted above suggests that awareness to our habits is the first step to understanding our drivers and motivations. So, that is where I will start. Today we are having friends and family over to celebrate the Holiday. There will be plenty of food and drink to indulge the senses. I plan to have an enjoyable time, but I also plan to be intentional. I am going to work to be conscious of what I am consuming, and my thoughts and feelings as I take each bite. By doing so, I will come to understand better where my head and heart are for this journey.

Bobby-C’s tip of the day… Be kind to yourself. There is nothing to be gained by beating yourself up for your past decisions. Focusing on past failures and missteps will not make the future better. Instead, focus on today and making the best decisions you can, all things considered.