Convincing Our Minds We Are Capable


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It’s time for another War on Sugar post (IF) update, and this time I bring to you some science proving my lifestyle change has improved my health. I recently had a physical by my Doctor and also some Lab/ blood-work checkups due to being Hypothyroid.

I know from previous labs that quite a few numbers were “off” so to speak. Not terrible but not even in the “acceptable range”.

I received my results yesterday and all my numbers were either better than or in the high average range, proof that my Intermittent Fasting lifestyle is paying off. It has also been over a year since he has seen me, actually closer to two years. First thing he said was “wow, you look great” always a nice thing to hear from a doctor. After we had our “how is life” chat we began to talk about my fitness, I had questions regarding my (IF) and Hypothyroidism.

His exact words were “whatever you are doing, do not stop” YES, I have reached a healthy lifestyle that I can maintain and not even think about.

My weight is a steady 185 lbs. (84 kg) and I have visible abs. I’m no longer in the range of overweight and slowly approaching my goal of 10-15% body-fat.

I feel better than I ever have, stronger, faster and far more energy and I’ll be 37 this year. This is including my best shape in my late teen years. That without the proof in the blood-work is enough to want to tell everyone YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!

One of the biggest lies ever is that a healthy lifestyle is not for everyone. We are all human, yes genetics plays a part in the results, but your lifestyle WILL overcome if you excerpt the effort to change. You are not alone, find a friend, get to the gym, get up, get out.. Whatever it takes be willing to do it, and most importantly DO IT FOR YOURSELF!

Do you Desire or Fear Connection


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I read a post this morning that hit me harder than most. It was about seeing how much time we waste doing things that do not matter. It really made me think about how much time I spend doing nothing.

It is sad to think of what the internet has done, or I should say, allowed us to do to ourselves. It has destroyed our patience, lowered our value for communication and intimacy, almost completely desensitized us to the evil of the world, now what once was a video you had to be 18+ to see is now a click of a button, the words that couldn’t be said on television are now not even noticed when said.

It’s scary to see what our children see and hear, I sometimes struggle as an adult to hear and see some of the things our children have the opportunity to see and hear every day. It breaks my heart to think back to when life was so simple, when our time was important and when we had to say what needed to be said and not hide behind our phones and use text to communicate.

I feel how important it is to have human connection and am seeing as I get older how priceless our time is. In 2 years my oldest will be 18.. Where has the time gone? What did I miss while I was too busy living my life and working to create more?

I do not fear death, I fear missing out on what is important and having to live with the fact that I had the chance and didn’t take it. People will forget what car you drive, what clothes you own; they will never forget how you made them feel. To me the connection I desire most is the one that changes my heart, the one that feeds my soul and inspires me to give back.

Setbacks are a Part of Life


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The War on Sugar never ends..

This has been a not so great week, lots of stress at home and work, I haven’t been eating right at all. In fact I have spent the entire week eating wrong. One thing I have been doing, well the only thing I have been doing is staying consistent on my Intermittent Fasting schedule. My workouts have been nonexistent, my Macros have been a disaster and my stress level has been way up but I’m still losing weight.

Stress increases Cortisol levels which can by itself destroy any fitness goals you have. I have felt it this week and hope to jump back on the fitness train Saturday or as I jokingly call it the “gain train”.

In the back of my mind I fear my weight loss may be a little muscle loss but I’m lying to myself and saying it’s just water weight or fat loss. My apologies for this not so positive post but this is Real Life, failures happen, slips will be a part of our fitness journey. For today that’s all I have, I’m getting back up and trying again. Failing isn’t the opposite of success, it is a part of success. All success is, is the ability to overcome failure while reaching your goals.

Giving A Little More


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Sometimes the lessons of our past make the best teachers for tomorrow. So why do we continually fall for the same failures over and over and not learn our lesson?

Maybe it’s because the time wasn’t right or the lesson wasn’t understood enough to have an emotional response to it. I have found the best lessons learned where the ones that broke my heart, the ones that caused internal pain and discomfort not the ones that I “thought” I understood but the ones I felt in my heart and soul.

Life is full of lessons, driven by choices and bombarded with decisions; this can be overwhelming at times. That is why downtime, time away or alone time is so important; it gives your mind a break from all the thinking and allows time to process at a deeper level some of the bigger questions that may get pushed aside due to the day to day concerns.

“A little more persistence,
a little more effort, and
what seemed hopeless failure
may turn to glorious success”.
– Elbert Hubbard

The bigger the risk the greater the opportunity for more in your life, if that is what you desire. After my divorce I swore to myself to never let anyone in again. I was 100% sure that was the right thing to do and believing it would just be easier on my heart that way and making my life better. If I never opened myself up I could have missed out on the beautiful relationship I’m in currently and the friendship we have grown. It would have been a huge mistake and one that I may have regretted the rest of my life.

I tried again, I got back up and said “my life will continue” thinking about how I wanted my life to play out and what I wanted for my future I knew down deeply that I didn’t want to be alone for the rest of my life. So I gave a little more effort, a little more persistence and pushed fear aside and now have what looks to be a glorious future.

We are the only limits in our lives (within reason) I mean lets face it I’m not going to be the President of the United States of America one day, although with the current president my odds increased significantly. We set so many limits on our capability and create so many boundaries that are not really there to begin with. I can’t do that, that is not possible, that will never happen… Well your right, you have given up already and set the bar pretty low for success.

I have placed so many limits on myself due to past hurts and experiences and occasionally the losses in our lives aren’t losses at all.

What if the daily choices we make one day bring us to a fork in the road and either direction will guarantee life will never be the same? The bigger you risk the bigger the opportunity, so why would I allow something in the past decide my future; well I’m not anymore and through that I have found opportunity’s that I never knew existed, a love I didn’t know was available and a chance to have a much bigger life than I told myself I could have.

Hold on With Loose Hands


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Maybe this “life thing” isn’t as hard as we make it.

In dwelling, live close to the ground.
In thinking, keep to the simple.
In conflict, be fair and generous.
In governing, don’t try to control.
In work, do what you enjoy.
In family life, be completely present.
– Lao Tzu

I remember a time when I was always anxious. From the time I woke up in the morning until the time I tried to sleep at night I felt anxious. What will work be like today, what am I making for dinner, how is my relationship, how are my friends, my family, are my daughters okay, am I a good father, am I a good enough friend, what can I do to help, how is my faith…. on and on

Life changes and seeing that all the worrying in the world cannot stop life from changing I now sleep at night, I care about others however I care for myself first, I focus my energy on now, not tomorrow or yesterday. I had someone tell me recently that they see a huge difference in who I am today as opposed to the past few years.

I think it was a combination of things, a job that was unfulfilling, a relationship that was damaged beyond repair and most of all I was not being honest with myself about any of my life. Lying to myself and trying to make something out of nothing took so much energy from what was real and true that I had no energy to offer my happiness.

Learning to give energy appropriately is so very important to our well-being.  Today I know that I must come first if I ever want to be capable offering anything to others. If I find my center and focus on what makes me happy my energy level is full enough to joyfully be with others.

It is nothing I can tell you, It’s not an instruction I can write or a step by step process that can be followed however it is simple when you can be honest to yourself; here are 5 “rules” I try to follow and live by now.

  • Do what makes you happy – but don’t be selfish and inconsiderate. Find what makes your heart happy and have the courage to change.
  • Follow your heart fearlessly – learn to let the fear of change flow in and out of your mind and understand that change IS a part of life not something to avoid.
  • Always be honest about your situations – How do you feel about what is truly happening in your life? Does it help you? Does it feed or take away from your life?
  • Give energy appropriately – If the energy you give is not reciprocated back you may want to reevaluate how much energy you are giving. (I do not mean keep score; there should be a flow to this, we cant always be 100%) 
  • Have someone or something to look up to – Have faith, find a mentor, someone that has been through what you are going through. There is SO much power in understanding and being with someone that understands. Also realize that with the exception of faith, we are all humans, we all fail and if the one you have chosen as a mentor, partner or friend one day is not in your life that is okay. life will continue, love will happen and change can be more fulfilling than you ever imagined.

 

Don’t cling to anything; change is unavoidable so hold on with loose hands and understand that noting is forever, everything will change at one point or another. Be thankful for the energy others give you because it is a part of who they are. Think of life like a rope, let it glide through your hands, don’t try to grab it you will get burned and don’t let go or you may lose your way.

Listening To Intuition May Have Saved My Life


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I’m learning that what I believe “right or wrong” is far more important than simply following what other people think I should believe. Believing in yourself, one of two things will happen, either the truth will be discovered and you will have the opportunity to change your path or you will continue on a path of success.

“Believe in yourself, and trust your own wisdom rather than being swayed by the opinions of others”. – Jonathan Lockwood Huie

I have always been better at learning the hard way, sometimes the very hard way and on occasion having to learn more than once; apparently I want to be thorough when I lean something.  I think maybe that is the point, nothing truly important is easily learned and if not experienced it fails to be completely understood.

Lean to trust your gut, learn to listen to that voice that says “better think twice” it is a very powerful tool that often goes un-noticed and ignored; there is a reason we have intuition. Have you ever been in a situation that just didn’t feel right or made you feel uncomfortable but there was no apparent reason why? That is intuition, there is a reason you just may not be aware of it. I have a first-hand account of this, and only found out why after the fact.

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I was 16 and went to a friend’s house party with about 10 other friends from the neighborhood. After a few hours a couple other people we knew showed up, I knew them but not well, however when they got there something was just “off” about  them. I couldn’t pinpoint it, I had no idea what it was at all until the next day. I found out that they came with a gun looking for someone that was seeing one of their girlfriends behind their back. That night I had no idea what was going on and I didn’t know he was seeing her. He was there looking for me and I wasn’t there long enough after they arrived for him to get courageous.

I thank God and my intuition that he never had the opportunity to act. I felt something, I knew something was wrong and I truly believe that by acting on that feeling and leaving may have saved my life or someone that could have been harmed in a confrontation.

Listen to that voice, it may be insignificant or it just may save a life. We are complex beings, equipped with many tools at our disposal. Learning to use them only improves our choice making process.

This Parenting Thing Is Messy


 

Sitting here trying to process what it means to be a parent and how a parent should act. The complexity of that statement  is in itself hard to grasp. At the moment I feel like a child still learning while I raise two daughters that seem to be catching up to me.

Learning when and when not to interject my opinion and how to step back is proving to be the most difficult part of raising children at the moment.

“If you can control your behavior when everything around you is out of control, you can model for your children a valuable lesson in patience and understanding and snatch an opportunity to shape character”. – Jane Clayson Johnson, I Am a Mother

When I was younger my motivations were much different than today I acted partly out of anger and spite. I said to myself “I will be a better parent than my mother and father”. I know they will read this so now that I’m an adult and a parent let me also say I know you did the best you could with what you had and love you both very much.

I still think about life before I had children and what that looked like, all I wanted was stability, something of my own, a family and to be something for someone that I didn’t have growing up. I believed that getting married, having children and moving on from everything would give me a feeling of importance that I desired so much. Over the last week it has been a roller-coaster of ups and downs, mostly due to how others lives are intertwined with ours. My daughter’s have been affected by the actions in a way that I haven’t processed yet. I see some of me and I see some of their mother; both come with very unique challenges.

Leave your pride, ego, and narcissism somewhere else. Reactions from those parts of you will reinforce your children’s most primitive fears”. – Henry Cloud

I have boasted my prideful accomplishments by the “success” of my life and it has been in some cases more important than others feelings or needs. Many years later and a few “non successes” I see I’m not always right, far from perfect and what I based my opinion of success was not exactly accomplishable. I see success in how my children interact with others, how they are driven and how they respond to life. Every stage of raising children has had its own struggles and triumphs, sometimes changing drastically and quicker than I can respond to. Last night was a great example.

During a great walk with my girls I witnessed smiles, anger and tears, aggression and sadness followed by empathy and understanding. Now that I have the time to process everything, all I think about is how I should have responded, how I did respond and now I can come up with hundreds of things I should have said but missed out on the opportunity.

This parenting thing is messy..

Focus On How Far You Have Come, Not How Far You Have To Go


Welcome back to the fitness Mr. Jenkins I see you have been away for a while.

I have been out of the gym for a week resting my body (I’ll call it that but honestly I have been lazy).

While I was “resting” I have noticed a few things durring this time off. I am much stronger when I return back after I take a little time away. What this tells me is I do not allow for a proper rest period in my fitness.

As for my IF (intermittent fasting) I am still utilizing IF over 80% of the time and it has become second nature in my life to simply not eat from 6,7 or 8 pm to 10, 11 or noon the next day. I have adapted very well to this lifestyle and am currently about 186 lbs (83 kg) and feeling great.

My strength is consistently increasing and my body is continually gaining mass. However there are a few things I have found.

1) Salt intake – when I eat foods very high in salt I get VERY bloated and feel suboptimal, it also decreases my desire to lift and go to the gym because I feel blah, and bloated.

2) Water intake – DRINK WATER.. I drink about a gallon a day on most days and the days I don’t I usually can expect a sluggish feeling followed by a headache and increased desire to graze or eat.

3) Macros – learn to count your macros.. in the beginning you will lose weight quickly depending on how much you have to lose in the first place. You will hit a plateau in your weight loss (this is where I am today) I am learning to count my Macros, Just in case you ask what is a Macro?

A Macro is a breakdown of the basic foods fat, Carbs and Protein.

For example:

Fat has 9 calories per gram

Protein and Carbs have 4 calories per gram

Find your caloric intake (free online calculator) and begin to calculate your daily maintenance level, gain and cut levels as well.

EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT, so please don’t copy a Macro off the Internet. If you are serious about your fitness this is the foundation of everything. Learn to read and communicate with your body.

This takes time, learn how to adapt this to your life not change your life to adapt to your “diet”. That is why diets fail, sustainability is the absolute key to your fitness. If it’s too much work you won’t do it for long enough to see results, or worse you will see results and fall back into old habits and may end up worse than before.

I hope your fitness journey is successful and please feel free to email, comment or contact me for more information.

You Can Be The One To Change Everything


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Every day when we wake-up we have a choice, we can look and say “today is going to suck” or we can say “I’m so blessed to have everything I have” and find fulfillment in the life you have.

Last night I went to bed after working late and doing some team building after work at a local pub. Like most late nights I said to myself “oh, tomorrow is going to suck” as I climbed into bed after 2 am.

I got up this morning, very groggy and wanting more sleep (especially hearing the light thunder and rain) but I got up and began to get around. Like every morning I wake up say good morning to my girlfriend and chat while she is on her way to work. As soon as I hang up with her I get on my phone and see what’s going on in the Social media world and I see this image above.

This is a picture that brought back many memories and emotions.

This time in my life was nothing less than an absolute disaster, I know it’s hard to see from this picture; apparently we have the capability of hiding even the most horrific of events.

I was about 6 if I had to guess and living with my grandparents, my father had moved to Florida with my step mother and had begun to start a new life, and my mother was seeking help from a rehab facility, no brothers and sisters at this time in my life after the death of my brother Matthew. You may say “oh, thank God for your grandparents” yes I absolutely thank Him for my Grandmother, she was a beautiful, sweet, kind little Irish woman and I will always have a place for her in the highest part of my heart and miss her like nothing on earth.

My grandfather is a different story, a story that I wouldn’t learn about until many, many years later after my mind was ready to accept the facts of what he was.

Fast forward about 20 years when the first of the dreams began. At first they were disorienting and very confusing, however clear as this blog I write and as real as you and I sitting here. In my mid 20’s he was exposed and registered as a sex offender because of what he had done to someone very close to me. Quickly rumors of many others followed and suddenly the dreams were no longer seen as dreams; but memories my mind was ready to release and accept.

I have forgiven him for the innocence he had taken from me and accepted that I am part of an enormous and saddening statistic.

Source: National Sex Offender https://www.nsopw.gov/en-US/Education/FactsStatistics 

According to the National Sex Offender website:

Child/Teen Victims. In a 2012 maltreatment report, of the victims who were sexually abused, 26% were in the age group of 12–14 years and 34% were younger than 9 years. Approximately 1.8 million adolescents in the United States have been the victims of sexual assault. It is estimated that between 60-85 percent of child fatalities due to maltreatment are not recorded as such on death certificates. 90 percent of child sexual abuse victims know the perpetrator in some way; 68 percent are abused by family members.

I am not ashamed to admit this, talk about it or express my disgust for anyone that has the capability to harm a child or any human being for that matter. There are no excuses, no logical explanation, or possibility for someone to understand the feeling this brings and impact to the soul unless you have experienced it.

I would like to speak to your inner child, to that little boy or girl stuck at that age, stuck in the time that was never intended to take place in our innocent lives. I want you to know that it is okay to love someone and hate what they have done, there is nothing wrong with you, and you are not broken, tainted or dirty.

You are completely normal and if you are not yet healthy, just know that one day you can be if you learn to let go. You are not defined by the statistic we fit into now; you are defined by the stance you take against this statistic and the ones who harm.

One thing you can do if this is happening to you or someone you know is to tell someone, a teacher, a friend, a family member and know that you have done nothing wrong…

Together, we, the 1.8 million lives that have been changed have an opportunity to find our voice and know that there is a bond between us that can never be broken. We can make a difference in the lives of others around us by simply finding the courage to tell your story. I’m not saying to tell the world by writing a blog unless you have the courage to talk about it openly, but that little neighbor boy or girl that is shut down, that friend that you see something lost in their eyes, the family member that feels alone and disconnected.. You can be the one to change everything

Who Am I to You & Who Are You to me


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 “Your life is not a problem to be solved, but a gift to be opened”. – Wayne Muller

Like it or not we are all connected in some way or another, by someone, something, and somehow. We all will leave others with the feeling of how we made them feel and that will change their path for better or worse. I’m far from perfect, I know that there are many “I’m sorry” that are needed. I made a choice in my early 20’s to live for positivism and walk away from drugs, crime, and fighting. I do not like to push my religion but for me it helped tremendously. I had someone to look up to that has not failed me. We are all human, we will fail one another. So think of it as a mindset change, higher power, faith or a little of all of it, it changed who I was into who I am today.

There is no way to predict how we will exist on earth, sure our choices can guide the pathway of our lives but ultimately we merely exist. Its through our interactions with others that we come alive.

Some have the opportunity to influence large numbers of people; some may live their entire life only affecting their small circle of friends and family. No matter the influence “we believe” we may or may not have in the lives of the people we come in contact with, one thing we do not know is what was moved in their life that changed the course of their life because of us.

Have you ever met someone that for some reason just sticks with you, no matter what direction your life travels you remember how they treated you? That is what matters, how you impact others.

When I was between the ages of 11-14 my life was a complete disaster, fighting in school, not caring about my grades, not coming home, moving back and forth between my mother and father’s house in Michigan and Florida, changing schools and trying to meet new friends.

Being a bit of a trouble maker I always gravitated to the questionable kids, let’s be honest it was just more fun to not follow the rules. One of the “friends” I met was the local Police department here in Michigan and sent to Florida to get on the narrow. Well, after I met the local Police Department in Florida I found myself back in Michigan working on some good old Community Service, only this will not be counted as school credits. That is where I met one of the most influential people in my life at that time. I’ll call him Mr. D for his privacy.

Well, Mr. D was an asshole, so I thought.

I had 150 hours of community service to fulfill as part of my sentence and I will never forget day one. Planting Tulips at city hall, picture this; a wheelbarrow full of bulbs and a serving spoon, let the fun begin. Day one went by, day two, and on to counting weeks not days. Followed by picking up magazines, sorting mail, arranging can goods, moving boxes full of paperwork from one side of the room to the other (for no apparent reason) then it happened.

One day he came in and I was ready to hear the crap job I was going to begin for that day. He said to me “what do you like to eat”? That was not a question that I was not ready to answer on the spot. Uhh, pizza and burgers, so while we ate he began to ask about me, and I was shocked.

“Why would you want to know about me”? I asked

he said “well, we have been spending a lot of time together and not even close to half way to 150 hours” thank you for the reminder..

“The most important distinction anyone can ever make in their life is between who they are as an individual and their connection with others.” ~Anne Linden

Over the next few weeks we talked every day while I worked. Even if I was working and he was sitting there watching, his company began to become something I desired, and was completely okay with me no matter what the crap job was. I see now what he was doing; he was planting a seed inside me that would one day grow into the man I am today. Today I love to talk to teens, especially troubled teens. Sometimes all a lost child needs is for someone to help them find their voice and show that someone cares.

Today he lives in Florida (ironic I feel) and still works with teens, I am one of God knows how many teenagers this man has influenced and he was one of many that has changed the course of my life.

That is how life works, I go through life bumping into, brushing against and sometimes crashing into others and they continue on doing the same. How do you respond, react and interact with people you come in contact with?

For me it’s simple, I want as many people in my path to walk away feeling better than they did before our paths crossed. I find my words to be more effective than anything, so I write..

I hope today while you crash into the people around you leave them better than before they had the opportunity to meet you.