Posts Tagged With: Health and Fitness

Being Motivated

Discipline equals Freedom

Being motivated doesn’t have much to do with how you feel.  You can ‘feel’ motivated, but that doesn’t mean you are actually motivated.  Encouragement is when you’re having an emotional reaction to some outside stimulus.  You’ve heard a good word, you watched someone else achieve something and you want it for yourself, you’ve been encouraged by friends, family, doctors, co-workers, lovers, etc.  That’s all great, we all need encouragement at times.  We sometimes need someone to get in our face and tell us some hard truths, or whisper in our ear and plant dreams and ideas of something better than our current situation or state of being.  But, motivation is not an emotion, it’s a state of being.  The dictionary states: the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way; the general desire or willingness of someone to do something. It doesn’t say you feel good or feel bad.  Feeling good and/or feeling bad will drive the motivation, but it’s not the motivation. Motivation is the reason for the decision – it’s the driving force behind our actions in spite of how we feel.  Those actions will either make us feel good or bad, but our feelings are not our motivation.

Being motivated – making a decision for whatever reason – is not contingent on how we feel.  We don’t act because we are motivated, we are motivated to act because of decisions we make.

Motivation is a choice.  Motivation must be decided, and enacted, and that is done through discipline.  I am not motivated to work out because of how I feel. I am motivated because the facts are – I must work out to maintain a healthy state of being for my body.  Sometimes I ‘feel’ like working out and conquering the world, and other times I “feel” like lying in bed, eating pizza and hamburgers and being fed bon-bon’s by a handsome king.  So, my feelings are not what motivates me to get up every morning at 4am and head to the gym to work out – my knowledge and understanding of what it takes to remain healthy and active motivates me.  Being able to physically do the things I love to do like kayaking, dancing, having sex, etc motivates me to get up when I’m tired, when my body hurts, when it’s cold, when it’s lonely, when I didn’t sleep well, when progress is slow, when it doesn’t seem like anyone else in the world cares.  I go through the motions anyway – despite my feelings – because my motivation to achieve what I want is greater than how I’m feeling in the moment. That takes discipline.  As Jocko Willink says, “If you stop looking for a short cut …and find your discipline and your will, then you will find your freedom. Discipline = freedom.”

So, stop lying to yourself.  Stop whining about not being motivated because you’re feeling lazy.  You’re not motivated because you haven’t found your reason.  Stop waiting on how you feel and start looking for your reason, that reason that is going to push you forward on the days you want to retreat.  Start looking for that reason that will drag you on when you want to give up.  Start looking for that reason that will go beyond how you feel and hold onto it tightly. Put it in front of you every day.  Post it on your mirror, your fridge, your door, your office computer, your phone so you can see it every day – and let that TRUTH be your motivation.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray



Categories: author T.L. Gray, blogging, Dream, Faith, family, friends, Health & Fitness, Hope, Life, love, Musing., Philosophy, Spiritual, T.L. Gray, Writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Make It Work


I’m not an expert at anything I do.  But, when I put my mind to do something, I do it to the best of my ability, and a lot of times it turns out pretty good.  I make it work.  I’m not afraid of hard work, because it’s always hard work.  I don’t want anyone to think that all of the things I’ve accomplished in my life were easy or just fell into my lap.  On the contrary, each one of them often pushed me to a breaking point before I finally saw a result I could live with.  It doesn’t help I’m a perfectionist, but that’s just how the cookie crumbled.

I don’t want the struggle to be hard for you, too, but before you decide to do anything , you need to settle in your mind that some things are just going to be hard.  You’re going to have to be determined to do whatever it takes to make it work.  THIS is really the single most powerful element that separates winners from losers, from those who succeed and those who fail.  Successful winners never give up.  That’s not saying you can bitch, whine, gripe or pitch fits – by all means have at it. But, if we only accomplished the easy stuff in our lives, we’d really be pathetic people.  I’ll let you think about that for a while.

While there are so many subjects I could tackle, because I’m a multi-talented diva, I’m going to stick to health and fitness for the time being.  I want to give a few little tips, a few guidelines, that I use in my daily battle.  These things really work.  I challenge you to give them a try – for one week or one month – I promise that if you’re faithful to them (there are no short cuts) you’ll see a difference almost immediately.

Grocery Shopping/Healthy Eating –

  • Clean house. Go through your refrigeration, cabinet, and pantry and get rid of everything that is processed, canned, boxed, or bagged that isn’t an ingredient meant to cook with (flour, sugar, spices, rice, dry beans, etc).  Get rid of the temptation.  Learn to love natural food – not manufactured.  You be the creator, the manufacturer, the chef.
    • Think about this: (Tip #1) if there’s a preservative in it, it’s meant to stick around, and it’s designed to do just that… stick around in your arteries, on your hips, in your heart valves, etc.
  • Shop on the outside lanes of the grocery store. Avoid (other than cooking supplies like cooking oil, flour, sugar, spices, etc).
    • (Tip #2) If you divided your weekly/monthly groceries into outside lanes vs. inside lanes – the ratio should be 80/20 in favor of outside lanes.. and that 20% of inside lanes should mostly be for cooking ingredients.
    • The outside lanes usually consists of Bread, Produce, Seafood, Meat, Dairy, Wine/Alchohol, etc. Most of everything you need for healthy eating can be found in these sections – and yes… a glass of wine with dinner is a great ingredient – it’s good to cook with as well.
    • (Tip #3) If you can, avoid the Bakery altogether. Don’t eat a lot of breads, and when you do try to make your own – breads, pastries, sweets, etc.  That way you can still enjoy them without all the preservatives the manufacturers adds to them so they ship and last on the shelf.  But, moderation is key.  Try to get only ONE bakery item a week/month.
    • (Tip #4) Stay away from the canned foods, boxed foods, prepared meals and frozen sections. All (even the diet foods) are filled with carbohydrates and preservatives.  Remember: Preservatives… preserve – and our goal is to lose, to burn, to use up.  Can foods, even canned vegetables, usually have a preservative in them (purposed to preserve for a long shelf life).
  • Cook with fresh fruits, proteins, and vegetables. The more fresh an item, the better it is because it’s still rich in nutrients and vitamins. Also, the taste is better.
    • (Tip #4) If you MOSTLY cook using fresh fruits and vegetables, you can use the real stuff that tastes good in your preparations– like real butter, real sugar, fatty meats (though try to use leaner meats), salt, etc.
    • More people would eat healthier foods if they tasted good. Most health nuts have went to extremes and cut out everything good so that the food is bland and tasteless.  Guess how long you’re going to continue eating bland food?  The first time you pass a pizza parlor or burger joint.. and you’re done for.  But, if you build a lifestyle of eating fresh fruits, vegetables and lean meats, you make them taste great – the little ‘flavorful’ things you do are small compared to the amount of healthy stuff you do – and you win in the long run – because you won’t STOP eating the healthier, tastier food.  Use bacon grease, salted butter, salt, real cheese, etc… if it makes you like broccoli/peas/Brussel sprouts/ asparagus/cauliflower/ snap peas/pole beans/peppers/etc.
    • Food should make your mouth smile and make you sigh with enjoyment, not be a chore. Just think with rational common sense – and operate in moderation. Unless you have allergies, don’t ever say “NO”.  Research your ingredient and figure out how to use it in a smart, sensible way.
  • Watch your portion size. Get rid of your big plates, bowls and platters.  ONLY use small dishes, even utensils.  If you can, use chopsticks.  It doesn’t have to only be when you enjoy Asian-inspired dishes.   The key is to slowly eat small portions.  Do whatever it takes to moderate your portions size.
    • It’s a mind game. When you think there’s hardly any food on your plate and you woof it down in two or three bites without taking a breath – YOU’RE STILL GOING TO BE HUNGRY.  Slow down, talk at the table (that always helps me).. if you’re alone (which I am most of the time) read something, text with your friends online, or Skype with someone while you’re having dinner – and TAKE YOUR TIME.
    • (Tip #5) Set your table, even if you’re eating for one. Plate your food, make it a pretty display.  Sit down at your table (not your couch) and use your utensils, make a pretty display, use a cloth napkin, and show your dinner respect.  (It’s a mind game, remember).  Sitting down at a set table (or a single place setting) tells the mind that it’s time to have dinner.  Then CHOOSE to take your time, take small bites, really chew your food.  Think about the tastes, the flavors, the smells, the colors, the textures.  Really take the time to smell, taste and see your food.  You’re going to have to make it a habit… but after a week or so – you’ll start to love your food – instead of just using it to feed your body or emotions.

That’s it for today.  Have fun.  Enjoy your food. Be smart about what you eat. Learn to be in control and love it – not resent it for the way you abuse it.  Think about that – food isn’t the enemy – how you use and treat is your biggest obstacle.  Food doesn’t jump down your throat… you open your mouth and insert.  Now take charge. Be the master of your temple, of your wants, of your desires, and of your discipline.

Till next time,

~Friend and Lover of Food

Categories: Blog Post, Health & Fitness, Inspirational, Instructional, Musing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Gettin’ Real

Gettin Real


For those of you who know me and follow this blog regularly, the bluntness and openness in which I’m going to express this morning will come not come as a shock to you.  But those who don’t normally follow my posts – well, you’re in for a treat today.  I’m gettin’ real.

To start with, I want to celebrate a success.  I’ve recently started a new workout routine called “4 for the Core” (*see post below) recommended by Army Drill Sergeant T. Emilio Solano.  Today, I was able to reach my goal of holding the four core positions for the full minute required.  I did it!  It hurt like hell, my body was shaking, but I did it.  In the middle of the last position, feeling so proud of myself for my accomplishment, I started balling my eyes out.  Not because I reached another goal, but because I reached another goal.

I’ve come so far in the last two years, but not just on a physical plane.  Actually, the physical is only a reflection of all the inner changes I’ve went through.  The biggest of these changes have been my self-esteem.  Please don’t misunderstand me.  I’ve never had low self-esteem – as far as believing I was less than anyone else.  I’ve actually held quite a lot of pride and belief in myself.  However, there was a very long period in my life where I became numb and just didn’t love myself.  I didn’t know how to love myself and I sure as hell didn’t know how to let anyone else love me either. While I believed I was capable of doing anything in this world, no matter how intellectually or physically challenging it posed, I wasn’t afraid to face those challenges.  But, to put myself out there and let someone love me – scared the hell out of me.  It scared me so much I hid from the world… behind a fat body.  I noticed the heavier I became the less the world saw me.   The less the world saw me, the less I could disappoint it. I didn’t do this consciously, but I can look back over the past 20 years and see how I disappeared, step by step by miserable step until I lost Me completely.

That’s not an exaggeration.  Those who know me now, would have never recognized me just a few short years ago.  Those who knew me a few years ago often don’t recognize me when I’m standing next to them.  This happened the other day in the grocery store.  I stood behind a woman I went to church with for nearly 15 years. She glanced at me, but had no recognition in her eyes.  I smiled and was glad she didn’t know me.  In truth, she’s never known me.

For nearly 20 years, I asked God and everyone around me – “Who am I and what am I supposed to do?”  I could never answer those questions and they tormented me.  I have over 40 journals FILLED with tear-stained pleas begging the answer to those two simple questions… to only be met with silence.  I answered the silence with becoming what everyone else wanted me to be  – what my husband wanted, what my church wanted, what my friends wanted, what my children wanted, what my boss wanted.  I convinced myself being the best at these things defined my worth.  It worked… to a point.  Everyone valued me for what I was or could be for them.  Opposition only happened when I began to make the decisions for myself and they proved to be contrary to the beliefs others had for me. In becoming myself I lost everything.  I wasn’t loved for me – I wasn’t loved at all.

I have learned to love me – to love the woman I truly am.  As I grow in that love, I’m transforming – literally.  My body is changing. The woman I’ve seen in my dreams, I’ve caught her a few times looking back at me in the mirror.  She wasn’t there before – always hidden behind a mask of professionalism, the cloak of religion, and the façade of middle-class piety.  Guess what?  She’s fucking beautiful, and sexy, and smart.  I see her – all of her… all her scars, all her fears, all her love, all her hopes… and she’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. She’s taught me to see the beautiful people in others.

I’m not perfect.  None of us are.  Entering the dating world has brought up other questions – What do I like, what do I want, what do I find attractive, what turns me off?  What about me do men find attractive?  What can I improve?  I’m learning the answer to all these questions.  Reading online profiles has me shaking my head and sometimes laughing out loud, because it’s made me realize I’m in a really good position because most people don’t know the answers to their questions.  They don’t really have a clue what they want and what they like and hide behind their masks. When you don’t wear a mask anymore, you can tell when others do or don’t.  Most often their expectations are unrealistic.  (*see my upcoming post about The New Bachelorette – Dating over 40 Update), or they’ve convinced themselves of the good-sounding lie instead of the hard naked truth.

So, I celebrate my accomplishment.  It’s one of several I’ve made this past week, this past month, this past year, and this past season of my life.  I’ve still got a long way to go, baby… but I’m doing it. I’m living, loving, and learning.  I can’t tolerate imitation any more.  Only the real deal is good enough for me, because I’m bein’ real, getting’ real, and livin’ real.

Till next time,

~T.L. Gray


Categories: Blog Post, Health & Fitness, Musing, Writing | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments

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