Fat yogi walking: it ain’t over till the fat yoga-dude sings…or at least sweats a whole lot

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It took me nearly a month to muster the guts to publish this article. But, following the massive response to my article earlier this week on the effect of sleep on fat, mood and brain-function, I knew it was time to come clean.

I’m fat. I’m tired. I’ve fallen off the lifestyle wagon.

When my mom was a kid, she was a paramedic and she used to tell stories about how many of the best, most-caring E.R. docs and nurses were chain-smoking, overweight, beer-swilling party-fiends. They’d kill to save lives, but, at the end of the day, have nothing left to save themselves.

It seems there’s a tendency among those who live to help others to neglect their own needs. As a leader in the healthy-living biz, I’ve known and worked with people like this for years. And, though I could sympathize with their plight, I always felt I stood apart from them in the way I lived my life. Which is why it was so difficult to admit…I had finally joined their ranks.

Over the last few years, my sleep habits have fallen apart, my exercise, yoga and mindset practices have become erratic and, at times, nearly non-existent. My body has paid the price in terms of fatigue, weight gain, loss of strength and flexibility and chronic pain.

My mindset, though bolstered by an amazing family and a career that totally jazzes me (yes, I am that odd guy who loves Sunday nights, because they mean I get to go back to work full-time), has also struggled under the weight of inactivity and being chronically over-tired. But, like they say…

Admitting you have a problem is the first step to recovery.

Now, I’d love to blame my “fatiredness” (sweet, just created a new word) on my circumstances. Over the last few years, I’ve endured major orthopedic surgery that I am still rehabbing, a bizarre muscle-wasting virus and some other challenges I won’t get into here.

At the same time, my career evolved in wonderful ways and I’ve realized many dreams. But, those very successes brought with them way too many opportunities to abandon the healthy habits I valued so deeply. And, I gave in.

Man, it’s hard to wear your humanity on your sleeve when you’ve failed at something you’ve held so dear for so many years!

 

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I’d love to blame circumstances.

Really, I would. But I can’t. Because I know circumstances don’t determine my reality, my response to circumstances does.

So, now it’s time to come clean, to choose to respond differently, to take control of the vitality I’ve given up and rebuild my mind-body with the same zest that has fueled such wonderful growth in both my family and my career over the last few years. And…

I’d like to invite you to join me in this journey.

Call me crazy, but I have a feeling I am not the only one riding the fatiredness wave.

In fact, if you believe the statistics…

  • 66% of Americans are now overweight,
  • 33% are obese,
  • 54% of Americans are concerned about the amount of daily stress they suffer,
  • 40-million Americans endure some form of sleep disorder and,
  • While 90% readily admit exercise is critical to their long-term health, 85% don’t join gyms and a huge chunk of that 85% don’t exercise at all.

The cumulative effect is staggering in terms of pain, suffering, anxiety, depression and even money spent and lives lost. I know the effect has been increasingly brutal on me. But now…

It’s time to let the lifestyle-evolution begin!

The good news is, because I have overseen the lifestyle transformations of hundreds of people, from soccer-moms to CEOs to movie-stars, over the last ten-years, integrating the best of Western science with Eastern practices, I already know what to do.

My challenge now is to reintegrate these practices into my life in a way that will ensure the greatest likelihood of long-term adoption and a lifetime of profoundly improved physical and mental health.

I’m 42 years old, so my approach is necessarily different than it would’ve been when I was 22 or even 32. It needs to take into account the demands of my family, my career and the lifestyle I am committed to continuing to build.

 

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So, what are the major elements of my lifestyle-evolution.

  • Sleep transformation. Many of you have already read my article last week on the effect of poor sleep habits on your weight, mindset and cognitive abilities. Sleep problems also have a pretty major-league destructive impact on your long-term health and risk for disease, anxiety and depression.

  • Exercise & movement. Exercise is the master key and the catalyst for improvement in all the other categories. It can improve sleep, reduce pain, increase strength and flexibility, encourage weight loss, increase energy, reduce risk of disease and enhance mood.

  • Mindset training & stress-management. My blended study of mindset training from both an Eastern and Western standpoint has revealed a set of techniques that, practiced daily, induce a physiological state that dramatically improves your ability to handle stress, helps you sleep deeper and longer, improves your mood, reduces your risk of heart disease and seriously boosts your cognitive abilities and mental-edge.

  • Optimal nutrition & weight-loss. I’m not talking about dieting here, but rather fueling the body for optimal health and, then, in conjunction with the other activities above, watching the weight fall away. To me, this is really the only sustainable way to approach nutrition. Not for the moment, but for life.

[I’ve left-out career integration, spirituality and family here simply because these elements, for me, are very much where I need them to be, so my focus is more narrowly tailored]

An invitation to join me in this journey.

I know, both from personal experience, from observing my clients and from published studies that the likelihood of succeeding at significant lifestyle evolution is hugely increased when supported by a team of people who not only guide and inspire you, but are right there in the trenches with you.

So, partly out of the desire to create a giant worldwide team of lifestyle visionaries and partly out of my own desire to succeed powerfully and quickly, I would love to invite you to join me in this experience. To participate fully in my lifestyle evolution and experience dramatic, lasting change in your mindset, your body and your health.

 

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Here is what I am going to do.

I cannot possibly share everything I’ve learned over a lifetime of study, but I can reveal some powerful blocks of knowledge in a very condensed format. So, every Monday, from now through the end of December, I am going to publish an article that addresses each of the above four elements individually and:

  • Reveals the research behind each major element above,
  • Shows the impact that each element can have on your mind and body, both when neglected and when managed intelligently,
  • Presents a set of immediately-actionable tools, techniques and practices that, adopted and integrated into your life, are capable of delivering breathtaking results remarkably quickly and, in the last two articles…
  • Teaches you how to cultivate, create and stick to new lifestyle habits, and
  • Lays out a highly-detailed, incremental, 6-month high-impact lifestyle evolution action plan.

By the end of the month, we’ll all have learned a lot. But, even more importantly…

We’ll be armed with a comprehensive set of new deeply-transformative practices.

Then, on January 1, 2008, rather than welcoming a new year with resignation and repeating the same resolutions we’ve failed at year after year, we’ll join together to launch our lifestyle-evolution team.

And, we’ll reconnect on the blog every Monday to share our experiences, challenges and triumphs and provide inspiration, education and accountability.

So, there it is. I’ve confessed, I’ve unburdened, I’ve committed to redefine the state of my body and mind. And, I’ve asked you to come along for the journey of a lifetime.

If you’re in, let me know, either in the comments below or just drop me an e-mail at “jonathan [at] jonathanfields [dot] com.

Oh, and please remember to subscribe to the blog, so that you’ll be sure not to miss the critical Monday dispatches or any of the other posts and articles I’ll be sharing along the way. And, feel free to tell everyone you know to come on over, subscribe, read the dispatches and join the fun!

As always, thanks for your kindness. Share your thoughts below…

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37 responses

37 responses to “Fat yogi walking: it ain’t over till the fat yoga-dude sings…or at least sweats a whole lot”

  1. deb says:

    i’m in

  2. whatley says:

    I’m in, my stomach is over my belt. I’m all for a better fitness level and better health. I did start yoga 12 week ago. now I need to eat correctly.

  3. Luke says:

    What can I say. I used to amazingly fit up till 23 then that career thing happened. Now at 30 my BMI is 28 ,when it should 21-22, as that is what i previously sat at when fit. I have stopped it from getting out of control by going to the gym hard for 3 months, then i get results and start to slip again is i think its all good again. At the moment i have been traveling Europe for 3 months with no real exercise, on top of this i know i am currently mentally lazy. I am about to start work again and need to get prepared. So count me in and hopefully I can correct myself.

  4. Josi says:

    I’m in, just decided yesterday that I want to change my lifestyle! This is perfect!

  5. Jonathan Fields says:

    Hey Deb, Whatley, Luke & Josi,

    Welcome aboard! So happy to have you guys on “Team Lifestyle Evolution” and share in the knowledge and journey with you. Woohoo!

  6. Jackie says:

    I’m in.

  7. Terrific timing, Jonathan! I’m on board.

    I admire you for sharing your Human-ness on this.

    BTW, I think there’s some Cosmic Humor going on with this post. At the moment, at least in IE7, I’m seeing this after most paragraphs…

    Does that code indicate the end of your reluctance to begin the Lifestyle Evolution?

  8. Jaime says:

    I’m in. For several reasons, not the least of which is as your friend I can’t let you climb such a slippery slope w/out some help.
    JK

  9. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Jackie – Welcome!

    @ Sheila – It ain’t easy being human and I really struggled with whether to share this, but in the end it comes down to the fact that we all need to be autenthic and risk be accepted and embraced for who we are, even when who we are is a work in progress.

    To me, the most accomplished leaders have always been the ones who grapple with their humanity, share their revelations, learn from them and then use that knowledge to not only take their own journey to the next level, but inform and cultivate empathy for the people they help.

    PS – no idea what that code is, maybe it is some kind of funny sign from the cosmos! 🙂

  10. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Jaime – Ah, the mad-kickboxer is on-board, great to have you on the lifestyle evolution train my friend!

  11. Adeline says:

    Great article Jonathan! I am on a mission to be a part of the “world-wide team of lifestyle visionaries”. I recently founded Pathways to Vibrant Health, a wellness coaching company. My mission – empowering individuals to live their unique life with intention by embracing the cornerstone of vibrant health and balanced wellness. My philisophy seems to coincide with your thinking on almost every level. Specifically, not dieting and exercising, but finding a way to live your life (all aspects of it) in a healthy and meaningful way – the path taken will differ for each one of us and for some of us – it may differ day to day. Wishing you all the best with your efforts.

  12. Adeline says:

    Website address correction.

  13. Todd Morris says:

    Hi Jonathan,

    Thanks for being so honest and open with us. I like your idea …

    I’m in.

    Fortunately, being in the military, we get about an hour of PT (exercise) every morning.

    But, I’m definitely looking forward to the discussion on Stress, Nutrition and Sleep.

    Oh yea, and mindset too … lol, I need to get out of the mindset that just because I exercise I can get away with eating pizza and burgers any time I want 😉

  14. Lyn says:

    Just in time for me too! I’m in, in Australia.

  15. Diane Ward says:

    All Aboard The Lifestyle Evolution Train, the Team Photographer has arrived and I’m in !!!!

    I would like to offer one of my Metallic Prints,(spiritual art – buddha’s, om, etc.) at the end of the month, if you would like, as some form of prize or raffle.

    How about a Team Photo in January 2008, and just wait and see…how amazing we’ll all look and feel in January 09..

  16. Lyn says:

    I’m in too, in Australia xxx

  17. whatley says:

    Is there a way that everyone has to show and tell.
    for accountability. We used to call it the wimp factor. If the first guy starts whining and does want to work out the other is obligated to be the bad guy and force the issue ie. workout or diet.

  18. esther says:

    I’m psyched! Love your ideas of creating this focused education, energizing each other to embrace (or re-embrace) key practices, and cheering each other on to becoming our best versions of ourselves. So much easier to do in a community than in a silo, so kudos to you Jonathon for gathering us together in your blog and leading us with such warmth, humor, humility and enthusiasm!

  19. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Adeline – love your philosophy and so happy to have you along to share your thoughts and experiences!

    @ Todd – great to have you in the mix, will be really interesting to see how the experience evolves for you with your military setting. And, yes, stress management and sleep-enhancement tools and techniques will be very much a part of the overall “mission!”

    @ Lyn – Welcome my friend, I think you’re one of a few people from the other side of the world!

    @ Whately – great question about accountability, I am not sre if I’ll be able to get it together in time, but I think I may start a private forum for everyone to come together, report the day’s activities and “stay honest and empowered.” More to come on that!

    @ Esther – thanks so much for your kind words, yes, I started this largely for me, but I have become really excited about the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience and learn from others as we go!

  20. Adeline says:

    Hi Jonathan,
    Thank you for the warm welcome and I am really excited about being able to get “world-wide” input when it comes to changing how we think about wellness. I participated in a Health & Wellness Expo here in Phoenix yesterday and 99% of the people that stopped by my booth began their discussion with me by denigrating themselves as “bad and unworthy” with no hope of “fixing” themselves. After we spoke a while and they found that my approach is to begin where they are, no blaming and judging, but rather helping them discover what they want from their life and that I would guide and support them in getting there, they seemed to settle in to a different mindset. Then they next question was – is it “cheap”. Two things I think we need to discuss: bringing people back to a place of self-acceptance and embracing who they are (recognizing that we each have a reason for being on this earth with all of our unique traits) and understanding that vibrant health is not only cost-saving but “priceless”.

    I’d love to hear others thoughts on this.

    Best to all,
    Adeline

  21. Mike says:

    Perfect timing! Count me in.

  22. […] This writer pulls no punches about their success or failures at living a healthy lifestyle […]

  23. Kimber says:

    I am looking at this post a little late in the game, I think. You said that you would post once a week until the end of December, so that would mean that I have missed some posts. Could you possibly send me the posts I have missed. I am very interested in reading them. Thank you. Kimber

  24. Jonathan Fields says:

    @ Mike – welcome aboard!

    @ Kimber – just read every Monday to keep in the loop, welcome!

  25. Tom says:

    I’m in. I am tired of being tired as well. Honestly, I have been somewhat afraid of what a true lifestyle change might lead me to, but here goes nothing. I have tried going it alone for so long as the “Lone Ranger” trying to convince myself that a strong and intelligent person should be able to do anything on their own, with so much success that I am in the worst shape of my life and the balance, well, there is none. I now realize it takes a support structure to succeed. I’m on the bus, let’s see where it goes!

  26. […] This writer pulls no punches about their success or failures at living a healthy lifestyle […]

  27. Char says:

    I’m so in! I have been making some small changes over the past few weeks, but I will be 40 in 6 months and it is time to reclaim my body.

  28. Casieopea says:

    I am so on this train!
    reality is that I know HOW (and WHY) to do all this stuff – but it is a journey – and every day , every MOMENT is a step on the way!
    THANKS!!

  29. jeremy says:

    i’m in.

  30. David says:

    I want to incorporate yoga into my life. The problem is i have two metal rods fused to my spine because i had scoliosis when i was younger. The rods limit the motion of my spinal column. Is there any advice you could give me to get started without hurting myself.

  31. YTT says:

    This was motivational to read – I’m 200 pounds over what a healthy weight is and I cannot exercise properly. Yoga is easier on my body and burns off excess calories. Thank you so much.

  32. wailana yoga says:

    well what can i say…this is definitely a great move you’ve made Jonathan…people are all unique and different but nonetheless, they share a great deal in common with each other…some people might actually approach things differently but doing things together will have a greater chance of success…adopting a new lifestyle is challenging and discipline is needed…so with this journey, people cud help encourage each other to stick to it and live the regulated life as if it were the usual thing to do..afterall, what else shud we be doing but to try help one another achieve our goals…again…really appreciate this initiative…good luck to everyone.

  33. bloggingman says:

    that’s an interesting… i’m trying to get into that healthy lifestyle too… it’s just that it’s difficult to have that kind of motivation especially if you’ve been a couch potato for too long. i’m trying to walk it off and step count as well but my knees hurt after five hundred steps and i think my pedometer isn’t accurate… so i haven’t been walking again for a while now…

    but thanks to you, i feel motivated to lose weight again… i just hope i don’t find another excuse to stop…

  34. Fred says:

    Nice post. We do have to exercise to burns those fats and keep us not only physically but also mentally healthy. Because a healthy body will give us a healthy mind so we can create a positive outlook in life. Just be patient till you get the weight you desire.

  35. […] muscle wasting sickness. I wrote about it in a post back in December 2007 in a post entitled Fat Yogi Walking. And, committed to reclaiming my […]

  36. Why Protein says:

    Yoga is the best way to reduce weight. If you are fat and want to keep your body fit than yoga is the best thing.

  37. Janixia says:

    After reading the article and read all the comments in here, I’m kinda curious and want to try also.