For those of you who have been reading here, you know fitness is important to me. However, in my recent pursuit of mass and muscle, I let my body fat percentage (bf%) go unchecked. So, I decided it was time to cut my bf% back down to a respectable level. At first, I lost a few pounds, but then I hit a major wall. The scales didn’t budge and neither did the tape measure. I couldn’t figure out what was wrong, so I started down the weight-loss checklist.
Watch my diet?
Increase the intensity of the workouts?
Quit skipping on cardio?
No, seriously. Quit skipping cardio.
Enter Mama, stage right with a little iPhone app that tracks your daily calories. It’s a clever little thing that allows you to scan a barcode and presto, calories counted. I began using it faithfully and within two weeks had dropped 10 pounds. I just thought I had been monitoring my calories, but in fact I hadn’t been doing a real good job of it. I had essentially been lying to myself.
Just about everybody lies in some form or another. Some are the pathological liars, who can’t help themselves from lying when the truth would do better. The other end of the scale is the people who tell little “white lies” out of politeness (such as, “Wow, that purple shirt with the yellow polka dots looks really good on you”). But of all the lies we tell, the worst lies are the ones we tell ourselves.
There’s an old saying that goes: You are really three different people. The person others see, how you see yourself and who you really are.
Where are some areas where we habitually lie to ourselves? Here’s a list of things I routinely observe where people are lying to themselves, myself included.
Diet and Exercise. Are you eating as healthy as you think you are? Is your workout as intense as you have convinced yourself that it is? If you follow my advice in 8 Steps to Maximize Your Workout, one item mentioned is keeping a workout journal. Along with a food journal (or the appropriate app), you may find neither the workout, nor the diet, are as strict as you thought.
Toughness. As men, we all like to think we are a little bit tougher than we really are. Personally, I like to think of myself as a fairly tough guy. I’ve jumped out of airplanes, dove with sharks, and been shot at more than once. But several months ago, a man I know was building a chicken coop in his back yard and cut his finger off. This guy bandaged the wound with duct tape and threw the finger in the trash. He did go to the doctor… about five hours later …AFTER he finished the chicken coop. OK, so I guess I’m not that tough after all.
Work Habits. Are you really as hard a worker as you have convinced yourself you are? Here’s something of note. Having been a manager over hundreds and hundreds of people over the years, I’ve noticed that some of my poorest performers were the most vocal about how hard they worked. Not only did they say it, they truly believed they were the hardest workers on the team. It’s enough to make you scratch your chin and take a hard look at your own performance.
Honor. We would all like to think of ourselves as a straight shooter. A stand up guy. Are you really? I’m not saying you aren’t. You may be. But, when your honor is gone, I’m here to tell you, the rest doesn’t matter much. So, to me, that’s an area you should examine with regularity.
Type of Father and Husband you are. If you are married and/or have children, then you should take a look at how you stand in their eyes. Are you the kind of dad your kids will look back on as a great father? Does your wife know without a shadow of a doubt that you’ve got her back? You won’t be perfect, but you should really address those questions in earnest.
My challenge to you, in the pursuit of being a better man, is to take a step back and evaluate yourself on multiple levels. Look at how you are in your career. Examine how you handle your money. Pay attention to how you treat the people that mean the most to you. Identify if you really know where you are going in life. These are questions you need to answer to yourself to be a solid man.