Reason Why I Am Giving Up Alcohol

Disclaimer: I have no moral objections to others consuming alcohol. For as long as I can remember, I have been a regular consumer. As of late, I have had a change of heart concerning my own use. Now, I am considering giving it up altogether. Here’s why:

I told my wife I may have to stop drinking, including one of my favorites: wine. The first thing she said to me was that a glass of wine is supposed to help you sleep. Come to think of it, I have have never had any trouble passing out after drinking. It does help me fall asleep faster than usual, but sleep is the primary reason why I am making this decision to abstain. Of all the reasons to stop drinking alcohol, sleep is may be number one on the list.

Four notable days in a two week period:

Thursday, 8/9/2018. It is Thirsty Thursday at a nearby grocery store. It has become an after-work tradition to have a few half-off craft beers in the tap room located inside the store. It is usually a good time spent with co-workers blowing off a little steam. On this particular Thursday, I noticed something new. I woke up wondering why I slept so bad. Of course, I have had bad sleep in the past, but this one in particular stuck in my mind. It was the first time in a couple of weeks, that I had consumed alcohol.

Friday, 8/17/2018. It has been just over a week since my last beer. I am out to dinner with the family and have an Michelob Ultra. I don’t usually drink Ultra, but I am trying to be a good boy and limit my carbs. The next morning, after one beer, I feel it again. Horrible sleep for the first time in a week. What is going on? I am not a big drinker, but I do like to have an occasional drink. But two times in a row of drinking mixed with bad sleep has got me wondering.

Monday, 8/20/2018. After work, I have two glasses of wine with dinner. I love wine. I fall asleep quickly and wake up wondering what just happened. I feel like I have been up the whole night.

Wednesday, 8/22/2018. Today, I am experimenting. I am going to have one glass of wine with dinner. I want to see if this has the same effect. I really don’t want to stop drinking , but I have another bad night of sleep. Damn!


Unfortunately, there is no sleep data for 8/17. I love how my Fitbit Charge 2 tracks my sleep, but on this night I was charging it.

Sleep is a precious commodity in my life. If I am lucky, I get about six hours of it a night. I am fine on six hours. I am fine on less as long as I hit one key metric. Deep sleep. Over an hour of deep sleep and I feel great the next day. Under an hour, and I struggle. When getting lower numbers of deep sleep in the past, I thought it was unfortunate stroke of luck. I never drew a correlation between deep sleep and alcohol consumption. Due to my work schedule in the month of August (which slowed down my normal consumption), I did not drink as much or as regularly. This small change allowed me to make this connection between deep sleep and alcohol.

I am in the process of reading Tony Robbins’ Awaken the Giant. In the early part of the book, Tony talks about associating behaviors you want to change with pain. What he was explaining made a lot of sense. I initially looked at his advice from a diet perspective. Eating the wrong foods often result in physical pain. Refined sugar, for example, can lead to joint pain. As I read from Awaken The Giant, a light came on in my mind. I never viewed moderate alcohol consumption as bad, but I did look at not sleeping well as painful. In fact, this was the most notable pain currently in my life. Once I drew the connection between sleep and alcohol, the thought of having even one drink became a painful idea. This is sad, because I like having the occasional drink. But as much as I enjoy the pleasure of drinking, I hate the pain of not sleeping.

We will all come to crossroads in our life where we will have to make a decision. Maybe it is not alcohol for you. Maybe it is another behavior or habit that is causing you pain. Is the pleasure of that habit worth the pain it causes later on? If it is something you actively want to change in your life, then the more pain you can associate with it, the greater chances you have of changing it. Using pain as a tool can get us closer to achieving our goals leading to a healthy body, soul, and spirit. Give it some thought, and maybe give it a try.

End of Month Recap

A new month is here. What are your upcoming goals? Have you set a plan? Many people are content wondering aimlessly into the next month with no real plans for improvements. But if you want to set yourself apart, you can’t afford that luxury. You have to create a plan. One that will produce the results you desire. If you stick to a sound plan and do the work, you will start moving the needle toward success.

The greatest achievement is to outperform yourself. –Dennis Waitley

So where do you begin? You have to know what is working for you and what is not. Take a moment and recap the work you did in the last month. Did you have a plan and stick to it? Are you in a better position at the beginning of this month compared to the beginning of last month? Companies often use a SWOT analysis when planning projects. Why not use it on an individual level? Try a SWOT analysis to get an accurate picture of your end of month recap. Identify the following:

• Strengths. These are the things you are good at and really should keep doing.

• Weaknesses. Identify these and plan to overcome them. Marcus Aurelius said it well, “Practice what seems impossible. The left hand (no offense to southpaws) is useless at almost everything, for lack of practice. But it guides the reins better than the right. From practice.” The only way to get better is to practice. If your weaknesses can be conquered, they can become the difference between you and the competition.

• Opportunities. Take a look around. What opportunities are out there that can be utilized for success? There are resources available to you. You just have to find them and then make the most out of them.

• Threats. You also need to identify your own personal threats. A cell phone can be a great resource if used properly. It could also be a threat. If something is keeping you from your goals, you have to cut it free. Decide what is more important: your goals or the things holding you back.

All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better. –Ralph Waldo Emerson

Once your personal SWOT analysis is complete, you should have the foundations for a good plan in the upcoming month. Experiment with what works and what doesn’t. The goal is progress, steady continuous progress from one month to the next.  You do it by making your today better than yesterday, this week better than the last. Keep moving the needle forward. You just may surprise yourself when next year you are a completely different person.

The great benefit of this tool is that it can be used in more than one aspect of your life. Don’t limit it only to fitness or nutrition. Utilize it to be the complete person you want to be: body, soul, and spirit.

A Working Diet

Should being on a diet be miserable? Is it worth it even if the diet is going to get you your desired results? Should you go to bed every night feeling like you are starving?

Fad diets are tough. People jump on them for all sorts of reason. The ultimate being that they want to lose weight, and they want to lose it quickly. But the diets come and go, and when the fad is over the dieters often find themselves looking to jump onto the next trend. Most of the big diet companies, that are making tons of money from people wanting a quick fix, get you in with the idea that you can eat to satisfaction and still lose weight. What’s not to love about results with little or no sacrifice?

If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you got. –James P. Lewis

If you are wanting to lose weight, take a moment and think about how you got to where you are today. There is little chance that you got where you are because of a bad day or week. We got to our present state over the course of months, possibly years. It was your repeated behaviors that put you in your present state. And if you are not happy with your present state, it will be a change to your repeated behaviors that will make the difference. The key is pretty simple: to make an improvement to your current body composition you have to exercise more and eat better. Your best chance of success may be a gradual improvement such as walking an extra 10 minutes a day or substituting something you consume on a regular basis for a healthier alternative. Incremental improvements can have a huge impact in the future.

But think about what is not going to work, such as shocking your body. Deciding to exercise more and then going out and punishing your body is not only dangerous, but it is not sustainable. You have to build up your body, and that takes time. The same with your diet. If you go from a daily 4500 calories of eating what you want to 1500 calories of healthy choices, your body is not going to respond well. What are the chances of you keeping up with your diet if you are miserable the whole time?

The measure of intelligence is the ability to change. –Albert Einstein

Making changes to your repeated behaviors is going to net positive results. But at the same time, you are going to have to be flexible. If it is not working, change it. Become knowledgeable about the foods you are putting into your body. If your diet calls for certain types of fruit but your body reacts poorly to the sugar, don’t eat it. It will be okay. The incremental changes in your repeated behaviors hopefully has oriented you to healthier choices. Choose foods that work for you. You can even have the flexibility to cheat on occasion, because the other 6 or 7 days are super healthy. You are not depriving yourself of all the “fun” foods you love to eat, you are choosing not to eat them every day.

Making healthy eating choices should be something one does over the course of a lifetime. Easier said than done, right? Maybe. But we can start today to make better choices. If what we consume is in balance with the calories we burn, and we are ingesting calories that will properly fuel us, we will not have a need for a radical diet. This long term outlook will keep your body weight stabilized, it is going to save you money, and in the end you will be much happier for it.

Lewis R., The 1st Delta 180 Volunteer

Lewis R. became the first volunteer to sign up for the Delta 180 Project. This was an unexpected surprise as Kia and I were still in the infancy stages of creating this program. After much deliberation we moved our time tables up and decided to proceed. Lewis entered the program on March 4, 2018.

The first month was definitely an adjustment. Lewis works in a physically demanding job on an assembly line. To add a new fitness routine is a shock to a body already fatigued from the daily strain induced by manual labor. What we are trying to accomplish is not an after work program, it is a get your day started right program. The goal is to get the hardest part of the day over with before 6 a.m. That means we show up at the gym at 4:30. It takes time to get used to waking up that early in the morning. On average our morning sessions were starting 15-20 minutes late. But Lewis is a fighter. He wants to make a change.

Before Lewis entered the program, we had him fill out a short questionnaire. We wanted to know why he wanted to do this. We also wanted to see what his commitment level would be. Our goal for Delta 180 is not to be just a fitness program. We want it to go farther than that. We want it to affect the client’s lifestyle. The following statements, in his own words (mine in red), are the reasons why Lewis wanted to join:

  • What I need to do to achieve my goals in my five-year plan is to go back to school and finish my degree to achieve a job in the field I choose, live a healthier life while setting a good example for my son, and have a happy healthy home. The alternative to achieving my goal is being stuck at the same old job, doing the same things that I’ve always done. He is currently 6 classes short of having a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting.
  • My fitness goals for this first six months are to lose around 50 lbs. and to gain muscle strength throughout my body, especially in my mid-section. The alternative is to be out of shape for the rest of my life, it all starts now!
  • My plan to achieve these goals is a strong regiment of exercise and diet control to help me lose weight. As for the life goals, I need to start some online classes in the summer to get back in the classroom.
  • I entered this program for a few reasons. Growing up I was always active, playing sports, working out, and doing general outdoor activities. I have always struggled with my weight!  I was one of those kids that went from a six pack to husky pants back to being in shape. Throughout high school I was in good shape thanks to a heavy regiment of workouts, usually twice a day.  But during this time, I didn’t have to worry about the food I took in because no matter the calories I took in I was going to burn them off.  The problem started when I continued this diet into college and almost completely stopped my activity! My freshman 15 was more like a freshman 40!  And it’s pretty much been that way ever since.  I joined this program to provide me with motivation to help me change to the person I want to be.  I have never been good at going to the gym on my own.  Like most people when I go work out I don’t really have any idea what to do, so I do some cardio and some weights and usually finish with some mat work, but never really get a” good workout” in.  I need a path to success that I can follow to my goals, and I am hoping this program can lead me there!

How many people are in the same situation? How many are stagnant in an unrewarding job that is far away from their desired professions? How many have struggled with their health because they made poor nutritional choices and became sedentary in their lifestyle? Lewis is not alone. There are others, many others. But Lewis doesn’t want to be in that category anymore. He wants to change, and he is.

In the first month, Lewis made radical improvements [see upcoming page of Monthly Fitness Test Results]. Our first month strategy was to get him used to the routine, learn how to move, and do the exercises. We focused on his strength in April. While his weight loss has been minimal in this second month, his strength gains have been phenomenal. Stay tuned to see his results from a 5×5 total body routine we modified from a Jim Stoppani article.

To see more of Lewis’ journey or any of our other motivational posts, subscribe to our email list below.

Implementing New Habits

What are you willing to change in order to make your vision a reality? If your daily routine is not getting the results you desire, then you have to change your routine.

For over seven years, my daily lunch break consisted of a quick bite and a nap. As I began intermittent fasting several months ago, the quick bite disappeared and I was left with only a nap. One day, Kia, my Delta 180 partner, and I decided to make a change to our daily lunchtime routine. We decided that instead of sitting for 40 minutes, we would walk for 40 minutes. This was definitely a change. All I could think about was my nap. For the next two weeks we walked on our break. In time, we started walking faster and covering longer distances. The walks became easier, and I was no longer missing my nap. Sometimes it is nice to just stroll and enjoy the fresh air, being mindful of the present and not actively engaging the mind. Other times, our minds are bursting with creativity and the walking session doubles as a strategic meeting. In either scenario there is no stress, just the positive release of endorphins.

Lunch Walk

If we take a moment to think about where we want to go in life, we can make small changes to our daily routine that can have a significant impact in the future. The daily walk helps me:

  • Achieve a calorie deficit that eventually will result in weight loss,
  • Strengthen my body allowing me to be more mobile,
  • Enhance my mental processes, and
  • Improve my state of happiness.

This is only after two weeks of walking. I can’t imagine the effects this will have if it becomes years of walking.

What habits can you create that will have a positive impact on your future? They don’t have to be ground-breaking changes. Maybe it is just swapping a soda for a water or parking your car a little farther away than usual. Small changes to your daily routine can eventually produce monumental results.

Overcoming Desire

Those little chocolate covered donuts from the vending machine were my weakness. The days that I thought I was working hard and needed a reward were the days when I dropped the change in the slot. In time, every day was deserving a reward regardless of the work I did.

It has been over six months since I had one. If I close my eyes, I can still remember the taste. The sugar, the chocolate, and all the other ingredients I had no business eating. One time I read the label on the package. I looked in horror at the numbers. Was it really that bad? I was shocked only for a brief period before I tossed back another donut.

My fitness regime of the past was mostly misses than hits. Strong desire, mediocre effort, and poor nutritional choices was my recipe for inconsistent results. For some reason, I always believed my diet wasn’t that bad. Of course I would not eat the best, but I told myself that my workouts would make up for it. Boy was I wrong.

It wasn’t until I changed two things in my lifestyle that I began to notice real results in my body composition. Making a serious daily commitment to increase my physical activity was the first change I made. I stopped making excuses for not working out. I didn’t have the energy levels to exercise consistently after work, so I started doing it first thing in the morning. If for some reason I missed in the morning, then I knew I had to make it up later.

The second change was focusing on my diet. Losing weight is not rocket science. You have to burn more calories than you take in. By limiting my caloric intake, I became very conscious of the types of food I was consuming. Those oh-so yummy chocolate donuts are over 300 calories. On a 1500 calorie diet, that is over 20% of the daily allotment. It is not worth it. It is not the fuel that is going to power those increased activity levels. If I am only going to take in so much food, I need it to be the best it can be to do the job. Wasting my allotment on empty calories is not doing me any good. Doing it every day is foolish.

If your dog was suffering from stomach problems, what would be the first thing you would do? You would look at what he eats. Was there a change in his diet? Did he eat something he wasn’t supposed to? What if your dog was overweight? Would you walk him more? Would you give him less food? We would do anything for our pets, but would we do the same for ourselves? If you are not getting optimal results out of your diet, then maybe it is time for a change.

Change is difficult. The desire for that donut is strong. The sugar memories are etched in your mind. You know the taste, the texture, even the smell. Maybe once every blue moon, you indulge because you like it and you earned it. But if you are like me and that pack of cheap donuts becomes a regular part of the day, then overcoming that desire is a priority. Those donuts are at war with the fit body you imagine. They are the enemy to all your hard work.

The man who overcomes his desires is braver than he who overcomes his enemies. -Aristotle

Willing to Prepare?

Do you know anyone that doesn’t want to be successful? I can’t think of anyone. Everyone, with the exception of a very few, wants to do well. They all want to succeed, but unfortunately not everyone will. There will be those that want it but never achieve it. The desire will keep them moving forward. It will keep their hopes alive. But desire is like motivation, it is not reliable. It will help, but it needs more. It needs action.

Action gets you moving on the road to success, but it takes more effort than desire. The action has to be controlled. It has to be directed. You can have the desire to run a marathon. You can go out and run with the hopes of achieving your desire. But if the running isn’t backed up with a plan, your chances of success are diminished.

You need to take your goals and create a plan. Figure out how you can achieve that which you desire. Doing so will harness that action and point it in the right direction. Sometimes you will need to make a plan that extends over months or even years. As long as you stick to it, and it’s doable, the length of time it takes is up to you. But regardless of length, you need to break it down into weekly and daily segments. What are you going to do each day? What are you going to do before you go to sleep at night? You need to be prepared. You need to set yourself up for success. If that means writing down your workout and setting your clothes out the night before, then do it. If you want your goal bad enough, you will do what it takes.

I had a conversation with two ladies today that have been slacking in their fitness routine. These two are partners in their quest to get in shape. They gave so many reasons for why they were not working out. Fellow Delta 180 founder, Kia, was with me and she quoted her grandmother:

Excuses are just lies. –Grandma Estelle

What are the lies you are telling yourself? If you lie enough, you may have to downgrade your goal to a pipe-dream. Stop telling yourself lies and do the work. Have a plan each day, every day, and achieve the mission. You have all the resources you need to be successful. But if you lie to yourself, you will fail.