A Journey to Personal Well Being .. by Hao Liu

I started my journey to personal well being a decade ago when I was desperately out of shape physically and mentally.  In 2000, I was a new grad fresh out of college starting a career as a software engineer at HP in Cupertino, CA.  After years of being inactive and living an unhealthy life style, I had ballooned to nearly 200 lbs.  That was hefty even for my 5’10” frame.  I was not exactly happy with where I was physically and mentally.  After another year of partying and unhealthy living, I randomly, quite literally came in contact with Team In Training and started to train for my first marathon.  My life style didn’t really change right away, but I stuck with the goal of finishing a marathon and worked at it the best I knew how.  Four months after we started our training, I crossed the finish line at the 2002 Los Angeles Marathon.  I had lost a bunch of weight in the process and was feeling that I had arrived.  Read more of this post

21 Days

Last summer, my brother, my sister, and I, with our respective families in tow, converged on my father’s house for a week of rest and relaxation in sunny California. It was a much anticipated—and needed—family reunion. I hadn’t seen my sister, who lives in Indiana, in a couple of years. It had been even longer since I’d seen my brother, who resides in Washington. And we hadn’t all been together since my wedding almost a decade earlier. The week was nothing less than amazing. We ate. We drank. We laughed. Our kids got to spend quality time with their cousins, splashing in the pool and playing video games. And at moments, it felt like our mother, who passed away in 1998, was overseeing the whole event, still the loving matriarch of a closely knit family, bound together by affection, respect, and enough disagreements, arguments, and spats to rival any family.

But as anyone over the age of thirty with brothers or sisters can attest, spending time with your siblings as adults is surreal. At the most odd of moments, images of your childhood almost hijack your consciousness. You remember specific moments as children, both good and bad. You literally see your brothers and sisters—as they were years ago— in the eyes and actions of their children. (“She looks just like you” and “he acts like his daddy” were two of many refrains echoed over and over throughout the week.) And you wonder where all the time went. If you’re not careful, you’ll even find yourself holding back a tear or two. It’s okay— normal and healthy, even— to let those tears flow, but I’ll get to that in a later post. Read more of this post

Is Stress Making You Fat? The Cortisol / Belly Fat Connection

Happy March! Spring is around the corner and so are tank tops and short shorts (for the guys…let’s hope not so short shorts). For those who have accepted the challenge of resisting soda and your diet vice for ten days, congratulations! (Please see last week’s post: https://bobbybluford.com/2011/02/22/welcome-julie/). The comments and conversations that followed my February 22nd post were both informative and entertaining, but what I enjoyed most was your honesty.

We all have vices, whether we acknowledge them or not. Lisa’s comment about wine being a “gateway drug” that leads her to make other poor diet choices is very poignant and I’m guessing relatable to many of us. Bobby’s suggestion to break habits with small successes is spot on. We must hold attainable goals. So, simply put, the “less everyday” approach, rather than the “cold turkey” approach keeps you trending in the right direction and builds your confidence and energy, which eventually translates into activity and the production of endorphins—the feel-good chemicals released in your brain to bring you a sense of well-being. Read more of this post

No More Freakin’ Excuses

Not Me, Unfortunately

No, that is not me.

Unfortunately.

Maybe 10 years ago, but certainly not now.  BUT, it is the front cover of a great article by Men’s Health Magazine.  We all have trouble getting motivated sometimes.  At the top of things for which we look for and find excuses– often legitimate, I’ll concede–is working out and getting in better shape.  Even I fight that voice that tells me to just go home and relax.  I usually push back with my own voice, usually resorting to one of the following:

  1. Excuses are for Losers!
  2. If you look hard enough, you can always find an excuse
  3. Excuses are for Losers!
  4. To have what others don’t, you have to be willing to do what others won’t
  5. Excuses are for Losers!

Fortunately, Men’s Health is more articulate and helpful in their approach.  In their article, 21 Ways to Overcome Exercise Excuses, you should fine just what you need (at least one or two motivating tools) to get you off your butt and get moving.

What’s Your Diet Vice?

Hello Friends,

A few weeks ago I reconnected with my old pal Bobby through his very informative and inspirational website. Bobby and I met 14 years ago in Silicon Valley at a start-up tech company. He took care of the money (thankfully!) and I took care of the marketing communications. Working with young, eager, and energetic innovators, we managed to have a great time in the workplace; and, because we didn’t have children or many responsibilities outside of ourselves, we found plenty of time to stay fit and healthy.

That life may have very well belonged to someone else. Who was that person? Somehow, I worked all day, and then taught group exercise classes at a gym in the evening. I found time to run and compete in races, including a few marathons. I even worked on my strength in the weight room—not Mr. Bluford-style, of course, but I did my share. And, most importantly, I consistently stoked the fires burning at home with the hubby, managed to be a staunch supporter of Girls Night Out with my peeps, and was a smiling presence at all family holidays, births and birthdays. A skilled juggler! Read more of this post