Don’t hate on 2020

In about two days, its going to be “remember the past year” week. We’ll hear stories about the good and the bad of the past and predictions for 2021. I’m betting that most of the news will be about how much 2020 sucked. It’ll cue lots of 2020 memes. And while its funny to read, honestly, you should just turn it off.

Because in reality, if you’re going to let the media tell you how to view every year, you’re a fool.

In 2020, I had planned on going to Disney World with my family. Our plans were shattered by COVID-19. Instead, I built alternate plans and found ways to extend our tickets and reservations until we could find a better date.

In 2020, I had hoped to transfer to a new job. COVID-19 shattered that, and at one point I was working in “partial isolation,” which meant I could only go to work, and then I had to stay isolated at my house under Navy orders. I could have fretted, but instead I focused on improving my property with a better playground set and making the most of my time with my kids.

In 2020, school was supposed to be awesome, but COVID-19 wrecked it all. Instead of panic, we worked through online school, and even found ways to enhance our schooling. It’s not the best, but its certainly better than many places.

2020 is going to become a punchline for many people about how terrible life can be. I won’t deny that circumstances in 2020 put many people in a bad place. But I argue that too much of that is our own thinking. I can’t control my state and local government response, but I can control my response. When toilet paper became scarce, a fellow church member bailed my family out, and I realized we had a stronger church community in trying times. When one of my coworkers needed sweet potatoes because that’s all her autistic kid will eat, I happened to find some at Aldi, bought 5 pounds worth and gave them to her. When our neighbors were feeling stressed, I told them to send their kids to my house so they could play on our playplace and give them some much needed space. Every time I chose to take action to improve my situation or one of my neighbors/friends/coworkers, I found that I had far more freedom than the media would give me credit.

There will be a temptation to blame everything bad on 2020. Don’t do it. It’s OK to admit it was challenging, but you must OWN your response to events. When bad things happen, you choose how to respond to those events. When you refuse to be passive, it gives you strength, and it puts you in the right mindset to take advantage of opportunities. I refused to sit in the backseat for 2020, and you should too.

I wish you a happy, if somewhat belated, Christmas, a great New Year, and a future of continuing to make your own choices on how to react to the things around you!

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Losing the weight for the New Year

A lot of people make New Year’s resolutions. Just this morning my local gym was full of people. At 5:30 in the morning! Normally at that time its me and two other people…and I suspect it will return to that group size again by January 31st.

Yup, that was this week.

But that’s being judgemental. We all know that you will fulfill your New Year’s resolution! You are waaaay better than all those other slobs.

Maybe. Since many of you will make resolutions to lose weight, you should know that I did just that a few years ago. I was weighing in at 225 to 230 pounds. While I would pass the tape test for the Navy, I hated it. For the longest time, I just accepted that I was big, or big boned, or had some fat gene, or some other excuse. And then one day, when I got taped yet again during our semi-annual physical test, I just got mad, and I told myself I would lose weight. One year later, I stepped on the scale at a physical test and didn’t get taped. I nearly hugged the young Petty Officer who was weighing me. It was probably awkward.

So if you said you’d lose weight, read on, because I will walk you through how I made it happen.

Step 1 is admitting that you are overweight and if you don’t fix it, it will kill you. Plenty of people want to lose “5-10” pounds, but that’s hard because your body is happy to sit at your current weight, and your entire schedule makes you that way. Admitting that you are fat, and that it will kill you if you don’t fix it, helps you make the hard choices about changing your habits.

Seriously. Fat will kill you.

Once you admit you’re fat, step 2 is learning how to cook. When I was well over 200 pounds, eating out was a regular thing. I wouldn’t think twice about grabbing a burger, fries and a drink. But eating out is terrible on your diet. You don’t pick ingredients. You get lots of added sugar. It’s more expensive than cooking, which means you buy cheaper crap food for when you do eat at home. Eating out kills your diet, no questions asked.

So learn how to cook. Make a meal plan for the week, buy groceries and stick to it. I used to make a big plate of lasagna and cut it up for lunches during the week. It’s harder to say “I’ll just grab a burger” when your lunch is already packed. When you eat out, skip the appetizer. Also, drop the soda habit. Seriously. It’s empty calories. You get nothing but high fructose corn syrup and other garbage ingredients in soda. Drink water: its free, fills you up and is actually good for you.

Once you start cooking a bit and cutting down on eating out, its time for step 3, actually exercising. Don’t bother with “calorie counting” for exercises. You’ll be dismayed at how few calories you actually burn on a run. Unless you’re a marathoner, you’re not going to burn that super-sized McDonalds off in a 1 mile run. But exercise isn’t really about burning calories during that run. It’s more about building muscle. Just resting, muscle will burn more calories than fat. Exercise boosts your metabolism, so you burn more calories during the day than previous, couch-potato you burned. Plus, with more muscle, you’re more likely to stay active. All those little gains are what makes exercise important in the long run.

So to actually start, get outside and walk. Then get some decent running shoes and jog. Then run a bit. Then, and only then, get a gym membership and start weight lifting. Running or using the elliptical machine might seem like a good idea, but it’ll only get you so far. Lifting weights will build that long term muscle you need. That goes for the girls and the guys. If you’ve never lifted weights, ask for help. Almost every gym has a weight lifting class. Once someone helps you build a routine, download an app to keep track of your exercises and weights. I happen to use Simple Workout Log, but you can use whatever works for you.

The last bit is the simplest and hardest: rinse and repeat. Every day, tell yourself that being fat is going to kill you. Every day, watch your diet, even for those little sugary snacks. Every day, get a bit of exercise in. That’s how you chip away at your weight. That’s how I dropped 30 pounds. It wasn’t overnight, it wasn’t magic, and it didn’t involve a pill. It took discipline and constant little battles to eventually win that large war.

This post represents the views of the author and not those of the Department of Defense, Department of the Navy, or any other government agency.

Best of Baldilocks at DTGB in 2019 — With a Workaround

Happy New Decade!

by baldilocks

I would share excerpts from all of the most popular posts of mine from this blog, but Peter’s old site bought the farm in August. Therefore, I will share the most popular posts from that point in time to today.

However, I do have access to the posts from the dead site, so I’m going to re-post at least one from each month — January to August —  at baldilocks. I will post those in full and they won’t necessarily be the ones which received the most traffic.

Here we go!

Impeachment Strategy

[President Trump] knows that the Democrats have been after him since he announced his candidacy; they pre-conjured a reason for his impeachment, for Heaven’s sake. Therefore, he is forcing an impeachment at the time of his choosing rather than theirs.

More on the Hollowing Out of California

Good and sweet things out, bad and smelly things in.

Gang Warfare

One of President Trump’s missions is to expose the various means which the political gangs have of enriching themselves on monies gotten from the pockets of the tax-payers. Ukraine seems to be both a means of thievery and a huge storage space for the loot.

The Pentagon’s Vast All-Wing Conspiracy: Plunder

In 2018, the Pentagon conducted an audit; it was the first time Department of Defense had ever done so since its 1947 creation, even though an annual audit for the Department has been legally required since 1990. The audit failed – an insufficient description.

The Pentagon cannot account for $21 trillion. TRILLION. Times 21.

That Such Men Lived

What I love about Doris Miller’s existence is that the man was here for only a short time and was merely playing the cards that life dealt him when he performed the action that will long outlive him. When the challenge came, he stepped to it and met it — something intrinsic in heroes and heroism.

It’s Almost Showtime

I wish I were surprised at how many people think that when the House votes on formal impeachment articles that the president must be removed from office right then and there, but I’m not. Even some of those who were around when it happened to President Clinton will not bother themselves to understand the process.

My Vox Problem

On January 1, 2020, it will severely limit all of my gigs. In short, California AB5 limits me to 35 pieces of freelance work per year for an individual recipient.

Pelosi Plays Her Role

Speaker Pelosi is correct in observing that President Trump will have the distinction that only two other presidents have. But I bet he will also have the distinction of showing the entire world how crooked those who claim to lead us and represent us have been for decades. If he does that, he’ll be by himself in history.

More to come at baldilocks blog!

And don’t forget about this.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng has been blogging since 2003 as baldilocks. Her older blog is here.  She published her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game in 2012.

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