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Sunday June 9, 2019
Taking a Micro-Dramatic turn from my pound-a-week weight loss idea, I’ve made a new Micro-Goal for dieting purposes.
I’m going to shoot for 203 lbs. by next Saturday, testing out a visualized-sensational-situational goal: Fitting into my old suit in order to attend an event on Saturday. At 203 it will be just barely comfortable (I bought it when I weighed about 180 lbs. or so), but with some ab exercises thrown in it should be doable; I’ve done that before and it worked pretty well.
If I don’t fit into the suit, I can wear some other formal thing, but a lot of other people will be wearing suits, so there’s some benign pressure. I’d like to be able to do it.
Above: Spreadsheet screenshot. Click / tap / think in Russian to enlarge
I’ll just need to lose 2 lbs. by then. A stretch but I’m pretty sure I can do it if I come back to my notes every day. And even if this completely fails, I’ll take something away from it, learn, and move on. As I said before, persistence is my friend here.
My exercise plans are a mess…need to address that but there is a lot going on. I may make some tweaks as I go along.
I took a helpful charting reminder from this amazing video. My kids were in my office, taking turns swooping at my head with an RC drone, so I made the spreadsheet a little fun.
You’ll notice I have “Schedule every day the night before” in there as a Judger-personality anti-stress tool. It helps and makes me feel like I’m more in control, lowering the anxiety floor, which lessens the likelihood of stress eating.
So, will the higher goal make things unsustainably bad? Or will the social pressure pay off? Tune in next time!
The Oh F*** List, A Strategic Method for Minimizing Verbal Self-abuse
Friday June 7, 2019
Just a few minutes ago I looked at a concerning skin blemish for the nth time this week and proclaimed to myself, “Aw, DAMMIT,” which was a good reminder to write about the Oh F*** List here on the blog.
How an Oh F*** List Works
When you suddenly remember something that triggers you enough to cause you to do one of these:
- Tense up
- Swear or curse
- React angrily
- Give someone else a dirty look or a blunt response
…it’s time to add that item an Oh F*** List.
What to Write on an Oh F*** List
- Concerning health issues that will possibly require fiddly follow-ups, travel, waiting, scheduling, etc.
- Concerning life issues like “my relationship with so-and-so is alarmingly bad”
- Anything that you haven’t started, either because you don’t have clarity, or because you don’t have comfort, or because you don’t have courage (see my Productivity Triangle model)
- Other things that make you wonder about your worth, the more you reflect on how bad the situation has become
- Research topics that could really help you make key decisions
I started my own list after realizing my normal To-Do list wasn’t working, in this dimension anyway. My To-Do list started to fill up with so many fantasies and huge problems that it was so much nicer just to ignore the stupid thing and that alone was really concerning. Ignoring it did nothing, unfortunately, to address the stressors themselves.
I realized that the name of the list had to be something that communicated more of a “Better-Do-or-ELSE” message. Thus the Oh F*** List was born.
How to Make Better Use of an Oh F*** List
Some quick tips:
- Use a list format that allows you to expand on an item whenever you’re ready.
- Keep a log at the bottom of the list, just simple updates on when you last made progress and what you did, and how it went. You can use my Oh F*** List Markdown Template for this if you’d like.
- If you’re new to the list, consider adding list review reminders to your calendar.
We’ve all had those moments, and we INTJs are not known to have the best memory. So the Oh F*** List helps you take advantage of those moments when they arrive and direct your energy in a more productive way. This should help reduce stress in your life and help you feel more productive and energetic.
Test It Out for Crying Out Loud, It Probably Won't Kill You
Wednesday June 5, 2019
I’ve had some pretty brave INTJ clients over the years, people who shared with me their various experiences in trying new foods (OK), trying new business ventures (neat!), trying out new philosophies (cool!!) and trying out new literally mind-altering substances (boot partition not foun.
Coming from a Mormon background [or whatever it’s called now! ESFP in charge, everybody dance to the chaotic rhythm], this was pretty wild to hear at first. Past-me could dig up just about any excuse for “maintaining my control over my life,” or “getting high on life,” or whatever felt appropriately apologetic. But when it came down to it, I had no idea about any of this stuff.
I definitely couldn’t talk about it from personal experience!
And like any other control freak, my mind immediately responded to that with, “FROM EXPERIENCE?” and started tucking into the fetal position in anticipation of idiotic moments of judgment. But still—watching this happen, feeling the resistance course through my veins—I knew that there was some nuance to be understood there. Some more education was needed.
So I tried to keep an open mind—I wanted to hear what the client thought was worth hearing, as always.
And in my little, ridiculous mad-science sort of way, I knew I wanted to experiment. Upon meself. Har har har.
Fortunately, little dives into mad science can be kept little, and fun, and dare I say it, controlled pretty well. So that’s cool.
Slightly Mad Science, Zero Calories
And along those lines, I just wanted to announce that I tried my first Monster Energy drink this week.
Well, a diet one. Is that still “Monster” enough? It tasted like a watermelon Jolly Rancher candy. So weird! Who would have expected “ULTRA PARADISE” to taste like a lame purchasing decision at my neighborhood candy store?!
Energy drinks though! That’s right, they’re hot, they’re hip, they’re everywhere! I remember reading that phrase long ago in a religious magazine article, The Lift That Lets You Down, at the aforementioned religion’s website.
And which article of course contains the deadly phrase, “I can quit anytime.” DAH DUM DUUUMMMMM.
Personally though, I do carry this special amulet. It’s relevant. It’s an imaginary, special amulet.
You see, in my various travels, long ago, I had a psychiatrist tell me, in a calm and assuring voice, “you do not have an addictive personality.”
So don’t you finger-wag me, didactic addiction messaging zombies! I’m substance-proof! holds up amulet as sun rays fill it with the power and light carbonation of Diet Monster ULTRA PARADISE
…and did that kid in the article really drink 12 energy drinks a day? Sorry but: Sweet Jesus! The can I’m looking at puts 16 fluid oz. at 140mg a can, meaning, if I’m even close to what he drank, he was doing [tap tap tap] 1,680mg of caffeine a day! It can’t be. Can it?
I mean, that is something like 3x the amount (!!!) that killed this poor guy and it makes me wonder exactly what was going on there, too. Genetics, maybe. I think I could do 3 Monsters, but I probably would save that level of fun for an epic last day sprint on a road trip or something. Or some accident. Did I drink a can already, or not? I’m going with not. [Drinks third can]
BUT anyway, I did end up posting quite a few dance & trance music links on the blog’s home page here, while I was under the influence of this fantasy paradise beverage. Made me laugh. Did you catch my favorite SILICA GEL song? Talk about great band names!
I also took an L-Theanine pill with the drink and I’m pretty sure that helped me feel less jittery (it usually does), though I was very, very alert. It so happened that I needed some alertness, which was cool too.
Experiments will continue. Do you have a favorite energy drink? A special potion? Are you abstinent? A tea drinker? Are you high on life? Something else? Let me know!
By the way this all counts as extraversion in the Jungian sense, so if I sound really different when I write articles like this, it’s because I’m literally not being myself! Food and drink…for thought.
A Wicked Hidden Trick of the Subconscious
Wednesday June 5, 2019
A while back, I was struggling with a colleague on a project at work. He was difficult. His boss referred him to me as a helper on this project, and directed him to ask for my advice, etc. Which made me feel great because I have an ego the size of NYC, but wow, I should have known.
You know those people who can’t work with other people, but their brother or sister or partner or boss convinces them that they HAVE TO get outside help? That was this guy. I type this with hindsight at 100%.
But at one point I realized I wasn’t using all of my tools, and I needed more help in working with this person. So I asked my intuition: “Show me a guy who can teach me how to really deal with this person. Show him to me right here, like he’s popping out of the wall.”
So it showed me. It was this colleague-client himself! In my intuition / imagination (Ni), he appeared. This big head sticking out of my wall.
While watching this unfold in my mind’s eye, I laughed out loud. So geeky, I know, but it felt awesome.
And he taught me what I needed to know. I used his own tools to work with him. And it worked! (They were tools I already knew how to use—I generally do not advise people to try to mimic others’ skills to solve big problems, unless they know the territory)
Was that the guy himself, in my mind? No way! I barely even know him. But I thought it was so cool, an amazing part of the way the human mind can operate without boundaries, while the ego frantically pushes away the very image that ended up being the catalyst for a new and healthy mindset.
I love this cast of characters. It’s within every one of us, and the performance seems so fresh every time.
Massively Successful Diet Update j/k
Wednesday June 5, 2019
It’s weird to talk on an INTJ blog about stuff you suck at. Reason being, a lot of INTJs stand at the ready to tell you exactly how you should change in order to not suck. And even if they really don’t, you can still imagine all of them. You know what I mean. So talking about myself making mistakes here is not really fun except in that tricky but there’s a lesson here kids sort of way.
And one of the traps of just being at an INTJ is this subconscious-no-failure-admittance belief trap, this belief that if you only put that mask on and think of yourself as a success, at that point you will become successful.
So with that out of the way, let’s talk about some absolute suck. And I’m kind of going to glorify it, and love it, and embrace it, because 1) it’s actually pretty handy to mature beyond the typical Success-by-Faking-It 101 mindset, and 2) it is going to be one of the keys that helps me make progress in this diet.
Boom, Check Out this Progress
It’s been 2 whole weeks since my last update in which I shared my progress.
I have made no progress since then. lol. I am currently at 205.5 lbs.
BUT there’s a silver lining here. During the last 2 weeks, I gained, and then lost again, at least 4 pounds. So while I may be on a plateau as averaged over a time period, I basically fully lost track of, and recovered, my diet. So fortunately, my recovery system is working. I lost the weight. I lost it again, sure, but I lost it.
The slide started when my wife went out of town to save the world in her capacity as a volunteer, and I had to care for the kids while also working. I also had some super stressful work projects going on, my kids got sick, and I had to care for them, and then I realized my normal exercise schedule wouldn’t work, so I didn’t get much of any exercise.
And in between all of that, I generally I wondered WTF was wrong with my horoscope, or whatever. You know that feeling? Things just felt off. And I didn’t have the energy to dig into it very far. So I tried to address that “feeling” first when I could, and then my idea was to address the diet later, because addressing the diet first just made me want to stuff my face full of food.
That “feeling” is also the same feeling which:
- Wouldn’t “let me” weigh myself more than a couple of times during the last 2 weeks.
- Wouldn’t “let me” blog here, at all.
My extraversion (measurement & info-sharing) was blocked by my subconscious. MYSTERIOUS MIND-RAYS INTENSIFY. Nah, it’s happened before.
Now, just in case you are reading this and thinking, “this guy lacks willpower, he needs a diet tracker app and a Fitbit” believe me, not only do I have that stuff, but this also happens to INTJs a LOT. When the universe isn’t cooperating, especially when circumstances suddenly change, we can feel just as stuck as anybody else. To deny this is kind of periodic interference is to repress something deeply troubling, and I just can’t recommend it.
You hear that? Coach Pop Tart over here doesn’t recommend it.
Which reminds me.
Check out this BONUS Progress
I know you guys are loving these details, so here’s another nice one: I ate a day-old, stale-af Frosted Brown Sugar, Cinnamon-flavored Pop Tart. I hate those things, man. They are my least favorite. I’m a berry guy. Cherry, raspberry, one of those is almost always worth the calorie expenditure on a normal diet.
I will spare you the debate over heated / toasted vs. “fresh” Pop Tarts.
I caught myself eating my kids’ leftover food a few times, a few (10) chicken nuggets here, “you going to eat this donut or what,” there, etc. Really beautiful stuff. I tip-toed around the kitchen foraging for food like some kind of junk food ballerina.
So this was some heavy-load stress eating. But I was STRESSED. It’s true.
I’m Still Totally Screwed
SO let me just wrap this up by saying: It’s possible that within the next 100 years I’ll be able to lose 2.5 pounds and hit that milestone of 203 lbs., which was supposed to be just one more milestone along the way down below 200 lbs.
But seriously, I’m feeling ready to normalize again and get back on the train. I can be persistent, and so I’ll just hang around the station until that train comes. The weight loss train that is; my diet is already back to normal and I’m guessing about 1 lb. a week of loss is worth aiming at.
However this is work and I have to fit it in with everything else. For now I’m just glad I’m not flirting with 300 lbs. like I used to. 205 healthy lbs. is terrific in comparison. I’ll take this a day at a time and continue onward.
Big helpers so far are:
- Attention to the effeminate, caring for myself and my stress levels
- Reflection both in a journal and here on the blog
- My wife for making some amazing food.
- Going to bed on time. I still medicate with about 8mg of doxylamine to shut my brain down, and I swear this has saved me from thousands of indulgent calories.
- Exercise. I have been on some epic walks and hikes recently and they put me in a healthier mood overall.
So. Until next time: Let this be a lesson to us both! Maybe mostly me!
But I hope it was at least entertaining.
How to Prevent Your Creative INTJ Self from Becoming a Drama Queen
Monday June 3, 2019
One of my current projects involves helping an organization negotiate with a “talented solo visionary” who is feeling misunderstood and under-appreciated.
This is not a very enjoyable experience for anyone involved. And since INTJs are known to over-expose themselves to this kind of situation, and even become that drama queen character under the right (wrong) circumstances, I thought I’d share some relevant thoughts.
The major problem is that the “solo visionary” is extremely protective and self-conscious. They are deeply conflicted, and their work product feels like a precious, helpless little baby to them, because it is! While their vision is strong, even dominant, they are not yet experienced enough with their own work to understand how to protect it and bring an actual project to maturity in a sustainable way.
INTJs suffer from this, in their work as creatives. One of the fastest ways to make an INTJ turn into a Feeler-kind of person is to ask them to make something for you. Doing so will sometimes make them feel extremely protective and self-conscious within seconds!
The INTJ creator—be it an artist, movie creator, etc.—is generally going to be an Auteur, a solo visionary, someone who really believes in the power of the self.
The INTJ observer—whether a writer, a podcaster, etc.—is generally going to be a Critic, someone who can see a way in which anything can be improved, someone who really believes in the power of a strongly-worded suggestion for improvement.
Do you see the psychological crazy-making problem there?
Unfortunately, even a “solo visionary” can totally suck at their work and behave in really idiotic ways due to external pressures and a lack of education or experience. At these times, their inner critic hits hard. This can really get the emotions going—often not so much outer emotion, as a strong inner feeling of “woe is me, nobody understands me, I’m not being protected, no one is looking out for me and my vision.”
So, with this in mind, a few points on how to avoid a poor outcome as an INTJ creator.
First, if somebody asks you to do something for them, you should refer to, or create, some kind of risk-assessment process. For example, have you worked with this person before? What is their reputation? What is their personality type? Have you done this kind of project before? How much pressure do you feel to equate your work with your own concept of your self-worth? These examples are just examples, but illustrate the kind of questions to ask.
Some people will tell you to trust your gut, but your gut draws on your past experience, which is why you are not yet a billionaire stock trader. So be careful with your gut!
Second, if somebody asks you to DO or MAKE something creative for them, and you agree, it’s a good idea to expect your feelings to activate and work REALLY hard in part of this process. This way, when your feelings make themselves known, you can say, “ah, I saw this coming” in complete honesty. That helps.
A lot of INTJs will say “ah, I saw this coming” no matter what, in order to protect their “visionary” self image. This can be really counter-productive and unleash torrents of self-blame, which are usually repressed and can cause really ugly outbursts.
Third, those strong “solo visionary” feelings are typically going to be of the “me, I, mine, what I want, what I’m not getting, what I feel,” variety. If you share them with others, for example in a business environment, there is a huge risk that you will come off as a selfish a-hole and this can hurt you and your client / customer both. This is due to the fact that by expressing your subjective feelings and your subjective feelings alone, you have put yourself, and your customer/client, into “relationship jail” until the “relationship logic” can be worked out.
Relationship jail is a risky place for an INTJ, because we are not known for our skill at deftly recovering from relationship issues. It takes nuance, it takes time, and it takes sensitivity. AND you can’t talk about yourself forever. You eventually have to talk about the others and their needs, and what’s fair for them. This can really feel painful after you’ve had your turn to talk about how hurt you feel.
And on top of that, many clients, customers, and business-people simply cannot tolerate this method of solving problems. It is beyond their psychological capability, it will seem completely outlandish, and they will seek other means of recourse. They may even tell you that you need a therapist!
Fourth point: Another good way around this is to learn to set boundaries and communicate well before you start the work. If you haven’t done much of this kind of work before, it’s a good idea to set milestones at which you check in.
Also, remember that you might find it difficult to under-promise and over-deliver, but this is still very important regardless of your own desire to blow people away with how great your work is. This can be really hard for INTJs, because what they see in their mind’s eye seems completely amazing and ALSO completely doable to them. However, the sensory world and the intuitive world are two different environments. To mitigate the risk of problems, always start out with something really basic, if it’s new to you.
There’s a lot to this—those are some simple suggestions and I hope they help. There are many, many situations in which INTJs can find themselves completely held hostage by their feelings, and unfortunately those feelings can lead to very unpleasant consequences. With a more nuanced, constructive view though, and a true ability to anticipate the arrival of those consequences, they can be navigated with skill and a full recovery is usually possible.
UFO Disclosure vs. Inclosure Psychology
Friday May 31, 2019
Being once again in a UFO mood, I’ve been enjoying Tom Dolan’s Youtube channel. It’s kinda fun. I’m also listening to his audio book, A.D., After Disclosure.
Above: Tom Dolan, ANALYZING THE US NAVY DISCLOSURE on Youtube
For the moment, “we” are more serious about UFOs as a world culture, so why not jump in and explore.
In terms of personality type, Dolan strikes me as an ISFP, though that’s mostly via experiences with other people who look, act, and talk in a similar way. Intuition based on past experience in this way can sometimes be faulty or flat-out wrong.
Regardless of his personality type, his psychology is really far on the “Disclosure” side (maybe it’s obvious, looking at the title of his book, above) of what I’d call an “Inclosure-Disclosure Dichotomy” :
Principles of Inclosure
- Think about, discuss, and celebrate the past
- Find new ways to contextualize and model the past
- File Away Information
- Bring the past forward: Persistence of Memory
Principles of Disclosure
- Think about, discuss, and celebrate new and future events
- Find new ways to contextualize and model new and future events
- Open New Files
- Bring the future into the present: Persistence of Insight
An Inclosure-minded individual or group would tend to want to ignore new or paradigm-shifting information about UFOs or extraterrestrials. These topics won’t last long at the dinner table, but that also means that dinner can be enjoyed as usual, with no huge surprises.
A Disclosure-minded individual would tend to want to bring out, or highlight, new or paradigm-shifting information about UFOs or extraterrestrials. This person will tend to err on the side of open, fun, or novel interpretations, so there is a risk of horrendous misjudgment, if perception does not take into account security or other reasonable e.g. contingency concerns.
In general, I find that INTJs are Disclosure-oriented, though mostly in the sense of others’ stuff being disclosed, and not so much our own. :-) Faced with the choice between the two options, sure, let’s go Disclosure, however let’s also emphasize our favored mental program of having some kind of an ace in our sleeve. Usually this would be techno-social: Get people off-planet, or get some orbital weapons platforms facing outward, or dig up those old alien autopsy reports and start figuring out vulnerabilities stat.
Even without an ace however, this Disclosure psychology gives us INTJs a potential leg up in dealing with new information as it comes in, and in preparing for important changes. As the U.S. Navy (per the video above) and other organizations start to apply a Disclosure-oriented mindset toward UAPs and UFOs, a lot of new mental models are going to be created. Many of those models will leak vital information about their designers’ intent and perspectives.
I’m excited about these new mental models for that reason: Analyzing the models themselves will allow the general public, people like us, to foresee a little bit more, to get a bit more meta, to zoom out, and if needed, to help create superior mental models when too much Inclosure psychology starts to push us to “close the book and file away” dynamic and potentially promising information.
Looking into Skeptics
Looking around for differing viewpoints, I’m seeing similar patterns of perception and judgment between A) UFO skeptics and B) religious apologists. I’m not saying this makes either group wrong, but the psychology is usually extremely Inclosure-friendly. In such a brittle thinking environment, it’s easy to step beyond one’s bounds.
One model that has helped me here is the understanding that nuance alone communicates a lot about one’s education on a topic. When a skeptic goes nuclear about something, that alone is kind of a sign—why are they so tense about this; why so frustrated? Maybe it’s nothing, or normal, but maybe it’s also a sign that they themselves are being pushed to an uncomfortable zone, a place they’ve never been before.
1. In terms of Jungian cognitive function, there is some overlap here between functions like Si, Se, Ni, and Ne, but in my opinion the “potential leverage vs. learning-curve risk” factor of stretching the model in this way makes it less attractive.
Coaching Pricing Updated
Thursday May 23, 2019
Now that I’ve been working as a coach for a while, I’ve received valuable feedback from coaching clients and have developed a pricing page:
I’ve also changed my business services description from “Personality Type Coaching” to “Life & Career Coaching”. This is also due to client feedback, as well as feedback I solicited from my mentors and colleagues.
Personality Type and Much More
I am told that my coaching style is much more effective and encompassing than what some might imagine as “just MBTI” and it is definitely not limited to discussions of personality type.
While I’m not ruling it out, I’m actually not affiliated at all with MBTI and have never been a user of the MBTI instruments. I do use instruments that were created by professionals who worked for CPP in the past, however MBTI is a specific trade name.
Personality type is an effective tool and I continue to use it. At the same time I am really happy that my general coaching model is much more than just four-letter personality type, incorporating a range of systems and personal growth leverage points, so hopefully these changes communicate that better.
Regarding INTJ coaching, if you tend to see yourself and others as systems, you are in the right place. There is a lot of follow-on cognitive benefit for INTJs—I have a varied body of past career & life experience which a lot of clients draw on and find useful.
I’ve worked with a lot of students and I love to support my student clients as they prepare for full-time careers. For this reason I’m now offering a student discount, available via the same Pricing page.
Finally, I’m also offering email-based coaching (as opposed to online video or phone-based coaching) as of now, and will add those prices to the coaching website soon. In the meantime, please get in touch if you’re interested. My contact info is in the sidebar or you can go directly to the intake form page.
The Mad Max Diet for Girls
Wednesday May 22, 2019
Here’s an update on my INTJ-psychology-oriented diet.
As of this morning, I’m down to 205.5 lbs, bringing the 4-day total to 5.5 pounds lost. And I’ve got a strong feeling that I’m now drilling into the post-water-weight bedrock. The real grind begins.
Pushing it Pretty Hard, Can I Maintain this Rate?
I’m on an extremely heavy cut, compared to my average. Just as a guess, this would probably be about 2.5 lbs. a week worth of lost weight if I keep on the same track, and that’s risky for me. I remember doing this before. Sometimes I win, sometimes I don’t. So I’m paying attention to that.
But wow, to imagine hitting my 203 lb. milepost goal just over a week from now! Whoa. That would be so epic. After that, the final goal of 195 or even the stretch goal of 189 would just be a matter of weeks…hmmmmmmmmmm. Maybe maintain.
But all this dieting takes a psychological toll; it’s not just about punching numbers in and pretending to be a robot. I’m a seriously flawed human, and one heck of a dynamic system, with various stressors and perceptions and so on. So I’m going to stay open to new ideas and processes. Some of which are going to be very intuition-driven.
And, one of which is…
Let’s Get Effeminate
As a quick note, I use the word “Girls” in the title NOT to poke fun at girls. Girls can kick all kinds of ass. What I’m talking about are the effeminate parts of all of us—boy, girl, lumberjack, whatever.
During this cut I’m intentionally drawing heavily on effeminate archetypes from the subconscious as a way of lowering risk.
I’ll probably write more about this later, but I’m being extremely gentle with myself and staying open to feedback that says, “I’m working too hard, I need a break, let’s put on some nice music, how about a nap, let’s feel pleasant again. Do I want to take a nice long shower? How about putting on a favorite TV show?”
If you haven’t explored this before, haven’t tried it, harness the INTJ hidden openness strength (you have to decide consciously to do so) and give it a shot. Imagine yourself letting in an effeminate archetype, in your imagination, and see who manifests. Ask them what they want.
I had a pretty funny archetype emerge in my subconscious and I’m SO GLAD I met up with her and talked to her. She was SO SWEET and also overweight and pretty ashamed to be herself, but the fact is, she must be accounted for or she will destroy my ego. I have been down that road before and ended up eating way more than I knew I should. It was not cool and she was totally out of control.
So for now, she’s in there and I’m taking care of her.
One thing she appreciates is all of my spare contingency calories. She will use them up in no time. So I try to make sure I leave some in there every day, but again I’m also taking care of her in general to make sure I don’t overeat.
Words that Resonate Right Now
Just pulling up huge swaths of random dictionary words to see what intuitively stands out:
Psychologically I’m pretty much in masculine overdrive. The Mad Max Diet! Yikes. There’s a resonant image for sure.
I’d better take care of myself. This much overall risk plus a vague feeling of plateau at “only” losing 0.5 lbs. in a day is hard on the mind.
The Food: My Weight-loss Diet
This is one of my favorite parts. I love to imagine that I’m Ronnie Coleman and WHERE IS MY CHICKEN.
Above: Ronnie Coleman bodybuilder-cop video profile
My diet in terms of the food I’m eating is back in familiar territory which I remember from previous cuts. Overall it’s something like:
- Low breakfast calories, generally 100 to 150 grain or yogurt calories
- High protein overall: Nuts, chicken, etc.
- Tons of vegetable bulk. Like, no amount of salad lettuce or cabbage is ever enough.
- Lots of spice variety.
- Some sweet and indulging things here and there. A few dates at lunchtime, a little piece of bread, some chocolate.
- Hydration. Tons of water, mixed between flavored and unflavored. I also like diet soda, and it’s got zero calories, so even though people like to share stories about how it actually makes you gain weight or whatever, it’s in and I’m losing weight. :-)
I guess I would also add salsa to that. It’s practically a separate food group when I’m dieting. Sit me in front of some vegetables and salsa and I’ll happily eat until I’m overfull.
Here’s 1/2 of today’s lunch salad (it was huge, and I forgot to take a photo of course), and some fresh bakery bread on which I happily spent some of my contingency calories. The salad is a store-bought “asian” salad, to which I’ve added peanuts, curry powder, salt, tons of pepper, some red cayenne pepper (there was already a little in the dressing so this made it taste AMAZING). I used about a tablespoon of the included dressing. This made the salad a tiny bit dry, and sometimes even just sprinkling on a bit of water can help out these bagged, store-bought salad mixes.
The salad was around 600 calories total. Given the amount of bulk, I’m very happy with this. Also it tasted AMAZING OMG I WANT TO SCREAM, as does just about everything new, when I’m on a diet.
The drink above is a zero-calorie sweetened single-serving drink, I think some random Hawaiian Punch flavor. These are really nice for making hydration more attractive, and they also help in “other digestive ways” when on a high-protein diet.
Reviewing my notes from my last big cut, I remembered that I was able to feel full a lot of the time by eating cauliflower, pickles, and so on. I’m probably going to start throwing those in too.
Ketosis mouth taste also is my near constant companion. It’s a sweet taste but what I’m doing to my body also feels bitter in a way. So the taste in my mouth kind of averages out to “weird, but if you don’t taste this, you might be off track.”
Again, I’m in this 1400-1700 calorie-per-day area and it’s working well. THESE NUMBERS ARE JUST FOR ME and my condition though. Always check with a doctor or diet professional before drastically cutting calories.
I’m doing some light bodyweight exercise for now. Being pretty conservative.
I’m also going on long walks and doing some light hiking. Before I leave, I hydrate. While I’m out there, I hydrate (at least 8-9 gulps from a drinking fountain). When I get home, I hydrate. This seems to help to keep my mood up, my blood pressure up, and there’s less of a bonk when I return home.
When I do get home, I make sure to set aside time to just be a lazy guy. Zero productivity unless I’m in the mood. Gradually I’ll return to equilibrium in that way, but for now I’m going to be really immature and sloth-like.
I’m keeping my eye on the rest numbers mostly to support my psychology here. Less rest means more anxiety which means a higher risk of stress eating.
I’m aiming for 8 hours of sleep a night as measured on my fitbit, plus a nap when I can fit it in.
The nice thing about naps is that you generally are not thinking about food while napping. Though I did dream about eating two beautiful pizzas last night. :-)
What about the Extraversion?
The “Extraversion Method” that has me posting updates here really has been helpful. It’s a benign, positive pressure but it’s definitely a performance pressure that is pushing me toward putting on a good show here. So: Recommended!
In reasonable doses!
It’s getting serious now. My clothes fit better after losing 5.5 pounds from 211 to 205.5, which is great. But I’ve got a hard road ahead—let’s see how it goes.
And my usual disclaimer: This will never work, it’ll fail, I’m not up to the task, I will slip up somehow, etc. Gotta get that out!
My INTJ Weight Loss Heritage
Tuesday May 21, 2019
So, as a follow-up to yesterday’s weight loss post, I thought I’d share a bit about what I’ve learned from my INTJ father’s weight loss journey and how that affected my own journey and outcomes.
By the way, as a promised update, I’m’ down a pound today to 206, so five pounds lost overall. My next goal post is at 203, and I’m setting a conservative final goal of 195, with a stretch goal of 189 pounds.
Anyway, back to my dad and my INTJ weight loss heritage…
First, I want to start by saying that my dad didn’t know he was an INTJ, or what that was, and I began my own studies in personality psychology long after he passed away. It’s too bad. For all the great things that my dad was—wise, knowledgeable, expert in many areas, at times funny and spontaneous—knowing more about his psychology would have undoubtedly been a big deal to him.
But one nice thing about this situation is that it gives me additional perspective on strengths and blind spots of the INTJ, as isolated from the additional personal meta-reflection. And that perspective, while unfortunate in some ways, in other ways helps me better understand some of the people who contact me, or who may even read this blog.
A Potential Trap: How We See Ourselves, versus Our Objectively-measured Level
My dad was really, really concerned about, and interested in, weight loss. BUT, he saw himself as someone who “got” weight loss and knew how to do it. I think this highlights an important INTJ blind spot and “fake strength” area: I can’t be caught dead not knowing how something works.
In discussing weight loss with other people, my dad would say, “look, I’m not a doctor, I’m a dentist. But I went through two years of medical school with the doctors, so I know a lot about the human body and how it works.” He was reaching, and maybe over-reaching, for this “reasons I know what I’m talking about” social proof. A lot of INTJs do this. Heck, I’ve done it myself, though ever since I’ve learned about it, I try to keep it out of my advice-giving practice. If someone doesn’t want to take my advice, well—at least I’m learning this stuff by myself, for myself. That’s helpful and it makes me feel great.
But my dad—he was pretty uncomfortable about not being seen as a wise consultant. Especially in these areas of deep personal interest, like weight loss. And you could kind of sense, along with this advice and consulting, a parallel thread: He was also frustrated about his lack of progress.
A lot of his advice was effectively self-removed and maybe some would say hypocritical in this way; his health and weight loss progress was not always really clear by looking at him. His weight would visibly fluctuate with his stress levels and his personal feeling of happiness with his life. My dad would speak out of deep sympathy for obese people. And, while still overweight, he would talk about what it was like “back when” he was obese. He also loved to reflect on the “rock-hard calves” he had when he was a teenager, riding his bike up the steep hills of Bremerton, Washington. Wow!
In a sense, these discussions would come around to a sad sort of “I could have made state” feel, as seen in one of my favorite scenes in Napoleon Dynamite:
The feel to these discussions with dad was, I think I’m saying, a bit unrealistic. If you really analyzed his progress, he just wasn’t where he wanted to be, even though he projected a lot of knowledge.
For me, that’s become a lesson: Be humble, get experience, know yourself, and realize you might catch yourself speaking out of your depth. So, close that subject-object gap as soon as you can, if it’s important to you.
Unfortunate Closed-mindedness and Perception-Attentions
There was also a lot of “diet critic” in my dad. He read hundreds of diet books. His favorite principles, after all that reading, were:
- Eat healthy food like whole grains and vegetables
- Get adequate rest.
- Don’t worry about calories. Don’t count them, just eat healthy and exercise.
This was, essentially, his health and diet system. For that reason, I thought it would be helpful to break it down here and analyze the components and how they played out for him.
Healthy Food: Dad’s Principle 1 and Some Analysis
My dad did eat a lot of healthy food. But in retrospect it’s easy to see that he ate way, way too much food overall. One of his favorite sandwiches was two thick pieces of mom’s whole-wheat bread, a tomato slice, onions, refried beans, and catalina salad dressing.
Yikes. Personally I don’t think that would do much for me in terms of my current tastes. It was kind of sloppy in that extraverted-sensing way. And he ate those all the time; I need more variety than that. Still, these sandwiches were closing in on 400 or 500 calories with a nice balance of nutritional factors. Good protein. And even the carbs—not too bad!
But: They could not compete with his stress eating. I’d catch him standing around the kitchen, just thinking, and picking at various foods. Nuts, grains, whatever they were they were adding around 500 to 800 calories in one go. How can one’s metabolism compete with that kind of activity?
Looking back at this is why it is more important to me to keep a journal and write out my thoughts than it is to eat healthy food. Stress eating comes from stress. Stressors must be attacked or they can grow quickly. To attack a stressor, you can’t just keep it buried. You have to get it out—write about it, talk about it. Then revisit it until it’s not a stressor anymore.
Exercise: Dad’s Principle 2 and Some Analysis
Dad’s exercise methods were OK in the sense that, great—he did get some exercise. But in reflecting on his methods and how stale they became, I realized that my own methods were not open-minded enough.
I’m not a fitness expert, but I have learned that if I want to build muscle, I need to develop and refine a muscle-building system. Dad did not do that. He didn’t know what system he was using. At his more advanced points, he might do a thousand push-ups one day, maybe 600 on another…but in the scheme of things it was sort of random except for intensity.
Speaking of which, I also think he was way too intense which is something I see in many INTJs. He was much more likely to ride his bike too far and too fast than he was to go on a walk which would be simpler and yet still burn a lot of calories.
It’s very, very hard to convince an INTJ to be less intense about something, if you’ve ever tried that. So I don’t usually. But I do encourage more gentle forms of exercise, and more reflection on why things need to be so intense, on top of that intense exercise system, whatever the system is.
My learning point here is: I need a fitness system with some structure. And maybe a system for introducing variety. I’m not just going to do the standard stuff. In years previous I’ve tried out new systems, such as recommended routines I found via Reddit. Some are really helpful, some are non-starters, but I’ve never stayed with one for longer than a year, because I just need variety after a while.
I’ve also had a lot of great experiences with walking and light hiking. It’s been super good for me and has helped me lose over 100 pounds. I can introduce as much variety as I want, and that makes it a very useful exercise system of its own.
Rest: Dad’s Principle 3 and Some Analysis
This was essentially lip service for my dad. He did take naps, but overall he was a workaholic and never stopped until he died an early death, a week after his retirement party.
It’s sobering to think about this. I was headed this same direction in my early career and the results are frightening to think about. Anxiety, depression, just awful. I remember hearing my dad just sobbing—very, very occasionally, but sobbing in his bedroom, while telling my mom how much he felt like he was a failure.
My dad didn’t measure his rest and didn’t seem to seek ways to improve it, except in those intensity spurts I mentioned. His idea of rest was to take a spontaneous weekend vacation to the coast.
Sadly, it’s easy to see how he could have made his weekday work much more restful, had he just been aware to look for such opportunities and build a system of rest. That’s been one of my learning points from my own coach over time as well: INTJs need to learn how to set boundaries, and one purpose of those boundaries is to protect one’s own energy levels.
Regarding sleep, I have been measuring it and my average is up by more than an hour and a half a night. The results have been really great for me—less anxiety, a clearer mind, and effectively zero incidents of exhaustion/depression.
Don’t worry about calories: Dad’s Principle 4 and Some Analysis
So my dad loved to talk about how calorie-counters would always fail. Their weight would always go back up. They’d be stuck in these demotivating loops.
Even in the presence of the clear fact that my dad himself was overweight and not exactly looking the way he wanted, this viewpoint of his frightened me, and I, myself, became an anti-calorie-counter. And on top of that, because I was trying to grow muscle as a high school and then college student, I started what was effectively a “dirty bulk” without even knowing what that was. So I unwittingly set myself up on the very same weight-gain ladder that many adults climb until they are very, very overweight.
I credit scooby1961 with helping me change my mind on calories, as I started paying attention to his workout videos. Scooby is a great example of what I see as a highly objective-perceptive personality. That offers a great learning model to potentially closed-minded people like me.
After watching lots and lots of Scooby’s videos, I believe he is an Ne-dominant ENFP. He’s incredibly open (Ne) to new ideas and changes in opinion, and he always runs the numbers (Te). He’s not afraid of taking measurements and evaluating things from that standpoint. (He also talks a lot about Stephen Covey’s values-directed living viewpoint, and is very well planted in Fi)
As I made my first forays into calorie-counting, I found it pretty fiddly. But I researched my problems and was told that this wouldn’t last—soon it would become intuitive. Which was music to my intuitive ears!
Now that calorie counting is a no-brainer, it’s like I’m living in a different weight loss world. I’m less fearful about my weight and more conscious of what I’m eating and why. I find it’s also easier to forgive myself when I gain weight, and that helps me move on and lose it when I need to—even if that looks to others like I’m on some sort of lose-gain cycle. Personally, my results are just way, way better than they were before I counted calories.
My overall learning point here, though, is to hold my models lightly. My dad held too firmly to the calorie-counting-won’t-work model. And I believe that worked against him. Sure, it might not have worked well for him at first, as I found, but as a sharpened tool it’s pretty darn good.
I hope this has helped some of you, and maybe you’ve even found some identification with principles or experiences described here.
I’m very happy with my diet progress since last week and am looking forward to more of this little journey.