Don’t Bite Off More Than You Can Chew

Corruption and Lies Health and Wholeness Personal Development What Your Father Should Have Taught You Worldview

There are many things in our lives that we might want to change or accomplish. Yet over and over people have found that changing habits and achieving goals is difficult. This is probably as it should be. Life is a struggle and only those who can enter into the struggle for survival and compete will win. Most of us no longer have to struggle just for food, shelter, and security. Western Civilization and a Global Marketplace have created unprecedented levels of wealth throughout the world. Unfortunately, the great wealth has also served to highlight the great poverty that exists. What people don’t seem to realize is that great poverty and struggle have been with us through most of human existence, it is NOT the exception but the rule. It is the norm. The fact that so many people think that the norm is comfort and security is a testament to the success of capitalism, egalitarianism, and scientific and technological advancement of the very Western Civilization that they are attacking because of the inequality that it produces. They don’t realize that the alternative is not wealth for everyone but in a communist society, it is poverty for everyone and worse living in a pervasive lie of dogma and propaganda. One of the lies is that we can effect grand change and predict the outcome.

Different movements from Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to the modern Green New Deal all want to make massive changes without really understanding the science and consequences of much that they propose. At best they are a cynical attempt to restructure society by misleading idealists and at worse they are a nihilistic campaign to destroy everything – including humanity.

As my father would say, Don’t bite off more than you can chew. It is an old saying but it makes sense. You could literally choke by doing so and we could literally destroy everything by messing with things we don’t fully understand and experimenting with things through a lens of oversimplification and hysteria that doesn’t look at consequences and chain reactions in a complex system.

Don’t bite off more than you can chew was not an attempt by my father to tell me to not bother trying great things. Rather, it went with another old saying of his “Yard by yard is hard, inch by inch is a cinch.” You CAN eat an entire cow. Just don’t expect to do it all in one meal. You CAN change the world but lasting change is best achieved incrementally – as Communists and Cultural Marxists are doing with our society; patiently destroying or discrediting one institution or idea after another. But it can be used in positive ways too. Unfortunately, most people give up their long term goals and heart’s desire for temporary pleasure or benefit.

Inch by inch is how I went from 350 pounds and a 54-inch waist to 38-inch waist and 210 pounds. When I tried to make major changes I always rebounded back to where I was (or heavier,) but inch by inch was a cinch once I harnessed my psyche to help the change.

One thing to be aware of is our attitude. Although modern society tried to convince us that we and the environment were machines this was a lie. As we move beyond post-modern thinking we are coming more and more to realize that the world, nature, our minds, and bodies are not machines so much as they are a complex and interconnected organic reality. Life is not a matter of just replacing parts. I found a hospital that recognizes that the spiritual and the mental are just as important as the physical in regard to health. That matches my holistic view. In the same way, I found that my mind was the key to losing weight and in achieving long term goals and change.

Often, the world forces on us a self-image through circumstances or events that conflict with what we deeply desire in our heart. Society repeatedly tries to force us into categories and make us conform we must be this or that. For example masculinity and femininity run a gamut but biological reality trumps all. Masculine women were called “Tom Boys” and effeminate men were called “sensitive” or “artistic.” Even in the 1800s there were women who could ride and shoot better than some men. It was not every woman, but there were always some. I have already talked in detail on that. But today’s society is an “all or nothing” lie! If you like boys things then you are not a Tom Boy you ARE a boy (does this have something to do with the fact that the medical community will make millions of dollars off of every sex change in a life time of surgery and treatments? According to whistle-blowers from some hospitals that is exactly the plan and greed, not health care, is driving it. In the same way this all or nothing lie recommends surgery for weight loss and teen role confusion instead of the old way of “dealing with it.” Our society tells us to give up, take a pill, or make a surgical change rather than to do the work to bring our existence into alignment with our deepest desires. But the Bible says that God doesn’t make mistakes, he has given us the deep desires of our heart and he wants them to be fulfilled in accordance with who we truly are and not just to make a “quick” pharmaceutical fix. Conversely, others tell us that we are great just as we are when we are fat and harming ourselves by an unhealthy weight.

After I hurt my back I became inactive and gained weight steadily. In turn, my weight further aggravated my pain and bad health situation. I hurt everywhere. My knees, my back, my hips, my feet, everywhere hurt. I couldn’t even breathe when I tried to tie my shoes because bending over crunched all of my innards together because of the fat. I didn’t like it and wanted to be healthy and active. There was nothing OK about my being fat. Body positivity, like so much of our society, is a lie and a cop-out.

I complained to my son that whatever I tried and whatever success I had I always returned to the same weight. Now I feel I have taught my sons well and they listen to me still today. But sometimes I need what I say reflected back to me and they have always helped with that (it’s always humbling to have your advice reflected back to you but good as well.) My middle son said, “Have you accepted the image you see in the mirror as being who you really are?” “You know,’ I answered, “I think I have.” “Maybe that’s why you keep returning to that body type after all your efforts.” So, I started superimposing over my image in the mirror, a memory of how I looked in the army when I could max the PT test – I have always felt that I was first and foremost a cavalryman – although my body had gone into Jabba the Hutt mode. By seeing my lean, active figure of myself in the mirror I started to change my perception of who I was, rather than just accepting what I had become through my own neglect and inactivity. Eventually, I became estranged from the fat person in the mirror, and seeing myself would produce a little shock every time I brushed my teeth in the morning. “Who is that fat person in my body?” I had finally touched my deep desire to change.

That was when I knew I could make lasting change.

I went back to the things that I had done before only this time it worked. There are a lot of methods from Deal A Meal, to Slim Fast, to the South Beach and Mediterranean Diets, I tried all of these and more and they each gave me temporary change. But until I changed my self-image I couldn’t achieve a lasting change.

One other hurdle I had to overcome ties into my dad’s advice on “Yard by yard is hard but inch by inch is a cinch” and “Don’t bite off more than you can chew.” As I lost weight I always plateaued after ten pounds. No matter what I tried that was all I lost and even increasing the effort got no more results. So I decided to accept that as what my body did. I worked to lose ten pounds. Then when I plateaued I took a break. I watched what I ate, and concentrated on not going back to bad habits or inactivity. I always felt better. The pain in my back and knees that were always made worse by being overweight would subside for a time and I would sleep better and could go upstairs more spryly. Then, after a month or two I would start to feel heavy again. Then I went back to the diet mode and lost another ten pounds. I was happy with ten pounds at a time and just persisted. It took me over a year but I went from 350 pounds and a 54-inch waist to a 38-inch waist and 210. There is more to that tale but we don’t have room here.

But to add two simple things that made a big difference:

I drank too much Coca-Cola. Way too much. I had a habit of always having something to drink with me. I tried to switch to water but wanted more flavor and sweetness. I began substituting every other glass of Coke for a glass of water. I didn’t change my habit of having a drink handy. We need to drink a lot for our kidney health. I just made what I drank more healthy. Bit by bit I changed the Coke to other and more healthy options that now include cutting processed food from my diet.

Also, I noticed I always gained weight over the holidays. I love mashed potatoes, turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. I went to my mother-in-law and asked her to put a luncheon plate down at my place instead of a dinner plate. I still had two platefuls of food during the holidays. Ate everything I liked and then did it again. I didn’t feel that I was losing out on anything. But I didn’t gain any weight that holiday. I have done this every year since.

It seems like everything in our society today is about trying to convince people that their own self-destructive behavior is fine, the truth can be replaced by “my” truth, language rules can be ignored, gender is relative, and you can do whatever you have the urge to do without any consequences. But there are consequences and addressing every problem with surgery or a pill often just makes things worse.

None of us are perfect as we are. Whoever told you that lied to you to make you feel better or to sell you something. Virtually none of us are born as a Christ or a Bodhisattva. We can and should all improve. As Duke Leto Atreides said to his son, “Without change something sleeps inside us; and seldom awakens.” We have a future to strive for an continuing in mediocrity will not get us there. We must improve ourselves is we wish to improve society and too many movements encourage people to attack others to avoid doing the hard work of changing and evolving themselves. But life is about growing and changing or decay and dying. There are no other choices. Nothing remains the same.

That brings me to another point. Thank you Freedom Troopers for your support and for being part of our growing community (we have increased over 40% last month and 67% this month. (In fact, we have steadily increased – with only a few monthly exceptions – since our first blog post a year ago.) I thank you for your support and hope you continue to find what I say helpful. Please continue to help by passing on the website to others who may be interested or supporting us through Patreon to be part of our growing community.

I have noticed though that the issues I talk about tend to be complex and multifaceted. The blog format isn’t the best and it is difficult to trim stuff down to 3 pages or less. I have been working on a couple of books and need to increase my efforts there, as well as coming out of retirement and returning to intelligence work and/or education. This means that, at least for now, I will be dropping down to two posts a week. I will continue with the Sunday/Monday blog of What My Father Taught Me and traditional wisdom to be posted by Monday morning. Then I will do a contemporary analysis of some issues and point to a solution that I will post on Wednesday night or NLT Thursday morning. Then I will work on my books and my profession.

I have resisted dropping down to two blogs a week but the research required for my analysis and double-checking data points is time-consuming. Then the editing and cutting out other tangential material has produced more “partial blogs” and works in progress than I have completed blog posts. My books will bring these different aspects all together into a coherent whole instead of trying to artificially strip things down to one isolated topic.

Recently, I have been getting responses to my resume, which is bouncing around cyberspace. It seems that most of the intel jobs that I am being offered and that I qualify for are on the East Coast so there may be some interruptions around the major changes that entails. Years ago I was injured in the army, then re-injured in a car accident that made me a hundred percent disabled and addicted to painkillers. Covid then hospitalized me for two weeks and finished off my liver. After seven years of being completely unable to work, and a few years where most of my days were spent sleeping or studying in bed, I have recovered enough that I sought out a security job to see if I could work 40 hours a week again. That has been successful. I didn’t give up and I didn’t accept that my broken body was “good enough.” It is still broken but I wanted it to be the best that it could be.

Again, inch by inch is a cinch. I started working part-time and increased slowly to full-time. I stopped the over-eating and slowly became more active moving from being bedridden, to using a walker, to using a cane, to now generally not even using the cane. Likewise, I weaned myself from the pain killers. I relished in the little triumphs (and bitched all the way – my wife added when I read this to her.) I reduced my prescription to painkillers and their consumption and when I was sure I had adapted to the smaller dose I told my VA doctor that I wanted him to cut the dosage. “You want less?” he asked, looking a bit surprised. “Yes, I don’t need as much anymore,” I said. “Most people ask for more and not less,” he said. “Well, I want to get completely off of them.” “That would be good,” he answered.* I still had the pain, but bit by bit my body adapted to living with it, and bit by bit I reduced my dependency on the prescribed painkillers. I also remind myself of the time the physical therapist told me when I said my goal was to get back into martial arts, that I might have to content myself to just getting out of the wheelchair. I was never one to give up and did not content myself to just putting aside the wheelchair.

Yet in all my challenges (barring falling on my face a few times when I was young,) I always remembered my father’s advice. “Don’t bite off more than you can chew” and “Yard by yard is hard, but inch by inch is a cinch.”

*** Yes, I know the rules of grammar and punctuation – I’m just not using them because it takes up more space on my blog post. If you don’t know the rules – because schools today don’t teach them anymore – then buy and read Strunk and White’s book Elements of Style. It should be a little book on everyone’s desk at work – even if you are not a writer. When I had my son read it he commented that he never thought a book about grammar could have humor in it. It is a small book and well worth reading. Another help with my online work has been Grammarly and I heartily recommend it to anyone who works online or on their computer – which should be pretty much everyone nowadays. Grammarly has good advice but I noticed that it is not always reflective of my personal style. The neat thing about Grammarly is it makes suggestions and offers advice which you can then accept or dismiss by your choice. You can choose to keep you own wording – if you know the rules of grammar – you can choose to not follow their advice but you should know why you do that or don’t. This reminds me of a professor when I was working on my Masters Degree. He wanted an introductory paragraph of three or four sentences. When he handed the paper back at me and winked, “Actually,” he said. “When I said three or four sentences I was envisioning three or four American sentences not three or four German sentences.” “They are grammatically correct sentences,” I said. “Yes, so I didn’t grade off for them, I just thought I’d mention it.” If you don’t know German authors tend to write complex and lengthy sentences that go into great detail. Maybe its genetic from my German heritage or maybe its from reading too many German philosophers in High School and College but I tend to do the same. Grammarly, like so much advice today, pushes for short, simple sentences. I assume my readers are smarter than the average and can understand longer and more complex thoughts than the media gives us today.

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