Military Diet Exposed

If you’ve read my previous post, then you’ll know that I’ve been experimenting with the so-called three-day military diet. After one round of the diet, I learned some valuable lessons that I’ve implemented into my own diet. One of those lessons being that you should always question what you read and experiment on the concepts before diving in head first.

Going into the fad, three-day diet, I already had some idea of what to expect. I knew three things before I began the strict diet plan. First, I knew that it was trendy and I’m always skeptical of anything trendy. Second, I knew that it worked on the principle of limiting calories-well duh. Third, I knew that I wanted proof of how it worked-if it worked at all.

Initially, I read through several blogs and articles regarding the diet. There were some who reported that they liked it and some who hated it. There were some who experienced success and others who didn’t care, because the restrictions sucked too much to try it again. I hypothesized that any change that I might experience wouldn’t last and would have no lasting positive affect on my health.

I read some posts that warned about the pitfalls of not sticking strictly to the meal plan. Others simply warned about the loss of energy due to the fact that meal plan limited caloric intake to less than 1000 calories per day.

Diets, in my opinion, should not make you feel lousy, so I began to experiment with that in mind. Sticking with the concept of daily reduced calories, I explored a few alternatives to the suggested foods. You can read in my previous post about the few items I replaced each day to help satiate my hunger and ease the predisposed psychological burden that accompanies any strict diet. Those substitutes contained similar macronutrient combinations to the suggested meal, but were in my normal staple so I knew I would like them.

I observed my attitude day by day including mental clarity and mood. Toward the end of the three-day period, I concluded that the “military diet” left me tired and hungry. Furthermore, the weight I lost did not improve my overall health. You can read the results in my prior post titled The So-Called Military Diet or skip to the recap below.

Here’s a brief recap of round one of the three day diet as reported previously. The final weigh-in concluded a three pound loss in water weight only with no change to my body composition. Consequently, my blood pressure rose to a risky level.

I decided to study my daily journals and sift through the details. Knowing that reduction in caloric intake would certainly cause one to drop pounds, I decided to stick with that concept but with modifications.

If I could lose three pounds of water weight on the fad diet, then my next goal was to lose three pounds of fat using a modified diet of my own.  Only this time I would tailor it to my own body composition and type and include foods from my normal diet.

Knowing my body type was tricky. In order to determine mine, I needed to look back to my earlier years. I chose a time when I was in my best physical shape. I found pictures of me just after my first Spartan race a few years ago. At that time I was in my late thirties and had just competed and won a Biggest Looser camp at our local rec center. Then I compared the past to my current status.

Think of it this way, your body shape is determined by genetics, but it might be temporarily hidden by circumstance. Whatever you do, do not compare yourself to others. Your health is about you and only you. Comparing yourself to others will reduce your rate of success. Also, it will make it difficult to determine your body type.

For example, when I look around and compare myself to the other guys in the gym, I see myself as a short, “fluffy” man with weak shoulders but can lift as much as the hulk next to me. This comparison makes no sense.

However, when I look at photographs of myself and compare them to how I look today I see something very different. By doing this type of comparison I see that I’m a mesomorph.

I won’t go into detail about ectomorphs, mesomorphs, and endomorphs, but I’ve embedded links to a few websites where you can find more information. I recommend finding out what body type you are before beginning any diet or work out regimen.

Knowing that I’m a mesomorph, I can move forward with my diet adaptation with the idea in mind that I need to watch my calorie intake. When considering a work out plan a mesomorph should also consider matching cardio with weight training.

The main point that I focused the majority of my attention on was the macronutrient balance a mesomorph should consider.

After reviewing my notes from the previous three-day diet, I noticed that my best day was the day where my carbs versus fats versus protein were 40% vs. 30% vs. 30%, respectively. This balance was in line with most of the literature I read about the ideal diet for a mesomorph.

The next step toward beginning my personalized diet was to create a meal plan. The simplest solution was to eat foods that already existed in my diet. To do this I used the fitbit app on my phone to scan and enter everything from my refrigerator and pantry.

This part was by far my favorite step in the process. Once the nutrient details were in my phone, I sat down and started to piece together daily meal plans.

By the time I was done, I had created a three-day meal plan that looked very similar to what I currently ate every day. I didn’t have to go to the grocery store and spend a fortune replacing everything in my kitchen. The key was to create that perfect balance of 40% carbs to 30% fats to 30% protein and to cut my caloric intake in half. This meant that I would have to eat less than 1500 calories per day.

After the dust settled on my masterpiece, I had a three-day meal plan that kept my daily calories under 1200 calories, kept me fed all day so I wouldn’t feel hungry, and included food that wasn’t just canned tuna and dry toast.

Now for the proof, but before I present my meal plan and discuss my results, let me recap.

Two weeks ago I successfully completed a trendy three-day diet. Although, I lost three pounds, my blood pressure rose and my body composition did not change. I hypothesized that by incorporating the things that worked from the fad diet with the needs of my body type I would experience fat loss and maintain a healthy blood pressure. Furthermore, I would create a simple meal plan that wouldn’t require me changing my current food preferences.

Day 1


Instant apple & cinnamon oatmeal with a tablespoon of coconut creme coffee creamer.


Half of an avocado followed by a chocolate decadence IsaLean Bar.

Afternoon Snack

Twelve dry roasted almonds.


Tai chicken salad; Ingredients included:

  • 6oz of roasted chicken breast
  • 2 oz of chopped carrots
  • 1 broccoli spear
  • 1/3 cup of snap peas
  • 1 tbsp of rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp of lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp of soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper

Evening Snack

Creamy french vanilla protein shake with a medium banana and a tablespoon of coconut creme coffee creamer.

I loaded up the calories on the first day in order to survive the next two days. My total caloric intake was 1425. My nutrient composition was 37% from carbs, 36% from fat and 27% from protein.

Although, the composition was not ideal, this meal plan satisfied my hunger and was still half of my regular calorie intake. The reason my macronutrients did not line up with my original plan was because I unwittingly added a protein shake at the end of the day in order to add calories not realizing that I hadn’t entered my meal at lunchtime into fitbit. In fact, I unknowingly did this all three days.

Day 2


Instant apple & cinnamon oatmeal with a tablespoon of coconut creme coffee creamer.


Half of an avocado followed by half a large grapefruit.

Afternoon Snack

Extra sharp cheddar cheese stick.

Twelve dry roasted almonds.


Blueberry faux cheesecake; Blended ingredients included:

  • 1.5 scoops of creamy vanilla protein powder
  • 1 cup of low fat cottage cheese
  • 1.5 cups of fresh blueberries
  • 1 tbsp of sugar

Evening Snack

30 parmesan crisps

My total caloric intake was 1193. My nutrient composition was 41% from carbs, 31% from fat and 28% from protein.

Although, the composition was not ideal, this meal plan satisfied my hunger and was less than 1200 calories. By the way, the fake blueberry cheesecake was fabulous. It contained the consistency of cheesecake and the sweetness of blueberries.

Day 3


Instant maple and brown sugar oatmeal with a tablespoon of coconut creme coffee creamer.


Chocolate decandence IsaLean bar.

Afternoon Snack

Peach Mango Green Tea

12 parmesan crisps


Sweet Summer Salad; Ingredients included:

  • 8 oz of cherry tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup of berries
  • 6 oz roasted chicken breast
  • 3 oz of organic baby spinach
  • 3 tbsp of seasoned rice vinegar, basil & oregano
  • 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar

Evening Snack

Creamy french vanilla protein shake with a medium banana and a tablespoon of coconut creme coffee creamer.

My total caloric intake was 1480. My nutrient composition was 41% from carbs, 31% from fat and 28% from protein.

Although, the composition was not perfect, this meal plan satisfied my hunger and was less than 1500 calories.


I weighed-in using a higi station at my local pharmacy. I use this unit because it’s consistent and gives me more than just weight as a metric. It offers me measurements on weight, BMI, body fat percentage, blood pressure, pulse and hydration level. Below I’ll give you my metrics taken the day before I started my diet and metrics taken the day after my three day diet.

Day 0 – Before metrics

  • Weight – 174 lbs
  • Pulse – 79 bpm
  • Body Fat Percentage – 25.53%
  • Systolic – 130 mmHg
  • Diastolic – 89 mmHg
  • BMI – 28.99
  • Hydration – high (acceptable level)

Day 4 – After metrics

  • Weight – 168 lbs
  • Pulse – 61 bpm
  • Body Fat Percentage – 23.05%
  • Systolic – 114 mmHg
  • Diastolic – 77 mmHg
  • BMI – 27.99
  • Hydration – high (acceptable level)

There was no question in my mind that the modified three-day diet that I tailored for my body type surpassed my expectations. It outperformed the so-called “Military diet” and was much easier to execute.

My mind was clear and my body satisfied through the diet. I was able to cut calories and not sacrifice energy. In the end, it paid off. I lost 6 pounds of fat and not just water. My blood pressure actually improved and my resting heart rate lowered.

I’m satisfied that I can recreate the results from my diet plan, so I’m going to practice it again. This time I’ll add a few more metrics such as waist circumference and fat versus lean mass comparisons.

Stay tuned.

If you try my three-day-diet outlined above, please let me know how it went. I’d like to know if others experienced the same results as me. You may have to substitute some items based on your body type and what you have on hand. Remember, this diet is meant to accommodate what you already have on hand in your refrigerator and pantry.

Respond below if you have any questions or comments about this post.


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The So-Called “Military Diet”

Hi all, I’m back. It’s been a while and I apologize. We’ve been very busy. You can follow all of my activities at any of the following sites: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Amazon, and Links of Courage.

Now, for this story. Needless to say, this week was a bit rough. If any of you have tried the so-called “military diet,” then you’ll know that the lack of calories each day leaves you weary by the end.

I set a goal to lose a few pounds by the end of the diet but really I wanted to take a scientific approach to the diet and experiment with details. I know they say that you shouldn’t substitute anything in the diet, but I wanted to answer the question, “why not?”

In order to get a better idea of what my body would go through physiologically, and since I don’t have a robust scale at home, I decided to rely on a higi station at the local pharmacy.

I noticed this particular machine when I was picking up prescriptions for my son. It had electrodes to measure percent body fat and hydration. I didn’t know how accurate this machine was, but all I needed were numbers to compare before and after results, so I created my free account and began.

My plan was to begin the diet Monday morning, so I measured myself on Sunday night. Below is a snapshot of my results.

metrics before

Here’s where I started experimenting. (By the way, I tracked everything in fitbit. I also discovered that higi and fitbit are compatible. They weren’t a perfect match, but my fitbit activity was uploaded to my higi account daily.)

When you look online for the “military diet” you’ll find a myriad of responses. Most of them are identical and they warn you not to alter the food requirements. I didn’t listen.

Day 1

Day 1 diet

My calorie intake and macronutrients content are shown below.

Totals day 1

Going into this diet I had no doubt that it operated on the principle of calorie restriction. I could only guess from how adamant everybody was about not modifying the food that there must have been some science involving calorie composition.

It appears from the chart above that the intent for Day 1 was to carboload. This would prove essential by Day 3. You’ll also notice that for breakfast I substituted grapefruit for a coffee flavored yogurt cup.

Day 2

Day 2 diet

Day 2 felt pretty much the same as Day 1, but boy was I wrong. Check out the content in the table below.

Totals day 2

Calories went up and carbs went down. The macronutrients were fairly equal for Day 2, unlike Day 1. This is where I substituted hot dogs for Sun-Dried Tomato Turkey sausages. They had less calories than hot dogs but a little more fat.

By the end of the day I was beginning to feel lethargic. My body responded to the low caloric intake and was tired. I wasn’t too despondent however because I knew I had only one more day to go.

Day 3

Day 3 diet


Day 3 was great. My brain seemed a little sluggish but somehow more focused, and I had enough energy to get me through the day. I didn’t substitute much here except to exchange an ordinary slice of cheddar cheese for a Chipotle Cheddar cheese stick. I also added Louisiana hot sauce to the 2 servings of tuna for flavor. The hot sauce had no calories but a lot of sodium.

See the calorie composition below.

Totals day 3

My protein intake remained relatively the same but carbs went up a little which meant that fats went down. Unfortunately, I neglected to add my water consumption on Day 3, but I drank about the same amount of water all three days.

Now for the great reveal. Did this three-day diet do my body any good? The real question, “Does it have to be this particular diet or can any diet that restricts calories help a person lose weight in three days?”


That answer is, “I don’t know.” I need to experiment further. Unfortunately the machine was not connected to the internet the day I measured so my results didn’t get uploaded to higi. Instead, I took a picture of the screen.

You’ll notice that although my BMI went down slightly, my percent body fat rose slightly. Also, note that my blood pressure rose. In any case, I accomplished my goal of losing a few pounds-about a pound a day.

This was just one experiment and the first of many to come from me. Watch my page next week to see what foods I substitute next time.

You can see photos of some of my meals below. Thanks for following.

(I ate the grapefruit for breakfast on Day 4 because I wanted to weigh-in later that day and didn’t want to negate my three days of effort.)




Change is Good

Putting 15 years of stuff into boxes requires a lot of boxes!

I’ve been gradually combing through my office one binder at a time. My purpose has been to eliminate unnecessary stuff. Unfortunately, when everything is important it’s very difficult to throw anything out.

I began early knowing full well that it would take me time to pour over “historical” documents in a futile attempt to determine their validity. I’m very pleased to report that today I was able to rid my office space of 10 binders full of out dated SOPs and pre-millennial memos. However, it wasn’t without a few tears. I get really sentimental when I read memos written by retired colleagues and admirable predecessors.

The alternative would be to pack it all up and move it to my new office until someday my successor would have to throw it out. Network television should film a reality TV show about office hoarders. They could get great ratings filming my office for their pilot episode.

In any case, I felt really proud of myself today as I tossed binders into the shred bin. It felt quite refreshing actually. Unfortunately, I have a long way to go and only two months to get it done.

Although I tell myself daily that change is good and I like the new building we’re moving into, saying goodbye to the old building is going to be very difficult for me. I literally feel like I’ve grown up in this office.

I was 24 years old and newly-wed when I started working at the medical examiner’s office. My wife taught preschool on campus and I was in the process of completing medical school prerequisites at the University of Utah. Previous to that I was living at home with my parents and working as a volunteer EMT/Firefighter and substitute school teacher.

I fell in love with forensics and chose to make it my career. Over the years I’ve been presented with opportunities to choose other paths, but in the end forensics has maintained its appeal.

Looking into my office and seeing stacks of boxes filled with so many memories, I can’t help but feel nostalgic. I found a note tucked away in one of my binders written by a medical examiner who passed away many years ago. The note was almost 15 years old, but her advice was as fresh as the day she wrote it.

It was just instructions on how to be a great transcriptionist, but the feelings and emotions that flooded my office were tangible and unforgettable. God bless you, Dr. Frikke!

Speaking of unforgettable moments, I want to end by sharing an experience from today that I hope will leave a lasting impression.

As you know, we’re packing up the office so we need a lot of boxes. Well, we ran out of boxes today so I went to the store to purchase more. As I was checking out, the cashier said something that caught me off guard but absolutely made my day. Her name was Linda.

As I walked up to the counter, Linda said, “You’re cute!”

With flushed cheeks I thanked her and said, “You just made my day. In fact, when we’re done here I’m going to give you a hug.”

Then, Linda’s cheeks flushed and she said, “You just made my day.”

That brief encounter with Linda solidified a valuable lesson. That lesson was about how the influence of one person can change the world.

It doesn’t take slander and mud slinging to get to the top. You don’t have to be president of the United States to make a change. Showing love and kindness to strangers will make the world a better place to live.

Right now, I commit to be a little more kind tomorrow than I was today. I’m going to do it for Dr. Frikke. Who are you going to do it for?

Linda changed the course of my whole day. I challenge you to change the course of somebody’s day. Make the world a better place.





Suicide: Noble or Not?

Recently, I was shocked to hear about my family history from a stranger. This person knew details about my extended family that I barely knew. He knew details about my anatomy related to my heritage that freaked me out. I couldn’t believe how much he knew about me and the only information I gave him was my grandmother’s maiden name.

I asked him how he knew so much about my family and this is what he told me. He said, “All Russians learn about the heroes of WWII in our history classes.”

I was stunned. I had never heard anything about my family being war heroes. In fact, my people were on the surrendering side of WWII. Regardless, he told me that his history books referred to the kamikaze pilots of the Japanese military as brave war heroes. My family, Matsui, according to him, had a large part to play in training and practicing kamikaze warfare.

I thought for sure he was trying to pull the wool over my eyes. After all, I couldn’t prove otherwise. In an attempt to validate his claims, he went as far as to tell me that he knew that my second and third toes were webbed. Was he was right? I’ll never tell. Nevertheless, I listened more intently to him afterwards.

Regardless of whether or not what he told me was true, it cause me to think. The point of his conversation was to tell me that he thought it took great courage and strength to commit suicide. Our conversation eventually turned to the question of suicide being noble or not.

Of course, I don’t condone suicide. My goal is to eliminate suicide as the leading cause of death in the youth population of Utah. My heart aches for all those afflicted with the thought that suicide is the only option to end their suffering. I empathize with your pain and I’m here to tell you that it’s not the last resort. I’ve documented my recovery in a book titled, Life After Suicide: The impact of suicide on the ones left behind.  It will be available this fall on Amazon.

There is always another choice and it’s a different kind of sacrifice. Unlike the kamikaze pilots who intentionally sacrificed their lives for their cause, you don’t need to end your life. Instead, sacrifice whatever thing is causing you such grief that you think suicide is your only escape.

Speaking now to you who are suffering the grief of a loved-one lost to suicide, you need to sacrifice something as well if you ever hope to move past your sorrow. You must sacrifice your guilt, or your sadness, or whatever thing is keeping you from being happy again. Allow yourself grace to forgive your loved-one and to forgive yourself.

With the opening of what is sure to be a box office chart topper for DC Comics, I want to leave you with this thought. I think it’s important enough to talk about that I’ve dedicated a chapter of my book, Life After Suicide, to this concept. Suicide has become popular in awareness for both prevention and promotion. I have nothing bad to say about the DC Comic, Suicide Squad, but it’s an example of how cavalier we’ve become to the term.

Let me pose a question for you to ponder until you hear from me again, “Has society grown so callous to life and living that death and suicide have found a coveted place at the seat of honor?”

Although it may have taken great courage and strength of soul for a kamikaze pilot to fly his plane directly at the enemy, I believe it takes great courage and strength of soul to live. My kamikaze ancestors are honored today by their comrades, but their sacrifice is lost to me.

If you are someone battling your own enemies in your head, know that you are not alone. I respect and honor your courage to fight and live day after day.

If you are interested in knowing more about how I survived the loss of a loved-one to suicide, please subscribe and send me a message. Not only will I inform all of my subscribers as soon as my book is available on Amazon, but I’ll continue to post content from my book leading up to its launch.

Watch for free stuff as the launch of my book, Life After Suicide: The impact of suicide on the ones left behind, grows closer.

Courage my comrades!


Rise to Success

I just wanted to let you know about a huge online event that’s coming up.

Over 40 top authors and entrepreneurs will be speaking.

Big names like Verne Harnish
, Jeff Walker, Tucker Max
, David Allen
, Gretchen Rubin
, Barbara Corcoran
, Perry Marshall
, Mel Abraham
, Ruth Soukup
, Cal Newport
, Scott Oldford
, T. Harv Eker
, John Lee Dumas
, and lots more.

And since I know the host, I got you a free ticket.

I got you free tickets to an online event that’s coming up…

The event is called the Self-Publishing Success Summit.

And the speakers are going to show you how to go from “no idea” to your published book — or turned the book you wrote into a bestseller.

Then you’ll learn how to use your book to build your brand, following, or 6-figure business that lets you share what you’re good at with the world.

Here’s the best part: These guest speakers have never been together at one event before.

And some of these speakers charge thousands of dollars to attend ONE their live events.

But you can see all of them in one place for free — you don’t even have to leave your house.

Check out this online event (I got you free tickets)

And the event’s broken down into 3 phases, so it’s easy to put to use. Here’s just a few of the speakers’ presentations:

Writing: Ray Edwards, Claire Diaz-Ortiz, Jeff Goins,Gretchen Rubin, David Allen, and Jay Papisan

Marketing/Publishing: Michael Hyatt, John Jantsch, Chris Brogan, Grant Cardone, and Gary Vaynerchuck.

Monetizing: Crystal Paine, Hal Elrod, Josh Shipp, Verne Harnish, and T. Harve Eker.

I can’t wait to hear these speakers!

Get your free ticket now:

Get your free ticket to this awesome online event.

Hope to see you there,

-Brandon Callor

P.S. I’m really excited to attend this online event, and I want you to be there too. Pick up your free ticket (it takes 10 seconds).

Claim your free ticket to Self-Publishing Success Summit. 

Return on Investment

If you clicked on this blog post hoping to read tips on investing, then you’ve come to the wrong place. I’m so sorry friend, but I’m not going to talk about money market accounts or dividends here.

I’m talking about anything you purchase upon which you might place added value for years to come.

For example, many years ago my wife and I were newly married and shopping around for a bed. Have you found yourself in the following situation? She wants soft, you want stiff. She wants queen-size, you want California king.

Thankfully, we agreed on one important thing – initial cost was not a factor. We decided that the most important deciding factor was our return on investment.

Let me tell you what I mean. We figured that we spent as much time sleeping as we did working. By the way, this was before kids when 8 hours of sleep was realistic. But still, a third of our day was spent laying on a mattress.

How we spent the rest of our day was in large part determined by how well we slept. If we slept poorly our day had the potential of following suit. If we rested well and comfortably and got plenty of Z’s our day had the potential of going well. Do you see where I’m going?

It seemed, then, that picking the right mattress was less about the initial cost of the thing and more about it’s added value. We placed value on the comfort level of the mattress and how much sleep we would get over the life of the bed.

Friends, I’m pleased to tell you that our return on investment has paid dividends for many years. My wife and I are both happy and successful at work. I would like to believe that our three children are well-adjusted largely due to the fact their parents are well-rested and therefore more patient.

Every night I hop into bed it feels like the first time. It was money well spent on a quality mattress.

The same goes for anything in your life. If something is worth doing or the product is right for you’ll know by the added value it brings to your life.

Now that I’ve illustrated my point I want to switch gears to the real reason I’m writing to you. I want to talk about a program I’ve recently discovered that has added value to my life and I want to share it with you. It’s called Self-Publishing School.

I’ve wanted to write a book my whole life. I started several children’s fiction books and a few others, but haven’t finished them. Over the years I’ve attended writing seminars and various classes to help improve my craft. I even started this blog to give me an outlet for writing.

Two years ago I submitted my first children’s book to a publisher. I attached my manuscript to an email along with a cover letter to the publisher. It was like sending my baby off to school for the first time. I was an emotional wreck.

I thought all kinds of things. Would they like it? Would it get rejected? What if somebody called my baby ugly? How would l react?

I was so excited and nervous that I didn’t poop for days. Days turned into weeks. Weeks turned into months. Finally, came a letter in the mail!

What do you think they said? Almost a year past just waiting to hear that they didn’t want my story. For a lot of people this is where the story ends. For others the process continues month after month as they wait for the next publishing house to respond.

I found a better way. My wife introduced me to something that has changed my life. If you want to write a book, spend less time waiting to publish, and make passive income while you work on your next bestseller, then I urge you to click on the link below.

Click here for a better way.

The folks at Self-Publishing School have mastered the process of writing and self-publishing. The link will take you to a series of four free video trainings. In these videos you’ll meet my friend Chandler Bolt who will walk you through the steps of his success.

His Mastermind Community awaits writers and entrepreneurs like you. Yes, I said entrepreneurs.

Writing a book isn’t the end-all. You want the world to hear your voice. You have something to say. You need to market your book and sell it, right.

Click here if you’re ready to write your book.

This link will take you inside where Chandler Bolt will explain how to use online tools to help you market your book in order to reach bestseller in your category.

Using the link above will grant you access to four free videos. Once inside you’ll see testimonials from successful Self-Publishing School graduates. Imagine yourself in their place one day.

It won’t take much searching to find answers to your question about SPS, but you need to click the link below in order to start digging. Once you’re satisfied you’ll be asked for your name and email address. You will received an email with a link to four free videos and more information about the school.

Enrollment to Self-Publishing School is not always open and we’re looking for committed students. Students committed to investing in their success as an author.

Follow this link and enter your name and email address to receive a free video guide to self publishing.

Click here for your free guide to self publishing.

I’m grateful I did.

W. Brandon Callor

SPS Master student/blogger

Coping Strategy: Forgiveness

We see it all the time played out in movies and on television. Revenge or vengeance seems appropriate when it makes for a good story line. However, what does our hero always learn in the end? In the final act, when they’ve reached their target and it’s time to pay the piper, what does our hero do? In some cases, they exact their revenge. In others, they turn the offender over to the authorities so that justice might be served.

In any case, our hero learns a valuable lesson and we can too. It might not feel as satisfying at first, but eventually we see the light and hopefully realize that mercy plays an important role in healing. It’s just as important as justice.

You don’t have to be religious to understand the concept of forgiveness. In fact, the best explanation on forgiveness that I’ve read can be found in an article published by staff at the Mayo Clinic. The article is titled, Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and bitterness. 

There are many articles relating to the topic of forgiveness posted on the Mayo Clinic’s website. The article mentioned above provides a formula for reaching a state of compassion and understanding. I think the most meaningful statement in the article comes near the end under the header, What if the person I’m forgiving doesn’t change?

Changing your offender’s behavior is not the point of forgiveness, paraphrasing what the article says. Rather, paraphrasing again, forgiveness is about changing your life and bringing YOU peace and happiness.

I think it’s worth repeating, but this time in my own words. Forgiveness is not something you do to someone else. You cannot expect your offender to change their actions because you decide to forgive them. Neither must you condone their actions, rather, in order for you to move forward and find peace you must let go of feelings of resentment and a need for reconciliation and simply forgive. It’s a process you do for yourself in order to find peace.

I heard a sermon this past weekend by a friend and neighbor, Patrick McGee, which inspired me to write this blog about forgiveness. He said, “Forgiveness is the key to our own personal freedom.”

This follows right in line with the closing statement by Mayo Clinic Staff in the article referenced above. They reiterated, “Remember, you can’t force someone to forgive you. Others need to move to forgiveness in their own time. Whatever the outcome, commit to treating others with compassion, empathy and respect.”

There is a film that my wife loves to watch every Christmas Eve as we stay up late wrapping gifts. It’s called, You’ve Got Mail, directed by Nora Ephron and produced by Warner Brothers in 1998. It stars Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks as book store competitors who unknowingly are email pen-pals. There’s a dialogue in the film where Meg Ryan’s character finally develops the courage to insult her rival, Tom Hanks. To this point in the movie she feels that if she could say the right thing at the right time and put her enemy in his place then she might feel better about herself, but as soon as the opportunity presents itself she immediately feels remorseful for being mean.

It’s so poignant and to the point that I’ll share it with you. I’m quoting from the writers of You’ve Got Mail.

Tom Hanks’ character, Joe Fox writes, “Do you ever feel you’ve become the worst version of yourself? That a Pandora’s box of all the secret, hateful parts-your arrogance, your spite, your condescension-has sprung open? Someone upsets you and instead of smiling and moving on, you zing them. ‘Hello, it’s Mr. Nasty,’ I’m sure you have no idea what I’m talking about.”

Meg Ryan’s character, Kathleen Kelly responds, “No, I know what you mean, and I’m completely jealous! What happens to me when I’m provoked is that I get tongue-tied and my mind goes blank. Then I spend all night tossing and turning trying to figure out what I should have said.”

Later on in the movie, Kathleen Kelly is confronted by Joe Fox and she has a breakthrough. She easily insults him, but immediately regrets her behavior.

Just before the final act there is a turning point in their contentious relationship where Joe Fox talks about forgiveness which sends Kathleen Kelly on a personal journey of hope and peace and eventually, forgiveness.

I recommend the film. It’s a bit sappy, but it’s a great family film for the holidays and a great object lesson in forgiveness and healing.

In my closing remarks, I’d like to reiterate two points from the Mayo Clinic article, “You can forgive the person without excusing the act. Forgiveness brings a kind of peace that helps you go on with life.” Do yourself a favor and learn how to forgive and let go of resentment. Imagine a world where everyone forgives.

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Happy Pi Day

I couldn’t let this momentous day pass without saying something. Although my family isn’t big on pie, we are mathematically savvy. We’ve been looking forward to this day for some time.

My genius brother is a math major and brilliant at explaining abstract mathematical theories and concepts. He seems to have an answer for everything from religion to astrophysics that he can explain using topological dynamics. I’m very proud of him, but sometimes he speaks right over my head. I love you bro.

It just so happens that he had a birthday this week and is probably eating pie as we speak. Happy Pi Day/Birthday, Nick!

In any case, celebration of today got me thinking about commemorations and anniversaries. After all, this is a red-letter day since we can carry Pi to a greater degree twice in one day, [3-14-15 at 9:26:53], Pi = 3.141592653. It’s a magical moment for all you math geeks out there. I’m proud to be part of this geekdom.

It’s days like today that bring people together. These moments can unify large groups of people all over the world. Even something as silly as eating a desert at the same time. I know people who don’t have access to pie who will go to great lengths to find a worthy alternative such as a cake to eat just so they don’t miss the opportunity.

Times like these nurture hope in my heart that humanity isn’t lost. Some people still possess that child-like attribute of wonder and excitement for the simple things in life. Be one of those people.

You have one more chance today to throw caution to the wind and forget your diet for your chance to join the rest of the world by eating pie at nine twenty-six and fifty-three seconds tonight. Or find a fun alternative.

Pie alternative

Banana Cream Pie Yoplait

Pie alternative

Pie alternative, fruit and coconut coffee creamer

Join me friends and raise a toast to Pi.

Bon appetit!

Honest As An Eight-Year-Old

I was cruizin’ down the freeway in my sporty red minivan when I heard the sweet young voice of my 8-year-old son from the back seat. He said, “Dad, why do they make cars go 120 [mph] when the speed limit is only 70 [mph]?”

I really had to think about how I was going to answer that honest question. I considered shooting back a question allowing him to think it through, but then I reconsidered. Instead I said, “You know what, Son, that is an awesome question. I bet we could talk for hours about that.”

Silence from his end confirmed that he was still waiting for an answer, so I said, “Sometimes you just need to go fast.”

Satisfied with that response, my little boy chuckled. We drove another 10 minutes in silence as I contemplated such a profound question. He enjoyed a movie on the overhead video screen which helped sustain the silence.

Please humor me while I throw down the thoughts that ran through my mind during those 10 minutes of silence.

My mind immediately conjured an idea of choice and accountability. Next, my thoughts landed on the concept of progress and innovation. Finally, I got stuck in a maze of paradigms until I eventually found my way to a conclusion that was both satisfying for me and totally relevant to my line of work.

Let’s think about my son’s honest question again as it relates to choice and accountability. Simply put, as a motorist, I have several choices as it pertains to speed. I can choose to travel slower than the posted speed limit, at the posted limit, or faster than the posted limit. If my vehicle only allows acceleration to 70 mph then my choices are narrowed. My accountability would be lessened as well because my option of breaking the speed limit would be eliminated. However, upon entering an area with a lower speed limit my choices would increase as would my accountability.

I next considered how the concept of accountability related to progress and innovation. It begs the question, if we never pushed our boundaries nor exceeded our limits would we find it difficult to blaze new trails and progress to something new and different? I believe that every choice has an associated consequence. Consequences may not always be desirable such as speeding tickets or failures, but lessons would also be lost in a world without choice.

The paradigm that finally released me from my driving trance was a thought about how humans are not honest with themselves. What I mean to say is that we often know the truth about something but the consequence is so frightening or embarrassing that we avoid dealing with it or tell ourselves that it isn’t true.

For example, imagine yourself walking along a sidewalk with very few people around. You step off the curb and twist your ankle causing you to fall to the street. Your ankle is sprained and your pain level is about a 10, 10 being the worst. A passerby rushes to your aid and asks you if you are alright. What is your initial response?

If you responded that you were fine, you are not alone. You also just lied to yourself and to that stranger. This example seems benign, however, consider the next few.

I see examples every day of how people suffer the ultimate consequence of not being honest with themselves. I see men die from heart attacks with half-eaten rolls of antacids in their pockets. I see people overdose on drugs who are checked into rehab centers. They tell themselves, “I don’t have a problem. I don’t need to see a doctor. It’s just a little heart burn,” or, “I’m not an addict, I can stop anytime I want.”

If only we were all as honest as an eight-year-old and could ask the simple questions perhaps we would avoid all the grown-up problems that get us into so much trouble.

Here’s my plea to you. Ask the simple questions and don’t be afraid of the answers. Be honest with yourself.

Visit your primary care physician often. Health care is so important that even the Federal Government is involved in ensuring that every person is covered.

Slow down on the roadways. Please follow the posted speed limits and do not drive distracted. It pains me to watch the electronic freeway signs post days without roadway deaths. We have not reached more than 6 days without a roadway death in the state of Utah since the signs began reporting those numbers about a year ago. Remember, Zero Fatalities.

Finally, be nice to each other. It feels to me like we’ve become a society addicted to being rude. I attribute that attitude to the fact that everyone seems so disconnected. Unplug once in a while and join a team. Interact with other human beings face to face. Care for a pet. If you can’t love somebody or something else, then you will have a difficult time loving yourself.

If you don’t believe me, then trust my eight-year-old. He’s honest and he’s always happy.