2012 - #1 for Women!

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Saturday, October 13, 2012



What is the secret to weight loss? Many people spend a good deal of time and money in the quest to find it, and yet a large percentage report failure in their efforts.

Shawn Tyler Weeks, a 27-year-old currently in his 191st week of watching his weight (and seeing it steadily decline), didn't find the secret in the multi-billion dollar fad diet-and-exercise industry.

In his blog, 344pounds.com, in which he chronicles his journey losing some 130 pounds and continuing to maintain a healthy weight, he ob-serves: “You can lose weight doing anything temporarily.” However, he adds, this undertaking shouldn't be a “temporary gimmick or fad.”

“You have to lose weight in a way that you can stick with for the rest of your life,” Weeks explains.
He underlines a similar attitude to-ward exercise: burning calories “relies on you enjoying what you’re doing” so you will persevere in it.

“Losing weight is a lifetime journey,” says Weeks, who is currently awaiting the publication of a book about his own experiences in this regard.

He continues: “If you have a bad day/week and eat whatever you see in sight, who cares? It would be great if the bad day/week/decade didn't happen, but oh well, you’re not on a diet. As soon as you become aware that you've lost control -- take it back.”

Weeks admits that in his journey, he has had ups and downs. In general, he has been consistently losing weight, but there have also been moments when he has gained a few pounds.

“The second you realize you’re starting to overeat, stop,” Weeks encourages his readers. “Push the food away. Realize that yes, perhaps some ‘damage’ is already done, but those 400 calories you didn't intend on eating does not have to turn into 4,000.”

“As soon as you become aware that you've lost control -- take it back,” he advises. “You’re just living your life; you’re not on a diet. Just take back control and starting moving again and watching your daily calories.”
Weeks’ perseverance and consistency has brought him success not only in weight loss, but also in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

If we apply his “secret” to the pursuit of other goals, not only those involving weight maintenance, we will find that perseverance can serve us well in many aspects of life.  In fact, perseverance is key in exercising all of the other virtues.

As we begin this tenth month of the year, we can look back on the other virtues we have focused on throughout 2012: honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, compassion and justice.
This month, we remind ourselves that virtue is not accomplished in the short-term, but rather in the persevering, long-term maintenance. Now is the moment to take a look at those resolutions that we made months ago, to renew our resolve to pursue them, and to keep working.

Yes, we are now beginning the fourth quarter of the year, and perhaps some will say that it is too late to redeem those New Year’s resolutions that we made ages ago. But many legendary football games have been won in the fourth quarter, showing us that it is never too late to try again with renewed energy.
This is the moment to reflect on our own ups and downs, take inventory, and analyze where we are in order to head toward our goals.

If we've lost direction or slipped up, now is the moment to stop, take control, and begin moving forward again. If we have made mistakes, we admit them simply, set things right, and move on.

If, on the other hand, we find that we are so content that we have forgotten to work on virtue at all, or we fool ourselves into thinking that we are already “fine,” with no need for growth or change, now is also an important moment of self-analysis.

It is easy to become overly confident and think that we don’t need to work so hard at virtue after all, until we find that this “pride goes before the fall.” We need to humbly recognize that if we are not progressing, our tendency is to start regressing.

For example, in a friendship, if we start to think things are going fine, and we can lay aside the details of a phone call, a birthday card, a timely bouquet of flowers, etc., the relationship will grow cold. It is important to keep the relationship-building effort in place even when things seem to be going well.

In the same way, we always need to keep up our work to become better persons. This is the moment to save ourselves from the “fall” by renewing our efforts once again. Perseverance is precisely that virtue that helps us to “keep up the good work.”

Virtue is not accomplished overnight. It requires daily, persevering work as we continue to grow, change, and consistently become better persons.

We practice virtue in the present moment, taking it one day at a time, step by step as we walk our lifelong journey. And although some people might wish there was an easier, quicker secret to virtue, perseverance is the lasting, authentic strategy we need.

Genevieve Pollock M.S. Clinical Psychology

Action Items:
  • Go back and read a previous Peak Performance article that seemed most relevant to you. Renew your resolution to practice that particular virtue, and pick an action item to make it real. 
  • One day this week, wake up early, and take some time of reflection to do a self-analysis in regards to your growth in virtue. What type of person do you want to be? What do you need to do in order to move forward?
  • Practice perseverance today by completing every task, email, etc. you begin. Encourage your children to persevere through homework or chores. 


A grave injustice rocked our nation only weeks ago in Aurora, Colorado. The 13 victims killed in a shooting massacre were robbed of many years to love, learn, and make an impact on our world.

The names of 12 of them have already fizzled from the public’s memory as the media moves on to other stories. The name of one of them was never acknowledged after he died in the womb from his mother’s injuries. And those 58 others who were wounded by bullets in the movie theater are forever marked by this injustice.

How can we restore the harmony in this country that pledges “liberty and justice for all?” Will justice be served in the sentencing of the shooter, after he has been tried and convicted? And if his plea of mental insanity is accepted, and his sentence therefore mitigated, what then? Should the nation direct its outrage against his parents, education system, Hollywood, or just a general “them” in society?

How can we call upon the virtue of justice and persuade it to restore the peace? How can we reclaim the harmonious balance of lawfulness and fairness in our country? Where do we find justice in this tragedy?

Sometimes we think of justice personified as a Batman-like superhero, with unlimited courage and monetary resources, who will sweep in to bring the bad guys their well-deserved punishment. We shine a light into the sky, looking outside ourselves for this Justice to appear out of nowhere and save the day.
James Eagan Holmes, the suspect arrested for the shooting, was an avid Batman fan too, who reportedly dyed his hair and styled himself as the hero’s nemesis, “The Joker,” on the day of the massacre. His lawyers argue that he was mentally insane. Was he insane? Or was he somehow, in a twisted way, also calling for help, hoping that his imaginary hero would appear and save the day? Whatever the motive, the shooting sent out a cry for swift and purposeful justice.

We all clamor for justice. In the chaos of murder and lawlessness, justice gives us security, the firm footing of knowing that moral rightness has been restored.

Many people believe that perfect justice is not of this world, but rather of the next. They look to their God as the only one who can restore true justice. But many religions teach that we also have a personal responsibility to work for justice right now in this world, primarily by striving for moral rightness in our own lives and behavior. They teach that the first battle against evil takes place within our own selves as we fight our demons and struggle to conquer our vices.

In this light, we establish justice and harmony in our country when we ourselves live in a lawful and fair manner. We fight injustice not only by holding criminals accountable, but also by taking responsibility for our own behavior. As we call for punishment for the Aurora shooter, how many of us are willing to make amends for our own mistakes?

Last month we spoke about having com-passion for those we harmed in the past. Now, justice demands that we make amends for these errors, and repair the damage we have done.

This may come in the form of repaying debts, apologizing, writing a letter, or finding time to offer healing words. It may demand creativity and patience as we wait for the most prudent moment to rebuild a relationship.

It implies humbling ourselves and admit-ting our mistakes, without trying to justify our actions by accusing the other party. It means sowing goodness in the places where we have previously brought ruin.
It is never too late to amend our ways, to renovate and rebuild the damaged areas of our past. Even if we are not well-received by the person to whom we apologize, we gain serenity and joy by making the effort to restore the peace.

Even if they never make a movie about our fight against injustice, these actions we take are much greater than the antics of an imaginary superhero. Our exercise of this virtue establishes the reign of justice in reality, and brings peace not only to our-selves, but also to those around us, to the lives of real people.

Genevieve Pollock M.S. Clinical Psychology

Action Items:
  • Review the list you made last month with the names of people you have harmed in the past. Take a step to make amends to one of them.
  • Practice justice in the workplace by taking responsibility for your actions today. Don’t “pass the buck,” blame someone else, or make excuses. If you make a mistake, correct it and move on.
  • Take a moment to reflect on our nation’s pledge of allegiance. What does “liberty and justice for all” mean to you?