Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Strategy and Tactics – How it applies to weight loss.

One of my personal hobbies is my affinity for the game of Chess. It is a game that qualifies under the “Easy to learn, Hard to master” mantra. It is a game that has been played for hundreds of years by royalty and commoners alike. In fact, the game in it’s original state is over one thousand years old, dating back to the 5th century.

What about the game is so appealing then? If it is so old, hasn’t every possible variation of the game been played out? Not really. There are billions and billions of possibilities out there and the maximum number of games  can’t even be calculated specifically. What keeps so many people interested in Chess is the infinite number of strategies and tactics available to the players. Before I continue this discussion, let me define the two because contrary to the belief of many… they are different.

  • Strategy – Your global goal or your overall plan. It isn’t specific moves or advances, it is simply what you wish to accomplish.
  • Tactics – Your individual moves or actions that work together to accomplish your envisioned strategy.

Taking those two definitions, let’s apply them to chess real quick. Your overall strategy may be to control the center of the board and use that as a springboard of your assault, but your tactics would be how to do that with the individual pieces. For instance, utilizing your knights to attack the center of the board from the flanks and occupying those positions with a pawn line would be the tactics used to achieve your strategical goal.

Okay, I know… this is not a Chess blog. So how does this apply to weight loss? The two actually translate quite well, and it is how I have been so successful so far. And although others may not realize it, it is how they have become successful as well!

In my case, my overall strategy has been to count calories. By reducing my caloric intake and exercising to burn even more calories, my body is forcing itself to use my caloric surplus to supply my body the energy it needs thus resulting in weight loss.

To achieve this, I implement various tactics that supplements my strategy. Running 3 times a week to give me a great cardio workout for 20-30 minutes is a tactical maneuver to burn calories. I also plan and prepare my meals ahead of time resulting in my knowledge of every calorie I eat (I would say drink as well, but I have had nothing but water to drink for over a month now!). Using these tactics allows me to successfully implement my overall strategy- reduce calories and force my body to burn fat to give it the energy it needs to sustain itself. And it has been working!

Like Chess, weight loss is NOT a new idea or something that is unexplored. Both activities have been explored to great depths and the blueprints have been laid out for you. People have done the trial and error to find out what works and what doesn’t. In Chess, these are called Opening, Defenses, Mating Patterns, etc. I.e, the Ruy Lopez which was developed in the 1500’s by a Spanish Priest is one of the most popular openings that is used. There have been books written about it, and the many variables that could occur 5, 10, and even 15 moves in; and that is one of many openings that people choose to use. Counting calories is one of many methods that people use to lose. There are books about it, and many people use it to lose weight. It is not the only way to lose weight, but it is a popular way that many people use to succeed- such as the Ruy Lopez opening in chess.

When I first started playing Chess, I was terrible. But by learning a few classic openings and developing tactics by using proven successful strategies- I was my game increase. And by following proven weight loss system, such as counting calories, I could see my progress improving as well. In both cases, I was trying it on my own and not sure why I wasn’t succeeding. Once I discovered that there were developed blue prints that laid the ground work for you, all you had to do was adopt it yourself and then use it to begin to build your own path to success. Which is what I have been doing- both in weight loss and in Chess!

I am not advocating you to do what I do. I am simply informing you that the answers are out there for you to build your own plan for success. You simply need to develop your strategy and tactics to accomplish whatever goal you have to succeed!

As a side note: I have began playing at Chess.com both live and turn based games. I don’t claim to be any good, because I really am not! But if you want to play some casual fun game of Chess sometime (live or turn based with a 1-3 day move limit), just send me a message on Chess.com and tell me you saw my blog! My user name there is Shipweight. Hope to see some of you Chess enthusiasts there!

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Meet Sadie! Our Humane Society Rescue!

Unrelated to weight loss or the Navy, Michelle and I have been contemplating adopting a dog from the animal shelter. After a few weeks of tossing the idea around, we decided to plunge right into it!

I am somewhat of a sensitive guy, and I wanted to take all of the dogs home. I was talking to an adoption rep from the Humane Society and she said they get 60-80 dogs per day,and that is just in a small city like Knoxville – population 200k or so. They have to euthanize many dogs, which breaks my heart.

We decided we wanted an older dog, kind of give one a second chance you know? Especially after hearing one couple going down the kennels and the woman saying to her husband, “Oh this one is 6 months… too old.” Are you kidding me? I wanted to vomit when I heard that. How is a 6 month old puppy too old? There are many great older dogs who need just as much, if not more, love than a puppy. Such as the one we found.

We instantly fell inlove with Sadie. She is a 5 year old Pug/mix mutt with the prettiest silver/gray/brown brindle coat, who had a serious case of heartworm. She was getting passed up by many people, and it was heartbreaking. She was in a corner cage in the rear of the facility, surely one step closer to being euthanized. The crazy thing was, a local business donated the money for her heartworm treatment last month and her adoption fee which covers spay/neuter, first round of rabies shots, microchip, and a voucher for first vet visit of our choice. Yet, everyone seemed to want to forget about her.

Michelle and I immediately fell inlove. They let us interract with her in a separate room and she was very scared at first. She would slowly come to either of us when we motioned for her, and she would gently creep into our laps. When you raised your hand up to pet her, she was started wincing and leaning away from you, as if bracing herself for a barrage of beatings. It makes me wonder just how badly she had been beaten. We wanted her.

Unfortunately, we won’t be able to pick her up until Monday late afternoon. We will also be taking her to the vet on Tuesday for her first appointment! We are very excited and can’t wait to bring her home!

In keeping with the “Pay It Forward” theme, I have also decided to pay the adoption fee for another older dog there that doesn’t seem to have a chance that we can’t bring home. Even though we didn’t have to pay anything for Sadie, we were still prepared to pay the fee. So when we go to pick her up tomorrow, I will hopefully give another dog a second chance it so much deserves!

And of course once we get Sadie home tomorrow evening, be sure to check back for more pictures!

Humans Crave Community

Since the dawn of mankind, one thing that has allowed our species to flourish is the need for community. Man is a very creative and ingenious species that constantly seeks out like minded people to share, learn, and compare notes with those who have similar interests. The key word is similar interests, not similar thoughts.

Community is also not defined by time either. Or physical presence. For instance, the first person to introduce the idea of Heliocentrism was by Aristarchus around the 3rd century BC. However, it wasn’t proven until the 16th century by Copernicus with a mathematical model and later confirmed by Galileo’s observations another century later. These thoughts were differing from the common thought that everything revolved around the earth. Yet, these men in this specific community from different times were able to collaborate and work together to prove a scientific model.

Much has not changed since then, we simply have quicker access to such community. Look at social networking. Facebook, twitter, delicious, tumblr, blogs (including this one)etc etc etc. The list goes on. And within these social networking mediums, you find specific communities that support specific interests and allow people to share their ideas, thoughts, experiences, etc. The rate of information exchange is unprecedented in human history and allows people to collaborate on specific ideas and come up with better ways to do things, debate different thoughts, etc.

That is why it is important to surround yourself with like minded people and find a community of people with similar interests. I guarantee I don’t know everything about weight loss, eating right, exercise, the navy, or heliocentrism! But by finding people with the same ideas and thoughts, I can learn more and better fine tune my own experiences.

As I stated before, communities are even easier to find now with the rise of the internet and social networking. What you put on the internet is immortalized on some hard drive somewhere, and people could be reading it years from now. For all we know, everything we know today about weight loss may be proven wrong tomorrow. But we had to start somewhere, and community gives us that base to build on.

I was thinking about this while running last night. I hate running on treadmills and ellipticals, I much prefer a track or some outdoor path. It was in the 20’s, dark, cold (yes, I am going out to purchase some new running gear today. Hoodie here I come!), and lonely. But one thing that kept me going and didn’t make me feel so alone was the communities I have met in my short time on this journey.

If you are in need of some kind of community to share your weight loss goals/ideas with, I highly recommend the community over at 344Pounds. Tyler has created a wonderful community of those looking to lose anywhere from 10 lbs to 200+ lbs. Many people are willing to share their ideas and experiences to help motivate one another. Many people, including myself, are keeping a journal of their weight loss over there as well. Currently there is a January Challenge going on, where we are trying to reach individual goals we set by January 1st.

Or perhaps you found my blog while searching for Navy related items. A great community I have found is the forums over on The Navy Cafe. There are many people there who have gone through the DEP process, are on Active Duty, etc. They will be able to answer many questions about different job functions performed by different rates, etc.

The point is, if you find people that share the same interests as you- it is best to stick with them and collaborate within. You will be surprised what you learn and how much of a greater success rate you will experience. In not only helps motivate you, but keeps you just a bit warmer on those cold dark night runs!