One Answer To All Your Questions

Yesterday’s post about raising taxes on unhealthy foods has sparked a lot of conversation and I am thrilled that it has.  Maybe raising taxes isn’t the right answer, maybe it is.  I don’t know but what I do know is that it has created conversation and that is a great start.  This topic of obesity and unhealthy habits can no longer be ignored and is something that needs to be addressed today.

I am sitting at a national bagel establishment waiting on clients and just watching what people order and eat.  A woman who had, to be blunt, an bottom growing out of her bottom ordered an everything bagel with cream cheese and a large coffee and just because a side of donut holes.  I stood slack-jawed because sitting right there was a whole wheat bagel as well as a pumpernickel bagel.  Also, how about eating it plain and not slathering it with cream cheese and actually enjoying the taste of the food you just ordered.  And don’t get me started on the complete lack of need for the donut holes.

I thought to myself why don’t I order like that?  Am I that far advanced in my education about food?  I mean wouldn’t she have recognized the fact that she no longer fits in clothes the same way she used to and shouldn’t that have been enough of a clue and education into this matter?  There were comments on Twitter, Facebook and in my inbox yesterday discussing this topic and I loved it.  I loved disagreeing with people and talking it out even if we agreed to disagree, but the question that popped up a lot was:  How do you do it?  Why do you do it?  Where do you it? What do you eat?

I had one word to most of those questions and that word was DISCIPLINE.

Back in March I wrote the following post about being disciplined and with the this topic fresh on the mind of the readers and followers of this blog I want to repost it because I don’t have a magic pill.  I was not blessed with some sort of ability to make wise choices.  I am not different than anybody else except for the fact that I take responsibility for what I put into my body.  I also take responsibility for being the example to my step-son that every parent should be to their children.  I don’t believe in having celebrities and athletes raise him so I do it.  I show him that eating vegetables makes muscles.  I show him and tell him that eating McDonald’s will get you sick and make you obese.  I talk to him about these things the way all parents should.

Here is the post from March:

When I first started training I was told by friends and family that I was an inspiration and that I motivated them.  I can barely think of one person that followed in my footsteps and joined me along this path because Karen was already there. Recently my sister started to make good on her words but nobody else.  Sure others would start but they would stop for a multitude of reasons.

Today I get emails, Facebook messages, Tweets that go something like this: Dude, you are crazy with your training.  Why, again, are you getting up so early?  Why do you make me feel like I’m lazy.  The list goes on and on and I thought about that on Saturday February 26th while doing a 1 hour and 50 minutes Zone 2 run.

The answer came down to one word:  discipline.  I was inspired by Bid Daddy Diesel’s post about aspiring and how he used that one word to define and tell a story. I wanted to try to come up with one word to define and tell my story.  That one word is discipline.

Now when somebody asks me a question I can give them a one word descriptive answer:  discipline.

  • Why do you get up so early?  I am disciplined.
  • How can you maintain a vegetarian diet?  I am disciplined.
  • Why are you not drinking tonight?  I am disciplined.
  • What is with all this swimming, biking, running?  I am disciplined.

I decided to look up the definition of the word.  The definition even has the word training in it:


dis·ci·pline   [disuh-plin]

noun, verb, -plined, -plin·ing.


  1. training to act in accordance with rules; drill: military discipline.
  2. activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill; training: A daily stint at the typewriter is excellent discipline for a writer.
  3. punishment inflicted by way of correction and training.
  4. the rigor or training effect of experience, adversity, etc.: the harsh discipline of poverty.
  5. behavior in accord with rules of conduct; behavior and order maintained by training and control: good discipline in an army.
  6. a set or system of rules and regulations.
  7. Ecclesiastical . the system of government regulating the practice of a church as distinguished from its doctrine.
  8. an instrument of punishment, especially a whip or scourge, used in the practice of self-mortification or as an instrument of chastisement in certain religious communities.
  9. a branch of instruction or learning: the disciplines of history and economics.

–verb (used with object)

  1. to train by instruction and exercise; drill.
  2. to bring to a state of order and obedience by training and control.
  3. to punish or penalize in order to train and control; correct; chastise.

I am disciplined to get up at 3:30am everyday and drink a glass of water first then a small breakfast then a 1 hour workout.  I am disciplined to have only skipped a handful on workouts in the past year.  I am disciplined enough to know that when coach wants Zone 2 I run in Zone 2 and don’t push it.

I am proud of who I am and what I represent.  I am proud to say that this is my lifestyle and don’t feel guilty because others interpret it as being crazy because I am not.




Again, I am no different than anybody else except that I don’t make excuses.  As I told my coach one day when I had a failed training session:

Excuses are like opinions which are a lot like a certain body part in that everybody has one and they all stink.

If you haven’t read yesterday’s post please go there now and read it and leave a comment.  I am forwarding it onto the powers that be here in Texas in the hopes that a conversation gets started.


Thank you for taking the time to read and comment.


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  1. I am sure your pictures is beside that definition in the dictionary. You are the epitome of what it means to be disciplined and that is why you have been so successful in so many ways. I really admire that about you. That and the fact that you can drive with your hands inside your tshirt and that you find farting as funny as I do.

    • Jason says:

      There are a lot of other words they could put my picture next to as well….and if we cannot laugh at farts and other potty humor what can we laugh at? And if I wear gloves in Dallas in the middle of July when it is 106* out will that make me look weird?

  2. Chris Kern says:

    Definitely NOT a fan of govt imposed things! Smoking is a prime example of taxing people to death and still not stopping it. People pay $5+ a pack to kill themselves!

    I think you hit the nail on the head with discipline. People have to want it. I like to say they have to “flip the switch” that changes their motivation for life and therefore affects their food, exercise etc decisions.

    I actually posted a few article links yesterday about how forced calorie printing on menus in NY was only leading to 100 fewer calories ordered on average. That is amazing to me! You see that a large fry is 500 calories and a small is 250 (or whatever) and you still only average less than 100 calorie ordered? Wow!

    We need more sharing of your story about discipline and more people to flip their switches…not government and taxes!

    • Jason says:

      I am scratching my head, shaking my head, in disbelief but not giving up after reading the difference in calories there. The reason I’m not giving up is that if you cut out 100 calories per day for a year you can lose 10 lbs. Toss in some exercise and the weight will go down further. Yes it is frightening to think that somebody who is given the numbers still chooses something that equates to 100 calories less but we should applaud them and show them what a different decision will equate to.

      Still mind blowing.

  3. lindsay says:

    i’ve wondered how people “let themselves get that big” before… discipline definitely has a lot to do with it – i guess at one point they found comfort in food and now tell themselves that they deserve more junk food? the funny thing is – your body doesn’t deserve to be treated like garbage! (with junk food) “treat’ yourself with healthy foods!

    • Jason says:

      I agree about wondering about getting that big and doing nothing about it. I am slightly obsessive over my weight but I weight myself in the morning, typically at lunch and then again before bed. I use that as a gauge for what I ate that day and what it did to me. I evaluate how I felt after eating and why I ate what I ate. It helps keep me focused on my intake.

  4. marlene says:

    I think I remember that post. It definitely comes down to discipline – sticking to the training schedule, eating well, social sacrifices.

    It is truly sad to see the choices that millions are making.

    I’m not going to lie – my diet is far from perfect and I DO enjoy a donut hole or a bagel slathered in cream cheese now and then, but these are NOT the choices that define me. Those are the exceptions.

    • Jason says:

      Nobody is perfect. Have you seen my Almond Butter Cups? That is an indulgence and doesn’t get eaten constantly but I make wise decisions and can afford to have the sweet tooth every once and again because I know that the next day I will be training and eating properly again.

  5. Matt Oravec says:

    Uh oh… sounds like someone got a few comments or emails on his last post ;)

    Great stuff man. I love calling it out too. I will tell you what though I am only 75% disciplined. It works for me, I don’t care to be any more or any less right now :)

    “She had a bottom growing out of her bottom” LOVE THIS LOL LOL LOL!

  6. katie says:

    I remember that post very clearly, it was one of my first visits here and I remember you saying so many things that rang true with me. We can be discipline homies.

    • Jason says:

      You and I need to be disciplined homies with IMCdA and IMTX just a few short months away…..WE WILL DO THIS TOGETHER!

  7. Michael says:

    I think you are 100% right. It all comes down to discipline. Sometimes I’m that lady in line, the one ordering total crap and sometimes (most of the time) I am alot smarter than that and order something healthy – or eat something healthy at home. But it’s still easy for me to give in to my cravings and go to Starbucks for a Frappachino and pumpkin bread or something like that. I wish it could be easier, but I’m definitely no always perfect. But it’s discpline and hopefully as I continue to focus on my fitness and getting faster and better at triathlon and running, the discipline of eating better will become easier. Thanks for keeping this at the forefront of our minds Jason!

    • Jason says:

      Michael – did you know that it takes 3 weeks to form or break a habit? That is not a long time in the grand scheme of things. If you start a process and stick to it for three weeks it then just becomes a part of everything you do and is no longer a task. At the same time if you ‘cheat’ and have something ‘bad’ for you don’t feel guilty over it and fall down the hill. It was one meal in one day and it would take another 20 days of eating that way for it to become a habit of making poor decisions.

  8. Sarah says:

    I completely agree with you on this post and the previous! It’s not only discipline but the complete lack of education so many Americans have . I’m not saying all Americans should strive to put in 15+ hours of training a week and stick to vegan diets, but they need to know what they’re eating and what it’s doing to there body! That woman is not getting any nutritional value out of those donut holes and cream cheese. Restaurants are going to continue to sell those high calorie, high fat food, but why can’t there be some sort of an initiative to push for more nutritional foods in eateries. Why not pair that bagel with a fruit salad or yogurt? Yes, restaurants have that as an option but it should definitely be further emphasized! I could go on for days about this topic, and I haven’t even started discussing the lack of exercise there is! 50% of Americans are expected to have diabetes by 2020, it’s frightening what this society has become and is turning into.

    • Jason says:

      Sarah – funny you mention the 15 hrs per week of training because I was going to address at that at some point. I have the luxury of doing that because of my job and the most understanding spouse anyone can ever have but people don’t have to do that to get healthy and stay healthy. I have a training group of former couch potatoes that are going to become marathoners and half-marathoners by the end of this year and they put in about 8-9 hours per week depending on the long run on Saturday morning. One gentleman has lost 50 lbs and another woman has lost 35+ lbs in the 8 months we have been training together. That is incredible to me and they are learning so much about eating properly and refueling after a long workout and making sure to fuel during the workout. It is the education plus the discipline to train regularly knowing that they are extending their life.

  9. Bob says:

    I have been a yo yo with weight all my life..
    I have peaked at 245 (around your age) and been as low as 185 on several occasions.
    Up and down, up and down.
    I have changed eating habits in periods over 30 days (form a habit) to the point that junk food doesn’t taste good.
    BUT, I have also fallen off that wagon like an alcoholic falls off the wagon. Once off the wagon, you start questioning why celery sticks looked so attractive several months earlier.
    Partly, but I think it goes much deeper.
    I guarantee the discipline of getting up at pre rooster hours will wane over time… then what? no training since the morning workout couldn’t be done?
    It is a combination of many things… Discipline, Flexibility of schedule, Controlled Cheating (training and food), Goals…
    GOALS? Yeh, what are your goals?
    You better make them simple and long ranging otherwise you will never stick to them.
    Mine is simple… finish one IM per year..
    I know with that one simple goal I will have to have some sort of Discipline, I can do it with a wide range of flexibility with as much as I travel, I can cheat at times on food and training, but I know I will achieve my end goal.

    Now I know your asking yourself…. OneHourIronman getting serious on us??? Say it isn’t so..
    Well it isn’t, I asked Jeff to write something up for me after his War and Peace comments yesterday, so he write something up for me…. Thanks Jeff…


    • Jason says:

      Who kidnapped Bob? It couldn’t be Jeff but this comment is too short to have been Jeff’s…..

      Anyway, you are right that it is more than discipline but I believe that discipline is what allows me to be flexible with my training schedule when need be. It is discipline that allows me to ‘cheat’ and have a homemade almond butter cup. It is discipline that says that I can create a goal that would be slightly out of reach and yet still go for it.

      This lifestyle that I am living is not a flash in the pan and you will see me hawking fried foods in a year because I love being active. I love falling asleep on the couch because I got up early worked hard at the gym, then worked hard all day long, then worked hard on my blog and am completely exhausted versus the person who says they are tired but you ask them what they did all day and they say ‘nothing.’ That person is not tired they are bored and with boredom comes emotional eating and there goes discipline out the window.

      • Jeff Irvin says:

        hahaha! Aren’t you two funny … freaking amateur hour at the comedy club going on up in here!!

        Anyway, yesterday’s comment was done while sitting in my car in between appointments. You guys actually got the truncated version of what was in my head. For that version we will need flow charts, powerpoint, a copy of the Communist Manifesto, the 14th Amendment, and a bottle of Jack Daniels Black Label.

  10. Bob says:

    Jeff is actually my son…. college romance….

  11. Bob says:

    from a college romance…. that is…

  12. don’t hate the cream cheese man. hate the bagel. damn white carbs.
    love ya man…you diciplined dude.

  13. logan osterhout says:

    Great post Jason. I read this earlier this morning, but didn’t get a chance to read the last part of it until tonite. Being disciplined is a great thing. It’s not easy waking at 5am every morning to go swim my butt off for 90 minutes while my friends sleep in, but I love the way it makes me feel. I saw something you posted a few weeks ago about getting up super early to run while it’s still dark outside, and how peaceful and awesome it feels. I love that feeling, and am willing to do anything for it! I used to be way too strict, but thanks to some of your posts and others, I now enjoy things I used to stay away from like pizza, cookies, ice cream, candy, donuts, etc. I train hard and am allowed to have these things sometimes without feeling guilty!

  14. Nora says:

    I have met so many moms who just make excuse after excuse. I’m sorry but when my kids were little I got my butt up at 5am and did a video because that was what I had! Stop making excuses, just do it!!!!!!!

    • Jason says:

      Nora – you and I both know that excuses are so much easier than actually working hard. Also, people tend to think that if they don’t have the latest and greatest gear then it is not worth it, yet you can do squats with tomato cans for weights and get in shape. It is just easier to find the road with no obstacles.

  15. BDD says:

    Wow, Bob is Jeff father, good to know, am I the only one that pictured “Empire Strikes Back” when this news broke? Though, I dont see it, So Bob if you been paying Child Support, I suggest a DNA test, I think you might have been snookered. Am I the only one now sees this whole comment as an future episode of Jerry Springer?

  16. misszippy1 says:

    I agree…discipline is key. but I will say that it’s a lot easier to be disciplined when you know that discipline is going to get you to a goal that you have chosen. For us Type A endurance athletes, being disciplined isn’t really sacrifice b/c we love what we do. So the question is–how to make someone like doughnut lady understand how good it feels to find sports and embrace them? Or in her case, just find something to get her out the door and moving…she would probably then gladly ditch the bad eating. Therein lies the key to a healthier society–getting people to understand how much better they would feel living healthier.

  17. Jen says:

    Incentivize healthy foods and local, small farms. 2 birds (or more), one stone

  18. Along with your discipline is your steadfast preparation. I admire you!


  1. […] the rest here: Discipline – How I Manage To Live A Healthy Lifestyle This entry was posted in Healthy Living and tagged magic-pill, make-you, outweigh-the-work, […]

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