All Entries For confession
It seems as though I am always in a hurry. Iím not too sure if this is because I have so much to do or if this is just part of my type A personality. From the moment I get up in the morning, to the minute my head hits the pillow, I am either doing something or thinking of things I need to do. I have a to-do list a mile long. My goal is to check off as many of those tasks at the end of each day. For any uncompleted tasks they are either added to the following day's list or I abandon them completely. Iím not too sure why I feel so compelled to be in such a hurry about almost everything, but meal time is the one area I am consistently coming up short when it comes to slowing down.
One of the last unhealthy habits I am really hoping to break is rushing through meal time. A habit that I can trace back to the days of my youth when I would spend 15 minutes in the lunch line at school, leaving little time to eat AND talk with my friends. Studies have shown that the faster we eat, the more calories we consume and the fatter it makes us. Last month when I led SparkPeople's Official Healthy Habits Challenge, I wanted to finally break this habit of eating too quickly. So I started doing research on the steps to take to break this habit and in my research I discovered this is quite a common problem for many of us. Because we live in such a fast pace world where fast food restaurants can be found in almost any American city, this fast pace eating can be linked to the obesity epidemic.
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My love affair with sweets goes back many years. I enjoy foods like French fries and chips, but if I never had them again that would be okay with me. However, if you take away my cookies, candy and cake, we've got a problem. The more I eat sweets, the more I want them. And usually I end up feeling guilty afterwards, knowing that I could have opted for the small dish of ice cream instead of the giant sundae. Too much sugar makes me feel sluggish, and for a long time I've wanted to break my sugar addiction but felt like I didn't have the willpower to do it. Recently I had the opportunity to make a serious commitment to cut back on sweets, and so far it's going better than I expected. Read More ›
Last week I was in line at my credit union when the gentleman in front of me, who was not a member, was trying to cash a check. Because of the situation it was taking the teller forever to take care of all the paperwork required. She was the only one working and with each passing minute my patience was wearing thin. I had so many more errands to run and I needed to be home by 2 p.m. for an important phone call from my father-in-law's doctor and all I could do was wait. I had no choice but to wait, but I will say it was one of those ultimate tests in patience, that's for sure.
I recently read that impatience is due to our lack of control of the situation we find ourselves in, therefore when we are confronted with a situation in which we have no control our patience is definitely being put to the test.
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There are things that a "healthy" or "fit" person is just expected to do. Go to the gym. Consume copious amounts of water. Run several miles a day. You know what I'm talking about. Sometimes people are shocked to find out that I don't do everything that is expected of me. "What! You don't drink TEA?!" they say. (You must be from another planet if you don't like tea, I've learned.)
"No, I just don't like the taste," I explain, announcing my alien status. I like drinks that are either plain (water) or full-flavored, not some degree of light flavor in between the two. I have tried countless varieties of tea over the years, and they have equally made me want to gag. I love how it smells! I feel like I should be a "tea person" since it fits my persona, but it just isn't for me. Ultimately, I stopped trying to develop a taste for it just so I could add a few more antioxidants to my diet. I think my antioxidant levels are just fine.
"What about yoga. You do yoga, right?"
"No." In fact, yoga is the exercise version of tea for me. Read More ›
It's true- I LOVE to take naps. I think it comes from my dad, who has always been a napper. My mom used to joke that he could sleep anywhere- on a bus, at a party, etc. The naps never had to be long, but they were (and still are) always a crucial part of his day. These days I'm just like him. That's why I was interested to read a new study that claims and afternoon nap might refresh the brain's capacity to learn, making you smarter. Read More ›
I like to eat healthy. It's not something that I feel obligated to do; it's something that I want to doó99% of the time anyway. Sure there are times when you go out to eat with the intention of splurging on French fries or dessert, but for all the other times, it's tough to order anything "as-is" from a restaurant menu without it being a complete diet disaster. Even foods that masquerade as "healthy" choices are usually anything butóespecially in the oversized portions they're served to us.
Dressing on the side. Baked, not fried. Hold the sauce. No fries. Extra broccoliósteamed, no butter. These phrases become commonplace for anyone who wants to eat a healthy meal at a restaurant. If you've said them many times yourself, good for you! I do the same, but sometimes, I take it even further. Read More ›
There were lots of foods and drinks that came quite easy for me to give up when I started this journey, with one exception--DIET COKE. I had always been a big fan of diet drinks from way back in the days when TAB and Fresca were considered the quintessential diet drinks. But that all changed in July 1982 when Diet Coke hit the stores shelves-- from that point on, I was hooked.
I was not a big coffee drinker in college. Keep in mind I grew up in the pre-Starbucks, pre-coffee house age. Coffee was coffee. Of course you could choose between decaf and regular coffee, and if you wanted to add a hint of cinnamon or hazelnut, you could indulge in a little smidgen of flavored non-dairy creamer. So in order to meet my caffeine requirements for studying I would drink my beloved Diet Coke.
I would have a Diet Coke early in the morning and throughout the day. I would occasionally drink water, but once again, bottled water was not the norm in vending machines at the time. When I became pregnant in 1987 I did give it up. There was something about not knowing how aspartame would affect my pregnancy. Sadly though on the way home from the hospital I had my husband stop by our local McDonald's to pick up a Diet Coke.
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Beginning in high school, many of my girlfriends began to call themselves "fat." They started to watch what they ate, drank diet soda, and would sometimes skip lunch (or eat very little). Now, not one of these girls was actually fat—or even slightly overweight for that matter. I didn't get it! To me, it was a bunch of drama and I paid little attention to it. I didn't think of myself as fat and I wasn't about to go on a diet. Many days, I would eat TWO school lunches (especially on pizza day!) because I was young, growing, and very active in sports, practicing for 2+ hours after school each day and lifting weights five times a week. I ate what I wanted—no matter what it was. Fast food value meals (I was the "Burger Queen"), french fries, candy, pasta—you name it. A fruit or vegetable scarcely crossed my lips, but I managed to stay fit and healthy (at least on the outside) because of my active lifestyle.
These girls probably had an effect on me whether I realized it or not. If they call their tiny size-4 bodies fat—what did that mean for me at a size 8? I always did feel "bigger" than my friends. I didn't understand why my thighs were larger than theirs were or why I weighed so much more than they did. (It wasn't until many years later that I realized my height—several inches taller than most of them—and muscle mass had so much to do with it.)
After high school, I developed a greater interest in nutrition and fitness. I had never paid attention to my diet before, but as I learned more about the importance of making healthy food choices, I started bypassing the junk food and fast food and chose whole grains, fruits and vegetables instead. High school sports were long over, but I continued with an exercise program five days a week with an hour of cardio (like running) and 30 minutes of weight training. It was a fun hobby—reading about healthy living, learning to eat better, and hitting the gym. Then I began to track my food on an excel spreadsheet, and because of the advice I read in magazines, I aimed for 1,200 calories per day. For the first time in my life, I started to lose weight. But more importantly—people started to notice. My life would never be the same again. Read More ›
Last week I celebrated my 48th birthday. While for many of you that may seem quite young, for others, that means I am old enough to be your mom. Either way, I do not like the transformation my body is undergoing! I wish I could say I am embracing this aging process with grace, but in all honesty, I hate IT!
I do not like the way everything is beginning to dry out and sag just a little more with each passing year. It's hard not to notice the fine lines every morning and the gray hairs that seems to be multiplying by the hour. Thankfully, I have a good colorist! My skin is not so moist, my hair is even thinner than it was before, and yes, sometimes I awaken with a few more aches and pains than I remember just a few short months ago. Read More ›
In our recent dailySpark survey, most of you said that you love our "Confession" series. While all of our bloggers are SparkPeople employees, we're also members, which means that like all of you, we have our own battles with weight, healthy living and self-esteem. After a year on the dailySpark, I'm comfortable enough to start sharing my own "confessions." I've been writing them for awhile, but I haven't published any. This is the first in what I hope will be many!
Two weeks ago, I posted a new profile picture on Facebook.
In it, I'm dressed to go out to dinner with friends, in a loose-fitting purple printed tank top, slim-fitting gunmetal pants and heels. My hair, which was cooperating splendidly, is extra curly and bouncy. I'm wearing makeup, and I'm happy.
I had gone to Spinning and yoga that day, so I felt particularly fit.
Arms akimbo, chin up and smile on. My yoga-toned arms are looking good--more defined than usual.
A couple of days after posting the photo online, I got these two comments from friends:
You are looking skinny!
I second her comment - rockin' body!
I got really excited and actually broke into a smile when I read them. I felt extra comfortable in my skin all night long. But then I started thinking.
Why did hearing that word--skinny--have an effect on my self-esteem? Though nothing about me had changed, I suddenly felt thinner, more attractive and more confident.
And it brought back memories of my youth, when my height, pale skin and long dark hair were fodder for mean-spirited, insecure teenage boys.
For something intangible, self-esteem is among the most delicate and easily fractured parts of the human body.
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With apologies to John, Paul, Ringo and George.
If youíre a regular follower of this blog, you know that 2009 has been a pretty rough year for me, health-wise. It started off with open-heart surgery to replace a bad heart valve, followed by 3 more week-long hospitalizations for post-surgery complications, some nasty problems with depression/PTSD, and most recently, a broken ankle.
While prospects for staying out of the hospital for the rest of the year look pretty good (knock on wood), none of these problems is fully resolved yet. Iím still working very reduced hours, and spending an awful lot of time with doctors and therapists.
But thereís another part of this story that I havenít talked about here before, probably because it scares me even more than all these other issues, and I havenít gotten a handle on the problem myself yet.
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Over the past year, I've written more than 100 blogs for dailySpark and have enjoyed every minute of it! Out of these hundreds of posts, I have many favorites, but only a few stand out as important and personal: my confessions. Through these cathartic posts, I've disclosed my weight, my fear of bathing suits, my body image struggles and even my embarrassing failures with all of our readers. In turn, you've shared with me some of the most supportive, encouraging and helpful advice I've ever received from anyoneólet alone complete strangers! Today I am going to reflect on the confessions that had the biggest impact on our readersóand me. Read More ›
We are a culture that is obsessed with bodies. They're plastered on magazines, billboards and websites to sell just about everything. Celebrities and models don bikinis and lingerie on the covers of women's and men's magazines alike. And even though most of us are savvy enough to know that these images do not reflect reality (they involve professional make-up and lighting, subtle camera angles, and of course, digital photo editing), they still shape our ideas about what a woman's body should look like. (You know, fit—but not too muscular—smooth and cellulite-free, and perfectly even in skin tone.)
But the unadulterated images affect us, too. When gossip magazines plaster unflattering photos of celebrities, telling you who has gained weight, who has the "worst bikini body" and who has cellulite (shocking!), we get the message: Look more like the perfect, albeit unrealistic, images and less like these shockingly imperfect (normal) bodies.
If you ever find yourself picking apart your own appearance or comparing your body shape, size, texture or tone to another person's ("Do I look bigger/smaller/better/worse than her?"), it's not hard to figure out why.
No wonder so many of us have poor body image and self-esteem. I am not immune to these images and cultural ideals; I've struggled with accepting my own body for my entire adult life. Why? Because I look much closer to the "worst" bikini bodies than I do the "best" ones, and that automatically makes me feel bad about myself. Read More ›
Do you ever find yourself fixated on the size on clothing labels, even though you know it shouldn't be so important? There are certain stores where I know I can wear smaller sizes than others. Even though the clothes from two different stores might be exactly the same size, I'm more likely to wear the ones with the smaller number on them. Logic tells me it's ridiculous and size shouldn't matter, but for some silly reason, it does. Read More ›
By the time you read this, I will probably be about halfway through my first week of a two- or three-week course of ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) treatment to see if this helps relieve my depression.
In two previous blogs, I had indicated both that I felt pretty uncomfortable with the idea of electric shock treatment (I was a BIG fan of One Flew Over the Cuckooís Nest), and that I was going to try a non-medical approach to dealing with my depression before resorting to additional biological treatments. But here I am in the hospital, getting hooked up to the ECT machine.
What has changed in the past week is the urgency of reducing the effects of this depressive episode on other things. For whatever reason, Iíve been somewhat overwhelmed the last few days with a bunch of new memories and flashbacks related to the childhood abuse I experienced for the first 13 years of my life. I donít know if the depression is reducing my capacity to keep those memories away, or whether the memories have been mucking around in my subconscious for a while and generating the depression. Maybe both. Or neither. All I really do know is whatís happening right now, which is that I canít handle all of this at once and still function in my daily lifeósomething has to give. I havenít been able to sleep for 3 days, and my anxiety level is a steady 14 on a scale of 1-10.
Trying to let the past be the past before itís too late.
Given that Iím 60 now, and that Iíve been dealing with this old childhood baggage in one way or another for my whole life, I figure Iím not going to have many more chances of getting to the bottom of it. So, my desire is to actively and directly deal with this stuff right now while itís coming up on its own, instead of trying to put the lid back on again. That means I need to get myself to the point that Iím strong enough to do thatóand that means getting through the worst of this depression as quickly and easily as possible. They tell me that ECT is the best treatment when a quick response is the goal, so Iíve decided to give it a try. And, honestly, I could do with a week in the hospital right now, with nothing much to do except cope with getting my brain zapped a few times.
Some Background Info
I used to believe that oneís psyche never gives you more than youíre ready to handle at that time, and therefore, that the appearance of new memories and feelings from the past meant that I was ready to handle whatever it was that wanted to make itself known.
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