BESSHAILE   46,313
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Monday, November 08, 2010

What's that sound you hear? It's I - sighing in relief that the busiest autumn of my life is over. I've plowed through the jam packed weeks till I've reached a sweet shifting point and can take my focus off my job and put it onto the rest of my life. And as I lift my head and look around me I see we are here in that golden gem of a month - November. Beautiful sparse vivid still colorful November - when half the leaves have fallen from the trees, leaving the forests speckled with the last of the glowing yellow hickory and poplar leaves, all fluttery against the deep green of holly and the black tree bark. Blue skies, with their cloud edged fringes, cap us and the leaf littered forest floor wafts its rich woodsy scent into our nostrils with each step we take down the home path, across the swamp bridge or through the secret path.

The secret path is so named because one year when my little boy was just a wee one, 2 or maybe 3 years old, we spent a late fall afternoon playing in the woods. I knew that Himself had built paths all through the west woods, and that we were never more than half a mile from anywhere, but at one point we were so deep in the forest I couldn't see how to get out. We were lost. Not deeply terrifyingly lost - but ... lost. And I had a moment of fear because it was late and getting dark and I had this baby with me. And the truth is - I couldn't BE frightened because ... it was late and getting dark and most of all - I had this baby with me.

I could sort of see where the sun was setting, though. I had an idea where the river was and I knew there was a circumference path that went all along the river shore so I didn't really panic. I knew it was just a matter of finding the edge and walking along it - which we did. There's a spot where the path dips down along the middle swamp (where the swamp bridge in my background photo is). It climbs back up to higher ground at some point, but when my little toddler and I got there the path seemed to just disappear into the creepy spooky arms of hundreds of mature mountain laurel, with their twisty witchy-looking branches and sparse leafy tops. It just lead up into nowhere - and was gone.

It was also getting darker and I had a hungry tired little boy with me. So we climbed on and as we neared the top, the path took a sharp turn down and to the right - completely hidden behind the snaking laurel arms. "Look, William. It's a secret path, hidden in the forest" I told him and ever since, it's been called the Secret Path. No one who ever walks down it, or comes upon it from the riverbank is unaffected by it's mystery. It's one of our favorite places in the woods and all we had to do was trust that it would lead us home and keep on walking.


These past months I seem to have lost myself in the world of work and family and Other Goals. Like that wonderful day of playing in the woods with my little boy, I have somewhat lost track of time and place when it comes to my weight loss. Suddenly I've lifted my head and realized I am not where I ought to be and it's growing later. In fact, I am heading into the biggest eating season of the year right back where I started a year ago. I'd like to be upset about it ... but just like that time in the woods with my child, I really can't. I have to be the grownup who gets me OUT of this situation, not the baby who allows fear or other emotions free reign.

And I know there's a path out of here ... I just have to trust that it's here and walk down it. If it looks like it's disappearing into witchy-looking places I still just have to keep on keeping on ... and I bet, just like on the secret path, there'll be a sharp turn into familiar territory - to safety and ... let us hope - to success.

So today I wish you TRUST -

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLITT62 11/15/2010 10:00PM

    A wonderful, wonderful blog. Beautifully written. And I've been there a time or two myself, never quite finding a secret path, but finding my way all the same.

The last time, it was when we were in Prague. I went to the castle by myself, but it's a big, winding place & I got so lost . . . and it was getting dark . . . I was seriously getting ready to take a taxi back to the hotel, but eventually, as pretty much always, I did find my way.

Thank you for reminding us that it's up to us to find our own paths -- secret or not!

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AEBROWNSON 11/8/2010 9:40AM

    This is a great blog!!! I have gotten a little off the path the past few days, but fortunately I can still see it from where I am and am making my way back to it.

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PUTTITAT 11/8/2010 8:02AM

    WOW! I really needed this. I have been feeling depressed because I feel like my wheels keep spinning in the mud! I was looking for another team I am on and "accidently" ended up on this one--where I had not been in a very LOBG time. Well, I'm not a person who thinks things happen by accident--God WANTED me to find this blog and read it. You write beautifully and those beautiful words have touched my heart--right where it was needed. Thank you!

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SHEILA1505 11/8/2010 7:30AM

    Mysterious ways, Bess!
Lovely story - and you can trust yourself to get yourself out of your predicament - and you have us at your back, too - don't forget that, my dear Friend :)


Comment edited on: 11/8/2010 7:31:53 AM

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OPAL50 11/8/2010 7:06AM

    You have expressed my feelings..."Suddenly I've lifted my head and realized I am not where I ought to be and it's growing later." Every day I say to myself "this is the day I am getting back on track"...then for some reason, I let my little child take over. I need to find my own "Secret Path". Thank you for this blog.

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FAERY_FACE 11/8/2010 7:04AM

    Thank you for a beautiful blog… I wanted to write one today titled Trust… is the hardest thing to regain when it has been lost… I needed to read this today.

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MSLZZY 11/8/2010 7:03AM

    Such rich detail- emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BESSHAILE 11/8/2010 6:53AM

    might seem silly to comment on my own blog but after I posted this - look what I got from Martha Beck via email!

"Cheerfully fessing up to our failures turns crazy mind off, humility and compassion on.—Martha Beck, O Magazine- August, 2005" emoticon

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A body you can trust

Thursday, October 28, 2010

This has been a MOST challenging autumn. Work has been demanding, if fun, ... no. demanding is too weak an adjective. Work has been flat out madness. and fun. Time for other things has suffered and attention for other areas of my life has been in short supply.

Add to all that, there has been the extremely difficult situation with my crabby old dad - one of those wounding things that you accept, set aside, but know is still there, oozing its pain into the world. We can duck that sort of thing but we can't avoid it altogether.

I have often found myself gobbling my food - and being horrified about it too - because it's not only an unpleasant activity, it's a dangerous one. Besides not tasting what you're eating, you can choke on stuff! Ask me how I know.

the one thing I've clung to this autumn has been my swimming schedule and of late, I've actually been ahead of schedule - closing in on that one mile goal post almost a month earlier than I thought I could.

but the pace, the load, the list of Things To Do has grown so large, so demanding that yesterday - at quittin' time - when I found I had to stay late to finish something Important - I actually contemplated skipping the swim.

and boy did my body protest. Just the thought of Not Swimming, even if only for a few laps, made my entire body sink into suffering mode. It was amazing. I actually felt as if I'd been hit. You know that sinking sensation you get when you are told really bad news? that's how my body felt. as if it were hearing really really REALLY bad news from my brain.

Wow. Imagine. My body just shrieked at me. It said "oh no you don't"! It protected me from giving it short shrift. How about that? My own body - looking out for me like a mother would. I'm still amazed.

Of course, that didn't mean I could leave the project unfinished. It does mean that I found someone who could do the last bit for me - and I could get in half a mile of swimming. And best of all - the moment my body learned my brain wasn't going to cheat it out of its needed exercise - it decided to cooperate and not gobble up dinner with two deserts ... something it's been doing lately, in retaliation, I now see, for a brain that hasn't been putting the Whole Me at the top of it's list.

so. hope you don't mind this tale of the fractured dieter - I'm not really crazy - only my brain is. sometimes. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLITT62 10/28/2010 1:25PM

    Ok, when was the last time you scheduled something just for you amidst all the craziness? Something besides swimming?

Cause it sure sounds like you've got to figure out how to get yourself back on the list. Asking your coworker for help was a great first step -- how many more people in your life can you ask for help?

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AEBROWNSON 10/28/2010 10:52AM

    Isn't that just the weirdest thing, this "listening to your body" stuff? Now that it's found it's voice, and we're tuned in, we can't let it fade back into nothingness!

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SHEILA1505 10/28/2010 8:05AM

    Well done for listening to your body :))

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CHALLENGER15 10/28/2010 7:57AM

    I'm glad you got a bit in. I know I go into "walking withdrawal" if I don't get at least some in.

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MSLZZY 10/28/2010 7:53AM

    I feel the same way about my nigthly walk. Even the weather better not mess with me. 3 days of rain, raw winds and now a wind chill in the 20's does not deter me.
emoticonwith making time for you! HUGS!

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JUGE300000 10/28/2010 7:49AM


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ELLEN0407 10/28/2010 7:39AM

  liked yr blog. happy thursday

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Girl Scout Sleepover in the Library

Saturday, October 23, 2010

so this is what I did on Friday night

Girl scouts started arriving, after closing time - as it began to grow dark.

After gathering in the library, they selected a book that inspired them to make a bookmark

Dinner was pizza in the meeting room - where nobody told you to sit up straight.

Craft time was when we made our bookmarks - and there were lots of supplies

Then it was movie time - with pop corn

Does this look like fun or what!!??!!

30 minutes till lights out!

Don't know when I had such a good time but boy do I need a nap now.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LMSTRAW 10/23/2010 2:57PM

    That looks so fun! I'd love to spend the night in a library or book store! "hog heaven"

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FRECKS96 10/23/2010 12:42PM

    That's wonderful! Some of my best memories of Girl Scouting are the sleepovers in non-traditional places (The Franklin Museum in Philly is my all time fav!)

Looks like everyone had a blast!

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JLITT62 10/23/2010 12:07PM

    Other than having to sleep on the floor it looks wonderful!

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MSLZZY 10/23/2010 11:33AM

    Sounds like everyone had a good time so get some sleep! HUGS!

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SHEILA1505 10/23/2010 11:28AM

    What bliss to be surrounded by friends and access to all those books

Rest well, Bess

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Wedded Bloat

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

This weekend it really hit me just how powerfully the habits I've created with Himself contribute to my OUR expanded waistlines. Himself was away all last week and while he was gone I:

got in 5 extra laps at the pool
had 5 fruits and vegetables a day
stayed within my 1500 calorie limit
lost 1.5 lbs

He came home on Friday and so I missed my Saturday swim, drank wine with every meal ... which contributed to the dessert desire, and the festive meals desire and lo and behold - this morning those 1.5 lbs are right back on!

One weekend of food debauchery wiped out one week of careful living - this, in spite of taking two walks that totalled 8 miles!

It would be an impossible situation if one of us were the skinny bones and the other was the marshmallow. It isn't so. Both of us need to drop some lbs and it's time we find some Other Ways of enjoying ourselves besides noshing down at the table. I'll be putting the old thinking cap on this week to come up with some solutions because Something Must Be Done!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

AEBROWNSON 10/12/2010 10:06AM

    Sounds like at least one of you needs a little more buy-in to the whole idea of getting healthier...and I don't think it's you LOL! Have you talked with DH about what happened--then maybe the two of you can come up with a solution, rather than just you trying to take care of the issue for both of you.

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JLITT62 10/12/2010 7:40AM

    It's funny how being lonely can cause you to eat more, but being around other people can cause you to eat more too!

Wish I had some suggestions for you . . . it's a tough nut to crack.

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MSLZZY 10/12/2010 7:17AM

    You do so well and the, life happens! Turn it around and focus on what you need to do to
make it happen. Be persistent and consistent! Maybe include DH on walks so he can see
and feel the benfits of a healthier lifestyle. HUGS! emoticon emoticon

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SHEILA1505 10/12/2010 6:41AM

    Isn't this the truth!
My recent trips away were awesome, great company, lots of attention etc but oh, boy, the poor choices to forget portion control, have additional wine cos of party mode and all the hard work of an entire year went down the drain :( It's not as if anyone twisted my arm either - just my own stupidity!

Now you have had a wake-up call and will have to modify your recipes so that you can both benefit - good luck! Have fun with the research and experiments :))


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Hitting the wall - today's Best of Sparkpeople email

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Hitting That Big Old Wall - How to Keep Going When You Feel Like Stopping, by Julie Isphording, really struck a chord with me today. I feel like I've been hitting that wall all summer long and with far less success than Julie encourages you to grasp. The truth is - it's been easy to just coast along, not eating badly but not eating well either. Just ... over eating a little - just enough to keep my weight lodged firmly in place. Because it has been hard. It IS hard to lose weight. Every one of you here, who have successfully lost weight, has worked hard at it. It's hard to resist temptations. It's hard to plan ahead. It's hard to make good choices and it's hard to remember what those good choices are!

And it is easy to go along with the status quo. In my own case, my life is sweet and satisfactory and I have lived in the same place so long that people think I'm just fine the way I am. I am only reminded of how much I want things to change when I see candid photographs of me. Ugh. Then I am not just reminded - I am floored - sometimes I am horrified.

But I know I am capable of doing hard things - of even lasting to the finish line. I am reminded of the time I truly hit a wall at work - performing a task that daunted me by it's enormity. I sat on the floor one day, surrounded by old fashioned catalog cards and just thought "I am defeated." and felt the complete and utter magnitude of my defeat. and then - since not finishing this task really wasn't an option .. somehow I continued working. And eventually, if shabbily, I did complete that task.

A less arduous and daunting incident of coming up against a wall .. or at least noticing how close that wall is - has happened as I've been swimming laps. Several weeks ago I remember gasping after the 10th lap and wondering if I had what it takes to go that one more lap. I took a bit of a breather and then plunged in. Today I will swim 25 laps and I'll have to push myself for those last 2 - but I have this sweet history of being able to go Just One More Lap so I am more confident of my success. I know that wall will be up there, but I believe in my ability more now. My consistent application of the JOML principle has built that confidence and added a bit of pride to the mixture.

And so. Perhaps what I need is a series of small Just One Less Bites. Perhaps today is a good day to fold that thought into my brain. Yes. I like that. Today I will take Just One Bite Less and see where it gets me in, say, 6 weeks!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JLITT62 10/6/2010 9:16AM

    When I was in the middle of my journey, I often left just a few bites over. Now I rarely do -- so much less food to eat! But sometimes I still do.

Thankfully, I could swim almost forever. I don't push myself too too hard with the swimming, tho, especially my night swimming when it's almost meditative for me. But I like your JOML. I do that when I use the kickboard. Each week I'll try JOML.

Summers are hard. They seem like they should be so easy, but they're really not. But now is a great time to regroup & refocus!

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SHEILA1505 10/6/2010 8:23AM

    You know Bess - last night I'd done well with my calories - I wasn't hungry and had a couple of hours to go till bed-time. I was just about to have a pot of yogurt with strawberries and seeds and I heard Skype calling me! After an hour of chatting to favourite people, I went to bed early and never bothered with the late-night snack. So - finding a distraction saved me blasting my way thru another 200 calories - and it would not have ended there :))

Good luck - you more than have what it takes


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IFDEEVARUNS2 10/6/2010 7:42AM

    Small steps, small bites; you're on track! And I know you can do it, and so do you.

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MSLZZY 10/6/2010 7:21AM

    Just one bite less can lead to success! Very positive! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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