Wednesday, September 28, 2011
CANNIE50 wrote a must-read blog about the difference between willpower and willingness. Her wisdom has been invaluable throughout my journey, and this blog shows one of the many reasons why she is an awesome SparkPeep.
A couple of snippets:
"Willingness is not to be confused with willpower."
"Willingness is the ability to not have the first bite because, as I was taught when I became sober all those years ago, 'it ain't the caboose that'll kill you, it's the engine' - there is no 4th or 5th drink or cigarette or cookie or handful or bowlful, if there is no first one."
"Willingness is the antidote to inertia so when I allow it to propel me to do one task, to do one set of reps, to run one block or one mile, it tends to knock the inertia aside."
Here it is:
Read it, love it, and "like" it.
Sunday, September 25, 2011
I had all sorts of ideas for blogs this week, but I didn't finish them. I had all sorts of ideas for my weekly review, but I didn't feel like expanding on them. So, I bring you a generic blog post reminiscent of my week: aimless and apathetic. There is no theme, there is no rhyme or rhythm. I felt like I sucked at everything this week, starting off with not tracking my food on several days. Oddly enough, I wasn't binging or anything, I just didn't track. I only went to kickboxing once, on Tuesday. I didn't send as much time Sparking as I usually do. I half-assed my way through my strength training workouts. I felt like I sucked at playing my sax.
When I went to my sax lesson on Tuesday, I apologized to my teacher Jeff, telling him that I sucked at everything this week. He told me to play anyways. I blasted my way through a couple of exercises, and then looked at him and cringed. He told me that I actually sounded better than I had the week before. I gave him a genuinely baffled look.
"How can that be? I feel like I suck."
He told me that because I'm getting better, I am just more aware of mistakes. I suppose that concept is true when we are making progress with anything. I could have binged every day. I could have chosen not to log on to SparkPeople at all. I could have skipped my strength training workouts all together, or not have gone to kickboxing at all. I could have chosen not to play my sax at all, rather than hear myself fumble through the music. But I chose to try anyways, even though I was far from perfect. Even though I didn't feel great about most things this week, I chose to try my hardest anyways. I still just felt very "blah" throughout the whole week.
The kicker happened yesterday, though. I was supposed to meet my best friend at her place at 4:00 and we were going to walk up to a music/beer festival. I already had paid for a ticket. We had just confirmed these plans over e-mail 2 days prior. I got to her place just a little after 4:00, and she wasn't home. I don't have a cell phone, so I drove home and called her. She told me she had been waiting for me to call her. I admit I got very snippy, and I told her I wasn't going back to downtown Minneapolis, and that I guess I had just wasted money. Then I hung up. Then I saw she had left a message on my answering machine some time in the prior couple of hours, saying she was calling about our plans, but since I had been running errands, I didn't hear the message until after I got home from her place.
I don't get many Saturdays off, so if I have plans, I'd rather not waste a bunch of time. I'm still a little sore after being ditched on my birthday by another girlfriend, so I guess I'm at the end of my rope with "hoping" that people will keep their plans, or at least give me enough advanced notice if they change their minds that I can plan something else. Perhaps I was wrong to snap at my good friend of nearly 20 years, for the first time ever. I certainly felt guilty about it and spent most of the rest of yesterday night either crying or choked up. I left a message at her home phone, apologizing for snapping, but that I was just disappointed with how the day panned out.
Am I really that old-fashioned? If people have plans set to meet at X place at X time on X day, is it really necessary to reconfirm those plans within a couple of hours of those plans? I'm seriously asking, because maybe I am missing something. I feel like last-minute plan-changing has become very commonplace, and I'm wondering if it's just me who is irritated by this or if it is just par for the course nowadays, and that I'm the one being too inflexible. Although it would be nice to have a cell phone again for emergencies (I don't currently have one due to finances), I don't want to have one just to be glued to it or to have to chase people down when they aren't where they said they were going to be. Maybe my anti-cell phone, anti-Smartphone, anti-Twitter, anti-Facebook attitude is catching up with me, and perhaps my friends don't have a tolerance for me not being glued to a technological device, prepared for last-minute changes or an easy way for them to tell me they will be late.
I feel kind of like I do when I am about to be hit with a depressive episode, but I believe I am more in a general funk than truly depressed. Please don't advise me to "go see somebody"--antidepressants have always made me worse and talking to a counselor has not been useful. I plan to just keep plugging away...I will "just go through the motions" for now, and I'm sure I'll start feelin' it again soon. This blog post was basically a random stream of thoughts as they came to me, which is probably the most that I have accomplished all week as far as being introspective. I wanted to be excited, I wanted to be proud this week, but it wasn't there. Hopefully this week will be better. Thanks for reading this rambling randomness.
After a week like this, perhaps I need to follow this philosophy more closely (***WARNING! Vulgar, with profanity and hilarity):
Thursday, September 22, 2011
In studying exercise physiology, I have suspected that the old formula of 3,500 calorie deficit=1 pound weight loss formula may not always work. A study done recently shows evidence that there are so many factors, including current body weight, body composition, and physical activity level, that must be taken into account with weight loss and body composition change.
Here is the article:
Here is the abstract of the study:
I have been kind of working on a blog on "calories in-calories out," and this information helps debunk the old thinking about the 3,500 calorie deficit formula.
Saturday, September 17, 2011
"It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit."
There are very few friends who we know we can truly depend on during the best and worst of times. I have a friend who I met at a job 7 years ago, and we have been good friends ever since. She could call me in the middle of the night with her relationship woes. I called her out of the blue when my cat was dying and she came right over to drive me to the emergency vet. I helped her move when she lost her house, and she helped me clean my house when it got out of control when I was in school and working full-time. We could tell each other anything without judgement. She was a true friend. I have been cleaning house with toxic people as of late, but I'm disappointed to find that some friends may not be who they once were.
My birthday, September 11th, has been overshadowed by 9/11/2001 for the past 10 years. I lost a family member, so it tends to be a sad time for my family. I don't mind being in the shadow of my cousin Bobby at all, but with my friends, I should be able to just have my birthday without any drama. I wanted a pretty low-key birthday. I had dinner with my mom and brother on Saturday the 10th, which was nice. That night, I had plans with friend to get together, which we had made the day before--she was going to come over, we were going to go for a walk, and then hang out and exchange massages. When I called her to see what time she wanted to get together, she said she had actually made other plans with someone else, but that I was welcome to join them. The friend she made plans with is a drug dealer and a shady person, and needless to say, not a person I wanted to associate with. My immediate reaction was to say I really didn't want to do that. She said, "Okay, well, you can come if you want." I told her I would call IF I decided to come. I called her a couple of hours later and told her I wasn't going to come. "Okay!", she responded cheerfully. After a pause, I said, "Well, have a good night," and she responded that I should have a good night, too.
At first I felt like a jerk for not going, but then I asked myself: Would I do this to someone on their birthday? Or really, ever? No, I would not. Even if I'm not thrilled about what a friend wants to do for their birthday, I would still go. Dammit, it's MY birthday and it was rude of her to change plans, leaving me with nothing to do. What did I do instead? I wrote a blog about my cousin Bobby, and ended up drinking wine and crying by myself. Yes, it was as pathetic as it sounds. At least I got in some good practice time on my saxophone--huh, I actually play pretty well when I'm pissed off!
Although I am trying to kick toxic non-friend people to the curb without a second thought, I am certainly not inclined to dump a long-time friend over a few indiscretions, at least not without a fight. I wrote her an e-mail telling her that it hurt my feelings that she ditched me on my birthday, and that I feel she has been changing plans or forgetting about plans a lot over the past 6 months or so. I told her that I really value our friendship, and that if I have done something, I would like to talk about it so it can be remedied. I asked her to write back or call me when she had a chance.
The reply? Nothing. It has been a week. I know she is on Facebook all the time and she must have seen the message. I am going to try to call her today (not to confront) and see what happens. If she is truly the type of person who would just stop talking to a friend of 7 years for no reason, well...she's probably not the type of person I need in my life. I don't do passive-aggressive well, and if she doesn't think enough of me as a human being to tell me what's going on with our friendship, then there may not be a friendship there at all.
"Being stubborn has helped, being selfish is not a bad thing."
I was actually glad that my reaction was to immediately get pissed off when she changed plans on my birthday. I have been bowled over by a lot of people throughout my life without realizing it. I don't really feel anger at her as a whole person, but rather at her actions. I didn't used to get mad at the actions of others; I used to blame myself for not going out of my way enough to accommodate them. I finally know that it's okay for things to be about ME sometimes (let alone on my birthday). I am there for others whenever possible, and I deserve the same from my friends.
Sometimes I accommodate too much to the demands of my subconscious, too, allowing it to overrule what I actually want and need. I decided that I would make this week about ME, and allow my brain to naturally decide what it wanted. I would do the first thing that came to mind and just follow my gut. I was going to do whatever my brain asked for, but it had to be the first thing that popped into my head. I was pleased with the results.
I started by thinking, "What do I want to eat?" The first image in my brain was a big bowl of veggies, including the spaghetti squash, tomatoes, eggplants, and peppers from my garden, all cooked and steaming in the bowl, ready to eat. My mouth watered. Then, tiny voice whispered, "Don't you want pizza?" I shut that voice up, because it wasn't the first thing that popped into my head. I cooked my veggies and ate them, and they were delicious.
When I was sitting around the next day, I asked myself, "What do I want to do right now?" I immediately pictured grunting while lifting a heavy weight, sweat dripping down my nose. A little voice countered, "Wouldn't you rather sit around and watch T.V.?" I popped in my STS DVD and started my workout. No, I did not want to just sit around.
Another night when I got home from work, I had planned on doing a kettlebell workout. I asked my body and brain what they REALLY wanted. I pictured myself in my recliner with a glass of red wine and a plate of chocolate chip pancakes. That's what I really wanted, so I did it (by the way, they were protein pancakes, and were very satisfying!). My mind and body needed the break, so I gave it to them.
So, this week was about ME, and I needed to stop and listen to my brain long enough to find out what I really wanted. I wanted to have a friend celebrate with me on my birthday, and I was upset when that friend backed out. I felt so selfish trying to demand what I wanted from another person, and felt a little bad standing up for myself, but I now know that I shouldn't. If she's my friend, she should have no problem doing what is right. I felt a bit self-absorbed asking myself all week, "What do I want, and what is best for me right now?" But I also know that I'm no good to others if I'm not taking care of myself. I don't want people to bend to my will, but I want give and take from my friends. I also need balance within myself to support that give and take in friendships. Balance is working out hard when my body wants to, and sitting in my pajamas under a blanket spacing out at other times.
My body and brain instinctively know what's best, so I need to listen up. Sometimes it needs to be about "Me me me me me!"
"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live."
Sunday, September 11, 2011
My second cousin Bobby, in his younger years.
My mother, brother, and I used to take frequent trips to New York City to visit our family there. Robert Mattson was my mother's cousin, but in our family, he was known as Uncle Bobby. He and my mother were very close. He worked for Fiduciary Trust, and his office was located on the 96th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. I had been to his office several times, peering down from the dizzying height of the floor-to-ceiling windows. Bobby lived in New Jersey, but was a typical New Yorker, having been born and raised on Staten Island: always on-the-go, to-the-point, and moreover, humorous. I looked forward to visiting him, especially when we got to go to his office. He would whisk us around Lower Manhattan, chattering away. I could barely keep up with the man, but we would tag along, smiling as we listened to his thick New York accent. My brother and I could barely get a word in edgewise as Bobby and my mother caught up with each other, laughing between sentences until they were almost on the ground. I admired Bobby, and my family shared the sentiment.
Bobby was recognized in our family for his heroism. He had been awarded a Bronze Star for his bravery in Vietnam when he was in the military. Then, in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, he chose to stay behind to help a pregnant co-worker get to the roof to be evacuated by helicopter. Bobby always chose the well-being of others over his own, whether it be a stranger or family member.
I woke up early on my 23rd birthday, Tuesday, September 11th, 2001, and started to get ready for school. My mother came over to drop off a birthday present. My brother called: "Did you see the World Trade Center? Bobby is missing, no one can get a hold of him." I was still groggy and had no idea what he was talking about. "Turn on your T.V." We turned the T.V on to see what everyone else was seeing--the towers of World Trade Center in flames. My mother and I were speechless. Then, a few minutes later, the South Tower tumbled to the ground.
The South Tower was the second to get hit by the plane, but the first to fall. We found out later that Bobby had been near the 90th floor near the time of the collapse. I had watched as the building crumbled, taking our family member with it. Bobby remained among the missing from the World Trade Center, but was presumed dead. We found out later that he had been, once again, doing his best to help people get out of the building, according to several of his office mates who made it out alive.
A memorial service was held in early October, 2001, but I was not able to get to New Jersey to attend. Several months later, some of Bobby's remains were found on Staten Island, just blocks from where he had grown up. Although there was finally some closure, it was still melancholy news.
My birthday has become a very bittersweet occasion for me and my family. Now that the sadness isn't quite as fresh, I feel I can now celebrate my life and Bobby's at the same time. Since Bobby has been gone, I haven't felt any occasion to go to New York City. I have not been to Ground Zero; it has been over 10 years since I've been to New York. As exciting as New York is, I realized the true reason we went there was for family. I didn't visit New York for the World Trade Center, but rather, for who was lost on September 11th, 2001.
I had been hoping to post some family pictures, but my mother couldn't find the disc with the digital copies. There were some news stories about Bobby and his heroism; here is one of them:
Robert "Bobby" Mattson, of Rockaway Township, New Jersey, died on September 11th, 2001, at the age of 54. Bobby, I will always miss your humor, kindness, and dedication to family.
Image from http://thm-a02.yimg.com/nimage/1164f9d8479
In loving memory of Robert Mattson, and all others killed in and affected by the events on September 11th, 2001.
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