CATS_MEOW_0911   67,647
SparkPoints
60,000-79,999 SparkPoints
 
 
CATS_MEOW_0911's Recent Blog Entries

The Week (and Month) in Review: This plan will self-destruct in 5...4...3...2...

Thursday, February 02, 2012


Image from themoderatevoice.com



The month of January started out very strong--I felt in control and like I could truly keep up the momentum I had built. Then, come mid-January, we (finally) got a blast of truly wintery weather, and my arthritis flared up with it. Between being stiff, sore, and achy, the cold made me want to snuggle under the blanket with something warm and chocolatey. I still did a lot of my martial arts classes and stayed consistent with activity, but off course had to back up a little bit because of the arthritis. And then my eating went downhill. I had several binges. I weigh as much now as I did mid-December.

If I'm honest, I actually actively CHOSE not to make good choices. There were no particular stressors leading me astray. At least with stress and other strong emotions, I feel as though I am just coping with overeating. My joints were a little stiff, but not painful to the point of being truly stressful. I couldn't identify what triggered me to binge, but the urges were irresistible, and I caved frequently.



My January plan:


Image from http://www.flickr.com/groups/firesfiresfir
es/discuss/72157611303095575/



The urge to binge comes out of nowhere, when I am in any mood. It seems I am just as likely to binge when I'm having an otherwise good day as I am when I am very stressed about something. I know I have made progress--the binges are less frequent and usually less severe in the amount I eat, but I still cave to emotional eating far too often. A friend told me about how meditation has helped him learn to focus and has even decreased pain. He is much more even-keeled now.

I started learning how to meditate a few weeks ago, using DVDs from Rodney Yee and Maritza ( www.gaiam.com/product/meditation+dvd
+gift+set.do
) and some downloads from iTunes. I have been trying to do some every day. I have a long way to go, but it does really help. It has decreased the racing around in my head significantly. I have still been overeating, but am much more conscious of the urges. I've been able to, a few times, re-channel that focus from the meditation session and quiet the urges. I look forward to delving deeper with meditation and doing it on my own without a DVD or audio.

I purchased a book quite some time ago titled "Enough!: The Buddhist Path to Finding Release from Addictive Patterns" by Choyni Taylor, but never picked it up. I started reading it this week and I can already say that I highly recommend it. The book discusses how meditation can be used to build mindfulness, introspection, and equanimity (or "non-judgmental thinking"). Not only are these skills be developed through meditation, they can be enhanced during "emergency" situations. The book also discusses forgiveness and denial. I'm glad I started reading this now because it will deepen my understanding of meditation as a tool to not just decrease stress, but to stop it in it's tracks by having a neutral reaction to stressors.

I have also started working on my sci-fi novel again. I had a few ideas that rolled around in my head, but couldn't find how to fit them in. I have had floods of ideas over the past week or so and have actually sat down to do some writing. I hope to write a couple hundred pages over the next few months.

I have been practicing my sax a lot more over the past few weeks, and it is paying off. I think meditation may be helping stay a little calmer when I'm playing, too. Last week I played the best I ever have at my lesson. My teacher Jeff and I played some jazz duets, and people in the shop complimented me on my way out. It is the first time that I have been complimented on my playing since I started re-playing (well, except for my mom, but she doesn't count).

My plan for February is to focus on choosing to meditate whenever I feel a craving for a certain food or the urge to binge. I don't want to meditate as a distraction, but rather, to start to more deeply understand why I get these urges in the first place. I hope to deepen my mindfulness and focus this month, and start to get a better grasp on overwhelming urges to eat.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SMILINGTREE 2/7/2012 9:21AM

    My January followed roughly the same path as yours, minus the martial arts work outs...And my weigh in at at the end of January was higher than my weigh in at the end of Dec. Oh well. Onward.

It is not really surprising that meditation seems to be enhancing your creative endeavors. It's almost like you "make space" in your mind or something when you meditate. I so admire the fact that you don't use lack of time as an excuse. You want to do something, you make time for it. It's inspiring.

Thanks for the update, and the inspiration. Make February fabulous :)

ps. I'm calling BS on the thing about your mom. It totally pisses me off when my girls say that compliments from me "don't count." Of course they do. I wouldn't give a compliment if they sucked at something. I'd suggest a little more practice.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CANNIE50 2/3/2012 3:24PM

    Hi Erin: It makes such perfect sense that meditation would be an antidote to binge-eating since, when I binge, it feels like I am in a bit of trance (as a Sparkler above put it so eloquently - "disassociative eating". It is definitely a quiet but firm voice in my head that prevents binges - a quiet "no, that is enough". PS Compliments from mothers DO count, in my humble opinion. I think daughters, in particular, tend to outsize any hint of motherly criticism yet downplay motherly compliments, a practice I, as a daughter, am working on discontinuing. Just a thought.... So, grab hold of February with both hands, Erin, and kick January to the curb. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MORTICIAADDAMS 2/3/2012 3:00PM

    I meditate but need to do it more consistently. I'm going to check out this method.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 2/3/2012 8:27AM

    Good for you to "dig in" and come up with some great resources & strategies, ala meditation & writing...sci-fi...how about that? You have so many talents! I used to read sci-fi all the time as a teen and in college took a stab at writing poetry, sci-fi & other stuff. AND you're keeping up with the playing too...whew! I have a hard time doing so many things at the same time...if I was the circus juggler spinning plates on sticks I would have a train wreck of debris scattered 'round me tackling so many things as you do...lol!

Don

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUNFLOWERSAVAGE 2/3/2012 2:31AM

    That is awesome that you are using meditation. I have been hearing for years of how beneficial it is. I have tried it in the past but wasn't very good at quieting my mind. I should probably try it again.
Congrats on your sax playing!
I have no doubt that you will rule February!

Report Inappropriate Comment
APIRLRAIN888 2/2/2012 4:30PM

    You can do it

Report Inappropriate Comment
MEWHENRYSMAMA 2/2/2012 1:03PM

    You got it Erin! Look how you came up with a great positive plan to help yourself, in a great example of being your own best friend! Terrific! I want to add a book for you to check put on meditation. It is called "Real Happiness: the Power of Meditation A 28 Day Program" by Sharon Salzberg. It is actually an interesting easy read and comes with a CD to use as an example of meditations. I took Transcendental Meditation (TM), when it was popular, and I love Sharon's book even more. It's the best I have ever read/done regarding meditation. It is about $10. I thought you, or anyone else, might be interested. I do think meditation is an excellent way to cope with many things, from stress to giving yourself a stronger creative process!
The very best of luck. We are all on this journey together!
Love,
Mary
emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
ALISHAB3 2/2/2012 12:35PM

    I highly recommend meditation. I have a book called "Yoga for depression." by Amy Wientraub that you may find illuminating. It wasn't very expensive, unfortunately, Borders went out of business, so you will probably need to get it on Amazon. I also use a free guided meditation podcast called "healing journey." I like to do that one before bed. It helps prevent nightmares.

Report Inappropriate Comment
KKINNEA 2/2/2012 11:47AM

    Great resources, I'll have to check those out. Let's make it a great February!

Report Inappropriate Comment
HIPPICHICK1 2/2/2012 8:11AM

    Honestly, it sounds like you have picked yourself up, dusted yourself off and you're ready for a spectacular February.
My partner and I are studying Buddhism and frequently listen to Dharma talks or Zencasts. They're free!
www.zencast.org/

Report Inappropriate Comment
EMRANA 2/2/2012 7:26AM

  Meditation is a truly beautiful practice. At the very least, I meditate before I go to bed, to clear my head and put myself into a peaceful state to drift into sleep. It enhances the quality of my sleep.

I've been a regular meditator for many years, though I hadn't thought to use it to avert a binge. I have been looking for a part of my yoga practice to use for that purpose ~ well, really, to use before eating anything, so that I don't go into dissociative eating mode as I am prone to do.

Congrats on the sax progress! YAY!

Report Inappropriate Comment
EMFRAPPIER 2/2/2012 6:11AM

    I struggle with binge eating and have always found Buddism to help in those times. My binges are very rare now because I am mindful of my feelings and triggers. I'd like to get more into meditation. It sounds lovely. Congrats on getting back on track. My January looked a lot like yours, and I am trying to get back to healthy me. I love that you're a writer! I had not written anything for months and was feeling pretty low about it, but I have also just started writing again. It is such a great stress reliever! Congrats on getting complimented on your playing! I hope February is great for you!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
1HAPPYWOMAN 2/2/2012 1:59AM

    It's so wonderful that you're trying meditation as a way of curbing emotional eating! I still find it extremely difficult to identify binge trigger thoughts, because it seems like a binge is preceded, for me, by a state of non-thought -- as though I'm just viscerally reacting to inchoate stressors. But I've figured out a few of my triggers, and hope to identify some more.
I'm so sorry that your arthritis has been giving you pain. But good for you for continuing to do all those things that you love: writing, playing sax, and kicking butt! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment


The Week in Review: Approaching Good

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

I was actually excited to go to my saxophone lesson last week. I had put in a lot of practice time, and had some extra practice due to working at home. I actually felt pretty confident walking into my lesson, for once. My teacher Jeff is not exactly Mr. Compliments, so I'll take what I can get from him. I blasted through one of the exercises and only made a couple of mistakes. Jeff nodded, "Huh, well that was...approaching good."

I started laughing, because I know that's about as close to complimenting as Jeff gets (although I have also gotten "not horrible" and even the coveted "not bad" before). Then again, I appreciate his honestly; I don't want someone singing accolades if I haven't earned it. I liked feeling so confident from having worked so hard the week before and to be able to show that to Jeff. I knew that even if I was approaching good, I will need to start putting forth more practice time to actually be good.

It's not just my saxophone. It's my eating, It's my Muay Thai and Jiu Jitsu classes. It's my other workouts. I have realized that I have been putting in as little effort as possible with all of these things. I overeat, and then I don't track it so I can pretend that it didn't happen (somehow the scale always catches it, though...hmmmm...). During my classes, I keep wondering how much time is left. I have been slacking during my workouts. I usually dread picking up my saxophone and hearing myself. It wasn't until this past week that I realized that I have been putting forth so little effort. Well, no wonder I haven't been getting far recently.

I can't even claim that I've been doing my best or trying my hardest recently. Needless to say, I am tired of approaching good. I want to actually BE good. I have been half-assing for long enough and I need to have some conviction about eating better, about practicing my saxophone more, about putting forth more effort at the gym. I have been in denial with my "I can quit whenever I want" attitude when it comes to overeating. I am not mad at myself at all, and I would not even say I am disappointed in myself, but I have reached a point where I am no longer satisfied with the changes I have made over the past year. I need to make some new changes. It dawned on me this week that I have been approaching good for quite some time now. It is time to surpass good and move on to excellent.





"A happy person is not a person in a certain set of circumstances, but rather a person with a certain set of attitudes."
-Hugh Downs

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MORTICIAADDAMS 1/25/2012 9:00PM

    Excellent blog. I love the way you are thinking. You can push yourself to your ultimate best.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DOODIE59 1/25/2012 9:18AM

    I really like your end quote. Thanks!

Choose the one thing you are going to do your very best at this week. I suspect your effort will ease over into your other endeavours. Win/Win.

And enjoy yourself:)
Deirdre

Report Inappropriate Comment
CANNIE50 1/24/2012 11:16PM

    "Um, you are approaching good" - oh, I cannot wait to tell this to my kid. I tend to be a bit of an overly enthusiastic encourager and complimenter, so I am going to use this phrase to dial it down a bit, once in a while. It is good to strive. You are clearly ready to move on to the next level. As always, thank you for an excellent blog.

Report Inappropriate Comment
GEMINIAN1 1/24/2012 8:11PM

    emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MUSICALLYMINDED 1/24/2012 6:22PM

    I feel the same way...I haven't been putting forth enough effort lately.

Report Inappropriate Comment
1HAPPYWOMAN 1/24/2012 4:28PM

    Well, you are already at excellent in the blog-writing!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Thanks for giving me so much to ponder. As always, I deeply value your insight.

Report Inappropriate Comment
MISTYBLUE716 1/24/2012 2:56PM

    emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 1/24/2012 9:12AM

    I can relate...one gets into a routine and sorta coasts...! Good to remind ourselves to push beyond the humdrum!

Don

btw, message to Jeff: you get more flies with honey...at least a TEENSY more honey...? :-)

Report Inappropriate Comment
JSALERNO 1/24/2012 7:50AM

    ALWAYS REMEMBER THE MORE YOU PUT IN THE MORE YOU GET OUT. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
EMRANA 1/24/2012 7:28AM

  Good for you! Recognizing that we want to change a pattern is the first step to doing it! YAY!

Report Inappropriate Comment
MEWHENRYSMAMA 1/24/2012 6:13AM

    ERIN,
AH, SELF ENLIGHTENMENT! IT IS SO EASY TO FALL INTO THAT
"APPROACHING GOOD", BUT, YOU ARE RIGHT, IT IS NOT ENOUGH. I
MUST TELL YOU THOUGH, PLEASE REALIZE YOU HAVE TAKEN ON SO
MUCH THAT I AM IN AWE YOU MANAGE IT ALL! SO REALIZE THAT YOU
ARE REALLY AT A MAX. I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE NOT BEATING YOURSELF
UP AND ARE TAKING THIS INSIGHT AS A WAY TO GET MORE ON TARGET.
MY BEST WISHES TO YOU FOR CONTINUED SUCCESS.
MARY
emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment


Yeah, I'm kind of a big deal. (workout pics)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Hah, well, I don't know about being a big deal, but I'm glad that my coach Nate took some pictures against my will over the past couple of weeks. He snuck up on me and I turned and he had a camera pointed at me. My immediate reaction was to stop what I was doing, "No, no, no, don't take my picture!"

"Why not? You're doing a bad-ass move, everyone will see it."

Now granted, I WAS doing a bad ass move, GHD sit-ups, but I am still not keen on having my picture taken. "Come on, keep going, I want a picture." So, I continued to do GHD sit-ups, and he snapped a picture. I looked at the picture and said, "No way, you're not posting that."

"What? Why not? I want to post some pictures of you guys doing your workout." I was working out with one of my Jiu Jitsu buddies, and Nate was also taking pictures of him. I let him take the pictures, but still didn't like any of them. Nate seemed genuinely baffled as to why I didn't like the pictures, and I didn't want to say, "Umm, can't you see how FAT I am?" I don't like thinking of myself like that, and I would not think anything of seeing someone working out at any size, but pictures put reality right in front of my face, and I don't always like what I see.

Apparently Nate only saw a martial artist working out. At first I just saw how overweight I am, but now I just see someone working out. So, if my coaches and my fellow martial artists view me as a real athlete, then I guess the proof is in the pictures.




GHD sit-up ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=-k4UQtuXnXc )




Leg extensions.






Kettlebell swings.




A light set of clean and press with 65 pounds.






Muay Thai class (my teacher Eric is by the bag). Unfortunately, no kicking pics, and this chick is afraid of me, so it was a very light class.




My Jiu Jitsu BFF Bob--we were practicing something, can't remember what.




Practicing sit-up sweeps.




Going over techniques.




Getting ready to roll.




Rolling--this guy was getting frustrated because he couldn't break my hand grip, hehehe...



After seeing the pictures posted on the gym's Facebook page, I liked them better. They were posted side by side with my fellow gym members, and I just look like another athlete working out. I still don't LOVE the pictures, but I do like the proof of my bad-assness.
emoticon

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAPHRAEL 2/13/2012 3:38PM

    Wow, those pictures are amazing! Very inspirational!!

You are going to be so glad to be able to reflect on them later.

emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
FLUFFY22801 2/13/2012 3:30PM

    You're doing GREAT! Wow, I wish I could do that. You're bad-assed like honey badger :)

Report Inappropriate Comment
ELPHYY 1/23/2012 6:05PM

    "Unfortunately, no kicking pics, and this chick is afraid of me, so it was a very light class. "

That made me giggle!
Action pics are the best! Looks like you have a lot of fun classes!


Report Inappropriate Comment
BOE4LIFE 1/23/2012 3:56PM

    Awesome keep it up.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CHRISTINA791 1/23/2012 3:42PM

    Badass is right! Great pics!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SYZYGY922 1/22/2012 11:54PM

    You look so strong!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SPOONGIRLDEB 1/20/2012 12:50PM

    emoticon nuff said emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 1/20/2012 11:31AM

    Great pics of one SPARKIN' gal! Thx for sharing!

Don

Report Inappropriate Comment
BRDGT262 1/20/2012 5:48AM

    So awesome, thanks for sharing! You rock!!!! :)

Report Inappropriate Comment
MEWHENRYSMAMA 1/20/2012 4:11AM

    OH YOU ARE ONE AMAZING, AWESOME BAD ASS, ERIN!!!
I AM SO BLOWN AWAY BY WHAT YOU DO AND IMPRESSED AT YOUR "SPUNK".
THERE YOU ARE HANGING WITH THE BOYS AND DOIN ALL THE STUFF THEY ARE DOING AND THEY REALLY SEE YOU AS A FELLOW ATHLETE...AND IN THAT IS SOMETHING JUST AS IMPORTANT AS THE EXERCISE, AS YOU ARE STARTING TO SEE YOURSELF DIFFERENTLY, AND THAT IS A MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT.
EXCELLENT...ROCK ON, GIRLFRIEND!
emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
WOLFKITTY 1/20/2012 12:10AM

    Nice!! :D
Jocelyn

Report Inappropriate Comment
MISSIFISH 1/19/2012 10:37PM

    WOW! You are doing so many things I've never done! Very motivating. I'm so impressed!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GEMINIAN1 1/19/2012 10:19PM

    Well -I- LOVE the pictures ...
emoticon

..."Why not? You're doing a bad-ass move, everyone will see it."
emoticonCoach Nate! Go Nate!

I agree with Nate!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MORTICIAADDAMS 1/19/2012 9:50PM

    Loved the pictures! You are really working hard.

Report Inappropriate Comment
CROOKEDLETTER 1/19/2012 7:46PM

    Followed someone 1HappyWoman here. The pics are great. I especially like the one where the guy can't break your hand hold!

Report Inappropriate Comment
1HAPPYWOMAN 1/19/2012 6:55PM

    So wonderful to hear how your feelings about the pix changed! And wonderful to see you in your element, working your bad-assness!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
HIKINGSD 1/19/2012 6:28PM

    Woo hoo! You go girl!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CANNIE50 1/19/2012 6:03PM

    An athlete among athletes, taking your rightful place at the gym (and bad-@$$ing your way through some bad-@$$ workouts). PS Are you going to go see the new movie "Haywire" where the lead is not a waifish actress pretending to be a martial artist but an actual MuyThai and MMA fighter, acting in her first movie? I love the quote by a character she is hunting down: "don't think of her as a woman, because that would be a mistake". When I read about her, I immediately thought of you, of course. emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
EMRANA 1/19/2012 5:09PM

  LOVE THEM!!! You are so completely and magnificently AWESOME!

emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MISTYBLUE716 1/19/2012 4:34PM

    emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUNFLOWERSAVAGE 1/19/2012 3:20PM

    You are AWESOME!!!!! I love the pics...you look so great!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SMILINGTREE 1/19/2012 3:18PM

    It's jarring to see pictures of yourself. Even when I was thin and generally happy with my size and shape, I found things to dislike in photos. It's the same with hearing a recording of your voice. It just feels weird.

This is awesome proof of your bad-assness, and thank you for sharing it!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GIANTPANDA 1/19/2012 3:11PM

    emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
NEWSGIRL2177 1/19/2012 2:51PM

    Whoa. Badass indeed! I'm glad you posted these. You look strong and happy!

Report Inappropriate Comment
ANGELWENDYMAMA 1/19/2012 2:51PM

    You are doing awesome!!! I see someone committed and motivated and DOING something to make herself happier and her body healthier and stronger!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
JSALERNO 1/19/2012 2:43PM

    I CAN HARDLEY HOLD 20 POUNDS OVER MY HEAD MUCH LESS 65. THAT'S emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
BITTERSWEET100 1/19/2012 2:21PM

    Very cool. Situp sweeps are really hard and the best ab workout ever. You realize quickly how important those abs are!

I can see all the muscle tone you have. It is very apparent you have been working hard, soon those pics will look totally different. Keep it up.

I wish my dojo had all the equipment. We work strictly on the mats.




Report Inappropriate Comment
JILLYBEAN25 1/19/2012 2:21PM

    I totally get ya!!! But, I think the same thing when I see those pics- its a bunch of athletes doing their thing at a great gym! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
BENTONHEALTHY 1/19/2012 2:15PM

    I see a person who is getting strong and working hard. One that I respect and makes me think I need to step it up a notch. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
HIPPICHICK1 1/19/2012 2:10PM

    You bad a$$!!
emoticon
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
KKINNEA 1/19/2012 2:05PM

    Kettlebell is the only thing I can do in your set of pictures! Nice job - this looks tough!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SWEETSOUNDS11 1/19/2012 2:03PM

    I totally understand the love/hate relationship with pictures of yourself. I too see an athlete! If you don't like the way you look now in the pics, eventually you will continue to progress in your lifestyle change and weightloss journies and you will come to love theses photos as progress pictures. I think you are kind of a big deal! Yay for you!
emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment


The Week in Review: Just...PLAY.

Monday, January 16, 2012

"Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced."
-James Baldwin



This week at my saxophone lesson, my teacher Jeff got mad at me. He didn't raise his voice, but he was as pissed as I've ever seen him. I'm not sure what it is about playing my sax, especially playing in front of Jeff, that makes me want to be so damn perfect. I want to hit every note perfectly, or not play at all. I totally freeze up trying to play in front of Jeff. Day-to-day, I'm not too afraid to make an a$$ of myself, but I really want to play the sax well. In any case, I kind of start to panic at the beginning of every lesson, and my attempts at hiding this probably make me look dumb. In my lesson on Tuesday, I was once again freezing, and Jeff looked at me and said, "Erin...just...PLAY."

Jeff had never talked to me sternly before, and the man is intimidating enough without the stern talk. I did my best to blast through the exercises without stopping and without worrying too much about making mistakes. Even though he had talked really sternly to me, I felt more at ease. I had driven him nuts with my desire to be perfect to the point where he snapped at me. Maybe that means I've been driving myself crazy, too. I made a sincere attempt to practice in this manner all week--just fly through the piece, not stop if I make a mistake, to just keep going.

I had an okay week at the gym--I have to say, though, I really got my a$$ kicked. I don't know if I'm getting better, therefore the guys feel okay laying into me, or if it was just an off-week. I think I am at an in-between stage with learning Jiu Jitsu--I know a few things, but not enough to be proficient, or I remember when it's too late. In any case, the guys continue to be patient and helpful. I also got in a bit of lifting at the gym this week and have found that I enjoy lifting more at the gym working out with some of the guys than being at home with a video. So, I will stick with strength training at the gym for now.



Some of the Jiu Jitsu guys and me--I'm in the purple shirt in the back row. I'm in between 2 of my Jiu Jitsu BFFs.


Mt eating this past week was okay. There was several days of "overeating," meaning I ate over the allotted calories in my tracker. However, I lost 2 pounds. I did not binge over the past week, but I burned close to 10,000 calories with my workouts, so I wanted to fuel up. On the days that I ate over my calories, it was with nutritious foods to fuel recovery. I have had good luck adding a day or 2 of higher calories amping up my weight loss. Hey, I won't argue with that.

I was at the grocery store on Wednesday and saw a beautiful bouquet of orange roses. I have almost forgotten the beauty of fresh flowers in the dead of winter. I do not normally buy flowers for myself, but I just felt compelled. They were not a reward for anything in particular...I bought them just because. Whereas I used to "treat" myself by buying a bunch of junk foods, my "treats" are now often completely non-food related, I have realized more and more.



The bouquet I bought for myself...just because.



Bouquet with my vision collage.



My vision collage--I should consider making another one.


I should just show up...play...move...do my best...buy myself a big bouquet of flowers...just because. Because it has finally sunken in that I deserve to treat myself right. It isn't that I haven't been treating myself right, but it has always been with some purpose, not just because I deserve it. I deserve flowers, I have earned the right to play my sax with some mistakes, I can choose not to get caught up in small mistakes day-to-day. Jeff put it best, that I should just...PLAY.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GIANTPANDA 1/19/2012 11:38AM

    Great blog. I am at the stage in kickboxing where I am overeating on kickboxing days but seeing more of a drop in BMI than in weight. I think I am still finding the balance. The orange flowers were so beautiful I wanted to run out and find some of them for myself. Orange roses--so beautiful! Have a wonderful week!



Report Inappropriate Comment
MORTICIAADDAMS 1/18/2012 11:12AM

    I think you learned a valuable lesson from Jeff. Stop worrying about being perfect and enjoy yourself. There is no perfect. Even professional musicians make mistakes.

Congrats on the weight loss.

I loved the roses. So beautiful!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
GEMINIAN1 1/17/2012 12:09PM

    ... 'the man is intimidating enough without the stern talk'
The visual made me laugh.
Like he's on the verge of whipping out the, stereotypical, ruler.
... 'Maybe that means I've been driving myself crazy'
I love that.
Well, not that you've possibly been driving yourself crazy my friend; you know what I mean ... the insight.
... the gym ...
I think you ruffled some of their: struttin' around peacock feathers, with your: bad, take 'em down, ace, and now they feel okay with laying into you.
But, totally, in a good way laying into you!!!!!
Love the pic. of the crew. Awesome.
You rock.

Report Inappropriate Comment
SUNFLOWERSAVAGE 1/17/2012 1:22AM

    You DO deserve pretty flowers Erin!

Report Inappropriate Comment
1HAPPYWOMAN 1/17/2012 12:57AM

    This blog made me so happy! you deserve so many flowers and songs and playful times! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MUSICALLYMINDED 1/16/2012 6:17PM

    You've made me want to go buy some flowers for myself! They're so pretty. Do you ever move when you play? Sometimes when I really get into the music and start moving I can forget that someone's there watching me. It works great during lessons or during performances. You have to be careful, though, and not let your embouchure become less rigid or bouncy. It's great! Be carefree when you are in a lesson - you're performing! If you mess up, you fix it during your practice time...whatever's done is done by that point, anyway, right?

About the moving - you don't even have to move while you play to start - just listen to some sax music (or any, really), close your eyes, and move with the flow of the phrasing. I used to consider listening to be part of my "practice time" because you learn so much by listening to others play. Eventually you'll just get into the flow so that you'll just do it while playing. Sax players can be funny when they try to move though - it's like their elbows start flapping like they're taking flight! lol. I understand getting nervous during lessons...it's tough to perform as you normally would with someone staring you down two feet from you. You kind of just have to forget they're there until it's time to listen for their input.

I like the title of your blog. Just...play. I may be interpreting it differently than how you meant. I want to stop being so darn SERIOUS. It's no fun. I think I get caught up in the seriousness of working out HARD, like you said before, with this steely-faced determination. I'm going to move a lot this week and have fun doing it. I began realizing this while my friend was here this weekend - I'm not goofy like I used to be. I wanna get goofy! We had a hilarious moment...we were just sitting in my living room and the song "Sexy and I know It" by LMFAO came on my iPod and we just stood up and danced and acted dumb and sweated our butts off acting nuts! I loved it! I want to be ridiculous and silly and forget that someone could be watching and thinking that I'm an idiot. It's ok to have fun.


Report Inappropriate Comment
EMRANA 1/16/2012 4:51PM

  Absolutely! Just play! That's better than Nike's thing...

Your flowers are beautiful, and congrats on the loss! You always inspire me with your fitness level!



Report Inappropriate Comment
CANNIE50 1/16/2012 3:50PM

    exactly emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 1/16/2012 3:39PM

    Great week...! Always nice to treat oneself. I think if Jeff could "chill" you would find it much easier to hang loose and let those notes fly with all your heart!

Don

Report Inappropriate Comment
JSALERNO 1/16/2012 6:07AM

    YOU SEEM TO HAVE ALOT OF FUN. ENJOY.

Report Inappropriate Comment
MEWHENRYSMAMA 1/16/2012 3:18AM

    LOVED THIS BLOG...AND I THINK IT APPLIES TO SO MUCH...JUST PLAY OR JUST DO IT, DON'T WORRY SOMEONE IS WATCHING, LISTENING, OR IF YOU AREN'T PERFECT!! I LOVE IT! AND I LOVE THE FACT YOU BOUGHT THE ORANGE ROSES (BEAUTIFUL) FOR YOURSELF...JUST BECAUSE...YOU ARE WORTH IT! BECAUSE YOU ARE!
HAVE A WONDERFUL WEEK, ERIN!
emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
ANGELWENDYMAMA 1/16/2012 2:48AM

    Just Play. :)

Love your flowers and that you bought them for yourself. I used to do that.


Report Inappropriate Comment


The Week in Review: Greater Observation, Less Determination

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

"Have greater observation and less determination."
-Colleen Saidman


Image from http://wonderjeck.blogspot.com/2008_11_01_
archive.html



I have reflected a lot about what I have learned during 2011 and over the past year and a half of being active on SparkPeople. The above quote is from yoga instructor Colleen Saidman in a video that I have. I pause to think every time I hear it. The observation contributes to the learning process in this journey for me, while steely-faced determination seems to wear me down and lead to disappointment. That quote has kind of become my mantra for this journey. I have found that just being determined without learning from the experience causes me to focus on my mistakes and makes me approach problems from a negative standpoint. With steely-faced determination, I was just trying to avoid the unpleasantness of making a mistake and the pangs of guilt from not having enough "willpower." Of course some determination is needed for weight loss or any health goal, but I have found that stepping back when that determination is not driving me towards my goals helps me see the fork in the road that will take me in the right direction.

Observation gives me the pause to see the opportunities before me and creative ways to make those opportunities a reality. I spent the past year observing what I was not enjoying in my life, and then finding opportunities to change those things. Observation has fueled creativity, and in turn, creativity has fueled problem-solving. Opening my eyes and truly seeing what is before me has helped me see what could be. After working through some major problems last year, I finally have a strong picture of myself being fit and healthy. I can see the hint of bulging biceps, the slight cut of definition in my quadriceps, the notion of a cute tummy. Just as I believe that positive thinking and imagery can help the body heal, I believe that observation and imagery can help the body improve in general. Picture it, observe the present body, pay attention...and make it happen. I have no denial...I am making it happen. This journey has been about so much more than my body, but my body is benefiting from the power of observation, balanced with the drive of determination.



“Opportunities are often things you haven't noticed the first time around.”
-Catherine Deneuve


Image from fineartamerica.com



I started working from home over the past week and it has been awesome. Some callers are still a challenge, of course, but I have found my stress level has decreased greatly by being away from the noise of the call center and the toxic people at work. I know that I am oversensitive to noise, lights, and other stimulation, but I got tired of trying to force myself not to be. I had to say something to my boss about the difficulties I was having with being at work. I'm glad that I did, because he did finally allow me to work from home. Rather than being determined to change myself to adapt to my work environment, I stood up for myself based on the observations I had made. I had also made the request to work from home when I was standing on my last leg at my job, but I decided I had nothing to lose if they might fire me anyways. I feel like I am much better at my job now because I am not trying to help other people while I am roiling inside. A lot of my co-workers asked if I thought that I would get bored or lonely, and trust me, as an extreme introvert, I can make it through 8 hours without having people around me. My callers are plenty of stimulation and I am glad to have the quiet between phone calls. I have also gotten little chores done, cooked food, and practiced my sax between calls. I know I will continue to enjoy working from home.

I had pain in my left shoulder/upper back area this week. Since most of my joints were achy this week, perhaps because of weather, or who knows what, I believe my shoulder was acting up because of my arthritis. Sometimes my joints interfere with my workout plans, and I am mostly at peace with that. I have also found that it is best to just show up and work through the mild pain rather than wait to be pain-free, which I haven't been in many years. I missed 2 days at the gym last week because of my shoulder issue (the pain was literally breath-taking on Tuesday and Wednesday), but I was able to go Monday, Friday, and Saturday, so that is still a solid 3 days of training. I miss the workouts, but I also miss my guys at the gym when I'm not able to go. Actually, I went on Friday just to be there and maybe do some weights, but I tried Jiu Jitsu and it went fine so I stayed for Muay Thai, too. My shoulder has been slightly tender, but fine since. I have found that working out does not make mild arthritis pain any better or worse (actually, it often improves it), so I do my best to show up and work through it whenever possible.

My eating was decent this week. I did end up having unplanned deep dish pizza, garlic bread, and cake at work because our president treated us to dinner for our last day at our old office. Social overeating is not as shameful to me as the secret binging. As a matter of fact, I made a point to enjoy every bite, and I wasn't ashamed at all. I guess between eating well the other 98% of the time, I managed to pull off a 2 pound loss this past week. I still burn major calories at the gym, it appears, even when I miss a couple of days. That just confirms my drive to not be neurotic about food or exercise. Even if I hadn't lost this week, I would call it a successful week.



"All perceiving is also thinking, all reasoning is also intuition, all observation is also invention."
- Rudolf Arnheim



On New Year's day, I got together with my sax duet pal Scott and we hammered out 2 hours of practice. The time just flies when playing with someone else. My playing has improved astronomically since starting to play duets. Everything is so much easier now that I have a goal. My confidence in my playing has improved a lot, too, even playing in front of my teacher Jeff. This week at my saxophone lesson I really had fun with Jeff. He has learned that he can poke fun at me a bit, and I am (finally) comfortable enough around him to really laugh. We were playing through a couple of the duets I am working on with my friend and probably spent more time laughing than playing. Although I have found Jeff to be intimidating and inspirational at the same time, they are probably different sides of the same coin.

When Jeff started with his teacher voodoo and tricked me into all this creative stuff, I was afraid of what I might uncover. I was afraid enough that I had thought about quitting. I am glad that I did not quit; Jeff and my sax have helped many times with my observational skills. Observation has helped me to emerge, to become the person I have always been but could not express. Observation provides inspiration that plain old determination just can't provide.





"Nothing exists until or unless it is observed. An artist is making something exist by observing it. And his hope for other people is that they will also make it exist by observing it. I call it 'creative observation.' Creative viewing."
- William S. Burroughs


Image from http://rittenhouserefrain.com/tag/music/

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JITZUROE 1/13/2012 2:44PM

    I liked this so much. You have come so far in this journey, and your determination and GREAT attitude are so inspiring.
You simply don't give up. And you don't make excuses, yet you still allow yourself some grace. These are rare things to co-exist, at least in my life.
But I will change up my thought process to be like you! Thank you for the nudge.

: ))

Bren

Report Inappropriate Comment
ALISHAB3 1/11/2012 7:19PM

    The most fun I had in college was when I had a string trio and was experimenting with arrangements. As a sax player I'm sure that you are well versed in non-western harmony and meter. It is a lot of fun to completely change a piece by going modal or dropping into a Latin style.

Report Inappropriate Comment
GEMINIAN1 1/11/2012 1:58PM

    I love the whole paragraph that starts with 'observation'.
emoticonon working from home coming to fruition!
emoticon
Oh no, breath-taking pain, I'm sorry.
emoticon
The sax duet sounds like fun.
emoticon emoticon
You're Blog is bringing a Michelangelo quote to me:
"I saw an angel in the block of marble and I just chiseled until I set him free."

I hope that you're having an awesome day my friend.
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
MORTICIAADDAMS 1/11/2012 1:23PM

    I think it's cool that you can work from home, I always thought that would be ideal.

Report Inappropriate Comment
MEWHENRYSMAMA 1/11/2012 8:34AM

    OH ERIN, MY FRIEND, YOU ALWAYS GIVE ME MUCH TO PONDER, THINK OVER, AND CONSIDER. THANKS. I AL SO GLAD YOU ARE ENJOYING YOUR NEW LIFE. THE JOB IS SO MUCH BETTER AT HOME, YOUR EXERCISE & MUSIC CONTINUES, YOUR HEALTHY EATING IS RIGHT ON TARGET AND YOUR INTELLIGENT MIND IS OBVIOUSLY DOING IT'S JOB!! EXCELLENT!!! ENJOY...
MARY

emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
CANNIE50 1/10/2012 9:59PM

    Erin, I always know, when I am coming to enjoy one of your beautiful blogs, to bring my brain because there will be no skimming. Sure enough, you gave me so many things to ponder. I really relate to you in terms of noise sensitivity (which is difficult considering my youngest kid is the noisiest kid on the planet). I used to struggle when I worked in a noisy office, in a cubicle. I did so much better when I was moved to an office with a door that shut! I like the idea of stepping back, and assessing, rather than taking a proverbial switch to myself to try and force myself to try harder, when I encounter resistance and rebellion. I am so happy for you, that working at home is working out. What a change from your prior work environment. I, too, have arthritis and I totally agree that, if I waited to be pain free, I would never work out. I hurt more when I sit too long, than I do after running. I am glad you have found such good workout partners - it really makes a difference, doesn't it? Thanks for another wonderful blog, Erin.

Report Inappropriate Comment
MUSICALLYMINDED 1/10/2012 6:57PM

    I like the bit about mental imagery. " Just as I believe that positive thinking and imagery can help the body heal, I believe that observation and imagery can help the body improve in general. Picture it, observe the present body, pay attention...and make it happen."

I have heard many people talk about using mental imagery to shape your future. I've had music professors talk about using mental imagery to "rehearse" a performance in your mind. I tried it and it really helped. I've had stressful days ahead of me and "rehearsed" the whole day in my mind, imaging all the steps in my day and what I needed to accomplish. It makes the stress go away and then you're able to just go through the rehearsed steps and do what you need to do.

I've actually imagined myself as a fit person and tried to live my life that way. Thinking to myself that I AM fit already makes me want to work out, eat and carry myself like a fit person would. I think that's what I've done. And slowly but surely I'm actually turning into that person.

Very thought provoking!

Comment edited on: 1/10/2012 6:57:15 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
KKINNEA 1/10/2012 3:40PM

    I'm trying to go down the observation path for this year's goals - sounds like you've had great success with it!

Report Inappropriate Comment
SPOONGIRLDEB 1/10/2012 1:01PM

    Great blog, I really enjoyed reading it. Reading some of your other blogs in recent weeks motivated me to buy a clarinet and try to start relearning it. I'd been toying with the idea for a long time, but hadn't followed through. Music is a wonderful outlet for stress, and I'm hoping that I'll be able to once again have that outlet (haven't played in over 25 yrs but I'm hoping it's like riding a bike!).

Report Inappropriate Comment
DDOORN 1/10/2012 12:32PM

    I like it...observation implies an openness and awareness to one's experiences. A great aspiration, tough accomplishment at times!

I'm jealous of your musical pursuits and accomplishments! Have never had the time & dedication to push myself that way. But I still dust off ye olde guitar now & then to keep from getting TOO rusty!

Don

Report Inappropriate Comment


First Page  1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 Last Page