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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #36

Thursday, December 31, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #36

Days Remaining: 29

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#36 - Ask for Help: You Can't Do It Alone

My resolutions are made! I posted them yesterday, and here I sit with less than three hours until we hit 2010. Is that "twenty-ten" or is that "two thousand ten." I heard a lot of comments on this over the last couple of days. I had been saying the latter, but I gather that the larger consensus falls to "twenty-ten." Not that it really matters, but it's good to know that someone is pondering these big decisions.

In all of my resolutions, I don't think that I said anything about asking for help. I think my resolutions were purely about committing myself to being healthier and more creative.

As I read this chapter, I was impacted by the very first paragraph. There were three sentences that really made me think.

"We live in a culture that encourages change by using deprivation and shame." How many doctor's appointments did I go to where change was encouraged by making me feel horrible shame? And how successful was that feeling?

"Anorexically thin women are the standard of beauty." Sad, but true. And it starts so very young.

"The answer is always in something you don't have, don't know or need to buy. " Interesting. This is how I found SparkPeople. I was surfing the net looking for answers to my weight problem, and I would have paid a hefty sum of money on that particular night. I was sure I didn't have the answers and I was looking to buy. What I found was free, thanks to SparkGuy!

This chapter was so powerful. I find it odd that it comes at New Year's Eve, just as the resolutions are about to come into play. It talks about the gardener who knows how to plant the seeds, protect them and nurture them. The tree grows from the seeds, and the gardener merely provides the proper conditions. We are the seeds, and we need to provide ourselves with the proper conditions. "We are used to throwing the seeds of our lives in the soil and not paying them one more minute of attention. "

The Low Road, by Marge Piercy . . . "Two people can keep each other sane, can give support, conviction, love, massage, hope, sex. Three people are a delegation, a committee, a wedge. With four you can play bridge and start an organization. With six you can rent a whole house, eat pie for dinner with no seconds, and hold a fundraising party. A dozen makes a demonstration. A hundred fill a hall. A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter; ten thousand, power and your own paper; a hundred thousand your own media; ten million, your own country."

Amazing that when I joined SparkPeople, I got way more than I paid for. I paid nothing, and yet I have gotten more in just a few short months than every penny spent on weight loss items in my past. I have gotten so much help and support from so many people. While I would still love to have a local group that could get together and offer support to each other in person, I can't put a value on the support that I've gotten from my internet friends. SparkPeople is priceless. The key is to continue to seek support and to then offer support. To ask for help, and then to offer help. We are in this journey together.

I truly believe that together we can make a huge difference in our lives. Sure, we are individuals. But we have this one common goal to be healthier.

Here's to getting healthy together in 2010. Let's be sure to check-in with each other, be there for support, and encourage each other toward success.

Happy New Year everyone! Best wishes for reaching our goals and our dreams in "Twenty-Ten. "

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYMAWSCRAPS 1/7/2010 7:57PM

    Happy New Year to You and all "our " Spark Friends
A well stated letter of Thanks that I will second and wish you all the same best wishes in the New Year. emoticon

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2010 Resolutions

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Resolutions are those difficult commitments that we make with great intentions. In the last ten years or so, I have not made resolutions. It seemed like an impossible scenario. My resolution was always to go on a diet and lose weight, and I would no doubt fail.

But this year is different. I have had such success in life over the past five months that I've been eager to make resolutions and am even more eager to follow through on them.

Did you hear that . . . "I've been successful at life."

So I tried to make these resolutions as realistic as possible. It's not about losing weight. It's more about realistic goals. Some are personal . . .

Commit myself to getting healthier.
Track my daily food intake.
Make it to the gym at least twice a week (minimum)
Start lifting weights again.
Continue my Spark Blog and move onto another book when I finish current.
Spread the Spark!
Make an "All About Me" Scrapbook.
Keep lists . . . maintain lists . . . and don't lose lists.

Some are creative . . .

Take one self-portrait a week to include in "All About Me" book.
Teach one to two scrapbooking classes per month.
Start a "Blueprint" file for scrapbook sketches.

So these are my resolutions. I've never had so many, and I've never felt so positive about them all.

Stay tuned. It's going to be a great, productive year.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TONYA_DIMPLES 12/31/2009 7:07PM

    Great goals. You can do it ! emoticon

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SPIRITSEEKER2 12/31/2009 5:36PM

sounds fabulous !! enjoy !!!!!!!!!!! I am going to create everyday.. and keep eating healthy.. need to bump up the excersise part.. Happy New Year !!!!!!!!!!

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FUNNINFIT 12/30/2009 8:00PM

    That's fantastic that you're so motivated...consistency is key as well as obtainable have created SMART goals: specific, measurable, attainable, results oreinted and time-based...good for you!

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PFLEEG 12/30/2009 7:15PM

    All excellent goals! I know you'll accomplish them. emoticon

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-WRKNG2ABTTRME- 12/30/2009 6:49PM

    Good goals!

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PATTYCAKE49 12/30/2009 5:43PM

    Sounds like you are going to be busy accomplishing your goals for this year. Good luck! Have a happy 2010!

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MECIES 12/30/2009 5:39PM

  I understand , i"ve done it over the years to, but 2010 we going to beat this!!

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MECIES 12/30/2009 5:39PM

  I understand , i"ve done it over the years to, but 2010 we going to beat this!!

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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #35

Monday, December 28, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #35

Days Remaining: 30

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#35 - When Things Begin to Fall Apart, Let Them

How afraid are we to really fall apart?

I remember a time a few years ago when I was having some "female issues" and the doctor prescribed progesterone to combat the problem. Thankfully, it worked phycally. I was to continue to take the hormone and life would be good.

Four months later, I made a mental connection. There was this one day each month that I literally would fall apart. And I mean, fall apart. I could not function. I could not think. Even the simple act of watching television was clouded. I would spend an entire day, sometimes two, just literally existing and going through the motions of each day. Interestingly enough, it seemed to get worse each month. When I finally made the connection between my "special day of hell" and the pills, I called the doctor and the prescription was changed. After that life was good.

Here I am now reading Geneen's book, and she says, "If you don't let yourself fall apart when everything in you has already fallen apart, you will sleepwalk through your life, you will live in limbo."

It's interesting as I think about it now. I do recall that during that time when I had those days of completely falling apart, the next day I felt great. Yet here in the present, I try to never fall apart. And that pain that you feel when you don't allow yourself to fall apart, it just goes on and on and on. We mask it. We bury it. The suggestion is that we should experience it. "What you don't let begin can never end."

Looking back on it now, it does make sense. There is nothing wrong with falling apart, provided you are able to put yourself back together again.

So the next time you are falling apart, set a timer, fall apart for five minutes in a nice place, and then when your five minutes is up, move on.

As the new year approaches, I realize I have 30 days remaining and about 14 more chapters to go. I will need to step up my game for sure if I'm to reach my 150 day goal to finishing this book. Stay tuned!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYMAWSCRAPS 1/7/2010 7:49PM

    I feel the need for a serious fall apart day coming on. I just don't think that anyone will know what to do with me. I can't just throw a fit and go on, too much craziness in my life right now. I really need the crop weekend that I just told my friends I can't join them for. Afraid to get too far from home. Does the 5 minute timer work?

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SPIRITSEEKER2 12/28/2009 7:21PM


I fall apart a lot- life went more than upside down and I am getting older so its harder to get up and keep going.. I need to set the timer for a longer amount of time.. it does feel better after I have a good cry or throw things etc... :0)

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FUNNINFIT 12/28/2009 3:07PM

    Thanks for sharing-guess I had my 'fall apart' moment this last week-lasted for 5 days, though, off/on! love reading your take on the book-thanks!

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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #34

Saturday, December 19, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #34

Days Remaining: 39

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#34 - Eliminate the Ways You Gain Weight Without Eating

Ponder this one a moment. What are the ways that we gain weight without eating? My original thought . . . I watch too much t.v.? I sit at my computer too much.

Alas, that is not what they are getting at here.

The point of this one is the eliminate the ways that food gets into our mouth without us counting it. A sample list was included in the book (the author's friend's list) and I was guilty of a few of them . . . when I'm cooking and driving in the car.

I had a couple of thoughts as I read through this one, and it's appropriate because it is the holidays and there is food EVERYWHERE! Seriously . . . at work this week (on Wednesday in particular) we had a total food fest. They had breakfast foods on a table in the morning. Then pizza, salad and desserts were served for lunch. And then a table full of snacks and desserts all afternoon with coffee. Top it off with showing up at work after being out for three business days and finding chocolate covered pretzels delivered to my desk, a mug full of candies . . . make it stop!

We all have little things that we do that we don't count. One in particular that I'm not guilty of, but have seen it done (and it was mentioned in the book) is a time honored tradition for my sister-in-law's family. Many a family gathering I have watched the "edging of the cake" That's where you are chatting and having great conversations after dessert. The cake or the brownies are still on the table. My sister-in-law, her sister and her mother all do the "edging" thing. They've already eaten dessert, but they begin to take small pieces to even the cake out and make it an even rectangle. But then someone cuts a little too far and it has to be edged out again. This continues until my sister-in-law feels a little bit sick.

I do not join in this family ritual with them. Why, I don't know. Perhaps if it were a lasagna? I don't know.

Another one I don't understand, but I've heard about from friends, is the eating off the kids plates when they're finished. Never done it; never will. Actually, that was my husband's doing.

Am I perfect. Heck no! The book challenges me to make a list of my own, so here goes . . .

1) When no one is looking, it doesn't count. So the candy dish is out on someone's desk, and if I sneak one walking to the car on my way out, it doesn't count. No one saw.
2) When I'm cooking. It never fails. I either have to taste something, or I am ravenously hungry and can't wait and end up eating something while dinner is cooking so I don't faint over the stove and cause a house fire. Seriously! I'm just looking out for the safety of everyone in the house!
3) Cream in my coffee. Coffee is zero calories for those people who don't use cream or sugar. But my stomach could never handle the coffee without the cream. I count the first serving each day, but somehow the rest of the day can get away from me. It's like the bottomless cup. I feel punished because I like cream in my coffee and my stomach likes cream in my coffee.
4) Food in the car . . . while I'm more apt to count it now then I was five months ago, I'm still guilty of this one. I recall someone once telling me that they loved M & M's and would buy a one pound bag. They would go to their car, pull out a bunch of little plastic containers with lids and dole the M & M's out into the containers so there were individual servings. Then, one by one they would throw them from the front seat into the very back of their mini-van, keeping only one serving. If they wanted additional ones, it would require them pulling over the car as they were driving to get another container, which they never did. She called it portion control. Extreme? Perhaps. But if it works, then why not.
5) Comfort food when I'm sick. I'm less apt to count it; more apt to abuse it.
6) A nicely decorated cake has beautiful flowers on it. Provided you get the piece that has green leaves or the stems of the flowers, it's a vegetable. It's green. You can count less calories for it. (I'm happy to admit that I no longer believe this one, but I include it on the list as an admission of my past and in case I should ever slip).
7) Comfort food when I'm not sick. It's comfort food!
8) Food eaten in the dark doesn't count. So if I wake up in the middle of the night hungry, I can grab something in the dark and I don't have to count it. And . . . I don't have to count it because in the morning, I can't remember if it was real or a dream. Right?


That's my current list. I invite you to make your own. It will make you more aware. Perhaps it will also give you permission to eat what you want to eat. So rather than having the cake with the green on it, eat the cake with the flower and count it. Rather than juggle food in the car, wait until you're home and take the time to enjoy it.

And congratulate yourself for coming up with unique ways to gain weight without eating. Then decide which ones you can stop, and work on them one at a time.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYMAWSCRAPS 1/7/2010 7:42PM

    LoL, my mom and I have a "special" secret if we eat it together... we didn't eat it. That way when dad says "where did ya'll eat"..."what did ya'll eat" we can avoid the question together. I guess we should stop that now.

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BIGLITTLEWOMAN 12/26/2009 10:02PM

    I might be an edger at times, I too am afraid of passing out while waiting for dinner to finish, and I'm guilty of underestimating the portion. Thanks for making us laugh at ourselves and "think about it."

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NESSAGIRL67 12/20/2009 4:58AM

    I absolutely enjoyed your blog. Wow I am so guilty of all of those things you mentioned in your blog. I think I'm going to create my list.

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BUTEAFULL 12/20/2009 1:57AM

    very interesting article, fortunately I'm not guilty of too many of them, some yes, but not too many

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DAUSTINFAN 12/19/2009 4:33PM

    Very nice blog!!
I know exactly what you mean by eating here and there and not counting it, but it ALL catches up with you.
Another one is eating in the middle of the night. The day is over and the next day hasn't begun, so which day do you track the food for? Right? Haha.
Enjoy your Holidays! emoticon

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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #33

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #33

Days Remaining: 43

The Book: When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair - 50 Ways to Feel Thin, Gorgeous, and Happy (When You Feel Anything But), by Geneen Roth

#33 - . . . And Begin to Gently Let Go of Friends Who Don't Want the Best for You

The sequel to #32 . . . letting go of the friends who aren't supporting you the way friends should. It's a tough one. I think we've all been in a friendship that seems to no longer work. I know that I have.

For me personally, I can give my opinions when it is business, but when it gets personal, I'm like a clam not ready to give up the pearl. It just isn't going to happen. I am more apt to stop calling and let the friendship drift apart. I never want anyone to be hurt by me saying that the friendship isn't working for me. But I have to believe that if it's not working for me, it can't be working for the other person either.

I was very, very close to a woman for years who I did volunteer work with. We met through Girl Scouts. We happened to be at a training course with a group of women. They were looking for two volunteers for a diversity activity. We were asked to each use only one arm to roll up a sleeping bag and put it into a tote bag using just one arm each. It was a lesson in dealing with children with disabilities. So, with about 20 women watching, we had to roll up the bag and then get it into a flimsy, cloth drawstring bag. As we struggled, and onlookers laughed at our comical display, I stopped what I was doing and said, "You know, if I were the one kid in the troop with only one arm, I would not ask another girl in the troop with one arm to help me put my things in the bag. I would have to believe that the girl with one arm would ask for help from a girl with two arms. Kids are smart that way." We got a glare from the trainer, and we became great friends.

We worked for about eight years together organizing the volunteers in our town, and in later years became co-leaders of a Girl Scout troop. We spoke daily. We had wonderful fun together. However, there were little things said that made me feel bad. My girls went to public school. Hers to the local Catholic school. My girls were not Catholic, and comments were made about that on a regular basis which made them feel singled out. I am always amazed that religion, which is based on loving people and goodness, and Girl Scouts, which is based on being inclusive, can sometimes bring out the worst in people. So for years I let these things go, and I said nothing. That's my way.

One day, while at work, my friend called me and screamed at me. SCREAMED! I had apparently, in my volunteer role, made a decision about something that she disagreed with completely. Rather than discuss like an adult; she screamed. I was completely caught off guard. The discussion turned to one about funds in our troop bank account, and she was basically accusing me of stealing money. So in a five minute span, she screamed at me for two separate incidents. One of them I could see having a discussion over, and the other I could see being upset about if it were actually true. But don't you ask questions first before getting to the point of screaming.

That night we had a meeting to conduct for new leaders in town. I tried to talk to her about what had happened earlier that day, but she dismissed it completely and acted as if nothing had happened. A decision needed to be made about giving a presentation, so I asked her what time she wanted to give the presentation. She told me to handle it and she walked away. So I gave a ten minute speech to the volunteers.

Arriving home that night, I decided to try to call her and discuss what had happened previously. I was greeted by the same screaming woman from earlier that day. She screamed about the missing $800.00 from the troop funds. She screamed that I had "taken over the meeting." I tried to get a word in edgewise about my asking her to give the speech, and she cut me off. She insisted that I was taking over. She hung up on me.

I resigned from the troop, turning the bank accounts (which included the "missing $800.00") over to her. I resigned from heading up the leaders in the town. I had so many people who tried to intervene. One in particular was relentless in telling me that I had to call her again. But you know something . . . I had done nothing wrong. I had tried on three occasions to get to the bottom of the problem, and it clearly was not going to happen. As difficult as it was, I let the friendship go. And even though I knew I had done nothing wrong, that I had tried to "figure it out", I still felt tremendous guilt. But I knew there was no going back for me.

I have one particular friend who I drifted apart from for a number of years. It just wasn't working out. She was finding fault with things that I did, or pointing out things about my family that I just thought were totally inappropriate. At the time, she was going through a really tough time with one of her children, getting very little support from her spouse, and I think she was just finding fault with my life to make herself feel better. Knowing she was going through a difficult time, I didn't want to rock the boat. I let it go for a while. But since I'm not one to make waves, I stopped calling . . . made other plans . . . avoided all situations. Times that we did spend together, I found that I was getting resentful of comments made. So we eventually did drift apart. Now that our children are grown, we have become good friends again. I never mentioned that she hurt me, and It's been unspoken, and I'm glad that I addressed it that way.

But not everyone deals with situations the same way. Some people prefer the direct approach. It's te approach I cannot take because I have an unfortunate amount of guilt and second guessing going on in my head to manage it. I prefer a friendship that ends through drifting apart over any harsh words.

It's important to remember that ending a friendship is not a failure on anyone's part. "Ending a friendship means that you acknowledge that this relationship is creating more ill-will than love, more pain than joy, and is therefore not serving the best interests of either of you at this time."

I love it . . . "at this time." It is so true.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYMAWSCRAPS 1/3/2010 8:51PM

    I'm with you Girlie, it's much easier to drift apart then to confront. I have only experienced one friend that turned on me and she couldn't even really tell me what I actually said that hurt her...something in a tone of voice her mother would have used. I guess, when I read this, I am thankful that she told me to take a long walk on a short pier...I never had to be on guard about what I might say to her. I did speak when I would see her in public or at a school function but only to be polite and let her be the one who had to explain to others why we weren't friends any more. HeHe... was thet mean to leave her holding that bag?

Comment edited on: 1/3/2010 8:54:24 PM

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SPIRITSEEKER2 12/17/2009 10:17PM


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PFLEEG 12/17/2009 3:12PM

    I once had a similar 'friend' as your Girl Scout friend. Only, she had also been my boss for a couple of years. Long story short, she was bent on stalking me while doing her best to cause a rift within my husband's family. This was probably the most bizarre time in my life. The day she just showed up behind me in my kitchen, I finally wrote her a letter stating that I didn't feel I could be healthy in this relationship, so even though I'd be happy to greet her on the street, we would no longer be able to enjoy a friendship. She actually took it quite well.

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