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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #10

Thursday, September 24, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #10

Days Remaining: 118

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

#10 - Be Fully Present for Five Minutes Every Day

Wow. I finally made it to the double digits. I made it to number ten!

My initial thought on just reading these eight words - Be Fully Present for Five Minutes Every Day - made me wonder if I could manage to just sleep the other 1,335 minutes remaining each day. Perhaps I'm just tired today, or mentally exhausted from the work drama created by a manager who I don't think is fully present every day.

But reading past the chapter title, I see it is about much more. And I quickly realized that I'm not fully present for five minutes every day. And I think if you read further, you may find that you are not present either.

So let me talk about my week for a minute, and see if you see a bit of yourself in what I reveal below.

I wake up each day. I shower, prepare to go to work, all the while thinking about what awaits me there. Do I experience the hot water raining down on me? Do I think about how my sweater got on? As I'm packing a bag with some healthy food for the day, I'm thinking ahead to my lunch, snacks, etc. As I'm driving to work, I don't even remember what the traffic was like, or passing the intersection with the Dunkin' Donuts. Hmmm, how did I get from Point A to Point B? The usual route, yes. But what did I miss along the way? Oh and of course . . . I drank that first glass of water and I have to pee.

While I'm at work, am I really there? I go about the motions, constantly multi-tasking. I answer questions people ask, while responding to e-mails from other people. I'm responding to Instant Messages to more than one person at a time. I drank more water and I have to pee again. Meanwhile, I'm trying to pick apart the pieces of a one hour meeting about changes coming up that aren't identified yet, and I'm wondering how they will affect me. And I'm sitting at another meeting later, being grilled by the boss to comment on the one hour meeting, when I have not had the chance to process. I have to pee again. After she berates us like we're children, she gives us a task to complete. Make a list of things we should continue, things we should stop doing, and things we should start doing.

So back at my desk, I am still processing the meeting, while trying to figure out why she was so angry with me and coworkers not having answers to hypothetical changes, and I'm trying to come up with a list of the things we do that are good, that should stop, or that we should start. Another trip to the bathroom, and all the while, I'm realizing that my workload is going to change. I have no control. I want control. Oh my gosh, look at the clock. I need to leave. What am I going to cook for dinner. When will I enter my food into Spark? Will I have time to do my strength training. Should I pee before I go, or will I make it home.

As I drive home, I'm sweating bullets about upcoming changes (and because, you guessed it, I have to pee). I'm distraught that my co-workers are distraught. I'm running through a list of things to start, stop and continue. I'm trying to figure out dinner. I'm already running through a process in my head (while still in the car) of getting into the house, putting the dogs out, and worrying that I forgot something that I need to work from home the next day. How did I get from Point B back to Point A?

Back home after the workday has ended, I'm still stressing about change. I'm upset that the boss was upset at the meeting. My husband is talking, and I'm not listening. Dogs are requesting my attention. My daughter is calling from college asking for help. "Yes, I'll do whatever you need. I have to go." She is talking and I'm not completely focused and really listening. My mom is on the answering machine relaying a story via phone about my sister's ashes finally being in an urn. My sister-in-law calls to tell me that I'm on You Tube (what!") I'm dreading the next day, and I'm thinking about the things I didn't do because I was overwhelmed with the chaos. I'm worried I'm not getting enough sleep, I don't remember eating dinner (what did I end up eating . . . oh right, crackers with hummus and laughing cow cheese). I go to sleep with the television on, watching Letterman, and wondering what chaos will be thrown upon me the next day. (And there were additional trips to the bathroom from the VAT of water I consumed throughout the day).

So during the day, when was I fully present? Never. I was always thinking ahead, planning ahead, wondering what just happened, trying to analyze a previous discussion. Are we ever really in the moment?

We are always thinking about what happened in the past, what's coming up in the future. There are rare opportunities where we are fully present. In fact, as I think about it right now, I can really only think about one during this entire week. I recently purchased a Dancing with the Stars workout and was attempting some Latin cardio dance movies. I was in the moment, because I had to be to get the steps right. Of course, once it got to the more difficult steps, I was out. I had missed a beat, couldn't get the footing right. Then I was thinking, "I can't wait until this ends."

The lack of attention we give to "the present" leads to tremendous hunger - not just for food - but hunger for SOMETHING. Something we don't have, instead of focusing on what is right in front of us. So for five minutes each day, we need to bring our full attention to whatever we are doing. "Walk while you walk. Talk while you talk. Eat while you Eat."

Just for five minutes a day . . . focus on what you are doing. Not the entire day. The book points out that you don't have to be really strict about it. You can talk while you talk. You can eat while you eat. You can talk and eat while you talk and eat.

But for five minutes a day . . . stay in the moment. I leave you with two quotes. one is very familiar to me as a scrapbooker, the other I stumbled upon today while looking for the first quote.

"Yesterday's the past, tomorrow's the future, but today is a gift. That's why it's called the present." --Bil Keane

“Most people are prisoners, thinking only about the future or living in the past. They are not in the present, and the present is where everything begins.” -- Carlos Santana

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYMAWSCRAPS 10/1/2009 11:15PM

    Funny thing about this blog is I read it several days ago and decided to ponder it for a few minutes...This isn't the only place I've read about being present in your day for 5 minutes recently while reading another book...the prompt for the day was to stop what you are doing for 5 minutes of each day and be quiet, be still and just be, be apart of your life, your day, yourself. A sign to be part of my own life instead of just going "through" it? Thanks, once again for your insight and for sharing your dusty book.

Comment edited on: 10/1/2009 11:17:15 PM

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SPIRITSEEKER2 9/25/2009 3:16PM


great blogs- you are doing great making ti to number 10 !!

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PFLEEG 9/24/2009 5:51PM

    What a great topic! I can so relate.

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NESSAGIRL67 9/24/2009 5:03PM

    Hey Girlie603, this blog was awesome! Wow I can relate to so many things you have listed in this blog. I am going to try making this my new goal as well. Thanks for putting things into prospective. Sometimes we forget what life is all about.

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GIRLIE603 9/24/2009 2:28PM

    Hi Minx - just added you as a friend to my page. Yes - the Santana quote I just stumbled on. Isn't it so true. I am going to really try to live in the moment a few times a day and really experience real life.

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MINXXA 9/24/2009 2:07PM

  Awesome post! I've been thinking a lot lately about how I lose days by not really paying attention and participating in them! I think I'm going to make this my new goal for the next month!!

Love the Santana quote-- very true. We miss so much by looking forward or dwelling on the past.

I may check out that book, too, looks like something I could use right now!


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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #9

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #9

Days Remaining: 120

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

#9 - Eat a Hot Meal Every Day

When I think about hot meals, there is something very comforting. No matter what the meal is, if it's a hot meal, it's much more satisfying and comforting then a sandwich or snack. And often, when I eat a sandwich or a snack, I'm still searching for more. It's like there is a switch in my head that wasn't flipped when I ate my sandwich for dinner. So I'm still searching to be satisfied. Yet if I had sat down and had a hot plate of whole wheat pasta with a lean meat sauce, the switch would have been flipped and I would be satisfied.

This is one that I truly have to work hard on, because sometimes I am guilty of looking for the easy way out. Snacking all day can lead to higher sodium counts, and leave you feeling at the end of the day like you missed out on something big. And really, why should we deprive ourselves of full meals. "Eating one hot meal a day is a way of saying that you want a life of main courses." The key is to plan for it and make sure you have the space to fit it into your day.

I've recently made some good choices that are worthy of sharing.

1) I've been cooking again, trying to make healthier choices, and making enough so there will be leftovers (multiple hot meals).

2) I've gone back to ordering groceries through a delivery service, which gives me the opportunity to really plan for some recipes to make and have all of the ingredients on hand (more hot meals). To counter the added delivery cost, I buy most things on sale (saving probably four times the delivery fee or more), and there is no impulse buying.

3) I am trying to incorporate restaurants into my diet (hot meals on the run). I had an evening out where the food choices were not great. Rather than be disappointed, I ordered what I wanted and only ate half of the food. It's something I've been doing since I started "Spark". I find myself in a restaurant weighing out whether I want the healthier options or whether to get what I really want. I get what I want, and halfway through the meal, I either find the server and get my take-out box, or in cases where I'm not going to take the meal home, I take my paper napkin and cover the plate, even pressing a bit with my hand. It's somewhat like a burial of the rest of the food, but it's working. No chance I'm going to pull that napkin back up and eat that food.

4) I purchased a copy of "Eat This, Not That" for the supermarket. I've loaded my freezer with some healthy frozen options (quick hot meals). I already had the restaurant version, and it really is an excellent tool to have. There were some surprising items there that I had no idea would be considered healthy options. There were also some items that I was sad to say were not on the "eat this" list. I was shocked to find that two of my top five candy bars were touted as an eat this, and a not that. It was like a soap opera shocker for me, complete with the dramatic music. Oh you little twin pack cookie bar you . . . I had no idea you were doing me so wrong. But isn't life "Grand." (See if you can figure it out from my lame clues.)

Now, those who read my blog regularly know that on Day 58, I hit the 25 pound mark. I did it while not depriving myself. I've had pizza. I've had pasta. I've had steak dinners. There have been burgers and fries. Not daily, but at chosen times where I planned for it. And there were days I went over my calories. The difference is that it's one day, not multiple days, and the next couple of days I would stay toward the low end of my calories. I consider 25 pounds in two months a success.

So eat the hot meal! Since I made the decision not to diet, and I made the decision to live my life, I feel empowered. It is working, and I challenge everyone to do the same.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYMAWSCRAPS 9/23/2009 7:55PM

    Hey Girlie,
You know I can't leave your blog without a comment. I wish I had a cooking service, a delivery service and someone to clean the bathroom. Oh, would that be a maid? Make mine live in. LOL!!I just want to know how to have time to cook and work all day. We just got home at 6:30. Cooked in the crock pot last week but felt the need to run home and check on the meal several times. Where did you get the eat this,not that list for the grocery?
I'm kinda in a ho hum right now, my walking buddy and I are not weighing till the 1st and then not till the next 1st, too disappointing. You have done a GREAT job, wishing you continued success.
Love the Blog,
emoticon mymaw

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NESSAGIRL67 9/23/2009 6:11AM

    I loved this blog Girlie603. I really love what you said about eating what you want so you don't deprive yourself. I also love the idea about putting the napkin over the food so that will let your stomach know that you are done. Thanks for the great ideas. Good Luck with your continued weight loss.

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TALLTABBY 9/22/2009 10:29PM

  I wish we had a delivery service here. I have found when I cook that I love what I eat even more then normal. Lately I have been doing my own bread, which is so fun. Also congrats on the weight loss. By not depriving yourself of food, you are more likely to make this a life change. You are doing great!!!

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JCHOATEX2 9/22/2009 6:45PM

    Oh, how I wish we had delivery service where I live. I am a HUGE impulse buyer. And I love the idea of putting the napkin on the restaurant food and "mushing" it just a little. What a great idea!

As far as high sodium foods, stay away from the frozen meals; they're loaded with sodium. And you mentioned snacks, what about fruit/veggies? They're virtually sodium-free.

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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #8

Friday, September 18, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #8

Days Remaining: 124

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

#8 - Act on Your Own Behalf

Acting on my own behalf. It is something I do on a daily basis when I get up in the morning, go to work, and move through my day. Imagine that I'm at work and I'm given a huge challenge to complete. In my job I sit amongst several people who do the same job as me, but for different customers. My customers present me with this challenge, and instead of rising to the challenge, I dump and run. I leave it for my back-up to handle because I've just given up and don't want to follow through.

Anyone who knows me knows that I don't walk away from a challenge. When I'm challenged with something at work, I get it done. Is it because of the paycheck? Well, I don't work for the sheer pleasure, but I can't say it's about the money. Is it because I'm accountable to others and not just myself? Perhaps. But I do know that I don't run out and leave it for my co-workers. That is just not my make-up.

So here we are in the world of eating right and exercising. How many times have I cut my losses and run? Too many to measure. I have not been successful. In fact, if it were a job, I would have been fired repeatedly. What is it that drives someone to be true to themselves and act on their own behalf?

For years and years I went to Weight Watchers. I had some success, but always ended the journey failing, and always gained back more than I lost (back to Chapter 1 where I learned that every diet ends with a binge). When I think about Weight Watchers, what made it successful for me was showing up and being accountable to someone other than myself. Sure, the meetings were inspirational. Sharing tips and learning healthy eating habits was nice. I think it's a fabulous plan that gets great results. Eventually, you learn everything about eating right, and you know what you need to do. Yet the battle is still in your head. You've turned over the accountability to these folks who are weighing you in each week and giving you the pep talk. I know that I've said, "I can't do it alone. I need to have the weigh-in."

Fast forward. Eventually, I stopped going for meetings and I gained weight. Now wait a second. Was it the other way around? Did I start gaining and then stop going? Did my failure start because I had a little binge, checked the scale at home, and didn't want to be accountable to the scale and the person doing the weighing? Or did I get bored, stop going, and then gain the weight?

Which came first? The chicken or the egg? Either of these scenarios is possible.

I was recently asked by two of my doctors if I would consider weight loss surgery. The first was my General Practitioner. I told her that my weight loss battle, while some of it is genetic and medical, is a battle that is fought in my head. I told her that if I couldn't get it straight in my head, I could never consider having surgery. She made me cry when she said she thought I was a very smart woman. The second one was my Endocrinologist. We discussed the medical issues that I cannot control with diet, a fairly severe case of Graves Disease being controlled by medication. Those who saw me on a daily basis were unaware of just how severe my symptoms were. There were days I had trouble getting out of bed; days my muscles were so weak I didn't know if I could get through the day; days I could not drive myself to work. The medication has truly given me my life back, and I am grateful. However, it has contributed to a weight gain of fifty pounds in one year. And so the question was asked again: Have you ever considered weight loss surgery. My response was the same to him. If I cannot win the battle in my head, how could I ever consider it. He admitted that weight loss surgery, for many, is successful initially, yet many people gain the weight back because that battle was never won inside of their head. I recall leaving his office feeling like the smart woman my GP had said I was. I am an intelligent woman.

And so the smart woman, at 48, is making an attempt at winning the battle inside of her head. She is taking the steps to act on her own behalf. I am writing my intentions in this blog, I am posting messages to myself in various places I can see. I know that it takes effort to change. I am willing to try, and I must be willing to keep trying.

I truly believe that Spark People fits well with acting on my own behalf. If I cheat when I log my food, I am only cheating myself. There is no third party handling my weigh in. I am accountable to myself. I am ending the war inside of my head and acting on my own behalf. These are steps I've already been taking with Spark, so I just need to continue to forge ahead.

I found this website one desperate night while searching the web looking for free websites that might help me. It was by far one of my luckiest days. I have Spread the Spark to several people. Fifty-eight days later I am feeling great. Fifty-eight days later I am actually trying to finish a book on eating behaviors and sharing my journey with anyone who reads it. Fifty-eight days later I am 25 pounds lighter. And fifty-eight days later I am still acting on my own behalf.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PFLEEG 9/22/2009 1:50PM

    Thank you for sharing your journey! You are an inspiration to the rest of us! (((hugs)))

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TALLTABBY 9/20/2009 10:43PM

  I am glad that you posted this blog, as I always I. You are completely right that the battle has to be one in our heads before your body will respond. When you mentioned that you have cut your loss and run. This really struck a chord with me, since I have been tempted to stop, and call it good enough. Thanks for the inspiration.

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MYMAWSCRAPS 9/19/2009 4:12PM

    Thanks Again My Friend, You have "sparked" in me the inspiration to push ahead. 58 have accomplished so much and shared so much of yourself with others. You ARE a very smart women and a "Great Spark". emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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HONEYDRIPPER 9/19/2009 3:27PM

    I love the way you are analyzing yourself with the help of your book. You are actually studying the book and yourself rather than just reading it.

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NEXTYEAR 9/18/2009 9:59PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon I love the title of that book. Sounds like some good humor. I'm glad you're feeling better! I don't know anything about your disease, but will check it out. Keep on Sparking!!

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NESSAGIRL67 9/18/2009 9:52PM

    Hey Girlie603 you are doing great! You have motivated me to continue my journey as well. I love reading your posts because they inspire me as well. Good Luck and continue the battle. emoticon

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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #7

Monday, September 14, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #7

Days Remaining: 128

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

# 7 - Emergency Intervention

I would be remiss if I did not first say how incredibly moved I am by so many of you who commented on my last blog. I received notes on my page and some SparkMail as well, and I was so touched to know that so many of you have had similar experiences. Not that I'm happy to share in your pain, but comforted to know that we are never really alone in our struggles.

As I've had the opportunity to think more about my revelation of my childhood and how it fits into the "fat-and-ugly" attack, the one thing that really stands out for me is that I don't place any blame in any direction. I truly know that the situation happening in my mother's world was driven by her own childhood, and I know that my children probably have their own stories to tell as well. So hopefully there is that same forgiveness in their hearts. But armed with this knowledge, I have to wonder how this situation will play out when we next have a family visit! Time will tell.

Lucky for me, in the last couple of days there have been no "fat-and-ugly" attacks, although today could come very, very close. I can't call it an attack, but just an overwhelming sense of "whatever!" For anyone who knows me personally, the emphasis was on the "WHAT!" But I've stuck to my calorie count and it's all been good. So it's been nothing in the way of a "fat-and-ugly" attack. But what lurks around the corner? There is more than likely a situation in the works for me right now that will put me into an attack (especially if I'm feeling my "whatever" mood right now). And so we have #7, the emergency intervention.

The emergency intervention is a list that we can post that can take over for us and be our conscious when we are in the throes of a "fat-and-ugly" attack. With that, I put pen to paper (fingers to keyboard) with my list, and I invite you all to do the same.

If I'm at home, my emergency intervention will include:
- comfy sweats, pillows, blankets, at least one warm puppy and the television remote . . . so I can retreat to where there is no food and move my mind to something else, or
- retreat to my scrapbook room, turn on the radio or pop in a DVD, and work on my latest project, or
- comfy sweats, pillows, blankets, warm puppy and latest book, or
- a 20 minute exercise DVD or walk (provided my attack isn't 80 to 100 on a scale of 100, in which case one of the first three items might definitely be a better fit).

If I'm at work, my emergency intervention will include:
- a reach for my I-Pod and an escape to some music, or
- a short walk to the cafeteria to replenish my water cup with a fresh supply of ice and water, or
- a quick walk around the building, or
- the combination of any of those above three (like a cocktail to ward off disaster).

I hope that no one has to experience the attack, but I hope you're all prepared in case you do. So grab pen and paper . . . or hit the keyboard and follow-up with printing and posting your list. I'm going to pop mine in my calendar as a constant reminder, and I'll post one here near my computer. When I recognize the attack coming on, I will assess the situation and move forward with one of my emergency intervention tactics.

And in closing, we need to "be fierce and tender at the very same time." We have to be sure we stop the attack, but be good to ourselves once we do.

Sounds just like parenting, doesn't it? We have to be strong enough to discipline, and gentle enough to love.

Love ourselves!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TALLTABBY 9/16/2009 11:20PM

  That is such a great idea. I am going to start working on my fat attack emergency help list.

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PFLEEG 9/15/2009 1:17PM

    I love this idea! And MyMaw, I love that you share the penalty of the day after. lol

So, here's my emergency intervention list for home ~
1. Fruit on hand for when I have a sweet attack
2. Weather permitting, head outside to the river or garden or play ball with Duke. That always lifts my spirits.
3. Weather not permitting, drawing/designing or listening to some uplifting music or call my brother or sisters (which I don't do often enough).
4. Bottle of water, comfy blankie, and an afternoon of chick flicks...maybe even a nap!

Emergency Intervention at work ~
1. Force myself to have lunch away from my desk.
2. Again weather permitting, get outside for a nice walk around our office park area.
3. Get up and stretch periodically.
4. Keep my attitude in check when having to deal with those that irritate me, knowing my attitude can at least change the dynamic of the conversation.

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MYMAWSCRAPS 9/14/2009 11:16PM

    Hey Girlie,
It's me again MyMaw, I needed my list yesterday. I finally gave up and just had a "look like crap", Whatever!! Who am I trying to impress day? Had a hard time getting moving today...ate a good breakfast, thought I could overcome the yuk feelings and get on track but lost my good progress at lunch(ate at a Mexican Restaurant). Made EVERYONE pay for that by taking them all to the grocery store tonight and pick out stuff that we can all eat and eat healthy. If they can tell me it's okay you can start over tomorrow, then they can help me start over. The whole lunch thing was one of those come on it's not that hard to start over sabatoge. I let it happen, I know. Therefore...we all spent 2 hours reading labels and finding good foods at the store. Next time, I wouldn't be surprised if they don't invite me to lunch, they just wanted me to pay anyway.Thanks for continuing to share your story and allowing "us" to make your journey with you. You are spredding emoticon.

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In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #6

Thursday, September 10, 2009

In the Spirit of Julie and Julia - #6

Days Remaining: 132

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

# 6 - Learn to Recognize a Fat-and-Ugly Attack

Yes, I've definitely had these attacks before. Unfortunately, I usually don't pick up on the signs until it is too late.

The fat-and-ugly attack is self-inflicted. It is a judgmental blend of voices that tell us there is only one way to look, think, dress, act, breath, and that the way we are doing it is wrong. While it is self-inflicted, there is usually one or more situations that have triggered it. While you need that "inner voice" to tell you not to step into moving traffic, at some point we begin to take that voice to an entirely new level. That inner voice is the one that keeps me from wanting to go places and be seen. That inner voice is what has often held me back from moving forward, not just in my quest to be healthy, but in my quest to speak my mind.

Wow. This one is powerful for me. I've made a few connections this evening. My weight issues began when I was very, very young. I grew up in a world where there was usually one way to do everything, and if you didn't do it that way, it was wrong. It was a critical world. It was a world where cleanliness and order were top priorities. Unfortunately, cleanliness and order were a necessity for the person with the control. We all have our survival needs, so there is no blame placed there. But as a young child, I was constantly trying to do the right thing, and usually failing. So those inner voices were constantly telling me that I was doing it all wrong. And that practice of being wrong continued. We're not talking about a simple, "You're doing it wrong." We're talking about never being able to wash a dish properly, never being able to pick up toys properly, not being allowed to play in your room because you might mess something up. Equate it to a constant game show buzzer in my ear. If each and every day were a game show, there were an awful lot of buzzers. And one of the things I failed at miserably as a child, was losing weight. The pop tarts and ding dongs were in the cabinet "for the boys." The fruit and yogurt was for me. Sound the buzzer!

And as I grew up, my world was clouded by doing things "the right way." I recall I was married and in my twenties. I was a full-time working mother of a toddler and an infant. While I would have loved to stay home, we were a struggling family needing two incomes. I was told it was wrong for my husband to come home and share with the housework. He should be able to come home and put his feet up while I cooked and cleaned after working all day. I disagreed, and he helped. But the buzzer was heard loud and clear.

I was struggling to find the time to clean my house on a weekly basis, and I berated myself to co-workers saying that I was a failure because I only cleaned the house once a week. I recall them looking at one another, and an older woman with college aged boys said to me, "Once a week . . . I'm lucky if I clean once a month." I told them that my mother cleaned the house daily. I learned from some of the pro's that day that I was quite normal. People do not clean daily.

Unfortunately, I went in the opposite direction from that day forward. I'm now the one who can say, "I'm lucky if I clean once a month." But when mom comes to visit, you'll never guess what I hear. The darn game show buzzer. I would spend the week cleaning before she came, only to hear her say, "Wow, I'll have to clean this place while I'm here." It was never good enough. Sound the darn buzzer. And at night, when everyone had gone to bed and mom was tucked into my daughter's bed . . . I was having the fat-and-ugly attack, eating a snack-size Snickers. Did I say one? I meant to say THE BAG.

Don't get me wrong. I love my mother. But I've made this connection tonight. Criticism, blame, threatening personalities are all contributors to the fat-and-ugly attack. These attacks come on quickly, and we usually are in the attack before we know what's happened. To quote the book, "When you suddenly feel as if your stomach is an ever-expanding blob or you are a selfish wretch, it is usually a sign that an attack has taken place."

Yes, that's me, an ever-expanding blob, now in her late forties. When I'm asked an opinion by the boss as to how I would handle a certain situation, I give an answer. I'm shot down and told my opinion is wrong. I become the blob. Of course, her way of handling it is the right one, and she will quickly tell me all the reasons why it is far better than mine. The blob grows. I'm not given the opportunity to defend my answer. So the blob expands a bit more. Hours or days later she is then going to put her answer into play. For her, it is all about the reaction, so she'll be sure to do it in a way that will cause a definite stir. This will lead to stress and anxiety, damaging the morale of myself and my co-workers. While the blob may have recovered for a day or two, it suddenly is back with a vengeance. And it grows as we all confide in each other over her bad decision, a decision based on power and not common sense for the business.

The cure for the ever-expanding blob? The cure for the voices in my head? The cure for my game show buzzer? Well, the situations may not go away, so I need to tell the blob and the voices to tone it down and lay off. And the cure for the buzzer . . . perhaps removal of the battery. Recognize the signs of the fat-and-ugly attack and stop it in its tracks. Backtrack and figure out how you got to the attack, and then move on remembering to act "as if" you're worthy.

Recognize it! Stop it! Act as if you deserve . . .

A Single Rose emoticon

emoticon or a Sunny Day!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PFLEEG 9/15/2009 1:04PM

    Jillybean has great advice. You might feel totally silly, but look yourself in the mirror every morning and give yourself a positive affirmation as if it's already happened or happening. Eventually, your brain will start believing it.

Many years ago, I was married to a man who constantly let me know I was never good enough. My self esteem was about as low as it could go. 18 months of counseling later, and I finally learned how to stand up to him and tell him I was a good and smart person and nothing he could say would change that. I only half believed it at the time, but wouldn't you know, he gained a respect for me that was never there while I played the part of his doormat. Those little successes are really empowering.

And, as hard as this will be (and believe me I've been there), you're going to have to start setting clear boundaries with your mother. As long as you allow her to continue her backhanded berating, you're giving your control away to her. Setting boundaries can be done with love and respect, but they're the only way you're going to develop a healthy adult relationship with your mom. She probably doesn't even hear herself, or realize how hurtful her words can be.

Do I still have self esteem issues? You bet. Have I gotten better about it? Sure am. Am I striving to continue my journey towards good self esteem? Absolutely!

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MYMAWSCRAPS 9/11/2009 4:21PM

    Wow!! Were you living in the closet or in the garage? Maybe my "perfect" mother (who by the way still dusts and vacuums EVERY morning before going to work) Had another family. emoticon Maybe it's the generation. I too am in my late 40's, with kids and grands and my husband and I are self employed, together self employed(another mountain, I climb daily, Loooong story for later), and grew up alot like you in the same "clean" house. I think I've broken some of the cycle but not before I caused some pain for my own children. I still have my own issues but... try to remind myself when I'm "sounding" like my mom. Her "buzzer" is a monitone voice that still keeps me from calling home much. That tone still makes me want to hang up, or excuse myself for dialing the wrong number. There's alot of water under that bridge, too much for a quick comment. I'm going to get this book and read some of your other blogs. Thanks for your honest look in the mirror and letting me know I didn't grow up alone...just somewhere elsa. You were the sunshine in my gloomy, rainy Texas day emoticon Bless You Friend

Comment edited on: 9/11/2009 4:27:09 PM

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ROVIANNE 9/11/2009 1:42AM

    Thanks for your post. I can relate to this, though I know my parents never deliberately tried to do damage to me. The line that always got me to the fat and ugly stage was: "You have such a pretty face! If only you'd lose a little weight." That always translates itself - even today - into: "You're not good enough the way you are; thus, I'm constantly trying to prove myself to others, always trying to figure out what their judgment of me will be. Even though I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and boss, I'm quietly looking for approval.

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DUMBELLE 9/10/2009 11:10PM

    Wow, that's pretty heavy stuff!!!!I can relate although not in the area of cleaning. Mine was always being compared to my sister. She was prettier and smarter, and I remember growing up wanting to be just like her. She was 6 years older and didn't give me the time of day.
I grew up with a real self-esteem problem, and sometimes even now struggle with it, comparing myself to others who are prettier, or more educated or whatever!
Thank you so much for sharing that with us.

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JILLYBEAN12 9/10/2009 9:34PM

  Act as if---- pretend until it's reality..... You're on the right track. It's the power of positive thinking.
Good luck on your spark journey!

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