Wednesday, May 30, 2007
A wonderful Spark Friend Iíve come to know, love and admire, Lisa Sayers, posted this on the Secret Team:
One evening an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. He said "My son, the battle is between two 'wolves' inside us all.
One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego.
The other is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.Ē
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather "Which wolf wins?"
The old Cherokee simply replied "The one you feed."
I reflected on this story and it made quite an impression on me. We all choose how we act, how we react to certain situations and people, how we think and how we feel. A lot of times we go through life unconsciously, just having an unthinking knee-jerk reaction to lifeÖgoing through the motions of our dayÖblaming our situation on others or fate or just bad luckÖnot taking the time to appreciate all the wonders and beauty around us. Thatís the way I used to live my life back when I was in the rat race of Corporate America. I hated my job, lived for the weekends and holidays but was always too exhausted to actually enjoy them, thought some of the people at work were mean and selfish, felt like a victim of circumstances and thought, Ďpoor meí. I resented being overweight and blamed my upbringing and tumultuous childhood for it. I didnít see that I have always made my own circumstances. I was feeding the angry wolf and he kept getting stronger. During that period of my life, I felt a lot of sorrow, regret, self-pity, and resentment. I was envious and jealous of what others had. I felt inferior and self-conscious. I was led by my ego and false pride. These feelings are hellish, dreary, and dark.
I no longer have that battle inside of me because I have fed the loving wolf for almost 3 years now and wouldnít (couldnít) ever go back to my former self. I am so grateful to be retired and spending every single day doing those things that give me joy and feed my inner spirit. I love being outside in the summer, tending to the vegetable and flower gardens. Every day Iím filled with joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, and faith. Itís easier for me to be humble, kind, benevolent, empathetic, generous and compassionate when Iím in this state of pure love for others and for myself. By loving and accepting myself unconditionally, I've been able to shed 24 pounds over the past 3 months and have no doubt that I will reach my final goal. I now live in the present and relish each wonderful moment of life. I take the time to NOTICE...my surroundings, the wonderful attributes of all the people I come in contact with...everything in this world that is distinct and has something to teach. And I get to live my truth everyday too. I no longer feel like Iím playing a role and being that square peg trying to fit into a round hole, doing something Iím not suited for or interested in. I donít have to work at pleasing others. By being my authentic self, I AM pleasing to others because I live my truth in everything I do and I am always guided by my spirit and divine connection to God. I genuinely care about the success of others with no shred of envy or jealousy. Thereís enough for all of us to reach past our dreams. These feelings are euphoric, blissful and breath-taking.
I even bless those years that I suffered and struggled because through contrast you are able to appreciate when things take a turn towards better circumstances. Those trials and challenges got me to where I am today and the person Iíve become. You canít appreciate the light without the dark. And my gratitude for all THAT IS NOW fills my heart with joy.
Saturday, May 12, 2007
Itís been sunny and warmer the last several days, which always brightens my mood. This is my favorite time of yearÖnot too hot but not cold, the beautiful spring flowers blooming and the summer perennials popping up out of the ground, buds on the trees, everything coming alive and vibrant after a cold winterís rest.
The thing that makes me feel the greatest is the fact that Iím actually enjoying this weight loss journey and having so much fun with it. Iím so glad I found Spark People. Iíve been doing extremely well since I started using all of the tools on March 1. I like being in control of my own health destiny. I like being aware of how many calories Iím eating, and more importantly, how many of the various nutrients Iím getting. I enjoy the teams and community support. The articles on the site are very good and motivating. Iíve tried a lot of great recipes on the site too. I like that I can load in my favorite recipes and know how many calories per serving.
Iím not anxious or up-tight about eating like I have been on past Ďdietingí plans. I enjoy my food and I donít feel deprived. I think the key for me is moderation, healthy substitutes, and giving myself permission to have anything I want as long as I am making a conscious decision about having it, and still remaining on target with my daily/weekly calorie goals. There are so many nutritious foods I like, so I choose them over fat and/or sugar-laden foods. I love finding new healthy substitutes. Like mock mashed potatoes using cauliflower and garlic and some light sour cream with herbsÖeven DH thought it tasted like the real thing!
Itís much better to NOT WANT a decadent dessert or Ďforbiddení food, rather than wanting it and digging in your feet with shear willpower. And, paradoxically, I think that not wanting it comes from allowing yourself to have it if you truly DO want itÖand not labeling any food as bad. My sister and I like to get together often on the weekend and eat lunch out. A couple of weeks ago, we went to Applebeeís and I got the oriental chicken salad. Thatís all I had, with a glass of water with lemon. It was delicious. I enjoyed and savored every bite, and felt good that Iíd made a healthy choice. When I got home, I went on a web site that gives the calories of restaurant entreesÖto my great shock, this wonderful salad was 804 calories a serving!!!! But, I had eaten a modest breakfast and then decided to have a very modest dinner. I had fruit for an evening snack and still stayed within my calorie range. It felt great. I can eat anything as long as I am aware and plan for it. Itís a great sense of empowerment, like situations canít throw me off unless I decide they will (and thatís not going to happen). We went out to lunch yesterday, and I had a salad loaded with fresh veggies with about a Ĺ cup tuna salad on top and balsamic vinaigrette. This particular place is noted for their fantastic desserts, and they have a big glass case of them sitting in plain view to drool over! I finished my salad and felt totally satisfied, and thought to myself, ďI donít feel tempted by any of those desserts!Ē
I think that another key for me is that Iíve gotten to the point where Iíve just gone down a size and the weight loss is starting to become noticeable. The past Ďpleasureí I got from eating luscious foods and snacking all the time has now been replaced with the exhilaration I feel when I put my clothes on and they fit nicely and comfortablyÖwhen I catch a glance of myself in the mirror and realize that yes, my face is slimmer and my tummy is getting flatter. As I continue to stay active, exercise daily, and get fitter, itís becoming easier to do. In fact, if I have a busy day and canít get my walk in I feel like Iím missing somethingÖlike not brushing my teeth! I enjoy and look forward to my walks. Iím even starting to enjoy my strength training workoutÖwell, Iím at least enjoying the feeling afterwards of the great accomplishment of finishing it and the good results to follow!
Iím only a little over 2 months into this new life, but I intend to keep fueling the fire of motivation to continue to feel this way throughout the time it takes me to get to my goal and beyond into lifetime healthy maintenance. I will only need to go back and read my blogs to realize that this feels so much better than my past habits of overindulging on fattening unhealthy foods, feeling tired and unhappy and like a failure. Right now I feel strong, energetic, confident, joyful and have a 24/7 sense of well being. Why would I ever choose anything else?
Sunday, April 29, 2007
This morning was weigh-in day, and I was so excited to have broken out of the 200's!!!! I've been trying to accomplish that for the last 5 years!
My nephew's wedding was 1-1-05 and I was the heaviest I'd ever been (at 221) and in the worst possible health. I had been under a tremendous amount of stress at work and was struggling with the decision whether to take early retirement or not. On New Year's Eve 2004, we were all standing outside my brother's yard (he lives in Georgia) watching fireworks go off. I felt these sudden sharp pains up under my ribs and was so worried I may be having a heart attack. It was horrible. I felt better moments later, but it scared me silly. I didn't want to have that worry every again.
I did decide to retire and took my 10 weeks accumulated vacation from Jan-Mar 2005 and officially retired on April 1 of 2005. It was the best decision of my life! I felt reborn. My husband had retired in May 2004 and luckily we had always planned to retire early and were in pretty good shape financially. Even with all of the stress gone, I still found it difficult to get a handle on my overeating. The one thing I did do was start walking every day. In the summers I spent a lot of time gardening and doing yardwork. I managed to get to 205 after the first 6 months of being retired, but then began to yo-yo....back up to 216, then last summer down to 201, back up to 216 by last fall.
I was 213 when I started using the SparkPeople tools on 3-1-07. This site has helped me more than anything I've ever done before. Tracking my calories was a huge wake-up call! I thought I was cutting down a lot, but my calories showed I was eating around 2000 a day. I estimated that prior to SP, I had to have been eating over 3000 calories a day. As I kept tracking and being made aware, my totals now fluctuate between 1300-1700 and my goal is to get them down between 1200-1400. On April 2, I was 207.6, and today on April 29 I'm 197.6. That's a 10 pound loss in one month! And I don't feel as though I'm suffering or forced to restrict my food. I just make better choices. It's been a work in progress and I'm still learning. Although it's great to see the numbers on the scale go down and start to see the visible results, my main goal is good nutrition, increased energy and good health. No more heart attack worries ever again!
Thank-you SparkPeople! Everything on this site has helped me get to this point. The nutrition and fitness trackers, the articles, the goal-setting tools, my Spark teams, even people visiting my Spark page to lend encouragement and good wishes. There is such support here. I just moved from Stage 2 to 3 yesterday and now I'm working on continuing to fuel my motivation through the long term to reach my goal.
I know this is a permanent lifestyle change because the changes have come easily and naturally. I enjoy healthy foods and I enjoy getting regular exercise and becoming active (versus my prior sedentary, couch potato life). Although there are sometimes obstacles and challenges, I rebound back quickly from a day that wasn't my personal best. I don't beat myself up. I take good care of myself body, mind and spirit. I have a clear vision of myself in perfect health and in harmony with my spirit. Every day is a new opportunity to treat myself well and become the potential that I am.
Life is good!
Thursday, April 26, 2007
We are all born with free will. Life is a series of choices, and those choices have consequences. We can continue to be a slave to our ego's whims and needs for instant gratification. Or we can look at the big picture and do those daily, even hourly, things that will bring us to our greater goodÖour lasting satisfaction...the desires of our spirit. We can sit on the couch and watch TV, or we can get up and do some cleaning, go walking or another form of exercise, work in the garden, or even read a good inspirational book and feed our mind with positive thoughts and ideas. Itís so important to live consciously and to avoid going through the motions of daily routines that donít bring us what we really want. We need to be aware of what we think, do and say because it all has an effect on the outcome of our lives. Life is not Ďhappening to usí. I believe so firmly that WE create all of our experiences through our own thoughts and our daily actions. Iíve seen it repeated in my life and in lives of others close to me. All it takes is changing your thoughts. Donít live in despair and negativity no matter what your present circumstances areÖ.live in hope and optimism, faith and joy. Donít complain about some of the Ďbumps in the roadíÖbe grateful and appreciative of every single blessing and goodness available to us here on earth. Donít try to accumulate Ďthingsí and live to acquire moreÖbe generous and giving without expectations, and see it come back to you in multitudes. Donít think lackÖthink abundance in every aspect of your life. Donít search for loveÖ.be loving to others. Donít chase after happinessÖbe happy. Itís your choice.
Iím always stopping to remind myself and DH how lucky we are to be retired, not have financial worries, and enjoy doing what we please every day. Iím careful to not waste the day. That doesnít mean that I donít occasionally have a Ďdo nothingí downtime day, but I make the choice consciously. Even when I sit on my swing by the garden in the summer, I take the time to enjoy it fully and appreciate every aspect of my free time, the flowers and trees and pond out back with wildlife coming and going, the beauty of nature, and all there is to love in this world. I appreciate my lovely and peaceful home, all of those close to me that I love, my pets, everything I enjoy each day. The more I am grateful, the more goodness flows toward me. Even if Iím around negative people, as I smile and remain content and positive, I can see a change in their mood. We are in control of our environment and our feelings. It all comes from our own thoughts. Thatís why two people in the exact same situation can have two entirely different outcomes. Itís their attitude, thoughts and feelings that make or break their experience.
As far as my weight loss journey, Iíve never been in such a great place. And again, success in this area also first has to take place in the mind. I now look forward to exercising. I now easily keep within my calorie range and choose those food that offer the highest nutrition for the amount of calories. I look forward to every day, and to do those things that keep me moving towards my ideal healthy and fit body. Iím not worried or anxious about it. I KNOW WITHOUT A SHRED OF DOUBT that I will not only reach my goal, but I will never have to struggle with excess weight ever again. Because I love this way of living. I love treating my body well. I love the way my spirit bursts with joy when I am nurturing and taking good care of my body. I look in the mirror and only see the beautiful person I am on the inside, knowing that my body on the outside is catching up day by day. My body and spirit are merging as one. I am connected to God and through Him I can accomplish anything and everything. Life is unfolding as I choose it to be. I am peaceful and content. This is the way it is supposed to be.
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