Thursday, October 01, 2009
Overcoming a bad habit such as being overweight is tough. But think for a moment of some of the advantages of losing weight:
* Better health
* A new wardrobe
* Compliments from others
* A sense of accomplishment
* A new social life
* Newfound interest in exercise and the resultant endorphine high
* Ease of climbing stairs or tying shoes
* Lower blood pressure
* Lower blood sugar levels
* Fewer aches and pains.
The list could go on but it should be clear that by being weight losers we actually become winners.
Haven't you noticed, though, that a major difficulty with trying to take off the pounds is that we're always thinking about food while we try to lose the weight?
A logical substitution might be to flood our brains with positive, confidence-building affirmations. Another is to read about those people who have done what we are trying to achieve. Meditation time where we visualize the new us will also help. To win the battle of the bulge we must believe we will win and we must picture ourselves doing so.
We must realize that old habits do not die easily. On the other side of the coin, neither do good habits come easily. Most people are resistant to change. Advertising studies have shown that, on average, it takes doing something 16 times before it becomes a natural habit.
So, maybe that water doesn't taste as good as sweet tea. And maybe giving up some of the pizza and ice cream isn't such a pleasant thought. But if we persevere we will eventually cross the line from bad habit to good habit and won't even think twice about it.
Compare it to learning to ride a bicycle. First we had to get over our fear of falling, then with help from (usually) our dad we rode with training wheels and his hand to steady us. Then the training wheels came off and eventually not only were we riding by ourselves by riding with no hands.
We need to trust in ourselves and what has worked successfully for many, many others. We need to break the old habits and hold on for dear life to the new ones.
We can do it if we give it maybe 16 chances.
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"If what you are doing is not moving you towards your goals, then it's moving you away from your goals." Brian Tracy
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Yesterday I experienced happy sadness.
All day I felt terrific, enthused and energized. I listened to gospel music most of the day and received a feeling of well-being and acceptance. The day was a happy one. Then I answered a post and had the happy sadness arrive. I began thinking of my dad who died at the young age of 48. Then I remembered fun times with my mother and other relatives. I'm sure you've done the same thing. We all have memories of those we loved.
While in this happy sadness state, a group member sent me a link to the gospel song "In the Garden" which brought on a flood of tears. Happy sad tears that flowed down my face as I recalled opening Dad's Bible after he died and finding that song's lyrics on a piece of stationery folded inside at the 23rd Psalm.
I never knew Dad as a religious man. That discovery was a pleasant surprise.
As I played that song over and over on a continuous loop, emotions I must have still held inside found a release. Yes, I miss him, as I do my other relatives and friends. But I was happy for him, too. Whatever your beliefs or non-beliefs, having hope is a precious thing to hold on to, especially when you're lying on a stretcher in a hospital knowing you have only minutes to live.
Anyway, that was last night. This morning I played the song again, had only a few tears and realized that often, many years after a loss, our grief will appear, unbidden, and make us happy sad.
If you've read any of my previous messages, you know I have not gotten very personal in these blogs. Instead, I have tried to inspire, encourage and support readers. I have tried to show true compassion and understanding. But today's message begged to be written, if for no other reason than as a cathartic release.
If you experience sadness over a lost loved one, please know that happy sadness is a good thing. Embrace it and feel the pent-up love for your lost relatives or friends. Cry if you want, but let go of the grief that frequently maintains a hold on us long after our loss. Until, that is, something as insignificant as a song helps bring the grief to the surface and allows us to appreciate happy sadness.
Be well. Have a blessed week.
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"The word ‘happiness’ would lose its meaning if it were not balanced by sadness." Carl Jung
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Car dealers are known for ads that tout "No credit application refused," leading listeners to believe they will be approved for a purchase regardless of how good or bad their credit is.
The truth is that a buyer's credit can not be checked thoroughly without a completed credit application. Notice the ads do not say everyone will be approved for a vehicle purchase, only that all credit applications will be accepted.
Other businesses proudly proclaim "If you find a lower price anywhere else, we will beat it or pay you the difference" when all they need to do is offer a penny below their competitor's price. Then they will have actually "beaten" another price.
Do they seriously think a shopper will fall for this? Obviously. Who said "A fool is born every minute"?
What about promotions that state "Once they're gone, they're gone." Well, duh, of course they will be.
Or those businesses that offer a product "absolutely free." A buyer needs only to pay a small shipping fee. Well, then it's not free, is it?
I guess retailers believe consumers can be deceived by these mindless advertising tricks. But why must they resort to such underhanded methods?
How about the spokesperson who says, "If you're not happy with the price, don't leave until you see me"? Why should I? Aren't your salespeople empowered to negotiate a decent and fair price? If not, why should I waste more time with you?
In this same vein, how often do we deceive ourselves by claiming we are a "few" pounds overweight? Why don't we take a higher road and admit we are fat or obese and need help? Recognition that a problem exists is an important step toward a satisfying solution.
But it is in our best interests to be realistic about ourselves. So let's not be like the slick retailers who can "fool some of the people some of the time."
If we deceive anyone, it will be ourselves. And we will be the ones hurt most by our lack of honesty.
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"This above all, to thine own self be true; and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man." William Shakespeare
Monday, September 28, 2009
One thing that contributes to weight gain is rejection. When combined with an already weak ego, rejection can be devastating. So, how do we cope when someone takes us to task for what they perceived as a slight?
Yesterday I posted a blog comparing stray cats and dogs with people. Actually, the comparison mentioned that I thought there had to be a sort of animal mental telepathy psychic hotline that draws strays to certain homes and not to others. Then I used the same phrase regarding people being drawn to SparkPeople where they are cared for and supported.
Later, I read a profile page and believed the member would be a nice fit for a group I lead. She rejected the invitation because she thought I was being blasphemous by talking about psychics. In consideration, I deleted the phrase from the blog and posted a comment explaining why I did so. Then she and I exchanged pleasant emails.
Still, the rejection stung. Not the failure of the invitation; there are many similar groups and everyone can't join them all, rather it was being accused of something that was not my intent. I wanted to assuage my feelings by eating. Sound familiar? Emotional eating is the downfall of many otherwise successful eating plans.
Instead, I turned on upbeat music and did upper body exercises. Oh, yes, I wanted to eat, but then was blessed to have two new members join the group. Two! I spent time greeting them and soon found myself feeling as upbeat as the music.
I think that is part of the appeal of the SparkPeople site, that we can extend ourselves to others when we do not feel our best and in return receive their words of encouragement and inspiration.
Now, I must ask how you handle rejection? How does it affect your eating program? How do you cope?
Sunday, September 27, 2009
The latest of five stray pets I have taken in are two dogs.
Baby, a Boxer, showed up four years ago with a collar but no tag. She obeyed certain commands, her nails were short and her brown and white coat was well-groomed. All in all she appeared to be someone's pet. The vet scanned for a microchip. There was none. There was no response to fliers or newspaper ads. I drove her to several neighborhoods asking anyone I saw if they had seen her before and knew her owner, without success. So, I gave her a home.
Then, July 4th of last year, a white-haired Shepherd came running around the corner past the house next door as I enjoyed watching the fireworks going off in the neighborhood. She was terrified of the loud noises. Her hair was wet, dirty and matted. Her nails were worn down and she had sores on her left rear leg. Apparently she had been on her own for some time. She also had a collar with no tag so I knew that she, too, had likely been someone's pet.
I followed the same procedure of scanning for a microchip, fliers, etc., again without success. So, I also gave her a home and named her Thumper because her long tail thumps against the walls when she's happy which, like Baby, seems to be all of the time.
Fortunately, Baby and Thumper get along famously, not only with each other but with the three stray cats I've taken in over the years.
As I watched the dogs play in the back yard this morning I thought back to all of the lost, hurt and hungry dogs and cats that have shown up at the house over the years. I wondered if their owners, if they had one, ever sensed that they had found a loving and caring home.
Sometimes I joke with people that animals must have a hotline that tells them which houses to go to for help because they always seem to avoid certain ones while being attracted to others.
Whatever the reason, these animals were sent to me for care and support and I was happy to give it. In return, I have received far more fun and entertainment and companionship than I ever could have imagined.
I feel the same here on SparkPeople. That I've found a home of caring and supportive people. No matter my physical or emotional wounds, people here have accepted me into their nutritional web site home with open arms.
Just like Baby and Thumper and cats Brownie, Little Thang and Kitty, I am no longer alone on my journey to fitness. People here feed my insecurities, my doubts, my lack of confidence and applaud my successes.
Perhaps, like with the pets, there is a human hotline that has drawn us all together.
For me, I feel as if I have a new home. Thank you all for taking me in.
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