Saturday, September 20, 2014
So... this was an interesting exercise. We are to blog about our expectations for the BLC.
To have no expectations.
Yes, I know that doesn't sound very positive. Actually, though, it's the best kind of positive. The reason that I have no expectations is that each round has been a completely different adventure. Some adventures have been happier than others, some more life-changing, some more challenging, but all have been SPARKling in their own way.
And I like surprises. So, I'm trying to not go in with specific expectations.
I do, however, have intentions.
I've been part of a special program that Terry, Tekru1, dubbed "Jen's Magical Mystery Tour". It's a *learning journey* run by Mycelium.is, and it has helped me to get my non-profit moving forward. It's also given me many, many tools, as well as many fabulous human catalysts and fellow-journeyers.
Two tools I've learned about are intentions and back-casting.
One thing that is clear to me about the BLC and all challenges in life: you get what you put into it. The one thing I would say loud and clear to BLC newbies - is do every little thing you're asked to do (unless your doctor says "no"). Push your boundaries; try new things. My success, or lack thereof, during various rounds has had everything to do with what is between my ears.
I like the word "intention", rather than "goal", because I'm putting myself in the equation. It's what I'm taking on. It's my intent - from the inside. A goal, now, to me is something internal that may rely on many factors. I'm not sure I'm making sense here, but in my own brain, I am.
Back-casting is an exercise where you imagine an eventual outcome and then move backwards to figure out the steps to that outcome. To do this fully here would be way more than anyone would want to read, but I'll do it in brief:
At the end of Round 26 of the BLC, I'll have a stronger core that allows me to do more hill walking and stairs with ease and holiday temptations won't be an issue because the emotional part of my eating will be tamed via help from my teammates, but especially from Emssbears and Jaizways - Emssbears because she has these amazing 100 day challenges (one is starting September 23 - feel free to sparkmail her and JOIN!), Jaizways and I have some similar patterns, and so she has given me sage advice that works for my body. However, the rest is up to me. I don't know what my final weight will be. I'd love it to be at least 10 lbs. down from where I started, but that's truly secondary to a strong core and defeating emotional eating.
To get there, I'm going to track most days, be mindful all days, follow the core training tools that are available through sparks and beyond, and be present, present, present and learn from my wonderful teammates and other BLCers and Sparkfriends.
Cheers! I hope you all have an round!
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
So today is the official start to Round 26 of the BLC.
My name is Jennifer, and I am a Trash Head.
Thank goodness the round is starting!
On August 13th, I weighed 215.8 lbs. Today, I weigh 220.6 lbs.
I know exactly what happened: I ate away emotions as I'm going through some major transitions currently. I didn't exercise, because I mean, why do something healthy and fun when you can just stuff your face instead?
There was always, "I'll think about it tomorrow"
Well, those days are OVER!
Through this amazing "learning journey" I've been taking through the Mycelium School www.mycelium.is I've learned that "asking for help is kind".
So, I'm going to be kind to all of you.
Tell you what... I'll help YOU if you help ME!
Sunday, July 20, 2014
So we have a challenge this weekend to blog about what we've gotten out of the BLC this round. For those who don't know what the BLC is, it's an amazing team of dedicated folks who are supporting each other to a healthy lifestyle.
There are many different teams and each week two teams are highlighted for weight loss - either the most participants losing on a team and the team that has lost the greatest percentage of weight.
Yes, it's the biggest LOSER challenge, but for me, it's really been much more about getting healthy. And that's true for many members. There are those who keep their eyes on the scale prize, but there are many who are more interested in total health. There is even a dedicated maintenance team.
So I have to say that the thing that is always number one in my book is the people. My team, Azure Destinations, gets to visit other teams along the way, so we really get to know many, many members of the BLC. It's a varied group; some are hyper competitive, some are non-competitive, some are self-competitive, some have a holistic approach, some have to track EVERYthing, some are very chatty and active on the boards, some are almost silent.
I've had the pleasure of a very easy-going, enthusiastic team this round and a very easy-going, enthusiastic cappy team - I'm one of the captains for Azure Destinations and we've had a truly wonderful team this round - decision making has been easy, tasks have been easy (because we have enough folks to get them done) and the support has been magnificent.
We also got to incorporate a new tool, thanks to JaneGSN - a special tracker that lets us build up to 7 personal goals for the week and see how we fared with the goals at the end of the week. This lets us correlate our behaviors to our weight loss. It also means that while we all start with SMART Goals for the ROUND, we also have ways to change them up each WEEK. That's been invaluable for me.
Another thing the BLC has given me is openness to new ideas. Admittedly, this isn't my strongsuit. I have hard held beliefs about what weight loss/health techniques work for ME and often I am stubborn about trying new things. I absolutely blew a fit a couple of rounds ago because a captain suggested a new path to follow, for just one week. And you know what? I DID learn things that week. And while that particular path didn't work for me, it was only the beginning of opening me up to new ideas, options and opinions.
That's the other great thing about travel for me - I get to experience how other teams do it. And that's cool!
There's even a new team - Spicy Sparkologists, that will create their own, personal experiments about weight loss - use science, research, etc., to find what's the best plan for YOU.
So yes... this is all great.
But now... how did it go for me on my health journey this round? Well... I started the round bingeing. I am no longer bingeing. I started the round feeling a bit at a loss in terms of an exercise plan. I now have an exercise/meditation plan that is keeping me calm, happy and fit.
I've gone down a clothing size and am about to jump down to the next.
My weight loss itself? Well... I've been stuck in a plateau. OTOH, I just came back from a two week vacation - the first week was a cruise - and I didn't gain. For me, that's a huge victory. AND my clothes are much looser than when I started (as I said, about to jump down to the next size).
So, I'm pretty darned happy.
But I also need to make a plan for the break (the next round starts mid-September - a longer break than usual) and also to start off Round 26 with a ROAR and push to goal, so... I have two questions:
The first one - what should I TRY over break to get my loss really going again?
Two - interested in the BLC? Sparkmail me or sign up for the mailing list:
Registrations will be starting in the next couple of weeks! Hope to see you there.
Wednesday, June 25, 2014
I've had many lessons since June 15th. I've continued learning about what works for me and what doesn't, hubris, my skills/lack there of as a leader, and what demons I'm still grappling with.
First off, my rockin' teammate, Jane, wrote this amazing blog:
I was already a texting buddy with someone who was attempting to avoid bingeing, as I was.
I was also inspired by LucyLu22 and her fabulous Streaking Challenge for the BLC (5 days a week of 20 minutes or more of exercise for the 12 weeks) and by Emerald Elephant who did a 100 day exercise challenge and WOWed me, and then by a newer team member, Emssbears who started a 100 day challenge on June 15th for anyone to join and to put in whatever challenge they wanted. (And this was her second one... she is AWESOME!!!)
Well, my mojo and motivation was in high gear. I was coming off the high from the sheer honesty and fabulousness that Jane gave me via her blog.
So I pledged... no bingeing for 100 days.
Yes, I have a problem with bingeing. When I look at anything I struggle with at this point in my weight loss journey, it is probably bingeing. I've got my good habits in place. I love exercise now. I prefer to eat healthily. I have treats in moderation. But then... this takes over (maybe a flying monkey?) and all of a sudden I'm inhaling food and just not paying attention to anything - my hard work, my discipline, how my stomach is feeling, etc. It all goes back to feelings of being out of control, scared, alone... and food was the one thing I could do to "stick it" to certain people in my life.
Yeah... um... that sure showed them.
Anyway... it's still a demon I live with every day. It's an addiction issue.
So, flying high, I started the challenge. I'd already been binge free for over a week? More? And I was going to DO this, by golly.
And I did. Until Day 2 of the challenge.
And I was too hard on myself. I was ashamed and I changed my ticker to a "days without bingeing" ticker, so I'd be PUBLIC with this battle.
But wouldn't you know it, it just made me feel worse.
And then I had a bout of fibromyalgia. Or maybe I'd had one since the day I started bingeing. One question is whether the fibro caused the bingeing or whether the bingeing caused the fibro, but in any case, as soon as I let go of the guilt, the shame, the feeling that I had to do all or nothing - BAM!
I'm back to normal. No fibro, no urge to binge. And Beth, bless her (Emssbears), is letting me continue alongside those who can REACH 100 days. And I will cheer them on every step of the way.
But what I have found out is that pressure does not help me on my journey. I don't do well when I feel someone else is "telling" me what to do. Even if that person is... me.
I've watched folks like Beth go through AMAZING odds and stick to something because they said to others that they'd do it. I admire that tremendously.
This is clearly another thing for me to work on. And that's all it is - something to strive for. It doesn't make me "less than" because I didn't fulfill that. Even as a Captain for Azure. Yes, I'd like to set a perfect example, but then... I'm not perfect.
Ultimately, when I make an unhealthy choice, the ONLY person I'm letting down is me.
And that should be enough in itself.
Sunday, June 08, 2014
It was... fear.
It's now... joy.
That really sums it up. I've spent much of my life reeling between healthy choices and longer periods of unhealthy choices. I was kind of an all-or-nothing kind of gal. I was blessed with great health growing up, and I blew it late teens/early 20s via cigarettes, weight yo-yos and other unhealthy choices.
From the time I was in my early teens I had horrid stomach aches and other digestive issues, and I figured it was just too much coffee, the cigarettes, etc.
By mid-20s the cigarettes were out of my life (as were many of my other unhealthy choices) but my love affair with food and bingeing continued.
I didn't have the most supportive or easy childhood, and food was a major "friend" during that time. As complications in my family and work world took place in my 20s, it continued to provide comfort. As I went through caregiving for various dying family members, it sustained me because dealing with my feelings was just too hard.
As my weight ballooned, so did chronic illnesses - asthma, un-diagnosed joint/systemic issues, GERD, IBS, yada, yada, yada. I assumed it was just the strain of the weight on my body. I joined Spark in 2006/2007 and made some progress, but then hit a sticking point. I kept doing the same things, but nothing came off. A friend suggested seeing a specialist in diagnosing food allergies. As it turned out, gluten was a culprit, but as I got off gluten and healed, I also found that my body started to work "right" for the first time.
Exercise has become a lifeline, not a chore. A day that I don't dance is a day I feel icky. I love yoga and wish I'd started it years ago. I prefer nuts or fruit to traditional dessert. Processed foods taste like the garbage they're made from. I'm calmer, happier and yes, those chronic issues have disappeared.
Do I still have to care for my joints? Yes. Will I ever reach my college weight. Doubtful. Do I care? No.
Due to journaling, meditation, etc. I'm far less afraid of death/disease than I used to be. Things don't bother me as much due to appropriate outlets for my feelings. Whereas the fear of the deaths I saw around me and the fear of disease spurred me on initially, now the journey is *mostly* joy. Yes, I have those days when I splurge and yes, the weight is coming off sssssllllloooooowwwwlllllyyyyy.
But now, each day, each bite, is GOOD. Water is my drink of choice. I get good sleep most nights. I'm happy. I'm peaceful.
Commitment to health=Joy
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