Saturday, February 27, 2010
It’s real easy to be become positively unrealistic? What did I say, “Positively unrealistic?” Yup that’s what I said. It is a condition that exists when you become so enthused and so excited about something you lose all sense of the reality of your situation. It is as dangerous as feeling poorly about yourself or feeling as if you have no worth or value. I think in many ways its worse because it allows your inner self to inflate your value. When you find out that picture isn’t a true one, well you come crashing down to earth with a mighty “thud.”
Okay, now that I have confused you as well as myself let me try to crawl out of this hole I just dug. To some of you I may have committed the queen mother of all sins by talking about being positive in a negative manner. Let me use myself as an example.
The first week of my Spark People experience I lost over nine pounds. Alleluia, “Thank you Lord,” you have a new convert. This stuff really works. I became encouraged. I devoured the exercise blogs, even purchased a new gym bag and shoes. I continued to see results. I planned on increasing my cardio by five minutes per month, doing new and exciting exercises. The weight came off and then I saw myself running in a 5K. I even started talking to the cool kids at the gym. Exercise was as natural to me as breathing and maybe, just maybe there was a spot for me in the Olympics next time around.
Here’s what I forgot:
I am 56.5 years of age. I am obese. I have not exercised regularly for over a year. Yes, I felt great. Yes I more alert Yes my stress level had decreased and clothes fit much better. But……….. I was comparing myself to people who weighed much less, exercised more and were chronologically younger than me. I was asking this body that had been inert for so many years to perform miracles and it began to rebel. I didn’t suffer from the “aches and pains” at first, I began to lose my focus. Going to the gym wasn’t something I “charged into” any longer it was a chore, a pain and a burden. I was amazed that simply increasing my exercise by five minutes when I wasn’t ready to do so through me off so much. Then I did start to ache and my old “war wounds” began to act up and it all felt a bit futile.
“This aint workin’ too very well,” I said to myself. Then I got sick. Not “call in the family sick.” It was “feelin’ like I am fixin’ to die” sick. I had the virus. And I felt terrible. And I missed more than a few days of exercise. The good news is it gave me time to take stock and after I got over feeling just plain silly for doing what I did I heeded my own advice.
I try to be who I hang around with and one of those people is an exercise physiologist. She is the fitness director at one of the two gyms I belong to. (Can you say “over achiever?”) She is in my age group, but not quite. She’s married, has some teen age children and lives the hectic schedule we all do. She is fit and athletic but she isn’t a size zero. I like being around her because she is very realistic. So I presented her my dilemma.
Her answer was simple. “Do what you are comfortable doing till you are no longer being challenged.” At forty minutes per day I am being challenged. What I allowed myself to do is become unrealistic. When I began this journey I had one hundred pounds to lose. I knew it wasn’t going to come off over night but I got “sucked in.” Many of you only have ten to twenty pounds to lose. Many of you have worked out for years and a whole bunch of you are at least half my age. Of course your needs and requirements are going to be different than mine!
I didn’t see that. I saw that I was now one of the cool kids. I wasn’t the little, fat guy. (Talk about an oxymoron!) I am just like all the rest of you wonderful people, no matter how much my body begs me to slow down.
I cam crashing down. I felt silly and stupid. I was trying to be someone I am not. I was positively unrealistic. My intentions were good and noble and I had a positive outcome. My action plan was a bit askew.
I licked my wounds for a few days and yesterday when I went back to the gym I worked out at a pace where I was comfortable. Another wise friend told me one time “Take what the room gives you.” So I had a good workout and a lot of the cool kids came over and asked where I had been for the past few days.
I went home feeling good about what I did but more importantly I had a good gauge of where I was and what I could do.
Thanks for listening. We are all in this together.
Friday, February 26, 2010
A great deal of my work involves traveling. I love traveling, especially when I am sitting in the cozy warmth of my office and talking about it. Catch me in the middle of a three hour flight delay on the last flight leaving Chicago for San Diego or Los Angeles and I might give you a different opinion. It’s a matter of perspective.
I was in Los Angeles a few years ago and I was making a purchase with one of my bank cards. The clerk asked for ID when I gave her my driver’s license she said “Oh Kentucky!” By the look on her face I began looking around to see if I was standing beside some week old garbage.Long ago I learned to use humor as weapon. Not a Kill you, beat you up weapon” but a weapon to diffuse a tense situation or two.
I leaned across the counter and said,” Ma’m I have worn shoes all my life, had indoor plumbing ever since I can remember and I promise you I am not married to any immediate family members.” She chuckled a bit.
“Wanna know something?” I asked her
“Do you know I spend a lot of time defending people who live in Southern California?”She straightened up and gave me one of those “What the heck do you mean looks.”
“Everyone knows,” I went on. “You are all pot smoking hippies who have sex in the middle of the street whenever you choose. And that’s just the everyday people. Don’t get me started on movie stars.”
She smiled and said something like “Okay, you got me.” It’s a matter of perspective.
We are so quick to evaluate and even quicker to judge and dispose of thoughts, ideas and other people. I believe most of those actions come from a very deep rooted insecurity we all have about ourselves. The next time you have a free moment get yourself comfortable, close your eyes and conjure up a picture of yourself. Take a really good look at that picture. Pay close attention to what you see. That is the image you and I project to the rest of the world. If it’s a smiling confident, up right posture then that’s what the world sees.
Most of us vacillate somewhere between feeling so-so about ourselves and downright unhappy. That’s why diets don’t work. They deal only with the shell, or the exterior. The next time you are in a book store notice what two sections contain the most titles---- Dieting and Self Help. Now don’t you think if there was one regimen for health there would be one book? And we all would walk around with grins on our faces? It’s a matter of perspective.
We often tell ourselves that the external self doesn’t matter, that’s it’s the inner person or the inner beauty that should shine. Oh yeah? Tally up how much money you have spent on exercise equipment, workout clothes and gym memberships in the past five years and compare it to what you spend on your “inner self.” It’s a matter of perspective.
Imagine you purchased an old beat up car that barely ran and the only investment you made in it was to get an expensive pain job. The car wouldn’t run any better. My perspective needs to change from the inside out. Once the inner image I have of me begins to change, the exterior will match it. It’s all about my perspective!
When I see me as being a person of value, a person who loves and is loved, a person who has really cool things to share, all of a sudden those cookies, cakes and pies aren’t so important to me any longer and I start looking for ways to match my inner picture.
Stop and think for a moment: Why is Sparkpeople.com so successful? In close to three months I have yet to read or see any magic or secret formulas. No rigid diet that forces me to deny myself. No snarling trainer telling me I won’t be healthy until I die from a stroke on the tread mill. Just a lot nurturing by a lot of fantastic folks. Just a lot of support and encouragement by all of you. If I am a reasonable and rationale person, I believe that I am part of a very unique group of people called humanity and suddenly those bad habits aren’t my priorities any longer.
Take a good hard look at yourself and start seeing the wonderful creature God created. You see, I am really selfish. I want you to see the marvelous you, so I can see you too.
It’s a matter of perspective.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
I was not aware there was more to the Optimists Creed than I posted. One of my dear Spark friends shared the rest with me. It is actually a quote by Christian D Larson. Here are the last two lines
To think well of myself and to proclaim this fact to the world, not in loud words, but in great deeds.
To live in the faith that the whole world is on my side, so long as I am true to the best that is in me.
Thank you TSISQUAUSDI for sharing the rest of the quote
Hope y'all enjoy.
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
I think it’s often over looked in our precise calculations on life, love and a journey towards happiness. For some strange reason we discount it as being too easy. If life isn’t a struggle at every corner and at every turn, then I guess we aren’t investing enough of our self. Too some, if we embrace it we are considered weak and without direction. It’s called simplicity and simplicity gets a very bad rap.
I have found it to be a really good antidote for stress. The less encumbered my life becomes the less I have to worry about. The less I worry the more room for joy, peace and that vision of the REAL me.
The real me is not the person created by everyone else’s expectations. That’s the me that turned to food as a solution, became obese, complicated my life even more and was in borderline despair mode for awhile. It’s the me that takes the time on a Saturday morning to sit down with some soothing background music and explore the things that make me so very unique. There are thirty two of them and they are never far from me. I read them aloud, I laugh a bit and I go on my way. It takes maybe 10 minutes. No need to climb the mountain and visit the Swami. I have all I need inside. The simpler I make it the easier it gets. The harder I make it the harder it gets.
I am a simple person. I ask to be loved and I want to give that love in return. I want to be acknowledged for what I do but if I don’t show you what I am capable of doing, how can you acknowledge me?
I am a simple person. I can tell you with confidence that I am funny, I am intelligent and I can get you to buy an igloo in Alaska with the twinkle in my eye.
Being simple doesn’t require a lot of work. It requires honesty. Yes, I have made a ton of mistakes but a quick review of everything I have written above shows that none of it has changed because I’ve admitted to being weak, or thrown a temper tantrum or changed a computer over to Windows 7 all by myself and messed it up after my wife told me to wait for one of sons who is an IT specialist.
The further I travel and the more I am “honestly honest” with myself the more I see that losing the bad weight I put on, adjusting my meal plan and working out has little or nothing to do with food and everything to do with how I see and value myself. We believe it hurts to be “honestly honest” Come close and I’ll tell you a little secret. Once I faced me, I simply saw what everyone else saw and it wasn’t bad. Once I was honest with me I found out I was a really cool dude, or “sir” to those of you under thirty. The only thing that stopped me from being me was me.
There is no bravado here, no false courage. I’ll fail more today then I’ll succeed. At the end of the day I’ll write down one million things I wish I would have done differently. The difference is when I look at it tonight I’ll smile a bit instead of a painful grimace
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