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Who's Gonna Run This Town Tonight Part Two: Denial Is Just Not A River In Egypt

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

The other day I mentioned to my daughter that the motivating factor for me taking control of my health was that I had become weary of being fat. She looked at me with large eyes and said “Dad you’re not fat. Quit talking like that.” “You need to tone up and eat better but you’re not fat!!”

Ah the love of a daughter.

Actually I am obese. I was close to being morbidly obese when I woke up and realized there might be a satin lined coffin in my near future. Pretty soon, with a lot of sweat and hard work I will be overweight. Then I’ll be fat. After that I’ll be fit.

Today I am obese.

Why the downer, John? Aren’t we Sparkies supposed to be in the words of REM “shiny, happy, people?”

One of my very wise spark People friends wrote to me a week or so ago with an observation. “Digging deep isn’t as fun as flying high.”

One of the great joys I get from life is to teach a seminar on developing successful strategies for people in the workplace. It doesn’t matter what hat you wear, it’s designed to help anyone become successful. The main tenet is teaching people the right way to set goals. But I digress.

One of the initial exercises I ask the class to perform is to set a “fun” sort of goal. They stand up and read the goal and other class members give them pointers or ask questions on the goal. Sort of another set of eyes or ears. The exercise is designed to build confidence and is always, always a positive one. The person who is uber critical of others usually gets a “one-on-one” session with me during a break.

One of the participants had set a goal of running a marathon. He said he needed to focus on something fun in his life and this would help him on a number of levels. He had recently returned from Iraq. When he came home he found that his wife had developed a chemical dependency issue that had plunged them deep into debt. He had gone to counseling for over a year and sadly their marriage of five years ended. He felt a lot of despair but said he was ready for a big change. As he shared his story with the class everyone rallied around him. Others shared similar stories but after the first half day, Brian was America’s sweetheart.

I smoked tobacco for over thirty years. I started at the ripe old age of 13 and as of April 11, 2010 I will have not been smoking for five years. When I conduct a seminar I always ask how many smokers are in the group. This gauges how often we take breaks because I know what it’s like not to be able to have a cigarette!!!
The smokers hit the ground running. Brian was one of them. Brian usually led the pack. I sat with him at lunch one day and asked him how long he smoked and how much he smoked daily. He was smoking close to three packs a day. A few of our lunch mates quickly came to his defense. He’s been through a lot. Frankly if it had been me I’d probably been doing more than smokes!! While my concern was with his health, overall, I was mostly wondering how he was going to reach his goal of running a marathon.

Later that evening, I saw him the hotel lobby and talked to him about it. He was polite but adamant. He was beginning a regimen the following Monday that would lead him to cross the finish line in a blaze of glory and all his woes would be gone. He had me to thank. I raised the issue of smoking. He looked puzzled.
“Three packs a day is a hefty habit,” I began. “How far are you running now?”
He told me close to two miles a day but he was going to start working on his endurance.

I gave him my business card and told him to call me in six weeks so we could discuss his progress. I am sure you know how this turned out for Brian. Six weeks later he wasn’t running. He had one more perceived failure to hang around his neck. I suggested some friends I knew who worked in smoking cessation and told him to give them a call.

Brian quit smoking and he did run his marathon. But he couldn’t accomplish that until he saw what was really holding him back. Everyone around him wasn’t trying to help him; they were taking pity on him. Every time they would smile sadly and squeeze his wrist, it gave him permission to light up another one.

“Poor guy. You’d be smoking that much too if you’d been through what he had!!!

Denial is just not a river in Egypt.

We have lots of well intentioned people in our lives. They sincerely love us. Like my daughter, they don’t want us to be obese. They soften the blow. They tell us to tone up, to watch the cake and pie, wink, wink. But under no circumstance should I ever call myself fat.

Here’s the problem. When we hear those things enough we start to believe them. It becomes easy to skip a gym session. Instead of a salad we order the fries and burger. We go to those people who technically are called “enablers” and we let them soothe us. We let them convince us that its “okay” to let up a bit. Pretty soon we wake up one morning, struggle to get out of bed and the sad reality that we are right back where we started, hits us. Trust me, I have been there

Pass the cookies please.

It means that when I don’t stop a person in my life who doesn’t want to acknowledge that I haven’t always made the right choices in my life I am denying where I am in my journey. No it’s not fun being obese. If you have been there it not only causes health issues it causes shame, embarrassment and very low self esteem. It hurts. It hurts a lot. You can’t wear the clothes you want to wear. Some airlines will deny passage because of your size. You are miserable. I could go on and on.

My name is John. I am obese. My goal for March is to be consistent in my behavior. I will work out every day for forty minutes each day. I will follow my nutrition plan. I will take time to rest, to reflect and develop healthier behaviors. I will believe in myself and continue to work on becoming my own inspiration.

Until I acknowledge what I am, right now, I can never begin to be all the things I want to be.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WANDAH3 3/2/2010 8:58PM

    John, I'm continuing to hang around with your wisdom.


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GETFIT2LIVE 3/2/2010 3:47PM

    Well said, John! It is only as we face the truth that we have been hiding from (sometimes for years) that we can begin to make real changes. I knew what I weighed; I knew I was overweight. It was not until I looked beyond the mirror and the number on the scale to face the fact that I was obese, much too close to morbidly obese, that I was really ready to do something about it. Amazing how we can have such success in other areas of life and yet seem to be unable to wrestle with the issues behind our weight, isn't it? Thanks for sharing, and best wishes on your journey!

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AMABILE75 3/2/2010 1:44PM

    As always WONDERFUL blog!!! :)

How amazing that you were able to help Brian in such a way! It is so difficult sometimes to be so bold, but you did it and you helped him!! There is so much to learn from this blog! I have a feeling I'll be pondering this over for a while!!

emoticon emoticon

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MOTHERLORI 3/2/2010 10:46AM

    I knew I was obese before I stepped on the Wii Fit and it went "ohhhhhhh:(" But it's funny how you begin to accept that it's your fate, destiny, karma, whatever to be obese. For me, I let things interfere with my goal of getting healthy ~ and let others makes excuses for me. However, this time, I'm not quiting! Thanks John. Lori

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CMBELISLE 3/2/2010 10:37AM

    As they say, you can't fix a problem until you can admit you have one. One of my problems is that I like to help other people fix theirs, but I have to learn to lead by example and let them admit they have a problem first.

I always like your blogs. Thanks for sharing!

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STORMTMB 3/2/2010 10:10AM

    I like hanging around with people who can say it like it is. You have a great way of making the truth clear without being mean about it. What a wonderful quality.

Have a great day, John.


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YOYONOMORE1 3/2/2010 9:05AM

    We are what we are, we need the courage to face that and make the decision to do something about it, and your blog helps, by your admitting what you are right now and making that decision to do something about it gives all of us encouragement to do the same. People can tell us we aren't obese or fat, but if we look in the mirror we see or should see what we really are right at this moment, admit it and take action to do something about changing our lifestyle to make us better. Good blog John. Have a truly, terrific Tuesday.


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KATIEGLEN012 3/2/2010 8:59AM

    Ah John, How true. We cannot change what we cannot see. I look in the mirror every day, but it wasn't until I saw a photograph that the horror hit me. That was ME? The mirror lies. Actually the person looking into the mirror herself. To see the truth requires change and no one likes change. Change is scary. If you read the blogs here you'll know that even good, positive change is scary.
You've given me much to consider, yet I liked how you ended with your plan. I think that plan is so important. I hold my goals in my hand hour by hour. I know they are doable, that I am not expecting too much of myself. I just need to hold on to them...literally. Makes it real for me. Instead of holding on to the old familiar ways...I carry my plan. I need an anchor in this new world I am heading into. So gather your courage, hold onto your plan and take a doesn't matter a bit which step...just take it and then another and another. In the end, the journey will have been everything.

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MARCYNA 3/2/2010 8:41AM

    WoW... you made an incredible good point.
We're all working on ousrselves. Technically I'm not a quitter and I just HATE all these things which are now interfering with my lifestyle change.So , I get nervous. The more nervous I get, the more the tiniest difficulty is likely to become a mountain that gets on my way.
I'm an High Achiever!!!!!!!!
How can I tranform all this and become successful??????????????
While I learn, I guess I'll try one of those cookies,thanks. emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/2/2010 8:42:09 AM

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NJMATTICE 3/2/2010 8:34AM

    Objectivity is helpful. Fact: I am obese. Fact: My good health is compromised by that fact. Fact: I need a plan. Fact: That plan must be "organic". Fact: I need to get off this computer and move. Fact: John it has been a pleasure. Have a great day.

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Who's Gonna Run This Town Tonight"

Monday, March 01, 2010

It’s a Jay-Z song and part of my cardio mix. I found it after reading an article by one of the trainers here at Spark People. She had it in her cardio mix and said it was a good upbeat song to work out to. She’s right, but to me it’s much more. It has become my theme, my standard. It asks me to ask myself the basic question, “Who is in charge here John?”Who runs my life? Who decides what is best for me or what goes in my mouth or doesn’t?

I quit smoking five years ago. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t want a cigarette. Yes they are terrible, horrible and I had a mother-in-law die from lung cancer because of them. I enjoyed the taste. I want one now!

Who’s gonna run this town tonight?

There are certain things I will not eat. I know if I eat them they will have a domino effect on my appetite and then I will eat everything in sight. It doesn’t mean I the desire to eat them is gone. The desire to give control over myself is however. If I could I would eat every peanut butter M and M in sight. To what end?

Who’s gonna run this town tonight?

A client called me yesterday afternoon. His work week is Saturday through Thursday and we catch up from time to time. We have spoke on the phone numerous times since the first of the year but haven’t met face to face since before Christmas. The last time I was at his office he was out of town. We talked about my next visit and he made a remark to the effect of, “Yeah and then we can do some serious eating!”

“Oh, oh,” I thought. “Here we go. What do I do?”

“No we don’t.” I said with a chuckle in my voice.

He paused and said “Vicki, (his secretary) told me you lost a ton of weight.” (This part I remember verbatim, especially the “ton of weight part.”)

So for the first time in three months I got an opportunity to “Spread The Spark. I told him I was getting healthier and as a matter of fact there were a few restaurants in his area that served food that met my nutritional requirements. I told him how I looked online before I went out so I was prepared. I told him I was making a change in how I viewed things and how my life lived. I gave him the wed address.

Who’s gonna run this town tonight?

I wish I could ask myself that question, answer it correctly and be done with it. I have to do it first thing every morning and three or four times each day. Each time I answer the right way…………… It’s like putting money in the bank.

So, my friends, “Who’s Gonna Run This Town Tonight

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

DOLLBABE56 3/2/2010 7:16AM

    Thank you for the inspiration and motivation, John. As always you have a most uplifting blog. I guess we all have those "trigger" foods. I have SO many. Peanut butter and chocolate, oh, and fresh baked bread are at the top of my list.

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PINETREEGIRL 3/1/2010 9:37PM

    Thinking about how gracefully you re-directed your situation--incredible! When you could have succumbed to habit or peer pressure. But you didn't! You took Charrrrge! emoticon

Comment edited on: 3/1/2010 9:37:35 PM

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CHANGEDIN09 3/1/2010 9:14PM

    YOU are gonna run this town! Awesome post. Sounds like you really did spread the spark.

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SPARKENISTA 3/1/2010 9:01PM

    John--Once again--great inspiration. I think I'm going to borrow your mantra.

emoticon emoticon

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KATIEGLEN012 3/1/2010 5:31PM

    We are rockin' this town tonight!!!!!!!! So Vicki says you've lost a ton of weight...if someone is talkin' about you...may that be their theme...forever more.

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WANDAH3 3/1/2010 5:26PM

    I love it! Each of us that steps up to the plate ..."is going to run this town tonight". Thanks, now I have that song running through my mind...guess I might as well put it to good use and get doing my free step! lol

Hope your day was awesome.


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CMBELISLE 3/1/2010 11:51AM

    Yet another awesome blog!

For me - pasta. I will eat it until I am so full I hurt. I have learned something though - If I measure it before I cook it, I will not be able to overeat it. Also, when I go out, I always order a to go box with the delivery of my meal. That way, I box half when I get the food and don't eat it.

It can be difficult to learn the balance between total self-control and when to let go.

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YOYONOMORE1 3/1/2010 11:03AM

    John, I think all of us have those trigger foods to deal with, and probably most of us are like you, if we give in to them, we head down a slippery slope, so it's just best to avoid them all together. Great job of sharing the Spark with your acquaintence. Have a great week!


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TAZZAT2003 3/1/2010 10:57AM

    You must be in my head John. Every time I read your blogs it speaks to me. It is like you know what I needed to hear. This time it was "Who's Gonna Run this town..." There are so many people in my life who want a say in how I live, what I do, what I eat etc. It is my life. I need to stand on my own two feet. I need to run the show. And by gone it I am going to get great reviews!!

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TWENKY215 3/1/2010 10:41AM

    Yes we are motivated to the 1000th power this morning!!!
Yes we are going to rock this town tonight!
We are the a part of the Sparking it generation. WooHoo!! emoticon

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STAN5FAM 3/1/2010 9:30AM

    I am realizing that there are certain trigger foods that lead me to overeat.
Congrats on your decision to "Run this town tonight!" We are a product of our choices. emoticon

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STORMTMB 3/1/2010 9:05AM

    Every day we have to make these choices and live with the consequences. You're obviously on fire right now and seriously motivated! Keep up the great work.


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Finding Me

Sunday, February 28, 2010

It’s very rare that I am nor sure what to say. While the written word is a marvelous and beautiful tool I often become frustrated with it because how can you convey a smile, a hug, a reassuring squeeze of the wrist or simply sitting with a loved one or friend in silence and sipping the warm beverage of your choice? You can’t, so you go for the next best thing, words.

I was moved beyond these words yesterday when I read the response to my blog on getting off of track by being unrealistic. In normal circumstances I usually write a quick note to everyone who posted an insight. The insights yesterday were so intense and varied that to be quite honest when I finished reading them I sat before my keyboard unable to move. I am too old to be ashamed to tell you there were a few tears involved. It is a wonderful feeling to know that no matter how confused you may feel there are other people feeling the same thing you feel and are willing to lend their support.

How do convey sincere thanks? I thought about it on my walk this morning. It was finally warm enough to do something I cherish and that is walking outside. I believe life is like a scale, there is a lot of room to take from others and bathe, if you will, in the warmth of their support and love. The other side of that scale is taking that joy, that health and wonder and giving it to someone else, to pass it on, pay it forward, use whatever image works for you. It’s always a balancing act. If I don’t take care of me I have nothing to give and if I don’t give then I wither like a flower in the heat.

How do I pass on the precious gift each of you has given me? I do it by being me. Easier said than done. I do it by realizing I am not an island, that I am not the only one who has these “unhealthy like thoughts.” I do it by realizing I have friends.

I do it by sharing with you a story of what motivates me, how I lost it and how what many of you said yesterday helped me remember it. Very few people outside of my family know this story, but after close to three months ya’ll are family any ways. {I know mixing southern speak with Southside Polish speak can get confusing.}

When I was in eighth grade there was a boy in my class named Eugene. In today’s parlance Eugene would have been designated as a “geek.” He had no friends. I vaguely recall age 14 and it can be a cruel age. Eugene had not begun to mature so his voice was still high. In the showers after gym class a lot of people laughed at him. He was short and still had that “baby fat” some people have. He was not an athlete nor was he overly intelligent. People would walk by him in the hall and push him or trip him and then laugh. They’d open his locker, stack his books on end and stand back laughing when they fell on him as he opened the door. He ate lunch alone.

Eugene and I walked the same route going home. He had a bus to catch so he walked a bit quicker than me and so he was always in front of me. I never caught up with him, never said hello, never struck up a conversation. I mean, I was barely above the bottom of the food chain myself. I couldn’t run the risk……..
I never teased Eugene. I left him alone. I never tripped him or laughed at him. I stood back and watched and was thankful it wasn’t me being tortured.

As a matter of fact none of the cruel behavior entered my mind until after he died. That happened the day after we graduated from eighth grade. Eugene, alone and despondent, went down in his basement and hung himself. Back in 1967 before cable TV and the internet this was “big news.” It was quiet for a few days in my community and then everything went back to normal.

I had these images in my head, scenes. They have stuck with me all my life. They may have Eugene’s face on them but they represent everyone that is scared, lonely, and afraid of the future. They stand for everyone that’s been laughed at because of their weight, or their lack of athletic ability or because they didn’t have the social grace to handle a situation.

Somewhere deep inside of me there has always been this “positive gene.” Thank goodness. As my life progressed I decided that maybe never, ever forgetting what Eugene went though in his short life was a mission I could embrace, a standard, I could carry. And so I do.

I will encourage. I will support. I will cheer. I will let you know I suffer too and that some nights while Joan sleeps peacefully I lay there so alone and wondering who I am. Like clockwork morning comes and with it the light to see a new day and a new me.

I thank you for your support in helping me find me. He is always been there; he and I are just getting better acquainted. I am finding he is fun and he is healthy and happy. So I will continue to share him with you and his thought and journey.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOTHERLORI 3/1/2010 8:15PM

    Tomorrow, I will try harder to make a positive difference in someone else's life. Thanks for the reminder ~ Lori

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TRIPLE_EMME 3/1/2010 10:09AM

    This blog made me cry.

I truly believe that the actions/behaviors we exhibit (no matter how small they may seem) affect others (and sometimes that small action can have the most profound effect on somebody else).

May we all live more compassionately.

Thank you for posting this story about Eugene.

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YOYONOMORE1 2/28/2010 2:10PM

    A sad, but good blog. It's not just kids that can be hurtful to others, people in general can be so cruel and uncaring. There are a lot of hurting people in this world and we need to reach out to them as often as we can, just the smallest gesture can make a world of difference. John, thanks for sharing.


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AMABILE75 2/28/2010 1:03PM

    What a horrible way to learn one of life's lessons!! I'm so sorry that you experienced that. From reading your blogs I would say that what you learned as a child has stayed with you as you are such a wonderful soul! You do encourage, you do support & cheer. You are doing your role of paying it forward! I would like to THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all of your encouragement you have passed along to me in such a short time.

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SPARKENISTA 2/28/2010 1:03PM

    emoticon John--Your blog has touched me deeply. As others have said, we all have at least a bit of Eugene in us--and probably more than a little. I lost my father at age 7 after he suffered a long illness--complications of juvenile diabetes. In those days depression was not acknowledged much less treated. I had a very difficult relationship with my mother, to say the least.
Although I was not treated exactly like Eugene, I am sure I experienced much of the anguish that he did, as did we all. I always thought that not everyone could be like my mother or my classmates and that when I grew up I would have the freedom to find "better" people. That is what kept me going. I escaped into books. I spent a lot of time alone.
Don't think that hurting myself or running away didn't occur to me. However, I always thought "I'll be dead or on the street and they'll be fine..."so I didn't do it. I had no idea that anyone knew my feelings. Many years later I ran into one of my teachers on the bus. I was about 21. She asked me what I was doing these days and I told her I had been accepted to social work school and planned to be a therapist. Her eyes welled up and she told me she knew I would do that b/c of my difficult life! How did she know? She certainly never let me know in elementary school. I thought my secret was so safe.

So, for all the Eugenes out there--I became a therapist and for 30 years I worked with some of the most severely mentally ill people there are. People who are dissed and looked down upon. I was very good at helping them reach their potential. I also trained dozens of students to tune in to the feelings of people who are hard to reach and have distancing mechanisms designed to turn people off to prevent the hurt inherent in almost any human contact. I hope that on some level I prevented some disasters that are reflected in Eugene and helped some people see that there are people out there who care enough to take the time to understand them and give them the hope to go on.

I didn't mean to go on like this, but your blog just triggered me.

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STAN5FAM 2/28/2010 12:58PM

    Hey Dude. We all have to join together to defend the broken spirited when others are cruel. Of course using the right tact is the challenge. You have that gift. I tend to shoot from the hip.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts with your own self discovery. emoticon

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STORMTMB 2/28/2010 12:20PM

    While I find myself saying "kids can be so cruel" to other kids, I know that many of those kids continue that behavior into adulthood. It takes guts to stand up to someone who is bullying or just plain be-littling just so they feel better or in control.

Sounds like you are finding the you deep inside. He's a sensitive, warm, insightful and eloquent dude. I like him. I hope he stays around to share more insights.


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PSBURNETTE 2/28/2010 12:11PM

    We never really know what someone else is feeling or going through unless they tell us. So as with a lot of people I have my demons I deal with and I always try to encourage others as much as possible. You never know when your smile might be the one that someone needed to see or that word that someone needed to hear. You seem to be a very caring person and one that has great insight. Thank you for your blog. I wish you great success!

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NJMATTICE 2/28/2010 11:20AM

    There's a bit of Eugene in us all. Thankfully, by God's good grace, we haven't hurt quite so deeply. John, you sound reflective and you're digging deep. Not as much fun as the "riding high" part of the journey, but oh so important for lasting changes. Keep up the good work. All that is required is that you keep showing up, ready to do the work.
Enjoy your Sunday and thanks for sharing your discoveries in the "Land of John"

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MARCYNA 2/28/2010 11:14AM

    WoW, what a lesson to be learnt!!!
I'm sure you have this gift of helping/encouraging people from Heaven and the more you give, the more will be given to you.'Give and it will be given to you' is one of my favourite mottos emoticon emoticon
PS Bullying/Mobbing always come from unsolved conflics. Learning to resolve conflicts is one of the greatest tools we have to prevent them.

Comment edited on: 2/28/2010 11:25:04 AM

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What Happens To Me When I Get Off Track or Being Positivley Unrealistic

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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRAMMABENJI 3/1/2010 10:57AM

    I sure can relate to your blog.

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TRIPLE_EMME 3/1/2010 9:58AM

    I am proud of you for talking to your friend, pulling yourself back up, and making yourself go work out!

It is very important not to compare ourselves to someone else -- regardless of age. (I know this is easier said than done, too.)

Keep on being awesome!

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CMBELISLE 2/28/2010 3:14PM

    I tend to be a realist. In this particular journey, I realistically know that I won't be able to keep up an exercise schedule like some of the people I read about on here - 60 to 90 minutes a day at the gym. I also know I'm going to do what I can, even if it is only 10 minutes a day. I do like the fact that I've worked my way up to being able to take a 3 mile walk in an hour, but that is my max for now - mostly because an hour is a long time to devote to exercise when there are 100 chores waiting for me to do at home. On the other hand, I get this unrealistic excitement contemplating weird things (at least for me) like running a 5k or doing the breast cancer 3-day walk (20 miles a day). I like the fact that they are there - they inspire me to want to get more fit and try to do a little more here and there, but I'm a realist and keep doing what I can, when I can. I'm going to continue to be me, just a more fit and slightly less heavy me.

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WANDAH3 2/28/2010 1:20PM

    John, may you always be open to sharing and paying it forward. You are such a blessing in my life as well as all those that share this journey with you. You have a wonderful gift of insight and an open and honest way of sharing those insights. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for being who you are.
Eugene lives within many of us here. I'm grateful for "my Eugene", because of many of these same experiences, I've learned to be strong, to rise above, to have compassion and love. To embrace the Law of Attraction, to share, to try always to tune in to what "isn't" being said by those I meet, to be open to allowing God to use me as He sees fit.
What an incredible journey we are on!


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STORMTMB 2/28/2010 1:18PM

    Sounds like you got some great advice from the physiologist - and, good for you, you listened and heard... and took action. You have made friends with the cool kids and you are a cool dude.


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KATIEGLEN012 2/28/2010 6:02AM

    John, I love that you said this for all of us. This is a journey, a life long journey we are on. I like what NJMAYYICE said above: have I made good choices today and I weigh what I am supposed to this moment. And that PINETREEGIRL reminds us that all the numbers we are interested in don't show up on the scale.
Sure, I would LOVE to look good, but really want to BE healthy and strong. And not only that but would like to eat consciously and responsibly. I have been feeling a lot like you this past week...only hadn't really articulated it. I was thinking maybe I would quit, that others are doing it so much better, faster...more successfully and dare I say, cooler? But reading your blog calmed me and reminded me that for me this is not a's a marathon.
Bless you.

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CRYSELLE 2/27/2010 9:10PM

    oh boy can I relate to this. I go into everything full on until I am plum worn out! I think you are absolutely spot on. You have to do what you are comfortable with until you are no longer challenged. It's easy to envision so many things, dream big is what they say, but realizing that it takes time to achieve those dreams is another thing. They say set small attainable goals that will help you to reach your ultimate goal, that way you can see progress, otherwise you get to the point of discouragement and give up. I can see this. I think you are a wonderful source of inspiration and encouragement and I love your humor and will to continue! emoticon

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SPARKENISTA 2/27/2010 12:39PM

    John--We joined only a day apart and I feel as though I'm going through a lot of what you're going through. I didn't get as into fitness as you did and I didn't catch a virus but I tend to do well with beginnings and lag as the course lengthens. I like your blog a lot b/c it reflects a lot of what I am going through.


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PINETREEGIRL 2/27/2010 12:38PM

    So, you're not the cool kids...but you're cool John.
I went through something like this when I posted my blog about the inner superhero. At home, on my scale, I saw myself as a superstar. Then I got to the gym, and there are people there who probably weigh 50 pounds less than I do, and I got what asserted itself as my 'reality check'. Especially, as mentioned, with a full wall of mirror...yeesh! So I had to come up with something to counter that negative voice, and the positive thought that I had was 'so what if I have not done this before--I'm doing it now!'
For YOU--and who you are, you're doing something. Woot woot!
I like thinking that there are more numbers than the scale. There are really cool things that we don't see, such as cholesterol level, resting heart rate, blood pressure. You're working on those numbers, too, and even if the scale is the same those subtle guys are changing. So you're always doing something.
Glad that you feel better, and that you're not giving up, but going to a place that's a realistic challenge level!

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NJMATTICE 2/27/2010 11:56AM

    In all things moderation, eh? Speed is a thrill, but the crash and burn doesn't feel so good. I have that bad habit of comparing myself with others. One of the gifts I am receiving on this journey is learning the importance of my individuality and building a healthy lifestyle that is best for me. One that is going to last. One that is built one healthy brick at a time. I get impatient because of my age (55.25)(just being a copycat) but to combat my impatience, I have changed my healthy measurement to the quality of each day. Have I made good choices today? And I tell myself that today, I weigh just what I'm supposed to weigh. It takes me out of that frantic rat race to the thin finish. I've won that race a couple of times only to start over again. I have retired from that race and each day I do my best to please myself. Thanks for sharing your journey. I most certainly understand!
Have a great weekend and thanks for the "polish remover".

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WANDAH3 2/27/2010 10:56AM

    Once again John, you are bang on. We do get caught up in the first rush of success and it oftens takes a set back to become more realistic and see that it's the turtle mentality that comes out on top. Slow and steady. Consistancy, realistic goals, and just plain changing the lifestyle in a permanent sustainable manner.

Have a great weekend.

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1WALKINGMAN 2/27/2010 10:52AM

    emoticonblog, John. You are doing very well with your journey. emoticon

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TWENKY215 2/27/2010 9:58AM

    WOW John! I read both of your blogs, yesterday and today. You are really funny, optimistic and just really inspiring. I love your positive outlook and creative way at looking at life. I know with the way that you think and if you really listen to yourself, you will get to be the John that you envision. I happened to stumble on your page going through the High Blood Pressure links at the bottom of my start page. I am so glad that I did. I'm going to subscribe to your blog because I feel what you are going through seeing that I often feel the same things too. LOL!! We seasoned sparkers have to stick together. We'll get to where we want to be in time. Enjoy the rest of your day and continue to be an encouragement to everyone. emoticon

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MARCYNA 2/27/2010 9:51AM

    I know what you mean, I'm an enthusiastic person and get excited over novelties but get soon in trouble when things don't work out fine. It happens to me at dance class, I feel great at the bar but the second part of the class is really threatening for me - and the girls I'm practicing with are really really strong. Some of them may become professional dancers, they practise almost every day!!!
So the perfect attitude for me is to attend the class, and to make the best of it - they're cool enough to be my friends. But I'm not going to become a pro and what I do is just for fun...whatever happens, I will have done my best without disappointments.It's a balance between desires and reality I think we should try to find emoticon emoticon

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AMABILE75 2/27/2010 9:43AM

    I can really relate to this. I have the same problem with myself! I always expect perfection, and to much out of myself and then get discouraged when I don't live up to my own expectations. I tend to have two speeds... attacking with everything I have going all out, or nothing at all.

Using SparkPeople has really helped me to understand that I'm not alone, I'm not the only one with these kinds of thoughts or feelings, I'm not crazy afterall! So I try so hard to allow myself to take this slow. I'm a work in progress after all, and not perfection. :-)

Thank you so much for sharing this. I wish you the very best!!! emoticon

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Our Perspective

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

She nodded.

“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 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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NJMATTICE 2/26/2010 7:26PM

my rose colored glasses for proper perspective.

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STAN5FAM 2/26/2010 1:40PM

    The first part of your blog had me laughing. Lived in metro, suburb New England then moved to TN rural Apalachia Smokey Mountains. Yes we were surrounded by the stereotype of rural life. It was quite the culture shock. But how narrowminded and foolish it would be to "Box" and limit people to what they think a person would could amount too.
You are such an inspiration, John. I thank God everyday for people like you.
Have you got a Motivator award yet???!! I keep voting for you! emoticon

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MARCYNA 2/26/2010 11:50AM

    WoW!!!You should write a book on optimism, your blog 's so inspirational!!! Thanks and I'm so happy you've been changing so much - so have I emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 2/26/2010 11:50:41 AM

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WANDAH3 2/26/2010 10:41AM

    John, thank you once again for blogging. I always enjoy your views .

Have a wonderful Friday,

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TNTEACHER2 2/26/2010 10:35AM

    Morning, John,
I was visiting my mom in a hospital in Illinois, when her roommate asked me whenre I was from. At the time I taught in Tennessee. When she found this out, she wanted to give me her old clothes to take to my students! KY and TN get a bad rap from the rest of the country.

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CMBELISLE 2/26/2010 9:45AM

    I got a really good chuckle out of (the first part of) your blog. Perspective is a really important aspect of life, both in how we see ourselves and how we see others. Our perspective of ourselves also changes based on our "mood" of the moment. Thanks to your providing me with some laughter, the image of myself that I envisioned was a good one. Had I not been in a good mood from that laughter, the image I had envisioned might not have been so nice.

I really do enjoy your blogs. Thanks for sharing!

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STORMTMB 2/26/2010 9:36AM

    One of my favorite quotes... "What we see depends mainly on what we look for." -author unknown.

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TAZZAT2003 2/26/2010 9:18AM

I wonder if you realize what an inspiration you are to those who read your blogs. Everyone thinks that being healthy means lean and muscular or resembling models. They forget that being healthy is not only what we look like on the outside but how we look and feel on the inside, too. Thanks for helping us remember that.

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DOLLBABE56 2/26/2010 8:22AM


Another great blog.

This is really something we should all consider. It's easy to lose the real you. There is so much negativity in the world, but there is also a lot of positivity. Wouldn't it be great if we all would take the time to see our own perspective and learn to treat our bodies as the temple they are?

Have a wonderful day.


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AMABILE75 2/26/2010 8:04AM

    I just love your blogs!! If there is one thing I always enjoy getting it is a fresh perspective. A different perspective on things can make such a huge difference in your life.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts!! emoticon

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