Sunday, April 22, 2012
I was traveling a better part of last week which meant I had to play the food challenge game. This used to really bother me. I’d get all bent out of shape and mutter nasty invectives about the skinny people who wanted to stop at The All You Can Eat Carb Bar and wash it down with three or four high calorie beers and I just had to sit there. I swear I’d see my tummy grow the minute we walked in the door.
Thursday morning, while I was dressing it dawned on me that I was AS important as the people I sat around the table with and I indeed had my own voice. Maybe it was time I used it for my own good. Us overweight people often have self-esteem issues amongst our luggage. We feel lucky just to be allowed in the room, much less participate in the fun and games. So we sit in the corner, hoping no one sees us there. Slowly but surely we lose our voice. You know the voice, right? It’s the one that allows us to move front and center and assure our basic needs are taken care of. When your self-esteem is really bruised and battered you lose your voice. You rationalize that “you’re being selfish,” or “you don’t want to make any waves.” I’m not talking about an in your face sort of style. I’m talking about a quiet assuredness that knows what’s best for me and you. The more weight we gain , the more false starts we endure, the smaller our voice becomes. We get lost and feel unworthy.
Cold hard fact: No one will look out for you until you begin to look out for yourself. No one will intervene on your behalf but you. Friends, family, co-workers may express concern about your health but no one will intervene. It’s up to me and you. Those thoughts went through my head the other morning as I dressed. I got a bit angry at myself. I am reasonably intelligent. I should have seen this. No worries. I believe God turns a fresh page every morning and because he loves me in a most amazing way he gives me an opportunity to learn from yesterday. I have learned that the best time to begin anything is RIGHT NOW. It’s not next week, next month or next year. I’ve learned that your level of commitment to a new project or behavior will never be stronger than RIGHT NOW.
I met my client in the hotel dining room. He had already hit the omelet bar. His plate was loaded with eggs, three cheeses and every meat known to man. I could hardly see his face from all the steam rising off his plate. No time like the present John. I patiently waited my turn in line and said the following words: “I’d like an egg white omelet with spinach, tomatoes, green peppers and mushroom. No cheese please and could you cook that in cooking spray rather than butter?” He asked if I wanted sausage or bacon. I told him fruit. He told me that would “cost extra.” I told him no worries. I sat down to eat breakfast and my client asked “Not hungry, John?” I could have launched into a speech about healthy eating but instead I just grinned and said “Well I am going to be teaching today so I want to be light on my feet.” He laughed, I laughed and when I went back to my room I did a modified version of the happy dance.
You know how us overweight people bemoan the fact that one bad behavior, one misstep, leads to us sliding down the side of the hill and drowning in a sea of French fries? I do it all the time. I’ll snag a donut on the way out the door and as far as I’m concerned I’ve undone three weeks of good and the rest of the day is a sugar and carb stupor. I might as well give up. You been there? Seems like every fault and flaw pushes front and center and reminds us how big of a failure we really are. Do we look that way on positive behaviors as well? One really healthy decision in the morning leads to a strong foundation for the rest of the day. Fortified with that knowledge, I dusted off my voice and used it for my own benefit at breakfast. I was able to use it confidently the rest of the day. Funny thing though. I had some challenges. Some I navigated successfully, some I didn’t. I never blew it but when faced with a bad or worse choice my self-esteem wasn’t flushed because of it. I knew the next opportunity offered me a chance to make best choices for me. A chance to use my voice
Practice makes perfect. We all have a voice. Wouldn’t it sound amazing your voice and mine, part of a most amazing chorus?
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
I honestly do try to respond to all the blog comments, Spark Mails and Goodies I receive from all of you very wonderful people. In all honesty after a bit I get overwhelmed and my responses become a bit mechanical and from rote. If you have added me as your friend: THANK YOU. If you took the time to comment on my blogs: THANK YOU. If you took the time to send a Goodie with an encouraging note: THANK YOU. I am quite capable of writing forever and ever, on how much I appreciate your love and support. I will simply repeat those two words from my heart and spoken sincerely.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Everyone has them. They are trigger foods. Everyone around you can eat as much of it as they want and not gain a single solitary ounce. You and I, we put on five pounds just thinking about how good they taste. Worse yet, they lead us to other “less than positive behaviors.” Those who hold us dear find us hunched up in a corner at three am devouring a chocolate cake and hear a small voice crying “I can’t take it anymore!!!” Yeah I exaggerate and yeah this is often a topic we overweight folks shy away from. It’s the “A” word, addiction. We don’t like being thought of as addicts. It conjures up a picture in our minds that causes us to shake our heads really hard and utter that foolish mantra about moderation. We know that’s an excuse. There are some foods you or I can’t eat. It’s ok to be addicted to your favorite college basketball team, to live and breathe every step they take, every word they utter and every small action. We festoon ourselves in team colors buy books, magazines, apparel and paint our faces. Some of us sit in frigid temperatures at football games, shirtless, with our team colors slathered on our torso. We grin, and shrug our shoulders and say “we are addicted to…….”
When it comes to food, well there is a modicum of shame involved. As I prepared to write today it dawned on me that I wouldn’t suggest a drink every now and then to an alcoholic. Imagine telling someone with an addiction to prescription drugs that a little pain medication every now and then wouldn’t really hurt. It’s unthinkable. But when it comes to food and it comes to us, well we just would rather rationalize and stay in close touch with others who feel the same way. Some of us have that one food that pushes us over the edge. . Yours may be different than mine are but there is a food or foods we just shouldn’t eat if we want to stay healthy. We can’t have a “little bit.” They cause us to come unwound. We struggle to “Just Say No!!”
The food that triggers my massive addiction to a whole host of other foods is French fries. Yeah, you read that right, French fries. I can take or leave mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, even potato chips, but tempt me with a plate of fries and it’s all over. There are others. Diet soda deserves a really wide berth on my radar too. It triggers the proverbial vision of sugar plums. When I first joined Spark I lost close to 80 pounds. Sad to say I’ve put close to 70 pounds back on. I went back and reviewed my food journals and saw what I was eating when I was living healthy. There were no fries, no Cokes, no cookies. Lottsa fruit, lottsa veggies and meat three times per week. Then one day I was in a rush, Mc Donald’s beckoned I ordered some fries with a fish sandwich and the rest of my downhill slide came quickly as I made excuses for everything but the real issue. My appetite slowly evolved back to a lot of bad habits. I stopped listening to some of you. I regained my weight. It’s not rocket science.
So I sit here today a bit wiser. I’ve instituted my own personal “No Fry Zone.” I have a laminated list of foods in my wallet that will get me in trouble. When I get ready to eat I pull them out and review them and compare them against what’s in front of me. Part of my addiction comes from being unable to say “no.” I can create all sorts of excuses why I shouldn’t hurt someone else’s feelings.
In the end, it’s how much I value myself and my health and who I choose to hang around with. This blog may not be popular with some people. I’ve found that when you hit a nerve people recoil and defend. I know I do. As I walk away this morning, headed for work I know one thing
I am worth it
I deserve it
I am who I hang around with
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
Our oldest daughter called last night and would I give her a ride to work today? As we drove she asked if I minded stopping at McDonalds. “Its tax relief day and sausage biscuits are only fifty nine cents!!!” I looked over at her for a moment and responded; “…..And about four hundred thirty calories.” She smiled. “Yeah but dad they are only fifty nine cents!!!” There is a line in one of my favorite movies, O Brother Where Art Thou that says “It’s a fool who looks for logic in the chambers of the human heart.” My daughter’s intentions were pure and good. I gave her a ride to work; she was going to buy me breakfast, her way of thanking me. It would have been really easy to accept her logic and later today when I tallied my calories use her as a convenient foil. I mean isn’t making her sure her feelings aren’t hurt much more important than the nutritional value of my breakfast? I am not sure where we draw the line in the sand. I quit smoking seven years ago this week. I promised myself I wouldn’t be “one of those people,” and I’m not. If my health is as important as I claim, then there has to come a point in time where I truly believe I deserve the success that waits around the bend for me because I’m worth the effort I put into myself. Couched in all that sweetness, like a thorn next to a beautiful rose, is the nasty realization that I have to be accountable for my actions. You can love me half to death but in the long run I choose what goes in my mouth.
If this were easy ANYONE could do it. You and I aren’t anyone, we are amazing someone’s who mustered up the courage to walk this journey and sometimes fight the fight that is so difficult. I love sausage biscuits!!! Yes, I know one small slip or miss-step wouldn’t have been the end of the world but where is that definitive line in my life I have to draw and begin to get healthy? It’s never easy, you and I know that. But here at Spark we have a support system in place to guide us. It’s up to us to take advantage of the opportunity. Is this an amazing tool I can utilize to help me achieve and maintain a healthy balance in my life or is it a social networking sight for people with weight and health issues? Maybe it is both. I sure do enjoy the love and support I get from many of you and I am closer to some of you than I am some people in my non- virtual life. That’s all well and good, but why do I log in here every morning?
I didn’t eat the sausage biscuit. Instead, I let her buy me a large un -sweet iced tea. Yeah I know it’s got caffeine in it but no more so than a cup of coffee. I took it home and drank it while I ate my yogurt and banana. Everyone was happy. My very dear non-biological younger sister gave me a really cool Christmas present. It is a daily calendar from Hay House. As I sat down to write this morning and I tore off yesterday’s inspiration I was greeted with this message: “I recognize my body as a wondrous machine, and I feel privileged to live in it.”
Yeah, accountability is often that prickly thorn that sticks deep and causes us much pain. Hidden behind the rose of goals and nice ideas it reminds us that this journey can be arduous at times. Take consolation in the fact that you are indeed WORTH every painful decision you have to make, and you DESERVE all the praise you give yourself when you make the best decision for you. That is one decision no one can make for any of us and it sure feels good when we make the right one. Reaching out goals is like building a tower. With each success we reach higher and the building itself gets stronger.
If ya need me……….. I’m here.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
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