Thursday, March 11, 2010
Because i am going to be traveling today I wrote this last night. Hence, the past tense.
While Joan and I were eating dinner tonight the topic of rewards surfaced. We got into a discussion how from childhood on we associate success and accomplishment with food. Look at birthdays---- we have cake. We have son getting married in September, the biggest struggle he and his bride are having is choosing the meal for both the wedding and the rehearsal dinner. We celebrate love on Valentine’s Day with chocolates. It’s no wonder a lot of us waddle instead of walk!!!
I don’t blame society. No one forces me to put anything in my mouth. I choose what goes in and what stays out but how often do I eat things or drink things without even thinking? I think it’s called conditioning.
We talked about this for awhile and then Joan started talking about non edible rewards. Now for a guy who is as smart as I am there are days you have to draw me a picture. She praised me on how well I have doing. My indicator isn’t always the scale it’s the “hug test.” Joan hugs me and then calculates how far she can get her arms around me. So far it’s worked.
Joan has never nagged about my lack of health. She has encouraged, she has told me she was concerned but never has she gotten cross.
Then she dropped a bombshell on me.
“How close are you to your goal weight” she asked me?
“Oh gosh, about 60 pounds,” I answered.
“Well how about when you reach it we get you that Harley you wanted?”
OMG, OMG, OMG
(Rarely am I without words.)
Me on a Harley, All the cool kids would be jealous. My long mane of hair flying in the breeze. (Okay so I’m bald!!!)
I had planned on vacuuming out the car after dinner. As I did so, I started strategizing. I could double my cardio, reduce my calories to about five hundred a day and in about three weeks I’d be humming “Born To Be Wild.”
Then that gosh darned inner voice of mine cleared its throat. (I sort of figured it would show up.)
“If you use that logic John, the only Harley you’ll have will be the ones you see in a magazine.”
My inner voice is always so darned right. You think just once it could go along with me!!!
“Realistically you couldn’t really get one until next spring, which is about thirteen months away. That’s a little over four pounds a month.”
What struck me was how quickly I was ready to jump back on the merry go round. How quickly I would revert to old behavior, starve myself, crash and burn and blame Joan for enticing me. I have a long way to go, but………………. I have a lot of time to get there and it’s thanks to people like you that all this change will come, no worries.
Don’t get me wrong. I hope my progress stays as it is and I learn more each day, but I got a good lesson tonight in how far I need to travel.
But you wanna know something? Without you, (Imagine me pointing my finger right at you, right now) I wouldn’t be aware of none of this. (I know double negative!) You guys who read what I write and help guide me are part of my strength.
Yes you have your flaws too. I think we all do but I also think we are all “Wounded Healers” caring for each other as much as we care for ourselves. So thanks guys for help making me aware of who I am and what I need to do to be me. Thank you for your love.
The Harley is not the important thing; it’s just the vehicle that confirmed to me that I know some really cool people and have the most amazing wife in the world.
This is where you stand up and imagine me sitting back in my chair and applauding you.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
When I am not blogging or writing I actually do work. I don’t call it work. I call it getting paid to have fun. It was a goal of mine for a long time and about ten years ago it came true. It was the culmination of dreaming and believing in a lot principles and ideas when other people gave me one of those odd sort of looks. The thing about my job that I enjoy the most is guiding people through a process that helps them reach their goals and objectives. It doesn’t matter whether they are personal or professional goals, just as long as they reach them. I believe that when we start reaching our goals it becomes a legal steroid for our self esteem.
Most of our goals are long term goals that require a lot of effort and diligence and all the really great stuff we learn from each other every day here in Sparkville. They are noble and worthy goals and just talk to anyone who has reached one of those goals and they will puff their chests out with pride. But they do require us using an awful lot of our internal resources to reach them. If you are not in a habit of enjoying your successes you can run out of steam in a hurry… just ask me!!! I know from personal experience.
What do you want to do that’s fun? I mean right now, while you are reading this blog. What’s your daydream? (I keep wishing for a full head of hair) Why don’t you do it?
A goal can be something as simple as planning a day of shopping with some friends or going to an athletic event. It is something to look forward to, something to be excited about. I know tracking every last bit of food that goes into my mouth is important but I don’t get up in the morning look at Joan and say “I am so looking forward to tracking my food today, honey. Care to join me?” I look to have some sort of fun to look forward to each day.
A good goal should provide us with stimulation. I had two very crazy short term, fun goals. I wanted to be in the nightly parade at Disneyland and I wanted to have my picture taken with Snow White. I achieved both goals. I have a pin to prove I got to march in the daily parade. (I got to dance with some large bug) There is a picture on my desk of Snow White and I. (The cast member who was portraying her did an excellent job. She asked me where I was from and when I told her Kentucky, she asked me if I had come all that way on horseback!)
Big deal John. I agree. But it was fun planning them and I got to tell my friends and family about them and my children still roll their eyes when I bring them up. They caused me to ask myself what else I could do? It got me in the habit of setting goals, reaching them and in the process feeling better about myself.
I am getting healthy so I can be happy. Losing weight, working out, and smoking cessation are all activities that help us reach our goals. They are a valuable means to a wonderful end. This is the most important lesson I have learned so far in this journey. All of the things I do every single day are activities that will lead me towards my life goals.
That’s why I am in the habit of setting daily and weekly goals that serve no one but me. They are fun things but every day when I flip over a calendar page I have something to look forward to. And I do. Then I put a gold star after my name because I deserve it.
I hope you do to.
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
My wife looked over my shoulder as I typed the heading and said, ‘Are you sure “undependant” is a word?”
I laughed. “It is now.”
I am a dependant person. In many ways I depend on the good things in my life. They are as someone once said “the fabric that is me.” They are my family, my friends, both three dimensional and virtual. They are my principles and my values. They are my compass. Without them I just drift.
I have struggled with my weight for what seems like a life time. My self esteem was tied to that number. If it went down I was wonderful. If it went up I was a complete and total failure which meant it was time to bring out the donuts, which meant thirty minutes later I was in a sugar induced state of depression contemplating my total and complete lack of value. I was so ashamed. Here I am this bright eloquent, charming person, who is so quick to help others and he can’t even help himself. I would look in the mirror and I would avert my eyes. If you really knew me you would hate me.
I was dependant on a number of things but mostly the scale. It ruled my life. Ever go weigh yourself before you decided whether to have a candy bar or a piece of fruit? Ever get to feeling kind of shaky and go to the scale to make yourself feel better? Ever go buy a new scale because the perfectly good one you have had for only a month, “just couldn’t be right?”
I would begin a diet and my total and complete self esteem was tied in to “the number.” If it was a big one, I would do the happy dance. If it was a gain I questioned my entire worth. I would dread weigh in day. I was dependant.
I don’t feel that way anymore. Yes, I am conscious of what the scale says. It just doesn’t control me the way it used to. How come?
In the past three months I have worked very hard on discovering myself. As one of my Spark Friends said, “Flying high sure beats digging deep.” Amen. It’s nice to stand up and cheer, give yourself gold stars when things are going well. It’s difficult to dig the foundation to sustain those wonderful feelings. But every time we find some dingy old box in our metaphorical basement shouldn’t we give ourselves a gold star anyway?
What was I really saying when I looked in the mirror? I was questioning my value as a human being. It wasn’t about the additional hundred pounds hanging off my frame it was the lack of value I saw in myself. This stunned me because I have always prided myself on being positive and upbeat and all that other cool stuff. It was a wakeup call.
I am working very hard on being happy. The weight loss is a manifestation of my happiness. Yes, I weigh once a week, but with each successive week I am less and less dependent on what that number says. I am building confidence in what I do during the week. I am beginning to know that if I follow “my plan” I will get good results.
I believe in me. I believe in what I am doing. I spend forty minute each day exercising. I would like it to be at the same time each day but it always isn’t. Some people I know tell me I should push myself harder, do more, be more. I will, when I am ready for it.
I have a plan and my plan allows me to grow which allows me to shrink. I couldn’t have done it without starting to live a complete life that wasn’t dependant on a lot of negative factors.
My journey is blessed by my family, by my friends and by this wonderful process I have embraced.
I am “Undependent.”
Monday, March 08, 2010
Steve was orphaned at birth. He spent the first eighteen years of his life in orphans homes. At age eighteen he joined the Navy. After four years in the Navy, Steve used the G.I Bill to become a gemologist or as we call them, a jeweler. Steve lead a comfortable life in a major Midwestern city until the day Sadie called.
Sadie was one of Steve’s “high end customers.” After forty years of marriage Sadie and her husband were getting a divorce. Sadie had caught her husband in the back seat of their Lincoln with a young lady of questionable virtue and a significant amount of marijuana. In the divorce settlement Sadie was now the proud owner of an industrial manufacturing company. She didn’t know anything about running a company nor did she want to. So she called the only person she really trusted, her jeweler.
Sadie’s instructions were clear. Get the place ready to sell. Since her husband’s interests lied elsewhere for the past five years or so things weren’t in great shape. Steve, by his own admission, didn’t have a clue. He was a jeweler.
He told me years later that he tried very hard to employ basic common sense. Apparently it worked. Eighteen months after taking over the company was showing a profit and all of a sudden Sadie didn’t mind owning a manufacturing company.
I asked Steve one time what motivated him and he shared with me that his life was a series of challenges and just as soon as he would deal with one challenge another would pop up. He had no family, no real friends when he was growing up.
He opened his desk drawer, smiled at me and pulled out a sheet of paper.
“I found this when I was in seventh grade. I am not sure who wrote it but you can keep it. I have plenty more.” He said.
A copy is hanging on my office wall. I have sent it to countless friends over the years. I share it with you this morning because it seems so appropriate in our journey towards health.
When things go wrong, as they sometimes will.
When the road you're trudging seems all uphill.
When the funds are low, and the debts are high.
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh.
When care is pressing you down a bit.
Rest if you must, but don't you quit.
Life is strange with its twists and turns.
As every one of us sometimes learns.
And many a failure turns about.
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don't give up though the pace seems slow.
You may succeed with another blow.
Success is failure turned inside out,
The silver tint of the clouds of doubt.
And you can never tell how close you are.
It maybe near when it seems so far;
So stick to the fight when you're hardest hit.
It's when things seem worst
That you must not quit!
Steve has been dead for close to five years, but I wont ever forget his lesson. Have a good Monday
Sunday, March 07, 2010
I decided to change my workout music yesterday. I was getting tired of listening to the same stuff. It’s not that the music is bad but when you have 1,256 songs on your IPod you can choose from a wide selection. So as I am walking around the track I decided to go old school --- Kansas. I had always liked their music and it has a good beat. Maybe it was where I was emotionally yesterday but the words to the first song, The Wall, caused me to literally stop in my tracks. It went something like this:
“I'm woven in a fantasy, I can't believe the things I see
The path that I have chosen now has led me to a wall
And with each passing day I feel a little more like something dear was lost
It rises now before me, a dark and silent barrier between
All I am and all that I would ever want to be”
Okay, so I am not your average run of the mill, sweating to the oldies sort of guy. I’ll bet I have heard that song a hundred times and never really listened to it. And please don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about gloom and doom. Quite the contrary. As I finished my exercise here is what I came up with, and it caused me to smile.
If you had told me a year ago that a forty five pound weight loss would be number four or five on the list of things I was proudest of I would have suggested you go get drug screened. I am very happy with my progress, so far. I am happier about the person I am becoming. I am becoming John. I am slowly, but surely getting rid of those things that are keeping me from being and doing all the great things I want to do. I believe my self awareness is what is driving my healthier life style. I have always believed in this but I never knew how to put it all together. But as I listened to the song a few times I realized that there was this wall between” All I am and all that I ever want to be.”
No blame. That’s hard not to do. I have to let go of the blame and I have to realize that things were as they were just as they are now as they are. No one is too blame for being unhealthy other than me. No ones to blame for poor habits
other than me. No one is too blame for all the excuses, except me. There is a wall.
I went to church last night and I thanked God, for that minor revelation. I saw, as I prayed “What I needed to do.” Or so I think.
Just about that time my inner voice spoke four words: “A Moment of Faith.” Between me and you I hate it when that happens.
The wall comes down during that one moment of faith when I made the choice to just have faith just let go. It was God saying “Give it all to me John. You can’t handle all of it anyway.’
Inside of me there was this uncomfortable silence. I had always thought an entire host of angels, saints and assorted holy people would show up at this moment and cheer. Instead it sat before me, a decision. I heard this voice tell me I was loved no matter what.
“All I am and all that I would ever want to be”
So I let go. It is really hard for me to explain the next few minutes. I felt this tremendous sense of release along with this awesome feeling of awe. I just sat there and it was like everything was okay. Then I got scared to death. Then I started crying. Joan is used to me crying so she just patted my arm. The lady on the other side of me probably finished Mass in the next county.
I am not the rose colored glasses type of person. I am not trying to make this all sweet and surgery. It was inside of me another moment of awareness and peace. Without being disrespectful it was a holy moment.
I offer this to you not as a “Look at me aren’t I wonderful sort of moment.” I offer it as a sign that no matter what happens, no matter how often we stumble fall or fail, that one moment of faith can sustain us for a long time. I was faced with a decision. I want to be healthy and happy and I want to help other people do the same. I will never be perfect but as I learn to use my gifts and talents, I can become a ray of hope to others
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