Monday, March 15, 2010
As of yesterday I have been a Sparkie for three whole months. I would like to share what I have learned so far.
First, I deserve to be healthy and with that I deserve to be happy. So do you. Health is not something reserved for the bright, the beautiful or the privileged. It is my God given right, if I choose to take advantage of it. By being healthy I open the door to so many possibilities in my life and BTW: very few of them have to do with how I look. They ALL have to do with how I feel about myself. When I feel healthy and pursue happiness in myself I can see it in you. It’s a bit of a balancing act, but the more I see it in me, the more I see it in you.
Second, I am not doing anything but I am becoming a whole lot. I am not on a diet I am in the process of changing how I look at myself and when I do that I start to look at how I see the rest of the world and all the very beautiful and talented people that are in it. I am simply, tastefully and wonderfully becoming myself. The journey I am on is not about doing things it is about becoming the best me I can be.
Third, I have a responsibility to share the insights, the gifts and the talents I have been given. They were given for a reason and that reason is to share what I have learned about life, through my experiences with other people. If I can cause you to smile, to laugh or to simply look in the mirror and appreciate yourself a bit more than I have succeeded. I am learning to be less selfish because the more I give, the more I get.
Fourth, I am learning not to judge. If I refuse to judge me then I can’t judge you. We come in all shapes and sizes with all kinds of recipes and exercise ideas and notions that are very effective for each of us. I have learned we are like a huge field that goes as far as the eye can see and in the field are flowers and plants and trees of different colors and shapes and sizes that make up this amazing tapestry called life. I am learning to be open to learn from you. My youngest Spark friend is nineteen and my oldest is well into their seventies.
Fifth, I have learned that if I can make excuses not to do something I can create a reason to do something. Sitting in front of me in the mirror each morning is a gift from God, that gift is me. With that gift there is an opportunity to do many things, if I choose to do them. I can be tired, cranky, and low on funds. My mother may have been mean or one of my friends cross with me. Those are excuses not to honor my commitments. The reasons for me to do things are simply that I deserve my health and my happiness but in order to cross that bridge there is always a toll. That toll is my commitment to a healthy life. It means I track my food and when I want to eat a bag of cookies, a chocolate cake or an entire pie, I understand I will not be healthy and that as an adult I have a choice. It means I eat the grapes or the apple instead and enjoy it just as much. Yes, it is hard and I get really mad sometimes. It’s a commitment.
It means that I get on the treadmill or bike or elliptical every day for forty minutes whether I really want to or not. I don’t always do it cheerfully but I do it. I have learned to be flexible. It means I work out at five am one day and eight pm the next day because that’s what my schedule permits. In a nutshell it means I am honoring me.
I honor you. I honor you for your guidance, your friendship and your understanding. I stand up and applaud you for the events in your life that have knocked you low and then you have risen up again to continue your journey. When I want to stay home and watch the television rather than work out I think of so many of you that put your heads down and make the effort to be healthy and I begin to feel small. I think of those of you who have persevered through the most trying of situations and I begin anew. Believe me when I say each of you is my prayers on a daily basis.
Saturday afternoon I got an email from the Spark Team. My first reaction was “Oh, oh, what have I done now?”
“The SparkPeople Community thinks you are a motivation to others!
SparkPeople Members can vote for SparkPages that are motivational, based on Community involvement, personal accomplishments and more. You have received enough votes to become a "SparkPeople Motivator." Congratulations! For recognition, your SparkPage now has a special "SparkPeople Motivator" icon, and your SparkPage will be featured more prominently on the main SparkPages section of the site.
Thank you for inspiring other members through your own hard work and dedication! “
I read it to Joan and I started to cry. To those of you who felt touched in some way by what I have written and thought enough to take the time to recognize me, I thank you. I should say so much more but I simply can’t. If you can imagine what is written on my heart, suffice to say it is extreme gratitude mixed in with a lot of awe.
Finally you will no notice of weight loss mentioned here. If you are interested go to my Spark Page and read the ticker. My concern is health and happiness, both mine and yours. My weight loss is a byproduct of my desire to be a happier and healthier me on all levels and that is what I will continue to work on. I will be honest with myself and others. I will pay the price and grind it out some days when I’d rather not. I’ll link arms with you and walk down that road where we don’t always know where the next turn is but where we can see the sun over the next rise.
A Spark friend wrote a few weeks ago that if we aren’t careful the scale can become Satan. It cabn rule your life if you let it. I choose to let me rule my life.
That is what I have learned here in the past three months and you, (Yeah YOU!!) I learned a lot it from you.
Saturday, March 13, 2010
This will be quick.
I am going to be a "Spark Bum" this weekend. I will keep up with my food, my exercise and all my goals and commitments. I will pray for each of you, hold you in my heart and think good thought about you until Monday morning. That's when I'll be back.
I am taking the weekend off. We are not doing anything very special at all. Grocery shopping, a movie, church, raking out flower beds. I am going to relax and savor life like a fine bottle of wine.
I deserve it and so do you.
Dont miss me too much. I will talk to all of you Monday.
Have a great weekend guys.
Friday, March 12, 2010
A friend of mine called the other day. I hadn’t heard from him in awhile. He’s had a rough twelve months or so. His father passed away right before Christmas 2008. He had struggled with diabetes for over twenty five years and was in poor health all that time. Like most other things in life you “get used to” things. His dad died rather suddenly. One day he was laughing and talking the next he was dead. Shortly after that my friend found out he had diabetes. A few weeks ago he found out he had something called celiac disease which comes from intolerance to gluten. It’s been a rough year. He has always rebounded from anything that’s been dished in his path. During the past year I have watched him slowly slip into a depression.
He is one of those people who will talk when he’s ready to talk and in the ten years I have known him it never happens any sooner than that. The good news is once he gets it out he is pretty concise.
“I’m angry with my father,” He began. “He left my mother a financial mess. He knew better than that. Your parents are supposed to be your heroes.”
I had to smile because the damn had burst; he was ready to face his demons so to speak. Was I?
I laid in bed that night thinking about the last part of his statement, “Your parents are supposed to be your heroes.” Joan and I have six great kids. They are not perfect but neither are we. We raised them to be themselves and no one else and we think they are pretty good people. Oh how I wished I had left it there!!
I began to think about all those times I wasn’t a “hero” to my kids. I started reviewing all the mistakes I made. Off in the distance I heard a voice:
“Pity, party of one, your table is available.”
It was going to be a long night. Why did this have to happen now!! Fortunately my inner voice intervened. (TYVM Father, Son and Holy Ghost!!)
“Okay so maybe you weren’t a hero all the time. Why can’t you start being one tomorrow?” It wasn’t this holy, voice from on high. It was sort of a “duh, John” voice. It said “If you are not happy with the way something is, change it.”
“Duh!!!” (Sometimes I wish it would leave off the duh part.)
I have the power to change anything about me I don’t like. No one else does. I can blame mom, dad, Joan, the kids and the fact that one of my favorites got voted off American Idol last night………… It is not going to change who is responsible for what happens to me.
It struck me that it really is all that simple. I am the one who makes it complicated. I throw in all kinds of terms and conditions and then when you don’t live up to them I have a built in excuse not to move on. It’s never, ever me.
While I am responsible for me, if I do not learn from other peoples positive example than I will not be completely successful. I was traveling all day yesterday and I was tired when I got home. I had already decided no cardio today. I was too wore out. I needed a break anyways. My attitude was poor. I had a whole raft of excuses.
I started reading Spark People blogs and boy-oh-boy did I get a wakeup call.
My good friend AMABILE75 has been put through the ringer the past few days. She has some health issues she’s concerned about and if you read her profile and her blogs, well just let me say this: She is in my top ten of inspirational people…….. of all time. Her blog yesterday talked about exercise, walking up a jillion flights of stairs and then beginning preparation for a 5K run in July. This is while she is living with her medical issues.
“This is the last call for pity, party of one.”
I was humbled. I had a sore neck, a sore back and I was cranky. I changed clothes went to the gym and I have to tell you it was the best work out I have had in two weeks. This morning I feel energized and refocused. (Thanks Tara)
The only person who can change me is me, but if I try to do it alone it won’t ever work. When I need something I turn to those in my life who can help, guide or show me a different perspective. To me that’s the true secret of being a Sparkie.
In three months I have created relationships that God willing will last a life time. But in the end it’s all up to me. I can succeed or fail but it’s my choice.
It’s your choice too.
Knock em’ dead today my friends
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.
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