Wednesday, March 31, 2010
We all recall our major victories. The first time we were able to walk, run, cycle or swim without feeling like we were going to die. Maybe it was the first time we stepped on the scale and saw that the hard work, education and determination was really starting to pay off. We keep them close at hand, because we know there are those moments when we need them to help keep the momentum going forward.
What about the small victories? The daily things that if you had to explain them to another person it might take all darn day and you fear they still might walk away scratching their heads going “What the heck was he talkin’ about?” the things that mean something only to us.
We will have gray days. They are days when no matter how many mantra’s we utter, how many invocations we pronounce, we still feel all blah. We behave in a robotic manner and method. I call it “walking through green jello.” You read blogs and postings and Oh yes………… you want to Spread The Spark, just maybe tomorrow, or next week, or next month. Wonder what my calendar looks like for 2011?
I am learning to identify and savor the small daily victories. They are the good decisions I make on a daily basis that no one notices but me. I might be the only one who gets something from them but sometimes, despite the wonderful support I get from those who love me, (That includes you.) I still need that little push only I can give.
I would like to share a small victory with you from yesterday.
I went to dinner with a client at a restaurant I had eaten at many times before. It’s not the kind of restaurant one of the spark coaches would sing praises about. Exceptionally good food, but possibly the only healthy thing about it is the sign that exhorts you to wash your hands when you leave the restroom. The owner knows me as do some of the serving staff. So when I walked in last night, and they gave me the “Gee we haven’t seen you in forever,” and all the big hugs being spread around it was a good feeling.
I know they have chicken on the menu. It’s just hidden between the steaks and chops. I dodged that bullet successfully with chicken and steamed veggies plus a small salad. The worst was yet to come. This restaurant has a dessert tray to die for. I suspect a few people have given the massive sugar content.
There were eight of us at the table. Our server went around the table. I could hear my heart pounding. “What ya gonna do dude?” (That voice always sounds like Hulk Hogan) The server is standing right next to me and she looks down.
I am looking down at the table. Moment of truth, mano a mano.
She looks like someone just left her a three dollar tip on a hundred dollar bill. Five minutes later here comes the owner. He leans over to me:
“Everything okay John? You didn’t order dessert.”
“Everything is fine Mickey.”
He bustled away to greet someone else. I had a cup of coffee, enjoyed the convo with my dinner companions and gosh I felt good. I wanted to stand up in the restaurant and do the Tiger Woods fist pump.
I know it’s a small victory. I got back to my hotel and told Joan about it when I called her to say good night.
“You know,” she said. “It’s okay to have a bit of dessert every now and then just as long as you don’t go overboard.”
“I know, but not tonight.”
A very small victory but one that carries me into today. One that I can dig out when I need and give myself one of those “Hang on a second John, remember when…..” Joan was right, there is nothing wrong with a little dessert every now and then
This journey isn’t about punishment.
But I had to know I could resist the urge and temptation and it may be a small thing but I am all grins, and its not even six am yet.
Look out world
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Sometimes this journey is so happy and so full of joy as we move forward that we forget about the pain.
It may come in a snide comment, a giggle or an odd look. Someone may comment on a part of our anatomy and all the good will and all the self esteem we have built up inside of ourselves over the preceding days, weeks and months goes right in the trash can. We over hear people who we thought were our friends make remarks about our weight or our eating habits because I mean if we are overweight we have to be eating like some sort of barn yard animal. We send furtive prayers to heaven and fight to hold the tears back.
No matter how much my wife tells me how proud she is of my progress, no matter how many friends and clients say “wow,” all it takes is one insensitive jerk to send my self esteem crashing down like a paper house. Yes, I am overweight. Yes, I did have poor eating habits. I am changing that.
Why do you take so much joy in making me feel miserable? You are scared. You read correctly Mr. or Ms Insensitive Jerk. You are scared of something you can’t explain and so you comfort yourself by belittling me.
What are you scared of? You are scared you are going to look like me one day and like some ancient sort of voodoo religion you grind me down in front of other people in the hope that it will act as some sort of antidote. I mean, my goodness, what if you gain fifty pounds and lose all your friends?
Oooo, oooo, oooo!!! I got an answer for that one! I joined Sparkpeople in December. I have more friends today than I can count and every day I get a Spark Mail from someone who says “Keep up the good work!!!”
See how foolish prejudice can be?
It doesn’t stop the pain of someone asking me what my due date is. It doesn’t stop the hurt when you get left behind by the people who have judged your value and your worth by your size.
Enough John!!! What do I do? Sit in the cornet like a quivering mass and feel sorry for myself? Nope. If you do that you may never, ever be truly healthy and happy.
Admit you are vulnerable, admit you are weak at times and it becomes so darned overwhelming that you cant deal with it. It happens to me three or four times a week. I get all shaky when someone who really doesn’t know me implies I am “less than” because of my weight. I know if I don’t deal with it in a positive manner – quickly, I will deal with it by binge eating. I will deal with it by throwing my emotional hands up in the air and saying “What’s the use?”
So here are a few things I do to get my equilibrium back where it belongs:
My kids used to say “Don’t hate the player, hate the game.” That person who made that insensitive remark was conditioned to do so at an early age. In my mind it is no different than people who are prejudice against others because of race, gender or national origin. The whole system of fear is wrong. But let me ask you something? Can you look yourself in the eye and tell yourself you have absolutely no prejudices at all? I have no hair. Sometimes I have all sorts of evil thoughts about those men who do. Irrational? You bet!!
When I do coaching work with individual clients, I ask them to make a list of things about themselves that are great and wonderful. I ask them to choose one thing per day for thirty days. Trust me, this is difficult. The first few days are easy, and then it gets really tough, then easy again. Each day I ask them to concentrate on the one great thing they identified in themselves.
At the end of thirty days they have a sizable list. I ask them to review it every morning or when they start feeling a bit shaky. I do. I look at thirty plus wonderful things about me and one tiny imperfection, that I am working on to correct and that insensitive remark seems to vanish.
Finally I am working on not being my own worst critic. Yes, I make mistakes and I stumble and fall, but I ask myself this question every time I feel the walls closing in:
“If all your progress halted today and you never made another step forward could you still love yourself?”
My goal is to make the answer I strong and firm, “YES”
We cant ask the world to accept us until we accept ourselves. We cant break down a wall of fear until we begin working on being transparent.
I couldn’t have done what I have done so far without you.
Don’t ever forget that and neither will I
Monday, March 29, 2010
To all of you who responded publicly and privately to my request for info on living a vegetarian life style I say
I was overwhelmed by the response and I now have enough resources to keep me busy for quite some time
Monday, March 29, 2010
I love to eat. I can see a lot of you nodding your heads in silent agreement. Not only am I an emotional eater I am an eater who looks at a meal as something that can be a wonderful life experience. I love to cook, to bake, to grill. I brew my own beer.
One of the reasons I have failed in the past in this journey towards health is I have always felt deprived. I always felt as if something had been taken away from me and I would act , well I'd act like I was five. "I'll show you!!!" Then I'd gain ten pounds. I used to think it wasn't fair, that the world got to sample all of life's pleasures and I was stuck eating cottage cheese.
Thanks to Spark People and thanks to my Spark friends and especially thanks to my daughter-in-law, I no longer believe that.
I am on my way to West Virginia. I usually break the trip in half and drive to Louisville on Sunday afternoon. My daughter-in-law has never cooked for me. she is in culinary school. when I talked to her on the phone she said she was excited about cooking me what she called her "go to" meal. when my son was tied up at work, this is the meal she would cook for herself.
Let me pause for a short frame of reference here. My left leg weighs more than her whole body!!!
I cannot believe meal I had for six hundred calories. if you take away the two ounces of white wine I drank it is even less than that. She cooked, salmon, in a small amount of olive oil, artichokes and asparagus tip sautéed in the same pan. She garnished that with a fresh pineapple-tomato-onion salsa in its own juices. I had with it a serving of wild brown rice.
Who knew!!! (Not me!!!) OMG it was delightful. All that good, wonderful food and it wasn't going to clog my arteries.
My friends, this journey is not a punishment, but rather a discovery of what can be, if we look hard enough. It means that you can still enjoy a really good meal and not feel guilty about it. It means you are not any differant than the rest of the world.
I'm off to WVA. I'll catch up with you this evening
Sunday, March 28, 2010
As of this morning I am slightly more than half way towards my original weight goal. When I began, what has become the seventh best experience in my life, (My wedding day and birth of six kids ranks one through six.) I set a goal of losing one hundred pounds. As I wrote it I was way skeptical. I couldn’t imagine me one hundred pounds lighter.
The Spark was published two weeks after I joined and I devoured it. I was comfortable that no one tried to sell me a drug or a program and I didn’t feel like Chris was pointing a finger in my face and telling me I was some sort of evil nasty person for not always living a healthy life style. I felt like he was welcoming me to participate in a process that would finally give me the confidence to put together in a logical and cogent order all the ideas that had been floating around in my head for so long.
Then there are all of you. So, so many of you that along the way gave me tips, gave me encouragement and gave me the best gift I believe anyone can give anyone else, your friendship. When I get up in the morning and head out the door I look over my shoulder and I see all of you clapping and waving and yelling “Go John.” I mean who couldn’t succeed with friends like you guys?
So for what it’s worth here is what I have learned so far and even some stuff that didn’t work but I learned from:
I decided I was not on a diet. To that end I am only going to weigh myself every two weeks. This happened quite by accident to begin with. I was out of town for a funeral last weekend and Sunday is my weigh in day. I didn’t get home until Monday and I decided to wait until today. But I noticed last week that I was more relaxed not worrying about the Satan called a scale. (I got that phrase of a really good Spark friend) I made good food choices because one day I will reach my goal weight and instead of going OMG, stressing out and eating everything see, I will know how to act and behave. I realize it may take me a little longer than I’d like to get the next fifty pounds off but I need to learn to be comfortable with me. Once it’s gone I have promised myself it isn’t coming back.
Take what the room gives you in relationship to exercise. I darn near put myself in intensive care a month into this experience. I was up to forty minutes a day of cardio, seven days a week and posted a blog that said I was going to go to fifty five minutes a day and then a month later fifty minutes a day. My body wasn’t ready. I am still comfortably doing forty minutes, seven days a week. I am cheering on my younger and more durable Spark friends who are performing at a higher level. I am gaining strength and I am getting healthier so for right now I am staying at forty minutes a day. I do plan on starting to add strength and core training. In two weeks I am beginning a class on developing abs and core on the stability ball and using resistance bands. It meets twice a week for one half hour and it lasts four weeks. When I have completed that course I am going to look into retaining a personal trainer.
I made myself a priority and let everyone I love know I was doing so and why. Mostly we fail because we fail to communicate. I told my wife and my family what I wanted to do and why it was important. They understood. When people know WHY you are doing something they either help you along or get out of the way. I do miss my wing eatin’ beer drinkin’ buddies sometimes but as I am so fond of saying, “You are who you hang around with.”
As I posted yesterday I am starting to explore living healthier by eating less or eventually no meat. I am doing this slowly and I am going to research it completely before I get into it. I want to be successful if I do.
My stress level has decreased because I am reaching goal I have set for myself and so my self esteem is higher. Some people who know me live and in person cant believe I have/had a self esteem issue. But if you have been or are overweight you know what I am talking about. No matter how good you feel there is always that guilt or shame. By reaching small goals I feel better and know I can accomplish more.
I have two affirmations I read over and over:
“They way you see the world is the way you see yourself.”
“If I can find an excuse not to do something, I can find a reason to do it.”
Finally, I really believe that positive energy is the greatest healing tool God gave us. I have been profoundly affected by each of you and am grateful for you.
Have a great day
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