Monday, April 19, 2010
I have been dieting most of my adult life. I used to say I had a moderate degree of success until it dawned on me this morning I was looking at things the wrong way. Most of my inspiration comes in the shower. There’s just something nice about a stream of hot water in the morning!
I was thinking back to the time when Joan and I were first married. I weighed one hundred sixty five pounds. The day I began Spark people, I weighed in at three hundred twenty six pounds. In thirty five years I had literally created two of me!!! (While I am always looking on the positive side of things, two of me in that respect wasn’t a good thing at all.)
I could detail every diet I tried but chances are you already know about them. You have “been there and done that” yourself. Chances are you know all too well about the “failure factor” and the internal shame and embarrassment that goes along with it.
“Just something else I failed at.” We mutter to ourselves. “Go away John!!!”
As I stood in front of the mirror grinning at myself I decided to play the word association game.
“Diet’ I said
“Punishment,” was the first word in to my head.
All of a sudden the grin left my face. A lot of us look at a diet as a punishment for being overweight or as the world likes to call it “fat.” When a punishment doesn’t work we punish ourselves more and we succeed less and pretty soon we are right back where we started, feeling crappy about ourselves and adding a new friend called ten to fifteen pounds. Then most of us just give up.
We try different tactics. There is our old friend called self denial and his cousin discipline. They move in for awhile, reek a bit of havoc and move out leaving their best friend known as low self esteem. At the end of the day we believe there is nothing we can do right and we resign ourselves to being overweight.
I think we got it all wrong. We have it all wrong because we work from the outside in, instead of working from the inside out. If Spark people has taught me anything that’s it. The more I concentrate on being a better me, the more I am willing to take care of “all of me.” It’s not a punishment it’s a project. It’s a project I find myself looking forward to.
Yeah, it’s about a food and exercise plan. Yup, you gotta have goals and you better have an action plan. But aren’t you worth it? Fiddlesticks on what mom, dad, an ex a current or all those unenlightened people in your life feel. Aren’t you worth it? Yes, you have, like me, most likely failed in the past. So?
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery and today is a gift.” That’s why it’s called the present! Embrace it!!!
Right now, stop what you are doing, get up and take a good look at yourself in the mirror. I’ll wait for you.
Ok good you are back. You and I need to do that as often as we can. We need to learn to be comfortable with this project we call ourselves. We need to laugh and grin and not be so gosh darned judgmental of ourselves. We need to hold small celebrations every time we notice a positive change in ourselves and when we start feeling ourselves slip find some support.
Most of the time we don’t honor ourselves because we don’t place a lot of value in ourselves. We blame everyone but ourselves. We see ourselves as weak willed, weak minded and weak kneed. We constantly bend to the whims of others and the pit gets deeper and deeper.
Here is a suggestion:
Find one thing, anything at all, to accomplish today. Maybe it’s starting that new exercise program you been putting off, maybe it’s walking an extra ten minutes this morning or this evening. It might be taking a sandwich and fruit to work instead of hitting the fast food joint.
It might be a lotta things………………
Write it down. You don’t need to write War and Peace.
“I made a healthy lunch today.”
“I rode my bike to the bank today instead of driving.”
“I cleaned my office.” (That one was for me guys lol)
Keep a list and look at it every day and all of a sudden one day you gotta block an hour out on your calendar to review all you accomplished. Suddenly you are a success.
Trust me it works. I believe in you, you believe in you. See, there are already two great things that have happened!!!
Sunday, April 18, 2010
A very quick but hopefully sincere note to thank all of you who posted your feelings, reactions and comments on my Friday blog "After Much Thought: My Four Months As A Spark Person."
I usually try to respond to each person individually, because I know how good it makes me feel when I get a response on my Spark page. However........... LOL, as I am writing this blog post 190 of you have taken the time to post comments. I am using this blog as my way of conveying my thanks to all of you who took the to contact me.
I guess I was right, this is the very best group of people I have ever met. Your support and your love is tremendous
Thank you again
Friday, April 16, 2010
I thought I’d write a quick blog on the boring stuff, lol.
Some of you asked about Christa, the fitness instructor at my gym, how “our relationship is proceeding,” so to speak. Let me just say: Not as well as I had hoped it would. She speaks to me but only because one of the other trainers remarked how good I looked and Christa was present at the time. She forced a smile and nodded a bit. I did initiate a conversation with her later on and she talked to me for a few seconds but the look on her face was one of extreme discomfort. I have decided that it’s not me (LOL) or her either. I think she is a very reticent person. I think she is not comfortable talking with people she doesn’t know real well. That is the exact opposite of how I am. One of my daughter-in-laws said a polite way of describing me is “sociable.” In other words if you hold still for ten minutes I’ll talk to you. It doesn’t matter if I know you or not and it doesn’t matter what we talk about. Joan suggested that poor Christa might be a bit overwhelmed by “sociable” me.
My Ab-Blast class is well it’s a blast LOL. The young lady who really does resemble a Barbie doll has been so nice to me. At our second class on Wednesday we had to pair off in teams to do some medicine ball exercises and she walked up to me and said, “Me and you will be partners, okay?” Poor thing, I almost crushed her once when we sat back to back passing a ten pound medicine ball. She high fived me at the end of class and went bouncing away with a smile on her face. I really appreciate her adopting me. My daughters know her from high school and both say she is just a genuinely sweet person. She works at the gym part time and does musical productions at Dollywood and places like that during the summer. The class itself is going well. I am sore but a good kind of sore and even though it has only been two classes I feel a bit more limber.
The instructor told me I should take her yoga classes and that would help me build some resilience and stabilize my core. Another fitness instructor told me I should do weight training because it will build muscles and burn fat even while I am at rest.
This is all sorta interesting to me because three weeks ago these folks didn’t know I existed. All of a sudden people started noticing that I am getting in shape and so now I got all sorts of people wanting to adopt me so to speak. Andy Warhol said we all are entitled to fifteen minutes of fame. I’m enjoying mine because I know some new kid will knock me off sooner or later.
Joan and I are going to Thunder Over Louisville this weekend. It marks the beginning of the Kentucky Derby Festival. It is a huge air show and fireworks display that about a million people attend. Joan loves fireworks and it has been a few years since we attended so we’re leaving tonight and will be back Sunday. I am not taking my lap top but will track my food the old fashioned way, LOL.
Finally, if you get a chance CROBINGO wrote a really good blog this morning on rest, sleep and weight loss. It was a good reminder.
Oh, yeah. Some of you have asked me to post a picture of Joan so you can see what she looks like. She has agreed to do it but says the setting has to be the right one.
See ya Monday, much love to all and have a Spark filled weekend
Friday, April 16, 2010
I am not quite sure how you speak from your heart on paper, and have the desired effect. I have started this blog five times, got up in frustration, only to begin again. I decided it was time to just put it out there and let you spend the rest of the day scratching your head and wondering, “What the heck is he trying to say?”
Here’s what he trying to say:
I’ve been a Sparkie for four months and I guess it’s obligatory that I write the “This is what I have learned/done/not done.” I am healthier. I am happier. I weigh less. I didn’t think I could be more handsome, but I have surprised even myself.
I am beating around the bush.
I am joyful. I am joyful because I have many more friends today then I had four months ago. They are people from all over the world, who are individual and unique and so very special to me. They are the very young, the very old and the very in between. The console me, they motivate me and when I need it they love me enough to kick me hard. They are there right next to my wife and kids on the scale of value and importance in my life. They are loved.
I said the “L” word.
See, us fat people don’t often get the concept of real love. We have “issues.” I mean we got husbands and wives and kids and moms and dads bf’s and gf’s. We think they “have to love us.”
I am talking about the rest of the world. It’s the people we sit on park benches and watch with envy as the go by laughing and carrying on and oh my gosh we wish we were them, wearing those clingy clothes that swoosh in the breeze.
We see ourselves as this flawed group of people who are looking for some place to fit in. We cry, we feel sorry for ourselves and we somehow muddle through. We don’t see ourselves as the very fabric of someone else’s life and that along with other very important people we make up this marvelous tapestry that is someone’s life.
That someone is me. If you are reading this you are part of my life. You are a thread in the tapestry that holds it together. You are my friends and you are precious.
When I want to eat an entire birthday cake one of you writes a blog about temptation and resistance and gently encourages me coz, yeah, you two have wanted to eat the whole cake and only you know what that feels like. You know the guilt and the shame. So you write and you encourage me and then I think, “Well if they can do it so can I.”
When I wanna crash in front of the tube with a bag of chips and skip the work out one of you writes about the frustration, the anger, the pain and I find myself getting in the car, pointing it toward the gym and cursing all the way. When I finish my workout I whisper a silent “thank you,” to you that you may never know you got.
I have so many small victories every day that come from your good examples and your words of wisdom. You may be twenty five or seventy five but I listen to them all. I may not always be successful at first, but I get it, eventually. I talk about you like you lived next door to me.
That’s what I’ve learned in four months. I could talk about calories, flexibility and patience, or I could simply say that what I have learned is that I am loved and accepted by the most wonderful collection of people I have ever met. Realize that each of you in some way made a difference in my life.
Yes, I know I’m the one who did it and no I don’t need a self esteem lecture this morning, but you did it too, right along with me. You, the person who may not think you have any great value in this world. You played a part in four months of success and oh wow I am just getting started!!!
And, I play a part in your journey and that is what makes this ever so cool. We are there to care about and to support each other. No judgment, no indictments.
I am not sure how to end this and there is a danger I will run out of space and time.
I guess I can simply say that each of you is so very valuable, important and please, please, even when you get all down and out and feel despondent please recall that this ever shrinking guy in Western KY is jumping up and down shouting encouragement to you.
Coz he loves you.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
Change usually doesn’t happen overnight. I should know. I stare down at my belly every morning and there is actually a part of me that still expects it to have magically disappeared over night. I have to grin because it reminds me of that old patent medicine commercial “Lose weight while you sleep.”
Unfortunately, if we go about it the right way, change comes in a slow and consistent fashion. All you have to do is look into the Grand Canyon to see proof of that. We marvel at this geological wonder and often forget it took thousands of years to create. When we evolve we learn to adjust. I don’t always like adjusting. Why can’t I set a meal plan, decide on a weight goal, choose a cool and spiffy exercise program and then put the whole thing on cruise control?
We toss around words like “motivation” and “self discipline.” We read inspirational books, watch inspirational movies, and I guess we even write inspirational blogs. We do this for a period of time and then we just can’t keep it going. At least that’s the way it seems. In the deepest recesses of our minds and souls we feel as if we betrayed the Spark. I mean we read blogs and articles and see other people crossing eighteen million miles of exercise activity while gaining thirty four million Spark points and we feel inadequate.
I’ll tell you why.
Come in a little closer. You might not want all of creation to hear this:
It is not possible to create enough activity to compensate for inaccurate perceptions.
In other words: No matter how far and fast you run there is just no escaping you. Yes, you should have goals and dreams and all of that. First you have to get a clear picture of where you are at, before you can get a clear picture of where you want to go. Quick fixes are vastly over rated and it’s why most of our New Year’s Resolutions are in the circular file in short order.
There is a danger in slow, circumspect progress. It gives us an excuse to quit. The operative word here is progress. Progress means that we move ahead, that after a prescribed period of time we are better than we were previously. Progress is the best form of morale builder I know. When we see ourselves, inching towards our goals all sorts of good stuff happens inside of us. It encourages us to do more.
But some days, to use a highly technical and academic term, progress sucks. It’s slow, it’s hardly measurable, we wake up to find a post card from the warm fuzzy, and it’s gone on vacation and is not sure when, if ever, it will return
I have a good friend who wanted to own a restaurant. At the time I met her she was waiting tables. She had a dream and an ability to cook Italian and Mexican food. She couldn’t see herself owning a restaurant. The thought was overwhelming to her because she didn’t have the tools. She started to collect them by working in a larger restaurant that demanded more skill. She shared her dream with a boss who recommended classes in food and beverage service. As she got closer and gained more knowledge she relied heavily on the small businesses administration. Suddenly her dream didn’t seem so unrealistic. After a few years of learning and mustering up her courage she took the plunge. She opened a small restaurant. To attract customers she allowed local artists to exhibit there paintings and drawings on her walls. Today, fourteen years later, she owns four restaurants in three different cities. Her initial involvement with the art community has landed her on the board of directors of an art museum, in a major U.S. city, a side benefit she had never imagined. She mentors young females who are interested in becoming entrepreneurs. I shortened her story considerably to save space, but watching her journey I can tell you, she suffered more than one of those “gray days.”
Success is measured with a calendar not a stop watch. Without progressive steps forward we eventually lose interest and our goal withers on the vine. You only do something for the first time once!! Once you get over your initial fear and loathing of change and make it work for you, not against you, well its like the sun parting the clouds.
G’Day Mates!!! (That one was for my Spark friends in Australia and New Zealand)
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