Wednesday, May 05, 2010
Terry and I had been talking for close to an hour. He had told me fifteen times how his lack of success in life stemmed from a verbally abusive father. Fifteen times, I know because I was keeping track. I’m not sure whether it was out of frustration or genius but I put my hand out in a motion to stop him.
“When’s the last time your dad ragged on you?” I asked.
Terry moved some papers around on his desk, looked at me and in one of those sotto voices we all get from time to time replied “Well, he’s been dead for over twenty years, so I guess twenty years.”
“And you have been using that as a reason to not be successful?”
He looked at me a minute, sorta with that hurt puppy dog look.
“I make excuse too, ya know, probably more than you. Lemme tell you a story.” I began.
Monday morning was my last Ab-Blast class for two weeks. I could tell the instructor was frustrated with us because she kept repeating the same instruction to us over and over again:
“People, keep your heinies down please!!!”
Finally she told us to stop, sit on our mats and look at her.
“If you don’t do it right people, you are only cheating yourself!”
It was like the heavens opened for me. (I still couldn’t keep my rear end down completely, but I am working on that.) I can use anything I want to motivate me and help me reach my success and I can use anything I want to prevent me from reaching my success. I am only cheating myself.
How many of you write me and tell me that skinny or fat you will still be my friend? Joan will still love me. I have built in excuses if I choose to take them.
I have built in reasons to be successful also. I have a good food plan, a solid exercise program and a clear set of goals and objectives. If I choose to “fudge” on them, well I am only cheating myself. It’s easy for me to blame everything from the alignment of the planets to the New York Yankees for my failure. In the end it’s only me that determines my success.
Yes, we have obstacles and there are mean and cruel people in our path who for whatever reason do their best to stop our forward progress.
I keep a button in my brief case. I have carried it for close to twenty years. It’s one of those “not buttons” You know the button with the little circle and the line through. The writing beneath is says “Them.”
You know “Them” they are the people we blame for our failures. Their cousins are “those people.”
The button was given to me by a friend I met in the late eighties. She carried a purse full of them with her. She said she refused to give anything or anyone power over her. She gave me the button and then told me the story that went with it.
She was walking home from work one evening. It was a nice night, sorta like the ones we have this time of year. She lived in a suburb of Washington DC. Three blocks from home she was attacked, repeatedly by a group of men. She was raped repeatedly and left clothes torn and in a coma, in the gutter. A man found her six hours later when he got his morning paper. She was told it was a miracle she survived the attack.
She suffered organic brain damage because of the trauma to her head. That was minor compared to the emotional horror she endured. She didn’t work for two years. She told me when I met her she was paralyzed, both physically and emotionally. Until this day, she walks with a slight limp in her gait and has problems putting a complete thought together at times.
One day she was in a small shop and saw the button and she told me it was like an angel touched her on the shoulder. She purchased all the buttons the store had, went home and decided it was time to start living again. She went back to college, not just any college, Georgetown mind you, and graduated with honors. When I met her she was working for the US Government in their state department. Since then she has started a successful business of her own.
I keep that button with me. Maybe I don’t look at it enough, but yesterday morning after I left Terry I put it on my lapel to remind me, that the only person who controls what happens to me is me.
I can make all the excuses I want to but when I do then “They” win. “They” are right. Abusive parents, spouses, siblings or friends. The moment I let “them” gain control of how I live and how I react, then Brandy, my most amazing fitness instructor is right.
I am only cheating myself.
Tuesday, May 04, 2010
I have a full day in the car, with three or four stops over the next ten hours. I'll be back later this evening.
I hope everyone has a great day and thank you so much for all your love, friendship and support.
You are a great bunch of people
Monday, May 03, 2010
If you have followed the adventures of this over weight middle aged traveler, you will know that for the last two days I had checked into the Anxiety Hotel, penthouse suite, for what apprised to be an extended stay. If you haven’t read Saturday and Sundays blogs I’ll wait here while you do.
Good you’re back!!!
Without the guidance and wisdom my wife provided me I might still be stuck in my gloom. As we were getting ready to go to the gym yesterday afternoon I was struck with another feeling. It was one of relief. I’d like to tell you that the relief came from understanding where I had stumbled or failed. I’d like to tell you it came from reinforcing my plan so that I could minimize future weight gains. That’s what I’d like to tell you.
As I stuffed my back pack I was hit with this wonderful sense of relief that I no longer had to be perfect. See, I have had fourteen consecutive weight losses for sixty pounds before yesterday. That works out to around three pounds per week. Every time I would lose some weight I wouldn’t do the happy dance, there was part of me that went “Oh crap. Now I have to do it again next week.”
As an overweight person I know that I spend a lot of time compensating. I do not fit in to the men’s equivalent of a size zero but somewhere deep in my psyche I think I should. But I don’t and then things get all crazy. That means, my evil twin, also known as my ego, says we have to be a lot better than everyone else just to be equal with everyone else. In other words we have to be perfect.
Until yesterday morning I was like a dog chasing his tail. I created this really vicious cycle that with each weeks weigh in, the stakes got higher and higher and I found it harder and harder to be perfect.
I wasn’t eating enough and what I was eating fulfilled an immediate need but didn’t give me what I needed to sustain myself and to lose some of this weight. I threw reason and rational thinking out the window. I have seen this coming for a couple of weeks now. It’s like going to Vegas with the mortgage money.
“One donut won’t hurt!!! “
“Ah it didn’t!!! Cool I’ll have another this week.” (BTW you don’t need to write it down.)
Two steps forward for every one step back. That’s what we are taught here isn’t it?
I do not have to be perfect. I just have to be John and you sitting there reading this have to be you. When we first joined Spark People we were asked to sign a little pledge card. Mine still hangs on the fridge. I looked at it before I wrote this blog and I am quite sure that no where does it say we have to be perfect from now until the end of time. It says “I promise to make healthy and positive choices so that I can have live a healthy life style and reach my goals.” Pretty straight forward and simple. No mention of perfection.
The real beauty of what happened to me this weekend exists on a lot of different levels and as you read this you may find a few more that apply to you.
First I am blessed to have the guidance, support and wisdom of my family, especially my wife. I have a daughter in law in culinary school who is a “healthy chef” and truly is a size zero. She gives me a lot of recipes for good tasting food without paying that “gourmet calorie price.” The rest of my kids encourage me and some of them have amped up their exercise.
I have you guys. I quit reading all the supportive comments on my blogs and my Spark page around ten last night because my eyes were watering. Wow. You wanna talk about an out pouring of love!!! I was over whelmed by it.
Here is my point: Every one of us has people, places and things in our lives that help us make a difference and keep us on the path most days. You and I have Spark in common, but I’ll bet if we sat down and had a cup of coffee we’d find out we had a lot more in common than that.
Lean on each other, support each other and to those of you who are feeling the strain and maybe leaving this experience I tell you this:
“You do not have to be perfect; you just have to be you. The last time I looked we take all comers here, no matter how silly they get some times.”
Just ask me, I know
Sunday, May 02, 2010
Every morning I receive a small meditation via email. It’s something I have done since the late eighties. A friend gave me the book for a birthday present and in close to twenty years it’s been torn and mutilated to the point it was falling apart. I was really happy to discover that it was online. (What isn’t!!!) Every morning when I open my email I get a little motivation right out of the gate.
This morning’s first line reads as follows:
“To conquer adverse circumstance, conquer yourself.”
This morning was not a good morning for a lot of reasons. For the first time since joining Spark I had a weight gain. It was only 1.2 pounds but I am not going to lie to you, it devastated me. Gosh, I really thought all of those old feelings had gone away when I started losing weight. Guess what? They all returned. I got scared, the hyperventilating type of scared. I cried, just a little. My shoulders slumped and in my mind it was the beginning of the end.
Thank goodness for my wife. Seriously or they’d be preparing the papers to admit to a chocolate rehab facility. There is not a lot that flusters Joan. The first question she asked me was “Are you going to have breakfast soon because if you are I’ll wait and eat with you.” Nerves of steel.
As we ate she looked over her glasses at me and posed this question “If you were one of your coaching clients and they called you this morning, what would you tell them?”
I thought for a minute and said “I’d ask them to write down what they thought went wrong, where their behavior had changed from previous weeks and then put together an action plan to correct it. I’d tell them to put the plan into place and move forward and quit acting like the world ended.”
Joan smiled over her cup of coffee. Game, set and match.
After breakfast I went downstairs and took out my legal pad. What had I done differently? In a nutshell I had gotten sloppy and lazy. I was tracking my food but seriously, who needed to write down everything? After all, if I took a handful of chips, it was okay because I had ramped up my cardio. (Any of this sound familiar to anyone?)
Lazy produces results just like healthy activity produces results only it’s not the kind of results I am looking for. I got cocky and full of myself and figured that the weight would just fall off no matter what. It was small things. I never deviated from my calories but I was close to the top end all week which meant with all my little “cheats” I was over the line. I got lazy by eating out four nights out of seven because I said I was tired, too tired to cook. Oh, I ate healthy, LOL, restaurant healthy.
“To conquer adverse circumstance, conquer yourself.”
I need to tighten a few loose bolts, no big over haul, just getting back to basics. While I am in phase three, I pulled out The Spark and am going back to phase one for a week so I can relearn those good habits that got me started.
It’s a wakeup call and thank goodness it was only a 1.2 pound wake up call. My generally positive attitude is coming back and I don’t feel as devastated. I’ll get there and so will you. We are all in this together and I am grateful for all your support, as always.
In one of his epistles Paul says something about “Keeping your eye on the prize.” That’s really good advice, especially this morning.
Oh yeah. I also noted during all this, as I have known for a long time "Behind every sucessful man stands a wise woman."
Have a blessed Sunday
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