Monday, June 14, 2010
Losing your focus is like falling in darkness. You are not sure where the bottom is. So you float and you learn that the harder you try to focus the harder it becomes to do so. A friend points something out on your Spark Page and all of a sudden itís ďLet there be light.Ē Everything seems so clear. You are not quite sure how to get where you want to go but at least you know where you are going.
There is not a lot of balance in my life. Truth is known there never has been. Itís always been all or nothing with me and in most cases both. I plunge into something with a lot of energy and when I canít sustain the energy forever I give up. Itís why I am over weight. Itís why I feel I have to do it all. Itís this feeling of not being quite equal to everyone else. It means Iím a ďpeople pleaserĒ because I have to be better than you just to be equal to you. It means I set a lot of unrealistic expectations for myself and when I donít achieve them I give up. Itís why I lost my focus last week. I was asking myself to be perfect in a world where perfection is impossible. Excellence, yes. Perfection, simply a dream. Itís a dream I always thought was attainable because if I did what no one else did than maybe it would balance the scales.
What my friend wrote on my Spark Page about being a people pleaser removed the scales from my eyes. I saw what was motivating me and how I needed to change it. I need to develop a sense of balance.
For the remainder of last week thatís what I did. I looked at the three areas of my life that are important to me; the physical, the emotional and the spiritual and realized that if I didnít pay attention to all three equally, I would not be successful in doing anything positive.
Another Spark friend blogged about keeping an exercise journal. I went to Target and got a cheap calendar that I could carry with me. I wrote my exercise plan out for the week. Because of my travel schedule I was not able to exercise at all on Thursday. This was my first challenge. I had to deal with that. If I miss a day, no matter what anyone says, I feel like I have failed. Well, last Thursday there was no way I could exercise. I didnít and I told myself I had stuck with my plan, which made me a success.
Food was another issue. I had to eat three meals out last week. No way around it. The answer was fresh fish and veggies and yeah I had a piece of bread, LOL. I did make a meal plan, went to the grocery before I left town and packed enough of my own food to get me through the three days I was gone. Lotsí of water, lots Ďof un sweet ice tea. I planned and I prepared and I didnít have to be perfect, because I was prepared. I felt confident. End result was a six pound loss for the week.
I think a lot of that loss had to do with paying attention to the emotional part of me. I made sure I got enough rest. I realized that too much rest was just as bad as not getting enough rest. By getting eight hours sleep and the security of knowing I had created a good food and exercise plan a lot of the needless stress was gone and I could concentrate on, well, concentrate on being me.
The spiritual part of my life is the most important part of my life and probably the area I feel I fail at the most. I have a hard time talking about what I feel and what I believe because I have always been turned off by people who take God, open your mouth, and shove Him down your throat just so they can feel they did something good and put a gold star next to their name. I donít ever want to be like that.
I could write reams and not express it well, so I will share with you a line from a song I like. It goes: ďTake my life and let it be, a living prayer, my God, to thee.Ē
Thatís all I really want out of life if I am going to be honest. I want to love and be loved. I want to share and be shared with and the odd thing is that for the longest time I felt that if I shared all of who I really was with you, well you wouldnít like me. Itís that need to please. I do want to let you know everything God has done for me.
It all came together yesterday morning. The dramatic way would be to say it happened at church. It didnít. It happened at the park while I was starting week three of C25K training. It was hot, I was aching and that nasty little voice inside of me kept telling me to quit. I would never be able to run a 5K. I tried to brush it way but it just wouldnít stop.
I got mad, really mad. I yelled at it to go away, to leave me alone that I didnít need it anymore and please donít come back. It was still hot, I still ached, but I ran farther yesterday that I have since I was a kid and I did it because I wanted to, not because anyone required me to.
My focus is returning.
Tuesday, June 08, 2010
One of the major issues in my life is that I try to do everything, usually all at once. That leads to a lot of stress which leads to anxiety, which leads to me being out of sorts. A better way of putting it is that I get out of focus. Thatís where I am at right now. The adjustment knob on the focus for my inner camera is stuck.
I havenít lost The Spark. I am more committed than ever to my nutrition, (I am no longer using the word ďdiet.Ē It has too much of a negative connotation to it.) and my exercise plan. As a matter of fact, thanks to a blog I read this weekend I am keeping an exercise calendar that I carry around with me to keep track of what I am doing and when. Really great idea. I am amazed at what this process can and will do for you when you allow it to. So rest assured I am not going anywhere.
I have a very strong spiritual belief that God has a purpose in life for each of us, each moment of the day. Part of my purpose and my life is being here with you. I need to learn from you and then I need to use my gifts and talents to share my path and journey with you in return. To be honest with you I am a bit over whelmed.
Between writing a blog, keeping up with the teams I am on and returning Spark Goodies you all send me I feel like I am spinning around in a circle. Then I feel guilty. I feel that if you took the time to acknowledge something I said then I should honor you by writing back or checking up on you periodically.
I donít always get to post on my team message boards and I really miss reading about what some of my friends are doing. I am very blessed in the fact that I am self employed, so I can work my schedule in easily.
This journey is about my health and my health and well being is going to be my priority. I contemplated the idea of saying nothing at all but I donít think that would be very fair. I am not going to blog for a week. I am going to take that time to reflect and to pray and ask God where He sees me serving Him best here at Spark. That may sound sorta corny to some of you, but I believe that I found all this for a reason. I want to make sure I am the best servant I can be.
As I said earlier I am not going away. I am more committed than ever. I am just not going to blog for a week and take the time to relax a bit and regain my focus.
I want to thank all of you for being such good friends. Without your love and support I would not have gotten this far. I look at this as parent of the process, part of learning to live with health.
Thank you for helping me.
Friday, June 04, 2010
If you cant view this blog here in spark this is the YouTube link where it is availible also
Thursday, June 03, 2010
I didnít begin to get healthy until I came to the realization that I had to become my own advocate. No one else was going to take care of me but me!!! Thatís hard for an overweight person to do sometimes. We look in the mirror and no matter how many positive mantrasí we repeat inside of our heads the mirror can be such a cruel mistress. We hear snickers and we take solace in the poor food of choice and just reinforce that whole ďI am really worthlessĒ image.
Itís hard to muster up enough energy and desire to start doing the things that will make a difference. I mean why even bother? We are fat now, we have always been fat and we are probably always going to be fat. We find ourselves rather disgusting donít we?
We donít share that thought with anyone because we know what people will say. Theyíll tell us we are lovable and intelligent and we can ďreally do itĒ if we try. We know different, donít we?
Itís a vicious and insidious cycle. How do we break it? Hereís one guys opinion:
First, you have already done the most important thing: You asked for help. Youíre here at Spark and you join teams and get involved in challenges and write blogs and you stretch your hand out and ask to be supported. That was hard for me to do. It was hard for me to admit I didnít have all the answers in the first place. Its how I got in the mess I was in, thinking I knew it all and could do it all on my own. I came to find out that instead of being superior, as I had convinced myself, I really acted that way because I felt insecure. My first month at Spark I was really intimidated and in the spirit of full disclosure some of you guys still intimidate me a bit because of how awesome you are. Silly isnít it?
I ask for help and keep asking for help and when people ignore me or brush me off then I look for other people who will help. I wonít give up. Somewhere along the road I discovered what I have always preached: I am worth it. I am also pushy and loud and darned opinionated. As a client of mine once said ďI am an acquired taste that is not for everyone.Ē But I am worth as much as anyone else, never more, but always as much. I quit wallowing in my own misery and decided that I have a lot to offer people and that deep down inside of me all I have ever really wanted to do is help people. So I decided to help me first. You canít give what you do not have. I am falling in love with myself. Itís still a bit uncomfortable to say that, LOL, but I am getting more comfortable with it all the time.
Putting me first meant I made a few very tough personal decisions. I had belonged to our local YMCA for thirteen years. I was even on the Board of Directors at one point. Two of my favorite people of all time Nick and Terri Ann worked there as trainers and were really supportive of me. The facility was older; the equipment was not maintained properly and regularly. Nothing was being done to reverse that trend. As hard as it was for me I switched gyms. I switched the Yís main competitor here in town. The proof is in the pudding. I am healthier, happier and the services available are superior for almost the same amount of money. I have taken a bit of heat for that decision especially when my new gym highlighted me in their June add as an example of someone who is creating a healthy life style. I had to ask myself a really important question: Do you want everyone to like you or do you want to be healthy? It would be nice if I had both but I think there is some humor in the fact that no one gave me a second look until I started losing weight. Now everyone wants to be my buddy!!
I am looking for a new doctor. When I saw my doctor last week about my blood pressure I made the remark that Joan had suggested I get it checked because it might be low I got a sarcastic response; ďWhoís your doctor, me or your wife?Ē Duh, that one doesnít deserve any more of an explanation.
I come first, so does my health and well being. I get a little shaky inside when I have to stand up for myself but itís getting easier. Itís easier because of my family. There is Joan, the kids and my extended relatives and then there are you who make up the rest of my family. I could not do what I am doing without you, but more importantly all the support in the world has little to no value until I become my own advocate and if I need to fight for what is best for me.
Iím no more special than you, but you wanna know something? You are just as special as me, which means you are truly worth the effort
Be blessed and reach out to someone today.
Wednesday, June 02, 2010
Our son Paul is a runner. At age twenty seven he runs mini and half marathons, 5kís and any sort of race they will let him run in. His wife runs with him. When he found out, as he put it, ďI was serious about starting to run,Ē he told me I needed to go with him and see his ďshoe guy.Ē As he explained it, ďDad you really donít want some high school junior who works at Dickís part time fitting you for running shoes.Ē
Okay. Iíll admit I have had a lot of new experiences in the past six months or so. There is this virtue and itís called faith. Every now and then you have to swallow really hard, admit you donít know something and lift a cocked eye towards heaven and trust a person who appears to know what he is talking about, even if you changed his diapers for a few years.
Saturday morning he showed up at our hotel and took me to the ďshoe guy.Ē When we walked in the door a very athletic looking man about thirty greeted me and asked me my name.
ďWhy does he need to know my name?Ē I thought.
He needed to know my name because if you are going to spend two hours with someone calling me John works a lot better than ďsirĒ or even ďHey you!Ē
He had me take off my shoes and socks and began to walk me through a process that measured both feet sitting and standing. He measures my arches. He smiled, got up and went behind a curtain. When he returned he held a box.
ďI want you to put these on only so I can measure how you run.Ē
He proceeded to show me how to lace the shoes, put them on, tie them and make sure they were tight. He pointed to a treadmill by the store window and asked me to warm up for a minute or so and then jog for a minute or so. As he explained it, he would be videotaping my feet to see how I ran and how my feet fell when they hit the surface.
So here is fat old me in this store with all these very lean people making the earth shake for a few minutes. When I got off the treadmill, he smiled again and disappeared. He returned with six boxes of shoes and we went through the process of finding the right ones for me. He had me try on some amazing socks which felt like part of heaven had settled in my feet. He explained how the most important thing about these shoes was supporting my arches. He had me run more. When I picked a pair of shoes we moved on to inserts. This entailed another fifteen to twenty minutes of trying inserts in the shoes I purchased until I found the ones that supported me the best.
Total time: two hours.
ďJog up and down the street if you like,Ē he said.
I jogged to the corner and called Joan. The price for all of this was around two hundred dollars. You donít stay married for thirty six years by just randomly spending that kind of money on shoes. She listened to me for a minute and said:
ďWell, if you donít get what you need, six months from now youíll be sitting in an orthopedic surgeons office and the minimum weíll be paying is the one thousand dollar deductible on our health insurance.Ē
Case closed. I purchased the shoes along with the amazing comfortable socks.
Other than wanting to tell you just how cool it was to buy the shoes and share my happiness with you there is a point in here somewhere.
ďFail to plan. Plan to fail.Ē There are so many times in my life I have just lunged into things and wondered why I wasnít successful at them. It was because I hadnít prepared. Lack of preparation comes from wanting to change our current reality so quickly that we donít have to admit parts of our lives are messed up. Instead, we push forward motivated by some false thought that we are different than everyone else. We can hit fast forward and get there quicker than everyone else.
We are not different. We are wonderful, marvelous, beautiful, loved and cherished by God, but we have to prepare for everything we do or we wonít succeed.
Itís why we measure our food, chart our exercise, step on the scale and take the tape to out hips, stomach and thighs. We are preparing. We are preparing for those wonderful moments we etched in our minds. They are our goals.
Buying the shoes was fun, but more importantly, as I tested them out when we got home, I found that one action increased my confidence and my ability to do something I was still a bit shaky about.
From time to time people will tell me I am a good writer. I have to smile because you donít see how many times I hit the back space key or high light a whole paragraph to delete before I am satisfied with what I wrote. I am a terrible speller and have taken to writing my blogs in Microsoft Word and then pasting them here because Word automatically corrects so many spelling errors. Writing like running and many of the things that give you great satisfaction require preparation and the right tools in order to be successful.
Good health requires preparation. Thatís why you and I are here. Thatís why itís more than a diet.
Have a blessed Wednesday.
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