Monday, August 23, 2010
Friday was supposed to be an oasis at the end of a busy and chaotic week. It turned out to be a desert island. I had a personal training session scheduled at nine and a massage at one and the rest of my day had been cleared so I could get ready for a labor seminar I am teaching Monday-through Wednesday in Nashville.
My personal training session went great until five minutes before it ended. I got very sick to my stomach and thought for about five minutes I was going to pass out. Usually I have two meals in me or a meal and a light snack before my workout. Friday I had only eaten breakfast and a light one at that. Not only did I feel embarrassed but I physically felt crummy. But there was hope!!! I had my massage at one and I felt wore out and drained when I arrived. The massage didn’t help much. As she explained when she finished, massage often thins the blood and since I had almost passed out that morning I was going to feel a bit crummy. By Saturday morning I felt great, but Friday at two I felt like a large boulder had landed upon me.
I went home and sat in the living room staring off into space. I started questioning everything I ever did and wondering how in such a short period of time it seemed like everything I touched crumbled apart. (Read any of my blogs over the past few days. You will get the picture.) Two of my friends here had written really insightful and open blogs about being “people pleasers.” That weighed on my mind as I sat there. They were describing me to a tee. As bright, witty and handsome……….. Okay you might argue about the handsome part……. as I am there is no real reason for me to feel as insecure as I do at times. I have a really hard time relaxing and feel that if I am not busy I am pretty worthless.
I am reading a book by Joyce Meyer and it’s about her road to health through diet and exercise. One suggestion she makes is that when you are faced with a dilemma you can’t figure out or your willpower is in short supply, ask God to do the “heavy lifting.” So I did. Be careful what you ask for…………
I was thinking about my kids. They are great. We are proud of all of them just like you are proud of yours, no matter what anyone else says. They’re your kids!! I thought how I don’t tell them that often enough, how proud I am of everything they do and then I got that queasy feeling again. It has to do with stuff I haven’t dealt with.
In a nutshell my mom and dad have never told me they were proud of anything I have ever done in my life. Now the rub is that they never told me I was bad, they just told me anything I ever did could have been done better. When I started losing weight and was featured in our local newspaper my mom wanted to talk about how my brother had lost weight also. Not one word of praise. I hadn’t seen my mom and dad since Thanksgiving. They are getting older; they are both in their eighties so if I get a chance to see them I take advantage of it. Last Sunday we drove to Milwaukee from Chicago to spend the day with them.
When my mom walked in here was her first comment. “Why isn’t Paul, (our son) getting married by a Catholic priest.” No hello, no hug, just that. I just sort of looked at her. My dad says “When Mary and Joes kids get married I know they will marry Catholics and be married in the Church.” (Mary and Joe are my brother and sister.) Geena is Lutheran, her dad’s a deacon in their church and that’s where they want to get married. That’s my life. Whatever I do there is usually something wrong with it. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a bash my parents blog. I was clothed, fed and generally taken care of. I was just never affirmed as a human being.
So as I am sitting in my living room Friday and I begin to realize why I had become such a people pleaser. I always felt I had to better to be equal. I always felt the whole world felt like my mom and dad did. No matter what I did, it was never good enough and once we started having kids it transferred to them. Let go on record by saying I don’t think I was really terrible growing up. I did normal kid stuff but no real biggies. I am different from my brother and sisters in how I think and mu opinions. My parents also believe I don’t have a “real job” because I work from home, etc. I moved away from Milwaukee when Joan and I married, my brother and sisters kids attended five star universities while we always told our kids the most important thing in life was to be happy.
As all this whirled through my mind I cried. I cried because I was hurt, because I was mad, and because why couldn’t I have seen this sooner? It was a crummy weekend. I felt like I was detached from everything and everybody. In one respect I had “seen the light.” In another I kept wondering why they didn’t love me as much as they did everyone else.
I was angry. I was angry with me because I hadn’t seen this sooner and taken steps to fix it.
When I woke up Sunday morning I realized the only feelings I could control were mine. I went to the gym and I proceeded to run a 5K on the track. I had never run that far in my life. I cried the last lap. Bawled like a freaking baby, and they were tears that cleansed me. They were tears that were happy tears. I did it!! I posted my accomplishment on Spark and on Facebook. One of my Spark friends has also become a Facebook friend and she sent out congrats as many of you did on my accomplishment. But then a funny thing occurred. I started getting congrats and accolades on Facebook from people I don’t even know. For a while they were exploding my cell phone. Gosh it felt good.
You take recognition, you take love, and you take praise where you find it. It may not come from where you want it to come from, but love is love and if it comes sincerely, it’s equal to any other. You start to realize you are not alone and that now that you understand the obstacles in front of you, you can work to remove them. It’s all mental. The picture in your mind has to match the one you live. It’s a struggle for sure, but one that’s worth it in the long run.
Thanks to my two friends who got the ball rolling by having the courage to be open and vulnerable about themselves. You helped give me the courage to open up too.
Sunday, August 22, 2010
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Friday, August 20, 2010
In thirty six years of marriage there is only one thing about Joan that ever really irked me. Her side of the closet is a mess. She has a ton of shoes and they are sort of piled there with some belts and some boxes and only God knows what else and well it just drives my anal retentive, well defined sense of order up the wall. Did I tell you I was toilet trained at 18 months? My mother sat me on the commode with a book and I sat there until I produced the desired result. To this day I can’t use the rest room without having something to read. But I digress.
Joan’s closet is the perfect metaphor for how I feel right now. There is so much crammed in there that none of it makes a lot of sense. Ten pounds of sugar in a five pound sack. More on my plate than I can eat. You pick one and you won’t be far off.
We got personal training, power pump, C25K, and then I went out and got the ten minute workout for Wii. $14.95, what a deal!!! I am reading three books, trying to write one myself, juggle some new clients, and work on a DVD that will launch the new training program I am rolling out. There are three blogs published regularly, my web master graduated from college and shut down his server. I am designing a new web site, and looking into a business Facebook page.
On top of that my massage therapist thinks I am her therapist. What do you do though when the woman could snap your neck with one twist? I haven’t been to church in about five weeks and if you try to point all this out to me rationally and reasonably, well it’s like trying to explain heaven to a bear!!! Is it any small wonder that I believe I am eternally stuck on a seventy four pound loss? I am not happy. I am not sad. My mood swings like a trapeze!! Happy one moment, sad the next, no ability to focus on anything. The harder I try the slower I move. I am failing.
My closet needs cleaning. I am doing too much and as I wade through this mess called my life I realize that nothing good happens when you are trying to get into or out of a room and can’t find the door simply because you can’t see the door.
Sometimes I just want to be normal. I want to be like those skinny people on TV who drink wine, eat caviar and wear size zeroes. So I push and I pull and I get damned impatient when it all doesn’t happen overnight. It all comes from this massive misperception I have of myself. I have always felt that in order to be equal I had to be better. You run a 5K then I’ll run a 6K. You exercise an hour a day I have to exercise two hours. If I'm not better I am not loved.
I was a mess until this morning. I get a daily meditation via email that’s titled God Calling. I’d like to share part of it with you because it spoke to what I am feeling:
“And so to My followers today, as then, there come the shame and remorse and contempt of themselves, of the weak selves. They meant to be so strong and brave for Me. And then I have to protect them with a shield of love, or never could they have the courage to fight and conquer. But this facing of the real self has to be .
That is a stage in development, but only a stage. What use the glad wings of a butterfly if it remained Earth bound, weighed down with the thought of its contemptible past? And so now today I say to you , that you are not to dwell for one moment on your sins, and mistakes, and faults, and bad habits of the past.
You must be as one who runs a race, stumbles and falls, rises and presses on to the goal. What avails it if he stays to examine the spot where he fell, to weep over the delay, over the shortsightedness that prevented his anticipating and avoiding the obstacles?
So with you, and I lay it on you as a command -- no looking back. Give yourself, and all you have ever met a fresh start from today. Remember no more their sins and failures, or your own. The remembrance is a current of disappointment that hinders the swimmer.” From God Calling
Tomorrow I’ll sit down and clean my closet and put things in some workable order. I’ll reflect on my successes and realize that well, if you don’t love me, there is not a damned thing I can do about it, so worrying about it isn’t going to change it one way or another.
Have a great Friday. Time to clean out some closets.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
I was looking for a way to make a point this morning and as I puttered about I just couldn’t reach out and grab hold of anything. Nothing seemed to suit the message I wanted to convey until I read a response to yesterday’s blog. It wasn’t so much the response that struck me but the quote the Sparker is using as their profile icon. MESEATURTLE says “Someone who is busier than you is running right now.”
Amen. I should just end here and let all of us dwell on that for a day or so.
I wrote yesterday about kicking myself in the butt for slacking off from time to time and some of you wrote back basically saying, “Hey John, you have accomplished SOMETHING!!!” Yes, I have and I want to keep accomplishing a whole lot of something’s not only in my health journey but in other areas of my life. But what I thought I’d do this morning is share with you some of the things I do when things are going well and when I do these things on a consistent basis things go well more often. (I know “Duh, John.”)
1. “Someone who is busier than you is running right now.”
I can find a million reasons not to begin my day by being active. The biggest one is time. There is work and social commitments and well, you name it. I have found that when I do something, anything for the first twenty minutes of my day I feel so much better throughout the day. It’s like I get this infusion of energy inside of me. Usually it’s nothing to heavy or taxing. I may walk around the neighborhood for twenty minutes or so. I may ride my bike and get all the kinks out. It not only raises my heart rate a bit it but I get a chance to look at what I have going on that day and start making plans on what’s going to get done first. I find I am more alert and focused and when I do my cardio or personal training later in the day I am more focused and the workout is so much better because all eight of my cylinders are firing.
2. “Lunch hour should be a full hour.”
I made this commitment when I realized that on days like Tuesday of this week I got up uber early and headed off to see a client. It wasn’t practical to invest the first twenty minutes of my day getting active. But……… I will block off a full sixty minutes for lunch. That time is not to sit and graze. I’ll eat a sandwich or a salad and then I’ll get up and walk around, pedal the cycle for fifteen minutes or so. Nothing to drench me in sweat but again to give my body some consistency in motion.
I have all but stopped scheduling luncheon meeting with people. I realized it was an unhealthy behavior from my previous life that gave me an excuse to eat poorly. If the only time a client has is between noon and one I will acquiesce. Most people understand when I tell them I have that slot filled. Most importantly it allows me to control what’s happening to me.
Even if it is only for ten minutes, sometime in the middle of my day I lean my head back. Close my eyes, forget about everything and relax. It is the total and complete opposite of what I do in the morning! This ten minutes or so is to disengage. It’s a pause, a break or whatever you want to call it. I use yoga breathing as a relaxation technique and when I commit to doing it consistently it has great benefits. I am prospering while having panic/anxiety issues plus I get this massive dose of melancholy on a regular basis and this ten minute respite clears the deck and allows me to focus on the positive values in my life.
4. There is no substitute for a good sweat!
I am fortunate to have the resources to be able pay a personal trainer. Beyond the two sessions a week we work together she has crafted a workout schedule for me that has me doing a variety of things six days a week and then taking one day off. Two of those days are personal training days, one day is a body pump class. The other three days are cardio days and right now that involves training for a 5K. I am up to 2.3 miles!!! Go me.
5. “Someone who is busier than you is running right now.”
There are many people in this world who are a whole lot busier than I am right now and manage to get a lot more done than I could ever imagine. I believe more and more every single day that if I find more reasons to do things and less excuse not to do things, I will be a healthier and happier John. I am finding that the real struggle has nothing to do with food or exercise or other peoples demands on my time. It has to do with the battle I wage in my head each and every day. It is all about choosing what path I am going to walk down.
6. Sleep is good!!
I have found when I do some light exercise two to three hours before bed I sleep much better. It may be walking around the block a few times, picking up sticks and weeds in the back yard or pruning my garden, but I have found that when I end my day by kicking myself into gear a bit, I sleep better and wake up feeling rested.
When things go right, this prescription makes for a really happy and motivated John
Wednesday, August 18, 2010
This blog was going to be about my ninth month of Spark. It was going to be about how despite a lot of tension, most of which I created all by myself, I had run the good race, fought the good fight and when the dust settled a few days ago I had neither lost or gained any weight in the previous month.
This blog was going to be a testament to my perseverance followed by your loving comments along with a few Spark Goodies, words of encouragement and a few emoticons.
“Oh What A Good Boy Am I !!!!”
Well it’s not
A few days ago I read a blog here by Giranimal entitled” I am the boss of YOU, three pounds!” I recommend you read it. The blog was a straightforward talk with her about getting back in gear and getting some things done. To me it was sort of a manifesto that said “Time to stop making excuses.” It struck a very loud chord with me. But like lots of other things I don’t want to deal with I put it in the back of my mind and went on with life. Nice blog, good thought, glad she’s my friend, yada, yada, yada. I have a lot going on in my life, lots of stress, very busy, I am fortunate to have not gained any weight at all in the past month.
Yesterday afternoon I had my fifth personal training session. About halfway through the session, right after I had done plank pushups off a weight bench, Jen looked at me and said “when are you going to stop going through the motions?” Honestly, I was a bit offended. Here I am with sweat pouring off my forehead, gasping for breath and some Barbie Doll wants to know when I am gonna get serious? We finished the workout and as she turned to leave me she said “You have so much potential. I just hate to see you waste all of it by only doing things halfway. Come back Friday with a better attitude, okay?”
I was sorta, kinda expecting an apology of sorts, ya know? I mean, I am NOT THAT BAD. Yeah, I guess I am.
I stood in the shower longer than normal trying to wash some of the sting off my psyche. As I got dressed and headed for the car it dawned on me that Jen said to me what Giranimal said to herself. “Time to get it in gear.”
It’s time to quit using my life as an excuse for not living my life. Yeah there are always going to be challenges and nights I don’t sleep and pool pumps that break and weddings to plan that no one ever seems rational about. Anyone hear a valid reason in there for not being healthy, not following my food plan, not putting one thousand percent into my workouts? I don’t either.
I woke up this morning and decide it is time to get back on track and quit being satisfied with “no gain.” It means I quit making excuses and start getting back on track. Jen has worked out a really good exercise program for six days with a seventh day of rest. She has even offered to help me a bit on the side, as long as I don’t tell anyone. (Sometimes I think we never leave high school.) Giranimal is my friend, is wise, and shares good insights just as all of you do.
Neither Jen’s encouragement or Giranimals advice mean anything unless I embrace them and make them part of my life. They are simply words and they stay words until I get things back in gear.
It starts today and it continues tomorrow.
I have had the opportunity to learn so much from all of you. It’s time I quit going through the motions and put it into practice. Yes, I am pleased that I have lost seventy four pounds in nine months. I’ll be more pleased when I lose the last twenty five, keep it off for a year, run my first 5K and look at myself with satisfaction.
All the tools are right in front of me. I need to pick them up and build the house. Your encouragement means a lot to me, but only I can do it.
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