Monday, November 15, 2010
I’m starting a seminar for a client in Nashville tomorrow afternoon and I was finalizing everything with the event planner for the hotel the other day. Before we hung up she said to me “I don’t know if I could do what you do. You must have had an awful lot of confidence in yourself.” I chuckled a bit and said “Well it’s either confidence or ignorance. Some days I’m not sure which.”
I thought about that conversation a lot this weekend. I asked myself how many times I began a sentence like she did. “I could never…..” My answer was: A Lot!!! It got to the point where I actually took out a legal pad and as watched the NFL yesterday I would write them down. The list was large and to tag it with the title of impressive would be, well sort of odd, ya know? Many of the things on that list were things I had long ago accomplished but at one point in time felt that there was “no way,” I could ever do them at all. Some of the things on the list were current things, things that I wasn’t even aware of. Bad habits of sorts that crept into my life and derailed my performance sat there looking at me.
Building your confidence is an ongoing, full time job. It is easy when there are a string of victories. We can conquer the world. It gets harder and then darn near impossible when things aren’t going the way we think they are supposed to. We attack, mostly ourselves and our beliefs when we gain a pound here or there or we eat something we believe might slow down out progress. I am finding that I have to look at work on the things in my life that give me the strength to endure, even during those times of self-doubt. I am learning I can do anything I CHOOSE to do and that choice is an important part of building my confidence. I am learning that the only person I am in COMPETITION with is ME. It matters greatly how I stck up against my own goals and expectations but the minute I start comparing me to you? ---- Well I have big issues. I never will be you and you never will be me. I am learning that often it means JUMPING IN the deep end of the pool and finding the swim to the other side isn’t as hard as I might make it.
It comes down to belieiving in me, my plan and ability to get there. You may get there ahead of me but that just means there is one more person to cheer for me when I arrive. I’ve been here eleven months today. I’ve accomplished a lot and hope to accomplish a lot more!!!
Confidence is another word for SELF TALK. So as I write this morning I am asking myself what kinds of things am I saying.
“I am worth it. I deserve it. I am who I hang around with.”
Good start John, good start.
“I know I can, I know I can.”
Saturday, November 13, 2010
I have been running since May 11, 2010
I started off inspired by a Spark friend who was running the Indianapolis half marathon while I was walking in a 5K walk here in town. Her enthusiasm, her commitment and her support was more than enough to inspire me to begin the running process. A few days later I started the C25K process.
I was skeptical. I looked in the mirror and despite my success all I saw was a fifty seven, year old, obese man who now decided it was time to act like he was twenty seven. Honestly, the thing that kept me motivated those first few weeks wasn’t my desire to run or any lofty or altruistic ideal. It was the fact that I had paid slightly over two hundred dollars for running shoes and I couldn’t see giving up after making that sort of investment.
I broke through the day I “found my stride” and it became comfortable for me to run. The same Spark friend who inspired me to run wrote me a quick note and told me that “I was a runner now.” I grinned.
I received lots of support both from my family and my friends here. My son Paul became my running coach. My personal trainer, Jen ran with me a few times and according to the people at the gym was more excited than I was the day I ran my first 5K. That was Saturday, September 25, just four short months after I began running. I didn’t set any land speed records --- I still don’t. During that time I had received a lot of encouragement from people who had run at one time and no longer could because of illness or injury. They were equally inspiring. A Spark friend who had run for a long time gave me two pieces of advice that I won’t ever forget:
“Run the race you trained to run.”
I give you that bit of a back story because yesterday, around noon, I ran five miles for the very first time. I would like to tell you it was full of inspiration and cheering and me being really happy. It was the worst run of my short running life. I gave up counting after the tenth time I decided I was going to stop running, throw my shoes in the garbage, quit the gym and go live under a rock. Everything hurt and I wasn’t motivated, not in the slightest. I never did get into any sort of rhythm.
“Routines are a nice starting point, but we need to be adaptable. We need strong yet flexible airplanes to fly on this journey, because one thing for sure is that it lasts FOREVER. How can we build better airplanes that fly through the storms of "real life" -- not a routine that only works in an ideal world?”
That quote is on my desk blotter. It’s from CATHERINEL66’s blog from a few weeks ago. You can read the whole blog at:
For about a mile that’s all I kept repeating in my head. “Fly the blanket-blank plane through the storm John.” I’d like to tell you it inspired me, it just kept me moving forward. I thought about all my friends who’d love to be there right next to me but couldn’t. I thought about how I was being a whiney little boy and I put one foot in front of the other. The route I ran took me from door to door at my gym. It was 5.1 miles. At 5.08 miles about two hundred yards from the finish my body told me “Stop John, or I’ll stop you.” I always try to listen to my body.
There was nothing really inspirational about what I did. Many of you run five miles in your sleep and a lot quicker than I ever dreamed of doing. I almost didn’t start yesterday. I had to force myself to do it. Running is like life. No matter how many different ways you cut it, it’s a lot of hard work, which pays off if you stick with it. You have really great moments that come after a lot of indecision, defeat and obstacles.
My body is sore from my gluts to my ankles. I took the garbage out earlier today and I saw three people run by my drive way. I smiled that kind of smile you often reserve only for yourself. I ache, but I’ll be out there with them Monday morning.
It’s like Springsteen says “Tramps like us, baby we were born to run.”
Friday, November 12, 2010
I don’t know about you but frustration, anger, envy ---- all those emotions we subscribe to “other people” have always been a thorn in my side when it comes to emotional eating. We don’t like to talk about our sordid journeys to the refrigerator or Coldstone when our world comes unraveled or when we don’t live up to one another’s expectations. I have read all the strategies and yet there are days I find myself perched on the precipice of pecan pie hell, just waiting for an opportunity to dive in.
It may sound awfully arrogant of me to say that my own blog inspired me yesterday. The good Lord knows there are enough other inspirations here but the whole notion of how hard I try to be something I am not most days struck me as a major road block.
“Here’s a thought, John. Why don’t you concentrate on the talents you have and develop them!!!”
What a novel idea!! At best I find myself mimicking other people and then head for a plate of chocolate chip cookies when I don’t achieve the lofty heights they do. Naturally I blame it on my own lack of self-worth and value. I mean if YOU can do it why can’t I? Get my drift here?
I never stop to think there are lots of things I do well and that if I took the time to first of all locate them beneath all this self-loathing and bitterness because I don’t weight 150 pounds and have a full head of hair I might begin to assert my own value and worth to not only myself but to the world.
When I choose to concentrate on my talents and on the things I do well, my self-esteem goes through the roof. The moment I try to be YOU, and I fail, it crashes into the basement. I head for my drug of choice which is food. It comforts me until I look at my belly and the cycle begins again.
Most of us have been taught to be somewhat self-deprecating and develop this “I’m not that good!!!” mentality. The word we use is humility. If you look at the root of that word, humility, it means “to be truthful.” Following the self-oppressing logic that we apply only to ourselves we are saying the truth is that we are not worth it.
The truth is you and I have all kinds of talents and they are not found on the Spark Page of IAMSKINNYAND URNOT. They are found within your heart, your mind and your soul. They were given to you at your creation and they are yours and yours alone.
So please put down the donut, stop feeling sorry for yourself, walk out the front door and inspire yourself today. When all is said and done the best person in the world for you to hang around with in this ever loving world is you.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
We had to stand in line at Target for a while last night. Someone was waiting for a price check. It gave me an opportunity to look at the magazine rack to my immediate left. Slick and glossy covers stared back at me offering me advice on every aspect of my life. By the way, did you know your breasts were crying out for attention? I didn’t.
Two things caught my eye. The first was how sleek and svelte everyone, male and female looked. I am not sure I could look like that if I devoted all day and all night to getting there. The second thing I noticed was how many times the word “FAT” was used. It was used just as I printed it, in upper case letters screaming derision and shame. I even sucked my gut in a bit so no one would notice.
I am not FAT
We have made lots of progress in our society as it relates to how we treat and view each other. We have created a process were the use derogatory terms for gender, age, national origin, religion and sexual preference have become unacceptable and rightfully so. We seem to believe it is still okay to refer to anyone who struggles with weight as FAT!!! It seems as if we’ve developed the logic that when we shame those of us who are over our ideal weight enough, well we’ll do something about it.
I am not FAT
Look at any book or publication (Including the holy grail of this web site, The Spark) and see the visual projections of the so called finished product. They are all sleek, slender, dressed well and have a blessed smile about their faces. They are the ideal. Now here’s the problem. There is no ideal.
From a very young age we are conditioned to believe that there is a preferred way to look. It’s so important that we are told our very success in life depends upon it. I’m not talking about being healthy. I’m talking about being attractive and so are they. The problem starts when you create a blanket definition for attractive. It just doesn’t work. What is attractive to me may not be attractive to you. Is it up to Vanity Fair to create a standard?
Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I want to be healthy and happy. I want to reach my ideal weight and have all the factors that determine health for a person my age. I am also keenly aware that my obesity is my own responsibility, not the universes. If I choose to be overweight it is not society’s fault. It’s my own choice.
I am not FAT.
I believe the standard of health I achieve in my life has to do with a number of things least of all what the cover of Men’s Health tells me I am supposed to look like. I have watched people; some of them here at Spark, mortgage their health and souls to look like the magazine covers only to realize they can’t sustain that level of appearance.
It’s about health. I have some very tall friends and some very short friends and then there are people like myself who God seems to have forgotten about the neck when he created us. He made up for it by giving me long legs. It is insane for me to compare my weight and health journey to my tall and short friends.
I am not FAT
There are lots of things in my life I need to change. I need to change them because I am worth the change, I deserve the change and I show up here most days to hang around with real people!!! (That would be you. You can take a bow now.) I need to eat better, exercise more and keep my eye on a healthy weight.
We reached the car and I told Joan everything I was thinking. As I started the engine I smirked a bit. She asked me why I had that look on my face.
“Suppose, “I said.” That a magazine published pictures of the ideal Caucasian, Hispanic and African American, and Asian person. What do you think the reaction would be?”
Something to think about
I am not FAT
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