Tuesday, April 05, 2011
I was so touched by the comments and remarks on my blog from yesterday. Soem touched me in a most special way. They came from people who were on the verge of giving up. I wanted to share something with all of you.
In 1993 Jim Valvano, a basketball coach, was diagnosed with incurable cancer. A few weeks before he died he was honored by ESPN with an award for courage. That speech, wich I listen to at least throee or four times a month, is availible on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kx5xbyhsfo
Every time I watch it I feel motivated and humbled at the same time. It keeps me focused and it brings a tear to my eye. I thought I'd share
I hope it helps you.
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
It took me almost fifty eight years to realize and understand that any real change comes from the inside of me and slowly works its way out. If you go back a few days and read my posting from Saturday, April, 2 youíll see I had the opportunity to have lunch with a successful Sparker on Friday. I was waiting for some magic words of enlightenment and after close to two hours she spoke her wisdom.
ďJohn, real change comes from the inside out.Ē I canít say I was disappointed because I couldnít argue with her. But it sounded so very plain, so vanilla, and so ordinary. I was expecting some great and grand revelation.
I had an eight hour car ride Sunday to think about what she said. I hadnít really heard anything new. What I heard was true no matter how hard I try to prove otherwise. When I joined Spark I was given a calorie range to eat within. Being a really bright person I figured if I ate below that range Iíd lose weight quicker and faster and OMG, OMG would I look hot, buff or whatever term you wish to insert here. Then, I figured out that if I exercised harder and coupled it with lowering my caloric intake, why my goodness, Iíd get there even quicker. You can quite imagine how that turned out. I was hungry all the time and my body ached. There are certain foods I am addicted to. Moderation does not apply in those cases and no matter how hard I try to rationalize it, processed sugar and I have a very nasty relationship that produces bad side effects. The phrase ďdenial is not just a river in EgyptÖ.Ē may apply here. I feel crummy when I have a slice of cake, but if you put one in front of me right now Iíd gobble it right up. Maybe staying away from those things is best for me; otherwise it starts a spiral that ends up with me being very depressed. I find myself believing in ďmagic.Ē I gravitate towards articles that talk about thirty, forty and fifty day wonders and BTW if Dr. Oz says it works it must, right?
So yesterday I took a really deep breath, stepped outside of myself and examined my behavior. I saw where I slipped and where my thought process was a bit leaky. I ate within my calorie level yesterday, planning five small meals. I felt really bad about doing it. A little voice kept telling me I was eating way too much. I guess it will take some time, but really where am I going? I worked out my exercise plan for the week. I have gone through six months of injuring myself and otherwise compromising my physical health. Some of it came from working out too much and getting fatigued which led to getting injured. I spent time of the elliptical and treadmill yesterday. Last night the same small voice that told me Iím eating too much told me I should go back to the gym. I hadnít done enough. I felt guilty, but I took a deep breath and stayed put. I could go on and on.
This will take time. It wonít happen today or even tomorrow and yup Iíll have setbacks. Later today I am going to work on a series of ďbehavior goalsĒ for the next six weeks or so. They are going to address the internal me. Iíll know Iím being successful when I see those external results. Iíll be assured the real transformation I am going through will be ďfor real.Ē
I canít do this alone, neither can you. We need each other and the great group of coaches and advisors here at Spark. I was foolish enough to develop the perception that I could navigate this mine field without a map. Yeah, Iíve lost sixty eight pounds but itís time to get healthy.
Monday, April 04, 2011
There are some mornings I crawl out of bed and as I look at myself in the mirror I tell myself I just canít do this anymore. I canít be bright and positive and upbeat and all those things that take so much effort some mornings. I look at my belly and even though all those fantastic measurement tools I have at my disposal tell me I am making progress, well friend, the progress isnít quick enough. It makes me want to go away, to quit, to give up, to convince myself that some people are supposed to be overweight. Itís in their genes!!! But I donít. I feel a bit ashamed, a little embarrassed that I have been stuck for what seems like forever now. I feel frustrated that I canít convince my body that it isnít twenty seven instead of fifty seven. I want to scream ďThe he** with all of this,Ē but I donít.
I come from a long line of cowards and quitters. I have been trained to live within my limitations and accept my fate as some sort of divine or cosmic punishment for past transgressions, sins and mistakes. Some days I feel like Iím not good enough to be around all these shiny happy people who are running, biking and swimming half way around the globe. I wanna crawl under the covers and block the sun. But I donít.
I have lost some friends recently and that makes me sad. Fellow soldiers on this journey towards health who became casualties of their own minds and beliefs. They quietly faded into the woodwork. They donít interact anymore. Like me they are embarrassed, angry and some days a bit scared. Like me they havenít learned how to deal with success on any level and they often feel foolish. So they quietly leave. I donít always notice right away. Then one day I wonder, ďWhat ever became ofÖÖÖÖĒ
Some have reached their goals and couldnít hang on and the pain is too great. Some have tried and tried and tried and just couldnít make it. So they leave. I wonít go anywhere. Iíll be dam&*d if I run myself off.
Iím not writing this to receive. Iím writing this to give. Somewhere, someone is going to read this and wonder how I knew you were just about ready to give up because you used all of the energy you believed was inside of you. Someone may pass this on to you and urge you to read it.
Donít leave, donít quit, donít give up. Iím here and so are, oh about a million other people and we have all felt the same things from time to time but we havenít given up. This march towards health and self-esteem isnít always the most exciting but in the end it is the most rewarding. This Spark process works. I am proof it works simply because I am still here. This ist a diet. Diets encourage failure. It is an incremental life change that isnít always fun.
Take a good look around you. There are millions of us that feel the same way you do every day. Do me a favor, please? If today was the day you were going to leave, quit or give up, postpone that decision for one more day, print this out, put it on your fridge and commit to taking care of today. When you get up tomorrow congratulate yourself for making it one more day. I promise you it will work.
I can never have enough friends
Saturday, April 02, 2011
A lot has been written about being successful. I believe in the end itís a matter of what works for you. If you have an opportunity to actually sit down and talk with someone who has walked the walk, who has struggled, sweated and shed more than just a few tears you walk away enriched and inspired.
I had an opportunity like that yesterday. I had lunch with a Spark friend, EMTFF376. I was nervous. Iím about half way to my goal and here is a person who has done some really inspiring things on her journey and quite honestly I was a bit afraid sheíd look at me and sorta grimace. The fear melted away about two seconds after she greeted me with what can best be described as an enormous bear hug. For the past six months we have been trying to arrange an opportunity to meet when I was in WVA but it always seemed like either her schedule or mine didnít allow it to happen. Yesterday it did. Wow, what an experience. I could prattle on and on about her accomplishments but take a look at her Spark page for yourself. http://www.sparkpeople.com/mypage.asp?id=E
Here is what I learned: We didnít talk a lot about diet or exercise, although it was sprinkled in the conversation. At one point she looked across the table and told me that the transformation begins inside of you and as you change the way you think, feel and behave you see the results externally. Iím paraphrasing here, but you get the intent. Real change comes when you have the courage to look at how you are acting or behaving and when you have the courage to look at yourself and not blink. Itís when you do the tough stuff even when you do not want to do it. She told me that she often takes her lunch break to run because itís the only time she has to exercise. For part of the year she works three jobs!! I learned that if you want to be successful you do the things you have to do to get there, and by the way; you do it with one of the most engaging smiles I have ever witnessed. When you change from the inside out you possess the ability to light up a room when you walk into it.
When I walked away I felt focused. Nothing she told me was new but I got to hear it in real time from someone who has experienced everything I am experiencing. It carried me well through the rest of yesterday and into this morning. I have an eight hour car ride home tomorrow and it will give me lots of time to think.
If you have a chance to spend some time with a successful friend, take advantage of the opportunity. The benefit of being able to listen, question and feel reassured canít be measured. We all walk the same path here, some of us trot, some jog, some crawl, some run, but we are all pointed in the same direction. As I walked away from our meeting the lyrics of a song form The Muppet Movie crossed my mind: ďThereís not a word yet, for old friends whoíve just met.Ē
Thursday, March 31, 2011
I own you an apology. You have much more influence, control and power than I imagined. As a matter of fact, from what I understand, you have more power than any president in history.
I was eating dinner at the hotel tonight, alone and there was a table of four next to me. (Yes, I eaves dropped. I was bored!!!!) All four people had just returned from vacation and according to them they werenít able to do any of the things they wanted with their grandchildren because you have removed all of the funding.
One couple wanted to take their grandkids on a boat trip in the Everglades to see alligators and such but the trips had been cancelled because ďObama cut the funding.Ē The other couple had wanted to get geo-thermal heating system and the price had gone back up becauseÖÖÖÖ.. ďObama removed the incentives.Ē They were stuck buying a normal old furnace. It was your fault Mr. President!! They said if Donald Trump were president heíd fire everyone that ďdidnít do right.Ē This discussion went on for about twenty minutes and you had a direct bearing on all the woes of the world, all by yourself.
So I was wonderingÖÖÖÖ Could I blame being overweight and my poor eating habits on you? Forget the fact they existed long before you took office. It would be really convenient if I didnít have to take responsibility for myself and my actions. If I grabbed a cookie, why it would be your fault. A two pound gain? That no good president!!! It would make life a lot easier. I'd be responsible for nothing!!!
Okay calm down. Itís my attempt at satire. But ya know, it makes about as much sense as what those people sitting next to me were saying.
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