Monday, April 11, 2011
Some days, itís hard to get myself in the right frame of mind. Some days I donít want to log my food or take the extra fifteen minutes to prepare something good to eat rather than stop for fast food or hit a vending machine somewhere. Oh, I know, itís really cool to SAY all the right things, post all the ďthumbs upĒ emoticons but Good Lord some days it just doesnít seem worth the effort. Some days, despite all my hard work and positive thoughts I feel like a blimp in a parade and wonder if my clothes will ever fit right!! I wish I could go to bed some days and wake up with an email waiting for me that says ďItís over, you made it.Ē
What keeps me going?
In the past week or so I have experienced this tremendous outpouring of love, support and friendship via this Spark community. The response to three blogs I wrote last week, the Spark Mails, friend additions and Spark Goodies touched me so very deeply. The recovering people pleaser in me started to have an anxiety attack over not being able to respond to each and every person who took the time to share themselves and their thought with me. I mean, LOL, what if you didnít like me anymore? Please know I am very grateful. It answers the solitary question above.
If you sit here today reading this you are what keeps me going. Your blood, sweat and tears, your devotion, your triumphs Ė all of it Ė is my main source of motivation each and every day. I cheer with each victory you have and I shed a bit of tear along with you when you have a setback. I donít think you realize how important your role is in my journey. I have known some of you for over a year and consider you as close to me as my family. Some of you are new friends and OMG, isnít it exciting to meet new people and learn new things. In a word I am blessed.
I am learning life is about balance. A key part of balance is gratitude. The more thankful I am the more I find I have to be thankful for and please realize that you are part of the reason that thankfulness grows each and every day. So when you have one of those ďsome daysĒ scroll through your friend feed, read a blog, send a Goodie, find some way to play a part in another Sparkers life, just as you have in mine and it will keep you going.
Thursday, April 07, 2011
All you have to do is look at the trees blossom and the flowers bloom to know that for death there is the potential for resurrection, whether you have a faith belief or not. Itís no by coincidence that the feast of Easter usually falls during the height of natures rebirth.
A fellow Sparker asked me why it was I got ďstuckĒ for close to a whole year. I had my hands poised above my key board to answer, when it dawned on me that not only was that a very good question but one that required some thought before I answered.
Let me do a quick recap. I joined Spark in December of 2009. By May of 2010 I had lost roughly seventy one pounds. About that time I started my C25K training. About that time I showed my first gain, when I weighed in one week. In the vernacular of my kids ďI freaked.Ē OMG I had a gain. Iíll tell you I felt guilty, terrible and all that not so very cool stuff. Yup, I know, everyone has a gain, even the cool kids, lol. For the rest of the summer I swapped anywhere from six to eight pounds. As of January 1, 2011, I had lost sixty eight pounds. If you read my Spark page you will see I reset my weight ticker and why I did so.
So why did I get stuck? The answer is simple but painful to admit. I lost faith in me. I got too good, too quick and when I didnít lose one hundred pounds in ten months I got scared. I hadnít taken the time to get comfy with my success. John was used to minor success, not the big time. John had been over weight for some time and now not only was he losing weight but he was running!!! OMG!!! The first time I had a gain; it was as if that small voice inside of me said ďSee, I told you that you couldnít do this John!!!Ē I panicked. I began trying to do all sorts of things I really wasnít comfortable with Ė exercising way too much, which caused me to hurt myself in both October and December. When that didnít work I decided starving myself might help to get me going. I was grasping at straws. If you had suggested standing on my head in pair of gym shorts on the busiest corner in town during rush hour would have helped, I probably would have done it. I could go on and on but you get my point. In short I found myself on a diet. My confidence was in the basement. I was tense, frustrated and felt like I was walking around in a fog. I didnít quit, I didnít leave I did something worse ---- I didnít care. I drifted along and quite honestly if it werenít for my wife, who has been well equipped with a large piece of wood by which to hit me over the head with for thirty seven years, and a few very close Spark friends I would have given up entirely.
It dawned on me one morning that I had panicked and stopped listening to the one person who knows best about me ----- ME. When I panicked I began to try everything everyone else was doing and I stopped listening to my body. Now, itís not that I didnít receive some awfully good advice at times; itís just that some of it wasnít tailored for me. Imagine knocking on your neighborís door and asking to borrow clothes for a special occasion. Chances are they are not going to fit.
I am learning to listen to my body and to support and supply it with what it needs. I am learning to do that in a really healthy way. I am learning to balance my body, my mind and my spirit so that they can work in harmony with each other. I am becoming friends with myself. Like the buds on the trees I see each morning I am starting to see progress and my confidence in what is right for me is returning. I wonít bore you with the detail. If youíd like to know specifics shoot me a Spark Mail and Iíll share more.
Advice for ya? Sure, why not, LOL. Listen to yourself, your soul and your body and in the end truely believe that death is followed by resurrection.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
I am a recovering people pleaser. I didnít know what that was until about a year ago. A Spark friend sent me a private comment and in a very gentle but firm way told me I sort of needed to get over my need to be accepted by everyone on the planet and start living my life with a joyful emphasis on what I can do to make this world a better place to live in. Well you can quite imagine, that having lived my life for other people for so long and wanting desperately to be accepted by the entire universe, this statement absolutely devastated me. I couldnít really get mad at her; I mean I wanted her to like me. What to do, what to do?
I will be this way until I close my eyes for the last time. Thatís not the question. The time for hand wringing has long past. I crave peopleís attention and their approval. I wonít get all Freudian on you here because I believe my past life as it relates to today and two dollars buys you a diet Mountain Dew. I want you to like me and if you donít I immediately think I did something terrible. I decided I canít spend my life dwelling on past mistakes. Oh, donít get me wrong, I still get these little twinges deep inside of me to be desperately accepted and I have to find myself pulling in the reins to do anything for anybody at any time. I have just learned to be judicious in who I commit to. I have, in a word, established boundaries in my life.
Without being dramatic it was a matter of life or death. When I felt rejected or even not accepted I turned to food. It gave me comfort. Yet as I got older and my activity level slowed and my metabolism began to get sluggish, the food I turned to in an effort to soothe my anxiety became an even worse enemy. I went from being overweight to obese, to morbidly obese. My blood work was all border line. I had some really difficult choices to make. I chose health and happiness. It is not easy. There are days I have to talk myself down off a ledge, but I am getting better.
I had a bit of a grin on my face as I write this next line because I thought here I am writing about approval but Iím going to tell you I didnít write this to seek approval. I write it because I believe there are only two kinds of people in this world, people who will admit they are fearful at times and people who wonít. Those who wonít, are simply deceiving themselves. I write the things I write, I share my soul with you not for support or approval but to let you see a ray of sun light in a day that may otherwise be dreary. I write so you know there is another person out here who struggles but keeps coming back for more each and every day.
Yeah, Iím a people pleaser. Always have been, always will be, but I am learning to turn that into something that helps other people feel better about themselves.
Four things allow me to find balance:
I am who I hang around with
I am worth all the effort I put forth to be successful.
I deserve to be successful
I am what I believe I am.
It is my mantra. It is how I live and I share it with you in the hope you find some grace through it.
So I gotta ask youÖÖÖÖ.. Whatís your next move?
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.
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