Wednesday, April 13, 2011
For whatever reason, there are days I find myself thinking about donuts. There is no particular shape, flavor or sizeÖÖ.. Just donuts. I donít crave them; I just often have an image in my mind. Iím glad I do. I had one of those ďAh-HaĒ moments late last night, lying there in bed, pondering a donutÖÖÖ It was the hole. The empty space in the middle of the donut that needs to be filled. Itís why I over eat.
There is an empty space inside of me that needs to be filled and when that evil little voice inside of me decides itís time to point it out; I try to fill it with food. Emptiness leads to a bit of anxiety, worry or panicÖÖÖ you choose oneÖÖÖ.. And that leads to me finding something, anything to fill the void and silence the little voice. A good friend calls them ďmind monkeys.Ē Kat says that they canít stand to see her at peace and they bother her at the most inopportune times demanding her attention. I have mind monkeys also. When I donít pay them enough attention, they start banging on the cage and find a way to grab my attention. Just like the hole in the donut. It needs to be filled. I grab something to eat. Thatís when the cycle starts
I donít have to go into great detail because you have something similar to my donut hole. There is a space, a void and emptiness we donít want to talk about. Itís no one elseís business. We believe that rigidly following a food plan and exercising like a demon will produce some sort of serenity and stability. We hurt and we ache and shed tears and we do it all in solitude. I believe that by denying it, well, then, it will go away. If I allow you to see my vulnerability, if I dare ask you for help then I am not only exposing myself but I am reminding you, that you, have a donut hole also.
So we run. We run away from the people, the experiences, the relationships and the very things that would help fill that hole. We continue to believe that food and unhealthy behavior will fill out holes up because we truest nothing and no one else. Everyone finds their own path and their own vehicle to traverse that path. But I believe itís important to find a way, a belief, a practice in our lives that fills the void we now fill with food.
The first step to healing that hole or void comes with the admission that it exists. It doesnít mean the mind monkeys win. It means a large weight has been removed and we can look at healthy ways and methods to nourish our souls. I think, itís called balance, and Iím starting to see without it, that hole will always be there.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
I created this as a vehicle for some training I am preparing to do for one of my clients. You may share but with my permission.
Seven Steps for A Successful Life
1. Take one hundred percent responsibility for your life and your actions.
2. Make sure you communicate clearly what it is you want in all circumstances.
3. You wonít be respected until you learn to respect.
4. If you donít believe itís going to work, why should anyone else?
5. If you donít believe in you, why should anyone else?
6. The ďvery bestĒ is where we should begin a journey, not end it!
7. When you have balance in your life you have a better chance of reaching your goals and objectives.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
Joan and I were cleaning out a closet a few weeks ago when we ran across some ďkid art.Ē We have six, all grown now, four boys and two girls, ages twenty four through thirty five. In a large plastic tub we found a bunch of memories. Joan sorted it and was going to give some of it to them on their next visit. A couple of them scrunched their faces and made remarks like ďGosh, I never colored in the lines,Ē or ďBoy I sure was a messy painter!Ē Itís funny in a way. I donít think Joan and I ever saw it that way. Instead of messy art we saw priceless treasure and I would hazard a guess that when their kids are old enough they will see the same thing.
I bring this up because as I looked at their gifts and their own reaction to them many years later; I thought about how I do the same thing with myself. People say all sorts of wonderful things about me, compliment me, shower me with praise and I only see the muffin top (Yes, ladies, men have muffin tops also!) when I look in the mirror. Where you see a warm smile, I see the need for a beard and moustache trim. You applaud me for my courage for battling through injury and disappointment, tell me I inspire you and I only see a wimp who could be doing more and wonders why anyone listens to anything he says.
As I was dressing this morning it dawned on me that in the eighteen months or so I have been part of this experience, no one has ever been critical of how I look, or whether I lost or gained weight on a given week. No one has ever questioned my commitment when I havenít reached a goal. Where I have hung my head at times I was only greeted by big hugs when I raised my eyes. Where I felt like a failure when I couldnít reach a goal, all I saw where thumbs up emoticons and words of encouragement. No one ever commented that I was coloring outside the lines!!! Oh, donít get me wrong. Iíve received plenty of well-deserved advice on how to break the mold of my own self defeat or tendency to be a people pleaser. It has always been given privately and with encouragement. Itís always been an offer to help not hurt.
Other folks donít see the messy art work, they just see the precious package it came wrapped in. It would do me well to look at myself the same way. There are smudges, there are rips and wrinkles, but splashed on the canvas of my life there is this priceless and precious beauty no one but I can attain.
The same holds true for you. It really does. Look at yourself the way I see you and imagine this really big smile of love and gratitude on my face.
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.
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