Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Itís easy to get lost or as the saying goes, ďYou canít see the forest because of all the trees.Ē You get up in the morning and if youíre honest a plate of bacon and eggs sure would taste a whole lot better that a bowl of oatmeal and a banana. Some of us are running, cycling or lifting when the sun is still asleep, some rush to get it done at lunch and others push after work to get their exercise in. It becomes so much drudgery and monotony. There are small victories both in the gym and on the scale, but truth be told I often find myself asking myself ďOkay John, tell me again why youíre doing this?Ē Some days I just give up counting my aches and pains.
I took some time Sunday evening to clean out my Facebook message box. Some of my correspondence had been sitting there for over a year. One message came from a client who asked how much weight I had lost. I looked at the date. It was April 20, 2010. My answer was ďSixty eight pounds.Ē It took me a moment to realize it had been a year, Iíd lost sixty eight pounds and most importantly I had not regained my weight. Before you release the balloons, I still have close to fifty pounds I need to lose, but I have Never, let me repeat, NEVER kept that much weight off for that period of time. A small ďwowĒ came from someplace inside of me.
Starting in October, with my spectacular fall on the bridge during a 5K I have had one nagging physical issue after another. Currently I am battling a blister on the tip of a toe. Iím not sure how it got there but it hurts, it wonít pop, so it wonít heal. Did you ever try to effectively bandage a toe? For the longest time it has seemed like one long, painful journey, until I realized I am no longer on a diet, I am embracing a healthy life style change. I followed a process, hung around with good people, and believed in my value and worth. Yes, I get down, and I do get discouraged but I get those consistency awards every month because I am here every day. There are many of you who have gently guided, nudged and inspired me. I donít drop names simply because Iíd forget one or more, but so many of you have become good friends.
It snuck up on me like everything else does and for once the surprise was a pleasant one. I am proud, I deserve to be proud and I have taught myself that sticking with it will always produce good results. However, there is another old saying, ďWhat have you done for me lately?Ē I shared something I wrote for a client in a blog a few days and I am going to follow my own advice.
The ďvery bestĒ is where a journey should begin, not end!
When I was training for my first 5K I listened to a song by Jordan Sparks called Love is a Battlefield. I adopted a line from that song and made it a mantra of sorts: ďBetter go get your armor.Ē
Time to suit up.
Monday, April 18, 2011
I had a really good weekend. My wife is a fireworks fanatic. Thatís not an exaggeration. We sat in thirty degree weather with light rain off and on for seven hours to watch forty minutes or so of fireworks. We werenít alone. There were close to five hundred thousand people with us. Thunder Over Louisville has become the signature event that opens The Kentucky Derby Festival every year. We are always there. Some of our kids, there are six, show up or drift in and out of the picture during the day and our darling granddaughter keeps you more than occupied. But thatís not why Iím writing today.
As I grow in awareness of myself, my body and my spirit, well, that awareness is not always pleasant. Sometimes that awareness causes me to take actions Iíd rather avoid all together. One of those actions is putting my health first. I thrive in an environment that is scheduled or at least predictable. When I am out of town I try to stay at hotels that have gyms or work out space. I always pack my gym clothes and usually my resistance bands. They fit nicely into suitcase. I perform some sort of activity, for fifty minutes every day. I take one day per week, usually Sundayís off. Friday and Saturday of this past week there wasnít time for me to exercise, or at least that was my excuse. The real reason was I didnít open my mouth and let the people I was traveling with know I needed to hit a tread mill or elliptical machine.
Iím not sure how you react to those sorts of things but I get really down, which leads to frustration which leads to me getting mad, usually at the world. Instead of opening my mouth Iíll find it more convenient to blame someone else. Thatís a lot easier than sticking up for me and the things that are important to me. Because I am a people pleaser, who is in recovery, I will wear myself thin making sure everyone else gets what they need and then I am so darned surprised that the world doesnít accommodate my feeling in return. When that happens you can usually find me locked in a closet eating food that isnít good for me. Iíll sit quietly and allow other people to do the things they want at my expense just so I can hear that voice in the distance cry ďPity, party of one, your table is available!Ē
I didnít get my exercise in this past weekend and it was everyone elseís fault. Late Saturday night I lie in bed and while I was fuming how I probably gained five million pounds over the weekend I decided that Sunday morning on the way home from Louisville Iíd wait for the right moment and say something. We were about half way home when Joan looked at me and thanked me for spending the weekend on a lawn chair. She knew it wasnít my most favorite thing in the world to do and I reminded her that itís not her favorite thing to watch cars go around in a circle at two hundred miles per hour on the last Sunday in May either. I seized my opening and told her that I know we had lots to do this past weekend and all but I really had wanted to get my workouts in and I wasnít really happy I hadnít. Iím not sure what I was expecting as a response but Joan looked over at me and simply said ďAll you had to do was say something and we could have adjusted our schedule a bit. What is it, fifty minutes a day?Ē Then she went back to reading her book.
There is a lot of wisdom in that one sentence, and not just because it came from my wife. I canít tell you how many times I put everything and everyone ahead of me and then become so darned surprised when things do not work out the way I want them to. Then Iím cranky and hard to get along with and the person I am the most angry at is me for allowing other peoples wishes and desires to come ahead of my own.
If my health is that important to me than it needs to come ahead of a lot of other things or at least be included in the things that are important in my day when I spend it with other people. Iím not talking about being boorish or offensive in how I present it to other people and Iím not saying my needs are above everyone elseís, but they are equal to everyoneís and the only way people know about it is if I tell them. Our worst fear and nightmares rarely come true. They are played out only in our minds.
Putting me first is healtrhy, no matter how uncomfortable its making me feel right now
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.
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