Friday, July 01, 2011
It’s hard to believe that it will be close to two months since I had a diet soda. Mercifully I have entered that stage where I don’t even think about it. I can be in the same room with a bottle of diet Coke without allowing it to seduce me. I still have one rather nasty side effect. My thighs, both quads and hamstrings and my hips cramp very easily. My doctor could find nothing wrong. She told me I “probably pulled a muscle.” Hmmmm, both hips and both legs? That’s one heck of a pull. I’m not fortunate enough to live in an area that offers integrative medicine so I have to rely on the internet. My wise wife of thirty seven years suggested that some of the aspartame was stored in my fat cells and was producing the distress. I researched it. She was correct. According to the three or four articles I read, Aspartame withdrawal can cause moderate to severe cramping in the hip and thigh area. Here is the scary part: The substance your fat cells produces is formaldehyde!!! The pains can last anywhere from two to six weeks. I am in week three and believe I am over the hump. The pain gets less each day and I can ride my bike. Stairs are still a bit of a challenge. My loving wife with her ever present sense of humor said. “Well look at it this way, your one of the few living people who is embalmed and living!!!”
Last Tuesday, eight days ago to be specific, I stopped using caffeine in my diet. This is not as daunting as it may seem, I am not a coffee drinker and with the soda gone, I was down to one huge McDonalds un- sweet iced tea in the morning. I decided that was my next step. It’s been eight days and all I am drinking is water. I’m at the point where every now and then I want something with a bit of taste top it so I squirt some lemon or lime juice in my water.
I have begun using organic blue agave nectar as a sweetener. It is a low glycemic sweetener so it absorbs into your body at a slow rate. The end results are no sugar spikes. I have been having berries, blue, black or strawberries with each meal and putting about one half of a tea spoon of blue agave on them. Since Tuesday evening when I began I have noticed I am not having any strong sugar cravings or carb cravings for that matter. One tablespoon has sixty calories and this stuff is so sweet I can’t imagine anyone using more than a tablespoon at three meals!!! It is the substance tequila is made from. Talk about an endorsement, huh?
Finally, about two weeks ago I wrote a blog concerning my granddaughter and her “silly hat.” I’ve posted a picture below.
Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Sometimes it’s hard to let go of what I call the “hug factor.” It’s the part of the journey where you feel warm and safe. You feel the support of other people and in many respects you are on a natural and legitimate sort of high. You lose weight. The little voice in your head is humming the refrain to “Happy Days Are Here Again.” You are strong, you are invincible!! (Apologies to Helen Reddy)
You begin to believe that the universe has shared with you a secret it has shared with no other human being and despite the warning signs that say the contrary you have a tendency to ignore the prophets and sages. You cut back on your exercise regimen because after all you HAVE amped your metabolism to the point where you are burning off everything you taker in or………….. You work out for five hours and then reward yourself with a pizza and justify it by an obscure mathematical formula that you created for you that proves empirically your five hours of exercise totally negates the pizza. (I do this a lot, LOL). You begin to eat desserts, because somewhere you read that this word called “moderation” applies to everything all the time and you never really set out to be a martyr now did you?
One morning you wake up and things are snug. Must be water weight!! A few weeks later the smell of moth balls reach your nose as you rummage through a few boxes looking for your fat clothes. For the life of you, you can’t figure out what happened. The “hug factor” tells us that as long as we keep telling ourselves how amazingly wonderful we are then we are immune to life and the rules that apply to everyone else. Just send out a few Goodies, write a poignant blog and look in the mirror and mutter “I believe in you!!!” That should cover everything, shouldn’t it?
You are worth it, you do deserve it and yes when you hang around wonderful people you will grow. You are what you believe you are. You also are responsible. Your body is a temple; it houses the amazing person I detailed above. If we don’t take care of it. If we don’t sit down and set some hard and fast rules for ourselves, then we will be repeating this cycle over and over. We forget our body is a machine. Machines perform as long as they are cared for. Try not changing the oil on your car for thirty thousand miles or so!! While we are beautiful, wonderful and amazing, we also have the awesome and holy responsibility to take care of our structure aka our bodies.
I get lost sometimes, I’ll admit. I get caught up in fitness minutes, Spark point and how many cool teams I can belong to. But, when all is said and done, isn’t it my health, my overall health that really matters most? I’m never going to weigh 145 pounds again like I did at age 16, but I can be healthy and happy and do the things and eat the things that push me forward. I love each of you and wish I could hold a huge party to meet and talk with all of you, but am I being truthful with John, when I tell myself how great I am and my behavior says the exact opposite.
Can you say “wake up call?”
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
No matter how battered and bruised I feel, no matter how gloomy things may seem I always cling to the strong and clear vision that I will be successful in creating a healthy life style for myself. I’ve found, quite by accident, that it “hope” that keeps me going. We put a lot of emphasis on faith and how strong it should be. Love is comforting and strengthening, but to me it is the knowledge or the hope of success that keeps me hanging on through the strongest gale force winds.
I have clung to four things fiercely. I am worth all the effort I put into myself. I deserve to have happiness, health and success, I am who I hang around with and finally I am what I believe I am. I cannot separate one from the other. They interact like puzzle pieces and when the going gets tough, I pull them out, dust them off and they supply me with energy and drive and purpose. I know they’re nothing new. You and I have heard them before in some form or fashion. I have found a way to give them personal meaning.
I believe I am worth all the setbacks and restarts I go through. I grow from them, they make me stronger. I am wiser today then I was yesterday. The bit of emotional and physical agony I endure is worth the end reward.
I have a non-negotiable right to be happy. No matter how many times I have stumbled and fallen down I have the right to pick myself back up and move forward towards my goals. I may take detours and I may end up getting lost and disillusioned. No matter how many times I start over, I deserve to be as happy as anyone else. No one can tell me otherwise!
The people I keep close are the people who not only love me but motivate me to be everything I can and deserve to be. They challenge me to grow. The hardest part is always weeding the garden, distancing myself from those people whose lives and their attitudes are not healthy or in my best interest.
If I believe I am a success, I’ll act like it. No time left for martyrdom or feeling sorry for myself. I deserve success, I’m worth the effort so don’t you think it would be a good idea for me to act like it. We attract positive, healthy relationships in our lives when we believe we deserve to have those kinds of things for ourselves.
Tracking my food is a bother most days. I hate it, especially when I know I’ve eaten some stuff that keeps from moving forward. I may have a headache or my back hurts and walking or exercising just doesn’t seem worth it. This journey isn’t about scoring a perfect ten. It’s about doing the things we know will help us grow even when we don’t want to. When we do, the victory is so much sweeter.
Monday, June 27, 2011
I did something last night I haven’t done in ages. I took a nice warm bath. Oh, I know its June, and its warm but I soaked there for a half hour or so just reading. I’m reading a book on wellness through balance in your life. One of the points the author made was that you’d be surprised how our choice of food determines our attitude and your outlook on life. I put the book down after a bit and sat there staring at my toes. I had a bible verse scroll through my mind
“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
It didn’t take real long to figure out the answer. All I had to do was look at my belly. It’s food, followed by money, followed by an overwhelming desire to be accepted and recognized by every human being I meet. That’s where I devote most of my energy. These thoughts come for a reason. They offer me a choice. They offer me an opportunity to stop abusing my body and to embrace a healthier way of living.
Food is my main issue but I know people who can easily substitute food with many other things. Did you know you can become obsessed with exercising to the point where it consumes your entire life and then subsequently ruins it? My daughter Kate has a friend whose husband became so obsessed with a popular exercise program on DVD to the point where it their marriage to unravel. I’m sure other factors were at play but there are people that have to be exercising all the time.
No one likes to read this stuff, heck I don’t enjoy telling you that most days I’m thinking about my next meal fifteen minutes after I eat my last one. I’m not proud of the fact that I worry constantly about money or being accepted or not having enough friends. You can fill in the blank with your stuff and logically I guess we could just sit around bemoaning our fate.
I went to bed determined to figure this out before I fell asleep. One thing I noticed about my “treasure” is that there was no mention of helping, serving or being present to other people. It was a “me, me, me” thing. I laid there and realized I can be awfully selfish at times. Maybe, just maybe, if I opened up a bit more to other people and invested my energy in becoming a servant rather than worrying about getting the best caloric bang for my buck off my next meal, I might slowly begin to change my perspective and balance my wellness.
“Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.”
Those of us who are overweight know that we got that way because we devote a lot of time to not only eating but eating the wrong foods. Threaten to remove my treasure and you have quite a fight on your hands, my friend!!! It’s why a diet doesn’t work. It doesn’t change our focus. It doesn’t teach us to look for a healthier and more balanced treasure in our lives. It can become a self-destructive monster.
So this morning I begin another journey towards my own wellness. It will come from thinking less of me and more of those around me. Isn’t that really balance anyway? When I’m healthy all eight cylinders fire in order to keep me moving forward.
Care to join me?
Saturday, June 25, 2011
There is a simple yet powerful beauty that happens when we choose to share a part of ourselves with someone else and as we do so, we know there will never be any return to us other than the knowledge that we helped another. So strong is the power of sharing that I believe it has the power to heal the person who receives that out pouring of love.
Earlier this week I wrote a blog about remaining positive in the midst of all that was swirling around me. A Spark friend responded to that blog with a link to a video on YouTube. To say it blew me away is an understatement. I listened to it twice and would have listened more but I cried a bit harder each time I listened to it.
I won’t elaborate; give you my opinion, etc. This song stands on its own merit. I am happy to share it and grateful it was shared with me.
I hope you get as much from it as I did.
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