Sunday, July 24, 2011
I always know when someoneís insight made a direct and I might add, correct hit. In short, it stings and it makes me feel sort of silly. I havenít blogged for close to a week. Most of that comes from preparing, traveling and conducting an eight hour seminar on Thursday. Some of it comes from taking stock of how I am living my life. Donít get me wrong. This isnít one of those ďOh poor me blogs, whatever am I going to do???Ē
Two good friends cut right to the heart of the matter when they commented on my last posting. Iím going to paraphrase. One observed that I devoted so much time to helping other people I left little time for helping myself. But I mean, isnít that we are called to do? Or is it, as I discovered after a lot of self-examination an excuse at times for me to avoid dealing with my health, my fitness and any other issue I donít feel like dealing with? Ouch, that one hurt!!! The truth usually does though.
The second friend observed that she noticed many of the people who were helpful, supportive and offered good advice never saw their weight ticker move. That one hit a bullís eye. Yesterday morning, I got on the scale. I was really surprised to see I hadnít weighed in since early March. Iíd weighed my self periodically at the gym, and yes Iíd see a gain at times but you know it wasnít a huge one!! Yes, my clothes were getting snug, but that was because Joan changed laundry soap or they shrunk in the dryer. It couldnít be because I had grown, could it? The tale of the scale showed a 22.6 pound gain. If thatís not a wakeup call I donít know what is.
The good news is I knew what to do. I felt sheepish; a bit over whelmed but giving up never crossed my mind. This journey is a real simple one. You keep track of what goes in your mouth, the quality of what goes into your mouth and then you make sure you do some sort of exercise on regular basis. When you do that you lose weight.
I became so caught up in everything around me to the point where I lost sight of me. Saturday becomes my regular weigh in day, good bad or indifferent. Fruits and/or veggies at each meal and lean protein, easy on the sugar and carbs. Itís no rocket science.
Sometimes a wakeup call is in order and I am grateful to those two friends who gently reminded me that despite what Dr. Phil often says, it is indeed all about you
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I have been preparing to teach a seminar I havenít taught in a while. The class is a group of young managers who have shown potential to develop with their company and ultimately fill senior level positions. The first question I ask them is what weight or value do they put on their jobs and how valuable do they see themselves to their company and its future. Typically their initial answers devalue their importance. They speak of being easily replaced.
I woke up thinking about that exercise this morning and I realized it applied to me as well. Like most other people I minimize my importance in this wonderful world. I donít often think I make an impact. As I looked in the mirror I had one of those ďAh-HaĒ moments. The effort I put into myself is in direct correlation to how valuable I perceive myself to be. If I felt the entire universe depended on my health and wellbeing to continue functioning, I would probably honor and value my body and health more than I do. The fog in my brain parted a bit and I realized the true indicator of my self-esteem and self-worth was right in front of me. I didnít need any tapes, or books or DVDís. I didnít need to meditate every morning to find the hidden truth of the cosmos, its right there in my bathroom mirror. Every time I look at myself I am performing a quick evaluation of how I see myself. The days I feel good and confident itís easy to stay with my food plan. Exercise is enjoyable. The moment my world is shaken well ďhello donuts.Ē Itís as if I am saying ďIím really not worth it any way.Ē
What we eat, how we eat it and how much emphasis we place on our own health is in direct correlation to how we feel about ourselves. Believe it or not, thatís good news if you are reading this blog. It means every day you log on to Spark People and you do the things you know are going to produce positive results. I am sure there are other things you could be doing with your time, but you have placed so much value in yourself, you make the sacrifice because you know you are worth the pay off. I canít tell you how many blogs Iíve read by people just like you who spoke of the struggle and sweat and pray and hope. Without you, my daily journey is a tough one. Without knowing that you have the same doubts and fears I have on a regular basis, well, Iím not always sure I could continue. When you have doubts because the needle isnít moving and you just blew it at your high school reunion, I can relate.
The real beauty that I see in you is that you persevere; you honor and value yourself as a human being and as valuable person in this world. No, like me you donít think about it that often. Like me you donít stop to think what this world, the community would be like without you. When I first joined
Spark there were a handful of people who bottle fed me through my first six months. All but one of those dear people is no longer here. Maybe they reached a goal and moved on, maybe they became discouraged and left or maybe they didnít see their own worth and value to themselves, this community and this world.
Later today I plan on sending out some Goodies to the people in my life here at Spark who helped make a difference. Yes, in many respects my life is in a series of knots right now, but Iím here every day drawing strength from YOU. Thatís how valuable you are. You are one of the many people who hold this fragile community together. You mean so much to me.
SoÖÖÖÖÖÖ LOLÖÖÖÖÖÖÖ. Get up, go look in the mirror, RIGHT NOW, and see what I saw, the amazing, wonderful person looking back at you and remember that until you value yourself, love yourself and respect yourselfÖÖÖÖ. No one else will.
FinallyÖÖÖÖ. Thank someone for simply being there. Maybe they arenít aware of how important they are to you. It will make their day. I promise.
Monday, July 18, 2011
I thought about Doug Murphy this morning. When I worked for Doug he wasnít much older than I was. We were both ďchildren of the sixties,Ē and for the most part we got along with one another quite well. Thatís not what Iíll remember about Doug. Doug had a unique ability to put any situation, especially the negative ones in perspective. Anytime our part of the operation would take a turn for the worse Doug would stand directly in front of me and ask one question, ďHave you done everything you can possibly do to correct the problem?Ē When Iíd answer that I had Doug would throw me two quarters and say, ďThen I guess thereís not much more we can do is there? Go get us a Coke.Ē I realized then it was his way of motivating and affirming me all at the same time. After a while I learned to ask myself the same question long before Doug did. When I reached a final ďyes,Ē Iíd slip back into my routine and just keep plugging away. Dougís advice is one of the reasons I became a successful manager and ultimately a successful person.
Doug never gave any great or grand speeches, never yelled and screamed, and his office was pretty dull and boring Ė No quotes or inspirational posters. He asked one thing and one thing only and that was the best you had to give on that given day. Some days it was more, some days it was less but all he wanted from you was the assurance youíd done everything you could do to make a situation better. Iíll admit that at times I came into work ready to coast through the day. There is only five years difference in age between our last four kids and only thirteen months difference between the last two. Some mornings my tank was empty before the day even started. Somehow though, Iíd do what needed to be done, whether I really felt like it or not.
Doug crossed my mind this morning because his words came drifting up from the recesses of my mind. I was looking at my food and exercise trackers and I asked myself if I was doing everything I could to assure I am going to live a long and healthy life. The answer was no, I wasnít. I get tired, discouraged, bored, frustrated and a host of other self-defeating emotions and I use them as a crutch. After all it is not my fault I have tendinitis in my hamstring muscles now is it? Any one going through all of these emotional issues would naturally turn to food, wouldnít they? But rather than being harsh on myself, I remembered that Doug was never harsh or critical either. You see there WERE times I wasnít doing everything I could do and heíd cause me to think. By the time he came back to talk to me Iíd usually come up with a few activities to correct a negative situation. Doug taught me that when you have done everything you can do itís ok to have that ďemotional CokeĒ and quit beating yourself up. Life is simple, we find a good path of behavior, we develop good habits, we stick to them and after a while we find success. There are days, maybe even weeks or months where we find ourselves doing everything right and seeing everything turn out wrong!!!
Fruit and veggies arenít always glamorous, exercise can be painful and boring and stepping on the scale can be like going to the gallows. They are all part of doing everything I can do. Some days itís not fun and some days I feel like everything I touch falls apart on me. Yet most days I realize that all the effort Iím putting into myself right now is going to pay off big down the road.
Doug never talked to me or compared me to other supervisors. He knew I was more capable then some and less capable then others. What concerned him was my little piece of heaven Iíd been given responsibility for. Itís hard some days to read a blog that trumpets and triumphs those folks who have happily reached a goal. It can be discouraging because we often donít see the progress in ourselves. Itís really hard not to compare. So when you can look in the mirror and say youíve done all you can, and nothing seems to gravitating in a positive way, take a really deep breath, relax and smile, success might be just over the hill.
Ask Doug Murphy.
Friday, July 15, 2011
I was overwhelmed in by all the love, support, encouragement and suggestions you sent my way yesterday. I started to respond to each of you individually and quite frankly got over whelmed by the responses. (Iím using over whelmed a lot, arenít I?) So from the bottom of my heart I thank you and my aching legs thank you. I have come to believe that Spark People personifies the definition of perfect balance. When you need support and encouragement it is there for you to strengthen you, to help you get through your ordeal and usually it comes from people who have been where you are at. I see it as a give and take because I know that being part of this community means that I have a responsibility to support you when you need it. Lord knows the challenges and the Spark Points and all the other cool things are fun but I know in my heart, this journey may have ended after a short while if I hadnít felt the encouragement of so many of you and from being inspired by many of your journeys. You, each of you are my heroes.
We are all about giving. That part comes easy. Admitting that we have weaknesses, that we contemplate failure, that we often need a life raft, thatís the difficult part. When I ask for your help it means I am open and vulnerable to you. It means you see me as I really am not how I create myself to be in your eyes. I believe itís the healthiest thing I can do. I believe that asking for support, prayers, love, energy, call it what you choose, helps make me better and stronger. It is one of the four life principles that I cling to so strongly: ďYou are who you hang around with.Ē
Iíve undergone this amazing transformation since joining Spark. Iím not afraid to show you who I am. Iím not afraid to open up and say ďI canít do this alone. Can you help me please?Ē I am not perfect, never will be perfect and never want to be perfect. I want to be the very best John I can be. When I share my weakness with you it is not to suggest Iím going to give up, itís acknowledging that I know where I can turn when I need strength. Itís a tip-of-the-hat to each of you because I respect you so much. I hope you feel the same way. I hope you feel that in me you have a safe haven when you need it. Someone who will understand and not judge.
When I am struggling with something or lifeís thrown me a curve ball Joan often suggests I blog about it and see what suggestions you guys have. Please do not misconstrue my call for support as a signal that I am giving up. As long as Iím complaining Iím still breathing, as the saying goes. So thank each of you, very much. I am glad I have the weekend ahead of me. Many of you wrote long responses and made some reading suggestions that I want to look at and research.
Finally, I want to address one comment in particular because it really bothered me. Out of sixty eight responses I received one negative one. It began like this:Ē QUIT BELLYACHING! Think of the people who can't walk due to a spinal injury! Quit feeling sorry for yourself!Ē
I am not feeling sorry for myself, least I donít think I am. I have experienced something that Iíve never experienced before and with the frustration I feel comes a bit of fear. I think part of being healthy is knowing when you need to let some emotion out before it eats away at you. I have always been an active person and being sidelined to this degree is something Iíve never gone through. Are there people in worse shape, you bet!!! I do not minimize anyoneís pain, suffering or challenge. We are here to learn, to grow, to share and to be healthy. Real honesty requires that I share the ten pound gain as openly as I share the ten pound loss. I donít look at being honest as whining or complaining. Maybe the person who wrote that comment has a loved one who has a spinal cord injury or is disabled. Yes, I agree I will always have it better than many people, but it doesnít take away from my frustration, only confronting that pain alleviates it.
Thanks for loving me, really, I mean it. If ya all were here yaíd get a big hug.
Now itís out the pool, ugh!!!! LOL
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I donít often find myself discouraged to the point that it affects my usually cheerful demeanor. Oh, I may complain and moan but inside of me I am eternally looking for the pony under the pile of manure. I am grateful and thankful for all I have. I believe in myself, I know what my value is and because I made a smart choice to include you as a friend. I hang around with most excellent people. I am a success in many aspects of my life and I count my blessings. I fail often but am not a failure. I get discouraged but usually put ďThe Sun Will Come Out TomorrowĒ on ITunes, listen to it a few times and wait for the clouds to clear. There is not a lot that slows me down. Maybe thatís the lesson Iím supposed to learn here.
About a month ago my legs began bothering me, more specifically, my hamstrings, then my gluts, then my quads and finally my knees. The pain got worse, stabilized, got worse, went away, came back and repeated the cycle. When I wasnít in pain I had a hard time walking. My legs felt like someone poured concrete in them. If I walked on a flat surface or one that sloped I was fine. Anything slightly uphill resembled a crab walking. It sure isnít fun. I normally walk two miles a day, and was spinning three times a week.
Iím not a huge fan of taking pills so for about three weeks, with my doctors support, I tried a number of things to alleviate the issue. Massage therapy was an option but not a cheap or painless one. If you have never had a myofascial release technique performed on you Iíd recommend lots of Advil prior to having it done. I almost passed out. I applied ice, rested, didnít do any walking, running, or cycling. I did upper body strength training but only those exercise I could do while seated.
All I kept hearing was ďrest, rest, rest.Ē Itís the only cure.
So now Iím not exercising and since food is my drug of choice I start medicating my frustration with food. I gain 12.5 pound and feel like Iím the Goodyear Blimps twin brother. Iím totally frustrated. Try not being able to put your pants on without sitting down first. Yeah, I know there are folks worse off than me.
My doctor and I caucused on Tuesday. I told her the holistic approach hadnít really put a dent in the pain and lack of mobility. Off to an orthopedic man I went. The diagnosis is moderate to severe tendinitis of my hamstrings and because they are so weak itís affecting my gluts, and knees and everything else. So he suggested an anti-inflammatory for a week or so and swimming. Fortunately we have a pool but guess who doesnít know how to swim, LOL? He went on to tell me that Iíd probably did a bit too much spinning and running for a fifty seven year old obese man. (Really, I love this guy because he has the same bluntness about him that I appreciate) So the muscle group has to heal and he said itís not uncommon for it to take up to a year for this to happen.
I know there is a lesson here. I just wish it would reveal itself and I could get on with life. Iím cranky, crabby and impatient with life. Did I mention Iím eating everything in sight? I look out the window and see people running and I get bitter. Iíd appreciate love in any way you choose to show it. Whether its prayer, energy or simply your support.
Thank you for letting me share me and thank you for being my friend. I value that most of all.
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