Friday, August 12, 2011
It’s okay to admit it. You’ll have lots of company when you do and you’ll find you are not alone. Some days I’m leading the pack. Go ahead!!!
It neatly and succinctly points out all of our soft and weak spots and I have never been able to write a story, poem, or song that sings the praises of accountability. I’ve never heard anyone whisper behind my back “Did you know he’s REALLY accountable?” It sucks. Every morning you get out of bed and you look out over your day and you either sigh or grunt. Accountability can be like a hundred pound stone in your back pack. It weighs you down. It makes you stumble and fall. No one is ever praised for being accountable. Has your boss ever called you into their office and told you that you are an accountable person? Usually we are told the exact opposite; we need to become more accountable for our thoughts words and actions.
It sucks. It sucks because we know those talking heads and speaking points so neatly displayed on a Power Point presentation are absolutely right. We falter, we fail, we get lost because we rarely hold ourselves accountable. Maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe you are great at holding yourself accountable. If so, could you write and tell me how you do it, long term?
With accountability comes goal setting. In all honesty I approach goal setting as a “set it and forget it,” endeavor. I look at all the amazing and marvelous goals I’ve set for myself and all the goals I’ve given up on because of………. Well go ahead and fill in the blank. I’ve got a million reasons/slash excuses.
So here is what I’ve learned in convincing myself I am worth all this emotional and physical pain I am enduring: World peace goals don’t work. Everyone want world peace, but how do you get it? Everyone wants to be healthy, slender and active……….
I’m reverting to simplicity. I’ll weigh myself on Monday’s My first very reachable and accountable goal is to lose ten pounds. That’s it for right now. I believe I can even find a silver accountability lining in losing ten pounds. It sort of takes the heat off. I AM worth the effort that’s required to do so. So like it or not, here we go once again in fond, fond hope of getting the scale moving in the right direction.
Tuesday, August 09, 2011
They say that Abraham Lincoln was often ridiculed about his physical appearance. So, often, in fact that he refused to ever look in a mirror for more than a few seconds. Throughout his political career his opponents used Lincoln’s physical stature as a campaign tool against him. One author went to the point when he described Lincoln as saying “there was no physical attribute about him, at all, that was appealing.” I read last night that Lincoln confided in his wife that those verbal barbs stung and hurt him, even when he used his famous humor to deflect them.
Later in life as president of the United States Lincoln became frustrated with a number of his commanders during the Civil War. He wrote scathing letters to them and then promptly slid them in his desk drawer, never to be mailed. When he removed an officer from command he did it privately, professionally and always found some facet of the man’s performance to praise, despite the fact the commander had not performed up to speed at all times.
Lincoln was criticized in the papers and in the halls of Congress for being too easy or soft on people. He was lambasted for letting his opponents off the hook without tearing them down. Lincoln as we say today “had been there, and done that.”
I thought about this while I drifted off to sleep last night. I thought about how I felt when people made remarks or comments about my weight or my build. I thought about how much it hurt me to hear those things, how it stung. I thought about how it felt to be on the outside looking in. I thought about Lincoln.
We don’t often subscribe those raw human emotions to our historical heroes. It shocked me a bit to read Lincoln was offended by those remarks. But I realized that if he hadn’t gone through those hurtful times he never would have grasped an understanding of what other people felt when in the same situation. It’s that part of Lincoln, the kind and wise leader, we always recall, never everything he went through to reach them. Those traits were only fashioned in a furnace of pain.
I don’t like it when people say thing about me that are mean or cruel, but maybe, moving forward, like Lincoln I’ll have an understanding of how what I say and do affect other people. I sure hope so.
Monday, August 08, 2011
It crept up on me this year. I guess the older you get the more you have on your mind and then suddenly one day there is a clue and you feel a bit cheated. You really wish someone had been giving you an update on a regular basis, like those apps you can get for your phone that tell you about bad weather or your bank balance. It came crashing down with a large “thud” last week when I went to Wal-Mart to buy pool chemicals. After playing a cross between Where’s Waldo and Where In The World Is Carmen San Diego, I found them tucked away in a corner near the lawn and garden department. It was just yesterday, wasn’t it, that they had their own aisle, festooned with all sorts of floaties and the like? Now the chlorine tablets were consigned to a bottom shelf in a dark corner.
Our neighbor, Vanessa, has been going back and forth for the last week or so and has that determined look on her face when she waves as she motors past. She teaches English at one of our middle schools. It’s a good sign things are gearing up when I see her running errands. School starts tomorrow.
I’ve been so busy fighting disaster and trying to stay above water that I almost missed the sign my birthday sent. It can really be a challenge when you were born in the hottest month of the year. Your gatherings are around the pool and you pray it doesn’t rain. No one feels much like eating so you put in a DVD and everyone watches a movie.
It was cooler this morning and I watched the buses make their practice runs on my street. Tomorrow there will be kids huddled on corners, parents snapping photos of the Sammy or Sally’s first day ever. College football begins in earnest and the NFL begins preseason play on Saturday.
Wasn’t it just yesterday we were buying sunscreen and insect repellent? Hadn’t we just aired out the tent and made sure there were no rips and tears before we set off on a season of camping? Gosh, I just opened the pool last week, didn’t I and why were we having such a big barbecue only a few days after the Fourth of July?
Summer slipped through my fingers again. Like a friend you plan on calling for weeks and weeks, summer left without a forwarding address. Oh, it’s no cooler, and I’m not breaking out the fall and winter clothes just yet, but all the events that mark her slow withdrawal are clamoring for my attention. I think about my summer “to-do” list and vow that next year I’ll complete it.
Thank goodness there is always a next year.
Friday, August 05, 2011
You will not find any before or after photo’s here, nor will you find secrets to success. If you have any to share, secrets that is, I am open and willing to listen to them. Most of what I’ve done has crashed and burned. Oh there have been a few moments of enlightenment and many, many good friends, but if you came here to find a magic potion, I apologize. You can close your browser window and move on to something you may deem a bit more fruitful. This isn’t a rant or a cry for help. It’s not even a “poor me.” It’s the best testimonial of why Spark People works. It’s because I am living proof.
When I joined Spark no one made me any guarantees or promises. There was no “quick start” program. There was “fitter and healthier me” in thirty days. No one tried to sell me anything. I was, however, fed a steady diet of support and common sense. Along the way I have made some really good friends, some young, some old and some in the middle. I’ve found that these folks endure the same challenges I do; they do not live in The Magic Kingdom and I have yet to meet the perfect person. At least I know I’m not.
I began my journey here at Spark weighing three hundred twenty six pounds. That was in December of 2009. By May of 2010 I weighed two hundred sixty pounds, by July one of that year I was down to two hundred fifty. I was a rock star!!! As quickly as it started, it stopped. I hit the dreaded plateau. So being the amazingly intelligent person I was I worked harder and exercised longer. Thanks to Spark People I discovered the C25K program. I ran my first 5K in September of 2010. It wasn’t enough. I had to run more often and much longer. I saw people running five miles and decided it had to be me. Never mind that they’d been running a year or more!!
I started to yo-yo. I’d gain five lose three, gain eight lose six. In late October I made a spectacular fall during a 5K that took the skin off my knee very close to my knee cap. It took three months to heal. I gained a bit more weight. I started running again in late December. I ran about a half mile and as I planted my left foot on the track I felt a pain shoot up my knee. The doctor said it was similar to an injury a thoroughbred horse receives when they plant their foot the wrong way. I was just glad they didn’t shoot me.
My PT gave up on me. She’s in business to make money and the results weren’t headed in the right direction. I still love her like a sister and daughter and I understand. Instead of resting and accepting the fact that a fifty seven year old heals slower than twenty seven year old does I decided it was time to train for my first triathlon. (No fool like an old one, right?”) That led me to spinning class. Not wanting to ease into things I decided that I would take three classes a week. The end result was an aggravated preexisting back condition that I didn’t know existed causing a slight bulge between my L2 and L3 vertebrae. I have a hard time walking more than one hundred yards and if I see a set of steps I almost cry. My legs are stiff.
While all this drama is going on guess what happens? I am slowly regaining most of my weight. As I write this morning I weigh two hundred ninety four pounds and yes I am scared. But I’m here. That’s why I’m a living testament to the effectiveness of Spark People. Every morning, right after I say my prayers and balance my check book I log on to Spark. I get up early to read blogs, tips, share with my friends and gain a bit more confidence each and every day. Have I thought about quitting Spark, sure have, about a hundred times a week? Honestly I embarrassed to have lost all that I gained in success. Being a terminally ill people leaser I worried that my one thousand plus Spark friends would drift away.
I’m not going anywhere. I will not give up. It may take a long time but I will regain my balance and equilibrium and I will solve the riddles and dilemmas. I may have regained most of my weight and be unable to exercise much right now but I look back and I know that it was all of my own doing. I threw caution to the wind and over did it!!
Before I joined Spark People I would have simply walked away and been bitter. This is not a cry for help or sympathy. In many ways I write or say what most people think and won’t say for whatever reason. I’ll get this and if you are feeling a little blue or down or defeated today well guess what? So am I!!! But ya know what?
We’ll get this. Stay here, and work the process. I promise.
Thursday, August 04, 2011
I always use the same ice breaker with every class I conduct. I ask people to write down the two most popular title sections they notice when they walk into a book store. Seventy five percent have no clue and are amazed when I tell them those titles are “Self Help” and “Dieting.” (Just as an aside I find it amazing that the section on “relationships” is a measly two book shelves while the section on “Sex” spans an entire wall!!) Everyone, including your truly, seems to have an opinion on health, whether it be spiritual, emotional or physical. I ask the class why there are so many titles, so many approaches and opinions. It’s because there are so many of us.
I can’t count the times in my life that I’ve run out and purchased the “latest and greatest” book title that was guaranteed to solve all my woes and even possibly help me grow a bit of hair to boot. I can’t count the times I’ve been really disappointed in the results. Whether it’s a thirty day plan to change a behavior or a life time commitment to eating nuts and berries, I always end up disappointed in the results. As brilliant as I am, it took a really long time to figure out why. It starts and ends with me.
Everyone has their own path to finding fulfillment in their own lives and that journey starts and end within ourselves. A close friend shared something with me a few days ago. He’d read it in a magazine. It simply said “What other people think of you is really none of your business.” At first I was a bit shocked, alarmed and confused all at the same time. Hadn’t I been taught that other people’s opinions of me are what REALLY count? Shouldn’t I be speaking, teaching or writing so that I gain notice, attention or support? This short sentence literally turned my whole world upside down. What had I been struggling for my entire life time? (Honestly, if he weren’t such a good friend I would have put my fingers in my ears and began singing “I can’t hear you, I’m not even listening.”)
For two days my world was upside down and inside out. Last night I lay in bed, thanking God for the return of AC when a few short words entered my mind, “It starts and ends with you.” Beyond me there is nothing finite I can really grasp. My experience is mine and yours is yours. We are all fruit. I’m an orange, you’re a banana. (Please don’t tell me we can make fruit salad, please!!!) There are things I do, think or say that will fit well in your life and vice versa. For the most part my life experience will teach me so much more than anything I can watch on TV or read in a book.
I’ll keep sharing me. I’ll keep sharing my path with you and slowly but surely even though you have a right to think what you choose, when the day ends its none of my business. If I believe in me and what I profess, I’ll continue to live it in a way that helps me make this planet a better place to live in.
My list of wisdom gets a bit longer all the time and I worry that when I indeed finish my book it will be eight or nine volumes. For what its worth:
“You are who you hang around with”
“You deserve to be happy, healthy and successful”
“I am worth all of the effort I put into myself”
“I am what I believe I am”
“It starts and ends with me.”
You too. Be blessed today in whatever way you choose to be blessed.
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