Tuesday, June 12, 2012
I acknowledge that I am a turtle.
That's okay though... turtles are strong and enduring creatures. They are able to carry their homes on their backs and to continue with the metaphor; able to take on the weight of the world and move with it.
So, I'm a bit slow weight-loss wise. I had a great start way back in September when I joined SP but since then have been derailed. Damn you thyroid cancer & moody piriformis muscle! Much of the last four months have been spent flat on my back, gingerly avoiding movement, being poked by doctors, or being zapped of energy. However during these past couple of weeks I've gotten my mojo back and am attempting to get back on the bandwagon.
A new friend on Sparkpeople added me today and I noticed that on her profile it read: "I have successfully become a big failure when it comes to losing weight." And I realized that a lot of us often feel that way. Things happen, life gets in the way, and old habits come back stronger than ever. Those of us who have been struggling with losing or have been bouncing up and down the scale are not failures in losing weight, we are successes-in-training. We are learning every day how to better ourselves, what to do and what not to do, and the only way we fail is by giving up entirely.
This kind of statement though - the "*doom-inspired sayings" - almost all of us make every day, are negative absolutes in our life and we really should resist them. Words have weight and become powerful, both to ourselves and others. Some words should just come out of our personal vocabulary entirely.
"CAN'T" I'm tired of people saying that they "can't" do something. Really, they WON'T do it or they shouldn't do it because someone else has told them so. Just remember, people with no legs play basketball, people with no arms swim. If you won't or shouldn't do it, that's fine. It's your choice. "The problem with declaring a barrier [like "can't"] is that once you say it, something in your head clicks and you begin to tell yourself that you really can't do it and that you shouldn't even try. You've walked away from a door of opportunity without checking to see if it was unlocked."* (-quote from Psychology Today)
"IMPOSSIBLE" Nothing's impossible. Perhaps it is improbable, but you need to believe you can beat the odds... especially if you can take matters into your own hands.
"NEVER" Remember the old phrase, never say never? It still rings true. Negative reinforcement is just that. Pigs may not fly yet but when someone figures out how to get a pig to actually sprout wings you're going to feel awfully silly for saying never. Remember, "never" is a really, REALLY long time.
When I'm teaching yoga, I often get students that get frustrated when they can't do a pose. I always tell the class that this is why they call it the "practice of Yoga" not the "doing of Yoga". If we could all DO it then there would be nothing to work towards or enjoy. Sometimes we have to remember that life's enjoyment often comes from being challenged, or learning something new. There is always great excitement or joy when we accomplish something for the first (or 50th) time but if we always could do it, without effort, wouldn't it be likely that we would just take it for granted?
Today, I looked into the mirror and for a second, thought that if I hadn't been bouncing up and down in weight over the past 4 months, I'd be 20 pounds lighter by now. It's easy to be mean to yourself. It's easy to slip into "I should have done this" or I "could have" done that. Frankly, that's not fair. You may have made some decisions that held you back from reaching your goal but the past is past and it's what comes next that matters.
What matters is:
I am still here.
I am still trying.
I am still moving forward.
I can. I will.
And so can you.
Remember? If at first you don't succeed...
then watch this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=playe
and then, try try again.
Saturday, June 09, 2012
Gardening has never been one of my strong suits - I love the idea of it but I just don't have the patience. But when my friend Vicki was lamenting a couple weeks ago about desperately wanting a garden despite her only having a small apartment with a tiny balcony, knew that I had the perfect spot for her... and so decided to help her in this project to help me get some sun, some time away from the computer, and some good "non-gym" exercise. Maybe we'll even get some exciting vegetables from it... :)
Two weeks ago we drove to pick up some fresh goats cheese from a nearby farm and happened into the "Spring Romp": a tour of local farms showing off their livelihoods and products. On this tour we happened by a greenhouse and our new obsession was born. I called my mother from the farm to see if she would mind us taking over the garden that she had finally had enough of last year (after many, MANY years of beautiful gardens); she laughed and told me that I had no idea what I was getting myself into...
Here is the plot that was once her garden and now contains only her gooseberry, currant, and raspberry bushes, rhubarb, lovage, chives, and daisies. (She doesn't consider this a garden anymore as it doesn't need a whole lot of care or weeding any longer)
Looking over the current bushes into the field:
Vicki's Dog Nimbus (our garden mascot):
My father - helping us out with the tilling. (Which I'm incredibly thankful for! Wow, that's hard work!!)
My mother - laughing at us while she does a bit of light weeding of the currant bushes:
An extremely happy farmer-in-training and a not-too-impressed looking dog:
Vicki, taking over the tilling for me when my arms wanted to fall off:
Prepping the ground for our plants:
Our first tomatoes planted!
Vicki's dad coming to lend a hand putting up the fence:
The garden as it was left at 9pm last night... just seconds before the rain started to fall. All the plants and seeds in the main area are in and the fence is technically only half up -- we still need to staple in the wire around the other half. We have planted eight varieties of hot pepper plants, over a dozen different varieties of heritage tomatoes, bloody dock, cherry radishes, bright lights swiss chard and a sloo of amazing herbs. Once the fence is finished we will be planting our fence growing seeds: snake and amethyst beans and snow peas. The garden in total is approximately 750 square feet. That's going to be an awful lot of weeding!
Our next big feat is to clear another patch alongside of this one to plant the squash and eggplant. Hopefully the wild bunnies won't like those as we are not going to be fencing them in.
I can't believe we've gotten all of this done in just a little over a week! No wonder my arms are sore...
Sunday, May 13, 2012
I couldn't sleep last night until I got up and wrote the words that I was mulling around in my head... This is my letter to my mother for Mother's Day today. I thought I would share it with you:
Thank you mom
for always attempting to keep me happy, safe, protected and nourished.
Thank you for your kindness, caring and immeasurable patience.
Thank you for looking out for me even when I didn't think I needed it
and for letting me fall when I had to learn by making my own mistakes.
Thank you mom for always being there;
for waiting up and worrying, for the lectures and the endless concerns.
Thank you for laughing with me, even though I knew at times that you were also laughing at me.
Thank you for the limitless hugs, kisses, vitamins and bandaids
and for the support I receive from you every single day.
Thank you mom
for keeping me warm, for keeping me calm and for keeping me sane.
Thank you for understanding that there were times that I would be mad with you
but always forgiving me in the end.
Thank you for sticking up for me, for encouraging me, for believing in me and
for letting me know that you never expected more than the best I could do.
Thank you mom
for teaching me to be honest, courteous, appreciative and loving.
Thank you for trying to teach me to be neat and tidy, even though it didn't work.
Thank you for teaching me to try to see the best in people, to be diplomatic in the face of conflict,
and when I had no choice but to fight, to fight fair.
Thank you mom
for instilling in me a love for travel, books, flowers, photography and food.
Thank you for nurturing me to always try something new and to keep an open mind.
Thank you for the thousands of back rubs, millions of phone calls, and for always sending me home with left-overs. Still, to this day, you spoil me and I am incredibly grateful for it.
Thank you mom
for showing me how much beauty is around me, and reminding me of it constantly when my world feels dark and frightening.
Thank you for the endless stories, songs and games when I was young, and the endless conversation and knowing smiles now that I am older.
Thank you for putting up with thousands of diapers, my know-it-all teenage years, my sometimes insane 20's and the emotional roller coaster that was my 30's.
And through it all, thank you for loving me no matter what.
Thank you mom
for being so smart, so beautiful, so wise and so talented. It's nice to know that I have the potential somewhere in my genetics to possibly one day be as special as you.
Mom, the words "I love you" are not adequate enough to express how grateful I am to be your daughter, how much you are appreciated or how much you will always mean to me,
so I will simply say:
Thank you mom for being my superhero,
and my very best friend.
Thursday, April 26, 2012
For every problem out there however big or small, someone has derived a motivational saying or attitude to get you through. We see them all the time... on posters, emails, greeting cards, and prominently displayed on other's Sparkpages. We are inundated by them every day through clichéd statements such as "it's always darker before the dawn", "Anything worth having is worth fighting for", "tomorrow is another day…", or "Quitters never win and winners never quit".
And then come the barrage of excuses. Most of them, if not all, we begin with "yes, but…" and sum up usually rather messily by one of two terms: "I can't" or "I won't".
We've all experienced mitigating factors. We've all made excuses. Some of us have abandoned our goals and dreams altogether claiming it's too hard or too much work. Some are still barreling through no matter the consequences, and some take it on a more day by day basis. We all have our ways of getting (or not getting) to the finish line.
What happens though when despite all good intentions and motivations, you simply are faced with wall after wall? When the universe says to you, "your goals are all fine and dandy, but you can't work on them now"? Do you give up?
When I joined spark people seven months ago I had the best intentions. I was incredibly frustrated at the myriad of failed attempts i had suffered and needed a new way to stay focused and on track. I dutifully created my sparkpage, joined a few spark teams, and set my goals. My original finish line was mid-May, only a few weeks away now but according to my ticker, it may as well be years from now. I lost 20 pounds in the first month and a half which I was and am still proud of, but since then have lost and gained the same 10 pounds repeatedly. Half a year later and I am still, barely, down the same 20 pounds as I was last October. And now, even though I have reset my goals, I feel the upcoming original end date with a sense of sadness and a modicum of failure.
My excuses? They at least were extremely valid ones, at least in my eyes: Being tested and diagnosed with thyroid cancer, having full thyroidectomy surgery, recovery, and the latest, being laid up for the last full week with a severe flareup of piriformis syndrome which has also been affecting and limiting all of my movements, or lack there of, for the last four weeks.
I have tried, sometimes desperately, to continue to stay on track by simply calculating my food intake. But no matter how I tried, to be honest, it is not enough. To become healthy and lose the weight both diet and exercise must coincide with each other. And exercise, with the exception of light stretching, has been all but forbidden for me since my surgery date in early March. I tried, again desperately, to push through and exercise anyway, but this only ended up in disaster and a horrifyingly huge amount of pain. Prior to that, the stress of my diagnosis and frankly the need to live without restrictions or fear as I faced the unknown void which is the word cancer, was more important than the loss of a few pounds.
Perhaps this is a life lesson in giving up the unhealthy control we often have on ourselves. Perhaps, it is about the ability to let go of expectations and to-feel free to insert more clichés here- roll with the punches, or let the chips fall where they may.
Sometimes life is not in your control. And it is knowing how to deal with this roadblock that will get you through.
As you can see, even though I have not had any weight-loss successes in the last six months, I am still here. I have yelled, screamed and cried. I have spent many hours planning on how to get back on track when I am able, and also spent time welcoming and encouraging new spark people members. Not only does reaching out allow me to keep going, but it also allows me to extend a thank you, sometimes by proxy, for the many wonderful people here that have stood by, encouraged, and assisted me through this incredibly challenging time.
Because we all can do this.
Everyone of us, no matter our circumstances, can achieve our dreams and goals. We can become healthy. Or at least healthier. It may take far more time than we had planned, we may have 100 other hurdles placed in our way, but this is not about beating yourself up when you falter or fail. Whether you are jumping hurdles or weaving around them, this is about taking care of yourself, sticking to it in whatever way you can and knowing that one day you will stand on that finish line.
Aside: this past weekend I celebrated my 40th birthday propped up in the corner of the couch and not moving for seven hours. My partner, our roommate, our roommate's sister and his girlfriend, threw me a "surprise" birthday party. I was in a tremendous amount of pain but managed to shed my pajamas, shower, get changed, and gingerly make my way downstairs so I would not miss this occasion. They filled me up on Advil, champagne and cake and I managed for at least a few moments to let go of my pain, smile, laugh and enjoy life. Someone commented that I was the queen sitting court; everyone had to come to me and dote on my whims. And to be honest, though I'm sure I could lament on how it would've been better had I been able to walk around or even raise myself up to greet my guests properly, I'm not sure, given how it turned out that I would want to change the circumstances or my memories of it. It was not only memorable but funny as although there were an immense amount of jokes made on how turning 40 has made me feeble and disabled, I know that in essence all it really is, is knowing how to appreciate and love life.
Life is hard work but it is not to be suffered. Life is to be enjoyed, gained and attained. I may be sad for a moment thinking about things and opportunities lost, but when I am able again I will reset my dreams and take this world by storm.
“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.”
― Mae West
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