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Finding Beauty

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Well, 2013 has been a bumpy ride so far. My mood has been low. I wish I was the kind of person who didn't eat when she was depressed. Unfortunately, I am the kind of person who turns to food when she is feeling down. So, I've spent the past several weeks eating way too much junk. I've been withdrawing, not feeling like going anywhere, much of that made easier by the snowy weather. I've even been avoiding SP and instead have been caught up in bad eating and bad emotions. I would get back on track with eating right for a few days or a day, and then slide back into the unhealthy choices. The only thing I did right was exercise every day.

Not that it was the most fun exercise. Due to the weather, most of it was indoors, much of it on a treadmill for an hour a day. Plus shoveling. That was my outdoor time. I like the treadmill well enough. I finally settled on a 10% slope while I watch Gilmore Girls DVD's or listen to books. But I miss the sun. I miss walking outdoors without worrying about slipping on the ice and getting injured. But for whatever reason, I remained compulsive about daily exercise and stuck to that routine at least.

It was a nice surprise when one of my friends emailed yesterday and asked me what I thought about going to the beach. I immediately wrote back that I thought it sounded a bit insane and what time did she want to go? I have no ability to say no to the beach, apparently. Except maybe in a lightening storm. So we agreed to meet at noon today.

The beach looked very different than the last time we were there in early January. We've had a number of storms come through since then and the lake was frozen for quite a distance from the shore. There were mounds of sand, water and snow all along the beach. What my friend and I called Frozen Waves. It an entirely different landscape than we are used to and it was gorgeous. Without the water washing against the shore, it was so quiet except for the squeaking of our shoes in the snow and the panting of the dogs as they ran by. Also, the echo of my shouts for Quinn when he'd head for the hills or out over the frozen water.

Today we walked in a snowy canyon with the dunes on one side and the frozen waves rising on the other. We didn't walk as far as usual, stopping frequently to take photos but we still spent over two hours. As always, I feel rejuvenated after my beach time.

Even in the winter, in the cold, during the short days that often lack any sun, there is beauty and hope. Underneath those hills of frozen waves, there is a beautiful, great big lake that I will walk along in the spring and wade into in the summer. Taking care of myself now, making the right choices for what I eat and how much I eat, continuing to exercise every morning instead of sleeping in, will keep me healthy and strong for plenty of beach walks and plenty of good times all year long.

Here are some photos from today's walk:


The start of our walk


The beach looking very different from our last visit


Quinn and me posing by the same building that is behind us in my profile pic


The frozen lake


I know Lake Michigan is out there somewhere!


Curious Quinn discovers some water


Oh, THERE is Lake Michigan -- way out there!


Balto and Nanook atop the frozen waves

Hang in there SparkFriends, the days are getting longer and soon they will get warmer. Lots of good days are coming our way. In the meantime, I am going to try to see the beauty all around, even if it is while I am shoveling snow. :-)


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SQUIRRELLYONE 4/4/2013 9:22AM

    Spring is on it's way. I swear! I'm not lying... ok, so maybe spring tripped over a rock and stopped to get a band-aid for it's boo-boo, but it will be here soon!

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MJZHERE 3/12/2013 2:22PM

    What beautiful pictures - thank you for sharing. Glad to hear the positive attitude - yes the cold and sunless days will pass and spring will soon be here. We will both hang in there - maintenance is quite a process. Thank God He is there guiding and directing us. emoticon

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STHOMAS1009 2/27/2013 2:33PM

    Your blog reminds me of the long walks my DH and I took on Sandy Hook beach with our dogs. We were newly dating then. It was so much fun to walk along the beach with the dogs chasing each other. Stan would throw sticks in the water. Of course the water was too cold to entice the dogs to venture in! What fun! What memories.

Thank you!

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SUSIESLIM62 2/27/2013 9:34AM

  emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LOLABLACK69 2/26/2013 2:27AM

    Good to see you here again! emoticon emoticon

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RUDITUDI2000 2/26/2013 12:10AM

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures. Very cool getting out & enjoying the beauty of today! emoticon

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BOOKAPHILE 2/25/2013 7:45PM

    Amazing photos of frozen waves at the beach! I've never seen such a thing. The Pacific Ocean in winter is beautiful here, though. Thanks for sharing the beauty you saw. Good for you that you've kept up the exercising. Welcome back to SP! I hope your depression lifts soon. The good weather is coming...

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WATERMELLEN 2/25/2013 6:13PM

    Welcomje back to Spark -- what a great blog. The pictures are gorgeous of you, the landscape and your lovely dog!!

Getting outside and active always works for me too: even if I have to persuade myself to do it!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 2/25/2013 6:05PM

    What beautiful pictures! I'm sorry you've been feeling down, but coming back here is a positive step. Hang in there.

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123ELAINE456 2/25/2013 11:26AM

  Great Blog!!! Sorry that you are under the weather. But this soon shall past. Spring is around the corner with warm days and sunshine. You will be fine The photos are lovely. Glad to hear you have been exercising everyday. Keep Pushing Forward. God Blessings to You and Everyone. Have a Super Great Day. Take Care.

Comment edited on: 2/25/2013 11:28:03 AM

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LJR4HEALTH 2/25/2013 10:33AM

    Insane but fun (beach in winter) emoticon Winter is a really bad time for people I have issues during winter with depression as well But Spring is just around the corner it will get better emoticon

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KAYATLANTA2010 2/25/2013 8:18AM

    "Even in the winter, in the cold, during the short days that often lack any sun, there is beauty and hope."

What a beautiful thought... Your writing helps me to look forward to Spring. What a gorgeous environment for your walk!

emoticon

Kay

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MISSUSRIVERRAT 2/25/2013 8:02AM

    I know how you feel.......I was also feeling down.
Tried to meditate about it a little and could only come up with an analogy of a gray cloud thinking instead of what I thought would be an antidote of brightness. But instead I thought.....
There is beauty in the gray cloud. I looked out of the window and saw all the birds flying in what appears to be a black/gray/white world. I thought that a photographer could certainly see beauty in that and be able to capture it. After all, someone found something interesting in 50 shades of gray. I then saw a TV report about how the snow was making the farmers in Kansas happy. This kind of turned around my thinking and I started thinking that the beauty was in the beholder.
Your photos are beautiful. Glad you could get out and enjoy the beauty of the season.

Comment edited on: 2/25/2013 8:03:12 AM

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KANOE10 2/25/2013 7:55AM

    What a fun thing to do..going to the beach in the winter. Your pictures are lovely. Good for you keeping up with your exercise. I think the last days of winter are hard. I have not been my happy motivated self either lately. Hope you feel better soon and that March is a good month for you.

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TINAJANE76 2/25/2013 5:59AM

    Sorry to hear that you're in a bit of a funk. I think the shorter days do that to a lot of us. Keep chugging along and eventually you'll get your spark back. Great pics too--thanks for sharing!

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MANDELOVICH 2/25/2013 5:00AM

    Beautiful blog and amazing photos!! How great that you got to the beach! You are in your way!
You are beautiful inside and out, so be sure to take that in too!!

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BIGPAWSUP 2/24/2013 10:55PM

    It will get better. Spring will come and we will bask in a warm sun.

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FELINEBETTER 2/24/2013 9:45PM

    Hang in there, Girl! This too shall pass! I can relate to the winter gloom! Have you tried a "happy light" yet? I do get some relief from that.

Hopefully though, we'll both be feeling like doing our own zoomies!

Hope springs eternal!

emoticon emoticon

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FAT2GAINHEALTH 2/24/2013 9:32PM

    You sound like me in the winter...cabin fever is a name for it. I love to go to the beach !!!!! emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 2/24/2013 9:23PM

    What gorgeous pictures. Hang in there. Keep sparking! HUGS

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In the Immortal Words of Joe Walsh…

Sunday, January 13, 2013

…”I can’t complain, but sometimes I still do.” Despite having so much going well in my life, so much to be thankful for and no legitimate reason to complain, my year got off to a rough start. Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been rather depressed and once I went back to work after New Year’s, my mood worsened. My eating went downhill and I had several days of over-eating and binging. At least I kept to most of my normal exercise routine every day and I also had several days of staying in my calories. But I was just not feeling happy or energetic or wanting to do much of anything but overeat food I normally avoid. It wasn’t fun. Most of the food I didn’t even enjoy, but I repeatedly over-ate to the point of being uncomfortable and even less interested in doing anything besides sitting on the sofa and watching TV. I avoided friends, ignored phone calls and stayed away from SparkPeople.

Not the way I want to spend my days and certainly not the way to maintain my weight! Then on Friday, another day of bad eating and depressed mood, inspiration struck. As the weekend approached, I had been thinking all I wanted to do was go to bed and stay there until Monday morning. However, the weather was unseasonably mild, up in the 50’s and the same was forecast for Saturday. I decided I would take advantage of the break in the cold temps and hit the beach. Not only would a long walk be good exercise, but I find walking along Lake Michigan to be very restorative on a psychological and spiritual level. Just the thought of being at the beach made me feel better.

One of my friends who often joins me for beach walks, was up for a January jaunt. Even before we arrived yesterday morning, I could feel my mood lifting. Our dogs immediately engaged in zoomies of joy upon our arrival:



Quinn (AKA, his lordship) became impatient with our dilly dallying and demanded we get the party started:


More zoomies ensued:




We eventually settled into our usual two hour walk:


Of course, anytime my friend and I come across something new on which to pose the poor dogs (in this case, part of someone’s dock that washed away in a storm), we can’t resist a quick photo op. Here we have Border Collies on a Plank:


Being in the 50 degree temperatures, listening to the surf, seeing the occasional peak of the sun, looking for beach glass, chatting with my friend, watching the dogs’ antics, and just walking along the water, I felt better than I have in weeks. In fact, I felt great.

The Beach – It is good!


There are lots of photos of Border Collies in this blog because 1. I love Border Collies and 2. Even though I can’t go faster than a brisk walk, the photos of their running full out for the sheer pleasure of it mirror how I felt inside. Watching them run and leap, my soul also leaped for joy to be out by the Lake, enjoying the beautiful day, and savoring the gifts of health, fitness and friendship. And it was pretty good beach glass too!

I feel like I am finally back on track with eating. Something just feels different inside, the way I felt before the holidays started. I pray that feeling sticks and I will settle back into the healthy lifestyle and all its accompanying benefits that I have worked so hard to achieve. In the meantime, I have a couple weeks of catching up the best I can to do here on SP. I've missed my SparkFriends, want to hear how everyone is doing and am glad to be back.

As we head into another week, I hope we all have our moments of joy and inner peace to help us remember what we know is important in life and utilize the healthy coping skills that will allow us to achieve our goals.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RX_2_RV 2/16/2013 12:41PM

    Thanks for the inspiration! Time for a trip to the beach!

I love the pictures of the dogs having fun....brings back great memories of my canine companions who have passed, Josie and Bullet the wonder-dog. emoticon

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SQUIRRELLYONE 2/12/2013 8:26AM

    Had to come back to your blog for more PUPPY PICTURES!

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LIVINGLOVINLIFE 2/7/2013 3:31PM

    Great blog!! Improved my mood just looking at the pictures and imaging being on the beach. I miss the beach a lot. Lived in Calif for years less than 15 minutes to the beach. Now in the N.E. corner of Texas have to imagine the feel, sight and sound of the surf. Just looking at a seascape brings me peace and rejuvinates my spirit. Loved the pictures of the dogs too. They are such fun, loving frieds.

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MADERINERUE 2/5/2013 7:33PM

    What a bold and wonderful thing to have done: shoehorn yourself out of a funk with a trip to the beach. I am so inspired! emoticon

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FELINEBETTER 1/28/2013 12:48PM

    I love this blog! Your description of the "Zoomies" is right on too! hehe I was remarking to a friend of mine recently, as she brought out the leashes for her 2 dogs: "Don't you wish that something, anything could make you feel that much joy every single time?" lol Thank God for our furry friends! They have so much to offer and to teach us! Unconditional love is the big one!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GRANDMASHUNGRY 1/27/2013 11:49AM

    I'm so glad your feeling better. I agree walks on the beach can lift your spirits.
I use to live in Three Oaks, MI just a few miles from lake MI . I loved walking on the beach.
Thank you for sharing your pictures.They made me feel like I was back home again!


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SQUIRRELLYONE 1/23/2013 10:15AM

    Soemtiems all you really need is a bit of movement, a bit of sun, and some dog happies to get you doing! :)

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HAPPYMENOW58 1/21/2013 5:00AM

    Loved your inspirational story! just getting started! way to go! emoticon







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MRSKATEDUVALL 1/17/2013 1:20PM

    Zoomies! what a great concept to capture the joy. GOod luck on your journey to capture and contain that joy.

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SLIMBOT 1/16/2013 3:48PM

  I agree wholeheartedly: The Beach Is Good! (And it is much, much better when you've got a dog with you!)

Every Saturday morning at 10, rain or shine, my best friend and my favorite brown dog pick me up and we go for a long beach walk. It has a way of soothing any troubles from the prior week and setting me up for a good weekend. I love the word you chose-- "restorative" is a perfect way to describe it.

Loved the photos. You can never have too many pictures of dogs frolicking!


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CAMAEL100 1/15/2013 5:24AM

    Sounds like a great walk. It is hard to get back on track after the holidays. Glad you found your motivation again!

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MJZHERE 1/14/2013 4:52PM

    So glad you are feeling better! What a beautiful beach you have to walk on - along with beautiful dogs. So we are both back on track, moving on and learning each phase along the way. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PORTIAWILLIS 1/14/2013 4:27PM

    I am so glad the walk helped you. I have struggled with depression for many years. Most of the time I wouldn't know what set me off. I found that the thing that helps me the most is being near water. Luckily Tenneessee has many lakes and the weather is usually warm enough that I can walk just about anytime. I live within 20 minutes of a state park which has a 2 mile track that circles a lake. You can see the lake the entire trail and even cross it on a wooden bridge. I want my ashes scattered there as I have found such peace walking that trail. Well I have rambled enough. Know that my prayers and understanding are with you.

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MKELLY72 1/14/2013 11:37AM

    Glad to hear you are in a better place now. I've struggled back and forth with that myself the last several weeks, and sometimes it's real work to drag yourself out of the funk. My friends were so good to me too- it's good to have them pulling for you :)
Michelle

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242WILLNOTDO 1/14/2013 10:38AM

    Fresh air...sunshine...pooches...life IS good!


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SWEDE_SU 1/14/2013 7:13AM

    love the "zooms" - describes multiple border collies to a T:-) we had my daughter's BC for a month, and every time we went out something would set off the zoomies and you've never seen such speed! love the BCs on the plank pic - the last one looks like my pelle (see my blog earlier this week for pic of him on the beach here in hawaii!).

glad that the beach and the BCs help to put you back on track. it's only natural to have ups and downs - but good to know what helps, too.

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TINAJANE76 1/14/2013 7:05AM

    I don't think there are many of us maintainers who don't go through some ups and downs in the process, so don't worry about your little slip. The important thing is that you're back on track now. I know you can do it!

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123ELAINE456 1/14/2013 4:28AM

  Awesome Blog. You have Beautiful Dogs too. I'm glad your Moods are so much better and that You feel Great too so that you can get back to your normal routine of doing things too God BlessYou and Have a Wonderful Week. Take Care.

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CHRISTINASP 1/14/2013 3:14AM

    What a beautiful blog! So glad your mood picked up.

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1CRAZYDOG 1/13/2013 9:52PM

    Aww the dogs doing their zoomies are adoreable!

Glad . . . so glad . . . you got your mojo on the road again! It's hard to do but you're on your way.

Keep it up. HUGS For sure you know that staying connected here on SP is important!

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WATERMELLEN 1/13/2013 7:32PM

    What a great blog! Being outside with my dog is very often a "portal" back to joy. And even when I may not be able to sustain that feeling . . . I know where to find it again!

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SUSIESLIM62 1/13/2013 6:13PM

  emoticon I love the beach! Wish I lived close to one myself. So glad it made you feel better. Really nothing better for low spirits than watching dogs romp and play! emoticon I felt better just looking at the pictures. emoticon
Just remember we all get in a slump sometimes, the important thing is not to stay there. emoticon

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MANDELOVICH 1/13/2013 4:01PM

    What a lovely day! So glad for you!!! And I know you are back on track for good. You and I both! We will do this together!

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BIGPAWSUP 1/13/2013 3:51PM

    Congrats on going to the beach! It looks like you had a wonderful time! I'm so happy for you. The pictures are beautiful!

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HAPPYSOUL91 1/13/2013 3:37PM

    So glad you went to the beach, sounds like it was a turning point

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PMRUNNER 1/13/2013 3:32PM

    Sorry to hear that you were down, but glad to hear that you are getting back on track. I hope you can stay on track!

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BROOKLYN_BORN 1/13/2013 3:24PM

    Many people have told me that seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a real phenomenon. I'm glad to hear that you're back on track. You're lucky to have easy access to such a beautiful environment.

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SLSALKIL 1/13/2013 3:06PM

    Sorry you ave had a rough beginning to the New Year. Depression is real, and it is tough to beat sometimes. I am proud of you for having the courage to get out and go for that walk on the beach! And I'm glad you are back! Here's to a good 2013 for all of us!

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MILLIE5522 1/13/2013 3:04PM

    So glad that you are back on track. I was feeling down in much the same way last week but something clicked this morning and I feel SO much better! I braved the cold and went for a brisk and brief walk with my dog Dylan who is a cross but definitely has Border Collie in his genes! I have stayed well within my calories today with little effort too so all in all it has been a good day! emoticon

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Gifts

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Other than food being a stressor for me this year, I enjoyed Christmas. I just wish food wasn't so central to celebrating the season. My eating wasn't the best after two of the three pot-lucks at work (I kept eating when I got home). I definitely overate at Christmas Eve dinner with my family. I think the food at these events was just so different from what I normally eat, that it triggered binge type eating. Nothing terrible, but nothing good. Quite frankly, I am relieved to have the holiday behind me because I have little emotion invested in New Year celebrations and it is easier for me to ignore the food.

My favorite gifts this year were spending the holiday with my 86 year old mother and family. My second favorite was going for a two hour hike on Christmas Eve morning and again on Christmas morning with one of my oldest and dearest friends. We walked in the forest preserve where we used to hike weekly back in the 80's. I'm very pleased to say that we had no trouble walking our old routes and I'm thrilled to know how far I have come with my fitness. Christmas 2010, I wouldn't have been able to walk more than 10 or 15 minutes on flat land. This year, my friend and I hiked up and down hills for 7 1/2 miles each day and I felt like I could have gone another couple hours. Truly, that is a gift to cherish!

A few snapshots from my phone of Christmas 2012. My mother's cheerfully decorated dining room:


Chili, whom my mother unabashedly favors among my dogs and who came with me for the visit. Note my Christmas socks, a fun gift from a coworker:


This is one of my favorite walks in the forest preserve, a long hill along a ravine. I hadn't been there for years. It was so great to walk it again:


I came across this plaque on a bench in the preserve:


And on that note, I will add my gratitude for all the good friends I have made here on SparkPeople and what wonderful gifts they bring each day. Thank you, Spark Friends and all the best to us in 2013!


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOCALGAL 1/1/2013 7:56AM

    emoticon emoticon My Christmas was similar with the food issues. Except for all the temptations kept me off track and over indulging through the New Year. emoticon Happy New Year and Continued Success through 2013!


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FEELINGFITERIN 12/30/2012 10:01PM

    Sounds like a great visit with family! Your dog is so cute!

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BIGPAWSUP 12/27/2012 10:26PM

    wonderful! Sounds awesome.

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PORTIAWILLIS 12/27/2012 4:41PM

    You must be so proud of being as fit as you are and how fun to hike those trails again with your friend. When I was younger all I did was work and have babies. My hiking and walking did not start till I was in my 40's. I also ate to much but am back on the wagon as one spark friend said. I am looking forward to the next year of sparking and meeting new friends as I lose the weight.

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CLAIREINPARIS 12/27/2012 3:57PM

    Such a lovely blog! Of course my favorite part was reading how fitter you are now and that you can hike paths you used to hike. That is wonderful! Thank you for sharing your Christmas gifts with us.

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1CRAZYDOG 12/27/2012 1:43PM

    Socks: probably about $5

Walk w/lifetime friend: worth millions!

Chili: PRICELESS and adoreable!

Thanks for sharing your special Christmas. Glad you got to spend time with your Mom. That to me is priceless as well. My parents (Mom 83, Dad 85) were here and that makes the holiday).

HUGS

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KANOE10 12/27/2012 9:16AM

    Lovely gifts for you. I liked your pictures. I also took a nice walk on Xmas day..and ma going to see my 92 yr old mom next week.

Have a wonderful holiday season. Yes, there is too much food over the holidays!

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GRANDMASHUNGRY 12/27/2012 9:01AM

    I enjoyed reading your blog and seeing your pictures. Thank you for sharing with all of us. emoticon

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TORTISE110 12/27/2012 6:58AM

    So much fun to see some of hour holiday and hear your reflections. Thank you! I especially like the reflection on your hike with your friend and how you notice your strength and stamina.

I feel as you do about New Year's. No big deal. We will built a bon fire and have a glass of wine with friends...probably at 9! (It will be New Year's somewhere then...)

emoticon

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CHRISTINASP 12/27/2012 3:03AM

    Wonderful gifts and a wonderful attitude.

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123ELAINE456 12/27/2012 1:11AM

  Sounds like that You had a Wonerdful time with your loves ones this year. Love Your Dog. Glad You were able to get in a couple of walks too. God Bless You and Have a Super Nice Day. Take Care. I like the Pictures too.

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SUSIESLIM62 12/27/2012 12:06AM

 
I know what you mean about food being central to the holiday. What is it with this country anyway? Food seems to be central to all holidays and social occasions. We just do the best we can with what we get. Pot lucks are tough because you don't really know what is in each dish and you don't want to be rude to whoever made it. I'm sure you did better then you think and sounds like you were still pretty active. emoticon
Here's to reaching our goals in 2013! emoticon

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MANDELOVICH 12/26/2012 10:35PM

    I love your gratitude for the important things in life like time with family and lovely walks in nature. And now the eating...I know all too well how hard it is when food becomes the focus and social events lead to more eating at home. I do the same. But I hope that tomorrow brings a new, healthier day!

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MJZHERE 12/26/2012 10:26PM

    It sounds like a very nice Christmas. What a gift you gave yourself- to be able to hike and so enjoy it. Both of us will get back on track with the eating. Your dog pic is so cute.

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MKELLY72 12/26/2012 10:12PM

    Sounds like you have some lovely memories of this Christmas. I too, enjoyed a couple of hikes in the woods...with a new snowfall- quite deep in some places.
Your dog is adorable!
Michelle

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A destination AND a journey

Sunday, December 16, 2012

I think many of us seek a balance when we are working to lose or maintain weight. On the one hand, we have a goal, or often several goals in mind. We want to get to a certain weight, figure out how to maintain that weight, get into a certain size, improve our health, increase our fitness, etc. While working towards these goals, we can become very single minded and driven. We might ask ourselves, when do we get a chance to smell the roses? Sometimes, we might think that we’ll just need to smell them later, once we have accomplished what we set out to do. However, I firmly believe we can both smell the roses AND work towards a healthier life.

We can get very caught up in the “destination” of reaching a certain weight or type of appearance. When that destination is a long way off, we may easily get frustrated or feel like we are deprived. For me, it was very important during all those months and months of losing weight to concentrate mainly on the journey (smelling the roses) and less on the destination (weight or how my body looks).

One thing I know. I can smell a whole lot more roses with improved health and fitness. My profile photo? That is big time rose smelling right there. When I started taking my dog to the beach in 2010, I never walked far. Between my worse knee (they are both bad) acting up and being so out of shape, walking in the sand for any length of time was an ordeal, never mind that dune I had to climb up on the way to the parking lot. This past summer, I got to the beach every week and enjoyed long walks beach combing and drinking in the serenity. The dune I once dreaded and climbed up gasping and needing to pause for breath, doesn't phase me any more. I enjoy doing so many things that two years ago I wouldn't even try.

What I can't do is eat the way I used to, but that is ok. I had decades to misuse food and mistreat my body. I still enjoy food. That is just part of my makeup, but I can't afford to use food as a drug to numb and comfort myself any more. Those days are over. I don't want to die early because food was more important to me than my health. I don't want to become incapacitated by illness and pain because of misusing food and not taking care of myself. I literally would never treat my dogs the way I have treated myself in the past. Those days need to be over. I am worth at least as much as my dogs!

It was important for me to let go of trying to find a perfect weight or a perfect body. Because that doesn't exist. Trying to achieve perfection is a trap so many of us can fall into. It usually leads to disappointment, frustration, a sense of failure and hopelessness. And those feelings pave the way to giving up and going back to old, destructive patterns. My body is way, way far from perfect, especially after years of how I took care of it, but it is doing so much better than it was two years ago. It is doing better than it was even 2 months ago and that is very exciting to me.

I could catalog all my body's faults and short-comings, of which there are many. However, I've come to love my body because I need it to get around in this world. It is all I have while I'm here. So instead, I concentrate on all my body's strengths and good points, of which there are many. My body and mind may not always talk the same language (the whole Intuitive Eating thing is not something I would tackle at this stage), but we are a team and need to work together.

To me, weight loss and maintenance are complicated, many faceted, sometimes challenging, and sometimes exciting. Maybe it really is simple (calories in, calories out), but simple doesn't necessarily equate to easy. Still, for me the journey and destination are so worth the long haul, the extra effort, and the commitment. Our life is a gift. Our body is a gift. In this season of gift giving, I say we should treasure these gifts and take great care of them. Let's enjoy and value both our journeys and our destinations, smelling the roses all along the way.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SADWHITEWOLF 12/19/2012 11:41AM

    Balance has been on my mind alor lately. Thank you for sharing your insights on the subject!

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1CRAZYDOG 12/18/2012 9:36PM

    What an insightful blog! I think once we get to LOVE our bodies, the whole journey takes on new meaning and you will experience more success. Simply for the reason you stated, because we're not chasing perfection, but rather learning to treat our body healthfully!

HUGS and thank you for sharing your insights.

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LJR4HEALTH 12/18/2012 7:51PM

    Great post Thanks for the reminder to enjoy ourselves along the way and not get caught up with the "Are we there yet?" thinking

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MKELLY72 12/18/2012 1:12PM

    Nicely written blog. It's so important to internalize the concepts that you have discussed in order to reach the destination and to maintain it too. Enjoying the journey was something that I had never done on any other attempt toward a healthy weight until my most recent leg of my journey, and voila...this time, successful. That cannot be coincidence when so many other successful maintainers (many of which have lost a great deal of weight) have similar stories to tell.
Michelle

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TINAJANE76 12/17/2012 6:46PM

    Love this and the idea of maintenance being both a destination and a continuation of our journeys. I'm with 'ya for the ride!

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STHOMAS1009 12/17/2012 3:50PM

    You really are such an inspiration!

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LIVINGLOVINLIFE 12/17/2012 1:40PM

    Another well written article and so true. My main goal is to be healthy that entails losing weight, eatting healthy and being able to physically do the things I want. I do believe in smelling the roses along the way because that is what life is about. Every day is ours for the taking to do with as we wish. We must make the decision on what we will do with our body and our life.

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MOM_VICKI 12/17/2012 9:30AM

    Once again, as I read your blog, I can so relate! Thanks for putting in the time to share your thoughts.

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KANOE10 12/17/2012 7:13AM

    Great blog. We need to enjoy our bodies and our lives. They are both gifts. emoticon

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NUOVAELLE 12/17/2012 2:15AM

    Lots of great points made in your blog! I definitely agree that we can both focus on the destination and enjoy the journey at the same time. As with everything in life, weight loss or weight maintenance doesn't have to be one or the other. There are many in-between stages and I think that's where we can find the most beautiful roses to smell!
Thank you for your words of wisdom!
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SUSIESLIM62 12/16/2012 9:49PM

  emoticon

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BRAVELUTE 12/16/2012 8:59PM

    Weight loss may simply be calories in and calories used up for the most of us. There's always an exception to any generalization.

But health is another matter. Surely we're in this, we're doing this to be healthy. At least that is my goal. And once I admit that weight loss is a step in my action plan to be healthy, I MUST look at what I'm putting or NOT putting in my mouth as an important aspect of my health.

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ONMYMEDS 12/16/2012 8:01PM

    Nicely said.

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123ELAINE456 12/16/2012 7:50PM

  Awesome Blog. I'm in agreement with You. Our Body is a Gift. And Our Life is a Gift from God. Let's all remember the Twenty Six Victims and their Famliies and Love Ones of the School Tragedy in Newtown, Ct. May God Bless Them and Keep Them in His Loving Caring Arms in the Months and Years to Come. God Bless Everyone. Have a Enjoyable Day. Take Care.

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BIGPAWSUP 12/16/2012 7:33PM

    I agree with a lot of what you've written here. It is well thought out and presented. Thanks for putting the problems of maintenance v/s weight loss v/s quitting into perspective.

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BEBOP4ME 12/16/2012 7:09PM

    I agree. This isnt suppose to take over our lives, it is to help us live our lives better.

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MANDELOVICH 12/16/2012 6:53PM

    Lovely Liz. It's about dispelling the myth of arrival. Geneen Roth talks about that a lot, that the journey is what it's all about. We have to enjoy every step of the way! I love this. And you have so much to enjoy all along the way. Bravo.

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WATERMELLEN 12/16/2012 6:50PM

    Simple but not easy.

And: smelling the roses along the way . . . better able to smell the roses.

Amen sister!!

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SLSALKIL 12/16/2012 6:48PM

    Great points. Balance is a hard thing to find in any area. But especially during this journey!!

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MJZHERE 12/16/2012 6:43PM

    Great blog - well said. God sure has given us wonderful gifts - bodies and roses along with our life - and He wants us to enjoy them all.

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LACT8RN 12/16/2012 6:42PM

  I totally agree with you. W allstrive for perfection, but we also need to enjoy our gains and improvements and not just focus on 'the goal'. Words of wisdom! emoticon

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Christmas Past and Present

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Yesterday, I bought and set up this year's Christmas Tree. It is a small one, like last year's, much snippier with its needles than last year's but very pretty, I thought. This is the tree right after we got it home and set up in its special stand.



After the tree was decorated, which included the annual last minute run to the store for more lights (why are there never enough lights?), I tried unsuccessfully to get a decent photo of the three dogs and me by the tree. If I am holding the camera, my dogs are like professional models, except for their hearty appetites. If others hold the camera, they are like... regular dogs with little interest in having their pictures taken. The Lhasa tends to complain bitterly about being by the Border Collie. The Border Collie tends to look long suffering. The Sheltie is old, deaf and not feeling well these days, so she actually is suffering a bit and looks unhappy. This was the best photo of me with my little pack after several attempts:



Last year's photo was more successful in my dogs looking semi-cooperative (the Lhasa was distracted by something out the window so had shut up when the photo was snapped). I was at least 70 lbs heavier last Christmas than I am now, but closing in on a weight loss of 100 lbs for 2011, so I was very happy with how I looked at that time.



When I was really heavy, I never wanted my photo taken. I used to joke that people could only take my picture from my eyebrow up. But the reality was that it was just too painful to see what I truly looked looked like. I'm not sure how I managed not to see myself in the mirror every day, but photos were always appalling. So at Christmas in 2010 and several Christmases before that, there are no photos of me by the tree, with family and friends, or even trying to coax dogs into posing by my side. There are few photos to be found of me at all for years and years. For an extra, extra large person in real life, I did my best to be invisible in photos and, heaven help us, videos.

I'll end with the best photo of this year's sad lot. The Lhasa got his Christmas Wish to be the only dog, at least in this pose with me in front of our pretty little tree. I only have 1/3 of my pack with me, but then again, there's not a whole lot more than 1/3 of me, compared to what I looked like at Christmas 2010.



Happy Holidays to All (especially Lhasas)!

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROMNDTOGA 12/19/2012 3:21PM

    emoticon

clm

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STHOMAS1009 12/17/2012 3:56PM

    It's funny how my husband doesn't even think to take my photo. I do avoid mirrors, but when I do catch myself, I'm mostly looking at my face. I don't turn side to side to check out the "goods". Photos seem to take a real picture of me. I need to see that, so I can say to myself, "What are you doing? Take it one day at a time and get down to a normal looking person! Geez!"

I'm glad I'm not alone in this journey.

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LIVINGLOVINLIFE 12/17/2012 1:26PM

    You look really nice, you are an inspiration to me. I need to lose over 100 lbs and it is so hard. Especially during the holidays. I too have very few pictures of me. I hate the weight. But you give me hope. Thank you. Hope your holidays are full of fun and healthy times with family and friends. Pat emoticon emoticon

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ALIHIKES 12/16/2012 2:27PM

    What great photos! Thanks for sharing. The dogs are a joy, and you look fabulous!

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HOLLYM48 12/16/2012 12:38PM

    You look just awesome! Wow, great job! I love the dogs too, being little stinkers which is generally what dogs do the best! Well, mine does anyway! Thanks for sharing these great pics and I am so happy for you that you now are happy to have your picture taken!
emoticon emoticon

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KAREN91 12/16/2012 12:33PM

    I love your pictures! Great job on your weight loss, very inspiring. emoticon emoticon

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CLAIREINPARIS 12/16/2012 12:29PM

    Such a special blog! You look great and so do your little dogs!!! Lovely Christmas tree too.

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WATERMELLEN 12/16/2012 9:57AM

    Pretty tree, pretty dogs, pretty lady! Isn't it fun to be in a space where the camera no longer makes us cringe and hide???

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KANOE10 12/16/2012 9:25AM

    You look wonderful and I love your dogs. Great job on being healthy!

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LAHUDSONCHEF 12/15/2012 10:53AM

    This was great! Congrats on your losses...you look wonderful.

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DAWN14163 12/15/2012 10:00AM

    I love, love, love this blog! You look so happy and content. What a fantastic transformation. Pretty tree and cute doggies too! Seasons greetings to you and yours xxx

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KELLIEBEAN 12/14/2012 10:15PM

    Congratulations on your accomplishments! You look wonderful!

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SAKS20111 12/14/2012 6:26PM

    amazing!! congrats on your progress youve made this far!! great job! you are an inspiration!

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LINDAK25 12/14/2012 11:17AM

    You look great. Love the pictures by your beautiful tree with your pack! My dog and cat (they're gone now) used to love posing by the Christmas tree!

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JANEMARIE77 12/14/2012 7:50AM

    great job wonderful blog thank you

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MILLIE5522 12/12/2012 4:23PM

    Wow! You look great! I love your idea of getting your dogs together around the Xmas tree!
Wishing you and your lovely dogs a great Xmas! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ILOVEMALI 12/11/2012 2:46PM

    Ah, Liz -- you look wonderful. And your dog's cuter than Mali, too! LOL -- you are my inspiration. Thanks for all of your sweet support.

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MANDELOVICH 12/11/2012 11:38AM

    Liz, you look amazing! What a huge transformation and what a beautiful NSV to feel confident in photos and enjoy taking them. I'm so happy you feel so good in your body now, as you should! Amazing and inspiring!

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MJZHERE 12/11/2012 10:24AM

    Look how far you have come - amazing! Very inspirational. Thank you for posting the pictures - you look great! The pups too.

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HAKAPES 12/11/2012 5:02AM

    Wow, that's what I call TRANSFORMATION! You look awesome!
And I love the dogs! :-) Do they follow you to get leaner?

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SLENDERELLA61 12/10/2012 11:26PM

    Love your tree and your sweet doggies!! You have come so far. You look just fantastic. You have to be so proud of yourself. You are just doing great. Congrats!!!



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BIGPAWSUP 12/10/2012 1:50PM

    Love your pack! My girls are the same way - mommy has the camera we get great pictures, mommy in the picture = chaos!

You have a very cute tree, I would love to have a little on like that.

The difference between the tow photos is AMAZING! I'm so happy and proud of you. Congrats on looking GREAT!

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CHRISTINASP 12/10/2012 9:22AM

    I see nothing wrong with the pics or the dogs! I like them all.
I'm smiling because I'm a dog lover too. I can just imagine the problems you must have to get them to be a model!


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TINAJANE76 12/10/2012 7:29AM

    You look fantastic! What a difference from last year! It's great to see you, your pooches and the beautiful tree. Have a great Christmas!

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TORTISE110 12/10/2012 5:15AM

    You look just fabulous. What a Christmas to remember! Enjoy every minute of it and be sure to savor your success. Loved the blog post!

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NUOVAELLE 12/10/2012 1:37AM

    Your dogs are lovely and you are... transformed!! One year has turned you into a different person. I can't imagine what we would say if we could compare pictures of previous Christmases with this one!
Enjoy your holidays with your dogs and your loved ones.
Have a blessed Christmas!
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1CRAZYDOG 12/9/2012 10:13PM

    I think they're perfectly wonderful pictures of YOU and the furbabies! Amazing to see such a sparky transformation, isn't it!

HUGS and happy holidays to you AND your babies.

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