Monday, January 18, 2010
Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a society where people would be judged not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. At that time, blacks lived under the worst conditions with few opportunities for advancement. Now, we have a black man in the white house--a powerful milestone on this journey to equality. Why do I consider President Obama a milestone? Because there remains much more work to be done. We are still a largely segregated society and our deepest friendships are often with people of our own race and background. When we fail to experience a diversity of relationships we become susceptible to ignorant and often racist stereotypes about people who don't look like us.
Twenty years ago, I had a problem with East Indians. I had heard about their caste system that excluded dark-skinned Indians, rendering them "untouchable." Every time I ran into one, I assumed that because I am dark-skinned, I was regarded as an "untouchable." Then I met a light-skinned woman from New Dehli. We became friends and she invited me to her home for dinner where I met her father and younger sister. They explained to me that they had come to the United States shortly after violence erupted in their city. During the fighting, my friend witnessed her mother gunned down in the streets. "See these black circles under my eyes," she said, pointing to her face. "I cried everyday for a year."
I felt about two inches tall after that encounter. I remember it well because it taught me an important lesson as an African-American. This woman had not only invited me into her home for dinner, but told me her story. How could I continue to assume that all East Indians hate me because I'm black? From that point on, I decided to never assume anything about people who are different from me. I needed to be more child-like in my regard for others. That is what we all need to do; that is what Dr. King dreamed of.
I am grateful on this Martin Luther King holiday, that I am free to dream of transforming my life. For me, a healthy mind, body, and spirit is key to being able to be the best person I can be. Transformation takes time. Just like there are numerous set backs, there will be numerous victories. Nevertheless, one thing remains imperative; never, ever give up.
Saturday, January 16, 2010
Last week, someone posted on a spark people message board about how discouraged they were. I was in a light mood that day and advised them using a quote from the movie Finding Nemo's Dory the fish. "Just Keep Swimming." It was intended to remind them how important it is to be persistent.
Now, this week, I find myself needing to take my own advice. I weighed in this week and not only did I not lose any weight, but I gained two pounds. I know it's because its that time of the month, but dang, I still want to be rewarded for changing my eating habits. Still, I must acknowledge that it's tough to change everything at once. I thought I'd be able to, but it's clear that I have to be patient with myself. Intellectually, I understand this weight is going to take some time to lose, but emotionally, it's tough to keep your chin up when the scale doesn't reward your efforts.
I also have to be honest with myself about this week. My biggest achievement has been writing EVERYTHING that I ate down. It's clear that some days were much better than other days. My intake swung wildly between not eating enough calories and going over my limits. I also realize that I am not drinking enough water or getting enough exercise, so my goals for next week will be getting in at least 6 glasses of water a day and exercising four days for 30 minutes. So now, I need to analyze what's helping me and what's hindering me.
1. Consistenly journaling. I give myself a big ups for this one. I usually hate tracking my food intake, but I really like how easy it is to do on SparkPeople. I also like getting my points.
2. Handling temptation in a new way. I ran into several situations where I could've gone hog wild with my eating, but managed to stay on program and stay focused.
3. Keeping busy. I find that I tend to snack when I'm bored. I'm busy with my job and with volunteer work, so it's passed the time.
4. Eating thoughtfully. Instead of just grabbing stuff at random, I've done a better job of planning for situations.
5. Blogging. Sometimes, just writing down my thoughts helps me stay focused.
6. Understanding that change is a process. As I mentioned above, it was unrealistic for me to expect perfection. I'm learning as I chug along.
7. Diet-friendly work environment. My job has a weight-loss contest going on. Plus, there will be a fitness instructor leading free classes after work twice a week.
1. Disorganized meal planning. I need to plan my menus better and shop around my menus. My kitchen is not stocked properly and because of economics, I'm still eating what's in my kitchen. It's getting better stocked with time, but haphazardly buying things at the grocery store is not working.
2. Lack of exercise. I'm not crazy about exercise. I don't like getting up early and I'm too tired in the evening. I don't like walking in bad weather. Still, despite all of this, I need to move my body. I set up my fitness room, which is good, but I haven't taken advantage. I am setting a goal to exercise with a DVD on two weekday mornings and to walk somewhere--anywhere on the weekends.
3. Not enough water. I drink too many diet sodas and not enough water. My goal is to get in six glasses of water. If I can make six, then perhaps I can do eight someday. When I get up in the morning, I'll take a glass of water with breakfast. I have a Weight Watchers mug at work, which I will fill and sip on during the day. That will be good for four more glasses. I will take one final glass of water with my dinner.
4. Being impatient. OF COURSE I gain weight during that time of month. It's always that way. I need to stay on course. Eventually, the scale will reward my work.
Okay, I feel better than I did when I started this blog entry. All I need to do is just keep swimming.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Today was not my most disciplined day. In fact, it was below average. So why do I consider it a victorious day? Because I navigated my way through a day full of temptations without ruining my diet. Mind you, I wasn't perfect, but I did MUCH better than I would've had I not been paying attention to my food intake.
For example, at lunch I was caught in a workshop where they ordered the typical box lunch: sandwich, chips, cookie and a pop. I told myself "Look, you don't have a choice in this situation. You don't have access to any other food. Eat the lunch and cut down somewhere else, later." The only modifications I made were to swap a regular soda for a diet and put mustard on my sandwich vs mayonaise. I did eat the cookie but promised myself I would plan better next time by bringing a piece of fruit and giving away the cookie.
Then, that afternoon, I went to a happy hour. Normally, I would've piled my plate with appetizers and ordered a fruity drink or martini. This evening, I sampled a slider without the bread and tried one other small appetizer. Again, not perfect but much improved over my earlier behavior. I supplemented my two appetizers with a light beer.
By dinner time I was back on program, opting for chicken and a small salad. What I learned today is that I don't have to handle things perfectly, I just need to improve. Some days, I'll be perfect, other days mediocre and still other days are going to be a disaster. This journey is not on a smooth highway, but rather a hiking trail full of ups, downs, rocks and fallen trees. Sometimes I might stumble along the way, but as long I continue to move forward, I'll reach my destination. See? That's why I consider today a victory.
Saturday, January 09, 2010
Weighed in after my first week on the plan and I've dropped 4 lbs. I'm pleased with the results to date and know that I have to maintain consistency so that the 4 lbs turns into 8, 16, and 32.
Today I have a much-needed hair appointment which I'm looking forward to because I can just relax and let someone else take care of me, for a change. It's a good way to de-stress and I always walk out of there feeling more attractive.
One of the lessons I'm bringing with me from my previous success is to look my best, no matter what I weigh. Lots of times we as women tend to postpone the makeover and use it as a reward for reaching goal weight. There's nothing wrong with that, but we also must remember to do the things that help us feel good about who we are TODAY.
For me, what that translates to is regular appointments at the stylist, manicures/pedicures, a new outfit or piece of jewelry, or whatever it takes to create positive energy TODAY. This, in addition to staying patient and consistently following my program is what it will take for me to reach my weight-loss goals.
Thursday, January 07, 2010
Today at work it was so cold that no one wanted to leave the building for lunch. Instead, my boss ordered pizza for everyone. When someone offered some to me, I declined. Instead I had a co-worker stop by a deli and pick up a salad. It worked out because people ate pizza while I was holed up in a business meeting with my salad. The only thing I screwed up with on that meal is that I didn't specify low-fat dressing. Well, next time I'll remember.
I eat out a lot as part of my job. It's just the nature of my work. I know that dining out is a big reason behind my weight gain. The other factors are a lack of exercise, stress, and a slowing metabolism. So part of my journey will involve learning how to make wise decisions in restaurants. Dottie's weight loss zone has a fantastic list of the nutrition content for chain restaurants. Still, when I dine at local places, the calorie content of the food is somewhat of a mystery. Right now, the main strategy I can think of is to keep my choices simple. Next week, I'm scheduled to have lunch in a Mexican restaurant. I need to figure out some wise food choices. I love black beans and guacamole, so if there's a reasonable way to include those ingredients in my food choices, then I think I can order something without evoking self-pity.
I love the sparkpeople.com online food diary. It's user-friendly and I'm able to access it at work and on my mobile phone as well as at home. It's really helping me manage my food intake. I went slightly over my fat intake today (thanks to the salad dressing), but with this tool, I will be able to make some adjustments. Wow, I'm sure I was consuming thousands of calories a day--not just from overeating, but from also overeating calorically dense food. I think that's what happens when I stop being vigilant.
I'm still trying to overcome the negative thinking. It's an ongoing battle, but I am charging forward. Persistence--not perfection.
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