Yesterday afternoon I watched "Brian's Song' on TV. There is a part of it where Gale Sayers is in the room with Brian Piccolo when a hospital financial person comes in with papers for Brian to sign. Brian hadn't been told yet that his doctors had found another tumor and he would have to a have second surgery on his lung. It was left to Gale to tell him. Brian got upset and went to the other side of the room refusing to sign the papers. The financial guy was still trying to get him to sign and asked Gale to talk to him. Gale said he'd rather talk to him and walked the man to the door. When they were out of earshot of Brian, Gale explained to the man that for players to get ready for their games, they had to be both physically AND mentally prepared. What Brian was trying to tell him was that he was trying to start the game before Brian was mentally ready to accept it.
All day I have been thinking about that scene and what Gale explained about mentally preparing for the football games. It is very much the same with our Spark journeys when you stop and think about it. We have to be physically ready if even in a small way to build our exercise program on. And in my opinion, we also need to be mentally prepared for everything else. We have to accept that this is what we want. We have to accept that this is a life time commitment and not something to do on a whim. If we aren't prepared in both ways to face these challenges, we are attempting to set ourselves up for possible failure. If we continue without being prepared, we may never reach our goals. We can take baby steps, we can do everything else to work within the parameters of Spark People program, but are we going to be able to do it if we haven't accepted the realities? It's doubtful.
Ok, Ev, you say, how do we prepare ourselves in order to succeed? We have to realize that the things we learn to do to get us to our goals are going to be with us the rest of our lives. We aren't going to be able to do it to meet the goal, then go back to eating the way we used to do. We must continue on with our fruit and veggie servings each day, only having good fats, carbs, and protein. We still need to see our plates 1/2 carbs, a little over 1/4 with good fats, and the rest in protein. We have to continue with our cardio and strength training each day. There are so many fun things we have to chose from. We can continue to try new ones each day to mix our programs and be sure to have fun.
There is also the need to accept continuing with the same portion sizes and having things in moderation. We need to prepare to love ourselves, realize how much we deserve to be in a healthier place, take each meal as it comes and not beat ourselves up if we slip. We have to know if we do slip, we need to get back on program with the next meal. Each new day is a new chance to better ourselves. A major part of being prepared is to be positive and not to give up. Sparking can be one thing to do this for us! We are doing well and to tell others how this has worked for us - and telling them with all the enthusiasm we feel - continually keeps us focused on doing well. Keeping ourselves accountable works well, too.
I know i must sound like a broken record, but to me what I'm about to write is a huge part of who we can be. The best, the brightest, the most prepared, and a chance for the happiness this new way of living can bring to us. We need to do something special for at least another person each day to help them feel better about themselves. There are two reasons for this. #1 We don't know what they are carrying around with them. #2 It also makes us feel better. Even a smile, a small wave, an hello, a short note to a friend far away, or a phone call to let someone know you are thinking of them and care. One of my favorite quotes is by Mother Teresa who said, "We'll never know what good can happen with a simple smile." We need to be as positive as is possible and carve a way in our lives to rid ourselves of the negative with those things or people who no longer bring happiness to our lives, that no longer support us in the direction we have chosen to go, or we no longer have use for or need. I know i have too much "stuff" I need to rid myself of and when I do, I'm sure I'll find some things I have several because i couldn't find the others and bought new. Isn't that sad? We need to learn to reward ourselves in small non-food ways whenever we reach a goal or maintain for a certain amount of time. Lastly we need to smile, when we greet others, when we answer and talk on the phone, when dealing with service people of all sorts - retail, the food industry, etc. We don't know what is going on in their lives and I know sometimes it is difficult to separate private from work, and most likely you do, too. I also remember how scared i was whenever i'd be left on my own for the first time on a new job. Even professionals can have "crappy" days!!
I can remember when my mama's doctor called me and told me he was going to turn her over to Hospice as there was no more that could be done for her at the hospital. I stared asking him questions about her special needs at home. He interrupted me to tell me she was going to die. I said ok and we hung up. I got in the van, got about a mile down the road and had to pull over. I practically scream - "He said she is going to die!" I felt sick to my stomach and managed to get to the salon where I first worked. The girls could tell something terrible had happened and one walked me to the break room. As each of them had time between clients, they came back to see me. When i told them what happened, i was so angry at the doctor. I could not believe i had taken it so calmly and hung up the way I did. All three of them told me what I already knew - I had been in shock. I waited until I was feeling better in about a year and made an appointment to see the doctor. I quietly explained what it had been like for me. I also told him, i couldn't expect him to know every patient''s family situation, but i did know what it was like to be all alone and be told this on the phone. I said it was understandable why people entered offices and yelled and screamed at the office workers and sometimes even shot offices to bits. His reaction was, Well what do you want me to do?" I told him that I didn't expect anything from him but to please keep it in mind for the next time he had to tell a family they were losing a loved one. I let him know he needed to call them into the office by saying he needed to touch base with them on the patient's care and then tell them face-to-face. I could have easily had a heart attack and would have been there for possibly days before someone checked on me. The outcome? The morning after my mama died, I received a hand written letter from him expressing his sympathy and telling me what a wonderful job I had done advocating for her. He expressed that many adult children wouldn't have done all I did. I'm sure part of that was guilt, but I was pretty sure he took my message to heart. I later learned he was going through a pretty nasty divorce at the time he called me.
We really need to be proactive for ourselves as far as preparations for our Spark journeys are concerned. We need to be prepared both physically and mentally.
May all of my Spark Buds continue making wise choices, give compliments, and smile!!
Peace Love Hope
When I was growing my hair for Locks of Love in 2005.