Saturday, December 22, 2012

What would you say to the 'you' of 2010?

I want to reach back into time and talk to the 'me' of two years ago.  I want to take that beautiful person, hug her, and then peel back some of the mystery of  2011 and 2012.  Maybe I could talk some sense into her and tone down the anxiety and fear. Just to see her breathe in peace and breathe out stress--even for a moment--that right there would be worth the effort.

Oh, I so wish I could....

But what would I say?

One word


Trust that you’ve made the right decision to lose weight and get healthy
Trust the people you’ve allowed into your life
Trust that for every friend that doesn't work out, two will
Trust that for every down day, there will be 20 up days
Trust that while this process won’t be easy, it will be worth it
Trust that your Divine Source holds you in the palm of His hand at all times


The me of two years ago wasn’t sure she was ready to make that change – there was so much risk, but she was thinking of it. She knew that things had reached a critical mass and pictured being at a crossroads.  Option one was to continue on the current path and accept that her weight and emotional place would limit her joy of life, but would stay on a familiar road. Option two was to change everything and step into the unknown, and HOPE that life would be better, with no guarantees, no promises, no certainties.

She was a brave one; I’ll give her that. It was a helluva big step

Now, fast forward to today, and I can almost see the ‘me’ of 2014 sitting here with a message for right now. I think she would say…

“Nothing has changed. Trust the process. Enjoy each moment of the journey, the ups and the downs. Give unconditional love to others and mostly,  to yourself. You are so worth the effort.”

I'd like that to be true; so I'll set my intentions in that direction and watch it all unfold. 


That’s my “Merry Christmas” message.  Not terribly traditional, but authentic to where I am.  To my friends. I hope that you will remember no matter what unfolds in 2013, just approach it with a calm assurance that...   

You are valuable 
You are loved 
You are worth the effort

Thoughts to take with me today: Breathe in peace; hold it, breathe out stress.  Then do it again and again and again. 


Thursday, December 13, 2012



Over the past 18 months, I’ve discovered an inner athlete I didn’t know existed.  Contrary to my entire adult life, now I  LIKE to sweat and I LIKE to work and waking up sore in the morning makes me chuckle more than groan. The inner conversation involves a lot of ‘mock complaining’ as I take inventory of what hurts and compare it to the activities of the day before.

Almost everything I’ve tried was hard the first time. Cardio kickboxing? Oh dear, epic, epic fail. Hated it so much. Felt uncoordinated, awkward, and just plain dumb. After a few more practices, the beauty of the moves came through, the arms and legs figured out the routine, and now I like it – a lot.

Agility drills forced me to jump over planks and cones and while trying to get over the dumb things with my knees drawn to my chest, I also had to think about landing softly. Oh and breathe, yeah, that too. Months later, agility is a favorite.  This week in training, I was somewhat disappointed when the cones didn’t make an appearance.
Never would have thought that would have happened. But when the muscles are strong, previous challenges just look easier.

My first yoga class couldn’t have been worse. The teacher introduced herself as ‘your torturer for the next 75 minutes’ and she was pretty close to the mark.  As with other activities, the first time, I thought everyone else looked marvelous, I felt like a lump. It was months before I tried yoga again. And while I’ll never win any award for gracefulness, that matters so little. What matters is that on my mat, I can breathe and sink into a pose and just love being. Peaceful, accepting, and happy.

What do all of those things have in common? To have any type of command, I had to practice, over and over, until the movements gained some automaticity, until the body grew strong, until I gained confidence and said to myself, “Yes, I CAN do this.”

Now it’s time to practice something else, maybe the most important thing yet. I can practice being happy. Physical muscles can become strong, and I’m betting emotional ones can also. I can practice positive thoughts, controlled reactions, loving prayers. I can practice all of these things until the habits gain some automaticity, until the heart grows strong, until I gain confidence and say, ‘Yes, I CAN do this. ‘

Growing the physical muscles took time, patience, and a steady bridging from one mastered move to the next step of that move. The emotional ones will form the same way. But the key will be consistency. Consistency with writing, breathing, and meditation.  And yoga. I don’t think there is anything I do in my life that yoga does not touch in some way.

But even when the muscles are strong, not everything goes to plan. I stumbled over a jump the other day in training.  No real reason, just a miscalculation. As I self-righted, my trainer remarked, “Do you know how many muscles you just had to use to save that? Good job.” It was the practicing for months that allowed me to correct and stay upright.  Wanna bet the same thing can happen when someone unloads a boat-load of undeserved negativity right in my lap? Or when everything I try goes wrong? That’s when it’s time to reflect on what builds resiliency – just breath, stretch, shake, then let it go. Make a choice.  Choose to step off the roller coaster.
Choose to react with love. Choose joy.

So, there it is. Time to practice positivity; time to practice loving reactions; time to practice being happy. It won’t always be smooth, but let’s see if I can keep from stumbling with new muscles that can also learn how to work.

Thoughts to take with me today: Grow strong; it only takes practice.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What's special on your plate?

One kind of cool thing about having a blog I'm finding is the more or less permanance of my thoughts. I'm 'searchable' now.

So, going back through some of my posts the other day I noticed a theme I was on for a while, but then backed away from.

In light of the upcoming holidays,  I think it's time to revisit the concept of...


Had an awesome conversation with someone from my gym recently about food, weight gain, holidays, and the interconnectedness of it all. She had a great point. "EAT what is special, leave the day-to-day stuff to the side." Love it!  In my case, I never ever get cranberry sauce or dressing, but oh my do I love the combination of turkey, cranberry sauce, and dressing sandwiches. I mean, just roll-in-it-good-food! My favorite.

All righty then. So with my friend's thoughts in mind, why not forgo the mashed potatoes and gravy, rolls and bread, which I'm not that crazy about any way, and double down on the stuff that makes me smile AND is a true treat.

I like this plan... a whole lot.

The upside of this is that my weight stays more in control and my diet stays balanced. I look at my plate with thankfulness instead of guilt; I eat because the food pleases me; I ENJOY the meal and the family that is at the table.

That my friends, is the way to go.

We all have special foods that evoke sweet memories; instead of denying those feelings, embrace them and feel good about creating new ones.

Just don't go crazy :)

Mad love for all you - have a splendid Thanksgiving.

Thoughts to take with me today: Look at food with kindness; let it nourish and heal.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Can Be Me NOW

I didn't get to 50 without baggage.

I got to 50 laden down with the goals and dreams of other people that I claimed as my own. From life changing decisions all the way down to every day stuff - almost every move was checked, okayed, and approved by someone else.

I got to 50 laden down with the expectations of society. I was fat, therefore, I needed to act "fat." Big movements and loud voice, intense, and yes, God help me,  'jolly.'

I got to 50 laden down.

Still asking for the approval of others. I made small changes in my diet and exercise, but always with a watchful eye for those affirming nods to continue tentatively on my path. Always.

As my weight dropped, my confidence grew. My self-image shifted to looking at myself in a negative light to a positive one and I began to see what I could do, instead of what I was always told I couldn't do.

Finally, I had to take all the old beliefs from the past and put them side to side with the facts of today. No one has to tell me I can do these things. I watch myself do them.

If I'm so come I can do side to side grapevines, agility drills, and balance?
If I'm so come I can cycle, elliptical, or row up to an hour at a time?
If I'm so come I can chest press over 100 pounds?
If I'm so come I can do a backbend?
If I'm so loud and come I can go into stillness on my mat?

Maybe, just maybe, it's because all of those things were true of the old me, not the new me

I can be me NOW

And if I can be me, then the burdens of 50 years need to be set down, put aside, just let go.

I can move in space in this body, not trying to find the old body and move like that person.
I can decide my own goals, without fretting that someone will think I'm too old or too fat
I can use my voice to quietly say what I like/don't like and not worry that the other person will be upset.
I don't have to always move, I can be still.

All of these things are the new me. And whether anyone else in the whole world agrees,
I like me.

51 soon. Without the baggage of the past, without needing the approval of others, with my own goals.

Just me.
Not good, not bad
Just me.

Thoughts to take with me today: Did I just take yoga off my mat and into my real life? Yup. Sure did.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

She Let Go

She let go

She let go. Without a thought or a word, she let go.
She let go of the fear. 
She let go of the judgments. 
She let go of the confluence of opinions swarming around her head.
She let go of the committee of indecision within her. 
She let go of all the ‘right’ reasons. Wholly and completely, without hesitation or worry
She just let go.
She didn’t ask anyone for advice. 
She didn’t read a book on how to let go. 
She didn’t search the scriptures.
She just let go. 
She let go of all of the memories that held her back. 
She let go of all of the anxiety that kept her from moving forward. 
She let go of the planning and all of the calculations about how to do it just right.
She didn’t promise to let go.
She didn’t journal about it. 
She didn’t write the projected date in her Day-Timer. 
She made no public announcement and put no ad in the paper. 
She didn’t check the weather report or read her daily horoscope. 
She just let go.
She didn’t analyze whether she should let go.
She didn’t call her friends to discuss the matter. 
She didn’t do a five-step Spiritual Mind Treatment.
She didn’t call the prayer line. 
She didn’t utter one word. 
She just let go.
No one was around when it happened. 
There was no applause or congratulations. 
No one thanked her or praised her.
No one noticed a thing. 
Like a leaf falling from a tree
She just let go.
There was no effort. 
There was no struggle.
It wasn’t good and it wasn’t bad. 
It was what it was, and it is just that.
In the space of letting go, she let it all be. 
A small smile came over her face. 
A light breeze blew through her. And the sun and the moon shone forevermore.

-----Rev. Safire Rose

Saturday, October 6, 2012

How do I celebrate a yoga 'victory'?

For over a year I've been wanting to do a certain yoga move - Salamba Sirsasana - supported headstand. This move more than any other represents yoga to me, in every possible way. It's beautiful to look at, and I was sure it would be beautiful to do.

However, at first, I approached this move with the mindset "I WILL CONQUER YOU!"  Once again, I'm lucky I didn't hurt myself much worse than I did - as I mentioned back in February and then again in May.

Truly, I learned my lesson and decided to take it slowly, allow my body to adjust to each step, and to be happy where I was at that moment.

Here is my journey, as documented in pictures!  Yes, it is me in each picture, and in each pose, that is just as far as I can go on that day.

(3/12)  Partial weight on shoulders

(5/12) Full weight on shoulders, knees pulled up

(7/12) Full weight on shoulders, knees parallel to the floor

(8/12) Full weight on shoulders, legs as far up as they will go and still balance.

(9/12) Up, but barely balanced

(10/12) Balanced, still, toes spread. Full expression of the pose

So, is it everything I thought it would be back in February? Yes and no. The first time I actually achieved the pose, I didn't even notice for about 45 seconds. But it was a slice of heaven. The world around settled into the background, my breath came in long, slow waves, and I actually went into a semi-meditative state. But not a "HOORAY!" moment at all.

What I'm most proud about is not the pose itself, but that it developed slowly - at my inner teacher's speed, not my inner drill sergeant's speed. Such a difference.

I learned so much about myself by learning how to do this pose in this way.  

I discovered I can be:


to myself.

That's a good thing. So very, very good. 

Why not apply this to my whole life?  What would that look like? 

What if I were:  

 patient with my weight loss
 loving when it's time to fuel the body 
kind when I make yet another mistake 
gentle when I'm tired.

to myself. 

Just do it. And then find the peace that comes every day by being in the moment.


Thoughts to take with me today: Yoga = life, every time.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

We are all fearfully and wonderfully made

Ages ago I remarked that ordinary people say extraordinary things all the time - if you are willing to just listen.

I found that to be true again today.

Invisible Me on the blog Poonapalooza is a 'new-to-me' blog that I find utterly wonderful. She describes how she felt 'invisible' her whole life, regardless of the fact she was overweight. Yet, she could be quite vocal when she needed to advocate for someone else.

See myself in that? Sure do.

At my heaviest, I was 258 pounds and although I was able to stand up for my students, standing up for myself was out of the question.  My self-esteem was so fragile that the idea of making someone mad at me was the source of tremendous anxiety. If I made someone mad,  maybe

 they wouldn't like me any more
they wouldn't be my friend
they might leave me


Let's get real
because I didn't think I was worthy of love

That same ol' bugaboo of self worth creeps back to the surface whispering sweet words of deception of how everyone in the world is more valuable than I am. Everyone. 

Food though....oh was always there and always non-judgemental. French fries don't give a shit how fat you are, they just want you to eat them in all their yummy, crispy goodness. With catsup. And mayonnaise. And tons and tons of salt.

What we love becomes what we are. True stuff.

Because food was my best friend, I became fat
Because I was fat, it was hard to move, and I moved even less
Because I couldn't do anything but sit and eat, I hated myself
Because I hated myself just a bit more every day, I turned to my best friend
Because food was my best friend, I became fatter

That's a tough cycle to break. It can be broken though - the exact same way it was created.

Check this...

If I consistently make wise food choices, my  body becomes healthier
Because I am healthy, I enjoy running and cycling and lifting
Because I spend so much time developing my body, I value me
Because I am valuable, I love myself.
Because I love myself, I make healthy food choices

That's a cycle I can support with my whole heart.

And back to my initial thought, because I am valuable, I no longer define myself by other's opinions and all of a sudden, those advocating skills can be used to protect me.

The cycle doesn't break easily, and as I've said before, it's always hard. Every damn day. Hard.  But now, I have a taste of the 'other side' of life. Not the thin side, but the SELF-WORTH side.


It's just now, I see it. Most importantly, I believe it.

What about you? Do you value yourself? If not? Why not? We are all fearfully and wonderfully made. We all have a Source that leads and guides and treasures every fiber of our being. All of us.

Including you my friend.

Thoughts to take with me today: Weight is a just a number; love is a gift I give myself.  Choose the gift, every day. Namaste

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

If you want to be great, act great

I’m reading an awesome book called Meditations from the Mat.  It’s a ‘daily reader’ based on the yoga sutras. Fascinating and stunning how often it perfectly aligns with what I’m thinking and feeling.
Today’s topic began with this line from a poem by 14th century poet  Hafez.
“What is the key to untie the knot of your mind’s sufferings?
Act great. My dear, always act great”

Act great – whether I’m energetic or tired
Act great – whether I’m sick or well
Act great – whether I’m upbeat or depressed.
Just do what needs to be done every day.
I’m convinced that my emotional health is made up of muscles just like the physical ones. When I reflect on how I've earned my muscles, it's pretty basic. I work out consistently, even when I'm tired, even when I'm overwhelmed, even when I just don't want to.  Now when there's an injury, that's a different story. On those days, I take it a bit easy and respect my body.
In the very same way, my spirit and heart need to be exercised and made stronger also. When my day gets off track with my plans not going the way I want, that's the time to buckle down and 'be great' and not come unglued. (Oh easy to say, so hard to do. We all want perfection, all the time.) But maybe the key is to make a choice to be consistent and choose to be even-keeled, even when it's hard.
Sometimes though, things are just going to legitimately rock my world. That's when I need to step back for restorative time - with books, music, and food that uplifts and heals. In other words, respect my heart.
And what is the reward?  The 'untieing of my mind's suffering.' Relaxation. Acceptance. Peace. 
What more could anyone want? 
Thoughts to take with me today: Work those emotional muscles too; act great, be great.

Friday, September 28, 2012

I'm too busy...really?

Each day seems to be endless in its demands - my 'to do' list seems to grow with the minutia of life. A friend asked me recently if I could get a mani/pedi with her soon and my mind instantly shot to my mental calender where all my activities are planned out in 15 minute increments and wondered where I could find a spare hour to be with her.

It's not looking real good to be honest.

Then I started thinking (which is what I seem to do best some days.)  Every morning my feet swing around from the bed and the treadmill of my day begins. God forbid something get in the way, a glitch in the schedule, or an extra demand on my time. That's a near catastrophe! Heads will roll!

Each day stretches out with some measure of anxiety and worry in "Can I really get all this done?"

The days seem to be so long.

The years though, especially those behind me seem to have gone by in a blink. It's amazing to think that a year ago I weighed over 200 pounds and that really, really one-day-at-a-time, one-step-at-a-time the weight came off. It just doesn't feel possible.

I know how it happened though; it happened by pushing aside that little voice that said, "you're too busy to eat right, you're too busy to work out, you're too busy to keep track of your calories,"  and just did it.

While my schedule is packed to the gills now, that's not a new situation from five years ago. I was just as busy then, and five years from now, God willing, I'll be just as packed with a variety of things that just need to be done.

The, 'I'm too busy,' mantra needs to be set aside in favor of another thought, "If it is important, I will find the time." And what is important? My family, my friends, my diet/exercise- those are all huge priorities - and vital to a healthy 'me'

I'm thinking I do indeed have time to spend with her.  Something minor will have to give and I'll bet in the long run, I'll not even notice that a small, trivial matter wasn't attended to. I'll also bet that in the long run, the experience with someone I deeply love will sustain me through that day, giving me strength for the next.

Thoughts to take with me: May I never overvalue activities and undervalue people.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


Wednesday’s are generally somewhat darker emotional days for me. I’m physically tired from hard training the day before, generally pretty sore and when I’m that exhausted and hurting, it’s hard to keep a leash on my thoughts. However, that’s not a completely negative thing. When my thoughts go a-wandering, they go places – places that might just need to be explored.
On my way home yesterday, yes, blue funk and all, I started thinking about a friend who recently went back on Lexapro. Lexapro is a great med for anti-depression and anxiety – on me though, it WILL cause weight gain.  Even as it regulates my moods and keeps me a bit more stable, yeah, the weight shoots up quickly.
The thought occurred me: “I wish I didn’t have these ups and downs. I wish I could go back on Lexapro. Yes, I’d gain back some weight, but really, who cares? 20, 25, 30 pounds. Eh. At least I’d enjoy the trip back up.”
Where in the hell did my thoughts just go? Who cares?!? Only the most important person in my life – ME! I’d care. I'd care a whole lot! 20 pounds is almost 6 months of work. How could I be so casual about that?
Then the second part of my thought slammed into me, “At least I’d enjoy the trip back up.”  Does that mean I’m not enjoying the trip down? Or does it mean something darker? A thought lurking in the back corner? A secret wish?
Yeah,  I think there's something there actually. A dark place that needs some light before it's allowed to grow.
I'm pushing in on losing 100 pounds. That's a whole lot of weight and a whole lot of work.80 – 95% of people who lose that much weight regain it. Plus some extra.
I get it now.  I totally get it.
A flash of insight hit me right there in my car, while driving down Rte 17. I know how I could regain all of my weight and then some. It could completely happen. One pound at a time.
In a way, it’s easy to be fat, and in some ways, it’s not so bad. Being fat gives me a ready excuse for everything.
Someone doesn’t call me back? It’s my weight.
I don’t get a job I wanted? It’s my weight.
I screw up? It’s my weight.
Every possible bad thing in my life could be pinned to my weight. And when that happens, *I* don’t have to take responsibility for my actions. *I* get to whine and moan and complain, but I don’t have to change.  Now, with the weight down to what is a normal level, anything that I do wrong is on me. Just me. Not my weight, not my size, me. Now I have to change.
That’s hard. Do.Not.Want.
Now I know the truth. If and when I decide to start eating cheeseburgers and French fries and chips and sweets, I will have to admit I do it with full knowledge I am CHOOSING to regain weight. It’s not ‘out of my control’ or ‘my metabolism’ or ‘my genetics.’  Nope. It would be a conscious choice.
I’ve long established that moderation is not my strength – I cannot eat ‘just one’ of most things.  There is no need to pick up the first cheeseburger, the first fry, the first chocolate bar. Because right behind the first will be a second, a third, a fourth, and so on. Probably not right away, but it will come. I know me too well. It will come.
I cannot lose 100 pounds without first losing 5, or 10, or 20.
I cannot regain 100 pounds without first regaining 5, or 10, or 20.
That’s a hard fact of life. But it’s the truth. And truth is better than any platitude, any cliché, any feel-good-ism. The truth is what I need, always.
So that’s the upside of letting my thoughts wander much like a naughty child exploring an abandoned cave. When the parent goes in for a rescue, sometimes, discoveries are made and mysteries are solved.
Thoughts to take with me today: Choices – I choose to be healthy. I choose to eat right. I choose this life. I choose joy.

Friday, September 14, 2012


I didn't get to 258 pounds by having a healthy relationship with food.

Go figure

Two years ago, my typical evening meal was a cheeseburger with french fries. If I was feeling especially healthy, it would be a salad. With cheese. And bacon. Topped with high-fat dressing. And fried onion strips.

Looking back, the cheeseburger may have actually been better.

Then, I started on a weight loss journey and at the age of 49, I had to re-learn how to eat a balanced diet - no tricks, no gimmicks. Back to the basics with of the four food groups. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, two snacks.

Boring, I know. None of the 'wow' factor of so many of the fads out there.

Not satisfied with the basics, I decided to get creative. What if I pushed all of my meals into the front of the day? What about cutting calories down to 1400? and if 1400 is good, why not 1200? or 1000? or 700? Maybe just fast for a day or two? Or, decide that certain foods are okay to eat and eat only those. Then, start taking things off that list, until the number of safe foods dwindles down to 7 - and 2 of those are looking iffy.

Oh,  yeah, totally don't worry about that diabetes issue.

That whole experience didn't work out so well. The over-thinking, the constant analysis, and second guessing may have created the beginnings of an eating disorder.

Something snapped into place in the beginning of the summer. I realized I'd gone pretty far from the advice of every expert out there, and started adding back foods and calories. Slowly, incrementally, mindfully. Even though a part of my mind screamed "NO! you will gain back weight!! DON'T DO IT!" I took a leap of faith and added until now, my diet is fairly normal, and my attitude towards food healthy.

Or so I thought. Until this week.

A grown woman should not be standing in a quiet corner trying to get control of her breathing when in an unfamiliar restaurant because she is overwhelmed with too many choices.

Yep, nearly full blown anxiety/panic attack because I couldn't decide what to eat. The prevailing thought was, "What was safe?"

The 'beginnings' of an eating disorder? Really? The beginning?

Oh wow. This is hard. Hard to eat right, hard to remember the basics, hard to make good choices one after another, hard to let myself live and not let the thoughts of food take over my life.

I completely understand why people lose a lot of weight, then regain it. It's the mind games. It's the thinking that the ways that got us here were temporary, and not accepting that the entire process is a journey, not a race. Accepting that eating healthy is the new normal. Accepting that there is just no need to look at the pizza, fries, blue cheese dressing, because those things are only healthy in moderation, and if you get to 250+ pounds, moderation is not a strength.

But hard is not a reason to stop. It is, however, a HUGE reminder to respect the progress already made and to take a deep breath when things get a little tense, and let the mind relax into what it knows is right.

The basics == good stuff.

Thoughts to take with me today: The words from one of my favorite songs..."Breathe, stretch, shake, let it go."

Thursday, September 6, 2012

And this is how my day began

Wake up at 5:27 - this is a problem since my spinning class, the one I'm TEACHING, starts at 5:30
No time for anything, including bathroom, and w
hatever clothes are on the floor are good enough as I dress running down the stairs
Can't call the gym, don't have the phone number
5 minutes late
Put on wrong playlist
Grab wrong profile
Doesn't matter anyway, since I can't see because I didn't put in contacts

No water
Shirt feels funny, of course it does - it's on backwards, and inside out
So are the shorts

Look down, see that I have on two different shoes and two different socks
Teach class, which actually goes better than it deserved to go
Class ends
Manager on duty yells at me for not calling
Home, door is open, dog and cat are outside
Find dog and cat, in the rain
Shower, makeup, dress (clothes are all oriented correctly this time)
Leave for work and realize I've left my iphone at home
Turn around
Starts to rain again, turn on wipers
iPhone was on the windshield  and I watch it fly into the next lane of traffic

Park car SAFELY
Run out to the middle of the road as cars honk
Grab phone (phone is okay - Otter Box, FTW)
5 minutes late to school

Write about my morning
Look at list of woes
Then sort of laugh
And figure my day can only go up from here

Thought to take with me today: Breathe, stretch, shake, let it go

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

In which we whisper a word

Had a great workout session yesterday. We did Tabata training, which is hard – 20 seconds of work, 10 seconds of rest – 5 times. The first 2 sessions are pretty easy, then a bit harder, then for the last session, well, let's just say those 20 seconds feel like 20 hours! However, this way of training builds muscles and I do like those muscles!
Also ran on the treadmill. Now that was interesting. For the first time ever, it seemed I wasn’t heavy when I ran. I was light. No idea why such a change from the last time I ran on a treadmill, it’s not as if I’ve lost so much weight since then. But my step was springier, the stride was fluid, my breath was controlled. Dare I say it? It was sort of fun.
Here’s a word to whisper “graceful”   Yeah, it was kind of like that.
That's an interesting concept. One that I've never, ever used to describe myself. 
How cool to know that not everything different is scary. It can be good. It can be freeing. It can be graceful.
How about that?
Thoughts to take with me today: Let the changes come.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Update on my personal goings on..

A whole lot has been happening in my personal life - things I've been wanting to talk about, but couldn't because I didn't have the words.

I'm going to attempt to talk about them now.

In July, the manager of the gym I belong to asked me if I would be the focus of the e-newsletter to discuss my weight loss. This is the third time I've been asked and before I've said no. This time I was encouraged by a friend to do it - with the idea that it would be helpful to others. I agreed.

The article came out, and it was well done. About 300 words or so. Picture  not so great, but all good.

My gym is affiliated with our local hospital. I get an email from marketing talking about how 'inspiring' my story is and would I agree to a larger story.

One thing led to another, and the upshot is that the hospital is going to feature me in an advertising campaign at the end of the year/beginning of next year. There are still some details to learn, but there will be a shopping trip, hair/make up, professional photo shoot, , definitely some articles.

The first article came out in our local paper this week. I cannot figure out how I feel about it. For one thing, I agreed  to use my starting and current weight, so that's there. FTR, starting 250, current 165. (Okay, my starting weight was 258, not sure why I shaved 8 pounds off of it)

I cycle between embarrassed, proud, ashamed, pleased, anxious, happy, and depressed.

In about 10 second intervals - 24/7

So many things to think about.  When I started this blog, I did it with the idea I would be honest knowing that the people that stumbled on it would highly likely to be like minded and with little judgement towards my weight. We are all in this together here in blog-land. But the marketing plans put me in a position where people aren't as kind.

Before I took the plunge, I got advice from a couple of people I deeply trust and meditated on it a long time. All of the emotions I listed above, I expected to feel, so there are  no surprises. But I didn't expect to feel all of them at the exact same time.

So, there it is. I guess I will post the article from the paper here, once I get a digital copy. Again, the picture is not great, IMO, but the words are honest, and the heart is real.

Regrets? No, not at all.  Done is done, and it was the right thing to do. This is another stage of growth for me. There is something my Source wants me to learn/accomplish/experience.

Just didn't realize I would feel And now I have to deal with that reality.

Thoughts to take with me today: Use what you know - breathe, deeply. And trust.

Monday, August 27, 2012


I have avoided mirrors for years.  The exception is during some work outs. For static poses, I'll look to check my shoulders and legs for alignment.  In those cases,  the mirror becomes a tool and I can pretty much look at the reflection with a non-biased, non-judgmental eye. It's not a loooong look, mind you.
But to just look, look? Nah, that's not happening....
This morning I’m at the gym in one of the studios and as I’m walking across the floor past the mirror, I could have sworn there was someone else in the room with me. I whirled back and looked over my shoulder to see who had joined me, but there was no one there. Kind of confused, I kept glancing around and then realized what I had seen was my reflection. For a moment, I didn’t recognize the person in the mirror – that the athletically built, compact person with the crazy curly hair in a pony tail – was ME.
I slid my eyes away as I always do, then something inside grabbed me and said “LOOK! Just look at yourself!” and I did.
Then it hit me – for years and years I avoided mirrors because the reflection didn’t match how I saw myself.   It became easier to stay away from pictures and mirrors and live in a land of denial. Now, when I look in the mirror, I just don’t accept what I see - as in "that can’t possibly be me." This morning, for the first time, I let myself believe that I am thin, I am strong, the mirror is not lying.
Never before have I acknowledged that what I see is good, not improving, not ‘getting there,’ but good 
The thing is, this new body didn't happen overnight, it happened months ago, I just didn't see it, because I refused to be kind enough to myself to acknowledge the change.  That's wrong. Just wrong. What the hell is so messed up with me that I can't show kindness to the body that has worked so damn hard for months? Why do I insist on continuing negative thoughts?  This has to stop. Kindness has to start - somewhere, sometime. Why not now?
I’m not fat any more. ßand even in typing that sentence, there is a part deep inside that whispers with a ‘Yes, yes you are.’ My gut tightens with disagreement and disapproval and disbelief and fights to hold on to familiar patterns of thinking.
That’s the part of me that lives in the past and refuses to come to the now. That’s the part of me where the voices live. That’s the part of me still to grow and bloom.

It's a smaller part than before, and getting smaller every day.
And that’s progress.
I'll take it.

Thoughts to take with me today: Believe and accept. Good comes in time. Be kind.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Thoughts about weight loss

Talk to anyone trying to diet and you will hear

"This is hard"

But what is “this?” 

“THIS” is patience.
In my case, I’ve decided that the act of dieting and exercise is actually not that hard. Follow a basic plan for each area and then just execute it.
In. Out. Done.
What’s hard for me is waiting and believing and keeping the faith that I am on the right path and doing the right things. What’s hard is dealing with the crazy thoughts that live up there in my head.

"I've never been thin, who am I to think this will work?"
"I followed my diet perfectly yesterday, why is my weight up today?
"Maybe this plan isn't going to work, maybe I need a new one."
"Is it possible that I'll be the one person who can diet, exercise, and still gain weight?"
Head games - every damn day, over and over.
What I need is a good dose of patience and to adopt a long view. For instance, last August 26, I weighed 221 pounds. One year later, I weigh 165. That's what I need to focus on - not that yesterday I weighed 164 and some how after a good day a pound crept back onto the scale.

No, just no. Don't go there.

Parts of me want to scream, beat my head against a wall, kick something – anything to get my way.
But then the other part, the part that knows stillness, smiles quietly, and mentally places a calm, cool hand on my head and cues the other frantic-running-around-part to just stop. Just stop.
And I breathe.
And breathing is such a healing force.
And the calm takes over for a moment – but a moment is enough sometimes

The days are long; the years are short. 

Last year seems so close by, I can't believe I've changed so much in just 365 days. So if I want to be kind to myself, I need to focus on that, not yesterday, or last week. 

Dwell on the good. Stay in the moment. Abide in the calm. 
Thoughts to take with me today: Believe it can happen and it will. Maybe not today, but soon. And in a way, it’s all soon.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

In which the truth comes out ungracefully

Did/Said something so dumb tonight. 

Someone made a comment about eating to me - to 'be careful with my food choices - don't go crazy with the cookies." (where that thought came from I have NO idea) and I kind of looked at her and I promise you i thought for a moment 'Are you freaking nuts?  Me eat cookies??" but what I said was ....."Uh, I don't eat anything really. When I'm stressed like I am right now, my comfort food is to eat no food because I don't trust myself to eat." 

Oh crap, where do I come up with this stuff?

Is there just a huge repository in my brain where every inane thing I think lives? And why oh why can't I open that place up and let all the stupidness out all at one time and be done with it?

Is it the truth that I don't eat when I'm stressed? Sadly, yes.

When I'm under stress, eating feels like work, there is no joy in it, there is no taste in anything that goes into my mouth. Food becomes something I associate with pain and the thought of gorging on cookies is revolting. Unfortunately, the thought of eating anything isn't much better.  It's easier to not eat than to try to decide what to eat. Yes, I get hungry, but that's a good thing.

So then she's looking at me like I have sprouted horns and then asks exactly what DO I eat, in that tone that implies disapproval and I'm just sort of trying to back out of the conversation gracefully, but there IS no graceful exit then.

And I feel like I've lost emotional ground, again

Of course, this person is about 5'3" and weighs a buck ten at the most and she has simply no idea what it is like to be iin my body struggling with my weight issues. Oh sure, I bet she has her own problems, I'll give you that, but these are mine and they are important to me.

Dieting and exercise is hard, indeed, but what's harder is facing the reasons I got to where I am. I have my reasons, I know them well, I've faced them, confronted them and put them to be.  So why won't those dragons just stay slain?

Will food ever be just food?

in the meantime, is there anyway to explain to someone who has never been overweight a day in their lives why eating can be scary?  Probably not

Thoughts to take with me today:  This is a time to remember the good days. This is a time to  reflect and grow

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

A thought about voices

I love my sister so freaking much. No one in this whole world can cut through all the bull that is me at times to just find my core.

We were talking about my weight loss journey and she brought up how important yoga has become.  Only a sister will tell you "You aren't angry any more. You find stillness. You don't listen to the voices."

Wait.... how did she know about the voices?

What voices? The voices I think a lot of us have in our head. That voice may come from a parent, a former spouse, a teacher, a boss, an ex-friend. It's the the one that reminds us of every bad thing there is to know about ourselves. This is the voice that says....

"Why bother trying to lose weight? You'll still be fat."
"You are sorta ugly, but it's okay, you have a nice personality, sometimes"
"You will never be good enough"
"Everyone is better than you."
"You are not worthy of happiness."

This voice plays on a track that drives a deep rut into our brains until we just know every one of those damned lies is truth, then because we truly have bought into the lies, we use our own voice and start on all brand new lies, all designed to keep us unhappy. All the while letting life just pass. 

Those voices have so much power

But... yoga, yes yoga. That time when I give in and for a few precious minutes I am nothing but energy and happiness. If someone told me that rays of light shot through my fingertips as I raised them to the heavens, I'd smile and nod.  Bathing in kindness, soaking in strength, drowning in love. For me, that's what my yoga practice is.

Yoga on the regular shuts those voices down and yoga every day keeps those voices locked in some tight box at the back of the mind, covered under a dusty tarp, with random crates piled haphazardly on top.

These are qualities we all deserve.

Where is the place you go to find your still? To quiet the voices? To just be? I'll bet your place looks different from mine - maybe it's when you run and the pounding on the pavement beats the voices into silence. Maybe it's when you walk your dog late in the day and the grandeur of the evening sky takes away your breath and your head throws back as your mind explodes with the intensity in wonder of the day. Maybe it's when you hold a child and their smile blinds you with sweetness and the world stops and there is only that moment.

It doesn't matter how you get there, only that you do.

We all deserve to find our place of stillness. We are all worthy.

Thoughts to take with me today: Do not give the voices power. Give your spirit power.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


So the beginning of the summer I made a resolution to myself.

The idea was that I would make the last huge leap of trust in my trainer's advice and eat back my exercise calories, and especially dinner. My mind has been convinced for months that taking in more than 1500 calories a day, even though I work out 1 - 2 hours a day, would cause me to gain a great deal of weight and that all food needed to be consumed no later than 3:30. And if we are all being just real, real honest here - if 1500 calories = weight loss, well then, what would 1200 equal? or 1100? or ...well you get the idea.

Let me stress that I did not read this advice anywhere, nor did anyone tell me to do this. My mind simply created this scenario.  However, someone with way more expertise said differently - over and over.

Experiment with food. Can I do it?  Challenge accepted.

Who was right?

Turns out, she was.

Every day in the month of July, I documented every speck of food/liquid and every minute of exercise, with a particular goal to eat dinner every day. Every morning, I weighed myself and then recorded the weight so that I could see any patterns.

At first, I DID gain a few pounds and honestly, I almost quit right there, but my intentions were set. Besides, part of me did see me taking a detailed chart to her and exclaiming, "See!! I'm UNUSUALLY special!! I told you this would happen!!"

But then, the weight started to come off  - not much - some days an eighth of a pound,  or  a quarter pound, until - from the beginning to the end - 5 pounds down. I haven't lost 5 pounds in a month since February. And this loss came with eating pretty well, dinner every night, calories somewhat dependent on the exercise for the day.

Wow, just wow.

Lessons learned? Well, quite a few actually.

I don't know everything.
Eat - it's okay, it's really, really okay to eat.
Trust those that God has placed into my life
Don't let my mind make up silly rules
Did I mention, I just DON'T KNOW EVERYTHING?

Am I a true believer in the science of eating and weight loss? I'd love to say unequivocally yes, but the stubborn part of me that refuses to let go of old habits and ways of thinking wants to hedge  this experience. But, let's say that the grip has certainly slackened. Give it another month.

And maybe, those old patterns will fade into wry memories.  

Thoughts to take with me today: Eat to be healthy; eat to live; eat to be happy.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


It's been a year since I started my weight loss journey. Although I was a bit down from my very heaviest weight, in July of last year, I weighed 241. Today I weigh 165.  76 pounds just gone.

There is a measure of deep gratitude for those that helped me along this path, and a deep sense of debt that can never be repaid, except maybe, if I pay it forward. That's probably the only way to set that bill  to rights.

But is about choices.

I choose.... challenge myself physically instead of relying on excuses for inactivity re-evaluate overuse and make changes that respect the body and the spirit nurture the soul with yoga and meditation and writing fuel my body with nutritious foods say "no" to food as a comfort item give up the crutches of cigarettes and prescription medications take risks and being okay when an attempted connection doesn't work look out my window every morning and thank God for the gift of another day breathe the outside air, listen to the sounds of nature, and feel the ground beneath my feet reject childhood beliefs about my abilities judge myself and others by actions, not by appearance see the beauty in every smile be unapologetically me 

Maybe the last one is the most important. I used to worry about how I came across to people and fret that I laughed too loud, or spoke without thinking, or any one of a thousand things that I watched myself do wrong. There were nights of sleepliness spent replaying an interaction and wishing I could have a 'redo.' It became easier to create a 'me' that others seemed to want and expect. But the energy required to maintain a false front is grueling.  Nowadays,  I'm really me and the best thing about being me is that I am more open to changing, because changing is part of a growth process, and not an indication that the persona has cracks and flaws and has therefore failed. 

My journey isn't over by a long shot -- still so many areas that need work. But now, there is a deeper sense of strength, a history of success, and tools to use for those days when even the air feels heavy on my shoulders.  I  hope that when I'm 90, there will still be ways to be just a bit better than the day before. That would be a true gift.

Respect the process my friends, let every good day build on another, use the bad ones as rest days, and mostly,  just love yourself. We are beautiful, and we always were.

Thoughts to take with me today:  Choose to dwell on the days filled with love and light. Those are the real deal.