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.