Monday, December 31, 2012
In the last twelve months, I lost 28.4 pounds. Not a lot...less than three pounds a month average. But I am certainly happy that I'm nearly 30 pounds lighter than I was a year ago.
This year presented me with many challenges, including a very frustrating plateau, a trip to the ER and gallbladder surgery, and a couple of bouts of the flu (one of which I am currently experiencing!) I have survived a family reunion, Thanksgiving and Christmas, several pot lucks, dancing at the Dr. Phil Show, and being told off.
I transitioned into "regular size" clothing for the first time in 28 years.
I'm less likely than I used to be to turn to food when I'm stressed. (Sometimes I still feel the urge, but have learned that eating is not going to help.) I have more energy, and am a little more physically active. I'm starting to be okay with not cleaning my plate if I realize that I'm not hungry any more. I'm more comfortable in social situations involving food, and am feeling less threatened by situations where I don't have control over what is being served.
I'm starting to see myself, if not as a thin person, at least as a "not obese" person.
Probably the most important thing I've learned this year is the value of having supportive friends and family. I truly believe that all of my past weight loss attempts have failed because I tried to do it on my own without any support. So much of this effort has to do with love, acceptance and forgiveness! While it is important to be able to give these gifts to ourselves, the power of giving these gifts to each other is off the charts! I'm so very grateful to be the recipient of your love, acceptance and forgiveness, and I'm giving it right back to you.
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
I can be critical, judgmental and unpleasant to be around. I don't like this side of myself, but there it is. So many times I have wished people would understand that when I am less than my best self, it's because I'm battling old fears and hurts.
I bring this subject up in this-here-weight-loss blog because it's one of the reasons I have eaten too much over a vast portion of my life. For many years I buried my hurts under a pile of some kind of fattening food, or drowned them in a pool of alcohol, or both! Even though I look normal, I often feel handicapped, unable to deal with the normal pains and miseries that life sometimes brings to us all.
Then, it hit me. Life brings pain and miseries to us all. In a way, we are all handicapped. I'm not the only one. Everyone is dealing with something. Realizing this helps me, hopefully, to be more understanding. And hopefully, I can also remember this the next time I feel like being critical, judgemental or unpleasant.
I have always known that in order to win the weight-loss battle, I needed to deal with the underlying issues of why I was eating too much. This is definitely one of those issues. Please don't think that by recognizing this I am sitting here feeling bad about myself! On the contrary, I feel...relieved. It's like a knot has unloosed from my innards that has been there most of my life. I'm sure there will be other knots to untangle, but this feels like progress.
This is an imperfect world, and I tend to be a perfectionist. I have been frustrated by the inevitable imperfections that I see every day. I have tried to "fix" things, or have complained about the ones I couldn't fix, and/or have tried to eat my frustrations away. And all this time, I've been missing the point entirely. The point is, we are all doing the best we can, and we need to cut each other some slack. That doesn't mean we shouldn't be accountable, but we need...I NEED...to be more understanding when things don't go the way we wish they would.
One reason I have been so "prickly" most of my life is that I have felt so alone and unacceptable. But now, thanks to the wonderful friends God has brought into my life, I feel...how shall I put it?....more safe. I like this feeling. I love my friends. I'm so grateful to have you all in my life (including my sister!) Your love and acceptance is really helping me get through all this. It's like, yeah, we're all handicapped in some way, but we're going to make it through. Together.
Monday, December 17, 2012
Yes, I'll play the flute for that Vespers Service. Yes, I'll sing with you at the neighborhood Christmas party. Yes, I'll ring bells at church for you since you can't be there. Yes, I'll go Christmas caroling with you. Yes, I'll have a piece of carrot cake. Yes, a little wine would be nice!
Now you know all about my weekend. It was fun! I'm exhausted! Today will definitely be a day to say yes to rest and recovery. But if someone calls and asks if I'll do one more "special" thing between now and Christmas, I'll probably say, "No." (With a smile, of course!)
Yes and No. What my life looks like--and what I look like for that matter--depends on where I choose to say "Yes" and where I choose to say "No." It's easy to feel like I'm saying "Yes" too much during the holidays. There are so many....opportunities! The sweet treats are everywhere! The special occasions abound! I don't want to miss any of the fun. I guess the trick is to say yes to the things that really matter, and to not feel guilty about saying no to the others.
In my old life, I said yes to every kind of food and no to all but the most essential activities (like walking to the kitchen--essential!) Last year during the holidays I said "NO! NO! NO!" to most of the treats that were offered. This year, I'm saying, "Yes, thank you," to what I hope are reasonable amounts of special treats. I did say no to the Third Annual Cookie Exchange at my church. I wanted to go and be with my friends, but I knew that being surrounded by all those delicious home baked cookies would be too much for me to handle. (Good grief! Just thinking about it I swear I can smell cookies right now!) There's always next year. Maybe that is something I will be able to say yes to later.
Matthew 5:37 begins with, "Let your 'yes' be 'yes' and your 'no' be 'no.' " We need them both to get through this life!
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
It was crepes, filled with cream cheese, topped with a warm mixed berry sauce, and accompanied by two generous patties of turkey sausage. It was delicious.
In WW speak, we're talking 10 points here. That's more than a third of my daily allotment, and way more than I would ever eat for breakfast before my Bistro MD diet intervention!
So, to reassure myself, after I logged today's breakfast points I grabbed my other two meals for the day so I could go ahead and put them into my points-plus tracker, to make sure I wasn't going to go over. There it was. When both meals were added, I still had 4 points left for a snack or two during the day. All that cream cheese and points left over. And, I'm having salmon for dinner tonight. Amazing.
So while I was enjoying this decadent breakfast, confident in the knowledge that my points-plus limits were safe for the day, I realized that eating this way is satisfying. The way I was eating before the "intervention" was to consume as little as possible at each eating opportunity, because dieting is about deprivation, right? As it turns out....WRONG. I'm not going to find myself grazing in the kitchen in an hour, looking for a little something to snack on, because I'm satisfied. I'm nourished. I even feel like I had a treat. If I find myself needing a little something later, I'll be happy with an apple and a few nuts.
The really exciting thing, to me, is that I am looking forward to a lifetime of satisfying, delicious and healthy eating! There are many more berry crepes in my future! This is directly opposite of how I have always viewed dieting and post-dieting eating in the past, which promised only a future of deprivation, misery and backsliding. I now believe it truly is possible to enjoy wonderful foods and lose weight!
It's like....a miracle! And yet, the world hasn't changed. The laws of physics haven't changed. The change is happening in me! I'm finally beginning to understand there is a healthy way to eat and live that I can live with. That's pretty darn exciting!
Tuesday, December 11, 2012
Everything we do... everything we say... matters. We influence those around us, even when we don't realize that we are influencing them. And how we live our lives (i.e., everything we do, everything we say) affects the people around us...for good or for ill.
So every time I crab about something or someone to a friend, I'm either discouraging them because I'm being so negative, or I'm encouraging them to be a crab too. And every time I do or say something positive, I may be encouraging someone who needs a little more "positive" in their life.
Even in trying to be positive, there's a danger that we might be criticised (the words "goody two shoes" come to mind.) But I, for one, would rather err on the positive side than the negative. Or, as a dear friend once told me, "Err on the side of grace."
I'm feeling much better today. I know that I will continue to fail in many ways, but I also know that life goes on and we almost always have a chance to try again...to choose better next time. I guess it's the same with my behavior as it is with my eating. If I mess up, the solution is not to keep messing up, but to try again. Oh, yeah, and allow for the fact that I am going to mess up. Messing up is not the end of the world; it's a course correction.
Monday, December 10, 2012
The source of the pain is difficult to share, and not really necessary. Suffice to say I recently had my faults laid out for me in a very up close and personal way.
The pain comes from the fact that everything that was laid before me was absolutely true, and that through these faults I unintentionally hurt someone I care about. Those of you who know me can probably name of few of my faults without much effort. You know...those things about ourselves that we know are not good, but that we hope that people will overlook.
I take several lessons from this experience. First, and least important, is that by some miracle I didn't turn to food for comfort in the wake of this pain. That, at least, is encouraging. Second, I am more aware of the fact that most of us are walking around in pain, and hiding it. I am hoping this awareness will help me remember to measure my interactions with people...to be more understanding and thoughtful in how I think about them and what I say.
One other lesson--and I'm sure more will surface--is that forgiveness is the key to moving forward. Forgiveness has been offered and received, from both sides. But today I realized that in order for me to move forward in a healthy and productive way, I also need to be able to forgive myself. This, it turns out, is the hardest thing to do. Right now I just want to shut down and shut up, so I don't accidentally hurt anybody else. But somewhere in there is a balance...a balance between doing nothing and getting out there anyway, taking the risk that I am going to totally blow it. Even writing this blog is a risk. It is presumptive that my thoughts are worth reading or thinking about. I have to believe that shutting down is just as destructive as eating too much or lashing out in revenge. So my toe is in the water. But I have to tell you, the water is cold.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
I guess I really did feel like dancing!
Yesterday I went to Los Angeles with some of my good friends to see a taping of the Dr. Phil show. During the pre-show audience warm-up, they offered a Dr. Phil Mug to anyone brave enough to go down to the stage and dance....
and I did it!
It was SOOOOOO much fun! Afterwards, I felt a little mortified. I wondered what had come over me. It's not like a needed another mug (although for some reason the promise of getting one was oddly motivating.)
But I guess I did need to dance. To celebrate life! To sieze the moment! To live the experience! I needed, for once in my life, to say, "To heck with what anyone might think!" and just enjoy myself.
Later, a very lovely woman who was in the audience with us told me she wouldn't have done that if they had offered her TWENTY mugs. But it wasn't about the mug. It was about breaking free from past fears that I used to avoid by consuming mountains of mashed potatoes and gravy and little powdered sugar donuts.
I used to believe that I had to "get perfect" before I could participate in life. I dont' feel that way any more. For one thing, none of us is perfect, or ever will be. If that's the goal, then that's what we think about. We're always apologizing to each other because our hair wilted or we have a stain on our shirt. When we do that, we're focusing on ourselves instead of experiencing what life is offering us during that moment. No wonder we we spend so much time feeling like life is passing us by.
Honestly, I think that all of us want to dance! I recommend it highly.
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
After a long walk in the dieting desert, those numbers are going down again. Not a lot, but today I'm at least a pound and a half lower than last week.
The diet intervention is working! I'm loving the Bistro MD food (for the most part). Especially nice are the convenience and time savings, which is one of the reasons I chose to do it during this busy season. Because of other things going on in my life today and tomorrow, I'll be eating "regular" food, and I'm actually wishing I could have the Bistro food. I like it, and surprisingly, it's even saving me money!
Another reason to be happy today: it's Weight Watcher's Day! I love Tuesdays, because I get to go to WW and see all my good friends there. It truly is the high point of my week. Who would have thought? I didn't even want to go to those meetings! It's hard to believe I've been going to them for almost a year and half. What a joy!
All this gives me HOPE. Life change IS POSSIBLE! Happy Happy Joy Joy!