Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Current Plan

I’m a firm believer that to accomplish anything of value, I need a thoroughly researched, well considered plan.  I am famous (or maybe infamous) for my itineraries and multi pronged strategies.  I love examining a situation fully, pulling together all the facts and determining the best way to forge forward.  Unfortunately, I also value freedom and flexibility and seldom follow any plan I develop.  So I have a very rudimentary plan for how I can make my way on the journey to become a woman who is strong and healthy in mind, body and soul.  My poor follow through is why I need to keep shouting my plans out to the void rather than keeping them as musings to myself.  I require some accountability, even if it’s imagined.

  1. Eat more vegetables/fruits/things that photosynthesize..
    Currently, my diet consists of the triple B’s and C’s--butter, bread, booze, chocolate, coffee, cake.  I honestly don’t think I eat any plant matter most days.  It’s not that I don’t like vegetables; they’re just never my first, second or fifteenth choice.  So adding even one a day would be a vast improvement.  However, it is my plan to attempt to eat at least one thing that photosynthesizes per meal.

    I also intend to make better friends with fruits and veg by trying one new fruit/veg recipe each week.  I have already done this week...I’ll share the results at another time.  It’s was actually om nom nom good!

2.  Track calories on Lose it! ap.  
    I am trying to stay between 1300 and 1700 calories a day.  Thus far, this has not happened.  I am currently tracking without judgement, equipped with the knowledge that observer effect is a fundamental concept advanced by behavior therapists...even observing a behavior can influence an individual to make a change.  I do think that tracking what I eat is helping me lose weight.  I may not drop a thousand pounds an hour like Beyonce on her lemon juice cleanse but I think this will be more sustainable for me in the long run...

3.  Accept that losing one pound every week is good enough.  It may take me a few years to reach my goal but that long term process should only bring home the idea that this is about changing my approach for life.

4.  Focus on mindfulness by gradually cultivating a meditation practice.  My thoughts are always everywhere racing around and I am usually dwelling on the past as I simultaneously try to slay the imagined dragons in my future.  Usually, that means that I am often surprised that I have missed things that are directly before me, that I don't realize I've even eaten or seen a movie or read a chapter.  I want to bring my focus to the present and live there.  To taste the sweetness of life without being hindered by things that are far beyond my control at that moment.  Easier said than done, right?  But that's where my heart is right now.

That's all I've got at this point.  I may add more or modify the plan as I evaluate my progress.  I understand that New Year's is a fairly arbitrary construct.  I know that I could have committed to a change at any other time.  I fully recognize that I could be, as we speak, acting as the willing puppet of mainstream media, the diet industry, etc, etc.  But the Earth finished one more revolution and I have a January birthday and I just turned another year older so now feels like a good time to mark time and to think of my life and how it is meeting and not meeting my expectations.  But anytime you start to make a positive change in your life is the right time.  Two o'clock in the afternoon on March 3 is just as good as sometime after Christmas!

Monday, January 4, 2016

2015--Don't Let the Door Hit Your Tookus on the Way Out!

My 2015 sucked and I’m done with it.  I know that I’m a fortunate person and that my worst year was still better than what a lot of other people experienced.  I believe in an “attitude of gratitude” and that you get a lot further in life if you are able to focus on the positive rather than coming at life with a scarcity mindset.  I’ve seen the TED talks and I know there’s a mountain of empirical data out there.   All that out of the way, I also believe that I need to acknowledge the pain and frustration in my life.  I think I owe it to myself to validate my experience and find a way to believe that life is or can be good even when it feels like I’m caught in a shit storm.

It sucked for a lot of reasons.  It required me to face situations I wasn’t sure I could survive.  I had my heart broken on several occasions by the same man who chose to walk out of my life with little provocation only to resurface almost immediately without much of an apology or an explanation.  His return was the antithesis of his loud, painful and stormy exits.  You may think, “Sounds like you’re a doormat,” and maybe I am.  Also, maybe I understand that I am not the easiest person with which to find yourself entangled.  That we both lacked the adulting skills to make a serious go at anything.  I also know that it is only a matter of time before he is gone again and that next time, I need to lock the revolving door after him.  But I have a love for him that is carved on my heart and that won’t easily heal over.

After working in the same place for my entire adult life and living in my city for 32 years, I took a new job in a new town—partly to be closer to the aforementioned boyfriend and mostly because it was a wonderful opportunity and I felt myself growing stale in my old role.  This was both wonderful and sad.  The circumstances surrounding the painful disagreements and dramatic endings of my relationship, two weeks before I moved and then every other month after coupled with the fact that, six months in, I have yet to make any new friendships, have made this feel like a sad experience of which I question the wisdom.  It’s usually wise to take a risk to grow but I always dreamed the first time I made the step to cohabitate with someone would be full of joy (at least early on).

The Friday I drove down to sign the lease for my new apartment, I got in an accident and totaled my car.  I moved in that weekend and started my new job that Monday.  I would have preferred if insurance companies, rentals and finding a new vehicle I could afford were the last things on my mind.  I know I’m lucky I wasn’t hurt, that I had insurance and that I eventually got a new vehicle—it just added to the frustration and difficulty.

Then there was the injury to my foot.  On the urging of my best friend and the recommendation of my physician, I canceled our trip to India.  However, my best friend ultimately ended our friendship over this which left me scratching my head and wondering if there was something more to the story.  It just didn’t make sense.  Canceling the trip had been his idea and had he stuck around, I would have given him his money for the ticket.  He just determined he never wanted to speak to me again.  We were fused at the hip for six years, traveling and learning together—always talking out our concerns about the world.  He was the one person in my life who I knew would always say, “I love you.  You are ok in my book,” no matter how stupidly I behaved (we both did that for each other).  I’m guessing that a lot of the reason he walked away was that I had poured my entire self into our relationship before I started dating my boyfriend and while I still maintained our friendship—talking on the phone every day, planning trips, hanging out once or twice a week, my time and attention had become divided.  Losing him is and was devastating.  It shook the foundation of my confidence and losing him directly after a particularly traumatic break up led me to wonder if I was loveable at all, if there was something fundamentally wrong with me and if I would need to spend the rest of my life alone.

The lion’s share of this took place in the last half of 2015.  The result has left me feeling weathered and old.  I feel hollowed out—like I don’t have a lot to offer anyone right now.  There is a lot I am grateful for despite my complaining.  I’m grateful that, while I had come to believe that I could never take any action to change my life and that I was stuck in my old job in my old city, I found the courage to try something new.  I’m also grateful that the waves of pain and frustration that broke against me smoothed me over rather than making me more jagged.  I feel my heart more open than it ever has been.  In the past, if someone had wronged me I might have indulged in a lot of trash talking (at least to myself) and would have felt a great deal of animosity.  Instead, I just feel love and understanding.  I know I’m not perfect.  I don’t deserve what happened with my friend or my boyfriend but I also still love them both through it and I can love them both no matter what happens.  I’m also grateful that my new supervisor was completely kind and understanding that I have been a teary eyed, snotty, hot mess consumed with my pain and struggles and doing my best to be the person she thought she hired.   Not everyone has the luxury of being a train wreck.  Finally, I am grateful that, through all of this, I have my sister who is my light in the dark.

So closing the door on 2015, in this oversharing, self-indulgent entry (it’s a blog…what do you expect?), I feel hopeful for the year to come.  It might be worse than 2015 but I know I have the heart and will to face it.  I also firmly believe and most eagerly hope that it will be better and I have a plan to make that happen.  I know how to begin to make this a year of building myself into a person who is strong in mind, body and soul.  That plan will come next time, when I haven’t invested a thousand odd words saying good-bye to the past.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Fresh Start

First things first, I can’t make you any promises.  I want to be that person who sets forth with passion and delivers what’s expected but that just isn’t where I live right now.  I have problems with follow through.  I have, on innumerable occasions, begun with the best intentions but I find that, in all of even my most well intentioned efforts, life chips away at my resolve until I’m ready to curl up under my white flag for a long rest.
Maybe I am not resilient enough but that doesn’t feel right.  I have faced all that I have faced and I still am here clicking away at the keyboard with a spirit that is genuinely desiring an all out change.  With a soul that is ready to throw open the windows and let the sweet air blow the bitterness away on the breeze.
One thing is certain…my overuse of the conjunction “but” reveals that I am anything but certain.  I am not merely wishy washy–I am, at times entirely dichotomous.
Seven years ago, I began writing a blog with the hopes that giving a written shape to my thoughts would help me tame them and that I would ultimately find the resolve and the “secret” to losing weight.  Here I sit, at 266 pounds, nearly as heavy as when I first made weight loss my aim.
It could be a question of motivation.  Some people want to lose weight to attract a partner.  That never held much sway for me.  I didn’t want someone who wouldn’t want me at my heaviest.  That may have limited my dating options but I could never be satisfied with a “no fatties” kind of guy, even if I was thin.
I may have found my best motivation.  I always said I would lose weight if my weight ever limited the amount of fun I could have…then I set sail on that river in Egypt as I saw my weight begin to limit the life I could lead.  First, I couldn’t skydive.  Then I stopped renting kayaks because I was afraid I would sink them.  I had to stop trying to ride amusement park rides when I almost couldn’t get the safety restraints to fasten once.
I ignored all of that.  And then, in September, my weight led to a foot injury that still hasn’t healed and which caused me to have to cancel a much anticipated trip to India.  An action which ultimately cost me my relationship with my best friend.
I have mostly ignored the health consequences too.  The pre diabetes that I have left untreated.  The complete absence of my period, which generally means that I cannot have the family I dream of having some day.  The fact that my estrogen levels are so out of balance that my doctor is now “afraid of cancer” since we have been unable to get them under control
The price of these pounds has been high indeed.  No cookie or swallow of wine has ever been worth it.
So I can make no promises or guarantees.  I can only say that I intend to try to fight for my life.  To embrace not just weight loss but a total mind, body, soul kind of wellness that my whole being is crying out for.  I’m keeping this blog because it was something I once found helpful and because I am tired of just talking to myself about the triumphs and set backs.  I hope you join me.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Up 40...time for action!

We have an incentive plan at work that seeks to encourage us to be healthy by paying us for taking certain classes or participating in certain activities. One of those activities is a weekly weigh in. I don't usually go...I pretend to have better things to do...(denial ain't just a river in Egypt) but I went today. I weigh 248 pounds. That is precisely 40 pounds more than I weighed at my lowest, which, incidentally was also one of the most stressful times of my life. Another 30 pounds and I'll be back right where I started. That seems unthinkable, but so did 40.

Tomorrow morning I am going to the gym. I have to because I need to make this year of my life different from all the others. I need it to be about action and motivation not sadness and excuses. I am going because I have to start somewhere. I am going even though I don't feel ready because I think I maybe never will. I can't wait until I'm ready to change because change is sucky and uncomfortable and will never feel right at first but it can also be wonderful, especially when I have established in months of whining that what I am doing right now does not work.

Monday, January 30, 2012

I am the captain of my soul

I majored in history in college and took advantage of an accelerated program to earn a master's degree in it as well. However, as my favorite biology professor pointed out on that warm April day when I announced I was switching my major from biology to history, my university only taught, "the history of white people". (This is not the case so much today, but the department still labors under a decided eurocentricity). I loved my program and I tried to round out my world view but I missed a lot. None of my classes really touched Africa and I was too young in the 90s to pay much attention to current events, so I missed the struggles South Africa experienced during that time.

A quiet Friday night with nothing to do but be the proverbial crazy cat lady led me to rent a copy of Invictus. I didn't really know much about Nelson Mandela (indeed I don't know how much about him was fictionalized so I am remedying that by picking up some biographies) but I have to say that I was awestruck by what I did learn. It is unthinkable to me that someone could spend 27 years in prison and come out extolling forgiveness and peace. That, instead of lamenting the time lost, one could unselfishly consider the future of all.

Because I am entirely too self focused, even the story of Nelson Mandela's life makes me think of my own small struggles. I find it so amazing that he could forgive so much so readily but I find it impossible to relinquish the grudges I hold. People have not always been kind to me in my life; some people have hurt me profoundly but the grudge I keep holds the hurt inside for me alone. Those people probably do not know that I harbor the heartache that they caused, and they probably would not care if they did know. That inability to forgive is corroding me from the inside. Worse than my inability to forgive others is my inability to forgive myself.

I feel a great sense of regret when I consider how many years of his life were spent in captivity but it's painful to think of how I squander my freedom. In reality, I can do whatever I want, but I feel utterly imprisoned in a life that I find intolerable. I hate my body and my poor health. I hate my unstable financial situation. I love my friends with all my heart but I hate that they seem not to care much for me. I hate the way I spend my nights, alone in my apartment. I hate the way I am treated at work and that I do not feel my job is a challenge. I hate that I am single though I have tried very hard to meet someone. I hate the rut I have fallen into; the prison my life has begun. I am stuck between feeling I should learn to be satisfied with what I have and thinking that I should bust out of this prison while I can. I know the door is not locked but I can't even seem to find it.

In the meantime, I hope that rambling posts will help me work things out. I only know that something has to change because I have come to feel wildly, desperately unhappy. I know I am the only person who can fix that.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Christmas is Over so What's with the Reference to The Santa Clause

Christmas is long over. My trees been down since December 26, I have purchased my wrapping paper for next year and tucked it away and its been weeks since a Christmas cookie has crossed my lips. It's my favorite time of year but I'm prepared to be done with the season for the next ten months. So why is it then, that everyday, I am reminded of that scene in The Santa Clause where Scott Calvin gets on the scale and the dial continues to tick upward while he's standing on it?!?! I swear, everyday I seem to weigh just a little more and everyday I find a new pair of pants that needs to go into retirement!

What's going on here? I was tempted to say that it's not my fault. I was full of alarm, thinking I had better consult with a physician right away because there was NO WAY I was culpable for this seemingly unstoppable gain. After all, I may not be hitting the gym and living on vegetables but I've abandoned my recent habit of eating Ben & Jerry's while watching Biggest Loser on demand (did I think that was an ironic statement?) so what gives. I decided to examine things a little more closely before calling my doctor and discovered that I'm consuming far too many calories every day. Big shock...excess calories cause weight gain...WOW!

I'm easing back into this thing. I downloaded the Sparkpeople ap for my iPhone and I am tracking my food now. More discussion to follow but first I have to do something about this angry red ring my pants have cut into my stomach.