Monday, August 31, 2009

DAY 22 Question One & Mud or Stars

Hello Journal,

First things first...Monday weigh in: 380...that's a lb loss this last week. Yes!

On to business...Last Friday I talked about Bob Greene's 5 Questions (here is that post). This week I plan to give my answers to each one, that I originally wrote out back in January 09. I think working on the answers has helped me get to where I am today. These are my words, just as I wrote them back in January.


Question 1:  What are you really hungry for?

My Answer: feel fill up soothe distract from pain, both emotional and drown out regret and guilt over wasting my life...

One thing I have learned, at least for me, is that when you are looking for honest answers, you have to remember these are just "feeling" answers. They don't have to be logical...or make sense...they are just what comes up. Don't jump all over yourself and judge yourself harshly, or worry about how it will sound. It is what it is. Accept it, learn from it, and think of it as useful information.

I have already done the work that makes this a useful exercise, instead of wallowing in self pity, or staying stuck in the past, the what ifs and the woulda/coulda/shoulda's.

Which is...I ANSWERED myself with my new truths...with my new future...with how I am choosing to live the rest of my life. I refuse to stay stuck back there.

For instance, my dialogue might go something like: okay, you are using food as a drug, a diversion, a way to escape from those feelings you just wrote you don't have to deal with them, work through them, feel them...and it doesn't work, right?! When the eating stops, sooner or later you just feel worse, and the cycle starts all over again.

"Peace, to feel better, to soothe, to deal with emotional pain", etc... I needed to learn healthier ways to give myself what I need. I need to be honest and ask myself what's really going on...sometimes talking it over with God works..sometimes I need a good nights sleep...sometimes I need a good cry and to FEEL it, and see it's alright go through it, I will survive just fine...sometimes I need a quiet place and some soothing music...sometimes I need loud good old fashioned rock n roll! 

My point is...I have to stop running from it. I like the saying: 
Face your stuff, don't stuff your face.  
I think I spent most of my life avoiding pain, avoiding the hard stuff, avoiding going through it and coming out the other side. I remember as a little kid being told "stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about." I never learned a healthy way to handle the stresses of life, but instead to NOT deal with it, to use food for all the wrong reasons....Well, better late than never!

If it's "physical pain", which a lot of people live with, well, if I have done all I can to get it treated, then...I just have to get over myself! I tend to want to feel sorry for myself...poor me, know one knows what I go through...blah blah blah...I need to put it into perspective. There really ARE so many people going through so much more than I am, and if I will live a life of gratitude and focus on all the things I have to be thankful for, it will transform my attitude. And science has proven time and again the mind/body's not hocus pocus. Your attitude powerfully affects your pain levels. So I choose joy!

As for the last part..."to drown out regret and guilt over wasting my life...", well, that was a toughie for me. I am 58, and have battled this weight all my life. If I dwell on the fact that it took me til NOW to get my act together, I could spiral right down.  I just can't go there.  I cannot change my past, but I can affect my future. I am responsible for all the choices I have made in my life that brought me to NOW. Some people don't like to hear that...because they don't interpret that as GOOD news.

choose to view that as good news. Because if, by MY CHOICES, I shaped my past life, then, BY MY NEW CHOICES, I will be shaping my new healthy future!!  I am not a victim...I have choices!

I may be late getting to the party, but I accept the invitation. And I am grateful to be invited, and given a chance to enjoy it with the music turned up, singing and dancing and celebrating the possibilities all the way out! I have plans...big plans...dreams...hopes...visions...daring and exciting. What have I got to lose to at least try???

To those who have been given this chance at a younger age, I would say: GRAB IT!! Give it your absolute ALL. Make this YOUR time, and let nothing dash your dreams. We don't control most of what happens TO us in life, but we have ABSOLUTE control over how we respond, which will make all the difference in the world in our thinking and our choices and how we interact with others...and ultimately, our future. Be bold!! Don't let the years slip away...Muster up all the courage inside of you, ignite the fires of enthusiasm, and go for it now!!!

I love this little poem:

"Two men looked through prison bars, 
one saw mud and the other saw stars!"

I could go the path of least resistance, and agree with those feelings that come up and try to tell me it's too missed your chance...why try. Or I can challenge it! I can say phooey on that! I refuse to accept that. 

I choose to believe that I DO have something to offer...something to contribute...something of value. In the grand scheme of things, I know I am pretty insignificant. Og Mandino says that any time you get to thinking you're such hot stuff, just put your fist into a bucket of water...then withdraw it. "The hole remaining will give you a correct measure of your importance."  LOL!  But,  I also know we each have a few lives we can touch, a reason to be here, a life to live. We matter.

Do I always "feel" this way?? Of course not.  I struggle...I have to choose--everyday-- what thoughts will rule my day. And some days I am the windshield, and some days I am the bug! Thank goodness I don't have to allow my feelings to be in charge of my life and future!

"The thoughts we choose to think are the tools we use to paint the canvas of our lives."--Louise Hay

This is a journey we's all about choices...and I choose to never give up, to never quit, and to reach out for my dreams. Why not shoot for the moon?? Even if I miss, I will still be among the stars. Sounds good to me!

From Dr Phil's book: "Be realistic about what you can control and what you can't."

My verse for today: "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

My quote for today: "What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?" --Vincent Van Gogh

Enjoy the Journey, all the way to the end!


Sunday, August 30, 2009

DAY 21 A Day of Rest

Good Afternoon Journal,

For now, I am planning not to write much on Sunday. Instead I will post some gorgeous photos.

MyGuy is a photographer, so I asked him what his current favorite photo is...and he told me it was this beautiful waterfall...
Watson Falls, here in Oregon.

The falls are 272 feet tall, one of the largest in Oregon. He took the photo on an early August morning. It is set in a natural ampitheater, which magnifies the sound of the water. He says it was thunderous! He loved the moss growing on the rocks below, then being able to look beyond it to the view of the falls (click image to enlarge).


Saturday, August 29, 2009

DAY 20 Five Questions & Why

Happy Caturday, Journal!

There is a Cowboy proverb that says: "Speak your mind...but ride a fast horse."

I was going to talk about the 5 Questions that Bob Greene
(Oprah's trainer) asked a few months ago...then yesterday I read a differing point of view from Janice Taylor, at her humorous blog Our Lady of Weight Loss. She offered her own 5 Questions as a sort of rebuttal.

I guess I will just wade in with my own point of view, and have a fast horse ready. ;-)

The 5 Questions were designed to help those who wanted to lose weight get to the bottom of their issues. I had done a lot this type of work already, using Dr Phil's excellent book Self Matters. But these were short, so I figured why not?

Here are the 5 Questions:

1. What are you really hungry for?
2. Why are you overweight?

3. Why have you been unable to lose wt, or to maintain wt loss in the past?
4. What in your life is not working?
5. Why do you want to lose this weight?

Pretty basic stuff...yet having to write out an answer that isn't flip or shallow can be revealing and helpful.

Janice Taylor pointed out that 3 of the 5 questions posed by Bob Greene were "why" questions, which--in her opinion--weren't all that useful. She feels you should just focus on action NOW.

Well, sometimes finding out the why, if possible, helps. We are all so different, I think it helps to be able to individualize the plan.

For instance, let's say my foot hurts...REALLY hurts. If I didn't ask WHY it hurt, I would be treating symptoms, not the cause. I might:

dig around for a splinter
try a foot rub
put a cast on it
wrap it in an ace bandage

If I had made the effort to find out WHY...that it was my cutsie shoes, then I could have just bought more sensible shoes, rather than a hit or miss approach.

There is a time to re-visit the past...RE-VISIT, not live there. Not to wallow in it, stuck and feeding on the negativity. But rather, to be honest about it, forgive mistakes and poor choices, learn from it, and move on to an ACTION-ORIENTED SOLUTION.

While it may not be necessary, I have found it helpful. It has nothing to do with blame...everything to do with UNDERSTANDING.

The overall objective is: to find your own Purpose in life, then take the necessary action to achieve it.

More specific to weight loss: My Purpose is to regain health and lose weight. Then make an ACTION plan to achieve that goal.

Since I am not going to write much on Sundays from now on, starting Monday I plan to talk about my answers to Bob's 5 Questions.

I think the progress I am finally making is due in part to facing these kinds of questions honestly, and then moving on to an action-oriented solution.

Off to exercise now....

From Dr Phil's book: "...change must come totally from within you. This is where the real power to create lasting results is found, and what you are about to do here will give you that power."

My verse for today: "Trust in Him at all times, O people; pour out your hearts to him for God is our refuge."

My quote for today: "Conditions are never just right. People who delay action until all factors are favorable are the kind who do nothing."--William Feather

Enjoy the Journey,


Friday, August 28, 2009

DAY 19 New Habits: Teflon or Velcro?

Good Evening Journal,

I have read information from many, many sources along this journey of change. One of my favorites is by Dr Phil McGraw, titled The Ultimate Weight Solution. To me it's not really a "diet"'s more a down-to-earth-change-your-thinking book. It's not that it has revolutionary ideas, but I liked the way he laid it out, in a logical order...a plan to follow. I was sooo tired of trying everything my way only to fail. So, I read it...a few times. And guess what his first key to success's Right Thinking.

He says on pg 144: "It is a truth of human nature that you will want to resist things that are new...But let me get real with you: you can overcome this human truth by consciously taking on the attitude of a ‘willing spirit’. Be willing to experiment and try new things in order to weaken your old habits. Adopting this spirit and putting into action everything you’ve learned is critical to keeping your positive momentum alive.

He says you don't get rid of bad habits, you replace them with healthy ones. You take action. And for me, it took taking those actions over and over and over, and I will admit that some of those old habits STILL give me problems (umm, like...not getting regular sleep!).

I was wondering WHY the new good habits don't always stick very well...they slide away as from teflon. Dr Phil says to "act as if" fake it til you make it. That is another way of saying that you are in Training to form new habits.

So what's the difference between successful change and failure....between the changes sticking or sliding away??

It takes CONSISTENT action...not just action. How long? For as long as it takes to stick. Shakespeare said: "Assume a virtue if you have it not."

Could it be that if we don't consistently put the new habits into action, again and again and again--as long as it takes, until we have "grafted" it into our thinking and actions and it really has taken root--well, that might be why it seems to evaporate so easily, and we find we even forgot all about it for awhile??? I know for me, that trying to learn too many new habits at once is very difficult. I do better conquering them one or two at a time.

In the first of 2009 I started an "Improvement List", with 20 items on it. I only took one at a time, and worked on it til I was comfortable it was becoming a habit. How did I know? I didn’t have to rely on a “note to self” to remember to do it! Then I added a new one to work on, then another, etc. I am embarrassed to admit how many times I have had to go back and repeat one...or more. Gee, I wish I could say it was always Easy...but I would be lying. For first a change is not always easy...but it GETS easier as time goes by, until it has become a part of my routines, a part of who I am.

It is taking lots of repetition, with some splats onto my face and getting up again, to build my new healthy habits.

But, this is good news!! This only means that with repetition (a LOT of repetition for me!) we CAN build new healthy habits. You know how it is when you have a new, fragile baby plant, and are waiting for it to take root; for awhile it can die pretty easy of neglect. It might take a little extra effort at first, but once firmly rooted and growing, and watered and fed occasionally, it can be hardy and tough. I want to hang in there while I am "growing" my New Self!

From Dr Phil's book: "Weight loss doesn't just happen; it happens one step at a time."

My verse for today: "...He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither."

My quote for today: "Obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it."-- Michael Jordan

Enjoy the Journey,


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Day 18 Travel Friends & Sleep...or Lack Thereof

Hello Journal,

I am new to this kind of daily blogging, and am learning, thanks to the generosity of others. One blog I am following is Sean Anderson's Daily Diary of a Winning Loser. (here)

You see, in real life, when I was 460 lbs, I was the biggest person I knew. And even now, at 383, I am still the biggest person I personally know. My doctor admitted to me that I was his biggest wonder he doesn't invest in a scale that goes higher than 350...he didn't need it for anyone else. I had to buy a specialty scale from Ample Stuff (here).

It does something to you to always be the feel abnormal, like you don't fit. So it was a blessing a while ago to have met others online with more than 200 lbs to lose also, and we became a small group, traveling this road together. I didn't feel so alone. Losing weight can have challenges at any weight, but those that have a very long journey can have unique challenges. Think not?? For example, exercise ...When I first started at 460 lbs, I was exercising horizontally, laying on my bed!

But more importantly, the MENTAL aspect is unique. I mean, our road trip is going to be a LONG one! Our journey can seem to go on forever, and if we aren't careful we can get discouraged and give up. We need people who are going to be around for the long haul.

The strength of our addiction to food can be a challenge. It takes a lot of determination, commitment, consistency, and perseverance to re-program our thinking. It might take falling down a few times and getting up more times than we fall to get really break free and choose to change our life. To choose life!

I have been reading old posts by Sean, and last night I read Day 24, back in Oct 8th of 2008 (here). In it he explains why he approaches his calorie limit with such strictness. He knows himself and how he could rationalize a bad choice. Planning ahead for a special occasion is one thing, but he didn't want to make room for last minute decisions when facing temptations. So he set a caloric cut-off.

Here is the part that made me think and examine my own level of commitment ...he wrote:

"My level of strictness is equal to my desire to be successful on this mission. I want it and I want it bad, and I know myself better than anyone, I know that if I give myself an inch, I'll eat the whole thing. I feel like this is training for a healthier lifestyle. I'm training myself to understand food better, to discover flavors, to understand proper portion amounts, to really better understand exercise and nutrition benefits, I'm in training for a healthier, longer, more satisfying life. And I have to do it on the straight and narrow."

I have to ask myself if I am giving myself too much slack, or am I where I should be for now. And if I get touchy at the question...then that just tells me I have touched a nerve, and there might be something to dig deeper into.

How strong is my desire to be successful on this mission?
Am I willing to do whatever it takes? Whatever??
Am I being honest with myself?
Is there anything in my plan that needs fine-tuning?
Are there aspects of my life that I am avoiding addressing, or stalling on changing?

I have to admit, I answered yes to those last two. It has to do with time management, and getting enough sleep consistently. This is not a new issue for me, and I even have a "plan". But I have not made it a priority, and allowed excuses to pre-empt "the plan".

This was not what I had intended on writing today. But I am tired. I am on my second cup of coffee...and I NEVER have more than one...usually. Spellcheck can't even keep up with me today...obviously I need to apply the No Excuses Mentality to THIS problem.

Sleep really is important to a healthy lifestyle...thanks Sean, for the reminders.

From Dr Phil's book: "...evaluate each and every option in your life against the priorities of your goals."

My verse for today: "...when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet."

My quote for today: "The early bird may get the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese."

Enjoy the Journey,


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

DAY 17 Way of Eating & Way of Thinking

Good Afternoon Journal,

I have reached the last topic from my "need to be CONSISTENT" list...and that is: and don't forget my Low Carb way of eating.

(okay, that food pic is not low carb, but it was just too hilarious and weird!)

I feel like I have been on a treasure hunt all my life, and LAST, have found the treasure...the last piece to a puzzle. The last few years I have been consciously trying to make real, lasting changes. 

I've worked on my thinking and my emotions...trying to learn ways to handle stress other than using food...learning to exercise (when you start at 460, that's easier said than done, and you can get owies if not careful), learning the importance of support (not hose--people)...and much more.

But even while working on all that, I was still floundering around trying to find a way of eating that was do-able for life, for ME. I didn't want a "diet". That is something you go ON, then later you go OFF of it...and guess what happens then?? The same thing that has happened to me all my life: I regain it all, and then some. 

No, this had to be something that I could do and enjoy in the long run. Even though the mental stuff is of critical importance, I still needed to eat right, for me. I finally found it in a restricted-carbohydrate way of eating.

Since the purpose of my blog is to focus on the things that help keep my head straight, so I don't drift off into stinkin thinkin, I don't plan to repeat all the arguments for or against low carb eating. Anyone interested is welcome to do like I did...I read about 6 books on low carb, listened to a gazillion podcasts from Jimmy Moore's site, researched on several websites, joined a couple of low carb forums and went crosseyed reading archives of information! Oh, and I even got some cookbooks, and learned there are wonderful foods that are just as yummy as all my old favorites that were killing me! I had to be sure, so I did my homework, til I was satisfied.

Bottomline: I like it, it works, it's healthy, and that's all that matters to me.

I believe we are all so different....I have no problem with people doing different ways of eating...I just hope they are permanent ways of life, healthy in the long for life.

In the past, I have tried all kind of plans...including "everything in moderation." Whatever it is in my head, I can't tell you, but for me it doesn't work. For ME, trying to stop at a "little bit" of sugar was like telling an alcoholic to enjoy just a little bit of booze every fed my cravings and eventually led to a binge.

So for ME, I found that getting the sugar (and carbs that turned to sugar fast in the body) out of my system dramatically reduced the cravings. I felt like I finally had a fighting chance at saying no! Now that the physically cravings are handled, it's just a matter of learning to deal with emotions and the stress of life without turning to food...the same ANYONE else using any other plan must learn.

But for ANY plan to work...change must come from the inside. Any plan could work, but any plan can FAIL, too, if the thinking is wrong. Right thinking is a powerful foundation for that necessary change. Obviously, I had work to do in my thought and choice making processes or I would not have gotten up to 460 lbs!

A while back I was talking to my doctor, and said offhandedly "this weight is not a physical problem, is it a MENTAL problem." He looked right back at me, nodded his head and firmly said "Yes!"

So that is why I probably sound a bit redundant...always harping on the mental aspect of this journey...that The Battle Is Won Or Lost Between The Ears.

"I believe that what works in your life works because you make it work. You succeed because you make the right choices, you choose the right attitude, and you enact the right behavior to generate the right results. It is you who must create the life you want. And the choice is yours to make."--Dr Phil McGraw

"Work each day on your thoughts rather than concentrating on your behavior. It is your thinking that creates the feeling that you have and ultimately your actions as well." --Wayne Dyer

"Change your thoughts and you change your world."
-- Norman Vincent Peale

"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing....that's why we recommend it daily." --Zig Ziglar

"Whether you think you can...or you think you can't, either way you are right." --Henry Ford

"Don't stuff your face; face your stuff." --author unknown
Couldn't have said it better myself. :-)

From Dr Phil's book: "You cannot be wishy washy."

My verse for today: "As a man thinks, so is he."

My quote for today: "Never make the same mistake twice, or you'll never get around to all of them."

Enjoy the Journey,


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