Friday, September 28, 2012

SEPT 28th Always Keep Going & Decisions

It's been a hard few days... well, weeks actually. Lots of ups and downs. Lots of tears, lots of soul searching. I'd have a few good on plan days, then go over my calories. Rinse and repeat. 

I finally slowed down, got honest with myself, and listed what the major thorns were, including what I might do about them.

1) I was re-visiting my spiritual roots, and asking a lot of questions, and trying to learn what it really means to do this thing in God's strength, not my own limited supply. I felt like such a failure... Answer: Admit defeat; accept God's compassion, mercy, and grace. Trust in His love. Rest in that love.

2) I was fed up with so many thoughts about ME, and this weight loss struggle, and always feeling like success was just around the corner; it was just out of reach; it was teasing me, illusive and slippery. Answer: see Answer #1 :-}

3) I was frustrated to realize that I was STILL doing the "as soon as" thing with regards to my art. "As soon as this weight thing is solved, I can concentrate on my true passion."  I thought I had gone beyond that, only to find I had fallen right back into the same muck. Answer: change where I spend my time, my energies.

4) My health has been acting up and causing so much physical pain, that I fell into the most deadly of all thinking: self-pity. It drained my energy, and I found myself many times saying "oh what's the use?" Answer: Be honest with my feelings. Remember gratitude. Then go back again to Answer #1

5) And with the health problems, I thought about Time. None of us are guaranteed more Time. And I came to the conclusion I didn't want to spend all my focus on this weight thing. Yes, I will keep going, and working at it. But I am tired of talking about it for now. I want to spend what computer time I have over at my art blog instead. Answer: obvious!  :-D

So I think this (too long) post will be it for awhile here. I was recently asked to join a book project, which was subsequently postponed. But it got me to thinking, and I've decided to close out here with some of those thoughts... it sort of sums it all up:

Fat baby. Fat child. Fat teenager. Fat adult.

Until I started my blog, I rarely talked about it. I smiled. I answered "I'm fine" when asked. But how "fine" can you be when your highest weight was 460 pounds??

Why talk about those early years?? Because they were the foundation. No blaming, simply for understanding. Wearing leg braces due to a birth defect, I first learned to walk as a chunky 3 year old. 

Upset, scared, crying? Food. 
Mad, sad, glad? Food. 
Reward, bribe, celebration? Food. 
You name it, Food was the solution.

This foundation set me up for a lifetime struggle. Not being taught food was for nutrition, but could be a comforter, soother, escape, even friend. That's what I "heard", anyway. How I wish I had been taught a healthy way to process feelings. Instead, I was told "Stop crying or I'll give you something to cry about." 

Except for a couple of teenage attempts when I "dieted" to an almost normal weight, I've spent a LIFETIME with this weight thing. It invaded, affected and tainted EVERYTHING. I was put on my first "diet" at age 10, which taught me I was viewed differently, even by adults. 

I felt like a target. Cruel words and treatment, based upon external appearance, cut deeply. It was hard to develop self-confidence when I was constantly made to feel I was "less than." 

I've loved art as long as I can remember. But didn't believe in myself enough to seriously pursue it until recently. Have I mentioned I am 61 years young?? I may be a late bloomer, but I now want to bloom audaciously!! 

Yet when asked to join this project, I was embarrassed and ready to decline. I did NOT feel worthy of it! I've been struggling a LIFETIME, and yet am still not to goal. As of this writing, I have lost over 100 pounds, but am still barely even halfway there!

Then it hit me. I DO have something to say. ONE THING! The most important lesson I've learned along the way:

Ever. No matter what. 
Always ALWAYS 
keep going. 

Over the years I've tried or wanted to try just about everything, including weight loss surgery. But my insurance denied coverage. Which turned out a blessing in disguise, because losing that last hope made me desperate enough to be willing to change.  I had lost weight repeatedly in my life... but never kept it off. It always came back, and then some. I didn't want another diet. I wanted true inner change. 

For my lastest attempt in 2009, I had a simple plan: 1) Don't eat sugar or flour 2) Do some kind of exercise 3) Positive mental input, all on the foundation of my relationship with God.

That's it. Nothing complicated, and I tailored it for me. I could have anything, anytime, as long as it wasn't sugar or flour, which affects my blood sugar. Going sugar-free/gluten-free removed the insane physical cravings, giving me a fighting chance. Now I concentrate on the mental/spiritual issues. I have some medical issues that I have to work around, but this change made it possible for the first time in my life to KEEP OFF the pounds lost, with an occasional bit of bouncing. I know for it to be permanent, I have to change INside. My progress has been turtle slow, but I have hope and determination. 

Do I ever want to give up in frustration or discouragement? Yes! But feeling like doing something and DOING it are two different things. My source of strength is my relationship with God. He has never given up on me, so I won't either. Period. 

We all have the ability to choose. Sure, I was taught poor coping strategies as a child. But I was the one making those unhealthy choices as an adult. Me. That's GOOD news, because now I can choose to make BETTER choices. 

It's not easy, at for me. I aim for progress, not perfection. I am undoing a LIFETIME of damage, poor habits, early programming, and bad choices. It's been a long, hard road, and it's taken a long time to find pieces to MY puzzle, unique to me. I encourage others to seek what is right for them, and NEVER GIVE UP until they find it. 

My nutritional choices have gradually improved over time. I still struggle with quantities, and have decided to go back to what I did in the beginning: calorie tracking. I've studied and experimented, and that's just what seems to work best for me.

Same with exercise. I've tried lots of way to get movement, believing it's important to my health. My goals include walking again! Building strength, getting lighter, getting out of my wheelchair. It will happen one day, I'm convinced. All I have to do is NEVER QUIT! And a huge part of that relies upon that daily healthy mental/spiritual input. In fact... I'd say most of it.

"Sometime in your life you will go on a journey. It will be the longest journey you have ever taken. It is the journey to find yourself." --Katherine Sharp

At 61, I think I am finally finding the real me.

Enjoy the journey,


PS: If interested, I invite anyone here to visit me at my Art By Retta blog. That's where I'll be hanging out most of the time, at least for now. 

Sunday, September 23, 2012

SEPT 23rd A Thought for Sunday

Just a little something for which I am thankful...

Enjoy the Journey,


Day 1127 

Friday, September 14, 2012

SEPT 14th Coming Full Circle

I recently spent a little time reading some of my own back posts.  It hit me two ways: both ENcouraging and DIScouraging. I get to choose which one to embrace!

See, I thought by now I would surely be at my goal. So when I read some of those older, positive, confident and upbeat posts, sometimes I cringe a little bit. Okay, a lot! I battle  thoughts that say:
See? You are all mouth, no action.

See? You thought you had some answers, and really don't. They are only pieces to the puzzle.

See? You are kidding yourself. It's too late, you'll never get there.

See? You are losing ground physically. The clock is ticking, and before you fix one problem, you get a new one.

So, I answer each of those attacks. Some days that's easier than others, to be honest.

Here is one example,  from my post about a year ago.  

It was about a meltdown I had, and how it was resolved thanks to some kind words from MyGuy. And the quote I used at the end once again hit me hard:

 "Self-pity is easily the most destructive of the non-pharmaceutical narcotics; it is addictive, gives momentary pleasure, and separates the victim from reality.." --John W Gardner

Ouch! A whole year has passed, yet I feel no farther down the road than that post!

On to this one,  written around the same time. 
I talked about treating myself with respect; attitude; not settling; I am worth it... 

The post was hard enough to read, but then blamo! I get smacked with my own quote yet again! This one from Muhammed Ali, who knows a little something about struggle, overcoming, and victory:

"Champions aren't made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them--a desire, a dream, a vision. They have to have last-minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will. But the will must be stronger than the skill." 

And there it is. In that last sentence. "The will must be stronger than the skill." 

And I come full circle back to my source of strength, to DO that will. To make those good choices. To choose to be encouraged, uplifted and keep going, no matter what. NO MATTER WHAT.

And here it is, the last quote from that page that reminded me of HOW to do the DOING part:

"I lift up my eyes to the hill-- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."

Today, I am encouraged. 
Today, I embrace gratitude.
Today, I decided not to bash myself for not being at my goal yet.
Today, I choose to embrace hope and determination.

And who knows... by the end of the day, I might even FEEL it! 

Enjoy the journey (it's better than the alternative!)


Day 1118 
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