Thursday, March 31, 2011

Can't believe from whence I'm quoting...

Okay: when I was in 7th and 8th grade and Thriller was the hot LP, I liked Michael Jackson. By the time Bad came out, I was in college, and liking Michael Jackson was not so cool. At the same time, I was pretty involved with my service fraternity, and idealism ran through me like ExLax through a widow woman (don't ask, it's a long story but a damn funny visual). And "Man in the Mirror" was a good song to remind me that as much as I wanted to change the world, the first place to start was with myself. And so here I am .... dare I say it? twenty-three years later (23??? REALLY?) and the song is still applicable.

Tonight in our meeting, we spoke about the buddy system .... and I mentioned that while I don't want a drill-sergeant "enforcer" I do need someone who will be honest enough with me to tell me when I am slacking, when I am hiding behind an excuse, who'll give me the real deal and love me anyway...... and someone who feels safe enough with me to know I'll love them for their honesty. And the first person who needs to do that for me.... is me.

I need to hold that mirror up to myself. I need to admit that there are days when I give myself too much slack, when I find a handy excuse or reason. It's too cold, I don't feel like it, it's Arbor Day in ... uh, Finland, yeah. To quote Roberto Duran: "No más!"

I need to start with the one in the mirror ..... and asking her to change her ways. To really take stock of what is happening and to find ways to make it better instead of just saying, "Well, I do the best I can." Not that the oil in my lamp has run dry --- never! --- but occasionally it needs filtering and refilling.

And the best part is that I know, beyond any doubt, that I have the power within me to do just that. And I have friends to rely on when I need a boost, who love me more than I sometimes love myself.

When life is that good and paths that clear, how can you lose?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

True note from today's WW tracker

"The chocolate was medicinal in purpose and for the good of all society, as it kept me from killing people. Prison orange isn't my color, but dark chocolate is."

Truer words were never spoken. Today was one of those days when everyone and every situation needed my urgent utmost attention .... and I am sorry, there is only one me and only so much to give. Holy schmolies.

I started the new hormone therapy regimen today. I am hoping it works and helps my overall health (as well as assisting in getting things regulated with me!). And I met with the surgeon regarding the cyst -- appointment set and in less than a month, I shall no longer be "EYE-gor!" or Quasimodo.

And thank God for a great workout tonight...... it was AWESOME! I was exhausted when it was over but worn out in the good way. I came home and made Elvis Oatmeal and an egg-beater-n-cheese wrap

..... What is Elvis Oatmeal, you ask?......
1 cup plain instant oatmeal, cooked
2 Tbsp chocolate PB2
half a banana, sliced
1-2 packets of Splenda (optional)

Thankya, thnkya verrra mush.

The wrap is easy: 1/2 c Egg Beaters, 1 Trader Joe's low-carb 6" tortilla, and one wedge of Laughing Cow light. I use a microwave egg cooker (to make a not-Mac-Muffin style egg - rounded shape to fit on an English muffin)..... let the egg cool just enough so that the steam escapes and doesn't make the cheese/tortilla all runny.

Yum. Yum. Yum and very filling.

All in all it was a good day.... thanks to a little square of dark chocolate.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Had to share this one...

There is a post on this morning's PostSecret that really touched a chord in me:

Notice Me

I had to respond -- so here is the response I sent over to PostSecret:

I used to fear losing the weight I needed to (over 200 lbs) because I thought it would negatively affect my singing performance. Was I ever wrong - my voice and everything about my singing is much improved. But aside from all that, I would say do it for yourself. Seeing myself in the mirror and loving who I am now is a far better gift. And when you love yourself and treat yourself as you deserve, Mr. Right will notice and come your way. Validate yourself, don't rely on someone else.

I really did think that my vocal performance would suffer. I know, crazy isn't it? I somehow thought I would lose something of my strength if I lost my Mama Cass body. (And as an aside for the record, Mama Cass was a gorgeous person, gone too soon, and I weighed LOTS more than her at my peak weight. But I still laugh every time my friend MJ says, "If Mama Cass & Karen Carpenter had shared that ham sandwich, they'd both still be alive.")

And when I did lose the weight, my vocal performance improved dramatically. WAY more breath control, way better ability to hit a note, hold a note, better phrasing, better power, better everything. When I don't work out, my singing suffers. Who'd-a-thunk, right?

The one thing that oddly didn't come into play in losing the weight was "Maybe I'll find Mr. Right." At 28, I went through a breakup with the guy I thought for sure was THE ONE. Turns out I was wrong in many ways. He wasn't THE ONE, I didn't fall apart, and I've learned that I couldn't possibly love him the way he deserved to be loved -- nor could he love me in the way I deserved to be loved -- because I didn't love myself.

I know, it sounds cornier than 40 acres in Iowa, but it's the truth. I didn't love me. I loved many parts of me and I didn't suffer from poor self-esteem. It wasn't the greatest, but I surely wasn't bottom of the barrel. In all my fat years, I had some resilience in me that kept me from sinking too far down, and there was a feistiness in me that would wake me up whenever someone crossed a line. I would get hurt, but I'd be danged if I'd let you utterly destroy me.

Yes, fat is a social insulator. And food is a great blanket in which you can wrap the pain. And it can happen to us whether we weight 128, 234, 408, 194.... emotional pain doesn't care about a number.

But love yourself enough to put yourself first. When you treat yourself the way you deserve, others will notice. Others will want to support you -- some may want to tear you apart because they realize they're lacking and figure they'll bring you back down to their level (or lower). Clear your life of the toxic relationships, whether with food, people, your own demons.

Get healthy. Go for wholeness. Be in love with yourself. Be the person whom you were created to be: a reflection of the divine.

Friday, March 25, 2011

A total paradigm shift

Last night, I had a training session for Weight Watchers, and on the drive home, I was thinking about some of what we had gone over.

A few weeks ago, I did a post on the biggest change in me since losing the weight, and getting healthier. But last night I realized that even this wasn't as accurate an answer as it could have been. But I found a phrase that describes it perfectly:

I have gone from 'ignorance is bliss' to 'knowledge is power'...

This, my friends, is what has transpired in my life. With my health, my happiness, the old phrase of "what I don't know won't hurt me" no longer works. It's "let me find out and go from there."

Once again, I am digging for answers -- not for saying "Oh I can't because of...." but to say, "Okay, so there's (this) and so here's what I have to do to compensate." I have learned of some interesting medical background in my family, and wondered if it plays into some of what I've experienced over the last few years. One of the options I asked him to look into, my doctor more or less ruled out .... so GOOD! Now I know. And he's given me some options to try for the time being to help me get myself back on track. HOORAY!

And best of all, he listened when I told him about the cyst on my shoulder. He has set up an appointment for me with a surgeon.... turns out it's the same guy who did my gallbladder removal in 2003. I cannot WAIT to see him on Monday. One of the nicest docs ever, and I was 200+ pounds heavier back then too. This is gonna be good!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Advocating for selfishness

(of sorts)

I realized a couple of weeks ago that I've been working our Saturday morning meetings for over a year now. In that year, we changed locations, merged with another meeting or two, and even changed leaders twice. And in reflecting on our changes, one very sad fact leapt out at me: I can only think of 3-4 people from that original meeting who are still attending our Saturday meetings -- and even then, it's sporadic. I really, really hope that they are simply attending another meeting date or time -- and that they haven't given up on themselves.

I admit: I get a little sad, a little angry, a little bewildered .... I can understand when money or time or another circumstance really is a factor. I have no problem with that. And I know how a seemingly temporary or short-term situation can so easily get us off track. The problem lies in when it becomes a handy excuse for not getting back on track. For example, I know someone who is still using an incident from 2001 as a "reason" why he or she cannot do (name it, just name it). I want to look them dead in the eye and say, "Really? Has this occurred at any time since then? No? Then what's your excuse now?"

I have my own excuses too -- gym bag in the car and ready to go but it's hard for me to make time for exercise. I'm tired. I don't want to work out too late at night. I'll get up early (how often has that worked for me lately?). I have a million of them. And it's that part I don't like about myself that sometimes cause me to take a harder edge. I have to be tough with myself because I know otherwise, I will give myself too much slack. The slippery slope becomes a slip-n-slide.

It truly breaks my heart to think that people give up so easily on the one person they shouldn't: themselves. Why do we not love ourselves? I know in my own cultural niche, there's the whole "put others before yourself" way of life. We have it beat into us that we're horrible persons and not "Real Christians" (TM) if we don't put ourselves dead last. That selfishness is a mortal sin.

Sorry, doesn't work that way. I can't begin to take care of you and your needs if I am unwilling to do it for my own needs as well. If I'm not healthy, how can I possibly model it for you?

So forgive me if I display a few selfish tendencies: taking time to care for myself properly; to attend my meetings, to exercise, to shop for healthy food. To be a little pampered on occasion, even if it's just a $10 manicure. To be able to say "no" to a request when I really don't have enough resources (especially time). To know that to care for myself is as high a calling as caring for others.

And if you were part of a meeting and have fallen away because of some months-old reason that doesn't work anymore, how about coming back? We'd love to see you again!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

This time, I know it's for real....

(....is not just a Donna Summer song)

I just signed up for the Little River Bridge Run/Walk in less than 2 weeks (the 5K portion). Luckily it's an evening race.... gasp, don't get many of those, so this time I don't even have to find a sub for work.

I guess it's official: I'm one of those crazy competitive ... um, athlete? types.

It's a tag that I don't often -- or lightly -- toss around: ATHLETE. I was a klutzy kid, always falling head over feet and elbows over rear ends. If you had a betting pool on who'd suffer the first "game injury" I'd be an almost-sure-thing. Even now, I cannot wrap my brain around "me" and "athlete" in the same room, let alone the same sentence, or the same space.

I laughed at the doctor's office when the nurse told me my pulse rate was low enough that they called it "athlete's rate."

Maybe I shouldn't have laughed after all.

So give me a sec while I do a happy dance and a YAY ME...... it's a rare indulgence.

Monday, March 14, 2011

In the words of "Fletcher Reade"...

Old man in restroom: "What are you doing?"
Fletcher Reade (Jim Carrey): "Do you mind? I'm kicking my own @$$!!!"

(from the beating-himself-up-in-the-bathroom scene in Liar Liar)

For the first time in forever, I have managed to actually get more than one workout in within a 7-day span! I'm aiming for a 3rd if I can get it! :D And let me tell you, this new workout is kicking my butt six ways to Sunday and I'm loving it. Good Lord, I am exhausted during it and shortly after it's over, but it's a great workout!

And it tied in so well with David Kirchhoff's Man Meets Scale blog post today.... it's about competition and how that sometimes is a motivating factor in our workouts or weight loss. For me, it is. Don't know why, but as much as I appreciate teamwork, for workouts I have to go it alone. I need the solitude and yet I need people around me when I work out -- not as "buddies" but as benchmarks.

Saturday, I was pretty much the only person in the gym until I hit the core work. And then it was one person who not only works out but is pretty serious about it. Tonight, everyone and his/her brother was in there. Amazingly enough, I had no trouble getting the machines and equipment I needed, even with several of "the boys" (see earlier post) there .... With that many people there, I kind of wonder if they realized "oops, gotta play nice with others tonight"......

Anyway, I like this workout and I'm actually looking forward to sticking with it -- at least until about another 8-10 weeks when Killer Dave says, "Hey you, how's it going? Ready to change up?"

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Eating Right With Color

As part of National Nutrition Month, one of the items that is suggested is to eat a variety of foods from a wide variety of colors. That's the nice thing about healthy eating -- you can have a very artistic plate!

I was thinking about my own day today and wondering just how well I did myself.....

Breakfast: brown, yellow, blue, white (multigrain cereal, banana, blueberries, milk... and coffee!)
Snack: purple (grapes)
Lunch: brown, red, green, orange, white-ish, pink (a turkey stew with black beans and tomatoes, a huge salad with orange pepper strips and mushrooms, and a whole grapefruit)
Snack: white (popcorn)
Dinner: brown, yellow, red, green (a lovely homemade cream of mushroom soup, half of a veggie frittata with red peppers, broccoli, tomato, mushroom and cheese, and an apple)
Pre-bed snack: orange, blue (vanilla-mango-blueberry smoothie).

Yeah, I pretty well hit the rainbow on that one! And the amazing thing is that it didn't take all that much effort to put it together.... or really, all that much money either. If you take a much longer-term picture, healthier eating is less expensive.

Which kind of ties into the post I was working on earlier today anyway...... but more on that in a second.

Choosing healthier foods may be a little more costly when it comes to the checkout line. But look over the course of a lifetime. Eating healthier may be the difference between the rare doctor's visit outside of a checkup, and Medicare paying for your angioplasty or open heart surgery.

And really, don't get me started on the 5-A-Day thing. Five-A-Day is child's play, when you consider that a serving of most fruits and vegetables is HALF A CUP. For leafy greens, it's ONE cup. Folks, that's basically a handful of lettuce. Really? You can't work that in somehow? Because my salad today was at least four cups and it was pretty dang good and filling -- for very little money and lots of flavor. Seriously, try 7-A-Day to start. You'd be surprised how easy it can be to achieve!

***

Now.... earlier today, I was thinking about a story that a friend was relaying. She knows someone who was diagnosed with a treatable condition last year. This particular condition in this particular individual was serious enough to require some surgical correction (no real cure) and follow-up treatment. This person's doctor had apparently recommended to friend-of-friend that losing weight would be of tremendous importance in lessening the effects of this disease, in making his or her treatment much more effective, etc. And my friend said, "So here (person) is, a year later after the surgery, and as heavy as then.... if not more. Apparently, the surgery worked fine, so now he or she doesn't have to..."

I thought about this story, and honestly I am torn. Part of me feels for this person. I don't know that much about this condition, except that what little I have read suggests that this doctor was spot-on about the weight loss helping. And I surely can see where it could be of big importance.

There's a part of me who wants to find this person that I don't know from Adam, and give them the Cher-from-Moonstruck treatment: you know, WHAP! "Snap out of it!" That's the side of me which wants to say, "Just because the surgery was successful in making your worst symptoms go away doesn't relieve you of your responsibility to your own body."

Sadly, this isn't an isolated case....... Just look at this season's Biggest Loser: how many of the contestants had gastric or other WLS in the past.... and are STILL struggling with weight (and now a reduced stomach capacity)? All too often, we want the quick fix: surgery, some pill or tonic, some external force that will tell us it's okay, it's not our fault, we can't be to blame. Here, take this, poor baby, pat pat pat.

Because I wanted it too. I wanted that magic pill more than anything. I wanted the doctors to find something at fault -- other than me. But the cold hard reality is that I got myself where I was.... no one else. Nothing else. Just me. I got myself into it, and by God it was up to me to get myself out. Cold harsh truth. But so good for me.

So I buckled down and did it.

And you can too. You can make the choice in every single moment to be your own best friend or your biggest saboteur. You can do right or do wrong by yourself. It is in those moments where you are faced with only yourself... and the real you comes forth.

Do right by yourself today, every day, every moment.

Learn all about National Nutrition Month

In the meantime, while I'm formulating my next post, you can learn more about healthy, nutritious, delicious eating ideas, activities, etc. at this website.....

National Nutrition Month