exercise

Back in the Saddle, Again – my weight loss journey, June 18, 2014

Well, friends, this is going to be short and sweet :0)

Honest Confession: The last few months, I’ve found it difficult to focus on my goals. Illness, the loss of my mother, grief, random stress and busy-ness have all jumbled together into a whirlwind that has been disorienting and exhausting. But now, I feel as though I’ve been spit out of the storm and thrown against the ground. A bit bruised, but breathing, I feel not so much like starting again, but picking up where I left off.

I went for a brief walk on my morning break in the basement of my office building. I plan on having lots of veggies for lunch, and I’ve been drinking more water.

My sweet little boy has offered to be my evening walking partner, with the vision of doing our first 5K together this fall (probably a walk-run).

It’s something – that transition from knowing you need to do something and actually taking action. Our troubles won’t be remedied in a day, dear ones, but in the moment-to-moment choices we make for ourselves, the ones we love, and the sweet little ones who love us back.

If you need to get “back in the saddle,” too, don’t worry about swooping up and going for a full-tilt ride. Just lift that first foot off the ground. Afterall, it’s how all great journeys begin. And, yours is going to be great. And so will mine 😉

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My weight loss journey, May 16, 2014

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So, this is me, like 100 pounds ago. I was a size 4 or 6 in this picture. Cute, huh? 🙂 At that time, I sure didn’t think I was cute. My then husband and I were about to file for divorce. He was leaving me for his girlfriend who, in his words, wasn’t as nice as me, but was more attractive. Girls, can I just say right now that we are all beautiful in God’s eyes? It took me years…no, DECADES to really start to understand that thing that I’d heard over and over again through the years. That I am God’s precious daughter, and that He loves me. He knows my heart and created me from the inside out, so he knows the sacred secrets of my innermost being, and sees that they are lovely.

He thinks you’re lovely, too 🙂

This summer, I go into the season the thinnest I’ve been in 3 or 4 years. Now, that’s not necessarily saying much as I’ve gained and lost the same 10 pounds for the last 3 or 4 years, but I’ve finally crossed the threshold and am on my way down again.

The last week or so, I’ve experience something new that I’ve been wanting to share with you. It’s peace. I don’t feel driven to lose 50 pounds in a month, or 100 pounds in 3 months. I feel a new peace with my journey that I can’t quite explain, but I know where it comes from – that same place that brings us all peace that we can’t fathom – our Father’s heart. It was always there, waiting for me and, for some inexplicable reason, I find myself with open arms, accepting it.

If you’re somewhere on a journey, whether for weight loss or forgiveness, healing or a fresh start, I encourage you to open your heart. Open it to the world around you – to the friends and family who love you, and the God who adores you. You’re not alone. You are worthy. You are enough, and you are lovely.

The Journey, January 8, 2014 “What do you crave?”

ImageIt happens every day, more than once and, usually, more often than necessary. It starts innocently enough. Maybe you begin to feel a bit fidgety. Your toes start wiggling, and your mind becomes a bit distracted. Could you be…hungry?

Yes, of course, that must be it. It’s been at least an hour or two since you’ve eaten, and now you’re starving, famished even, and on the verge of dramatic interpretation as you stumble toward the vending machine in what you assume can only be a low-blood-sugar induced stupor. The oxymoronic vacuum of feelings sucking at you from the inside out must be a craving for something sweet. Or something salty. Something substantial, or just a little something to tide you over. Peanuts or pizza? A diet Coke and Doritos, or a handful of mini-marshmallows (don’t ask)?

I won’t pretend to be the first person to point out the differences between craving and hunger, but I’ll be happy to be the millionth person to bring it up again because I make it no secret that I’m an emotional eater.  🙂 I wear my insecurities, heartbreaks, and suppressed feelings on the outside, for everyone to see. So much for that magical cloak of invisibility, eh?

Just last night I found myself craving something. My day had been lacking in certain ways, and I was feeling unsatisfied because there are some things that I want to be different, but I just don’t know how to change them. Turning my thoughts away from the seemingly impossible, I stood up and began wandering. I wandered into the kitchen, put an errant cup into the sink and looked around at a whole lot of nothing. The last of the good Christmas treats had either been consumed or pitched, and all that remained were a few random hard candies. Bah, kids’ stuff. I leave the kitchen, disappointed and dull.

I know I should focus through this hunger and spend the energy on something useful, like writing, but I find myself standing in front of my dresser, instead, dolefully rummaging through my sock drawer (don’t ask). Nope. Nothing exciting there, unless you count the walk down memory lane courtesy of my favorite pair of socks – black with a vine of little red roses that I’ve saved since high school. (Yes, I have hosiery with history. Please don’t judge.)

And so, the walk through my house is fruitless, turning up not one bit of chocolate or chips or anything to feed my craving. So, I did the next best thing — I went to bed a little early and found myself having a good cry. Was I crying because we were out of chocolate? No. Was I crying because I was hungry? No. My tears were cathartic, calorie-free, and maybe, just maybe, what I had needed in the first place. Maybe I wasn’t hungry. Maybe I was sad, lonely and disappointed. Maybe what I craved had nothing at all to do with food. Maybe instead of chocolate chunk cookies, I had craved cleansing. Instead of shoveling something in to push down the hurt, I just needed to let it out.

As we walk this journey together, you and I, please let me challenge you as I challenge myself. Be true to yourself. But, before you can be true to yourself, you have to be honest with yourself. Come to terms with the terms of your life. If there’s something you don’t like, do your best to change it, at least the parts that you can. Cheer up and do something positive. Resist the temptations and get rid of the tasty goodies. Save your sock drawer for socks 🙂 Look for the value in the emotions you are trying to ignore. Acknowledge them, work through them, and then let them go.

Live true. Live free. We’ve got this :0)

 

The Journey, December 21, 2013

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Many years ago, when I was overweight the first time, a dear family friend offered to pay for a few counseling sessions for me. The counseling was a gift of guidance through some rough waters I was navigating at the time – college, boyfriend, my father’s deteriorating mental health. I met with the counselor for my first session. She and her husband shared a counseling practice in a detached office space behind their Chicago-land residence. She was middle aged, blonde, and petite. We talked briefly about a few things at first. I call it the “getting to know you” stage. Then, she said something that took me by surprise.

“You’re really tiny, aren’t you?”

Confession – I was VERY overweight at the time, considerably more  than I am now. Her words stunned me.  And, they frightened me. My obesity failed to hide my 5’2″, small-boned frame from this woman. Somewhere inside, I was tiny, and the realization that she noticed was terrifying, even though I didn’t know why. And, at the time, I wasn’t willing to find out. My first visit to that counselor was my last – I didn’t go back.

Over the years, I have occasionally thought about that day, about her words and my reaction.  As miserable as being overweight can be, it can serve as a great excuse to get you out of all kinds of situations, both passively and actively. It provides a protective barrier of insulation, literally and figuratively. Unfortunately, it’s not very versatile. There is a price to pay for trying to make yourself invisible to the world. The price? Success. For every bad thing you think you’ve protected yourself from, there is a multitude of positive experiences that you deny yourself, and the people around you.

Invisibility doesn’t equal immunity.

Whatever any of us thinks we’re saving ourselves from by hiding behind weight isn’t worth it. There is suffering even in the so-called invisibility. Trust me, being overweight doesn’t make you invisible. It makes you misrepresented. You don’t take as many chances. You deny yourself opportunities. You don’t let your talents shine. You don’t contribute as fully as you might otherwise. You can’t fulfill your true earthly purpose when you’re not being true to yourself. And, you know what? That’s really sad.

It came as a surprise.

Until that day in the counselor’s office, sitting in a plush, overstuffed chair, I had no idea that I was invisible. I wasn’t consciously trying to hide who I was from the world. What’s more, I had forgotten that I really was, well, tiny. Could it have been that, instead of hiding myself from the world, or at least, in addition to hiding myself from the world,  I was attempting to hide myself from myself?

Why would I do that?

I don’t know if I have the answer to that question. When I consider it, I think of words like self-preservation, denial, fear, lack of confidence. That’s probably a good start. I think that when we are in situations we feel we have no control over and we need comfort that we can’t seem to satisfy, we turn to alternatives. Some of those alternatives are healthy, and some are not. I don’t think any of us do it on purpose. Who would want to be unhealthy? Who would want to be overweight? Who would want to be invisible?

Breaking true.

So, I’ve lost around 15 pounds now. I probably have around 80 to go, at least. And, that’s okay because I’m moving in the right direction. I’m more comfortable with who I am than I have ever been. I’m looking forward to moving forward in this journey, and to learning more about myself and the world and my place in it. The exciting thing is that the ride is so much more fun with my eyes open 🙂 Because I am willing and able to look at myself and the truth of my situation – the truth of my health, my priorities, my options, my dreams, my environment, my family and friends, my job, my past, my now, and my future, I have all the tools I need to break through to my next goal, and the next, and the next.

I hope that, as you move forward in your journey, whatever it may be, that you choose to be bold. Be willing to open your eyes to yourself and the world around you. You deserve to live and walk in the truth of who you are. Brave is as brave does 😉

 

 

 

 

The Journey, December 1, 2013

The time…
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has come.

My diet survived Thanksgiving, I think.

I haven’t weighed over break, but I will be doing that tomorrow at work. My biggest worry is that I’ve gained, my biggest hope is that I’ve remained steady, and my biggest wish is that I’ve lost. Right now, I’m hoping for keeping steady :). Y

Regardless of the results of tomorrow’s weigh in, I have come to an unsettling realization of truth. Yes, I have been making more healthy eating decisions. Yes, I have been making progress, and I’ve lost 13 pounds. But, I know something is missing. I know that I need to once again take up exercise (insert noir film foreboding music – DOM, dom, DOOOOMMMMMM!).

I have mixed feelings about exercise. In the past, I have enjoyed it, and I have loathed it. It has served as both an escape and a punishment, and as leverage by a man who once swore an oath to love me and cherish me. At one point, I ran several miles a day, every day. Biked, hiked, and did ridiculously challenging (and effective) toning exercises, all in pursuit of that elusive carrot called “good enough.” Good enough to love, good enough to keep. Even though it’s been 7 years since that relationship dissolved, it is still a struggle to tune out his words. Yes, it was a very dark time in my life, but I always had hope. Sometimes I borrowed it from the few people who had an idea of what was going on. Sometimes I pulled it up from somewhere deep inside. Sometimes God poured it over me in the most unexpected ways.

So, today, as I look at my running shoes, mocking whispers from the past rise up, trying to tell me I’m a failure. Trying to tell my I’m not pretty. Trying to tell me I’ll never be “good enough.” And, do you know what I say to that? ENOUGH! I’ve always been enough of anything I’ve needed to be. I’ve worked hard, I’ve learned, I’ve grown, I’ve given, I’ve loved, I’ve hurt, and I’ve failed. But, I have NEVER GIVEN UP. I might have a soft voice, but in my heart of hearts, I am a fighter. I am stubborn, and when I’m broken, I am remade stronger than I was before. It might take me a while to heal. It might take me a while to tie up the laces. But I always have hope that I will, one day. And today, my friends, is one of my many, many “one days.”

If you are struggling with, well, ANYTHING. Know that your one day is coming, perhaps today. Hang in there, be strong, and have hope. Lace up those shoes, lovelies. 🙂

The Journey, November 5

Well, it has taken a little while, but I am now down 8 pounds, and hoping to hit that first 10 pound goal by sometime next week 🙂 In the long run, I have many more 10 pound goals to go, but I am going to celebrate this one and not worry just yet about the next one. Afterall, there is (or should be) joy in the journey, right?
I have struggled a bit this week with enjoying where I am, not only with my weight, but in other areas of my life, as well. I have had to remind myself more than once that there is beauty, value, and worth in my life, in me, in the here and now. Of course, there are things that never fail in bringing a smile to my face, like my wonderful son and his effervescent personality. Or a beautiful sky. Or chocolate. ;p But, I think that there is something in all of us that wants to be seen, to be known, to be recognized as a precious, unique being. We desire affirmation.
For too many years, and even now at times, I looked to others for validation. Of course, this is normal to a degree. But, there is a difference between seeking the approval of others in your life and seeking permission and empowerment from them. We can trust some people with our power, but not all, and we are never meant to relinquish it. It was given to us to wield in love each in our own way.
Our power is made up of many things – the sum of our experiences, our strengths and our weaknesses, our gifts and talents, our motivations and passions. It is unique to each of us. Custom-fitted to our path in life by God to perfectly equip us for the long road before us.
It can be easy sometimes to forget who you are, who you are meant to be. It’s easy to blind yourself to your giftings and worth, to deny the fire that burns within. But, my friends, when we choose to do that (and yes, dears, it is a choice), we live a lie. We are commanded to walk in truth, yet we are so easily misled into thinking it’s okay to be false to ourselves. We are meant for so much more.
When I was a senior in high school, I had to select a personal motto for the yearbook. I chose, “To thine own self be true,” from Shakespeare’s play Hamlet. I stumbled away from that many times. But, the words served as sort of a North Star over the years. I may have felt lost over and over again, but knowing that there was something more, somewhere, gave me hope that I would find the high road once more.
So, wherever you are on your journey, whether you’re working toward a healthier lifestyle, a new career, or a brighter outlook on life, remember that there is a better way, a higher way. And, every journey walked in truth will be a positive experience in the end. Hang in there, put one foot in front of the other, and soldier on.

The Journey, October 25th

So, I have now lost 7 1/2 pounds! If I can just replicate these results say, 10 more times, I’ll be close to my goal :0) Seriously, though, I am so happy to have surpassed that dreaded 5 pound wall. It feels good to be a winner!

Have you ever noticed how, when you set out to accomplish something, the emotions in the process run through a cycle? It reminds me of the classic cycle of grief. Now, of course I’m not trying to liken weight-loss to something as devastating and painful as losing a loved one. I’ve been there, as have most of you, and we know that that is a cruel beast unto itself. But, when we lose weight, we are letting go of something.

We like to say that we’re losing weight to be healthy, and we act excited. But, many times, the trigger for losing weight is negative, at least it is in our minds. We feel bad about how we look. We feel guilty for not being more energetic with our kids. We feel ashamed when we compare ourselves with others. We feel we’ve been irresponsible when we get a bad health diagnosis. We can even feel invisible and ridiculous for trying to lose weight when it seems so difficult or even impossible to accomplish.

We have to fight an uphill battle not only against outside forces (like doughnut Friday at the office or lonely nights with Ben & Jerry), but against our inner voice as well. And we grieve. We grieve the past. We grieve a little part of us that seems to have been lost. We grieve our bad habits.

Even so, we have hope. We must have hope somewhere deep inside, or we wouldn’t try in the first place, right? Before starting this weight loss journey, I was very upset with myself. I felt I had let myself down, and perhaps even those who love me because I was not living up to my full potential. When you are overweight, you say no more than you say yes for a million different reasons, and you try to tell yourself this is reality – deal with it. But, when I decided (again) to lose weight, I started to feel excited. I wasn’t really dreaming of being a size 4 again, but instead was looking forward to wearing the next size down jeans that have been in my closet for 2 years. That sounded like something I could do.

The first few weeks were a bit of a struggle. I fought against my old ways. When something upset me, I couldn’t run for chocolate. (Well, not every time anyway 🙂 ) For some reason, this time I powered through. I didn’t give up. I allowed myself to feel the emotions instead of drugging them down with sugar and denial. I found myself living in the moment more. I found myself being real more. And you know what? I like it!

Years ago, I heard a message by T.D. Jakes. He was talking about accomplishing goals, and he said the key to accomplishing a goal was having discipline, desire, and delight. Back when I was beginning as a runner (something I hope to pick back up one day), I thought of that message. I found myself disliking the discipline in the beginning, but as I progressed, I found myself desiring that time on the road. And, as I made it a habit to run 3-5 miles a day, I took delight in it. I used the time to pray, to meditate, and enjoy the mythical “runner’s high.”

I think this formula can be applied to anything in life that we want to turn into a habit, like living a healthy lifestyle. The discipline hurts at first. We strain and struggle against so much – emotions, apathy, environment. Then, we have a taste of success, like breaking through the 5 pound wall. This creates a desire for more. And, one day we wake up to realize that we are taking delight in our new lifestyle.

Be encouraged, friends. Losing weight is truly a journey, and our emotions will make for interesting scenery and pit stops along the way. But, just remember to get back on the road and keep moving. You’ve got this!