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Month: January 2015

You’ve Got This

The expression, “You’ve Got This,” conjures a nodding bobble-head visual, confident of its destiny, assured of the route, and motoring with a knowing of how proceed no matter the obstacles, distractions, or past transgressions. Reaching a level of comfort upon your path where the energy wanes slightly, the know-how and cruise-control take the reigns, and gliding effortlessly equates with a “you’ve got this” feeling.

As if miles have stretched behind, experience, success, and routine establish a foundation. Yet familiarity can lead to stagnation, plateau, and delays upon the journey. Admiring the comfort seems harmless, but addressing the treadmill’s lack of progress is crucial. What shakes the body from maintenance is change. Breaking cycles of ‘usual’, same-old same-old, or gathering dust type behavior is to change it up. Give it an energy boost that jars the body to release its stronghold upon unwanted baggage, its extra weight.

This means altering food choices, exercise routines, and adding variety to the plan. Scrambling the usual, erasing the monotony of stability to create a little chaos seems to awaken dormancy and boost movement on the scale and within the body. Deciding what to tweak when the going is good is tricky business. Knowing what to transform takes examination of the uniform, boring, and repetitive foods, actions and approaches. With a bird’s eye view analysis eases into your heart with answers.

Once you know, you cannot not know. And with this knowing, You’ve Got This. Changing it up is good course of action. Rather than spinning wheels, take a new route repeatedly to empower the body for everlasting transformation. Stagnation leads to an unhappiness only resolved by change. You’ve Really Got This!

“I’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
Take a look at yourself, and make a change.”
-Michael Jackson

(although a global message for change, it really starts with each individual’s transformation.)

The Healing Scars

With thirty-five years of dieting behind me, I recognize time wasted, emotional turmoil and energy expunged, wondering the outcome if an alternate choice was made at age eleven. Imagining the past orchestrated differently may seem wasteful. If healthier self-esteem existed, would any humiliation, weight, or internal talk have impacted the result as it did? Like the film, “Sliding doors,” the outcome could have been the same, with other avenues playing out towards the same conclusion. Either way, the inner pain scorched a huge portion of my life.

Periods of wearing tight-fitting clothing due to weight gain are prominent in my memory. At thirteen my pediatrician, upon my mother’s inquiry, stated losing ten pounds would be appropriate. By summer’s end, the scale dropped by fifteen, only for me to gain back twenty. That same scenario played out repeatedly with diet upon diet leading the ups and downs. With each cycle of pounds climbing, my self-esteem plummeted.

In high school, getting to the field house early for a game meant requesting the only pair of size extra large softball pants that existed. The humiliation of wearing a tight smaller size, plagued my softball days. Walking down to the field, I remember a bus driving by when a kid yelled, “Hey, Fat Ass!” Even now, my heart palpitates with the fear, shame, and depression that comment affected. I held my head down as the school bus passed, pretending I was unaffected, when inside something died, and moved deeper within.

Shopping for clothes after my hips and thighs grew disproportionately during puberty was a living nightmare I cringe to rehash with memories. Arguments with my mother while clothes shopping were nothing more than a shame festival of depressing moments, tantrums, and screaming matches, all a reminder of her lack of empathy. I was dying inside with self-hatred for my body, lacking acceptance or inner love. Not recognizing my pain. I lashed out, reactive of the inner hurt that consumed me.

Years of debilitating relationships, choosing men that matched my level of self-worth, heightened the extreme pain. Pounds increased while associated with delinquent, discouraging, and disrespectful men. Fittingly, my high school boyfriend went to the prom with another girl. I dated an ex-con abominably angry at society and the world at large, chose a drug-induced man who abused me physically until I had the courage to leave, and continued to connect with men whose priorities were never me.

Yet inside, deep beneath the gravity that weighed me down lay the innocent who wanted, needed, and fought to return to the surface. Filling the void between that inner space and the external forces was necessary for my survival. Food replaced the missing pieces of myself, and it took away pain, easing away the hurt temporarily. Pushing away the pain was my modus operandi; food served as a mechanism for efficiently and expertly expunging the uncomfortable feeling of emotions.

Acutely aware of the issues that patterned decades of pain, I recognized by age thirty that lack of self-worth lay at the root. Growing shards of brokenness lay fixated, to remain entrenched, until true healing repaved my journey. Allaying fears, feeling and leaning into emotions, and recognizing sugar addiction (a missing piece until now) smooth the sharp edges that used to gouge my insides while attempting solace and mending. Today I feel the bandages that await removal after years of recovery. Slowly healing, assuredly scars will lighten over time, I await the knowing of a different era when self-worth lines my heart, self-acceptance contours my existence, and self-love reinforces a peaceful, healing path.

 

Weight-Less on the Scale

Although numerous non-scale victories in the game of health are valid measures, the number on the scale still holds weight for the majority. Waiting for the number to drop continues to test our patience, affect our emotional well being, and antagonize us with its power. Though a number nor scale ever knows who represents it or stands upon it, the energy we give it occupies our consciousness. We allow the inanimate object to define our failure or success, affect our food intake, moods, and exercise regime, and enable havoc unnecessarily.

In turn, can we release the power we have given this square, inanimate, metal device? The pounds are solely a unit of measure, while other aspects decree golden victories, including pant size, muscle mass, and energy level. Yet waiting for the scale to move steadily or quickly downward awaits our baited breath.

I recall the first time the number signified more than just a number. Sixth grade, nurse’s office, and a public announcement of my weight and each of my classmates’ while standing upon an unsturdy, white-painted metal, rectangular prism. This memory establishes my initial relationship with this lifeless object. Recognizing the relationship began at that moment might have been a foreshadowing, but I was an unsuspecting victim of negative scale influence immediately. Defined by a number, a red flag flew for me to change promptly. Diet jargon became a language spoken fluently at home, and I listened, learned, and languished with low-fat, limited calories, and small portions for the remainder of my stay there.

Yet even post-departure, my nutrition research and knowledge development continued as information changed, recommendations were altered, and my success rate declined. My results deteriorated, the pounds increased, and a yo-yo of pounds and feelings illuminated upon a failure-ridden roller coaster. I gave the number the power to define my worth, decide my fate, and weigh upon my psyche. The losing battle plagued a great portion of my life until now. Three and half decades since that fated day at Flagg Street Elementary School, and I surrendered with a recognition that the scale can no longer have my power.

A scale shows no love, no emotion, no empathy, no compassion, nor does it give a shit whether I lose or gain a pound. Only I know my worth and giving that power away has always been a losing proposition. The pendulum has swung towards balance and stability, rocking in its center for a sane solution. Whenever I exclaim what I have been doing to improve my health, the scale still cannot grace the hills of my success. It cannot claim victory as I hold that title; my body, mind and spirit are the only ones to hold that heightened, weighty medal.

With this in mind, the release of the scale’s power has not released easily nor completely. It periodically still drives a wedge between sanity and delusion. As a tool of measure, it affects me when I allow it. Over time, my body shrinks, my energy boots, and the clothes fit. And if the clothes fit, I must acquit my guilty conscience from empowering the scale’s movement in either direction. My own fluctuation contains numerous factors the scale cannot measure. Reminded if its limited utility, I downgrade its assessment value.

If I wait for the scale to determine my success, I will allow the weight to weather my journey. The tumultuous storms previously encountered teach that sunny skies are on the horizon with change and perspective about the scale’s utility. Removing its hold upon me is a gradual process. Not a number, I am a person empowered to determine my own destiny. The scale carries no weight; the weight is mine to carry as I see, feel, and am fit.

Culinary Self Care

My husband’s arrival on the scene of ‘clean’ eating’ is an awesome reality, including when a blizzard is upon us. Yet it requires intense prepping and surrendering to the possibility that electricity, cooking potential, and reheating required, are limited assets. We distinctly recall not too long ago winging it during storms. With electricity eliminated, we would sit by the fire’s light, eating prepared, processed, long shelf life food without blinking about its nutritional value, its quality or lack thereof, or how it may affect our waistline, gut, or psychological well-being.

Last night’s preparation told a different story. A dozen boiling eggs, a crock pot simmering, two trays of roasting vegetables, fourteen grilling grass-fed beef burgers, and discussion about the meals of tomorrow ensued. This spectacle of cooking prowess was not culinary cuisine’s grandeur of souffles or creole gumbos. It was simple preparatory fare for a few days of hiding in our home while mother nature shouts loudly outside.

Furthermore, underneath the surface of this preparation lies the true crux of our metaphoric crudite. It represents self care in action, the cultivation of a healthy lifestyle. Without consumable, healthy fuel for the body’s efficient functioning, a successful outcome for well being is improbable. Taking precautions when ‘life interrupted’ occurs can be filed under self respect, self love, and self survival. Time, resources, and energy must be utilized when extraordinary circumstances occur to ensure one’s success.

Our culinary creations captured a snapshot of self care that has become our “new normal.” Whether blizzard, travel, or home, we continue to defy the mainstream with our ability to navigate our needs, and energize the troops to dig deeper when the enemy attempts to thwart our success with adversity. As a team, we are stronger, braver, and resilient.

“It’s easier to be brave with two.” – Winnie the Poo

Daring Greatly

My favorite author/teacher, Brene Brown, taught me about courage, vulnerability, shame, and resilience, all prerequisites for much needed mending and healing. Most vital is “being all in” with whatever avenue I choose. To fail while placing myself in the arena is a life better lived than having not taken action or attempting triumph at all. The quote (below) by Theodore Roosevelt has inspired me to face fears, walk into the fighting ring I previously ignored, and dared greatly in places of adversity. Leaning into fear has proved emotionally satisfying, strengthened my risk-taking, atrophied muscles, and placated my past into dormancy.

Yet the past, believed healed, forgiven, and laid to rest relinquishes from the ashes like rekindling firewood with determination and persistency. Memes engrained reveal my weaknesses and are triggered, reminding me of the brokenness that shadowed decades of fear, destructive downfalls, and distress. I anchored myself to those equated to my established self-worth, and reached the bottomless pit of despair by age twenty-nine. With a miracle of inspiration, understanding, and recovery, I captured my life, turning the corner at a crossroads, venturing into a new dawning day with a life worth living.

Healing has zigzagged, yet found smooth ground by the new decade’s end. Two scores of life rattled the past into a sacred burial, rediscovering the meaning of unconditional love, self-care, and acceptance of life into an arena of worthiness, self-acceptance, and strength. Today I live with a badge of courage, honor, and determination, overcoming the obstacles, a resilient existence. The struggles to overcome my past enable me to appreciate the distance from then to now.

My avenue of change, growth, and healing are fluent, and flow unevenly against a tide like a rubber band that wants to resume back to equilibrium after stretched in one direction. The repeated recoiling when the trigger has been pressed continues to impede my progress, like two steps forward and one step back. Yet onward I trudge through disarray, disorganized trenches to discover I am indestructible, resilient, and strong beyond measure.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

I am Daring Greatly!

During this avenue of health and well being, I refuse to shortcut the process. I choose to fail while daring greatly, or triumph with high achievement. To know victory or defeat, pertinent for a worthy existence, is to live open heartedly. In the arena, I shall thrive, survive, and succeed for having entered, fought, and battled with all that I am. It is my destiny to live my best life, full of ambition, risk, and daring greatly, as not to regret attempting what I deemed impossible. Without the limits, anything is possible. Without the limits, healing is accessible. Without the limits, I am who I was meant to be.

The Whys

Why commit to a time-consuming fit lifestyle and clean food regime that differs from the mainstream, while towing the line of weight loss and well-being? Reaching a stable space, feeling that anything is possible, and achieving peace within regarding my body, mind and spirit are all integral to the whys of this journey.

“Comfortable in my skin” is paramount, a self-acceptance and gratitude for the body given to me. Able to visit my closet and drawers with ease, optimism, and cleansed of the past unfitting, unbecoming, uncomfortable wares, in exchange for loving what I wear, excited to exhibit a daily ensemble of clothes, is one goal worth reaching. To don a bathing suit upon a beach, lounge in a swimming pool among friends, and saunter down my own hallway confident that my body represents inner peace, love, and acceptance that lies within tops the priorities as well. Living an energetic life, one of longevity, presumes action is required including numerous steps taken, push ups completed, and kettlebells lifted, as well as consumable fuel pumped and digested from efficient, healthy, and “clean” food.

Although these reasons validate my journey and motivate my walking the walk, this health expedition is about healing the brokenness. The remnants of sugar addiction that linger from childhood, that fed my emotions rather than enabling full expression, filling a void where unconditional love felt limited, and reaching the depths of worthiness beneath the brokenness are significant “Whys” that motor me towards a novel space I see in the distance. Healing is not about losing weight, nor completing a 120-lb. deadlift; it is about achieving what I deemed impossible, knowing I am worthy of greatness and peace within that lay consumed by fear and anxiety no longer needed for me to survive. For this fear factor to plummet, healing is a prerequisite.

That is my main “why” with other “whys” dangling as the icing on the kettlebell, waiting to clang loudly when I have achieved the impossible, making my vision reach fruition, and arrive at a place of true healing. This keeps me chugging, focused and dedicated to the proposition that one day I shall feel whole, and devoid of something missing. Until that day, I remain steadfast upon this journey.

Brawn to Brain to Inner Success

Feeling like a truck rolled over me is not the greatest reaction upon waking, a reminder of the intense StrikeFit exercise class I experienced yesterday. Roundhouse kicks, upper and lower hooks, varying punch combinations including those empowering hammers, cardio versions of squats, sit ups, and surfing burpees, all intensified by speed, balance, agility, and a kickass instructor. Instead of laying low, I am invigorated by its outcome, a stronger heart, leaner arms, tighter core, and solidifying legs.

The increasing strength from intense boot camps and strikefit classes energizes, empowers, and engages every part of me. Feeling younger, stronger, meaner and leaner, the best version of myself materializes, with layers of alabaster gradually forming a masterful exterior. Achieving the inner masterpiece to match the outer sculpted core is where the real work exists.

To strengthen the mind in support of a brawn built external frame and a clean interior continues to occupy my daily deeds. Eating clean, resting fully, meditatively walking through life with mindfulness, and living open heartedly, are integral tasks towards my own version of nirvana. Fueling my thoughts with necessary action steps to maintain healthy habits is a constant, fed with intention, focus, and energy. My mindset must maintain the visual outcome, the desire for a destiny that lives long past its initial goal of size, strength, and scale outcomes. Peace of mind, self-acceptance of my body, and a self-love unfelt in a heart that was always worthy, are the ultimate pinnacles for my success.

Until then, the journey continues.

Snooze to Lose

Without adequate sleep, I struggle. Cranky, craving crap, and careening out of control result from lack of z’s. This week proves no exception. When exhausted, I open the refrigerator to examine its contents without inspiration. I simply want to grab everything and anything. It may begin with the acceptable, primped and prepped foods, but soon, I contemplate items not on my fueling foods list; my mind wanders.

A temporary hiatus from the responsible, mindful, rational mindset, I visualize the pantry full of delectable goodies, sugar-filled, and healthy-ish junk food. Foods that wrap my success into a tailspin if given the chance lay only steps away. In good conscience, this closet of characteristically cravingful carbohydrates hardly affects my psyche. Yet add a sleep deficit to the daily concoction and my acute senses enable the smell of sugar from a mile away.

I knock my head gently against the refrigerator door, close my eyes, and see myself wanting, falsely needing, believing that my power is waning in droves. My heart hurts from the conflict of feeling weak, desiring strength to oppose an unruly addiction versus the obvious desire for anything from my children’s pantry of doom. The sugar seems to taunts me, begging me to inhale its sweetness, reach for the boxes that contain it, and reneging on my commitment for change and self-care.

Inside I cry with anguish yet relief as the courage to dissuade the addiction wins the argument, pushing me from the kitchen entirely. I cringe that my mind went asunder so easily after months of success, where fueling my body healthily has strengthened every inch of my being. The addiction feels new, fresh, as if yesterday began my journey, like a struggle needs to build a muscle to remember the good outweighing the bad. Yet my experience educates that this is the power of the food addiction. It arrives in droves when weakened, ready to pounce when emotionally despondent, and able to infiltrate when mindfulness dissipates.

Sleep deprivation weakens me physically and mentally, creating dysfunction. Addiction is empowered when sleep lacks. The disturbance disrupts mindful, disciplined, and purposeful behavior. My success relies on these elements. The more I snooze, the more I lose … Weight, that is.

Stoking the Furnace

Upping the calories? What? Must have gone off the deep end at the asylum to recommend that strategy. Yet the latest analogy resurfaces, intuitively knowing its accuracy for success. A former trainer recommended higher calories long ago, yet clean, unprocessed, and no added sugar and grains were not on the docket. Fueling the body effectively in order to create an efficient energy system is curiously a novel concept from past protocol. Yet my experimentation is in  motion.

An initial hundred calorie leap marks my initial dosage for proof of concept. As the pounds drop, I will delve even further. Imagining a furnace, adding coal to burn hotter with more intensity, it fuels the flames, infuses energy and burns brighter; this emulates the body’s fueling mechanism. Adding useable, healthy fuel at the right times in right amounts ignites the body to burn on a continuous flow without the ebb of starvation or slow down.

Fear prevented me from trusting this process sooner. Time spent tweaking, experimenting, and patiently examining the process I deemed wasteful. Yet time, patience, and perspective have changed my mind. Speed diminishes my long term success if not fully understanding my body’s ability to fuel itself, and run efficiently. When wanting success immediately without proper process, I waste valuable resources of knowledge. Yet now that I know better, I cannot pretend not to know.

Everyday A New Beginning

I rise again taking on water over the plank, heaving it off me to start once again. Rather than sinking into failure, each day begins with an appreciation of another dawn, a thought, intention, and visualization of actions yet to come, and a new start to improve upon yesterday. Lessons from the past seem imperative to live today’s twenty-four hours in improved fashion.

Woke yesterday without a morsel, awaiting my first meal until hungry. Unfortunately that set the wheels of metabolism to slow its pace, awaiting a need to put all gears in motion. After five hours of awakened existence, I approached my first food cautiously aware of the error. Eat too quickly and food as fuel alters into the opening of Pandora’s Box; it creates a bingeing effect. Unfortunately, the late start pushed calories down the line until time ran out, causing a backlog of food uneaten. Mistake to be rectified tomorrow, I said, where tomorrow is now today.

Although everyday represents a new beginning, today I learn from yesterday, ensuring tomorrow receives the gems of all that came before. Eat early, eat often, and create enough time before it is too late. Bring it!

A Knowing This Way Comes

Ruffled, rattled, and flustered from my own hand, mind, and heart today. I met with some special cronies, my monthly favorite confidantes, who discuss goals, offer advice, inspire, and lend a listening, loyal ear. My share includes my success within the fitness community, staying true to my path, committed to transform and heal the inner brokenness that remains shattered. Shards shadow my path, await mending of the past, and a cleanse of my spirit.

Yet today my first memoir resurfaced, my completed first draft submitted for perusal a year ago, practically to the day. Engaged in the draft writing process after meeting with my editor then, just as suddenly, as if a line had cris-crossed along my heart, I stalled abruptly. My stamina halted, the momentum waned, and I sat mysteriously wondering what happened for days, trying to retrieve what once shined, but now lay deep in despair.

His response about forgiveness for my mother’s actions, he claimed was incredulous. Yet although I am certain I have fully forgiven her, what piece of my story lacked integrity. What lay beneath the pages that lacked synchronization with the rest of the tale? To revisit my memoir, my life, my past would have delved further beneath the surface than I was willing to travel at the time.

Yet as I stated today, I shall return to retrieve the ashes I lay, burned into my book, for a later visit. My timing first necessitates full healing, a knowing that I have arrived at self-acceptance, self-worth, and self-love. When that clock ticks of a knowing, I shall retrieve my story and tell its true ending. Until then, as my great friend to my right shared today, I will remain patient until the knowing comes.

Sculptor

My transformation is just beginning to take hold beneath my feet, the success and results digging deeper roots toward my ultimate destiny. When I look back my old self is a dissipating image, vanishing from my psyche, allowing the new self to emerge slowly, but impressively. Like contouring lines materializing gradually, engaging focus and clarity, a sculptor I have become of my life.

Like Pygmalion’s alabaster creation, I meld my being into the image of my choosing. Each choice, each visual cue, each determination to better myself, adds to the sculpted form I craft. The continual creation molds me into the shape I was destined to become, aligning with nature, outfitted as my authentic self. Arriving at this fate, I feel ease, peace, and rightness, like a knowing where I was meant to be. I am my own sculptor.

For Better or Worse

My husband has infiltrated my private, inner circle at The Fitness Asylum. Be careful of your wishes; the result may differ than expected. Better or worse, his arrival has carried a mix of emotions.

Reminded of awaiting our second child’s birth, questions arose. Would I have enough love for number two, when my love for number one was over-the-top emotional bliss? Was I strong enough to care for two children when one seemed all I could handle? Should I rock the boat when we were sailing beautifully into the sunset? The results, overwhelmingly in favor of all areas of life proved worth the risk. Upon his birth, our second offspring doubled the love, in our home, one sibling to the other, and within my heart. The decision felt foolhardy to have ever wondered if adding a child to our lives was the correct one, when how much he added to our lives was significant.

Therefore, when my spouse took interest in my secret inner circle community, program, and lifestyle, I had questions that spewed within, wondering how I might handle the transition while I was grappling on how to make this journey sustainable and successful for myself. Would I have to be responsible for his food preparation, his exercise schedule, his potential failure and/or success? The kettlebell of questions was weighing heavy upon me.

For fifteen years, I have encouraged, role-modeled, nagged, yelled, and swore at the man I love to get his act in gear for the sake of himself, his children, his friends, his extended family, his business, and me. Yet after all my words fell upon deaf ears, I layed off and relented that until he decided to choose a healthy lifestyle, and practice self-care, I no longer could cheer or raise my hopes to any great heights.

Oh yes, each time I saw sneakers exit his closet, morsels of healthy food disappear from the fridge, and an out-stretched man exercising in the wee hours of the morning, hope would build, until those sights vanished again. Although dangerous to keep raising one’s expectations and hoping for change that result in defeat, I continued to hold out hope, wanting and waiting for change. I am his better or for worse partner in life. If this was the worse, then life had given me many gems and my wealth was considerable. Anticipating that better was eventually around the corner, I secretly trusted the man I married to want the best for himself when the time was right, and long before ‘too late’ reached him.

Now he has chosen, my hopes and fears aroused by the unknown outcome. As the body challenge approached, excitement ensued, but no conversations of how to proceed occurred. Six months ago, I dropped into a successful space, within a supportive community, and found myself changing, healing, and achieving what was deemed impossible to the masses. My weight loss, exercise journey was coming to fruition, and its sustainability was all I contemplated. How to continue the route with as much excitement and vigor as day one was my only task. With a spouse in the mix, how might that change, affect my ability to focus, energize, and realize my dreams? Was his presence a hindrance or helpful?

I prepped my food, and some for him, realizing that within two days, my refrigerator would empty quicker than usual, and begin I would to repeat the process. Wondering how twelve weeks at this pace could persist, when a whole lifetime lay ahead, I trembled to imagine. Yet within a day, he was cooking, prepping, talking about the journey, and responsible for his part. This is the better of our ‘for better or worse’ journey, believing it will last long after twelve weeks.

His first boot camp was a success, followed by soreness, enough to inspire rather than defeat. “Sore today, strong tomorrow” says my water bottle. Overall, his experience with the class and food has energized his outlook. The sign up for the body challenge was easy, the followup not impossible. Sharing the journey with him has brought us closer in a way I thought had vanished long ago. Having endured the worse in this arena for extended periods, the better has arrived, better late than never.

Our ‘For Better or Worse’ is off to a burpee start for the better!

 

Path to Wholeness

Kickoff occurred, food is prepped, boot camps are scheduled, and I have left the starting gate for another Body Challenge at the Fitness Asylum. Many veterans voice how challenging, self-defeating, and failure-producing the 2nd challenge is after success with the initial outing. Yet failure is not an option. This second go-around is not part of any plateau I am planning or reversal of fortune. Instead I intend to surge forward and reach my initial weight loss goal, with the ultimate aspiration of maintenance post-victory. Turning back never occurred to me. Settling into this current weight will not sustain me. Movement towards the “whole” me continues, my only option.

Rather than about weight loss, regaining a piece of myself that vanished is the objective. Long ago part of me disappeared; the self-worthy portion became fragmented; and I was uncertain I would ever discover her again. This journey is about reclaiming myself, healing the wounds of my past, and living in a new space of self-confidence, self-compassion, and self-love. This is my time to become whole again, collect the shards that lay before me, and mend a broken soul.

Decades of introspection for a plight towards self-worth and wholeness, is worth the wait. (maybe not while I was struggling terribly in those early years; yet perhaps patience has paid off.) I step off the plank of fear, and venture confidently in the direction of my vision of wholeness. Today, although trite, is the first day of the rest of my life; I am extremely grateful. My cup runneth over.

Mistakes Happen; Ready for Change

Normally I have a set plan in place before entering an eating establishment. Yet as I reviewed my food journal for a reminder and guidance, I realized a missing, unposted meal. Earlier I had done the same perusal, concluding I must eat another meal, leaving enough time before dinner. Accordingly I consumed that meal, not especially hungry for it, but following a plan I have consistently followed for the past months.

Yet as I stared conscientiously at the screen before me, something amazing occurred. I did not panic and I calmly reflected about the error. It could happen to anyone; mistakes happen. Should I sit there in a restaurant, starve, and feel badly at the final meal before the winter challenge begins? Instead, I ate, and relieved myself of the past burden of guilt I have felt countless times. I forgave myself immediately, showed self-compassion, and removed any fretting. I was resilient in the face of disappointment. And I moved on.

Personal growth happens without warning sometimes. Then in the moment of clarity, new understanding is accessed, and we feel the release of our past. It was a moment of reckoning, release, and peace, perhaps one only viewed when truly ready.

Ready for change? Bring it on. Today the 12 weeks begins with teams, a new inner circle, and a partner to boot. Excited and pumped up for anything, but mainly a success to bring me to a new base line on April 4. I am ready.

Failure To Exhale

Holding one’s breath is not recommended for healthy living. Furthermore, without exhalation death is certain. Yet most days fear has me walking through minefields, ensuring I not step and self-destruct via a processed morsel passing between my lips. Roadside bombs continue to plague the world surrounding me, represented by supermarket shelves, restaurants, and holiday happenings, ready to trip me up, catch me off guard, or sneak their way into my system. Always on alert is an exhausting, fearful, and tense way to live. In effect,the body falters, flipping switches to a fight/flight response, and malfunctions by slowing the metabolism, digesting food inefficiently, preventing weight loss and utilizing energy poorly.

Living life in fear leads to failure since its sustainability leads to recklessness eventually. Even yesterday as I sat imagining the possibility of success, fear overcame me, and found me reaching for anything that was consumable. Fortunately this time, it was an acceptable food item, but my hands, mouth, and teeth would have accepted anything. It felt as if I needed to munch, numb, and alleviate the distress, discomfort, and dis-ease with something, anything, everything. Within a half hour, an old familiar feeling of unnecessary fullness overwhelmed me; fear triumphed.

My future response must answer the call of emotional distress in an alternate way. Energy to arm myself against fear, numbing, and consumption I must produce. Prepared optimal foods, utilized during a bumpy life track is necessary. Life’s unsmooth avenue and rocky terrain need a rational response necessitating boosts of energy, intention, and attention.

I must breathe through this journey, pause to reflect why I am taking flight for the final time, and decide how I shall maintain my presence at the pot of gold upon landing. This is my time to heal a pattern of pain that perpetuated much hurt throughout my life. Failure to exhale is not an option. My greatest appreciation must be the breath I breathe, the life force within, the open-hearted living centered by self-love that inhabits me rather than fear. Here I shall stake my claim and live at the end of my rainbow. There inhalation and exhalation enable me a freedom I always recognized, but never fully reached. It is within view; it is beautiful; and I am grateful for the journey.

When it Wanes, It Pours

Each day relies on great attention and energy. When it wanes, it pours. To remain focused consistently and responsibly to oneself and one’s body can teeter, stumble, and topple so easily . I am a piece of bread, dropping its tiny breadcrumbs, falling helplessly to the ground. Perhaps someone notices and cleans me up, or I am left upon the floor until enough of me is noticed. Constantly picking up pieces of myself as I begin to crumble hurts my soul to maintain the cleanup. Eventually it is easier to remain upon the ground in a heap of a mess, and whither away with the dust surrounding me.

The daily energy for success is significant, at least for those whose struggle has been long term. Prioritizing the self at every moment, choosing kindly on behalf of your body, mind, and spirit, must become a natural, habitual, temporal way of being. When it is no longer a struggle, when the energy wanes of one’s concentration, attention, and energy, and all is second nature in action, the pouring will not result in poor choices and puddles of regret, but become an automatic pilot of self-care, decisions made as sacred as praying.

In this expanse of success, I will know that when it wanes, it pours a heavenly result. Until then, my energy has no space to ebb; it flows until it rains self-love, self-care, and self-respect.

Clean, Smooth Sailing, It is Not

Eight days ‘clean eating,’ I still feel afraid, as if there is not enough distance behind me. I open the refrigerator in search of anything. Without prepped food, I walk the dangerous line of grabbing anything and everything. My mind races as a package of muenster miraculously makes its way into my hand, traveling to the couch without thought, reason, or consciousness. I look down surprised to see the choice, my face scrunches in disbelief. This time saved as I return to the kitchen with my ‘whys’ leading me, removing the contraband from my clutches, and coddle my emotions inwardly, comforting me from the thwarted disaster.

“What was I thinking?” I ponder, “Why would I throw the past week away?” It makes no sense to even have picked up the unapproved item, one of the many foods that packed on the previous twenty pounds.

What is the why, the ultimate why, the definite destiny I cannot be denied? To feel comfortable in my skin, to wake in the morning feeling self-love, respect and gratitude for my sole-given body, to feel energized by the foods I have consumed, nurtured by my choices, and to feel alive again. Along this healing journey, digging and delving deep, a sense of calm overcomes me as I imagine the end result of gratifying happiness, euphoric peace, and self-love for all that I am.

This physical receptacle that holds my being is a gift I intend to hold sacred, treating it as such always. Trashing it with the unnecessary feels empty, wrong, and self-defeating. Previously I have ignored the consumption, remained oblivious and unconscious of the decisions, numbing all feelings until a bag, box, or bowl was emptied.

To feel our emotions fully is a gift; it is self-care, self-love, and self-respectful. All emotions must be felt at some level or they will find a mechanism for pushing themselves away that is hardly healthy. The time has come for the numbing agent to disappear not for the sake of change, but for the long term recovery and healing necessary to feel whole, self-secure, and happy. This road has rocks that trip me up constantly, like walking a path without soft edges, no smooth walkways, and attempting to pave it anyway. It is a bumpy avenue, one I hope will level out as I remove my fear, gain clarity and produce sustainability of nutritional success. This walkabout is long and vast, through fog-like terrain, until the sun shines, the transparency exists, and I have the knowing I always have the power to reach any potential I seek.

Sugar Addicts Need Not Apply

Sometimes I feel like I’m holding my breath by keeping sugar at bay. There’s such intensity, a stronghold to stay afloat without a life preserver, treading water, and hoping that my will power and strength can abstain from the substance that weakens me. And it does that; it weakens me.

I heard in an interview yesterday someone asked what heroin feels like. She said,”It makes everything okay, deals with pain and makes it all okay. Any worries become alright.” Like any drug, sugar has the same numbing effect for many, including myself. From Mary Poppins, a spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down, but it additionally sends the emotions down deep to a place where they remain dormant. It makes everything okay; all my worries go away; and all pain ceases to exist. Like the addiction of a drug, without it, the numbing agent ceases to exist and an aching for something continues, like an invisible limb, something missing.

Yet with any substance addiction, the destructive element of the drug destroys one’s insides. With the case of food addiction, it increases the waistline, infiltrates with toxins, and slows the body’s ability to digest and function properly. Then the psychological need for something, the addictive portion eventually affects one’s quality of life. One of those cycles like a merry-go-round that is challenging to jump off of for fear of the pain associated with the outcome…. the landing. “It’s not jumping out of a plane that will kill you; it’s the landing.”

The landing gear for detoxing sugar is similar to any removal of an addictive substance. I often footnote the addiction as personal to just me. Yet then I look around and see food addicts, so many in pain using food as a numbing agent. Do I need the data, surveys, and statistics to show others lurk in the same shadows? Hence, it is where we land without the substance to aid and abet us. It is having to feel the emotions that I would prefer not to experience, or normal stresses, the emotional or physical pain that comes and goes with life’s day-to-day.

There’s always been a peculiar statement about “everything in moderation.” Yet after much experimentation of this concept, it simply does not apply to foods as simple sugars. Moderation leads to greater ingested amounts until it can no longer be defined as such. Some say self control is the key to such behavior. Would you say this to an alcoholic about alcohol? Would you say this to a heroin addict about heroin? Sugar seems to have the same effect, and yet is not socially accepted as a “real” addiction. So many of us act as living proof that it is real, and we struggle often from its affliction.

So if asked to work in a bakery or a candy store, sugar addicts need not apply. It’s just a recipe for disaster.

Partnering Up

Although it feels like walking a fine line, four days behind me is a tremendous relief. Sugar and high levels of carbohydrates have been removed from my system; my next twelve weeks is about to begin. To clarify, the next body challenge is really thirteen weeks, since the preregistration is a week early. In two days, the previous cycle of commitment, accountability, and drive to reach new goals shall begin. It commences with a partner, a new element I have not experienced, but welcome to the challenge. He, an addition by my side, seems excited to begin his journey of healing, health, and high powered wind shifts that bring about balance in his life. The winds of change are upon us; the energy is sharply turned towards a healthy lifestyle, affecting every aspect of our lives.

The drive in him for change is attractive; it excites and rebirths my desire for high expectations for him, us, and the future. His lack of umph to help himself leaves me helpless in recent years. To love someone and root for them without results is a frustrating existence. Until someone helps themselves, the push towards change, cheering, and a Fitness Asylum Body Challenge, is fruitless. I had relented to the possibility that his path and mine have diverged, and alone I may travel forever along the fitness path. Hope eluded me until he signed on to join my crusade, though leaves me slightly anxious to wind up expectations again. Wanting desperately to see his success reach fruition and maintained is like hearing a joyous song of hope and exaltation rather than the requiem that seemed to play in my head the last few years. To lose hope is a tragic outcome; movement in the opposite direction arrives with promise of new beginnings. We are ripe for change.

Additionally we now share fresh discussions, new paths and perspectives, we could not share prior. The scent that engages my senses is fresh and original, adds new flavor and vigor to the daily grind of life. Like hitting a refresh button, starting something novel when the previous leaves have died, withered and dropped from their branches. A newness fills our space, adding a sense of excitement that lived in a mere dream I could not manifest into reality.

I sense I have partnered up for the starting line, added support, engaged in competitive strategy that I propagated by role modeling the possibility of what can be done if attempted. The brave man has joined this race, the human movement towards bettering his circumstances. Together we are stronger; it is easier to be brave with TWO.

 

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