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Month: March 2015

Extricate Emotional Shrapnel

Emotional shrapnel in dieting wargames scars confidence, damages determination, and remains affixed until removed. Insecurity bleeds beneath the surface, discouragement dangles from repeated victories and defeats from pounds lost and gained, and self worth takes a continuous beating. To rehabilitate participants of such battles, inner healing of self acceptance, self love and respect must surface. Winning the war on pounds is about regaining self worth initially pounded out by early defeat. To release this birth-given, divine right into present day living, is to establish the frontline with an innate knowing of who you are. Without becoming your authentic self, the long term battle is doomed to fail fatally. Self worth dictates choices and therefore, motivating self love to rise within is crucial for victory.

Choosing respectful, self dignified actions as healthy rather than toxic edibles to bypass lips, self-care versus ignoring self-interest, and choosing associations that support unlike those that debilitate. Eating crap, taking care of others without addressing self needs, and choosing toxic relationships, are ingredients that bake a battlefield of self destruction. Fried into our psyche are self limiting beliefs and feelings that encourage not deserving optimal options. Decades of choosing poor quality foods, partners with low self worth, and emotionally toxic friends, depicted my self value. Without optimizing choices for better, the line in the sand is drawn along mediocre, if not below par. Storming the beaches for improvement must coordinate with actions.

Exercise environments that increase energy, endurance, and strength as well as confidence, friendship, and community highlight a self care model for internal and external healing. Clean food that supplies mental acuity, cleansed, physical interior walls, and a “feel-good” energy add to the foundation to illuminate self worth. Coordinated with therapeutic relief from past emotional pain through forgiveness, and alleviating dormant trauma triggering today’s actions contributes to overall sustainable well being. This effortful process is the “worthy” fight. Win this war, and sustainable weight loss is won. Emotional turmoil, a heavy burden from past or present deters weight loss sustainability, and is the tipping point towards success or failure.

A lifestyle plan may drop weight physically, but without self worth at the foundation, sustainability is futile. Working on the core of who we are contributes significantly to results. Yesterday’s actions affect today’s outcome while today’s moments are a product of tomorrow. Therefore, change today and tomorrow becomes anew. Self worth enables actions to respectfully work in favor of successful outcomes. What we put out in the world reflects back at us. Many believe we attract what we do, but reflecting who we are is an accurate assessment. Emoting self love that extricates the diet war’s emotional shrapnel plaguing hearts, consecrates weight loss sustainability into a foundation of lifelong worth, even within ourselves. Let self worth reflect upon the world.

Paving the Weigh

Why write about the way to personal growth, healing, and traveling along the weight loss avenue? Various paths have reached the same peak, arrived at identical conclusions, and achieved similar success. Bumping into countless individuals fighting a crusade akin to mine makes me know the process is conclusively not as simple as it seems. The path is paved with great intention, yet road bumps, obstacles, and detours line the journey to paradise, deterring even the strongest, resilient, and well-intended pilgrims.

Mentors, role models, and those who endure, thrive, and live to tell the tale, share in the hope it might resonate with listeners, readers, and those in search of solutions, direction, and inspiration. This journey to impart the paradigm shift and lead others to a paradise that once was lost, away from a vigorous battle full of regression and relentless abandonment, and pave the path as it arrived in my backyard, is a blessing, a mandate, and a calling. Part of my pilgrimage is to give back to those hopeful, but lost on their journey.

Weight loss processes have held permanent residency in my life since age eleven. I, as many, rode along the coattails of each food phase, from low fat to high fat, low carb to high carb, fake diet industry foods to real food, cooked to raw, to now. Arriving at the conclusion that we were duped by false advertising, nutritional food degradation, and corporate food conglomerates leading us astray, is a start to healing. From billion-dollar industries, we wanted solutions, easy fixes, and magic pills to ease our weight-full pain.

Beyond these external forces, utilizing food for needs other than nutrition plagued our long term, sustainable success at weight loss and maintenance. Losing weight, gaining it back, and then acquiring additional pounds repeatedly, is a vicious cycle. Traveling alone, or in packs of peers, with strangers distant and near, we attempted control of eating habits until one day, we lay down, surrendered, and arrived at significant meaning behind the food, arriving at the doorstep of inner healing, a lifestyle change, and potential happiness.

My journey paves a way to view weight loss and its sustainability through reframing the process. “When we change the way we look at things, the things we look at change.” – Wayne Dyer – Spiritually, Paving the Weigh is about awakening to a new paradigm that delves deeper than the food. Searching for meaning, acknowledging and relinquishing past pain, and climbing from the cocoon built to protect ourselves, to a paradise of healing, comfort, and worthiness, engages in an opportunity to release weight; it lightens our lives with peace, bliss, and a sustainable paradise.

Cookie for a Skinned Knee

Whether a cookie, ice cream, or brownie grace the table with each bee sting, academic or athletic achievement, food rewards are a challenging habit to break. Skinned knees, A’s on report cards, holidays, hurt feelings, achievements, and pain rewarded by food is a common response, fostering the “I can fix, heal, remove, celebrate that feeling” with food. Reeling us into the pantry for a sugar-laden medal and eating sweet honors, goodies celebrate the victories, or ease the pain of falling down, burning a finger on a stove, or triggered hurt feelings. Junk food consumption for regular relief from feeling uncomfortable or emotionally hurt pack on the pastries and pounds. Reframing food’s purpose and releasing the connection between food and emotion is vital for change, successful weight loss and maintenance.

Food as fuel negates food reward needs, and fosters respect for healthy choices and the body. If food’s sole purpose is energy, emotional responses must reroute elsewhere. Gathering alternatives for discomfort, emotional releases, and successes is imperative to reframe food’s function. Not an easy transition, but it changes the way we look at things; therefore, the response alters course. Exercising and building the muscle to modify eating behavior, takes practice, perseverance, and motivation. As a repeated reminder, food’s function as optimal energy, fueling muscles, and sending nutrition to the brain, is essential. Physically feeling good is the prime goal, while cravings dissipate, energy resumes, and mental clarity returns. Imbalanced sugar levels cloud judgment, energy levels, and fool the appetite by misguided hunger.

Proper nutrition provides a balanced chemical response that enhances quality of life. By rewarding emotion with unhealthy foods, we threaten the body’s optimal functioning. Equilibrium, the natural response, causes the body to eliminate the incoming threat of toxicity or unrecognizable ingredients within processed foods, by becoming inflamed, digestively distressed, or eventually diseased. Treating ourselves respectfully with healthy, edible options, and utilizing “food as fuel” circumnavigates this problem. Anything that bandaids rather than cures is counterintuitive to healing. Treating feelings with food addresses symptoms of discomfort and emotional celebration; it misses the damage it does. A cookie for a skinned knee eventually causes additional pain, sometimes irrevocable. Healthy food as fuel can temper this future predicament.

Commencement

Commencement is defined as beginning, but is the name for a graduation. When I was a teacher, every June, my daydreams strangely occupied my death and a funeral to follow. I wondered who would attend, how would anyone know of my impending demise (prior to Internet Viral messages), and a relentless sadness ingratiated my inner psyche. This repeated phase occurred yearly, concerning me that my death was imminent. A friend set the record straight, suggesting that the ending of each academic year brought with it feelings of completion of one life, while a new set of students started the process over again each September. Now a sadness pits itself within me as my current twelve-week body challenge ends.

With one week to go, taking stock of the experience lets the highlights flow into my consciousness. Many fail in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th challenges of this type, as their practices become lax, rebounding becomes addictive, and newly formed, poor eating habits take precedence. Fueling motivation to reduce future failure like the initial fire that sparked my first body challenge requires exploring, searching, and digging for inspiration. Engaging with each challenge as if new, I believe necessitates intention, goals, and determination that warrants the path to continue with what experience has taught while releasing less than optimal actions. When failure occurs along repeated journeys that were once successful, an inner journey of healing awaits.

Getting to the heart of a matter in the weight loss journey sounds an alarm. The initial accolades that complement your journey from outside sources as friends, neighbors, and strangers, cannot remain the prime motivation. Internal commendations, reaching the heart and soul, contain the continued fist bumps. Transition to a new way of being, comfort in occupying this newly developed body, and embracing the lifestyle, is the alternate route from the initial bout in the ring. Going the ten rounds in the fight for maintained weight loss, fitness, and inner healing, is lengthy, hard, and requires stamina, consistency, and perseverance. Each leg of the journey requires commencement, a graduation from an ending to new beginnings. Repeated finishes and starts are lessons in completions and renewals, freedom from past transgressions, and a movement forward to pastures you seek. Let the commencement begin!

Hitting the Refresh Button

My current 12-week body challenge door is about to close, while another opens.(The Body Challenge is the program I utilize for community support, weight loss tools and fitness classes.) At three-month increments, I end and then start a fresh twelve-week challenge with veteran participants alike and new “green” members, seemingly like fish out of water. Everyone arrives at beginnings differently, some distrusting from being duped by the diet industry, several open with a hint of nervous excitement and opportunity awaiting, while others trust the process immediately. Whichever pile each individual originates from, all are worthy of reaching their goals. As an experienced Body Challenger helping their acclimation into a new lifestyle, it is a novel awakening, inspiring, energizing, and rewarding. New beginnings refresh the journey.

By hitting the refresh button, an excitement is revisited, engaged by reframing and renewing the knowledge and wisdom that transformed us initially. Like a starting line with newfound energy and vigor for the next 12-week cycle, we pivot into drive, away from coasting, no longer running on empty fumes and final sprints to the finish line. That race falls behind us, remains in history, while new avenues establish fresh paths to carve and pave, alternative strategies yet to come, and non-scale victories on the horizon. No longer bursts of weight loss, but instead tiny increments of pounds drop to cross a major finish line onto the last lap of lifetime weight and fitness maintenance, full of strength, self-assurance, and pride. Living in the body you imagined, comfortable in your skin, and becoming the person you were meant to be is a lifetime victory, a marathon rather than a sprint.

Refining our tools for a lifestyle of clean eating and healthy boot camp classes is the continued journey. Given a repeatable shot to right the wrong is the born buoyancy built into healthy living. Each trip down the Body Challenge Lane enables me to strengthen my practice, learn from the errors of my ways, and enhance the success rate of hard work, dedication, and resilience. To regain footing when it slips, return to the track when off roaded by distractions, and pick ourselves up when life shoots us down, are part of the path. Recognizing that struggle exists in any lifestyle when interruptions lead us astray, yet doing what needs to be done consistently over time is the foothold of ultimate, long term success. Hitting the refresh button repeatedly enables improvement, increased motivation, and resilience.

The Quest for Greatness

My quest for greatness collapsed into twelve-week increments. Eating enough calories for satiation and preserving muscle, balancing sugar levels, while exercising muscles vigorously, was my prototype for change. To eliminate the weight, reveal the underlying muscle, and heal the emotional turmoil, were pieces of a puzzle left incomplete. The journey to find the holy grail of weight loss, weight maintenance, and fitness took work, and required a paradigm shift in the way I view food, exercise, and well being. Building this foundation began long ago in what seemed a galaxy far, far away. Tools scattered, solutions abundant, and follow-through short lived, searching for the magic pill, the pot of gold, and the silver bullet proved especially challenging. Yet the search ended when I stopped searching. The truth lay dormant in my heart and soul, awakened by readiness, desire, and effort.

Hard work is not something you can bypass; emotional healing cannot be hidden, squashed, or swallowed. Gathering the broken pieces of our bodies and hearts is a prerequisite for change. One without the other limits success, and typically resumes to initial equilibrium, unhealed, strength diminished, and pounds returned. Doing the work, focusing on the day-to-day, and utilizing community support in the process, conjure weight loss and empowering transformation. Like an everlasting Gobstopper®, the colors might keep changing, but eventually if you remain committed, you will reach the core, the great sweetness of arrival. There are no shortcuts to the center, no biting through to shortchange the journey. Lessons along the avenue of change are vital for achievement, maintenance, and increased strength. Eating for fuel, weight bearing exercise, and psychological healing, are works in progress. Without the journey, the end result is short lived.

Finding a man behind a curtain with all the answers, only to realize they were with you all along is an age old story. Yet seek the truth and you shall find the will, ability, and motivation, to carry yourself over the rainbow and back home again. Within our hearts and bodies lives the holy grail we sought to find. There stands our strength, our noble steed, awaiting an awakening into wholeness of being. Through the journey, winding roads, and obstacles there to teach resilience, lessons of forgiveness, and great understanding, we reach a pinnacle unlike anything experienced prior. These lessons build courage, knowledge, and fortitude for the lifelong journey that continues long after each of my twelve week destinations. They fill in the puzzle, putting pieces in place where gaps had stood, resulting in wisdom, healing, and courage for a lifestyle of maintained sustenance, strength, and wholeness of well being. This quest for greatness continues over a lifetime, no ending, no beginning, but a journey to the holy grail within.

When the Shift Hits the Fan

External transformation causes an internal stirring of emotions. On the periphery we alter our bodies and environment: reduce inflammation, cleanse the closets, release toxic friends, clear the clutter, and eliminate consumption of artificial ingredients. Inevitably an emotional shift occurs when we lose significant weight. Clean food choices, exercise, and community support change our energy, physically and psychologically. Deadened, dormant pieces of ourselves arise from their slumber and shift our awareness. Deep-seated, internal, heartfelt secrets emerge from the soul, awaken for healing, retrieval, and release. Speaking our truth, illuminating the untold stories and guarded spaces of ourselves, ultimately sets us free to live an enlightened existence of self-love, peace, and happiness.

When we physically change, the sacredness of secrets hidden within awaken our senses. Releasing imprisoned emotions requires courage to bare the bones of our hurt, alleviate our pain from the past, and shed the stale crusts of our core, ignored, buried, and shut out from the light. These shadows deter life’s full potential, limit possibilities, and diminish self-worth. Shielding ourselves from truth, we fear its existence and the vulnerability that lurks with possible exposure. Yet that vulnerability is the exact necessity for strength and healing. The hidden pieces of ourselves must find light, awareness, and visibility in order to heal, mend, and alleviate buried pain. Without this nakedness of being, we lay injured, in disrepair, and immobile. Love, worthiness, and healing are the precepts for change, strength, and connection.

Hardwired for connection, vulnerability, truth, and empathy are its foothold. To have a sense of belonging, we must feel worthy, illuminate our authentic selves through truth, and access the deepest depths of our hearts. Mutual exposure with others forms human bonds where empathy lives. Accessing “me also” from another strengthens vulnerability, an empowered feeling and weaving of connection. Even if our experiences are different, we walk in the other’s shoes in our mind’s eye to share the sacred space. Taking the risk to reveal our inner selves to entrusted friends, therapists, or relatives, has rewards. Exposure to those who do not have our backs, may warrant some falls in the process. While failed connection may occur, entrusted confidantes holding your story and pain with safety, empathy, and love is worth the risk.

As the body transforms into a stronger, thinner, and exposed version of our old selves, so, too, will our insides shift. A supportive network of people is necessary to carry our truth, healing, and pain. Aloneness, independence, and sole survival were never meant for humankind. Delving into our past reveals our true selves, alleviates the wounds, and stirs inner change. Although an internal process, community rises up in support. When the shift hits the fan, life happens. It spins, sputters, and spits out the dust of life experiences, awaiting cleanup. Should we allow the dust to settle upon the sills of our lives, it remains untouched until stirred by the winds of change. Body transformation is the ultimate in unsettling our dust. Worth exploration, worth risk, and worth pain to heal the inner wounds, we enable true worth of our existence to rise from the ashes with the support of community. We are worthy of this greatness!

Raising Others Up

The remarkable workout community I frequent uniquely enhances support. Competitive, corporate, and scrutinizing populations of gyms miss the mark of propping up peers. Gym environments propagate vulnerability, act as starting gates to fitness. Initially physically weak, aiming for strength and health, a harsh, unhelpful atmosphere can trigger a newcomer to run for the exit long before reaching goals. Discovering an alternative, unique environment, where women raise one another up rather than breaking each other down, has been pleasantly surprising. Helpful advice granted, sacrificing one’s workout to guide another, and extreme encouragement to the successful, the weary, and the shy, counter typical gym surroundings. Raising others up is a lesson in giving, wishing better and more for the stranger next to you, an effective, overwhelming, heartwarming experience.

Giving without expecting any rate of return, my gym community bonds within a private Facebook® page . Inquiries, interests, and motivational pep talks parade the pages; postings by veterans and newbies alike engage and commiserate about emotional healing, fitness, and weight loss. Pictures of food preparation, inspirational cartoons, and before/after photos of successful participants, bombard the posts to engage the masses towards successful choices. Women vulnerably divulging their life struggles are met with empathy, supportive solutions, and listening ears raising hope, sharing healing processes, and establishing an inclusive, belonging spirit to over three hundred pairs of watching eyes and sponge-like minds.

Besides the virtual community, connection, comradie, and collaboration occur upon the floors of boot camp classes. Partnering up for intense interval training, boosting the efforts of a partner, is a full energy sprint in giving with energy, enthusiasm, and support. Wanting more for someone than yourself orchestrates a genre of palpable, euphoric giving. It plays a harmonizing tune in our hearts, pounding from adrenalin, beating with love emotionally, and sounding the alarm of raising up another. Reciprocation feels immensely satisfying, but unexpected. Joy, healing, and belonging are in the giving piece of raising up our peers. Connection ensues, vulnerability dissipates, and strength flows among the masses.

Competitive environments motivate many, but within the vulnerable spaces of healing the broken emotional parts of ourselves, empathy necessitates a kind-hearted community, connection, and consoling space. Typical gym philosophy negates this need. Yo-yo diet and fitness cycling continue without core results, core healing, and core well being. At the heart of community is support, accountability, and motivation to be better, do better, and become the best versions of ourselves. Breaking down the boundaries, revealing the depth of our despair, and revolutionizing support through connection, the charge to change fitness communities is possible. Raising each other up enables the successful road to wellness, paved with generosity, sharing, and engagement of humanity’s greatest strength, love.

Recognize that success of another is not your failure, kind people are the best kind of people, and engaging in a supportive environment is the difference between successful, sustainable lifestyles and failure. Boosting up others’ spirit, power, and reserve to keep going when failure seems inevitable, empowers the masses. It raises hope that anything is possible with the power of many. Assembling the pieces of the journey by yourself requires perseverance, mindful energy, and consistency. Yet when the shoe drops, others picking you up, dusting you off, and showing compassion, is the web that weaves connection. Together courage, accountability, sustainable success causes the confetti to fly. Community within the gym requires the raising up of others!

Releasing Toxic Friends

Besides cleansing the closet, body, and pantry of past poisons and fashions, toxicity lurks within relationships. Question whether the friends you choose to gather with strengthen or deplete, support or oppose, compliment or criticize? When you succeed or fail, do they empathize or sympathize, encourage or discourage, share or monopolize? Toxic individuals mirage a host of descriptions and visuals, but how you feel when with them and long after reveals the connection, sincerity and support, a friendship’s foundation. Along the weight loss avenue, a path of improvement, strengthening physically and emotionally, intention, connection, and camaraderie among friends needs evaluation. Identifying ally versus enemy is vital for success.

Note that friendships experience transitions, sometimes necessitating change and departure. A former “you” no longer fuels the same fire; needs will alter. Like alcoholics no longer visiting bars and hanging with drinking buddies, healthy lifestyles constitute gym gatherings rather than junk food outings. Like dates with Ben and Jerry traded in for Sal and Ed, the old connections doing activities that no longer serve you, as drinking, all-you-can-eat buffets, or commiserating about the hardness of life, pivot to healthy options and optimism.

When change bestows newness, revelation, and positive energy of body and mind, it is necessary to find and utilize social support. Like energy vampires, those that suck life force from a path that highlights healing, strength, and personal growth, toxic relationships test stamina and determination to stay the course. Low self-esteem perhaps enabled a friend to feel needed, helpful, and supportive. When independence and self-reliance appear, their importance diminishes, and the friendship’s foundation depletes. Authentic, balanced relationships can stand the test of time. Those that continue with genuine support love unconditionally; others, limitations illuminate or that which bound the two together disbands.

Connection requires authentic vulnerability, allowing ourselves to be seen. Laying our hearts open in the presence of others is required. If you feel threatened, violated, insulted when you reveal yourself with words and emotions, then disconnection exists. Toxicity of that nature is the poison that burns our insides as we hang up the phone and think,”That felt awful. Did she insult me while she was complimenting me? Was she cheering for me while criticizing simultaneously? Was she jealous rather than envious?” Friendship is safe, feels good, and requires reciprocation of support. Sharing that space builds a foundation of connection. Empathy, the “me, too” attitude is required, while sympathy, “well, at least you ….” disconnects us. We discover as we internally strengthen our requirement for authentic friendships changes our choices.

Friendship is an equal opportunity for trust, support, and affection. Anything less is unworthy of your time, energy, and commitment. Knowing you deserve the best in life is a pinnacle in healing and lifestyle changes. Those that respect your choices will always be there to share, cheer, and support your endeavors. Saboteurs, naysayers, and negative nellies, weaken our resolve when we allow it. Accessing independence from others’ thoughts, can be summarized as “what others think of me is none of my business.” Removing toxic people from our lives is another step in the journey of self-care, self-reliance, and self-respect. Our renewal depends on setting those people free and releasing their lassos. Building a new network that correlates with your healthy journey is a prerequisite to long term healing and health.

Embracing the Pear

For disproportionate, pear-shaped women, embracing the curves may take time and acceptance. An eyebrow of uncertainty is raised by some reading this. Less than endowed upper-bodied women, while occupying a bigger, bequeathed booty, are curved like a trapezoid, shorter parallel side on top, also known as pear-shaped or pyriform. Essentially shoulders, chest, and waists, are narrower, while hips, thighs, and rears, have considerable width in comparison.

Therefore, bathing suits must be bought in separates; pant sizes are larger to accommodate a bigger booté; and A-line skirts, dresses, and wider pants are prerequisites for fitting attire. Although pear-shape physiques have a decreased risk of heart disease and child-rearing hips are handy for motherhood, supermodels with this description rarely exist in our culture. Embracing these quarks and blessings is part of the healing journey towards a healthy body image.

My pear-shaped experience as a thin person proves that when my pant size dips below a six, my emaciated upper body receives great attention from the critics. “You’re getting too thin.” “Are you okay?” “I think you should stop losing weight.” These meaningful warnings alarm the presence of a disproportionate body. Although my weight is perfectly within optimal, healthy levels, the distorted ratios of my physique are misaligned. Therefore, I have a stopping point, where my hips and thighs measure thinly, strong, and fit, when my upper body is close to the bone. As a pear-shaped woman, that is my reality while reaching a healthy weight.

Appreciating and loving my body image has been a lifetime of redirecting my perceptions from disadvantaged genetics to opportune beauty. My shape given by divine origin is the external piece of me, and thankfully has awarded me athletic prowess and a plethora of physical abilities. Fitting the inside and outside, the emotional and physical puzzle together, paves the path to a healthy wholeness. The internal messages speak and must correlate with loving all parts of ourselves.

Although some pears are harvested prior to ripeness, others remain upon tree until readiness. My own journey equates to growing upon the tree, awaiting my moment to ascend to acceptance, love, and respect for the shape I am. Self-love for the beauty bestowed upon us at birth is a blessing to embrace wholeheartedly. Pear-shaped or any other carries us through life, irrelevant of its appearance, shouldering greater responsibility for physical movement and empowerment. Embracing the curves and the pear is one step in that direction.

The Imposter

Feeling like a fraud, faking our way in life, I consider normal protocol. Education, confidence, and action prepares us to take on the unknowns of life.”Fake it ’til you make it” is the path for the majority, insecurity put on the back burner, forging into unknown territory, jumping stepping stone to stepping stone until able to function with confidence, fortitude, and experience. My seventy-two year-old father-in-law has reinvented his career approximately every five years. When asked about his experiences, he noted, “I’ve never taken a job that I knew how to do.” Finding, figuring, and perfecting a new career is similar to any transformation in life. Until arriving comfortably, there is a holding pattern awaiting safe landing into the position. From temporary imposter to confident expert requires patience, action, and drive.

Although I have impostered as a teacher, entrepreneur, writer, film series host, president of a non-profit organization, and mother, there has been nothing more profound than becoming a bogus, thin, muscle-wielding woman. Impostering skinny women typically I reverted back to the overweight, uncomfortableinmyskin little girl, fat and afraid to expose her true self to the world. Becoming the imposter, you must believe yourself worthy, accept the role wholeheartedly, and be the individual of that choice, faking it until it is secondhand. Without the belief, the position is temporary. As a temporary thin woman, the lack of worth portion was my nemesis. That is, until now.

Suddenly, I am playing the role of a thin woman again, recognizing her practices, experiencing her body, and claimed self-worth to meet the requirement. I am that woman, and proclaim to remain forever as she. Learning her cues, as eating real food, strengthening by boot camp classes and weight-bearing activities, and allowing myself to be the woman who respects her body with what she feeds it, I am the thin, confident, worthy woman I impostered. Becoming that which I desired is a process of fraudulent beginnings. Imitation to start, but a genuine marathon race to the finish line, I medaled in impostering, winning the gold for becoming who I was meant to be. When the dots are connected, following a path of those that ventured before, I became my intended. Imposter at first, but the woman I am today.

Healing Reinvention

At forty-seven, I am reinventing myself. Not just physically, but within. I recall a high school friend flabbergasted that I felt great insecurity in my early years, as my confidence level appeared indestructible. My childhood was wrapped in a hidden homelife; I struggled terribly. Yet while at school I was considerably optimistic and happy. Escapism occupied those initial decades, like leading two lives. At seventeen I departed home quickly, discovering my inner self without the barriers, rebellion, and barrage of shame, and began to peel the layers of myself, revealing an independent, vulnerable, and lost soul, in search of meaning. Deeply damaged, I began the healing process.

Ten years later, still tossing, reeling, and spinning out of control, while yo-yo dieting, digging destructively for love through abusive relationships, I was dying inside. My walls were crumbling, the floor was made of sand, and my climbing ability weakened upon each ledge. Aching, lying upon the bottom rung of my own doing, at thirty, I had seen and felt enough pain to gather my belongings, take stock, and edge gracefully to the surface for sunlight, healing, and gentle strength increasing with each step. Whether there was guidance from above, an inkling of self awareness that enabled me, I am uncertain. Yet the depth of despair dissipated like a fog, and I empowered my existence into greater healing.

With insight, clawing for breath and driven to exhale, my recovery ascended. Ups and downs traveled like a seesaw never hitting the ground. The daily grind of regurgitating the past grew old, tiresome, and wrapped itself around me like mummified, tattered strips. Yet continuing to replay the music of my past proved helpful; it melodically healed my soul, my damaged heart, and elusively replaced itself with self-love, forgiveness, and acceptance. Introspection, analysis, and meditation, brought me closer to the self I was meant to discover and be. It played as my heart opened, softened, and strengthened, allowing life to pump through it.

Today, my past feels partially unrecognizable, comforted by transformation, healing, and peace. In the recent year, physically changing my body laminated an inner self-respect, self-love, and self-acceptance the soul requires for healing. Sanding the shattered shards from my childhood continues to heal the brokenness that pained my past. Today I celebrate the change, resulting in happiness, empowerment, and a life with meaning. Reinventing the old into the new takes process, time, and deliberate choice, faithfully knowing the power lies within. The day to reinvent your life with meaning, heal the past, and value its lessons, is present and yours for the taking, to reach the ultimate you.

Blueberry Binge

Exhaustion, an uncomfortable sensation, encourages sleepwalking through choices, an opportunity for sabotaging hard work and momentum. A series of small decisions made under the influence of sleep deprivation that seem insignificant can completely throw your destination off course. Without mindful deliberation poor eating habits can ultimately lead you astray, miles off kilter from your goals or desired life. Adjustments, seemingly inconsequential, can and will revolutionize results significantly, as an airplane 1% off course from California ends up 150 miles north or south from an east coast destination, depending upon the trajectory. Ultimately sleep deprivation causes unconscious choices, leading to lousy habits and failure.

Recently a behavior, cumulative in nature, seemingly inconsequential, caught my consciousness, and awakened my senses. Asleep at the wheel and without a minimum of seven hours of sleep, I function intoxicated by sleep deprivation. Autopilot, inattentive, and a barely breathing body walks through the day surviving unaware, like sleepwalking through life. Decision making becomes elusive; choices are habit-driven. Hence, old habits haul to the frontline to lead the battle. When the battle is weight loss, healthy eating, and extensive exercise, former leaders who typically lost that war resurface with old tactical equipment, poor strategies, and disastrous results.

Therefore, when sleep deprived, running on five hours of disrupted sleep, I pulled off a fairly successful boot camp class, yet arrived home exhausted, depleted, and walking on borrowed time. Numbed into submission upon the couch, the uncomfortable sensation ensued. Unsteady, famished, and imbalanced, I reached for the habitual recovery protein shake, completed some parental duties, and returned to the couch hours later in a semi-conscious state. The next meal, prepared by a habit-formed ritual, I consumed unmindfully. Soon, the sweetness of the blueberries from my recent meal caught my attention, reminding me of comfort, goodness, and relief. The discomfort of low energy, exhaustion, and depravity, led to the unconscious choice and consumption of a quart of organic blueberries.

While lobbing berries into my mouth one by one, the sweet sensation relieved and numbed the discomfort. Serving its purpose, I was dumbfounded, looking at an empty container as the last blueberry vanished. Suddenly aware of a bloated feeling, my emotions downcast with shame, sadness, and disappointment. Unable to comprehend the why of it all, I accepted responsibility and journaled the blueberry consumption into My Fitness Pal. Yet within an hour, the physical effects of bingeing on blueberries surfaced as the sugar level plunged into discomfort of low energy and exhaustion, sometimes identified as “food coma.” I lay upon the couch, surrendering to the coma with momentary lapses of shut-eye. Upon waking, shredded parmesan cheese whispered my name intuitively, and a sleepwalking body consumed half a pint of the salty scrumptiousness, balancing the former blueberry sweetness.

Again an unconscious choice repeated until I awakened long enough to recognize the mishap, change environments, and contemplate the root cause, sleep deprivation. Sympathetically an argument can be made that blueberries and parmesan cheese are acceptable choices for overconsumption, limited damage, and rapid recovery. Yet this habit-forming behavior of blueberry bingeing occurred a half dozen times in the past three months. Unaware the source lay in lack of sleep, the habit dug deeper and gained strength; uprooting the habit has proven challenging. Getting to the foundation of “why binge?” is half the battle. Consciousness, analysis, and problem solving are crucial to recovery.

Sleep is imperative in winning the weight loss war. Sleepwalking choices are consequential when repeated over time. Initially they creep in without much impact, yet remain a diverting recipe, offroading goals, producing negative zig-zag patterns, and habitually sabotaging concerted efforts. Successful ingredients for weight loss include conscious choices made under the umbrella of a rested mind. Sleep deprivation as the foundation of future actions is a recipe for disaster through unconscious eating, raised cortisol levels, and habit forming actions. Blueberry bingeing may seem negligible, but overtime it may be the leader of the losing battle. When waging a weight loss war, it is best to hire a well rested leader, able to consistently and consciously choose best practices, leading to a successful, lasting lifestyle.

Clean Food Does a Body Good

When gluten, milk, and sugar were decidedly held from my palette, extremism came to mind and a disbelief sustainability was possible. Seven months later and an ingrained lifestyle replaced these ingredients. Aware that the fatal three, the ingredients with greatest contribution to allergies, obesity, and digestive issues, thwarted my weight loss efforts and physical, feel-good effects, now real food sits as the key to the kingdom I always wished to enter. The weight loss speed is remarkably slow, but attains the results of a sustainable lifestyle that eliminates excess weight, and improves health, mental acuity, and energy levels.

Ridding life of processed, chemical-filled, fake foods is a present to the soul. It lightens the body, illuminates the flow of the body’s system, and relinquishes the mind’s shadowing fog. Releasing the foothold of toxicity from the brain, blood, and joints is a recipe that reduces inflammation, dis-ease, and chronic pain many endure. Processed foods, aimed for extended shelf life and never meant to sustain the body, continue to plague humanity, zapping energy levels, dimming the brain’s capacity, and expanding the waistline. Removing one root problem by altering food choices to unprocessed, organic, grass-fed options for sustainable fuel is worth considering.

Although a financial and time expense exists for adopting real food, long term effects of unhealthy, edible food substances that harden the body, our hearts, and our well being, cost considerably more. Medicine, physical stress, and low self-esteem are often required costs long term when our lives are absent of such change. Engaging in a sustainable solution of “clean” food, fuels the body efficiently, reduces physical stress, and affects an emotional positivity that decreases anxiety and depression. Initially this process was challenging; in time it became a lifestyle, sustainable, freeing, and invigoratingly healthy.

Letting Go

Last week, a shaming, destructive, and painful memory from my past flew into view, with an immediate surprise; it triggered nothing. I felt nothing, no judgment, no opinion, no emotion wrapped around the memory; peace suddenly arose and surrounded the thought normally met with anger, resentment, and sadness. Instead of grabbing the nearest Oreo®, I sat peacefully, aware of transition, healing, and a nothingness I did not know was possible. This newly occupied space of my past hurt, regret, and pain simply nullified into an occupancy of letting go. I referred to this transformation as a “knowing” that someday I would sense, yet uncertain of the form it would take into awareness.

Change, healing, and mending of the heart happens sometimes silently. Does transformation require consciousness to process healing into being? My current experience concludes healing hovers, infiltrates, and assembles silently, invisibly, and undetected, until thoughts, emotions, and actions accustomed to pulling a lever no longer trigger an explosion of pain, worry, or divisiveness. When what would be normally reactive reverses, a “letting go” occupies the novel space. Peace, self-respect, and self-love replace the self-loathing, outward hatred, and hoarded anger in storage. Great supply of resentment releases and the heart softens.

Loving myself and others simultaneously, I let go. Lacking judgment, resentment, and anger, I let go. Without control, without tightening, and without fear, I let go. Insight, consciousness, and introspection occupying the mind, I let go. Transformation in silence, simply being, and undisturbed, I let go. Releasing the weight, the emotional baggage, and the past, I let go. Cleansing the closet, the old, and the ancient, I let go. Losing shame, yet acquiring resilience, I let go. Allowing, opening, and soothing the heart, I let go. Through peace, healing, and stillness, I let go. The “knowing” is living open heartedly, feeling a sense of belonging, self-worth, and peace.

A healing and wholehearted existence, means living authentically, knowing that what others think of me no longer matters; cultivating self‐compassion, releasing perfection, and engaging in vulnerability to connect with others; eliminating numbing of emotions and feeling of powerlessness; cultivating gratitude, joy, and peace plus intuition, faith, and uncertainty; and letting go of self‐doubt replaced by self-love, respect, and acceptance. By simply being this way, the nothingness suddenly existed, stillness presided, and I let go. Broken pieces of myself curiously mended. the void filled, and a foundation formed to let go. Time, process, and digging healed deep wounds, but “letting go” set me free.

Prep, Prompt, and Prod

Weight loss management is a daily grind of continuous food preparation, motivation, and exercise. Each required for success, they comprise a unique combination of skills. Culinary, emotional and psychological, and physical coordination and stamina, round up the plethora of needs to glide smoothly along the journey. The continuity is a path of required patience, energy, and driven accountability. Yet the payoff is rewarding, uplifting, and worthy of the efforts. Weight loss, emotional stability, and physical strength combine for a life of continuous comfort, health, and well being, within a body that walks with swagger, energy, and worth.

Preparing food is a constant when eating “clean,” as most of the American food supply is a hodgepodge of hollow, deflated nutrient-valued ingredients that typically include simple sugars, gluten, and/or dairy. Most food processed excessively, its utilization within the body accesses limited energy, disturbs natural digestion, and eventually contributes to inflammation and disease. “Food as fuel” is a chosen life of acquiring unprocessed, untainted, and “clean” options, utilities for energy, brain functioning and physical movement. What enters our bodies, is a compelling contributing factor for feeling good. Assuring macronutrients of lean proteins, vegetable-type carbohydrates, and healthy fats are included, well being rests at the end of that rainbow of foods. Time to prepare, money to purchase quality, clean food, and readiness with food for one’s lifestyle and schedule, requires diligent effort.

Besides the groundwork of preparing food, healing the inner quandaries that stall success, are imperative. Emotional, past baggage carried by the masses with weight challenges, is healing awaiting. Without addressing reasons behind the binging, numbing with food, and psychological pieces that contribute to overeating, unhealthy uses of food, the root cause of excess weight continues to plague weight loss, contributing to failing to maintain a healthy weight. Why weight loss challenges churn throughout one’s life, whether for physical or psychological needs and reasons, journeys without clarity, reminders, and motivational building blocks, can detour most efforts eventually. Inner healing, emotional stability, and motivation are necessary portions of possibility for long lasting change and success.

Exercise as the final component pushes the body to increase lean muscle, strength, and endurance. Deleting fat reveals the muscular layers that contour the body, displaying beautiful curvature beneath. Increased muscle mass by small degrees through boot camp classes enables the protection of the skeletal walls, empowers the body, and increases strength. With exercise, endorphins rise, enhancing mood, emotion, and energy. Additionally it suppresses the appetite, reminds us of well being and to feed ourselves healthy fuel to prepare and recover for and from workouts. As part of weight loss management, it engages the core that strengthens the back, aids in digestion, and maintains posture.

Edibles, emotions, and exercise are the conglomerate of weight loss management. With consistency, persistence, and faith in the process, a sustainable lifestyle results. Obstacles, distractions, and choices that sidetrack the route are part of the path. “Life happening” teaches resilience, opportunities for growth, and potential problem solving solutions that reroute, but with choice return to our chosen avenue. Weight loss management is about the food, emotional motivation, and movement, but without a sustainable lifestyle to maintain the journey, all efforts become futile. Preparing nutrients for fuel, prompting our inner child to heal, and prodding the body to move and strengthen, merge into permanent evolution. Progression to a sustainable, successful lifestyle is a prep, prompt, and prod proposition.

Steady On

Sometimes the journey of weight loss is simply “steady on.” Although I added an intense, specialty class called Grind to my exercise mix to up the ante, continuity remains. Keeping the “clean” food intake high, my movement and food prep. in motion, and my tracking food in MFP (My Fitness Pal), these cumulatively activities beckon the scale to balance into submission. Clearing the closet, purchasing jeans, and celebrating with a new haircut, roundup rewards that help the mind catch up with bodily changes, highlighting my success. When shopping your ears hear, “are you a size 6 or 8,” while your mind says “neither,” a mind/body disconnect exists; seeing becomes believing change occurred while you were sleeping, exercising, and eating “clean.” The remedy of stagnation, boredom, and motivation restlessness requires regularity of processes, reminders of reasons, celebrating non-scale successes, and a caring, continuous flow of community support.

“Steady On” only functions effectively with continued focus, eyes on the ultimate prize, and the “Why” the journey began initially. Keeping the goals, attention, and process alive with diligent consistency, the finish line remains in sight. Detours exist, but fewer rather than greater; scales fluctuate, to achieve correction but eventually dip lower; and life events happen, temporarily affecting efforts replaced by resiliency and a return to the prior path. Staying the course and continuing along steadily, movement occurs over time. A monotony of longevity may cause you to question your path, stop to take stock, and abandon the course, but with choice and backing the basic elements of change, you return to be, Steady On.

Weight Loss of a Different Color

After an exhaustive number of years spent losing and gaining the same pounds and then some, new expectations round this final phase. No longer is it acceptable to live in fear of rebounding pounds, engaging in perfection tactics of all or nothing success or failure, and maintaining a closet occupying five different pant sizes awaiting the ups and downs. Instead I headline “slow and steady wins the weight loss race,” while recognizing detours, struggles, and seesawing pounds from water retention, constipation, or hormonal imbalances are part of the journey. While disabling the power of the scale and empowering non-scale victories by the way clothes fit, how strong, energized, and happy I feel from the integral healing happening, the weight descends. Within my heart a void disappears, old perceptions and beliefs depart, and the past mends fully, making this weight loss travel along a different avenue.

Like a horse of a different color, this process looks and feels like none other I have experienced. My past, repeated pounds enhanced and highlighted inner healing left undone. Now while processing, mending, and releasing emotional baggage that has weighed me down, freedom has lightened my load. When healing takes place and voids are filled, food no longer is utilized the same way. Food as fuel, emotions expressed, the feeling of wholeness needing nothing but self-love, self-respect, and self-worth, the weighted effects are nullified. Moving into freedom from fears and liberating the lightness of being, suffering has ceased. Sometimes a cigar is not just a cigar, and in my case, weight was not just weight, but representative of pain and suffering, darkening my heart, deepening depression, and deadening a life in need of healing.

When healing arrives, a healthy relationship with food, body, and soul replaces the prior process of weight loss and unhealthy lifestyles. Food as a numbing agent from feeling emotions, destructive, disrespectful treatment of my body by feeding it unhealthy edibles and contributing to atrophying, unused muscles, and the damaging, weakened self-worth that believed it was not worthy enough for forgiveness, healing, and change, all contributed to repeatable poundage. The transcendence to recognize differently, a deepening respect for myself, and the process of transformation in healing has replaced the old, and brought in weight loss of a different nature, foreign, but comforting, consoling, and kind to my senses. I have arrived at a knowing that this healed version of myself is the me I was meant to be. Weight loss of a different color looks damn good on  me!

Cleansing the Closet

For several women, closets represent a smorgasbord shopping experience where at least four sizes adorn the racks, awaiting exhibition. My closet, filled to the maximum, needs a considerable purge rather than a wearing. A few years ago, I organized it by size and clothing type, pushing the skinny clothes to the back, the larger to the front. Additionally to beautify the space, green, fake-suede covered hangers to prevent clothing slippage replaced plain wire ones; I created a color-coordinated closet. To produce an enjoyable experience when the door stood ajar, the visual emphasized simplification, consistency, and overall organization. Believing this would alleviate the painful experience of choosing clothes, instead has stood as a reminder that greater issues exist at the forefront. Until I felt comfortable in my skin, no creative closet solutions could alleviate the inner emotional pain.

Greatly aware that the unvisited clothes in the back have wasted away upon hangers, and accumulated dust, I contemplate the disturbing issue that settled within my heart. Disappointment and despair eventually led to keeping the closet door shut. The remaining few fitting pieces of clothing edged out to bureaus; the closet full of clothes left undressed. Since the closet’s formal closing, a healing and transformation of my mind and body has occurred, causing me to contemplate opening the closet, purging it and releasing it from purgatory. Although there must be clothing that fits now, the closet remains a reminder of my past I no longer wish to revisit. That was the old me; today stands the new me.

Removing and donating the clothes to those in need is gratifying, and surely would have made sense three years prior. Unready to settle that score between my closet and generosity, I rationalized that the clothes could and would fit eventually; purchasing new was unnecessary and impractical. Now foolishly I realize the frugal error. Many an expert has claimed that ridding oneself of any form of clutter makes room for the new. Yet I could not hear it once upon a time. Today the purge will cleanse and heal. A reckoning frees my senses and the closet must open, be drained of its contents, and allowed its freedom. Clothing donated is an added blessing; giving to those in need is especially pleasing.

Opening the closet leads me one step further to healing and alleviating the past’s effect upon the present. Taking one step into the closet and removing its contents, releases any bitterness that remains. Former careers highlighting a certain style, dresses worn to weddings, and a host of ensembles that never made it to any ball, are ready to fly into a slew of trash bags awaiting their occupancy. Clearing the clothes cleanses my consciousness, enabling the “knowing” that the excess weight of the past is gone for good, the skinny clothes of repeated diets eliminated, and the future garments, outfits, and attire will assemble slowly, representing the lifestyle I lead today. Coming out of the closet is the past releasing and freeing itself from its confined space. Alleviating its captivity is a commitment to lightening the emotional load of the past, arriving into a healed present. Cleansing the closet is healthy healing.

Consistency Accumulates Success

Recognizing no cure exists, following a consistent lifestyle without a silver bullet to magically manifest instant success feels overwhelmingly unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and undeniably impossible. New to an everlasting lifestyle without break or interruption, that all obstacles, self-sabotage, and deterrents along the way are a component along a continuous path, we discover lessons of consistency, perseverance, and habit-forming practices to guide us.

To commence upon a passage through life as your new way of being, a lifestyle of small steps inch towards a cumulation of repeatable actions. Daily, the initial intention to practice a particular path of eating, exercising, and self-care is executed. Focus, mindfulness, and intention guide the unexercised muscle to motivate, strengthen, and elongate daily. Each day flows into the next, until the sharpened practice is ingrained, where ritual and habit require less effort, but need continued dedication.

When obstacles exist, resilience to retract from the ground where we fell, stand up, and dust the distraction off, is imperative to the process. Learning to bounce back from the interruptions that rile us, the saboteurs that attempt to derail us, and the celebratory events of revelry that disengage our lifestyle practices, are training for triumph. The ability to adjust to obstacles in our path, engage our strength to persevere against the disabling fences that attempt to knock us down, ensure our success. Walking through, around, over and under these hurdles are struggles’ path to resilience.

Consistency over time can be viewed from this riddle. Would you rather have three million dollars immediately or a penny initially that will double its total amount daily for 31 days? Many claim their three million, not recognizing that the latter choice results in more than ten million dollars.  An example of losing 26 pounds in eight months is a slow and steady loss. While life is continuous, losing and maintaining over a year or two is a plan in patience. Particular practices utilizing cumulative results may not seem significant initially towards long lasting change, but compiled, gain headway seemingly miraculous over time.

“Clean” eating without calorie restriction, bootcamp classes that draw improvement in small increments at every workout, and emotional healing of the inner self gradually, conjoin to create copious outcomes. With continuous consistency, patience and persistence, achievement and goals are attainable. The reliability of “steady and consistent wins the race” is a proven strategy to the finish line, where maintenance awaits. Quick fixes may establish immediate gratification, but long term sustainability and success is about consistency.

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