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Month: May 2015

When “Knowing” Comes

Ruffled, rattled, and flustered from my own hand, mind, and heart today, I unravel the twisted puzzle. Meeting with my mastermind group, my monthly favorite confidantes to discuss and share goals, offer advice, inspire, and lend a listening, loyal ear, I share the success of my healthy lifestyle, staying true to my path, and the commitment to transform and heal the inner brokenness that remains shattered. Shards of brokenness shadow my journey, yet await mending and a cleansed spirit.

Yet today discussion about my first memoir resurfaces, the completion of first draft submitted for perusal a year ago. Engaged immediately in the second draft writing process after meeting with my editor then, just as suddenly, as if a line had crisscrossed along my heart, I stalled abruptly. My stamina halted, momentum waned, and the process met paralysis while I attempted to retrieve and edit what once shined, relinquish the energy for completion that lay deep in despair and dormant along the pages of my book.

My editor’s response about forgiveness for my past within the memoir, he claimed was incredulous. Yet although I am certain forgiveness has transpired, 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.

Yet one, I shall return to retrieve the ashes I lay, burned into my writing, word upon word, layer upon layer, 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 and share my story and tell its completion, a conclusion of healing, arrival, and peace. Until then, I remain patient until a knowing comes.

Weighing the What and Why

Reevaluating goals in twelve-week increments is helpful along the weight loss journey, allowing a new starting gate to open. To maintain mental endurance, reassess objectives, examine reasons for losing weight, and evaluate the cause of past increased pounds. A successful path for sustainable weight loss requires emotional healing appraisals and several restarts for continued motivation. Without inner healing, outer healing is often futile.

As failure is not an option and a reversal of fortune or plateau is neither planned nor desired, the surge toward a weight loss goal must contain a continued vision and aspiration towards the intended outcome. Turning back and settling into a current weight misses the mark, and defeats the player in the weight loss game. Setting new goals, aligning actions with daily tasks, and primarily exploring inner turmoil or emotions that require healing are imperative during the journey.

Physical weight as a symptom of past emotional baggage requires connecting to our authentic self and obtaining emotional balance. For many throughout a lifetime, withheld love and fragmented self-worth formed a void in search of love and validation. To reclaim the self, heal the wounds of the past, and find and feel self-confidence, self-compassion, and self-love are pinnacles for successful, sustainable weight loss. Without these objectives, the weight weighs upon us and fills the void where love, self-acceptance, and self-worth ought to exist. Freedom from the metaphoric and physical pounds requires emotional healing.

This warrants time, exploration, and diligent labor in order to reflect and release the shards that lie within, and mend the emotional brokenness. Introspection toward self-worth and wholeness is worth the effort, challenge, and commitment, enabling sustainable weight loss. Stepping off the plank of fear and venturing confidently in the direction of wholeness continues this journey. The potential and opportunity for everlasting change through a healthy lifestyle awaits, yet the need for emotional healing, weighing the “what and why” is required. Knowing what and why additional pounds appear supports their release.

Sculptor

My transformation is taking hold beneath my feet, the success and results digging deeper roots toward my ultimate destiny. The dissipating image of my former self, vanishing from my psyche allowing the new self to emerge, culminates slowly. 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, visual cue, and determined action to better myself, adds to the sculpted form I construct. The continual creation molds me into the shape I am destined to become, aligning with nature, outfitted as my authentic self. Arriving at this fate, I feel ease, peace, and relevance, like knowing of life’s direction, meaning, and purpose. I am my own sculptor.

For Better or Worse

Careful what you wish, the result may differ than expected. My spouse choosing to follow my healthy lifestyle feels miraculous. For better or worse, his arrival on this journey carries mixed emotions.

Thought not quite the same, a second child also brought assorted feelings. Would I love baby number two, when my love for number one felt insurmountable? Was I physically and mentally strong enough to care for two children when one seemed plenty? Why change anything when all felt perfect? Upon his birth, love doubled from one sibling to the other, and exponentially love grew within my heart where I believed space was limited. Unaware my capacity to love was limitless renders the thought irrational now. Perhaps the parallel of irrational thought coincides with this entrance of my spouse into my lifestyle.

My spouse showing interest to join my fitness community, program, and lifestyle, questions churned within me. While grappling on how to make the journey sustainable and successful for myself, could I accommodate his needs? Would I have to be responsible for his food preparation, exercise schedule, and potential failure and/or success? The kettle bell of questions weighed heavily, swinging for answers.

For the majority of our lives together, I encouraged, role-modeled, nagged, and swore at the man I love to get his act in gear for the sake of himself, his family, his friends, and his business. I abandoned the effort after fifteen years not from lack of caring. Choosing a healthy lifestyle, making oneself a priority, and practicing self-care requires action from the person, himself. Without him wanting to change, my efforts were useless.

When his sneakers made an appearance in the past, healthy food began disappearing from the fridge, and an out-stretched man exercising in the early morning, brought my hopes higher, until those sights vanished again. Although raising one’s expectations and hope for change resulted in defeat, I continued to believe his desire for lasting change would eventually appear.

As a “better or worse” life partner, his unhealthy lifestyle now has an opportunity to vanish. Anticipating “better” existed, I trust my husband now wants the best for himself, his readiness arrived, and long before ‘too late’ reached him. Suddenly choosing to self-prioritize his health needs, my hope percolates again. Excitement for his potential ensues, yet questions escalate.

Six months prior, I began following a healthy lifestyle within a supportive community and experienced tremendous change, inner healing, and accomplished what I deemed impossible the prior thirty-five years with failed attempts. My weight loss, exercise journey was coming to fruition, and its sustainability I contemplated, studied, and believed possible. With my spouse in the mix, how might this change, affect my ability to focus, energize, and realize my dreams? Was his presence a hindrance or helpful?

An old friend said, “The ability to succeed is the ability to adjust.” Therefore, I prepped food for both of us initially and adjusted the increased amounts. By discussing his need to prepare food, to exercise, and follow the lifestyle changes, he began to cook, prepare, talk about the journey, and become responsible for his self-care. A drastic change to his lifestyle and ours as a family had begun.

Boot camps classes inspire rather than defeat him, while healthy food energizes and fuels him. The better of our ‘for better or worse’ journey has commenced. Sharing the journey brings us closer in a way I believed vanished. Enduring the worst with an unhealthy lifestyle dissipates into the past, while the better continues to enhance our relationship as individuals. Within our ‘for better or worse,’ we are off to a burpee start for the better!

When Ready, Change Occurs

Learning to roll over obstacles smoothly on the weight loss journey is a challenging process. Recently upon reviewing my food journal to prepare for the next meal, I recall an unrecorded meal I ate earlier. As I stare at the food log with guilty disappointment and feelings of failure, something unexpected occurs. Like a pivot and change in motion without panic, I calmly reflect upon the error.

My inner voice speaks with compassion, “Mistakes happen to everyone. Readjust, eat as you would have, and move on. You’ve got this!” Instead of sinking into the burden of guilt as I have countless times, I forgive myself immediately, show self-compassion, and remove the fear, guilt, and shame associated with defeat. Suddenly resilient in the face of errors, disappointment, and shame, a new way of being transpires.

Personal growth happens without warning sometimes. The moment of clarity beckons, a new reaction appears, and the past releases like a moment of reckoning, freedom, and peace. Taking years for readiness, unknowing when change arises, the transition likely occurs gradually until the tipping point when it reaches fruition. When ready for change, becoming resilient and alleviating shame associated with eating behaviors is a helpful tool for the weight loss journey.

Failure to Exhale

Healthy living does not require holding one’s breath. Furthermore, without exhalation death is certain. Yet fear walks me through minefields withholding oxygen, tempting misstep and self-destruction via a potential, processed morsel bypassing my lips. Threats of edible bombshells plague the world around me, located on supermarket shelves, in restaurants, and during holidays, tempting to trip me, catch me off kilter, and infiltrate my body.

Always on alert is an exhaustive, fearful, and tense way to exist. Cortisol, a stress hormone, releases while the body falters, switching to a fight-flight response, and slows metabolism, digests food inefficiently, and utilizes energy poorly. Fear prevents a healthy, sustainable lifestyle free of emotional stress. Needing to munch, numb, and alleviate the distress, food serves an alternate purpose than fuel. An unnecessary feeling of emotional fullness overwhelms me when fear triumphs.

Responding differently for long-term success is crucial. Surrendering, experiencing, and expressing emotions as armor against fear, bearing emotions and conscious awareness are required. Prepared optimal foods, utilized during challenging, emotional times are essential. Life’s unsmooth and rocky terrains need a rational, healthy response to circumvent poor, semi-conscious, impeded choices. Experiencing, voicing, and responding consciously to emotions with proactive actions like leaning into them to enable their strength to dissipate is vital.

Breathing along the journey, pausing to reflect, and proactively leading destiny, contribute to healing a pattern of pain, fear, and numbed feelings, and perpetuate fruitful outcomes. Failure to exhale is not an option. The breath within must inhale emotion, exhale its release, and thwart fear from materializing. Mindful decisions for food intake rather than a reactive response necessitates relaxation versus fear. Inhalation and exhalation enable pathways to live and breathe successfully through the weight loss journey.

When It Wanes, It Pours

When it wanes, it pours. The weight loss journey necessitates daily attention, focus, and energy. To remain vigilant consistently and responsibly on the correct path when a healthy lifestyle is teetering, stumbling and toppling, requires awareness. Repeatedly needing do-over days from when off-track eating ensues, involves additional energy. Keeping the ultimate goal at the forefront of our minds and actions is best practice since slipping easily transforms into daily mishaps leading to failure.

Prioritizing the self often, choosing respectfully on behalf of our body, mind, and spirit, must become a habitual way of being. When it is no longer a struggle and energy wanes from concentration, attention, energy, and all actions are second nature, the routine response results in superior choices without puddles of regret. This is the automatic pilot of self-care, decisions sacredly made prioritizing health, goals, and well-being.

Upon a journey where energy wanes at various intervals, it pours a heavenly result when we continue to make responsible, consistent, and wise choices. Ensuring energy has no space to ebb, letting it flow until it rains self-love, self-care, and self-respect is required. Efficient sleep, focus, and mindfulness additionally support the journey to a successful stream of energy. Being prepared for when it wanes is a smart pouring of expectation.

Smooth Road It Is Knot

Eight days of ‘clean eating,’ without enough distance between the old and new body, causes anxiety, trepidation, and fear. Without prepared protein, grabbing any and every delectable is likely. A package of Muenster cheese mysteriously ends up in a hand to mouth duel without thought, reason, or consciousness. A declaration and commitment made to unprocessed food just eight days prior leads the cheese back to the kitchen without consumption. Disaster averted, pondering the challenge and bumpy road of this lifestyle change deliberates in my mind.

Wondering why change for the better in exchange for the taste of anything has not been our protocol. Illogically choosing cheese over an improved life, healthier body, or opportunity to become comfortable in my skin baffles us. Prior efforts to deflate the packed-on pounds into submission, release, and permanent removal has been defeated. Weight represents protection, fear, and a lack of self-respect and easing old pain.

To feel comfortable in our skin, experience self-love, respect, and gratitude for our given body, be energized by consumed foods and nurtured by our choices, are reasons to commit to change. During a healing journey, digging and delving deep beneath the surface, we imagine the gratifying result of knowing and feeling happiness, euphoric peace, and self-love. Though foreign presently, change is a clean bite or two away. Numbing feelings, until a bag, box, or bowl empties into our stomachs, is no longer serving nor valuing us, nor establishing successful results.

Feeling emotions is a gift of human nature, self-care, self-love, and self-respect wrapped into one. Pushing emotions away rather than feeling them establishes self-destructive reactions. Acknowledging, embracing, and expressing emotions into existence eases the pain as they dissipate. Numbing them often destructively alters them into anger, depression, and actions in the form of consuming unhealthy foods. Change is a series of small actions repeated over time in exchange possibly for feeling whole, secure, healthy and happy.

This road to recovery is rocky, a path without soft edges or smooth walkways. Paving it as we travel is one of healing, learning, and ultimate, sustainable change. The bumpy avenue levels out, unravels the knots tied long ago, and paves itself as we remove fear, gain clarity, and produce healthy, nutritional habits and results. This walkabout is long and vast, through fog-like, challenging terrain. A smooth road it is not, until the sun shines, the transparency illuminates, and the power embraced to reach any potential exists.

Sugar Addicts Need Not Apply

Sometimes keeping sugar at bay, denying it consumption, feels like holding the breath. Its intensity is like remaining afloat without a life preserver, treading water, and hoping that willpower and strength sustains its absence. Additionally simple sugar weakens physically and psychologically by its addictive nature.

For many, like a drug, sugar has the same numbing effect as heroin. During an author’s interview, she commented that heroin use feels as if everything will be okay, and reduces emotional and physical pain. Any worries become all right, she added. Sugar alleviates emotions depth into dormancy. Making everything okay, all concerns slip away, and pain ceases to exist. Like an addictive drug, ceasing to utilize this substance, an aching, wanting, or need continues.

Substance abuse and addiction, its destructive element destroys physically, emotionally, and acts as an escape from reality. With food addiction, it increases the waistline, infiltrates with toxins, and slows the body’s ability to digest and function properly. Psychological need eventually affects one’s quality of life. Cycling like a merry-go-round, fearful of the pain associated with eliminating sugar, consumption increases.

“It’s not jumping out of a plane that will kill you; it’s the landing.” Landing gear for sugar detoxification simulates removal of an addictive substance. It challenges physically with headaches, exhaustion, and a mental pull to retreat from indulgence. Bodies across America utilize sugar and food as a numbing agent visibly. The addictive substance aids and abets us from feeling emotions, stress, and pain. Without “using,” acknowledging, feeling, and expressing emotions, alters the need to numb. Addressing the purpose for emotional and physical escape via an addictive substance supports recovery.

Although “everything in moderation” seems a solution, this need not apply to sugar addicts. Moderation leads to greater ingested amounts infiltrating the body through loss of control. Small amounts trigger the physical need for more to reach the same initial high or numbing effect. Like alcoholics, the addictive nature warrants self-control, an elimination of the substance, and a diligent path to recovery. Although socially acceptable and legal, sugar remains a destructive, health problem. Struggling with this affliction, elimination may be the ultimate solution. If asked to work in a bakery or candy store, sugar addicts need not apply. This is a recipe for disaster.

Partnering Up

Although walking alone along a highwire, support from others helps balance, stability, and hope for reaching the destination. Striving towards commitment in twelve-week increments, the next three-month journey commences with heightened awareness and energy toward new fitness and weight loss goals plus additional knowledge ready for utilization. These weeks occupy greater significance with the addition of my spouse, a welcoming change to the challenge.

My lifelong partner in marriage, friendship, and well-being, aiming to balance his life with healing and health, is signing onto this lifestyle of “clean” eating and boot camp fitness classes. The winds of change are upon us, energy sharply attuned toward a healthy lifestyle grows near. This new aspiration for change is attractive. Excitement and rebirthing our youthful energy from when our vows echoed the wedding hall, causes high expectations to arouse.

His and my depleted energy, as years passed, transformed, aged, and degraded our bodies. Childbirth, responsibilities, and emotional baggage imbalanced work, eroded physical and mental health, and separated our united support of one another. Wanting the best for both of us was never enough. Until individually each of us rises with self-care, self-love, and dedicated time to personal growth and health, efforts were futile. Resigning to the possibility that our paths deviated from our center, alone I traveled along the fitness and healthy food path.

Raising hope when he signed on to join my crusade, winded up expectations. Wanting desperately to observe his success reach fruition is like hearing a joyous song of hope and exaltation rather than the requiem that played in my head at each attempt and failure of the past. Yet we are ripe for change; this program seems sustainable and transformative. Many role models along this path are achieving successful results; we shall follow.

Freshly sharing discussions and perspectives, a newly energized life appears. The scent adds new flavor and vigor, enriching our lives dramatically. Like hitting a refresh button, starting something novel when the previous leaves of our core have died, withered and dropped from their branches, our united space adds a sense of excitement, a former dream not manifested until now.

Collaborating with my spouse at the new starting line adds support and a union for preparation and strategy, enhancing the lifestyle experience immensely. My brave man joins the race, the human movement towards bettering his circumstances, improving his inner and outer health. Together we are stronger; it is easier to be brave with TWO. Partnering up solidifies are chances for success.

Aloneness

“Alone had always felt like an actual place to me, as if it weren’t a state of being, but rather a room where I could retreat to be who I really was.” – Cheryl Strayed from “Wild”

An indelible impression sweeps through me by the memoir, “Wild,” written by Cheryl Strayed, resonating in a heartfelt, self-identifiable way. She speaks of “alone” as being a place she retreats to in order to be her authentic self, a concept I recognize and empathize with wholeheartedly. This aloneness serves me in life, sometimes as an escape, but more as a haven of safety, a dwelling of non-conformity, and an enabling of my “self” to remain intact.

To inwardly blossom among the trees that frighten me, and become exactly as they, I retreat into the quiet serenity of myself to a place where the aloneness carries me, gathering my essence of love and self-acceptance. There I sometimes remain, unable to cross into social interaction that threatens exposure, vulnerability, and authenticity. Like walking naked among the woods, the forest feels threatening, fenced in by false bravado and fraudulent exhibition.

Retreating into aloneness quiets the fears and energizes my soul. In venturing outward, I tread slowly, deliberately among a trusted crowd, birthing a path to connect with other’s authentic selves. This enriches my soul, enhances my life, and engraves my inner light to shine brighter. Yet when the world feels overwhelming, exhausting, indulgent in fear, I still retreat into the “alone,” a room that protects and grants me safety to be who I am.

Monotony of Failure

The monotony of failure to lose weight challenges exhaustive attempts to repeat. Daily reissuing the “start” and seizing the opportunity to change frequently capsize by cravings by day’s end, leading success astray. Failure to maintain healthy choices washes over me in a sea of relentless self-deprecating defeat. Wallowing and aware of weakened will power as sugar tips the scale in its favor elongates the stream of failures.

Why believe that today is the triumphant transition, arriving at the pinnacle and turning point, eliminating sugar forever? Is this a reasonable expectation when sugar, a highly utilized ingredient in the food supply has addictive properties? If an addiction affects our lifestyle negatively, is it not in our best interest to eliminate the ingredient that causes duress and limits our success?

Food addiction exhibits itself publicly, the body acting as a host of gluttony, lacking self-control and will power. Acting as a numbing agent, food alleviates physical pain, loneliness, and emotional stress, while sugar addiction counters attempts towards positive change. The alternative function of food as a source of fuel for energy and well-being is the vital message to alter efforts.

A constant battle of diet wars needs peaceful resolution, ending constant failures. Ready to change, the relentless pursuit of sugar daily destroys all attempts into the monotony of failure. Hopes and dreams rise and fall, deteriorating the full court press into fouling out, benched for sugar intake violation, the addiction defending itself within the body. Although a common crusade, many foul out repeatedly attempting to win the weight loss game.

Yet although the game feels unwinnable with the monotony of failures, successful individuals do climb over the hump of addiction, utilize food as fuel, emotionally heal, and achieve sustainable, successful weight loss. Failure becomes a faded memory and monotony of success assumes a front-row position where failure once lived. Faithfully following a lifestyle focusing on self-accountable, supportable, and sustainable actions, failure is no longer an option.

A journey to the monotony of success requires determination, embracing the imperfect moments as learning opportunities, and healing the emotional baggage no longer needed as a numbing agent. There is power in this process, like a pause at the end of a breath, illuminating heightened awareness for change. When we journey with attention, energy, and healing, brokenness initially leads us astray, yet then empowers us to overcome addiction, respecting each decision mindfully; success becomes the residual effect.

Repeat

Advice to offer the health-bound traveler, take one small step at a time. Repeat. Move moment by moment until a day, two days, and three have passed. Repeat until a week, two weeks, and three have passed. Repeat. Make conscious, thoughtful decisions during each present moment. Do not review poor decisions or successes that no longer contribute to current actions. None of it matters; the only significant moment is now.

Sugar addiction does not recognize the past, nor care about the future. It knows only “now,” and creates the constant craving that meets a need. As a bottomless pit of doom, climbing out from sugar addiction is the only option. Playing with fire by toying with carbohydrates and testing the body’s limits ultimately causes decline. Sugar rattles the senses, the sensitivity too great to moderate.

Triggered emotionally, numbing through sugar is substance abuse. Utilizing sugar for alternate purposes is an unhealthy game of Russian roulette. With the inability to handle even small amounts, a binge occurs while expecting relief, finding ourselves pushed further into the “rye” awaiting a “catcher.” Yet nothing rescues the befallen except elimination of the substance.

With blood sugar imbalances, expecting will power to ensure recovery is unproductive. Physical abstinence must play a considerable part in “getting clean.” With plated protein, vegetables, and healthy fats, stabilize these spikes into equilibrium. Balancing repeatedly day-to-day is the solution. Negotiating anything else has proven futile. Until reaching total sugar sobriety, live moment by moment, choose wisely, and recognize physical vulnerability. Achieving stable sugar levels is the repeatable action step. Repeat, repeat, repeat!

Shift Happens

Thinking I would “go” this health journey alone at home, face my weaknesses and potential failures, my closest confidante joins the arena, no longer willing to sit along the sidelines of life anymore. Just when I needed a hand, a fist bump from another warrior, a crusader to cruise into cascading boulders of life with me, he stands up and commits to the cause, capturing the essence of the power of two.

Together we vow, practice self-care, and apply the final change to our lives, healing the insides that trigger our past that flail in our midst and affect our present. Addicted to numbing, reacting, and evading emotions by consumption of unhealthy edibles, we rise, fueling our souls with the necessary recipe for success.

Nearly a decade and a half ago we began our lives with promise, hope and love of a tomorrow we envisioned, and a yesterday lay to rest. Yet the tomorrows often consumed our past, extinguishing the potential success of our future.

Just when I thought I would have to “go” it alone, he joins the health movement, seizes the opportunity, and unites with me again. A miraculous moment as destiny materializes, a pivot or shift to the winds of change, when a clear vision of one’s future has met with the present moment. Shift happens.

What I Will Do

Although I maintain stable sugar levels diligently, eventually simple sugars streams their way into my bloodstream, tormenting my body again to wreak havoc. Recklessly devouring any ounce of decency and will power, cravings begin, and my responsible, vigilant plan disappears in a sweet, line of attack.

Unprepared and blindly stupefied, my plan goes awry and a formerly, strategic executed day fails. Without a proper breakfast, prepared “clean” foods, the weakness unfolds again with fatal results. Sinking into the plate, I expect to reach a comfortable base the following day. Instead, I miss again with Strike 2.

What I would not do to return to bat, tapping the ball in for a “clean” single full of energy, hope, and assurance of a smooth run and paved path leading to the next. Following diligently without detours and obstacles, I imagine what I would not do. My need to will it all into place, I summon the “I will not’s”:

  1. I will not allow processed foods to cross my lips.
  2. I will not walk into stores that contain isles of sweet temptations.
  3. I will not deceive myself that my kids’ snacks are mine.
  4. I will not believe a few days do not matter. Small increments add up.
  5. I will not pretend I am healed, cured, and free from sugar addiction.
  6. I will not practice self-sabotage.
  7. I will not lie to myself about what needs to be done.

There is no try; there is only do. – Yoda

Today what I will not do will dictate what I do. Up to the plate again, striking out is not an option. A base hit is what I will do. Done is what I would not do.

Not So Fast, Edinberg

A family friend used to share this little gem of a joke:

The Captain called the Sergeant in. “Sarge, I just got a telegram. Private Jones’ mother died yesterday. Better go tell him and send him in to see me.”

So the Sergeant calls for his morning formation and lines up all the troops. “Listen up, men,” says the Sergeant. “Johnson, report to the mess hall for KP. Smith, report to Personnel to sign some papers. The rest of you men report to the Motor Pool for maintenance. Oh, by the way, Jones, your mother died, report to the commander.

Later that day the Captain called the Sergeant into his office. “Hey, Sarge, that was a pretty cold way to inform Jones his mother died. Couldn’t you be a bit more tactful next time?” “Yes, sir,” answered the Sarge.

A few months later, the Captain called the Sergeant in again, with, “Sarge, I just got a telegram. Private McGrath’s mother died. You had better go tell him and send him in to see me. This time, be more tactful.”

So the Sergeant calls for his morning formation. “Ok, men, fall in and listen up. Everybody with a mother, take two steps forward — NOT SO FAST, McGRATH!”

Of course, my reason for remembering this joke has even lighter humor. “OK, men, fall in and listen up. Everybody who has not had simple sugar in the last 24 hours, take two steps forward — NOT SO FAST, EDINBERG!”

I allowed sugar to permeate my blood stream again. Failing to react in time, it became a runaway freight train. Like charging full speed ahead, this substance ascended with gradual, yet persistent force and recklessness. A feeling of needing more and more sweetness swept over me until I consumed, and was fully consumed by, the simple sugar.

Feeling groggy with a sugar-induced hangover and a sense of failure, I attempt sugar elimination again. Like a drug, the physical addiction of sugar lures itself back into my body. Regulating my blood sugar level to circumvent the cravings and nourish the body with seventy-two hours of clean eating to build a defense against my drug of choice is necessary. Self-control, exercise, and resolve strengthen my mind and body against the threat of processed, sugar-laden food’s access. Next time attention is called to stand in formation, I hope to take two steps forward and not hear, “Not so fast, Edinberg!”

Weighing In Carries Too Much Weight

Giving scales power to decide our fate daily distresses our emotions. An inanimate, metal box spinning numbers like the Wheel of Fortune for the winning weight offers little pertinent information. It serves as a unit of measure for successful or failed weight loss, yet limits our story. It knows not the decreased number of inches or muscle mass, strength and stamina, nor does it measure heart rate, hydration levels, or the size of our clothing. With considerable impact, it affects numerous lives, some as early as childhood. Allowing it to control our emotions daily weakens us.

First measurement of pounds affecting my psyche begins at age eleven in a school nurse’s office. Although not a contest, our sixth grade class enters an arena like a boxing match, weighing in for competition. Checking weight and height in public schools is routine. We stand in line for weight and height measurement’s announcement and entry onto a brown, clipboard. Each number’s declaration defines each person stepping on the metal device. Comparing individuals with murmurs and whispers, tension fills the air. My stomach curls with each proclamation, shame fills my insides, and the fear of weighing too much makes my heart bleed faster. An inner whisper confirms I am not likeable, excessively fat, and weigh a significant extra five pounds than taller bystanders.

My heavy feet walk the funeral march back to our classroom, along the white tiled corridor with flickering shadows due to the above faulty bulbs. Silence deafens my insides, my heart racing while the numbers twirl in my head lessening my worth with each step. Two friends identify my depressed demeanor, and speak encouragingly of how the numbers are worthless. Yet I remain vigilantly aware of the humiliating nature of those statistics, the story they confirm my suspected ugliness and not-good-enough feeling.

Had my mother not shouted obscenities countless times of “what is wrong with you” perhaps this story contains a different ending. Yet like many, our inner voice begins to host shame that leads to a lifetime of self-destructive behavior involving diets and surrendering to the scale’s daily assertions. Our relationship with the scale, shame, and weight varies depending upon initial exposure, stories we tell ourselves, and yearly pediatrician visit experiences.

Defining my existence, pounds rose and fell to meet a weight chart’s expectations of good versus bad, too little, or too much. Meeting these numbers fostered diets from childhood to adulthood. My success and failures lived and died with the scale, and determined self-worth. The story I designed established an inner critic, projecting judgment I felt from others. Daily I granted the metallic geometric contraption power to choose how I felt about myself based upon its numeric results.

Thirty-five years later, contemplating the influence the scale possesses the misconception and declaration of success or failure still affects me. During this new lifestyle journey, I remove the scale from my daily existence as recommended. The urge to know the number diminishes slightly. Although unwarranted, a weekly “weigh-in” at the gym still conjures old emotions. Recognizing a number cannot define our self-worth is crucial for well being.

Releasing the scale’s hold on us, acknowledging non-scale victories like clothing size changes, increased energy, strength, and feeling comfortable in our skin are true triumphs beyond measure. Acquiring emotional balance and well-being about our weight diminishes the power we have granted the scale. Giving away control to an inanimate object is futile. We reach success when the scale no longer carries weight. Until then, we remind ourselves daily of our true worth, aware we are not defined by a number, neither loss nor gain. While still emotionally triggered by the scale, weighing in carries too much weight.

Sweet Power Tested

Resilience and sustainability with any food lifestyle is a necessary, challenging, and continuous process in multiple situations. A wedding weekend brings less than optimal food choices testing my power to resist and persist. Mentally preparing for three days of choices teeters on mishap and maintenance. Twelve weeks seems enough expertise and food choice proficiency, as well as twenty weeks of dumbbell wielding, boot camps priming my body for an elegant black dress, prepared for a thinner, trimmer me. Assessing whether my lifestyle is sustainable during special scenarios as weddings, celebrations, and holidays, are tests of my ability to adjust without thwarting weight loss efforts.

Friday evening, a smorgasbord of Italian fare decorates the table: fried calamari, chicken parmesan, spaghetti and meatballs, Caesar salad, and wine. Patiently awaiting Saturday night wedding food, I cultivate determination to make healthy choices. Eating salad, calamari with fried breading frayed off, and scraped breaded, baked chicken, I make smart decisions. Composure is kept at the dessert table when I “take the gun and leave the cannoli,” while tiramisu is left untouched and unconsumed. I eat salads and protein throughout the following day without incident. Feeling empowered of successful results invigorates me.

The wedding dinner approaches; I prepare to make some allowances purposefully. Choosing two ounces of red wine and at least six ounces of protein maintains stable, not off-the-rail choices. Yet the dessert buffet table offers extensive choices of candy and chocolate baked goods like those from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. I choose the cookies ‘n cream cupcake, motivated by frosting rather than cake, a delicacy I dissect and limit total consumption. As a controlled decision, it feels good to choose and limit the amount. An inner voice says, “Choose what you really, really, really want, and leave the rest.”

I really, really, really want the frosting that rises out of this masterful cupcake. Eating frosting from a cupcake may sound as appetizing and strange as eating the inside of an Oreo®. Yet for some of us, that portion is all one needs for utter elation and euphoria. With jubilation, I ate the sweet, savory icing from the cupcake, journaling the quarter cup of frosting into My Fitness Pal and close the day out. By dawns early light, I achieve the honorable and survive a wedding weekend, making responsible food choices.

Monday morning arrives, boot camps are scheduled, detoxification of sugar is underway, and my resolve physically and mentally strengthens after leaning into the normalcy of life and a special weekend. Celebrations often offer less than optimal food options. Delicacies not designed with the body in mind, instead on behalf of the taste buds, hardly recognize their physical effects upon the gut, how they digest, and affect the waistline. Even with unique events, maintaining a commitment to a healthy lifestyle is possible. Empower yourself with healthy choices even in limited circumstances, selecting the unhealthy path occasionally.

Knowledge and perseverance for a strong healthy result, while eliminating destructive behaviors, is powerful. Although this weekend spotlights a successful outcome, the amount of energy and decision making it takes cannot be underestimated. Energy and determination utilized for overcoming vulnerability is necessary. Old patterns pounce when the armor cracks and fragility arises; sugar and alcohol fuels flames. With power tested, resilience won, and sustainability of a healthy lifestyle trumps the sugar! Testing power is sweeter when we persevere!

Successful Self-Accountability

Accountability to a group or team reduces sole responsibility. Support enables us to navigate challenging circumstances alongside others. Accepting support and reciprocating to ensure reaching goals alleviates the aloneness of life’s journeys. Yet what happens when we relieve ourselves of self-accountability? Should we fail, may we blame others for our collapse? Blaming others eases the burden of failure. Yet should we succeed, do we acknowledge success, or do we give credit to the community that supported our victory?

Some of us function remarkably well following another’s lead, yet left to our own devices lack the strength to commit and endure challenging journeys. We crumble alone but succeed by relying upon other’s direction and support, thriving while led to victory. This is not to claim that direction, mentoring, and education are not worthwhile for achieving endeavors. Yet recognize that eventually we must become personally accountable for our successes and failures in order to empower our “selves” with the reigns of our destiny.

As one exercise and food program concludes and another begins, my habitual pattern of releasing support lacks transition to sole, self-accountability. If the only motivation has been accountability to others, when the term limit ends, the progress stalls. The disempowerment of placing all efforts toward the good of the team without self-accountability and responsibility reduces long-term effectiveness and success. Rather than viewing other’s expertise as the sole mechanism for guidance, self-responsibility is required to share the result.

Without the self-accountability piece in place by acknowledging our mistakes and successes and owning our share of the process and progress, utilizing the community is not sustainable. A balance prevents leaning fully upon a crutch, the imbalance of power. “It takes a village” includes self and community responsibility toward a common goal. Although the world necessitates leaders and followers, personal goals present a dual contribution.

Mindful responsibility while heeding advice from others is a balance worth seeking. Should support dissipate, decline, and falter, self-reliance upon a solid foundation successfully prepares us to continue the journey alone, until new discovery and aligned support is situated. This builds walls of sustainability within our foundation. Additionally it allows ownership for success, rather than a statuesque creation of someone else’s vision. When we choose to give up our power and rely solely upon others, we weaken our innate ability to survive and thrive. Embrace self-accountability, and the world rises to meet and greet you with the supplemental support you seek.

New Day Dawns

Twenty-four hours sometimes feels like it can make or break change. Today marks a new day to rise and shine again. Surviving one full day back on a healthy food and exercise plan pivots the mindset inside and out as vulnerability plays its tune and the body craves sugar, urging rest upon a couch and the tendency to eat bonbons.

Journaling food into My Fitness Pal, attending a boot camp exercise class, and visualizing desired outcomes trump cravings and weakness. Steaz® beverages replace cookies, vegetables and grass-fed beef replace pizza. Cookies entice and seduce, as does pizza when served to offspring. Carbohydrates perpetuate a need for increased sugar when energy levels diminish. Instead, healthy, “clean” food choices contribute to energy remaining stable eliminating roller coaster, blood sugar levels.

Although day two is critical upon this journey, every day is crucial. Giving each moment intention and energy is vital to doing the small things that make us successful. Being present in each moment enables focus on what occurs, consciously, mindfully, and bravely. Visualize the goal as successful, imagine the feeling of reaching the end, and then be in the moment to determine actions and outcomes. A new day dawns inside and out. Rise and shine to meet it.

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