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Month: August 2015

Maintaining the Weigh

Weight maintenance requires a path that eases the journey. Maintaining weight has challenges unlike the weight loss passage. The weight that occupied life in a land that feels far, far away, represents a reminder with each misstep. Foreign, yet faintly familiar, fear beckons at the doorstep as if one wrong move retracts the pounds instantly. Changing food lifestyles has its daunting periods of reaching into the soul to discover its emotional pain, dormant memories, and healing left incomplete. Through the body’s physical and mental trial and error to tweak the diet alleviating physical weight from correlating with emotional pain. The agony, effort, and sweat bringing us to fruition, the goal weight we sought to keep, is the same grit espousing maintenance. Every corner presents new challenges to venture away from weight loss and settle into a holding pattern of a new body.

Most diets lack a maintenance plan and the missing manual for long term sustainability has many searching. Like grasping to weight loss like negative space, fearful of pounds returning, holding one’s breath like waiting for a maintenance cure before former weight ascends again. Continuing same restricted calories and foods while craving what feels missing is a recipe for disaster. Therefore, pounds return when a diet is no longer upheld. Finding a food lifestyle that continues to exist for life’s duration that burned weight from its existence initially is a final weight loss solution. Discovering the plan right for the body is the journey sought by the overweight masses. Yet once found with the emotional toll paid with internal healing extracted, the weight’s existence understood, a physical tweaking of the food plan controls weight maintenance with a successful result.

Maintaining the Weigh presents a path for maintaining weight when the initial weight loss journey is complete.  While life offers multiple opportunities to eat haphazardly without thoughtful consideration, and each vacation, business conference, and holiday tempt the pallet with unhealthy options and processed foods, maintaining a clean food lifestyle requires proactive choices at every intersection and crossroads. Yet arrival at a maintained, desired weight enables leeway that did not exist as the pounds melted away. Consuming a cookie, piece of cake, or ice cream cone is possible without packing back pounds. Allowing periodically less than optimal edibles into a healthy lifestyle without reversing weight through a fast lane of self-destructive behavior is possible. The journey beyond the vanishing weight exists with deliberate, conscious choices, and consistent action. Learning along the weight maintenance journey is a process, requires practice, tuning into your body’s response, and reacting accordingly. This book fosters Maintaining the Weigh for all seeking solutions to the weight maintenance journey.

When Life Throws a Curve

Life throws unexpected curves when most of us directionally challenged hitters expect a predictable pitch. We swing late, observe the pitch as foreign, unable to explain its strange, arching movement, and wonder why and how the curvature is possible. Witnessing several pitches, we start to recognize, interpret, and draw added meaning to the throw headed our way. After considerable practice and experience, when a ball arcs in our direction, response time shortens and the ability to swing and make a direct connection occurs. Along the weight loss journey we learn that life, filled with curve balls, requires resilience to react successfully.

Yesterday morning started with an excruciating, eye-opening revelation. Opening one eye, grinding pain reverberated through me. Surprised yet aware that my contact lens was the source, I removed the guilty party. Hoping to restore pain-free equilibrium, zero change resulted. Replacing contact lenses with glasses, my left eye’s faulty vision remained impaired. What else in my life was blurred and needed clarity? Sometimes a pain and lack of vision offers lessons for greater understanding for journeys ahead. What if this was always true and the lens of clarity requires learning in order to proceed?

The first email catching my eye was from an acquaintance asking if I had sent a Google Doc, and if not, to change my password. Next, a private message on my screen showed another asking the same. My response to both was an emphatic “no” and my morning went into reacting to a computer virus that left my entire contact list vulnerable. With years of added contacts, sending an immediate email to warn of the potential danger to all contacts seemed the correct course of action. With the help of a technology-savvy spouse, his morning and mine were turned inside out, time spent mediating this disaster. Passwords were deleted and rewritten, emails were sent at Internet speed, and my blog writing time was eliminated.

With painful, blurry vision and a computer virus, my day took a turn, teetering out of control. To add to the dominoes, a snow day had been called, and my young children were now stumbling out of bed, awaiting attention and breakfast. Additionally snow shovel removal waited at the end of the driveway by our mailbox to ensure the day’s delivery. Ruckus set in as the kids responded negatively wanting attention, my eye pain and blurred vision steadily continued, and my inbox began filling up with mail delivery rejections from all obsolete contacts. Over two hundred emails snapped back with a statement of non-delivery. My offspring adjusted eventually to the slow breakfast delivery, yet arguments ensued as each made their way to help with snow removal. Tears streamed from my children’s eyes as the frigid temperatures and early morning mishaps gathered steam. None of it a pretty picture, yet somehow manageable.

In time, I called the eye doctor and scheduled a “fit-you-in” appointment at noon, ignored my full email inbox, made myself a cup of tea, and told the kids to steer clear of me as my top might blow off my head should anything else darken my day. I began to contemplate the blurred vision, the computer virus, the unscheduled snow day trapped inside, and the clarity I could not capture from an array of curve balls thrown my way. I sighed, imagining the metaphor of mishaps in my line of view.

Perhaps I was just being hit by pitches, reacting only upon direct impact. What did it mean to have blurred vision; would my eye heal and see again through a clear lens? Would I clear the virus or continue to subject others to my fate? My meal plan was set off on a tangent as the events unfolded as well, skewing my dietary success for the day. Is it wrong to eat a brownie by 10 AM? I recently consoled another on Facebook with the phrase, “The ability to succeed is the ability to adjust.” How resilient was I in the face of adversity, unscheduled avenues, and the unexpected events thrown my way? Had I not seen clearly until now?

By day’s end, I had a diagnosis of ‘abrasion’ to my left eye, and must wear glasses for three weeks until healed, or if worsened, a virus potentially could be the cause. The computer virus I addressed with the giant send-out to fellow contacts, a scan of my computer, and an update to my contact list. Mail was delivered by the postal service in a snow cleared mailbox, my food plan eased back into balance, and I sat aware of a successful comeback after a day of alterations to the ‘norm.’

Our reaction to curve balls decides our fate. Should we choose to acquiesce to their aim of striking us out, our vision will remain blurred, out of focus, and deteriorating like an out of control virus, spreading like a contagion let loose into the wild. Instead the downward spiral slows long enough to catch a glimpse of the rotating sphere in order to hit the ball, allowing us to run freely and access some clarity. It is within these “still” moments we are able to see clearly, feel an energetic twist of change, enabling response time to quicken and access contact with incoming curves.

When life throws us a curve, examining the pitch long enough to take aim for a clear reaction is crucial. Today served me well to practice positive reaction, resilience and recovery. No one travels through life unscathed by the curves that derail each of us from our center. Equilibrium is achieved by reframing the situation, slowing time by living within each moment, gaining clarity as we swing in reaction. Recognizing the valuable lesson internally taught is useful along life’s journey. Learning to achieve resilience is one’s best bet against the mighty curve ball.

The Edible Truth

What if GMOs, artificial sweeteners, pesticide-covered vegetables, hydrogenated oils, high fructose corn syrup, dairy from a hormone-filled cow, and all other foods from nutrient-depleted soil, produce lack of clarity, a muted heart, your essence from being heard, and a chatter-filled mind? What if the intuitive, all-knowing whisper within, is only heard with an unencumbered mind, a rested body, and an open heart? I argue that the world’s authentic guidance system has been silenced by artificial interferences, statically covering up inner truth. Yet, this realization enables hope and possibility for its reversal.

It is hard to know one’s inner truth and ultimate purpose when the body is depleted of the nourishment it requires. However, uncover the music, undo the damage, remove the poison that rages within, and the energy you have been lacking comes alive, as if reborn, now engaged in life. In essence, arrive back to a place from which we have come. This renewal changes all we know to be true; all that we have sensed becomes our potential. The revelation that food matters for all that we are is a truth worth knowing, information worth spreading wide and far.

There is a reason that people who go on juice fasts have abundant energy after a couple of days. It seems counterintuitive. Yet our lives have been spent, literally, on digestion. The body breaks down ingested, consumed food, and mechanically sends our whole being energy with which to grow and function. Send nutrient-dense, vegetable juice and like an injection, the body functions optimally without utilizing energy for digestion. Therefore, the surplus of energy is used elsewhere. Want energy? Juice it. “Got Energy?” is an excellent slogan for eliminating the treadmill upon which most of us have been running.

When the body, designed for digestion, is overworked, underpaid, and depleted of nutritional needs, the body’s restless, weakened, and decreased spirit, craves excess food to meet its needs, many filled with toxins. These foreign entities within the body destabilize the cells, causing illness ultimately like a formation of armies causing a coupe-like reaction against the body. Within this Trojan horse of an exterior shell, they wreak havoc silently and remain dormant, eventually causing symptoms until disease is diagnosed. They ravage cities and towns, the bodily mechanics and systems with capital buildings known as organs, until surrendering into disease. Soon the physical vessel we have called home, which has been entrusted with a lifetime, is six-feet under.

We have a choice whether to surrender or even to allow the armies to congregate. Take hold of these militants by sending them peaceful, energetic, organic nutrients to fill themselves with life force versus a death option. By sending a living food throughout the system, this physical vessel begins to work in harmony. Rapidly one feels renewed, invigorated, younger, and more like one’s authentic self than before. (“….more me than I’ve ever been”) The true self shines through, one’s essence returns, and like birthing the heart renews the spirit.

Every decision we make is a choice. When using a toxic-filled mind fueled by foods that prevent clear thinking, change is challenging. Knowing this truth may be the knowledge necessary to transform past actions. The coupe for change must overhaul, take charge, and adopt a leadership role. Within, nutrient-based fuel utilizes enzymatic pieces of the outside world to harmonize with the inner workings of the body. They exhume our being, cleanse and release our essence from captivity that it experienced since the first unrecognizable entity (“edible food-like substances”) entered the vessel.

Allowing physical healing to take place in the form of life force energy via real, “Clean” food brings the body to optimum health again. This freedom is the destination we strive toward, to enable us to live and breathe our best lives. With this energy and clarity, we may live an openhearted existence. Our life purpose naturally will be lived, while the music of all that we are is played and heard by the world. Living our authentic lives is about retrieving the gifts given, and utilizing them with intention. What if raw, organic, and “clean” food were the simple answer, the edible truth?

Clothes-ure

Cleansing, sweeping, and ridding the clothes from my closet were exceptional proactive experiences, healingly therapeutic, and energetically freeing. Multiple sizes from different stages of weight loss and gain, clothes representing various careers hung like memories awaiting resurrection. Removed from my closet, the “old,” folded garments adorning my bedroom floor patiently waited for a written inventory intended for tax purposes, and bagging and boxing for donation. Two months later, those clothes have not reached their destination. You read that correctly. My closet’s contents were removed from their historical location ten feet away, and have lain upon my bedroom floor for the past two months.

Whether subconscious or not, my lack of action to mobilize my clothes from home to trash bags to donation site is significant. Reminded daily of their existence as I pass by has weighed heavily upon me. Daily I see these piles, ignore my heart urging me to act, and sweep over that “to do.” Clearly I have held tightly to the clothes, as if a lifeline was attached. Protection I must be holding to maintain this ruse might interest others fearful of detaching from the old to embrace the new. Although I have walked into my closet extensively finding little to wear, I have not grabbed anything from the floor that lies just beyond the door. Therefore, any need for any retired garment is nonexistent.

What seemed therapeutic, healing, and worthwhile, has been waylaid into a holding pattern, stationed for its next adventure, and glued to the floor until I take further action. Although it prevents me from moving forward, and weighs heavily upon me, underneath the stressful surface is a feeling associated with saying goodbye to the past, fearful of letting go. The garments sit as reminders like tombstones waiting for a peaceful burial. Daily I walk by noticing yet not actually acknowledging their presence, as if I cannot face their demise, their graduation from my life. My heart says, “Let it go,” but my mind or ego holds tightly affixed.

Without this completion, I sense my physical weight remains stagnant. Like the clothes upon my bedroom floor, I sit in purgatory like a stalemate between my past and future. Both holding on with grit, the tug-a-war continues. I must push away the weight of the past in order to lighten and brighten my future. My success and well-being depend upon this action step. Perhaps a few tears must be shed as I bag the clothes, mourn the past for closure sake, carry the weight of the past to my car, and exit them forever from my life, relieving the beast of burden that lives within me. Cleansing the closet was a timely first step, while removal from my presence is another.

Healing emanates when the past is put to rest, no longer triggered within the present. My weight loss stalled after emptying the closet, perhaps a final plea to hold onto the past. Today is all about completions, forcing my mind to get on board with my heart. I am letting go, breaking free, and moving on. Healing is just a trash bag away from freeing my soul of the past’s limitations. Once I take action momentum follows, a push past the mind’s dubious tricks to keep me stuck and in handcuffs. When I remove the metaphoric weight, the healing deepens and pounds release. Ready, Set, Go! Trash bags, take them away; my weight will follow.

Hell of a Scale

I awaken to address the podium of steel again, seeking a number to represent my accomplishment. Yet the feelings of familiar disappointment darken the day. Experienced repeatedly, my efforts escape visibility on the weighing contraption. I step upon cold metal expecting change, yet nothing to gain except a vision of inaccuracy, my efforts not equating with results. Though one tool beckoning beneath me as an inexact science, I give it credence to show me my worth when my value hangs in the balance elsewhere. Fool-me-once, shame on you, fool-me-twice causing torment again, shame on me. I explore life’s details searching for answers, an explanation of the number representing me today until another layer of liquid, fat, or food assembles or disappears.

My mind retorts, altering the path from peace to darkness, and a fiery hell stands before me. Yet visible results in bodily measurements, clothing sizes decreasing, and waves of energy pouring from my pores sound a different alarm. A number cannot define my unit of measure, the core that beholds my self-worth. It only disempowers me if I offer it an allowance for which to spend torturing its victims. Embrace the decision to no longer visit the gates of hell that shell-shock its visitors with visions of darkness, heated anger, and depression in droves during the morning occupancy. Quickly release from any engagement with the devil that stands guard to ruin the day. Throw the temptress in the garbage; its use is futile at best. I need not be fooled when the outcome is dishonest, inaccurate, and foolhardy.

Should I hang onto it a tad longer, rearrange my feet, balance on one foot, and lean to one side, until the number falls in my favor, or justify the handicap I give it while awaiting the correct number to appear? The angels sing and life calls me forward for recognition of my accomplishments. Suddenly illuminated by the presence of joy, congratulatory praise, and a lightness of being, I spring off the metal contraption to the breakfast table boosted by a celebratory meal. Food rewards earned, I release the need to alter edibles to healthy options. By morning after, I tender my resignation and know the devil warrants accurate results today when yesterday was a mere discrepancy by the hell of a scale.

Signs and Sounds of Silence

One year ago I was rocking my highest weight, feeling particularly miserable on the day spring had sprung, and my writing sat paralyzed like a distant memory, unable to be retrieved, incapable of presence, nor driven to extend a word to paper. I resigned myself to awareness that any inner message would be a sign for change and any encounters an indication to relinquish old ways into the new. With eyes wide open with intention, I acquired increased sensory to see what I had not seen, hear what I had not heard, and touch an essence of greater guidance not felt where connection had been lost. Reaching for direction, solutions, and assistance, I wanted solace, healing, and energy to pull myself from the swamp in which I found myself drowning.

Later that day, a woman I serendipitously met described her weight loss success and the community that brought her there. Although following her path occurred two months later, I waited patiently with faith and hope that her avenue was my avenue. A year later, I recount ‘bumping into her.’ My destiny sealed for transformation and healing, I answered the call for change that rang that fateful day. Now I look for signals again, having reached a new pinnacle. Although no longer depressed, I sense a stagnation occurring, not simply with weight, but with direction in several areas of my life that seem closed from opportunity. Searching for an opening, I seek answers and signs again.

Today dawns new beginnings my senses tell me. Can you find your own signs of guidance around you? Have you listened for the whispers of wisdom that seem to float in the wind? When is your awakening for change? Is it now, if you listen to the sounds of silence, the signs of rain that fall before you? What are the indications that pass through and around you each day attempting to stir your soul? Which questions and answers will you ask and find? Only a heartbeat away, it is ours for the taking, ours for the listening, ours for the guidance we seek encouraging our paths to journey toward purpose, meaning, and well-being.

When You Think You’ve Got It

“I’ve got it. I’ve got it. I’ve got it. I don’t got it,” says a character in the Albert Brooks film, High Anxiety, carrying and then dropping a heavy trunk repeatedly to the ground, a comical sequence about misjudgment. Just when I think I have a handle on how to work my lifestyle successfully, I drop the giant trunk to a symphony of, “I don’t got it.” Today was one of those days. I stayed within my normal array of foods, but felt a lack of control, a sense of urgency to eat considerably more, and a desire to relieve a discomfort that my old psyche believed food could alleviate. Physically distressed by a minor surgical procedure earlier in the day, I circled around the discomfort searching for an alternative avenue of relief. Yet food eventually rescued me like an emergency vehicle ringing its sirens, racing to my aid and saving me from demise.

Although food comforts with immediate gratification and distraction, it fuels the fire rather than douses the flames. Food battles the hurt, aims to distract the pain, yet eventually causes greater emotional distress. Now observing my behavior post-excessive eating, I note the pain still exists with additional emotions awaiting their turn to be expressed. My disappointment, anxiety, and bloated body, plus additional ailments, plague me, while still in search of physical and mental relief. The ruckus from eating one’s discomfort snowballs into a morphed mess. Even with knowledge, experience, and recognition of these steps in play while occurring, I drop the trunk anyway, waylaying into turmoil I know well and have often overcome. “I got it. I got it. I got it. I don’t got it.”

Part of the process is to dust ourselves off and rally after damage is done, rather than finishing off another ice cream sundae. Stopping the cycle in its tracks with awareness is true victory. Imperative to recognize one’s imperfection, repeal the past, and move along formidably, is to note the lessons for future action. Phone a friend, ask the audience, give yourself a 50:50 chance, or leave well enough alone by walking away with current success; find new ground to begin again immediately. Risk of future failure is unnecessary. Instead learn from mistakes and make new decisions setting present and future victory into motion. Sometimes we got it, sometimes we don’t. Today, “I got it. I got it. I got it. I don’t got it.” The journey continues with “I got it” until “I don’t got it” until one day we simply got it again.

An Evolving Why

Motivation to lead a healthy lifestyle initially was to become comfortable in my skin as a metaphor for feeling emotionally balanced, healed, and whole. Achieving balance has allowed me to enjoy life significantly more, feel resilient, achieve aspirations, and gain additional physical and emotional energy to support others. Healing from the emotional broken shards that lay in my path has been my ultimate non-scale victory. Yet as the progression of my journey continues, the reasons that influence continued success evolve.

Walking into a building, capturing my reflection in the glass, I feel pride for the body I maintain. When donning a bathing suit for the first time comfortable in my body, this seasonal activity becomes meaningful. Walking proudly, full of energy and strength, a new day dawns as changes highlight victories. Yet what continues the journey is my “why,” transformed when the game’s inspiration altered. What propels me to uphold focus, the consistent process of small steps leading to progression, sustainability, and long term maintenance?

My new “why” is laced with longevity. While playing catch with my son today, my “why” resonated with each throw. Watching him excited by life, by baseball, and by simplicity, I envied his joy and wanted a piece of that inner bliss. Without my health, that happiness fails to illuminate. Living a long, meaningful life with my children and husband is my “why,” the reason to motivate morsels from entering my body, as if these choices depended on even the possibility of living longer for the need for happiness. To correlate my intention regularly, I must maintain this vision for longevity. A 35-40 year’s difference stands between me and my offspring exists and maintaining fitness and strength, youth and energy, repeating the process of my current journey consistently over a lifetime is necessary. Reasons perpetuate the lifestyle and encourage motivation daily.

Knowing the “why” for any goal is a powerful tool for success. Feeling the urge to step off the rails from a food lifestyle when barraged by obstacles, rather than stay the course is normal. Since the food supply consists mainly of processed, chemical-laden edibles, and dairy, sugar, and bread are commodities, abstaining from these foods is like working against a tide. Yet moving against the grain that brings health, happiness, and well-being are worth the efforts to establish longevity, inner peace, and healing. My reasons for maintaining consistent action are forever evolving, yet results remain the same as my “why” maintains my resolve to continue consistent action. Best practices during the weight loss journey include contemplating this evolution.

Goodbye, My Sweets

“Wait! Come back! I forgot to say goodbye!” I scream, as my old Subaru speeds down the street. Feeling the painful emotions from the last glimmer of my silver Subaru vanishing forever, I cry relentlessly, grieving for its loss with deepening sadness. Wondering if forgotten items lay inside it, how would I ever retrieve them if I remember? What little memory did I leave for someone else to discover? Did I really want to send my superhero vehicle away? Was I regretting the decision to depart from it as it began to move out of the driveway? Did I need to check the seat cushions again, glove compartments, and nooks and crannies to ensure nothing forgotten erroneously awaited my finding it? Although I had checked twice, why am I feeling that something was missing, and somehow I was unable to find it in the confines of the vehicle?

I awoke suddenly, feeling the sadness for a vehicle I had not owned in a decade. Yet the sadness was familiar, like a great ache of nostalgia, wanting back a mechanism that brought joy to my life. As I lay in bed thinking of the “Silver Rocket,” the name I penned my car back in the day, visions of missed and lost childhood items formed in my memory, a book I wrote and illustrated in elementary school my mom had thrown away. Having worked incredibly hard writing and coloring it, my devastation of that loss was great. A pink, musical, stuffed bunny that was swept away in the sheets at Disney World was lost forever with the hotel’s cleaning service. Yet it marked the final birthday present my Uncle Louie had given me before he passed away causing tears to drown me in sorrow for years. As these memories dissipated, a conversation chimed in my head from a few weeks prior.

“Do you miss the food, the ones you gave up?” a friend had inquired, wondering how the elimination of gluten, simple sugars, and most dairy was possible for any extended period of time. I recall thinking it was not much of a sacrifice when the rewards were extraordinary: weight loss, energy, joy for life, feeling comfortable in my skin and worthy of respecting my body while having a new love of life that contained greater value than any food. Yet now as I awaken, I feel an intense sadness, as if forgetting to say goodbye to something I valued with great affection and incredibly grief stricken about its departure and loss.

Freshman year of college in Washington, DC, feeling alone in need of comfort, I walked to Georgetown to a little store that sold caramel covered popcorn in a variety of flavors. Grabbing a gigantic bag, I pranced to the Circle Theater, an old cinema that repeatedly cycled through a double-feature of classic, foreign, and reel-to-reels all day long. Tickets were two dollars for the day. Memories of Jules and Jim, 8 1/2, Casablanca, La Dolche Vida, and La Belle est Beast spin through my mind now. With sweet and salty popcorn, comforted by the escape into the world of film and numbed by the food, loneliness scattered as the reel spun and circumvented my pain, sadness leapfrogged into pure contentment from the big screen of black and white. This was my heaven where escapism existed, living below the edge of reality, removed from painful loneliness and discomfort.

Meringue also starred in a similar scenario. Eating tubs of these sweet cookies until exhaustion set in or my tongue grew sore from excessive straight shots of sugar, the crash of my blood sugar level drove me into a deep sleep, preventing any feelings from reaching the surface. Insecurity and a depressed state of being vanished within each meringue bite. My apartment sat across from a pharmacy where a sixteen-ounce Hershey Bar and a large bag of Lays potato chips also had my name on them. Like the meringues, these items served the same purpose as did several trips to the bakery for elephant-ear pastries. To denounce feelings was an avenue like fighting a tide, yet hiding behind the food, weight, and numbing were supreme allies in direct combat of feeling and expressing painful emotions.

Although lack of self-worth was the underlying predicament resulting in bingeing behavior, sadness, loneliness, and depression solidified consuming unhealthy foods. As numbing agents of painful emotions of my past, feeling unloved, unaccomplished, “un” of many sorts, brought more misery as the weight piled on, and my self-image deteriorated. Guilt and shame associated with food as early as age eleven. Hearing my mother say, “Who’s in the cookie jar,” as the lid crept onto its enclosure, making an inkling of a noise she heard no matter how small a sound or far she sat from the container. The hidden empty wrappers found in my bedroom, as if hoarding food in shame, represented additional emotional pain lurking within.

Foods for numbing acted as allies and pillars in earlier days. They served as foot soldiers against what I deemed non-survivable emotions that needed a ‘Catcher in the Rye’, my inability to function without their defense. My anger, disappointment, and sadness as a child needed a respite from their existence; food worked overtime. Yet as the years progressed, food’s due diligence caused more injury than relief. The weight crept up, energy waned, and self-esteem plummeted from an additional stabbing with each blown diet. Wanting relief, my methods became ruinous and destructive, and deeper into depression I fell.

When my recent healing journey began, a commitment to feel emotions fully, and respect my body with food as fuel, the old foods that served me well in earlier years lost their value. They served a purpose when I needed them. Nostalgia and gratitude I have for these edible goodies that helped me hide from the grave pain that felt insurmountable and inconsolable. Had I given them merit, praised how they comforted in moments too painful to feel, too hurtful to embrace, that I now look upon their former value as a gift given out of love rather than destruction? Today food serves a different function, yet acknowledging my past and the foods that sweetened and spiced up my life feels necessary for closure and releasing their foothold and connection.

“It is time to let you go, my sweets. But wait! Did I forget something? I forgot to say goodbye and thank you for being a friend when I needed you most.”

Which Fork Tells Your Story

Exercise avenues and lifestyle food plans are experienced differently per person. “Your memories are unlike mine. You experienced things differently than I did,” my sister retorts when I excavate a memory from our childhood. Our life experiences are distinct messages, reactions, and interpretations of what is seen, heard, and felt. Whatever thoughts, emotions, and energy that wave through experiences, the stories have lasting effects, uniquely interpreted by each individual. Like growing up in the same household, each experience that resonates for one may not for another. Within each food and exercise lifestyle various viewpoints tell different stories.

Last week I met a woman who quit the successful, exercise, food lifestyle I follow. She said her dislike for the program’s leader contributed to quitting, that the plan was extremely challenging, and caused her great anxiety. Though I recognized immediately her interpretation differed from mine, I agreed that trusting a process is scary, as most of us have attempted many plans prior. My memory of meeting the program’s leader was similar, distrusting her blatant lashing out for those who questioned her opinions and her harshness that lacked supportive emotion. Yet with time, I grew to appreciate her tough-love methods and her tried and truly tested program. This woman and I told ourselves different stories while interpreting same scenarios. We started in the same seat, and ended in opposite corners of the spectrum.

Our lives are a smorgasbord of experiences which impact differently via interpretation. Through our analytical stream, we pick and choose conclusions. What works for one may not work for another, yet finding the best fit for ourselves is the goal. Using our knowledge, intuition, and response to outcomes, we decide best course avenues to reach our destiny. Listening to the success of another will not necessarily be the path one chooses. The stories we tell ourselves convolute, disrupt our senses, cause anxiety, or flow beautifully onto a path we have been searching. Whatever our journey, choosing the right road is one of telling ourselves a story that illustrates the ups and downs into a fulfilled destiny of success. What will you choose when your experience leads you to a fork in the road? What story will you tell yourself?

Wash Rinse Repeat

“This is my time; nothing is getting in my way.” Although that represents my current motto and deeply motivates a drive within me, it fails to explain why this time has been successful? Effective weight loss, exercise, and sustainable lifestyle, why me? I eat “clean,” attend boot camps, journal my food into MyFitnessPal®, and receive social support. Without greater will power than others or desire to succeed, effective food choices keep blood sugar levels balanced, maintain equilibrium physically, prevent cravings that deter unhealthy options. Inner emotional healing while altering mindset about food’s purpose tops the list of action steps. Yet sustainable weight loss’ Holy Grail is discovering your body’s specific needs and response to food. Finding solutions for my body has been a thirty-five year journey, from first diet to current sustainable lifestyle. Yet consistency of repeated small action steps to foster and maintain success is the simple solution and truth.

Time passes and life events within and outside of our control affect behavior, awareness, and motivation. Getting off track for a day, or two, or three, or a week or month happens, yet returning to small, simple action steps that have been successful is the key. Doing these small tasks consistently is the path different from others. As easy as it is to complete these small, simple steps, it is just as easy not to do these small, simple steps. In Jeff Olson’s book, The Slight Edge, this is his theory about successful people. Having this slight edge over time establishes long-term success. Time reinforces advancement along a spectrum where success demonstrates minute, barely visible progress in the short term, yet compounded over time is noteworthy. Doing the little things consistently over time builds momentum, until success eventually appears and its continuation maintains and strengthens it.

When you know this truth to be self-evident, you simply do what must be done daily. No excuses, no retort for its difficulty, and no perfection in the process. Like Yoda’s philosophy, “Do or don’t do. There is no try.” Changing your mindset to fit the stream of steady and slow wins the race is necessary. In a world of big breaks, magic pills, and instant gratification oozing from all corners of our culture, to live moment by moment doing the small things is transformative. That altered state of being pays tremendous dividends with a long term payoff. Success is anyone’s for the taking with small, simple steps leading the journey. No need to see the end, following one action to the next moves you to the finish line. With this knowing, success comes to fruition with rewards often greater than expected. My transformation from repeated failure for decades to successful path is proof of concept. Success, why me? Success, why not me, and why not you, too?

Dominoes of Awareness

Have you noticed the woman whose hair part zigzags, her panty line shows, and she wears mismatched and crumpled clothes? Not well kept, yet raised to know how, I was that woman, the one who appeared to have “bed head” without a care, threw on the ruffled and wrinkled wear, and ignored the fashion police. Yet as the weight starts to drop, viewing my body on closer examination naturally seems to occur. Aware of each beauty mark, old scar, or bump and lump, all that seemed invisible suddenly illuminates. Although always there, now noticing as if magically materialized and spotlighted, I tune into caring about my body, noticing each divot, and appreciating its contours.

Visiting the dermatologist to examine every freckle, growth, and mark, I wade through troubled waters with scans as preventative measure. Saved only by arriving early enough in life, I feel lucky as each review from a lab comes back negative for skin cancer. Removal of skin tags and cysts, zapped with cryogenic force and surgeries, my healing acts like dominoes falling into place, toppling from one to the next, applying care to each nook and cranny. My head feels heavy as a surgeon removes a large pilar cyst, gouging it from my scalp. Yet the weight, pain, and gravity lessen with healing, as a strange dimension of loss envelops me with each action to smooth my skin’s surface, ridding me of past protrusions.

Various victories exist within weight loss. Recognizing bumps and lumps is a domino effect of awareness. Without mindfulness, growths transfixed to my body remained invisible, as did inner lesions that needed attending, removal, and healing. Although practicing self-care requires awareness, my priority was elsewhere, blinded by other avenues and unable to see reality. Weight loss continues to establish greater sensitivity to my body’s physical climate as the internal awareness increases, and the body builds muscle, stamina, and strength. Every line and crevice viewed with respect and appreciation add depth to the winning dimension of losing weight. Addressing the body with self-care follows suit, while the external and internal dimensions change. Awareness enhances within the weight loss journey as progress topples from one successful outcome to the next. Let the dominoes fall one by one.

Sustainable Lifestyle

Another phase of my weight loss journey ends, while maintenance commences. Evaluating which strategies succeeded, failed, and collective wisdoms support sustainability is helpful. Weight loss’ healing road is paved with a variety of key elements: community support, self-worth, and embracing the imperfection as stepping-stones to mastering future outcomes. Consistent practices over time enable a slow, yet victorious result. Embracing the slow, but steady path, self-belief and faith the process works, achieves sustainable weight loss. Personal growth, healing, physical steps, and mindset transformation are critical also.

Although weight released painfully slow in the direction of my dreams, goals overall were reached. While the cleansed closet released its contents, my body shrunk five clothing sizes, and bathing suit ready I became, success elsewhere proved exceptional. Gaining comfort in my skin and walking with confidence were substantial victories. Continuing the lifestyle without the scale’s negative influence was also a definitive triumph. Obstacles as sleep deprivation, dehydration, not eating enough healthy food, and uncontrollable life events thwart progress; learning from their cues is vital.

Overall, my weight loss goal took months longer than expected. Steadfast and determined to comprehend the reason beneath the pounds and motivation to travel this journey, while repeatedly in search of solutions, I delved deeper for answers and understanding. To slowly become comfortable in my skin and lose at a tedious, slow rate in small increments (about one-half pound per week) offered me the time to process healing beneath the surface. Dormant emotional scars now felt, addressed, and healed waited for their awakening. Physically removing toxicity (sugar, processed foods, cleansing the gut, and addressing a sugar addiction), which affected weight loss and gain were vital during the journey. Without these parts, the whole of sustainability would have been lost or incomplete.

Self-care modeled by clean food choices, boot camps, and utilizing social support mark successful processes. Paving the way for others for a sustainable lifestyle must include personal growth, self-belief, and inner healing to transform and maintain success. Losing weight is a physical response from actions, maintaining it is an avenue of self-respect, self-love, and mindful operating of the body’s fuel or food intake. Gaining self-worth from inner healing, while losing physical weight, fosters long-term success. Feasting on quality food, moving the body that empowers it and utilizing resources that support you is the sustainable weight loss path. New epiphanies will arise, yet I am living proof of this sustainable lifestyle.

Speed Bumps

Tripped up again by unsteady pieces of the weight loss puzzle, lessons surface as speed bumps slow the process forcing a pause and greater contemplation of the journey. Observation offers constant improvement, failure’s tutorials teach sustainability. Although sleep deprivation, imbalanced blood sugar levels, and emotional and physical stress cause journeys to stumble, these preventative predicaments of the body’s equilibrium are countered, minimized, and knowingly allowed to interrupt the process. Choices to circumvent their interruptions are ultimately about self-care and self-respect.

Choosing an earlier bedtime, creating an atmosphere for quality sleep, and repeating this process daily is an example of self-care. When eating every few hours, choosing nutritious balanced meals to prevent blood sugar levels from spiking, we stimulate an equilibrium that thwarts cravings, instability, and mindless decision-making. Minimizing emotional stress by choosing a new mindset, practicing shame resilience through self-compassion and support, and changing the story we tell ourselves, guides the body to positive, healthy food choices. Additionally reducing physical stress through self-care is imperative to balance well-being.

Remaining awake, watching television, reading into the night, and anesthetizing emotions, ignores sleep’s necessity. Without proper planning, missed breakfasts occur, healthy food is not a grab-and-go option, and minus mindfulness, negative repercussions occur. At eleven o’clock at night, blood sugar levels may be unsteady, risk of overeating, cravings, and famished reactions alter potential success. Too often emotional and physical triggers set off an old reaction to consume unhealthy food to ease pain, when the solution to speak with a friend, rest the body, stretch, and relax, to feel and release the hurt diminishes the negative effects.

Although life circumstances occur sometimes beyond our control, choosing wisely when within our power is what tips the scale in our favor. Self-care requires vigilance to reach intended goals through action. Respecting ourselves is taking responsible steps, learning from our failures, and utilizing our resources. Once we discover what helps and hinders our success, proactive choices become the support we require, where speed bumps disappear, and full speed ahead becomes normal routine. Maintaining equilibrium, balanced sugar levels and energy, alleviating emotional and physical triggers, is necessary to motor forward successfully. Speed bumps necessitate change. Drive around them by choosing actions wisely, learn as you travel over them, and embrace the lessons they offer.

Recovering Sugaraholic

A lifetime commitment free of sugar is a monumental action. Doubtful this is possible, simple, white sugar is an acceptable, legal substance, purchased, consumed, and found easily in our food supply. As a commodity, it is inexpensive and readily available to food manufacturers. With potential profit, its addictive element attracts corporate giants. Like cigarettes, legally selling an addictive substance that increases sales is a capitalist’s dream. As an entrepreneur, I admire the economics and rate of return, yet as an individual with a moral compass, the unhealthy, addictive, and negative nutritional implications, and the greed and power the industry has over the food supply, is unsettling. Most crucial to sugar addiction is its debilitating physical and psychological effects making the decision to become sugar free simple, yet not easy.

Eliminating simple sugar from dietary choices implicates immediate restriction of the readily available Cs: Cookies, candy, and sweetened carbohydrates. Keeping blood sugar levels stable maintains an equilibrium that prevents a direct physiological effect and invasion of the substance. When consuming excessive carbohydrates, sugar levels spike, then drop, and cravings for sweetened foods relentlessly taunt further. The physical effects trigger a reaction to replace deteriorating energy, an attempt at equilibrium as sugar levels plummet, and an urge to circumvent the uncomfortable, lethargic feeling. Removing simple sugars while balancing carbohydrate intake alleviates these roller coaster reactions to win the fight against sugar addiction and fostering self-restraint. As an addictive substance, refraining from consumption is necessary.

Utilization of sugar for emotional purposes is also powerful. Food as a numbing agent for emotional and physical discomfort is common. As children, rewarded, consoled, and barraged with sugary consumables solved problems and highlighted festivities. Whether a skinned knee, a hurt feeling, or a celebratory holiday or experience, sweets commemorated or bandaged bruises, emotions, and events. The correlation between eating sweetened snacks with negative and positive emotions, traps sugar consumption usage within our psyche’s needs. To prevent simple sugar intake from food choices requires a replacement for the emotional outlet previously utilized. Feeling emotions and physical pain fully without distraction by food, and celebrating the social aspects of connection with others minus sweetened edibles is transformative.

Remaining “clean” and clear from simple sugar intake is the immediate action step to releasing the power of addictive behavior, while emotional response alternatives to sugary sweets is another imperative step. Feeling an incessant pull physically and mentally often overwhelms the masses. Over time, recovering sugar-addicts conquer the urge and force with greater ease daily through conscious effort. Questioning whether small amounts consumed periodically is possible, is a lesson in futility, though some refrain via pure abstinence. Utilizing protein to ease the addictive, physical symptoms is one way to test whether small amounts of simple sugar consumption can occur without grave reactions. Small exposure to sugar territory can lead to a slippery slope and all-out binge. Sobriety for a lifetime may be the only solution for a recovering sugar addict.

Bet You Think This Blog Is About You

In reference to Carly Simon’s song, “You’re So Vain,” and according to Mr. Webster, vanity is having too much pride in one’s appearance. As I shrink to a svelte, strong, kettle bell-wielding woman, I view my body with a great sense of self-respect. Fitting into clothes without tampering by a tailor, watching my happiness glow in the mirror, and confidently striding, strutting my “stuff” all correlates with tremendous pride with the physicality of my results. Deeply viewing the external frame of my existence has realigned life’s priorities only temporarily.

As soon as vanity starts to hit the mirror, I spot things, like a cyst on my back, a dime-sized, red, scaly patch above my eyebrow, and a skin outbreak around my left eye. Finding a dermatologist applying an anesthetic, removing the lump from my upper back, sewing a couple of stitches with needle and thread, returns me “back” to my senses. Zapping my forehead with a cryosurgical device, freezing a scaly patch, and destroying the diseased or abnormal tissue relinquishes any vanity. Priorities quickly change when relevance and perspective annihilate ego, realigning values and importance.

Though nice to walk tall and confidently into a room, reality strikes midnight on a regular basis to shake us from the self-centered space we enter. Survival, life, internal well-being has vitally greater importance than my skin not shining, my back bandaged, and my face needing constant explanation of “what happened?” I may be lean, strong, and comfortable in my body, but needing to glance in the mirror repeatedly has come and gone. My wrinkles represent wisdom, my stretch lines correlate with mastering motherhood, and my silver streaks that line my hair reveal a lengthier life lived well.

Yet vanity has its value. Without scouring the details of my body, noticing pre-cancerous cells may have gone awry. As my exercise community thins out “figure-atively,” discussions arise about fine lines enhancing as fat flushes away from our faces. With skin care spreading smooth contour dreams, eradicating wrinkles, and touting an everlasting youth serum, we may engage with vanity that overshadows our core value that diminishes our self worth. Vanity has its working order, allowing us to walk tall, proud, and confident. Yet if you thought this song, dance, and theme were about you, priorities await reevaluation.

Rebirth

Spring has sprung leading to the end of another hibernation and rebirth. Buried beneath snow, cold, and parkas, sun, warmth, and tank tops reunite to highlight the day. With this new reign comes outdoor activity, walking with friends for miles, baseball at Fenway and little league on sandlots, and natural vitamin D dispensing into my body from rays of sunshine. While a spectacular birth of buds grow upon branches, I step into the world a novel woman, re-birthed over the former eight months. Walking where many have ambled before, I stumble out of the old version of myself into the new. Now proud, comfortable and confident in my skin, reborn emotionally, physically, and spiritually, distance grows from what I deemed impossible a year ago.

Emotionally euphoric, full of joy and illuminated light, that dimmed and darkened when my energy waned and depression resulted, capture my soul. A roller coaster along a sugar high and low brought me to tears many days, searching endlessly for sustainable solutions only to find myself in the void again. The beacon of light finally lit itself where I was initially blind, uncertain it led to an island of hope. Yet when I trusted the signs, the process, and the people around me, a lever raised me up until I was independently secure. Hearing hope, direction, and possibility, and feeling love, support, and gratitude, I ventured slowly along the journey I had been seeking. Happiness arrived prior to physical transformation, an acceptance, white flag, and self-love leading the way.

Physically my energy restored, replenished, and recharged. Years of lethargy, ultimate exhaustion by three in the afternoon, and a weakened core caused lower back pain and deteriorating strength. Alleviated now of these ailments, my muscles enhanced and empowered by push-ups, planks, and pull-ups, my physical strength rehabilitated my energy, core, and posture. Walking tall, carrying boulder-heavy items with ease, and rejuvenated, my physical force is undisputed. Rebirthing atrophied muscles into dense matter alters my mood, has me reaching for more, and striving to strengthen all facets of my life. The physical aspects connect with the emotional dimension, fueling my body, and brightening my core, mind, and spirit.

Enhanced by physical power and emotional stamina, rebirthing my spirit has replenished my soul. Soaring when writing, words pour out of me like a watering can, enhancing the soil, soaking the seeds, and sprouting the part of me blessed with this gift. As the strength rises within me, my essential purpose stirs to send the words from my heart to paper, sharing my journey, enlightening lives though the magic of letters upon a page. This rebirth aligns me with a higher power that had escaped connection when the blues, weakness, and darkness surrounded me. Freed from my own shackles, words sprout daily, flowering thoughts to feed my soul. No longer a void to fill, or an emotion to numb, spiritually these new beginnings connect me to something greater than myself. Life purpose appears present and set in motion.

To ride the rails of change and personally grow, rebirth is a steady process of patience. An emotional, physical, and spiritual transformation primes itself over a lifetime. Yet strengthening all avenues, releasing the “old”, and birthing a new body, energy, and spirit, engages senses, empowers souls, and changes lives. Self worth, the mighty mountain at the core of emotional, physical, and spiritual growth is paramount. Comfortable and confident in my skin and freeing myself from fear, rebirth began. Formerly falling deeper into an abyss, I clawed my way out as rays of hope and lightness of being led me out of misery, darkness, and desperation. Years of turmoil fed hidden emotions, weakened physically and mentally, then seeds sowed, spring sprung, and self-love created rebirth, strengthening my mind, body, and spirit.

Share on the QT

Keeping my lifestyle on the down low seems necessary though there is no shame with clean eating, boot camps, and community support. All is non-threatening, harmless, and need not hide. Debilitating burns from sharing truth, vulnerability, and opinions cause trepidation and have kept me silent. Yet living a life skeptical of another’s negative reaction hurts the soul and prevents sharing. My hush-hush response has been a reflection of fear. As a walking success story, down five sizes, svelte, ripped and trim, many inquire and prompt me to disclose my food strategy and fitness regime. What risk is there to share my story?

Lifestyles are successful based upon personal experience causing me to tread lightly when exposing my approach. This lengthy, yet successful option requires readiness and is not what everyone needs. Since I searched extensively for an easy fix for decades, I conclude others seek the same. What happens if I bare my soul, steer others along the same avenue, and they hop on board without similar results or hate the process? Am I responsible for their failure? Sharing my journey may inspire others searching for a sustainable solution to weight loss, yet if not willing or ready to plunge into the hardness and healing required, it may lead to painstaking disaster, resentment, and animosity.

Ultimately, everyone is responsible for his or her own destiny. Sharing information is worth an attempt to motivate, inspire, and encourage others. Perhaps their success will commence with a conversation about mine. Reframing my story that sharing is unwelcomed, risks judgment, and can make or break other’s actions, I now choose to recognize inquiries as those seeking solace, solutions, and recognizing the possibility of my chosen path for themselves. To share or help outweighs the risks of vulnerability and judgment. Sharing on the QT is about caring and a balancing act along a beam of possibility. Disclosing my journey and trade secrets is a gift worth giving, possibly transforming lives as it has my own.

Recommit Against the Current

Recommit to paddling and surrendering the pounds to live a healthy lifestyle. Contemplating the process, setting fresh goals, and aligning and energizing waning motivation, contribute to momentum and triumph. Repeated dedication in short-term increments is a reliable strategy to prolong the hard journey against the current. Goal weight when reachable within weeks creates new psychological challenges for many. Some stagnate as they close in on the gem of a weight loss number. Close enough to reach out and grab the goal, a loss of footing, spinning out of control, and capsizing while struggling to stay afloat to maintain the journey may occur. Smoothly traveling along powerful currents in a stream of potential obstacles is exciting, scary, and daringly challenging, yet can be inspiring. Yielding to perils and gliding to the finish line takes thoughtful response, awareness, and consistency.

To navigate the boat along the desired path, steering clear of mental mishaps requires intention, determination, and repeating successful actions. These pounds carry no different weight than the past. Steady on with practices already in place, preparing healthy food, meeting macronutrient goals, and exercising muscles, make the map readily readable to follow. Veering away, turning around, leaning weight to one side, definitely represents self-sabotage when all travel had been smooth. Rocking the boat causes a splash until eventually and inevitably, plopping into the white water results. Setting some new goals when de-energized may be necessary. Paddling successfully along the path of weight loss, health, and healing requires direction, stamina, and constant reexamination. Yet there is no need to sabotage efforts when traveling smoothly and successfully. If already thriving, change nothing.

Recommitting to successful processes requires sustaining motivation and continuing daily actions. When energy wanes and goals are close, we tend to amble confidently without focus, coasting aimlessly, until one day we find ourselves overboard in the water, the current dragging us toward the waterfall, possibly pulling us under. If such should happen, reach for your boat or support system, climb aboard with helping hands reaching out, take stock of your strength, and rediscover your reasons for the journey. No shame in failing and falling, it is what we do when drowning seems imminent that matters. Climb aboard and recommit to the process. The gem you seek is yours for the taking. Recommitment is a prerequisite for long-term success. Today continues the paddling upstream, but recommitment keeps us afloat while the paddles dip deeply and smoothly, aiming for consistency and steady direction.

Swear to Tell the Truth

A new perspective on swearing lends itself to truth. While hidden behind a private Facebook page, playing the role of edgy writer, kickass rebel, and strong-armed, wonder woman, my alter ego emerged from a cocoon. Wanting to belong to this muscle-wielding, kettle bell swinging, inner circle of women, I empowered myself to release preconceived notions, judgment, and an inner critic. My vulnerability shone through, I became comfortable in my skin, spoke my truth, and released fear that once stood to protect me. With an outpouring of support while releasing the “old” me, swearing helped to authentically articulate truth that formerly had no language.

Growing up with limited swear exposure, this engagement was novel. My recollection of my mother using the F-bomb for the first time, the word hung in the air for a few seconds before anyone realized what was said. My sisters and I flew into laughter, the irrefutable response to something absurd beyond reason. Almost immediately, she blamed me for her outburst, my behavior pushed her to the edge into an uncontrollable anger where bad words spewed like vomit. Hell, the S-word and the B-word were not foreign to my mother’s vocabulary. Yet swearing threw her into a rage when it left my mouth, she handed out punishments like candy, and I knew better than to swear in public, a line boldly drawn.

Defensively swears knocked my mother off her high horse, harsh words brought her to her knees causing relentless retreat. Unable to counter a verbal attack when swears were flying, she surrendered, and alone I was ashamed of “atrocious, inappropriate behavior.” Over time, swearing dissipated, anger diluted into resentment, and dormant harsh words disappeared. When I was a math teacher swearing became nonexistent in the professional education environment. Peaceful language replaced cussing with exceptions to certain social situations, when an alter ego reflected my edgier side, moments when curses depicted an exact emotion sharp enough to cut the air.

Swears draw authentic emotion from the deepest recesses, cut deeply enough to ruffle the feathers beneath the surface. Without them, articulating what I truly felt hid beneath layers of unexpressed emotion. Leaving emotion constrained from exposure has a way of searching for an exit. Yet allowing such energy to flow seems to liberate pent-up sentiment. Releasing it is truthful, authentic, and raw. Its organic makeup drives home a definitive heartfelt emotion that normally has no verbiage. Although seen as blasphemous in most civilized communities, swearing has normalized itself within pop culture. If you want to speak your deep truth, you will have to swear it!

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