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Tag: lifestyle change

Searching My Soul

1041661922-f55c16c991b8f1bce36cba5e57433f2dI search my soul for self-love, self-worth, and self-respect. They apparently escaped as if imprisoned; food filled their void. Guards relieved of their duties lay down their defenses and walked off the job. Chaos and mayhem, primed for this resistance, fight the war against returning unhealthy food inhabitants. I search in my heart for the three escapees and reasons for their departure while havoc reigns upon me.

Freedom lived peacefully within me for the past two years. Yet three months ago, disorder, dis-ease, and opposition infiltrated as a peaceful protest. Recently resistance turned fierce, defiant, and hostile, as sugar, gluten, and dairy assailants began staking their claim within clean territory. The disappearance of peace, love, and a sense of belonging in the form of self-love, self-worth, and self-respect must return for lifetime occupation in my heart. Lifelong happiness, emotional balance, and freedom, are up for grabs; stakes are high.

Uncertain why these core freedoms departed, solutions are on the tip of my tongue. Like missing vocabulary to shout comprehension, I know the answers exist within me; resolution feels close. Notable pride once stood where tainted shame now lives. I currently tarnish my insides, spoil my success, and ruin my health. My mistakes cannot hide; they reveal their discourse upon my face, thighs, and emotional distress as an extra physical and mental layer, inflamed by the toxic byproducts of my edible choices.

Soul Search Ends – Return Core ingredients

I am ready to counter this unrest, strengthen my core, and bring love back internally and to the surface. Searching my soul, parts of me seemingly had vanished, yet instead lay buried. Only within the stillness can I feel my genuine self emerge from the shadows. My distractions hid the vital pieces of my existence. Though recently tapped out by numbed emotions, mysteriously buried and ostensibly erased, my heart and soul carry the extraordinary in me. I shine a guiding light upon the buried treasures that never left the premises of my soul, self-love, self-worth, and self-respect. Chains imprisoning me unravel and unwind while the three core ingredients of my heart reemerge from their trove, their existence now awakened. The soul search ends with self-love at my core and happiness ignited.

Dump the Scale

Waiting for the pounds to plummet is a process that people worldwide experience daily. They awaken to step upon the metal box that adorns the bathroom tiles, praying that a certain number’s appearance commends and rewards efforts. Unfortunately the lifeless object contains no feelings, friendship, or faithful bond. A scale will never give you the validation you seek. It has no authority, only the “all-knowing” power given to it. Allowing this metal, rectangular prism to declare your fate of happiness or tears, smiles or sadness, strength or weakness, is a practice in futility. Is it time to say “good-bye” and “good riddance” to your scale?

The scale, housing itself on bathroom floors in millions of homes, lives a scandalous life of torturing souls who step upon it. Giving the scale the heave ho may be the next step. As a measurement tool, it is limited in its inability to accurately calculate body fat, size, or muscle mass. Even the number is flawed, as it does not assess a body’s water retention. Additionally its consistency from one scale to the next differs significantly. Yet its emotional power over the masses has long reigned. Whether you stand upon it multiple times per day, per week, or per year, it may change even if your body hasn’t. Yet it loses its power when you remove it entirely.

Hopping upon the scale never shows us any love, nor does it say, “good job.” The clanky base upon the floor awaits silently our arrival, yet will never be your friend, nor has it ever been. It bruises egos, shatters confidence and adds fuel to the pendulum of bad feelings. We want a good relationship with this daily visit, but the foolish number glides upward processing painful realization, upset, and awakening of a number defining us is less than satisfying. When it hunkers downward, we scream with alliance, but its upward spin makes us yell with defiance. It seems a no-win proposition to have any relationship with the scale even though breaking up is hard to do.

The scale’s utility as a weight loss assessment tool is limited.  It sets off emotional turmoil, resulting in momentary approval or disappointment. Rarely is satisfaction the resulting emotion, and its effects of overconsumption no matter the direction the dial moved, negates progress. Removing it from the household may be a plausible solution for this negative, influential, inanimate object. After years of this toxic relationship, it is time to give it the boot. Happiness you seek lies within; no number defines you. Recognizing the weight on the scale as simply assessing your gravity in relation to the ground and not your success rate, the healthy lifestyle remains the focal point. Dump the scale; it never loved you anyway!

Cookie for a Skinned Knee

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

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

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

The Quest for Greatness

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

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

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

When the Shift Hits the Fan

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

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

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

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

Raising Others Up

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

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

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

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

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

Thought I Was Cured

It is simple, I thought I was cured.” Like all the other get-fit and weight loss programs, at the final weigh-in,” I am cured,” or so I believe. Yet hauntingly it is untrue again. No cure for an addiction, only a commitment to sobriety continues the journey past the finale of my twelve-week challenge.

Knowing which triggers activate failure is beneficial, as to thwart the nasty beast from our backs as it is attacking. Through the journey, which emotions do I attempt to numb? What aspect of self-worth am I not feeling? Can I re-frame the metaphors surrounding me to understand more? What ingredient crept into my system that physically affects my decision making process? What tools honed under my belt exist ready for active-duty in my arsenal?

To embrace imperfection, acknowledge and mend the kinks in armor, and persevere in the face of adversity, are desirable results. Transitioning from one program into the next begins. Change requires strengthened resilience, and empowers with acceptance rather than resistance. Lean into the tension and release the emotions in order to excel with clarity and purpose. To reframe the ending as a new beginning, energizes and enables setting new goals while receptive to feeling the fear and courageously moving forward.

This is still my time; nothing stands in my way when I maintain self-worth, self-respect, and self-love to empower self-care. Tools of journaling, community support for recipes and emotional upheaval, and books, research, and experts guiding with nutritional information are critical. Teaching others strengthens my resolve and reinforces learning. Gratitude naturally occurs from an inner circle of support.

Sugar infiltrating my body is temporary and will release its hold within 72 hours when its energy depletes and sugar blood levels balance again. Its withdrawal will contain a short-lived hold that tempts, weakens, and tricks me into negative thoughts, low energy, and resistance from what is healthy. Sugar’s trickery cannot last on its own; it needs a weakened, unmotivated mind to shovel additional sweet edibles into the station, encouraging addictive survivability.

Though my vulnerability affected my last few days, I continue to strive towards my goals, reminded of my tools and social support, inner strength, and resilience. I return protein-filled and happy. Watching out for the craving, the suppressed emotions, the physical and mental addiction to the big C’s as cookies, cake and candy, and know they are simply a mask of trickery lurking, attempting to lure me back to addiction. I am worthy of sobriety. Thought I was cured. I know better, and now I will do better.

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