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Writing to fall in love with myself

Saturday, August 30, 2014

I am reading the writing diet book and the first chapter about "morning pages" I read more carefully this time through.

What happens when you are writing each morning?
-the pages are a way to touch base with yourself and see how you are feeling
-as you spend time writing you learn to be more intimate, be honest, and figure out where your problem areas are, blocks, misconceptions...
-and then in that writing process you start to see solutions, possibilities and direction

I paused when it sunk in that writing to yourself is like learning to have a relationship with yourself. A healthy one. One that is critical but also supportive. I know that part of my problem with my food dragon is the lies it tells me.

I certainly have not had a good relationship with myself. There are "secrets" and memories that will fly up like mud under a tire and splat against my forhead to remind me that there is another side of me. And the dragon gives food way too much power.

But writing yesterday I started to get a gliimpse of the person who I also know is me. She is very intelligent and creative and powerful. Then I found myself exhausted and had to go for a nap. The book describes the process of tapping into "energy" and I could FEEL that. The potential of me. And at the same time I didn't feel ready to face that.

Today as I was writing I wrote about this "relationship" I realized I was tapping into and it scared me. I have some memories of manic episodes where I used to have to use food as a sedative. I really could be amazing.... but there was a cost. I had no balance. I was all over the map. These days I feel like I live a "boring and safe" life partly because I had to put my family first but partly because my body/mind betrayed me. I had a bad car accident with head injury and then arthritis and injuries and depression kind of "rewrote" who I was. I had to wonder about how food fits into that. Do I use food to try and keep myself boring and safe? If so, I am a slave to my food dragon when I accept a mediocre life? This may be too "artsy" thinking for some people... but it makes sense to me. Food is a block, a wall. So is the fat. But there have been moments, like when I have had an inspired conversation with someone or written a song on the harp or completed a physical challenge like a long hike or gone for a long kayak...when I have felt like food was only an energy source... and I was shining through. A lot has changed. Many many years ago I had an eating disorder (those never really go away but it was full blown and I had no control over it)and when I accepted that it kept me alive during a difficult time it was part of a process of healing. And then I also reached the point in my life when binging and purging were no longer the best way for me to keep surviving. A lot of my circumstances changes including a supportive husband and good carreer and wonderful family. And with all that, I have been changing continually... tweeking and growing and healing. So perhaps the reasons that I kept myself in a box are also changing. Maybe... it is time to go to the next stage of my life?

Interesting to me is that after writing this time and having to go for a nap I dreampt. I may drean but I am rarely aware of what the dreams are about. This one was about the view from the room that I was living in. It kept changing and sometimes felt "right" and sometimes I knew I was just visiting.

The books says as we become more intimate with our thoughts we will find ourselves more fascinating..... and fall in love with ourselves. Not the body, not the limits, but who we ARE and are meant to be. And... as we do that, food will lose importance. We will lose weight. I think that I had some doubts but there is some truth. When I am engrossed in something, when my mind is doing something else, when I am energized, I am not thinking about food or craving it. It is when I am stressed, unhappy, tired that I want food. I am not sure about the "Fat" me but I suspect it is about my "history" and making myself uninteresting, invisible. Even writing this week my response was not to feel stressed and want to stuff my face, the way going to a counselling session might have, it was to want to sleep. It strikes me that this may even be part of a healing process. Sleep. Hmm.

Anyways, I do think I am fascinating even if this is just a book, just a thing to try. There are worse things I suppose than falling in love with myself! emoticon My next book may have to be about dream interpretation!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNSHINE5268 9/2/2014 1:12AM

    you are sooooo inspiring! wow!

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LEANJEAN6 9/1/2014 5:49PM

    It's a ""GO""------We shall race to Onederland--LOL--Lynda

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SEAWAVE 8/31/2014 8:51PM

    I think there have been many studies that indicate that sleep is healing. You sound like you're on the cups of some discovery about yourself that the writing pages are bringing out, and sleeping after writing might be your way of processing.

I've been thinking of starting the writing pages again. I told my care coordinator Friday "I don't hear my voice anymore", and it's true. This cancer struggle seems to have jumbled everything about me - again - and I'm back on the path of discovery!

Thanks for sharing what you're experiencing in such an open manner - you are truly an inspiration to me!


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NASFKAB 8/31/2014 11:57AM

  great you are rising above your stresses we all have them & have to get over them in some way or another

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CAPECODBABE 8/31/2014 9:07AM

    You seem to be rising above all the stresses you have encountered.

I think dreams are trying to tell you something... usually I have no idea what, but I always try to listen.
I wrote morning pages for a long time emoticon
I think they do help emoticon

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DRAGON-CHICK 8/31/2014 6:32AM

    Thanks for this! I was doing morning pages a while ago. Not sure why I stopped. I need to go find a fun notebook. :-)

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SPEDED2 8/30/2014 9:46PM

    emoticon If we can't love ourselves, how can we expect others to love us?

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1CRAZYDOG 8/30/2014 5:57PM

    My dear, sleep IS healing!!!! You are a wise analyzer. I admire you courage in being totally honest.

HUGS and I hope you have a good weekend.

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ALICE_TENNIS 8/30/2014 2:36PM

    And there are fascinating parts of you that you haven't even tapped into yet!!! emoticon

Sounds like your writing is giving you space (& permission) to explore. You've always had a lot of courage (you DragonSlayer . ..) and now you can use that for the inner journey.

Journaling is a good way to write the positive, truthful statements that we all need to fend off the lies that we've told ourselves over the years. You're writing a love letter to your inner self.

Take Care!

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STRONG_SARAH 8/30/2014 2:31PM

    Hi, nice blog. I love introspection, mine and other peoples.
This is very interesting to me, I'm at a place in my life where I think I'd like to read that book. What's it called? Thanks

Comment edited on: 8/30/2014 2:32:05 PM

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Implementing the snack attack plan?

Thursday, August 28, 2014

It's a week thinking about the snack attack... yesterday the brainstorming and trying one thing.

So I did. More or less. I certainly threw my regular routine out the window. I still got in my writing and my walk in the pool but I cooked up a storm and then ended up driving my daughter downtown, going to a walk for just over a half hour while waiting for her and when I got home I listened to a book on tape CD in the car until it was done.

The downside was that I did not eat a proper lunch and did not eat dinner... lots of tastes of things which were high in veggies and protein, but not enough. While I was out I realized and I had free "time" and after my walk I had some pain... so I went to a drive though and made... good but not the best choices. Specifically it was later than I usually eat and part of me wanted not to eat at all. Then when I did get home I decided it would be nice to go through another drive through and get a hot chocolate - I did not want to go in the house because I knew there was a situation waiting for me to deal with so I was avoiding... and while I got that half coffe half hot chocolate my food dragon convinced me I should try the 'special" of the month treat.

You know the jugglers you see who throw crazy things in the air? Looking back at yesterday I think that is what happened. I wanted to change up the routine and I certainly did that.

What I had was no foundation. My feet were not firmly planted and I took on too many things. Who knew I could juggle? But it was too much. I had no back up plan. my goodness I had no plan at all.

Doing something different I still think is a wonderful tool. The walk I took was on an island on a river and there were all kinds of dogs there which surprised me... a social meet up of people who obviously see each other there all the time. It made me happy. It was lovely evening weather without bugs, warm but not muggy, a constant breeze, a very nice "park" and then a stunning sunset reflecting off the clouds and water. It was a different perspective of the river and the parkway was lit with lights. Driving downtown I went through an area that at night becomes a small community of candle lit restaruants and bikers and walkers that was romantic and sweet. I drove through evening china town with it's twindle lights and statues and lit up storefronts and night lit gates. It was a very very good "change of routine". It did me good. But my food dragon came with me.

What I needed to do that though was plan a foundation. I had not looked after my meals. I did not have a plan for the "situation" at home. I was already tired from the day of cooking. I had a wait before I could go home and I had not pain relievers... not well planned. So despite a very good choice and the joy of spontenaity... I needed more planning to make it work for me and not have my food dragon set free. And even saying that .... my food dragon COULD have done much much worse. Walking is so good for me. I made choices but it was not mindless. I was mindful of what I was doing. At the first drivethough I ignored what the food dragon was calling for which was a better choice and it WAS a good idea to eat.

A process. We will see how the rest of the week progresses.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKFRAN514 8/30/2014 10:31AM

    Remember when plan fails we have 25 more letters to go never give up and i tell my self this often I AM NOT STARTING over Just dusting off and get my self going

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SPEDED2 8/28/2014 11:23PM

    Work what works!

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NORASPAT 8/28/2014 10:24PM

    "J" Please do Go easy on yourself.
It sounds like a lovely trip around your area where ever it is. HUGS and much love and hope tomorrow is better at home. Pat in Maine. (HUGS) emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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NASFKAB 8/28/2014 10:11PM

  just keep pushing & you will do it

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AALLEY2 8/28/2014 8:43PM

    We all need to find what works for us. Some days it is good to try different strategies, but if we remember to plan ahead then it shouldn't be so bad. That's the hardest thing for me to do is the planning ahead especially if I have a different kind of day. emoticon and most of all never give up! emoticon

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BEAUTY_WITHIN 8/28/2014 8:17PM

    Ok, so you have a good base plan, now you just have to plan for eventualities! You can do this!

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WORKNPROGRESS49 8/28/2014 6:30PM


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HEALTHY4ME 8/28/2014 2:55PM

    We are going out for supper and not sure which restaurant we will go to. Neither are healthy places but I will do my best! Glad you are trying still. We will do this, and succeed!

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1CRAZYDOG 8/28/2014 2:51PM

    We're all a work in progress. You are too. Now you have made a plan and thenext step . . . implement it. You can do it. You are stronger than the Dragon.

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JAROL7 8/28/2014 1:58PM

    Decide on your plan ... work your plan.

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Snack attacks - "battle on" against the Food Dragon

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The theme this week is "snack attacks". Not the snacks that you write into your food plan. Those are fine. And sometimes I need to add a snack in because I am Diabetic and realize I am not going to make it home in time... there are "acceptable" snacks that I have for those situations, even when I am out. It is best to plan them because if I am suddenly low blood sugar I don't always think clearly.

But that is not the type of snack attack I mean. I mean the evil ones. The ones that are off food plan. The ones that are not for nutritional reasons. It is in response to the food dragon!

Being too hungry...
Too angry...
Too lonely ...
Too tired...
Too bored...
In too much Pain...
Too afraid...

The decision to forget my goals to eat clean, forget the nice meal waiting for me or that my belly is in fact full.

I know I have talked about this before and people have come up with examples of times when the excuses are greater than the reasons why not. Hubby and you are going on a romantic walk and will enjoy an icecream. Grandchild has spent the afternoon baking and you are having a tea party to celebrate. Or it is associated with a pleasurable social encounter or an "unwinding".

I'm not going to argue. That IS my problem. I often refuse to argue with myself when I am eating for emotional reasons. My food dragon takes over and slams the door so I don't even get a chance to consider my options. I am a reasonable person and I think that I am willing to consider options. My food dragon is not. It is very very afraid of confrontation and having it's fix taken away. It schemes.

My food dragon will also plan ahead. It will trick me while I am grocery shopping and I will arrive at the cash without even realizing a food has gotten into my cart. "Ah.... for the kids", or "I'll portion them out and they will last" I tell myself as the doubts try to surface. My food dragon can be very convincing. All good answers but the clue should have been they were not on the shopping list in the first place. When they get home will they be offered to the kids and I will walk away? Will I put them in little zip locks and write them into my food plan? Or will they come out when there is a stress. Will the package be opened and my hand make countless dips inside until the package is mysteriously empty?

I have also spoken of the consequences of this behaviour... the triggering of more sugar cravings and making the dragon song more powerful.

So what I really want to write about today is not realizing that snack attacks happen or why... but what to do about it.

I need a plan.

First, the most common "problem time", in the evenings, is when I want to unwind and I am often in pain and I'm tired. I want to crawl into my comfy chair and watch TV with hubby. I know that if I just make one choice that I will come up with an excuse why it is not possible... but I need to start by brainstorming:
-I can make it a rule that no food is allowed in that chair
-I can take pain meds and set a timer and see if the pain has resolved by the end of that time
-I can have tea (I will add that we have been having "London Fogs" which use vanilla creamer in them so I have picked up a sugar free version... probably I could dig out my other herbal teas as alternatives as perhaps the creamer is also a trigger??)
-I can do something else like go for a walk in the pool
-DD and I could plan a date to read, do massages, sit outside, play cards... something other than turning on the TV
-I could do some ST (I would say a walk but until my surgery that is out... for you it might work though)
-I could do something with my hands in my chair like crochet
-I could keep my journal in my room, on my lap
-I could set up a puzzle in the living room
-I could play harp while hubby putters at something else
-I can post "this too shall pass" where I can see it in my chair because it is true... the craving will pass if I don't act on it.

I like listening to the night sounds in summer. The sounds of crickets and owls. I like night breezes. I like candles and fires. The mosquitoes right now are reasonable. I have a book.

I could print this list out and post them beside my chair. I think that my chair and TV alone I used to associate with "the last straw" because I rarely used to watch TV at night. It is a reminder to me of the "poor me" before I drift into denial and escape my problems.

This morning I see this all as a battle plan. I know that change first comes from the decision so I one step forward. I know that each time I succeed in a battle the dragon gets weaker and I get stronger. Just one battle at a time. Will I win tonight?

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SPARKFRAN514 8/30/2014 10:26AM

    emoticon your dragon sounds like my friend Bad Penny i am looking for a bay sitter for her while i go shopping maybe she and the dragon can pay together while we do this journey to good health. another Special Spark friend shared a few quotes that have helped me
Just because we're in the kitchen, doesn't mean we have to eat!" (© Paula's Thoughts)
Doing our best and enjoying it is the difference between pride in succeeding or sadness in failing!" (© Paula's Thoughts)

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DRAGON-CHICK 8/28/2014 1:39PM

    YAY! You are doing so well.
Great blog. Thanks!

I haven't done a puzzle in years. What a fun idea!
It's a bit too warm for crochet for me; but in the winter it would be great.
Lately I've been doing scrapbooking. Love it!!

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BBEAGAN 8/28/2014 7:03AM

  Yeah, nights are hard for me too. So tired... I'd love to walk, go to the gym, but even leaving the house in the evening is harder and harder as the days get shorter. Before long it'll be dark at 5pm... I try to check in with SparkPeople in the evening, after supper, Makes that risk time less risky, Keep a laptop by 'my chair.' Hard when the TV is on, though... As I write that, I think 'Get the earplugs!' Okay, a plan!

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BEAUTY_WITHIN 8/27/2014 9:52PM

    Yes you will! Good plan!

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1STBUCKETITEM 8/27/2014 9:15PM

  Ah-h-h yes... the food dragon. He lurks behind the food gremlin. emoticon Food gremlin: "Just one bite Dearie!" emoticon Food dragon: "Well you might as well eat the whole thing now that you've started!" A constant battle between those two!! You have some good plans to keep them out of your house now just stick to your guns and don't let them in. Yes, I battle them too, and some days are better than others. When you stick to your plan they finally lose some of their power over you. emoticon them away! emoticon emoticon

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SPEDED2 8/27/2014 8:39PM

    You are in charge. You get to make the choices.

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ALICE_TENNIS 8/27/2014 3:51PM

    All of those transformation guidelines are excellent! Remember, you are in charge!

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NSMRIDGEWAY 8/27/2014 12:08PM

    Plans are good. I know my hardest time is when I wait until I'm really hungry to make food, and then I'm too hungry to cook. So I snack while I'm cooking!

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1CRAZYDOG 8/27/2014 11:09AM

    Well said.

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NASFKAB 8/27/2014 10:39AM

  all the best you can do it

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HEALTHY4ME 8/27/2014 10:13AM

    Great plans and reasons to help you with the hard times. I too will say I will portion it out, hmmm am doing better at that lately but I totally understand.

My surgeon told me to keep walking and do the pre surgery exercises so I will recover easier and better, stronger your leg is around your knee the easier. But perhaps we aren't getting the same surgery? who knows, and what is good for me, may not be right for you.

HUGS and have a great ON PLAN weekend. I hope to, starts with an engagement party at my sister in laws on sat. eeek. I am talking to myself now, but I don't think there has been a time yet when I go to her house that I don't emotional eat!!! veggies veggies I know she will hae them out and I will bring the sweet she asked and that is it. rest of the weekend is fine nothing really planned.


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DSBRIDE 8/27/2014 9:45AM

    I love your plan. It all sounds so logical in the morning with the right attitude. However the best laid plans go out the window when the dragon comes. That's my problem. He hits at my weakest point where I have so little fight left in me. I wish you well with this plan, I'll try it too. At least it's a start in the right direction and if it works more than 50% of the time! I'll be ahead of the game.

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WORKNPROGRESS49 8/27/2014 9:16AM

    I call it the "munchie monster" and it rears it ugly head at night.. You have a great plan!!!

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LEANJEAN6 8/27/2014 8:30AM

    The dragon--always there eh??--Isn't walking the best?????I share that with yu!--Wild Turkeys sound bad!--Lynda

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EVIE4NOW 8/27/2014 8:20AM

  I was hungry last night and even tho my blood sugar wasn't low, I was still hungry. I got out the cantaloupe. Sweet, juicy and completely filled me without going over board. I rarely snack at night but every once in awhile I cave. Watermelon is also a good choice.

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No more diets... but there are still too many choices for how to eat!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

I have been reading blogs where people are talking about what food plan they are on, foods they hope will help them lose weight, diet groups they belong to.

There was a time in my life when my struggle was all about which diet to be on. It was always temporary, always with the idea of a quick fix so I could eat what ever I want but as a "thin" person. Ha! It never happened. Thankfully two things occurred. I developed an eating disorder... and then diabetes. I don't know what Overeater's Anonymous suggests these days but decades ago there were a couple of them. One was "three meals a day and nothing in between". The other was "grey sheets" which were more restrictive with no sugar or white flours and some other guidelines. The Diabetic Diet in those days was eating carbs, meals plus snacks, and the food examples I got in the hospital and from my dietitian included white bread sandwiches, crackers and other non whole grain items. I was confused. I felt like I was getting nowhere.

I remember struggling trying to find an eating plan. The way I imagined it one day was trying to climb a mountain. I would start on one trail and then look over and notice someone jogging along their trail and think "that looks better than my trail" and go back down and try their trail only to soon see a group, ahead of me but on a different trail and think "I think I would rather be with them... " go down the hill and start that trail. By changing all the time or not sticking to one path I never got to the top but I was never satisfied with one way. Then I became Diabetic and was on insulin. I had no choice any longer and in some ways it was very good for me because I was told I had no choice... but honestly I felt ill most of the time and i hated eating that way especially as I never felt good.

The thing about the Diabetic eating plan (that many decades ago) was it was not quite right for me and I was not ready. I had to go through my own "growing pains" trying it and not being able to follow it because I was an emotional eater and had an eating disorder... and because the "diet" in those days was not perfect. The Canadian Diabetic Association has made a lot of changes in that plan over the years because it was not perfect and now it has a lot more whole food suggestion. The information about food is changing. Plus my body's needs have changed. My attitude has changed. The food available to me has changed. My knowledge about how to prepare that food has changed.

Finally I think I am still climbing that mountain but I am pretty much on one path all the time. I can be going along and come across a fallen tree and instead of panicking or changing trails, I take the time to clear it and push it aside in case I backtrack and come this way again. Because on this food plan I do backtrack. At the same time I don't march long head down and tunnel visioned because I can run into trouble then too losing my way or the trail getting so narrow I can't possibly stay on it... Instead see myself grooming the trail as I go so there are fewer brambles to catch on. I am not just walking the trail but am taking responsibility for it. In terms of food, I am listening to my body when I eat foods and tweaking things. When I find menus or meals that work for me I use them again. And I keep trying new menus because they include ingredients that my body likes. I no longer just believe what people tell me. Spark People helped with that.... just because a food has "X" number of carbs does not mean that MY body will react to it the same way as the person beside me. (There was a great discussion about potatoes on the Diabetic team when I first joined that was eye opening for me). I suddenly realized that there was not something wrong with ME because I had problems sticking to "diets"... sometimes it was just that I was trying to fit into a diet that was the wrong size.

It's like when you go into a store and try on a pair of jeans and even though they are your "size" they just will not fit. Is the answer to diet and exercise to try and change your body shape to fit those jeans? No! You have to shop around and find the designer who makes a style that fits your body type.

Today I am very thankful because I have found a food plan that seems to be working for me. I am still an emotional eater and will eat off plan... but having tools to help me, like the writing diet and blogging which help me get back on track quickly. The design is good. The trail is the right one. But it is not perfect.

I like that I can use this analogy... because it's not a race to get to the top any longer. I get to talk to people along the way and enjoy the journey and LEARN. When I am tempted to try something new... change paths... I am cautious. I realize that there is no "perfect" way to get to my goals even though other "paths" might be tempting or people may tell me another way is better. Is this making any sense? I am beginning to feel... confident in the way I eat. My blood sugars are good. My other blood tests are good. I feel good.

Sometimes I realize a food or way of eating has taken me off the path but I no longer have to start all over at the bottom of the hill and I know there is a binder of recipes and menus I have collected that will make it easier to get back to where I was. And am I moving forward? Slowly, yes. My eating disorder is pretty much OK now. I rarely binge and I am always mindful of trigger foods and situations.

There are a LOT of pathways to the top. Too many! I do have to stick to one. I'm using "how I feel" as the indicator for if I am on the right path rather than the scale as an indicator. I accept that not gaining weight is a good indicator. I accept that a plateau is a good indicator. And... sometimes I do lose. Slowly. I am tweaking my food plan as I go and... I guess I am leaving some clear blaze marks when I try a new recipe or food and decide whether to keep it or not... helping me mark the trail as I progress forward.

The way I eat... allows me to do more. I am more active. Happier. I am rarely ill. I feel GOOD!
I look GREAT!

So... is that it? Hmmm. The reason I wanted to write this was not just to say... "hey, guess what? I have a plan now and I'm happy." Those of you who know me know my war with my food dragon and even as I am writing it is whispering "The scale". As though the scale is the ultimate decider of if I am succeeding. Yes, I admit it. I would like to lose more weight and continue, even slowly towards my weight goal.

Today's blog is important for me.. because I need to be patient. Not listen to the food dragon. Amazing to me that even when I am doing very very well... it only takes that whisper to give me doubts. Well, no! Dragon be gone. I am not going to listen. I am not going to "blow it" by jumping to another trail. I am glad that I have the confidence to KNOW that and ignore the dragon trying to plant doubts. This trail IS getting me the right direction. It did take me time... experimenting and learning to be aware, and to know that. I feel for people still looking.

It is not easy. There are way too many choices for how to eat. But I know you can do it. You will figure it out. Listen to your body, not your food dragon!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BABECAVE 8/28/2014 1:48PM



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NASFKAB 8/26/2014 9:07PM


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HIKETOHEIGHTS 8/26/2014 8:54PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BONNIEB1947 8/26/2014 8:33PM

    I have often read that the scale can be misleading because muscle mass is heavier, and you may be losing inches instead of pounds.
You said it yourself; I feel GREAT! That is to me one of the most important yardsticks to use! And it builds upon itself, because you want to keep on feeling that way, and you will continue to do the things that make that happen.
I'm glad you're finding your path. Sometimes it takes some interesting turns!

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SPEDED2 8/26/2014 8:27PM

    All good things take work. That's true for good health, too. We all have to find our own path and hope we cross paths with others as we make our journey. For me, i like the Spark People members who occasionally cross my path and help to remove some of the objects that cause me to slow down. emoticon emoticon

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1CRAZYDOG 8/26/2014 8:12PM


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BEAUTY_WITHIN 8/26/2014 6:51PM

    Great! I've decided on giving up on the "loose weight" trail, and I've joined the "being active and healthy" trail. I'm letting the weight loss be a byproduct of becoming more healthy. It's a rough trail though, but I love your analogy of clearing the brambles and moving the logs out of the way. :) emoticon

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WORKNPROGRESS49 8/26/2014 4:15PM

    emoticon blog/message!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DSBRIDE 8/26/2014 3:35PM

    Everyday is a new learning experience and it's only by trial and error that we find out what works. Sounds like you have a good start to the right course.

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PROPMAN1 8/26/2014 1:44PM

  emoticon emoticon Seems to me that the reason there are so many 'eating plans' out there is so the (diet) fod industry can make lots of money.

Keep on your plan as long as it works for You. emoticon

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CTUPTON 8/26/2014 1:38PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon


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DRAGON-CHICK 8/26/2014 1:31PM

    If it were easy, it wouldn't be a billion dollar industry! :(
But I love your mountain trail analogy!

Pretty much how I felt about it, too. But now I'm doing my own thing too. It takes a long time to find what works...

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BHENDRICK2 8/26/2014 1:27PM


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Changing the "I can't to I can!" and stepping outside the box.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Oh dear! My spark activity tracker is getting low on batteries. I was just thinking it is time to increase my goal from 1,000 steps to 5,000 again. A couple of times this week I got over 10,000 steps! Amazing, right? I have a cane, my walker and my crutches available but at times I feel like I could dance the walking is so easy. Mostly when I am barefoot and in the house. Although it only takes doing one step and suddenly I can't bear weight at all and that can last for hours. Despite that I did my first day in months of real housecleaning. DH moved the vaccum between levels but I did some vacuuming, dusting, wiping floors, cleaning bathrooms. Three hours in all (big house). It felt so good. Then I hit the pool and did my aquafit/water walking. THEN I went to meet my B&B guests on the Rideau trail and walked in a bit to guide them out to the parking lot. LOVED it. I felt like a human being. Still no surgery date for my knee replacement but at least things are better!

Today I think I want to talk about stepping outside the box. I appreciate all the comments that I'm not normal... hehehe....on my last blog. No, I agree, there is no "normal". But why is it that we can get stuck thinking that we can't participate because we can't do something perfectly? I can't bike because there is construction... I can't go to the gym because there is not time... I can't do situps because I'm too fat so I can't do core exercises.... I was browsing a bunch of blogs where "I can't" seemed to be the theme for the day.

I remember the "I can'ts" and the pity party. I am sure that my food dragon loved that mind set because innevitably it sent me to food and thinking "why not?".
-out of shape..
-not enough time..
-not enough money...
-no motivation
They were wonderful excuses to turn to sugar, stimulate my desire to bake and find comfort in cooking "for others". It was the all or nothing attitude. I felt like I had to go to gym for an hour or it wasn't worth it. I had to do something that would make me sweat. I had to look good while doing it and didn't want to ask for help or look ridiculous in a class. Plus I had the experiences of doing it all, too hard and too fast and injuring myself. I did't really understand the idea of warmups and cool downs and stretching. No wonder exercise did not excite me. It was boring... I felt incompetent and it resulted in pain. Even when it was a positive experience I rarely did it consistently and would end up back in my "rut".

Something changed in me just before I joined Spark People. I have shared on my spark page and in my spark people success story how my friend helped me get started walking. I was so derpressed I was suicidal. All my thoughts were "I can't".

I think... I wish... I could bottle or share how an attitude change can change everything... but for me it has. Today, with a knee injury I still am struggling but I try and brainstorm and problem solve. In the depths of my dispair I am sure I would have HATED me. I was a wall of resistance and excuses. But it was me who was suffering.

How DID I do it?????
I chose an impossible but meaningful goal. I still do that. My goal then was to decide to live and have pain and do things rather than spend the rest of my days in an electric lift chair watching TV. I chose walking from Ottawa to Kingston on the Rideau trail. Why? Still can't pinpoint it. But you have no idea how complicated a goal it was. It's not as though the trail runs along a road. It frequenlty is in wilderness near.. nothing. A road that can drop you at one section may have to drive around lakes and along dirt trails an hour to pick you up on the other side, a mere hour of walking. I say a mere hour but for a person who could only walk 25 steps at the start, an hour committment of walking was... unthinkable, unimaginable, and very very scary. I was just talking with B&B guests who are walking the trail and they were sharing some of their experiences and wow, I remember!
It requires brainstorming.
It requires asking for help.
It requires starting very very slowly with small goals.
It requires ... baby steps, one step at a time.

When I hurt my knee I didn't go back to my lift chair. I had to figure out how to get in and out of the pool because I could not do steps. Forget grace. I had be able to get down onto the ground into a sitting position and then be able to get back up... so that was my first goal and at first I always had to have people around me to help me. But I figured out how to use chairs. I had to adapt my normal pool walking routine and keep that leg straight. When I do stretching (think Whinney the Pooh does yoga) I grab an exercise ball to drape myself over instead of doing child pose because I can't kneel. I use my exercise ball for doing pushups or do situps on my bed. I went through spark people exercises to find ones that I could do when I realized I could not do my "usual ones". No, I can't walk a distance still... but I have my walking poles, my crutches and walker. I use what I need to. My pride... oh my goodness in some ways my pride got thrown out the window long ago. I don't CARE what I look like any longer. I am determined to keep going forward. I remember seeing Indy~Girl's video where she showed lying in her bed when she was immobilized because of her excessive weight... but she started dancing in bed. She moved her arms and shoulders and wiggled. And look at her now!

We all have choices. In the pity mode we think we don't. But we DO! I think it is safe inside our "box". It is what we know even when we hate it. Whether it is pride or fear we are willing to endure and tell ourselves that we are not able to change. I know that I used food and anger and controlling behaviour to deny and hide. I had diabetes. I was obese. I had bone on bone arthritis with terrible pain, high blood pressure, depression, and an eating disorder. I didn't set out to get rid of all those things. What I did do was stop dieting. Instead i started making choices towards getting out of that chair.

Here is the reality. My last knee surgery I lost mobility. I can't bend that knee even to 90 degrees which is what you need to be able to get your legs under you to get up from a chair, or the toilet, or do stairs. I depend on this injured knee - but possibly with the knee replacment I will lose mobility in it too. Right now I have it straight to walk on it so all that getting up from chairs I need things to grab onto and pull myself up. I COULD say "I'm injured" so I'll just wait until things get better..... stay in my box, but I have no idea what is ahead. There is no guarentee that I will be able to do any more than what I can do now. So this afternoon I am going kayaking. Surprised? We had to find a launch site that I could access. I had to find a "sit-upon" style that I didn't have to bend my leg to get in and out of. I need help to get out or I will be sitting in that kayak or rolling out into the water and have to problem solve how to get out of the water stepping on uneven rocks... which my knee won't do..... I have to limit my time on the water and just in case my knee gives out I'll have to have my crutches available to get back to the car. Lots of problems solving and thinking ahead... but I would not be doing any of this by saying "I can't". Instead asking myself "how CAN I?"

I know I used to be resistant. I would roll my eyes. Argue. Change the subject. I can imagine if you are sitting with a problem you are probably resistant to to the well meaning people tring to problem solve for you, whether it is a family member or doctor or therapist or friend. It may be looking at ways to eat so that you won't die of a heat attack... of ways to cut down your living expenses so that you can afford to retire.... or how you can practice getting up and down from the floor so that you can stay living in your own home unafraid of falling.... or how you can attend an event or get a job or just be more comfortable in your clothes or being in public or playing with your grandkids... but I hope you think about, today what small choice you CAN make.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

CICELY360 9/2/2014 12:20AM

  good blog

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WOOFERCOALBOY 8/29/2014 4:13PM


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WENDYANNE61 8/29/2014 12:15PM

    Heartfelt thanks for a wonderful blog with a powerful message! I too got moving a few years ago instead of sitting tight and "enduring" chronic pain! I still have painful days, weeks and moments but I don´t focus on it as I used to! My DH is thrilled to have an active person at his side again, willing to try lots of new things.... All the best for your knee!

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SHERYLP461 8/29/2014 8:49AM

    Great job

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SUNRISEKNITS 8/29/2014 4:57AM

    You have no idea how much this has helped me. I couldn't have found your blog at a better time!

This year has been the health year from H#LL. I've just gotten the news that I should be in a wheel chair if I need to walk more than a dozen steps.This with the inevitable amputation of both of my feet due to RA,OA and Charcot's foot. (Unless they come up with something in the next few years. The x-rays show that the bones in my feet look like shattered glass.) It's another body blow after several others this year.

I'm tired , angry, depressed... and the list could (and does!! Grin!!) go on. I saw myself in your blog when you talked about your resistance. My poor DH, he really wants to help and gets resentment for his efforts! I will make a choice~ (after all not making a choice really is making one! ) no more negative talk! No more~ I can't. Oh poor me! The first thing I'm going to do is make a list of the good things that have happened or I have accomplished this year. (Why does it seem so insignificant to me that I've lost 48 pounds since the beginning of the year? Negative talk has me thinking it could have been more if I could only.......(place any excuse here!!) Then I'm make a list of my negatives. After each one I will counter with a positive way of looking at it and at least 1 step to make toward that positive thought/goal.

Many, many thanks for sharing! The light at the end of the tunnel isn't an on coming train! Heart felt thanks for being a beacon of sanity. {{{Huggles}}}

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JSPARKGIRL 8/28/2014 9:55AM


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HYATTI1 8/28/2014 9:53AM

    Good for you.

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HYATTI1 8/28/2014 9:53AM

    Good for you.

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SASSYTHING52 8/27/2014 9:42PM

    this is a awesome blog wow emoticon emoticon

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JRRING 8/27/2014 1:19PM


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GRACED777 8/27/2014 10:24AM

    Your story is powerful. Thanks for sharing!

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MOVING2LOSE 8/27/2014 5:12AM

    Great blog!
Thanks for sharing your story with us. emoticon

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MTRACHEL 8/26/2014 11:14PM

    Your never give up attitude is infectious!

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AJB121299 8/26/2014 6:12PM


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SPARKFRAN514 8/26/2014 4:25PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SHKIRK 8/26/2014 1:42PM

  You Go Girl !! emoticon

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REBECKY441 8/26/2014 1:18PM

    Thank you for sharing your journey with us.

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1MORNINGWALKER 8/26/2014 12:35PM

    emoticon emoticon

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GRANJERRY1 8/26/2014 12:14PM

    emoticon You are simply emoticon

So inspiring and so blessed to have met a fighter and a winner like you...

God Bless You


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SECONDCHANCE58 8/26/2014 10:08AM

  We all need attitude adjustments on our lifestyle change journey. Thanks for sharing! emoticon

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LOSER_ZIMM 8/26/2014 9:38AM


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BBEAGAN 8/26/2014 7:36AM

  Sounds like your OT training and experience has been retained! always problem-solving... Well done

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CTUPTON 8/26/2014 5:34AM

    Justyna, So cool that you are featured! You teach us all so many things. And you don't give up. You definitely deserve to be featured. chris

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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1STBUCKETITEM 8/26/2014 2:54AM

  emoticon Attitude! emoticon emoticon emoticon

Knee surgery is a scary thing to think about... I've been putting it off for more than a few years always saying I'll have it done when I lose my weight.... Meanwhile, I went up to my max weight of 295 after yo-yo-ing for the last 10 years and just coped with the pain. Since being forced into early retirement this last spring, I no longer have the excuse of "stresses at work." I have now selfishly made "me" a priority... probably for the first time in many years. As of last week I have crossed the halfway mark. I don't even remember the last time I was at this weight (over 23 years?), Now I know "I CAN!" Who knows? Maybe the knee surgery won't be as complicated since I won't have the weight of "another person" weighing me down!
Thanks for sharing your story, You have inspired me to emoticon !!!!

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SUGAR0814 8/26/2014 12:16AM

    Great attitude! Very inspirational! Thank you for sharing! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JIBBIE49 8/25/2014 11:43PM

    Great to see your blog featured in the Spark Mail.

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MARYJEANSL 8/25/2014 11:35PM

  Positive thoughts always help, no matter what the situation. I'm glad you are able to find lots of things you *can* do!

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CAROLJ35 8/25/2014 10:46PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ROXYCARIN 8/25/2014 10:30PM


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ROCKYCPA 8/25/2014 10:15PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KHALIA2 8/25/2014 9:42PM


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1MORNINGWALKER 8/25/2014 9:41PM

    emoticon emoticon

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HEALTHY4ME 8/25/2014 9:39PM

    WOW I have somehow lost your blogs, and didn't know that you were having more knee issues. I am still waiting for my knee replacement, nervous is saying it lightly. It was a year and half First of June which has come and gone. They told me that long and when I called in Jan, she said oh y ou are on the list but we are way behind. I may call again as we were hoping to go away and don't want to miss the call and end up with another 2 year wait. I would wait as some days it isn't too bad but how much worse will it get in 2 more years....

I hope you feel better daily and that you get more ROM soon.

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GOOSIEMOON 8/25/2014 9:27PM


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FALL2013 8/25/2014 9:15PM

    You are not alone... we all have some challenge which can become bigger than it seems, if we allow it... you have a great attitude..

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EMMACORY 8/25/2014 9:15PM

    Love you can do attitude! Thanks for the push we all need! emoticon

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TULIPVIC 8/25/2014 8:44PM

    Really helps me adjust my attitude! Thanks!

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HOLLYM48 8/25/2014 8:03PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MSROZZIE 8/25/2014 8:01PM

    emoticon blog and emoticon attitude. Thanks for sharing! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JERICHO1991 8/25/2014 7:57PM

    We can do it. Thanks.

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SPEDED2 8/25/2014 7:53PM

    Great Attitude!! emoticon

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MAXY100 8/25/2014 7:47PM

  Congratulations! I like your attitude.

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LIVELYGIRL2 8/25/2014 7:44PM

  With this attitude, you are going to get further than you ever dreamed possible. I know people that have replacement knees and hips. Maybe they can't do everything, but they have found ways to do more. I HOPE it helps you. I used to know this young boy that had part of his arm missing. he rode his bike and did lot of sports. Sue we are older, but their is so very many examples here of people that went beyond ,inspite of some health problems.

What a useful blog. Thanks

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KOHINOOR2 8/25/2014 7:36PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Thanks for sharing.

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CHARITYAK 8/25/2014 7:11PM

    What an inspiring read! You have a marvelous attitude. I sincerely wish you the very best!

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CELLA_P 8/25/2014 5:48PM


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JAZZII4 8/25/2014 5:38PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CFMOSS 8/25/2014 4:56PM

    Amazing how hard it is to delete n't...You can delete the n't and you can make progress. Way to go....keep up the good work. Progress....progress

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DMSGLASS 8/25/2014 4:46PM


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KBURGOS05 8/25/2014 4:38PM

    you could have made lots of excuses to not do the work but you are willing yourself through it. You inspire me. Good luck on all your future journeys emoticon .

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