Friday, July 22, 2011
When I was growing up, I was part of a group of five siblings. My mother was a talker (you KNEW I got it from somewhere) and there wasn't a one of us five who didn't know what our teachers said about us in conference.
One of mom's favorite kind of story to share would be about going to meet some teacher or another and having the conference about one or another of us kids, hearing something good about us (of course telling us just what good thing it was, to reinforce it), and commenting, "are we talking about the same kid"? Which is the *real* identity? As in yesterday's blog... both are the same kid.
My son explained it to me, years later. The phenomenon of why children behave so much more responsibly for people other than their parents is really pretty simple, his ten year old self said. "You HAVE to love me, no matter what. My teachers don't." I could go into that being an accolade for getting the message across about unconditional love, but it would be a digression.
Yesterday's blog about among other things, my nature as a compulsive eater elicited a comment from KALIGIRL, whom I met for the first time in real life last weekend: "but you seem so easy and self-assured..." Becky, so do you! You're an amazing woman.
Yes, we are talking about the same kids. You met me while I am living abstinent. It is similar to the difference between the sober and the binging alcoholic. I once heard a fellow traveler comment (about her abstinence) that she could not live the life she was currently living without it. I recognize how right that statement was.
I like me a whole lot better abstinent. It is my hope and prayer to live this way for the rest of my life. To be given the willingness to do so, one decision at a time. It does not require perfection, but it does require vigilance.
Life's good. Spark on!
Thursday, July 21, 2011
I recently got a comment from a Spark friend on my "before" photo in my gallery, to the effect that she had no idea I'd come so far... we had mainly "seen" one another on a community board where we might talk more about activity and family things than about weight loss.
An interesting thing about meeting new people is that they see your "outside" and make assumptions based on what they see. If you are currently thin and fit, they may easily assume you have always been relatively thus.
On the other hand, from the "inside", you know your own history. You are still adjusting to your "new" size, for some time after changing it. You know how many rides on the roller coaster you have taken, and may have confidence issues.
This usually isn't a problem, until you overhear and take to heart comments that are sometimes made by those (thankfully not as many as you think) folks who don't "get it". There will always be days when I think of myself as this:
If you met me back then, you would have found me huffing and puffing and wishing that skirt was not so tight. I have come down from there (all the way there) twice. I have come down from somewhere in between probably three times in addition.
Today, I feel good about me. Today I truly see myself as this:
Folks who meet me now don't know. Folks who have known me in both extremes do know. Me? I know now that I am both... this is the difference between the disease of compulsive eating being in charge, and a higher power blessing me with abstinence from the compulsion. One day at a time.
Spark helps. Healthy living programs help. But all in all... you have to follow those programs, and light that Spark. Motivation and action are gifts of grace.
Life's good. Spark on!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Yesterday I blogged about showing up for life. Every day.
Today's is also a tie-in to a KALIGIRL blog entry, this one about Listening. www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
The importance of listening to our bodies, hearing what it is they really are needing, and providing it is an important factor in living LIFE, and maintaining those life support systems. And in some cases, the body, the mind or the spirit says, "SLOW DOWN, ALREADY!"
Sometimes it is hard to recognize when you're overdoing. You can get so pumped up with a sense of accomplishment. Ever feel like you're being lazy if you don't run a race every day? This is a marathon, not a sprint, this LIFE thing. It is meant to be savored and balanced... it's not a race to see who finishes first.
When one gets overtired or out of balance, it makes the whole of the program more difficult. Like walking at the bottom of a swimming pool, or through sand. It is essential to give oneself rest and recognition and rewards. Sleep is an essential part of identity, too: the deep dreaming sleep is part of putting together the pieces and events of life and learning something about oneself.
A healthy balance requires some time alone to put the things in perspective. This is particularly vital for those of us who have elements of "people pleasing" or a history of allowing others to define us. In the end, each must find his or her own identity.
Here's to pacing ourselves, being conscious of what's going on in any given day or moment, carefully weighing our options, making good choices that support LIFE, and allowing ourselves enough quiet time to get to know who we really are.
As we keep saying, here on Spark, ... and you're worth it.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
This is for those of us who are very focused on work, or volunteer work, or projects. Yesterday my friend KALIGIRL blogged about LIFE... her L in the alphabet blog series.
As usually happens when I read blogs here on Spark, I got to thinking... and my reverie on LIFE goes something like this. LIFE is a series of decisions. Life is something that happens every single moment of every single day.
It is not something that is going to happen at some future point ("When I get done with this project", "When tax season is over", "When I retire", "When I graduate")... it is happening right now. With every breath you take.
My brother MOBYCARP and I have talked at times about "project" versus "process" thinking and getting things done. We may have slightly different takes on what's interrupting which (see his blog www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
In my case, weight loss was a project, weight maintenance a process... and processes can easily be interrupted by shiny new projects. In his case, weight maintenance was a side effect of how he naturally lived his life... until recently. Now he's working on what it will take to make health maintenance a priority... weight being an element in the mix.
Back to LIFE. What I am discovering as I Spark on is that there are some systems of life support that are requirements, no matter what. We may get away with ignoring them but if they are not maintained, eventually LIFE breaks down. These life support systems have to be maintained.
A nutritious and calorie-range appropriate way of eating is essential for a healthy life. So is sufficient sleep. A certain amount of moving around is also vital. One important shift that has taken place in my thinking which gives me hope is the recognition that it is not WEIGHT that I am seeking to maintain. It is these life support systems.
Also important to my mind-shift (which is what is required to go from being an apparently naturally thick person to an apparently naturally thin one) is the concept of showing up to LIFE, the same as I would show up to WORK. I would not dream of skipping work!
Yet, when I avoid making the decisions which make up my LIFE, am I avoiding or putting off living? Food for thought... and part of the impetus behind the "do one thing" initiative.
Life's good. Spark on!
Monday, July 18, 2011
On the third of July, I did what I always do in the morning. Bathroom, step on scale in the minimum, write it down. I write my weight on the calendar. I walked back into my bedroom to mark it. I am writing about this because I had a Freudian slip that particular morning. Instead of writing "121" (which the scale said), I jotted down "221".
Double take. But there is a point to this. "221" is a number that's been on the calendar in a genuine sense in the past. Multiple times. I had this happen once before during the losing process... instead of writing "148", I had automatically written "198"... or some such.
If the theory is true (again, don't remember where I read it) that it takes a year to adjust to your new body size for every 25 pounds lost/regained... I have three years to go to adjust to the 120's range. Will I make it through those three years without drifting back the other way and undermining these changes? I don't know. I can only live one day at a time. I have more hope than ever before, I can say that.
Several exercises I have been going through recently have me pondering and meditating on identity and body size (again) and adding to my reflections on the topic. The National Weight Control Registry survey questionnaires had me digging through my old calendars. My brother's visit, and seeing his graphs of his daily recordings of weight (with a similar "life happens" pattern of gains and losses, just not as extreme as mine) added a piece. I think I already knew that "normal" eaters also cycle with life events, also eat for comfort at times... they just don't go as crazy as those of us who self-identify as compulsive eaters.
Yesterday I streamed the video of the most recent episode of "Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition" where the subject, Wally, is indeed a compulsive eater. Like me. The trainer ended up leaving him at an addiction center and abandoning the transformation project, 9 months into the year. I'm very glad they showed one like this, because for those of us who are compulsive eaters, weight is a symptom, not the whole problem. For us, a solution has to be more than the mechanics of losing pounds.
What's the point of all this? I suppose that it is a huge uphill battle to change one's concept of oneself. When you look statistically at those who have successfully maintained, long-term, a significant change in weight / body size, it is under ten percent. Which is why I joined the study... may as well contribute to learning about it.
It makes me think: is my identity from the inside out, or from the outside in? From the outside, I am thin and fit, as my brother and others can see. From the inside, I occasionally write down erroneous weight numbers that reflect how I see myself. From the inside I know what I am capable of doing to myself with food, and I choose each day to pray the serenity prayer.
I think I finally know what it means to be "abstinent" in an OA sense, for me (but don't get cocky, Barb). Fitness is a joyful element of reward for living this way, and I live one day at a time.
Life's good. Spark on!
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