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Slowing down for LIFE

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.

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. emoticon

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, emoticon... and you're worth it.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNYWBL 7/21/2011 1:59AM

    You are right on!

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WATERMELLEN 7/20/2011 8:28PM

    We are in this for the long run . . . and so we've got to pace ourselves, rest, sleep, take time to be alone: yeah, all of that!! Thanks as always!!

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KALIGIRL 7/20/2011 12:32PM

    Here's to pacing and running our OWN race!

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BESTSUSIEYET 7/20/2011 11:19AM

    You are right on! I really have to give myself permission to take a day off from walking -- but I remind myself that I am building habits to last a lifetime, and being unrealistic about that will set me up to fail. And sleep is vital! Fun is important! Keep on Keeping On!!

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_LINDA 7/20/2011 10:28AM

    So very aware of this. The one thing I have not accomplished is a good night's sleep, ever, in my recent memory. Night after night of tossing and turning. Pain is an issue and maybe its just a matter of finally getting all my surgeries done and recovered from and then maybe I might find peace..I feel that was why my weight loss was slow (took 2 years to lose 78 lbs) and also why I have to be very diligent with my maintaining. The pounds can creep back on so very easily..I overdid it yesterday walking on the hard pavement for two hours and paid for it with leg cramps last night, but I was stubborn to keep going and push through the pain of walking on cement. The caveat being, not one bus passed me on the trek home, so I couldn't even catch one if I had wanted!! This is usually why I walk everywhere I go!

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HOT4FITNESS 7/20/2011 10:12AM

    So so true, so many times we are in a hurry and just want results now, but when we slow down it is then we realize that great things are happening in this great marathon we are on. Lets finish strong!! Hope to see you Friday!

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WORDLILY 7/20/2011 8:53AM

    Even the weight-loss thing, for those of us still in that mode: Also a marathon, not a sprint. Thanks for the reminder. :)

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/20/2011 8:42AM

    How very true. Today I will try to pace myself. Push a little, but realize when it's time to back-off and take a break. Thanks for the reminder.

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KATHRYNLP 7/20/2011 8:24AM

    Good advice, especially in this heat! emoticon

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SLENDERELLA61 7/20/2011 7:53AM

    Thanks. That is exactly the message I needed to read on this day -- 3 days before a race I really really wanted to run -- and my cough is awful. I must listen. Another day of rest, of course.

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ELRIDDICK 7/20/2011 7:40AM

  Thanks for sharing

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Showing up for LIFE

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

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! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 7/19/2011 8:30PM

    Great riff on KALIGIRL's blog: you two are quite the tag team. I like the project/process distinction and the "showing up for life" concept too: it's so much easier to get all fired up about a "project" (which is going to come to an end) than to accept that weight maintenance is about life systems in balance as a life-long commitment to process!! Nice!!

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SUNNYWBL 7/19/2011 8:21PM

    To succeed in living a healthy lifestyle is my goal. I am in the process of making that happen!

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KALIGIRL 7/19/2011 1:08PM

    Love your 'project/process' distinction - duration oriented, yet each requiring decisions (living) along the way.

Speaking of decisions - I sent an e-mail to the bike group to see if there is any interest Saturday - we'd ride to Southpointe Panera for breakfast - 5 or 7 mile (if we go to Hwy 2 & 27th St) ride for us - fairly flat except the final Old Cheney hill...

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_LINDA 7/19/2011 9:06AM

    Good points!! Here is to making your life the most enjoyable and healthy as possible, equally important requirements to living longer!

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MARVEEME 7/19/2011 8:29AM

    I shared this link with your brother too, to try to help you both.

For what it's worth....I'm working on building BOXES now.

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MIRAGE727 7/19/2011 8:27AM

    Relatively speaking, if I was to avoid making the decisions which make up my healthy lifestyle, I feel that I would lose years of my life! That's why I took ownership and gained those years back. It was my driving force. Thanks for sharing and yes, it makes you think. Be safe. Be well.

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NANA717 7/19/2011 7:50AM

    Oh, I like this!!! Thank you for posting!!

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Identity and numbers

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!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SUNNYWBL 7/18/2011 9:24PM

    Great insight!

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MOBYCARP 7/18/2011 7:21PM

    While I can't speak to the accuracy of the one year for 25 lbs. metric, it rings true to me that time is required to adjust to a different body image. I remember being 185 lbs. and thinking I was fat; getting used to myself over 200 lbs., where dropping below it was a fantasy; and coming down to touch 185, briefly, after I'd thought I couldn't go that far. There's definitely a lag between my weight changing and my becoming accustomed to the current weight.

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BESTSUSIEYET 7/18/2011 3:11PM

    Love it, Barb! Keep challenging to think!

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KALIGIRL 7/18/2011 1:06PM

    "Fitness is a joyful element of reward for living this way" - beautifully said and I can attest that in your case, it's very true!

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SEATURTLE86 7/18/2011 10:50AM

    emoticon Very interesting blog today.

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MEDDYPEDDY 7/18/2011 9:15AM

    Gret blog, thanks. Three years...hmm I never adjusted to the fat me so maybe I will just be what I think I am ;-)

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FITFABJENN 7/18/2011 8:45AM

    Thanks for the info on the year to every 25 pounds. That means I'll need 4 years to adjust to my goal weight.

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WATERMELLEN 7/18/2011 7:57AM

    This is a terrific blog: both important and moving.

I'm interested to learn that it takes 3 years to adjust mentally to the weight loss . . . for me, maybe more!!

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One thing... outdoor edition

Sunday, July 17, 2011

We are in an excessive heat warning week... it is predicted we could top the century mark on the Fahrenheit scale every day from Monday through Thursday. Today they said "99"... yeah. Like that makes a huge difference.

I had been troubled by the state of this tree's undergrowth for some time. It makes it harder for the cars coming down the street to see children playing, people jogging, other cars approaching the intersection, etc.

As with yesterday's Volkswalk, the better part of valor for yard work this week is to do it EARLY. So I did this between 7 and 8 a.m., before church time. Humming "Baa, baa Black Sheep" because I thought so: a three bag job.

I'd say I got my morning "one thing" done for today. emoticon

Life's good. Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 7/18/2011 8:18AM

    I agree with Linda -- that's citizenship!! Love the "three bag full" part too!!

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CHRYS13 7/17/2011 4:59PM

    Great job!
We're in the same advisory here in southwest MN! Oh, so humid!!

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MARVEEME 7/17/2011 2:31PM

    One less hazard! Great job!

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_LINDA 7/17/2011 1:06PM

    Well done for being a conscientious citizen!! Hot here too, 100 humidex today and 43 C (109.4F) tomorrow. We haven't had temperatures this high in a great many years! Means morning workouts, or best : pool workouts!!

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MNTWINSGAL 7/17/2011 10:50AM

    You sure did....and so smart to get out there and get it done early! We are under a heat advisory all week too....90's all week, but so far no 100's predicted. The humidity is awful though.

Stay cool, and stay hydrated!

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LEANJEAN6 7/17/2011 10:03AM

    Good morning to you too!!!! The early bird gets the worm eh??--LOL--- You did a great job there!--Lynda

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KARIDIAN1 7/17/2011 9:40AM

    Looks great-what an improvement. We are in the same heat way here in MN. Hubby went for his walk around 7 am and came back after 30 minutes and promptly took another shower. Today may be a mall walk or something along that order.

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Sparking in Person!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

This morning I had my second "in the flesh" meeting with another Sparkler. Photo above to prove it now has a place on my front page, too. We've been writing and commenting on one another's blogs for over a year now... and when we both discovered we were participating in the same 10K Volkswalk today, we opted to meet and walk it together. We knew we were in the same town. What we didn't know was that we live essentially in the same neighborhood!

About time we Sparked together! It was a blast getting to know KALIGIRL better. Of course by now she knows I'm just as chatty in person as I am on the blog. But she still says we can exercise together in future! I love tolerance.

Of course from reading HER blogs, I already knew she's a kindred spirit... full of insight and intelligence and spunk. So, those of you who haven't yet met a Spark friend in real life? I recommend it. Spark people are real people living real lives, and sharing this piece of it right here!

I only had the one snapshot taken, not knowing how much of the 10K we might jog & didn't want to carry the camera. I got to see parts of the city that I don't normally, including part of the full marathon route. We spotted a HUGE turtle emoticon (gotta go back and snap its picture one of these days for the Turtle team). Passed a chum from my work place who pointed out a rainbow to us. Met a few of her running class. We got back safe before the heat got too heavy, and even got sprinkled on... and now, post-shower, I'm still bubbling with good feelings and endorphins.

This journey is so worth it, fellow Sparklers. Live well, Spark on!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLENDERELLA61 7/18/2011 2:42PM

    Congrats on completing the 10K and how special to do it with Kaligirl!

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KALIGIRL 7/18/2011 1:09PM

    It was such FUN!
Here's to you my much better fit kindred spirit emoticon
You will conquer Friday's 5K emoticon

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CHRYS13 7/17/2011 5:00PM

    how wonderful for the both of you! emoticon

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JUST_TRI_IT 7/17/2011 8:57AM

    How fun! Glad you had a great race with a fellow healthy spirit!

emoticon with emoticon WOOHOO!!


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MSLZZY 7/17/2011 7:10AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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_LINDA 7/17/2011 2:33AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
Well done with the walk and meeting KALIGIRL!!
That is fantastic!! I would so love to meet my fellow Sparkers!

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REJ7777 7/17/2011 2:14AM

    emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 7/16/2011 9:08PM

    So cool: two of MY favourite Spark Friends get to meet face to face!!

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LJCANNON 7/16/2011 2:30PM

    I LOVE Face-To-Face Sparking!!
emoticonYou both look GREAT!! I can't wait to meet the Turtle.

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LEANJEAN6 7/16/2011 2:19PM

    Oh wow!!--I'd LOVE to mkeet another Sparkler!!!! You are so fotrtunate!!---- Glad you enjoyed it!!!

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FITFABJENN 7/16/2011 12:31PM

    Awesome! It must be so wonderful to meet up with fellow Sparkers. You both look so happy in the pic.

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LINDAJOYWK 7/16/2011 12:05PM

    How fun! You both look so happy & healthy!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/16/2011 12:01PM

    What fun! I've had the pleasure of meeting SUSIEMILO last year and hopefully we'll have a chance to meet again once this summer. And this January SHARONSPARKLE and I are planning to hook-up when we both travel to Arizona. There are a few others that I've gotten close to but live a state (or more) away. I keep threatening to plan a road trip one of these days, and maybe I will. It is fun to meet in person. We already feel like we know each other because we share so much of our lives with each other.

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SENATOR9 7/16/2011 11:54AM

    Glad you had a nice run and meet a new friend in person

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