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Are we talking about the same kid?

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. emoticon 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! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KASEYCOFF 7/26/2011 9:22AM

    Mmm hmm... I'm in your corner, fer sher.

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LJCANNON 7/23/2011 10:36AM

    "Be ever vigilant" is such Good Advice!! And it is one of the Cornerstones of a Healthy Lifestyle!!

emoticon emoticon

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REJ7777 7/23/2011 6:15AM

    Humans are pretty complexe beings.

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_LINDA 7/23/2011 12:17AM

    You peeled away the layers, one step at a time, to reveal the truly awesome person you really are within! Enjoy the new you, feels great, doesn't it??

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SUNNY1432 7/22/2011 8:34PM

    You always share so much and it really shows how wonderful of a person you are!
emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 7/22/2011 1:15PM

    I like the 'new' you too!

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First Impressions and self-image

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! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAJOYWK 7/24/2011 8:47AM


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LJCANNON 7/22/2011 10:27AM

    emoticonThanks for sharing your Journey!!

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KALIGIRL 7/22/2011 8:53AM

    "...abstinence from the compulsion. One day at a time."
It's funny, but you don't strike me as a compulsive person. Granted I don't 'know' you (and am looking forward to changing that), but you seem so easy and self-assured...
Ah well, the one day, one hour, one moment is so true...

Hope you are drinking lots of fluids in prep for tonight and once I have details for biking tomorrow, will send your way.

Namaste my friend.

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DEE0973 7/21/2011 12:32PM

    Great---we have all been on this journey albeit in different packages.. thanks for sharing your journey

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_LINDA 7/21/2011 11:47AM

    Been there done that too. There are still times I am astonished I am fitting a small top and automatically reach for the medium. The health staff in the hospital were all calling me tiny, petite, and it was hard to think that was me they referred to. When I told them I almost weighed 200 lbs twice, they were floored, and immediately wondered how I did it. Cue the Spark :)
Awesome statement! Way to be strong and rock your healthy life style!!

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SEATURTLE86 7/21/2011 11:36AM

    emoticon emoticon

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KATIE33MAHALA 7/21/2011 11:24AM

    Well said! You are truly a Gracious Lady!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 7/21/2011 10:25AM

    Truly inspiring.

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BESTSUSIEYET 7/21/2011 10:07AM

    Makes me wonder if my 1st impressions of others are often wrong ... Seeing only today, and not their whole story. Need to take time to ask and listen and learn! The journey (not the destination) is often the main thing! And, yes, those gifts of grace that enable us to succeed are the true blessings! On my own, I'd still be trapped in my unhealthy body and unhealthy lifestyle!

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HOT4FITNESS 7/21/2011 9:17AM

    I have only know you since the "new you" but I admire your hard work it took to get there. We have both been in the same place on this journey. I remember the days and months after my knee replacement surgery. I was fat and out of shape. People that meet me now think I have always been thin.
Now we can motivate and inspire others on that part of their journey.
Great job!!! Keep up the good work!

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REJ7777 7/21/2011 8:11AM

    The best programme in the world doesn't work... unless you actually DO it. "Motivation and action are gifts of grace." So very true! emoticon

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MICKEYMAX 7/21/2011 7:57AM

    Beautifully said! Such great insight - and you look terrific!

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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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