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Living in the now

Sunday, August 07, 2011

Having done the year of maintenance weigh-in yesterday, I might be tempted to think of that as a finish line. A new day has dawned, and with it the next phase of the journey called life.

Today I am contemplating how wonderful living consciously, mindfully, in the moment is. I've been thinking about the elements that make living this way possible. I hark back to the six elements of The Solution by Laurel Mellin.

This book has been on my shelf since 1997, and I have blogged about it before, but it is worthy of a recap. What popped it into my thinking was the break conversation in the middle of the ride with Becky's Bikers yesterday.

One of our number brought up how interesting it is that our various journeys in life tend to be wrapped up in one metaphor or another. She didn't use the word metaphor, but I will, as to me, the weight thing *has* been my metaphor of learning to live fully.

Hers, and her family's, she said, was wrapped up in cancer... and learning everything she could to combat the genetic tendencies through healthy behavior. As I go back over and review The Solution, I find that these elements really apply to life in general. Whether our journey is wrapped in food, in some other addiction... in relationship issues, or specific health issues... we are all on this journey.

I think of the six elements as being six journeys in and of themselves. The author divides the elements into three categories: Mind, Body, and Lifestyle.

1. From weak nurturing to strong nurturing. This is where we parent ourselves... figuring out what we really need, as opposed to "stuffing" discomfort with an avoidance behavior.

2. From ineffective limits to effective ones. This is where we take a stand to define ourselves, rather than letting others define us.

3. From body shame to body pride. Here is where we encourage in ourselves the recognition of how wonderful the one body we've been issued in life is, and treat it with respect and honor.

4. From poor vitality to good health. This is where we face the music, go see the doctor, get underlying health issues that may be getting in the way identified and hopefully resolved. We make and follow plans that will work around / work with those issues and allow us to live fully anyhow!

5. From unbalanced eating to balanced eating. Here's where the whole "doing it" of nutrition comes in. We know what we need to eat... this step supports how to do it... how to achieve balance in content, timing, appreciation of the bounty that is food. Binges disappear as we establish that balance.

6. From stalled living to mastery living. Living in the moment and living with our priorities comes here. Identifying activity that is MEANINGFUL to each of us, and making sure it is a part of our days. What are we waiting for? If not immediately masters, we can be working toward that mastery... reading, going to classes, joining a club, or working appreciatively can all be part of the journey to mastery.

We have focus on different parts of these journeys at different times. Choose your focus.

Life's good. Spark on!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BESTSUSIEYET 8/9/2011 10:54PM

    Love it! Thanks for sharing!

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KALIGIRL 8/8/2011 12:30PM

    • nurturing
• effective limits
• body pride
• good health
• balanced eating
• mastery living

We might not achieve each one every day, but that's why we practice

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BOOKWORM27S 8/7/2011 7:03PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SUNNY1432 8/7/2011 3:31PM

    Thanks for the review, I missed it the first time, but I think I may need to go check this one out!! emoticon

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LEANJEAN6 8/7/2011 2:48PM


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_LINDA 8/7/2011 12:42PM

    Great summary!! Thanks for this lifestyle in a nutshell
summary! I am hoping to someday focus on something other than my health and be able to move on and get off the surgery treadmill and really start enjoying life and what this body has to offer when normal.
The Spark is with you!

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MOBYCARP 8/7/2011 12:34PM

    Living in the now is a challenge to many people. Some people tend to live in the past, and thus not appreciate the present. Others tend to live for the future, overlooking the joys of the present while preparing for the mythical time when things will be better.

It's a fine balance to hold on to awareness of the past, and to prepare prudently for the future, while still savoring the present to its fullest. Five years ago, this balance was beyond me. Now, I have it part time. I still find it easy to slide into overlooking the present while being over-concerned about the future; but I'm happier when I can live in the now.

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JOURNEYTO60 8/7/2011 12:25PM

    I am putting The Solution on my reading list. Thanks for posting! I am at the point where I entered into SP for weight loss, but realized I could find ways to improve in all aspects of my life. This past year I started the work. This next year I would like to put it all together and work on wholistic plans. You have provided great advise. Thanks again!

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Goal Met

Saturday, August 06, 2011

emoticon I weighed in after eating TWO breakfasts and a snack and fully hydrating... I wore my jeans and heaviest sneakers and just for good measure put a roll of quarters in each of four pockets, and my car keys in one, too.

I made my weight... about 3 pounds under goal... I might have made the five pounds even without the quarters. So my consultant dutifully filled out the paperwork and in a matter of a few weeks I will get a check in the mail. emoticon

And I feel stuffed. I haven't eaten lunch... will probably defer that meal... oof.

Bike ride this morning was great... it was foggy out, but by the time we got home it burned off. Now I'm thinking... nap.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAJOYWK 8/8/2011 6:38AM

    Awesome!!! Congrats!

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MIZCATHI 8/7/2011 7:55AM

    Everyday I read your blogs to get a kernel of wisdom and how to do it!

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_LINDA 8/6/2011 11:45PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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WATERMELLEN 8/6/2011 8:47PM

    That's terrific!! What a nice problem to have had . . . . virtue IS rewarded!!

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NANA717 8/6/2011 6:54PM

    WOW!!! Contratulations!!

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MOBYCARP 8/6/2011 3:44PM

    emoticon emoticon

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What's more important... your money or your life?

Friday, August 05, 2011

OK, so I posted a strange status. And you're getting a "two-fer" blog while I explain something that happened in my brain.

Some of you know that I'm a Jenny Craig maintenance client. The program / contract I signed with them had a provision that if I was within five pounds (up or down) from my goal weight on their scale, one year after having attained it... I get half my sign-up fee back. Any of you who has ever paid the freight on one of these "premium" weight loss plans knows that half your sign up fee is a significant bonus.

When I weighed in last month, I was 7 pounds under my "goal" on their scale. And tomorrow is that one-year of maintenance weigh-in. And as I am a daily weigh-er, I know what I was on my own scale that morning, and this morning. I have not gained those two pounds in the intervening month.

My consultant at the JC center is on my side, and made the suggestion to make my weigh in appointment later in the day than usual and make sure to eat lunch right before, and be well hydrated. If this does not do the trick, I have another friend who has actually done the experiment: two rolls of quarters makes a pound on the scale. There are pockets in my jeans, folks.

Still, being a compulsive eater, I found myself at the grocery store tonight thinking of deliberate ways of eating to gain. This is the tricky bit... you'd think this would be an ideal spot to be in. It's not.

Standing there staring at the ice cream, NONE OF IT APPEALED TO ME! emoticon I envisioned myself eating the way I used to, the way I did almost daily to gain the weight in the first place... and I just said to myself, "I wouldn't enjoy it. I would be eating it for entirely the wrong reason. I'm not hungry for it, I'm not craving it... why would I put myself through that?"

I went to the chips aisle. And the same thing happened! I looked at my old favorites, sour cream and onion flavored chips, and caramel corn and cheese popcorn... and I found myself reading the labels and saying... nope, it just does not call to me tonight.

I did end up with two "treats" in my cart. Natural peanut butter. And a Mounds bar. Both of which I've indulged in: 2 tablespoons of the peanut butter, spread on a wheat tortilla for supper... it was heavenly and the whole Mounds bar for dessert! I am still in the same boat on the scale, fully clothed... I may just have to put those rolls of quarters in my pocket and call it good.

The real surprise (to me) is that at least for today... I'm eating like a naturally thin person: if I am not hungry for it, if it doesn't appeal... it's not going into my mouth. I'm worth more to me than that. And hopefully, that means, "I'll take both my money AND my life, thank you!"

Will update after the fact, and let you know what happened at the scale. emoticon

Life's good... Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAJOYWK 8/8/2011 6:44AM

    You have come a long way!

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WATERMELLEN 8/6/2011 8:46PM

    Love this blog: too funny (and very very telling . . . you're thinking like a thin person!!)

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KE11YJAE 8/6/2011 12:30PM

    I think being two pounds two low is a wonderful problem to have. Great job! And I need to start saying no to the junk food. Well good luck at your weigh-in

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MNTWINSGAL 8/6/2011 11:06AM

    I sure wish I could find that place in my mind where I could go to the treat aisle and have a hard time finding something appealing. But I guess it's always something, isn't it?? Personally, I'd rather have your weight problem than mine....but yes, I do think you should get your maintenance bonus. If loaded pockets is what it takes, then go for it!

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_LINDA 8/5/2011 10:37PM

    Imagine having to cheat the scale by adding weight in your pockets. Is that a successful weight loss program or what?? That is great news not being tempted by all your old favorites!! You have come a long way..
Good luck with the weigh in!!

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DEBRITA01 8/5/2011 9:31PM

    Oh, the games we play...LOL. Stick with your mindful eating and take those quarters along to alter the scale reading. You've earned the cash incentive by being under your goal a year later. emoticon emoticon emoticon

Comment edited on: 8/5/2011 9:34:31 PM

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LEANJEAN6 8/5/2011 9:01PM

    Woo Woo! I hope it goes well! Yu certainly deserve that $$$$--Lynda

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PENNYAN45 8/5/2011 8:57PM

    For 7 pounds under, they should give you 75% of the money back!
You would think they would congratulate you on your extra weight loss.
I suppose they're worried about someone going too far in the other direction???
Do they think you are anorexic now?
Should we be worried about you?

(I say do whatever you have to to hit THEIR number on the scale.)

emoticon emoticon

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BESTSUSIEYET 8/5/2011 8:41PM

    Being more than 5# under doesn't seem like it should penalize you ... I hope you don't end up 6# over in trying not to be under!! But nevertheless, congratulations on your healthy lifestyle becoming more "normal" than over-indulging!

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MOBYCARP 8/5/2011 8:37PM

    Yeah, just put a dumbbell in your pocket, that's the ticket!

I hope you find a way to get the money without messing up how you eat.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SAMI199 8/5/2011 8:31PM

    Good Luck-that is a big bonus.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Are the furries making me sneeze?

Friday, August 05, 2011

I spent the first several decades of my life in denial about the connection between the physical world around me and my health. My behavior? Pshaw! Nothing to do with my weight. Certainly nothing to do with an illness!

You'd think it would be obvious: lilacs in bloom? Sneeze, drippy nose, headaches! Iris in the house? Similar.

When I first went on a serious weight loss program, a healthy one... it showed me the clear link of calories in/calories out. That was the basis for all further learning. It took a while even after that to bring in the "allergy" connection.

You might think I was really, really stupid or ignorant. What I was was religious. I was raised in a faith of pure idealism, where your thought / prayers controlled your physical health. It "seemed to work" for me as a child. What it really did was calm me and enable me to wait out whatever it was that ailed me. No drugs, no diagnoses... I lived to adulthood, married, even bore a child with this faith intact. Until I first lost the weight, I didn't have the recognition of the connection... I buried it deep.

Bottom line, I learned that the rules of the physical world work. No matter that my parents "exempted" me from biology for religious reasons. The rules work. I'm obviously blessed with a strong enough genetic makeup to have survived, and in fact some studies show that letting your kids eat dirt (to use a metaphor of my mom's) makes them stronger. However, now, as an "over 50", having shed the religion that encouraged me into denial... I pay more attention to what's going on around me when I start to see symptoms.

This week, I'm noticing things. The kittens have been here since last Friday after work. I have started to notice more sneezing and drippy nose, scratchy throat at times. Not as pronounced as my sister's (who swelled up in a matter of minutes). It has taken a more prolonged exposure. Not horribly severe to the point of taking my Zyrtek. I will have to observe for a while, because there are always multiple factors: weather fronts do things to me, too.

When I go to work, I'm fine there. I keep the kitties out of my bedroom (perhaps this was prescient on my part) and I wake up clear. I am washing my hands more (I always do when handling animals, this is not new).

Will I have to give them up? Unless things become markedly worse, no. But I will continue to alter my behavior. This much I have learned... "the rules work"... therefore, follow the rules.

Life's still good... Spark on!

emoticon emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WATERMELLEN 8/6/2011 8:51PM

    Love love love cats. And they love me: inevitably, if I'm in the home of someone who has a cat, the cat makes a beeline for me: they know.

But: I'm really really really allergic. And that's why I don't have a cat, much as I would love to. (An orange one, long haired . . . yeah!!)

Hope you and your kitties can work it out. I keep telling myself I've "outgrown" my allergies . . . and hope you have or will also . . . .

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MEDDYPEDDY 8/6/2011 3:23AM

    Love your balanced thoughts. To me, if I found that I continued to have reactions, I would probably try to place the kittens somewhere else. But that is because of my recent experience of mental vulnerability - I hve learned that to cope I have to take away all pressure on my system that I can. On the other hand, kittens (and animals in general) give me so much joy so it might be worth a little sneeziness.

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_LINDA 8/5/2011 10:43PM

    So sorry you might be allergic to your cute kitties :(( Hope you can figure out something..

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MOBYCARP 8/5/2011 6:53PM

    Well, bummer! emoticon

Three of your siblings have no problems living with cats. But the one who does, is the other redhead who had freckles in her youth.

If you do end up having to get rid of the cats, I'm sure you'll be able to find them a good home. They're terminally cute.

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KALIGIRL 8/5/2011 1:05PM

    Sorry to hear you may have a reaction to the furries. I'm hoping it remains mild and you can build an immunity.

(I'm also hoping a little of your folks old-time 'religion' rubs off - the brain is a powerful thing!)
Namaste my friend.

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DEBRA0818 8/5/2011 12:15PM

    Barb -- Your kitties are so cute, I hope you can keep them! Each person is different of course, but I will say that my husband was allergic to the two cats I had when I met him but he acclimated to them in a relatively short period of time. He also had to be careful to wash his hands frequently, and took the occasional Bendryl, but we all lived happily together until their demise.

Good luck to all of you!

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BESTSUSIEYET 8/5/2011 10:05AM

    Uh oh! That would be a bummer! But I'm glad you are wise in putting 2 & 2 together! Keep on watching ... Hope you can find a way to co-exist happily!

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DEBRITA01 8/5/2011 9:32AM

    Being aware of how we contribute to what happens in our life is important. So is faith....just not blind faith. Great approach to a happy and healthy life!
Keep making those observations ...and hopefully, you will be able to keep the kittens that you are growing to love.

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WORDLILY 8/5/2011 8:38AM

    Oh, I hope you're not allergic to the kitties! But from what you're saying, it would totally make sense.

Thinking, pondering, keeping your eyes open and seeing the cause and effect -- this is a good approach.

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Taking surveys with a grain of salt

Thursday, August 04, 2011

I'm not one to use superlatives when referring to my own life. Consequently, when I take surveys, I rarely pick the "all the time", "always", "never"... because once you've lived more than 20 years on the planet, chances are you have at least got to the point of "most of the time" or "often", "once in a while" or "rarely".

I followed a link from a workplace wellness site today that took me to a "strength" survey. I kind of rushed through it because it was before work... and then as I reviewed the results, I had to wonder if the self-identifying of characteristics one has demonstrated really is accurate. I mean, after all, I'm a compulsive eater... I know all about lying to myself! emoticon I wonder if something like a "strength" survey might be better answered by others who know me. My biggest strength came out as "open mindedness". I guess I'm relatively happy with that.

After work I went back and took a "happiness" survey at the same site. Same deal... the reluctance to answer in superlatives. I came out a 3.75 on a scale of 1 -5... by the things they asked about.

I couldn't help as I took the happiness survey wondering how I might have answered it two years ago. Or three? I distinctly remember the moment when I said to a counselor "I feel better about myself when..." and finished it "I work at diet and exercise." In short, out of my own mouth came the words that I just plain feel better when I nurture myself!

What about the rest of you? Do you value yourself more when you take care of your health? Or do you take better care of your health because you started to value yourself more?

Life's good... Spark on! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LINDAJOYWK 8/8/2011 6:42AM

    Interesting thought...

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MEDDYPEDDY 8/5/2011 1:40AM

    It is a two way street - when I take better care of myself, I feel better about myself and if I feel better about myself, I take better care of myself... it΄s kind of obvious. But what has become more and more true to me is that it is perishable - you have to do maintanance work on your mind as well as on your body every day. Also obvious but I realise that when I feel good I sort of lean back and forget that I have to keep doing the things that made me feel good every day or my mood will start to change.

About surveys - as I started at te eating disorder clinic I answered a lot of questions that gave me the profile of having BED (binge eating disorder) "without compensatory behaviour" (not omiting or exercising obsessively) after six months I got to answer those questions again - and my profile had changed, I was in the "normal" span... which was interesting because in my mind not so much has happended. There were nso many questions that it was impossible to remember how I had answered them before and I did not try to be "good" in answering them, just tried to be as honest as I could.

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SUNNY1432 8/4/2011 9:29PM

    I'm not sure where I sit with those 2 questions as to the self value, but I do think it is important to take care of myself for my kids. Surveys are just to generic to take seriously:)
You kitty is adorable!!

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WATERMELLEN 8/4/2011 8:29PM

    What a pretty kitty!!

One of the things I request of witnesses testifying is: never say never!! Because someone will find an instance of when never wasn't so . . .

Love sugarless gum, especiallyl Dentyne Fire!! Cinnamon-y, my fave . . . .

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