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Lessons learned - do they agree or conflict?

Friday, February 24, 2012

Kaligirl speculated yesterday in her response to my blog over whether we have to repeat lessons until we learn them. Interesting aspect of human life.

I work as a programmer (short version... I could get specific, but who would care?). One of the biggest challenges in programming and analysis is getting the requirements right. Why? Because often they are unstated, or implied, and the hearer "doesn't get" them, because the hearer can't read the mind of the person stating the requirement... only hear or read the words he or she is given. This can lead to bad programs and unhappy users! We've all seen that funny picture of "What the user wanted"... a tire swing hung off a tree by a single rope... going through progressive warps before it becomes three boards linked too closely together for anyone to sit on them, suspended by multiple ropes. What happened?

I'm thinking that some of these life lessons are similar. We actually have multiple forces at work in our psyches!

Let's take the obvious: we set out to lose weight. We succeed. What did we learn?

1. We learned that we CAN change our body size and shape through changing what we do.

2. We may have learned that we felt pretty good throughout the process.

But we may have learned some unstated things that may lead us to be unhappy users of the product (healthy habits). For example:

3. We may have learned that losing weight and changing our body size did not solve ALL our problems. We may have learned that we still had an unhappy marriage. Or an unhealthy job situation. Or ... fill in the blank.

This can be a discouraging lesson to learn, and sometimes it leads us to "give up" for a while, because we had unrealistic expectations of weight loss / fitness.

Lesson from regaining:
4. We may have NEEDED to learn that you have to keep up the behaviors to keep the weight off. Losing doesn't teach that lesson. Regaining does. But sometimes it is hard to convince yourself to start again because during loss you learned:

5. It takes hard work and determination and constant vigilence to lose. It takes those same things to maintain.

6. Maintaining a healthy weight depends on behaviors. For some people those behaviors are natural. For others of us, not so much... and we have to be "obsessive" about the habits to get the results.

Lessons learned during loss/maintenance:

7. We may have learned that we HAVE emotions we didn't want to acknowledge.

8. We NEEDED to learn and practice healthier ways of dealing with those emotions. For some people, those healthier ways are natural. For others of us... again, not so much... we need to keep ourselves fit in more ways than the physical to feel whole.

In short, we learned some lessons that support being healthy, and some that can discourage us... and until we're ready to accept the discouraging ones, and "do it anyway"... we will repeat the experiences.

Life is good... we are learning... and as long as we never give up... long term success is ours. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JOANNHUNT 1/9/2013 8:51AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TONISTRELEC 2/29/2012 9:53AM


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RANDOMLY_HONEST 2/27/2012 9:17AM

    Great blog!
PS - as a fellow programmer, I'd love to see this "What the user wanted" cartoon you're talking about!

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KATIE33MAHALA 2/25/2012 3:07PM

    Good blog Barb! This seems to be true for most of us, if not all! One thing I have learned, is by caring what I look like, or wt., does not solve my life problems, but it does however prove to myself, " I am alive". Keeping with that, my spirit grows, God Bless you Barb, hope you have a great wk. end!

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LJCANNON 2/25/2012 2:59PM

    "#5 It takes Hard Work & Perseverance to Lose.
# 6 It takes the same things to Maintain. Some of us need to be 'Obsessive' about these things."
emoticonThank You for letting me know that I am not alone in being 'Obsessed' about staying Vigilant and working harder to maintain the weight loss than actually losing it.

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LOGOULD 2/25/2012 2:38PM

    Very is just one lesson after another and each lesson we master just leads us to another.

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FOODIELOVER1 2/25/2012 12:43PM

  emoticon So true...

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APRILLSCOTT 2/25/2012 11:53AM

    A-men to this one. Life is an everlearning process! emoticon

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MSCRISPIN 2/25/2012 11:11AM

    Life is about learning from our mistakes and glories. Good blog. emoticon

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THINJIM1 2/25/2012 10:53AM

  Eccellent Blog, and right on. Im now 65 and things that were problems when young are now not even part of my thought process. Keep plugging, for me life has gotten easier, but I layed the foundation earlier.

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PENNYAN45 2/25/2012 10:50AM

    This is a great blog!
It is SO true that I didn't get all the learning about weight loss until I had started regaining some of the weight.
Now I am learning more as I start to lose again.

Also...I am shifting priorities. I'm balancing the benefits of being at a certain weight with the effort required to maintain that weight. But that's another blog!

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MOBYCARP 2/24/2012 5:12PM

    I've learned some of those lessons. I have an unpleasant feeling that I will be learning some of the less comfortable ones in the future. But I guess we all have to do the best we can, and we all learn when we're ready to learn.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 2/24/2012 12:04PM

    This was spot-on, Barb!

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WOLFSPIRITMOM 2/24/2012 9:44AM

    Yes, so true. Not only do you have to change your thinking about eating but also how to love yourself!

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SUNNY332 2/24/2012 9:42AM

    Very, very good! I do agree with Kaligirl on this.

Thanks for sharing the lessons learned.


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MSLZZY 2/24/2012 9:42AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KRISZTA11 2/24/2012 9:35AM

    Thank you for sharing,
great blog!

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KARIDIAN1 2/24/2012 9:24AM

    Very good points and examples. You hit the nail on the head! I liked it!

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KALIGIRL 2/24/2012 9:20AM

    Here's to learning - to take the 'bad' with the 'good' as we complete our revolutions around the sun.
Namaste my friend.

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KANOE10 2/24/2012 9:10AM

    That is how I look at maintenance..a learning process..built on consistent small steps that keep me focused. Nice blog.

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CONCHA77 2/24/2012 8:20AM

    Excellent Blog, Barb.

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_LINDA 2/24/2012 7:53AM

    An interesting class that is being offered that I am very tempted in attending is learning why we eat the way we do. They are focusing not on exercise and weight loss, but the emotions behind eating. I am thinking that if maybe I had something like this BEFORE I began my journey, it might have been just a tad more easier. Its seems like maybe we need a little psychological training to go along with the physical. Much like athletes get mental training as well as physical to make them perform the best that they can. Do you think?
My goal with weight loss and fitness was to simply be able to move the best I can with my disease. Because I know not to move make the pain and disability worse. I wasn't expecting any life changing experiences. But I do feel a heck of a lot better and that is a great emotional boost!
Have a Fantastic Friday! (Day 3)

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Visiting the way back machine...

Thursday, February 23, 2012

When it comes to significant turning points in life, do we recognize them at the time, or only YEARS, nay, in my case, DECADES later? The anniversary of one of those turning points is coming up for me.

Monday, February 27, 1989. That makes it 23 years, coming up. It was the day that I went to my first Weight Watchers at Work meeting. I was miserable. My husband did not want me to go, and in fact locked me out of the room where my winter coat was. I was angry and determined, swiped HIS coat out of a closet, and went, anyway.

The scale said something very discouraging: 224.5. During the next week, I was very strict in following the plan, the old one with exchanges, and limited eggs and cheese. When I went back the next week, I had dropped 10.5 pounds! Of course the losses were less over the following weeks and months, but by October, people I had worked with and not seen in a few months did not recognize me.

I never did reach my "goal" weight that time, and in fact, struggled with maintenance and regained, lost and regained, many times since. But today I look back on that date as the start of my journey of putting health higher on my list of priorities. It was in that year that I learned I could do it, and how. What I've struggled with since has been the maintenance of motivation.

Now, I examine carefully my slips and slides, seeking to learn whatever lesson is there for me. The motto of "Never give up" is a strong one. The motto of "it feels so good to be fit" is also strong. But sometimes it helps to look back at where one came from: from the days of not being able to take five steps across a room without becoming out of breath. From the days of knees hurting, back hurting, because of the excess burden I had put on them.

When tempted to give up, after a time of success... it is good to remember... that this journey is WORTH IT! Feel good about taking each step, even the ones that slip and slide... and go forward... into health. Into feeling good. Into the YOU that you were made to be.

LIFE is good. Choose LIFE. And Spark on!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APRILLSCOTT 2/25/2012 11:59AM

    I loved this blog! You have come such a long way! I loved the story about how you took your husband's coat and went anyway! That was determination! You are becoming a true inspiration to me. emoticon

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KARIDIAN1 2/23/2012 9:33PM

    You did it! What a success story and inspiration you are to others.

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LEANJEAN6 2/23/2012 7:40PM

    Wow! --You are so right--Great blog!!--- Slip sliding--but it's a journey and worth it---You have cxome a long way--I really do look up to you!--Lynda

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MOBYCARP 2/23/2012 7:27PM

    Once in a while, we have to look back to appreciate how good we have it now. Thanks for the reminder that what I'm whining about these days really isn't as bad as stuff I lived through a few years ago.

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KALIGIRL 2/23/2012 3:04PM

    Amazing where our journeys take us - I've always wondered if we 'have to' keep repeating things until we 'learn the lesson'...whatever than may be?
Namaste my friend.

Comment edited on: 2/23/2012 3:05:45 PM

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ANDI571 2/23/2012 3:03PM

    Amen Sister! You have had to endure so much, and are such an inspiration. You are awesome.

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REJ7777 2/23/2012 1:24PM

    “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” -George Santayana
That includes our personal history! emoticon

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MIZCATHI 2/23/2012 1:02PM

    it's good to reflect on the milestones in our life, and certainly the attempts at significant loss (even when we regain) contains valuable life lessons that help us eventually win the battle. The discomfort and pain are memories that I never want to forget.

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_LINDA 2/23/2012 12:15PM

    Wow! 23 years of heading in the right direction! I am so impressed! No wonder you can always get firmly back on track no matter what hits you! Well done!!
It really does feel better to be fit, even if it does take more work!
Keep up the great work! One day at a time!

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MSLZZY 2/23/2012 10:08AM

    You said it all. This journey takes time, effort
and there will always be slips but, in the end,
the work was worth it. Keep on smiling and
SParking! You make my world better! HUGS!

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SUNNY332 2/23/2012 9:05AM

    Awesome post today, Barb.

"Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after another." Walter Elliott

You are a Winner!


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MNTWINSGAL 2/23/2012 8:54AM

    Your determination is always inspiring. You Go, Girl!!!

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WOLFSPIRITMOM 2/23/2012 8:36AM

    emoticonGreat blog, thanks!

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KATHRYNLP 2/23/2012 8:15AM

    Very Inspiring!!! One Day at a Time!! emoticon

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Grab your fresh, hot motivation!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

What gets your healthy motivation pumping? Seriously, what trips your trigger and makes you start really getting into taking good care of you?

Two things happened today: One, I got an e-mail from someone asking for some help. Two, my new swimsuit got delivered.

Which of these items would spur you to do well? Which would throw you into a tailspin?

It's all a matter of attitude. There have been days in my life when either one would have either a good or a bad effect, driving me further into bad behavior or rejoicing in good behavior.

So... where is the attitude today? I'm hoping it's in the good lean, toward health. Because I'm worth it. Bootstraps, Barb, bootstraps. Grab your motivation wherever you can... it surrounds you!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APRILLSCOTT 2/25/2012 12:02PM

Thanks for the motivation and inspiration! I have got where I just love your blogs. They help me a lot! emoticon

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SUNNY332 2/22/2012 8:38PM

    It sure does....

Only 24 more days until spring. How's that for motivation?

Huggers, Sunny

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KATHRYNLP 2/22/2012 8:54AM

    Ummmm... what's a swimsuit? emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KALIGIRL 2/22/2012 8:44AM

    Ah - now I understand the ONE....

Have a great day!

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BUGGYS 2/22/2012 6:57AM

    Motivation is found any and everywhere...funny, my new swimsuit arrived the other day also and now I'm on a mission! emoticon

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MAGGIE101857 2/22/2012 6:45AM

    You are worth it!!!! I'm still in sweater mode - guess I need to start thinking about bathing suits!!! emoticon

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KANOE10 2/22/2012 6:39AM

    Good blog..Grab your motivation where you can! Let's do it.

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JUST_TRI_IT 2/22/2012 5:22AM

    Tis interesting how an event on one day can have a different effect on you than on another day! Grabbing to motivation from where it might be is indeed important :)


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MIZCATHI 2/22/2012 5:18AM

    Your positive message this morning was just what I needed - seize the moments where you can! They are out there.

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KASEYCOFF 2/22/2012 4:10AM

    You're a braver woman than I am, kiddo - bathing suit? Not me, lol! But the written word? Oh yah, motivation all the way around... yes, that works.

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KARIDIAN1 2/22/2012 12:48AM

    Good thoughts!

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_LINDA 2/22/2012 12:23AM

    Sounds like a double whammy of motivation to me! Second that trying on the bathing suit, nothing like the bare facts facing you in the mirror ;)
Go Barb GO!

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WOLFSPIRITMOM 2/21/2012 9:30PM

    Great blog, thanks so much!

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WATERMELLEN 2/21/2012 9:22PM

    So: did you try on the bathing suit? And I'm betting you liked the way it looks!!

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MSLZZY 2/21/2012 9:18PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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FITFABJENN 2/21/2012 8:57PM

    Love this blog, Barb! Yep, "grab your motivation wherever you can," indeed!

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Coming out of my cave...

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Here we go again. This was one heck of a week: I had over 21,000 steps last Sunday and another 18,000 on Monday, starting to build mileage for the half in May. I thought.

And then starting Tuesday, I just sort of crashed and burned (see vent blog and continuation). I started out well on Thursday, with somewhat improved food behavior... but then Friday was a bit of a train wreck. I had the overnight program monitoring job, and left work early. My intention was to nap, but all I ended up with was a couple of hours with my eyes closed and my brain running, then a couple of hours of real sleep before getting up at the normal time my charged task begins, a little before midnight. Next two hours were watching other things that precede it creeping at a snail's pace... and my own "child" didn't start until 2:23 a.m. Frustrating. But not a problem.

The job finished about sunrise, and I napped again for a couple of hours at 9 a.m. The weird food behavior continued, but at this point, I think I'm done with that. I started re-asserting better behaviors with some cooked cabbage and a fresh orange noonish.

Still not able to sleep, I ended up reading and pacing the house. I'm in the midst of George R.R. Martin's Game of Thrones Series, and it's hard to put down. I'm getting toward the end of the third book, A Storm of Swords.

Went to bed at a normal hour. Arose at a normal hour. Have some after effects of the disruption in routine, eating, exercise, and sleep all three disrupted. While I may have had "dreams" of dealing well with it... I really didn't. But I know all I have to do to recover is go back to following the plan: gradually increase activity, drink my water, get my sleep. I will start feeling better, really I will. Because the old bad habits do *not* feel good. And the new ones *do*.

To our health. One day at a time!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

APRILLSCOTT 2/25/2012 12:11PM

    I just love reading about how you turn those crazy bad habits back around and start grabbing the health new ones. It makes me feel better to realize that even (Chunky girl) works on you every now and then. I love how you have realized that the good habits are the ones that will get you where you need to be, and in the long run always make you feel better. When our schedules are disrupted Chunky girl always comes around to take us down the wrong road to misery. It is like you said attitude is everything! emoticon

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SUNNY1432 2/21/2012 8:25PM

    It CRAZY how much a change in schedule can mess up what we do or how we eat. My schedule doesn't change, thank goodness, but my son's sleeping habits, or lack there of, really mess with me. emoticon
I'm glad that you were able to get yourself out and are back on track and of course so POSITIVE!! emoticon

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MIZCATHI 2/21/2012 5:24AM

    I'm getting to the point where any changes disrupt my balance! But you know how to do this and what is up, so I'm pretty sure you'll get back to the new you!

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COMETER 2/20/2012 12:39PM

    One day at a time...funny how that keeps showing up when we need it.

Good luck to you!

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SUNNY332 2/20/2012 9:50AM

    I always have problems when my schedule is changed for whatever reason. I am feeling like a slug bug so know that when we get home from Kansas, my priority will be getting back to the bike and treadmill.

At least for me, my eating has been good.

Take care and have a good day.


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KALIGIRL 2/20/2012 8:48AM

    Sorry I missed our walk yesterday - hope all is well with you!

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    Those shift changes reeked havoc on me. I'd become a carb monster until I got back to normal.

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KARIDIAN1 2/19/2012 10:32PM

    Hang in there. At least it sounds like you don't have to do that often.

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MSLZZY 2/19/2012 10:20PM

    A change is your routine just makes the day a jumble
of mixed emotions and feeling out of sorts. With that
behind you, you can get back to where you belong.

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MARTHAWILL 2/19/2012 7:12PM

    You are not alone- great to read about your new commitment. Need that constant affirmation myself. Lately has been a real challenge.

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MNTWINSGAL 2/19/2012 2:37PM

    Perfect attitude, and that's exactly why you will succeed. It's hard to get back to normal sleep/wake patterns even if you think you have gotten back in the groove, so be a little extra kind to yourself for the next few days.

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_LINDA 2/19/2012 1:29PM

    I could never understand how people dealt with shift work, going from days to nights without a total disruption of their sleeping/eating habits. Good for you pulling yourself out of the abyss, one step at a time, and recognizing you liked the feeling of being healthier better then the feeling of gluttony.:)
Go Barb Go!!

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 2/19/2012 12:54PM

    "But I know all I have to do to recover is go back to following the plan: gradually increase activity, drink my water, get my sleep. I will start feeling better, really I will. Because the old bad habits do *not* feel good. And the new ones *do*."

The above is what I need to read/remember for myself. I'm not where you are, but I'm anxious to get there -- which gives me hope.

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Continuation and resolution

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Venting blogs can be very freeing. Thanks to all my Spark buds for your supportive comments yesterday.

The bad behavior with food continued ALL day yesterday, as work held a "food day" and I was still in "I need chocolate" mode! I compounded it as I went to pick up a prescription and brought some stuff home that I was craving. I caved to the crave... went with the flow, admitted to myself how much this morning's duties and their implications were influencing it.

I'm just home from the airport, sending son off. Last time I sent him on such a gig, it was six months before I saw him again. He left me his car, his keys, the works.

Anyway, waking up early to take care of this particular duty, I felt downright LOUSY! Self-inflicted. The body does not LIKE these meltdown behaviors. It WANTS to be nurtured and treated well. It's like a hangover. I've never taken a drink of alcohol, but the description of a hangover is what I see myself going through when I get bingy with salt and sugar now. My body knows what healthy feels like, and it rebels in turn to the punishment I put it through the past couple of days.

SO! Enough already. The work things that were bugging me? Re-delegated back to those who handed them to me. I'm not sure I entirely got to the point of "advising" rather than doing it for them... but I limited the amount I did, and handed it back as an example of how to continue with the next task.

I am hopeful for today. I think the food behavior will be better. And I *shall* take my break walks (I did yesterday).

One day. Every day is day one! emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FROGGGY13 2/19/2012 4:20AM

    Sending your child off is hard! Don't beat yourself up, just go back to normal, even gradually. As long as these blips are occasional, they are not bad and will not hurt you in the long run. This, after all, is what life is.

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    I so agree with the food hangover. Yuck. It gives a new perspective so next time you think, that's not going to be great tomorrow(or even 2 hour later ice cream sundae bloat and regret)

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LEANJEAN6 2/17/2012 8:05AM

    Good luck Barb--

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SUE_2U 2/17/2012 2:26AM

    Boy, you sure said it with the last couple of blogs and your comment on mine. It's just true.
As a kid, I used to listen to my sister and brother and their friends complain about hangovers. When I asked what they feel like, I realized that I felt that way every morning of my life, with nary one drink, ever. I didn't know then what I know now about dehydration and sugar and refined flours and too many carbs, but yeah those sure do a job on my head, too. I just can't tolerate them.
And Yay, You! For re-delegating! That is a tough thing to learn to do, but sometimes you just have to do it, and you're teaching them something, along the way, so they don't have to ask you to help, again. That's good thinking! emoticon

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_LINDA 2/17/2012 1:32AM

    A very trying week for you! But the weekend and respite soon cometh! I am seriously craving chocolate, but am too cheap to buy my favorite unless its on sale, lucky me. I refuse to pay almost four dollars for a 90% cocoa chocolate bar when I can get it for $2.50. No others will do but this brand.
Good for you for figuring out a way to get your work problem handled. Hopefully, those fresh air walks will rejuvenate you!

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4A-HEALTHY-BMI 2/16/2012 6:14PM

    LOL. I DO drink alcohol (and I've drunk it to excess in the past) and I don't actually GET hangovers from it. Ever.

But I sure do get "food hangovers" from too much salt, fat, starch, sugar, etc.

In times like the one you describe it seems like the path back to health for me involves focusing on the mechanics. Making sure I go back to the specific behaviors that keep me healthy. Whether or not I feel like it.

If I just go back to the behaviors, I usually DO start feeling like it in a day or two. Sometimes, after a bad lapse, it has taken a week. But I eventually get there. I just need to learn to trust this, because I tend to procrastinate on going back to what works.

Hang in there.

Comment edited on: 2/16/2012 6:14:58 PM

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MIZCATHI 2/16/2012 10:36AM

    Leaving your son at the airport was a bit of a heartbreak, and everyone knows the heart needs chocolate now and then. One step at a time, one day at a time.

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SUNNY332 2/16/2012 9:36AM

    What an emotional day for you so give yourself a break.

Some things in life just call for Chocolate.

Love you, Sunny

I will be praying for your Son.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 2/16/2012 9:30AM

    Good for you Barb! Nothing like a food hangover to get you re-focussed. I'm trying to do the same. Ate a healthy breakfast and have a healthy lunch packed. Have a great day!

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KALIGIRL 2/16/2012 8:44AM

    Glad to hear you are seeing the 'sun' in your day - much as the wonderful picture of your house in the background.

Up for a walk this weekend? (Figured you were not yet game for the FrostyRide, so am trying to talk DH into joining me...) Let me know and we can catch up on 'Sun'day.

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KANOE10 2/16/2012 8:00AM

    Yes, your body does have a sugar hangover..However, today you should feel much better if you eat healthfully. Good for you getting back on track and venting here.
Hope your job improves!

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WATERMELLEN 2/16/2012 7:51AM

    Ohhhhh food hangovers. Been there way too many times. Emotional hangovers too. And yup: they seem to be related!

So tough to say goodbye to our kids.

So tough to deal with weasely co-workers offloading THEIR responsibilities. On people-pleaser US.

Hang in there -- hanginners feel waaaaaay better than hangovers!!

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MSLZZY 2/16/2012 7:11AM

    Re-delegating was what you needed to do. I am
thinking some of your stress from work was
compounded by your son's departure, which
manifested itself in caving to the craving. I
hope you can get this behind you. 6 months is
a long time to be gone but DS will be so proud
of you if you take care of yourself, for him and
for you. HUGS!

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MAGGIE101857 2/16/2012 6:59AM

    Today will be better! I didn't even get my break walks in yesterday - so tired these days!!! Where is your son off to? I was just telling a co-worker how much I miss my son - it's been almost a year since I have seen him and I hate that. Miss all my kids so much - long distance is rough on us Moms!

One step, one day at at time! I'm there for you!!! emoticon

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