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So now what?

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

emoticon Now I've blogged my ABC's. Someone else can take up the theme and blog their own alphabet... or not.

But that leaves me with a feeling of a finish line... which is one of my danger signals. emoticon

This weekend and next weekend, the furnace / hot water heater, some work issues... too much peopling, the changing season... and lots of externals leading to the temptation to compare my life with the lives of others. Another of my danger signals. emoticon

In my head was the usual replay of things said, not said, social mistakes made on Sunday. I don't know WHY I do this to myself, but I should be prepared for the fact that I DO do this to myself. Then a succession of service people came trooping through my house. The bug spray guy complimented my house, the kind of social thing that people do (I do it myself): "You have a nice place here". And the plumbers did, too. And what does the dark side of my brain do with that?

Get this: the same thing the dark side of my brain does with compliments about my weight loss! Response, "I don't keep it up like I should!" Can you believe it? And this leads to the internal thought (NEVER said out loud, of course): "I don't deserve to live in a place like this, I don't take care of it." emoticon

And then my brain goes to the people I'm going to be seeing next weekend. Yes, THAT side of the family. You know the ones? Oh, you DON'T have people like that in YOUR family? These are the ones who have always been thin... who don't "get" that you struggle, even when you ARE physically thin? The ones that have money, and don't "get" that you have to budget carefully? The ones that talk / seem to brag about what's going on in their life. The ones you sit on the knife edge between envying and loving to hate, even though they are family and you know you "should" love them?

If you have healthy boundaries, you separate yourself from people in a healthy way: they are them, I am me, we each have our own lives and challenges... they are just choosing to talk about the positives, not the negatives! And that's OK, I don't have to be the star!

But what does the dark side of the brain do with people like this? The dark side of the brain wants to compare and compete. emoticon In this competition, there are two choices - to enter the lists, or avoid the joust. In entering the list, you end up in a "can you top this" thing, and end up doing things that socially you hate yourself for later (i.e. bragging, talking too much). In avoidance, you reject the good and the bad both, tell yourself you don't care and then overindulge (usually in private, before or after). All or nothing thinking, right?

I can't win with that kind of thinking, so it behooves me to start working at strengthening my boundaries NOW! Of course all of this is in retrospect. In the Monday that really happened, I allowed myself to be totally set up for overindulgence. It was like watching myself in slow motion as the pressures built over the day... and I succumbed. Confession good for the soul? I went after the leftover lasagna. And other things as well.

The good news: I tracked it all. emoticon

The better news: I've taken time to think about it and plan for the weekend ahead, seeing this as my "sign". emoticon

The best news: I am learning to accept even this "spinning" as a part of my personality... just something I have to adapt to - like a disability that puts a person in a wheel chair or requires a screen reader! I can see it. I can write about it... and I can make changes in my thinking. I don't have to stay stuck there. And I don't have to keep eating over it. Even if I started. My stay in the land of health is not over because of this one day. emoticon

And if you managed to read all the way through this self-indulgent rant... bless you, you probably identified on some level. We CAN overcome these things... one decision at a time. One day at a time. And this is a new day. emoticon

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 10/13/2010 12:37AM

    Relate is an understatement-wow-your insight & understanding of such complex issues is a testament to how far you've come!
Thanksgiving plans are already stirring up the pot here at
"Disfunction Junction"-LOL

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REJ7777 10/12/2010 9:51PM

    Certain people and situations have a way of pushing our buttons. But the more we're aware of it - and you are obviously and fantastically AWARE - the less those pushed buttons can control us. We might stumble a bit, but we get right back up, just like you did.

Nobody likes to disappoint others, but I think it's worse when we disappoint ourselves. Bragging and talking too much are not part of who you are. That's why you feel bad when you inadvertently get dragged down to that level. It doesn't fit who you are. Personal growth often causes frustration as we adjust to our new self.

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WALKINGANNIE 10/12/2010 4:43PM

    I read to the end and identified - and was grateful for what you had explored.

Congratulations on your self awareness and self improvement and thank you for helping to move others forward with your wisdom.


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PENNYAN45 10/12/2010 3:57PM

    I also battle a dark side. I think many of us do.

It's funny how losing weight can uncover some other issues that have to be dealt with in new ways -- once food has been removed as a crutch or support or painkiller.

In the end, this Spark journey turns out to be a total overhaul -- both physical and emotional.

New foods and new eating habits are only the beginning. I have realized that once that layer is peeled off, then there are other new behaviors and strategies that must come too:
~new ways of talking to myself
~new ways of dealing with stressful situations
~new ways of relating to some others
~new ways of maintaining (and strengthening) boundaries

Maybe we should have another site here for developing and practicing those skills once we lose the weight and begin our maintenance. That would surely guarantee our success in keeping the weight off.

What could we call it? SHARK People? SHIRK People? No, I don't think that's what I'm going for. LOL. How about SHARE People?

Anyway, thanks for your blogs that stimulate my thinking and help me gain insights into my own issues.

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 10/12/2010 2:47PM

    Self-acceptance can be very difficult. But so good. When we can accept who we are and why we do the things we do, well then life just gets to be a little less stressful and a little more enjoyable.

PS: I loved your ABC blogs -- you were so creative with getting unique words. Great job!

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BUGGYS 10/12/2010 10:55AM

    Perfect blog for this time in my life! I have to get out of this rut and just move forward. thanks, Barb!

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KALIGIRL 10/12/2010 8:55AM

    I did identify on some level. I'm the relative you're seeing next weekend. I'm the 'naturally' thin, 'naturally' smart, 'natural' beauty who has money. I'm the blessed individual who seems like she doesn't have a care in the world and no empathy for anyone who does.

I haven't been where you have. I haven't had to deal with your religious upbringing. I haven't had to deal with your divorce and I most certainly haven't had to deal with your fear and worry about your son serving his country in some foreign land.

I don't know your relatives. You are a bright perceptive woman, Barb, and they may be as one dimensional as you think they are. But if they're anything like me on the inside, they're not and I hope one of the things that happens this weekend is that you are able to go deeper than the surface.

Namaste my friend and good luck this weekend.

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CONCHA77 10/12/2010 8:47AM

    Great Blog, Barb.
What a Blessing to be able to put your inner thoughts down in black and white like you do.. Just know that you are doing FANTASTIC !!!
You are really listening to your body (Body and Spirit) and learning from it --What a great accomplishment.
Stay Positive.

You are really helping me out on some things in these blogs. Thank You.

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TEACHINMOM 10/12/2010 8:19AM

    THANK YOU for this blog!! I was here, on SP, when I should have been doing other things I'm behind on, because I was looking for "something" ~ I didn't even know what!
I'm stuck and I don't mean weight loss. Yeah, I'm stuck there too but it is because of this "mental stuck" place I'm at. I'm there because I gained back about 15 pounds during the end of the summer and can't even seem to get that back off! Anyway, I say that to say that reading your blog, and relating, challenges me on many levels. I haven't moved past the fact that I let the gain happen and I'm dwelling on it versus focusing on what I now need to do. That's the dark side of my brain telling me I'm no good, can never really lose weight and maintain a healthy state, blah, blah, blah!! Well, I too, can say that this journey is not over (and will never be over) because I had a bad couple of months and I need to quit listening to that dang stupid voice!!! I'm not in a competition! I'm in it for me ~ for my long term health!! WOW, that changes everything right there. Motivation and determination hang around when it is for a good reason, a REAL reason!! Thanks for being so real, and in putting your journey and thoughts on it out there, bringing things back into perspective for me.
You are doing awesome!! Realizing all of this is forward progress!! Yes, we CAN do it! Have an awesome NEW day!!!

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MSLZZY 10/12/2010 7:49AM

    I can relate to so much in your blog. But the end of one thing can lead to the beginning of something even better. You are a work in progress so even the social skills take time. Smile and say thank you if words fail you. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Z: Zeitgeist

Monday, October 11, 2010

What, no foreign words allowed? But Zeitgeist is in my Webster's! It denotes the spirit of the age; trend of thought and feeling in a period.

Perhaps it is overreaching to use it in personal terms. Zeitgeist is huge... usually thinking in terms of the spirit of a century, an era, or a decade.

I've mentioned how my way of looking at my journey and motivation has changed over the decades of my life. That's the sense in which I am thinking of my Z word today... how attitudes and focus change over time, and there are periods in time as well as periods in our personal lives when certain things take focus.

So, question for all of you: what is the spirit of your time, meaning right now? Is it reaching for your goals? Is it defining them? Is it maintaining gains you've worked hard to achieve? Is it basking in gratitude for a life well lived?

As I leave the alphabet blogs behind... and contemplate "what's next" in terms of writing assignments... the spirit of my time is expressed in brief phrases "this time is for keeps", "I think I want to stay here"... and "this really IS the new me". The spirit is to recruit new folks to the neighborhood of health and fitness... not by force, but by example. "It isn't always easy... but it's SOOOO worth it!"

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MNTWINSGAL 10/11/2010 9:10PM

    Well, Barb, that was fun! Thank you for sharing your thoughts all the way through the alphabet. Can't wait to see what's coming up next!

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WALKINGANNIE 10/11/2010 1:20PM

    I have thoroughly enjoyed the content, style and spirit of this series of blogs and the comments.
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I do feel a special Zeitgeist in the spirit of Spark Friends of a certain age.

I never imagined that I would reach such a healthy weight and maintain it with comparative (most of the time) ease. I owe this achievement to new attitudes that I have learnt here from people like you.

Here's to "recruiting new folks to the neighborhood of health and fitness... not by force, but by example."

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KALIGIRL 10/11/2010 12:32PM

    emoticonfor this wonderful series of blogs.
The 'spirit of my time' is gratitude. I have lived such a blessed life and looking forward to more blessings in the future.

May we all live the kind of lives that 'recruit' others to the healthy side!

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REJ7777 10/11/2010 9:24AM

    Zeitgeist is a BIG word encapsulating a HUGE concept! emoticon
I'm not even sure I quite understand the meaning.

On one hand, we seem to live at a time where there's more of an emphasis on health and fitness than there ever has been before, on the other hand, I don't think there's ever been as much obesity and unfitness as there are now. People are starving to death in some countries and people are stuffing themselves to death in others.

I would like to find the right balance between too much and too little. My goal is to develop a healthy balanced lifestyle that includes physical activity and reasonable amounts of nutritious foods. I live in a country where I'm blessed enough to have a choice in the matter.

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ANONALEE 10/11/2010 9:04AM

    The Zietgest of weight loss is a confusing amalgam of competing theories and crackpot get-thin-quick schemes that seem to lead most people around in a circle of confusion and failure, but what emerges most clearly to me from all this is: find your own way. I do not think it is the same thing for everyone and, in fact, may be unique to each one, but in any case, what I have discovered is that I have had to test and re-test several approaches until I found the one that works for me.

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Comment edited on: 10/11/2010 9:04:31 AM

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SAMI199 10/11/2010 7:47AM

    I could not resist reading the end-lol. Incredible-insightful
& I am totally on board with your use & application of the word. That said-I'm off to "B"-YAY!!!! I love starting a new book or blog as it may be.

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MSLZZY 10/11/2010 7:46AM


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Y: yield

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Who, me?

emoticon MY will to the demands of my body?
emoticon my feelings of rebellion to not just obedience but joyful acceptance of my real needs?

What a concept! Now that is the intransitive verb use of "yield"... giving in to pressure. And believe me, when you start listening to it, a healthy body can exert a lot of pressure: it wants healthy food NOW when it's hungry. And it wants to MOVE a certain amount each day. Granted, most of the time, we want our mind to govern what we do... but sometimes it's important to yield to the needs of the body, because that body needs to be healthy to support that wonderful mind!

But then, there is the another meaning of yield (you know there always is). In this case, I am thinking of the transitive verb. Webster puts it this way:

1 to produce; specif., a) to give or furnish as a natural process or as the result of cultivation [an orchard that yielded a good crop] b) to give in return; produce as a result, profit, etc. [an investment that yielded high profits]

Yes, good old 1b! What is your investment in SP yielding for you? Are you profiting from your time here? I am! The yield for me of participating in SP is confidence, and motivation to keep going. The yield of my nutrition and exercise program is a healthier body... my doctor smiled a LOT at my annual physical. (Notice I'm now using it as a noun?)

Hopefully, my blogging my way through the alphabet will yield a greater understanding of what's going on!

May each of us yield to healthy impulses today, take care of body, soul, and spirit today... and yield blessings in the process! One day at a time.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KALIGIRL 10/11/2010 12:34PM

    Well said.
I have yet to learn to yield to exercise. (No - it's not play to me - I was a bookworm.)
Can't wait until my body wins out over my mind. Maybe JUST_TRI_IT's jumpy leg syndrome will someday be mine!

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MSLZZY 10/11/2010 7:45AM

    Very positive and good food for thought! HUGS!

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WALKINGANNIE 10/10/2010 5:00PM

    Another marvellous blog Barb. I'll be sorry when this alphabet ends. I've enjoyed your thoughts as you have progressed through the letters with your individual observations.

I have spent too much of my life yielding to the wrong things - like carb cravings - but now I have a wonderful yield from my investment in SP.

Thanks for examining the word and sharing your thought processes.


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REJ7777 10/10/2010 12:22PM

    "And it (the body) wants to MOVE a certain amount each day." I had so lost touch with my body that I no longer felt this natural need. I'd sit almost all day and not feel the need to move (I'm a secretary). When I first started wearing a pedometer, I was flabergasted to see that on some days, I walked less than 1000 steps in an entire day, and it felt OK. Now if I don't move enough, my healthier body lets me know it wants to MOVE. I'm so glad that I can hear my body again!

It becomes a healthy cycle, the fitter we get, the more we can feel our body's true needs, the healthier we get, etc... What a great yield!

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JHADZHIA 10/10/2010 10:42AM

    Great ideas! I am at goal and am very thankful to Spark People and my Spark buddies for all the help and support along the way. I don't intend to leave here, as I still like to track, but most important, pay it forward and help others as they have helped me. Even though I am very experienced in health and nutrition, Sparks still teaches me something new.
My down trend is I have trouble yielding to my body when it says its had enough. I don't give myself enough rest I know, and with my lack of sleep 3-4 hours which I haven't been able to solve, I know I could cause myself problems. I thinks its my very stubborn and strong will that keeps me moving past my body's pain.
Hope youhave a Sunday full of positive yileds!

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CONCHA77 10/10/2010 10:01AM

    Great Point(s), Barb, and great Blog! Have a wonderful Sunday! 10-10-10

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LOVE_2_LAUGH 10/10/2010 9:24AM

    SP has helped me tremendously. I still need to learn how to yield to my body's limitations, however. I'm a work in progress. (As opposed to a piece of work. Well, maybe I'm that, too. LOL!)

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X: xenophobia

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Yes, gang, she's back on the topic of body image! And from the direction of xenophobia, an honest to gosh real word that starts with "x".

It means "fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners or of anything foreign or strange". Well, what better word to describe how we might feel when we find ourselves in a "strange" size or shape? I rejoice that I've reached a goal, but I may not feel quite at home at first. Perhaps I'll try to hang on to some old comforting habits (or clothes) that remind me of where I came from?

emoticon lies that way, for some of those comforting old habits were what kept me in the land of unfit and yes, fat.

Assimilating into the "melting pot" of healthy lifestyle takes longer than just the time to drop the pounds. It takes living here for a while and becoming comfortable with the newer habits, levels of activity, and even sizes of clothing.

Last weekend my younger sister and her daughter took me clothes shopping for our niece's wedding next weekend. The "petite" department still feels a little foreign to me. I kept being drawn to the "plus" side of the store, seeing things that were cut in styles that flattered my former shape!

Still, I tried things on that really do fit, and I brought home a lovely little frock for the wedding. I'm looking forward to wearing it: but I also detect a warning message in the back of my mind: "You're a fraud, you're not REALLY this small". So, a "don't get cocky" and a dose of humility are in order. I think of all the times I have worn "cute" smaller-sized clothing only to blimp right back out of it, not feeling quite at home. Like an immigrant assimilating into the culture, I must adopt my new "home's" customs! Eating well, and being satisfied with "enough"; and giving in to the craving to be active are all customs of my new home!

Here's to reinforcing that this body size IS "home", not "foreign"; here's to overcoming xenophobia!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

PENNYAN45 10/11/2010 9:46AM

    I'm not there yet at my goal weight, and I also feel as if I don't belong in the new lower weight that I'm at. It feels very temporary.... even though I'm determined that it is permanent.

I agree with everything you said in this blog. Thanks for putting your thoughts down and sharing them so we can benefit from them as well.


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SAMI199 10/10/2010 1:22AM

    Wow! You are really good-I love your blog so much I'm going back & starting with "A".So, if you need to find me ,that's where I'll be- emoticon

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WALKINGANNIE 10/9/2010 3:45PM

    You express these thoughts so well. I feel just like this now that I am small.

Yesterday I found myself absentmindedly patting my midriff wondering what was missing. It was my spare tyres of fat! Even after a year at maintenance there are times when my body feels foreign.

I agree about feeling a fraud as well. It is a strange feeling.

Thank you for showing me once again that I'm not alone in this foreign land - where I want permanent residency,


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LOVE_2_LAUGH 10/9/2010 11:08AM

    I love your ABC series of blogs, and most especially, this one you wrote today. It hit home for me. And, for me (and probably you, too) the difference this time is that with SP we are changing more than just body size. I am confident that you'll have no problem staying at your new/permanent small size. So that frock can be worn until it's falling off in shreds!

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REJ7777 10/9/2010 7:29AM

    I feel strange in my fitter body too. Don't get me wrong, it feels emoticon, but strange nevertheless. It doesn't feel like "me". I'm a bit surprised that you still feel that way after being near or at goal for so long. Thanks. Forewarned is forearmed. I wonder how long it takes for small to feel normal.

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MSLZZY 10/9/2010 6:49AM

    Overcome it and believe that this is "home"! You can do it! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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W: wholeness

Friday, October 08, 2010

I chose "wholeness" as my W concept to remind myself that none of us is one- or two-dimensional. Any program of self-improvement, be it weight loss, organization, time management, or education has to consider the whole person.

Whole is another of those interesting words with many meanings:

1 a) in sound health, not diseased or injured b) healed
2 not broken, damaged, defective, etc.; intact
3 containing all the elements or parts; entire; complete
4 not divided up; in a single unit
5 constituting the entire amount, extent, number, etc.
6 having both parents in common
7 in all aspects of one's being, including the physical, mental, social, etc.

I'm mostly thinking in terms of definitions 3 and 7: the completeness of a program, addressing all the elements that make up a meaningful life. Hopefully addressing physical, mental, emotional, spiritual and social aspects of life in a healthy lifestyle program leads to both 4 (a whole night's sleep, on a more regular basis) and 1 sound health!

So in thinking about my journey over the decades, these are the things I have been seeking - a program that doesn't just give mechanics of what to eat and how to exercise and so forth to drop pounds. It has to also address the fact that I eat for reasons other than physical hunger! It has to included "what do I do with all these emotions?" It has to include some social support that goes beyond applause for numbers on a scale.

I believe that a good deal of what I love about SparkPeople is the social aspect of the blogs and teams: we support each other. We've been there. We speak our individual truths, share our struggles and triumphs... we're almost... dare I say it... a "spiritual" community of sorts. This is an element that commercial programs nod at but rarely achieve.

So... is your program "whole"? Do you feel supported in it here on SparkPeople? I certainly do!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 10/27/2010 6:01PM

    I can only add my praise for the SparksPeople program. I would never have guessed that I would have opened up the way I have-but the support,concern & yes,friendship that has been offered is truly incredible.You guys mean alot to me.

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REJ7777 10/8/2010 4:35PM

    "Wholeness" - What a great concept! I think that we often overeat to compensate for some unhealed and broken part of ourselves. As we heal and become whole, it's easier to let go of food as a crutch. I aspire to wholeness and balance in every area of my life. I haven't attained it, but I aspire to it!

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WALKINGANNIE 10/8/2010 3:52PM

    Wholeness used to mean that I would eat the whole lot of whatever food was available!

I agree with you about the spiritual element here. SP has changed me as a whole person in a way that a diet and exercise programme wouldn't do. Considering elements such as gratitude and mindful eating have made a big difference to me - as have thoughtful blogs like yours that have made me challenge my attitudes.


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LOVE_2_LAUGH 10/8/2010 10:56AM

    Oh yeah! SP is the real deal. The whole package. I have never felt so calm and peaceful on a weight loss program before. SP, with the trackers, information, and social networking is the reason why. I LOVE SP!

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    Amen, sister! I LOVE SparkPeople and what it has done and is doing for me! Life-changing is what it is for me... I can look at facts all day, but implementing them into my life is what I really needed! SparkPeople gave me that! Good blog! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CHRISTURTLE 10/8/2010 8:49AM

    I have never known a community such as we have here on Spark People, be it for any purpose. I have never felt so supported, so encouraged, so motivated, as I have here in my journey towards a new and healthy lifestyle and at a weight that is in the middle of my healthy range.

I lost weight when I was first at Spark People, but I did it alone. I didn't join any teams, I didn't have any Spark Friends, but I did lose weight. I was pleased with my weight loss, and yet there was something missing, and when life became more demanding I gave up the things I felt were the least meaningful to me, and Sparking was one of them. Result - I gained all the weight I'd lost plus extra, and I returned within a few weeks to my old, unhealthy lifestyle. The program worked well, in that I learned how to lose weight in a healthy way, but it didn't offer the support or companionship that I needed.

When I returned, I decided this was it, I needed the support of Spark Friends and team mates and before long I realized what had been missing the first time I Sparked - the essential ingredient - support of those who knew first hand what taking this journey was about. At each hurdle I stumbled but I was soon picked up, dusted off and set back on my path by fellow Sparkers. Before long, losing weight became secondary to changing my life, and although the transformation is still a work in progress I know beyond the shadow of a doubt I am a far different person than I was when I returned.

So yes, my program is whole, and I am so incredibly supported here on Spark by some wonderfully caring and encouraging people. I too have to say emoticonand it amazes me every time I think of it, that with all Spark People provides us with, it does it all at no cost whatsoever to us.


Comment edited on: 10/8/2010 8:51:54 AM

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KALIGIRL 10/8/2010 8:40AM

    I couldn't agree more.
Spark gives us the resources - up to date and from experts + allows us to learn from each other.
That's what I call a 'whole' life approach!

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PATRISNA 10/8/2010 8:13AM

    Hi Barb,
I didn't comment on the other blogs, but I got caught up by reading blogs T-W today. I enjoyed reading them all. The blogs you write always give me something profound to think about.

You are right about the support and community feeling Sparkpeople gives us. Believe me I am sure I would have given up my program sometime last year if I had not found Sparkpeople when I did. This group of friends has really helped me by being so supportive.

I have learned so much from following your journey through your blogs. I know that when I finally get to my goal weight there will be some emotional issues that I will continue to address. We all seem to have some inner turmoil. If nothing else we have learned our program is for life and we will be a work in progress for as long as we live.

As always your blogs were emoticon

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MSLZZY 10/8/2010 6:57AM

    SP is the whole program! I feel so much support that it makes it much easier to succeed. So many others have used the same tools and the success stories prove it. emoticon
Thanks for sharing! Many members with the same goals! HUGS! Have a GREAT Friday!

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