Saturday, August 29, 2009

Who Has The Wheel?

Nothing dictates our lives like our desires.
Nothing moves us like what we want.
People do what they want to do.
We need to begin to want what we need.
Instead of need what we want.

What are your heart’s desires?

Don’t get so fixated on the end result you stop working to get it.
Our heart’s desires are meant to be appreciated and worked for.
We are an instant society and we have come to expect the end result now without putting in the effort to get that result.
We do not work for the desires with our whole heart.

Are you willing to do what it takes to get what your heart desires?

Beneath the desires of our heart is the heart of our desires.

All of these thought provoking thoughts were brought on by a 2 day live telecast I attended this weekend. It was centered on the desires of our hearts and how God knows them and wants to give them to us. Yet our desires must be pure. They must be worked for. We must be committed.

You see I know my desire for a long time has been to be healthy and “thin”. Actually to be non-fat because I doubt I will ever be “thin”. I don’t know that I have ever really been thin. At least not as far back as I can remember. I suppose I can look at pictures and say at some point in my life I was thin, but my self concept has not been in that realm for over 30+ years. So by definition: “A true heart’s desire is something that is a sustained longing and is unaffected by mood or surroundings. It necessitates a time of wait and builds over time.”

I think I can safely say one of my true heart’s desires is to be non-fat.

Now back to the thinking at hand. Nothing dictates our lives like our desires. Nothing moves us like what we want. People do what they want to do. We need to begin to want what we need. Instead of need what we want. I need to be healthy and in order to be that, I must have the want to invest in the process to be healthy. I have struggled for a month now at 100 pounds lost. I have only half heartedly invested in my journey to do what I needed to do to get to my goals. I have obtained many of my goals and I have failed to set new goals. Sure I know I want to lose 20 pounds by January 2010, but have I whole heartedly invested in that goal? NO! Daily I sabotage my efforts with bad food choices and/or too much food. I need to get back on track and can’t figure out how. How do you get the motivation, the desire to work the process to attain the goals?

Well, I have discovered I can’t do it alone. So I have embarked on a new way of thinking. I must reevaluate the following: What do I want more than anything? What is beneath my desires? What motivates me more than anything?

I must figure out what I desire from life. What I desire in life. What I am willing to do to get what I desire. I have fallen into the mind set that what I desire should materialize in an instant just because I want it. I have failed to work for what I desire. To take the steps necessary to attain those desire. Well, I can’t do it alone. So I steal the chorus of a song by Carrie Underwood to try to help me refocus my desires and reenergize my motivation.

“Jesus take the wheel.Take it from my hands.Cause I can't do this on my own.I'm letting go.So give me one more chance.Save me from this road I'm on.Jesus take the wheel.”

*Some thoughts contained in this are from Beth Moore; Christian motivational speaker.

What you do everyday matters more than what you do every once in awhile.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What does that spell?

This weekend I went to a church women’s group brunch. We watched a conference DVD. One of the speakers used the word diet in her presentation. She talked about rearranging the letters in the word diet and realized it also was the word edit. I got to thinking about the word edit in relation to the word diet. When we think of a diet we often have negative connotations. Well I decided to look at the word edit.

We can edit what we eat. In order to eat healthy we often have to edit certain foods and/or ingredients out of our food choices. By looking at editing them it is less threatening than diet. I have leaned to edit certain food groups (sugar, soda, fruit juices, pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, etc). Sometimes editing is just a matter of limiting the amount, limiting the frequency and sometimes even editing it all together. But whichever it might be, it feels more acceptable to edit it than to “diet it”.

Now, let’s look at other areas of editing.

Attitude: I edit my attitude every day. I have to edit my attitude at the first opening of my eyes in the morning. Do I have a positive attitude or a negative attitude? Do I want to get up or do I want to slam the alarm clock and roll over and bury my head under the pillow? Usually the latter choice brings on a negative attitude, so I have to edit that choice and crawl out of bed and shuffle to the bathroom and into the routine of the day. If I edit it correctly the first time around it will take less red ink to edit the rest of the day.

Perspective: My perspective of the day, my actions, the people around me, the job at hand, etc. will affect the amount of editing I have to do. If I have a perspective that “this is the day the Lord has made and I will be glad in it”, then the editing is fairly easy. If I have a keen perspective of my actions I will do my best in anything I attempt. If I am doing my best then there is usually no need to edit anything. Doing my best is all I can do. This perspective influences my actions. I pray my actions reflect God’s presence in my life. My perspective of the people around me is a tough one. It is so easy to be influenced by their attitude, perspective and actions; just as mine influences them. I edit mine so hopefully theirs can be the best. I know I can not control anyone but myself, but I can influence others. I also hope the job I do (profession as well as personal) is top notch. I pray my actions please God.

Expectations: Wow, this is a tough one. I am editing my expectations constantly. I’ve often in the past found myself expecting more from people than they can give. This is an editing process I hate. Being a perfectionist, I tend to have high standards for myself. I have to constantly remind myself that no one is perfect and what I expect from myself isn’t always best to expect from others. I have to edit my expectations about life, events, wants, needs, etc. My expectation of goals is another big editing project. As I reach certain goals I have to develop other goals in order to continue to grow. Sometimes my expectations of certain goals have to be edited in order to be able to actually accomplish them. As an example; the expectation to loose 10 pounds in a month will definitely have to be edited in order to be realistic.

Acceptance: How many times have you had to edit what you were willing to accept? Sometimes this means lowering standards. Standards have to be realistic, just like goals. At the same time they need to be so they cause you to stretch. Accepting others isn’t always easy. Sometimes I have to edit my thoughts about and my actions towards others in order to accept them. If it happens to be someone that does something I don’t agree with, don’t like or isn’t up to my standards it is really hard to edit my acceptance of them, but God directs us to accept them anyway. Sometimes acceptance is hard when it involves myself. I have to accept I will stumble, fall and fall short of my expectations. Sometimes I have to edit what I accept and what I won’t accept. I can learn from the positive and negatives of life and my choices. Regardless, I have to accept the final outcome and move on.

Habits: I am finding editing my habits is one of the toughest jobs. I thought I had some old habits whipped and now I find some of them sneaking back into my life and my routines. As I get farther out from surgery and become more comfortable with my body and my life, I find some habits I focused on in the beginning and thought I had eliminated are becoming habits again. Just how do you snuff out old habits you don’t want any more? It’s not like you can take them to the junk yard, bury them in the back yard or disguise them. You have to face them, evaluate them, edit them and eliminate them. It is a challenge I hate, but must accept and work on daily. I have to find a plan that will work and then work at the plan. One of my habits that have slipped back into my life is what the community of weight loss surgery calls grazing. I like to call them planned snacks, but if I am honest with myself, it is plain and simple - grazing! I have allowed certain food habits to take over my good common sense. I have discovered my body will accept snack size dark chocolate, Twix, Tootsie Rolls, just to name a few. It is time I nip this in the bud. I write about it in order to make myself face what I have to do. I also write about it to encourage other WLS patients to face that habit that feels so comfortable and is so comforting. You don’t have to be a WLS patient to acknowledge this feeling. All of us have habits, foods, actions, temperaments, etc that need to be placed back in the past. We need to accept the process of editing them and crossing them off our active list.

Habitat: This one falls in with the last category. If my habitat is not filled with the things I shouldn’t indulge in then I will not create that bad habit. I must take inventory of what my habitat houses. This doesn’t just include food, but every aspect of my life. My habitat is my surroundings, my environment, my thoughts and my actions. If I surround myself with the positives and act on my needs and not my wants I am more likely to be successful. I can edit the concept of what is need and what is want. I often think I need that food, that candy, that taste, that comfort; when in actuality it is a want. If I were to edit my thought process and edit my evaluation of the situation, I will 99% of the time not do what I want to do, but do what I need to do. The first step to success is to assess my habitat and edit what needs to be changed to be successful.

So I have discovered not all editing is bad. Many times editing is good. It allows me to grow, change, accept and reject certain things. Now dieting, that’s a frustration we all have endured at one point or another in our life. Some of us more so than others. It became a way of life for me before surgery. Now I just need to edit. I find it is easier to be a well rounded person (no pun intended) if I am editing. From the beginning I said I have to have the perspective that “I don’t need that” versus the perspective “I can’t have that”. It’s time I get back to that thought. It all comes down to the spelling: diet/edit. It comes down to want/need, healthy/heavy.

A very special friend of mine told me, "today is a new day and there is no room for yesterday in it." I think I will make that my focus this week. I will stop beating myself up for the choices I’ve made that don’t measure up. I will form healthy habits a step at a time. I will edit my thoughts and actions to conform to my needs and goals. I will work on it today and not focus on the mistakes of yesterday. I can do it! So can you!

"Believe in your dreams and they may come true;
believe in yourself and they will come true"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Success Available - Inquire Within

This week I want to encourage you to think of 3 things you love to do.

Are they as easy to do now as they were before? This is regardless of if it is physically, mentally, emotionally or spiritually doable.

As I progress in life I look back many times and compare my life in terms of “before” WLS and “after” WLS. Before there were so many things I couldn’t do. Before I had weight loss surgery I made a list of things I wanted to be able to do that skinny people take for granted. I have shared that list before so I won’t again, but I do constantly go back and look at it. I have accomplished almost everything on that list. I keep going back and looking at it again and again.

In our monthly support meeting this last week one gal had just had her 5th year anniversary. She said she looked back and assessed. She should be proud of her success. She had taken pictures throughout the journey. She was able to see how far she has come. I guess this is what I am doing with my skinny people list.

I was talking to another gal at the support meeting before the meeting began. She had just had surgery. I encouraged her to make a wish list and keep track of when she accomplished each thing. Down the road this will help her to remember where she has been, where she wanted to be, and where she has come. The list should always be growing. Each new goal is added and each accomplishment noted. I think everyone should do this for anything in life, not just weight loss. Unless we have a way to measure ourselves how can we see where we were, where we are headed and when we arrive?

I think of a saying I found some time ago: "Progress involves risks; you can't steal second with your foot on first." ~Fred Wilcox~ But you also can’t steal 2nd without getting in the game and having a plan. You have to know where you are going to get there. So I encourage you to make that want/wish list and make that plan. Make your flight plans and test your wings.

I read this somewhere and have paraphrased it: A daily recommitment is not to ensure that we’ll never fail, but to help us develop the mentality that every single day is a new day—a new chance to succeed. This lifestyle is not some diet we suddenly blow. It is something to which we recommit every single day, no matter how we blew it the day before. This philosophy can relate to anything you are facing at any time, any day and any place. It doesn’t have to just be about weight loss, but about life in general. Find your wings and fly!

Success is available----just inquire within!

"Yesterday is experience.
Tomorrow is hope.
Today is getting from one to the other as best we can."

~John M. Henry~

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sows, Whales and Rude Awakenings

As you know, last week I started Pilates class at the YMCA. I stumbled upon the sow syndrome. I found Pilates is not an "easy go" stretching routine. I sweat like an ole sow. Well, I certainly didn't get past the sow syndrome this week. I am still sweating away, but it sure feels good. Makes me think I am working out hard. Well, this week I did not go to Pilates Wednesday night because my back kept giving out on me all day. It was due to overworking the weights on Tuesday. Talk about a rude awakening. So I left from work, bypassed the "Y" and went home to cozy up to Mr. Ben Gay. Well, Friday morning I did return to Pilates and was introduced to the beached whale world. The instructor was a different one from the other two I have had. He is a very good instructor! Anyway, means I do not have a nice flat smooth tummy, some of the exercises made me feel like a beached whale. You know how you are laying on your tummy moving about without falling over. I just felt like a whale wallowing around on the beach on a nice hot sunny day sweating my tushie off. I was certainly the poster child for the weeble that wobbles. I know it will get better with time. Until then I will have to accept there are certain moves I can not perform in perfect form. I do it at the level I can and wait for the form to progress to a recognizable level. When my stomach flattens out and I gain strength in the abdomen muscles I will be able to sit from a laying position. For now I will raise my shoulders up "high" and wait for the rest of me to slithering behind. Getting over the lump around the middle will require patience on my part. Surely at some point in my life I had a flat tummy and a nimble body. Actually I have a picture of me in a bathing suit at 3-4 years old and even then I had a protruding stomach. I know it wasn't from lack of nourishment. Back then it was called baby fat. Wonder when I will grow out of that!

My rude awakenings don’t just encompass physical pain, but emotional frustration and disappointment. I have been concerned for a good month now about my slow down with losing weight. Yes, I knew it was coming with my year mark. I knew the “honeymoon” phase was coming to an end. I knew I would have to begin to concentrate and work harder. The surgery’s work has ended and now I am a “regular” person with the same struggles of the non-surgical weight loss fighter. Only I have an added tool-my pouch! So I began to talk to Ronda about my concern. She encouraged me to keep a food log. Boy, I sure didn’t want to do that. That meant I had to face the truth of my eating habits, food quantity and food quality. Well, once I decided that was what I needed to do, Ronda encouraged me to give my food log to Jennifer (dietician) and let her see what I needed to do. I think both Ronda and I knew what I needed to do; count calories! I knew and Ronda picked up in our conversations that what I was eating was too caloric. So I gave the log to Jennifer and braced for the worst. I knew there wouldn’t be any judgment, but open honest assessment. It was determined I am taking in too many calories. So this week I am once again going to start the food log and begin measuring/weighing and counting my food/calories. I hate to think that is what I need to do, but I am determined to get back on track. I have habits to lose again and habits to restart. I guess life is just that way-start, stop, assess and readjust. I am just very appreciative I have 2 people who care enough to spot me, encourage me, make me accountable to myself and guide me in the steps I need to take. Thank you Ronda and Jennifer!

To have our best health and dessert too we need to re-think what dessert is.
Every once in awhile you have to stop and ask, “Where am I heading?”

I am still working out through water aerobics twice a week, strength weight training and cardio 2-3 times a week. I have now added the sow/whale training (Pilates) twice a week. I can’t think of anything else I can do exercise wise. I’m sure there is something, but there are only so many hours in a day. I really do enjoy my “Y” time and I am glad I have the schedule to be able to do it. I am also glad God has given me the attitude about exercise I never had before. Much of my “Y” time is also an addition to my “God” time. I look forward to going to Pilates. I’m sure as I get better at range of motion and balance, reduction in size and an increase in muscle tone I will enjoy it more. It can be tough seeing everyone else doing the moves so fully and easily and me struggling to move an inch from a laying position to a sitting position. But as I know, it will get better. Everything I have done so far has gotten better and easier. This will too! Who knows, maybe some day I will graduate to Yoga. I just don’t see a body should be in some of those contorted positions. Why would one need to see the world from that perspective?

"You grow up the day you have your first real laugh at yourself."
~Ethel Barrymore~

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The humor of exercise and living the gastric lifestyle

OMGoodness! Pilates! My YMCA trainer Hope didn’t tell me I would sweat like an ‘ole sow giving birth to her 1st born. OMGoodness! That exercise ball can be a bucking horse for all I know! Actually I didn’t do so badly. Yes, I had my 1st Pilates class this week after work (6:40-7:30). I got out of my comfort zone. I went to a class knowing no one. I walked in and found the instructor. I deduced she was the one in the front of the class. That was my 1st good move. Speaking of moves. I had no clue what all one can do with an exercise ball. I mean mine at home had been totally used for the purpose of sitting on it so I could make my bed without having to bend over due to back problems. Anyway, I knew I had fought the war with the little round air filled warrior. I ached in places I didn’t know existed on this reduced fat body. The next day I didn’t feel as bad as I anticipated after class. After class the instructor said she would have thought I had done Pilates before. I told her I hadn’t, but had been doing some of the moves just on the mat on my own with Hope’s instructions. She said she could tell I knew what I was doing. Oh how convincing I must have been! Anyway, I am ready to go back next week. I will do one thing differently though. For lunch I will NOT have any type of raw vegetable. Not thinking, I had raw cauliflower, raw cucumber, and raw carrots for lunch. You have NO idea how tough it is to be in a Pilates class (working the abs) with 7 women you do not know and try not to fart with any sound and pray no smell. So next week it is no vegetables and maybe an extra Gut Buddies in the afternoon! (The downfall of gastric bypass surgery is increased gas and increased smell.)

Well, the day after my 1st class I went back to the torture chambers. aka/YMCA to do some stretching, biking and light strength weight lifting. No Pilates type moves for me. I wanted to stretch though so I didn’t suffer more than I needed too for the rest of the day.

My 1st Pilates class was on Wednesday night. My 2nd Pilates class was on Friday morning. Talk about sacrifice! I had class from 8:30am-9:15am. I rushed home (within the speed limit) and hopped in the shower so I could leave the house by 10am to be to work and in my work position by 10:30am. Breakfast was at work and consisted of 10 slices of deli turkey and 10 slices of deli ham, 6 cherry tomatoes and 3 pickle size cucumbers in red wine vinegar. Then about 2 hours or so later I had 2 oz of cheese with 10 baked crackers. Guess I better get used to this routine on Fridays.

Anyway my 2nd Pilates class was supposed to be (according to Hope) more like a beginner’s class. Excuse me, beginners for whom? I once again became that sow and pushed out the 1st born with sweat dripping off the end of my nose, down the nape of my neck and between areas no one should have to imagine. Sorry for placing that visual in you mind! Shake your head and move on to the next vision. The instructor said, “Lay on your back and bring your knees to your chest. Wrap you arms around you knees and rock to a sitting position.” A what? I haven’t had the ability to sit from a laying position since I was a toddler. Needless to say this out of shape body only rocked her chest to an elevated position. I figured I am doing more than I did a week ago and it will only get better with practice. I’m not even shooting for perfection here, just improvement! Now that is a stretched concept for a perfectionist.

Hope was correct in the fact Wednesday’s class was more advanced than Friday’s (beginner’s level). Wednesday’s class involved time on the exercise ball. Friday’s class was on the floor. We also used some light weight barbells. I used 4 pounds. They were relatively comfortable until the last exercise that challenged the shoulders. Wow! I do have muscles in areas I didn’t know there were cells; other than fat cells. As the saying goes, “Brain cells die, but fat cells live forever.”

I knew balancing on the ball would be challenging. It was too. I never thought balancing on the floor would be a challenge. I almost fell off the floor several times. Imagine the sight of someone balancing on knees and hands in a cat position with one leg straight out in back and the opposite arm straight out in front. Now imagine the thunder of someone falling over on the floor. Yes, that would be me (almost) a few times. Ronda and I discussed the fact when someone loses weight their balance is affected. It changes the center of gravity. Well, I have been noticing that often lately. I just figured it was the ear problem I have been battling for over a month now, but I think it has been going on longer than that when I think about it. Therefore, Pilates is an extra challenge for the balance issues. Welcome to the comedy world of the weeble that wobbles but doesn’t fall down. Let’s hope it remains that way. But if by chance I fall off my ball or off my floor mat, I will get back up and try again.

I’ll do what I can at the level I am at. I just hope no one in these classes thinks, “Wow, she is a klutz.” Some day I will be as “graceful” as they are. Okay, maybe not. I’ve never been called graceful. In Junior high I was talented for volleyball and basketball, but graceful wasn’t at the top of the list of requirements there.

A few hours after Friday’s class while at work, sitting and minding my own business, doing my job, and a darn good job if I have to say so myself. I got up to get something across the room and whooaaah! Someone put clamps on my butt, my thighs, my abs and my hips. Talk about a rude awakening of the muscles. They said, “Hey! Hellooooo! I am here and you have definitely abused me. You have awakened me before my prime and I will let you know I don’t like this.” Well, I said back to them, “Tough! Yes, that is what I will be, is tough! We will do this again on Wednesday night and Friday morning. More so, we will do some exercising on the days prior to that. Now granted I am not a total hard cold- hearted person. I will do some relaxing on Saturday and Sunday, but don’t get too comfortable.” As the saying goes, “no pain, no gain.” Well it isn’t really pain but it certainly is uncomfortable and maybe a little achy. I will survive and so will my muscles. As they grow and strengthen they will be thanking me! I think!

I just pray the results of this “venture” in the world of Pilates will be a visual one from the decreasing in the size of the tire around my middle and the reduction of the flapping wings below my biceps and the slapping of skin on my thighs. Some day may I walk/run and not cause a fire from the thighs rubbing together. May I lift my arms and not knock myself out from the loose skin in my upper arms. May I lose enough flab around the middle to actually be able to lie on my back and bring my knees to my chest; then be able to wrap my arms around my knees and rock to a sitting position. Yes, all this is a result of weight loss.

Hope you have a good one!

Any day I'm vertical is a good day"
~B.J. Gallagher~