Sunday, April 28, 2013

We Aren't "Good" When We are On Plan, or "Bad" When We Aren't.

One of the mind-shifts that HAD to happen for me in my journey towards focusing on OPTIMAL HEALTH instead of focusing on foods and the scale was the mind-shift of de-classifying foods as "good" or "bad", and declassifying ME as "good" or "bad" depending on what my plan looked like on any given day.

Food is not a moral decision.  I am not "good" when I'm eating something particular, and "bad" when I'm eating something ELSE. 

This part of my process was so important, I cannot stress it enough.  Because part of the addict-cycle in me was FED by being a little bit "bad" every once in awhile.  Why?  So the whole SHAME process could kick in.  So that I could do a little SELF LOATHING while I was at it, and call myself all sorts of horrible things in my mind.  Which would continue to feed that cycle.  Which would see me be EXTRA GOOD for a few days or weeks, just to be EXTRA BAD again and start that feel-bad process all over again.

So I realized that it was not serving me to view what I ate as a moral decision, and tie my self-worth to whether or not I had a piece of chocolate cake.

It was an intentional decision to begin re-framing those choices.  I began to view them as a timeline.  I put "What I really want-Optimal Health" on one end of the timeline, and "Where I came from" (morbidly obese, walking with a cane, not able to fit in the turnstiles at Disneyworld) on the other end of the timeline.

I began to view every "Stop, Challenge, Choose" decision as a direction arrow on that timeline.  If I chose that which would allow me to attain and maintain a healthy weight, that arrow moved me closer to what I say I want.  If I chose to partake in something that was not on my eating plan, it was viewed as an arrow pointing the other direction and moving me a little farther AWAY from that which I said that I wanted.

Taking these choices out of the realm of moral decisions helped me realize that what I eat truly isn't GOOD or BAD.  And eating what I eat doesn't make me a GOOD or BAD person.

It took the guilt, the shame, the self-loathing, all of those things OUT of my journey.  Because I'm unconditionally loved, and I'm a valuable Person, Mom, and Wife REGARDLESS of what I eat.  And I want health because I want to be the best Person, Mom and Wife that I can be!  The best version of myself.  Running on all cylinders.  Living my best life.  And you can too!

Try it!  You may like the results! 

Rinse and Repeat!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Two Sides of the Same Coin - The Difference Between "Ease" and "Joy"

Does it ever get easier?  Is this always going to be so hard?

That is a question I have struggled with myself in the past, and occasionally entertain even now.  For a few minutes.

Then I remember that there is a difference between "ease" and "joy".

This journey is hard.  This journey is my "thorn in my flesh", the thing that keeps me humble, the thing that keeps me on my knees and asking for grace and strength to get me through. 

Which isn't necessarily a bad thing. 

There are days I just really really really "want" something that is not going to serve my health interests.  I find myself leaving the "acceptance" state and bouncing in to denial, anger, bargaining or depression.  I realize at those times that my success comes in the speed at which I can work myself deliberately back in to acceptance.  Because my body will never process extra calories or extra processed carbs in any other way EXCEPT to store them as fat.  And I can either continue WANTING that junk, and be miserable, or CHANGE MY WANTS and choose joyful acceptance.  Of course there IS a third alternative, which is to gain all my weight back AND be miserable but excuse me if I don't find that option very appealing.  And I am committed to making sure it is never a viable option. 


Why joy?  Because we can feel sorry for ourselves and grow weary of the struggle...and then we can RECOGNIZE that is what we are doing, REMEMBER to remember WHO WE ARE (we are amazing individuals who have overcome amazing obstacles!), and continue to move joyfully in the direction of health.

Joy?  Why joy?  Because I am a miserable person to live with/be with when I am skulking around the house with a sad face because I have been wanted the things that will make me fat again.

Why is that?  That stuff is junk!  That stuff brings unhappiness with it every time I try it!  That stuff is....a drug.

And I'm a recovering addict to that drug.  So when I can reclassify the "stuff" as junk, garbage, a deadly substance, etc, then I really can make the choice to move towards health.

But I've got to STOP focusing on what I DON'T want (well, that I don't WANT to want) and START focusing on what I DO want.

I want to be continuing, day by day, month by month and year by year, to be moving TOWARDS optimal health and fitness, not away from it.

And I can joyfully do that.  Joyfully.  Do.  That. 

By focusing on what I am creating instead of what I think I am "missing".

So what is your choice today?  Are you "creating optimal health" or are you on a diet?  Because the diet mindset will bring you cravings and all the deprivation emotions that cause us to feel sorry for ourselves.  But the creating optimal health mindset says "I GET to do this!" not "I HAVE to do this!"

Which will it be for you today?  Choose wisely!

Rinse and Repeat!

Saturday, April 20, 2013


So here at the Conference Center we are staying at they have an amazing water park.  And this water park has turnstiles at the entry/exit point.

A little history:

In 2009 my husband and then-4-year-old son (who had a kidney transplant the year before) went on my son's "Make-A-Wish" trip to Disneyworld. 

At that time I weighed 272 pounds, and could not fit through the turnstiles.  I was humiliated by myself and my condition when they had to open the stroller gate for me.  Yes.  I was too wide and too thick even to go through sideways without getting stuck.  Yes I tried first.

So that being said, fast forward to yesterday.  Our group went to the water park to have part of our meeting there, and I don't even know if I've BEEN through turnstiles since 2009.  I have avoided them like the plague.

So, I approached the turnstiles, turned sideways, and scooted past them WITHOUT EVEN TOUCHING the metal swing part.  Yes.  Didn't even touch it.  Cleared it by an inch.  I was amazed at the difference.

I am in such a healthier place physically, yes.  But I am ALSO in a much healthier place emotionally and mentally.  You see, this process is not a "diet".  If you approach it as such it will not work long term for you.  Well, if you are in the 5% that can maintain their weight after DOING a DIET, then maybe.  But that is the vast MINORITY of people.

No, this is a way of life.  An orientation.  Toward health.  Attaining a healthy weight was only the first step in the process.  So many times, in "diets", the end-all beat-all goal is "to lose weight". 


I wanted to CREATE health in my life.  And I did it.  And you can too.  Anyone can, but it's not "just" about "eating the food".  It is about CHANGING YOUR MIND.

Wow.  And yes, I did shed a little tear after realizing the enormity of my accomplishment.  And yes, this is my little pat on the back.  Because every day my life gets better and better.  Every day. 

Are you surrounding yourself with like-minded people?  I am swamped by them this weekend and I'll tell you it's like going into an oxygen bar and BREATHING in energy!  Surround yourself with like-minded people, not people who will drag you down, tear you down, or wish for your failure.  If you do that, you will realize that anything you can imagine IS possible.  And it is.  Even going through a turnstile without touching the turns.  =)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

You Can't Take a "Break" From Your Body

So I'm in the great Lone Star State of Texas right now, I flew in yesterday (NOT on American), and I thought it would be a great thing to talk about what I do when I am NOT doing my "usual routine" in my "usual habitat" (I sound like a chimpanzee in a zoo.......ha ha).

So, I decided to lift the curtain on this trip and give you a play-by-play of my intentions while I'm at my business conference.

BUT FIRST, let me tell you what I USED to do, when I was looking at this whole process as a "diet".

Back in the day, before I realized that this was truly a lifestyle choice, and I didn't want to be miserable anymore (howz THAT for a lifestyle choice!), I used to use ANY break from my NORMAL routine, be it a business trip, a vacation, or heck even a 3-day weekend, as an excuse to "take a break" from my body.

I'd go into it halfheartedly bringing a few Medifast Meals with me, you know, because I had to say I had given it SOME effort, knowing FULL WELL that by day 2 I'd abandon my half-hearted effort and just eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.

I deserved it, didn't I?  I earned it?  It was so hard?  It takes so much effort to "do" the plan and to "be" on plan that come on can't a girl catch a "break" and cut loose every once in awhile?

And I'd come home from a 4-day trip having gained 5 pounds.  Easy.

And so, so tragic. 

Why?  Because no matter where you go or what you do, you take your body with you.  And just because I am not at my house or at work in my "normal" routine, doesn't mean that my body has magically STOPPED processing "extra" calories in the SAME WAY it has ALWAYS processed extra storing them as fat.

So, every trip I took I was actually getting "fatter".  Every 3-day weekend, every vacation, every break from my normal routine left me a little bit fatter than I was going in to the vacation or business trip or 3-day weekend.

Finally, FINALLY, I stopped the madness.  How did I do that?

You know what I'm going to say already.  You know that I'm going to tell you that it is SIMPLE and that ANYBODY can do it. 

The realization that my body had caloric limitations that would never EVER change hit me like a ton of bricks. 

The knowledge that I HAD to submit to the REALITY of how my body operated in order to fully realize my dream of living my BEST LIFE literally hit me in the face like the pavement does after a fall.

And we can truly never take a break from that process. 

So we can truly DECIDE what life we want to live, and LEARN the Habits of Health that can bring us closer to that life every day, until one day our dream and our reality merge in some other-worldly misty Hollywood movie-type ending where everything actually works out exactly the way we want it to.

We can do that. 

Or, we can think we can keep taking these well-deserved, well-earned "breaks" from the plan which only serve to undermine what we SAID that we wanted.

So the way that looks like practically for me on this business trip is that the time I would normally spend eating chips and drinking margaritas in the hotel bar I will be working out in the fitness center or going for a run.  Those Medifast Meals that I brought with me?  I ain't going home with any.  I am using them.  And saving a TON of money by not having to eat breakfast lunch AND dinner in the hotel restaurants.  That water bottle I brought?  I am filling it up and refilling it up. 

And that "small" turquoise business shirt I bought from Costco a few weeks ago specifically to wear to one of my meetings?  I just had the meeting, I wore it, and it looked GREAT (If I don't say so myself)!  Who knew that some day I would be able to wear a semi-tailored tuck-in business shirt in a size SMALL? 

I must have known it.  And then I must have acted on it.  Yep, that is exactly what I did.  And YOU can TOO!!!

So when you catch yourself thinking "I want a 'break' from this plan" just ask yourself if you plan on leaving your body behind too?  Because that is impossible.  And you will feel SO much better at the end of your trip knowing that you did all you reasonably could (which is a lot, by the way, I think we don't give ourselves enough credit for what we can actually accomplish when we put our minds to it, nor do we set the bar high enough for ourselves....) to remain ON plan even amid lapses in your normal routine.

Rinse and Repeat!

Sunday, April 7, 2013

First Impressions....

A recent discussion board post about insecurities got me thinking, so I wanted to cross-post part of my response here, and elaborate somewhat more on the topic. 

Kate posted this:

"I read this great quote today (on Facebook) that really resonated with me especially when it comes to weight loss.

“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.”
— Steve Furtick

I'm going to try to remember this when I see "skinny people" and resent them for not having to watch what they eat or exercise the way I feel like I have to. When their lives seem so perfect, I'll try to remember that I'm only seeing their public face, not their private struggles.
And it really got me thinking.  I remembered an impression I got a couple of weeks ago.
I was sitting in a Coffee Shop near my home which is the home of the best cupcakes in Arizona. They've won awards, been winners on "Cupcake Wars", etc.

Anyway, two ladies walked in and saw me sitting at a table with my double-espresso in my little ceramic cup, my ice water, as I was reading my book "7-Habits of Highly Effective People" by Stephen Covey. The ladies were extremely obese, as I used to be. They stood in line, ordered their blended coffee milkshakes and cupcakes, and sat at the next table to eat them. They were literally me, 2 years ago. One was dressed in sweat pants and a man's T-shirt, which is what I used to wear also. The other was in stylish plus sized jeans, and a button-down plus-sized blouse, with shoes that looked like they were killing her feet. They were both very, very unhealthy and at that moment were choosing to further their habits of disease.

The only thing that separated me from them was that I was choosing, at that moment, to further my habits of health, and had been for several years now.

But they saw my "highlight reel", a couple of years into the process of choosing health, which was a petite blonde lady studying a book and drinking an espresso. And if they WERE like me they may have also thought "That lady doesn't know what it's like to have to be on a diet. She probably eats whatever she wants and never gains an ounce."

Impressions are funny things. Some days I feel like I work as hard if not harder than an Olympic-level Athlete to choose health on a daily basis. We just have no idea what other people are dealing with when they leave the coffee shop. I have found that most people are just like me! We live our lives, we make our choices, and we deal with the consequences of those choices.

I went home and told my husband that I had become "THAT person who can eat whatever she wants and never gain an ounce.  At least I LOOK like I am her.  In reality, I'm not because it's not true that I can eat whatever I want and not gain an ounce.  So I have to guard my wants, and make sure that if I "want" a cupcake I deal with that desire in a way that doesn't have me acting on it.  Most of what we do to make healthy choices begins in our minds.  And whatever desire we nurture the most is the desire that will win the day.  Do I want the nummy cupcake?  Or do I want health?  Because I WILL get what I want. 

So the way that COULD be true is that I have changed my wants sufficiently so that I do indeed WANT that double espresso and glass of ice water INSTEAD of the cupcake, that I have trained myself to default to the healthy choice and NOT to pine away infront of the cupcake case

How do you change your wants?  Intentionally.  I made a list of all the blessings and all the positive things that I would be creating and bringing into my life as a result of getting healthy, then I posted that list everywhere I could.  I put it on a 3 X 5 index card in a ziplock bag and hung it around my shower head.  I wrote it down on a sticky note and put it on my bathroom mirror.  I thought about them every day as I rose, and I think about them every day as I rise now. 

That way this isn't just one big deprivation, because I'm defining my life in terms other than food terms.   If you aren't "there" yet, don't worry!  It is a skill that takes some time to develop, but do begin somewhere!

Rinse and repeat!

Are You Nurturing Habits of Disease or Habits of Health?

There was a point in my journey where I distinctly remember making a choice to STOP nurturing habits of disease and START nurturing habits of health. 

It began with a wild and crazy idea I had, that I would STOP watching the Food Network.

"Why??" my inner-brat pleaded with me?  "That's just crazy talk.  I mean come on, if you have to TURN IT OFF to be in control, then there is more wrong with you than that...."

Nice, inner-brat, nice.

No, I realized that wasn't true.  In fact, the opposite was true.  Watching those programs, night after night, day after day, was actually nurturing my habit of disease.  It was making me discontent with the process of getting healthy, it was contributing to me thinking this was one big party pooper process and I'd have to deny deny deny myself of my favorite treats for the rest of my life.  Boo hoo!

When I stopped watching it (by canceling cable altogether, BTW), and got up off my couch, I realized I was no longer focusing as much on food.  I didn't see the commercials anymore.  I didn't see Paula Deen or her sons cooking up a storm.  I didn't see Guy Fieri stopping by all those Diners, Drive-ins and Dives every day.

I bought a pair of good walking shoes.  I began to let myself dream about being active.  It was a chore at first, because for years and years I had let myself descend into such a state of atrophy that it felt unnatural to move more.  It felt unnatural to even view myself as someone who could be HEALTHY.

I began to really focus on being spot on with  my 5&1 program.  I bought a bicycle for $50 at a garage sale and put a few bling crystals on the handlebars.  Then I started riding it.  I didn't miss my cooking programs.  I didn't miss the feeling of denial that I had been nurturing for months and months.  Not at all.

In fact, something very interesting happened.  Hope crept in.  Hope got stronger.  I fed hope.  Hope grew. 

Then I started meeting my goals.  It was amazing what I could accomplish by nurturing my habits of health that I chose to incorporate into my life.

You see, you can go about this process in one of two ways.

You can look at it as someone telling you what to do, and one big pity party.  You can do that.  You are free to do that.  You will be making it very hard on yourself, you will struggle in ways that you really don't have to struggle, but it is your choice to look at this as a "diet".


You can embrace this transformational process and ditch your habits of disease, instead nurture the habits of health because you are looking towards the future with ANTICIPATION and not APPREHENSION.

I chose way number two.  I've also done it the first way, and gained every ounce back that I had lost in the process of refusing to give up my habits of disease.  So really, the choice is yours.  =)

Rinse and Repeat!

Why "Today" is So Important

Life is not made up of one single "yesterday" or "tomorrow".

Life is made up of a whole string of "todays" lined up in a neat little row.

So, what about TODAY will you change so that your FUTURE doesn't look like your PAST as regards your health?

What seemingly small improvements will you make TODAY which, when repeated over time, will produce STUNNING results?

Or will today be filled with seemingly small neglects which, when repeated over time, will produce TRAGIC results?

The plan is simple.  Eat 6 times today, spaced out every 2-3 hours.  Drink your water.  Move a little bit.  Get adequate sleep.  Weigh your lean and measure your green.  Add your appropriate healthy fat.  Limit your condiments.  Master these Habits of Health.  Become an expert on this plan.  Then repeat it every day that you can call "Today".

The choice, as always, is yours.  Stunning or tragic?

Rinse and Repeat!

Revisiting My Why

Sometimes I decide to take an extra long walk with myself to really focus on my "Why".

What is a "Why" and why do we need one?

A "Why" is your "Reason".  If I were to ask you "Why do you want to be healthy?"  What would you say?  Do you HAVE a reason?  Or have you always just gotten as far as "To Lose Weight".

I challenge you, if your first response was "To Lose Weight" to really take this next week and try to identify what positive and beautiful things and situations you can bring IN to your life as a result of attaining and maintaining a healthy weight.

So often we focus on what we DON'T want in our lives anymore.  I don't know about you, but these things, when I think about them, don't inspire me to be or to do my best.  But when I turn it around, and think about how my life has the potential of being if I indeed continue working on my goals and dreams of being and staying healthy, well heck, I end up inspiring myself! 

And that is kinda the point, isn't it?  To be an inspiration to ourselves?  To find it within our OWN heads and hearts the desire and the motivation and the where-with-all to continue this process that we KNOW works if we work it correctly?

So what is your WHY?  If it involves you wanting to get something OUT of your life, running FROM something, flip it around to a positive instead of a negative.  Find a way to express a similar sentiment but focusing on what you will bring IN to your life with this process.

For example:

I want to lose weight = I am running away from this fat
I want to get healthy = I am running towards health

Even those two simple concepts illustrate the difference between a "diet" mentality and a "lifestyle of health" mentality. 

So which will it be for you?

Rinse and Repeat!