Weighty Matters

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Food Fidgets

I am fidgety about food today and I don’t know why.  I’m not stressing about anything.  I’m excited about developing a more regular workout routine/effort.  I got enough sleep last night.

Yesterday, I had a terrific acupuncture session, including some work to boost the channel associated with my metabolism.  (It was sluggish.)  I feel great, darn it, so why the compulsive thoughts and desire to eat?  I’ve stayed on track and just finished my planned mid-morning snack.  Still I’m thinking about food more often.  Thinking often leads to false-hunger and wanting.

At least I’m aware of the situation.  It’s when I’m not aware and move directly and swiftly into acting on the compulsion that the day’s plan falls apart.

Right now, instead of going in search of food to augment my snack, I’m going to fill up my water glass and consume some nice cool water instead.

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When You Think You Can’t, You Can!

This morning at 7:25 a.m., I was at the half-way mark of the rowing class and was fairly sure that I wouldn’t make it to the end.  Today’s workout called for 34 minutes of 200 meter intervals with a :10 rest between intervals.  I was doing my best to row 200 meters in a minute’s time but was falling short by a couple of seconds – hitting the 1:04-1:06 range instead.  Each of us in the class wore a sensor that constantly monitored our heart rates and showed us on the wall monitor if we were in the preferred zone of around 80-89% of our maximum heart rate.  The sensor also estimates our calorie burn, based on our current weight, gender and age.

I was doing pretty good at maintaining my heart rate in that golden zone, but as the minutes went on, I started to think more and more that I’d never make it through. During each rest, I stretched my legs in the machine and jiggled my left foot, which seems to want to go numb on me in the middle of the workout.  I gulped water and wiped the rivulets of sweat off of my face, then picked up the handles again to resume rowing when the clock counted down to zero.

Call me determined or stubborn or crazy, but I refused to quit on the workout.  Even if I was blowing out air like a whale, and soaked with sweat, I was not going to give up.  About :20 seconds into each interval, when I thought I couldn’t keep going, I mentally cried bulls**t on myself and powered through.  I’d make myself work harder, trying to get my time down to a minute per 200 meters.

When we hit the ten-minutes-to-go mark, the trainer started giving us regular updates.  “Ten minutes left.  Keep it up.”  “Only seven minutes to go.  You can do it.”  “Five minutes.”  “Three minutes.”  “Try to finish an interval before the time runs out and start another.”

I finished an interval about :20 before the workout ended so I launched into another one, determined to give it my all.  For that last strong effort I hit the red zone with my heart rate at greater than 90% capacity.  “Finish strong!” encouraged our trainer.  I did.  200 meters in :59!  My best time for the whole workout.

So much for thinking I couldn’t.  While others in the class might have done more intervals than I did, I’m not in competition with them.  For one thing, I am often in class with women who are significantly younger than I am and/or who have been at this rowing thing for a lot longer.  When all is said and done, I’m only measuring up to myself and how much effort I put into the workout.  That said, while we recovered and let our heartbeats gradually slow from the peak performance, the trainer ran us through the class’s collective stats.

I was the Zone Master for the class, which meant that I maintained the desired heart rate zone for the most consistent amount of time!  It made me smile.

After wiping down my rowing machine, returning the sensor to the trainer, and guzzling the rest of my water, I made my way out to my car.  I looked down at my hand and realized that I’d worked up a blister at the base of my ring finger.  (Note to self, don’t wear a ring to rowing class and find your workout gloves.)  It doesn’t hurt much and I kind of consider it a mark of accomplishment.  It’s also a great reminder to me throughout the day.  If at any time I’m tempted to overeat or veer wildly off my food plan, I only need to look at that little red blister and remember how hard I worked this morning.

I’m going to take today’s experience with me into the next class and every one after that.  When I think I can’t finish, I know now that I can.  Not only that, with determination, I can finish strong.

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Our Dogs, Ourselves

The last few months have been populated with several visits to the veterinarian.  Natty has battled a stubborn ear infection.  Pyxi’s had vulvitis, a bladder infection and some periodic incontinence.  Ear drops and sprays for Nat, antibiotics for both of them have been our norm.  Neither one of them has eaten well, in particular Pyxi.  She’s been consuming less than half of her normal diet.

Both of them put on a couple of pounds while I was dealing with my chronic foot issues.  They were not getting their customary amount of exercise during that time, plus it’s been so blistering hot that even when I can walk, I don’t push it with their little fur-coated bodies.  During the summer, I don’t walk them later in the morning than 8 a.m.  In the evening, we don’t go out until after 7 p.m.  If you’ve ever wondered when the pavement or street are too hot for your dog’s paws, here’s an easy test.  Hold your fingers or palm of your hand to the pavement for 7 – 10 seconds.  If it’s too hot for you, it’s too hot for them.

Pyxi, dropped the most weight and I’ve been concerned that something else might be happening, but waited until she was done with her antibiotics to see if she would start eating more regularly again.  However, by the time their follow up appointment arrived earlier this week, I was starting to get scared.

Our vet is wonderful.  He ordered a full blood panel.  While we waited for the results, he thoroughly examined her again from nose to tail with diagnostic instruments and hands-on touches.  He called up her recent x-rays and studied them again to make sure nothing had been missed the last time.  Thankfully, he neither felt nor saw any masses, misshapped organs or other things.

The blood results came back and some key levels were elevated, indicating kidney issues.  Her kidneys are functioning at about 60%.  My heart jumped and fluttered and I could feel myself getting scared.  My vet and I have been friends a long time and he swiftly made sure I knew that this could all be a result of the recent infection and the strong antibiotics.  He also went through the blood test line by line and showed me how other levels right away helped him rule out a couple major problems.  I started to breathe again.

The first thing he wanted to do was to put her on a lower protein diet for two weeks and then run another blood test to see if her levels normalized.  To achieve this diet, he wants me to cut out a third of her regular kibble and replace it with rice or pasta. In their evening meal, both dogs get a small scoop of some wet food too.  Instead of that over the next two weeks, Dr. Mike wants me to give Pyxi some chicken.  “I know how busy you are, but this won’t be too much for your to accomplish, will it?” he asked, although he already knew my answer.

I wouldn’t care if my days were three times busier than the President’s.  If my dogs need me to cook rice and chicken for them, I will.  I assured him it wouldn’t be a problem.  (I cooked for my old Irish Setter for two years before he died.)

Thankfully, that night I still had some leftover grilled chicken in the fridge and some rice in the cupboard that I could cook up. I also boiled some pasta for variety.  Friday night I bought a roasting chicken and some brown rice.  All three of us will be eating from that chicken for much of the week.  Let me just tell you that the dogs are loving it.  I’m not sure whether Pyxi started to feel better after her appointment and naturally has more appetite than before, or whether it’s the novelty of rice, pasta and chicken that stimulates her eating, but she’s cleaning her bowl at both meals.  (Natty doesn’t need the rice/pasta/chicken, but I don’t have it in me to deny him some bites when his sister is getting it.  I don’t give him as much, but he too is now eating more reliably than he was.)  I am relieved that she seems to be improving and am hopeful that her re-test in a week and a half will show that her levels are back to normal.

Here’s my point in tell you all this story.  As soon as the veterinarian prescribed a change in diet for the sake of my dog’s health, I immediately complied.  I went right into action mode to help my little girl feel better and recover from her ailment.

Doing this for her was automatic.

Unlike all of the years when I knew I need to change my food choices and eating patterns for the sake of my own health but didn’t make the necessary improvements.

Let this be a good reminder to myself.  I should always resolve to treat myself with at least the same high level of caring and commitment as I devote to my furry family members.

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Appreciating the Good

The last couple of months have reminded me, okay, they’ve actually hammered home to me to never take feeling good for granted.  To borrow from Joni Mitchell, “Don’t it always seem to go that you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone”.

I felt physically terrific for so many months that when the heel pain started and intensified, making it excruciatingly painful just to walk, I was floored.  For years when I was heavier, I was mostly sedentary.  As I aged, I was sedentary and ached all of the time.  Even when I wasn’t active, I experienced aches and pains.

Losing weight became a physical gift to myself for so many reasons.  Developing actual physical fitness and feeling my chronic soreness fade was amazing.  I grew to love my body’s fluidity, grace, strength and ease.  Seeing true muscle definition made me smile and revel in my ability.

Having that begin to fade as I became less and less active affected me in ways other than physical.  Emotionally and mentally I started to suffer too.  Today, after the plasma rich platelet treatments and the acupuncture, my tissues and tendon have healed and it no longer feels like I’m driving a hot spike into my heel with each step.  My knee still has a few minor creaks and twinges, but the pain in that joint is also greatly reduced.  I can walk without pain again, finally.

I am so grateful.  I value and appreciate this state more than you know.  To be able to practice Tai Chi, walk the dogs, and even do my job lifts my spirits.  I’m reconnecting with my desire to move and exercise more.  Tomorrow is my first full rowing class.  I’m even getting up earlier than usual so I can make the 7 a.m. class.

It’s also been a better week for me food-wise.  I think physically feeling better contributes to reducing my food obsessions and compulsions.  I believe the acupuncture also is having a very positive effect, too.  Eating more responsible portions and making healthier choices overall have come easier to me this week.  It’s important for me to acknowledge this too.

Maybe it’s not that I take things for granted, but more that I don’t take time to sit still, think about the good, and acknowledge it in my life.  I’m going to make it a point to embrace and appreciate the good – every day.  Doing so empowers me and strengthens my foundations.

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Row, Row, Row Your Boat

I stuck to my plan and checked out the rowing class last night.  HoooWow.  What a workout! Because it was my first session, I didn’t participate in the “class”.  Instead, the very nice trainer set me up on a rowing machine, talked about and demonstrated the correct form and had me give it a try.

It took a relatively short amount of time for me to feel comfortable.  The seat moves and the idea is to push back with your legs, lean slightly back, then pull the handle/cable to your chest.  The harder/faster one pulls, the more resistance.  Then after pulling back, you lean forward, slide forward and then repeat the motion.  You inhale going forward and exhale when rowing back.  (Okay, I think that’s what I was doing but I’m really tired tonight and might have confused it in my head.)

Leaning back helps work your abs because you then have to come forward.  This workout engages a number of different muscles if you do it with the correct form.  I almost leaned back too far at first and thought I was going to fall off of the seat, but I recovered.

The women that were there for the organized class were all given sensors to strap to their chests which would monitor their heart rates and show them if they were in the desired zone.  They all logged into the computer and their progress for heart rate and calorie burn were displayed on the wall monitor.  Each day there is a different routine for the class.  Yesterday they were to row to 2000 meters, rest for three minutes, row another 2000 meters, rest as long as they needed and then do a 500 meter sprint.

Since I wasn’t doing a class, the trainer instructed me to row steadily for 10 minutes, take a three minute break, and then row for another 10 minutes.  I had absolutely no idea going in what it would all feel like, if I could do it and, if I could, for how long.  However, I concentrated on maintaining good form, increasing my resistance, breathing, and working it for the full ten minutes.

Thank God for that three minute break!  In those ten minutes, my heart was pumping, I was sweating and, when I stopped for the break, my legs were wobbly.  What a rush!  The break felt terrific as I wiped sweat off of my face and drank the better part of  a liter of water.  Then it was back into form for the next 10 minutes.  This would be the defining chunk, I decided.  If I couldn’t do even 20 minutes of this form of exercise, what would be the point?

Hah! I told myself.  The point would be that if I couldn’t do 20 minutes that night, I would still continue to try and build up to the 20 minutes and then continue to make progress.

Much to my delight, I not only made the 20 minutes, I really pushed the last few minutes so that I could get my total meters over 3500.  I think I could have kept going and made it to the 4000, but the trainer wanted me to stop and assess on my first time out.

He was great.  He checked my progress every couple of minutes, told me when I needed to adjust my form and made sure to tell me when I put it all together and was really doing it right.

When I was done, he gave me some wipes to sanitize the handle and seat and asked me if I needed more water or a towel.  I will admit that my legs felt a bit like jelly when I stood up so I know that I truly gave them a good workout.  The trainer reminded everybody to keep moving for a while so that we wouldn’t stiffen up.

I am delighted to share that even though I was tired after the workout, I was not sore.  My knee didn’t complain and my heel didn’t start to hurt.  Plus, I felt energized in spirit and mentally pumped my fist and gave myself a “Booyah!” for the achievement.

I’d like to hit an actual class this week.  My plan is to commit to two classes a week with a third on weeks that I have time.  To illustrate how serious I am about this, I am seriously considering getting up much earlier than I usually do to take either a 6 a.m. or 7 a.m. class and then running home to shower and change before going to work.

I’ve needed a harder form of exercise to help in my overall fitness and weight loss effort.  I think I’ve found it with rowing.

 

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Rekindling Motivation

I’m annoyed with myself.  Now that my foot is healed, I have no excuse for not getting back to exercising more often.

I’m being lazy.  That’s not acceptable.  I need to be doing much more than I am.  At the same time, I’m really scared of triggering another bout of plantar fasciitis or tearing the tissue again.  I’m also, as I mentioned, being lazy.  It’s like I lapsed into my old slothful ways when I was super heavy and just walking was a challenge.

What I miss most is my excited attitude about being able to move and be much more physically active.  When the world of movement opened up, I experienced joy in my body, in myself.  I’d like to find it again.  I know it hasn’t disappeared.  It’s merely… misplaced.  Every once in awhile I catch a glimpse, like when I swim around snorkeling for an hour or when my friend and I kayaked for a couple of hours.  I haven’t ridden my bike much, but when I do, it’s still a source of enjoyment.

When I was in pain and then undergoing treatment, I couldn’t do Tai Chi.  Oh, I missed it for so many reasons.  I’m glad to be back in class.  Even though I spell myself a little to work my heel and myself back into the routine, whenever I do the moves, I experience contentment and peace, simple pleasure in how easily I move.  (Although I have to work on regaining my balance now that I’m adjusting to doing the moves in sneakers.)

I’ve been able to walk the dogs more regularly.  Today I did workout moves in the pool, including treading water for several minutes, doing several short laps (It’s a small pool so short laps are all I can do.)  I even worked on my triceps, abs and biceps.

I’m also making a commitment to myself — and stating it publicly on the blog — that I’m going to check out rowing classes.  Several friends have tried them and pronounced them great workouts that are fun.  They’re also low impact so my heel and knees shouldn’t be at risk.  I’m shooting for trying the first class tomorrow – provided the evening class isn’t full.  I’m going to call first thing in the morning.

In the meantime, I keep reminding myself that any movement is good movement.  More movement is even better.  I think I just need to keep pushing myself to be active and believe that doing so will rekindle the motivation and lead to me doing even more.

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Security Conscious

No, I didn’t actually fall off the face of the earth.  I was away on vacation.  In the past, I’ve either said that I was going away or I’ve pre-written and scheduled posts so that new things would magically appear and nobody would know that I wasn’t sitting here creating the content that same day.

Honest to goodness, I was busy as all get-out for the week before I left.  There was no time to write posts, unfortunately.  That I didn’t pre-inform that I was going has a lot to do with the this post’s title.  I wanted to be more security conscious and not tip off people that I wasn’t going to be around. I know that 99% of the people who read this blog are wonderful, supportive, and not trolling the internet to look for places to rob.  It’s the 1%, probably less than 1%, who are strangers with possible nefarious intent.

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean someone isn’t out to get you!  :-)

Lately, I find that as I get older, I am beginning to feel more vulnerable.  It’s not that I’ve been a blindly trusting Pollyanna all of my life.  I employ a really healthy amount of common sense and take secure measures to protect myself, my home, and my belongings.  However, I have come to believe that I will be better served if that healthy amount becomes even healthier.

Facts are facts.  I’m older.  I’m single.  I live alone.  Although I know that I am extremely capable and employ good situational awareness to avoid potentially risky situations/scenarios, that’s my view from the inside looking out.  I have begun to feel some degree of concern that other people might perceive me differently — as older, not as strong or capable.  As, well, vulnerable.

There’s some irony at work here.  I’m in the best physical shape of my life and, at heart, I still think I’m a tough Jersey girl, but still… I worry sometimes.

However, I am not worrying myself into a state of complete paranoia or constant concern.  I’ve identified how I feel and, as is my frequent m.o., am making a plan with concrete steps.  I want to be more secure and there are ways to achieve this for my actual safety as well as my peace of mind.

So, not blasting out on this blog when I’m not going to be around is a security conscious step.  Making sure that when I do go away the house is locked up and that someone I trust is keeping an eye on things.  I’m contacting a security company for an evaluation to upgrade existing protection measures not only for my house but also for my boat.

I’m not at the point where I want a handgun, but I sure wouldn’t mind taking a self-defense class for women.  I have several little things that also help in a myriad of ways.  There’s a flashlight in my handbag at all times.  I also have a little flashlight on my key chain.  I bought a piece of equipment that stays in my car.  It’s a battery charger and an air compressor so that I don’t need someone else or another car if my battery dies or if I have a flatter tire.  It will also charge up my cell phone if I need it too.

No matter where I go or what parking lot I pull into, I always look around before I unlock my car and get out.  I also never ever park next to a van.  As much as I love to drive with my convertible top down, I realize that it just isn’t safe for me to do so after dark.  So, for the sake of safety, the top is up when the sun is down.

These are all fairly easy things to implement, but they’re effective.  Not only do they enhance my safety, they make me feel better, more secure.  I’m not blase and I don’t take any of it for granted.  I’m just trying to stay aware and conscious of doing what I need to do to protect myself.

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Eating Choices Rant

Yesterday in between my bike ride and my snorkel trip, I watched Food Network for a while.  I’ve said before that I’m mildly addicted to watching cooking shows.  Some would wonder if this is a good idea for me to so often watch shows that focus on food.  I wonder that sometimes myself.  However, in my defense, I think that I’ve learned more about preparing good, healthy food of greater variety from watching than I would have otherwise.  I think I’m also discerning enough to know when a recipe is something that would be good for me to try or a meal I should stay far, far away from.

I have noticed that most of the shows aren’t focused on cooking healthy.  The chefs like their butter, oil, heavy cream and frying.  Nothing goes unsalted.  It’s all about building flavors, unctuous mouth feel, velvety sauces (more cream and butter), and so on.  Seriously, I get this.  Gastronomes R Us.

So what’s my takeaway as someone who is on a quest to lose weight and change my eating lifestyle from totally unhealthy to healthier?  Well, amid the butter/cream/frying/salting are the wonderful nuggets of information and technique that teach me how to build flavor into my food in ways that don’t require the extra calories.

And, often enough, I find a show where someone does something really cool and tasty with a new vegetable or demonstrates a completely different dish in a way that makes me realize that it wouldn’t be all that difficult for me to try.  There are a few simple truths.  If healthy food doesn’t taste good, nobody wants to eat it.  Good food can still be healthy.

I love watching Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.  On her show, she makes the most wonderful dishes look like they’re easy to prepare.  I won’t pretend that everything she produces on her show falls in the healthy category, but every once in a while she scores for me.  Yesterday, she made kale chips.  Kale chips! Easy as anything to do and so tasty.  Since I have lacinato (aka dinosaur) kale in my fridge, this was an easy dish to replicate for lunch.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread out a few whole kale leaves on a pan.  Brush lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with a little salt and ground black pepper.  Bake for about ten minutes until crisping up.  Sprinkle with a little parmesan and return to oven until cheese melts.

Kale is a healthy, leafy, dark green vegetable.  Olive oil is a healthier fat. There wasn’t enough oil used to be bad either.  Same thing with the salt and cheese. It was a very tasty snack and, since I had a late lunch, more than enough.  Thank you, Barefoot Contessa.

While I was munching on my crispy kale, Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives aired on Food Network.  I heard that one of the restaurants he would visit is in my home area up in South Jersey so, of course, I was interested.  This restaurant must have opened since I moved down to Florida because I’d never heard of it.  While Guy and I watched, the owner prepared a Pork Belly Reuben sandwich.  (Disclaimer:  I love a good, traditional Reuben.  I don’t eat them very often and when I do, I end up having it over at least two meals because they’re huge.  This helps me keep from feeling guilty over eating them at all.)

(Further disclaimer:  I’ve had pork belly sandwiches (aka porchetta) before, too.  They can be very good.)

Today’s show, however, totally grossed me out.  Pork belly is very fatty.  Ok, so is bacon, but at least it’s crisp fat on bacon and you’re eating it in mostly thin slices.  For this sandwich, the chef cut off four thick — 3/4 of an inch thick at the very minimum — slices of cooked pork belly and grilled them on a flat top.  The camera zoomed in on the meat.  I swear there was a border of uncrisp fat on each slice that was the width of one of my fingernails.

He also slathered butter on the bread and slapped that down to grill.  I think he grilled the kraut too.  He then assembled the sandwich with the fatty bread, melted cheese, grilled kraut, and the thick slices of fatty meat and served it up.

As Guy was eating it, he made a reference to the sandwich requiring a health certificate.  I looked at the sandwich and thought, “Heart attack on a plate.”  I wondered how the hell Guy or anybody could eat it; how anybody could want to.  Then I had a flashback.  I used to be the person who would not only want to, but would devour it in a single meal with a big side of fries, too, please.  The same person who would order a Quarterpounder with cheese, large fries, giant soda and a couple of apple pies.

I’m not judging.  I’m just inexplicably angry right now.  I’m angry that I spent a lot of years eating like that.  I remember when the first McDs opened in our area.  We thought it was fascinating to see burgers coming down a conveyor belt.  Same thing with KFC.  Chicken as the delivery system for eleven deep fried herbs and spices.  I’m royally pissed off for all of the times I binged on overloaded foods of any type and washed them don by guzzling corn syrup-sweetened soda.

My brother went off to college and came back for the holidays with a greater awareness of food and healthy eating.  He gave up eating meat when he was 18.  (He eats seafood, eggs and dairy products but all in moderation.)  He chose to prepare meals with more vegetables, lower fat, greater variety.  He loves ice cream but never overindulges.  I don’t think he puts melted butter on his popcorn.

I wish I’d done the same.  I wish that the effort for me to eat healthier choices in healthier ways without overindulging and being compulsive wasn’t such a damned struggle all the freaking time.  If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.  If wishes were pounds lost, I’d be lower than goal weight.

I can’t get there by wishing.  It takes work, effort.  It takes the damned struggle.    It takes not giving up.  Even when you follow a great day by a not-so-stellar day.  It takes being willing to put the non-stellar days behind you and recommit that the next choice will be a healthy one.

It takes ignoring the unhealthy-for-me food that might taste decadent and delicious like a pork belly reuben, and enjoying the flavor, texture and crunch of a kale chip.

It means making this happen for me.  Every day.

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As you were reading this post did it seem like I switched topics along the way and that the post did not wind up where you thought it might be going in the beginning.

Yeah, me, too.

This is a great example of why I do this blog.  The writing process puts me in touch with things that I might not even be aware that I’m feeling because they’re buried.  I had no idea that when I started writing today I would end up tapping into some deep resentment and anger, but that’s what happened, so I went with it.  To go back and rework the post from the beginning feels like it would be less-than-authentic, so I left it as was.

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Happiness Happens Day

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony. – Mahatma Gandhi

It seems like there’s a special day every day.  Take today for example.  Apparently it’s Happiness Happens Day.  I don’t know who decreed it.  How did someone decide that there needed to be a Happiness Happens Day?  Maybe it’s meant to counteract Sh*t Happens, which apparently doesn’t wait for a particular day but randomly and spontaneously occurs whenever it darned well wants.

I don’t want to quibble but if I held the office of She Who Decides What Should be Celebrated On What Day, I’d have amended this one a bit.  Instead it would be Make Happiness Happen Day.  I don’t want to wait around and hope that happiness will manifest.  If, as Gandhi said, what we think, what we say and what we do need to be in harmony, then I want to be the choir director or the voice coach that brings these things into harmony in my life.

I’m going to be the catalyst for my own happiness.  Today has been an excellent example that this is possible.

The weather was absolutely perfect from the very beginning of the day.  I woke up and got ready for Tai Chi class and realized that I could ride my bike instead of taking my car.  Between the knee injections, several weeks of a lot of windy conditions, and then my time in the boot, I have not ridden my bike in more than a month.  I couldn’t wait to pump up the tires and pedal away.  It felt great.  So did Tai Chi.  Oh, I missed doing the moves and the set when my foot caused so much pain and then was encumbered by the boot.  The two forms of exercise early in the day reconnected me with how much I enjoy being more physically fit and actually capable of doing these activities.

But I wasn’t stopping there.  Not today.  You all know how much I love going out on my boat, that I adore being on and in the ocean.  Sadly, one of my boat engines has a problem that will take a little doing to fix, so planning a trip out today was definitely not an option.

Yesterday, I thought about it a lot and knew that I had a choice to make.  I could sit around for the rest of the day, stare at the water and be pissy that I wasn’t out enjoying it… or … I could find a way to get out there.   This morning when I woke up I realized that I could play like a tourist.  I booked a trip with a snorkel/dive charter company in the afternoon.

Oh, how happy I am that I took this action!  It was an absolutely glorious trip to a part of the reef that I’ve never visited before, but have been wanting to.  I spent two great hours in the water swimming around gazing at beautiful coral formations and lots of colorful fish.  Just the rides to and from the sanctuary area gladdened my heart as I gazed at the turquoise and sapphire water or up into the bright blue sky.

On the way home we were approached by a small group of dolphins – moms and babies!  It was close to perfect, I tell you.

I’d have photos to show you but my card reader isn’t working at the moment.  A slight annoyance on an otherwise wonderful day.

Through it all, I also maintained my food plan, including when I got home and made a healthy dinner.

Right now, I’m pleasantly tired, deeply relaxed, and so calm and happy in my head that I spontaneously smile just because.

Happiness happened today.  I thought about what I wanted and needed; I said to myself that it was possible to attain; I did it.  I made it happen.

Knowing that I have this ability, that I can choose and act to make myself happy, is something that I need to remember.  It isn’t something that needs to be limited to just today.

***************** Edited to add photos.  I got the card reader working so here are a couple of photos from the snorkel trip yesterday.

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Personal Myths

I’m feeling good.  Whether it’s the acupuncture treatments in my ear to help with the food compulsion and cravings, my own work to get myself in a better, more sane place with my eating disorder, or a combination of both, overall I feel really good.  I’m eating well and following a food plan.  My mind is on an even keel and I’m not under siege by obsessive food thoughts.  Since I’m not eating compulsively and/or stuffing my face, I’m not beating myself up and thinking mean things about myself.  This is all terrific.

Physically my heel and knee also continue to improve with lessening pain.  I can move around more easily.  The fact that it doesn’t hurt me to walk is a big motivation to be more active.

The DietBet thing is underway.  It’s fun.  I’m trying out the low carb/high carb approach on alternating days.  It’s a manageable food plan.  I lost a couple of pounds this week.  The weight loss is a bonus.  The reduction in the compulsive eating and the crappy thoughts and stress that accompany the behavior are the real boon to my well being.  So, all in all.  I’m giving myself and my current state of being two big thumbs up!

I was reading an article today that talked about personal myths.  These are things we say about ourselves, believe about ourselves that aren’t necessarily rooted in reality.  We believe them and, therefore, they are very real to us and as such can strongly influence our actions and emotions.  Depending on how deeply they are ingrained, and how negative they are, they can do some real damage.

Huh.  I just realized something.  Because all of my personal myths are negative and make me feel bad about myself, it only just occurred to me that some people might have overwhelmingly positive personal myths.  Beliefs that give them a huge bolstering uplifts.  Can over-inflated positive opinions of self also be damaging?  Hmm.  Let me think on that for a bit.  Perhaps they can be.  What if they engender huge feelings of entitlement or beliefs that the world is all about you so you should always get what you want all of the time?  Do they then set you up for huge disappointments or resentment and anger when the world doesn’t play along?  I don’t know.  I’ll have to think on that, but right now I’m more interested in my own personal myths and how they’ve affected me over my life.

The biggest myth for me is believing that nothing I say, do, achieve is ever good enough.  When I buy into the myth, these are the results:  There will always be something more that I could have, should have done.  If I do something, I think I could always have done it better.  If I fail to achieve a goal, it is difficult for me to maintain a healthy perspective.  I decide that I suck at whatever.  If I veer from an objective, it’s because I’m weak, lacking, worthless, etc. etc.My self-esteem is always at risk.

I spent a lot of years believing these things, being miserable about the feelings, and seeking comfort, distraction or oblivion in excess food.   For years, I didn’t understand that I was inflicting this pain on myself by accepting these false feelings as reality.  That’s how low my self-worth had fallen.  Once I was aware and began to work on my understanding, I could begin to see the myths and fight their fiction.

Yes, I am much better.  My self-esteem is far healthier than it was many years ago.  I believe in myself, my talents, my abilities.  My confidence is strong which reduces a great deal of the stress that I used to feel.  Seriously, when you don’t believe in yourself, you stress constantly about whether you’re going to be able to pull off the normal, every day tasks involved in your job, your relationships, your activities, your life.  That stress just feeds into the mess and escalates the issues.  I can’t tell you how many nights I’d wake up out of a sound sleep and enter a state of repetitive, obsessive worrying about things that I had to do.

Now that only happens sometimes in extreme situations.  The difference, and the quality of my sleep, are profound.

Still, it’s always a battle.  Personal myths don’t ever completely vacate their territory in our heads and spirits.  When I feel them ramping up their presence, I need to make a conscious effort to face them and diffuse their power.  It’s like fighting the food compulsion.  The compulsion arises and triggers a want for food/eating.  If I don’t stay aware and recognize the compulsion for  what it is, that want can quickly become a need, translate into the action of eating and, Bam!, I’ve lost. Same thing with the personal myth.  When one tries to encroach on my self-awareness and self-esteem, I need to identify it as fiction and not give it power.  Easier said than done sometimes, but it’s a winnable fight.

Do you have personal myths?  Do you know what they are and recognize them when they rise up?  Have any techniques for dealing with them that you’d like to share?

 

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