Falling Leaves–Summer Leaving

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I don’t know about you, but I am so glad that summer is nearing an end.

I’m not glad because I hate summer, just the opposite is true.

I’m not glad because I enjoy winter, just the opposite is true.

I’m not grumbling because my heating bills are about to go up, or I will need to buy a new winter coat (although I am looking forward to that), or because the kids are going back to school.

I’m glad that summer is nearing her end because the picnics will stop.

I know there are some people reading this post who will say that you need to eat the same, picnic or no, invitation to someone’s back yard, or no, fancy receptions for summer weddings, or no.

I know.

But I am among those who find it really hard to pass up a piece of yummy wedding cake smothered with butter cream frosting when everyone around me is indulging. And eating before I go to these events doesn’t help much. It does help with the calorie load, but it doesn’t help with the cravings.

I will be glad to have the picnics, the receptions, the back yard BBQs and the summer fruit fests cease. At least for a while.

As fall approaches, I’m trying to detox, zone in on my plan of action, readjust my eating patterns, and get back to fresh, raw eating once again. When I eat raw and fresh:

My body aches less

My body works better

I sleep better

I feel better

I have more energy

I experience less hormonal shifts

I have hope for tomorrow

Food obsession is accursed and cravings are the worst, but I have to remember that I have a great cloud of witnesses that encircle me. From them, I am always able to gain strength and wisdom, whenever I am willing to look to them, listen to them, draw from them, and reach out to them.

You might be one of THEM!

If so, I thank you.

Thank you for being an example of determination.

Thank you for sharing your strength with me.

Thank you for continuing the fight against obesity on the blogosphere.

Thank you for commenting on this page.

Thank you for suggesting things I can try.

Thank you for telling me what you’re doing.

Thank you for pressing on.

You’re my inspiration many days.

Summer is nearing its end. I will be sad to put away the kayak (although we have a few more weeks left to enjoy her). I will be sad to see the leaves fall and the snows arrive, but hey, its only 6-8 months that she’ll be gone, right? The picnics, the wedding receptions, the back yard BBQs, and the other challenges to my eating plan will reappear. By then, though, I’ll be ready for summer, with new plans in place, new routines established, new exercises learned–maybe a few Tai Ji classes under my belt–and new attitudes firmly in place.

The circle of life can be daunting or refreshing, depending on how you process it, right?

I’m reaching for the positive bent as summer melts into fall. I’m also back to weighing every day and reporting my food, because that’s what works for me.

The Good News: I live in one of the most beautiful places on the planet from early September to mid-October.  Bring on the pumpkins, the leaf piles, the fleece jackets, and the apple cider. I’m almost ready to embrace them all. Almost.

What do you like best about summer’s end, and autumn’s blossom?  What are you doing right now to squeeze every last ounce of summer outta her before she’s gone?

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Race Research

Last Saturday I got my tired self out of bed and into the car early, then drove seven miles and parked under a shade tree.  It was warm in NEPA–too warm to participate in a foot race, I thought. But, then again, I wouldn’t be running. Instead, I was doing research.  I grabbed my camera and a notebook and pen and made my way to the start line for the 10K, already in progress.  There would be a 5K beginning in about an hour, but before that a children’s Fun Run was scheduled.  I was excited and ready to record my thoughts.

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I headed over to the registration table straight away and introduced myself, telling the volunteer I talked to that I was doing research in anticipation of organizing my own race.

350 runners means 350 race bags to fill

The kind woman manning the table explained the race packs to me, handed me a flyer for another race to occur in two weeks (I have volunteered to help clean up after that event), and shared some info with me about the township/boro regulations for races that I will have to check out in the future.  I hope she is wrong, because she told me that only three races will be issued permits for the boro this year, which is a problem, since this route is well-known and therefore the route I had hoped to use for my race.

Oh, I hope she’s wrong!

I took lots of pictures while at the race, mainly because I knew they would jog my memory later, and I wouldn’t have to make as many notes, but then I made two pages of notes.  Some discoveries I made include the fact that this race provided 3 port-a-potties for runner, one large trash bin for waste, a tent of professionals giving free massages before and after the race, a food tent that included bottled water on ice, and a paid professional keeping time for the event and providing electronic records for the runners.

I didn’t know what to expect when I decided to attend the race.  Like I said, I’ve never been to a race before.  What I saw was a well-organized event, with a lot of participants, and a large and helpful staff of volunteers. What I “felt” as I milled around with camera in hand was this kinship between runners that I hadn’t seen before, and a spirit of competition that I had not felt since childhood.  I got misty-eyed a couple times.

When I observed runners cheering each other on even though they were competing against one another.

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When couples stood, concerned and waiting at the finish line for their loved ones to come around that last corner, and head down the home stretch.

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When tikes no more than 2 yrs old kept pace with their grandpa and/or parent, in order to cross the finish line.

this lil guy was 2 yrs old

this lil guy was 2 yrs old

When two skinny lil, pencil-legged brothers-perhaps twins-stretched on the lawn, their Captain America and Superman t-shirts revealing another love that filled their days.

Captain America's sidekick was Superman, to his left

 

 

 

 

 

When a mom with her 3 month-old crossed the finish line in the 10K, stroller in tow. My word—how does a new mom do something like that? I was astonished by her.

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When the air fairly dripped with support, something I personally find encouraging and could use more of in my life.

I left the race having gained valuable information about the running community, and what it takes to pull off a race of this magnitude.  I also had a new appreciation for competition, determination, perseverance, and the freedom a healthy lifestyle provides for all those who are willing to do the hard work to pursue running.

I have one more race on my schedule for May 24th.  At this event I will be observing again, but also working with the clean-up crew to spruce up after the race has ended. It will be interesting to see the differences between this race and the one I attended last weekend. This race is running for the first time this year. Last weekend’s race was a 30th anniversary event. Huge difference in scope for these two fund-raisers. I can’t wait.  I’ll report on what I find out next week.

Have you ever run a 5K or 10K race? If you don’t run, what do you do to keep fit?

 

Stepping away from the ledge

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Have you every felt like this?

Like you were on the edge of some ledge and about to slide off?

I’ve felt that way before.

Sometimes with life in general.

Sometimes with specific and difficult components of life.

Thankfully, I don’t feel that way any more, because now I have a plan.

I have a program.

I have a strategy.

I have a way of developing my life through all its phases and stages now, especially through all the phases and stages of recovery from food addiction.

If you feel yourself moving closer to destruction with food, step away from the ledge and try some of the things I do.  Maybe you could…

1.  Begin a Food Diary or Food Reporting.  I know it sounds weird to report what you eat to another person or fellow sufferer, but it really helps me stay accountable and avoid those temptations I might otherwise indulge in–cuz ya know I’m gonna have to report that if I eat it.

2.  Join a Support Group.  I belong to a support group for people with eating problems that meets every Monday night. Unless it’s a snow day, a holiday, or I have out-of-town guests, I am at that meeting, sharing my successes with food addiction recovery and hearing how others are handling it. It helps to know I’m not alone.

3.  Do something different.  Over the last two years I have challenged myself to not only think outside the box, but act outside it too. That means I learned how to kayak, I went back to the shoe store 4 times to get a proper fitting walking shoe, and I called my podiatrist to make an appointment to have my orthotics resized and adjusted.  These are all things I would not have done without challenging myself to be brave and take care of me.  Try something different–it just might work for you.

4.  Pray.  Some people would probably say that I should have listed prayer first, because out of all the things I do to keep myself sane, prayer is probably the most important.  It’s true, it is, but I prayed about being morbidly obese for years, and nothing happened. It wasn’t until I pulled up my lil girl pants and did something about my addiction that things started to change for me.  I guess this point should be listed as praying, believe and DOING.  It’s the doing that get’s ‘er done!

5.  See a professional.  If you feel like you’ve come to the end of your rope, personally, relationally, or with your physical state of being, see someone about it.  You may need to have some blood work done, or you might need some meds.  Maybe you need an action plan, and some professional somewhere can help you with that.  Here’s the thing:  your best thinking and circumstances got you to the edge of that ledge, but you don’t have to stay there.  Break out. Back up.  Ask for help.  If you connected with someone who didn’t understand what you were going through the first time you sought help, try again.  Seek guidance and be thankful when it comes. There are some incredibly talented professionals out there, some of them with the same problems as you–some of them with the same loves.  Look for them. Find them. Utilize them. Join them in making YOU better.

We don’t have to live on the edge of a ledge, gritting our teeth and white-knuckling it through life every day.  Never again, I say!  There’s too much help out there to lose hope.  Change is possible–I believe!

When have you felt like you were stepping out onto a ledge?  What did you do to change things up and turn your life around?

 

Bye Bye April Goals

I can’t believe it. How can it be?  Did six days fly by without my notice?  How is it possible that today is the first day of May? 

I promised that once April was done I would report the progress I had made on my goals for the month, so here goes:

1.  Journal your food for each meal, every day of the week.

I did pretty well on this first goal for April.  I only  have 3 days in my food journal when I did not record what I ate.  Often, I texted a friend regarding my intake, as well. What I have learned from this experiment is that I can more easily track the slipper slope when I am journaling my food.  If I’m not getting enough veggies in, the journal lets me know that.  If I have not eaten all my servings of fruit, its in there.  If I have had one too many indulgences, it is recorded in the journal.  I have learned that I can do something I don’t want to do by tracking my food. I have also learned that I can be quite resistant to change. Big Surprise, right? 

On to goal No. 2

2.  Exercise for 30 minutes at least 3 times each week.

I didn’t do quite so well on my second goal for April.  For part of the month it was cold, cold at my house, and since I don’t have a gym membership right now, I found it hard to get in a walk 3 times each week.  I did do my stretching exercises almost every day, but not for a 30 minute duration.  The good news is that I took more walks and did more exercise this month than I have done in many months, and that made setting this goal and working to achieve it worth while.  I will probably be visiting this goal again during May.  Gonna keep doing it until I get it right.

Part of this goal was a reminder to self that all extra movement would be counted as exercise during April.  So glad for that insight.  I did move much more this past month, and I probably wouldn’t have, had I not set this goal.

Goal No. 3 next.

3.  Avoid eating carbs at the evening meal, at least 3 times a week.

I feel good about my third goal for April.  There were many nights this month when I did not load up on carbs for supper.  April saw many less meat-heavy meals on our table, as well.  I did do a lot of beans, but they are so good for my digestion that I’m going to stay positive about eating them.  I used Prevacid for ten years, and now none for the last two years. I’m happy with the way things are moving in the right direction these days and beans were part of that solution. In the good ole food frenzied days, I never ate beans.  Now, I eat them all the time.  This may be part of the plateau anguish I’m suffering through, but this too I am going to remain positive about. 

All in all, I’m happy with the progress I made this month.  I’m glad I exercised more. I’m glad I journaled my food, even with the food journal failure I experienced.  I’m glad I was consciously aware of what I was doing this month.  I’m looking forward to extending my goals for May. 

What should they be?  I’ll have to think on that for a day.  I’ll try to post about May goals tomorrow.  Woohoo, I’m excited about what the future holds.

Goals

Goals

I’ve been reading a lot about setting goals as a tool to effective weight loss. I think it’s a grand idea to set some goals and work toward them. I recently picked up an audio book by Charles Duhigg:  The Power Of Habit. So far this book is a big thumb’s up in my opinion.  It reminds me of Freakonomics.  I’m a big fan of the Freak.  I’m trying to develop some habits that will translate into change for my body and mind, and this book, recommended by another blogger, feels like a good fit and the right motivator to get me moving.

This will be my first attempt at setting fitness goals on my site. It’s scary to do this, to make my goals so public, but if I’m going to dance, I need to dance, right? No more hiding on the back porch for this gal. I need to step into the lawn and twirl.

April 2013 Goals:

1. Journal my food to find patterns of eating or habits I can change in the hopes of doing better.

2. Exercise for 30-mins, at least three times each week. Remember, all movement is counted as exercise.

3. Avoid eating carbs at the evening meal, at least three times each week.

It will be a chore for me just to be consciously aware of having set these goals, let alone being able to achieve them. It’s been a while since I made such a committment to myself, or at least one this public. I’m looking for good results to come of it.

I have someone helping me go over my food journal for the next six weeks. This Tuesday is our first meeting to discuss the journal and my attempts to record my food. This, too, is a big step for me, but with spring underway I’m feeling enthusiastic and energized. I’m ready to escape the winter blahs and get moving.

I will report at the end of April how I did.

Say a prayer for me, won’t you? I’m hoping to have good news to share at that time.

Hairy Scary

MY HAIR IS FALLNG OUT. I’m just not sure whether it is falling out because of how I have changed my diet, if it is falling out for another reason, or if it isn’t really falling out as quickly as I think it is.

Once, when I was in my twenties, my hair started FALLING OUT BY THE HANDFULS. Every morning my sink would be covered with newly dislodged strands. Day after day more hair fell, until finally I went to see someone about it. I saw my GP first, who told me to see a dermatologist. I saw a dermatologist, who examined my scalp and hair and found nothing awry.  He did want to discuss recent changes in my life, however, things that might be signaling my body and stressing my system.

Have you moved recently? No. Has anyone close to you died? No. Have you ended or begun a new job? No. HAVE YOU RECENTLY BEEN DIVORCED? No. Are you pregnant, or have you recently given birth? No.

No. No. No.

When we were done playing 20 Questions, this is what the professional said to me: I don’t know what it is that has happened to you lately, but something HAS YOU STRESSED OUT. You have answered “no” to every question that I have asked you, and you claim that there is nothing bothering you, but I will tell you this, hair falls out for a reason. There is no apparent reason for the hair loss that I can detect on your scalp, but my experience tells me that you are stressed and the stress you are now experiencing, although unaware of, is having an affect on your body.

WHEN WE FACE DIFFICULT TIMES OR BIOLOGICAL CHANGES, and we are either unaware of how they are affecting us, or we deny that they are affecting us, the body finds a way to express what our conscious mind cannot, he said. Sometimes, we break out in hives (I had done that already). Sometimes, we cry or have nightmares (nightmares, check). Sometimes our hair falls out. For you, hair is falling.

I left the man’s office with no recommendation of further treatment. My hair was falling out. I needed to relax. RIGHT. While my hair was falling out?!?! Right!

It has occurred to me that MY BODY MAY BE STRESSED RIGHT NOW. I received a diagnosis of type 2 Diabetes in December of last year. That can cause stress. I have lost thirty pounds in the last six months. I guess that could cause stress. I am eating an increasingly different diet than I have consumed ever before, and I am struggling to navigate through the maze of plant-based proteins, some days.  Is that why my hair is falling to the floor? I don’t know, but things have changed a lot in a short amount of time. Change is tough on all of us. Apparently, I get more stressed about it than most, and the fact that this doesn’t consciously register with me means my body has to compensate in ways other than a feeling of anxiety that is palpable.

Some folks twittle their thumbs, twirl their hair, pace the floors, bite their lips.  I don’t do any of these things when I’m anxious. Maybe that’s my problem.

Has your body ever responded to change in weird ways? How have you handled the stress making big changes in life can bring? What is your go-to remedy for stress?

The Pretender

“All mortals tend to turn into the thing they are pretending to be.”  CS Lewis, The Screwtape Letters

COULD IT BE POSSIBLE that all the time I’ve spent educating myself about fitness and nutrition is actually turning me into someone who will one day be both fit and healthy? I hope so. I hope that all the hours I’ve spent reading about cholesterol and casein, diets and eating dynamics, exercise and the excising of sugar-laden pastries from my plate are little by little TURNING ME INTO A STRONGER PERSON. I hope that the DVDs I have watched and the conversations I have had with others are, at this moment, working inside me to bring together muscles, bones and flesh that are healthy, vital and strong.

I hope that journaling my food and learning about how to pair proteins is actually building a body that can properly handle the vitamins and minerals it attempts to take in each day. I hope that the ACHIEVEMENT OF OPTIMAL HEALTH is actually, slowly but meaningfully, turning the tide for me and giving me a better chance at living a longer, stronger life. I hope that this work is not for naught, hopeless, because in the end it will get me no further than previous attempts at health have gotten me.

I’m a firm believer that WHAT ONE DOES, ONE IS. I think that perhaps we really can pretend ourselves into reality. I’ve known people before who bluffed their way into jobs, into relationships, into the military, into college. In the beginning they were bluffing, but then acting as if they really knew what it was they were doing, they became proficient. I don’t mean to say they deceived anyone. Perhaps some did, but most were just exceedingly confident in their own abilities to do whatever they wanted to do.

I want that kind of confidence!

Is achieving health and fitness a matter of BELIEVING YOU CAN or will it require more to get there, from here? I don’t know, but what I do know is that I have a pretty good imagination. If there is something to this pretending-your-way-to-success thing, I’m going to find it and claim it for my own.

What do you think of the concept of pretending to be, until you actually are? Can one use her imagination to drive her recovery? Do all mortals tend to turn into the things they are pretending to be?