One can for every pound I lose...bring it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Self Control

Ah, self control. A great thing to have in certain situations. Like traffic. And diets.

I was recently enlightened on the subject (which is what usually leads to a blog) over the weekend. I headed to Delaware to celebrate a dear friend's 40th birthday. I have been friends with her for 23 years, and she has been living in Delaware for about 10 of them. We kept in touch by talking every day and she was in my wedding but we hardly saw each other and she had a whole circle of friends in Delaware that I hadn't met yet. That all changed this weekend.

When I arrived the first order of business was a champagne toast. Pink champagne. I am what you call a "teetotaler" - I don't drink alcohol. At all. My family has a history of alcoholism, and I learned that I simply wasn't made to process alcohol in a healthy way. And my addictive personality wasn't exactly a helping hand. So 9 years ago, after a really bad experience, I promised myself that was it - no more. Never again. And I haven't had a drop since.

Anyway, if you're like me, there's always that awkward little moment when you need to explain that you don't drink - even on your best friend's birthday. I'm not embarrassed by any means, and quickly endeared myself to the gang by declaring myself the Designated Driver.

The night led to a neat little outdoor restaurant - imagine festive atmosphere, tiki torches, live music. One of the girls mentioned that she wanted a menthol cigarette. Badly. She asked if I had one and I told her I hadn't smoked in 7 years. That I quit the day my Dad told us he had esphogeal cancer.

She found her cigarette, and in one of those profound moments that people get when they're tipsy, she turns and says in the most serious of voices, "I really admire you. You have such discipline. I could never have that much self control."

I half turned around to see who she was talking to, but it was me. She went on to say that it was so hard to quit drinking and smoking and that it was incredible that I was "being so strong."

I had never heard of myself referred to like that. Having most recently been called "Coconut Clusters" I was kind of feeling everything but disciplined.

Later that night, I had a little internal chuckle when I realized it was midnight and I was helping 2 of my new friends devour a basket of french fries. How's that for self control? I thought. But I still was thinking about my not-drinking and not-smoking being seen as what made me strong. Because you need food to live, so it's harder to see that as an addiction that needs "help", right? Quitting smoking and drinking can be praised. But you can't quit food, for goodness sake. So instead of quitting I just need to get me some self control.

On my 2-hour ride home, I reflected again on what she said. I thought about how hard it was to quit smoking, but I simply pushed through it because I saw how horribly it affected my Dad's health, and eventually caused his death. I thought about how I was so steadfast in my "never again" to alcohol after a night of overindulgence, and I never looked back. Most recently, I thought of how I gave up Starbucks for Lent. Man, that was hard. But I thought of it as a promise to God to sacrifice something that I loved. And I persevered. I did it. Now, on the 41st day, yes I did have a Starbucks. And I really appreciated it.

Ya know what? I can be strong. I started to think of other times I was strong in my life. Like when I just didn't "get" Trigonometry and had to take a summer class because I failed it, and all of a sudden it "clicked" and I got an "A". Like the time I left an unhealthy relationship while in a foreign country, with nothing but my son and the clothes on our backs and his favorite Teddy bear. I tell that story and people marvel. I forget how strong I can be. Do you?

This scripture was brought to mind:

Galatians 5:22-23 

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

I love, love, love that. And it so applies to my struggle with weight loss. If I can be blessed with these "fruits" and apply them to my everyday living, I can learn to be kind to myself again. To forgive myself when I mess up. To practice self control in the area of my life that needs it...just like I did before. I have a track record that proves I can do it. So why is it a problem? I'm still figuring that out. It's gonna "click" soon, I know it will. Seriously, the Bible talks about self control. Hello!

Friends, when you think you can't do it (and there is a special friend I was Facebooking about this tonight) you can. Just remember a victory you achieved and apply that to this too. You lost 70 pounds but gained 10 back? Celebrate the 60 that's gone! Don't focus on the 10! Get back on track because you know that's what makes you feel better! And maybe it's not weight loss. Maybe you're reading this and you need self control in the area of how you talk...or what you buy...or whatever. Just for today, I am feeling strong. I have planned my meals for tomorrow and I will put on my Bodybugg and start over again, because the only other option is staying in this place, the place where I am "Coconut Clusters" and that is not a good place for me to be. I'm not a happy camper in this place.

This is the sign I am printing out and going to look at when I need to make a decision on what I eat:

Good questions to ponder with ANY decision that needs to be made. I want self control, and I am going to surround myself with people who help me call it out, because oh yes it is in me.

I'll let you know how it goes. (-:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

Something happened last week that thew me for a loop. It was really disconcerting. Actually, two things happened that really got me thinking about who I really am and what I'm known for.

Exhibit A: There is a candy store called Weaver Nut Company where I go shopping for items we need for the hotel gift shop. I stopped in last week and bought some Hershey bars for a promotion we are doing. I decided to order a few treats from the candy counter.

What happened left me speechless. I walked up to the counter, surveyed the items in the glass case, and smiled at the young lady who came up to help me.

She smiled back at me, then she said something which totally caught me off guard. Something I was certainly not expecting to hear in a million years.

                                    "Coconut Clusters?"

I was left sounding like Fred Flinstone as I stammered something like "uh, buh, huh, do you...? How do you know that?" 

"I like them too" was her reply. 

 OMG. She remembered me.

I occasionally stop by that candy counter where I sometimes order a few coconut clusters and some non-pareils. But apparently my "sometimes" was every time I went in, because she knew me. She knew me as the Coconut Cluster Lady. Not cool.

There are certain circumstances where this would be cool. Starbucks, for example. If I would walk up to the counter and be greeted with "Venti decaf nonfat latte with 2 raw sugars extra hot?" that would be A-OK with me. Or at a local restaurant. "Grilled chicken salad with dressing on the side?" Nice. But "Coconut Clusters?" Totally not cool. It was shameful to me. I was embarrassed.

Exhibit B: While on a work trip, I was chosen to take part in a test-drive of a new website. Part of that test-drive was being interviewed on camera. So I was sitting there getting mic-ed up and I asked a question as a reflex: "Can you please not get my whole body in the picture? Like, can you just get from here on up?"

The camera man then utters a phrase that got my attention as much as "Coconut Clusters" did. More, actually. He says, "Oh, I remember you from last time. You are so self critical!"

Wow. He remembered me too. And not as the girl who was chosen to take part in a really cool project. Not as the girl who was a motivator, and a happy, confident person. Nope. I was the self-critical girl. The self critical girl who ate coconut clusters that made her not want to have a full body shot. Oh dear Lord. Again, I was speechless as the meaning of those words sunk in.

This immediately came to mind. Matthew 7:16 

You will know them by their fruit. Grapes aren't gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles, are they?

What kind of "fruit" was I being known for? Not good fruit. Not sweet fruit. That's so not me! And yet, to some people, it was.

I admit it's great to be recognized. You've seen the show. Where Everybody Knows Your Name. But when your name is tied to something that makes you unhealthy or something that is negative, it's not someplace I want to be.

So my spiritual awakening continues. I got to meet with not one but two friends this week on my journey to get it together and get back on track. We agreed to lift each other up and support one another. I am thankful for the ways God opens my eyes to see the truths (though they may sting a little) that have been holding me back...making me be someone I do not want to be. Making me the self critical coconut clusters lady.

I'm waiting for the day I can be known for other things. That day can be today. I can be known as the girl who started again, on this crazy rollercoaster of a ride, and downloaded the "Couch to 5K" app on her iPhone. I am going to run, friends. Blog to follow (-:

I'm a work in progress, but praise God I can see. See what I need to do to get where I want to be to be someone who glorifies Him in all that I do.

So friends, that's my self-awareness lesson this week, and I am very grateful for the opportunity to keep learning! So I'm gaining wisdom on my way to losing weight, and that's just fine with me, cuz it really has to start here anyway:

Thursday, June 2, 2011

When it rains it pours

It's been a rough month. And for those of you who realize today is the 2nd day of the month, yes, that's what I said. It's kind of been a rough year, actually. 

Things always seem to happen all together. And I'm not talking about the good things. Those seem to happen one at a time, and they're really spaced out. I'm talking about the really challenging things, the things that make you throw your hands in the air and lament "Why me?" 

Yup, that's happened a lot this year. And what's become crystal clear is that my coping skills when it "rains" have been all wrong. 

The last few weeks have been challenging, with many changes happening at work. I've lost some great people (to better jobs, so good for them) and some not so great people (who, I say, fired themselves for not playing by the rules). I've been doing the job of 3 people, and I am about to take on a 4th role if I cannot find the right fit for a certain position. I've had late nights, and uncooked meals, and no time for my family. My mother in law was in the hospital and some people close to me had medical scares and a friend called me crying about a tough family situation and I had no time to exercise and I couldn't even THINK about packing my lunch. My eating habits were out of control, I was always on the run, and to make matters worse, some bad Internet surveys caused my ranking at work (which had always been in the top 2% of the brand) to plummet. I'm what you would call a hot mess.

I've also spent a lot of time this year dealing with the sting of a close friend's betrayal, and the fallout from that with our mutual friends. I stayed quiet after the initial incident, and didn't plead my case like my former friend did. I figured silence is golden. That didn't work out so well. Some of my friends, with whom I thought I was closer, chose to maintain a close relationship with this person, even though they told me they would not. It felt like double betrayal. My former friend taunted me through various social media sites, and suddenly sought out people she hadn't been close with that were my friends in order to gain their favor. I couldn't understand it - even after much prayer, and asking God to open eyes that needed to be opened, nothing magically happened to heal relationships I lost. Even though I finally spoke up about what really happened, it didn't change things. I was very confused. Couldn't they SEE? It was consuming me. People who were also women of faith did not try and help heal my hurt. And in doing so, they only caused more.

Did you ever hear this quote ?

"When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one which has opened for us.”  
~Alexander Graham Bell

Here's the thing: I spent so much time concentrating on the one or two people who still associated with my former friend and made light of our friendship, that I didn't realize that I had many more friends who never wavered in their loyalty and support. Friends who truly loved me, and knew my heart, and didn't want to associate with someone who had treated me so badly. Friends who weren't even involved in the situation who assured me that I handled it appropriately, that I was wronged, and I was a good person for being good to her, even though she eventually chose to lie, and steal, and just be a mean spirited person and speak ill of people close to me. No, it wasn't my job to convince anybody of anything. Because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. I did a whole lot of praying. And I worked on forgiveness. And that was really hard.

With this betrayal, which affected my personal and work environment, came a sense of defeat. And when I'm defeated, I eat. When I'm sad or happy or jealous or mad or bored or tired or stressed, I eat. That's why this blog exists, right? Because I have a lot to say about food and how it's shaped my life.

On the mountains in Malibu, I had a moment where I felt I truly, truly forgave this former friend. It was liberating. But old wounds were re-opened, and I was defeated again. It was a vicious cycle. And then everything else started to happen when I wasn't even over this thing. 

Don't you wish problems would take a number?

After last week's epiphany from the Biggest Loser finale, I turned a corner. In the rain. It was still pouring, but I was able to withstand it. I was kind to my body and didn't try and "get back" at anyone by eating something bad (yes, I said it, you know you do it too, and let me just STUPID is that?) I made time for exercise even if I had to take a walk around the high school parking lot while my son had a tennis lesson. The results showed on the scale, too - I was down 4.8 pounds. Go me.
 Tonight I got to spend a few precious, quiet moments with my husband after we both had a trying day. Because I am an emotional person (just ask him!) I had a "moment" and said "Ya know honey, at the end of the day, after all the craziness and drama of the outside world, we still got love." He mumbled "yup" or something like that, so I know he was really having a moment too (-:

Here's the thing: we do have love. If not from anyone else, then from ourselves; and if not from ourselves (cuz there's been plenty of times I then from the One who loves us no matter what the circumstance. No matter what our friends say about us, no matter what we say about ourselves, no matter what the scale says. No matter what!

I turned to food for comfort, for anger, for sadness, for celebration. At those times, I should have been turning to God. I let the food be my source, my portion. I am learning through my "Made to Crave" book that perhaps I was even given this journey so that I could become closer to Him. Perhaps, if I was given skinny "genes" I would be too busy trying on skinny "jeans" to need Him. Interesting thought. I even let my mind wander that if my friend hadn't betrayed me, I wouldn't have to practice forgiveness so much. 
The whole "turning lemons into lemonade" thing? That was God's design.
So, yeah, when it rains it pours. There are more storms on the horizon, and I'm still getting wet from the one I'm in. I've got an umbrella, and maybe I'll chuck it and dance in the rain. I dunno. I only know that with God's grace I can weather any storm. We all can.