2017~The Year Of…

Okay before we get to that…Let’s go on a little detour shall we…

So a couple of days ago when my thoughts for this post were really starting to gel I decided to look up the opposite of the word resolution.

Do you know the opposite of resolution off the top of your head?

Yeah, me neither.

Last year’s 365 days of anti-resolutions was such a boon for me I went in search of a catchy word to use this year.

Do you know what I found?

A huge pile of negative words…

Here they are according to Merriam-Webster:

deadlock
draw
halt
stalemate
standoff
tie
doubt
incertitude
indetermination
uncertainty
aversion
disinclination
indisposition
reluctance
unwillingness
hesitation
indecision
indecisiveness
irresoluteness
irresolute
vacilliation

What?

I kid you not I stared at the screen for a good 20 minutes trying to process the weight of those words.

Even now as I’m writing this out I’m still so stunned I can hardly believe it because other than the healthy dose of doubt going into my weight loss surgery and through the rest of my resolutionless year I cannot tag a single one of those words to my experience.

Letting myself off the hook with sane, reasonable, and even downright unrealistic New Year’s Resolutions was…

liberating
freeing
courageous
beautiful
open-hearted
open-minded
brave
empowering
transcendent
transformative
light, illuminating
light, carefree
patient
compassionate
peaceful
curious
grounding
beautiful
stabilizing
and frankly, a little scary at first

But what an amazing year it’s been.  A wild ride.  In many ways one of the hardest years of my life.  To be perfectly frank, in some ways the hardness of the year helped to dull the excitement of finally, FI-NAL-LY seeing my body lose weight.  The lowlights formed an abyss however.  I consumed so much mental and emotional energy to keep me from succumbing to it that sometimes I felt that’s all I was doing.  I have been describing it as my best, worst year.  However the irony is that is where The Year of Probability helped me so much.

“Just believe things are probable,” became my peace-phrase whenever life would shove me off a cliff.

Without the weight of goals, I could just let the year be…ugly, unpredictable, gorgeous, and brave sometimes all at the same time.

My plans didn’t get ruined by all these life moments.  As I started noticing life was happening but I was still working toward nothing specific really the harder I wanted to work.  Every time life would knock me back, I would take some time to lick my wounds, and then say, “Okay Life…But, I’ve got goals to get.”  Beautiful, undefined, unlisted, unresolved goals.

I wish I could go back in time to remember if there was someone or something which inspired me to let my soul focus be believing in the power of probability but I honestly don’t remember what it was.

But as the year progress I did most definitely recognize the alchemy brewing.

So here I sit in the pre-dawn hours of 2017 still basking in that magic and grateful 2016 is so yesterday.  For as much as I learned I’m not sure I’m all too eager to repeat the violent lessons.

No sir.  No ma’am.

Today I am eager.

Eager to move forward.

Eager to apply the things I’ve learned.

Eager to prove my mettle.

So it is with great jubilation that I proclaim 2017…

The Year of…

FLUX

flux
FORAGE

forage
FANTASY

fantasy

Flux: flow, continuous change, a substance used to refine, to make fluid
Forage:to seek, to wander in search of, to collect from nature
Fantasy:unrestrained imagination, visionary ideas, forming mental images, supposition

Umm, yes please.

This is year is all about letting myself go in bolder, braver ways than I could have ever let myself fantasize about 365 days ago.  It’s about gathering-in all that is before me and using it for my own good.  It’s about allowing the probability of change without forcing it.

Having goals is great but 2016 taught me it’s not so much about creating a checklist to get to them as it is not limiting myself to one set of turn-by-turn instructions.  Sometimes those wrong turns, those dead ends, those unexpected orange cones forcing you to a single lane where you’ll be stuck for hours lead you to the most amazing moments of your life and if your too focused on the list you made under the crush of the clock striking twelve you might miss out on what you were really supposed to learn on your journey.

Be open…know what you want but be open to the 10,000 other ways you can get there.

Flux, forage, fantasy…welcome 2017.

 

 

 

 

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2016~The Year of Probability

That’s what I dubbed it and oh baby was it ever!!!

Last year I decided to try something radical.  I made no resolutions.  No goals.  Squashed all expectations.  Instead I forced myself into letting the year just be.  Not letting myself off the hook with the work…Oh no, no, no.  But really unhooking the mindset that if I do A, B, and C perfectly then X, Y, and Z will be my rewards.

Gah!

Hardest thing ever!!!!!

But this is my body so c’mon it’s way past time for me to drop that nonsense, right?  I mean if you’ve been following along for even five minutes you know that’s my “MY” body.  So I quit.

probability-quote

I embraced probability.  I knew I was having weight loss surgery so therefore I would probably lose weight.

Probably.

Yep that’s all I was giving myself.

After years of ABC = XYZ thinking I had to let go.  Honestly, it’s the only thing I hadn’t tried (kinda like having weight loss surgery).

And guess what?

The world did not end.

Well, hell.

You mean to tell me I do not need to be all wrapped up in minutia?  I don’t need to be perfect?  I don’t need to work harder?  I don’t need to spend countless hours planning and scheming?

“No darling girl…this is not what you and your body need.”

“Oh…”

Guess what else?

I had the most successful year of my life in terms of feeling peace and contentment with the body I have.

Well, whattaya know!

Having weight loss surgery in March was no guarantee in my mind.  Over 12 years of diet failure makes it really hard to get excited about anything, even something as radical as weight loss surgery, actually working.

But it did.

It worked beyond all my timid fantasies and certainly beyond my ability to believe.  It worked in part because I worked.  I put in the effort with zero expectation of reward.  Win, lose, or draw I knew there was no going back so my commitment had to be something other than losing X number of pounds.  My 2016 commitment was to just be the same me I’ve been for years.  You know the one who’s been eating right and exercising appropriately.  That’s me under the flab anyway.

Me with a vertical sleeve gastrectomy is over 80 pounds lighter.

I am almost at the end of my losing phase and on to my living phase.

In less than 10 months!

I promise you no one is more shocked than I am.

In less than 10 months my body and this tool combined to do what my body and no tool could not in over a decade of working at all of a lot harder than I am now.

I am NOT dismissing the work  I am doing now.  Just highlighting how even with so much more effort I wasn’t able to arrive where I am now.

This is what MY body needed.

I mean just look at the difference!!!

I am so grateful I was brave enough to try and to believe in the power of probability.  I am also infinitely grateful for the many lessons remaining open to all that is probable have brought to me.

Tomorrow I’ll announce my focus for 2017 and how I am putting the lessons of this year into even deeper practice.

PS…I’m sorry I’ve been gone so long!!!  My computer crashed in November.  Then in December a partial small bowel obstruction put me in the hospital for eight days.  I am so grateful to be coming back into me so strong on the last day of the year.  I love that it’s ending just as it began.

 

Week 50–look, Look, LOOK

Midweek had the hubs and I out and about.  We were at one of normal stops when I smacked his arm and said, “look, Look, LOOK.”  The focus of my excitement was the manager of the facility, who I shall call Shannon for our purposes here.  I’m pretty sure that’s not her real name but I cannot honestly be sure since I do not know her personally.

Shannon looked amazing!

She’s lost at least 100 pounds.

She’s also one of the few people in my world with thighs larger than mine.  She’s been losing weight for some time so I always try to catch glimpses of her progress.

On that midweek day, her legs were tiny–and by ‘tiny’ I mean normal sized and not excessively small.  I almost cried.  If I had they would be tears of joy and hope and not envy.

She was wearing a cute off white long sleeve pullover, jeans with two-color bold stitching and blingy pockets; and finished her outfit off with caramel hued pointy toed heels.

I’m smacking my hubs on the arm, “look, Look, LOOK…I want it all…The whole thing…the hips, the thighs, the JEANS, the SHOES…all of it.”

Shannon’s a hip-y girl like me and she still had hips but those thighs were so tiny her jeans floated over them.  In that moment, it all felt possible.

I wanted to run up to her and hug her and tell her proud I am of her.  I’m not proud of her because she’s skinny…I am proud of her because I know how painful her legs were.  Sometimes, I noticed her wince as she walked and it’s a walk I know all too well.  I’m proud of her for changing her health.  But, like I said she’s the manager at a place we frequent and not someone I know so I’m floating my gratitude to the universe.  Shannon, gives me hope.  She inspires me without even really knowing who I am.

Since hubs and I were on our way for another appointment with the Las Vegas specialist, I needed to see Shannon that day.  On that day I suspected the doc was planning more testing and I was right.  Without seeing Shannon, I might have been disappointed by the results of the appointment.  Instead, I left with peace and hope for my journey.

Here’s the moral to this story–at least as I see it–we all need to be inspired.

Sometimes we are lucky to be close to the source and sometimes we watch from afar but it doesn’t really matter as long as we come away feeling, “Yeah, I can do that!”

Right now, when I close my eyes I dream of my future with my own blingy jeans and pointy toe shoes.

Hope…it’s beautiful.

Brown Shoes

Image from Ebay, used without permission.

Week 14–Don’t Lose Yourself Trying to Lose Yourself

The road to weight loss is not as straight as reality t.v. would have us believe.  It is real for the contestants because they have an abundance of support and help.
For the rest of us, there are so many more twists and turns along the way.  Many of us navigate those twists and turns entirely alone.  For those of us ‘suffering’–and I am not using that word lightly as most of you know I try to avoid labeling the journey that way–with stubborn weight loss, which is actually called diet resistant obesity (yep, it’s a real thing…look it up) that journey can be downright depressing and especially frustrating.
Take me for example, I’ve been at this for over 12 years.
Twelve.
Years.
In this pre-dawn moment of my life, I am tempted to say I’ve learned nothing in 12 years about losing weight.  But that really is not the truth.  The truth is I have yet to successfully apply any of that knowledge to my body in such a way that it yields the desired result.  Part of the reason why is my body does not follow the rules.  No, that’s not some lame cop-out or some dysmorphic delusion and I say that with all confidence because multiple doctors agree something is screwy.  I take an enormous amount of comfort in knowing they cannot figure me out either as they tell me to continue doing all the right things I am doing.
However, that does leave me feeling stuck sometimes.
I want to know what to do to help my body lose weight.  Everything I know to date is of little help.
It can be maddening sometimes.
When I am feeling stuck, I have developed the practice of searching for inspiration.  This week, I found others who are stuck and that helped me feel better.  Oh I’m not happy they’re stuck too.  No.  But I do find comfort knowing it’s not just me.  Sometimes my state of stuckhood can leave me feeling lost, isolated, and alone.
Now that you know my state of mind, you might be surprised to know I also took a huge leap this week and applied for a job as a personal trainer at a local gym.
Less than 24 hours after sending my resume, I was interviewed by the manager for the personal trainers.  As we talked about my journey and how I could help others she kept saying, “Wow, you really know your stuff,” or “Wow, you’ve really got the psychology part of this down.” She didn’t treat me like an insane fat girl who thinks she’s all that enough to train others.  Nope.  She treated me like a real person, like a wannabe trainer.  She even gave me a few tips about how to mix-up my own routine.
That felt great!  Super great!
At the end of the interview she recommended me for an interview with the location manager who happens to also be the territory manager for this particular chain.  The training manager said I would know by Friday so I do not think I got the job.
As much as I need a job right now, selling an obese personal trainer to their clients is about as hard as it gets.  Personal trainers are supposed to fit.  I’m not.  I get it.
Interestingly enough, this is the same gym that I did not join last week because money is beyond tight (that ended up being a good call, btw, as our plumbing backed up this week…ugh).
There is a teeny part of me who was hoping they’d look past the extra pounds so those extra pounds would have a free place to work out.
But, the part I want you to get is I applied anyway.  I applied anyway because I know WHEN I get this weight off I am going to be one damned fine trainer.  I’m living my life as if I were a fit girl…at least when I feel brave enough to click ‘send’ on an application.
But I do not always feel brave.  Honestly sometimes I feel a bit more like this post from…

I had a client yesterday who was referred to me by her general practitioner for treatment of depression. She was a beautiful young woman but her grey eyes had lost their sparkle. She had a numbness about her… a dullness that made me feel sad for her.

She said she’d had a miscarriage a few years ago, and since then she tried everything in her power to ‘fix’ her body. She didn’t eat anything sweet or yummy; she exhausted herself with a punishing exercise regime. She gave up on the one cup of coffee she used to enjoy every morning in her sunny little garden, and wouldn’t touch a drop of the red wine she used to love. She was determined to live a healthy lifestyle, to do everything ‘right’ in the hope of carrying a baby to full term if she ever fell pregnant again.

As I sat there listening to her, I was aware that her intentions were noble. Her willpower, driven by the need to hold a baby of her own in her arms, was made of steel.
But in the process, she lost her joy.
And it occurred to me there and then that the path to wellbeing can NEVER be through deprivation.

Isn’t this the truth?  Sometimes we all get so wrapped up in achieving weight loss we forget to love ourselves through the journey.  And that’s why I love the advice that came next….

There’s a lovely flow that happens when you allow pleasure into your life. When you relax into what brings you joy.
You can eat nutritious wholefoods (and you should!) in a way that lights your taste buds on fire and indulges all your senses.
You can move your body in ways that enhance your wildness, your freedom, your ecstasy.

The path to wellbeing is through JOY.
And that is what our first Soulwoman Circle is all about: Body Bliss. Finding joy through your body. Finding joy being IN your body.
Let’s make it so!
http://soulwomancircles.com/ 

(Used with permission from Soulwoman Sanctuary)

I didn’t get the job.  So what.  I was ready to put myself out there.  My body’s not ready for the “You’re hired.”  I can be both.  I am both.  It’s okay.  Super non-scale victory!

In other news, I’m pondering giving up the scale thanks in part to a conversation the training manager and I had.  My weight is ‘up’ but thanks to my nifty body fat measurement I know it’s not ‘real’.  I’m thinking I’m over the torture of weigh ins especially when my real goal is 30-percent body fat regardless of the number on the scale.  If I am really serious about that as my goal rather than a weight, then why do I continue to weigh myself?

How Do You Stay On Track–Couple of GREAT Questions, CI#21

First let me apologize to Sabrina and Gwen for taking so long to get this post up.  These two cuties asked me very similar questions and since they make a great blog post I’m answering them here.  Thanks for your patience….and thanks for reading too 🙂

Sabrina asked how I stay on track from week-to-week and Gwen asked how I stay focused on the journey.  For me those are two different questions.

Basically, I am super, super, super visual so I need visual reminders of what my plans are.

Tonight’s #GiveIt100 video shows two of my favorites.

The white board puts just one day and one week in front of me at a time.  I also love the literal and figurative “wiping of the slate” each week as I erase the old week and prepare for a new one.  Honestly with fibro fog it also helps me remember what day it is and what I am supposed to be eating.  Behind that white board is my box of markers.  Each week I choose a new color palate which coordinates everything.  This week my LC weeks are lime green, my HC days are black, and my reward day is plum.  I also write a couple of inspirational messages to myself.  This week those messages are hot pink and purple.

The poster-sized vision board serves two purposes.  First I had to define what I want and then I needed to collect enough images to represent what I hope to find along the way.  Of course, I also had to take the time to build the board.  Second, it reinforces this weight loss journey as a journey.  No one thing is going to get me to my goal…all of those things are things I need to do along the way to find myself in a dress like the one on the right.  Isn’t it fabulous!!!!

Using my creativity to create the board adds another layer of focus to my journey to losing weight.  The images themselves remind me of what is waiting for me as I read my goals.

Through words and pictures of my own choosing it is my own cheer from my inner cheerleader.  With so many messages to myself, I always find something to help me along the way.  Plus, I have caught myself in weaker moments saying to myself, “You built that…you can build this too (weight loss success).”

Both of these boards live just off my right shoulder.  Even as I am typing this to you, out in my peripheral vision they are bright, colorful reminders of who I want to be and how I want to get there.  If I fall off track, it usually means something big happened because normally these two boards are all I need.    Changing the white board each week also helps put the past in the past while helping me renew my commitment for the coming week.

Honestly, I rarely fall so far off my plan that I would consider it a “failed” day.  There is a huge difference.  A fall is eating the pancakes your husband made for you when it is supposed to be a low carb day.  A fail is eating those pancakes and deciding it gives you permission to go totally off the rails for the rest of the day.

My best advice is to give yourself as many layers of accountability as possible.

Do not fall because you failed to plan.

Do not fail because you cannot remember what you planned.

If these do not work for you, find what does and DO IT!!!!