Loopy

I lost 72 pounds and my mom died. They say that money does not buy you happiness, because value does not come from things but from your own worth. Well, “fat” is a thing. When you lose it there is no magical transformation in your life. I do not know why we have been buying this lie that has been peddled for decades, but it is a myth. What is it that we really want once we are skinny? What is the change that is being imagined? Love? Money? Success? Happiness/Self-esteem? None of those things come in a size.

Does losing weight have an affect on your life, yes. It, like money, buys you a sense (sometimes false) of security. An idea that we will be free from bad things. So why do we need security? Simply because we are insecure. We hold no guarantees in life and that makes us a bit loopy in our thinking sometimes. I choose the word loopy for a reason; because most of life is just a cycle of one thing leading back to itself. Fear begets fear, love begets love, insecurity begets insecurity and so on.

Being thin can be likened to the fantasy of winning the lottery. Of course we all imagine all the good that we will do, the promises of good will, the things that we could then achieve, the wonderful things that we can possess and give. However, it is often the case, so much so that they have reality shows about it, that winning the lottery doesn’t change the way people spend or save money. Being thin will not change what you posses or what you give.

I have seen weight loss that in fact brings out the very deep burdens of a person’s soul. Infidelity, lust, selfishness, depression, arrogance, anxiety, mental illnesses of all kinds…

The physical accumulation of fat does not facilitate low-self esteem, low self- efficacy, depression, happiness, or any of the other mentality. Fat does not biologically posses the components to change your thinking in negative or positive  ways. Fat does not cause, nor loss of it cure, who we are.

Ask someone who runs everyday, eats clean, can wear a size extra small and then gets diagnosed with cancer. The critics of this post may have valid points about health and wellness and I certainly don’t disagree; energy potentially goes up, certain illnesses can be thwarted and managed with a “healthy lifestyle” and other advantages come with losing weight. What I am challenging is the socially created core value of losing weight being a fix for joy; the false notion of happiness that scrolls through Instagram, television, movies and inundates our daily lives. This lie has become ubiquitous with the idea of being happy.

So as cliche as it is, it is time to break this cycle. To stop thinking that your body today is not okay because you are not as thin as someone else, real or not. You are real. Health begats heath, so if you want to try to create health in your body where you can, then it is important to have a healthy mind. You have to look in the mirror and tell yourself that today you will not fit into a size 00 jean and you don’t need to. That today you will touch your skin, smile in the mirror, shake, jiggle, bounce, flex, wrinkle, sag, stretch and be okay with all of it. Once that happens, once you begin to embrace the “now you” it is much easier to begin a journey to a “new you”.  Everyday will be different. We have no control over tomorrow and when we begin to accept this we are more inclined to freedom from judgement over our potential.

Balance

Recently I have been experimenting with a new plan. Really it is an adjustment to my plan. MyLifesDevotion has been a constant companion in my life for over 7 years now. Sometimes it was more like a patient friend waiting for me to heal so we can hang out again. When I have had surgery, been ill, struggling through stress, stretched too thin, MyLifesDevotion has always managed to be present. I have had to make adjustments to my plan and sometimes even let the plan just be there for when I can give in my attention. MyLifesDevotion has gone through some serious trials to make certain that it is not some new posh fad that over promises, overwhelms, and constantly lets me down. I have been through my fair share of those “health guides” and I have yet to find one that has been as reliable as MyLifesDevotion. It may be that, as my best friend Brenda once said, “It works because I want it to work.” I am committed to MyLifesDevotion for sure, but I also believe that the way I have designed it makes it workable. Because there are times when plans don’t work out, adjustments must be made. Let’s just imagine what it is to adjust something. When you adjust you are moving things around to make them work better. Successful relationships adjust. MyLifesDevotion was designed to be a companion in my life. A relationship that fosters growth, challenges me, supports me, influences me, and allows me to freely be myself. It is a plan that is its own but takes all of me into consideration and different stages of my life. The adjustment are made to create balance. Like weighing an assortment of all the factors of life on a scale. You add and subtract, you increase and decrease to find the balance.

I noticed that every time I tried to exercise on my elliptical in the same way I have done for over 10 years doing a 20 minute interval I was almost incapacitated the next day. Like I opened my eyes in the morning and my body hurt EVERYWHERE to the point that I was afraid to move my big toe! Working out again wasn’t really on the agenda. Once upon a time when I was younger (I wanted to be clever here and find a better way of putting this but the truth is aging has its effects) I could push through and do it anyway. Maybe you can too and that is great but for me it wasn’t happening. So it wasn’t working. Then I overdid it one day in my yoga practice and my neck has not been the same since. I stopped my daily yoga. We went on vacation and I decided that I was not going to worry about what I ate and suddenly pizza and chips were a staple in my diet again. My favorite cup broke and my water consumption dropped dramatically. Out neighbors dog kept me up every night for over a month so I started sleeping in and since I meditate in the morning I was staying in bed trying to catch up on my sleep or just so out of sorts that sitting still felt like a punishment. And then there are the days when your child or loved one becomes ill. Those days are the days where the only intention in the world is to care for someone else and not you, no matter how much sense it makes to be healthy and strong for them…

These are the times to adjust. This is how MyLifesDevotion is for you and only you. It is your plan.

Here is what is happening with MyLifesDevotion for me:

Weeks 1-3: I decided to do a 1 minute plank twice a day, setting my alarm for 10 am and 10 pm. I would add 15 seconds every week to increase until I reach a 3 minute plank. I needed to find a new way to encourage my water drinking. I filled up a 3 gallon dispenser (the counter top kind for parties and such) and put a 12 oz glass next to it.

Week 4: I am to 1:45 on my plank. It is not easy but I tell myself I can do anything for a minute and 45 seconds. I saw a meme once that said “a minute seems really fast until you do a plank”, ain’t that the truth! My lower back was really struggling through to the end so after I went into child’s pose. That was heavenly relief so I decided it would be easy enough to add a few more yoga poses right after my plank. A total of 5 poses should be enough. I have been drinking about a gallon on water a day. I really need to eat something in the morning before I start my day so I decided to stock up on granola bars and have one in the morning. I had been eating all different kinds of protein bars but they upset my stomach so they had to go. Don’t do things that make you feel bad! If it is gross don’t eat it. I mean it! I don’t care how “healthy” it is, if it makes you grossed out don’t waste your energy on it. Find something you like instead.

Week 5: I am feeling stronger and decided that I want to add some cardio. I don’t want to hurt or feel bad so I decided to start out with 7 minutes on the elliptical. This took some consideration. I thought about 5 minutes and then I thought well I could do 10 if I can do 5 but then I kept thinking that if I jump head first I probably won’t do it again. I felt I needed to ease in like I have been doing with the plank. Adding a little bit at a time. I split the difference and decided I would do day 1 for 7 minutes and add 30 seconds everyday until I reach 20 minutes. I also gave myself an out. If I get to a place where I feel like I don’t want to do anymore I will maintain that time or make a new plan. I am up to 2 minutes on my plank. I have been doing anywhere between 5-8 yoga poses. I also decided to introduce some crunches and squats to my routine. Starting with 15 squats adding one a day to reach 50 and 25 crunches adding one a day to reach 100. I am still drinking about a gallon of water per day.  No real changes in my eating. I still had pizza the other day.

That has lead me to today. A big change came in my thinking. I started to evaluate my intentions. What was it that I wanted from doing this. Above and beyond the overall intention of MyLifesDevotion of health, wellness, and wholeness. I realized the one thing I have always wanted was for MyLifesDevotion to be something that works. I want to learn so that I can teach but what I really want is to help. I want to support people through their LifesDevotion and through their challenges and triumphs. I want to create a companion for them that is real and faithful. I want it to work far beyond working just for me. I want it to work for everyone. That is my intention.

MyLifesDevotion is about Meditation, Yoga, Liquids, Intention, Fuel, Exercise, Sleep, and at the center of them all is Devotion. That devotion is not just about you being devoted to a plan and not quitting it is about the plan being a reliable and sustainable companion that is can be adjusted according to life to create balance.

Super “Role” Model

Many years ago I was struck by a story of a woman featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show who was in college, had 5 kids in college, her house burned down and she held 3 jobs. For all you fact checkers out there I am probably adding to this story’s resume, maybe not though, she was pretty awesome. The story was impressive even if not to the extent of my recollection. It was extraordinary. She was extraordinary. SO much so that her story made me question my own ability to finally go to college. I was 32 years old, I was raising 5 kids (ages 4-17), I worked from home, my husband was injured on the job and recovering, my mom was diagnosis with Lupus and given 10 years to live, our house was falling apart, literally, I was depressed, my finances were in the negative, but if she could do it then by golly so could I! I lasted one and a half semesters.

It wasn’t a pretty resignation either. I felt horrible. I felt like a failure. I had given up. Why couldn’t I be EXTRAORDINARY?! I wanted to be hailed as a victorious super hero of female accomplishment, I wanted a cape and trophy with #1 Mom engraved on it, I wanted to sit on “THE COUCH” and be praised by Oprah herself and given a “brand new caaaaaaaarrrrr” (do it in the Oprah voice, it’s fun!).  Why couldn’t I be HER? Then I had an epiphany that saved me. I realized that she was on The Oprah Winfrey Show, on T.V., being lauded for her accomplishments, she was in fact “EXTRA” ordinary. The Super “Role” Model?

Certainly aspirations to greatness are not negative or wrong. But in this day and age where images of “perfection” inundate our daily consumption of information we are faced with a need to be more than what is real. The battle is on and women are standing up against those crazy ideologies. NO MORE PHOTOSHOP!

In this fight for a more realistic perspective what we need to start with is our own personal reality checks.

First let’s examine the physical self: our bodies. I have been a bunch of sizes; from a size 16 to a size 2. I have lost 75 pounds and gained all the #s in between, I have stretch marks that look like tire treads, I have cellulite, I have scars, I have thinning graying hair, I have sagging skin and wrinkles. I am quite lovely. My point is that I am not going to be in the Victoria Secret fashion show anytime soon (thankfully, that stage looks sketchy as hell in high heels) because I am not a Super Model. And substantially more important is my spiritual self, the ME of who I am. I have made mistakes, I have been rude, judgmental, impatient, irritable, quick tempered, and gossipy. I have lost perspective and gained insight in between. I am quite lovely. My point is that I am no Mother Teresa and I won’t be sainted anytime soon (those shoes seem even more intimidating to walk in) because I am also not a Super “Role” Model.

The do-it-all mom with a smile to spare. Oh, how I have wanted to be her. As I sit here with my crocs on, my baby-hair in the shape of gray devil horns sticking out of a crooked bun, a huge sweat-shirt, and some very stretchy pant; what I really want is to be me.

The person that never gives up, who tries everyday to be better, who falls and gets back up, and also reaches out when others have slipped, the diligent, persistent, and sometimes relentless advocate for my children and others, the student, the teacher, the best friend, the sister, the money maker, the bill payer, the grocery getter, the daughter, the servant…

Unrealistic and unacceptable images of our bodies has to end, but so does this idealized version of what we are supposed to be as people. We need to Netflix and chill with ourselves and love who we are. Acknowledge our stuff that we know isn’t serving us and accept it. Then we can move forward. We need to also stop casting that same expectation onto other women and men! It is nothing more than a trap!  We stretch ourselves to such extraordinary lengths that all we have left is a thin rope that is going to break. It is time we know that all the roles we have to fill are enough. That extra is not necessarily good if it takes away from who we really are.

I didn’t finish my degree then. I am now in my 4th year of college and loving it. When I allowed her to be extraordinary and just focus on my ordinary I fulfilled my roles my way. I am still really proud of the women out there that overcome great odds and accomplish amazing feats of motherhood and womanhood. It inspires me. What I am not willing to do is hold myself up next to them either. Rather I will hold my life up to yesterday and reconcile all the blessings and gratitude I can.

The woman on Oprah gave me something. She helped me realize that whatever role I have chosen for myself I will make it work. I will do my damnedest to try and when I need to, I will let it go and move on. She gave me a reality check, one that is worth way more than any Oprah could have written me (no, really I promise).

 

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑