Sunday, September 28, 2014

Update From the Trenches

I ran into numerous wonderful friends today while showering some brides-to-be...some that I haven't seen in awhile...and several of them noticed that I'd lost some weight.  I suppose I can understand how shocking it might be to see someone lose a considerable amount of weight in a not-so-considerable amount of time...but alas, it is what it is.

I'm grateful, by the way.  And I don't mind telling the never gets old to me.

One question came to me at church today that I haven't had asked so far from a sweet lady who I am not friends with on Facebook or that I interact with on a regular basis.  She's seen me around but apparently didn't register who I was until today.  She stopped me and asked me if I'd had surgery. I suppose that's a fair question...but since I've been so open with everything for the past nine caught me a little bit off guard.

No, I did not have surgery...although I did consider it.  Why wouldn't I?  I was 140 pounds overweight with no turnaround in sight.  I accepted who I was and my friends and family loved me anyway...and believe it or health numbers were always very good.  With regard to the surgery, I researched it fully and had some testimonials from people I trust completely.  My issue was that I knew that if I had the surgery but didn't find out how to fix my problem and change my would just be a temporary fix.

But more importantly, my spirit kept telling me that this was a battle royale that God was going to fight through me.  And He has...and is.  But that is my story...and for others who quietly wrote another one that has also had amazing results...that is not judgment.  The bottom line is that we are all trying to get healthy.  I think we're getting there.

My biggest challenge right now is being comfortable.  Settling for "good enough" instead of "great."  Celebrating too many things too often.  Not making my limits as stringent as they need to be.  Getting frustrated when weight loss slows to the 1-2 pounds a week that is considered healthy instead of the cosmic leaps and bounds I experienced several months ago.

But there are the little changes.  The pushing to do something I didn't know I could do.  The fact that I ran a 5K (3.1 miles) without stopping on the treadmill on Saturday just to see if I could instead of the two miles that I intended.  

I am grateful to be getting some things right...but I cannot just say "BOOM!  DONE!" at any point because I'm not done.  Far from it.

I explained to a friend this weekend that my issues with food are very similar to those of an alcoholic or a drug addict.  I'm addicted to a substance.  The only differences are...mine is legal...and I have to partake of a certain amount of it to survive.  I am not pretending that my food addiction is anything akin to the hell that people addicted to other substances are...but if you've never been honestly do not know.

So, management of it is critical.  I'll never be cured and will always be subject to the whims of well meaning folks who want me to drink a little of this or eat a little of that in the name of fellowship.  I have to be extremely careful in that regard.  Not crazy...but careful.  Because all it takes is a few days away from eating correctly and a week off from the gym and I risk a relapse.

So I keep going.  I keep trying.  Continue striving to move toward the goals I've set for myself.

There is something beautiful about people on a mission.  Folks who are enthusiastic and passionate about what they are doing.  I get that because I am attracted to people who just love what they are doing because it ramps up my hope that I can have that same experience.  I believe that a lot of folks have seen a dowdy 50-something woman try to transform her life...and have been unbelievably kind to me in the process.

One person reminded me today that "you do this..." meaning that I lose weight and then gain it back. It's true.  I've done that.  But I've never been set up as well as I am right now to succeed.  I've also understood that this battle is the Lord's and not only my own.  It feels completely different somehow.

I know that I'm waxing all philosophical tonight as I think about some of the conversations I've had this weekend...from people that I've known and loved as friends for years.   Who are ready to join me in trying to live their own dreams by finding their authentic selves.  Who aren't ready to just have the part of their lives where they feel fit and good behind them.  Who realize that 60 is the new 40.

I have learned so much these past few months that I wouldn't even know where to start listing.  I suppose the biggest lesson is that physically...90% of it is what you eat and 10% is about exercise.  That your success is 90% your attitude and 10% everything else.  That it is never too late...and that most of what you hate doing in the gym is what is going to eventually have to be dealt with because that is what is going to help you the most.  That when you run...for the first ten or so minutes...your mind will try to get you to stop.  If you keep will eventually quiet and your breathing will regulate.  I didn't know that because I'd never run for ten minutes before.  Not really.  Running is about 90% in your head and 10% in your body when you first start.

I have met people who have been helpful, people who are threatened by my changes, and people who keep talking about my "willpower" or "self-control."  Hardly.  I just removed failure as an option.  I still do.

My reason for writing this is that I need to put in writing that I am just a few pounds away from having 100 pounds off my frame.  100 pounds.  1-0-0.  I need to get past that number so that I can address the 40 pounds behind that as well.  I've come a long way...but I still have a long way to go.

I realize that there are people reading this who are wondering how to get 10 pounds off rather than 100.  Well, you just do it.  You just decide.  You stop eating crap.  You commit...and the teachers will show up.  They certainly have for me.

I'm grateful to everyone who has said a kind word, shared some encouragement, given me tips to do better, inspired me, helped me stay faithful to the program, exercised with me, passed down some clothes, loved me when I was heavier and still love me now, or prayed for me because you knew I needed it.  All of that has made a difference.

And still is...

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Filing Off the Rough Edges

One of the hardest parts about being an adult is realizing that sometimes you just have to let things be.  Not changed, not fought over, not pursued relentlessly...just left alone.  Kind of like emotional poison ivy that you have to remember not to scratch or you'll spread it everywhere.

I suppose most of us have things that get under our skin. And I am fairly certain that these vary from person to person.  Someone may have a true issue with profanity, with one-upmanship, with folks who say they'll be there but aren't, or who get emotional over everything.  Not the normal anxiety over something major...but upset to a level that is entirely inappropriate for the situation so as to draw attention to themselves.

That drives me nuts.  Along with continual self-promotion disguised as "inspiring others."  That last one is why I get concerned every now and again that I talk about the weight loss journey too much.  Of course, I try to talk about the potholes in the road to success, the fact that I am not perfect, and the struggles as much as I talk about the successes.  Personally, I prefer it when people keep it real.

I am being annoyed at this point in time by someone who has an enthusiasm level that is so far over the top that I can hardly stand any interaction.  She doesn't care, and obviously this is my problem...not hers.  But because this has been going on for several weeks and is pretty much making me feel the opposite of "inspired" which feels something like "incredibly annoyed"...I've decided to break it down to see what in the world my problem is. problem, obviously.

I realize that I have some places in my life that are a little rough around the edges.  Some of it comes from being in the trenches for years and feeling a little like I have to take care of myself instead of relying on others to do it.  The rest comes from a sometimes out of control "Type A" personality that most people don't really see because I try to keep it as much on the "down low" as is possible.  Sometimes it works.  Other times...not.

I tend to blame these "leaks" on my alter-ego otherwise known as "Towanda" after the character in "Fried Green Tomatoes" who just had enough of everything and finally just rammed her car into a sassy young thing's car over and over because she'd taken "lip" one too many times.  I prefer to think of "Towanda" as "righter of injustices and heinous customer service" because somebody clearly has to do it.  Although my children used to see a little "Towanda" in my eyes and would quietly plead with me to not have a meltdown in the middle of Old Navy.

Sometimes I'd listen.  Sometimes not.

I realize that these rough edges aren't terribly spiritual...but every so often folks just need to hear the truth unvarnished.  Need to hear that their policies are idiotic.  Need to know that their waitstaff needs to care.  Need to solve a problem instead of passing it on.  And sadly...sometimes need additional diction lessons so that I can understand what in the world some of them are trying to patiently explain in what is clearly a second language to them.

I'm fairly certain that Rudy in India, Sue in Singapore and Josie in Miami aren't really named Rudy, Sue and Josie and that they really hate talking to "the crazy lady from that Alabama."  Kind of like the person I spoke with last week that I told to quit calling my daughter at 1:00 a.m. to tell her that her battery was low on her home alarm.  It has since been fixed...but when I share with you that had I received that call...someone would have needed counseling...I'm not kidding.  Fortunately, the little apple who witnessed enough "Towanda" in her young life to hold her own made someone's night I'm fairly certain.

Bless his heart.

Part of life is filing off the rough edges so that we are more like Jesus.  And yes, He got hungry, tired, angry, and felt immense pain.  But He also had incredible patience.  He understood that we forget easily.  That we aren't perfect.  That we fail daily.  And He loved us anyway.

Which is really what I should do with the person who is bothering me by posting incessantly on a group page that I'm on about what she's eating, every success she's having and how awesome she looks in everything.  I am not made less by her success.  Granted, I'm not inspired by it either...but there is no reason for me to allow this to keep me from shining in my own unique way just because I don't want to get on other peoples' nerves.  Although I'm sure that from time to time I probably do.

I need to file off that rough edge that occurs every time she posts anything and try to understand that she probably does not have any idea how this is affecting me.  And even more truthful...she probably doesn't even care.  After all, it is none of her business what I think about her...any more than it is my business what anyone thinks about me.

I could be more gracious and just understand that she is excited and is shouting it from the rooftops.  I could understand that when you succeed at something really, really hard...that you've earned the right to crow a little bit.  After many people have I told that I've lost 90 pounds?  People who haven't asked...and probably couldn't care less.


Maybe the best thing for me to do is recognize that if this is bothering me...I need to see what it is driving it.  Is it jealousy?  Do I want to be part of the discussion and feel like I can't because she comments on everything?  What is it?  I think that is the burning question that begs to be answered so that I can move on and quit rolling my eyes at someone I don't even really know.

See?  Totally my problem.

There are a lot of rough edges that each of us have that can either be filed down or can be sharp edges for someone to be hurt from coming into contact with us.  I don't want to hurt anyone.  And I certainly don't want to seem snarky, unsupportive, or mean.  I'm honestly none of those things on a regular basis.  All of those endorphins from exercise you know.  Plus, I try really hard to keep a handle on it lest it gallop across the field of my life sowing all kinds of destruction.

From a biblical standpoint, I already know the answer...I'm supposed to love.  To accept.  To expect nothing out of people but look for opportunities to be supportive.  If I can't do that...I don't have love in me...and my witness is false.

Yeah.  That's not good.

So, I'll be working on a little bit of filing this afternoon.  Off this rough spot that has been bothering me off and on for months.  Because I've already wasted a whole lot of energy being irked and ungracious.  That energy would be better spent doing something productive.  Like lifting someone else up.  Sharing a kind word.  Doing something for a dear friend.  Praying for people who've requested it.  Helping people who can't repay me.  Being a blessing.

Hard to do that when someone might get impaled on a rough edge.  Time to work on that.  Actually...past time.