My Pandemic Perspective

Now more than ever I need to focus on my health.   It’s not easy for someone who is a “stress eater” and likes to self-medicate and pamper myself with unhealthy food and binging.   It’s usually times like these that I give up and it’s a “free for all” in terms of eating.

I have some challenges and events that are testing me.  Here is my rundown:

I have been working weekends to help our property company do an “abandoned inventory sale” due to a retail tenant that decided to give up on their business and walk away.   This left our company with a broken contract and several months of lost rent.

While working I received a call that my brother-in-law suddenly and unexpectedly passed.  He was to celebrate turning sixty in just a couple of months.   It has been completely devastating to my entire family.   We cannot even grieve “normally” and with others during the restrictions surrounding the pandemic.

My job as operations director for the property company also includes a restaurant.   The restaurant is struggling with only doing take-out and I had to take myself off getting a paycheck.  I have filed for unemployment.

I am also caring for my elderly parents.  My mother who is 82, has dementia.  My father who is 87 and caring for my mother has proclaimed he is ready to die.  Seeing his wife deteriorate and having to listen to her childlike repetitive dialog has left him weary and depressed.  It is heartbreaking to watch a woman who was brilliant walk into a room with a cup a detergent ready to consume, and a man who could run circles around men half his age decide he is done living.

So, yes, I’m a little stressed.  I keep reading Facebook posts of people taking walks in their neighborhood and having lovely conversations from across yards.   They are reporting how they are making the most of the situation.  The was another post from a woman who showed her large box of toilet paper stock with her son perched on top with the message “make me an offer”.   It was meant to make light of the situation but it is difficult to laugh when you see posts of the elderly standing before empty shelves.

They say to “meet people where they are” and I get that.  We are all experiencing this emergency coming from different places.   Some panic, some use humor, some try to look at every situation with a positive spin.   I am trying to catch up with that spin.  More importantly, I am trying to stay physically healthy so my body can stay strong for the emotional impact.   My mind is currently in the state of being “unwell”.

To keep my health, I made sure I had my go-to items such as protein bars, dried fruit, and yogurt.   I have lots of water and I continue to take one tablespoon of Fire Cider every day as well as a vitamin.  The gyms are closed so I pulled out my Jane Fonda workout video from the 1980s.  It still is a great full body workout with cardio.  I started journaling, catching up on my reading and my dining room is filled with craft projects.  There is so many things I can’t control so I will focus on those I can.   It starts with taking care of me physically and mentally.

My sincere well wishes to everyone around the globe to make it through this emergency.  However you may be impacted, please do the best you can to make it through to enjoy the glorious celebration yet to come when it has passed.  God Bless.woman's hands hold the sun and its energy

Read Repeat

I have read countless self-help books.  The one thing that I noticed is their message(s) are repeated throughout their writings.  In one book the author actually  lets you know that he will repeat his messages.  As he explains, it’s to reinforce the importance of the message as well as help you remember.

I’ve listened to influencers who do this as well.  One influencer responded to someone telling him he repeats himself by saying, “I only speak about what I know.  I only speak about what is true.  I’m not going to talk about things I don’t have knowledge on.”  I believe this response to be refreshing and brilliant.

I had worried that after blogging for a year I might sound repetitive.  However, I am only telling you my truth – what I’ve done – what I think.   I do not want to give guidance that I have not tried myself or do not believe in for the sake of filling a page and gaining an audience.

I have read so many inspiring books and their messages do overlap.  I appreciate these messages because it reinforces to me their effectiveness and my hope is that they will always be in the forefront of my mind.  I am always in search of those who inspire.  Sometimes, I’ll hear just one new word that clicks and have everything make sense.

It’s hard to listen to words of wisdom and let it really sink in and resonate.  It’s even harder to start with negative thoughts, recognize them and pivot to more positive thoughts.  Furthermore, it takes work for the mind to pull up that wisdom and let it influence your actions.

This is where the read repeat comes in.  Training your brain to remember to pivot to positive as immediate as possible, have it become rote, if you will.

You can find inspiration everywhere, in music, in social media sites, and being around like-minded people.  Below are some of my favorite influencers that I have learned from throughout the years.  Look them up to get more information.  Please feel free to share yours.  I love new sources that either give me new insight or reinforce what I know.

Dr. Wayne Dyer was my first source of inspiration.  When I was 18, I read “The Erroneous Zones”.   The late Dr. Dyer has many wonderful books of which I have read and been inspired.

Gabrielle Bernstein.  I’m reading the “Super Attractor”,  and just finished her 21-Day Manifest Challenge.

Natasha Hazlett.  I’m doing the “Unstoppable Influence” challenge and she is the author of the book with the same name.

Gary Vanyerchuk.  Has authored books but I follow him on Instagram.  Love him!

Mel Robbins.  “5 Second Rule” .  Just starting this book and already learning.

Katy O’Neil Shea.  Daily Facebook post “Soul Shine 365”.  Love this daily read!

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Choose crEATe Over EATing

Did you notice the double entendre in the title?  This is deliberate in that I want to encourage you to try working on a creative project over grabbing something to eat.  In addition, I am hoping with a creative distraction it will keep you from “overeating”.

Truth is my mind is in constant thoughts about food, but I love the creative process so much it’s probably one of the few times I’m not thinking about it. I have learned that when I’m working on a creative project I get lost in the project and forget about eating.

As I mentioned in previous blogs it’s not the food itself, it’s many things.   One of those is the presentation of food.   I tend to really appreciate something made well and plated beautifully.   I guess you could say I like to “eat art”.   In art I love color, textures, designs, the emotion, the message, the memory evoked, depth, sometimes aroma and scent – I like to take it all in.  With food I’ve realized I respond similarly.

Over the holidays I found myself ramping up on the creative projects, not just decorating the tree but creating flower arrangements, ornaments, etc.   It was an uplifting season and rolling into the new year I vowed to keep the creative momentum going.

You don’t have to “break the bank” working on projects, it can be as simple as penning a letter to someone using your most flowery cursive lettering.  You could even rearrange furniture in a room.   Anything that brings out that creative mindset and beautiful distraction.

I have been sharing my thoughts about my food issues for one year now.  I appreciate all those who have followed along.  It’s still a battle but I am still learning new things about myself and finding new sources of inspiration to stay the course.

I’ve decided to change up my blog somewhat and post shorter thoughts on my Facebook Page.  The posts might not all be inspiring and at times frustrating.  However, it will be my truth as someone obsessed with food and the day to day victories and struggles.  You will never read that I’m giving up because I never will.  Never.

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Stock Your Toolbox

It’s no secret that you need the proper tools to get the job done.  This is true whether its construction, carpentry, or you’re an artist creating a painting or sculpture.   It’s even true having the right software program to execute a project or a mechanic repairing a vehicle.  Think about any profession and you will think about the vast number of tools that are required to perform the job.

Apply that same principle with being successful with eating healthy and dieting.  Last week I was without my tool bag and not a single tool to be found.   I had been laxed at going grocery shopping.  On the positive side I was so focused on other projects and really didn’t think about my next meal.   However, I also didn’t make time to go to the store.  Consequently, I let the cupboard run bare… or I should say run bare of anything healthy.   I was home sick and emotionally feeling that need to pamper myself as well.

I rummaged through the cupboard and found a jar of Cheeze Whiz.   So… that’s what I ate.   Yup, as my father would say, “that’s the worst thing you can eat”.   It wasn’t pretty, actually pretty disgusting, and it sunk like a lead balloon in my belly.   I could feel the calories just ooze through my veins.  Yet, there I was slathering the Cheeze Whiz on yet another slice of bread.

It was almost immediately afterwards that I realized I didn’t have my tools.   I didn’t take time to buy my healthy staples – my go to, easy “don’t have to think about” foods – my tools.    I was too busy with projects and didn’t make time for balance.  I can’t say I didn’t take time for me because the projects I was working on were fun.  But as they often say you need to balance!

The other tools in my toolbox are the emotional and intellectual tools – the self-talk.  I allowed myself to feel sorry for myself for being sick and didn’t find another mechanism to pamper myself.  Lesson learned – stock up on the good stuff and remind myself every day of my strength and power!   Affirmations and apples, baby – that’s how to roll!!

Sending healthy wishes!

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Crush the Course

My blog is to help others to keep going and my tips that have helped me. In a previous blog (The Diets, 02/14/2019), I listed all the diets I had tried that did not work.   However, a couple of years ago I had heard of a new method of weight loss called “Intermittent Fasting”.  I was in a slump and thought to truly be able to speak about the best method for weight loss maybe I should give it a try.

This diet requires you to pick two days within the week, not consecutive, and limit your calories to 500.  The other six days of the week you eat whatever you want.

When learning about this diet it stated that most people end up eating less overall on the non-fasting days.   When I read that I thought… well not me.  If you tell me I can eat, then I will definitely eat and eat very well.  So that’s how it started.   I did great on the fasting days and ate very well on the off days.

Here’s what I noticed…

  • On the fasting days I had planned meals that I knew I would like that stayed within the daily goal of 500 calories.
  • I didn’t have to think during the day what I was going to eat – I had it already mapped out.
  • I got through those days knowing I could eat anything the next day. I just needed to hang in there for those days.
  • On the non-fasting days, I was elated, tickled that I could eat anything. It was as if the diet “burden” was lifted.  I started out doing exactly that – eating whatever.
  • I noticed weight loss fairly early on, albeit slight, but it encouraged me
  • I had a new perspective on the calories I was consuming on the non-fasting days.
  • I started cutting back on the non-fasting days. Partly, because I didn’t want to undermine my results, and because that “thrill” of eating anything had worn off.  I really didn’t “need” to eat all those things I thought I would love eating.  The excitement wore off.

Fast forward, it was very successful but low and behold I was in slump mode again.  I came upon an app that was for the fasting method of weight loss.   I wanted to try something new, especially an app to stay current with society.

This app was a little confusing, not intuitive as I had hoped, or perhaps it wasn’t a great app.   My one take-away was that I would get little reminders during the day… “your fasting will start in an hour”, or you’re doing great, your fasting will end in an hour”.   It’s not that I like the focus on eating.   That part was a negative to me but what I did like is the little pop up communication.

I decided to use my reminder feature on my phone that I already had to create my own notes of encouragement.  At first, I started with “don’t eat…”.  But then I decided that it was better to stay positive and not focus on the eating.   I changed it to “Stay the course”.   Then, I decided that was boring and changed it to “Crush the course”.

I’m having fun with this reminder feature.  It can be anything you want it to be.  It can be something funny to make you laugh during the day or it can be a reminder to take a break and meditate for 5 minutes.   The objective is to encourage you and, in a sense, remind you that you are your own best advocate and cheering section.

So, go out there and CRUSH IT, HAVE FUN, BE HEALTHY, BE STRONG… AND LIVE!!!

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I’m Still the Same Person

I jumped on Facebook the other day and received a notification that I had been tagged in a photo.  My first thought was “where was I recently that someone tagged me?”  Hoping it was a fun memory I had forgotten about.   I went to the post and much to my chagrin was an old photo of me from high school.  It was a photo of me when I was at one of the lowest points in my life as far as self-esteem.  I remember those times vividly.   Overweight, not finding clothes to fit.   Feeling like a laughingstock.  Feeling invisible, or perhaps hoping I was.

The pain flooded back as real as if it were those almost 40 years ago.  I immediately removed the tag “incriminating” me.  I was so embarrassed and hoping the tag was removed before anyone could see it.   I don’t have many photos of me overweight, so I took a screen shot of the photo and sent it to my daughter. My daughter knows my struggles and I wanted her to understand why I’m obsessed with my weight.  Her response was “you’re not that person anymore”.

Her statement made me pause and reflect on that.   The photo was from a performance when I was part of a singing group called “The Madrigal Singers”.  I loved singing back then and I still love to sing.  I loved art back then and I still love art.  I was kind and smart.  I am still kind and smart.  I had an amazing family and I am blessed to still have my family.

Does it make me a better, more likable person because I lost weight?  Have I changed or has society treated me differently because my outward appearance changed?  I believe it’s a combination of things.

I didn’t like myself the way I was.  This caused me to be introverted.  That said, society did play a role in that.  Being made fun of for my weight told me that being overweight was a bad thing and a sign of weakness.  When I lost weight, people treated me differently.  There was a marked difference in people’s interaction, and it was unsolicited.

As I lost weight, I physically felt better and was able to move more easily.  I could shop for clothes in the girls’ section instead of the “moms” section (back then clothes were not made over a certain size).  I wasn’t afraid of people thinking I was a “freak of nature”.

So, even though internally I feel like the same person, what has changed is my self-esteem and not caring what others think.  I’m focused on what I love to do and all the things that make me who I am.

When deciding to write this blog I wasn’t going to include the photo from high school.  It is still too painful to look at.  However, I thought by not including it and was becoming like “society” and thinking that girl should be invisible.   That girl was a kind, amazing girl and she deserves to be known!  I love her!  It feels so good to say that!

I also wanted to include a photo of the same girl who worked hard to be stronger and self-confident.  If you are struggling to lose weight, do it to focus on you and not society.  Focus on all that you are and what you love to do.  Be healthy so you can continue to be you for a very long time!

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Scale is Life

SCALE

For as long as I remember I have been obsessed with the scale.   It’s a morning and evening ritual and I am hard wired to respond to the number of the scale. Most times it’s not necessary for me to check because I can usually look at my waist and know exactly what the number will be.   On the rare occasion I am surprised by the number I have been known to throw my arms up in the air in jubilation or drop to my knees with chagrin.

They say never to look at the scale and that you should know how you feel and judge by how her clothes fit.   That always terrified me because I never wanted to gain so much weight that my clothes were no longer comfortable.   To me it was like going a full semester in school with only one final.   No do-overs.

All of this said, something happened to change how I look at the scale.   For the VERY first time in my entire life I did not see a number and think of how my daily strategy would be.   I saw life.  I felt alive.   I was aware that the scale reflected a healthy human being that was taking up space in the world causing a response from the scale.  I was grateful I registered presence on the scale.  I am alive.

The reason for this new perspective was the passing of a wonderful person.  Someone who lived a great life – a kind-hearted soul, lover of the outdoors and epitome of a family man.  The passing came after what I consider a brief illness.   It makes you shake your head in bewilderment and you can’t accept it.  Often with the passing of someone you pause and appreciate life and how quickly things can change. What changed in me was how small and embarrassed I felt worrying about weight.  Worrying about how I looked.  Worrying about clothes I was wearing.  Letting my thoughts be consumed with what was in my cabinets that I could eat.

The morning of the funeral I did what was rote for me and got on the scale.  I didn’t deliberately tell myself to appreciate life and not be concerned with the scale.  But that morning I didn’t go into strategy motion, or celebrate, or beat myself up.  Because the scale moved, I felt alive.  I felt healthy.  I felt strength.

I will continue to exercise and eat healthy, and yes, weigh myself.   But I will be grateful, and I will be motivated to do those actions that help me to have energy to keep living life.  The scale is my reassurance that I am alive and have choices and have been granted one more day.

Thank you for reading.SCALE