Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter, and a Bit on Sacrifice and New Life

I was thinking today about sacrifice.  The "reason for the season" involves a sacrifice (the ultimate) being made for mankind, and then the tomb was empty.  Raised into new life. 

So appropriate that this Holiday is in Springtime.  New life is everywhere, isn't it?  From the lambs in the fields, to the flowers down the lane, the new leaves on the trees, and in our neck of the woods the perfume of millions and millions of orange blossoms linger in the air.

For me, it is a good time to reflect, a good time to think.  This morning I was thinking about sacrifice.

Why are we so afraid of that word in our own lives?  Why are we so hesitant to "give up" anything?  Sometimes we HAVE to give up something in order to receive something even better.  If we are holding on too tightly to something in our fist, then our hand is not open to receive anything else.

Are you holding on to food?

How would you know if you were?

Well, if you have thoughts that sounds like this:

I've been struggling so bad lately with the cravings.....I could hardly stand to watch my kids open their Easter Baskets....I've been grumpy all day because my husband ordered Pizza last night and I couldn't have any...I really want REAL food....I just can't seem to stay on plan even one day....I'm so bored with the Lean and Greens...I just couldn't resisit....I just had to....I found myself eating.....

Then you, my friend, are firmly holding on to food as tightly as your fist can. 

Why not let it go?  Why not sacrifice your devotion to food and your stomach, in order to gain something much more valuable, which is health, and the happiness that comes along with knowing that you aren't worshiping at the alter of food?  Because if you are letting food, and your devotion to it, keep you from living your best life TODAY, if your weight has become such an issue so as to be a consideration in every decision you make throughout your day, then  you are destined to ALWAYS struggle, to ALWAYS be overweight or obese, and to ALWAYS be trying to "diet".

Why not let it go, trust the plan, actively turn your attention (FORCE your attention) on to something that will enrich you life, not kill you?

That is a decision I made when I began my plan.  Food had been my "god" for so long and I was very comfortable with that.  I broke that relationship purposefully.  I sacrificed the comfort of knowing where I stood with food (fat and unhappy, BTW), and delved into this great adventure of life and the unknowns that came with becoming someone I had only dreamed of.  A healthy person.

I had SEEN healthy people, so I knew they existed.  I knew they were not a myth.  But until I found a tool that could actually GET me there and KEEP me there, I didn't have hope of every BECOMING one of them.

And now I am.  Because I trusted the plan, I made today an ON PLAN day, but MORE than that I decided to sacrifice my unhealthy and co-dependent relationship with food and ALLOW a void, ALLOW a vacuum in my soul that I could then fill with legitimate things.  My family.  Relationships.  My relationship with God.  All those things I had been neglecting, all those things that my relationship with food had pushed to the sidelines, or pushed out entirely.

I did that with intention, I did NOT pine over food, write about food, dream about food in day dreams, watch the Food Network, buy the food magazines, etc. 

So what will you sacrifice today in order to receive something better tomorrow?  Someone I know did that about 2000 years ago too, and I'm so glad He did. 


I am a Certified Health Coach and the program I recommend has successfully helped people create health in their lives for 15 years!  E-mail me at mycoachstacy@gmail.com for a FREE consultation!

Happy Easter!

Rinse and Repeat!

The Truth Will Set You Free

I was listening to a seminar by Jim Rohn last night, and he quoted a verse from the Bible that "The Truth Will Set You Free".

Free to do what?  Free to amend your errors and develop your disciplines.  To avoid disaster down the road, and to experience AMAZING results.

But first we need to see the truth.  Assess where we are currently, honestly.  No bull.

Without seeing the truth of the matter, without taking an honest assessment of where we are now, we cannot be free to change things for the better.

So what did you do yesterday?  Did you stay on plan?  If not, why not?  Are you telling yourself the truth?  If you aren't, start.

Write it down.  Are you on plan?  Is your mind already forming excuses as you read this as to how you could have fit what you DID do in to the plan if you tweak this or that or the other? 

So the first step is to assess, honestly, whether or not you are following the Medifast 5&1 Plan.  If you aren't, then start.  If you are, then SWELL!  You are on your way to your health goals!

'Nuff said.

Easter...Earth Day...Mother's Day...Memorial Day...Flag Day...Father's Day...Fourth of July...Labor Day....

If you were waiting for a good time to start, now is good.

If you are waiting for that perfect time to begin your new life, now is good too.

If you would rather stuff yourself silly on chocolate eggs, do the Mother's Day Champagne Brunch and go back for thirds, suck on that pulled pork BBQ and potato salad at that Memorial Day picnic, eat that homemade ice cream at the Fourth of July.....then I've got a question for you:

What are you doing here?

I mean really, why are you here?

Because there will always be an occasion to pig out.  There will always be another holiday around the corner.  There will always be reasons to justify going off plan.  And if you are one who has oriented your life around food, then you are always on the lookout for those opportunities.

But what if you could choose optimal health today?  Today only?  What if someone walked up to you and said "Hey, you've got a chance of a lifetime, and this chance expires at midnight tonight.  Do you want optimal health or don't you?" 

Would you waffle?  Would you lament all the Dove Chocolate Valentine's Squares you would, necessarily, need to give up? 

Or, would you tell them to come back and ask you.....

Tomorrow?

What'll it be?

Someday you will wake up and realize that TODAY IS ALL YOU'VE GOT.  Sink or swim, baby!

Rinse and Repeat!

Taking Swift Advantage of the Hours

Opportunities do not come with their values stamped upon them. Everyone must be challenged. A day dawns, quite like other days; in it a single hour comes, quite like other hours; but in that day and in that hour the chance of a lifetime faces us.
-Maltbie Davenport Bab***
Today I woke up and it was quite like any other day.  I went in to the kitchen, I poured my coffee, I kissed my son and husband "goodmorning", then prepared my Maple Brown Sugar Oatmeal and poured 20 ounces of water in to my water bottle for my breakfast.

Today was quite like any other day.  Nothing unique about it.  But it already had success stamped all over it.

When I woke up, I began my day with my daily Habits of Health rituals.  My routine.  One that I have been practicing for, well, years really.  There was no neon sign flashing above me as I woke up saying "Today you have the opportunity of a LIFETIME, you have the opportunity to CONTINUE MAINTAINING YOUR HEALTH!!"  No.  I didn't see that neon sign.  But I have already internalized that each day presents it's own opportunity for success, for a further reaching of my health goals, so I didn't need the sign.

My sign is inside me now. 

You see, I could have woken and up and thought "Man, my son has repeat labs this morning from a follow up of last weeks labs where there was a number the Docs didn't like..." and I could have further rationalized that because I'm stressed I deserve to have TWO cups of coffee with half and half in it instead of "only" one.  Not only that, but man I could really go for a Starbucks Classic Coffee Cake to go with that coffee, because I'm so stressed and worried and I deserve a little bit of goodness in my day, don't I?

No, I deserve health.  And my daily actions support that belief.

I used to believe that food was what I deserved.  That food was what I craved.  That eating whatever I want meant true freedom, and my single thought going in to whatever new "diet" I was going to try was "I can't wait to get through this....so I can EAT (normally...ha ha what a joke) again.

Food.  Food.  Food.  Food.  Food.  Food.

Food took a front seat to taking care of myself and my family.  Food was prioritized in my social commitments.  I was thinking about food from the time I woke up, through the day, and when I went to sleep.

I care about all of you, and this is a journey which is why I stay here and blog, but some days I just can't read one more blog about people who are refusing to turn their attention AWAY from food and TOWARDS health. 

This is vital.  It is a vital shift, and it doesn't happen by accident.  You don't all of a sudden wake up one morning and realize that you are beginning to focus on health.  You intentionally SHIFT your focus TOWARDS health.  How do you do it?  Firstly, STOP watching the Food Network or the Cooking Channel.  STOP pouring over Pinterest for yummy looking decadent recipes.  STOP buying cookbooks that aren't oriented towards health, lean proteins, vegetables, etc.  STOP oohing and ahing over the bakery section in the grocery store.  Mindfully.  Stop.

If you don't make room for the healthy thoughts to grow, for your fit mind to develop, then they won't. 

Start ACTING like a fit and healthy person, and eventually your body will catch up.  =)  Develop a fit and healthy mind with intention, because it won't happen by accident.  It is SO fun!  Honest!

So, take swift advantage of the hours my friends, work the plan with thoughtfulness, and carefully guard your wants.  For soon enough, your wants become your desires.  Then your mind won't rest until you HAVE them.  Do you WANT health?  Or do you WANT the yummy food?  Because we always get what we want.....eventually.....

It only STAYS hard, you only STRUGGLE more if you are filling your mind constantly with thoughts of yummy food, and seeing this whole process as one big DENIAL.

Rinse and Repeat!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Benjamin Button Revised: The Curious Case of the Perpetual Teenager..... Episode 1

I have a curious case of Stacy Phillips going on in my life, and it is pretty much the REVERSE of mid-life crisis.  It is mid-life CELEBRATION!For roughly 18 of the last 20 years of my adult life I have been a morbidly obese individual.  Being 43 now, that means from age 22 on I have experienced about 3 years total of being considered a "normal weight".  The last year and a half are considered part of that 3 years.

During that time of obesity, I always felt old.  I mean really really old.  I mean joints ached, body hurt, back sore, huffing-and-puffing walking out to the car old.  I felt old inside, and I felt like I had an old body too.

Effectively, I went from newly married and healthy weight at 22 to gaining and gaining and gaining and gaining and eventually needing a cane at age 40 because my knees were hurting so much.

Now I have a new "problem".  That new "problem" is that I feel like a teen-ager.  I can run, jump, play, ride a bike, roller skate, dance, you name it I do it.  I am pain free and cane free. 

When I was in college I contracted mononucleosis, with accompanying EBV (Epstein-Barr Virus) to boot.  This left me with a condition called "Chronic Fatigue Syndrome" which mystified Doctors at the time, and was not very well understood.  It was debilitating.  I couldn't study, I slept all the time, I was depressed because I didn't understand what was going on with my body.  There is no cure to Chronic Fatigue Sydrome, but my symptoms always disappear when I'm taking care of myself with proper diet, exercise, and sleep.

Wowzers!  Proper diet, exercise, and sleep!  All of which I have been getting for several years now on my journey to ultra health! 

After losing 130 pounds, I have to say that my energy level is through the roof.  Which allows me to dance, skip, roller skate, mountain climb, swim, you name it!  It allows me to be fully available to take care of my family and myself. 

Take Shape For Life, and all that it offers, IS my oxygen mask.  And I put it on every morning. 

So as I said, I feel like a teen-ager.  My husband says I LOOK like a teen-ager.  In fact, after years and years of saying "no" he has finally, FINALLY consented to "considering the possibility" of allowing me to get a (GASP) TATTOO! 

The ultimate teen-age dream.  Heh heh.

Rinse and Repeat!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dream Hog

I was ruminating yesterday about how many years the dream of "losing weight" dominated my dreamscape. 

Looking back over my journals, from Jr High on, really, I noticed that the underlying pattern of "Someday I'll......" and the overall theme of a desire yet unmet, was that of losing weight.

Page after page of charts, time frames, resolves, decreasing numbers on the scale with whatever "new thing" I was attempting, only to flip a few pages more and find that months had gone by and the "starting" number was back where it began, or higher.

Where were the young girl dreams of what I wanted to be when I grew up?  What were the young woman dreams of, I don't know, what DO young women dream about? 

All of my dreams were weight-centered.  All of my dreams involved putting off every other thing in my life (dreamwise) because I was constantly working on THIS one?

In short, the dream of "losing weight" was the ultimate "DREAM HOG" for my entire life UNTIL......

I did it.

And let me tell you, I was not prepared for the floodgates to open and all of my other suppressed dreams to rush in and fill the void.

You see, when all we can think about, when the only "I wish I could..." involves "losing weight", then that leaves no room for any other of our legitimate heart felt dreams to develop into REAL dreams, SUBSTANTIVE dreams that we can follow and accomplish.

The only way to allow other dreams to move in and flourish is to GET THIS ONE OUT OF THE WAY.  And the only way to get this one out of the way, is to accomplish it.

You can't push this "losing weight" dream to the rear of your dreamlife.  It will always push it's way back to the front.  You can't ignore it either, it is a legitimate heartfelt desire because you know that ultimately, being overweight or obese doesn't really allow you to live your best life now.  You feel that intrinsically.  Which is why we HAVE the overriding constant desire "to lose weight" that effects everything we do and every decision to make.

The best thing that we can do is to DO IT once and for all.  Accomplish that dream. 

Once I DID THAT, I realized I had all SORTS of other dreams that I was so excited to get working on!

My only regret is that it took me so long to finally get this one done and the box checked off.  Because once I DID that, the ultimate dream hog was resolved into a reality and it allowed new dreams to bloom and grow in my imagination.

And I guess I can really say "I'm living the dream!"

And you can, too.

Is accomplishing this dream worth enough to you to stay on plan today?  That's all you need to do.


Rinse and Repeat!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Changing Our Body Takes Time. Changing Our Mind Takes a Split-Second.

I heard somebody say that on the finale of this season's Biggest Loser.  It really stuck with me.  And it is SO true! 

Think about it.  Changing our body DOES take time.  It DOES take a little bit of time for the Healthy Habits that we have adopted to be reflected by our bodies.  "Allowing for the passage of time" a wonderful Medifaster has said frequently.  Maybe that is why sometimes we don't really grasp the importance, or more accurately the VITAL AND IMMEDIATE AND URGENT importance, of changing our mind.

Once our mind is changed, once we decide that what we SAID we wanted, to attain and maintain a healthy weight, is of supreme importance, and takes precedence over EVERYTHING ELSE that may be going on in our lives, THAT is when we have succeeded.  And that truly takes a split second to decide. 

The rest is just a little bit of time.

Have you CHANGED your own mind?  Or are still still stuck in the hamster-wheel of "On plan during the week, off plan during the weekend".  Or, how about the "I just can't seem to stay on plan for a single day".  Or, have you heard the one about the "I just get these cravings and can't stop myself".....

Yeah, I've heard that one too.  I've heard all of it.  Much of it I have said myself, TO myself.  Do you know when the MOMENT was that I BECAME a healthy weight?  The MOMENT I stopped believing those lies I was telling myself, the MOMENT I was "all in".  Then a little time had to pass.  Big deal.  Time I have.....until I don't anymore.

So take swift advantage of the hours you have ahead of you, my friends.  Will those hours be taking you CLOSER to your goals?  Or will those hours be taking you FARTHER from them?  Or are you stuck in the Hamster-Wheel of Hindrance, which is YOU hindering yourself from achieving what you are SAYING you want?

Find Health my friends!
Rinse and Repeat!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

My Second Cup is Black.

Every morning I have one P*E*R*F*E*C*T cup of coffee.  I get my green Jadeite Fire King Coffee mug off the shelf, the one from the 1940's when serving sizes were "normal", not on "steroids" like they are today, and I put it on the food scale (after pre-warming the mug with hot water, of course!).  Then I pour exactly 30 grams of real Half and Half in my cup (2 TBSP), and put 1 packet of Splenda in.  I pour the steaming just-brewed coffee in, to the top, and then I sit at my computer and say "Hello" to you all with a healthy breakfast and my perfect cup of coffee.  It is a piece of art.  It is just the color I like it, the same color I painted my bedroom walls because I am OBSESSIVE about a good cup of coffee.

And then, as it inevitably happens, I find I have sipped the last sip.  Sadly, my coffee cup is empty. 

And that is always when it happens.  Every day, mind you.  The voice.  You know the one "just have another small cup.....a little more half and half won't kill you...it's just a little half and half....."

Every morning.  Without fail.  I laugh when I hear it because no matter how long I've been practicing my Habits of Health, my thoughtlife always continues to push the limits, to challenge me.  I would have thought my thoughtlife, that inner-brat, would have given up by now on this one, but she hasn't.

So what do I do?

Do I have that second little cup with just a little half and half in it, and count it as my healthy fat for the day since I counted the first cup as my condiments?  I mean I COULD work it in, technically, to my plan, then adjust my entire day around it.  I COULD do that.  It would technically be on plan.

No, I don't.  And the reason is simple.  I recognize that voice.  It is the voice of "more, more, more...." and so first thing in the morning, with my very first challenge, I shut it down.  I set the tone for the day.  Because that choice WILL set the tone for the day, and my two "tones" I can choose between are:  Stay On Plan no matter what you WANT to do, or the second tone of:  Indulge your wants.  It's just a little bit.  Sure you can count it as a healthy fat, then just kind of forget about that later and have beef, because really, this little amount isn't going to hurt anything in the long run....."

I'll tell you what it will hurt in the long run.  It is about being faithful in the little things, staying on track at the times you think no one (including yourself) is really looking.  And the result of very small deviations from my course would actually, repeated daily, over time, take me to an entirely different destination than the one I want to go to.

Imagine if I were an airplane going on a day-long flight, to such and so place.  Very early on in the day, I make a 1 degree deviation in my course.  It is just 1 degree.  No big deal.  I mean there are 100 degrees, right?  As long as I get the other 99 or so right, I should be fine!  So, I'll be great for the other 99, and I'm "mostly on-track" for the day.  And here is the problem.  As time passes through the day, the after effects of the lil' 1 degree course deviations take me to a different place than where I was going.  But it also sets the tone for another 1 degree deviation later on in the day, if I feel like it.  I mean I've already satisfied the inner-brat once, and she SHOULD be actually satisfied and it SHOULD keep her quiet for the rest of the day.....

But it never does.

In fact, when I feed that inner-brat, her voice gets louder and comes more often.  Every decision that day becomes harder.  Ever decision requires more and more discipline and self-control to keep her quiet, to not do as she suggests. 

And then I realize....I could have just said "my second cup will be black, thanks!" and stopped this whole spiraling process before it even began.  Because I would have reinforced with my behavior that my goals MEAN something.  I would have indicated to myself that NOTHING is too small to not be considered.  That EVERYTHING that enters my mouth needs to have a REASON to do so, and that REASON must agree with my primary goal of attaining and maintaining a healthy weight.

And so, my second cup is ALWAYS black.

Rinse and Repeat!

I forgot how it felt NOT to be able to shop in "regular" stores!


I remember when I began this process wearing my size 26 Women's Stretch Jeans, and really busting out of them.  I remember thinking I SHOULD be wearing 28's or 30's, but I refused to buy them.  We're NOT talking "waist" size, we're talking clothing size.  At 272 pounds and 5 foot 3, with a BMI approaching 50, I felt like I was nearly as wide as I was tall. 

And one of the trademarks of being "that big" is that no way no how can you shop in "regular" stores for your clothing. 

Fast forward to now, I had a very interesting experience at Costco yesterday.  Gloria Vanderbilt came out with some SUPER CUTE capri's for summer, and I wanted to get me a pair!  So I searched in the pile of sizes, you know how you do at Costco, just digging and diving and setting rows aside, looking for that magic number!  Well, the magic number I look for NOW is a size 4, because that is my jean size. 

Looking.....digging....looking....digging...until finally I had the presence of mind to look up at the sign above the capri's. 

And my heart sank, then it took off like a hot air balloon because I realized....I have undergrown Costco!  The sign announced that the only sizes available for these capri's were 6-16!  And I'm NOT a 6!  The 6's would have fallen off of me! 

By this time my hot-air-balloon-heart was floating somewhere near the skylights over the frozen food section, so I abandoned my futile effort and skipped over to the frozen food aisle to coax it back down again...and to finish my shopping.

Imagine.  UNDERGROWING Costco.  COSTCO!  I remember going in to Costco as a Class IV Super-Obese (that's one step BEYOND Morbidly-Obese) 40 year old lady and just passing the clothing section by every single time, casting wistful glances to it every once in awhile but KNOWING they never carried anything higher than a size 16. 

I remember thinking "Someday, S.O.M.E.D.A.Y. I will indeed shop the cute clothing at Costco!"

Well, my window seems to have run out, at least for some brands of pants.  I DID find an ADORABLE and BEAUTIFUL Kirkland brand turquiose 3/4 sleeve button-up dress shirt though, in a size Small (4-6) so I snatched it right up and it FITS.  It is hanging in my closet right now waiting to be ironed.  =) 

So there is hope, my friends.  Wherever you are on this journey, REMAIN ON PLAN day in and day out, and by ON PLAN I mean the one that is written in the Quick Start Guide and the Condiments/Healthy Fats publication.  If you DO the plan, you WILL have my kind of success!  Over time, those on plan days add up to stunning results.




Rinse and Repeat!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Will what you are doing TODAY get you to where you want to be TOMORROW?

Because you are on a path.  And TODAY is the ONLY day you have to choose what that path will lead to.

The best choice you can make today to get to where you have SAID that you wanted to go (towards a healthy weight) is to stay on that path and move forward.  The worst choice (yes the worst) is to to think that somehow what you do today, even in this instant, "won't really matter that much" in the grand scheme of things.

This moment is the ONLY moment that matters.  This day is the ONLY day that matters.

So what does your day look like?  Did you scratch victory out of the hours and the minutes and the seconds?  Did you NOT answer stress with off-plan eatingDid you NOT answer boredom with off-plan eating?  Did you NOT answer loneliness with off-plan eating?  Then you have a wonderful successful tomorrow to look forward to.

Or, did you decide that this little "somethin'-somethin'" was truly just so small that you don't even consider it off-plan?  Did you decide that today is not the best day to stay on plan because of such and so?  Are you waiting for an easier day to really tackle your program?

Well, I got some news for ya.  THINGS don't change, PEOPLE do.

So, have you changed?  Have you decided what you want and does TODAY reflect that desire?  Because if today is not/has not been an "on-plan" day then one of a few things are going on inside your head.

Firstly:  You don't believe the plan works.
Secondly:  You don't believe YOU can work the plan.
Thirdly:  You don't want what you SAY you want, you want sunshine all day long and rainbow ponies to take you someplace that you don't have the dedication and stick-to-it-tiveness to get to by the strength of your resolve and the result of your commitment.

Harsh sounding, maybe.  But I just watched the finale for the Biggest Loser and what I saw on that stage, and the stories behind the struggles gave me a new respect for what "fighting for it" really looks like.

And the "I just couldn't help myself....I just woke up and realized I had eaten...at the end of the day I found I wasn't on plan...." sentiment that I sometimes see from people who SAY they want health, well, that just doesn't jive with what I saw on stage today.  I think if anyone said that to Jillian they would be in for, well, I can't say it on this blog I will get censored, but that sort of "no can-do" attitude had NO place on the biggest loser.  And it really has no place in our journey.

So, what will it be?   Because whatever you are doing TODAY, will determine your tomorrow.  We do the changing TODAY.  We alter our behavior TODAY.  Tomorrow is just an accumulation of a bunch of todays.  So what'll it be?

Friday, March 15, 2013

Picasso was sitting in a Paris Cafe'......

Picasso was sitting in a Paris cafĂ© when an admirer approached and asked if he would do a quick sketch on a paper napkin. Picasso politely agreed, swiftly executed the work, and handed back the napkin — but not before asking for a rather significant amount of money. The admirer was shocked: “How can you ask for so much? It took you a minute to draw this!” “You are mistaken, my Dear”, Picasso replied, “It took me 40 years.”

How often do we want the masterpiece NOW, and how often do we want it with no significant cost on our part?

I lost 130 pounds.  I am in the best shape of my life.  When people ask me how I did it, I tell them.  "Oh I could never do that" they say.

And I wonder, what, exactly, were they expecting?

And I always KNOW what they were expecting.  The quick fix.  The instant microwave zap-it-and-it's-done solution to health.  As if it came out of a vending machine and required zero work or time, and very little expense.

I will tell you what this journey has cost me.  This journey has cost me to give up everything that was making me sick.  And I was happy to give it up.  Was it easy?  No, it wasn't.  REPLACING habits of disease with habits of health is NOT easy.  But it IS simple.  And it IS possible.  I don't have any particular super-power that allowed me to do it where others have failed.  In fact, I "failed" many times in the process, just as Picasso I am sure crumpled up many drawing attempts and threw them into the corner of the room.  But I stuck with it.  I knew that if I continued with diligence to every day make the decision to orient myself towards health, that I could not HELP but succeed eventually.  Because the science is solid.  The results are solid, WHEN THE PLAN IS ADHERED TO.  THE  plan, not MY version of the plan.

Was it quick?  Well I've seen quicker.  Not because the program isn't rapid and effective, but because I was not perhaps as diligent as I could have been in executing the program.  But I committed to the journey.  And I began lining of those on-plan days and dealing with the underlying issues with Dr. A's Habits of Health book.

So now when people ask me how I did it, I tell them "I ate 6 times a day, I drank water, and at some point along the way I started moving my body a little bit more each day.  I sought out additional support and accountability, and read (and applied) the concepts outlined in the book Dr. A's Habits of Health."   I want to really emphasize that ANYBODY CAN DO THIS.  Anybody who knows WHY they want it.  They can do it if they can get past the concepts and the excuses that may be holding them back, one of those being that age old cry of "but it will take so looooong!"

To that I say the time will pass, you got someplace better to be?  You got something better to do?  Yes, the time will pass!  And when it does, you will wake up one day and be where you want to be too!  You will say "TODAY I reached my healthy weight."  If you don't start NOW, and treat every day of your journey with the utmost respect, then in one year you will still be saying "but it will take so loooooong!"

Rinse and Repeat!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

What Happens When I Just Don't Wanna?

Do you ever just wake up one morning and NOT wanna "do this anymore?"

The difference between success and NOT success is overcoming this in your journey when it arises, because it WILL arise.  The morning you think, despairingly, "I am so tired of doing this.  I just wanna be normal.  I just don't wanna have to care all of the time.  Am I going to have to live 'like this' for the rest of my life?"

When I wake up with those thoughts, I know I have a choice to make.  I know that my inner-brat is trying to assert herself into my life again, and is trying to make my decisions for me again.  And I know where that leads ultimately.  I KNOW where that leads.  And I'm not going back there.

So what do we do when this happens?

Ignore the thoughts.  Act in a manner which agrees with the direction that we have determined to go.  Which IS towards HEALTH.

"I don't wanna do this anymore" sounds like my 8 year old when he, well, when he doesn't want to do something he should be doing anymore.  And I, as the responsible parent, sit him down and discuss with him that great truth from a quote from The Gladiator "Sometimes I do what I WANT to do.  The rest of the time I do what I HAVE to do."

We love movies at our house.

But that truth is pretty universally applied in our lives when we cease being small and petulant, and begin being adults. 

And taking charge of our health and our lives which had, up until Medifast, been out of control, is a very mature and adult-like decision.  So let's put on our big-girl panties (or big-boy panties....wait...pants?) and get this job done. 

Let's understand the right relationship to have with food.  It isn't meant to entertain us.  Haven't we been entertained enough?  I know I felt like a circus clown myself, that one who wears the brightly colored clothing and the big red nose, but the face paint is of a sad clown with a tear rolling down her cheek?  Yes, that was me.  That isn't entertainment.  We also can't use food as comfort.  I was not comfort-able with my chest resting on the steering wheel as I drove.  I was not comfort-able not being able to fit the seat belt of my Volvo around my girth, and wondering if they sold seat belt extensions for automobiles.  We can't use food for a substitute for love.  I have a wonderful husband and child who love me, and whom I love.  People are for love.  Food is not.  We can't use food as a numbing-out tool.  Yes, our relationship with food must necessarily change in this process.  And if it does not, we will not change either.  Our minimal weight losses will be short-lived at best.

So what do YOU want?  Are YOU oriented towards health?  Or oriented towards food?

YOU decide.

Rinse and Repeat!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

It Never Get's "Less Hard" But it Does Get Easier and Better!

I get the question quite often "Isn't it SO much EASIER living life at a healthy weight?"

And the answer is more complex than a "Yes!" or "No, not really" can communicate.  So I will NOT disappoint you with a one or three word response, here goes!

Being morbidly class IV super obese was difficult.  It was the hardest thing in the world, it added a unique stress to my life and a unique sadness that can only be resolved by losing the weight.  The stress that was attributable TO THE WEIGHT, and the depression which was a result OF THE WEIGHT is gone.

But that doesn't mean that life has gotten any "less hard" or the choices I make on a daily basis don't require conscious effort.  It doesn't mean that I have somehow "crossed over" to a worry-free life of ease.

What I want to communicate is this:  If you are waiting for the weight loss to solve all of your problems in this world, think again.  YOU need to solve them. 

I realized that this journey brought up many deficiencies that existed in my character, deficiencies I had ignored all of my life....until I didn't anymore.  One of these deficiencies of character, something that I have had to continually (and painfully) practice with a view to mastery is the desire for instant gratification.  The lack of the will or the skill of putting off something I want NOW for something I want EVENTUALLY.

If I had to condense this ENTIRE JOURNEY of mine into one phrase, it really would be that I have been learning, through trial and error, pain and tears, that what I sow today will grow into something over time.  I am 100% in control of what that "something" is, and 100% responsible for it.  Is that something evidenced by a life of self-control and intentional living (after)?  Or is that something evidenced by a life of instant gratification and mindless eating (before)?

I choose the after.  I choose everything that comes with the after.  Even the hard stuff of the doing in the NOW what will LEAD to the after.  I want my AFTER to be sensational for me, stunning for me, I want to live a life of no regrets.  I want, in short, to show up for myself and to be my own hero in this story I am writing.

And that takes a decision every day of my life to move towards my primary goals of maintaining optimal health.  Heck, I wouldn't mind moving in to ULTRA health.  And I'm working on that.

So yes everything that WAS hard at 272 pounds IS easier at 142.  Absolutely it is.  But now I have a new kind of hard, which is making that decision every day to CONTINUE to do what it takes to live the life I want to live.  You see, I'm 2.5 years into this process.  But I had a day 1 too, August 1st, 2010.  That was THE day I made the decision to begin.  Because that decision has to happen, and then we DO it.

So wherever you are on your time-line, do your ultimate best today.  Not hoping "things" get easier, because "things don't change, people do".  And get ready for the ride of your life. 

I May Not Be Able To "Lose 130 pounds".......but I CAN lose 2 pounds 65 times!

Hang in there!  Sometimes the journey seems like it is taking forever.  We are not used to things taking forever in our culture.  But good things sometimes take a long time to marinate/slow cook/ferment, you name it. 

When I began this journey (again!) I could not bear to look at the big picture in terms of "how much do I have still to lose" because the number was too big.  It was too daunting.  It was to "other-worldly" and seemed unattainable.  Had I not already done it once, I would have doubted it could actually be done.  In my mind, "having" to "lose 130 pounds" smacked of failure.  Defeat.  And I didn't want to look at my journey as a "should, have to, need to" type of journey.  I was all about the "want to, desire to, can't wait to" mentality.

So I chose to look at it in 2 pound increments.  And that really took the negative "you'll never do it" pressure OFF and replaced it with positive "see, you are DOING IT" pressure. 

Two pounds I can do.  Two pounds I DID, pretty consistently, just about spot on 2 pounds on average per week for 16 months!  And the days went by, and the sizes continued to drop. 

By breaking the process down in to numbers that I could wrap my head around, the impossible became.....POSSIBLE.

So how many "2 pounds" do you have to lose?  What are you doing TODAY to lose that next "2 pounds"?

And what is your underlying motivation?  Is it one of obligation?  Is it a "should" or "have to" type process of running away from something negative (the weight) that you are resenting?  Or is it a creative process of "can't wait to, desire to, want to" process of creating health, and becoming the best you that you can be?

Because I'll tell you what, this journey has GOT to be enjoyable.  Yes the Medifast 5&1 is a tool, a vehicle if you will, that will get us where we want to go.  But we can enjoy the journey, can't we?  Are you enjoying the journey?  Are you actively involved in dreaming about the "you" that you are becoming?  Or are you still JUST running away from emotional pain and conflict which being obese was causing in your life?  It is important to make that distinction between "Negative goals" and "Positive goals" because as you DO lose a few "2 pounds" here and there, that emotional pain and conflict that is driving you (if that is what is driving you) will diminish and then you will find that you have less and less motivation to see this through. 

So examine your motivations, your reasons for doing the plan.  If ALL of your reasons are centered around what you DON'T want anymore, what you are trying to get OUT of your life, start to dream a little bit.  I'm not saying those are BAD reasons to want to "lose weight", they are often THE trigger point which get us to begin to change.  But you WILL need to REPLACE those reasons with POSITIVE goals, which are things you want to bring IN to your life, good things, as a RESULT of this process of creating a healthy YOU.

What do you hope to ACHIEVE?  Who do you want to BE at the end of this process of getting healthy? 

Examples of negative goals:
(want something out of my life)*I want to get off my medication
*I don't want my knees to hurt anymore
*I don't want to be the biggest person in the room anymore
*I don't want to be in the 200's anymore
*I'm tired of my CPAP machine

Examples of positive goals
(something positive I want to bring into my life):
*I want to be the fittest and healthiest person I can be
*I want to finally achieve this dream so I can go on to achieving some of the other dreams I have
*I want to be a great role model for my kids/family
*I want to live the healthiest, best life I can, insofar as it is in my control
*I want to run a marathon
*I want to run again (period!)

I didn't come up with the negative/positive goals concept myself, it is detailed in the most excellent book "Dr. A's Habits of Health" which I highly recommend to anyone who wants to make THIS time the LAST time.

Rinse and Repeat!

When Life Gives You Lemons, HEY! FREE LEMONS!

We all know those people in our lives, you know, the ones who can take a picnic in the sun and turn it into the end of the world.

Being Irish, I USED to be one of those people.  I worried about EVERYTHING!  What people thought of me, if I was doing something right, what if the world ends tomorrow, blah blah blah....

I realized something about that way of thinking though, and what I realized is that you end up an exhausted hamster running in the hamster wheel getting NOWHERE.  And most of the time none of those things (like the pesky end of the world) happen anyway!

But we worry, don't we?

So what is the use of that?  When I made the decision to STOP worrying about what other people thought about me, when I made the decision to organize my life around what mattered most to ME and my FAMILY, no matter what others may say or think?  Wow.  Freedom.

And I love my life.  I won't deny it or hide it.  I have been accused of "bragging" about my life, and "bragging" about myself.  And I'm sorry to anyone who is offended about that, if that is the perception than you don't know me very well and that is OK.  Everyone is free to have their perceptions.

What I DO want to shout out to the world is that even a knucklehead like me can do this plan and find success.  Even someone like me who at times felt she couldn't stick to the plan for one day let alone 3 or 7.  Someone like me who doesn't feel like she has an iron will or a steely resolve or an abundance of self control.

All I do is wake up and do the plan.  My first meal is a Medifast meal.  To do anything besides that is pure lunacy in my mind.  Even in maintenance it sets my day up just right.  (I'm not saying you have to use the products for the rest of your life even in maintanance, many people choose to substitute 100-calorie healthy fuelings in the 3/3 plan that is maintenance).  But I do.  Because it helps get my mind right.  It helps me live in the reality of my decision to attain and maintain a healthy weight, to live in optimal health and indeed move towards ultra health.

So I continue.  And if my life or my experiences can help anyone then great.  =)  Take care y'all! 

BTW for an update on my family and my son, my little bambino came down with his first fever since last June so we have been through the ringer these last few days with labs, antibiotic shots, tamiflu, more labs, more shots, etc trying to figure out the cause.  If you are the praying sort, please lift up a short little one for us, when a transplant kid gets a fever it is a big deal.  Thanks again!

Great Annual Check-Up for my Son!

I'm sorry if it seems like I was MIA this week, my 8 year old son had his annual follow-up appointment with the "big guns" at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital (Stanford) for the kidney transplant he received 5 years ago.

Results?  He is doing GREAT!  We won't have the results of the DSA lab (Donor Specific Antigen) for a couple of weeks, so provided those are A-OK we will be really flying high with thankfulness and elation.

So I type this as I sit on a bed in a hotel room in Mountain View.  We spent a wonderful afternoon yesterday touring around our old stomping grounds when we were residents of the Ronald McDonald House for 8 months in 2008.  We took the ferry from the Ferry Building to Sausalito, bought a couple of Tin Tin comic books at the store in Sausalito that carries ALL of them, we spent some time at the Ferry Building, and the day before we went to Half Moon Bay and Pacifica.  We have really packed it in these last few days, but it didn't give me much of an opportunity to blog!

So here I am.

This week has been chock full of emotions.  Coming back here where the miracle of his transplant occurred, where hope was reborn and we dared to dream that he would live to grow into a fine young man.  We are living that dream.

I feel like I have been given a new lease on my OWN life also.  I dared to dream that I could be an active and vibrant Mom, the best "Me" I could be.  And I took steps to make that happen.  I didn't sit back and "let" it happen, any more then my husband and I "sat back" and "let" my son's kidney transplant "happen".  We relocated our entire family for 8 months.  We did the research as to which protocol was going to be the best for our son.  We chose the "steroid free" protocol, and Stanford Docs pioneered that protocol very successfully 13 years ago, so we chose them.  Julian has never been on steroids and will not have the long term effects of prolonged steroid use on his little body. 

We changed our entire life for our little man.  My husband commuted every weekend from Colorado to San Jose by air.  We made it happen.  We did go into massive debt.  Thankfully we have been able to work our way out of that over the last 5 years, and "debt free" (except for our house) is actually on our horizon within the next 18 months or so! 

We made choices that our "wants" or "preferences" did not matter, that we would do what it took to make it happen. 

And that is how I have approached my health these last 2 1/2 years.  It is an absolute priority for me to remain healthy.  It is part of who I am, part of who I have committed to be for my son's sake. 

When I am NOT working on my health, I become a very selfish person.  Honestly.  That is the truth.  It is what I have discovered after looking back on years and years of abusing my health and abusing my body with morbid obesity.

When I am NOT working on my health, my day is oriented around when and what I can eat next.  Planning what yummy things I can get my hands on throughout the day.  Then eating it, then feeling yucky and being lethargic on the couch for the rest of the day.  What kind of life is that?  What kind of Mom am I if that is the sole priority of my existence?  Honestly?  Food?  Yummies?  I lament at how much of my life I have "lost" serving at the altar of yummy food.

I made a command decision to NOT lose any more of MY life to the yummy food.  I made a command decision that I will make myself LESS emotionally available to my family because I was FULLY emotionally available to yummy food.  Nope.  That is not my life.  My life is so much more than that.

So I encourage any of you who are reading this, who are at the beginning of this amazing process of transformation, you CAN do this.  But only YOU can do this! 

1 packet at a time.  1 day at a time.

Rinse and Repeat!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

No One Can Pursuade Another To Change...

Do you ever run across one of those concepts, or books, that you really wish you would have found earlier?  What if you had already READ the book that you find so useful now, but you weren't ready to receive the information it contained yet, so it just winged right over your head and your heart?

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is that book for me presently.

You see, I KNOW I have read this book before.  I read it in college, in a Nutrition Services Management class I took.  But I don't remember reading THIS BOOK. 

THIS BOOK is amazing and I feel like my head is going to explode because I'm so excited to begin building these 7 Habits! 

Something that really struck me in the set-up of the book was Marilyn Ferguson's quote "No one can persuade another to change.  Each of us guards a gate of change that can only be opened from the inside.  We cannot open the gate of another, either by argument or by emotional appeal."

I suppose the professor of my Nutrition Services Management course hoped that she could convince us to absorb this book between our ears, but I don't think I was ready to hear what it had to say then.  I know I wasn't.

For any who have read the book and retained its contents in your brain, for most of my life I have been in the "Dependent" state of being.  Blaming others for my situation in life, relying on others to tell me who I was, asking others why I was important or mattered, and really being devastated if I found out that someone didn't think well of me.  My self-worth was very much dictated to me by others.  The book draws an analogy of being on an amusement park carousel, on a horse, with all the mirrors around you showing you what/who you are.  And you are relying on the input of all of your externals to come to some sort of assessment yourself about who YOU are.

Yep.  That was me.  "You are lazy".  Oh, I guess I must be lazy.  "You are slow and fat."  OK.  Check.  Got it.  Be slow and fat because that's what everyone expects me to be.  And the classic, the boy in junior high, who, while we were running around the track, called me "Chicken Legs".  OK.  Right.  Chicken legs.  Add that to my list of "who I am".

"You can't do anything right" may not have been what my father said VERBALLY, but he said it in every other way possible as I was growing up.  At least that is what stuck to me.

In through college, and for most of my adult life as a morbidly obese person, I trusted those external evaluations of who I was.  They became part of my inherited identity, that identity that was put upon me by other people.  I never chose those things, those labels.  But I accepted them.  And it made for a very sad and lonely internal thought life.

The last 7 years I have spent breaking those paradigms and developing new ones.  I have been doing it on my own, and with Dr. A's Habits of Health, and with my own desire to write my own story.  To create the best version of myself possible.  Three years ago I harnessed the powerful life changing tool of Take Shape For Life, beginning with those first few days of eating according to the Medifast 5&1 Plan, and beginning to change who I was on the INSIDE.

And now I'm ready to continue.  I'm ready for this book.  I'm ready to fully move from DEPENDENCE on others for my self-worth, to INDEPEDENDENCE, and then finally to INTERDEPENDENCE as the book highlights. 

One of the game-changing statements so far of the set-up of this amazing book is this:

"Dependent people cannot choose to become interdependent.  They don't have the character to do it.  THEY DON'T OWN ENOUGH OF THEMSELVES."

And this is SO true in the process of self-discovery, owning enough of myself.  I want to OWN ENOUGH OF MYSELF so that I can truly be at peace with who I am, rejoice with others in their victories while experiencing plenty of my own, and all of us together being part of something bigger.  Something meaningful.  For me, that is helping to get America healthy.  One person at a time.  Starting with me.

And guess what?  The "wah wah wah I wish I could have a Sprinkles Cupcake" isn't even on my horizon.  Why?  Because I am mastering myself.  And my TRUE self is not a whiner.  True 'Dat.

Have a great weekend!