Saturday, September 24, 2011
"Food is the most widely abused anti anxiety drug in America, and exercise is the most potent, yet underutilized anti-depressant." - Bill Phillips
Oh my lord....can I just tell you how much I LOVE this quote? I came across it a few weeks ago when someone on Facebook put it up (I'm sorry that now, I can't remember who to give the credit to for finding this quote). When I read this, oh man....I just thought, 'HOW TRUE!'
Think about your worst day. Think about a day that was so horrible, it literally gives you chills to think about it and in fact, you would really rather NOT be reminded of it. Now, if you're someone like myself (or anyone else who admittedly has an "issue" with food) its more than likely that you abused food that day. You binged. You went straight for the junk food and never looked back. You packed your stomach so full that you felt like you might burst, but somewhere....within that sickeningly-full-stomach-feeling.....you found some sort of comfort. And THAT is where this quote comes from.
For some reason, most of us with a weight problem have been taught that 'food is medicine to cure all evils'. Are you sad? Eat! Are you happy? Eat! Are you anxious? Eat! Are you depressed? Eat! In essence, we have been taught 'Eat your emotions'. That idea of eating our emotions - instead of experiencing said emotions and dealing with them like others do - becomes engrained in 'who we are' and 'what we do'. Why do you think we've woken up one day to find ourselves at 200, 300, 400, 500 lbs?!?!?!?!
This entry is entitled "Exercise" because, for me, that has become the solution. I have changed my inner monologue from 'Eat! Eat! Eat!' to 'Run! Run! Run!". Now, I'm not saying you have run right out and become a serious marathon runner/athlete, but I am saying that you will get far more POSITIVE benefits from exercising than from looking to the bottom of a bag of Lays Potato Chips for solace. I used to be someone who thought going to the Gym was lame. I would see people jogging on the side of the road and I would think to myself, 'what a bunch of freaks'....when all along, I WAS THE FREAK! I was the one who was not normal. I was the one eating poor choices after poor choices and not being active and wondering why I wasn't happy with myself and the way that I felt and the way that I looked.
Sometimes we get all caught up in this twisted cycle of things. It goes like this: I feel bad, I eat some kind of junk food, I feel bad for eating the junk food, I feel bad about feeling bad for eating the junk and I wonder why I did it in the first place, so I run out and eat MORE junk food. And the cycle repeats and repeats and repeats. Not much unlike an actual drug or alcohol addict, eh? As I've said before, food is an addiction as well. But all it takes is ONE GOOD DECISION to break that downward spiral of events. I still have those days. I have those days where EVERYTHING that can go wrong, DOES and I turn to my old favorite junk food of choice. BUT, I make a mental vow to myself that it stops there. Sure, I might eat this cheeseburger and french fries, but after? I'm getting up and I'm going for a walk. And tomorrow? I'm going to make it a better day than it was today. I'm going to get up with the intention of "doing it right today". And its okay if I mess up. Why? Because this is life and thats how we learn. We fall down, we get bruised, we get back up, and we try again until we succeed. I'm here to tell you, THATS the REAL secret to weight loss. Refusing to give up. Refusing to accept the mediocre. Thats the only reason I'm sitting here at almost 100lbs lost.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Today is going to be a busy day. Nothing like being a "single mom" for a few weeks with a lot on your plate. Gym. School. Babysitters. Assignments. Its all piling up, but I'm willing to rise to the occasion. I came across a quote the other day and I spoke about it in one of my latest vlogs, but I thought I would touch on it here as well. Here's the quote:
"There's no telling how many miles you'll have to run while chasing your dream."
Well, ain't that the truth. Not only does this quote make me realize that everything I have been dealing with and all the obstacles that have been in my way are part of the ride....but it also made me think about the underlying question that this quote proposes. Which is: "What are you willing to do? Are you willing to run those miles?"
Again, I have to say that I've never understood people who wish and hope and dream, but don't DO. Here comes my famous line again, "Losers hope, Winners DO!" I've said it before and I'll say it again and again and again, this is my personal mantra. Now, more so than ever before. When I really thought about that underlying question, I realized that I had not been doing what I really needed to be doing in order to get to my goal. I was just kind of "going through the motions" with exercising. My heart wasn't in it. Well, I'm getting my heart back in line. If this is something that I TRULY want...then why am I not doing anything and everything I can to get what I want? I normally pride myself on being a woman who gets what she wants. Not only do I get what I want, but I get it for myself, by myself, and on my own terms. Thats me. Self made. Through and through. But that wasn't me lately. Lately, I allowed laziness and self pity to rule my world and my positive mindset. I was becoming easily defeated and kind of just accepting things the way they already are. But why? Why should I (or any of us, for that matter) just accept things the way they are. Are we going to continue to hide behind that statement (and I know MANY of you have made this statement before) "Well, I'm just a big person. I'm just heavier and thats how it is....I can't help it." I've said that before. I've hidden behind that EXCUSE before. But when I started to get serious about weight loss after the birth of my son, I realized that all that statement was; was an excuse. Excuses don't help us. Excuses simply "make it okay" for us to remain in the current state that we're in because we're too lazy to actually get up and do the work.
During my time blogging and being apart of the Youtube Weight Loss Community, I have met some AMAZING people. I have met people who, like me, realized what they wanted was to be healthy and feel better about themselves. And you know what? THEY DID IT! And they're still doing it today. I find myself surrounded by an amazing group of people who have shed so many pounds and reached so many fitness goals, that its hard NOT to be inspired by them. I find myself inspired each day by these people in front of me and it makes me want to work harder and be stronger and just GET THERE already.
I know this blog is a little all over the place, but what I'm saying is this: Surround yourself with what inspires you. Push to the side all those negative comments. Some people might mask their negativity with "concern". Understand, that these people (although they may have the best intentions) don't know you and don't know what you are capable of. Don't sell yourself short. If you want to work out twice a day for weeks on end, then do it. Don't let people tell you that you're "obsessed" or "crazy". If you have a goal, you should do whatever it takes to attain it. The greatest people in our world today were more than likely called "crazy" or "obsessed" or "stupid", but they didn't let that stop them, did they? No. Thats why they became something greater and accomplished something great with their lives. We can do that too. However small or insignificant our goals may seem to others, those goals are significant and great to us. Therefore, these goals that we have are worth the work and the effort. Keep telling yourself that. I have to remind myself of that on a daily basis.
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I'm sure there's a million other blogs going out over the Internet about this day ten years ago. I'm not asking (or wanting) any special recognition...in fact, I'm not deserving of it. After all, I wasn't directly affected by the tragedies of that day. I lost no loved ones, I knew no one in the towers or involved with rescue missions that day. I was one of the lucky ones who got to stand and watch a TV screen miles and miles away from the comfort of a classroom, while thousands of people died and thousands of other people's lives were changed forever. The only thing I have in common with these people, is that I care and that I am touched by the selflessness of those men and women who ran into the danger in order to save lives, and in the end, lost their own.
I'm watching all the remembrance services on TV today and I can't help but feel the need to write about what I'm feeling and what I'm thinking. So, I decided I would tell my story: Where I was when the towers fell.
At the time I was 14 and I believe I had just started my first year of high school. I went to a very small school in Michigan. It was one of those schools where everyone knew everyone else because there weren't a whole lot of people to begin with. I remember walking into my History class, seeing the TVs on and seeing our teacher standing with his arms folded across his chest and a look of disbelief across his face. I knew, I just knew, something wasn't right. I stopped just inside the doorway of the classroom and watched the TV. I saw two tall buildings, one had dark, gray smoke pouring out. I remember thinking, 'was there a fire? what happened?' I guess I didn't realize it, but I said it out loud. My teacher looked at me for a second, then looked back at the screen just as the news reporter explained that a plane had struck the tower. I was still confused. Maybe it was the innocence of a young teenager, or the inexperience of a person who has never seen tragedy in front of her, but I remember thinking that it must have been an accident. The plane must have run out of gas, or malfunctioned and caused it to crash, and instead of crashing into the ground, it hit the building. Thats what I thought, thats probably what I was hoping it was. No one wants to believe that such a horrible thing would happen by the hands and intent of another human being. And then, the second tower was hit.
I sat there, in my desk, staring at that TV for what seemed like hours. I remember my friend at the time, her name was Beth, she pointed out something odd on the screen. We thought it was a fly that had landed on the TV set, but when the camera man zoomed in closer, we saw that it was a person. We watched, in horror, as someone jumped out of the window of the tower and plunged to their death below. Some of you reading this may not believe that we saw this. But we did. This was live coverage. This was before they edited the coverage of that day to cut out these gruesome images. This was before the government ruled these images as inappropriate to broadcast to the public. It may have been nothing but a black blur on the screen as I saw it, but I will never, and have never forgotten that image.
As I sat there, watching the news and really letting the gravity of the situation soak in, I remember looking around at my peers. Some were watching the TV, like me. Others were in the back of the class, laughing and joking. They were happy that we weren't holding class that day. I remember feeling angry. I was so mad that they would be so disrespectful. Why didn't they realize that people were dead? Why didn't they care that something huge had happened today? I didn't understand it then, and I still don't understand it today. I stood up in front of my class and I yelled at them. I won't repeat now the things that I said to them as there were some profane words in the mix. I'm not sure if what I said actually hit home with any of them, but I do know that the classroom was silent after I yelled. And if only for a moment, thats what I felt was appropriate.
Today, I watch the coverage of those events and I see the same images on the TV that I saw ten years ago....and I'm brought right back to that same classroom. The lump in my throat returns. The disbelief, the confusion, the anger, the sadness. I can't help but think, if I'm someone who was not directly affected, I can't even begin to imagine what this day must be like for those who lost a loved one on that fateful day.
I understand that there are different theories on what "really" happened that day. Some believe it was, in fact, a terrorist attack. Others believe it was the act of our own government, within the depths of some twisted conspiracy. I'm not concerned with the theories. I'm not concerned with what others think. I'm only interested in people. People who lost their lives, people who stepped up beyond the call of duty and put their own lives on the line to save someone they never even met. Families who lost a father, a mother, a daughter, a son, a cousin, a nephew, etc. Babies born to a mother that had lost her husband. I'm interested in the beauty and love of one human to another. I don't think that anyone can argue that on that day, around our country, anyone who was watching on TV was putting themselves in the shoes of those who were living through the horror.
I look at my son this morning. He's happy, watching cartoons, eating cereal and wanting to go outside and play. I think to myself that he has no idea, no idea at all, of the seriousness and heartache that this day holds. I know that someday, when he gets to a certain age and a certain class in school, he'll learn about 9/11 from a few pages in his history book. He'll come home and maybe tell me about it or ask me about it, and I'll tell him my story, just as I've told you all today. I'll teach him that although there are horrible things in this world and tragedies like 9/11, there is also good. I'll teach him that sometimes, it takes a tragedy to bring us all together as a people. I'll teach him that although we should remember those lives lost, we should also give thanks for every minute of our lives. Those people that went into work that day in the World Trade Center had no idea, no idea at all, what was going to happen. Did they kiss their loved ones on the way out the door? Did they say, "I love you..." before they left the house that morning? Of course, I don't know for sure, but I'm inclined to believe that these are the types of things that run through our minds before we die. We wonder if we loved enough, if we showed our love. Did we say the right things? Did we do all the right things? Were we good mothers and fathers? So many things that must run through our minds in a second.
For many people, 9/11 reminded us of what's really important. I like to believe that most of realized whats really important is simple: love. Love is the most important thing in this world. In this world of hatred and sin. In this world where neighbors kill one another over their religious beliefs, it is love that will save us. Sounds like lyrics to a 70's love song doesn't it? Since this day, ten years ago, I have been blessed with so many things. I make it a point, every day, to share my love with those who are close to me. 9/11 taught me to do that. And that is why I remember this day.
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Compliments. We've talked about them before. I've addressed the idea of how they help and how they hinder many times. In fact, talking about this topic again might make me sound like a bit of a broken record....hence the snazzy title of today's blog entry.
Every so often, we receive a real, genuine, compliment. Don't get yourself confused: not all compliments are real and genuine. Compliments are sneaky creatures. People may use them strategically to get what they want, to get a reaction out of someone, to get themselves out of a sticky situation, or even sometimes, to hurt. I know that last one seems confusing, but its true! Don't tell me you've never gotten that comment that sounded like a compliment and at the time of receiving it you merely said, "thanks..." but after more careful consideration you realize, 'hey! what the f*ck? That was a really messed up thing to say.' THAT'S what I'm talking about. But actually its NOT what I'm talking about.....let me explain:
I recently received a compliment from a good friend that I go to school with. Actually, it was two friends...but the one was more adamant about it than the other. After class we all went out to grab a few drinks and near the end of the night, before getting in our cars (no...we were not drunk) out of no where this friend says, "You really do look great, Julie. I mean, really." How did I react? I laughed (maybe even blushed a bit) and said a mumbled, "aw, thanks.." It was the only reaction I could muster. Actually, that's not true. It was the only reaction I could fake at that moment. Now, can someone please explain to me why, ever since that compliment was rendered, I can't help but feel like the biggest piece of crap? I know, maybe its just a "woman thing" where we're always too hard on ourselves....or maybe its not. Maybe, just maybe, my inability to wholeheartedly accept a compliment (in regards to my looks) is so difficult, if not impossible, for me to do because for so many years I've never received compliments like that.
Growing up I was mainly complimented on my musical talents (mainly singing and playing the clarinet in school band/orchestra) or on my academic achievements (I was always a pretty great student). I never really had those glowing compliments about how "pretty" I looked or how nice my outfit was that day. No, every compliment I had growing up was mainly followed by a directive. An example: "Oh Julie, that color shirt really brings out your eyes, but you can't wear it because its just too tight. Maybe if you lost a bit of weight, it would look right. Go change." Things like that. Now, thats not excessively harsh, but when I sit back and think about it....oh yeah....those things have definitely stuck with me. In the back of my brain there lives the voice of a girl who's trapped in that time period. Every time I try on a new piece of clothing, she chimes in, "You cannot pull this off. Stick with a baggier tshirt and jeans, thats all you can work with." With that voice constantly ringing in my ears, its no wonder I can't believe a compliment.
I wonder if this may come as a shock to any of my readers here. Did you think that I was superwoman? Don't worry, I get that a lot. And its my own damn fault. I put out this facade of strength and power and "nothing can get me down" and "no one better mess with me", when the truth is....I'm just your average girl. I have my own hookups and insecurities. And although I may have things in my life "figured out" (to an extent), I still struggle with these restless, emotional demons every day. Some days, I win. Other days, I lose.
The past few days...I've lost.
I've kind of been rolling around in a sea of self pity. It happens, even to the best of us. I have some issues going on right now with my son (medical, but nothing too serious...yet) not to mention I have scheduling issues with childcare and school and being on my own for another two months because Rob has to go work out of town again. Stress. That's what I'm getting at. Stress. Its consumed me in a matter of days, hours really....48 to be exact, and I have buckled a bit under its pressure. But, its nothing that cannot be fixed. Its nothing that I can't overcome. Its just something I feel is necessary to talk about...especially with those who care enough to listen.
So, again...like a broken record...I pick up the pieces of me. I jump back on the wagon, I start running on that hamster wheel of life. Will I fall back down again? Of course, that's inevitable. But the further and further apart I can make these falls, the more and more I'm winning. Right? I just have to keep reminding myself of that. Every. Single. Day.