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Excuse me, don’t you mean the Queen of the Nile? No, I am not talking about Cleopatra here, I am talking about us!
Big Time Denial
There are times in our lives when we just do not want to see what is in front of us. This seems to be a common pattern in weight loss. We notice our pants are tighter but we just keep plugging along blaming the washer and dryer on the new “fit.” We notice our energy levels are not the same as they used to be but we just think it is “normal” to be a little tired, after all we are getting older! We notice that we are having indigestion almost on a nightly basis but we just think I must have a “bug.” We notice our knees/hips are bothering us but it must be a touch of arthritis or we pulled or strained something. We notice our face looks a little fuller in the mirror and we chalk it up to water retention. Our feet hurt and we have stopped wearing heals, we must be just getting old! We notice that we feel bloated all the time but we again think it must be an intestinal thing that is “going around.” Our knees/ankles seem to be giving us pain/discomfort, it must be the weather! We feel blue/down all the time and no not like to look into the mirror anymore. We have stopped wearing those “cute” clothes. We have been having migraine headaches often, it must be a food allergy or stress! We can’t sleep well at night, never get enough rest, we must need a new mattress! Guess what? The only thing that is getting ‘round is us! How easy is it to ignore all of the above and chalk them up to something else? Easy Peasy…but our bodies are talking to us! We need to listen!
A Shocking and Revealing Memory
In preparation for the Today Show I was asked what I used to eat for breakfast before joining Weight Watchers, I joked “Breakfast, what’s that?” But later I remembered what I did almost every single morning on the way to work. I made a mad dash for the drive thru at either Chick-Fil-A or Burger King. My choices were far from being point friendly, healthy or even modified in an attempt to try to be healthy! After joining Weight Watchers, I continued to have Chick-Fil-A for breakfast but only once a week. I figured out how to modify my order and chose to have a chicken biscuit on a regular non-toasted, non-buttered bun. I skipped the hash browns! I traded my diet soda for a large glass of water with lemon. When I look back, I am amazed that I not end up weighing more than I did with eating fast food almost every morning! My two choices at that time were either at Chick-Fil-A to order a chicken biscuit, hash browns and a large diet soda or order at Burger King a Ham, Egg and Cheese or Sausage Egg and Cheese Croissandwich, a large has brown and a large diet soda. I look back and think about all the money I spent each week on breakfast alone! OUCH! Add to the expense the harm I was doing to my body , double OUCH! You do not have to give up those foods forever but learn to modify and make them more reasonable and truly “treats” and not every day fare. I get it now, it isn’t a true “treat” if you eat it everyday!
I also chose to stop drinking diet soda for a period of time. I felt I was drinking far too much diet soda and gave it up for many months. The more water I drank, the less I missed the diet soda. I read about the chemicals in diet sodas and the artificial sweeteners, and that knowledge help keep me firm in my resolve. Do I ever drink a diet soda? Yes, I now have a diet soda once a week.
War of the Mind
So many people talk about having a “cheat” meal or a “cheat” day. I am sorry, I refuse to cheat! I know there are no “illegal” foods so I plan for my indulgences and enjoy them without guilt and savor every bite. If I thought that some foods were “off-limits” I know psychologically I would be setting myself up for failure. Mindset is what this is all about. If I feel I am “che in cheating” (negative word) it doesn’t contribute to a positive mindset. But, if I have “planned indulgences” that is a positive term which communicates not only control but enjoyment and satisfaction in a positive frame. How we frame what we do and what we say determines our long-term success. Keep everything positive! Even when you slip up, it is a learning experience not a failure. It is an opportunity to learn more about yourself on the journey of success. Success isn’t a destination it is how you travel the road on your journey. Don’t wait to celebrate, celebrate now! No matter how small or insignificant something seems, celebrate it! Keep everything positive! Don’t let those old negative thought patterns and emotional patterns beat you. Learn to turn them around to work for you and not against you.
Can you ever use negative thoughts in a positive way?
Certainly! A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about “How to be Positively Negative” and if you can, read that installment of my blog.
Here is an example,”The scale was up this week and I was very sad and disappointed in myself.” You feel sad, disappointed and perhaps a little angry at yourself. You know you didn’t really make the best choices all week.
NOW use those negative thoughts and feelings in a positive way. “Next week I am going to be more careful about my choices because I want to feel happy when I get on the scale and see the number.”
Self-love, self-honesty, accountability and self-acceptance can help you pave the path to weight loss success. Sometimes our refusal to see things as they really are can inhibit our progress on our weight loss journey. We need from time to time to give ourselves an old-fashioned “reality check.” Just because you didn’t track it, does not mean you didn’t eat it!
Weight loss can affect every relationship in your life, from even the most casual acquaintances, to best friends, to co-workers, family members and even spouses. The effects can be positive or negative. I feel blessed in that I feel my weight loss has not come between me and my friends, acquaintances or co-workers or family. It has opened doors of conversation that were not present prior to my weight loss. I feel it has enhanced most relationships and added new dimensions to others. This isn’t always the case. Some that I know have lost best friends and even spouses over their weight loss.
Elizabeth Bernstein, who writes the Bonds Column for the Wall Street Journal, looked closely at the effects of weight loss on marriage relationships. The Schow’s are one of her case studies.
Jarom and Betsy Schow have been married for over 12 years and their biggest marriage/relationship conflict was centered around Betsy’s weight. But the Schow’s marriage improved in the face of the wife’s weight loss. Weight is a difficult subject in any relationship and even rougher in a marriage. Jarom had often said things to Betsy like “That’s not made for your size, Sweetheart” in an effort to get her to change her outfit. Yes there were arguments, many. Betsy stopped going to family dinners with Jarom and slept in separate bedrooms. She obsessed about her weight but nothing changed.
A turning point came one night after Betsy threatened divorce and didn’t leave but she kept on obsessing about her weight. Jarom felt if he could calm her down and get her to feeling better they could work toward a resolution. One night her husband quietly said to her as she was talking obsessively about her weight yet again “Turn off your thinker and go back to sleep.” This seemed to change things for Betsy, she stopped extreme dieting and instead focused on watching her portions and getting some exercise. She even began to take up running in time. After she lost 75 pounds, they began hiking and biking together. Betsy noticed that her excess weight wasn’t a focus point in their marriage any longer. She felt she had made the issue bigger than it needed to be and Jarom and Betsy, together, they felt they had been given an opportunity to change the discussion. Before they were in an endless loop of ‘I am fat.’ ‘No, you aren’t” and now they could discuss things from a much more calm place. Mrs. Schow stated, “As I started to fix myself, I stopped fighting myself, so I stopped fighting him, too.”
We can improve our relationships with others by leaps and bounds if we become encouragers instead of critics.
How do we cheat ourselves? Others cheat us surely we would never cheat ourselves!!!
We often cheat ourselves when we are not honest with what we are eating and what we are doing. We would never lie to others but we often lie to ourselves. We climb on the scale to see something we are not happy with and our first response is “BUT I ate all the right things, I stayed within my points…….” Did you? Really?
Check yourself and see if during the last week you might be guilty of…
- Not measuring our portions
- Not weighing our foods
- Not tracking our snacks
- Not tracking our meals
- Not drinking enough water
- Not getting in the healthy food checks
- Not exercising/moving each day
- Not choosing to be happy and focus on the positive things in our life
- Not being accountable
- Not being honest with myself (you will not lie to others but you will lie to yourself)
Self-Honesty is another foundation of leading a healthier lifestyle. You might choose to enter that huge chocolate fudge brownie, that extra bite of potatoes, that sip of a milk shake, that extra handful of nuts but in the end your body knows exactly what you did and will respond accordingly. Ignoring that you skipped all your workouts this week will not make the truth go away nor will it help you with that extra indulgence you had at lunch today. If it didn’t happen, it didn’t happen but if it happened, it happened and your body keeps a very accurate record even if you do not or do not choose to!
Remember, the only person you are hurting by ignoring or refusing to acknowledge your lack of activity or over indulgence in holiday candy is yourself. When you climb on that scale, you end up frustrated and just can’t understand why you didn’t lose anything this past week or why you gained two pounds ask yourself if you tracked every lick, nibble, sip, and bite during the last week and how much activity you did each day.
For example, I went to battle with some holiday candy last night and some of it won and most of it got tossed into the garbage! Will I expect to lose this week, probably not, but I can say I did up my activity over this last week so I am hoping that might balance out my candy indulgence last night. And if I end up gaining, it is my own fault for not tossing that candy into to trash sooner! (and even for buying it to begin with!)
Dear Weights and Measures Blog Reader,
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Today on my normal morning walk with my dog, we heard the haunting sounds of the chanting coming from the Islamic Mosque which is located about two miles away. At first, I didn’t know what it was and nor where is was coming. As I continued to walk and listen, I heard the chant/singing with a sub track sounds of a dog in crying or in some kind of distress which caused both me and my dog to stop fast our tracks. Out of the darkness these haunting sounds rang out and then fell silent. We proceeded with our walk and noticed it was stop and then start again. In 2 years of walking daily I have never heard this ever before! Why today I asked myself. What is special about today?
Inside I felt a sense of anger as this was seemingly being blasted into the neighborhood over loud speakers and only 2 days after remembering 9/11!!! I was angered and offended at the same time. My peaceful time of prayer and meditation was replaced with anger and sadness of the memory of 9/11. All the memories came flooding back, of sitting in my office that Tuesday morning and hearing the news that a “small” plane appeared to have hit the world trade center. Who would have thought, that 30 minutes later we would all be out of our offices and glued to the tv screens located in the halls watching the course of American history changed forever.
Thursday night, fourteen years later I was again reduced to tears remembering the events of that day. On Friday I wore a patriotic shirt in honor of the victims of 9/11. I managed to get through Friday without a great deal of emotion but still having a sense of sadness. Now, two days later, I was plunged back to all those memories.
About halfway through our walk, a gentle slow rain began to fall. I thought of the rain as God’s tears trying to soothe thoughts and emotions. My thoughts turned to the tears of the all the families who were touched and ravaged because of the events of 9/11. Who would have thought fourteen years later, out walking my dog in a normally very quiet neighborhood I would be again taken back to 9/11?
Yes, indeed life was as we know it was changed. I remember. Those chants reminded me again of those events. My thoughts and prayers were focused on the victims of 9/11 and those who died in the mosque accident in Mecca. My life changed and so has my neighborhood.
Can negatives be used as positives? In today’s world we are told to “eliminate the negative” have “positive mindset” but sometimes we need to give ourselves some positive negative feedback to motivate us to move forward. What do I mean by positive negative feedback? Make sure we are NOT saying negative things about who we are but rather about our actions. Some people do not like using the term “I messed up.” Why not? We all do from time to time. I think there is a vast difference between saying “I messed up or I made a bad choice” than saying “I AM a mess. I am incapable of making good choices” “I am (fill in the blank). I think you can “mess up” “screw up” and still use this for positive in your new lifestyle. No one is perfect and in creating a new healthy lifestyle it is progress and not perfection that reaches the goal! It is reasonable to conclude if progress does not demand perfection than “messing up” now and again is OKAY and not being negative but being human. You should be able to say you blew it or messed up but never ever say you ARE a mess up or stupid or incapable, etc.
Keep negative adjectives paired with action words or as action verbs/words keep the negative adjectives about the action and not about who you are!
- My weight was up this week this week because I made several poor food choices.
- My results were not what I had hoped because I did not track all the food and drink I consumed this week.
- My portions were too large this week because I didn’t weigh or measure my food.
- I was upset and ended up eating an entire large triple meat and cheese pizza last night for dinner and it was not within my points.
- It is difficult to resist eating doughnuts, they are a trigger food, so I do not buy them.
- My choices this week were not healthy and were driven by my emotions.
- Eating a half-gallon of chocolate ice cream last night was not the best choice for me to make, next time I will make a healthier choice.
- I chose to eat 20 points worth of potato chips last night but I know it wasn’t a good decision to help me reach my weight loss goals.
Do not allow negative words to become self descriptions. I used to “talk” to myself using many negative self descriptions before learning how to turn the negatives into positives. I did this so frequently it became a habit, a very bad habit! The good news is you can change habits!
- I am so stupid.
- I am a big screw up.
- I am weak.
- I’m lazy.
- I am a huge fat pig.
- I do not deserve to be healthy
- I am worthless.
- I can’t control myself.
- I am incapable.
Can you see the difference between the top statements and the bottom statements? Can you see the top talk about a poor choice, a bad action, a consequence of a conscious decision, whereas the bottom statements place “blame” or “label” the person and not the action?
Example of reframing:
OLD thinking: I am totally incompetent, I can’t finish my project today.
NEW thinking: Today wasn’t a good day, things happened beyond my control and I could not finish the project I was assigned.
We have to learn to love ourselves and talk to ourselves more positively. This takes time and practice but can be done by taking small steps. The first step is to be aware of how we are “talking” to ourselves. Do we often say negative things to ourselves when our actions do not match our goals? Try restating those negative thoughts inside your head into a more positive thoughts.
YOU CAN DO IT!