Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Intended Post Interrupted!

Along the Foothills Parkway just outside GSMNP
February, 2010

Some mornings, things happen so quickly one just can't grasp the roller coaster of emotions quickly enough!  This morning was one such morning for me.  Not in a dramatic or chaotic sort of way, but in the quiet moments when I remember why I started this blog and called it "gains and losses."  This morning, I've experienced two "gains"  that couldn't be more opposite one another on the pleasure meter, but as so often happens in real life, they are closely connected.  

I stepped on the scale this morning eagerly anticipating a loss and was promptly rewarded with a 1.5 pound GAIN!  Yikes!  I have no idea where this came from as I have been a perfect little girl for a few days now.   I really hate it this close to the first of a month because in two days, I have to post my October 1 weight on the sidebar for all the world to see!  So, I drug me and my lower lip down the staircase to the coffee pot and to my credit, still managed to cover all my Sunday Sharing requests!  Of course, being mad at God because HE caused this weight gain (I surely hope everyone knows I am joking!), I skipped my morning devotions (I've since repented and gone back to do them!) and went straight to my Google Reader.   And there, nestled down a few posts from other friends, was this one from Karen who blogs at Waisting Time.   Almost to the end of her post, I saw my name and what I read brought enough "gain" to obliterate any memory of a superficial "gain" that had just moments before been so important!  Thank you, Karen.  Those particular words on this particular day didn't just happen by chance!  

This is the award I received from Karen.......................

.........and all I'm required to do is pass it along to someone who has helped me through some turbulence with an explanation as to how they did just that.   As much as I loved receiving this from Karen, I could not wait to pass it along because there is no one who is more deserving of this than Deb who blogs at Deb Will Be Free!  Barely knowing me in BlogLand, much less in real life, Deb immediately offered to help my family negotiate the maze of "end of life" care when we realized my FIL was at that point.  We began exchanging emails and her expertise as a Social Worker became my lifeline. We made many decisions with confidence that would have been much more difficult without her holding my hand.  (Read Karen's post)  My family and I will never, ever forget her kindness and compassion.  Deb, all you have to do is pass this along to someone who truly deserves it and explain why you are giving it to them.

I, like Karen said, hope that all of our skinny selves can meet in real life one of these days.  Who knows?  Being the ultimate vagabond, one of these days you all may see a post titled, "I'm gone!"   My picture that day will be a sparkling new RV with one of those US (and Canada!!) maps on the side and a 138 pound me standing beside it grinning holding a sign that says, "where do you want me to come first?!" 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Think Positive!

I sincerely hope that you find today's picture totally boring compared to those I usually choose.  But Tuesday morning is now my designated grocery shopping morning, so thought I'd show you where I shop for most groceries.  The Kroger Company now owns stores in just about every section of the US, but the "Marketplace" concept was developed just a few years ago.  This particular store was the prototype for the future and it is truly something to behold.  This picture was taken this morning and what you see is about half of the total length of the store.

Why am I posting pictures of my grocery store???  Because I have turned the corner and and in all things am choosing to see what I do have or can have instead of what I don't have or can't have.  Yes Sharon, that's all well and good, but what does that have to do with grocery stores??  Since I am the queen of listmaking, let's think positive this way...............

1)  I have moaned, groaned and am openly confessing the sin of envy towards all of you who are within 25 miles of a Trader Joe's.  I love Trader Joe's and rightly so.  My 250 mile (one way) trip to the one in Nashville last Saturday confirmed that it is still everything I remember and I loved meandering around in there until Mr. B gave me "the look."   Every one of you knows "the look."  I don't need to say any more.  But you know what?   In my own community, I have two Earth Fare's (owned by Whole Foods), two Fresh Market's, a farmer's market every day except Sunday and Monday, numerous health food stores AND my Kroger Marketplace.  I don't believe I'm exaggerating terribly if I tell you that the Fruit/Produce section combined with the Organic/Health Foods section of my Kroger are larger than the entire Trader Joe's in Nashville.  There is NOTHING you will not find at my Kroger.  In addition, you get wide aisles, state of the art lighting, Starbucks, a very nice eating area with a wonderful selection of foods, and friendly customer service folks all over the store.  I have no complaints.  Grocery shopping is a pleasure and I am thankful.

2)  My second area of positive thinking is to approach my Hot 100 Challenge from the viewpoint of what I CAN have instead of what I can't.  Yes, it's pretty restrictive to say that I will eat nothing with white sugar or white flour between September 23 and December 31, but as I walked through the store today, I found myself searching for and focusing on those things I can enjoy.   It wasn't the least bit difficult to find lot of those things.  I picked up a mango and my mouth watered.   Raw Sugar Snap Peas have become my potato chips.  Who needs cookies when they can chomp down on something called a Honey Crisp?  Yes, there's a lot out there to try and by george, I'm going to try it all. 

3)  This summer has been so brutally hot that I've not been able to exercise as I normally do resulting in a noticeable difference in my stamina when I do exercise.  Cool days are finally here, but I find myself feeling a bit negative when I realize I have work to do to catch my body up to where I know it can be.  So my third area of positive thinking is to just DO IT!  That's the only thing that will help.  My 10-day weather forecast shows nothing but bright yellow sun and I'm finding opportunities to walk, hike and bike.  I've already got 12,300 steps on my pedometer today, so I'm really thinking positive on this one!!

This entire post was composed in my head while in the grocery store this morning.  Perhaps, this is why I came home without three of the things on my list.  LOL!   So it only seemed fitting that today's picture would be of my favorite grocery store.  Wish you could come go with me next week.  We could have lunch at the Sushi Bar.  Or maybe you prefer the Olive Bar.   Think I'll stick with the Wing Bar.   Of course, there's always the Soup and Salad Bar.   Maybe I'll just have a Luna Bar.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Rainy Days and Mondays......Not This One!!

Today's picture is a shot of the 57-mile New River Rail Trail which runs from Pulaski, Virginia to Galax, Virginia with a 8-mile spur trail to Fries, Virginia.  We rode the entire trail during Mr. B's  fall break in 2008 and found it to be absolutely gorgeous.  The trail is running under the bridge and this shot was taken just outside of Pulaski.  

It is Monday and it is definitely raining, but I can assure you that even though Karen Carpenter made millions singing that it would get me down, it most certainly has not!!  I got my walk in between rain showers, after tomorrow the sun is coming out and along with the cooler temperatures, the leaves will begin their million dollar show.  With just a slight blip in today's itinerary, I'm at home doing my Monday things and could not be more content.  Well, that's not being totally honest.  I'm not far enough removed from sugar and flour yet that the thoughts of a bag of something or other here by my side isn't tempting, but I'm putting those thoughts away which is exactly why my new Monday schedule calls for blogging between 4 and 6 p.m. 

A friend invited me to lunch today saying she "needed" to talk to me.  I thought it through and decided to let my "yes" be "yes" even though I've reserved Monday as my "accept no invitations" day.  I was fearful that I knew what she wanted to talk to me about, but thankfully, I was wrong.  It was something entirely different.  We ate at Olive Garden. I chose my lunch (Capellini Pomodoro) from the on-line menu before going and never even opened a menu.  I learned the hard way about Olive Garden the last time I went.  One serving of that never-ending salad bowl they are so famous for is 350 calories unless ordered without the dressing.  Valuable lesson learned!  Don't be fooled like I was.   My lunch was delicious (the lunch portion is 480 calories) and I brought some of it home.

I see that a new report has been released which indicates that America now has the highest adult obesity rate in the developed world at 34%.  Think about this.  Line ten adults up and at least three of them can be classified as obese.  The report is very clear - this is not just overweight, it is talking about adults meeting the definition of OBESE.  It has been awhile since I fell in the category of obese, but I once did and my heart now aches for every one of you who are there now and wanting/trying/struggling to get out.  Please hang in there and don't give up.  It feels so good to look at these reports and say, "that once was me, but is no longer and never will be again."  We can play the blame game, but ultimately, the only way this nation will become healthy again is one person taking control of their own health, one day at a time.  When parents are in control of their own health, I believe they will take control of their children's health and we will see a dramatic reduction in childhood obesity as well.  

I am going to make Monday my day to report progress on the Hot 100 Challenge.   It began last Thursday, so this will be a short reporting period, but Monday reporting works best for me.

Here are my goals:

1)  Reach my goal weight of 138 on or before December 31, 2010.  I have lost 1/2 pound and will have to admit I'm a bit disappointed by that. 

2)  I will eat nothing containing white sugar, white flour or trans fats.  With the exception of one minor slip yesterday, I've been sugar, flour & trans fat free.  (Who knew anyone put white flour in cornbread???)

3)  I will walk 10,000 steps every day or an average of 10,000 steps over seven days.  Check!!

4)  I will not eat between meals or after 7 p.m.  Check!!    
I am loving the book, "100 Days of Weight Loss" and am so thankful to Tish of Incremental Improvements  for the recommendation.  I'm a bit bummed by only 1/2 pound weight loss. In times past, I've lost generously during the first few days following a setback.  Just need to accept the fact that my 55 year old body is not going to lose at the same pace my 50 year old body did.  Much has changed in those five years if you get my drift!!!  But I remain motivated and am loving the camaraderie I'm finding amongst the now 83 of us that are participating.
Several of you asked for more information about the Wild Plum Tea Room following this post.  Like I said in the original post, they do not have a website, but you can find lots of info and reviews on this Trip Advisor website.  It is located in the Arts & Crafts Community just outside of Gatlinburg.  I disagree with some of the reviews that say men wouldn't be comfortable.  When MIL and I were there, at least a third of the patrons were men so as with most things, that's all a matter of perspective.  Will be happy to answer any additional questions.  It's truly a quaint and fun place to visit if in the area.
While I've been writing, this "rainy day and Monday" has become "when it rains, it pours."  Guess I better go rustle up some supper.  But guess what?  I made it through the 4-6 p.m. temptation period without a thought of food.  Thanks, friends...........................

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Sharing - What Can I Do For You?

View from Andrews Bald - GSMNP
October, 2008
With some unexpected things on Friday and a quick trip to Nashville yesterday, the past two days have been more hectic than I like.  Nashville is about a three hour drive and we rarely make that trip without turning it into a weekend jaunt.  This was for Mr. B to attend a mandatory meeting regarding his teaching assignment next spring in Prague and we didn't want to be away from our church this morning since it is the final Sunday in our Fall Festival of Faith and Renewal.  So we left home just before 6 yesterday morning and didn't get home until after 7 last evening.  The plus side is I did get to spend some time with my sister who lives just outside of Nashville.  That's always a treat!  Her job situation changed last year and we are not able to spend as much time together as we once did, so we grab any time we can find.  We also got to visit the Nashville Farmer's Market which we LOVED!  Thanks, Lori, for the suggestion!  Ate lunch at a yummy BBQ place inside the market food court.  Then we made our way to the Nashville Trader Joe's which was found after waiting out traffic gridlock around the Green Hills Mall area of Nashville.  Again thanks, Lori, for the warning! 

But as you know, Sunday's posts are a bit different for me.   I have grown to love Sunday Sharing and hope you do to.  For some reason, it just makes me feel as if I "know" you on a somewhat deeper level and that is important to me.   There are new friends reading this week, so please go here to read the original post about Sunday Sharing, how you can participate and what I do with your comments throughout the upcoming week.  This means a lot to me and I hope you will choose to share with me on a weekly basis.

For the rest of you, here's a reminder of how this works:

As we start a new week with its gains and losses, ups and downs, triumphs and challenges, joys and sorrows, please leave a comment and tell me some very specific thing that needs to happen in your life this week for you to feel as if you're making progress in a forward direction.  Be as honest and specific as you are comfortable being.  If it has absolutely nothing to do with weight loss, that is perfectly o.k.  This is about your life and what is occupying first place in your mind as you look towards a new week.

For me, please encourage me to remain very strong in my excitement about participation in the Hot 100 Challenge.  I have remained 100% true to my goals so far, but am not seeing movement at the scale.  I must not become discouraged!  On a non-weight loss related issue, we got some news yesterday about Mr. B's teaching assignment in Prague next May that might possibly cause me not to go.  It's not a financial issue, but  is very discouraging because it is one of the things he covered thoroughly upfront prior to HIS signing of the contract, so we are a bit bummed and are not sure how this is going to turn out. 

So talk me, friends............. what very specific thing do you need to have happen in your life this week to feel as if you're making progress in a forward direction? 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

An Apple A Day

 Fall Display outside Carver's Apple Orchard - Cosby, TN
September 22, 2010

Yesterday was MIL day and we chose to make a trip up to my favorite apple orchard.  Carver's Apple Orchard is a perfect example of a family-run orchard that just does apples and does them well.  They haven't tried to turn their orchard into a tourist attraction - they don't even have a website.  But when you've put out a good product and offer friendly down home service for decades, word gets around and that it the case at Carver's.  The original Carver's went to school with my parents, so I've been going to Carver's all my life.  Their children and grandchildren are now running the business.  It's not fancy, but holds lots of memories for me.  If you've been reading this blog for awhile, you might remember that the last "outing" with my FIL was to Carver's on a gorgeous October day last fall.  I'd wondered how MIL and I would do yesterday, but other than some difficult moments when we walked by the trees where we had taken pictures last year, we both did just fine.  Here's a picture of the inside:

 The large pink board on the back wall is a handwritten chart listing all the varieties of apples they grow and what months they are harvested.  No technology here!!  I bought a bushel of Honey Crisp which are totally to die for.  Wish I could share one with all of you.   Also bought a 40 pound box of sweet potatoes that are grown at a farm just down the road from the orchard.   They are melt in your mouth good.

Had just the place picked out for lunch.  Mr. B calls these "woman food" restaurants and although it isn't far from the orchard, I knew FIL wouldn't be interested either, so had never mentioned it before.  But I was ready this time and off we went to the Wild Plum Tea Room.  Again, locally owned and no website.   A very limited menu with some yummy chef specials each day.  Their signature item is tiny little plum muffins with plum jam and they bring those to you when you are seated.   We both had their chicken salad and it was yummy.  MIL is like a little girl in these places she's never been and it delights me to no end to see her so happy.  We sat on the patio in the second picture and enjoyed the perfect fall temps. 

Two things happened yesterday which increased my awareness of how ready I am to finish the work in front of me and get to goal.   Knowing that the Hot 100 Challenge was beginning today, I could have taken the opportunity to indulge yesterday.  The Wild Plum Tea Room is also known for their homemade desserts, but when the tray came around, I wasn't even interested.  Then last evening following choir practice, we had our quarterly birthday celebration.  Can't be so noble as to say I wasn't interested in that cake, but Mr. B came to the rescue and rather forcefully ushered me out of the room as I looked longingly back at the cake knowing it was my last opportunity until after December 31.  After I got home, I momentarily thought, "better eat, it's your last chance."  But I didn't.   I'm ready, motivated and excited.  

I'm also a realist.   My first MAJOR temptation will come tonight.   Our annual choir retreat is this weekend and quite frankly, it's said that we do this to get started learning our Christmas music, but the truth is, it's nothing but a food fest.  I'm getting a slight reprieve this year because tonight is the only rehearsal we are able to attend and we are just driving up to Gatlinburg for the evening.  Normally, it would be tonight through Saturday morning.  I am happy that it comes so early in the challenge - I am so pumped that I believe I'll make it through with flying colors.  Can't say I won't be tempted, but I feel certain I'll stay away from the food.

We will be in Nashville on Saturday for Mr. B to attend a mandatory orientation meeting regarding his teaching assignment next spring in Prague.  My sister lives just outside of Nashville and that gives me an opportunity to spend a few hours with her.  After that, we plan a shopping excursion to Trader Joe's.  I've expressed true envy to those of you who have easy access to a Trader Joe's.  My first experience was visiting the one in Santa Fe, NM a few years ago. After that, I was hooked, but the closest one to me until recently has been Atlanta, over 250 miles away.  The one is Nashville is fairly new and this is my first visit.  For anyone who shops there frequently, let me know of any must buy items.  We will have a cooler, so tell me some fun things to get while I'm there. 

Well, I'm off to sing Christmas music.  I'm having a little problem with that since the temperature today was 95.   I'll leave you with one more picture from Carver's.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

My Hot 100 Challenge Goals

Abrams Falls Trail - GSMNP
October 1, 2008 

This picture is a couple of years old, but looks very similar to the early hint of fall which we are seeing here in Tennessee.  Compare that to the pictures Michele posted this morning from her neck of the woods in Minnesota. Prognosticators (don't you just love that word??) say we are in for a spectacular fall and I hope they are right.  I am planning for my weight loss journey to take a spectacular turn along with the trees in this picture.  I'm hoping to do this hike in mid-October and post contrasting pictures just as I hope to be posting success towards my goals for the Hot 100 Challenge which begins tomorrow.
Speaking of the challenge, it's time to share my goals.  I know these are very aggressive and restrictive, but I've shared in earlier posts leading up to this one, that I believe it's what I need at this point, so I'm not entering into this lightly (sounds like I'm getting married, doesn't it??).  I have also shared that this is something I've done before that WORKED, so I'm hoping for the same results this time.  I will also keep reminding myself that "to everything, there is a season" and so is this.  It isn't forever and I can modify once the challenge is over.  Mr. B and I had a discussion about this earlier this morning.   He knows exactly what I'm doing and has promised his support.  That goes a long, long way.

So here they are:

1)  Reach my goal weight of 138 on or before December 31, 2010.

2)  I will eat nothing containing white sugar, white flour or trans fats.

3)  I will walk 10,000 steps every day or an average of 10,000 steps over seven days.

4)  I will not eat between meals or after 7 p.m.

Here are some helpful reminders for me (and maybe you!!)

1)  I will approach this challenge wholeheartedly from the standpoint of what I CAN have rather than what I CAN'T.   I choose for this to be a positive experience and an opportunity to learn to be more creative with my eating.  I want total clean eating to become a habit so much a part of me I don't even notice when January 1 rolls around and the "official" challenge has ended.

2)  I am so excited that many of you have chosen to participate in this challenge along with me and I will lean heavily on you for support as I hope you will lean on me.  Some of us will do very well, others will struggle.  We will support each other EITHER way. 

3)  I am hoping that when I weigh in the morning, my amount to goal will be 20 pounds, but I will not be discouraged if it is more.

4) And most importantly, based on all I've been learning, my "yes" will be "yes" and my "no" will be "no."  That is going to be put to the test sooner rather than later as you'll see when I write about the upcoming weekend challenges.

Karen at Waisting Time  has graciously given me an award and allowed me to choose one of three.  I chose the one with the word "substance" in it because if the writing you find here doesn't contain something of substance, then I probably don't need to be writing it.  But I also chose that one because of the rules.  I've received this award previously and to fulfill rule number one, spent several days clarifying in my mind a five word summary of my blogging philosophy.   It hasn't changed, so I'll leave you with that today.  And thanks, Karen, the award AND your friendship mean a lot to me.

Sharon blogs in the hopes of bringing:


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Bend Me, Shape Me

Along the Balsam Mountain Trail - GSMNP
September 18, 2010
This tree was huge and bent at an angle I could not believe!  It was healthy, green and so intriguing that we just stopped and observed it for a few seconds.  I was reminded of our neighbor's tree that was struck by lightening last week and thought once again, how we, like these two trees can endure the most difficult circumstances.  We may be struck from without, but our inner strength sustains us.  We may be required to bend so far it seems inevitable that we will break, but again, that inner strength sustains us.  Day by day, little by little, I think I'm regaining that inner strength that I actually never lost.  It just got struck by a heartbreaking blow and was asked to bend a little further than I wanted to bend.  But it was always there!

I think I've mentioned that I'd felt my schedule/routine had gotten more disorganized than I was comfortable with and I was hoping to make some changes that would help.  If yesterday was any indication, the decision to set Monday aside as my "quiet" day was a really wise one.  My plan is that Monday will be an "at home" day and only in rare instances will I accept any invitations.  I spent the day doing lots of things that are often spread out through the week and attacked on a hit or miss basis.  I walked early while it was still delightfully cool, did lots of laundry, paid bills, went through mail, planned menus, wrote some note cards, caught up on emails, etc.  I handle finances for my parents and Mr. B's mom, so had some things to do for them and somewhere in all of that managed to spend some time in BlogLand.  Today,I will grocery shop.  Having all those things done early in the week leaves me feeling energized and ready to deal with the rest of the week. This is a very busy one culminating with our annual choir retreat this weekend.  Not sure I'm quite ready to work on Christmas music when it's 95 degrees outside, but that's the deal!!  I think I'm going to like Monday.  I need to stand firm in my commitment to keeping it open.

Yesterday was a very healthy eating day.  I was so focused on getting things done, hunger pangs really did become my signal that it was time to eat.  I am so excited about the 100 day challenge.  This is exactly what I need to get recharged and many of my blog friends have chosen to participate so I think it will be fun.  I have set a high bar for myself, but one that has worked for me before and I believe will work again.  I'm still mulling over specific goals (I'm required to have at least three), so I will post those tomorrow.  

In the immortal words of that long forgotten 60's band, American Breed: 

P.S. You gotta watch that video, it's hilarious!

Monday, September 20, 2010

To Everything There Is A Season

White snakeroot along the Balsam Mountain Trail - GSMNP
September 18, 2010

Nature, along with the Bible and The Byrds, are telling me that "to everything, there is a season."   When we crested a hill on the Balsam Mountain Trail Saturday, what you see in this picture spread out before us as far as the eye could see.  I can assure you this picture does not do it justice in any way, shape or form.  It was a jaw-dropping moment.  The plant is White Snakeroot and it has a very short late summer, early fall blooming season.  If you do not visit this or another high elevation trail during that season, you do not see the blooms.  You might also be interested in knowing that the plant can be toxic if eaten by animals which might explain why we saw no horseback riders on this very popular horseback riding trail yesterday. Legend says it is what killed Mary Todd Lincoln.  Hope you enjoyed that useless trivia because it has absolutely nothing to do with today's post!   LOL! 

So what does White Snakeroot have to do with Life Through Sharon's Eyes?  I try to research every trail prior to hiking it so that I'll know what I'm getting into and what to watch for.  So when I first saw this huge field of White Snakeroot in a flat area where three trails meet at a junction, I was prepared with the head knowledge of what it was, but I was not even remotely prepared for the reality of how beautiful it was in person.  And just think, if I'd hiked this trail at any other time of year, I'd have missed it.

To everything there is a season and for me, the next "season" must be a restrictive one with respect to my healthy eating plan.  I've struggled with this, prayed over this, wept over it and cursed everyone and everything because I am angry that I have to do it.  But answers come in many forms and they've come by way of my best friend aka Mr. B, my blog friends facing similar struggles and goals, a challenge that is structured with my name on it, and strength from above to just buckle down and do it.  I sense that in my frustration, I am missing the excitement of things happening in THIS season of my life and I'm tired of it.  I've got to find my way back......................

I have lost a significant amount of weight three times in my adult life.  Two of those times, in 1985 and again in 2006, I followed this plan and called it Sharon's Frugal Version of Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig or whomever.  To some of you, this would be a horrible way to lose weight, but I know that it works for me and I don't mind doing it again if I have to.  The other time, in 2000, I entered into a "challenge" with Mr. B.   I had gained a lot of weight working out of town with all expenses paid and he had picked up really poor eating habits that he wanted to change.  We challenged each other to go from October 1 until December 31 eating no white sugar, no white flour, no food containing hydrogenated oil (funny, you don't even hear that term used anymore!!) and no cokes (regular for him, diet for me).  Unbelievably, we did it.  He lost more weight than he needed to, but the change in me was astounding.  I can't remember exactly how much weight I lost during the three months, but the weight literally fell off my body and my abdomen, hip and thigh measurements decreased beyond belief.  You'd think I would've learned what sorts of products my body holds on to, but no, I couldn't bear to part with those three things again (never did pick back up the diet coke habit) so that is not the method I chose when I lost 65 pounds in 2006.  

But desperate times call for desperate measures and I can do anything for a "season."  I also know with a hunger in my soul not related to food, that I want these last 20 pounds off and I want to stop fooling around with it.  So enter, South Beach Steve's, Hot 100, a challenge focused on the last 100 days of 2010.  Yep, on September 23, we will only be 100 days from the end of 2010.  With a concentrated effort, I still believe I can reach goal by December 31, but it will have to be by a more restrictive method than I've utilized over the past several months.  Plus, I have one month of damage to undo!  But I think I'm ready.  I did this once between October and December.  By George, I can do it again.   I know that Tish at Incremental Improvements is in.   Want to join us????

Technically, I started this at 12:01 a.m. today by vowing to eat clean and healthy until Thursday, but effective 12:01 a.m. Thursday morning, no white sugar, no white flour and no processed foods containing trans fats until midnight on December 31, 2010.  More on the specifics tomorrow.  One thing is for sure - I plan for my focus to be very positive and revolve around what I CAN have with very little whining about what I'm giving up. 

Will this be hard?  You better believe it.   Will it be worth it?   You better believe it.   What makes me think I can do it?   To everything, there is a season.   And when you look at the rest of my life, this "season" isn't very long. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Sharing - How Can I Help You This Week?

Spruce Mountain Trail - GSMNP
September 18 2010
I had two delightful days of hiking on Friday and Saturday.  I reached a personal best of 19 miles over the course of the two days (8 miles on Friday, 11 on Saturday).  The Saturday trail was a high elevation trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  We'd hoped for nice cool autumn weather, but it was not to be and the word for the day was icky-sticky.  Very unusual for September in these parts.  I'm so envious of those posting pictures taken in your community with everyone wearing sweaters or long sleeves.  Ain't happening in Tennessee yet!!  More hiking pictures and stories to come in the days ahead.  This will be my first hiking "season" since I began this blog and I've already realized that every trail provides inspiration.
But hiking is not the focus for today....Sunday Sharing is!!   This is the third week of Sunday Sharing, something I started on a whim simply because I was so overwhelmed with the care you gave to me during the hospitalization and death of my FIL.  I just wanted to give something back.  And what is often the delightful surprise of giving something away, is that it is returned to you many times over.  How could I stop the joy I received in pondering and praying over your requests every morning while drinking that first cup of coffee.   And so it continues.....................

For those who might be new to this blog, check out this post  for exactly what Sunday Sharing is and how you can participate.  For everyone else, here's a reminder:  

As we start a new week with its gains and losses, ups and downs, triumphs and challenges, joys and sorrows, please leave a comment and tell me some very specific thing that needs to happen in your life this week for you to feel as if you're making progress in a forward direction.  Be as honest and specific as you are comfortable being.  If it has absolutely nothing to do with weight loss, that is perfectly o.k.  This is about your life and what is occupying first place in your mind as you look towards a new week

For me, please encourage me as I return to a rather restrictive healthy eating plan.  Will share details in tomorrow's post, but that is what I need from you this week.  

So tell me, friends of mine.................. what very specific thing do you need to have happen in your life this week to feel as if you're making progress in a forward direction? 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Simple Girl....Simple Life

Yes, I took this picture from the back deck of a home we were renting in Flagler Beach, FL this past January.  I had just returned from the Flagler Beach Farmer's Market and was displaying the bounty I had purchased.  I have some strawberries in my refrigerator right now, but you can be sure they don't look or taste like these did.  Everything you see had been picked no more than four hours prior to my purchasing it at the market.   Oh,  for that kind of simplicity in all things.

My life is a little too complicated right now and I generally rebel when that happens. Comparatively speaking, my life is anything but complicated and I have worked very, very hard to get it that way.  Most of the people in my "real" life understand that when Mr. B is out of school, I am much less accessible to other people because my full attention is focused on the things he and I plan together.  This is as it should be and I don't apologize for that.  When he returns to school each August, I go through a period of readjustment as life returns to normal.  Bottom line is, we have a good time during the summer and I miss him when he starts back to school.  But we are there now, he is fully involved in what is shaping up to be an incredibly busy academic year at the community college where he teaches and is program coordinator for the department.  And all of those people in my "real" life are coming out of the woodwork asking for my attention and wanting to catch up.  MIL is already asking when there will be another day for her and my own mother needs some attention as well.  All of this is testing my new resolve to make decisions that work well for me and then let my "yes" be "yes" and my "no" be "no."

To celebrate that resolve, I am going hiking tomorrow and Saturday and I couldn't be more excited.  I am hiking tomorrow with a new group of friends that hike together regularly.  I was never able to get hooked up with them last spring, but decided that would be a priority come fall.  A day in the woods usually gets me back on track emotionally.  Two days will be a real treat.  

I have also been working on a new schedule that is a bit more organized and takes into consideration some of the out-of-control, hit-or-miss issues that had begun to weigh on me.  What I'm trying to say is that I do have the luxury of free time, but when I left CorporateLand, I vowed that I'd always use my time wisely and not fritter it away. While I don't waste time, I'd like to see a more disciplined schedule of accomplishing certain things at the same time every week.  Based on some of the things I've learned recently, here are a couple of changes I'm going to try.

1) I am going to grocery shop ONCE a week and it will be on Tuesday morning.  I'm going to take another crack at planning menus and making a grocery list on Monday.   At this point in my journey, this change will serve several purposes not the least of which is keeping me away from the demon sample pushers (ALL of our grocery store and Sam's have these all the time) and freeing up more time for other things.  

2) The other big change is that 4-6 p.m. will become blog time.  I have found only two things which keep my focus totally off of food.   One is hiking and the other is blogging.   When hiking, I have no interest in food as anything other than fuel.  When reading and writing blogs, I simply forget about food.  4-6 p.m. is my absolute worst time of day for bad eating.  My day's activities are done and I am home.  This has always been my time for reading and reading calls for recreational eating.  I've always said if 4-6 p.m. and social events could be eliminated, I'd not have a weight problem.   The hardest part for me will be NOT reading your blogs early in the morning.  And I may still read my favorites, but most reading and writing will be done from 4-6.

3)  Although I have eaten well for five days now, I have not lost any weight.  And I know why.  Yes, I have eaten well, but I am still eating too much.  I'm making some changes in this area as well, but will share them in a post of it's own. 

For the first time, something happened in BlogWorld yesterday that has really troubled me.  I know I'm new and will have to get used to this, but it's the first time it's happened with someone I saw as a friend.  Many of you did too, so I'm wondering if anyone else has noticed.  I missed this person and went to their blog to see if I had missed a post.  The blog has been removed.  This person (and I don't feel it appropriate to identify who) had been blogging for awhile and her writing is delightful.  She had been struggling with several stops and starts over the past few months, but it was a total shock for me to go to someone's blog and find it GONE!  For whatever reason, she chose not to continue blogging and to remove her blog with no word of farewell.  I just want to encourage you to keep this person in your thoughts (it doesn't matter if you know who it is or not) and if by any chance, she is still reading, please know that I miss you and if I can help you in any way, please, please do not hesitate to email me.  You have my email address.  We are all struggling in our own way.  You were, and are, just one of us.  We never expected perfection.  We just liked YOU!

This is an odd community we are part of in that one can appear and/or disappear in an instant without a trace.  I can't help but be sad now that I've experienced this firsthand. 

One more thing....I bought an eggplant on my Tuesday morning grocery store outing.   Please tell me what to do with it.  You all are inspiring me to try new things in the kitchen. 

What is the time of day you are most tempted to veer off-plan?   What do you do for distraction?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back to Basics and More Awards

Hemphill Bald - GSMNP
October, 2008
This may look like a well-manicured lawn area, but I can assure you it isn't.  Hemphill Bald is one of the few maintained "balds" left in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  Balds are naturally grassy areas at high elevation (this one is almost 6000') that were once used for grazing cattle.  Hemphill Bald can only be reached by hiking no less than ten miles, but as you can see, once there, it is a sight to behold.  This is looking off to the North Carolina side toward Asheville.  Hemphill Bald Trail runs the boundary line of privately owned property and the National Park.  The owners of this land have graciously built the table, the fence (to keep cattle out) and the log benches for use by hikers.  The trail runs just behind the table.   

The red backpack is mine.   We were combining some trails and this was going to be my longest mileage hike to date.  I was excited, but also a bit nervous as one always is when pushing themselves to new heights.  I remember being very diligent as I loaded my backpack.  There would be a very thin line between having exactly what I needed, but keeping the pack weight light.   Trying to carry a backpack too heavy has been the downfall of many a hiker.  Believe me, adding 10-20 pounds of weight to your back makes walking a whole different ball of wax.  Although it was a long hike, circumstances (it wasn't very hot, we were never far from civilization, etc.) dictated that we could hike with just the basics.  Problem was, just exactly what were the "basics."  

That's a little how I'm feeling today. Over the past few days, I've exposed my innards and come out swinging!  I feel free, light and ready to hit the ground running.  Trouble is, I don't know which way to run.  I've been doing this weight loss thing for so long I'm having to remind myself of the "basics."  So, for now, it's one hour at a time and some hours, thanks to Karen at Waisting Time's post written just for me, it's 20 minutes at a time.  For today, it's Dawn at It's My Time's voice in my head saying, "just eat clean, Sharon, just eat clean."   And for the rest of my life, it's yours truly saying, "let your "yes" be "yes" and your "no" be "no."  Those are some of the basics for today and they are working.  I've got to keep my "pack" light.

Thank you to Food Addict, Lisa and Deb for the honor of this award:

There are two rules for this award:  1) Summarize your blog's philosophy, motivation and experience in five words and 2) pass the award to ten others worthy blogs.   I'm going to abstain from passing the award along today because I want to find ten new blogs who haven't received this award and are putting something out there that is full of substance.  I may pass it along one at a time!!

My five word blog philosophy came to me almost immediately:

Encouragement For Myself and Others

It's been a busy day today.  More business to handle with mother-in-law.  Today would have been their 59th wedding anniversary - the first "event" hurdle to cross.   I wanted to spend most of the day with her and we had a lovely time that included a mixture of laughing, crying, planning for the future and of course, eating lunch.  I chose Aubrey's, a locally owned small chain of restaurants and I ate well.  Now, I am off to choir practice.  

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Peeling Back The Layers

Hemphill Bald Trail - GSMNP
October, 2008

Last Saturday evening, we had a horrible thunderstorm.  Nestled between the Cumberland Plateau and the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains, we are fairly protected from extreme weather.  Saturday evening was the exception.  It was sudden and it was severe.  We were sitting on the couch bemoaning the fact that the UT vs. Oregon football game had been halted because of lightning in the area.   Suddenly, there was a flash and a crash that sounded like an explosion.  I screamed and Mr. B yelled that something had been hit.  I remember saying, "is it us" and his replying, "I don't think so, but it was very close."  To make a long story short, we soon realized it was our next door neighbor's house that had been struck and it was on fire.  They have two small children which they immediately brought to our home.  Their mom had just finished their baths when the storm struck and both were stark naked, terrified and shivering uncontrollably.  My heart just broke.  Fortunately, the fire was contained to the attic and it was only after the fire department arrived with their spotlights were we able to see that the lightning had actually struck a huge oak tree beside their home and then jumped to the house.  Much damage was done, but all are safe and repairs are already well underway.  

But I sure wish you could see that tree.  It is a huge, majestic oak tree that looks as if its been carved from top to bottom.  Giant pieces of bark were torn away and debris is spread over three yards.  The tree is exposed, ripped and naked in a way I can't even begin to describe.  I tried taking a picture and will try again in the morning with different lighting, but it just doesn't begin to illustrate the reality.  I, however, was astounded by the analogy that came to mind as I walked around that tree in the peaceful calm of early Sunday morning following the late Saturday evening storm.

That tree looks kind of the way I feel.  It stood tall and proud seemingly all together until it was confronted by something much more powerful and strong than it was.  The bark was ripped away in pieces until the tree was left still standing, but with it's "insides" totally exposed.  These last posts, although a result of a relapse in my weight loss efforts and life's circumstances, still feel as if they came out of nowhere.  That I've been confronted by something much larger than I am and left exposed.  It hasn't been easy to write nor has it been easy to push the "publish" button.  The layers have been peeled back.  The ones that needed to be pruned, hopefully, have been.  The ones that remain attached, hopefully, will be nurtured and grow back even stronger.

See, here's the verdict on the tree.  The arborist says he believes the tree will survive and he does not recommend cutting it down.  It was exceptionally healthy and strong with a root system that doesn't appear to have been damaged.   From looking at the tree, I find this hard to believe.  But if I've learned nothing else so far on this journey and from your stories, my blog friends, I have learned that it's not what you see on the outside that counts.  Strength comes from within and it is from within that we find life.  It is from within that we find wisdom to change and courage to ask for the things we need.  

I am like that tree.  As it stands tall and as I watch it heal, may it be a constant reminder to me that I too, am strong.   Very strong!

Current period of extreme introspection is now declared over - it's back to basics.   And just for the record, this morning, I've begun day four of healthy on-plan eating. This morning's weight - 159.5.  Exactly what it was on September 1.  There is still time for a good loss by October 1.   I am strong - very strong!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Husbands! Gotta Love 'Em!

Flat Creek Trail - GSMNP
October, 2008

This post has gone through several titles.  "How To Handle Husbands," didn't stay long as I do intend this to always be a G-rated blog and wasn't sure what sort of audience that heading might attract!   "Come To Jesus Meeting" was in the running, but although my religious beliefs are well-known, it really isn't my intent to attract Billy Graham as a follower, although, of course, he'd be welcome!  "Help, I'm Married," also went through the "maybe" stage, but I think I've ultimately settled on the current one. 

As far as husbands go, I think I got the best.  Sure, he has his "quirks" and oh boy, what a post I could write about those, but in the interest of 33 MORE years of wedded bliss (cough, cough) to go with the 33 behind me, I think I'll just stick with telling you about our come to Jesus meeting.  He does read this blog!! 

At the risk of being anticlimactic, I'll say this right up front.   There wasn't much, if any, new material that came from the discussion.  Mr. B knows all about my issues with food and my problems with weight control.  He has always, without fail, been kind and loved me at 203 as much as he loved me at 138.  He loves me right now at 159.  He listens and says, "what can I do?" and "I just want you to be happy." 

During this period of relapse, there have been some differences and that has been scary to me.  Since beginning this blog last May, I believe that the writing has begun to uncover some layers that had remained hidden for many years.  That culminated in last week's posts and were the discoveries I was attempting to communicate to him over the weekend.  I think he senses that I have hit rock bottom (this scares him) and also, my determination to change.  This might be a bit threatening to him because it can't help but mean change for him as well. 

I think, in a sense, he wants his cake plus all the trimmings.  He is so proud of me at my goal weight (he just beams when I walk down the staircase in something new or something he hasn't seen in awhile), but he also enjoys the me that comes home from the grocery store with all sorts of goodies, the me that suggests pizza for dinner, the me that packs a killer picnic lunch you don't even want to know about, the me that can plan and execute a backyard party to die for, and the me that says, "look the HOT DOUGHNUTS NOW sign is on" when we pass Krispy Kreme doughnuts

He is a normal eater with a normal appetite.  He can do all of the above things with no obvious repercussions.  He is NOT a healthy eater and does not share my passion for becoming one.  This is a problem.  I know my choices are mine and mine alone, but we are each other's best friend and sometimes it is highly discouraging to me that this is one of the few things we don't share and therefore, will never be able to function fully as a "team" when planning, discussing and implementing healthy clean eating.  He loves to cook and is an EXCELLENT cook.  Thank goodness, one of us is!  I know it is frustrating to him when he wants to plan an elaborate dinner party and I ask if it can be a healthy menu.  The answer is no and his stubborn, only child, my way or no way syndrome kicks in resulting in much pouting and "let's just forget the whole thing."  I feel pretty strongly about my home representing frugal living, healthy eating and a sustainable environment and I can be pretty stubborn too.  We have not yet found the "let's meet each other halfway" point on this subject and sometimes, the conversations aren't pretty!!  This is also a PERFECT example of what I talked about in last week's posts.  I give in to make him happy, but I'm already angry because I feel manipulated into participating in something I didn't want to do in the first place, the food is delicious and I eat it - ALL OF IT!!

It also means that I am having to retrain myself to function alone in this way and I'm not used to that.  In all of the above situations and all of the areas I discussed in the earlier posts, I'm having to learn to say, "no" or "can't we do it this way," or "this is what I'm eating, can you take care of yourself tonight," or the hardest one of all, "I"m going to need to ask you to not eat that in front of me," or even harder, "for now, we can't have that in the house."   It compounds the whole issue when he shouldn't be eating the stuff he's eating to start with and I am thinking how much fun it would be if we could plan and eat our healthy meals/snacks together.   Did you hear the BIG SIGH OF FRUSTRATION here??

Here are some of the specific things I asked from him:
1)  I am the ultimate planner and his preferred method of operation is flying by the seat of his pants.  I have asked that with respect to our social life and eating out (which BTW, he loves to do), there be no flying by the seat of our pants.  If it is a sudden social invitation, we say "no" and we plan restaurant eating so that I can look ahead, decide EXACTLY what I'm going to order, tell him in advance and ask him to either order for me or hold me accountable.  He will not even "allow" me to open a menu. 

2) I've asked him to identify some food items he enjoys that aren't temptations to me.  Believe it or not, there are some of those!! LOL! 

3) I've told him that my grocery shopping is now limited to ONE time a week.  We will cook and eat from what we have on hand or what I purchase during that one visit.  I am a good, frugal shopper and love meandering around in different grocery stores to see what they have.  This has become a problem in terms of impulse purchases and uncounted calories via demon sample pushers.  I've asked that any items he wants be on the fridge magnetic board and if they aren't there, he doesn't get them until the following week.

4) Mostly, I've asked that he not allow me to manipulate him into becoming an "enabler" even when the enabling might benefit him (think HOT Krispy Kreme doughnuts that was MY idea to go get).  If you don't read Diane's Fit To The Finish  blog, you should.  Her post from this morning, especially the last two paragraphs, were given to me in perfect timing. 

Our "Come To Jesus" meeting was a great discussion and made even better by the fact that we had driven to the mountains and were enjoying a wonderful trail that runs along the river.  He listened and I believe he senses something a little different about this valley.  He does want it all (the at-goal me AND the me that suggests the doughnuts) but he would like to see the depressed, remorseful, sick at her stomach from overeating, me go away for good.  What remains to be seen is whether the layers I'm uncovering about who I really am and the changes required from BOTH of us to find and embrace her, will be accepted.   I hope so, because I think I'm going there with or without his full support.  He's my best friend, my soul mate and my partner of 33 years - I really want him to go with me.   We'll have such a good time!

All this has caused my curious nature to run rampant.   Those of you with DH's, significant others and/or kids still at home, tell me about your relationship with that person/kids with respect to YOUR food and weight issues.  Is it a team effort, are they enablers, do you get resistance, how in the heck to you cook meals that please them if they aren't on board without sabotaging your own efforts?  Talk back to me - I think it will benefit us all.

I'm going to try and tie all this together in tomorrow's post.  It's been a tough few days, but I truly believe that, "darkness may linger in the night, but joy comes in the morning."   And BTW - I am on day 3 of on-plan eating. 

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Sunday Sharing - What Can I Do For You?

Hemphill Bald Trail - GSMNP 
October, 2008

Hope you are enjoying my pictures even though they aren't current.  With a brand new computer and a huge hard drive, I'm transferring a lot of my pics back to the computer from CD's and it has opened up a whole new world of memories.  The hike on this day was 12.8 miles, a new record for me at that time, and is still one of the most memorable because of the beauty.  Hemphill Bald trail is on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, so not as easily accessible to us.   We were spending Mr. B's fall break in a cabin in Maggie Valley with some friends.  This is a point-to-point hike meaning the finishing point is 12.8 miles from the starting point requiring either a vehicle at both ends or someone to drop you off at your starting point.  Mr. B does NOT hike that distance, but he did agree to get up very early and take us to the drop-off point.  Everything fell into place perfectly and was a hike I'll never forget.  The best part of all is that when we finished, we were only about ten minutes from the cabin (translate hot shower and jacuzzi) and dinner was waiting when we walked in the door.  Can't get much better than that!

We've all experienced doing something that you thought was for someone else, but it ended up being just as meaningful for you, if not more so, than it could have possibly been for the recipients.  That's the way I feel about last Sunday's, "What Can I Do For You?" post.  I didn't know what to expect, but it was something I really wanted to do in response to your kindness to me over the past few weeks.  I just want you to know that printing out those comments and posting them above my coffee pot has been such a delight to me every morning this week.  I have talked to you, I have prayed for you, I have told you what I think you should do (I really should see a doctor about these conversations going on in my head! lol!), and I have rejoiced with you when the news was good.

So guess what?  Let's do it again.  Let's make it a Sunday regular.  I may change up the questions a tad or add something, but the core will always be to please tell me in a comment how I can support you this week during my morning quiet time.  Well, I actually learned that it goes far beyond my morning quiet time.  In my house, you go through the kitchen to get to or from anywhere else, so the "list" is ever present.  For those who might not have read last week's post,  I will print this weeks comments/requests and post them above my coffee pot where I promise to read them every morning between 6 and 6:30 a.m. and say a prayer specifically for you and ask that you find courage and strength to meet this week's challenges.  Your requests do not need  to be related to weight loss.  It should be whatever is coming during the next seven days that has you anxious.

Here goes.........What specific thing is happening in your life or is a struggle this week through which I can support you with my thoughts and prayers?  What do you need?

For me, I am emotionally exhausted from the last couple of posts, but feel I'm making progress.  There are no planned social events this week, but I anticipate one or two opportunities where I can use my newly discovered ability to either say, "no" or "could we do this instead?"  Wish for me the courage to do just that.

Have a good Sunday.  If you do not attend church and are interested, here's the link to my church, First Baptist Church, Knoxville, Tennessee.  Our 11 a.m. service is webcast live and if nothing else, you can try and find me in the choir!!

Come back tomorrow for a report on the "Come To Jesus" meeting with Mr. B!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I'm Quirky - Will You Like Me Anyway?

View from Round Bald - June, 2008
Appalachian Trail along the TN/NC border

(I wrote both yesterday's post and this one at the same time yesterday morning, but knew I couldn't publish both at the same time - it would've been far too long.  Obviously, yesterday's post hit a nerve with many of you and once again, we find common ground.  So if you see something in this post that repeats something you said in your comment, remember, this post had already been written.  IOW, we are thinking the same way!  Talk back to me - I'm listening and it helps!  Enjoy your Saturday!)
Today's post is a continuation of yesterday's post, so if you haven't read it, please do or this one will make no sense.  Of course, it's entirely possible that NEITHER post makes any sense!  LOL!

I've discovered that most, if not all, of my episodes in which I compulsively overeat in a social situation, binge eat alone or fall "off the wagon" after a prolonged period of progress involve one the the following situations:

1)  A planned or unplanned restaurant eating experience.
2)  A planned or unplanned social setting in someone else's home.
3)  An event in the future (immediate or far away) where I know food will be a problem.
4)  Any event involving food that catches me totally off-guard.

Here are some of those "quirks" I kept talking about yesterday:
1)  Technically, I am a very simple eater.  Truth be told, I'd rather have Triscuits, Laughing Cow Cheese and grapes for dinner as any gourmet meal that could possibly be prepared. ( Problem is, I want the whole box of Triscuits, the whole round of cheese and 4 pounds of grapes!)   Do I LIKE the fancy stuff - of course, who doesn't.  But the point is, given my first choice, I'll always choose the simple stuff.

2)   I am rarely interested in restaurant dining (fancy restaurant or McDonald's).  There are exceptions of course, but generally speaking, I want simple food in a simple place that is clean and uncrowded.

3)  I am the world's worst chit-chatter.  I just don't do small talk!  Don't get me wrong - I love meeting new people and getting to know them, but my idea of getting to know you is to say, "hi, I'm Sharon - do you agree with Pavlov's theory about slobbering dogs?"  I don't want to discuss the weather, I want to know what makes you tick.

4)  This introvert just does better out in wide open spaces with one or two friends enjoying life at its simplest.

5)   I am horribly claustrophobic.  Remember, claustrophobia can be internal as well as external.

6)   Back me into a corner with no escape(choice) and I'll come out swinging. 

Couple these "quirks" with those things from yesterday's post which I have to change before I'll ever be a "normal" eater and you have a collision of major proportions!

But here's some good news, I think!

Isn't recognition the first sign of progress?  Maybe if I'm recognizing the "where did this come from" part of an out-of-control eating experience, I can then use the control tendencies in a productive rather than destructive way.  Courage to say, "thanks, but no thanks" when invited to do something I really don't want to do.  No explanation needed, just "thanks, but no thanks."  Courage to suggest an alternative that meets my needs.  Not in a selfish or self-serving way, but in a way that asks the other people involved to meet me halfway.  Isn't that a part of a healthy relationship with another person?  Courage to have a "come to Jesus" meeting with Mr. B about his role in some of the problems and courage to ASK for what I need from him.  Remember, for every introverted tendency I possess, he is the polar opposite.  The more, the merrier.  (I think I just invented tomorrow's post!!)  Courage to do all these things without fear of whether or not I'll be liked.  Courage to move forward in becoming the me I want to be.  The me I think I am.  The me I'm afraid for you to know.   The me food loves unconditionally.  The me food will always be right there to comfort and soothe when Ms. Quirky finds herself somewhere she really doesn't want to be or becomes afraid she's just too weird for anyone to really like.   Hmmmmmm!

Following recognition comes action.  Well, guys, this isn't something I can resolve in a tidy little blog post.  But here are a couple of starters:

1)  Stop manipulating circumstances in hopes of maintaining control. Wait for invitations to come to me and practice using the word, "no."
2)  When someone tries to force me into making a decision, be patient and wait them out.
3)  Use the familiar tactics when in a social setting that is unavoidable i.e. a function related to Mr. B's work.  (There has only been one of these and I honestly believe if I hadn't already been so angry about all the other things, I'd have probably done just fine with this one.)
4)  Do not hesitate (EVER!!) to take my own food to a restaurant.  I have wanted to do this hundreds of times over the years, but was always afraid of offending someone or being "tacky."  Folks, if done in a quiet way that does not draw attention to yourself and if an appropriate tip is left for the server as if you had eaten a meal, this is NOT tacky. People are on "special" diets all the time and bring their own food.  It is NOT tacky. Sharon, do you hear this? It is NOT tacky. 
5)  Have that "come to Jesus"** meeting with Mr. B.

**For those who might not know, a "come to Jesus" meeting is southern slang for one of those conversations between husband and wife where the woman starts out with a list of things to discuss that has been building for a long time, and after about 10 seconds, the man adopts that glassy-eyed stare that the woman never notices.  

Well, I'll have to say there's been some heavy stuff these last two days.  Thanks for sticking with me and please tell me what you think.   Please tell me you still like me.    On second thought, I hope you still like me, but I'm pretty happy with myself right now and just for today, that's more important.

I'm reminded of the Serenity Prayer which we all know, but seems fitting to end with........
God grant me the SERENITY to
accept the things I cannot change;
COURAGE to change the things I can;
and WISDOM to know the difference.
Now, about that "come to Jesus" meeting with Mr. B...............................

Friday, September 10, 2010

I Think I Am Making Progress!

Appalachian Trail near Carver's Gap on the TN/NC border
June, 2008

Truth is, I don't know where to start.  I have changed the title of this post four times.  The picture says it all.   This is one of my all time favorite trails, but who would know that by the barren, rather sad-looking path you see here.  Yes, you see the glimpses of sunlight, but you have no way of knowing that continuing along this trail for another fifteen minutes of steep uphill climbing, will bring you to this:

Round Bald - Appalachian Trail on the TN/NC Border

Yes, I think I am making progress, but it is not without pain and I am struggling mightily.  I am so much in the first picture that I rather realistically saw myself  floating along that trail.  But where I want (and desperately need) to see myself is standing at the apex of Round Bald in the second picture.  I've been there - I know what it feels like and I want it back.  NOW!!   But that is not to be until I've done the work and learned the lessons required.  

You don't need all the gory details, but suffice it to say, I haven't lost any weight, I have probably gained more weight, yesterday's binge was unlike any I've seen in a long, long time, the normal things I do to distract me are having no impact, and even Mr. B is losing patience with me.  How do I know?  When you've lived with someone for 33 years, you can see it in their eyes.  (I'm may be in trouble because he does read my blog!)  But here's true confession #1:  Until this morning, I didn't even care.

During my devotional/quiet time this morning, I asked (begged would be more fitting) for wisdom, help, guidance, a swift kick in the ever increasing butt, ANYTHING that might spur me back to progress in becoming the healthy, happy, content and joyful me I want to be.  I was reminded of the direction this blog was headed just prior to the hospitalization and death of my FIL.  I went back and reread this post, this post and became so mesmerized that I continued reading through the next two weeks up until the day I posted that my FIL had died.  Mesmerized by my brilliant writing - not hardly!   Nope, mesmerized by the raw truth contained in those posts.  I believe that the greatest lessons I can learn from the last month of my life are these:  

Until I come to grips with my "control" and to a lesser degree, "money" issues, there will be no "normal" relationship with food.  

Until I can say a resounding NO to circumstances not of my choosing and then stand by that decision, there will be no "normal" relationship with food.  

Until I find the courage to shout from the rooftops, "this is what I need to do for me and although some of these things may seem a bit odd, if you value your relationship with me, you will accept them" there will be no "normal" relationship with food. 

Until I am able to remove myself from situations over which I have no control, not because I have to, but because I don't want to be in them in the first place, there will be no "normal" relationship with food.

Until I am able to say, "I don't want to go there, be that, see that, hear that or spend money for that," there will be no "normal" relationship with food.

What's the point here?  Yes, I am an admitted "control" freak, but I am also learning from the book I am currently studying, John Ortberg's "The Me I Want To Be", that part of becoming this person is understanding who this person REALLY is and being strong enough NOT to allow others to dominate this person in situations that don't matter.  I do know who I really am and I do really LIKE who I am, so what's the problem?

Here's true confession #2:  Yes, I am a person who loves to be in control, but I honestly think the greater issue here is that I recognize I have a unique personality with some odd quirks and I am afraid if I can't control the situation, people might see the "real" me and not like me.  So, when placed in any situation not of my choosing or desire, I use the food to compensate BECAUSE (this is big, big, big!) in the far back recesses of my mind, I subconsciously know beyond the shadow of a doubt, that I can control the food, I can eat it ALL and the food will love me unconditionally.  Plus, if I don't eat it all, RIGHT NOW, I'm wasting money and/or food this good might not ever be available to me again.  And then there's the anger!  I'm angry, angry, angry because I am somewhere I don't want to be in the first place and since I've been "forced" into this situation, by george, I'll make whoever forced me sorry.  I'll eat it all and then can blame someone else that I overate because they made me do something I didn't want to do. 

So what in the world do I do with all of this today?  Here's true confession #3:  I haven't the faintest idea!  But I do believe it's a significant breakthrough that I'd have gotten to sooner or later, but as I strongly believe, nothing happens by chance and without the events of the last month in the exact order in which they occurred, I'd likely not have experienced the setback involving the myriad food events associated with death and the aftermath of death.  Being bombarded with all of this during a time of tremendous grief and the emotions involved triggered the setback I've had in losing these last 20 pounds.  

Finally, a good thought............for the first time in days, the words and the tears are flowing freely (more unexpressed grief????), but this post is long enough.  I'll continue tomorrow with the true confessions, but today,  I will confess one more thing.   I love you all, my blog readers, and often write with you in mind, but today, I wrote just for me.  I love that second picture and today I walked (nope, trudged) up that barren path all by myself.  I'm not out of the woods yet, but I'm headed that way and I know what it looks like up at the top.  It's where I'm taking the "me I want to be" so she'll be totally content at the "where she wants to be" and free to share it with those that want to come along because they like the "me" she really is.

If you've made it this far today, you are truly a "friend."   Please tell me if ANYTHING speaks to your experiences or if I should head for the closest Chinese buffet line.