Thursday, January 27, 2011

Slow Road To Normal

Venetian Waterway Bike Trail - Venice, FL
December, 2010

These past ten days have been some of the longest of my life.  Between the infection and the meds, I have just about gone out of my mind.  For four days, I was too sick too read or look at the computer and that was downright depressing.  But things are looking up.  The tide seemed to turn Saturday and I was excited about going to church on Sunday, but when I woke up Sunday morning, it was like it had started all over again.  So it was back to bed for the day, but Monday morning really did feel different.  And each day since Monday, I've gained a little strength and actually gone out to walk or run an errand.  Thankfully, the winter weather we were expecting dealt little more than a glancing blow to us this time and was actually pretty.  But temps stayed above freezing, so no driving problems anticipated and we are expecting sunny skies today. 

I fought the Prednisone for all it was worth and am happy to report that I have not gained any weight.  I have three more days, but the dose is now down to 5 mg once a day, so the worst should be over.  I made sure every morsel that went in my mouth was full of nutrients and little sodium as I fought the increased appetite and water retention associated with Prednisone.  Only a couple of times was I tempted to gnaw on the sofa because I was so hungry!  It has truly been a battle and if it had to come, I am thankful it happened while I was so motivated to stay in control.  I am very, very proud of myself and don't mind saying so!

The road back to my "normal" will be slow.  Walking leaves me tired and I can't imagine hiking, but I think my stamina will rebuild quickly once I get fully recovered and working on it.  I am scheduled for a CT scan on Feb. 3 to see how much of the infection this course of treatment actually eliminated.  Then we'll determine where to go from here. It's just so comforting to be told by a doctor, "yes, there is a very real reason you've felt so rotten these last few months."

There is another "normal" I'm feeling better about largely due to feedback and support received from and through this community of bloggers.  Something "clicked" when I got the wake-up call and I can honestly say, right now I'm enjoying the process of eating healthy and watching the scale go down.  I have now been away from refined carbs and most processed foods for several days - enough for the intense cravings to have passed.  Except for the days I was so sick, I've spent time reading and planning strategies for staying on track and seeing results.  Right now, it is not hard!  I can't explain what changed, but that feeling of calm and in control with little effort is currently present. 

Here are some of the things I'm sensing and observing:

1)  These periods of calm are coming more frequently and lasting longer.  They are generally interrupted by an incident such as I described here and then further fueled by the emotions I talked about here.  Having done the really hard and painful work to identify these things, I'm finding it easier to get back on track quickly and efficiently. 

2)  It is so very important for me (and for YOU!) to always, without exception, remember that my "normal" may look very different than your "normal."  There are strong opinions out there and I occasionally see those who have adopted the "my way is the only RIGHT way" mindset.  And that is simply not true.  There are many paths to "normal" and if the path you choose is healthy and sustainable for the rest of your life, that can be your "normal."  Personally, I have learned that the analytical/statistical side of me LIKES researching, planning, creating spreadsheets and keeping track of EVERYTHING related to my eating plan and weight loss.  I also do this for every other area of my life and that's when I realized that this is my "normal."  It's o.k. I do it because I WANT to and because it brings me a sense of satisfaction.  This, for me, is normal. 

3)  And maybe thinking about food often isn't so bad if the context in which you are thinking about it is a positive one.  I'm struggling here because I can't explain this.  I just know there have been some circumstances lately where I've caught myself thinking, "whoa!  This must be what it feels like to see, smell or visualize food without wanting to devour it!"  This must be what Mr. B experiences when he watches Food Network for hours on end and wants to copy what they are doing, but has no immediate desire to eat it.

4)  At this point, the only concrete observation I can make is that I've noticed that more often than not, I STOP and THINK about what I'm doing between the "what can I eat" and "what have I done" stages of a binge.  And more often than not, I am identifying which emotion it is that's talking and taking steps to deal with it in a manner that doesn't involve food. 

There is so much more revolving around in my head and my posts gets so long, I can't believe you actually read them, but I read them!  Over and over and over!  And in the context of the entire blog, this stuff is beginning to make sense.  I guess the true test will be on July 30 when the "wake-up" call  becomes the "Hallelujah Chorus!"

Do you agree or disagree with this statement?    "And maybe thinking about food often isn't so bad if the context in which you are thinking about it is a positive one."  (Not the "what can I devour next" thoughts)

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A Matter of Perspective

Circus Posters - Ringling Museum
In their own way, I find each of these folks "stylish"
Sarasota, FL - December, 2010

Sometime ago, I received the Stylish Blogger award that has been making the circuit. In the midst of other issues demanding attention, I failed to acknowledge it properly and I apologize to Lori Lynn of Sunflowers 'N Daisies who gave it to me.  I enjoy Lori Lynn's blog for many reasons, one of which is the fact that she lives in Nebraska.  With my combined passions for healthy living and travel, I love learning about and seeing pictures of where my Blog Friends live especially if they are unfamiliar to me!  Someday, I hope to have a Blog Friend in every state, province and continent!  Then I'll start planning my trip around the world to visit all of them!  Don't worry - I'll be self-contained in my own luxury RV.  A girl can dream, cant' she??  Perhaps, I'm delirious from all the drugs I'm still taking for this head infection that will NOT go away.  Despite a sleeping "aid" taken at 10 p.m. last evening to combat the insomnia associated with Prednisone, I've been awake and up since 4:30 a.m.   But, I digress............................

The rules:
1. Make a post and link the person who awarded you.
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers.
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them they've won!

In this post from last summer, I told you seven things about myself, so I'll try to come up with seven different ones.  

1)  I am an avid sports fan and can intelligently discuss what's currently happening in most any sport.  I've always gravitated towards where the men are because they are always discussing things I'm more interested in.  I learned early to keep my mouth shut and avoid getting into any discussions because they generally don't deal well with a woman knowing more than they do about anything related to sports!  My favorite is College Basketball, so needless, to say, I'm in basketball heaven right now!

2)  I have an autographed picture of me with Dan Blocker who played Hoss in the TV series, "Bonanza."  It was taken when he made an appearance at Ghost Town In The Sky,  I'd have to ask my mother, but I think I was around six.  It made a huge impression on me because he let me sit on his lap, asked me my age and told me he had twin daughters the same age as me.  I cried like a baby when he died so unexpectedly in 1972 at age 43.  (If you are under age 50, you probably have NO idea who or what I'm talking about!!)

3) My dad helped build the boxes which carried the rocks brought back from the original landing on the moon in 1969.

4) Although Mr. B and I had known each other from the beginning of college, our first "date" was not until the first football game of our junior year.   After that, I never had another date with anyone else and he only had one.  That was to clear things up with a girl back home.  We became engaged on Valentine's Day of our senior year and got married three weeks after graduation.

5) After that first date, Mr. B took me home to meet his parents.  Unbeknownst to me, he did NOT tell his mother he was bringing a "girl" home with him.  She was having sauerkraut and weiners with cracklin' cornbread (if you're not from the South, you'll have no CLUE what this is) for dinner and to this day, tells the story of how embarrassed she was and how she could've killed her son!  As for me, I loved it!  She also says that when we left that evening, she looked at his dad and said, "that's the girl he's going to marry."  

6)  I am one of the very fortunate souls who has actually seen the Matterhorn on a clear day.  

7)  When I was 28, I was diagnosed with Acute Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I'll write much more on this in a full post later, but for almost two years until we were able to find the right combination of meds, I was unable to get out of bed and or get dressed without assistance.  Mr. B was in grad school, I was our sole support not to mention the fact that I carried our benefits and I was on a mission to become the CEO of a major corporation.  It was a time neither of us want to revisit and is still painful to even talk about, but it is the time that sealed our souls together and taught us both what is and is NOT important.  Thanks to extreme advances in research and medications, I've had a relatively normal 10 years, but am experiencing some flare-up symptoms right now and working with my rheumatologist to determine if changes in meds need to be made.

Guess that about sums it up!  This has been the week that was...............and I am thankful to start a new one.  I am still pretty wiped out from this "head" infection.   I know I'm better, but have got a long way to go.   Thanks for your concern.  Much more later...........................


What's In A Name

Little River Trail - Great Smoky Mountain National Park
December, 2010

Naming your Food Addiction   (Cheryl, Melanie,Christy,Stacy,Sharon,Joy)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Twelve Days of Sabotage

Not a very good picture, but this is my den
December, 2010

Take away all the Christmas decorations in the picture and you'll have a pretty good idea of what I've been staring at since last Friday afternoon.  I am sitting/laying on a sofa that faces the fireplace and matches the one you can see to the right.  What you can't see and is my bright spot, are the huge picture windows that are on the left.  Since I can't be out in nature, at least I can see it!  About all I've seen since Friday is rain, snow, fog or clouds, but at least I can see outside while I continue to wallow in my misery.  The only time I have been dressed and out are the three hours I was gone to the doctor.  Neither Mr. B nor I can remember the last time I was sick for this long!  My ENT with a few questions, pokes, prods and things stuck up my nose and in my ears, pretty quickly identified this as not just a sinus infection, but an entire head infection that was probably viral and related to my severe mold allergy. I know I have some readers who are nurses and other medical types, so if that doesn't makes sense, just remember I felt to bad to care what he told me.  I just wanted relief!  And I got it in the form of a potent anti-viral medication and the dreaded drug from ------ for anyone trying to lose weight - PREDNISONE!  I've been down this road many times before and the good news is that it will work, but the bad news is that it is almost impossible to take prednisone for any length of time and NOT gain weight.  And for some reason (this is all documented online), the weight doesn't just automatically fall off when you stop taking the medication.  You have to lose it the old-fashioned way!  

So how's that for the odds conspiring against me?  Last week, I would've said, "yippee, I have a built-in excuse to let go and I'll just fix it when I'm better."  Well, that's not gonna fly this week, because I have not been this excited about getting back on track in a long time.  Monday's post, your encouraging comments and thoughts of spring have really gotten me motivated.  So armed with lots of information found here and here, I'm going to fight the dreaded Prednisone weight gain for all I'm worth.  After 36 hours, I can already tell I'm feeling a bit better and am hoping to be able to take a short walk sometime today.  In two weeks, I return for a CT scan and long-term plan to prevent this from happening again.  

In a nutshell, Prednisone causes water retention, increased appetite and since it is being taken to combat an illness, there is usually a decrease in physical activity.  The recommendations are to reduce sodium intake, eat several smaller meals instead of three larger ones and do whatever it takes to keep some level of physical activity in your schedule. What struck me is that these are no different than the healthy eating tips we should be following ALL the time.  So, the only changes I plan to make while on the Prednisone are these:  1) no restaurant eating, 2) try my best to eat nothing out of a package or box, 3) no table salt, 4) drink extra water and 5) starting today, find some way to get some physical activity unless it's just not safe to do so - I'm feeling better enough that I should be able to take a short walk.  Eating smaller meals and snacks is not a change because that's what I've been doing anyway.  So we'll see how the great Prednisone Challenge goes for Sharon.  I'll keep you informed!  

Still haven't decided how I'm going to post my accountability on the blog between now and July 30, but for today, I'll just report that I've had several excellent eating days with no problem. Nutritionally, I can already feel my body telling me "thanks!"  l have lost weight each morning since Sunday.  

Just wanted to mention and say "thanks" for the concern of those who were bothered by my setting a specific date (July 30) for reaching goal and who thought my calorie target might be too low.  Those who've read my blog from day 1, know that I set goals frequently and enjoy the challenge, but also don't get bent out of shape if the goals aren't met.  The joy comes in trying and it just seemed significant to me that my "ah-ha" moment came on Mr. B's birthday and its ending could easily be achieved by mine.  What a great story that will be!   As for the daily calorie target, the important thing to see is that I meticulously track both calories and nutrition using and I know that closely monitoring meals and food combinations can net me a "perfect" day nutritionally somewhere around 1200 calories.   Monday, I ended the day at 1243 calories and Tuesday, at 1266.  Both days were "A+" days and met all recommended nutrition values. 

It is January 19 and I cannot believe I've yet to HIKE a single mile in 2011!  Between our horrid weather and now, my illness, it just hasn't been possible.  Here's hoping I may be able to do something short next week.  I'm afraid to mention it in case I jinx it, but our weather is forecasted to be somewhat tranquil over the next couple of weeks.

Well, this has made me tired, so think I'll lay my head down on this pillow and stare out these wonderful windows which BTW, you can watch the sunrise over the hills in the distance.   If only the sun would rise......all I see are more clouds!

Have you ever taken Prednisone?   Did you gain weight?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Wake-Up Call

Two souls pondering all that happened in 2010 and what might be waiting for us in 2011.
Venice, Florida - December, 2010

I have been totally sidelined since last Friday with a monster of a sinus infection.   This is nothing new for me.  Overall, I am an extremely healthy person with stats (other than my weight) most people envy, but I do have two chronic health conditions which have plagued me most of my adult life.  Extreme sinus and allergy problems is one of them - the other I will write about in an upcoming post.  I did not see this sinus infection coming although I suspect it might have been triggered by our having a constant fire going in our fireplace during the three days we were snowed in early last week.  But I truly believe it's the WORST one I've ever had and I can't wait to talk to my doctor this morning and get some real drugs!  On the other hand, I despise taking antibiotics because it means no sleep for me and a host of other problems throughout the duration.  However, it's also the only thing that works when it gets this bad.   I began feeling a tiny bit better late yesterday afternoon and am hoping to get this post written before the headache and dizzy's kick back in this morning!

Things are about to change in a big way.  We can all write about our "wake-up calls!"  But for me, I had the biggest one of my life a couple of days ago.  It won't seem like such a big deal to you, but trust me, it took my breath away and then I literally fell apart with remorse.  

Here's is a short summary of where I am right now.   I've struggled mightily since last August.  The holidays were not kind to me.  I have gained weight since the new year.  Yes, I've been on a voyage of discovery and made great progress.  But with the "wake-up" call, I determined that the voyage of discovery AND a set plan for consistent weight loss progress can and must co-exist peacefully.   For me, they cannot be mutually exclusive.  In other words, I can't wait until I have all the emotional issues worked out in a practical way before I "start" losing weight again.  In doing that, working on the emotional side of it becomes just another excuse.  And excuses was what I was making when the "wake-up" call happened!

Mr. B, whom I could not love any more than I do and who loves me unconditionally, has lived with me and my weight issues for 35 1/2 years (33 1/2 married, 2 dating) now.  NEVER has he been critical of my weight or my constant obsession with it.  He has loved me when I've been depressed over it and he has beamed with pride when I've been at goal.  He has tried his best to understand  something that his "normal" eating mind simply can't fathom and he has supported me no matter what ridiculous idea for losing weight I come up with next!  But Friday evening, that all changed with a quiet simple statement that rocked my world.  

We were sitting in the den following a delicious healthy dinner that he had prepared.  I already knew I was sick,  but that didn't stop me from craving one of my trigger foods (microwave kettle popcorn) that was in the pantry where it never should've been to start with.  It talked to me and talked to me until finally I got up, fixed it and walked back in the den with the whole bag.  This was probably less than 30 minutes after a delicious dinner - I couldn't POSSIBLY have been hungry.   This was also after an incident Thursday evening where we ate dinner out and I refused to go where he wanted to eat because "I can't stay on plan" there.  When I walked back into the den with the bag of popcorn, he looked at me and said, "I'm not there yet, but I'm getting very close to being sick and tired of your inconsistency."  Let me tell you, in all those years, I don't think he's ever said or done a single thing that hurt more. Because you better believe that for him to have even said it meant that he most certainly WAS there!  And it was the "wake-up" call I needed.

Bottom line is:  you can wallow around in discovery, emotional eating, mindfulness, intuition, yada, yada, yada, from now on, but the fact remains that there HAS to be a plan for consistent weight loss.  And that plan has to include some guidelines that work for you.  And you can't wait until all the "issues" are settled before working the plan.  So while I continue reading and soaking up and working really hard on the "issues" (and there are many!!), here is the plan!

Today is Mr. B's birthday.  What better gift can I give to him than the promise of "no more inconsistency."  My birthday is July 30.  On my birthday, he and I will celebrate the fact that I have reached goal weight.  This is easily doable with an average loss of five pounds or less per month.  I will do it in the way that has always worked for me.  Counting calories, tracking my food intake and walking/hiking/biking as my primary form of exercise.

Calorie intake will be 1200-1500 daily with most days closer to 1200.   I will use (thanks, Tish) to track my nutrition totals and I will walk at least 10,000 steps per day at a pace which burns calories.  As soon as our weather breaks and I get over this horrid sinus infection, I will hope to hike at least once a week.  For accountability, I would like to tell you what I've eaten each day and record the stats.  I'll probably start another page to do that as I have too many other things I want to write about to use the main posting page.  Using another page gives you the option of looking at it if you want or not!  

Here's the other thing that I will do and I hope this will reflect how important this is to me because I think every one of you know how much I DON"T want to do this.  If this plan does not work and I remain unfocused and inconsistent, I will pull the blog at least temporarily.  I have put it all out there and made myself accountable.  If that isn't enough to keep me focused, then my reason for starting the blog no longer exists and it's time to stop.

My reward:  Well, the look on Mr. B's face will be more than enough.  But in the event I need something else, I would LOVE to attend a blog conference and meet some of the people I've come to hold in such high esteem.  Plus, the list of workshops and seminars at some of these conferences look so fun and exciting.  

So there you have it.  I've suspected for a while that Mr. B had somewhat lost interest in the blog and now I think I know why!  But as soon as he gets up this morning, I'll sing Happy Birthday to him and ask him to read this post.  And then I'll begin my six month and fifteen day odyssey to goal weight!

Help me, BlogWorld friends!   I'm going to need you!

O.K.  now my head is pounding, the room is spinning and my teeth hurt again.  Time to call the doctor, beg for drugs and head back to the couch.   

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Which Direction?

Beautiful mosaic tile on sidewalk leading to Ca d'Zan Mansion, home of John and Mable Ringling
Sarasota, Florida - December 27, 2010

Most visitors to the Ringling Estate on a bitterly cold Florida day walked right over this meticulously detailed mosaic without every seeing it - their eyes were looking straight ahead at the quite ostentatious mansion which John and Mable Ringling completed in 1925.  But my eyes were drawn to the sidewalk, so I asked Mr. B to take a picture of it instinctively knowing that there would be a perfect time to share it with you. 

I feel as if I'm standing right in the middle of that mosaic with absolutely no clue as to which direction I need to turn.  But note this:  While figuring out which way to turn, I'm standing in the bright warmth of sunlight and even in my confusion, it feels calm, right and good.  

We've been snowed in since Sunday evening.  Mr. B's Community College was completely closed for two days and didn't open until 10 this morning.  No one can remember the last time this happened.  I sincerely doubt that most elementary and high schools will go back at all this week.  But we were prepared and had plenty to do.  I have spent the better part of two days re-reading every word of my own blog and doing a lot of related soul searching and deep digging.  I will have to say that if you've never gone back and read your OWN blog from beginning to end, I'd highly recommend it!  You'll find lots there that you'd forgotten you wrote, patterns which you may or may not be proud of, but most importantly, in reading your own words you remember why you are doing this in the first place.  In seeing the big picture of almost months of blogging, some things became much clearer as a whole "book" than they'd ever been post by post.  Spending this time was much more valuable to me than an equal amount of time spent reading other blogs.  

I can tell you that I think I've got it figured out.  I know WHY I overeat and I know what I'm using food as a substitute for.  Unfortunately, at this point in time, I'm not ready to share what those things are.  Here's why.  I can sum the whole thing up with three separate words, all of which would mean something different to you than what they mean to me in terms of discovery.  So your perception would be much different than MY reality.  And I think that's PRECISELY why I've been unable to admit or understand this until now.  I don't WANT to attach these three words to me because in the Webster definition of these words, they would NOT apply to me.  But given my life up to now, in a way unique to me, these words are totally descriptive of what's happening.  Maybe someday soon I'll share - right now, I just can't!  

But discovery is useless (in fact, can be paralyzing) without direction and direction requires having a sense of which way to turn.  I'm torn between excitement and terror, both words expressed to you with the EXACT meaning you understand!!!  Terror at the idea of stepping out of comfort zones and excitement at stepping out of comfort zones!  Both require courage and both require change.  I've got some ideas for starting and when I think of my ideas, my heart starts pounding and I catch myself smiling.  What I DON'T catch myself doing is thinking about food.   In fact, it's nowhere on the radar!  

So I'm standing in the warmth of the sunshine feeling calm and serene, but at the same time, turning in circles trying to determine what to do next.   One thing is for sure - if I don't get out of this house soon, I'm going NUTS!  Whoops, now I"m thinking about food again.   LOL!

I apologize for a post that is so vague.  But my first priority is working through my own issues so that I can reach my goal weight.  I've learned a lot through this exercise of re-reading my own blog.   If you take nothing else from this post, I'd strongly encourage you to do the same.  I promise it will be enlightening!  

BTW, I thoroughly enjoyed our day at the Ringling Estate.  I had never been there and it is truly a full day's worth of things to do.  The mansion, museum and gardens are delightful.  If you ever have an opportunity to visit, I highly recommend it.  There is a miniature hand-carved model of a circus inside one of the museums that was just fascinating.  Unfortunately, this was the one day that was bitterly cold with a fierce wind, so we did not get to roam around in the gardens as much as I'd have liked.  There was an exquisite rose garden, but it was just to cold to enjoy!  Here's a picture of the mansion from the front.  Just can't leave it without a remark about the vast chasm between the "have's" and the "have-not's."  I sincerely doubt that any of Mr. Ringling's circus employees lived in a home like this. Guess some things never change!

Have you ever gone back and read your own blog from beginning to now?  What did you learn?

Friday, January 7, 2011

The Banyan Tree

Thomas Edison, my MIL and me on the grounds of Edison's Winter Estate
Ft. Myers, FL - December 29, 2010

I think I may have had a major breakthrough yesterday.  I was getting close back in late July and early August, but life got in the way of deep introspection and now here it is January, 2011.  I am still the same control freak that I have been for years!  I could write a book on the subject, but the breakthrough I had was this: my most frequent and total relapses with respect to my eating habits, occur when placed (or forced) into situations in which I truly don't WANT to be.  The secondary breakthrough is realizing that a complete relapse that goes on and on for hours and/or days can, more often than not, be traced back to the original situation. 

Unfortunately, it took an eating extravaganza to see this, but I'm hoping that as I work out the intricacies of my 2011 motto, "FOOD WILL NO LONGER CONTROL MY LIFE, MY LIFE WILL CONTROL FOOD!", situations such as these will also no longer be about control.   Here's what happened!  The mother of a very dear friend of ours, died early Monday morning.  Immediately following the graveside service, I was invited to go to the home of some relative's where a meal was being served.  It was kind gesture, but I do not know the people whose home I was being invited to, I had eaten before going to the service, it was an unexpected invitation, we were expecting inclement weather to set in, and the truth is, I just plain didn't want to go.  I made every attempt to gracefully decline the invitation, but it became one of those situations where "no" wasn't going to be heard and it was beginning to feel awkward and rude if I continued to refuse.  So I went.  And I ate (and ate, and ate, and ate).  I was angry, frustrated and uncomfortable.  And it just snowballed from there.  By the time I left, the roads were becoming hazardous and I needed to make a quick stop by the grocery store for one item.  And it wasn't until several hours later, that I saw the consequences of the secondary issue.  Somehow that one item I needed from the grocery store became three items - two boxes of Triscuits, one of which is now gone!  And to complete the post of true confession.....when Mr. B got home, he was frustrated because I was stuffed and hadn't even though about HIS dinner, so he fixed a BOX of Macaroni and Cheese.  Of course, I finished off what he couldn't!  

Yesterday morning, had you told me ANY of this was going to happen, I would've laughed at you.  I felt strong, confident and had several days of good clean eating under my belt.  I had lost four pounds since January 1.  It all fell apart when I was forced into doing something I didn't want to do.  I was frustrated and I was MAD.

Now, we all know the easy answers here.  Of course, I had choices.  Of course, I could have stopped at any time and the outcomes would have been different.  But that's the whole point of this post.  It is a genuine roadblock in my journey to "normal" and until I take it apart bit by bit, I will continue to rebel when found in these types of "no choice" situations.   And if I look back over the past year, I can identify every single downward spiral and prove that it began in an instant with a situation almost identical to yesterday's.  It is NOT about the food!  It is about control and it is about anger. 

So what am I to do?  This will not be solved in a day or probably not in a year, but I still believe putting it together is a colossal step forward.  I've seen the pattern of one situation becoming a day/week/month long binge, but have always just thought, "I've messed up now, I'll restart tomorrow," and never connected the whole event to a single circumstance or event.

So here are my lessons from the Banyan Tree.  The Banyan Tree in today's picture was a gift to Thomas Edison from Harvey Firestone in 1925.  The most interesting fact about the Banyan Tree (native to India) is its aerial prop roots which extend from the main trunk and spread so quickly that it eventually becomes difficult to identify the original trunk.  The Banyan Tree at the Edison/Ford Winter Estate began as a 4-foot tall, 2 inch diameter sapling presented by Firestone to Edison in a butter tub.  It was transplanted on the estate and now it's prop roots cover more than an acre. 

1) Redirect Your Thoughts!
I have GOT to learn to do this.  These "no choice" and/or "I don't want to do this" situations are a very real part of life and allowing them to make me angry at someone else is childish.  It is a response that likely stems from something I haven't yet identified, so I can't discount the feelings, but I must redirect them.  And the thought to "redirect" must come instantly, intuitively and strongly enough to at least push aside the anger temporarily.  In yesterday's scenario, I actually had the luxury of time.  I was alone and it was 10-15 minute drive from the graveside to the home where the family was gathering.  Plenty of time to process and redirect.  Instead I used that time to fume and wander what food would be served.  
2) Plant Your Roots!
In my journey to a "normal" relationship with food, there have to be some non-negotiables.   These non-negotiables are "roots" which are planted and become so strong that one has no choice but to walk around them.  You certainly can't bend them or walk through them.  Those around you KNOW that your "roots" are immovable and over time, just accept that.  

I loved this picture and am willing it to come to mind when faced with one of "those" situations.  These are deep, deep roots, but there is a way through them.  Roots that began as a 2-inch sapling don't become an acre overnight.  
And I will do it one root at a time!

It's January 7 already!  Have you had any breakthroughs yet this year?

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Joyful January

Nature Trail - Myakka River State Park
Sarasota, FL - December 27, 2010

Canopy Walkway - what's a Canopy Walkway and why is it so special?  Looks like a normal Florida Nature Trail (translation: flat and snaky) to me!   Well, o.k. - let's check it out!   Famous last words......................

O.K., no big deal - a few flights up and then a swinging walkway to what appears to be a somewhat higher tower.......................

still smiling..........................................

Oh, so that's a Canopy Walkway - Cool!

But hold it just a minute - what's that at the other end of the Canopy Walkway?  You gotta be kidding!   You're telling me I'm getting ready to climb a 74' wooden tower with a sign at the start that says it WILL shake and feel unsteady.  And you expect me to believe that's NORMAL??   No way, but hold on just a minute.  Is that my 80 year old mother-in-law already heading up those steps?   Well, alrighty then - here I go!

 Climbing, climbing, climbing

Looking back down towards the ground - OMG, I think I'm gonna die and YES, the platform is shaking!

Whew, I made it back down to terra firma!  Thank Goodness!

I have no pictures taken from the top of the tower because it was very shaky and not one of us would let go of the side long enough to take a picture.  Would I do it again?  Maybe, maybe not.  Heights do not normally bother me, but the small (and very crowded) shaking platform did and of course, there were a couple of hot shot kids there who thought jumping up and down was quite funny!  We had a wonderful day at the beautiful Myakka River State Park.  

While climbing the tower, I was reminded that I am facing quite the uphill climb in 2011 in order to reach the goals I have set for myself.  To get me started, my word for January is JOYFUL.  And that is exactly the way I am feeling.  I have had four days of good, mostly clean eating and am working so hard to redirect my thought patterns away from food.  This is extremely difficult and if this sounds as if I've conquered anything, rest assured that is NOT the case.  The truth is, I can't really write much about a specific eating plan because right now, I don't have one.  I just know that my two healthy eating goals for this year are to 1) reach my happy weight of 138 and 2) have a life that is not controlled by food.  Your responses to my Help Me Explain were exactly what I needed.  In addition to helping me communicate better with Mr. B., they also clarified some things in my own mind.  And for now, I'm content with that!

Mr. B will return to school tomorrow and within a few days, our schedules will return to "normal."  I am looking forward to that because there is so much I want to accomplish, but when he is out of school, I want to spend the time with him.  We had a wonderful time in Florida, but having MIL with us added a whole new dimension and didn't allow us the reconnecting time that we so treasure during his breaks from school.  

So here we are in Joyful January and if I can climb that shaky, wooden, 75 foot tower in Myakka River State Park, I am certain I can face any uphill battles this month with firm resolve on solid ground!  I'm excited about 2011.  I hope you are!

What uphill climbs are you facing this month?   Can you approach them with joy?