A Letter To My Body

Dear dear friend-A-love-letter

We have been together now for over 50 years. You were there in the beginning with me, when I was learning to put one foot in front of the other. You were there through all my deepest sorrows and my highest highs. You never wavered. You never questioned how I would treat you, you never questioned the times I elected to have a surgeon cut into you, you just kept supporting me and beating along.

Many times, I have regretted how I have treated you. Many times my behavior would have been considered abusive. It makes me hurt to know that I put you through so much for so long.

But things have changed. I no longer get angry at you, I no longer punish you for my emotions. I am so thankful for you. You gave protection to my beautiful child, not just once but three times. Even when you were unable to support the life within me, you allowed me time to grieve and then immediately gave me another chance to have my babies.

There have been times when you were hurting or you were sick and I neglected your signs. I was too wrapped up in my own feelings and emotions that I couldn’t focus on you. But you have my attention now…full attention. What do they say? Better late than never?

I no longer fill you with food that gives you nothing, just empty calories. Now I take care of you, I look for ways to nourish you, I try to move daily to keep you from aging too quickly. I am your protector now instead of your comrade. I will keep you safe.

How I wish I had learned this lesson earlier in life. I thank you for never giving up on me. I know I have pushed you to your limits but I do love you. You are beautiful and you are so forgiving.

Let’s go into this future together now, working together to enhance the best of both of us.

I will support you and you support me. Deal?

From you ever learning, ever loving and ever loyal admirer,

Joanna

Can’t See the Forest for the Scale!

treeSo, last blog I wrote about how I had not lost weight in two weeks and how that can really play with your mind. It’s hard to turn your back on something that has governed how you see your body for the past 40 years (yes…the SCALE).

I tried something different. I stopped staring at the scale every morning. It no longer sits there glaring at me and daring me to step on it. I don’t wait until my “morning constitution” to weigh so I will weigh less. I don’t take off my earrings and my clothes (because I am convinced my clothes weigh at least 10 pounds). I even used to shave my legs before I weighed because I think I read somewhere that hairy legs weigh more…

I was CONSUMED by the numbers on the scale. When I was in a program where I was weighed weekly, I would not eat for two days before weigh-in, so I would reach goals. Then, I would go out for a fast food celebration when I reached my goal. In my mind, it actually made sense. I had deprived myself for two days and now I could reward myself.

And don’t even get me started on vacations. My rationalization was always “well, it’s vacation, I’m entitled” or “I will start when I get back-this is my break”.  My body must have been so confused. I can just imagine my digestive systems conversations: “OK, everyone work overtime…we just received a HUGE basket of french fries-Wait! Stop! We must be starving, everyone halt all food processing!”

I just got back from spending four days in Greenville SC with my husband. I don’t know if you have been to Greenville but it is seriously the food center of the world. And guess where we stayed? Right downtown in the food section! We got there and my husband said, “If you want to take a few days off, it won’t hurt you”. He was being nice, he knows that our whole life food has made me happy.

But things are different now. It’s not a temporary diet, this is my way of life. I know I have a problem and I know I will be dealing with it for the rest of my life.

So, guess what? I never one strayed from my eating program…in fact, I never even WANTED to. I felt so empowered and so in control of my life and that is a new feeling for me. I realized that nothing is going to stop me this time. Nothing. I don’t need food to reward me and I don’t need the scale to tell me that I am headed in the right direction,

Guess what else? When we got home, I was able to put on a pair of shorts that I haven’t worn in two years…YES TWO YEARS! Now that’s a victory.

How do you evaluate your success? Good or bad – let me know!

Love you all!

Excuse my English accent…

Call-the-Midwife-cast-80fa917I don’t know if you watch “Call the Midwife” or not. My sister got me addicted to this show and I really resent her for that. Now I cannot face my day without talking in an English accent and pretending that everything is “tip top tickety-boo!” To say the very least, my children and husband are very upset my sister got me addicted to this show as well.

The other night, one of the show’s characters said: “I have come to the conclusion that there are only two reasons for doing anything. One is love, the other is fear”. That really hit home with me. I thought about my weight loss and my journey to become healthy.  Was it fear or love that pushed me into starting?

I honestly have to say both. It was my love for my family and my life that caused me to realize that something needed to be done with my health. But it was also my fear of leaving that family and love too soon that really gave me a kick in the arse. This made me wonder if fear was a stronger emotion than love?

Love makes the world go around and love reconnects lost family members and love has made many a pop star several million dollars. But fear can make a mother lift a car off her child or make a teacher risk his life to protect a room full of students. So, can fear really be stronger than love. And in my case, was it fear that convinced me to begin moving my body and eating healthy?

Fear may be strong, but it is also very cowardly. Fear can make you stay in a relationship that you know is bad for you. Fear can keep you immobile, scared to stand up for yourself or others. And fear of the unknown and the different can cause one to carry hate and distrust in their heart.

Fear can also make you believe you are comfortable with a way of life that is slowly killing you.

So, no, it wasn’t fear that gave me the courage to turn away from a destructive life and it wasn’t love of my family either. It was love for myself. Love for the person that I knew I could be: the person hiding inside out of fear. Fear of going back to school probably added 50 pounds, fear of making mistakes as a parent added at least 50. And fear of failing my family through actions or words…let’s just add another 100 pounds with that one.

Fear will not make us change, fear will keep us in one position unable to move ahead. But love? Love is understanding when you fail, love is patient when you make mistakes and love is overwhelming when you feel that you cannot make it another moment.

What do I so when I have a bad day? Or when I don’t want to exercise, or I want to eat everything I have put on the “HELL NO” list? I call my sisters or brother, I text my husband, or I go see my parents. Because love is not just a warm feeling…love is nonjudgmental.

So, pip pip ole chap! Take a look at what fear is keeping you from doing. Make some changes and look for the love!!

 

Exercise too?? No one told me that!

fatSo… started at the Y. Very SLOWLY. In fact, people may have been wondering if I was even moving or breathing! But I was. The doctor said, “take it slow” and I am doing what he said! I have been doing modified Yoga but that has been in the security of my own home. No one was able to see if I could actually cross my legs or downward my dog. Now I was out in public!!

Why is it so intimidating to walk in to a gym? Why do I feel like everyone in there is looking at me and wondering “Ha, what is she going to do?” Is it because we are all captive in a room and there really isn’t anything else to look at? Well, anything other than an old poster that is asking me to buy some war bonds. Is it because these people are judging how I lift and how much I lift? Which, for the record, is somewhere between a can of soup and a preemie baby.

It is hard for me to walk into a gym, not because of other’s judgement, but because of my own. I feel insecure with my body and my body’s movement. I question if I even need to be out here? My mind starts telling me, “Oh you can do this at home” and “Do you really have time for this right now?” Part of me wants to walk back out the door, maybe saying something about my lights being left on or my “quads” being sore from “squats” (that is a thing, right?)

But I pull up my big girl Capri sweats (no, literally, they are big girl sweats) and walk forward into the room. I smile at tiny, solid woman beside me on the elliptical and I pray a simple prayer, “Lord, please just let me get on this machine without falling off.” I try to act like I know exactly what I am doing – I get one leg up on the left step of the elliptical and then the right step pops up for my other leg. What a minute, is this supposed to happen? How the heck am I going to get my right leg up that high while I’m straddling the machine? I grab the arm rests and pull myself up into a standing position on the elliptical.

I am now red-faced, sweating and ready to stop. Surely that is enough for the first day… remember the doctor said to go slow. Nope! I will not be intimated and leave, I will not give in to my weaknesses, I am stronger and I am better than that (besides, I don’t know how to get off this thing).

After 20 minutes, I manage to slide off the machine and wonder what happened to my legs. They were here when I walked in… come on boys, stop wobbling and carry me out the door. I use the old “my shoe is untied” trick to give myself a few more moments to recover and then I am ready to get the heck out of there.

The tiny, solid lady that was viciously working beside me, looks over at me and says, “It will be easier next time, just keep coming”!  I realize she is right. It WILL be easier next time. Not just the exercise but walking in the door will be easier also. With every week, I am becoming stronger, both physically and mentally. I put too much stress on myself. These people in here are so wrapped up in their workouts, they aren’t judging me. I am judging ME!

So, I will keep coming. I will keep coming and I will keep working on my inside and my outside.