Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I've just been for my walk and I am so pleased to still feel like it! I am still walking with my friend, and it's been just as well that she has been doing it with me, because the few times I would have been lazy and not gone, she has pulled me along with her - and I've apparently done the same for her. I think I've got past that now though, and look forward to it, even when I have been to bed at a ridiculous hour like last night and haven't had enough sleep. Silly really, but some nights it is harder to switch off and let the day go. There just aren't enough hours in the day sometimes.

This morning it was cold when we first started out - all that snow down south, no doubt. But boy, by the time the hour was up and we were back home, I was not cold! It's so gorgeous out there though, despite the cooler air. I love this time of year, when the days are getting a bit longer and there are so many little differences in people's gardens along the way. The sky is a lovely shade of blue too, this early in the day. The sun is well up now at 6.30am, whereas a month ago it was still making the climb. In the middle of summer I might have to go earlier, or it will be too hot already. Don't like walking in the heat.

I forgot to go to my relaxation class this week. Doh! Twice now! I knew about it, but got busy doing something else and didn't notice the time until it was too late. Part of me thinks that that's a subconscious thing - my mind deciding without me that it's not for me or something...

You know the stories of the people who didn't get to work on time the day the twin towers crashed and therefore survived - well, sometimes I think it's those little things that we don't do, or miss, or didn't find out about till too late, that take us in a new direction, and that it's not productive to stress over them. Go with the flow and all that - if I'd been meant to be there, I would have been. There is a Scottish saying, "What's for you won't go past you."

It might be that sometimes we have to fight for things and push ourselves beyond what we think is possible, to win through, but sometimes, we have to let go and float. How do we know when to do those things though? I know for me, I have let things go that I maybe shouldn't have, or fought for things better let go - but it felt right at the time. So maybe it was and maybe I just learned a different lesson from it. Maybe it was just a practise run at fighting (or letting go) so I could hone my skills.... LOL, it's worth telling myself that anyway, rather than feeling regret. Regret is such a wasted emotion. It doesn't take you forward in any way. My philosophy is to feel the pain, forgive and let go, move on.

It's so liberating to forgive the people in our lives for not treating us well, for not being who we needed them to be, for hurting us or whatever - believe me, I have done a lot of forgiveness work and it's amazing how much better life is! I still am in awe about what happened when I finally forgave my father. That was a long slow process but I chipped away at it here and there, and then one day I just finally gave it all up, the time was right, it was done. That day, he called in, totally unexpectedly and out of the blue, for a cup of tea. He'd never done that before. We got on well. Did he know I had let go? I didn't say anything - never have done, but from that day, I was just so much lighter and we now have a good relationship.

It still astonishes me. The most astonishing thing is that it was me, I was lighter, I was more open, I was unburdened by the act of forgiveness. In the end it wasn't about him, or any of the other people I have forgiven, it was about me and the burden it was for me. Holding that much pain and unforgiveness hurts the person holding it, not the other person, though I'm sure they feel something too. Pain is a personal thing, but a person's pain can travel outwards from them and affect everything and everyone around them.

So, then, knowing all that, how come I find it so hard to forgive myself? Shouldn't I just go with the flow and let go some of the things I have been holding on to, and cease beating myself up and tsking about things I have done or not done? Yes, I should. I so expect more of myself than I do of anyone else and it so ticks me off when I don't do well - or at least, as well as I think I ought to. Maybe the forgiving of myself is the next step on the journey.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

To Party or Not to Party...

If you are trying to lose weight, should you go to a party, where you know for sure there will be heaps of naughty food and you will lack even one teeny bit of self control? Well, don't listen to me if you think you shouldn't... I went, I ate, I had a good time!

I fitted into my nice little black top that I haven't worn for two years, and it felt so good to be wearing it. Mum bought me a long beaded necklace a couple of weeks ago and last night I wore it twirled around my neck three times, and it looked cool. It was nice to have something new and pretty to wear, something colourful with my black top. It felt fresh, somehow.

So, about that eating thing... I was pretty good with the drinks, a couple of glasses of wine and some punch, but I was a bit naughty with the food... prawns, smoked salmon on sourdough, little pastry concoctions with delicious fillings (didn't have more than 5 though), and oh, the Brie was just divine! As were the chocolate strawberries... what can I say, it was all just there! I was aware of the calorie content, and I'd like to say I was reasonably well behaved, but I wasn't... just thought, well, parties happen, it's better to play than miss out. I've given up beating myself up about it all. I'm not on a time line any more, and while it would be nice to lose something every week, it's not going to spoil my life if I don't.

I have been to parties and events before where I have made the most of diet coke, crudites and salsa and made a deliberate and firm choice not to have the naughtier foods, and even felt really great about it - not that I asked anyone to notice. It was more that I noticed myself and felt good about it. And I will do that again. But if it doesn't always happen, so what? Not worth making myself miserable about - I'm not looking for perfection in myself any more, I'm looking for peace.

Maybe I've just got to that age - when you can thumb your nose at should and can't and go live your own life. Gee, I hope so, it would be soooo liberating! We women spend so much of our lives not being good enough, trying to fit into society's image and idea of what we ought to be and do and how we should be behaving and thinking. Oh, to be free of that and just live according to our own desires and dreams! I don't think it's possible to let go all in one go though, unless something calaclysmic happens to us. It's a bit too ingrained. It will certainly be an interesting journey to be starting though.

So, to party or not to party? If I can party without excess, and know that it's a part of the flow of life (refusing to see it as a glitch, because that word has connotations of failure embedded in it) and that I can be more the me I would like to be if I relax a little about rules I set myself, and get back to my new normality the next day, then why not? It's obvious to me, feeling this way, that the change has taken place in my inner self, and it's not just a superficial "diet" thing. The new me peeks out from behind the curtain.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Clothes, Nearly.

I had an interesting morning yesterday - it was a very warm day yesterday, the hottest August day for quite a few years. Even at dawn, when I was out for my walk, it was warm - much warmer than dawn should be, lol... Anyway, after the usual morning routine I thought I should have a look at what summer clothes I might have that fit, as it obviously wasn't going to be a fluffy slippers and cardi kind of day.

In the end I pulled absolutely everything out of my wardrobe and decided to try the lot! I knew I was a size down because I'd been shopping during the week with my mother, so I thought I'd see what was good to wear now. I had quite a range of stuff in there in different sizes. I know quite a few women who have several sizes of clothes in their wardrobes. I know a few that have never put on an ounce, too. Let's not discuss those ones though, LOL...

It took longer than I expected, but it was actually quite a lot of fun. I ended up with four piles - the winter jumper pile; the too big now pile; the fits pile and the one size down still pile. The too big pile has already gone to the op shop, never to be seen in this household again! Woo Hoo! I now have a new wardrobe to wear, that I couldn't fit in last summer. I'm so disgusted to think it was soooo close all last year and I didn't make the effort. Tsk! I'm so pleased that it fits now. Yay! A whole new selection to wear and it didn't cost me a thing.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Avoiding the Struggle - not

Apparently life is a struggle. Do you happen to have noticed this? Whatever your frame of mind, wherever or whoever you are, or are with, or without; whatever your income or lack of it; whatever has gone before or is to come, good, bad or indifferent, we all struggle at times. Sometimes it's worse than we ever imagined, sometimes it's teeny weeny. It all matters though.

Everyone else seems to manage. There they are, fresh as a daisy first thing in the morning, well fed and dressed kids in tow, hair and makeup gorgeous and smiling, of all things! What is their secret? And how come we can't all share in it...

I guess we are all guilty of thinking that Ms X is not having to struggle through quite the same workload, and it's easy for her to look that gorgeous, she was born that way. But do we really know what is going on behind the scenes? Of course not. She might have all sorts of struggles of her own that we know nothing about - she almost certainly has!

So why does she look as if she's having an easier time of it/is more organised/happier/has it together? Maybe it's Maybelline, of course, LOL, but maybe it's her attitude to the whole life is a struggle thing. For all we know her rent is due, her cancer is back and the bank is going to foreclose on her little business, and she is terribly worried and just trying to keep it all together by looking as if she actually IS.

The way we look at things changes not just how they seem, but how they actually are. If we perceive something as a problem, it is. If we see it as a thing we can break down into smaller chunks and solve, that's just what it is. Whatever we believe becomes our truth.

Avoiding struggle, inconvenience, misfortune, challenges and problems doesn't make them go away and it doesn't even stop the pain. It might keep us stuck in limbo for a while, wondering why things aren't going our way, but that's about all - apart from the fact that if you are stuck, and not moving forward, you will find you have a backlog of things to deal with once you start up again...

The thing to do is not to avoid, but to face things head on, to work through them one chunk at a time, to see them, to feel, touch, smell and taste them, to listen to them with all our heart, to wallow in them even: to learn all we can about the problem and ourselves. Once we have done that, it's not even there anymore, we are out the other side and hey, guess what, we survived another day!

It will take a little discipline, but not the "grab em by the scruff of the neck and whip em" kind! No, we are going to use much gentler discipline - well, I am anyway, I don't know what you are going to choose to do!

I am already using some long forgotten self discipline, in committing to going for my walks, making an appointment with myself 3 mornings a week and doing what needs to be done to get myself out of bed to do it. Of course it's easier to just lie there, and roll back over! But it won't get me to where I want to be, so I am disciplining myself to seize the moment and just DO it! Same with the whole food issue, etc. Just do it already. In the end, it's actually easier than listening to my head give me a good talking to for avoiding it all, LOL!

Monday, August 17, 2009

One Week Down

I am so excited! I stood on the scales this morning and I have lost 6 pounds this week. That's a good amount for the first week. I have eaten my fair share of food and not been hungry, and I've even had chocolate a few times. I can't see the point in denying myself totally - I'd just give up, so I factor it into my plan for those times when you just "need" some!

I've walked on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for about 1/2 an hour and on Sunday for 1 1/4 hours, so not even a huge amount of exercise. It's felt good to get out and about though. I've now arranged with a friend to do the weekday walks, so we are going to keep each other motivated. I thought I wanted to do it alone and have my thoughts to myself, but I think it will be good to run them past my friend - and she can run hers past me. That'll be good, too.

This morning she drove over and took me to the beach. Gee it was nice to walk along the beach and watch the early morning surfers and skyscape happening. I feel lovely and fresh, despite walking for an hour and yakking the whole way! Well, no hills for a start - my "street" walk involves hills...

And what am I eating? Well, yesterday I had:

Breakfast: an egg, scrambled with some mushrooms, onion and some parsley on a piece of soft grain toast and an apple.

Lunch: jacket potato with salmon - take a 5-6oz potato and microwave in it's jacket, fill with 100g salmon mixed with a pile of vegetables that have been lightly cooked together, such as (chopped or grated) onion, celery, capsicum (pepper), zucchini, carrot and garlic and mixed with 1 tablespoon extra light sour cream. Served with a salad of chopped tomato, red onion, lebanese cucumber and capsicum. I don't like dressings really, I just like a little salt and pepper.

Afternoon: 3 crackers with peanut butter smear and mung bean sprouts (lovely combination), an orange and a low fat hot chocolate drink.

Dinner: steak (as big as my palm) cooked in a spray of olive oil with a bit of garlic, served with some pumpkin, snow peas, green beans, half a tomato and 1/2 cup of pasta.

After: a small low fat chocolate bar and another piece of fruit.

So the easy week is over. Starting is always easy. Now I just have to keep it up whatever the weather of my emotions.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Roadside Ruts

I've had a very nice time the last few days. Despite life being pretty much as usual, I just feel better about myself, more in control, and that alone has made all the difference to how the days go. It really doesn't feel like such a huge thing, but obviously it is.

We can get so stuck in a rut that we don't really know how deep the rut even is anymore. It feels like the surface is just there, and it's not until we start hauling upwards that we realise how awful it had become. Like waking up suddenly well after a long illness, and realising just how sick you actually were. Maybe being stuck in a rut or not looking after ourselves is a kind of sickness, a sickness of spirit and mind. It has plenty of signs - lack of energy, plodding behaviour, emptiness, melancholy frame of mind, etc...

The trouble is, there is no magic cure. Nobody can tell you how to get better, you can't hear them - you'll listen in a minute after you have a piece of chocolate cake.... Anyway, you've heard it all before - you already know. My doctor even told me that my cholestorol level is so high I have a 5% chance of having a heart attack in the next few years. Now 5% might not sound very high, but it's a lot higher chance than winning a dollar on the lottery! Eeek!

Did I listen? You bet. I went straight home and looked up the Mediterranean Diet that he recommended online and downloaded a couple of hundred recipes, bought some olives and aubergine and had a ball - for a week or two. Then I just slipped back into the nearest rut... the day to day trials of living in a food intolerant family and just one more diet to add to the list being the biggest, widest rut on the path. Then I actively avoided olives for ages, even though I actually really like them. What's that all about? Self sabotage gone beserk or something? I don't know, but in the end, all that happened was it added to my guilt and self loathing instead of being a nice new direction to go in.

So why does it feel different this time? How will I make it work for me? I have thought long and hard about this one, because I want to avoid roadside ruts this time around. I want my life to change, I really do - but I have for a long time, so am I really going to manage it this time?

I think it's all about the inner self, not the diet. I think it's good to be doing the eating and walking thing, but that's onlya third of the story. The bulk of the story is about what's going on in your heart, your mind and your spirit. If you aren't looking after yourself there, it's just not going to work.

We need a diet from negativity and self loathing, and to stuff ourselves to overflowing with self regard, positivity, patience, kindness, the things that make us have those small happy moments and self love. The kind that says "I love you just for existing and living through it all - good on you girl!" Well, the negativity hasn't paid off, so why carry around the burden any longer? THAT is what is really weighing us down!

Can you remember what makes you happy? Here's a new thing I started today - to try to remember who I really am and what makes me happy, I'm going to write down 5 things at the end of the day that made me happy in some way. On my list today: looking at the different bark on the trees in the forest when I went for a walk; the taste of that tomato at lunch time; listening to my cat purr; my daughter's smile; finding just the right colour for my scrapbook page.

Nothing spectacular maybe, but all those things added to my happiness today and they're the sort of little things that get drowned out and lost in the rest of it all. I don't want that to happen anymore, so I'm going to remind myself out loud how to get back to a feeling of inner joy.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Alone With My Thoughts

The day has ended successfully and I'm already feeling the benefits of doing this. Funny, I've put this off for so long now, knowing that I wanted to, but just avoiding like crazy, it's ridiculous. And now that I'm doing it, I am having no problem at all, and wondering why I've been so lax. Der, this could all have been over with a year ago (or more...). Oh well, I'm here now and that's the most important thing.

It's taking the journey that's important for me, really, not the end result, somehow. But then I've always liked the journey as much as the destination, whether it's a walk in the bush or a road trip - love watching it all go by along the way. I'm looking forward to this journey to a fitter, fabber me. (If there's no such word in the real world, there should be!) Especially if it makes me stronger and more "me" at the same time.

I am so ready to be me, and not just whoever's wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, neighbour, cousin, niece, aunty, etc. Not that I want to stop being any of those things, those roles all contribute to my happiness. But somehow, somewhere along the way, I have lost me - my own desires and needs and ideas and direction - in the day to day running of things. I've lost the Importance of Being Me and just become a passenger and help-meet of the people around me. And it is important to be who we are, isn't it? We often try to be all things to all people, and often appear to be succeeding beautifully, too. But if we aren't filling our own cup, eventually we will run very low and not have anything left to give.

So today, I have been thinking about what my needs are and what, if anything, I actually do entirely for myself - not in relation to other people's needs and desires. It's trickier than you might think at first! Almost everything involves someone else.

Doing this diet is entirely for me. It's all about being more comfortable, being healthier so I can carry on living a good life for a long time yet, and being happier to see photos of myself. I don't really give a fig what anyone else thinks - if they have a problem, it belongs to them, not me. But I've been ignoring or dismissing how it makes me feel myself...not good.

I went for a walk today again. My goal is an early morning walk for half an hour Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and an hour sometime on the weekend - like a walk on the beach or through the bush to the river or something a bit more interesting than the usual. I will build up to more eventually, but that's enough to start with. Can't shock the system too much now, can I? ;-) What I am rediscovering is that the time alone in the morning is a lovely way to start the day. I'm alone with my thoughts and can just potter about in my head without interruption.

I've been very good food wise, too. Quite proud of myself really, but it's making up my mind to start that's the hardest for me. Once I have actually gone through a process of committing in my head, it's easy. Like tonight, I really wanted to eat all the rest of the cookies in the jar, but I just looked at them instead and walked away. I wanted to, but I wasn't tempted to break the diet. Does that make sense? Last week I would have vacuumed them into my mouth without even noticing.... and tonight it didn't even feel like denial, just a decision. Yay! I'm getting there!