Friday, July 31, 2009

Egoic Attacks

Ever have that aweful feeling in the pit of the stomach when things don't go your way?  When someone is picking on you?  Or betrays you?  Or hurts your feelings?  Or tells you something that you don't want to hear?  Tells you something that you thought no one else in the entire world knows, but you?  That feeling is your ego landing a blow in the center of your body.  Thats the feeling.  Its not that you should ever accept abuse, because we do teach people how to treat us and it is our responsibility to take of ourselves.  However, just because a situation arrises that does not favor ourselves, that does not mean that we must adopt a defensive posture, a snotty atitude, or fly into a rage either at ourselves or anyone else.  There are techniques for learning to deal with our inner turmoil and effectively embracing the inner grown up.  The most important part is to relax.  Bless the situation.  One of the ways people deflect pain is to engage in a behavior which quickly creates a sense of pleasure.  Unfortunately, those quick fixes don't fix the real problem and tend to create more real problems.  The trick is to learn to teach others to treat you well, understand and appropriately asses the situation, and also, in a relaxed state, decide how you want to behave, not how your ego would behave in a desperate attempt to save face.

We often confuse love with admiration.  Love is a feeling that you have or a behavior that we use.  It rarely makes any sense.  Typically, no one really knows why anybody loves anybody else.  We just do.  Once you understand that concept, then the need to impress people with our infallibility or to be better than or more interesting than everyone else or just our competitor, ceases to be of the utmost importance.  Accepting the help of others is not a sin or an indication of weakness.  It is a testament to the strength of your character.  When you are able to accept instruction, direction, and help from others, you have finally started to set aside some of the aspects of ego which can be so terribly debilitating.  

A bit of confusion can set in when we are children because pleasing our parents with our successes seems to produce love.  In reality, any success of a child is the success of the parent.  The parent is obligated to give positive reinforcement when the child has done well.  Thats how you train anybody, animal or human.  Thats how you give them language, culture, and morality.  But, when we don't set aside the concept that we must always be right or else we are inferior and therefore not worthwhile, things do fall apart.  Once this lesson has been learned, the world starts to make more sense.  Not only do you get to learn the other lessons available to you, but you also start to recognize the habits of the ego in others and when it might creep back into yourself.  This tid bit of ego recognition is the nose of the camel under the tent, once in for a little nostril the rest of the camel is short to follow and bring down the house of cards known as sadness, fear, anger, and resentment.  Usually people are mean to us and cause us pain because they are experiencing an attack of the ego which evokes the ego in us.  Once that lesson is in turn understood, the power of caustic words is lessened.  One is still, as mentioned above, obligated to disallow continued verbal or physical abuse, but it does lessen the sting.

I highly recommend Eckhart Tolle's book, "A new Earth".  He describes the ego and also something else called "Pain Body."  These are handy terms to describe a phenomena that all of us have experienced.  I found that book to be helpful in letting go of the embarrassment about my body, what my body was going to be, and fear of being seen exercising.  All of these feelings had to be let go and I am constantly re-evaluating my response to stimuli/situations in an effort to encourage continued progress in my quest for physical fitness.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Only hurting yourself

Here is the deal, I know that a person must set appropriate boundaries, I am definitely on board with that, but how do you go about effectively dealing with old hurts that happened a long time ago but are bubbling up now?  What gives?  Why does this stuff happen when you are losing weight?  Maybe its chemical?  I don't know.

I'm going to a meditation class tonight.  I'm really hoping that helps because for the past week or so I've been having what I call Dementor attacks.  I feel just despondent over stupid stuff that just doesn't matter anymore and that I thought I had forgotten about.  This old gunk just is not important or relevant at all.  I've done the work of forgiving the person who did it at the time (a very tuff bully I had for 4 years.) I've heard that you are sent the lessons that you can handle, but how was I supposed to handle that?  I had no skills at the time at all.  I just don't get how that was supposed to help me as a person.  Also, if we are supposed to learn the lesson of forgiveness I understand that one, but how do you meld both concepts, understanding the bullying individual and not rewarding the bullying behavior?  And, why would such a "lesson" be popping up now?  

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sticking points

For the past week or so I have been having flashbacks of a nasty bully I had for 4 years.  She followed me, sexually harassed me, called me hateful racial slurs (I'm native.) Generally, she was a brat for a long time, I could not avoid her, the teacher forced me to sit with her.  She encouraged boys to sexually harass me.  They exposed themselves and threatened me with bodily harm for two hours every day on the school bus.  Because I did not want to run the risk of my brother's homeschooling situation being investigated, I never did anything other than verbal response, of course that doesn't work.  But, its what I had.  At the time I was between 130-168 pounds.  The next stage in my weight loss is that pound range.  Sandra Ahten has mentioned that sometimes people get stuck in a weight because they have unfinished business with the time of their lives when they were that weight.  I thought I was over that.  In a way, I have learned that my bully was jealous, inferior, and knew it and the best thing that she could think of to do was to be mean.  I know she was sexually active at the age of 11.   She used to give her boyfriend blow jobs in the back of the school bus.  It was disgusting.  Isn't that tragic? I guess its progress to just feel pity now.  

I had to look myself in the eye this morning and tell myself that I did not have to go back there anymore and that those horrible people wouldn't bother me anymore if I just let it go.  So, as if by magic, I was down two pounds.  Weird.  And just a little spooky.

Friday, July 24, 2009

The mind is the key

Lately, the thing I have been using is the idea that "I genuinely do what is best for me."  That concept is an idea I heard on a podcast.  It seems to be working!  I turned down bread and butter (one of my favorite vices.) turned down the horrible fake voices in my head (Victory! One moment at a time!) and I turned down chocolate ice cream.  Thats a lot of successes today!  

Some of the tools in my mental arsenal include the gratitude journal, setting my daily intent, affirmations, motivational podcasts, online fitness forums, my best friend, and music.  I also take those lavender baths when I can.  I have read "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle, its helped me a great deal.  I play the piano, paint, and play fiddle.  

Life is good if you let it be so.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

One hour at a time

Thats how I'm dealing with everything right now.  I'm outlining my next hour, putting the most critical item at the top of my list and devoting all of my brain power to completing that task or series of tasks.  I think that others probably use this tactic, I'm just not aware of them.  I intend to continue to set my intent (lol!) daily.  I intend to use my gratitude journal to stay in the positive mind set.  I intend to allow myself a 10 minute break (when reasonable) each hour to reassess my progress and re-set my intention for the following hour.  In other words, I will be doing my home work "once/hour."  I will continue to have a 2 hour home work session once a week.  I think that is an incredibly effective tool and I am grateful to Scott and Joi over at motivation to move for suggesting it to me.  Thanks!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Powered by the Plateau

My year has consisted of a 5 pound weight gain and a steady plateau.  I have not been as good about the eats as I could have.  I believe that it was the little snack here and there of peanut butter cups that did me in.  I have accepted this to be true.  I have decided to let my occasional sweet tooth to go hungry.  Today's eats were very clean.  I need to avoid the nuts, they are very addictive, and I would eat them all day without a thought to the calorie or fat content.  They always prevent me from losing weight.  

I would like to slip into weight loss mode for the rest of the year.  My intent, from here forward until I have reached my goal, is to lose body fat by making my own food, eating only my own food, and moving.  

I read something the other day (perhaps from Dr. Oz) that one needs 40 minutes of cardio per day to maintain a weight loss.  Well, lately, I've not been getting that much time in my target heart rate in each cardio session.  I suspect that the combination of 30 minute workouts and the peanut butter cups (which have hydrogenated oils and create insulin resistance) are the culprit this year.  Also, I did discover that commercial chickens with their antibiotics do have an immediate effect on my waist line, calories were not significant that day.  So, it would appear that the results I had last year doing 60 minutes of jogging 3x a week, adding yoga at night, and doing 3 days of step workouts per week probably makes sense in lieu of the scientific data coming out about how to maintain your waistline.   

I really do want to be naturally slender and at my goal weight.  Now, I do want to do what is genuinely the best thing for me.  I have got to protect myself.  Its crucial.  I must be my own diet coach, diet guru, and cheerleader because in the end, who else do I have?  If not myself?

Todays activity consisted of a 35 minute jog/walk, 22 minutes of stretching, and plenty of household chores.  I ate a bowl of steel cut oatmeal for breakfast, had a very low carb berry/olive oil smoothy, and a bowl of vegetables with olive oil for lunch.  Dinner is chicken drumsticks, maybe some corn (? maybe not? its fresh) and a salad.  

Come on, say it with me, what do you want?  To be free!

Friday, July 17, 2009

I've developed an aversion to ice cream

I think I have had the last scoop of ice cream for a long time.  Yes, I do get fat on ice cream.  No, I should not eat it.  Yes, ice cream has been a problem for me my entire life (ice cream binges as a preschooler.)  I have pretty much learned to be controlled in my ice cream intake.  But, yesterday, with a scoop of mint chip, I finally became ill.  Sick to my stomache, I realized that I really could not tolerate this food stuff.  Sigh, I love ice cream.  Perhaps a little too much.  Perhaps unreasonably.  Perhaps, I just didn't want to be right if loving it was wrong.  But, now, with the recent memory of illness that continued through the night, now I have a true aversion.  I don't eat foods that hurt me.  I just don't.  I don't eat processed meats anymore either, they make me have a nasty headache for about 12 hours that seems to be caused by the nitrates.  I don't eat that stuff no matter how much I loved the hot dogs, sausages, bacon, ham or salami.  No way in hell am I bashing my own head in with a bite of food.  

What kinds of foods are you eating that give you a headache?  Caffeine?  Sweets?  Or is it too little sleep?  Or a person in your life that causes more pain than the relationship is worth?  is it too little exercise?  Is it too little water?  How are you beating yourself up with the wrong diet?  Is there a food you have an allergy to that you still eat?  Is it inappropriately powerful over you?  I've decided that I don't want to think of food as entertainment more than once a week.  Most of the time, I need it to be attractive and tasty but it doesn't have to be the sole source of entertainment for me to be happy.  Healthy, whole, clean food can be equally enticing as the commercial modified, odd foods with odd preservatives in them, with the artificial dyes and flavors, and the msg, and the hydrogenated oils.  

I'm trying to shift my thinking about food.  I want to view it as fuel.  I have read that many successful folk view it that way.  Food serves as their fuel.  They select foods based on quality as though they were selecting an octane at the fuel pump.  When you open the refrigerator, or your lunch bag, or you have to select a meal at a restaurant, what octane do you choose?

So, if I need mint, I am now completely reduced to mint tea.  I have no choice really.  I don't want to indulge in Ande's mints because of the hydrogenated oils (listed on their ingredient list.)  I'm staying away from other treats too.  I don't care for Reese's peanut butter cups anymore because the peanut flavor is weakened by the amount of sugar.  I also find the chocolate to not be well, chocolaty.  

I am working towards cleaning up my diet.  My carb count is a little higher than some would recommend.  However, its all clean as of today.  Also, as of today, I'm not eating anything that I don't cook myself.  I have had it with worrying about what was at the restaurant?  How do I really know if I had something with nitrates?  I still have to go out for fish because I can't cook that at home (family member is allergic.)  Still, I see no harm in not eating out and just using my green cooler for eats.  I just need to work on good pack lunches with low carb ingredients.  I don't do well with just chugging olive oil.  That was a bit of a gag reflex.

I made chicken drumsticks this morning with fresh rosemary and lemon juice.  They are fabulous!  I wish you were here to try them.  The rose mary is from my garden.  I have been having lemon cravings lately, and luckily thats not something I have to give up when eating in a clean manner.  I am adding it to water and enjoying it very much on meats and salads.

I am also really enjoying stir frys with Asian style vegetables, a little soy sauce, plenty of cabbage and seasoned appropriately with sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and white pepper.  The advantage to a stir fry is that it is quick, can accommodate any ingredient, and is highly nutritious, not to mention a quick meal.  I don't use the rice that most people do, I just go for extra veggies.  Sometimes I will add pork, chicken or beef, but sometimes I skip it.  I love adding canned water chestnuts and bamboo shoots.  Both have some carbohydrate content, so do be aware of that if you must watch carbs.

I've signed up for the World Wide Festival of Races.  I registered for the 5k but I will be training for the 10k.  Its just that I've already trained for the 5k and now I'm ready to train for the 10k but I don't think I will be ready to run a race at a 10k mostly out of fear and embarrassment if I have to walk.  Silly, but true.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Week 1 of July

This morning I went out for a jog/walk.  I intended to just hike, but found myself jogging to stay in my THR on the flat portions of the course.  I'm good about not jogging downhill, I get into a kind of a crouch and just walk really fast.  I heard from a friend, that jogging downhill is really bad for the knees so I don't do that.  I am trying to remember to jog with my head up, I tend to want to look at my feet which encourages poor posture.  

My weight is slowly edging downwards, .2 pounds every two days.  I am happy with that progress, it means I am not losing too fast.  Quick weight loss is not always long term weight loss, and I am in it for the long haul.    I look slightly smaller.  However, I am retaining some water because I've had a bit more salt to help me avoid dehydration due to a bout of the flu I have had over the past two weeks.  Its less important to be slightly lighter on the scale than it is to be alive.  I choose to be alive and that only happens if the body remains hydrated.

Its hot.  The hair is dirty.  I only go out for less than an hour early in the day.  I aim for a 6:30 am jog.  I am considering shifting that to an earlier call time, more like 6 am.  For some reason, I really like the feeling of the toasty sunshine on my legs when I'm jogging.  It feels so good.  In contrast, I like the cool shade on my face.  

I need to find a non-irritating sunscreen.  My hat is not cutting it.  Most sunscreens burn my skin.  But, I'm getting burned by the sun and I'm very photosensitive.

Life is good.  I am staying focused on the positive.  I am focusing on the foods I do want in my body:
1. Plenty of healthy fats from coconut oil and olive oil.
2. Plenty of good protein from chicken, eggs, pork, and beef.
3. Plenty of leafy greens, squashes, cucumber, celery, and jicama.
4. Moderate amount of whole grains, steel cut oatmeal for example.
5. Calorie cycling.  4 low calorie days per week and 3 high calorie days per week.

I am staying focused on movement:
1. Cardio 5-6 cays per week 30-60 min. in my THR
2. Yoga 4 nights per week 20-60 min.
3. Interval training 3 days per week
4. Long slow burn aka steady state 3 days per week.
5. Strength training 1x per week.