Shrinkin’ Thinkin’

Sometime at the end of 2013 and Mardi Gras 2015

Sometime at the end of 2013 and Mardi Gras 2015

So just for fun, I made one of these:

Lil bit of a difference huh? I think so. I’m not sure how much difference in weight because I have not been friends with the scale in quite a while. I’m somewhere around 40 inches lost altogether.

First and foremost I’d like to say that I found no shortcut, no quick fix, no magic pill. Boy do I wish there were a magic pill. There isn’t. I took advantage of a two for one offer at Ultimate Change fitness boot camp and a year later this is me. I get up at 5am and exercise for an hour. I’ve slowly made a few changes in my food intake, mostly focusing on learning hunger and fullness sensations. I’ve learned a few things along the way.

1) Exercise is my friend. I’ve always hated exercise. Even in elementary school I couldn’t run a mile. I never played a sport. Most times I enter a gymnasium my head seems to come in unfortunate contact with a ball. But I’ve made peace with my old enemy exercise and have learned she’s kind of a bitch at first but when you get to know her she is worth your time. I’m sleeping better than ever. I’m noticing an increase in overall ability and a decrease in stress level. And you’d be surprised what an hour of hard effort at 5:00 does to your willpower when somebody drops donuts on your desk at 10:00.

2) My body already knows what to do. If my emotions would just shut up and let her tell me. If I’m really honest, and if I slow down enough to hear it, my body lets me know how much food is enough. It’ll also tell me to pass by the cake and pick up the apple. It’ll tell me to drink water, eat wholesome stuff, and take a walk. My emotions on the other hand, they want the cake, the donuts, the cookies and ALL the wine…all in front of the TV. My intellect is currently trying to become more skilled as a mediator between the two.

3) This stuff takes time!!! Probably forever. Whoever said it only takes 30 days to make a habit does not grasp the depth of my love for frosting, casseroles, and bread. This is why I don’t weigh. There were people around me when I first started who dropped 20 pounds in a month. I became so frustrated with the scale and the lack of rapid decrease in my own weight that I just quit it. Over the past year I’ve let go of the start to finish idea. Yes there was a time when I didn’t take care of myself. Therefore I have a start date, a time I began learning how to take care of myself. However, I don’t plan to QUIT taking care of myself which eliminates the finish line. Even though I do want to reach a certain size/weight range, I’ve stopped thinking in terms of “when I’m done losing weight” and started thinking about getting better and better at taking care of my body mind and heart.

4) My health is important. One of my cousins was recently diagnosed with early diabetes. My dad is diabetic. My grandfather was. Several of my dad’s cousins are/were diabetic. (I say were because some have already left us for that special place in heaven for diabetics where Jesus makes all the cookies.) This newly diagnosed cousin is a little closer to my age. Yikes. And when the doctor found out he was in the Jeffries family, he was immediately familiar with the situation. You know it’s bad when your family has a reputation for diabetes, heart disease, and weight issues at the local clinic, when the mention of your family name elicits a knowing look from the physician. All that to point out that though vanity certainly is part of my motivation for learning to take care of myself, I definitely have bigger fish to fry. (Hehe…See what I did there?) I’m motivated by looking better, yes, but also by the idea of a possible future without insulin injections, heart surgeries, and strokes. I’m motivated by being able to do more reps than I did last week, by running a mile without stopping for the first time in my life. I’m motivated by the ability to look up at the morning or afternoon sky and enjoy being alive without dreading the sweat and shortness of breath. I’m motivated by the pleasure of getting out there and releasing my frustrations, replacing them with a nice feeling of accomplishment.

Part of living life to the fullest is learning to take care of myself lovingly and positively. It’s a long learning process for an obsessive unrealistic perfectionist like me who wants things done right and done quick. Knowing this tendency would trip me up, I didn’t set out that first month at boot camp to eventually show a before and after. I don’t like calling it that because I’m not moving toward an after, I’m just moving forward. I’m sharing now because hey, it’s cool after months of slow progress to see the visual. And also because among the chorus of quick fixes and Dr. Oz’ s latest weight loss tricks, and all the other people yelling about what diet and which exercise works, SOMEBODY needs to share the real stuff, and somebody needs to talk about self care from the premise that everyone’s already lovely and all of us could use some help taking better care of our whole beings in some way. I hope it motivates you to do somethin nice for yourself.

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Friday Feeling

Me at Ultimate Change

Me at Ultimate Change

There’s a feeling I lost.  One I forgot how to feel for a while.  The busyness of life and the feeling of overwhelm can sometimes… well… overwhelm other feelings.  Back in late February, before my birthday, I started exercising at The Ultimate Change.  One of the many benefits of regular exercise is one I didn’t expect:  The Feeling Of Accomplishment!  Every morning the class starts, and yeah, somewhere about halfway through I’m thinking I can’t do anymore or sweat any more or whatever.  Encouragement is yelled out from the front of the class “Push a little more!  You can do it!” and I somehow get through.  Before I know it, the cool down starts and a giddy feeling sneaks up on me.  I did it!  It’s over!  I feel great, want to laugh out loud, and can’t help the smile I get.  I’m actually a little bit hooked now.

Some people call this runner’s high.  I don’t even know because I would not call myself a runner by any stretch. (See what I did there?)  I think it’s a little more than that because I’ve noticed I can cultivate that feeling at other times.  At the end of a work day.  At the end of a project I dread.  At the end of the week.  More than runner’s high, I like to call it Friday Feeling.  What I’m discovering is that Friday Feeling pops up all over the place.  Most of the time I’ve just ignored it.

But lately, I’ve decided to maximize Friday Feeling.  By maximize, I mean stop.  Just stop and let myself feel the giddy feeling of “I did it!  It’s over! Yay!!!”  I guess most of the last few years I’ve let good accomplishments slip by with little more than “What next?”  By neglecting to celebrate, I cheat myself out of so much of life’s joy.

I’m doing amazing things.  So are you!  We’re raising kids, putting ideas into practice, finishing books, cleaning bathrooms, scoring great deals on toilet paper, finding the guts to try something new.  Little accomplishments happen every day and they’re miracles.  So outside the 26 inches I’ve lost (FRIDAY FEELING!!) I’ve gained a way of  recognizing and celebrating the gift of life.  Somebody Else did this, too.

“And God saw everything He had made, and behold, it was very good.”  Genesis 1:31

“..fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2

So God did this.  God celebrated the good things.  He celebrates the good things.

I’ve spent a lot of years letting perfectionism take for granted the wonderful-ness in life.  Living like Friday never comes.  Ignoring the cool reasons to celebrate because I forgot how to appreciate things, or I’m moving too fast to have time to bask in the goodness.  I’m thinking, however, if God places this on priority… perhaps I should, too.

It’s Friday, y’all!  Time to take a deep breath, a sigh of relief, a little cheer of “I did it!”  What’s giving you Friday Feeling today?

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Guess What I Did??!!

I biked to work!! Yes, that’s right friends, I put my big ol’ hundred-and-however-many pound self on a bicycle for the first time since I was about 12 years old and pedaled myself to work.

This is me, arriving at work:

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This is me, a few minutes later, all cleaned up in my professional businesswoman costume!

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I’d like to thank God, my mama and daddy, and especially my dear and wonderfully insane friend, Bex Goodwin. Bex…an accomplished bicycle commuter who rides to the ferry, crosses the Mississippi, and continues her ride to work in downtown New Orleans.  Bex, who met me for the first time in a Starbucks when I, in the midst of hair-coloring process, had walked in with bright purple goo all over my head and she still decided to be my friend.  Now that I think about it, the purple goo is probably WHY she decided to be my friend.  She loaned me her first bike, Pearl, and gave me the kick in the butt needed to do this.  Bex, my bike mom.

Yep, I looked ridiculous.  I was scared outta my mind and pictured myself being run over about a hundred times before I got to work.  But I did it. 

Guess how I’m getting home?

 

 

 

 

 

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Speaking of resolutions…

Alright.  It’s a new year and I can’t help my infatuation with the idea of a fresh start.  I love starting over every new year, I just hate failed resolutions. 

I’ve been tempted to make a weight loss resolution, but I’m not.  Honestly I’m more than frustrated with my body’s sluggish reaction to my weight loss efforts, and my own inability to “stick to it” when it comes to diet and exercise.  I’m not ready to try and fail again.

However, I read an article this morning that made me think.  The article pointed out that (as we all know) a lifestyle change is necessary to maintain weight loss.  A restrictive diet or rigorous exercise regimen will pull the pounds off but they come right back once the diet or exercise stops.  The article suggested that at some point, some introspective investigation needs to be done to discover the “why” behind one’s eating and exercising habits.  That made sense to me.  I don’t want to start another diet, but I don’t want to become a type 2 diabetic either, so it’s worth a try to think this over.

My friend, John Frady has been blogging about his weight loss, and knowing his wife, Kathy’s weight loss success, I’ve been inspired.  John’s decided to publish his daily eating choices as a way to keep himself accountable.  Admirable, but in an effort NOT to appall my readers, (though it probably would amuse you as well) I’ll spare you my dietary details.  I will, however, bare my heart instead of my stomach.

Why do I eat what I eat?  Why do I do what I do?  How did I get this relationship with food? 

I promise not to turn this into a health and weight loss blog.  I’m not going to obsess about food or fitness.  I’m not going to start eating salad with no dressing, and I probably won’t run a marathon.  But maybe my own exploration of my emotions, my habits, and my feelings about food and fitness will help someone else, and maybe me too, to discover exactly what’s going on behind those “bad” habits and maybe if we find the “why” and address that issue, well, maybe the bad habits won’t be so hard to break. 

Stay tuned, and we’ll see…

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