Spiritual Baby Steps

"Doing" spirituality in the real world

Archive for the month “February, 2012”

What I’m learning about me…

a) I don’t like diets.

b) Diets make me feel like a failure.

c) I really dislike it when other people are better at something than me.

In general, I think of myself as a pretty easy-going person. I could tell though when I started playing this game that my competitive edges were starting to stick out a bit. Then we started tallying our points and our scorekeeper sent out spreadsheets and graphs with a comparison of our points and the various team rankings. Yikes! My competitive edge went into overdrive and I did not like it… I became my own worst drill sergeant. So… the second week, just to recap, I did well on points but I was pretty miserable. One thing that struck clearly… I don’t like being told that I can’t have something. I could feel my visceral reaction when my daughter was asking people if they wanted thin mints and when she got to me she said, “Oh Mommy… right… you can’t have these.”  Mama say what??? I’ll tell you what… I see a BOX of thin mints in my near future!

Yesterday one of my teammates sent out an email asking who might want to be scorekeeper for the next Game on. I had a HUH? moment.  I was so confused. I was barely managing to get through this 4 week session and she was already talking about the next round. I literally wanted to crawl through the computer and smack her (Sorry, Carol, if you’re reading this, but it’s true!) It made me wonder… what makes some people respond so well to peer pressure and game playing, while others do not. Or is it just that I’m really bad at this game so I don’t like it? I’m certainly not even entertaining the idea of a round 2. Regardless of weight lost… which has been only a couple of pounds, I have no intention of putting myself through the constant vigilance of paying attention to when I eat, how I eat, what kind of fat, how many hours ago, how many hours til I have to eat again… too much obsession with food! I can do a little planning, but this is extreme.

As I finish out my final week, I’m starting to think about what I’ll be able to carry on with me outside of the game environment. I know I will be drinking more water and eating more fruits and vegetables. I’m definitely sticking with the whole grain bread… It is so much tastier and more fulfilling than white bread! I already walk regularly, but I’ve never really incorporated the resistance training piece before. I like the idea of doing weights and some old-fashioned calisthenics on the days I don’t walk. I’m pretty sure I won’t be sticking to the eating pattern… it might be healthier to eat 5 smeals (my word for the little mini meals you eat on this plan) a day… but it is so utterly inconvenient!

Here’s what I know for sure (to steal a little Oprah moment)… I know that I am not what I eat, or how I look in any given moment. To love and accept myself as I am is the first step toward wholeness. Does that mean I throw away the rules and eat like a glutton? Of course not… that would not be loving myself. Showing up… paying attention… accepting… loving… forgiving… and taking the next step forward. These are the things that make for a good day.

“When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.”  Buddha

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Am I focusing on the positive here?

Well, I did manage to make it through week 2 of the Game On! diet. It was rough, I won’t lie. I actually lost 2 pounds this week, but I was pretty crabby about the whole thing. I was feeling left out of meals, experienced lots of cravings and seemed to be obsessing about food. Is this the effect we’re going for? I’m not so sure. I don’t like being obsessed about food, or the number on the scale, or the weight of my food! However… I did make some pretty healthy choices and I did manage to lose 2 pounds.  So… what do I make of it all?

Well, part of me feels like this is really lots of work. I have to prepare my meals ahead of time and I have to constantly monitor the clock to make sure I’m not going longer than 4 hours between meals, and that I don’t end up needing to eat two more “smeals” at 9pm at night. I am often making separate meals for myself and my family… or if my husband cooks, cooking my own meal as well. Part of me just wants to make it easy and eat a piece of whole grain toast, low-fat cottage cheese and banana for every meal. I guess any time you’re doing something restrictive or different, it’s easy to feel deprived and want to rebel.

I was actually having a conversation with friends today about the impact of focusing on the positive instead of the negative. When we want to make a change, or, as is more often the case, want someone else to make a change… a proven effective strategy is to focus on what you want more of… focus on the positive. Our natural tendency is to focus on what we want to change, what is wrong, what we want to be different. I’ve come to believe over time that what we focus on, we get more of. As hard as this is to actually implement… to focus on the good points instead of what we want to change, it can be extremely effective. I started thinking about how I could apply this principle to my Game On! diet. What’s working? What am I doing right?

I’m sleeping more. I’m drinking lots of water and I’ve completely given up diet soda (apparently it’s bad for you). I’m drinking less wine and have all but given up chai tea lattes (1 grande per week is basically giving it up in my book!). I’m eating whole grain bread and more fruits and vegetables than I have in years. I’m doing some kind of exercise for at least 30 minutes (often much longer) every day. That’s a lot of good stuff. How can I shift my feelings away from deprivation and focusing on where I’m falling short to abundance and what’s working well? Easier said than done? We’ll see… I’m going to give it a go this week and see how often I can shift my mood to a positive place by focusing on how great I’m doing. Do you think it will make it easier? I hope so!

What changes are you trying to make these days? Or what changes are you wishing you could help foster in others? How can you use focusing on the positive aspects to help propel the changes you desire? Go ahead… try it out and let me know what happens!

 

The Good, the Bad… and the rest of the week

So… it was an interesting week – week one on the Game On! diet. I’ll admit up front that I’ve never thought of myself as someone who could stick to a diet. I don’t do well with lots of restrictive rules… does anyone? If you tell me I can’t do something… well… is that a challenge?

The week actually started off pretty well… I was following all the guidelines… 5 smeals, 3 liters of water, 30 minutes of exercise and 7 hours of sleep. Smeals, by the way, are the name I’ve given to the food that is eaten every few hours 5x/day on this plan. It’s not a usual snack – I tend to think of snacks as one food – like an apple… or Doritos! It’s also not the typical meal… which is usually much bigger and much more processed than anything that qualifies in this plan. A small amount of complex carb, lean protein and healthy fat = a smeal. Anyway, I had started off pretty well. Then Friday rolled around. You get one day off with this diet – and Friday was my day. I found myself wanting to go out and splurge. I maintained pretty well, but I definitely noticed the defiant part of me that wanted to just go off the deep end.

I had girlfriends over on Friday night and ended up having more wine than is allowed… even on your day off. SO… I had to take some negative points for that. But over the weekend I put in some extra long exercise sessions and felt pretty good about the whole thing.

Then… duh… duh… duh… I got on the scale yesterday morning. The deal is that you can weigh yourself once per day… but if you weigh yourself more than that, you have to take penalty points. The idea being, that if you become obsessed with the scale, well, that’s not good. The reality for me is that I don’t weigh myself regularly, and I hadn’t weighed myself during the week. Then, on Monday morning when I woke up, I forgot to weigh myself first thing. I had my smeal and then remembered to weigh. It was still pretty much morning and I really didn’t think my one piece of toast with cottage cheese and banana was going to make much of a difference. I got on the scale and I hadn’t lost a pound.

Now… my rationale mind was going on about the fact that it wasn’t first thing in the morning, but there was another side of me… and a not-so-very-nice-side, I might add… that was very upset. I was at once frustrated, humiliated and angry. WOW. I’m embarrassed to say that it effected my whole day. I had big plans for Monday, including writing this blog!!, and at the end of the day, I’m sad to say, most of it didn’t happen. I cleaned… I know I’m not the only one who finds solace in sponges and rags… and cleaning the crap out of something when you need to release some energy!

So, here’s what my conscious mind is finding fascinating. As much as I can intellectually talk about what’s going on and why I might be having certain reactions, I’m still having those reactions! Where does logical thinking coincide with action? Why am I so concerned about following the rules of this game, when it’s really my health that should be the greatest motivator of all, right?  Regardless of whether or not I lost weight, I made a ton of really healthy decisions last week, and I should be really proud of those actions. But… I wasn’t. Well… I was… but I really cared about the weight. And the extra points I lost because I didn’t lose 1% of my weight that week.

This whole scenario got me thinking… I work in healthcare and I generally tell people not to go on diets. (I know… ironic!) The thing is, when we just tell people to eat healthy carbs, lean protein and good fats… well, it’s boring! Exercise 30 minutes most days of the week… yeah – it’s rare to find a person who hasn’t heard that health advice before… but few who are actually doing it. Maybe we need to start looking at the factors that make this game intriguing to people… and that make people engage in the challenge. When we look at healthcare, maybe it’s a little bit about what to do… but even more importantly how we engage people in making those choices every day.

By the way… I decided to weigh myself this morning very first thing… and I was down 3 pounds!! Was it the smeal? Or maybe it just took time to kick in? Either way, I guess what matters is the everyday choices and the work … and if you’re patient… the results will follow.

Challenges are a Good Thing!

OK… two things this week… and I’ve got to hurry because I’m on a deadline to go to sleep by a certain time… say what? yes, you heard me right, after years of late night computer time, I suddenly have a bedtime of 10pm!

First off… check out the amazing photo on my blog this week… I actually know this guy! Ken Hubbell… childhood friend and kick-ass photographer! He’s agreed to let me post some of his breath-taking photos on my blog. At some point, hopefully very soon, I’ll share information on how you can purchase these photos for yourself.

Finally, and I only have about 20 minutes left to properly convey the totality of my situation, I have taken on a challenge that I hope will not do me in. I do believe, however, that it may influence my ability to write witty, intelligent posts that are longer than two sentences.

Have you hear of the Game On! diet? People at my work started a game in January, and let me just admit for a moment that I scoffed at the idea. I laughed off the celery sticks and cucumber slices… I rolled my eyes at the sudden interest in walking and the crowds forming at the water cooler… not to “chat” mind-you… but to actually fill up their water jugs!
Well… needless to say… as is often the case when something seems like a true challenge… I decided to join in the “fun!” I started today… and it was definitely a shift in my usual routine. NO white flour? I didn’t get a chance to go to the grocery store over the weekend because our crazy life (yes, I know, it’s not very spiritual, but I’m totally blaming my kids for the craziness of my everyday life!). So… today rolls around and I’m scrounging through our cupboards for whole wheat anything! Luckily, I managed to get by until I could get to the grocery store. Phew!

It will be interesting to see how things go for the next 4 weeks (the duration of the game). In order to earn points every day, I will need to eat 5 small meals (including lean protean, whole wheat carb and good fat – plus fruit and veggie at minimum 2 meals), drink 2.5 liters of water (that’s a lot, just in case you were wondering), exercise 30 minutes and get at least 7 hours of sleep. I’ve also committed to practicing Reiki 15 minutes and giving up multi-tasking while I eat (which is now even harder because I’m eating 5x/day now!) I get one meal and one day off per week. The good news is that this is a team-based game and I expect to offer and receive a ton of support throughout! Thank goodness!

I believe that any time you decide to take on a challenge in life,  it’s an opportunity to learn a great deal about yourself. I already know that I can be very flexible and easy-going… and at the same time, I do have a competitive side. I’ll be paying very close attention to what pushes my buttons… it will be interesting to see what is harder than I thought it would be… what is easier… and where I really struggle to comply. I can already tell, just from day one, that the “give up” habit I chose, not to multi-task while I eat, will be a true challenge! Initially I was thinking of the fact that I often read while I’m eating. Little did I know… that was just the icing on the cake (OH… not a good analogy right now!). Today… day ONE… I had to stop myself from reading, paying online bills, making food for the kids, feeding the dog, folding clothes, tracking my points for the game, rubbing my daughter’s back, prepping for a presentation I have to do on Wednesday… and that’s just what I can remember at this moment! I’m proud to say that I was able to maintain focus… but it’s only day ONE! Yikes.

I invite you to join me for the next four weeks. It should be, if nothing else, interesting. I’m sure I’ve left some things out. Consider checking out the details online. http://www.thegameondiet.com/ I’ve got to go to bed now… I’ll try to jot down the salient learnings… or at least the funniest moments… during the next week and report back.  What habits are you trying to stick to as we start 2012? Has it been a healthy year for you so far?  Do tell!!

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