Archives for category: weight loss secrets

Eat less or exercise? Personally, I have to do both. It’s non-negotiable. If I get less exercise, still keep my caloric intake well-managed (and low) and eat healthy food, I gain weight anyway. If I get plenty of exercise, but make poor nutritional choices, I also gain weight. If I eat a poor quality diet, don’t manage my calories closely, and also don’t get sufficient exercise, I not only gain weight, I gain a lot of weight, and I pack on the pounds fast. Some medications cause me to gain weight, too; that’s something I reliably find out the hard way. So… eat less or exercise? I don’t get to choose, I’ve got to do both. 🙂

There are quite a few things in life that we sometimes get snared viewing as a choice between options, when, actually, it’s a choice to change, or not to change; all the options involving change may be required to make change occur in the direction we’d specifically like to see. Real-life doesn’t tend to negotiate with our whims.

Emotion, and the skillful management and expression of strong emotion, specifically, has some things in common here, with a twist; incremental change over time is super slow, but our emotions jump to the head of any queue, lead every moment, and arrive to every party too early. So sure, it’s reasonable, and true, for someone mid-freak out to have the recognition and understanding that their experience is based on “irresistible” internal forces beyond their immediate control; strong emotion, particularly powerful emotions like rage, frustration, and sorrow, can erupt from within us, sweeping over us, taking away our sense of control, and eventually leading to regrettable words and actions. The “I’m sorry”s begin to pile up (if you are that decent sort who regrets treating others badly). So do the rationalizations (about hormones, childhoods, provocation, circumstances…).

It’s also quite true that our behavior is a choice. Yes, all of it. Yes, pretty much all the time, every time. The first time someone lashes out with an act of violence, they might get by with “I didn’t know” or an expression of astonishment that they could be provoked to that point, but second times? Third times? Times that occur after someone – anyone – has pointed out that’s not okay? Yeah, those are choices. Yielding to strong emotion and relinquishing control over behavior is a choice (unless maybe you are profoundly mentally ill and urgently in need of inpatient treatment). Well, if that’s also true, is everyone who ever treated a loved one poorly, or punched a wall, or lashed out with horrible words deeply mentally ill and urgently in need of treatment? Some of them probably are! Most of them likely are not. That they are choosing such behaviors is still a choice, and they could choose differently, and no you can’t “make them” change, and omg – if they decide to change themselves, that is a process that can be infernally slow, fraught will failures, and varying results.

…And before we can change ourselves through our willful choices in the direction of being our best selves, we actually need to 1. be aware that we would like to be other than we are, and 2. understand that change is possible, chosen, and must be practiced. It’s a lot to hold onto. It’s a lot of work. The practice has to come ahead of the need to be changed. It’s necessary both to feel, and to practice our best behavior under the stress of an “emotional load”. We’ve got to do both. It’s work that will have to be done in the face of real-time failures, disappointed frustrated loved ones, relationships that don’t make it through the process, friendships that end because it turns out some of them were invested in what is being changed. It’s work that is continuous and ongoing. Change is a verb – and you have choices.

Another school shooting. I read about it and can’t help but wonder where so many people have gotten the idea that their anger, disappointment, frustration, or any other emotional experience, entitles them to take a life – any life. Where did that come from? How long has this toxic seed been part of our culture? Did the shooter understand this is unacceptable behavior? If he did understand that, and chose to do it anyway, where did he get the idea that this is a course of action appropriate to his emotional experience? Why do so few people understand what poison their “righteous anger” actually is? Even otherwise good-hearted people can be drawn into making the most outrageously hateful statements about the value of another life (don’t read the comments on the internet, People, I’m just saying there’s an astonishing amount of rationalized hate out there), given the opportunity to frame that other human being as a bad guy of some kind. We most commonly succumb to hate due to a lack of empathy… I don’t know how to fix that for the world, or my nation. I’m still working on it for me – one practice at a time. Changing myself is within my control; I have choices.

Time to begin again.

Weird day at work. I’m ready to move on from that.

What’s this really about? (It’s probably a metaphor)

I had a moment of aggravating conversation at one point during my day, with a relative stranger, and on a rather delicate topic – my weight. Yikes. How does a person approach someone they don’t know well at all, and with a rather mundane mixture of erroneous assumptions and internal narrative, come up with a good rationalization to open the door on the topic of weight and weight management with an irritable middle-aged fat chick on the bus?? Inquiring minds want to know, because frankly, I know me – and I would not attempt it. I must have grown some over the years. I politely listened to the litany of “have you tried”s, followed by what may very well be Amazon’s Top Ten Self-Help Books to Read in 2018, finished off with a hearty portion of “I had a friend who…”

<sigh>

  1. Mind your own business
  2. You don’t know me
  3. Damn, I’m so done with that conversation

I think what made it most distasteful (beyond the fact that I did not solicit an opinion on the subject, nor seek conversation with the individual), was the way off assumptions – beginning with the underlying assumption that all of the health concerns of someone who carries more weight than is aesthetically pleasing to another human being are therefore to do with the weight. Keep your fucking aesthetics to yourself, please. lol I’ve got my own – and trust me, I’m already hard enough on myself without additional bullshit and baggage offered up for free by a stranger who probably needs some therapy, themselves. Seriously. Damn. Move along.

There’s already a surplus of constant nagging and criticism in the world, generally. It’s not necessary, or in most cases at all helpful, to add to that steaming pile. Let it go. Don’t think a fat chick is attractive? Well, the next step is not a conversation starter like “you know, you’d be cute if…” or “I don’t mind older gals, but…” (yes, people say this shit actually out loud). If you don’t think a fat chick is attractive… walk the fuck on. It’s that simple. You don’t find someone hot? They aren’t obligated to meet that need for you, you have options in life, and suggesting they change for you needn’t be among those. You have no claim on their time or appearance, and it isn’t even a little bit appropriate to “make suggestions” for “doing something about it”. Just stop.

It got me thinking, though, on my way home, and specifically got me thinking about The Things That Work versus The Things That Do Not Work – and how subjective that is, and also how easily led we really are as creatures. Think about it; if you are content, comfortable, and healthy and someone markets thin-ness to you sufficiently repetitively with enough catchy slogans, you may quickly find yourself wondering “how to get rid of these extra pounds” (that you don’t have in the first place) in order to meet some ideal of beauty (that no one actually measures up to) or risk being a failure… in life… in work… in the bedroom. Yikes. Heavy. (lol, Yeah, I went there.) Self-help fads of all kinds are constantly pushed on us – but first, we’re made to feel inadequate and discontent, to soften us up and make us hungry to spend our money on that shiny new life being dangled out there… just out of reach. Some of that shit works… for someone. Some of it works for “many” people. Very little of it works for “most” people. I assure you, chances are, none of it works for everyone. It just doesn’t. Buuuuuut… find the thing that works for you, whatever that is, and stick with that… change happens. Just don’t get distracted by the slow rate of change, or the lack of real impact that change may (at least initially) have… because… oops! Back to square one as you (we, I, whatever) hop right back on the treadmill, cycling through self-help tips, tricks, and techniques that helped at least one other person at least once, but possibly not you, ever… Well that doesn’t sound at all productive. :-\ (I hate wasting my precious limited lifetime; I have already wasted so much.)

I end up there, too – well, I have. “Try. Fail. Begin again. Try something else. Fail. Begin again.” Over and over – forgetting that the most effective and efficient approach is to remember what works – then “Try. Fail. Begin that working thing precisely all over again and do that. Try. Fail. Begin again with that very thing that was just working until I failed myself, and do that.” This is a path to growth and change. It looks very like a darker stranger path, though, one that leads to a whole lot of endless bottomless nowhere, which is annoying because “Try. Fail. Do exactly what has never ever worked, and do it harder” over and over looks rather similar, but does not lead to change, or growth, only frustration and eventual madness. Knock that shit off. Also avoid the pitfalls of “Try. Fail. Flail wildly through all the try-able things without committing to anything or giving anything a chance to work. Begin again – but don’t give any one thing a second chance, and if something starts to work – sabotage that shit immediately” – personal experience suggests this is also not a winning strategy. lol Yep. Done those, too. Very human. My results, as a result, have varied – a lot.

I guess sorting through all the shit to try is a place to begin again. Sift out what hasn’t worked in a frank and honest way. Reflect on what has worked – and why it worked, if that is knowable. Repeat what works best – for you. Your results may vary. You are having your own experience. How is a writer (however self-help-ish-ly they write) hundreds of miles and many years removed from your experience actually going to know with any certainty what will work for you? I mean… better than you? Well…  maybe. Some stuff. Okay. I get you on that – me too. I do like data. I’ve worked hard to be as self-aware as I am, and still have a lot of work to do in that area. Adulting is fucking hard. But, once you’ve tried something, and are able to acknowledge based on experience whether it works for you or not… why repeat what doesn’t work? Seems very impractical. Although…

Some stuff just need practice. For some practices, the incremental changes over time are not recognizably easy to see. Fuck – that all just got a lot more complicated, didn’t it? Do you know yourself? Can you recognize what does work, in order to rule out what does not? Based on what data? Whose opinion? Who are you – and where do you want to get in life??

It begins so simply, so often; in practice, selected changes, desired, sought changes can be difficult. It’s the “in practice” portion of the experience that I find is the challenge… What am I practicing? Is it actually what works for me? Who decided that? If it wasn’t me – why would I trust that opinion over my own experience of myself? …And am I actually practicing?

Today, the needle moved on the scale (in the desired direction, I mean). Fucking finally. Tomorrow? Of course. I begin again. 🙂

Well shit. I begin the day with fairly grand plans for the weekend, excited about it, too. Ready for it. Yearning for it. Eager to be done with a difficult work week and eager to dive into anything at all that isn’t work. Hell, even the challenge of making a definite departure at a specific time went quite smoothly, in spite of the follow-up call I took on the drive; works questions that were somehow still not resolved… in spite of a definite sense that the issues were satisfactorily settled all around. lol Done. I am done with the work week. So done. It’ll be there for me Monday. lol

The sky seemed a homogeneous nondescript neutral gray. Not quite raining, obviously had at some point… or… maybe? Surfaces appear wet or at least somewhat damp and wet looking. Unappealing weather, not bad, not good – not inspiring. I was feeling very much that I wanted part of my weekend experience to be one of inspiration. Not feeling it. Adventure! Not feeling that either. Stillness? Contentment? Mild amusement? C’mon… what the hell, all that build up toward a great weekend and…

…I have this headache, just on the left side of my head, where something or other has been troubling me for nearly two years now, still don’t know with any certainty quite what. My acid reflux has acted up, quite probably due to unavoidable, and wholly pointless, work stress. My arthritis has flared up as temperatures drop, and I am spending my days right at the edge of what is endurable without strong Rx pain relief day-to-day. It’s hard. I do want to “just have some fun”… but…

My body seems to “get it” before my consciousness really does; I need to get some rest, take some ease, just relax. Get some real sleep. Recover a bit. Recharge – legitimately rebuild lost reserves. Not really “a party opportunity”. I adjust my thinking as the miles slip past. I review a mental to do list – what gets done, what gets postponed – what matters most? It’s not just about this moment right here, now, in spite of it also always being about this moment, right here, now, in some slightly other way – like it or not, it is also important to consider what meets my longer term needs over time. I overlook that detail, if I do, to my future detriment. I stop arguing with myself about it.

I drive, I think, I yearn for… something.

Tomorrow I begin again.

Crazy busy week last week lead into a vibrant and busy weekend that finished with a long trying drive and a quick and unexpected, thoroughly predictable, bout of stress, anxiety, and a few tears. I totally had a tantrum. Like an exhausted, overstimulated, toddler. My funk didn’t last, and by the end of the evening, last night, I was feeling relaxed and mostly merry, even though I rather carelessly (literally carelessly) left my badge to get into the office behind when I quietly crept out of my Traveling Partner’s residence to avoid waking sleeping party guests, as I prepared for the return trip to my place. I smile thinking about it; best party I’ve been to in a long time. 🙂 I’m not even irked that my morning (and departure) was anything but leisurely – and entirely coffee-free. Well. Not now. lol

Beautiful momentum.

I woke up this morning feeling busy already, the week ahead landed on my consciousness before I got out of bed. Unfortunate. I considered writing. It would have been a choice moment for writing, as a practice. I chose meditation, and housekeeping, instead, and felt decently mild-mannered and appropriately focused when I arrived at work. It didn’t really last… my head is filled buugeng patterns. lol I want to go home and practice more. 😀 Then, about half way through my morning, a quick blast of stress, and the resurrection of a personal demon. Even that didn’t last long. I got past it sufficiently to wrap up a productive workday in the usual fashion. The day began and ended rather well. The commute home was neither nauseating nor enraging (win!).

I got home still carrying some stress from earlier. Nothing weird or major (for me)(these days); money. Money damage. Money baggage. Money triggers. Money symptoms. I’d have done anything to numb those sensations and emotions, even 3-4 years ago, to ignore them, shut them out, to turn away. I don’t know exactly when my thinking changed on this, but really, it wasn’t worth fighting myself over it. I sat down and planned my 2018 budget, looked for (and found a couple) opportunities to be more efficient, more accurate, and therefore more realistic (and successful?). It felt good to finish that, to have a good plan… to be on my own side. 🙂

The stress that had lingered in the background is gone. So is most of the evening – and I don’t feel at all cheated by that. I may even feel… entertained? Satisfied, at least. That’s often the resulting emotion (for me) when I am skillful on some self-care task, satisfaction. Comfort? A certain settled safe feeling that seems to accompany being able to count on me to take care of myself. 🙂

I chuckle when I realize “plan 2018 budget” was never on my to do list… so… I add it, then I check it off. A nice finish to the day. Tomorrow, I can begin again.

Home. It’s quiet here. I’ve got my hot cup of surprisingly delicious off brand decaf right here. Did I mention the quiet? I definitely need the quiet. lol

I get home many evenings incredibly aggravated, somewhat stressed, sometimes even to the point of being angry; it’s fairly reliably shitty commute. I use it to practice Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction. Sometimes that helps. Each time that it does help, I’m taken just a bit less by surprise, and it’s just a tiny tiny bit more effective. I guess I keep practicing.

Tonight prescription strength pain relief is needed. I take it, like a proper grown up, aware of the risks, the rewards, the need to be cautious, and the need, even, to be aware. It’s the sort of thing I even keep track of, understanding that leaving it to memory is foolhardy, with my issues in the memory department. But, after a time, I begin to feel less pain. The relief is welcome; it’s been a difficult painful (pain filled) day.

…but the view was lovely…

I make a meal, healthy calories, and sit down with it undistracted for a few minutes. Self-care. Weight and fitness goals in mind. I enjoy the meal.

It is a simple evening, composed of simple pleasures, and as much mindful awareness moment to moment as I can comfortably manage. It’s easier now that I’m not pre-occupied with discomfort. I’ve no need or inclination to make it any more complicated, or fancy, or elaborate – or evening “meaningful”. Just this simple “now” is quite enough.

Packages come. Giftmas is approaching pretty quickly, and the thought of it restarts my smile, which was knocked off my face some time ago after foolishly dipping into the news of the day. Don’t. Just… yeah. Don’t read the feed. Damn. Sometimes, it’s more important to take a step back and care for ourselves, and nurture our spirits, than to be “informed”. Well… that’s an opinion, obviously. Mine. Works for me. Your results may vary.

The rest of the evening looks wonderful for some long while meditating. Later, some strength training. A shower. A book. It’s a quiet evening. I definitely need this quiet evening, tonight. 🙂 Then, tomorrow? Yes, of course – tomorrow I’ll save the world. Well…or… I can at least be the tiniest bit better, generally, as a human being, than I have been today. It’s at least a start.

I like a good beginning. 🙂