Saturday, March 18, 2017

Bob and Oprah

The Escape Diet Prison podcast has had 2 celebrities as points of discussion lately, here and here, and apparently they have been pretty popular.  And shockingly (no really- I am surprised) one of them was actually controversial.

People who know me in real life do understand that I am not a person who goes in for controversy.  I don't like conflict, I even get a little antsy during something that is supposed to be "fun" like a football game.  I just don't like it.  

So it was a surprise to me when I found out that MANY people messaged Anne-Sophie about our Bob Harper discussion.  Some people felt we were being unkind, thin-shaming and the like.  **needlescratchmoment**


Let's step back to the Oprah episode for a moment.  It was a very popular episode apparently- I want you to know that I have no knowledge of numbers or comments because I am not in any form an owner of the podcast.  Which is a-ok, dandy and fine with me!  I just know that was one a lot of people listened to.  We discussed ideas about whether Oprah should be trying to become something she is not, why the wealthiest woman in the US and a talented entrepreneur should try to be changing her body and most of all why she is using her popularity for financial gain.  None of us are particular Oprah fans, but we have no overt problem with her, in fact have varying degrees of admiration for her success in business, etc.  We did talk about why someone who is as successful as she is feels the need to change herself- could be construed possibly as somewhat controversial, but as far as I know there were few or no people saying we were picking on Oprah.

Fast forward to Bob Harper.  Here we discussed how different it would be (and Oprah's name was  brought up) if someone heavy would have had this heart attack, how the media and others would not have blamed genetics, how this man- as he makes his living to look a certain way as a trainer- most likely over exercises and (as Leila discussed- a man as tall as he is to only weigh what he does) this guy restricts his food.  He is not a teenager anymore(52?), people tend to put on natural weight as they age, their hormones are not the same...... There was little to no discussion in the media reports that thin at any cost might have been partially responsible for his health issues.  HIS ACTIONS MIGHT HAVE HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT!!  And we are scolded for possible thin-shaming and other more mysterious things that are not easily identifiable.  We were being mean.  Um, no.

I (and I assume we) have no bad feelings for the person that is Bob.  He is most likely a nice person, but Bob is on a bad tv show.  A tv show that fat shames others.  A tv show that starved and over-exercised contestants, one that encouraged them to eat less food than the calories they burned....  a tv show that one blogger pointed out- if the producers did this to animals they would have been shut down by animal rights activists so fast their heads would have spun. (this was paraphrasing but the spirit is the same).  How is it that its ok to in essence torture people and it is ok for our entertainment?

So it is ok that we called out Oprah but not Bob?  Why is that?  Could it be that we were destroying ideas (that are LIES )so deeply embedded in our culture that people feel threatened by it?  Were we discussing things that hit so close to home in a person's journey that they lashed out so they didn't have to do that body image work, or feel that feeling, or know that what is presented as the truth in our culture is one of the biggest fallacies in our world??  If you feel uncomfortable about this- think about why?  Oprah is heavy, a woman, a woman of color, and beloved by many.  Bob Harper is thin, a male, a white male, and is probably seen as an authority figure of some sort.  It challenges much of what we believe in our core to be correct.  That a guy who looks like he does- he cannot be held accountable for his genetics, and yet it is just fine for Oprah to "fix" the one thing that to some peoples eyes needs fixing.  That it is fine for Bob to diet and over exercise however he deems necessary to look a certain way, and yet, by the lack of response to our discussion, people feel that it is ok for Oprah to adhere to wanting to attain a certain look. STILL!!!  She STILL isn't quite right?!?! These are some of the deepest issues of our western world and it pisses people off when those "truths" are challenged. Thin privilege does not like to be questioned. And when it comes to it- how they look are not what is important about either of these two people.

We are better than this.  

Time to realize how our culture judges people- by the most shallow of requirements.  Time to really improve the quality of your life in meaningful ways- how our bodies look is not meaningful.  What is in your heart and soul, what you do to enrich your life and that of your loved ones, your service to others and what you stand for are far more deep and authentic.  Step out of your comfort zone for a moment and do that hard thing.  Believing what most people find unbelievable- that you are not  your body.  You are so much more than your shell.  You are already more than good enough.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Daffodils and waterbottles- self care and balance

Self-care and balance was the subject of the last podcast that we (Leila had to miss this one- *sadness*) recorded and it is something that I have been thinking about ever since.  I was fortunate to have a little time to listen to us while I actually went for a walk- outside!  and in the SUN today and I wanted to develop the ideas I was trying to say in this episode.

Balance in life is "possible" but what exactly is that?  What does this- in the present day's popular vernacular- even look like? I think the answer to that is an individual's idea of balance.  For me- being an optimist that I am- balance means that I am happy, that the irritations of the day leave me immediately after the situation has resolved itself, that I am happy to talk to people when I see them and I am happy to be alone when I get home as well.  I think happy is at my center of balance.

What could this look like to other people?  Could your balance mean literally that the bad times during the day are balanced by things going sort of ok- that your generally pessimistic outlook on life is balanced by a few things that don't suck?  I know people like that.  Are you an introvert and your balance in life is being largely left alone because you work in a somewhat solitary job, and you have a small family and limited social life, but enjoy being out and about in a limited fashion?  Perhaps you are fairly extroverted and you are on the phone with your friends frequently, and have a public workplace, then need to spend time with others in the evening and chit chat on text until you go to bed? What does balance mean to you?  I am not criticizing these ways of looking at life, merely thinking of people I know and trying to see from their point of view and imagining what could be a balanced life.  I, of course, only barely touched the surface of this, but the amazing differences in people would lead to different definitions of what balance is.

In our case, we were discussing the balance between real life and healing and I have to imagine that everyone processes this differently as well. I have to imagine not everyone can do this, but,  I personally went cold turkey when I began my healing and escaping from diet prison.  I quit weighing, dieting, and embracing diet culture really quickly, in literally a day.  I decided to stop and I did.  This does mean that I floundered around for quite a while, because after more than a couple decades of thinking that following diets and shrinking myself was the only way to self fulfillment, it took a lot of time and a lot of self care and body image work to change the way I saw myself.  There was not a lot of balance during the first few years of healing, there was a lot more feeling free, though.  It was outstanding to just eat what I wanted.  It took a lot longer to come to terms with the exercise component but I did.  It is so nice to really not care what I have for any given meal.  I don't care what my macros look like, don't think about if I have had more than 2 pieces of bread in a day, feel no concerns when I pick up a second cookie if it will feel good in my tummy.

Freedom gave me the space in my mind to work on my body image and my self worth.  I said in the podcast that I still have feelings that I am not doing enough, that I don't deserve to take rest time, or have down days.  (The self worth work goes on, but it is much easier to identify that there is something that needs to be turned and examined.)  So there surely was not a lot of balance during my early recovery period, there was just a lot of time given to my inner work.  I did a lot of guided meditations, I journaled, I had group and private coaching.  The meditations included visualizations and breathing work. I was religious in working on these things, doing the assignments and writing prompts from the group coaching, listening to the "tapes", finding new things to read and people to follow on social feeds.  And then I found I didn't have the NEED to listen to my morning meditation.  Didn't HAVE to journal for pages and pages every day....  that is when the balance began to happen.

I was trying to convey in the podcast that I think the balance of healing and real life happen in ebbs and flow.  We have cycles of nature, cycles of energy, and I think cycles of balance and imbalance.  I think the balance in our life happen when we can handle the things that are bringing us to our knees or making us not sleep at night or rest like a giant ball in your chest that take up all the space you usually have for patience, and breath, and love, and compassion.  When we know what authentic self-care tools we have to use and where we can go when we are in crisis.  The balance comes in knowing that we can find our way out of this and it does not involve trying to control life and people and situations and love by making ourself LOOK different or a certain way or a eat a different way because if I lose weight everything will be right again, because it is sort of magical because all the people on tv and the internet say our life will be perfect if we shrink and take up less space and become less than what we are.  whew.  No- that won't work at all, dieting won't work at all.

Self-care tools at their finest frequently don't cost anything.  They don't involve having someone do something fancy or luxurious for you.  While having the pedicure or massage or buying the shoes or the daffodils or taking that bath in the good bubbles might be momentarily amazing, these are the lesser self care practices.  These don't bring to your mind the things that affected your outlook on life from your childhood, or the friends that betrayed your, or the trauma you suffered, nor really do they help you see them from where you are living now, from your present point of view.  They don't let you really decide that the mean girl in your mind is really not speaking the truth.  The lesser self care practices don't cause the sublimation of healing happen in your mind and change your go to responses to stress.

Writing in  journal/notebook/scrap paper, meditation in whatever form works for you, movement that is healing and not punishing, breathing purposefully and rhythmically are things that are authentic forms of self care.  Moments that you find during your day- only 30 seconds or a minute- to truly give yourself positive reinforcement in some way are incredibly effective.  In my case, the water bottle filling, when I breathe slowly to relax myself is far superior to the beautiful little bouquet of daffodils I bought myself last week.  The flowers were lovely and I adore them, but they didn't quite do the trick to rescue me from my acute distress.  Coaching, visualization, time to actually relax and giving myself permission to be put aside things that just didn't need doing are what got me out of my funk.  I never could write out a sentence that said the last two weeks I have felt like a total disaster, a failure, a shipwreck and I can't sleep or relax  because.......  I kind of don't really know.  I do know that facing all the issues that were adding up and making myself stop several times a day to hold my hand on my heart and breathe into it was the thing that broke the cycle and has me back in balance.  Every time I face the demons and can bring myself back to balance without being on a diet or blaming my body for the situation brings me another day of peace.  

Take the time to find your own authentic self care and think about what balance means to you.  We are more than worth it.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Feeding our real hungers

I have had a really hard few weeks here, and fortunately for me I have tools that I can use to get me through those times.  I have really good friends that I can talk to,  I have self care practices that I know will make me feel better and thank heaven I have coaching that will help me when I know that I need more support than usual.

Self care comes in many forms

Fortunately for me, I am able to "go there"when I am asked to speak- as part of a recovery technique- as a different part of me.  Not from my brain, but from a body part or something that lives inside of me, or the younger me or the scared me, etc.  You get the picture- I am totally able to immerse myself in another reality to get at thoughts or feelings or perceptions that are holding me back or making me, frankly, feel really bad about myself.

Today I had a very effective coaching session- I know they are effective when I feel drained and exhausted, though peaceful afterwards- that helped me identify what my stressors are at this point in time.  Funny thing, when you no longer use food and dieting to sublimate your internal problems, they like to bubble up to the surface like lava from a volcano.  Sometimes maybe not that dramatic, but sometimes it is.

And it really is that way- I have no diet to keep my mind occupied, no calorie counting to be preoccupied with, hours of exercise that would be distracting me from the issues at hand.  I may also be less adept at rolling with the crap that life throws at me (ahem, we will just pretend that age has nothing to do with it) for one reason or another.   It could be I am overwhelmed- see the next post that will be coming out soon- or it could be that I am not honoring my hungers.

I am definitely not talking about my food hunger, because seriously, I don't mess with that anymore.  If I am hungry I figure out what I want and have it.  I am talking about my other hungers....  My needs for creativity, for rest, for purposefully meeting my own needs.  And that has been neglected a bit lately.

I have become overwhelmed with feelings of literally running just ahead of a beast that wants to envelop me in its grasp.  At work I zoom from one task to another, from one student to another, from one building to another- all the while feeling like I am not serving any of them to my ability.  I never feel like I am doing enough. After work I go to the stage and do play things, and again, I never feel like we are getting enough done.   At home, I sit in paralysis.  Literally I, some nights, plop on the couch and barely get up.

I have been really feeling the need to do art- I can picture things that I want to create in my head. I am absolutely itching to oil paint again, I need to get my hands into subject matter and media that I want to do, not what I want my kids at school to do.  When you are an art teacher you rarely do your own work because you just don't have the time when you are teaching and you do not have the will when you are home.  But the feeling is there- I need to honor my need for creativity soon.  I need to purposefully and intentionally walk outside for a little while every day for my own sanity.  I need to let myself rest when I feel I need it.  And I really need to find a way to be in the moment, in my body and not in my head through out the day.

These things are my self care, my genuine modes of providing myself with the things I need to be able to be my best self.  I know I need them to do my best at my life's work.  I have bought myself daffodils, I had a pedicure, I made some brownies- all of which make me happy and brighten my day, but they are not the soul satisfying things that I need to be better.  Creativity energizes me, walking calms me and rest restores my mind.  I will be honoring my true needs- I know that I need to satisfy these hungers as much as I need to satisfy my students', friend's and family's needs. Or more.

Controlling my body's size and shape will not help fill these needs.  Restricting or bingeing on food will not truly make me feel like a whole person again.... Honoring my true needs is the most authentic thing I can do- I am more than worth it.  And so are you.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

I didn't recover right....

I just finished recording a magnificent podcast with Anne-Sophie and Leila.  This coming week is National Eating Disorders awareness week, and we all shared our stories.  When the podcast goes live I will try to remember to link it up here.  The podcast is UP!!

Both Leila and Anne-Sophie had diagnosed eating disorders and were in official treatments for them. They had some serious issues and I am one of the most grateful people in the world that their treatment has brought them into my life.  They went through a lot of seriously dangerous - health-wise- times in their lives and fortunately found the places, people and techniques to overcome and continue to recover from these illnesses.

My story is different than theirs, as I had no official diagnosis.  I want it to be known that I neither think this is better or worse- it is just different.  This is a huge moment of self realization #1  for me this week.

When I was at the beginning of my search for another way to live other than dieting, I didn't feel worthy.  Even though I was thin enough to fit into the accepted social standards of "she looks good" I didn't feel that I was thin enough.  Though I had extremely disordered eating- to the point of cutting my calories to the point that my exercise zeroed out my intake for the day and I thought that was  not only ok, but admirable- I didn't think I did it well enough.  When I began to recover from this, through a life coaching program that had me writing my way through the different aspects of my life- I didn't think I was "sick enough" to spend the money to get through it and recover.

And now, even though I don't believe it, there are some who probably believe i didn't recover right.  And maybe juuuuuusssssst a tiny bit of myself may have believed that for a moment, too.  (HMOSR #2)

Since there is still the underlying message in society that being thinner is inherently better than being heavier, it seems to my warped-up mind that ultimately you should be able to eat what you want, not restrict and stay on the lighter side.  That, if you are honoring your body, the least your body can do is pay attention to all the ads and beauty sites and become or stay visually in alignment with what they are showing.  That you need to have visible muscles to be strong. That if you gain weight and no longer look like a 12 year old, and if not,  you have some how failed.  blah blah blah..... bullshit.

This interesting bit of news occurred to me during the podcast and I quickly wanted to call myself out on said bullshit.

I know that I have recovered right.  I recovered right because I can have a half of a pb sandwich and a brownie for breakfast and it was good and I didn't even think about it.  I can choose to skip the gym and a long walk this weekend because I need down time and it is ok.  I can immerse myself in another good book instead of "accomplishing something" because it is what I need to do.  Debi has recovered in her own unique Debi way.

And most important is that I KNOW I needed TO recover.  It doesn't matter if I had a diagnosis, because I was trying to alter my body in unnecessary ways: by restricting my food and viewing myself as good or bad on any given day or in any given moment based on what I have eaten,  to choose forms of movement  **or not moving** that are right and good for me regardless of the should that are swirling in my head, or to participate in activities that have nothing to do with my exterior body.  I am good enough to make my life better by concentrating on friends, family and activities that give me true and honest joy.  Not because they are subtracting something from my body, but because they are adding things to my actual life.

And damn it, I am good enough to do that.  And so are all of us!  You do you- you are entitled- and you are good enough to recover.

Sunday, February 12, 2017


I woke up quite innocently today, sort of ready for whatever was going to come.  I had tentative plans to go to the gym, probably walk and putter around and something in the house that wouldn't happen during the work week because of pure exhaustion.  One step outside informed me that I most likely won't walk, as it is ridiculously windy and it just won't be that much fun.

So off I go to the gym, and I start off with a fast bike sprint to warm up my incredibly sore hamstrings from yesterday's session.  I found myself trying to get to a particular time/distance combo for no other reason than competitiveness with myself....  As I was pedaling like a mad woman I started thinking about the post I wrote yesterday and also some other things that had been said in our podcast and another one that I listen to as well.  I know it was Anne-Sophie who said we are  in different places in our recovery all the time.  We are not going to be finished- something to that effect.  And as I am finishing up the first sprint I thought about how I was going to run over to my phone and record the stats before I forget them.  It suddenly seemed so wrong and inauthentic.

I have given up using my diet app for well over 3 years- it took me a long time to delete it from my phone, but I did.  The exercise app I have kept because "I want to keep track of my adventures".  Actually I am going to keep the app for my adventures- mostly to see what I did when and a few accompanying photos, but I realized today that going up to the gym and working out is not an adventure.  Nor do I need to keep track of what I have done when, because I know darn well what I have done.  

Earlier in the morning, I had opened today's journaling prompt from Anne-Sophie: it was titled "Release".  I haven't actually written about anything yet (lol, well I guess I am now!) but I knew I could cobble something together about things I may need to release from the last 3 weeks of journaling---  (If this sounds like something for you--------- go to this link------->  journaling prompts  I get absolutely nothing for this shout out, and I don't need it. It is an amazing program- and definitely will be worth every penny.)  So release was in my mind today.

As I was working out, the idea about not entering my weightlifting into the app came up again and again, and I realize that I finally do NOT NEED TO DO THIS any more.  I have divested myself of another part of my orthorexia, and I can't believe how good it feels, and also slightly scary.  My one thought was- what about all my fitness friends on Runkeeper??  Then I understood- those people aren't my actual friends.  I don't even know them. This is not a valid reason for continuing to passively be aware of the calories that I burn and the amount of exercise that I am getting.  I do not need to quantify it at all.

So, I get home and there on the Escape Diet Prison Page, as most of you know- was "Sensual Sunday" and the message today is to think less about exercise and more about moving.  Seriously I was so uplifted and validated by the universe throwing this at me along with the other things.  I have for the most part dropped the "I have to exercise *insert a number* of minutes or calories each week, but I had a little snippet of an idea because of the app.  I definitely have dropped all mind numbing exercise like the treadmill and the godforsaken elliptical (apologies to fans of these machines, but I just can't with them).  I do hop on the exercise bike because I plan to get on my bike as early in the spring as I can, because I like it! I like to bike, I love to hike and walk, I adore kayaking and weight-lifting.  These are activities I do not have to track, they are things I love to do.  If I go somewhere new- I am talking to you Rocky Mountains- I can use the app for seeing how far we went on what day and take a few photos.  But I am done tracking my walks and my weightlifting.  wow.

This is huge for me.

So back to the original topic- release.  I was primed to release another part of my disordered eating and exercising.  I have been doing this for over 3 years now, and I really did think I was done.  Just a few thoughts to realign-  nothing much.  Nothing to see here any more.  Like usual, I was so wrong. I am releasing the hold that exercise tracking had on me.  I am releasing the idea of needing to burn calories every day.  I am releasing the fact that when I work out, the work out counts in a way that is meaningful for me, even when I don't know how many calories I am in fact burning- what counts is that I am getting my body ready for life's adventures.  My weight doesn't matter, it will not keep me from embracing my life, conquering my fears and finding my joy.

I hope you can find a little thing that needs releasing today too.  We are all more than good enough to live without those things- throw them up to the wind and out of your life.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

It always comes back to the food

Hello everyone!

I just got done with a walk and it was just wonderful to be outside- clouds or no clouds.  No photos today, but thats ok- I have a lot left from last weekend to edit anyway.

When I walk, I listen sometimes to music, but much of the time to podcasts.  It all depends on my mood, sometimes I have to not think about diet recovery and stuff like that, but on Podcast recording day my synapses are fired up and I want to listen.  I queued up the last episode of Escape Diet Prison, as I was not there (see above reference to last weekend!!  :) ) and began my walk.  Leila and Anne-Sophie had such a good conversation and I was inspired to get my walk done and get myself home to write about it.

The particular part that caught my attention was when Leila said her nutritionist told her that her eating disorder had evolved and was saying something different.  This rang so true to me.

I have found in my life lately I have been a bit down- you will hear about it a little on the podcast that we recorded today.  I chalked it up to winter-seasonal-lack-of-light-and-wishing-for-summer-sunshine (yes this is a thing, I say so).  I have been pretty unmotivated and out of sorts, I internalized all of the things bothering me and it has manifested itself in some weird little habits and tics in my daily life.  I have chewed the heck out of my cuticles, jingle my Island of Capri bell necklace incessantly, fiddle with my sunshine ring and even have rubbed a couple little sore spots just under my hairline.  At night I had been coming home, throwing everything in a pile and do almost nothing except play stupid games online and when I found I wasn't sleeping, I made myself read to relax. I had to force myself to be active at all, and I just was blah.

I also was eating with no real rhyme or reason.  I would eat to the point of uncomfortable fullness, compulsively eat whatever food that I saw or thought of- even if I KNEW that it would make me feel sick (and I am really good at reading my body and knowing if something will make me feel good or not). Generally, I was thinking that if I was denying myself something, I was restricting and I should "NEVER" do that.  And I won't enter into that rabbit hole ever again.  However, there was something different about this.

Something was off and wrong.  I realize, though, I didn't and don't have a diagnosed eating disorder, I definitely had disordered eating/orthorexia.  Definitely.  And as Leila put it,  and I am putting into my own words- my little ex-bestfriend was chatting to me in a different voice.  Disordered eating showed up in disguise.  It was pulling some strings and taking advantage of my slight depression and has triggered a bunch of behaviors that had been long gone.  I was eating in ways that didn't serve me at all.

Recovery from any sort of condition- mental, physical, emotional requires time and healing.  And if you are at all like me, you are an impatient sort who wants to be better now, damn it.  I didn't really understand that even if I had mostly recovered, there are always going to be a few steps back at times.  I don't like steps back- they bother me.  (this is called the head in the sand syndrome, lol)

As they discussed on the podcast, when you take away the thrills, time, and attention that chronic dieting uses and gives you- man, you have to figure out something to replace it.  For me, I have to find a self soothing method that is quick easy and always available.  I can understand how a couple of my students end up twirling their hair and giving themselves little bald spots.  I am about 3 cloudy days from becoming that myself- well not now because I have identified the issue and now I will deal with it.

When you are removing yourself from dieting you do indeed need to figure out things that will take up some time.  Because you will have a lot more time when you aren't cooking, and planning and counting calories and hiding from your troubles by doing all those things.  I am not sure what I am going to do- but I need to figure something out.

I know that in a more long term way, photography gives me a lot of the thrills and fills my need to constantly learn more and more.  That is definitely something that dieting fulfilled- my desire to constantly learn new things.  I have also begun reading a lot again- I have read more books in the last 3 years than I did in the previous 10- because I wasn't either depressed because I couldn't lose weight, or because I was so busy losing it.  I also am planning a few truly scary adventures- which is the most fulfilling way to tick several boxes for me.  I truly love the anticipation of events almost as much as the actual activity.

Fear of leaving diet culture is fear of change- stepping out of the familiar into the unknown.  But, do you want to get to the end of your life having spent the whole thing dieting and hating  yourself?  Embrace your fear and live your life.  Experiment and find your right adventure.  You are more than capable and more than good enough.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Exercise is the hard part- for me

Lest y'all think that I am off the struggle bus completely, in light of recent rants and opinions that I have espoused, I am not.  I do manage to get through the day pretty happy with life in general.  Of course everyday has its irritations but as a rule, I do not fuss about my internal workings.

The last several weeks I have not been myself exactly.  I really have been sort of irritable and at times short and more than a little down.  We are all entitled to these out of the ordinary feelings, as human are an unpredictable and sometimes unstable sort.  I just had a super duper coaching call today that helped me discover a lot- a lotta, lot of things that I realize were coloring my outlook and bringing me down.  Coaching calls are what keep me growing and realizing how many things that I hear myself thinking are skewed, off-base or simply untrue. Thoughts are really messed up sometimes.

One of the main things that I continually try to make peace with and find true freedom in is my activity and exercise.  The thing is that I was identified in my childhood as the reader of the family.  I really preferred to just be reading thank you very much.  So therefore when my more active sister came along, she was deemed the athletic one- and the boys- well "boys will be boys".  She could do the cartwheels and the flips and all that stuff- which is cool.  They all dragged me unwillingly into baseball games.... So, when one is labeled something like that one tends to believe it.

When I hit college I discovered (notice how we skipped the horror of high school gym??  I will say I sort of loved doing gymnastics- the easy stuff as I sucked at it, and tennis which I didn't suck at) that I loved doing dance aerobics.  I found a class - which was shocking- when I moved to the northwoods after I got married, and did different forms of it for years.  Combine that and walking, and that is what I did, sporadically, until about the time I turned 50.

During my time of dieting with a capital D, I was fortunate enough to have a very nice little gym open up in our time, and I bought into the gym culture big time.  I felt included and loved and I definitely was told I was good at weight lifting- which was a shocker!!  I have never been good at anything athletic - I was the reader, remember??  But as I did with the dieting, I took it to the extreme, to a place where I was basically doing nothing with my life except cooking, eating, making food, thinking about food, planning my food and exercising- and I slept a few hours a day.  I rarely took a rest day, and I worked out up to 4 hours on some days.

One of my biggest difficulties has been finding balance in my exercise.  Stopping dieting and weighing myself was relatively easy.  Dialing back my exercise obsession proved to be much harder.  One really good thing that happened when I was on the diet thing was that I found myself and my joys.  I found my courage and I have had many experiences that scared me to DEATH  that have made me what I am today. Turns out I sort of like being scared on my adventures.  I do not regret my past, but I am very glad to not be restricting and overexercising myself to injury and exhaustion.

So my goal- my eye on the prize- has become moving and doing things that give me joy, give me pleasure and support my adventures.  I became an adventurer and  am doing things that I never considered doing before.  I need to be strong to have my particular flavor of adventures. But finding balance and peace took a long time and then there were the continued notices from the universe that I am not in charge of everything.  I wrote in my main blog** about my broken elbows that really turned my life into something different.  With that one fall, I quit over-exercising.  I couldn't any more. And my mind was apparently relieved.

One of the things that bothered me over the last few weeks was the fact that I had a HEAVY mirror fall on my foot and I am pretty sure that my toe was broken- before Thanksgiving.  My toe stayed and indeed stays a bit sore even now, a long time.  It bummed me out- that and the ridiculous weather of either way below zero or then the crazy slippery roads that happened from the big thaw we had- kept me off the road for anything more than only a 2 mile walk once in a while.  I have the need to be outside and take pictures and walk and find my peace and my joy.  It is definitely a therapy and a meditation.

It made me question if I was still that person who could go on adventures and be strong and able to enjoy my life as I want to live it.  Thanks to my coaching, I know I will be ready to do the next thing.  I KNOW I will be heading out into the kayak early in the spring with my camera- go hiking on big hills again, and generally be who I want to be.  Sometimes I need to be reminded that I actually do know what I am doing and I can trust myself, in spite of the voices in my head.

The key to my sanity is doing what I enjoy- I love to walk, kayak, lift, hike, bike...... fun stuff like that.  I should get a tennis racket and a partner- I actually forgot how much I liked doing that!  What I hate doing and for the most part is avoided- ellipticals and treadmills (running in any form)  and stationary bikes (though I do the stationary bike to train for real bike riding- though it is deadly boring.  I am looking for someone to hire to talk me through that 30 min. twice a week- any takers?) Why should I do an activity that I detest?  What is the point of that?  I would rather go for a short walk in nasty weather than spend an hour on a machine looking at a wall.

I am not exercising to change my body's look- I am exercising to make my life easier to get through every day.  I can lift the 50lb clay boxes, the 50 lb horse feed bags, lift my grandkids, do my gardening, kayak for  hours, climb ever mountain.....  you get the picture.  I don't do it to fit into the image of what we see on TV or movies or ads or anything else.  It took some time to get here, but here I am and I am happy.

Don't let anyone- no trainer or tv personality or seller of snake oil or unpleasant exercise programs tell you what is right for you- you actually know.  You know deep inside, when you are not kidding yourself, what makes you feel more than good enough.

Peas and carrots.  :)

**This is the first post of my elbow injuries, you can see a slow awakening of reality in this and the following 15 or so posts.