Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Becoming Second Nature

I've admitted that I was fairly insane when it came to dieting and weight loss up until December of last year, when I realized how far from loving myself I had really ended up. And not only loving myself, but loving those around me, whom I claimed to love fully and unconditionally.

Now that I'm seeing clearly, and have regained sanity in this area, I continue to be amazed by how easy it it is to intuitively handle situations which used to baffle me. (For those of you in recovery, you'll recognize that phrase. Not a coincidence.)

Back during my crazy days, there were situations which really used to throw me completely into a carb-laden tailspin - vacations, holidays, birthdays, road trips, weekends, evenings, illness, celebrations...

I remember a trainer barking at me in frustration that if I was going to keep going off the rails every time I celebrated a birthday in my house, he was going to forbid it. (That didn't go over well with me, as you can imagine.)

The first couple months of quarantine, I didn't face much in the way of temptation. On Easter, I indulged in Easter candy (nothing was off limits, because I wasn't dieting) and was curiously disgusted at how the sugar caused me to go unconscious. I didn't like that and I didn't want it to happen anymore, so I sat down and wrote a list of the things that would comprise my new abstinence:

Safe sweeteners - maple syrup, honey, coconut sugar, raw turbinado, fruit juice

Whole grains, or Dave’s killer bread

No fast food or junk food

3 liters of water a day

5 servings of fruits and veggies a day

3 servings of protein

NO DIETING



This is when I began baking - sweet potato pecan pie, blueberry pie, cake, cookies and brownies from scratch. I noticed that when I cooked from a mix, even if it was branded "organic," I had some version of the same experience, where the food called to me from the kitchen, trying to convince me to have it at breakfast, lunch and dinner. And maybe a little more even later at night. When I cooked from scratch, that didn't happen. In fact, I could walk by the thing multiple times a day and maybe not have any of it at all. 


As the months progressed, I became more willing to look at my calories and macros, and eventually became willing to make sure the calories were coming from healthy foods.


When we realized we were going to have to take a road trip to take my 17 year old to complete a standardized test, I started to get really nervous. So many times, a vacation or road trip had completely derailed my progress. I can remember going to Disneyworld with the best of intentions, journaling about taking my healthy snacks into the park on days 1 and 2, and about eating everything in sight by day 7 - gaining the regular 8-10 pounds by the end of the trip. (Not exaggerating.)


Granted, this trip was only an overnight stay, but the drive was 6.5 hours. I could do a lot of damage in 6.5 hours with snacks bought a roadside gas station. I planned out both days, but that didn't mean anything. I'd done that before.


My day started as any other - two glasses of lemon water, a green drink and coffee. Before we left, I made my planned smoothie with an extra scoop of protein to keep me sated as long as possible. To my pleasant surprise, it kept me satisfied until we pulled into the hotel at just before 5 pm. I felt into what I wanted and ordered it, then plugged it in to LoseIt.com. You can imagine my glee when I realized that my percentages were nearly perfect and my calories too! 


I texted Mal to say:


"It was crazy because I didn’t stop for lunch - I had made myself a high protein shake before we left and then when we got here, I ordered what I wanted and plugged it in - not going crazy but not depriving myself - and voila! Is it possible this is becoming second nature??"



Her reply:


"That’s AMAZING!! You’ve come a long way and it’s so awesome. Now you KNOW you’re capable of this and I can tell it’s given you a lot of confidence."


I have come a long way. And it's not just lip service - I can and do trust myself. During this quarantine, I've enjoyed Mother's Day, my birthday, my husband's birthday, Father's Day, July 4 and a road trip, and not only have I not gained any weight, I've lost weight! And more than that, I'm sane and peaceful. 


God's got this, and so do I!

Monday, July 6, 2020

In Case You Were Wondering...

I lost .8 pounds this week, and that’s with the arrival of good old Aunt Flow.

I'm in the middle of the toughest part of the month, battling cravings for chocolate and fat, and just for today, I'm doing pretty well with it. Tomorrow, I go back to working out in person with Mal, and I'm sure that will help shock my body out of any plateau it might be in thanks to my stupid period.

Truthfully, this is just something I've always had to endure and overcome - the impatience of dealing with my body holding onto weight during this time of the month. I really look forward to when my trust in the process has deepened even more, and I can relax in the knowing that I'm taking really good care of my body, and following good direction and guidance, and am on my way to complete and total healing.

I will tell you this - I feel amazing, and I'm super excited to have lost weight two weeks in a row, no matter what the amount. This is the first time that's happened in more than six months!

So again, we celebrate our victories, the biggest one being that I have another weekend under my belt, and another period! Onward and downward!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Independence Day is Cancelled.

July 4 is canceled this year. 

At least in my town, there will be no celebrations. 

To me, this seems fitting, as many of us are redefining and renegotiating our freedoms and even asking ourselves, 

"Whose freedoms does this day really represent, anyway?" 

Certainly not my ancestors. 


It's ironic that this year, there were so many celebrations on June 19th, the day the slaves were freed. The quarantine restrictions had been largely lifted and across the nation, people gathered and celebrated. And yet, due to spikes in the number of infections and deaths as a result of the virus, in many states the celebrations planned for this day will be canceled. Perhaps on the other side of this wild and crazy ride we are on called "2020," July 4 will no longer be the day that is celebrated as the day Americans won their freedom, for as I've said before:

We are not fully free until we are all free.

(If you don't know what I mean by this, educate yourself and watch the Netflix documentary, "13th.")

Perhaps the day is coming when we are all free, and nationwide celebration will happen when that day comes. Perhaps we will only be able to truly enjoy a nationwide celebration when it does.

And yet, I am free today in the way I have come to believe is most important. I am free from the limiting beliefs that kept me imprisoned by my own mind. I'm free to know how to pursue joy, truth, self-love, bliss, communion, connection with Divine and humanity. I'm free to learn and I'm free to teach. I'm free to express myself and I'm free to receive guidance.  I'm free to share and I'm free to listen. I'm free to do all those things or none of them. 

Just for today, I celebrate my freedom. Have you found freedom yet in your life?



The Weight is Over

Tomorrow is weigh in day. Two weeks ago, I stepped on the scale after a period of what I thought was super clean eating and consistent exercise only to find I had gained weight. The devastation and despair this caused led me to finally (I believe) surrender and begin to have faith, not just in Divine, but in my body and myself. I began to really hold myself accountable and think through each choice I was making, consciously deciding to only take action I could be proud of. At the end of my first week following my decision to surrender, I was thrilled to step on the scale and see nearly three pounds gone.

It's now the end of week 2 following my surrender and I can confidently say that I have not only stayed consistent in my healthy habits, I've also added a killer playlist to my workouts so they've all been intense - leaving me sweaty and quivering after only 20-30 minutes of exertion. My mindset has been great, too. I've been meditating several times a day, sometimes as many as four times in one day, including consistent visualization of the body that's coming. And, I've been using great language, because I really do believe that I'm on the other side of the precipice and I've leveled up and into this new version of myself I've been becoming for so very long.

And yet, a small, quiet, tentative voice in the back of my head whispers, "But what if it's still not working?"

You see, there were so many times that I swore I was doing everything right, eating all the right foods, taking all the right supplements, saying all the right words, and still that damned scale wouldn't move. I can look back now and see that I was eating out often (and who knows what the hell they are cooking with and how many calories it has) and my workouts were low intensity at best. My portions weren't controlled and there were many days when my calories were well above 2000 and even more days when I just didn't log at all. So was I really doing everything right?

That's not what my life is like now. Now, I'm actually holding myself accountable to Mal and letting her know every day exactly what I'm eating and how intensely I'm exercising. More than that, I'm listening to my body and giving her what she needs - nothing more, nothing less. I'm loving myself today. 

So if I get on that scale tomorrow and I haven't lost weight, I will know that my body is intelligent and that it is doing exactly what it needs to do to get me to where I want to eventually go, but it will be in Divine timing, not my timing. And Divine's way of doing things is always going to be equal to or better than mine.

I'll check in tomorrow, however briefly, to let you know how it goes. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Who Do You Think You Are?

The amazing thing about writing a blog that very few people read is the freedom it gives you to say what's really on your mind, unedited, unapologetic. The past few nights, I've felt inspired to get honest and share what's going on with me, how I'm feeling, where I'm at. I don't check my word count, and I'm not concerned with making sure I'm hitting all the right hashtags. I'm not posting on all my social media sites with clever images and a link back to this site. This blog has become for me a confessional, a chronicle, and a place to hold myself accountable. This is a one-day-at-a-time process for me, and even though I know now that God has the final say in this Recreation, I want to be sure I'm carrying out His marching orders every day.

And that's where it's gotten interesting recently. See, in the past, I always got my marching orders from outside of me - a book, a trainer, a doctor, a mentor, a friend, a magazine, really anyone might have the latest plan, program or diet for me to follow that I'd hope and pray would be the golden ticket to having a healthy body. In some cases, it worked for awhile - I got within 5 pounds of my wedding day weight on Dreambodies back in late 2008 and stayed there for nearly a year and a half before getting pregnant with my fourth child in 2010. 

What's interesting this time around is that although I have guidance coming from different places - the Gabriel Method team, my trainer, my spiritual mentor, my doctor - at the end of the day, I'm relying on my inner guidance, which I choose to believe is from my Higher Power, for my final marching orders. I trust that inner voice today, and I cannot remember the last time I felt that way.

Take today's food, for instance. I have been consistently hitting my target calorie range and macro percentages for weeks now, and today I did my normal tweaking to hit my numbers, but when I bit into the fried chicken breast I'd included for myself for dinner, it just left me feeling...unsatisfied. I took a couple bites, and then realized I was just not enjoying it at all. I took it back into the kitchen and swapped it for a thigh and a wing and adjusted my numbers. At the end of the night, my calories and my fat percentage were a little high, so I texted Mal to let her know. Her response:

These days are totally okay once or twice a week and you’ve had an excellent week. This is also not the worst I’ve ever seen at all, so I can live with it!


I was really glad to get that feedback from her, but even without it, I knew that I was taking good care of myself today by getting the extra fat and flavor. What's amazing to me is that for the first time in my life that I can remember, I'm able to trust myself and what my body is telling me above everything else. And that's not just with food. I'm finding myself lighting up at certain suggestions (adding a green drink in the morning, doing HIIT cardio interval training) and shutting down at others (not yet, yoga). I'm actively co-creating with Divine this new version of myself, and I'm sovereign in my choices.


There's still a part of me that looks to someone outside of me for validation and approval; that may never change. But there are a lot of things that have changed, not the least of which being that just for today, I'm taking fantastic care of myself each day, and I'm becoming someone that I really freaking love and trust. I think that's pretty awesome.

Sunday, June 28, 2020

How Do I Love Thee...

One of my friends read my last blog post and commented that although she found it inspiring, she did worry that maybe I hadn't gotten back around to the whole topic of loving myself unconditionally, not just my kids.

Good point, good friend.

I love myself with a technique I call my Cup Runneth Over technique (or CRO for short). I'll explain what that is in a minute.

First, let me confess something. Yesterday, I spent more time than I care to admit going all the way back to the beginning of this blog and reading from oldest to newest. No, I didn't get through the whole thing (and yes, I did find it embarrassingly entertaining). One thing that stuck out for me though was how frenetic my pace always seemed to be. I seemed to be doing everything I possibly could to get it right, to be perfect, to please them all, to get the gold star. But underneath it all, there was a low hum, the tension that is depicted in scary movies with cellos playing minor chords. The feeling you get when the stupid cheerleader is being slowly dragged down a hallway and then BAM! The killer pops out and she's dragged into a closet, her throat promptly slashed.

What I'm saying is, anyone reading those older posts could see what I couldn't see at the time, despite many of my loved ones (and my therapist) saying it often - if you keep going at this pace, you're going to pop.

I had a secret weapon, though, you see. I had a release valve. And it was that whenever I needed to, I would find an excuse to numb all the way out, in food. I haven't had a drink or a drug since 1995, but that doesn't mean I don't know how to make good use of a stockpile of sugar and processed carbs. And that was my MO for many, many years - be good, get it all done, do all the things, hold on, hold it in, push, push, push, push, aaaand.....RELEASE. The problem is that it not only kept me from ever getting to a healthy weight, it also fed my insecurity and my feeling of failure around that topic (because I still felt it was up to me to get it done, remember) and it also made it a thousand times harder to do all the things when I was fueling my body with toxins and sending my insulin levels on the roller coaster from hell.

In April 2018, I started working with my mentor, Nanilea Diamond, the founder of the Sacred Feminine Leadership Blueprint and the person who introduced me to the idea of giving and living from a place of "cup runneth over." The idea that if we make sure we are taking really good care of ourselves, tending to our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs first and completely, then what we have available to give to others is so much more and feels so much better. If I'm being honest, I was drawn to Nanilea because she was like a fairy princess, a mermaid and Aphrodite all rolled into one. I wanted what she had. I wanted to be comfortable in my own skin like her. I thought if I could learn from her, maybe I could lose this weight once and for all, and then I'd have the energy to make myself look beautiful and feel beautiful and I'd be happy.

What happened instead was that I was taken on a ride that never ended. It was a ride that would take me to see and heal the deepest wounds I'd been carrying, some of them ancestral, and would fling me up to my highest heights to get a taste of what my full glory on this planet would look like, and I even got to experience it for a moment, here and there. And let me tell you, there's no drug in the world like the high of feeling like you're doing, being and experiencing exactly what your soul came to this planet for.

Today, loving myself unconditionally doesn't have to do with just accepting my body. The truth is, I am so happy for my body and what it can do and the luscious curves that I was able to keep relatively smooth with years of strength training. There are things about it I don't like - the pain I still feel when I walk up the stairs and the way I can feel what's between my chin and my chest when I'm sitting and typing up this post. But the things I like and don't like are just a small part of why I love myself so absolutely and completely. I love my consistency. I love my determination. I love my spunk. I love my optimism and my faith in everything, even the things I don't like. My faith in Divine, even when She's not giving me everything I want. I love my ability to see the possibility for miracles and magic in the midst of tears.

And even beyond that, I've learned that loving myself is an action, not a feeling. So every day, I make a list of the ways I will love myself, knowing that if I commit to these things, I will feel loved at the end of the day. I will feel satisfied. I call this my Cup Runneth Over list, because when I do these things, my cup is full and I can give from a place of Cup Runneth Over.

Today, these were the things on my CRO list:

- Walk with my friend (done)
- Drink at least 2 liters of water (done)
- Meditate (done)
- Journal (done)
- Take supplements (done)
- Eat healthy food in the proper amounts and percentages (done)

And just like that, I loved myself today.


Saturday, June 27, 2020

Redefining Recreation (SPOILER ALERT - There is a God and it's NOT me...)

It's been well over a year since I last posted and so much has changed. I'll save the best for last, and just take you through everything, one at a time.

First, in December of last year, I realized that I had no idea how to unconditionally love myself. If I was sticking to my diet and exercising, I was worth loving. If I wasn't, I wasn't. Simple as that. Not only was that sick behavior keeping me miserable and in battle with myself, it was extending out beyond to my kids, even to my Higher Power! I was in a constant power play with my kids, trying to gently coerce them to change their eating habits or how much they were exercising, not out of a concern for their health alone, but because I worried that they wouldn't be loved by the external world if they didn't. And why did I worry about this? Because it's the conditions I placed on loving myself, and whether consciously or unconsciously, it became my belief that it would be the conditions that everyone else would place on loving me and on loving them, too. Here's where it gets really heavy - I had to check myself and realize that they DESERVE my unconditional love, regardless of what they eat or how they look or who they love or what they believe. They are my CHILDREN. Of course I love them unconditionally! I was devastated to realize that maybe I hadn't been, actually. And so I immediately owned that and let it go. And in letting that go, I would begin the process of learning how to love myself unconditionally, too.

It took me a few more months to realize how my Higher Power factored into the equation, but I'll get back to that.

I became willing to seek the help of a personal trainer (again), and as soon as I sat down with her, I knew Mal would have my back and would help me get to where I truly wanted to go. You see, she didn't start talking about food plans, calories and macros (even though she has literally written a book on all that stuff). She explained that our progress was going to be measured by my STRENGTH, COMMITMENT, and HEART, rather than my measurements, weight or calories. She plunged right into my soul, and got to the core of what matters to me, what's actually IN my control. Is it any wonder I jumped all in with both feet, signing up for five days a week of in-person, CrossFit-style workouts?

At the same time, I was reading a book one of my close friends had recommended, called The Gabriel Method, which suggested that a fat body sometimes wants to stay fat for some reason that is completely out of our control - either because it is afraid of famine because of years of chronic dieting, or because it's feeling unsafe in some other way. This also resonated with me as part of the solution, and I immediately signed up for their "Ultimate Coaching Experience," which included monthly mentoring sessions, monthly alternative therapy sessions (e.g., cellular release therapy, tapping, etc), full access to their private Facebook group, as well as weekly access to their brilliant founder, Jon Gabriel.

For the next few months, I focused on learning and changing. I consistently completed Mal's workouts and began to undo the damage from years of chronic dieting and trying to control my situation through sheer force of will. For the first three months, I didn't weigh myself at all. I allowed myself to eat what I wanted, when I wanted it and simply added in supplements, healthy fats and live foods to start giving my body the nourishment it needed.

In mid-March, I realized I should probably get a sense of where things stood, from a measurement perspective, as my size 18s had long since become too tight, and it was becoming uncomfortable to even go up and down stairs, let alone do anything beyond the 20-30 minute workouts Mal was sending me to do at home, due to the stay at home orders.  I was shocked and disheartened to see that my weight had reached an all-time high of 264 pounds. At 5'4", I was technically bordering on morbidly obese.

My team reassured me that this was a necessary by-product of getting off the dieting roller coaster, and that my weight would one day level off and then eventually start to decrease. I heard what they were saying, and in my prayer and journaling time it had come through that the weight wouldn't start to come off until somewhere around the six-month mark, but it was still making me crazy that despite working out five days a week and following the Gabriel Method plan of eating, I had still only lost a whopping 3.2 pounds over a 2.5 month period, landing at 260.8 as my lowest weight.

In May, I turned 50. My spiritual mentor recommended a doctor who could do more in-depth blood testing  to see what havoc menopause and perimenopause may have wreaked on my body. I learned that my cortisol levels were through the roof all day long, despite twice daily meditation and sleeping more than 9 hours a night (albeit interrupted 2-3 times by nighttime bathroom needs). She recommended adrenal and cortisol support, as well as a progesterone supplement to balance out the high estrogen levels in my blood. Immediately upon taking the supplements, I felt less irritable and had more energy. I started doing a Couch to 5K run/walk program three days a week on top of my CrossFit workouts. I began seriously watching my macros, and started keeping them at the 40% carb / 30% protein / 30% fat my trainer recommended. After two weeks, I optimistically hopped on the scale.

261.

I had actually gained weight. How the fuck was that possible? I was hitting my macros! I was running, for God's sake! I was taking my supplements daily without fail. How could I not be losing weight?

Mal suggested I try to shoot for a lower overall caloric intake - ranging between 1400-1600 rather than the 1700-1800 we'd been targeting. She also suggested I try to make sure those calories came from good clean food, rather than processed food. What the hell difference would that make? I thought. A couple hundred calories can't make that much difference. And isn't a calorie a calorie?

But I did it anyway. And I cried and cried at how hopeless I felt. I was doing everything right, I thought to myself. I was doing all the things. Why isn't this dream coming true? Why isn't this new version coming into my reality?? I even started seriously considering volume liposuction. I told everyone who would listen, including God, "If I haven't gotten down to at least 230 by September, I'm getting that surgery."

My friends and family were supportive and understanding. My sister even agreed to come help take care of me during the surgery, if I needed her help. But in my quiet time, I prayed:

"What do you want from me, God? What am I doing wrong? What am I supposed to do? Please, one way or another, you need to help me. You need to give me a sign. What am I supposed to do?"

Then, my sister told me about a daily devotional she had been reading on miracles. I asked her to send it to me and she did. The very first day, I got this message:

"The path to a miracle is always through uncomfortable territory. The source of a miracle always comes in an unexpected way. So what do you do when you're on this road? You don't fret. You don't fear. You don't try to figure it out."

Well, I had been fretting, and fearing AND trying to figure it out...for years! It went on:

"You just have faith. You trust God and say, 'I don't know how God is going to do it, but He will do it." If God tells you to do it, even if it doesn't make sense, you do it. Even if going in that direction, or to that location, or to talk to that person doesn't make sense, you simply obey God and do what he tells you to do. And then, you get ready for a miracle."

Well, I'll be. That's pretty straightforward.

A couple days later, I had a scheduled call with a nutritionist who had been recommended by the doctor who did my blood work. She was explaining her methodology, and it was completely aligned with the Gabriel Method and what I had already been learning. I explained what I had been doing and she said it sounded like I was doing all the right things. Then she paused and asked me, "But do you believe that you are going to be able to lose this weight?"

For once, I really stopped to think about her question. I dug deep down to see what the answer was that was in my heart.

And the answer was no.

Tears streamed down my face as I confessed to her (and subsequently to myself and to God) that I did not believe that I would ever be able to lose the weight without extreme measures, like a crazy diet or a major surgery. And in that moment, I realized, I had not had faith. I had not believed. God had been here all the time, ready to perform Her miracle, and all She asked was that I say the magic words: 

"Lord, I believe You can do it."

My friends, it was like a complete spiritual awakening in that moment. I could see what I had never before been able to see, which was that as long as I believed that I had to do it, I was lost and destined to fail. But as soon as I became willing to believe that God could and would do it, and that all I had to do was to get still in the morning and ask for guidance and then follow that guidance when it comes, I could settle down and get ready for my miracle.

Which is what brings us to the restart of this blog, and the redefinition of "recreation." When I started this whole process, it was about me recreating myself, but what I now realize is that I am actually being recreated. It is a co-creative process where God is the Creator and He guides me around what I need to do to support Him in the process of recreating me. Part of what Divine is asking me to do is to praise Her name, and let everyone know that with God ALL things are possible. I've seen it in my personal life, I've seen it in my career, and I've shared with anyone who would listen about the miracles that She has performed in those areas of my life for decades.

He's about to perform a pretty big miracle right here and I want to shout it to the rooftops, real time, as it happens. If you have an experience of God working a miracle in your life, with your health or in any area at all, please comment! I am all about amplifying the miracles that abound in a life built on faith. 

I'll be back soon with more to share. Let the Co-Creation BEGIN!