Rules for Scales

Ok, so last week I talked about being a serial dieter and reluctant fitness monkey and vowed to approach things in a new way with the Hells Yah Diet and Fitness Plan, which I now will call Hells Yah Lifestyle (HYL) . There was a lot of response to this post. It seems I’m not the only one who has these thoughts combined with the binge dieting and I’ll try anything exercise history. I even got some new followers, which is always exciting for me. Even when I know that they are spammers and not going to read a word. I can tell because their recent posts are things like; About Me or How to make money from home. Still, the number is going up and that is exciting! Thank you for not deleting this from your inbox and at least getting this far.

Last week, I told you that it wasn’t about losing weight (not entirely true) but, feeling good (still totally true.) The truth is, I want to feel energy and heath in my life. I think, I’m going to have to drop a few pounds to achieve these goals.  So, there is a weight element to this feel good idea of mine. What I meant when I said, ‘not about weight’ is that I wasn’t going down the calorie counting, fad diet, weird exercise path I have taken in the past- as laid out in last week’s post.  Because as well as feeling energy and health, I want to feel JOYful. And bean sprouts and lycra don’t cut it in JOYland, not that there is anything wrong with bean sprouts and lycra, they have their place and can be very useful. I gotta be me in this new way. And me likes beautiful, aromatic, lovely food  and chocolate- often with coffee and moving oughta- no hasta be fun. HYL should feel inspiring and awesome. It must not be a grind. I’m determined to be lighter, in every sense. Though sometimes, I lose track of this driving force. I get off path. I get bogged down.

So,  I weighed my self obsessively this week. Daily. There is a triumphant thrilling fist in the air, ‘Yes’ when the number goes down and I like this feeling. It’s like gambling.

I’m talking to the scales, ‘come on, show me the money.’ And then, ‘How the hell did I gain 4 pounds in 24 hours? Is that even possible? Would it be less if I peed first?’

There with just that one set of numbers, my mood has plummeted. I am no longer strong and triumphant. I am perplexed, depressed, defined and defeated by the three numbers on the scale. Reel it in Mrs., this is not joy, this is not health, this is not light. So, I made rules for my scales, for my sanity, for my being. I had to. I am obsessive by nature. It was the only way I could control the need to check, confirm I am doing well or not well. I have to limit myself to a weekly check-in (link to illustration below). I hope that one day, I will not need this external confirmation. I hope that one day, I will just know because I feel energy, health and joy. Until then, Onward…

Oh, and feel free to print the ‘Rules’ for your own scales or maybe you will make rules that work better for you- for whatever you need to go easy on yourself about. And I invite you to forward this post to someone you think might like it or get it or need it.

Rules for Scales Flowchart  <———-Have a look.

Pizza Rolls

I was sitting on the couch, in a bit of a daydream, wondering if I was going to go into the kitchen and eat the pizza rolls out of the trash. Would that be bad? I thought. I really thought about it and then, dude, that is a line you do not want to cross. You start eating things out of the trash, there is no going back. And I realize there are dumpster divers who eat discarded food, I’m ok with that. It’s not my thing but, I get that it is still ‘good’. I’m not judging. I also understand that there are folks out there who have needed to eat like this to survive. However, this is not the case for me. I have plenty of good, healthy food in the cupboard. I threw the kid’s pizza rolls in the trash because they are not good for me and I did not want to eat them. They burn my mouth and make me sick. I also love them and my mind wandered toward their salty, crispy, orangeness, just hanging out in the garbage waiting for me. It was a low moment in my life.

Let me give you some background on what brought me to this point. I have long used food for reasons other than nutrition. It has been my comfort, my celebration, my shame and constant companion. I am perplexed by the notion that one might stop eating just before they were feeling full. I have always eaten beyond this point. I also have eaten for reasons other than physical hunger. There is the nervous hunger, the sad hunger, the happy hunger, the bored hunger and the whatever else I can think of reason to eat.  As a result of this life-long obsession and misuse of food, I carry extra weight and have recently begun to develop some health problems that are linked to poor nutrition.

I have been on every diet known to man and tried fitness craze after fitness craze. Including:

  • Jazzercize- this really dates me, leotards and tights. My mom took me, when I first hit adolescence and my round figure started to develop. It was fun but, kind of embarrassing. People were on the grapefruit and cabbage soup diets around this time.
  • Step aerobics- where I, beet red from exertion, fell off my step in class, causing the instructor to ask me if I was alright. We followed this class with breakfast out, usually pancakes, because- let’s face it, we earned those calories. It was around this time that I became vegetarian for a few years.
  • A spell of Jogging- Mostly downhill, I do hate to sweat.
  • Oh Modern Dance- I still to this day can not hear Paul Simon’s I Know What I Know without dying of laughter. I was always a beat off.
  • The Atkins Diet, The South Beach Diet, Something I saw on Oprah, Something I read in Good Housekeeping, Dr Oz, Dr Weil, My own made up diet of cheese with a side of cheese and some lettuce.
  • Tae Bo, Tai Chi, and any thing on the fitness channel.
  • Adventures with Yoga- Not at all aerobic for me, which makes it hands-down favorite. You can read about how I equate it to napping here.
  • Gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, fat free. What the fuck do I eat? diet. Which is about where I was when I contemplated eating pizza rolls from the trash.

And it is at this moment, when I am thinking of eating food from the trash, where I find this life long struggle with weight and body image, self-loathing, self-love, beauty, ugliness, societal pressures, my expectations, other’s expectations,  all fade away. It isn’t about any of that, any longer. It is about feeling good. And I am pretty clear that eating pizza rolls from the garbage can is not going to feel good. And Richard Simmons’ Sweating to the Oldies is not going to be the way to move my body. I have a truer guide, a better way and it is simply to ask, “Will this make me feel good?” And if the answer is Hells yah! then, have at it! I’m calling it the Hells yah diet and fitness regime. Who’s in?


Self Defining Moment

I was introduced to a new person, yesterday, not remarkable, I know. And in the course of the conversation, she asked me,

“So, Lisa…What is it, you Do?” again, pretty standard stuff. But, I paused in answering. Here is where it gets interesting. It may have been the way she asked me or the mood I was in that day. I wanted to answer this question in a different way. I struggled because, the answer was not that I am a social media manager or in marketing or even that I am a writer. It felt like the answer was more than all of that or maybe simpler.

A year ago, I lost my job. I didn’t just lose my job. I was fired from my job. A year ago, I was fired from my job that I took pretty seriously. I was the General Manager of an eco fashion design company. It was a consuming job and I loved it. I also hated it. I was certainly defined by it. So, a year ago when people asked me what do you do? I had a quick definite answer. I am this thing I do to earn a living and not much else, thanks for asking, now I really must be getting on because I have some important work to do and a deadline and I have to go. I thought about my job all the time. I came home spent and brought my work with me. I made dinner begrudgingly and felt dread over the children’s homework time. I would often check out of evening family time to read a bit before falling asleep (the reading and falling asleep bit hasn’t changed much- guilty as charged).  A number of years went by with this routine. I was my work. And then, WHAM. No more. I was fired.

My definition of self was gone. The answer to the What do you Do question became- I don’t know. The question itself became, who are you? and still I didn’t know. AND this really freaked me out. I spent a good amount of time crying and feeling lost. I’m still working on a new definition, a new answer. Here is the cool part, I know the answer no longer starts  with how I earn a living. And I love my new work. It is exciting to talk to folks about their passions, projects, hopes and work with them to move those forward. I get to do this everyday! It’s incredible. It’s creative, interesting, engaging and paying the bills, But, it isn’t What I Do. It isn’t Who I am.  And wow that is some freeing shit right there! The answer to that question will never again come from an external source. I will no longer define myself by my work status or anything else that isn’t me.

If asked that question today, I might say, “I help people.” And that seems to lead into a very interesting conversation. Which is another thing, I Do.

Fall: not as good as Summer but, I love it still

I stepped outside just now to get some fresh air. The sun is shining with the orange trees popping out against a blue, blue sky. It is stunning. And that smell hits me of damp earth and decaying leaves and I think, summer is truly over and I am feeling ok with it because I love love love the smell of fall and really it’s still pretty warm outside and sunny and kind of like summer.  So, I am feeling good about the season and since my previous idea for this week’s post was on how intolerant I have become and  just a rant that I think might enhance your lives in no way. I decided  to write about beautiful autumn.

I love the smell of fall. I love the colors and the dramatic tall, clouded skies. I love pumpkin flavored things and cardigans. Fall is for me. Once I get over the devastating fact that summer is over, and this takes me awhile, because, really I love summer the best.  Summer and I swim and laugh and cook things on the grill together with cocktails. We are best friends. Summer is light and breezy. And let’s face it Autumn can be a bit serious. It is all about planning, preparing and catching up on some of the things you let slide in the easy, breezy summatime.  It is, for me, a bit of a wrestling match to let go of summer and give in to fall. I’m often ready for a higher level of structure that comes with the kids going back to school and I am always ready for the kids to go back to school. I feel reflective and also eager to plan for the future. I go buy a bunch of office supplies and say things like,

“Right, Lisa, now we are going to get really organized. No fooling around.”

Fall is a time for getting back to work and all of that appeals to me. But, I am at the same time looking over my shoulder thinking, but wait, Summer, just one more day with sun-warmed skin, dashing across hot, hot sand to get to the cool water. Can’t we go on a picnic and drink lemonade, under the shade of a Maple, one more time? I vacuum the sand out of my car, put the beach towels in storage and dust off the Crockpot, reluctantly preparing for the shift in season.

And then a day like today hits and I am ready to fully embrace the change. I insist on buying mums, apple cider and think about, but never get around to visiting a corn maze. Tonight when the family gets home, I will try to engage them in craft projects with construction paper,

‘Come on guys, let’s make bats. It will be fun.’

They will mumble things like,

“I have a paper due tomorrow.”

“Mom, I’m 16.”

“Monday Night football, something in the garden to put away…”and  they will be hard to find for the rest of the evening. I will cheerfully carry on alone until I loose interest and toss the deformed, half-finished bats into the craft supply storage area, also known as The Closet Things Fall Out Of, where they will remain until 10 minutes before the Trick-O-Treaters arrive at the end of the month.

What’s not to love?

On Finding Your Voice

Because I decided to write a blog, I had to find out how to do it perfectly. I think, I do want people to read what I am writing so, I have to make it good. And in order to write a ‘good’ blog that people will want to read, research was required, or so I thought. Commence research. I read a lot on the topic of style and voice, content and scheduling. Here are some great sites with loads of information:

Or you could save yourself some time and know this, all you really need is a story and the urge to tell it. And I have decided this isn’t something that requires finding at all. Just speaking–hmmm, first listening, really listening, then speaking your truth, in as few words as possible.  At some point, I got tired of trying to figure out how to do it perfectly, settled for just doing it and hit the publish button. Gulp. I nearly threw up and had to walk away from the computer, but also compulsively check for comments. Such sweet torture. It takes bravery, that’s pretty much it. Oh, and also practice, bravery at first and then practice. To be good at something, one must do it over and over and over again- 10,000 hrs right? So, bravery, no, first a story, then bravery, then practice and some consistency and discipline. It’s all starting to sound hard again, when what I meant to say was, ‘Nike tagline the shit out of it.’ Just do it, simple.

And this is true not just for writing, but for anything you create. Sometimes you have to say, ‘screw it, I can’t wait for it to be perfect. It is good enough’ and send it out into the world. So, here are my imperfect ramblings. And some thoughts from Neil Gaiman, who Really is a writer, people pay him to write. So, yeah, he knows what he is talking about. I love Neil Gaiman. Now, go create something.