The way station was nice, but I’m moving on…

Way Station No. 2. Artist: David Carmack Lewis

“…Mental health is based on a certain degree of tension, the tension between what one has already achieved and what one still ought to accomplish, or the gap between what one is and what one should become… What man actually needs is not a tensionless state but rather the striving and struggling for some goal worthy of him.”
—Victor Frankl, as quoted in Lean for Life Phase Two: Lifetime Solutions

This past summer, my husband and I took a driving trip across the United States to support my nephew as he graduated from Army boot camp. We traveled from southern California to South Carolina and back again. It was an adventure, but sometimes it was grueling; the stops along the way were very brief—only to gas up, eat, and sleep. On the other side of the country, we had about five days of rest. We stayed put, saw some sites, and just hung out with each other. The respite was much needed, but eventually we had to say farewell and get back on the road.

The journey to lose 95 pounds will be long and sometimes grueling.

I’ve been at the same weight for almost two months. I have enjoyed the side trip that was this weight, because the contrast between 225 and 188 pounds is enormous. It has felt fantastic. I have felt light and free.

However, at my current weight, I’m starting to feel as yucky as I did at 225.  I feel big. I feel encumbered. My reality check mirror is telling me the truth. You’ve got a ways to go, chica. Get back on the trail.

So the little side trip I took, hanging out at this weight, this way station? I’m done with this place. It was tempting to stay, but I’ve stayed too long. It’s not home. There are much better destinations ahead.

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Check it out: An inspiring blog about losing 135 lbs and keeping it off

During my sick-on-the-sofa week last week, I came across an amazing blog written by Andie, age 26, who lost 135 pounds five years ago. How she lost it, why she lost it, how she’s keeping it off… it’s so much more than a list of to-do’s and shoulds; it’s an emotional journey she has traveled successfully.

Andie’s writing is insightful, inspiring, and even lyrical. Here’s some good stuff from her Peace with Food post:

Throughout my lifetime I developed what Geneen Roth calls “the inclination to bolt.”Since I didn’t confront my emotional eating until I had lost all the weight, I met it at a time when I was sober from food. I was a thin person reconciling with two decades of compulsive eating. It’s like drinking yourself into an oblivion at night, getting sober by morning and having to clean up the house party you didn’t realize you threw. I came to understand that ending my emotional eating meant resisting Roth’s “inclination to bolt.” I had to stay here, to sit with myself. Just as I wouldn’t turn away from a friend who needed me, I had to love myself as much. I promised the little girl, the teenager, and the adult versions of me that I was going to stick around for the hard parts and that I was willing to feel. I made an agreement to fully live in the present moment. Because if I leave the moment when I feel uncomfortable, I am missing the opportunity to grow, to learn, to be strong, and to be loved.      —Andie, CanYouStayForDinner.com

For the most part, it seems Andie has come to terms with her issues with weight and exercise. She found her happy weight and discovered how to maintain it. She’s honest about what she misses about being fat; otherwise, I would have thought she was too perfect to be listened to. 🙂

Give yourself an hour to check out these inspirational posts:

CanYouStayForDinner? – My Exercise History

CanYouStayForDinner? – What I Miss from 135 lbs Ago

CanYouStayForDinner? – The Journey to Lose 135 lbs

CanYouStayForDinner? – Maintenance

CanYouStayForDinner? – Peace with Food

Enjoy. I sure did! 🙂

Inspirational stuff…

A new discovery and a major time suck?  Pinterest.com.  It’s an online, visual pinboard where people share or tag the things they love in bunches categories. In creative/graphic designer/fine artist language, it’s a digital mood board.

One of my favorite categories is Fitness, where I discovered another very cool website: My Body Gallery. (It’s a pretty basic website. Navigation isn’t as good as it could be, and the advertising on the right side includes beautiful, skinny women modeling Nordstrom clothes!) But the site itself is a great place for a dose of reality: To see what other women look like who are at the same weight, size and shape that you are.

It is a place for women to post their true and accurate pictures. And for other women to see that the world is not a place of cookie cutters. We are all different in our body shape and size as well as our place in our journey to loving our bodies exactly as they are, not as we (or others) think they should be. It is a place for us to be kind to others and ourselves.

From Pinterest.com, here are a few of the images I’ve grabbed. I especially like the quote from Gwyneth Paltrow.

“The reason I can be 38 and have two kids and wear a bikini is because I work my (expletive) ass off. It’s not an accident, it’s not luck, it’s not fairy dust, it’s not good genes. It’s killing myself for an hour and a half five days a week, but what I get out of it is relative to what I put into it. That’s what I try to do with all areas of my life.” –Gwyneth Paltrow

“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” – Thomas Edison

“It will hurt. It will take time. It will require dedication. It will require willpower. You will need to make healthy decisions. It requires sacrifice. You will need to push your body to its max. There will be temptation. But, I promise you, when you reach your goal, it’s worth it.” – Unknown

“The voice inside your head who says you can’t do this is a liar.” – Unknown

Restart! Tomorrow is a new day…

I found this quote on Pinterest.com. Check it out! Lots of inspirational images and sayings...

I’ve been home all week enjoying a stay-cation. It’s been so nice. My husband and I have been organizing, cleaning, sleeping in, going out to eat, cooking, baking…

Uh oh. There it is. Yeah. I’ve been totally off program all week. And we only made it to the gym 2 days: Saturday and Tuesday.

It’s the end of Thanksgiving Day and I felt ick, yuck, gross. I am done. Done with junk food and unguarded eating. Done with feeling sluggish, sleepy and bloated.

I’m not going to overanalyze why I didn’t do better. I’m just going to start fresh tomorrow.  And by starting fresh, I’m going to:

  • Commit to 30 strict, on program days between now and Christmas with no attempts at moderation. (Other than two holiday parties over the next couple of weeks, there will be no cheat meals).
  • Re-launch my Lindora nutrition plan with three Protein Days from Friday, November 25 to Sunday, November 27. This will help renew my focus and discipline as well as get me into ketosis (where your body burns fat for energy instead of the food you eat).
  • Write down everything I eat and post my menu here for accountability. I’ve been slacking on that for quite a while.
  • Blog more often. It helps me stay focused.
  • Learn how to pat myself on the back for what I’ve accomplished thus far, but keep myself motivated to complete the journey. Must reach my goal of weighing 130 lbs!

Staying at home this week makes me appreciate how much easier it is to eat right when I go to work every day. My hat is off to those stay-at-home moms who are working on losing or maintaining their weight. Dang! Having the kitchen right there, a somewhat flexible schedule, and managing the stress of little ones who want your constant attention… You are amazing!

The War of Fat, a.k.a. Resistance

The War of Art – Visual Book Summary Part I and II, by Sunni Brown

I’m reading The War of Art, by Steven Pressfield. As a creative person (I’m a graphic designer, a writer, and now a loser—a loser of weight, that is), this book came at a critical time. It’s about identifying and overcoming the obstacles that keep us from reaching our dreams. Those obstacles are an entity, and its name is Resistance.

The book is so inspiring and motivational, I carry it around in my purse and gym bag so I can read and reread it whenever I have a chance. It’s in the format of a devotional with short essays and titles like “Resistance and Procrastination,” “Resistance and Self-Doubt” and “Resistance Recruits Allies.”

Here are some snippets of the introduction that captured my attention and inspired me—not only in my weight loss journey, but in my other dreams as well.

“Most of us have two lives. The life we live, and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands Resistance. Have you ever brought home a treadmill and let it gather dust in the attic? Ever quit a diet, a course of yoga, a meditation practice? …Have you ever wanted to be a mother, a doctor, an advocate for the weak and helpless; to run for office, crusade for the planet, campaign for world peace, or to preserve the environment? Late at night have you experienced a vision of what you could accomplish, the realized being you were meant to be? Are you a writer who doesn’t write, a painter who doesn’t paint, an entrepreneur who never starts a venture? Then you know what Resistance is.”

“Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty, disease, and erectile dysfunction. To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be. If you believe in God (and I do) you must declare Resistance evil, for it prevents us from achieving the life God intended when he endowed each of us with our own unique genius… Does Resistance have to cripple and disfigure our lives before we wake up to its existence? How many of us have become drunks and drug addicts, develop tumors and neuroses, . . . simply because we don’t do that thing that our hearts, our inner genius, is calling us to? Resistance defeats us. ”

“Look in your own heart. Unless I’m crazy, right now a still small voice is piping up, telling you as it has ten thousand times, the calling that is your and yours alone. You know it. No one has to tell you. And unless I’m crazy, you are closer to taking action on it than you were yesterday or you will be tomorrow. You think Resistance isn’t real? Resistance will bury you.”

The first section is titled “Resistance: Defining the Enemy.” The fight against Resistance is:

“…any act that rejects immediate gratification in favor of long-term growth, health or integrity. Or, expressed another way, any act that derives from our higher nature instead of the lower. Any of these will elicit Resistance.”

As a Christian, my enemy is an obvious one. That enemy wants me sick, fat and depressed. It wants me to be completely dissatisfied and unfulfilled. It wants to prevent me from doing the work I have been called to do.

But I have strength beyond myself, thank God.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.
—Ephesians 6:10-13

I don’t think it’s an overstatement to say this battle against fat and lethargy is a spiritual one.  I, for one, am reclaiming the gift of life that has been given to me.

You have a lofty goal? Like losing weight? You’ll be battling Resistance the entire way. We can’t let it win.

The War of Art – Visual Book Summary Part I and II, by Sunni Brown

“You. The Sequel.”

I pass this billboard every day on my way to work. Every day it inspires me. What if it can be true for me? What if I can create my own sequel for my life? I believe I can. It’s what I’m doing right now on this weight loss journey. (Unfortunately for the advertisers, it doesn’t make me want to go out and buy Vitamin Water.) 🙂

I keep wanting to stop and take a photo, but the billboard is located at a crazy dangerous freeway interchange. So I made an attempt this morning, and again this evening—a one-handed snapshot through the window.

Like Climbing Dog Mountain

“Fitness is a tool I use to build confidence. If somebody thinks, I’m weak, I’m fat, I’m lazy, that’s their reality. I can have them run a mile or do 20 push-ups, and then they’re like, ‘oh, my God, if I’m capable of this, what else can I do?’”
—Jillian Michaels interview, by Amy Spencer,
Redbook, October 2011 (Jillian is the former trainer from The Biggest Loser)

“How much further?” I asked, gasping for breath. My feet felt like lead.

“It’s just around the next bend,” my friend replied.

We made it around the next bend, then the next, then the next.

“Are we almost there?” I asked again, practically begging.

“Almost,” he replied, smiling over his shoulder.

We plodded on. I thought about the car keys in my pocket. The good novel in my daypack. I could so easily turn around, head back down the trail, and wait for my friends to complete the hike without me.

The knowledge that I could flake out at any time somehow kept me from quitting.

Other than my muscles screaming in protest and my lungs burning from desperately sucking in air, I was having a good time. Two years ago, serendipity placed me there on Dog Mountain in Washington state with my sister Teri and long-time friends Rob and Kim. I had warned them ahead of time that I was completely out of shape, and the only exercise I’d been doing back home in southern California was water aerobics. They didn’t mind. They said they’d take it slow and stop whenever I needed to.

Early that morning, I should have known I was in over my head after we parked the car, donned our daypacks, and walked uphill to the restrooms near the trailhead.  I was already gasping for breath.

It was 3.8 miles to the top of the mountain. The hike was rated strenuous/difficult. The elevation gain was 2,850 feet. My desire to spend time with these three much-loved people outweighed my trepidation.

The trail was quiet and peaceful. As we walked among regal Douglas fir trees, the Columbia River winked at us through the branches. At almost every switchback, I stopped to catch my breath while my three companions waited patiently. They chatted comfortably while I concentrated on trying to get oxygen into my body.

With their patience and support, I stuck it out all the way to the top of the mountain. This was the view that awaited us. Breathtaking. Worth every gasping breath up that trail. It was a perfect, sunny day in May. Wildflowers carpeted the alpine meadow. The Columbia River in all its glory was laid out before us. The summits of Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helens peeked at us from among the lesser mountains of the Cascade Range.

It was a memorable, life-affirming day. Besides having a grand adventure with old friends, I learned that I am capable of so much more than I give myself credit for. I didn’t quit. The sense of accomplishment was incredible.

I love Jillian’s comment: “Fitness is a tool I use to build confidence.…if I’m capable of this, what else can I do?”

I am about 30% toward my goal of losing 95 pounds. As I mentioned in Baggy Pants are Big Fat Liars, I have been slighly tempted to stay where I’m at right now, even though there are clues of much greater things ahead. I feel so much better than I did 30 pounds ago. I feel fantastic. But I haven’t reached my summit. Not even close. What a loss it would be if I were to flake out now. I can do this.

To give myself a tangible goal to work toward, I’m planning another hike up Dog Mountain next May with these friends. I will be lighter and much more fit. I will conquer that mountain in a whole new way.

Tell me about your Dog Mountain. Have you accomplished something you never imagined yourself capable of doing?