glow notes

Thursday, September 29, 2005

changing my mind

There was a time when being told to stick to a stringent nutrition plan would have

I simply couldn't sustain being told what to do, whether by another person, a book, or by a part of myself. Within about three days, I would have decided that losing the excess fat wasn't nearly as important as, say, a carne asada burritto from Tommy's Tex Mex.

I lost weight -quite a lot of it- through careful experimentation. I learned to eat more protein, not to be afraid of fat in moderate amounts, and to eat in ways that fed both my body and my mind. I learned that I didn't have to deprive myself of ice cream or anything else. I learned to love moving my body.

But now I am seeing a nutritionist. I'm doing this because I am going to be one soon, and I wouldn't expect other people to spend money on something I haven't invested in. Plus, I am learning stuff. Plus, I've been working on these last few pounds for awhile now, I may as well just get it over with.

This plan is very stringent. The meals are written for me and I sometimes eat the exact same thing for two days in a row. Eating out is not an option, except as a cheat meal, and cheat meals are to be minimized. So far I haven't felt any need to cheat.

So what's changed?

First, this is a very good plan. The guy I'm seeing took my tastes into account, so all the foods are yummy. The meals are balanced very carefully so that I don't get at all hungry. My energy is even, my digestion is good, and I sleep well at night. I -feel- great on this plan, so it's easy to do. It's easy to give up restaurant foods for awhile, to stick to a controlled schedule, to give up a few freedoms, when they payoff is this big. I'm happy to eat my 3.75 ounces of top sirloin, .5 cups of cooked peas, .5 cup of black beans and 2 tablespoons of lowfat dressing for dinner, because I know I'm feeding my body exactly what it needs.

But also, I've changed. I don't think this would have worked for me even a year ago. There's a difference in my perceptions. In the past this would have felt like a diet; it would have felt imposed; I would have rebelled.

In contrast, right now, with this mindset, this plan makes me feel like I'm caring for myself. It feels good.

But I couldn't just force that change, it was a process.

Changes can be immediate and miraculous, or they can be slower and incremental, but they are always organic. They are never achieved through force of will.

How does one change, then? Well, heck, that's my whole reason for being here, to explore that topic. I think that there are many avenues, and that a big one is getting all of the pieces of oneself to talk to one another. So, I might actually write a letter from one part of myself to another.

"Hey Self1," I might write in my journal "this is Self2. I don't feel so good with this excess weight, but you keep making me crave ice cream. What's up with that? Do you not want to feel lighter and freer?" and soforth. I might write a brief letter like this each evening, from one part of myself to another, until I hit on something interesting.

And shedding light on an inner conflict is almost always the start of a huge change.

At that point, you get to just sit back and watch and smile.

And then start again.

Monday, September 26, 2005

building a foundation

It's shocking to me how many people I meet that allow themselves to be in crippling pain.

I hear some people talk about their knees/shoulder/back/neck/acupuncture/whatever and I just want to cram the business card of every great physician/physical therapist/chiropractor/massage therapist/whatever that I know into their pocket and yell 'GO GET HELP! YOU'RE WORTH IT! HERE - BORROW MY CELL PHONE!'

When I do mention that I might know somebody who can help, it's with trepidation, because almost invariably, they aren't interested.

I've been in pain so bad it was hard to walk. I've had hip pain that finally healed after 12 years, thousands of dollars, many doctors, and a heck of a lot of commitment. I've had elbow tendonitis that hurt so much I cried myself to sleep at night, both with the ache in the flesh and the ache of frustration. I've had such a weak back that an overzealous hug from my man would dislocate a rib and I'd be down for days.

Having been through this, I wonder how anybody could give up when there might be a solution. Do people get attached to their aches and pains? If they healed, would they have to do something bigger with their life? Or is it a lack of empowerment - they've been told that their body is going to fall apart and there's nothing they can do? Do they not think they're worth it? Do they prefer being in pain to doing the work necessary to heal (because you can get help, but ultimately most of the work is on your end)? Or are they going through something that I can't see, and one day they'll wake up ready to start to heal? What's up?

And, believe me, I don't let myself off the hook. The physical plane is only one aspect of this equation. I've likely got pains on other levels that I'm lugging around like an ugly old vinyl suitcase held together with duct tape, and I suspect certain others may wonder why I don't just set that danged suitcase down, it's falling apart anyhow, and I could sure fly faster and further without it.

But I deal mostly in the physical, and here's what I want everybody to know: in most cases, you don't have to hurt forever. There is help available. If your HMO sucks, learn to be assertive. If you need to spend some money on getting better, what better investment is there? If you need to do this on your own, there is a huge amount of information out there, start looking for it. Talk to people. Tell people what's going on.

You are worth it.

You are.

Monday, September 12, 2005

Backing up a step

Some of what I write is serious and has consequence, at least to me. Much of what I write is meant to be humorous. A lot of my writing is just plain silly.

Life is about a lot of things. Humor, fun, frivolity - these are important components of life.

But I want to acknowledge that it feels a little weird to write in a light-hearted vein right now. I mean, what with all the suffering of late.

In thinking about this, and talking to a friend, it occurred to me that there is suffering in the world all of the time. Hurricane or no, terrorism or no, poverty or no - there is always suffering.

Suffering can vary in many ways such as intensity, suddenness, and sheer volume. And when it is happening here in our own country it seems much more shocking than when it is happening in Rwanda. But there hasn't been a time in human history when nobody was suffering a grief. It's the human condition.

I do not mean to negate or belittle suffering. I do not mean that we should not think about it or do something where we can. I am simply saying that it is.

And to get past that condition? I think that's what in some traditions they call enlightenment. It's a great goal, but it's a big time commitment.

The amazing thing is, as I was reminded by a wise woman this Sunday, we are these glorious creatures who can hold many truths in our consciousness at the same time.

So, while there is always suffering in the world, there is also always room for the other aspects of life.

There is room for love, there is room for joy. There is room for frivolity.

There is room for laughter.

yin and yang

Sunday night was a planned cheat meal, and for dessert I made the world's best chocolate chip cookies, served with coconut ice cream. Oh my Gawd, they were good.

On the other side of the spectrum, this stuff tastes so nasty it should come with a warning label. But boy, does it give me a boost.