Monthly Archives: October 2013

Food: Keep it Simple

Today’s Amazon list for the New and Popular Weight Loss and Diet books are listed below. Not quite sure how New and Popular are determined by Amazon. Most likely it’s driven by sales. My point in listing these books found on Amazon’s website is to highlight our human drive to find “the answer” to our problem. Today’s list of new and popular diet books is just that: today’s list. Last years’s list was different and next year’s list is also sure to be different. We keep searching for the answer to our weight woes.

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Trim Healthy Mama by Pearl P. Barrett, Serene C. Allison and Monique L. Campbell (Sep 1, 2012)

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The Shift: How I Finally Lost Weight and Discovered a Happier Life by Tory Johnson (Sep 10, 2013)

Here’s my thought on the topic. If you feel the need to read a book about dieting and weight loss, you are most likely going to confuse and complicate your life. I know I’ve said this before, but what is so challenging about accepting eating simply? The definition being eat real food (avoid processed crap), mostly vegetables and fruits, unprocessed grains, nuts & seeds, meat and dairy if you can tolerate it (not lactose intolerant). No need for special rules around food combinations or timing of meals or snacks. Am I saying never again eat dessert or drink alcohol? No, I am not saying that at all. What I am saying is that “more often than not” eat simply “real food”. Yes, it’s that simple. So simple that most of us don’t buy it. Instead, we buy books, we buy supplements, and we get excited at the prospect of “the answer” to our weight woes. Then we become disillusioned over time when we get tired of working so hard at this now complicated set of food rules. And, then? We revert to eating the crap. The crap I am speaking of surrounds us. The food industry is BIG Business. They know how to prey upon us vulnerable human beings with the “fast/convenient, packaged sugar, fat and salt” products that are not food. And, that’s for a different blog.

So, I’ll end here by reminding all of us that eating well is simple in concept and yet so difficult for many of us to execute. Take time each day to commit to eating real food even if it takes a little more energy to make that happen. At least I am not asking you to literally hunt and gather for your meals. Now, that’s work.

Living Through Regrets

Regret. Let me count the ways. Pick your platitude that sums up your feelings about regret. Typically is goes something like this; “No regrets.”, “Never regret.”, “Live your life without regret.”, etc., etc., etc..  I used to subscribe to this ideology. And, then, somewhere along the way, on the corner of turning 33 and heading for my second mid-life crisis, I realized that I do have regrets. At first, I kept them a secret. I professed to anyone who would listen that I had no regrets. That these decisions which in hindsight looked like I had taken a wrong turn in life and was careening off the cliff were really wonderful life lessons. These “experiences” made me who am I am today. And, then I couldn’t lie to myself anymore. Nope. These were grade A, 100% authentic mistakes. No more rationalizing or reframing. Well, the first thing I noticed is that it felt like someone punched me in the stomach. I literally had a visceral reaction which at best I can describe felt like shame. Shame defined as; “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.” Honestly, that definition didn’t even begin to capture the level of pain or humiliation or distress I was feeling. When I decided to embrace my regrets, claim my regrets and face my regrets, the pain was suffocating. That’s the word that should be in the Webster’s Dictionary under shame: “to feel like one is suffocating”.  I even remember thinking “regretting regretting”. I take it back! I have no regrets! Anything to get rid of this suffocating feeling of shame.

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That was then. This is now. I am now fully aware that the older I become the more regrets I accumulate. Regrets come with age, like gray hair and wrinkles. At 47, I have collected quite a few. And, I am sure to gather a few more along the way for as long as I walk this earth. I no longer feel as much shame when I think of my regrets. I can’t lie, it still hurts and I still feel like someone has punched me in the stomach: can’t breath, a little nauseous.

What’s different now is that I face these decisions that I wish I would have made differently. I don’t wallow in the regret. I sit in the discomfort. Ok, I sit in the pain long enough to gain some understanding of myself. I ask, “What motivated me?, What was I hoping for?” Or, “What was I avoiding?, What didn’t I want to feel?” From this I hope that I don’t repeat the same mistakes too many times. Notice I didn’t say twice. Of course I repeated my mistakes more than twice. Don’t we all?

Lastly, I forgive myself. This, most importantly, allows me to live with my regrets. It also allows me to keep living life fully, once I’ve caught my breath again. So, instead of proudly claiming, “No Regrets!”, I have chosen to live my life through my regrets. Now I find it’s almost easier to look at my regrets head on then embracing my gray hair and wrinkles.

Try to be a little MORE IMPERFECT!

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Perfect. Perfection. Perfectionism. So many of us strive for this state of being as if it were some sort of tangible product that we could wrap our arms around, hold tight, claim as ours and never let go.  We are told that if we just work hard enough and long enough, we can achieve perfection. Fill in the blank: the perfect job, the perfect relationship, the perfect body, the perfect ________ , etc. This notion is at the very least a myth and the very worst a lie that has been passed down from generation to generation with sometimes devastating results.

I say we lower the bar.

I’ve named this Blog: “Life is Hard. Find the Good.” Well, life is also very messy. So, might as well enjoy getting a little dirty. Translation? Humans are inherently imperfect. Whew. That’s a relief. Now, I am not implying that we use our imperfect state as an excuse to stop trying. Nope. Keep trying. Recognize that “showing up” and “trying” is achievable. Notice I didn’t mention an outcome attached to this task. Letting go of expectations means letting go of “perfect”.

Now, get out there and be the best imperfect you can be! And, enjoy the “try”.

Live Today as If there were No Tomorrows

A long time ago, I fell in love with a man in a way that I had never known love. When I would try to describe the feelings to others, I kept coming up with “soul mate” – a descriptor I would have typically made fun of when others used in conversation. I couldn’t really believe “soul mate” was coming out of my mouth. Alas, no other two words really captured what I was feeling quite as well. So, I resigned myself to the happiness. Five months after we were married, he was told he had cancer. Just to be clear, this is not a story about cancer (in case you were wondering and wanted to stop reading at this point). This is a story about awakening.    
I was young, in my late twenties. I had just married my soul mate. Within seconds, I went from feeling like I had my entire life ahead of me with so many memories to make, adventures to have and stories to tell to feeling like I was robbed of tomorrows. I was angry. Very angry. My heart broke. I was in shock. And then, I quickly woke up. I had no choice. For the next seven years, we navigated biopsies, blood draws, cat scans, chemotherapies, radiation, a bone marrow transplant, and experimental treatments. This was my reality. This became the tomorrows I could have never had imagined.    
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Then something else that I never could have imagined happened. I noticed life. I mean every ounce of life. I literally came to my senses.  Every sight, sound, smell, taste and touch became richer, deeper, bigger and better. It was intoxicating. It was precious. I was never more alive. I remember thinking this is what is meant by “living in the moment”. Life. To live. To be alive. I got it now. It took facing death to awaken me to life. In case you are wondering, my husband did not die from cancer. We went our separate ways. I confess that today I struggle with living in the moment. This phrase has returned to it’s conceptual home living deep within the recesses of my brain. I try. I call for it. I call on it. I practice it. It’s not the same. I will keep trying. I am grateful for those seven years of living each day as if there were no tomorrows.