Monday, September 23, 2013

Embrace the season.

Happy First Day of Fall! It’s very early in the morning…around 4:30 am and I’m snuggled under a blanket with a hot cup of coffee, looking out at the darkness and listening to the sound of the furnace. Yes, it definitely is no longer summer, although the temps may fool me later this week. The weatherman says it’s about 30 outside, but I’ve yet to go out there to see how bad the frost/freeze was.  Unlike the few things in my life that I actually have any control over, the change in weather and the passing of time is going to happen with or without me. I suppose I might as well “embrace it” and make the best of it!


When I was much heavier, I used to look forward to the fall….not because of the gorgeous display of color, or the autumn holidays, or even the smell of burning leaves and apple cider, but rather because it was an opportunity to “hide” from the world. The shortening of the days and the cooler temps meant that I could begin to hibernate and spend more time indoors, by myself, away from the socialization that summer events often require. It was a time to “escape” into my own world, where I could eat in private, hide behind heavy sweaters and coats, go to bed shortly after I got home from work, and just basically “withdraw” from society. It was in that isolation that I often turned to food to fill the voids in my life. It was there that I could hide my pain, my size, my inner thoughts and feelings.


When my professional or family obligations did require my physical presence, I could “hide” behind big, baggy sweaters and jackets. It was also the perfect excuse to sit all covered up with a comforter or lap blanket when visiting friends and family.  Those items did their job in chasing away the chill, but they also were a perfect way to “cover up” so that I could not see…and more importantly…others could not see how “big” I really was, nor could they see the physical and emotional pain that was hidden deep in my heart. The clothing and blankets were just another layer of protection around me, keeping me from looking inward and coming face to face with the reality of my life. 


Today, however, THANKS BE TO GOD, autumn means something different! Autumn means that I might actually pick up a rake and tackle the leaves that will soon cover my yard, perhaps even “jumping” in them when nobody is looking!  It means taking brisk walks on warm, sunny afternoons, and making time to go to the fitness center after work.  It means going for a ride to see the beautiful display of God’s glory. It means looking forward to seeing friends and family for the holidays, and enjoying the company of others. It means enjoying the ‘fruits” of the season, like apples, pumpkins and butternut squash. Will I need to wear sweaters and coats and cover up with blankets….absolutely, but now, I will do so to protect my body from the cold, not to hide my “heart” and “vulnerability”. 


Autumn also means that “sticking to a weight loss plan” will become a bit more challenging and will require a more disciplined effort. Tailgate parties, Halloween, Thanksgiving…..Christmas gatherings….not to mention time spent indoors reading or watching movies, are all occasions of temptation. We all tend to eat more during the fall, so be prepared and plan ahead so that you always have a “back-up plan” and healthy snacks in the house or on your possession. As the weeks progress, I’ll share some of the ways that I have been able to get through those situations and still keep on track. I hope that you all will do the same; after all, we are all in this together and I learn so much from the sharing that you do.

I just came in from outside and it really is a bit chilly. The spot on the driveway where my hose drips slightly is frozen but the sky is clear and the moon is shining brightly. It’s beautiful actually! I went out there because I wanted to take a picture to mark the first day of autumn. I encourage you to do the same and post it on this site. It’s important that you take photos of yourself along the way because on days when you are feeling discouraged, you can look at some of those pictures and ‘see” that even though you don’t feel like you are making progress, a picture says something different. Often times we “can’t see” it in the mirror, but a “picture is worth a thousand words” and our faces usually show a loss of even 10 or 15 pounds, even when our bodies don’t necessarily do so. We might even be wearing the same size clothing, but our faces tell a different story!  


The picture I’m posting is in front of the Burning Bush that I planted in my landscaping adventures this summer. The bush is absolutely gorgeous right now…a flaming, brilliant red. It’s ironic that this tree is the most beautiful during this time of year, when we tend to think of it as “dying” for the winter. Reminded me that “we also truly shine….we display our “true colors” when we “die to self”. When we allow God to strengthen and transform our hearts and minds, we reflect goodness, health, and well-being.  As you continue on your journey to better health….and you ‘die to your temptations, whatever they may be’, be assured that you are the most beautiful. As you shed the “bitterness, anger, jealousy, frustration, greed….whatever”, you are actually allowing yourself to be more radiant that you even imagined.   LET IT GO….so that you may be free to be the best person you can….REGARDLESS of size or weight. BEAUTY and GRACE is not dependent upon numbers; it’s dependent on inner peace, confidence, and a loving, kind spirit. As you grow in those things, your body will follow suit. Be kind to yourself this week, treat your body, minds, and spirits well, and things will fall into place.


Have a good day everyone…and if you had a rough weekend, start all over today. It’s a new day…It’s a new season….perfect for a new beginning!