Monday, October 7, 2013

What are YOU smiling about?  I’m sure at one time or another someone has asked you that question, implying that you “might be up to something” or you “know a secret”, or that you are in some sort of mischief.  Perhaps someone in a bad mood has asked you that question because they felt that you were “mocking him/her” or “not taking him/her serious” when being scolded, questioned, or punished. Maybe someone just didn’t LIKE that you were happy about something. Maybe you WERE smiling in a sarcastic way. It’s ironic how we smile for a number of reasons, not all of them necessarily good.
Today started out to be the “stereotypical” Monday kind of day with one thing after another attempting to annoy me. I must admit, it almost worked! It was cold, damp, and dark when I got up….for the 3rd straight day…and things just didn’t ‘fall into place” this morning. My RA was flaring and my joints were aching, my hair went ‘flat” and was giving me fits, I got distracted and forgot my oatmeal in the microwave and it got cold, the cat threw up on the living room carpet,  and I changed clothes THREE times before settling on my outfit! Finally, I couldn’t find the belt for my trench coat and spent 10 minutes looking for it before leaving without it.  Geez! All of this extra chaos meant that I was late in leaving for work…and it’s a Mt. Pleasant day so I had a 45 minute drive.  By late…I meant that I arrived at work 10 minutes before starting time rather than the typical 45 minutes  early …. “Get a life, Theresa J !
On the drive in, I decided that I had two choices: either dwell on the morning and let it ruin the rest of my day….or….use the 45 minute ride to “turn things around” and find things to SMILE about today.  So….I began to think about the morning.  Yep, the joints were aching but they are feeling better now that I’ve taken my meds….Thank you God for modern medicineJ.  Yep, my oatmeal was lukewarm…but I ate it anyway and because I did so, I was able to resist the delicious looking pumpkin muffins that my co-worker brought in to share. Thank you God, for strength in times of temptation. J Yep, I couldn’t find my belt for the coat but I wore it anyway and I’m glad I did because I encountered rain on the way here and it kept me dry on the walk into the building. J Yes, I really did change my clothes 3 times this morning, but I had 2 different people tell me that they “like my outfit” today. Thank you, God, for positive reinforcement from others. J And….because I was running late…I actually discovered that it isn’t actually DARK on the drive when I “arrive to work at the scheduled time” and I had the opportunity to watch the night turn into day. Thank you, God for the blessings of each new day. J
 I guess I have A LOT of things to smile about these days, but ironically, only part of it has anything to do with my weight loss. It wasn’t always that way. A few years ago, when I weighed more than 400 pounds and was at ROCK BOTTOM, I didn’t have much to smile about at all. In reality, I had very little joy. Life was really tough and I was in an incredible amount of physical and emotional pain…and I turned to food and isolation to comfort me. At least when I was in my bed with a big glass of soda and a fresh bag of potato chips and M&M’s I was happy for a while. Or so I thought.
Aside from eating, I used to think that the “only way” I would ever be happy is if I just woke up and was suddenly thin and able to walk.  Sigh….if only it were that easy!  As you know, the process of changing one’s life IS NOT EASY. In fact, it’s downright difficult. There are moments when you just want to give up. There are moments of discouragement. There are moments of guilt and shame. Some days you might find very little to smile about, but IT IS SO WORTH it in the end, but one very important thing I learned along the way is this: Weight really has very little to do with HAPPINESS.  Yes, absolutely I am overjoyed to have this new life. Absolutely, I am thrilled to be able to walk and do things I never could. Absolutely, I am happier than I’ve ever been or imagined, but only part of it has to do with the physical transformation. The true JOY...the lasting JOY…the real SMILE on my face….comes from the transformation in my head and heart. It comes from “looking at things differently” and learning to recognize what is really important in life. It comes from allowing God to change the way you ‘think”…the way you “feel”…the way you “act” and from learning to recognize all the wonderful blessings in your life.  It comes from days like today…when I have a choice to be miserable….to let the ‘dumb” things ruin my day….or CHOOSE to find things to smile about.
Does this mean that words like diet, weight, change, health, sacrifice, exercise, control, well-being….you get the drift…no longer matter?  Does this mean that you shouldn’t care what the scale says and go ahead and eat that Big Mac for lunch?  Does this mean that you should lay on the couch and watch TV all afternoon instead of going for a walk?  NO! What it means is that “When you choose to see things differently…when you choose to seek the positive…when you choose to smile IN SPITE of the “stuff” going on in your world”, then you will WANT to make healthy changes…to take care of yourself…to make choices to improve your well-being….and YOU WILL BE HAPPIER….regardless of your current size, situation, or life circumstances.   It is not easy….but it is SO WORTH IT.
SO my friends…Help me…and each other out. Give us some things to smile about today.  What are YOU smiling about today?