Tuesday, September 22, 2015

It's not really all that complicated

Good morning.  Sometimes I think that we tend to make things way too complicated, and therefore, we delay making healthy changes simply because we are waiting until we think it’s the perfect time or we have things all planned out.   I was like that for many years.  Long before I began this journey I knew that I needed to make some big changes in my life….or that my life would soon be over, but I continually put I off because I was making things way too complicated. 

I thought I needed to have the perfect TIME to begin a weight loss plan, but could always find an excuse why it wasn’t a good time. “I’m going to college and I’m already stressed out trying to keep up with my classes.” “I’ve started this new chemo-type drug for my rheumatoid arthritis and it’s making me throw up every weekend....isn’t that enough to deal with?” “It’s stupid to try to count calories now….Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas…..is right around the corner” That excuse became….I still have holiday treats at home; I can’t waste them. Gosh, now it’s Valentine’s Day…and then Easter….and then…. And so forth.  Trust me…. there is NO good time on a calendar…..and yet….ANY DAY….TODAY….is the perfect day to start!

I thought I needed to have the perfect PLAN; the diet that was guaranteed or the pill that was approved by the FDA that was CERTAIN to work and didn’t cause diarrhea, hair loss, insomnia, heart damage…..or worse…the dreaded ANAL SEEPAGE that was actually printed on the label of the leading diet drugs so popular a few years ago. SERIOUSLY???  People actually took them then….and still take them.  Is being thinner really worth anal seepage?  Eww!  The truth is that there are literally hundreds of weight loss plans out there; countless medicines and supplements that promise results; and a plethora of surgical procedures…..but the bottom line is this: To lose weight you need to burn more calories than you eat.

The perfect plan is simply the one that you can live with for the rest of your life. I’ve said it countless of times….From day one of my journey…. I was not going to do anything that day that I wasn’t going to or wasn’t able to do for the rest of my life. This means that if are certain that you can’t….or don’t want to….go the rest of your life without ever eating chocolate again, then don’t give it up completely while trying to lose weight.  You might consider substituting that daily king size candy bar with 3 or 4 Hershey kisses. You simply need to adjust your calorie count.  Perhaps you remember reading or hearing me speak about my morning coffee.  I knew on the very first day of my journey that I did not want to drink black coffee every day for the rest of my life, and yet I knew that there were a lot of calories in my sugar and creamer,  so I switched to sugar free French vanilla creamer and Splenda,  and just cut back on the amount of oatmeal I ate each so that my calorie intake remained steady. Whatever plan you choose to follow; whatever concessions you make, be sure that you can do it for the rest of your life. I eat exactly the same things today as I did 4 years ago when I began my journey and I STILL have to work very hard to keep my weight in check.

I think we just try to make things too complicated sometimes and we are afraid to make any changes until the time is just right, but really…..the time is right TODAY to make just one….. little…… change.  If you are not able….or willing….to go ‘cold turkey’ and completely change your eating habits, then don’t, but change SOMETHING today. If you want to give up soda, try substituting every other can/bottle/glass of soda with water, and before long you will lose the desire for carbonation.  If you want to cut back on junk food, try some of those baked chips, popcorn, or flavored rice cakes, or at least buy individual lunch size bags of chips and limit yourself instead of eating the entire family size bag while watching television. Switch to frozen yogurt instead of ice-cream; try fresh fruit instead of canned fruit in heavy syrup; use spray butter instead of drenching your sweet corn in creamy butter, or eat only two cookies instead of four.  Even the smallest change can lead to results over time and before long these changes will become habit and you will be empowered to make even more changes.

It’s really not all that complicated. In fact, it’s simple: Do something today to make you a happier, healthier person tomorrow. For some of you, it might involve food. For others, it might involve some other habit or activity, but for each of us, it’s not just about what we consume, but also about what we think….and how we react……and what we do……to improve our sense of well-being.  A small thing like making an effort to say good morning or smile at the folks we pass in the hallway or store; allowing someone to pull out in front of us in traffic on a congested street; picking up a piece of trash on the sidewalk; or showing kindness to those around us are very simple, uncomplicated ways to begin our journey.  When we begin to show love and compassion to others, it will become easier to do the same for ourselves.  No magic pill; no special plan; no specific-perfect time needed for that.  TODAY…..this morning…. A TUESDAY…..in the middle of the month…..is the perfect day to do something…..anything…… to change our reality.  TODAY is your day!!! 

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Where there is doubt......

Good morning my friends!  I've been sitting here in the wee hours of the morning listening to  the rain and trying to focus and calm my spirit for my TV interview in a few hours. I'm not really sure what questions I will be asked today on camera, but whenever I do an interview, it seems like folks  are intrigued when they find out that I didn’t tell ANYONE for several weeks that I had started a journey to change my life.

 I’ve reflected on that reality a lot over the past four years and I think it comes down to two things: First, my decision to try to lose weight came without ANY forethought whatsoever; it just happened in a moment of divine epiphany after a conversation with my sister, and second, it seemed virtually impossible for someone in a wheelchair to lose 200+ pounds without any medical intervention or surgery.  Things like that typically don’t just happen and even though I truly believe it was only God’s grace that intervened in that split-second decision that prompted me to empty soda bottles down the drain and throw the sugar bowl in the trash, there must have been doubt lurking beneath the surface.  Why else wouldn’t I tell those closest to me that I was ready to change my life?  Even when we profess a strong faith, I think we all are plagued by doubt, a doubt that can cripple us if we give in to it.

Doubt…to be uncertain of something or afraid…can keep us stuck in a rut and prevent us from making the necessary changes to improve our health and well-being….if we let it control our actions.  Doubt and the fear of failing yet again tormented me in the early days of my journey, and even now it threatens to sabotage me from time to time.  I didn’t tell anyone about my plan in those early days simply because part of me thought that this attempt would be like the others in the past: I’d start out with a bang; lose a few…or maybe even 80….pounds; grow tired of the effort; reach a plateau; and simply give up and gain the weight back.  I really didn’t need or want anyone being the ‘diet police’ or watching every move I made. I also didn’t want to disappoint them….or myself….by giving up on yet another attempt. When a person has tried to give up unhealthy habits multiple times in life without success, the last thing one wants is someone saying, ‘see I knew you couldn’t do it.”  I didn’t need that…I was already battling those voices within.  No, instead I needed to prove to myself that I was serious this time; that God had truly anointed my journey and that THIS TIME was going to be different…..BEFORE…. I invited others into my journey.  I had to battle the doubts within before I encountered the doubts of others.  Ironically, I never doubted God’s power; I only doubted my own ability.

After several weeks and several pounds lost I slowly invited others into my journey. It was almost as if I had to prove to myself that I was committed, to dig deep and believe that it was not only possible to succeed, but I WAS going to  walk again, before I shared my plans with others.  Day-by-day, though, I had to remind myself that I could not do this alone, not that others could do it for me because essentially my journey is personal and no one can make me do anything, but that I needed the intervention of my God; the grace of my higher power; the continued belief that with God, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.  I also needed others to believe in….and for…me when doubt crept in.

 In those moments when I was tempted to quit, someone would share a word of encouragement. In those moments when I was surrounded by high-calorie food and treats, someone would come out with a plate of watermelon or salad she set aside that didn’t have dressing on it.  In those moments when I asked myself,  “What on earth makes me think I could possibly lose that much weight”, someone would send a note, e- mail, or stop me in the hallway, store, or at church to tell me that he/she was proud of me.  Each of those moments helped to dispel the doubt that was threatening my peace. 

And so this morning….as I prepare to film the latest TV show, I have to once again dig deep and remind myself of the words of today’s quote: Forget all the reasons why it won’t work and remember the one reason that it will: NAMELY….that GOD said it will….if I believe; hope; cooperate; and do the work!  I also will cling to all the beautiful comments, likes, and messages I’ve received from each of you and will remind myself that “I can do all things in Christ that gives me strength.”  You, too…..can do all things…..if you battle through the doubt; if you fight the fear of failure; if you focus on the day, not how far you have to go or how much you’ve faltered, and if you trust that a force greater than yourself is more powerful than doubt.

Have a great day today….

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

It's really not about me....

I’ve tried to change my life many times throughout my 50 years, but wasn’t always successful. My guess is that for some of you on a life-changing journey, this isn’t your first attempt to quit smoking, cut back on drinking, lose weight, or becoming healthier. You probably have tried many times before with varying degrees of success.  It wasn’t until I realized a few years ago that “on my own” I cannot accomplish anything, but with God’s help (or that of your higher power), I can do all things.  Each day I must surrender my will, my desires, my appetite…..essentially my entire life….to my God and ask for his help to continue on this journey. It’s a decision I make each day….never to go back to the old thinking, eating, and those habits that eventually caused me to weigh over 400 pounds and be unable to walk more than a few steps. 

Certainly I had to put in a lot of effort and hard work, but ultimately, it is not about what I have done, but rather, the miracle that God manifested in me.  I am conscious that I have been blessed beyond measure and want to show my gratitude by continuing to make healthy food choices, think positive thoughts, seek the good in others, and be conscious of my blessings.  Some days are easier than others, but I am strengthened and encouraged in tough times when I realize that I am not alone on my journey.  Neither are you!

Even though I often joke with my closest friends that, “It’s ALWAYS about me,” I am well aware that seriously, “It’s all about God” and what He has, can, and will continue do in my life….if I surrender and cooperate. 

When your road seems all uphill; your goal seems impossible to reach; your struggles, temptations, trials, and situation seems unbearable, remember that on your own, you will likely falter and perhaps even fail……but by the grace of God, you CAN and you WILL change your life!  Don’t give up…


Saturday, September 12, 2015

you are more than what you eat

Happy weekend..... Remember, my friends. that in order to truly change one's life, we must spend as much energy and care making sure that what comes OUT of our mouth is as life-giving and nourishing to those around us as what goes INTO our mouth is for our own well-being.  Today I will strive to be conscious of both.

Hope everyone is doing well. On another note...the Japanese TV show is a go! I've been working with them for the past couple of weeks to supply them with all the info they need and the reenactment portion of the show has been filmed.  They will be flying a crew out to Michigan either next week or early the next week; they are looking at flights, etc.  Who would have ever imagined that?  

Have a great weekend!