Wednesday, May 27, 2009

“The Toils We Put Ourselves Through!”

Three days. That’s all the time I took off from exercise, but it feels like it’s been three weeks. 60 may be the new 40, but for me, 45 is the new 80!

Combine the last five days’ tension, excitement and lack of sleep with a literal pain in ass (damn sciatica), the elliptical, arc trainer and a 19-month-old and you get one achy Grammy Lynn (emphasis on grandma).

Anyhoo….I’m not blogging today to bitch about my old body. OK, maybe a little. But really what I want to share is a follow-up email I received from a reader, Julie, who wrote a comment several months ago in a blog in which I wrote how my arm surgeon wants to fuse both of my wrists. Her question was how much weight did I lose before certain body parts stopped hurting so much. She was contemplating ankle fusion surgery and she wondered if losing weight would help ease her pain.

This follow-up email amazes me for so many reasons. First, let me share it with you:

“I've gotten myself from 311 to 256 and can tell a great difference in how the rest of me feels. Just not that ankle – stubborn joint! I'll be having joint fusion surgery in late July, and am already beginning the ‘how to maintain and/or keep losing while recuperating’ planning that will carry me into the fall.

“The decision to go ahead with the surgery was interesting. I was always afraid that I would have to choose the surgery because I was unable to lose weight. Being successful with weight loss freed me to make a decision that was based on wanting a pain free day, rather than being resigned to the option because of my failure. Same outcome – very different mindsets.

“Now, I recognize I have miles to go with a goal weight in the 180s (my 5'11" frame puts me at or near healthy BMI there). Funny, as a three-sport athlete in high school I weighed 176, and thought of myself as fat, overweight, obese, incredibly yucky. Now I know that weight was within a healthy BMI for my height and frame size. The toils we put ourselves through!”

Wow! That covers a whole lotta changed-mind/changed-attitude territory. Julie not only decided to do what she felt was best for her body based on what is best for her body and NOT what she felt was a weakness or lack, but she’s got a plan to stay at or keep losing while recuperating. Confidence will buy you a lot of open-mind real estate, my friends.

I love, too, how she can look back at her past body and realize that what she saw in the mirror and how her head interpreted that image was not what was real. She was a healthy body weight in high school, strong and agile, and yet what she saw was fat.

Julie is right. “The toils we put ourselves through!”

In her blog today, Lyn over at Escape From Obesity talked about beauty and the disease of obesity. She said, “There IS beauty in every body. But, to me, the most beautiful thing is a body... any body, even as imperfect as mine... that is as healthy as it *can* be. That's something we are all capable of: building strength and grace and health, day by day, step by step.”

That, to me, is what Julie has done – discovered her own past beauty and recognized her own strength at her weight now.

I really believe the best decisions we make about all aspects of our lives originate in how we perceive our entire selves. The more positively we view our bodies and the more we trust our innate wisdom, the better decisions we will make. Ankle fusion, wrist fusion, whatever it is we need to “fix” will be easier and recovery less difficult if we go in with a plan that is rooted in love of self and not in fear of or condemnation of self.

It’s emails like Julie’s and reading blogs like Lyn’s and Lori’s and Mara’s and Shauna’s and Debby’s and 45’s and Shelley’s and Miz’s and Vickie’s and Cranky’s and Charlie’s and everyone else’s that reconfirms for me every day that this weight-loss/weight-maintenance/fitness experience I live in day by day is more common than not, more good than bad.

Yeah, my body hurts a bit tonight. It’s getting older, doesn’t recover as quickly. But it doesn’t mean I throw out the baby with the bathwater. There is more right than wrong going on. I just have to look for it is all.

Sitting on the deck on this quasi sunny day, I’m surrounded by my beautiful garden and potted plants. The tomatoes have grown a foot! So has the basil and cilantro. The oregano is threatening to take over the daisies and mums, and the Asiatic lilies are just about to bloom. The dogs are happy, there’s a purple finch at the feeder, and my neighbor isn’t making obnoxious sounds with his power tools. There is food in the cupboards, clean clothes in the drawers and the porch is vacuumed (yes, vacuumed…gotta love Astroturf).

So I’m a little stiff? At least I can still move, right?

And when I can’t, I can trust that I’ll have a plan.

You know I couldn't leave you without a new favorite photo of my favorite granddaughter and favorite grandson. Claire loves touching her daddy's playoff beard. Go Pens! And Luca, well, some day he'll grow into his nook.

13 comments:

45+ and Aspiring said...

First things first--what beautiful grandchildren! Congratulations! (I adore Claire's curls!)

Sorry to hear you are hurting but happy to hear you are still moving around.

Take care of yourself.

Shelley said...

"condemnation of self" - I still have a problem with this...I tend to blame my overweight self for an ache or pain, and I rarely go to the doctor for help because in my mind, I know he's thinking "well just lose weight you fat cow and you won't hurt" which (probably) isn't true, but it's a hard habit to break. This is a great post and I thank you for it.

Your garden is so pretty and your grandbabies are gorgeous!!! Claire looks like she is enjoying Luca...and I love how much blond hair he has!

Hope you are feeling better soon!

debby said...

Lynn, I actually got a little teary reading your blog tonight. I read it right after I posted my 'thoughts' blog entry, which has some of the same thoughts!

I am so grateful for your writing and your encouragement, and the inspiration you provide by continuing on. YAY, MAINTENANCE!!!

bbubblyb said...

Great post!!! Great pictures too!!!

Lee said...

Ok, Lynn, so you know that I look up to you in every way and admire you and want to be like you etc etc etc... :)
I have a question though. I don't know what the stats are, but I know that there is a very low percentage of overweight - ok obese - people that actually stick with it and never become that way again. but there are many that get going, do well and then somehow fall off the wagon. Did you just make your mind up to lose the weight and stick to it and never struggle with it again? Or do you still struggle? When you were losing the weight, did you ever wonder if you would make it? Did you ever lose focus and have to mentally re-program yourself again?
I ask YOU because you are one of the very few that have succeeded and to the point where it seems to me, you will never go down the obesity road again.
I have been doing really well, but sudenly feel like I am losing all my focus. My mind is again becoming numb to the foods I put in my mouth. And I don't want to live like this forever. I have done so well. 13.2 kgs (29 lbs) down. So much more to go (74 lbs to be exact) and I am terrified that I will never come out of this.
Great post as always, by the way. And congrats on becoming a gramma again!

Lynn Haraldson-Bering said...

Lee, I'll give your comment/question some thought and write a blog about it in the very near future. You bring up excellent points that I'd love to address from my perspective. It's good to go back and look at our journey, where we've been and how we got here, as a way to insure we won't make the same mistakes. Thanks for asking!

Thanks, everyone! Yeah, the g-kids are kinda cute. We were wondering if Claire would ever GET hair - LOL. And I do think Luca's going to be a blondie. Maybe blue eyes, too? We'll see.

Marsha @ A Weight Lifted said...

Beautiful post, Lynn. Covers a whole lot of valuable territory that leads to taking care of ourselves the best we can.

Mara said...

Great post Lynn! In the last few weeks I have been struggling with getting back on track (since my Hospital stay in April) and I find that I have to except who I am now so I can become the person I am meant to be in the future. Keep up the great work you inspire us all!

Love the photos...

Mara
http://24stepstogo.blogspot.com/

Ali said...

Lynn,

Thanks for the great post.

And that picture of Claire and Luca with their father is priceless! I got a little teary-eyed looking at it. Those grandchildren of yours are too cute for words!

Meream said...

Haha look at Clair poking the beard. So cute.

Vickie said...

Some of my problems/conditions did go away with my weight loss.

And I have had two surgeries in my losing - things that required surgery to 'fix' (sinus surgery - breathing exercises in yoga showed me that NO air was flowing on one side and probably hadn't for my whole life AND uterine surgery so that I wasn't spending half my life bleeding).

I also corrected several other chronic conditions - asthma, lower back, migraines.

The pain of ALL OF THEM I just lived with because I didn't realize that I was IN so much pain. It wasn't until parts of the pain started to go away - that I was able to single them out - and articulate them - and then deal with them - one by one.

All of this greatly improved my sleep.

I think there is very much a 'sick circle' for me that involves feeling bad, eating more to feel better, feeling worse, eating more again.

I think this ‘taking care of health conditions stuff’ is just as much a part of maintenance as the food and exercise.

Vickie said...

I saw the note from Lee and your note back that you would write about it - not putting words in your mouth - but do you think the fact that you do not self sabotage is one of the key points? (this assumes of course that you DID self sabotage in your former life style). That is one thing that I SEE in blog land - self sabotage - people putting themselves in situations where all is not going to turn out well. And I think that those of us who are careful about what we eat and what we expose ourselves to - are seen as strict or rigid - and maybe some are - but I think mostly what I am is self protective.

Crabby McSlacker said...

Wow, that was such an inspirational story, thanks for sharing Julie's email and your thoughts about it! A very positive and motivating post.