Monday, September 26, 2011

Losing Weight

I have known for years that I was overweight, but now after dealing with emotional therapy and depression the weight has compounded.  I was realistic though, I knew I couldn't deal with both emotional and physical so I chose emotional.  I have been working through emotional, anxiety, co-dependency and depression issues for over three years and am now feeling so much better.  I could feel that the time was coming to start working on the outside, but I was still struggling with the how.

My Inspiration Outfit
Last month I took my daughter and friend on a vacation.  We decided to go shopping and found ourselves in a clothing store with really cute, modest clothes.  My daughter was finding all kinds of stuff to try on, but our friend and I weren't so lucky as the store didn't carry clothes for us bigger girls.  So I decided that we were going to find inspiration outfits.  We had fun going around in the store finding one outfit that inspired us the most.  I bought those outfits for us so that we could hang them up and use them as inspiration to lose weight.  I told our friend that we were going to start the day after we got back from our trip.

During the rest of the trip I kept thinking about our goal to lose weight and wondering how I was going to do it and then it just popped into my head - the plate method.  If you know anyone who is diabetic, the plate method is a quick and easy way to watch your food and make sure that it is balanced.  I really hadn't been eating balanced meals, in fact, I wasn't even sure why I had been gaining weight because I really didn't eat much.  I ate a bowl of cereal for breakfast, a bowl of cereal for lunch and sometimes even for dinner (another sign of depression, you don't want to eat).  It was the only thing that even sounded good.

Plate Method - Breakfast
When "the plate method" popped into my head with it came a picture of a plate divided in half with fruit on one half, the other half was divided in half again on one-fourth was a container of yogurt and the other fourth was a small cup of cereal (I love my cereal).  I was so excited, I told our friend we were going to do the plate method and exercise every day.

The day after we got home I started, I weighed and measured myself, I even took pictures.  I cut out all the sweets, added lots of water, I would have a handful of almonds twice a day as snacks and started using the plate method for all three meals.  I did allow myself one cheat-treat a week, sometimes it was a shake, sometimes a piece of cheesecake, just something really yummy!  I was hit and miss on the exercise, but got at least three days a week in.  I was amazed because it was working!  Reducing the quick burning carbs to the size of one-fourth of a plate and adding in the fruit and protein has made all the difference.

Another component that I added was "Releasing Anger."  In the book You Can Heal Your Life by Louise Hay under the category "Fat" it has individual categories which say, "Arms - Anger at being denied love; Belly - Anger at being denied nourishment; Hips - Lumps of stubborn anger at the parents; Thighs - packed childhood anger" so I decided releasing my anger had to be part of the weight loss plan.

The punching bag
Earlier this year I had given my husband a punching bag as a gift and I have found myself using it to release anger.  I stand by the punching bag and say, "I'm angry that . . ." and then I fill in the blank.  I put in things from my childhood to the present.  Sometimes I have a hard time coming up with stuff, but then I'll get going and suddenly find myself yelling out things and hitting the punching bag with all I have.  Then when I'm worn out I do some breathing exercises that help me center myself again.  I'm not sure how much of this component is helping with the weight loss, but I know it is helping emotionally.  Anger was something I was always afraid of, now I know I can let it out in a controlled way and then it isn't being stuck in my body.

  I have been following this plan now for over a month and I have lost 11 lbs., 12 inches and 7% body fat.  I still have a long way to go, but this is definitely something I can do for the long haul!  I still can't zip up the skirt in my inspiration outfit, but I can get it on, so I'm moving in the right direction!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Recognition

If you have ever been a part of a multi-level marketing type business you will have heard the phrase "what is your why?"  I have been part of one of these companies for over 16 years (see my renaecreates.blogspot.com to see some of my work).  I love the company and I love the products, it helps me tap into my creative self.  Over the years my "why" for doing this business has changed from time to time.  At one time I lost my "why" altogether.  It was at this time that I found myself at the annual company convention waiting in line to get a book from one of our speakers who inspired me. 

By a series of interesting events I ended up having a long talk with this speaker.  I told her how I was feeling and what had been going on in my life.  She listened and was very supportive.  Then she gave me an assignment to do that night in my hotel room and told me to return the next day to meet with her.  I did what she asked and the next day she was generous enough to meet with me again.  We talked for quite awhile as she tried to help me figure out my "why."  Finally, she came to a conclusion and she said, "I think your 'why' is recognition, you want something to call your own, but doing it for yourself hasn't been enough to get you to do it."  I was so shocked, I had to ask her to repeat herself. Not once had I ever considered that whatever my "why's" had been over the years, that I didn't feel it enough to do it for myself, that no matter what my "why" was, doing it for me wasn't motivating enough. I truly was shocked.  No wonder I was struggling, but it wasn't only with my business, it was the same with all I was doing at that time in my life.  I didn't believe in myself enough for any "why" to be effective.

Years later as I started therapy and working through my issues of co-dependency I could see why doing anything for myself wasn't enough to keep me motivated.  I didn't think I deserved more of anything.  It was really hard for me to work through those feelings of worthlessness.  I could do things for other people, no problem.  They were worth my time and efforts, but to do something that would some how benefit me seemed so wrong.  I could also see how wanting recognition was just part of my overall desire to be seen, but yet I didn't dare make myself be seen.  I just hoped that someone would notice me on their own, if I was seen without my having to draw attention to myself, then I would be worth something.

I have come to realize that the first person that needs to show recognition to me is me.  I need to acknowledge my worth, that I have value, that I can do something for myself and it not be selfish or bad.  I was waiting for everyone else to recognize me believing that somehow that would make me of worth, not realizing that the only person I needed to recognize me and give me my worth was myself.  I needed to be my own "why."

What is my "why" in my business now?  It is still recognition, but it has a different meaning.  I recognize my customers when they come to my workshops, I love hearing about their lives, laughing and/or crying with them.  I recognize how good I feel when they like the projects I have for them to make.  I recognize that those few hours they spend with me and the friends they have made at my workshops brings joy to them.  I recognize that when the workshop is over I am filled with joy too.  I no longer need others to recognize me, I can do that for myself.  I recognize that my business and creations are important to me because it brings me joy through those I share it with.

What is my "why" in life?  Again, recognition, I can see myself in the mirror and I am finally liking who I see.  I recognize the person I am now which is a culmination of years of challenges and triumphs.  I can give myself credit for being a person who is worth something, who does have something to share, I have talents, I have knowledge, I have joy, I have love and I finally recognize it.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Weakness

I was talking to one of my sisters last week about a very difficult challenge she is going through right now in her life and she said how we all have our own personal challenges to go through.  It is true, isn't it, we all have trials that our especially our own.  One of my dear friends just found out that she has cancer and is having surgery this week, she is very nervous about the surgery and what they are going to find.  I was feeling so bad that my sister and friend have these difficult challenges and I thought, "and here I am with stupid depression."  But as I thought about my challenge of depression, I realize it hasn't been easy.  I have always thought of myself as a very strong person, but depression doesn't let you be strong, depression shows you how weak you are.  When I was talking to my sister, this scripture in the Book of Mormon came to mind:

Ether 12:27 And if men come unto me I will show unto them their weakness. I give unto men weakness that they may be humble; and my grace is sufficient for all men that humble themselves before me; for if they humble themselves before me, and have faith in me, then will I make weak things become strong unto them.

I have come to realize that my weakness is "weakness."  Trying to care for everyone and everything started when I was quite young and as my family would come to me for help, I thought I was a strong person and could handle it all.  The first sign I saw of my weakness was after I was married and had just delivered my second child.  My husband had left the room with our new daughter and the doctor was sewing me up as I had external and internal tears.  It was not an easy delivery and the epidural had gone into a vein so they had to stop it and were just using local anesthesia.  The local wasn't helping much and I could feel everything as they were stitching me up, but I thought I could endure it.  I laid there silently thinking, "it's almost done, it's almost done."  Then my husband came back into the O.R. and asked if I could feel it.  Tears rolled down my check as I nodded my head yes.  I had been strong through it all, but as soon as my husband came back into the room I knew I could let go and let him take over.  Over the years I have realized that I can be strong all on my own, but when my husband is there I can hand over the reigns of strength and let him help me if I need to. 

Not long after I received my co-dependent diagnosis I had someone in my family call me about another member of our family wondering how we were going to help them.  I worried all night long about what to do, I got very little sleep and in the morning realized I was being co-dependent with the situation.  I realized I wasn't strong enough to help nor even strong enough at that moment to even know what was going on.  This was a turning point for me, learning that I didn't have to be strong for everyone all the time and that I personally didn't have to fix everything.  I learned that I could let someone else help for a change, I could let others and even my Heavenly Father take over.  In fact, I found a song that said exactly how I was feeling.  It is Which Part is Mine by Michael McLean, at the end of the song it says:

"Which part is mine, God? Which part is yours?  Could you tell me one more time, I'm never quite sure.  And I won't cross the line like I have before.  But it gets so confusing sometimes; should I do more, or trust the Divine?  Please, just help me define which part's mine and which part is yours. . . .  After I've done my best I know you'll do the rest."

I know that co-dependents think that they have to fix everything, but we don't, we can trust others to help.  I understand now that it is okay to be weak, being weak for a while, then strong for awhile and that bouncing back and forth between the two is balance.  One of my favorite books is Forgiving Ourselves by Wendy Ulrich and this is my favorite quote:

"Instead of a never-satisfied God shaking His finger at my selfishness, I felt God reaching out His hand to me, asking me to give Him everything - my children, my parents, my worries - and to trust that He would both give me back the portion that would be for my blessing and tenderly care for the rest.  I realized that when we hold back from God, something in us will start to die.  We do not just struggle to give Him our assets; we also struggle to give Him our deficits.  His request that we give Him everything - holding nothing back - can be a great blessing."

Thursday, September 8, 2011

12 Steps

Learning how to break the co-dependent cycle is not an easy thing, but following the Co-Dependents Anonymous ("CoDA") 12 steps can really help.  There are even CoDA meetings that you can attend.  I got the book Co-Dependents Guide to the Twelve Steps by Melodie Beattie and really found it helpful.  In the book it says to "practice daily recovery behaviors" which includes the CoDA 12 Steps, such as:

  • Tell the truth about ourselves to ourselves, to another person and to God in an attitude of self-responsibility, acceptance and forgiveness 
  • Reconnect with ourselves, God and others 
  • Recognize needs and bring it to people 
  • Tell God about ourselves - who I am, what I want, need, feel, going through, worried about, fears, hopes, old beliefs, what I can't deal with, what I can't do and what I need help with 
  • Let go, give to God and start your day 
  • Focus on right not wrong 
  • Meditate and center yourself, be balanced 
  • Pray for knowledge of God's will for me and the power to carry that through, then let go 
  • Set goals 
  • Use affirmations 
  • Feel our feelings when they arise, love and nurture ourselves as many times each day and each our as we need loving, nurturing and accepting, say thank you for everything, ask for what we want and need, then complete the process buy saying, "thy will be done" and trust what happens 
  • Be still, be quiet, ask for guidance, ask what do I need to do to take care of myself, then listen and trust what you hear 
  • We never have to do anything we can't, we never have to do anything before its time, and when its time, we will do it 
 In the beginning, it took a lot of effort to follow these guides.  I would constantly have to remind myself to follow them.  It's a wonderful feeling when these steps start to come naturally!