Posts Tagged With: Options

Releasing My Inner Swan

swanI received a most beautiful gift in the mail, a pewter swan. The following note was attached, “A gift from one who lives in Swanton, home of the Swanton Swans. Also symbolic of my favorite story and how the ‘ugly duckling’ became a ‘very fine swan indeed!’ As you have done!”

Step back for a second and flash back over the past few years of my life. In January, 2011, if you’ve been following the blog (and if you haven’t…start at the beginning!!), was when I started my weight loss journey into Onederland. By July 2012, after a rocky bit with my inner ear conundrum, I made it to goal.  Honestly, I thought reaching goal and getting my weight down would be a “cure-all” for so many things in my life.

I was confused when it wasn’t.

While a lot of people were very supportive, many people close to me were not.
I’ve come to bristle at the thought of dating anymore. Guys that knew me when I was bigger, complain that I’m “too skinny” and look too different. I’ve been called “boney” and “wasting away”. I’m not. I’m SO not.  Guys that have only known me since I’ve reached goal couldn’t understand the disdain for the way they joked about “fat chicks”. When I explained my situation, they’d say, “But that’s not you, so it’s ok to say that.” No… it’s not. I honestly thought dating would be easier. It’s not, for me.

I’ve had to pull back from the center of friends I’ve always had. There’s nobody in that group that can relate to what has happened to me physically, mentally, emotionally. They think the journey is “done now” and I can “eat normal”. It’s not done and their normal is not my normal.

So I had to dig deeper and tackle those core issues that needed fixing. Like needing other people’s approval. Like needing to be part of a “couple” – you know, being in a relationship and using it like a trophy or a measure of “making it”. Doesn’t matter if it’s bad or good. Well, I’d rather be alone than be with someone that doesn’t treat me with respect or love me for who I fully am. Let’s not forget bad self-esteem. Or needing to be liked by everyone. Being angry at others for flaws in my own self. I did journaling. Lots of journalling, meditating, walking while thinking, talking it out. Lots of positive self talk. Looking in the mirror every morning and saying, “Good morning, Beautiful.” And looking in the mirror at night and saying, “Good Night, Sweetie, pleasant dreams, you ROCK!”   I’m not perfectly fixed, but I’m perfectly flawed like Otep would sing. Cracks in antiques give them character, right? I don’t think we’re ever totally fixed, but I’m working on it and it’s made it easier!

On the up-side, I have found many friends online and in person through the Kim Bensen Weight Loss Center and through this blog.  I have found many kindred souls that have been through the same experiences, the same heartaches, the same victories.

And I have found my voice and my confidence. Albeit, not a roar, but it’s a flame getting bigger all the time. I’m not afraid to ask for what I need, to stand up for myself, to speak up when confronted. But I don’t need the drama of those around me. I’m recognizing the dynamic and the sickening soup that I’ve allowed myself to be cooking in because I felt an obligation imposed on me out of “loyalty”. There are times when we have to look at those close to us and recognize their relationship as being toxic and unhealthy.  So we have to find the courage to pull ourselves up out of the quicksand and climb hard into higher ground. For our health.

I was presented with two career opportunities that required my courage, strength and dedication. But it requires me to say good bye to so much that has been familiar and my safety net. It requires me to relocate into another state. Several states away.  It requires me to rely on a network of newfound friends that are incredibly supportive. It requires me to enter a very corporate job market at “almost 50”, as my Dad pointed out. It requires me to learn more about my profession using my high school education and experience through doing. I never went to college and was mocked by people throughout my life for not going. I’ve learned a LOT by doing it.  It requires me to take a leap of Faith and cannonball into the waters of Life.

A few years back, I don’t think I could have CONSIDERED doing such a thing. It would give me an anxiety attack. I would make excuses about why I could not do it. I would rationalize that it would be impossible to do this.  But after losing 150 pounds, it made me feel like I could DO ANYTHING.

But not everyone around me feels the same enthusiasm as I do. They point out my age. They point out the hard work. They point out that there are people who need me where I am now. They call me selfish. They call me foolish and crazy. And only a couple asked me, “Would it make you happy?” I look into my daughter’s eyes and she is excited and says that I am a role model for her and girls everywhere no matter the size. Tall order.

My story has really started to have that fairy tale kind of feeling. I thought it was Cinderella, but the only time I’m losing my shoe after midnight is when I’m just too tired from pulling too many hours awake, there’s no Prince Charming, no pumpkin car. It really is the story of the Ugly Duckling who became a swan and finally found where she belonged after all.  I even looked up the story by Hans Christian Andersen and I cried as I read it. It was way too bittersweet and familiar to me.

Sometimes where you’re born isn’t where you end up.
Sometimes, those closest to you can hurt you the most.
Sometimes not fitting in is a blessing in disguise, it makes leaving easier.
Sometimes break ups are the best thing that can happen to you.
Sometimes you need to break away from what you’re told to do and find what you WANT to do.
Sometimes the ones that claim to need you the most are avoiding doing for themselves.
Sometimes those late blooms in life are the most spectacular!
Sometimes you have to find the courage and strength to do something big (like get to goal), to show you just how powerful you really are.

And sometimes you have wonderful friends, like my Susan, to remind you of a child’s story that helps you cannonball into the next part of your life so much easier.

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Categories: Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Ledge and the High Dive

hitting a wallWherever we are in this journey, there are times it feels like we hit a wall.
We may still be overweight. I’m not talking by just a few pounds. But we hit that plateau, stall-point, or we just get bored, we get sloppy in the dieting, or we sabotage ourselves… or even worse… we start rationalizing and saying “I’m ok, I’m happy. This is where my body wants to be and I’m good with it.” It gets tough. You may not be able to quite put a finger on the “why’s”, but it happens to all of us. A friend of mine said, “Pammie, I’m hitting a wall.” And as I talked to her, it made me realize something I had hit something too.

During my travels I was given a bottle of absinthe by a friend. A friend who didn’t know my struggle and love/hate relationship with alcohol. In pride, in fear of appearing weak, I graciously accepted it. Inside me, my stomach wrenched tight to the point of feeling sick. Alcohol is something I try to stay away from for the most part.

I have several reasons for not drinking much – with losing weight, I  lost most of my physical tolerance for it – it don’t take MUCH for it to hit me anymore! I don’t feel very well the next day or two after a night of drinking with my friends. I feel it’s a waste of empty calories for the enjoyment of it. I have a slew of bad memories from my party days, both physical and emotional. I feel it’s just another addiction I substitute when I’m trying not to eat. I have a bad taste in my mouth for drinking, frankly speaking and pardon the pun.

So I put this bottle in a cabinet and made a “bargain” with myself. I told myself that if I lost 10 more pounds under my goal, I’d celebrate it by having a drink of this special stuff. (I am NOT skinny, so this would still be healthy weight loss.) Perhaps I thought I was putting the demon in the cage by putting that bottle in the cabinet.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I can hear you gasping from here. I went against one of my cardinal rules. I gave myself a “food incentive” or “food reward” to dangle in front of the scale. Hey, I’m almost a year after hitting goal. I’m (not so) large and in charge here. I can handle it.

Yeah…about that.

I hit what felt like such a huge wall in the past couple months. I worked incredibly hard going after this little goal. After losing 150 pounds, you’d think that 10 pounds is “no big deal”. I remember in my first weeks of weight loss I could POOP out 10 pounds without even thinking about it. I took my calories down, I put more activity in and I went after it as though I was going after the brass ring of my weight loss. The scale wasn’t moving. As I counseled others in their journeys, I looked at my own advice and got meticulous.  I made sure I was preplanning, I cut out my “bonuses”, I put in even more activity, tried to get more sleep.  Yes I was stressed (and still am) with a lot of stuff going on, but I refuse to let that hold me back. The scale started moving and I was elated. I could do this!

bingeThen as I got closer to a new number on the scale… I’d eat. Maybe not a whole lot to someone else. Sometimes as little as a few hundred calories. An extra helping of a healthy meal. Or a few drinks with friends. Or a bag of popcorn while watching a movie with my daughter on the weekend. It added up. I’d lose 5 pounds and then gain it back, and get frustrated. Not enough to affect my clothing, but this is a bad pattern I knew I had to get under control NOW!
WHY was I doing this? I knew the drill! I teach the drill for crying out loud!
Then this past week it hit me when my friend said, “Pammie, I hit a wall.” And I responded to her saying that she wasn’t in front of a wall, she was on a ledge and she was just scared.  She’s made it feel like a high ledge and it’s more built up in her mind than it really is. jumper ledgeShe needed to walk off the ledge in an act of faith and know that the step was not as scary as she thought. There’s an invisible path to freedom we can’t see until we step off the ledge. It’s excitement and exhilaration, NOT fear… or make it that way. She said to me, “I never lost this much before and I’m scared what’s next.”  So I asked myself WHAT AM I AFRAID OF WITH THIS TEN POUNDS? As I thought about this conversation another analogy came to mind.

boy_on_high_diveThis is where I am. The feeling of being on a high dive at the public pool.
Everyone is watching you. Everyone sees you on the high dive. If you step backwards and climb back down the ladder, everyone sees that you couldn’t do it. You got scared and gave up. You admit defeat. And there’s others in line for the dive that are willing to jump in front of you and show you how it’s done. But you have to do it YOURSELF to get your reward.  HOWEVER, if you go forward…. Running, laughing, jumping and throwing your arms in the air and JUMPING off that high dive who KNOWS what will happen? Maybe the water will be very cold at first. It may take your breath away at first. You may bellyflop and it may almost hurt a little. Or it may feel super refreshing. It may feel like the best euphoria you ever experienced. It may feel like the highest high. It may feel like the biggest victory EVER!!! But you won’t know until you ALLOW yourself to do it. And there’s the reward I gave for myself. And that’s when the epiphany hit…
Well, in my case, I knew what was waiting for me. A bottle. The demon in the cabinet cage loomed over me, watching me, waiting for me. And I think that scared the crap out of me to the point that I was sabotaging myself so that I wouldn’t get those extra pounds off. In fact, I was slowly going up on the scale. My own inner core of my mind knew I was scared of those past memories associated with drinking and it wanted to make sure it wasn’t going to happen. Memories of poor decisions made while drinking. Memories of my kids seeing me while drinking. Memories of losing control. We hate it when we lose control. We like to be in control of our journey.
absintheAnd so… I poured the bottle down the sink. I knew it was the right decision because of the way I felt when I did it. I felt like a rock came off my shoulder. I felt like curtain came away from my thoughts and I could clearly see the path from my own ledge. I had felt trapped on the ledge. I felt in spotlight on the ledge. Vulnerable. Where everyone could see me, that I wasn’t losing anymore. I am on that high dive. And what happens if I can’t do the fantastic swan dive and I have to crawl down the steps? Well…I don’t know, because I’m moving forward.
Well, I still have that inside goal of getting down to 150 pounds. But I took away that double-edged sword of a reward for it.
When you hit your plateau, your stall, when you jump into ONEderland and then everything goes awry… take a look at what you’ve promised yourself. With what you’ve put pressure on yourself. And take it easy on yourself! YES, push yourself to get to goal… but be very careful what you dangle in front of yourself. Ask yourself these questions when you get scared….
1) What is my incentive for losing weight?
2) For who am I losing weight?
3) Is the reward truly “worth it”?
4) Is the incentive enough to keep me at goal or is it a short term goal (such as a reunion, party, wedding, retaliation, trying to make someone jealous?)
5) Will I be truly proud of myself and my intentions?
6) Can I continue the same habits I am using to LOSE weight to be able to STAY at goal weight or is this a fad, harsh diet? Is this healthy eating? Will it cause health issues to keep eating like this?
7) What scares me most?
8) How does that affect or connect to the feelings of fear I’m having right now associated with losing weight? Do I feel my significant other won’t like how I look? Do I feel that I, myself, won’t recognize myself? Am I afraid of what OTHER PEOPLE will say about how I look? Am I afraid of appearing different?

magicIn order for change to be a true change, it WILL BE UNCOMFORTABLE at times. But like always say…turn that sickly feeling in the stomach of fear into excitement and wonderment (or ONEderment). Take control of it and make it work for you.

wide openTake a step off the ledge.

We call create our own limitations in our minds. We have the keys to our cells and it’s up to US to figure out which key unlocks the door.

While helping my friend, I figured out my key. We all need to examine those many keys we hold on that mental key ring and get to the core of what makes us tick, makes us eat, makes us stress…. and then the future’s wide open! I’m slowly going downward on the scale again making up those couple of pounds and headed into new realms. And I’m feeling good about it…no looming anxiety, stalling or binges.

Those are my rambling thoughts for the day! If ya like it, pin it, share it on Facebook, email it to a friend, I’m all about that!

Check out my website at pamkaelin.com and my facebook page!

Categories: Binge Eating, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Psychological, Victory, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Getting “Unstuck” in the Journey

Ever get in your car and go to work, the store, on an errand and it feels like the car is driving itself. It knows where it’s going because you’ve done this a million rutstimes before. You’re not even thinking about it. It’s as if your car is on auto-pilot, or on rails or in a rut in the road that just TAKES you to where you’re going. It’s a habit. Not a bad habit, but a habit nonetheless.

My friend Kim Bensen was talking tonight in an online meeting today about habits and it made me think of my journey. Habits have both hindered and helped me.

lostMy journey isn’t too different from driving in a car day after day. I had tried to lose weight in what seemed like a million times before and it always ended the same way in the same place. Nowhere.  I’d stop for one reason or another. It was so many reasons….
– it was a fad diet that I couldn’t sustain, and I’ve been on many
– I gave into the peer pressure of hearing people say I couldn’t do it
– I was losing it for approval of other people such as a significant other, or my parents, or my kids
– I’d reward myself with food and end up binging
– I would sabotage myself
– I’d plateau and give up
– and so many other reasons….

stuck in mudBut it was the same paths that led to the same endings in the journey. It was like my car got stuck in the mud of dieting. I was in those same ruts that led me to “that place” of giving up. I’d gun the engine, get frustrated and panic, and spin my tires deeper and deeper into those same habits until I couldn’t climb out and would just… give up.

The only way to get out of the ruts and mud is to throw something different onto that path to climb out. You have to stop panicking, calmly get with your program and think your way out and onto a NEW path. I had to figure out that the old paths weren’t getting me there. My car was so accustomed to those old paths that I did the same triggers, sabotages and routines over and over expecting a different result.

blog bike ridingIt was time for  a new path. A fresh one. One where my tires have never gone before. I admit, at first it’s scary when you do something new. I don’t mean just a new diet. I’m talking about changing the BEHAVIORS while you’re dieting. I’m talking about the inside work, getting to the core, thinking it through. I journalled. I talked it out with friends who were also in my weight loss group. I read self-help books. I looked at my current habits and how they were feeding into the weight gain.
Some of them were:
first-ten-pounds-ribbon– Expecting other people to notice and  validate my weight loss and disappointed when they didn’t…so I’d give up.
– Revolving my special events, Friday nights, holidays, social times around FOOD instead of around people.
– Tracking my food after I ate it and scolding myself and beating myself up for the AFTER effect of eating
Rewarding myself with food when I had a good weigh in
– Relying on restaurants and outside sources to cater to my food needs when I was on the road and so frustrated when they couldn’t that I’d have an excuse to give up
– Relying on other people to keep me on my program and blaming them when I’d fall off the wagon
dunce– Talking negatively to myself and calling it “just kidding”, referring to myself as “Fat ass”, “The fat lady”, and other derogatory terms on a daily basis.
– Letting tradition and other people dictate my plans for holidays which would involve food
– Letting the demons from the past, voices from the past and present from OTHER people convince me that I couldn’t do this.

These kept me in the ruts. It was time to throw some solid stones in the ruts and climb out. It was time for a new beginning of a new path. My new habits that I learned were:
– Finding a plan that was easy for me to sustain and was also healthy. I choose Options by Kim Bensen and have been doing it since January, 2011 and I don’t see doing anything else. It’s easy. It’s healthy.
Preplanning my day’s food so that I was prepared.

– Knowing how to adapt if my plans change for the day. A good soldier knows how to adapt and let’s face it. This is a war at times!keep calm Keep calm and carry on. We will make a mistake, but we are beautifully human. Nothing good comes of anger, losing control or giving up. Keep calm and carry on.

Positive self talk. Catching myself when I said ANYTHING derogatory even if I disguised it as a “joke”. I tell myself to stop it and look in the mirror. Yes, look hellosweetiein the mirror and say something NICE to myself. It’s a habit I do every day now. Start the day with “Hello, Sweetie.” A salutation with a term of endearment. End the day with a good night hug, a blown kiss in the mirror, an affirmation.  Someone else might look at it and say I have a big ego, I’m “cocky” or whatever. I look at it this way. I AM MY OWN BEST FRIEND. If I give up on myself, there is nobody else in that corner. NOBODY. The rest of my friends are the cherry on life’s sundae….(yeah, there I go with food references)..but I HAVE TO LIKE MYSELF FIRST. How are we to keep friends, relationships, etc… if we can’t even have a good one with ourselves?

–  Which leads me into the WHY’s of weight loss and DOING IT FOR ME. Not some guy. Not my kids. Not my weight loss leader. Not my parents. Not that guy from high school that never asked me out. Not ANYTHING OR ANYONE else except me. My ex-husband, during an argument, made me realize I was losing weight for attention and approval. Looking back on it, he was right. I realized I had to only have my OWN approval and acceptance. Except for my weight loss group, I had very little support around me. But I did it. You can too.

green_monstercartton4Stop blaming the demons from the past. Stop looking in the rear view mirror like I wrote about over a year ago.  Most times, we can’t help what happens in our past. BUT, this is the present. Today. We CAN change today. We just have to WANT TO and stop playing the stupid blame game. Take ownership, grab control of our life and change it.

NO MORE FOOD REWARDS. When I was over 300 pounds, I said to someone, ‘Once I hit the 100 pounds lost mark I’m going to sit down to a big plate of onion rings from Red Robin and gorge myself.” And she looked at me and said, “Why would you do that? After all that hard work? If you had enough money, RedRobin-OnionStackwould you spray paint graffiti on the Mona Lisa…just because simply –  you could?” She was right. The more I thought about it, she was SO right. I looked at her in that moment of clarity and I would have kissed her if I could, but I was looking in the mirror. I was having a journaling self talk session with myself and that epiphany came from it. It was at that moment I said NO MORE FOOD REWARDS. I still haven’t eaten a Red Robin onion ring in 2 years and that was my “thing”, my food of all foods.

– Packing food when I hit the road. I don’t care if it’s for the weekend or an afternoon shopping. I usually have food in the car and at the very least water. Or I know where I can eat that will be safe. And all else fails…I hit a local grocery store and keep it simple. Check out my blogs on road tripping… it’s easier than you think!
http://myweigh2onederland.com/2011/11/21/watch-out-im-packin/
http://myweigh2onederland.com/2011/11/15/a-roadtrip-through-onederland/
http://myweigh2onederland.com/2012/05/15/roadtripping-eating-out-and-about/
http://myweigh2onederland.com/2012/05/10/pams-roadtrippin-ever-evolvin-food-packin-list/
http://myweigh2onederland.com/2012/05/09/pams-roadtrip-kisses-in-onederland/

Most of all, I want you to realize how awesome and powerful you really are!wonder woman You are Wonder Woman. You are Iron Man. You are the beautiful love-child when they got together! You CAN do this! You gotta believe in the power of YOU. I want you to high-five yourself and laugh outloud and greet yourself when you look in the mirror. You’re a rockstar! Don’t think that other people are ANY better than YOU!

Take your journey on some new paths and you’ll end up in new territory and THAT’S when you end up in ONEderland!
I’m all about sharin’ the love! Feel free to share it, pin it, poke it, throw it to the wind and see who catches it! But feel free to share this with anyone that needs some encouragement. Catch me online at pamkaelin.com where I have all kinds of stuff including my recipes and videos and check out my Facebook page And please, I encourage you to check out my friend Kim’s site and program at kimbensen.com  It really changed my life for the better and we’d love to see you there sometime!

Categories: Anger, Binge Eating, Dealing with Sabotage, Emotional, Growing Up Fat, Psychological, Relationships, Roadtrips and Vacations, Support, Victory, Weight Loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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