Dress Rehearsal to 50 with only six months more to practice before my debut!

Don’t see it, don’t hear it, don’t speak it…it is what you know…just be.

Time to stop the guesswork

Run don’t run, eat don’t eat, work don’t work, sit don’t sit…it’s insanity! Everything we are supposed to do, we aren’t. Everyone we are supposed to be, we shouldn’t. Where is the line and who decides when you cross over? What I know is that when I run I am a better version of me. What I know is when I don’t obsess over what I eat, I eat less and better. What I know is when I put boundaries around work, I have more expertise. What I know is that I can’t sit…I just don’t know how.

Six months before my 50th birthday and I am finally realizing that the first 49.5 years were the dress rehearsal for what will be the best days of my life. I have spent 49.5 years learning how other people do “it” and then trying “it” on for size. Well I finally know what works for me and now I need to do “it” and move on to the greatest performance of my life, my 50’s.

I know what styles fit my body best and it is not likely that after 50 years this will change. I know what foods work in my system best, as no one has a system like mine. I know how to do my job best for the company that is the perfect fit for me. I know what I know and for those things there should be no more decisions. Let knowing be the decision allowing more time for those mysteries that remain.

Figuring out the last act

What I believe lies in front of me, in the next six months is to figure out the rest. Those things that I have not found the fit. The monkey brain that cannot slow down, cannot stop thinking, cannot relent that is what is left to figure out. Even for that I know the course to take yet continue to stumble as it takes over. The noise, the never ending cacophony of what I should be doing all the time is the next frontier. Do I meditate, do I use oils, do I listen to spa music all day, do I watch tv, read, walk, sleep…RIGHT down the RABBIT HOLE I go!!!

I know what I know. We all do. It is just a matter of putting it all in its place. I control the mind, it does not control me. I control the reaction regardless of what plays out in front of me. Just like the brands I choose to buy, the people I surround myself with, the life I have created…I ultimately have control of this monkey mind and that is the mantra, the final act I will rehearse for the sake of sanity.

Putting it in place is the easy part. Playing it out is where the rubber meets the road. Easy to do when the day is yours to decide. Hard-as-heck when the pressures of life have their way with you.

Life as I live it – L.

Raw Thoughts on Space and the Doing of Being…

To be or not to be…there is so much to do.

Space is Mine when Time Permits

As I have been enjoying the holiday for the last two days I have not worked at all and because we are in quarantine time is immense. There is time to do everything and anything; as long as I am home. As the past three days have gone I feel the tension and stress of my world lifting. I magically have time to do things I simply don’t have time for normally. I have read three books in the last week, watched a number of Netflix series and spent an enormous amount of time sitting on my back porch. It has been bliss.

I have also been spending time thinking about my writing and why I am not doing more of it. My words have not dried up, I have simply not taken the time to put them on paper. Where is my commitment to this gift that allows me to put things on paper that I don’t even realize I am thinking? As it happens when I get stressed the first thing to go out of balance are those things I love the most like hobbies and self-care. Ironically I realize how badly I need those things when I am stressed more than when I am not. It is those things that help balance me out, that take down the intensity within and allow space to breathe. While time permits I am finding my chill-factor surprising with today being the pinnacle as I decided to do literally nothing. I have read, I have walked, watched football, read some more and napped. Wow. …and then I feel guilty like I should be doing something. Why?

Trapped between Being and Doing

I explore this idea of doing and being productive with my therapist often as my self-worth is wrapped up in the doing. I struggle to simply “be”. I am still exploring the concepts of “being” and “doing” so I don’t have the answers but I am sure they lie somewhere in the balance that is otherwise lacking in my “normal” life. The fact is I like how “being” feels. Being seems to be where gratitude lives. When you are being you are not wanting more of anything. To be is to be one with what you have, who you are and where you exist. I want to want to BE.

The oxymoron here is that in order to be I do more to get myself to a point where I can be. Wait…what the hell? I guess that is truly the definition of an oxymoron and why I don’t have the time to DO the things I want to do or to simply BE because I am always doing things to get to the next state of being. Forget oxymoron it is simply moronic!

I conclude by being honest with myself and knowing that I am a doer and even in that statement it is flawed because I don’t get to do the things I want often enough. If time is mine to decide then why can’t I decide when, where and how I will “do” my life outside of a holiday weekend? I know the reality is that I can, I always decide even when I decide an unbalanced approach that turns me into someone I don’t want to “be”. The blessing of today is there is space to pontificate these states of contrast. The blessing tomorrow will only exist if I continue to pontificate on a new future; one where doing and being live together in a peaceful existence.

Life as I live it – L.

Validation…an autobiography

Today’s dose is about the concept of validation. The definition revolves around; checking, proving or affirming a persons truth. In this day and age of social media there is much to be said about the public validation that we seek when we post on social media. We post to share but we also post to validate; this is why we look back to see how many “Likes” or comments we received on any given post. It validates us.

Many of my friends have decided to quit social media because of the way it was affecting them. Self-esteem and self-worth are easily taken to “task” when we are seeking “approval” or worse comparing our lives to those in the posts of our “friends”. “Friends” who we likely do not connect with face-to-face, “friends” who we have only connected with because of past relationships aka high school, previous jobs or long-lost family members.

I like to say that I make social media work for me and that I don’t work for social media; I belong to groups that feed me the intel I need and that inspire me. However I, like many, do look to see what the “reaction” is that I am getting from my posts. It makes me feel good when I post something that gets a lot of attention despite the reality that many of the people “liking” those posts are not those involved in my daily life. It doesn’t matter it validates that I am doing, saying or showing something that others “like”. We all have a human need to be liked after all.

Validation is “recognition and acceptance” from others and ourselves. That recognition and acceptance come in the form of “likes”, however internally that same recognition and acceptance of OURSELVES comes in the form of self-confidence. That is where the work needs to occur; within our selves.

Validate yourself by setting your intention and following through and then find satisfaction in your effort. Validate your actions because they are yours and yours alone. Do you accept where you are? Do you “like” what you are doing? This is the place where validation MUST live. A million “likes” on social media will never replace the self-validation you seek because ultimately YOU know the truth.

#Word – L.

Self Series…value, worth, why we do what we do…

Let’s do the work, there is so much of it to be done. I am launching my “Self Series” to really explore self-worth, self-value and where the motivation to do what we do comes from and why. There are articles, books, blogs, and tons of other information around this subject and when I learn I write, hence the blog. Everyone that knows me know that I am the eternal note taker, it’s how I process information therefore for this series, the writings, the studies of self will become my first blog series.

Let’s start with the definitions and the differences in the terms:

  • Self-worth: defined as another term for self esteem. Also defined as how you value yourself. It’s not based on what others think of you or the things you have (or haven’t) accomplished—it comes from within.
  • Self-esteem: defined as confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.
    • The difference between the two: Self-esteem is what we think and feel and believe about ourselves. Self-worth is recognizing “I am greater than all of those things”. … Self-esteem doesn’t last or “work” without self-worth.
  • Self-respect: Self respect is defined as holding yourself in esteem and believing that you are good and worthy of being treated well. An example of self respect is when you know you deserve to be treated right and, as a result, you do not tolerate others lying to you or treating you unfairly.

There are many synonyms that are spawned from these terms and as you start reading you can find yourself down a proverbial rabbit hole in search of self. Each has its own definition and terms but they all lead back to the self. When searching for the definition of “self” that in itself was a rabbit hole. For the sake of this series self is identity. Self is who you are and the varying aspects related to the compound words that self originates will be the rabbit hole.

Bringing it back to me, myself…where did this interest start? Simply it started with a knotted up head and a desire to unravel all that was paralyzing me. Upon a meeting with my therapist we worked to find the origin of those knots and as we often do; we started with what was the “effect” to do the work to get to the “cause” or genesis. How we get there is the science and magic of mental health practitioners but in this case we were able to trace it back to my self-value and ultimately why I do what I do. This 90-minute session has now defined the work I will do to better understand exactly that…why do I do what I do?

The original findings explored during that session was that I have a need to be needed and in that I find my value. A strange twist on co-dependence in that I seek to have dependence on me to define my value. The problem? Because after all it’s only an issue if it’s an issue…is that it is exhausting me physically and mentally. I recognized that I could not continue feeling the way I was feeling and hence my journey to figure out the cause as the effect was apparent.

I hope that you will follow me through this series, come with me down the rabbit hole, you might learn a thing or two about yourself in the process. I will be transparent as always as I seek to understand why I do what I do and what I will do when I don’t do that anymore…complicated enough?

Life as I explore it – L.

Enough-

What a great word, so many meanings simply based on the way you say it.

  • said Lovingly…”I am enough” something many of us need to say daily
  • said Impatiently…”Enough already!” will shut it down in a minute
  • said Desperately…”Enough…” begging for it to stop

What a valuable word… Do you have enough? Am I enough? Have you had enough? When will it be enough?

…but what is “enough” to have and to be?

The answer to that question is up to you. You decide when enough is enough. You decide when you have had enough. And yes, ultimately YOU decide that you are enough; no one can take that value from you.

The funny thing about each of the questions is the irony of it all…

  • You realize you have had enough when you are typically overwhelmed with whatever IT Is…emotion, food, stuff.
  • You realize you ARE enough when you put the work in creating your self-worth and value.
  • You realize when it is enough when you reach a state that you have previously become familiar with as a baseline or ceiling.

The reality of this word in my world has played out as follows…

Professionally – being in Sales and Revenue, who is to say when enough is enough. When you hit last year’s numbers, when you hit budget, when you surpass your best year? In my world enough is never enough so as the leader I make sure that those that I lead know where the ceiling is in every case. We call it the “50 Things”. It is not literally 50 things but the theory is that when you know you have done all you can do (which should be enough) then “call it”. More is not always better.

Personally – as you are growing your home and family you find yourself accumulating things. Husbands, kids, furniture…ha-ha…just kidding about the kids..uh I mean husbands..ha! Anyway my point is that I find it ironic that in my 40’s the only thing I want to do is get rid of all of these things..husbands, kids, furniture! Ha! (Kieling myself tonight!) Point, yes I am getting to the point. You accumulate thinking you don’t have enough, you collect more and more and more until you realize you have too much. And then enough is too much…and we “downsize”. All of my 20-something followers, save yourself the trouble of downsizing and simply don’t supersize!

The Truth – the real deal when it comes to enough is that I have never been a good judge of when enough is enough in my own efforts. I see things in extremes and am very black and white, I have been searching for the gray all of my life (oooh, that might be a good blog topic…”The Gray”… back to it Lori). I take things on and go to the extreme with nearly everything. In some cases this lack of an “enough-meter” has served me well in my weight loss and career. But mentally I can drive myself crazy because never realizing when enough is enough I open myself up to burnout, fatigue and ultimately failure because when you don’t know when enough is enough…you keep going until you can’t…this is definitely a no bueno. This ends you up in a doctor’s office when you have pushed your body too far, or a therapists office when you simply cannot get something out of your head (btw, this is not a bad thing…seeing the therapist that is) because of the obsession that exists when enough is never enough.

The reality of what makes anything enough is being content with what you have and who you are TODAY. I have learned recently in order to find contentment you have to have gratitude. So today I look around me and take inventory of my life and realize that I still have more than enough of all the right things; love, family, friends and I today I am content and grateful. Most importantly, I am enough and so are you! – L.

Bypassed…

The Struggle

This weight loss journey or “curse” started when I was 15 years old. I was never truly overweight but always bigger than my friends. It became a “thing” when my first prom came around and I went shopping with my mom at the mall to find a prom dress. I was probably a size 14 back then but in 1987 that was not a size to easily be found. Instead of going to prom I started Weight Watchers with my best friends grandmother.

While I did not keep a proper list of all of the diets that I would go on in the next 30 years it is accurate to state that I went on Weight Watchers at least once a year (at a minimum) for the next 30 years. I also tried programs like NutriSystem, Apex, millions of dollars in personal training, Atkins, South Beach and a random list of other diets promising to be the ONE. I gained and lost the excess weight a million times in the thirty years. I just simply could NOT keep the weight off. The issue was far greater than calories in/calories out.

Over the years I gained a new ailment annually and by the time I made “the decision” I was a very sick 45-year old. My ailments included high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pre-diabetic/gestational diabetes/pre-diabetic/diabetic, incontinence, GERD, fatty liver and then the one that would finally define “the bottom”, kidney failure. It was the appointment with the Nephrologist telling me that I would be on dialysis in ten years if I did not change my ways, that finally got my attention. I came home that day and had a near-nervous breakdown and realized I had to make a change, a permenant change. I decided I would have gastric bypass, it was “the decision” that would SAVE my life.

I went to the Info Session at Celebration Hospital mid-November and would be in the operating room one month later. There was no looking back, I had made the decision. I told very few people as I did not want to be talked out of it or dissuaded in any way. I had to save my life and this seemed my last ditch effort. The people that mattered supported me and got behind me 100% and that was more than enough as I knew this was my journey to WIN or LOSE and I did both!

The rest is history as they say as I lost 140 pounds in ten months and now 3.5 years later am still down 140 pounds +/- depending on the day. The surgery is a “tool” as they denote it, as I would come to know, as there is still plenty “to do”. The surgery stops you from eating large volumes of food and deters you from eating unhealthy as the consequences are unpleasant. It is up to you to do the rest. I am happy to be one of Celebration Bariatric Progam’s model patients as I lost 100% of my weight while the surgery only guarantees 65% loss of excess weight. I have also not experienced weight gain that can easily creep back over the years.

I am beyond grateful for the ability to have gastric bypass as I fear how my life would have continued in my pre-2016 state of health. Ultimately it was the biggest and most important decision I would make in my life.

I tell you this story to expound on so many of the ideas that I have explored in the last week. Let’s come full circle:

  • Always Starting – yes I was yet again starting another program, another diet, another solve! I was not ready to give-up…yet.
  • UnFu*k Yourself – if I wanted to be healthy, I had to live a healthy life. I had to get out of my head and into my life! It was not enough to know what to do, how to do it, it was time to DO IT!
  • Fiercely Independent – I made this decision, on my own, brave, courageous and determined as I had ever been. I did not want to hear anyones opinions, I did not want to waste another minute…no one could know what I needed to do more than I in that moment. It was LIFE or DEATH; literally.
  • inDependent – I had to depend on those that I knew I could rely on because once I solely made the decision I would not be able to do it alone. I confided in those in my circle that I knew would be my soldiers and fight with me every pound along the way. My husband and greatest supporter would live the new program with me and lost 70 pounds in the process. My kids cheered me along! My best friend Holly would show me that becoming a runner was in my realm of possibilities and my colleagues that knew, would make sure that work would never be an obstacle. I was dependent, I was reliant and man, was I GRATEFUL!
  • Fellowship – I have always loved fellowship but in the past that fellowship typically revolved around food. I had to find a new way to enjoy fellowship without food because it could no longer be the center of my world. I learned that fellowship could be enjoyed at the beach, at the gym, running a half marathon or just sitting on the couch watching Dateline. My life is not less than, it is better than ever because I am still here, healthy and Always Starting…still.

I conclude with a list that I wrote back in May 2011. I just happened upon this list this week and thought that I owed it to my followers to share. I wrote a similar list before my bypass so that I could refer to it long after I had lost all the weight and had forgotten how cumbersome my life had been. This list I have named the “Dreaded List” and I share it with you. The original is written in normal font and my response TODAY is in italics. Enjoy and know when the familiar road has too high of a toll, you can always BYPASS it with the side street and you might enjoy the view along the way.

The Dreaded List

May 2011 this is the list I wrote… (in black font) …and today here is my reality (in italics):

I want to be able to fit into an airline seat with both arm rests down comfortably. TODAY – Not only can I fit, I can put both arm rests down and put a bottle of water beside me. Did I mention that I don’t need a seat-belt extender?

I want to be able to wear my clothes without feeling self-conscious and limited. TODAY – This is my reality on most days…we all feel self-conscious and limited regardless of our size.

I want to walk up a flight of stairs without breathing heavy. TODAY – Done!

I don’t want to be on six medications a day. TODAY – Still on six but today they are not keeping me alive they are enhancing my life, BIG difference!

I want to be fit. TODAY – Done!

I want to be able to wear business suits and look like the professional that I am. TODAY – I always was but I feel the part MORE today than ever!

I want to be a good role model for my kids. TODAY – This has always been a priority and is still at the top of the list today.

I don’t want to be the chubbiest in every crowd. TODAY – Definitely not the case any longer.

I want to stop obsessing about food. TODAY – Not sure this will ever be solved as obsession, addiction, whatever you choose to call it, food will always be at the top of my mind. The difference is today the habits are healthier and therefore the thoughts don’t create the negative feelings like in the past.

I want to stop having skin rashes due to the sugar in my blood. TODAY – Done!

I want to look on the outside the way I feel on the inside. TODAY – Definitely done! This was ALWAYS who I was supposed to be.

I want to be able to shop in any store. TODAY – Done!

I want to prove to myself that I can do this! TODAY – Did it, DONE…just took 30 years to finally succeed! But I never gave up! #Word

I want to be a weight loss success. TODAY – Same as above…Donehowever it’s still a work in progress and always will be.

I want to feel comfortable sitting in front of a crowd. TODAY – Done.

I want to be like my mom. TODAY – I still do and will always work to make her proud. #HonoringHer

I want to stop repeating the same mistakes and corrections…dieting, gaining, dieting, gaining… TODAY – Finally, DONE!

I want off of this roller coaster. TODAY – Officially off the coaster; emotionally, physically and literally.

I want to feel pretty. TODAY – Pretty is as pretty does, it’s a state of being not a physical trait.

I want to be the whole package. TODAY – With a bow on top! Ha!

I want to live a long life, I don’t want to worry about dying. TODAY – I still want to live a long life but the improvement is that I no longer worry about dying.

I want to be considered athletic. TODAY – Ha! Done! And “Always Starting…”.