Thursday, April 30, 2009

Diet Update...Week 2

Week 2 showed some loss of three. Present weight is now 135lbs and dropped a size...down to 8 (it's still a bit snug, but hey...i can zip them up now!).

The lesser amount this week has nothing to do with the effectiveness of the diet, it only shows the ineffectiveness of the dieter. It was difficult to only limit myself to what was on the list, and sometimes I snacked without thinking! At one point...I pulled a cracker out of my mouth during mid chew!

If anything, this diet has told me that I'm a bit weak and unable to stick to my guns on goals that I've set. I told myself..."Okay, back on track...tomorrow. It's only two more weeks." Sometimes that helps, but I've decided I need more substantial rewards.

I've always wanted to do a professional photo shoot. I posed for an aspiring photographer down in New Orleans years ago. It was fun, creative and esteem raising. I have a friend who's a more polished photographer and has made some very sensual suggestions for photos. I think I'd like to give it a try!

With the future shoot in mind...I've slipped on my boots and am ready to buckle down. Just two weeks to go...several more pounds to drop...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Resentment Reaps Rancid Rancor

"Resentment is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die."

I usually don't hold a grudge, even when someone has "done" me wrong and he/she has never asked for forgiveness...I tend to just let it go. I can most assuredly forgive, but sometimes it's hard for me to forget. I've learned that I don't necessarily need to lose all memory, but to take the best lessons from the past. (As I have discussed in a previous post)

I did have a short span of my life that I spent in resentment. It was horrible, living day after day...feeling wronged, hurt and in constant pain. I wanted to blame, blame, blame...but you know, I just couldn't go on any longer. After coming to the realization that it was pointless to be that outward resentment turned into inner resentment. I began to criticize myself for being extremely stupid in not getting out of my marriage sooner, for not standing up to an authority figure in my life and for allowing "me" to be buried and lost for so many years.

Inner resentment turned into self-rejection which led to low self-esteem. Do ya see the trail of utter agony? There were times when I thought I was healed, only to find that months or even years later that the wound was not healed...just pushed far back into a locked closet. Little keys would pop up...threatening to open that door and one day the doors flew open, without warning.

I had chosen to forgive, but I left the process unfinished. When you forgive someone...other doors are opened. I let go of my desire to exact revenge against you and I release you from an emotional prison.

My ex-husband used withdrawal or detachment to punish me. I never knew what is was that I had done wrong, but I would immediately try to do everything in my power to make it up to him. I found out...that "this" is pure manipulation! --a form of emotional control. To forgive is to set someone free; it could be you or it could be me.

Forgiveness is a decision and a process. You can control it, it does not depend on the other person's response. Forgiveness doesn't necessarily mean a path to reconciliation--and it definitely doesn't mean that we go back for more hurt.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

HCG Diet Update --Weight Eradication

It's been one week since I started the HCG diet, and I have some wonderful news to report. This morning I stepped on the scale (drum roll) and it read: 138lbs. That's a whopping 7lbs lost!

The first two days weren't so bad, because those days I got to stack. I was supposed to eat high fat and high carbohydrate foods, and boy did I! It was fun eating without guilt...haven't had that much fun since pregnancy!

Days 3 - 5 were a bit difficult; it would be the first day I could only consume 500 calories from the limited food list. I stuck with skinless boneless chicken breast and broccoli. My snacks were apples.

Day 6 was the worst of all, due to the activity at school...I sorta stress ate. I didn't consume what wasn't on the list, but I think I ate double portions!

Finally, Day 7...I got back on track.

Overall, I haven't noticed any extra room in my cup good news there. I did notice a vertical line appearing down the middle of my abdominal section...does this mean I'm getting a six pack?!? The waddle under my arms appears to have diminished somewhat. There also seems to be more room between my thighs. Overall, I would say that week one has been very successful.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Worry? Who me?

"We are headed for what we are thinking about. That's why we get what we are afraid of and not what we want."

That statement resonated today within my very being as I walked calmly towards a room full of criminally minded teenage boys. A riot had exploded on the other wing of the school...shanks, handcuffs, flying fists...and I was supposed to keep my dirty dozen under control, without means of weapons, pepper spray or even a baseball bat. Self states, "They'll listen to you, they know you have their best interest at heart. Big smile, walk calmly and can do this."

Hot head standing in the doorway of my room, head poked out, "I've got muscles...I can take 'em and show 'em!" I replied, "Oh, Mr. Hot head (of course I can't use their real names...) I know you do and surely you could probably put an end to it very quickly, but I would hate not to have you in class know, with being in solitary confinement all day." Hot head, "Okay, Miss...I gotcha." He returned to his seat, I walked into the room with a big smile, admonished a boy for not being on task and then proceeded with the lesson.

"Time and again I find that worry and fear cannot live in the same space with hope and action."

I don't worry about the things in life that I have absolutely no control over or that I can't personally impact. I keep fear of the unknown out of my hope sector. Worrying about things that you can't impact is draining. It sucks the life out of you and then you can't get anything accomplished!

So, if you've ever been called a worry's a few things you can try to break the worry habit:

1. Read about stories of people and organizations that made great comebacks.

2. Surround yourself with hopeful people. This is the best one. I've been amazed with the hope that I find in other's very uplifting and inspiring. You should also remove yourself from those who are pessimistic and negative. When you do this, the clouds will clear.

3. Again, start off your day with positive affirmations...

4. Know when to surrender and let it go. That time is different for everyone and for each situation. Ask yourself, "Can I change it?" If the answer is know what to do.

Monday, April 20, 2009

My Lucky 13

Last time I said that I would give you my 13 steps on how I developed a strong self concept...I didn't develop these all by myself, but have taken a few from books and, here they are:

1. I identified and replaced my self-limiting beliefs. Self-rejection was the biggie...and now, of course...I just love myself.

2. I taught people how to treat me. If that didn't work...I just kicked them to the curb! No, really...I had to tell some people that certain behaviors were just unacceptable. Others I revealed what I really appreciated and wanted from them.

3. I am always learning something new. I love reading; blogs, editorials, novels, name it...I like to read it. (even letters in Playboy!)

4. I listened to and read positive messages. That's what I have Lara for! She's great...always uplifting.

5. I removed "I should have" from my vocabulary. It's time to kick the shoulda habit and replace it with "What I learned".

6. I used and still do, positive affirmations. My favorite is when I look in the mirror, I say out loud "You are very sexy and ALL men and women of the greater good find you attractive!" That one is fun.

7. I stepped out of my comfort zone and took risks. Taking the teaching job at the boy's prison was definitely out of my comfort zone. I think I'll also take Gar's suggestion and try Karaoke.

8. I documented my success. Before blogging...there was the handy journal. When I went back to finish my bachelors, I was petrified. I wrote every day in the journal and as I went back and looked at what I had was very funny. Some of it was just, "What am I doing? I can't get all of this crap done!"

9. I celebrated the small victories. Whatever goal I made and achieved, I enjoyed with my family.

10. I helped someone else. This list is unending and continues to grows. Helping others does assist in building your own self esteem. I get to forget myself and focus on someone else.

11. I built a social network of support. This step was very important, considering I had isolated myself completely. Making new friends and rekindling golden friendships has been a life saver and changer.

12. I have set and worked toward challenging goals. The masters, the diet, planting trees...all these things are on my list.

13. I rewarded myself. This last the best. I made sure that I built in meaningful rewards. I made these celebrations mile stones on my path.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Since one of my friends has been alarmed reading about my road to self-discovery...I've decided to change the subject and talk about this new diet that I'm starting.

Being pregnant was a wonderful experience for me! It gave me an excuse to eat as much as I wanted and to gain weight without all the guilt. So, I didn't mind gaining 80lbs in ten months! I thought the usual, "eating for two" "it's just baby weight" and "I have cravings".

After having both my children, I lost 50 pounds rather was always the last 30 lbs or so that gave me fits. Well, I've finally decided to get serious, and considering that I won't be having anymore children, I'll be dropping that last 30 lbs.

I've consulted with my physician and she has put me on the HCG diet. You take drops that encourages your body to use stored fat reserves. In fact, you don't eat breakfast! I love that part, because I don't eat breakfast. The hardest part I suppose is sticking with eating only 500 calories, but my doctor said, "You can do anything for a month." I just love her, she's Polish and has such a wonderful rugged accent. I see her once a week and we talk about my progress.

I'm starting the diet at 145lbs, size 10. Each week I'll post my current weight and what size I am. I'll let you know how I'm doing...the difficulty and what I find easy.

Gar, I hope this post was to your liking...:)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Shallow Ground

I by no means am a perfectionist, but I lived with one for 17 long years. Mother always had to have the toilet paper facing outward and the can goods arranged alphabetically. Family vacations were even worse...a time detailed list of when and where we were supposed to be. You ask, what's wrong with that? I'll give you a sample:
7:00AM Wake up, breakfast. Only one cup of coffee because we'll have 2nd cup with Aunt Becky.
7:45AM Arrive at Becky's. Have a cup of coffee and visit for 1 hour.
9:00AM Arrive at dock for ship island. Spend 3 hours on tour. Dine at the fort, but only a light lunch because we'll have lunch with Grandma Ann.
1:30PM Arrive at Grandma Ann's. Have Lunch. Visit for 1 hour.

That's how it went, the entire day planned...I have purposely avoided lists, watches and purses for this reason.

Perfectionism, comparison, jealousy and approval are all symptoms of low self esteem. Seeking validation is a healthy human need, but approval is not the best way to meet it.

I constantly sought approval and in the process lost myself. I couldn't think for myself, forgot how to say no, abandoned my boundaries, risked my integrity and tried to become all things to all people. I killed my relationships, productivity, credibility and personal effectiveness.

I tended to be more cynical, critical and defensive and also had a difficult time adapting to change, taking risks and accepting feedback. If you think you're suffering from low self esteem here is a checklist to find out:

1. You are preoccupied with yourself. You spend a great deal of time thinking about and analyzing yourself.

2. You are often alienated from authority figures in life, like parents or caregivers.

3. You do not smile readily.

4. You feel tired and unmotivated.

5. You isolate yourself from others.

6. You have trouble with relationships.

7. You find eye contact uncomfortable.

8. You avoid risk.

9. You are often described as high maintenance and needy.

10. You create negative experiences.

Self esteem isn't developed overnight especially when you don't have it! You have to work on it, build it and maintain it. The problems that accompanied my low self esteem were being fearful, critical of myself and ill equipped to handle conflict. I developed negative coping strategies and self-destructive behaviors.

I've learned how to develop a strong self-concept and in the next post I'll share 13 actions that I've taken.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Self Rejection Part II

Okay, it's time to identify and confront my feelings of rejection. This is a learning process that will happen over time. When I feel rejected, I need to notice the trends and recognize the events that trigger those feelings.

Let me give you an example. Believe it or not, I haven't dated anyone, and I mean not even a wink (ha ha) in 3 1/2 years. I chose not to date because I went through a nine year marriage in which my husband was and still is an addict. You already know about the affair, would be very easy for me to develop an acute toxicity to trust. A friend of mine just pointed out to me, that I've been an enabler for those 9 years...which basically means that I was a very kind door mat. I got extremely worn out and dirty...and felt like I needed to be thrown away.

Right before Christmas, I entered into a long distance relationship with a man. Really nice guy, seemed secure...and It should have been everything I ever wanted. There were some immediate problems: 1. We lived almost 7 hours apart. 2. I don't trust.

It was very nice in the beginning, except...I became extremely frightened with the prospect...that yes, I...was about to fall in love. OH NO! That's supposed to be good, but I've learned the wrong lessons and well, I'm just a big huge freaking mess!!!

I actually misrepresented a couple of things, trying to push him away. DING,DING,DING...that's right Self-rejection!!! Okay, got past that, told the truth...made up and continued on. We were supposed to meet during spring break, I chickened out; I was worried he wouldn't like the way I looked. DING,DING,DING...self rejection. Then a little later on, it seemed like he was backing off (Really, can you blame him?) and I became suspicious that maybe he was seeing someone. DING,DING, guessed it.

He has ultimately rejected me and not because he didn't like me, or find me's because I rejected myself. Take a look at past relationships and experiences, whether it was a job interview, a friendship or a lover, where you experienced rejection. Did you cause it like I did? Were you actually rejected because you weren't a perfect fit?

Self-rejection is a poison that must be extracted. It stems from low confidence and self-esteem. Next time I'll look at the source and confront it. Until then, to thine own self be true.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Rejecting Rejection Part 1

"People who reject themselves have chronic feelings of unworthiness. What happens on the outside of us is often a clue about what is happening on the inside of us."

Here is a test I took to see if self-rejection is my problem:

1. No matter how hard I work or what I achieve, I could have done better. Yes
2. When others praise me, deep down I don't really believe them. Yes
3. At some level I fear that if people really knew me, they wouldn't accept me. Yes
4. I've done some bad stuff, and I have a difficult time forgiving myself. Yes
5. When good things happen, I often feel undeserving or unworthy. Yes
6. It is easy to give but difficult to accept from others. Yes
7. I spend a lot of time thinking about or worrying about what others think of me. I did
8. It is very important to please others. Yes
9. I worry too much about how I look. Yes
10. I am too sensitive and too easily hurt. Yes
11. I hear the criticism of others even when they insist that was not the intended message. Yes
12. I often feel inferior, inadequate, and out of place. Yes
13. It is hard for me to trust--myself, others, or even God. Yes
14. I feel better when I am in complete control. Yes
15. I tend to dominate situations. No
16. Even though I don't always express it, I often feel critical, frustrated, or angry toward others. Yes
17. I tend to isolate myself from others. YES, YES, YES
18. I often miss the mark, falling short of my own expectations. No
19. I carry around feelings of guilt and shame. Yes

My rejection originates from abuse and criticism. I won't go into details and give you my life history, but it began in childhood and continued in marriage. My self-esteem has always been rock bottom; to protect myself I would push people away. I always thought that this little town I live in has rejected me, but in fact, I've carried myself in such a way that I made myself unapproachable. I built my walls of protection which I thought would insulate me, but instead isolated me.

So, I've identified that I have a problem with self-rejection, how do I fix it?
1. Identify and confront the feelings of rejection.
2. Reject the feelings of rejection.
3. Affirm yourself.

In the next post, I'll identify and confront my feelings of rejection.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Too Much Trouble and Not Worth the Time

Have you ever been told that you're too much trouble and not worth the time? I have. What do you do when a person tells you something like that? My initial reaction of course was pain, then crying, then more get the point. Followed by self reflection, "am I really"? Then of course there's the knee jerk reaction of anger, followed by I'm sorry and then the ultimate beggar's phrase, "Do you still like me?"

That's what it boils down to for most of us, is that we want to be liked. So, we spend hours upon hours being the perfect person, contemplating how to put our best foot forward, being everything the other person wants without actually revealing anything about ourselves.

I recently told a friend about a physician's diet that I'm starting on Thursday. I described the program and how it reduces your caloric intake to 500 calories per day. This friend immediately responded with "HOLY CRAP!" how can you not be hungry!!! I thought for a minute and responded with: "If you really want to achieve something then you'll do what it takes to make it happen. You'll make the necessary time and sacrifices to make it work. Once you achieve the goal then there's a feeling of accomplishment." I could tell right away that this friend wasn't really in agreement, so I went on. Since my friend is a gamer I'd figure I'd try that approach. "Let's say you're playing online with your friends and the game is getting really hard. You don't give keep trying to win. So, there's a time or two that the robots kick your butt. Do you stop playing the game? No, you keep going back because it's challenging and it stimulates you. You keep going on until your victorious. If it were too easy to win, you wouldn't play." My friend's response: "I see."

Relationships are difficult, they take time to mature and develop. At the first sign of trouble we tend to run screaming the other way. We become defensive, angry or frightened. We want everything to be perfect and to go smoothly because that's how it's supposed to be, right? Wrong. It takes time to understand someone; to see if they're a fit for you. As each layered is revealed and you discover something about that person that bothers you, you should be willing to say "Hey, I've identified "this" about bothers there any possibility that you'd be open to changing it?" Give the other person a chance to decide, don't make that decision for them, because not fair.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Helpless Becomes Hopeless

If I see myself as a victim, someone or something must be to blame. Blame becomes my focus. This damages trust. If I learn to be helpless, I am likely to teach it to others. I drain others of their hope.

I focused on what I could control and what I have...I should have focused on what could be and kept my hope for the future. I am not powerless, infact, I am powerful enough to make a difference.

I'm adding empowering to my list of newly acquired beliefs. I will no longer be a victim of my past and blame others for my shortcomings. I do have choices and options. In the end, it is not what happens to me; it is how I respond that will become the story of my life.

I am changing the outcome. I am reaching out past my experiences with a new heart. I am crossing the road to the otherside and I am not looking back. I am leaving behind the wretched, abused and marred pieces of my life. I am journeying into the future and not living in the past. No matter what your eyes tell you of me, no matter what your ears have heard from me, no matter how uncertain I have been...whatever happens; this is not the end. My story is one of hope...not helplessness.

Hope... New Again

It's Easter morning, when christians celebrate the resurection of Chirst. It symbolizes new life, purpose and hope. As I sit here waiting for the sunrise service, I'm reminded of my past and all the trials and choices I've made. Recently, I reconnected with a wonderful person from my past--a time before I mired my life- that helped me to see that even when things just haven't been good...that you can still hope. No matter how difficult things become...there's always hope.

Hope is such a small word, but big in connotation. It implies that no matter what has been said or has been transgressed, that things can become new again. I'm asking for someone to push past the walls that I've erected and help me tear them down. To understand that I've made mistakes and I will continue to make mistakes. To have faith in me as I learn how to love and trust again. To know that the future is ours to shape...please shape it with me.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Where Is Your God?

2008, my year of all time lows caused me to question my entire belief system. I decided that I had finally had enough of everything. All through my tumultuous marriage, I prayed. Pleaded for God to save my marriage, change my husband's heart and restore my soul. My prayers went unanswered and I began to question the very existence of God.

As anger and disillusionment settled in, I stopped talking to my God. I experienced a feeling of total aloneness. Although I found myself in crowds of people, a home with children, classroom full of students...I was alone. At first, I thought this was genuinely because I no longer had a significant other. I hardened my heart, put up the walls and refused to care. Cynicism became my calling card, a card that had always been foreign to me.

The ache grew, splintered and infected every aspect of my life. My psyche, body, home and friendships withered. The roots of discontent reached deep within and bundled together into a rigid, stony mass. I can't even begin to describe the awful things I did and thought. All these events brought me to a place in my life where I reached out for God one more time, but it wasn't to save was to end me. On November 26, 2008, in the darkness of my cold heart, I stretched out my arms to heaven and stated simply: I'm done.

"Please, God...I can't do it anymore, I'm tired, exhausted. I've ruined my life, destroyed my dreams and I just can't go on...please take me...end my feeble existence."

He didn't answer that prayer either...or that's what I thought.

A week before Christmas, a person from my past, 20 years ago...reentered my life. You may not find this amazing, but you see...I had no facebook account, no myspace account, no published phone number...I was completely hidden. This person has mysteriously appeared at other times in my life, at the end of relationships...pivotal points in my life.

I'd love to be able to tell you that all the stars in heaven are shining brightly...but you see, I was still holding onto my pain, my aloneness, my inability to trust, all of my fears. I'd love to tell you that we've worked it all out, but I can't...all I can tell you is that I have hope, and that my a great beginning.

Learning The Right Lessons

"An event or experience does not have the power to shape our expectations. It is the way we interpret and process the event that does that--how we summarize it, how we tell the story, and what we remember about it."

My husband of nine years has an affair (later I found out several) ...what lessons did I learn?

1. No one can be trusted, no matter what they say or do, they'll always hurt you.
2. People have no qualms with looking you straight in the eye and lying.
3. Once a person has gotten what they want, you're history.
4. I'm not worthy enough.

Do I think I learned the wrong lessons? How do I know if I've learned the wrong lessons? There is an easy test: Wrong lessons take something from you. Right lessons add something to you. According to the book, yes, I most emphatically did learn the wrong lessons!

This is what I should have learned instead:
1. My exhusband can't be trusted...not everyone.
2. My exhusband has no qualms with lying...not everyone.
3. People come into our lives to fulfill certain purposes, they may not be around forever.
4. I'm a good person and worthy of a good relationship.

In every life experience there is something I can learn, especially from my disappointments, failures and setbacks. I have choices about what I take away from my experiences. I can choose to learn what is important.

In retrospect, I realize now that I looked for an implied meaning that wasn't there with my new relationship. Instead of listening to the words that were being said, I attached a connotation derived from my previous experience, thus creating a situation that truly wasn't happening. When in reality, something beautiful was being created. I don't know if all my self-tampering has hindered this relationship, all I can do is regain the hope that it can continue to grow without the negative stigmas I had orignially perceived.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

My First Self-Limiting Belief

In all her goodness, my mother hands me a book and casually states, "I know you like to read so I got you this." In all my grumpiness, I smile politely and say thank you. I didn't even bother to read the title, but tucked the well meaning gift under my arm and exited her abode.

I arrived home and purposely put the book (now thought on with scorn) on my kitchen table. There that scorned book sat for several days before I even attempted to glance at the title. Ready, Set ... Grow! I rolled my eyes and thought, "Great...another how to make my life better book." That's when I got ticked. Who is she to point out to me that my life needs improving?

I resigned myself to finally picking up the book and giving it a biased skim through. Skimming...skimming...skimming...WHAT YOU BELIEVE BECOMES YOUR TRUTH. I paused, shifted my bias a bit and read a little further. "The lies that you tell yourself actually become your truth." I crinkled my brow and wondered what lies have I been telling myself?

The book then asked me to assess the relationships in my life. OH, boy...ouch. Here are some of the questions for reflection:
1. Are some relationships showing signs of strain? Oh, you betcha
2. Are there people you have trouble communicating with or getting results from? Uh, huh

One person comes to my mind immediately. Although I know this person is kind and caring...I already have certain "truths" imprinted onto my feelbe brain. He will ultimately tire of me and dump my poor wretched soul. He is only talking to me because he has no one else to talk to and as soon as he finds someone else, I'm history. When I talk to him, I do try very hard to stay positive and have an upbeat attitude. the back of my mind these "truths" are there and screaming at me--"IT DOESN'T MATTER WHAT HE SAYS...IT WILL ALL END THE SAME!"

I took tons of psychology courses in college, because once upon a time...I thought that's what I wanted to be. I've read about the "self-fulfilling prophecies" where what you believe and expect comes to pass because you've (I've) predicted it and aided it.

As I reflect back on this relationship, I remember how easy and sweet it was in the beginning. Laughing, giggling...the yearning to hear his voice and he mine. Eventually a tension settled in and my perceptions became tainted by my own "truths".

My lie to myself was that no matter what he tells me, he'll eventually stop loving you and leave. I decided this before we even got a chance to have a relationship! Were there warning signals? NO. Was he an awful person? NO. Did he lie to me? NO. But...I already acted as if he did.