As some may know, I have been on a 21 day detox from sugar, dairy, wheat gluten, and processed foods.  It was a personal decision for me to break my plateau, to detox not only my body, but spirit, emotions, and mind.  I am now on day 7 and have been steadily plugging along.

During each morning and evening I meditate as well as listen to or read inspirational messages to help me to cleanse negativity & resistance and embrace more positivity.  During this particular morning, day 7 (for those in numerology, the number of perfection) my meditation lead me to realize some things surrounding perfection and happiness.  A lot of times, being a perfectionist, we have set goals to obtain.  And with that goal, we have attached to it “I’ll be happy when I.”  The question proposed to me was “Why not be happy now?”

Against popular beliefs, happiness is a decision.  It is a choice.  You can choose to be happy or choose to be sad.  I learned this when I went through different times of depressed moments and even now when those moments come, I have a decision: stay down or get up! So if we can choose happiness, why not be happy now?  Why allow winning a competition, having a large house, having Prince Charming, or being a size 6 be the dictator of our happiness?  Why not accept where you are and who you are now so that you can be happy on your way to your goal?  Happiness is a state of mind, not the distant goal you have set!!

I have realized, that if you set a goal and say that “I’ll be happy when I [place your goal here]” you have given the power of your happiness to that goal and no longer retain control! So say you receive that large house and the prince (or princess) charming to go with it.  I am not here to wish ill will for anyone, but keeping in perspective that the cycle of life does allow for some bad days.  And say that for some reason you lose that house.  If your happiness is tied to the house and you lose it, where does the happiness go?  With the house! So why give these different goals (although great to have and achieve) your power to be happy?  Why not have control and be happy now?

So, if I have a choice to be happy, then should I be happy when I achieve my goals?  Of course!! Be happy even during that and celebrate!! The main thing is to be happy with yourself despite the changes you go through, even when you are at your lowest points.  Celebrate the small things, which for me as a high-achiever and perfectionist can be very hard to do.  So what do I do to ground myself and find happiness in the now?

Meditation

I meditate twice a day now.  It causes me to focus on my breath and my body as well as get out of my head! I’m a thinker and constantly thinking about the next thing instead of being present in the here and now.  By being present in the here and now I can see what is currently going on and find things to celebrate about me, i.e. I made it through 7 days of not eating processed sugar, wheat gluten, or dairy!  I can accept where I am currently and focus on that for a moment.  Meditation also shows me my places of growth and how I can strengthen these areas to be a better me today.  I know, I need to do a blog on meditation really soon! 😀

Inspiration

I have found that listening to inspirational messages have been a great thing for me.  A lot of times I have found that in these messages, there are some things that jump out at me for that moment in my life I’m listening, and when I listen again at another time, something else jumps out! It helps me to realize that we all have something to share and that you can learn from others on how to deal with life situations.  Some things may not apply, but  a lot of things will! Some inspirational people I enjoy listening to and reading, new and old are Dr. Christian Pankhurst, Darren Hardy , and Ralph Marston.

Other ways I ground myself is through exercise (pilates and yoga) and the help of good friends who are on the same wavelength of positivity.  Having these things keeps me in check from looking forward in the future and being happy right now.  I have learned that being happy in the now can decrease my craving for certain foods! My favorite food on the planet is pepperoni pizza.  To my surprise, in the past 6-7 days I have not once craved a slice of pepperoni pizza!! I’m learning to be happy where I am, even if it’s not number 1 in everyone’s eyes, but to know that I’m doing the best right now.  Knowing I have a decision in my emotions has caused me to be in control of using food as my drug of choice.  I’m happy now and will celebrate when I get to my goal!  So what will be your decision?

Choose to be happy now!!

~FitBody FitLife

 

Photo by  Capannelle:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/capannelle1/96770307/

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About a week ago I got the chance to work in Fluoroscopy as a part of my clinical studies for Medical Imaging. I was able to stand behind the Radiologist and watch as he took a look at the gastrointestinal tract of different patients and to see if there were any leakages or blockages or any other medical issues. I was able to prepare the contrast for fluoroscopy and assist in the taking of images as well the removal of the nasogastric tube while patients were conscious. I was surprised to see that the majority of people that were in for Fluoroscopy were patients that had a gastric bypass, roux en-y, or lap band that went wrong. It made me take pause, because a year ago I could have been a candidate for this procedure and had considered it because of my size. But I changed my mind because I was unsure of the safety of this procedure. Seeing all these patients in Fluoro, caused me to look deeper into Gastric Bypass and the issues that many are having due to the quick and “easy” way to bypass difficulties in weight loss. If you are planning or thinking about this procedure, you may want to read this blog. By no means am I a doctor, nor do I give medical advice, however I am presenting information that I have researched first hand. Please do not consider my blog as the place for medical advice. This is only my opinion and it is up to you as the reader to go further in research and consult with your physician concerning what is best for you regarding your health. Also please understand that this is NOT intended to cause fear of surgery. I am writing this article only to speak of my research, experiences, and to make sure you the reader are informed of what gastric bypass entails.

What is Gastric Bypass?

Gastric bypass surgery is a procedure in which surgeons make the stomach smaller (about 1/3 the original size of the stomach) so that recipients of this procedure can feel fuller quicker, thus eating less , absorbing less calories, and losing weight. One of the most common procedures is a Roux-en-Y (After the French physician Roux) in which the small stomach pouch is connected to the middle portion of the small intestine(jejunum) to “bypass” the rest of the stomach. The rest of the stomach is still connected to the upper portion of the small intestine (duodenum).

For a clear explanation and video on Gastric Bypass look here.

What are the benefits?

The benefits of Gastric Bypass is that if you are morbidly obese and have health complications due to weight, you are able to lose pounds at a rapid rate. For some, it gives them a little push to eat healthier as well as exercise to build a healthier life for themselves. There are many that have tried other options such as working with dietitians, exercise, therapy, and even staying in weight loss clinics with no success. The option of gastric bypass is excellent for them because they have tried all options and need to go the surgical route.

What are the complications?

My main concern with this procedure is the complications that I have seen all this week during my week in Fluoroscopy. At times, you can increase complications in addition the existing ones prior to surgery. The following are listed complications from WebMD:

  • An iron and vitamin B12 deficiency occurs more than 30% of the time. About 50% of those with an iron deficiency develop anemia.
  • The connection between the stomach and the intestines narrows (stomal stenosis) 5% to 15% of the time, leading to nausea and vomiting after eating.
  • Ulcers develop 5% to 15% of the time.
  • The staples may pull loose.
  • Hernia may develop.
  • The bypassed stomach may enlarge, resulting in hiccups and bloating.

The complications I saw face to face with these patients included malnutrition, gaining a large percentage of the weight back a few years after receiving the surgery, and hypoglycemia which may result in a reversal of gastric bypass that may be minimally successful.

How have I been affected by this experience?

By meeting the patients from gastric bypass surgery (pre-op, post-op, and reversals) it has shown me there is truly NO easy way to bypass the hardships of losing weight, not even surgery. This experience just further strengthened my belief that weight is connected not only behavioral changes but emotional changes as well.

I must admit, watching the procedures that the patients have to go through, in particular post-op, it caused me to really look deeper into this procedure and honestly caused me to see why I would not want this type of procedure done. Others may see this a life-saver for them.

I have witnessed those who have received the procedure and did not make significant changes to their diet or exercise routine. They continue to eat a lot of junk food, fast food, and stopped exercising shortly after. I have seen people lose a massive amount of weight, and then gain a great portion back because of returning to these behaviors and not dealing with the emotions and habits that have been embedded in their thoughts and consciousness. It further caused me to see how dealing with my emotions and changing my behaviors has been the best alternative for me in regards to losing the weight.

I must go on record to say that for some it may be necessary for them to have this medical procedure to be performed due to other options not being successful. My hope for most is that they will truly look at all options, such as therapy, health coaching, personal training, register dietician, etc. before making the decision to try this option. Also be sure to consult with your physician about all options to try and if you are truly the best candidate for this procedure. Remember, this is your body and it is your duty to do the best for it regardless of the thoughts and opinions of others.

FitBody FitLife

On my journey to weight loss, I had forgotten something that was so fundamental to keeping me on track to being healthy. I began to focus on the number and forgot about focusing on number one (see “The Number to Focus On” for how to forget about the scale and focus on you!). As I began to focus on the 63 pounds left for me to lose, I began to get discouraged, to plateau, to fight to eat clean only to binge on junk foods, and exhibit other behaviors of resistance to change.

Why did I reach a plateau in my weight loss?

Because the focus on the number of pounds became more of a duty and obligation, instead of a joy.

One thing about the human condition, is if we feel that we “hafta (have to)” do this, and “hafta” do that, we tend to see the change we are trying to make as more of a punishment then a positive reinforcer. In the field of psychology, it has been proven many times that punishment and negative reinforcement are not effective in causing long term change. They actually reinforce the negative behavior. And indeed I began to fall into that regimen and gained a few pounds.

I recently became a “guinea pig” for my friend to be a client for life coaching to help me understand the story I tell myself about weight loss. I am all the more appreciative for this experience, because through the journaling and meditation that she had me do (though I wasn’t too thrilled with daily journaling) I have been able to recognize that I was looking at my health journey as an obligation, which is why I hit a plateau. I had come against resistance to change because of this as well as learning about other emotional things that I need to deal with to drop more weight. This falls in line with my belief that most times the weight a person carries outwardly can be connected to the emotional and psychological weight that they have not dealt with. I began to realize that I was not enjoying my food, not enjoying working out as much as I should, because I did not enjoy the process of change.

How do you enjoy the process of change and what have I done about it?

Well, for myself, I decided I will not weight myself for a month, only to cause myself to not focus on the pounds, but to focus on healthy eating and making sure my body is healthy. I have also decided to broaden my support system of positive change by employing a dietician along with my life coach to support me in healthy eating. Through the life coaching, I have learned more on focusing on me and figuring out the resistance to change so I can enjoy it instead.



The key things in enjoying the process of change is to:



1) Make change fun and positive!

I began to find recipes online and even just go in the kitchen on the weekends and become creative with my recipes. I know the principles of clean eating and just applied them without worrying about how much weight it would cause me to gain. If I just eat in moderation and the foods are clean, I should be fine.

2) Don’t allow change to overwhelm you!

Take it step by step and gradually get into it. Since I’m a perfectionist, I typically like to jump into the pool and do the backstroke perfectly. I have learned to take my time, to plan, and to slowly make changes back to eating clean.


3) Show yourself compassion: Understand that you are human, mistakes happen.

Just relish on the positive steps you made. You don’t have to be 100% perfect in your meal plans or working out initially. Not even after a year in. Just look at the progress you have made & write it down! This will help to remind you that you have made some awesome changes and to keep you motivated as you make your life changes.


4) See your changes as changes for life, not as a bandaid for now.

There is a such thing as a quick fix, but it’s not always a life long fix. Only temporary. Make sure that you take your time to enjoy positive change, because it is becoming a new habit. As humans, it takes time to change a habit, and the more time you take in repeating the change, the more the change becomes a positive part of your lifestyle.


5) Meditation and journaling.

Though I wasn’t happy with it, I must admit that journaling and meditation helped me to quiet my mind and to hear what was going on inside of me and document what emotions may be holding me back. Again, I give sincere thanks to my life coach in helping me see this. I will soon be blogging about more of the benefits of meditation and journaling along with other emotional/psychological healing.


In conclusion, the main thing to remember is to see change as a positive, exciting adventure that you are embarking on; you get to make your own rules and work at the pace you are most comfortable! You also get to discover new things about yourself and become creative with your change. When you reframe and see change as a positive enjoyment, it will be more long lasting. Enjoy your process, and keep me posted on your journey! I would love to hear your health or weight loss story in the comments section below.

FitBodyFitLife

In case you were wondering and didn’t know, my star sign is Capricorn. It is mostly referenced to the goat-like mentality. Many see the goat as stubborn and the animal at the petting zoo that will have NO problem with chewing on your clothes if you got close enough to it. Though, I don’t chew on clothes, the stubborn mentality may not always be a bad thing. You can reframe that stubbornness as ambition, the refusal to give up and quit despite the odds stacked against the person. My motto is to “keep moving forward despite it all.” This brings me to the reason for this blog.

When I was younger, there was a gospel song that I always heard on the radio while riding to school with my mother or father. The song was “Shake it off” (I’m not sure of the artist, but if you know it please let me know) and it told of a prized goat that fell into an old dug well. The farmer realized that his goat was in the well and tried to rescue it with a rope with no success. He decided to give up and to give his goat a decent burial by shoveling in dirt on top of the goat. He didn’t realize that though he gave up, the stubborn goat never gave up it’s ambition to be free and to live. The farmer would shovel dirt in the well, but when he would check in after a few shovels, the goat was still alive. He then realized that the goat would simply shake off the dirt, and pack the dirt under his feet. The farmer kept shoveling, and the goat kept shaking it off and packing dirt under his feet. As he did that, he kept rising higher on the mound of dirt until he was able to jump and scamper out.

The moral of this story is that no matter how much dirt you have that has been shoveled upon you by friends, family, business relationships, bosses, or yourself, you have to be like the goat and shake it off, stamp it under your feet, and rise above it all. So many times we choose to carry the dirt that has been shoveled upon us: “you’ll never meet your goals; you’ll never lose weight; you will always be single and alone; you will never find a satisfactory job; you are worthless.” Even those that try to misuse you and take advantage of your kindness can be seen as dirt shoveled on you. Anything that is negative in my eyes is dirt. Yet, it is useful dirt because as with the goat, we can use the dirt to build mounds in the dark wells we’ve dug ourselves into and climb out.

Today is your day to make the decision that you will no longer have a pity party in a dark hole and mourn for your own funeral. You are not the farmer that tried one option and deemed that life is over because that one option didn’t work. You are more like the intelligent and creative goat. The goat may be seen to many as a stubborn animal, but as we see in this story, the goat is quite ambitious. There is a method to it’s stubbornness, and that is to succeed by any means necessary. What is your means to succeed? One way is to realize that your life is not over when you fall in a hole and your first option didn’t work. Be stubborn like a goat and try a second, third.. 50th option. It doesn’t matter your star sign, just take on the goat-like characteristic of never giving up on yourself! Shake off the dirt that you say to yourself and others say to you that you can’t succeed. You can succeed. You can rise above it all. Shake it off and pack it under your feet!

If anyone really knows me, my number one fear is of mice/rodents. Dead or alive. If it’s in the vicinity and I know it, I’m gone like a flash of lightning. I’m also slightly afraid of roaches as well. Yes, those things that creep in the night do indeed scare me, and a lot of times we try to hid those fears because it makes us seem weak. But as Jazmine Sullivan says in her song “Fear”: We all afraid of something here cuz you aint human without fear.”

The fact of the matter is, as one of my friends Joslyn Anthony used to preach in her sermons is “Everybody have roaches.” Everybody have roaches and rodents that creep in the night, some have a lot of them, some have just a few or maybe one big one that wakes them up every night. We are so afraid sometimes to admit that they are there, and try to hid them from visitors and friends. But if those visitors and friends spent the night, and stayed around, they may see one of the roaches crawling up our wall. They will truly see that yes indeed, you have issues and things to be feared in your home! How uncomfortable for a visitor to see rodents or roaches in your home. It truly makes you appear vulnerable, which is something most of us really can’t stand.

There are even times when we think that we are free from those things that creep in the night, until one night we feel something tickling our legs, and there it is!!!! A large roach (or water bug as we call them in the South). Yuck!!!! And don’t let it be one of those flying ones. OMG!! I can’t take it!! So now we are aware of the issue/fear that is in our home…Hmmm…what to do?

I remember that once my father cut down a bunch of woods around our house and because of that the rodents had no place to go but our house!!! So, I would sit up at night, with the lights on if I heard any little scratch, and would be petrified. I decided I would run to my parents room if I saw my fears scamper across my floor. I was afraid my fears would crawl in bed with me and bite me. I was afraid of my fears touching me. I was afraid of how my fears may carry other infections and lead to more hurt. I was afraid of something that would scamper from me if it saw me (unless it’s was a NYC rat, then that’s something else ENTIRELY different!).

So, those things that creep in the night, those fears and issues, are they really necessary? I mean, are they really justifiable and founded on facts. Yes, mice carry diseases, but as my father would say to me when I was afraid “Girl, those little things are just as scared of you as you are of them.” My father had the wisdom to lay down traps for the things I feared to eradicate them. Why don’t we do the same? Why don’t we exterminate those fears and issues that may keep you awake at night or from achieving your dreams?

I remember I was too afraid to get out of bed to go to the restroom because I felt one of my fears would run across my feet. But, I realized that my urge to go to the restroom was much stronger than my fear running across my feet, so I would shoot out of my bed to the restroom! I made my goal and did not see any of my fears around in the restroom with me!! Sometimes, in order to eradicate and exterminate our fears, we must indeed jump feet first into the fears to disprove that they are real.

In psychology, we call this flooding. You’ve heard of those with phobias and how they would require in vivo/exposure therapy to prove to them that their issues and fears are just concepts in the mind that hold no true validity. For others it may be more helpful to step slowly in, maybe by doing the imagery of being around the feared thing and then actually experiencing it. I know for myself, I just had to jump out, but imagine me visualizing: “Ok, there might not be a mouse under my bed and the mouse may not run across my feet. I can see myself walking across the floor and no mice running across the floor. If there is, it will only give me more speed to get to the restroom!”

In conclusion, when you find in your life things you fear that you will fail at, such as being healthier or even starting that career you dreamed of, eradicate that fear by:

1. Recognizing that you may have fears and most of them are typically unjustifiable and unrealistic. Yours
might be included.
2. Realizing that you have the power within yourself to make a move away from those fears.
3. Ignite that power by visualizing your dream being a reality. Then put your dreams on paper.
4. Take action of your dreams by either jumping in feet first, or making small steps, i.e. to live a healthier life,
you will stop drinking soda for a week or stop eating potato chips. Small steps towards your dreams is
better than staying in one spot petrified.

As you progress in this, you will realize that things that creep in the night are not necessary to be feared, that you can easily flip the switch, expose them, and sweep them out the door. Maybe I should just get a pet rat to get over my fears, huh? Maybe not!!!

Remember, EVERYBODY has roaches… just some of us decide to exterminate instead of living with them. Make a choice today on which you will do.

~ FitBody FitLife

Disclaimer: I do not encourage the killing or murdering of rodents and roaches. Just that they are not found in my house or around me. I agree with them roaming a field or countryside. Not my bedroom or kitchen.

So many times we get on the scale and we look at the number that screams back at us and get discourage during our journey. We feel that this number is the sole purpose of our accomplishments. If we gain 3 lbs back this week, we have failed. If we lost 3 lbs, we are winners. But as with life, this number will always fluctuate, so which number should we focus on?

I fell into the number trap on the scale. It would set my emotion for the day. If I gained 3 lbs because I decided to eat pizza this weekend, I’m a failure and I feel like a failure for the rest of the day. The number on the scale was the focus and I forgot about me and how that number made me feel. I forgot to focus on number 1, which is me.

I forgot that eating well for No. 1 is what keeps my emotions in check. I forgot that working out helps No. 1 to feel more empowered and to forget about the annoying things that people do and other drama that may come along with life. I forgot about No. 1.

I have retrained my focus. I have realized that while the numbers on the scale are important for health sake, it is not the No. 1 thing to focus on. I am, and the way I feel. If I am content and if I feel healthy; these are the things that I should keep in the forefront of my mind. Once you focus on No. 1, the mental portion, the inner portion, all the rest of the body follows. The mind dictates the bodily functions, so why not focus on your No. 1? It is the seat of you life. If your mind is not into the workouts, the eating clean, or into life, no matter how hard you try you will be in a perpetual motion of falling and trying to get back up and finding each time harder and harder because you are not in to it. Focus on No. 1. Focus on how No. 1 feels when you work out. When you workout, experience how it feels to be focused on something that raises your endorphins, that shows your power and agility, that makes you stronger everyday. Focus on how when you eat healthy, it cleanses you from toxins that pollute your body and mind, that healthy eating helps with your focusing, your energy, and even your mood. Focus on No. 1, and make the number on your scale number 10.