It’s 5:24 AM and I wake up a little annoyed at the sound of Frankie chewing on an empty soda bottle left on the nightstand. I roll over to see Cupid still soundly sleeping on the foot of the bed, but even he lifts his head as I say “Frankie, STOP!” I wish I woke as lovely as in a Disney movie with birds chirping, me singing a melody and other woodland creatures gathering at my feet, but I sit up and head to the guest bathroom down the hall. 20 more steps, but I don’t have to close the door. The cats jump in the tub, I lightly turn on the water, Frankie jets, but Cupid puts his head under the water, then his shoulders, not realizing that the drink he is having is soaking him and rolling down his back. It makes me smile.
I head back to bed and my phone goes off, it’s 5:34, and I am alerted to an email from a student. Sigh. I will read it later. Dark, except for the light coming under the open blinds so the boys don’t massacre my apt issued set. I turn on my iPad, check out 5 minutes of an episode of King of the Hill and wonder about my day, my life, what is next.
I quickly lose interest and open up a ebook on my Kindle app that had been suggested by a friend. Ten minutes later it’s done….finding what you are passionate about…hmmmm what ARE you passionate about Eva? How can you monetize that? I get up and go to the kitchen to make a pot of coffee. While it brews I go to have a smoke on the balcony. I have a great view of the pool and office and the office lights go off, so I know the cleaning staff has finished preparations for the day. It is still dark outside; the sounds of the birds, the roar of the interstate on the other side of the trees keep me company in my thoughts. Why don’t I have a little table out here to write? I do have a little haven, what am I passionate about, what life can I make for myself.
I go back in and pour my cup of coffee, thinking I know who I want to work with, but do our passions align? Will it be a good fit? I return to the bedroom, lift open my laptop and click on a word document. It is 6:24.
Graduation. It always makes me think of so many things. But this year it has made my mind run in another direction. As my Facebook feed has been full of my friend's children's high school graduations, I bid farewell to more students as they embark on life post grad, and I see other friends getting their PhD's being called Dr. for the first time, I have been thinking BACK versus thinking FORWARD. When did I turn that corner?
In thinking back I have been remembering a mere four years ago when I was hooded. All those years of school. Days on end with research gnawing ever present in my mind. The inability during that time to let go and enjoy friend or family fun because I always felt I should be in lock down in the library or writing well into the night. I let the journey and the 'end' of the experience rob me of joy. But that dissertation was my mission, And in the end, it was completed successfully. But at that moment, and in the days to follow, especially after graduation, there also was a feeling of deflation. How could all that work leave me feeling somewhat letdown.
I was discussing that same listlessness with a friend, one of the newly minted docs I was talking about, just yesterday. It must be the human condition, because she too had that deflated feeling. The 'what now' syndrome. THAT is what really got me thinking about milestones. (I'll return to 'what now' syndrome in a bit. I remember my first meeting with my first doctoral chair. I laid out an incredibly elaborate plan for my research and she smiled, tilted her head and said I had a wonderful research plan...for my career. It was my turn to tilt my head, huh? She said the dissertation was just a piece of the pie. What I represented was a PIE. You would never eat a whole pie at once, you eat it one slice at a time.
Each time I teach the first class in our undergraduate or graduate program I always talk PIE with them! Whether it is the course work within a class, or the entire curriculum to get through a program, you don't do it all at once, you do it a piece at a time. You don't reach milestones all at once, it is a process. So we are always eating slices of pie. We are just eating different pies.
I was even talking about something similar to a bestie the other day. What happens in your career when you hit the pinnacle? Do you start on another pie all together? What do you do? Hmmmm. Now that I have given due diligence to reflection, you clearly cannot live in the past, time to start looking forward.
So what now? I've been giving this a lot of thought lately. What pie have I been eating? What pie am I trying to finish? Even at the risk of temporary deflation-WHICH PIE????? I think it is still important to eat more pie. In my discussion yesterday with the young docs, who have their whole lives (research and career) in front of them the looks on their faces for what is next for me was sad. Like I can only begin to plan for the end. Thing is, as true as that may be, I am not satisfied to be defined by age, or the thought that we have to give up and just plod through life. I am ready for more pie! Probably the fat girl in me! But there are still dreams and goals in this old gal...looking at life's second half....I am still in pursuit of the next big thing. I think the saddest thing we can do in society is relegate milestones to the young. Hell, they don't call it a bucket list for nothing! There are still pies to conquer. Best get my ass to the bakery! Be well.........LAPUA!!!
Decided to do a little updating to my header! Yep, that's me! In all my full-figured glory! And you know my girl Rachel took the photograph! If you still haven't checked out her brilliance or transformational qualities I offer this up as evidence of my empowering and life changing experience. If you want further proof of her genius, you can checkout her website or her Facebook fanpage. The testimonies alone will bring tears to your eyes, and well, the Sirens are all stellar!
I look at this picture and cannot help but smile. Why? Because after a night without a wink, a cramped flight and the on-the-go hustle in the city that NEVER sleeps, I was in mortal pain! My back was stiff I couldn't move, my knees were crying with every step...and in NYC, you WALK! But still, this session with her, my third, will be cherished in my memory forever! So much laughter and bad body-aching dancing for the 'perfect' shot...and she captured this and much, much more! It just seemed a fitting tribute to my outlook on life. Laugh in the face of fear and adversity. A behavior instilled by my parents. One of the greatest gifts I believe they gave me...that and knowing you have to have an open heart and share your love. Rachel, a true giver of herself...and she travels the country!! Check her out in a town near you! I always travel, and tend to take my girlfriends, it is sooooooooo worth it!!! <3 me some Rachel Stephens!! So how is the Boot Camp coming? After talking with several people it seemed that a week just wasn't enough time to truly evaluate and illuminate what you may be seeking in life, or what bliss awaits you. So I am giving a month for each phase. If you haven't checked it out, please do!! Print and fill out the worksheets as a road map and starting place. Don't worry...every phase will come with handy dandy worksheets so you can commit the process to paper. If you write it down you are doing two things: 1) acknowledgement and 2) it can be a cathartic release! So get to gettin'!! Good luck!! And if you have any questions about the process just post a comment! If you have the question, someone else may have the same one, but are too shy to ask!! Until next time.... Be Well.........LAPUA!!
Time for Change!!! Welcome to the Phase 1 of Dragonfly Boot Camp: Illuminate. If you are just joining us, and want to know what the heck a dragonfly has to do with anything, you can catch up here. Go ahead, we'll wait. :) * gets a cup of tea, takes a sip, releases a deep sigh and giggle of anticipation* Ahhhhhhhhhh, good, you're back!The first phase is the discovery phase. Illuminating what is in your life that you want or need to change. This change management process is applicable to both personal and business settings. Change, in and of itself, happens in all walks of life. These phases are universal to bringing about effective change. Remember when you were young and you made pro and con lists before making a decision? Some of you may still do that now. I know I do. The process of the pros and cons prompted you to really think about the effect of the decision, or the value IN the decision. And that is what illumination is all about.There are a couple of key points to this phase. 1. You have to decide to be truthful with yourself. Really truthful. Sometimes when committing something to paper, whether it is good or bad, it makes you face the reality of it. 2. Outside source or professional/friends opinions. I know, I have written before and will write again, how we cannot let what others think of us influence our behavior. But I am not talking about a passing comment from someone or snide remarks from friends. I am asking you to talk to a valued individual. A mentor. A trusted friend. Your religious compass. A professional-health, business expert, etc. Why do people go to therapists anyway? Because they are professional unbiased parties that have the training to be able to help YOU process your thoughts and the motivations to or not to pursue different avenues. So, start with yourself. Where is your bliss? What is it comprised of? What needs to change? You will have a week to work on this before we go to phase 2. Is a week not enough time for you to ponder? No stress, you know you will be able to reference this as often as you need.I am working on a couple of things at the moment. 1. Moving my career to a new level of research and all that goes along with that. I have taken on partners to help in the process. Together we are developing an innovative learning technique for the classroom. Needless to say, we will be researching, adjusting, evaluating it every step of the way. What was our 'need to change' student engagement in the classroom and the development of their ability to think for themselves. Prayers are needed :)2. This is a very personal journey, one I have talked about in the past. And it is my quest to better health and a longer happier life. I plan on making 'life's second half' better than the first half, and more awesome than I could even imagine. Yes, I am surrounding myself again, (support in any change is a key factor) with people that encourage this change and can be a source of knowledge when I am stuck. Find these people in your own life! Use this community as a source for it too!! I really encourage you all to take advantage of this blog and talk it out! You don't have to be on the downhill slope of life to read this!!Use these handy worksheets to work them out! Getting Started and Change is on the Way. Print out as many as you need and start ILLUMINATING the changes that will enrich your own life! Well, that's a huge assignment for week one, but I know if you commit to it, you've got it!! Heck, by the end this may not be Dragonfly Boot Camp...but Dragonfly Boot Can!! Be well........LAPUA!!
So, two weeks past the deadline to start our boot camp I resurface. Here is the most frustrating thing for me. I can't stand when something is promised and it goes undelivered. Therefore, I'm not liking myself much at the moment. And I hate excuses even more, but here I am. So not giving excuses, but giving reasons. I can't say no. If someone needs help with something, I have to answer the call. So what I want to do gets pushed back. Is anyone else like this? Or is it just me. And if I am not alone, WHY do we do this?!
This is my past time. This is my passion. But when requests come in from people or businesses that I am trying to help....or when the boss has an emergent need, guess what zips to the top of the priority list! Yep, you got it! Sometimes that seems like a breakdown in time management. But time is a finite resource just like a bank account. Therefore, when an 'unplanned emergency' comes up, guess what? They both can slip into the insufficient funds category quickly.
What is good about this? I am not as behind as I could be. HA! I have started training and working out regularly which has actually increased my focus and productivity. Two surprise benefits!! And with traditional semester starting up next week, and all the back to school meetings that it brings with it, I am glad for this new-found attention to focus. It also is driving me to find time, MAKE time for what I am passionate about!
Well, this is just my little check-in...Friday will be Dragonfly Boot Camp #1! So hang on....just as I am changing, change is on the horizon, and this is one deadline I will promise AND deliver!! Be well....LAPUA!
WOW, has it been a busy couple of weeks!! Starting Monday, July 22, for the next 4 weeks it will be Boot Camp Monday! Each week we will examine one of the phases of Dragonfly Change...and if you have changes to make it will help guide you through the process! I sure look forward to it! And as we go through the phases you will see how the basic strategies are applicable to personal, professional and organizational situations. Have a great weekend! Be well........LAPUA!
And here I am!!! Two days in a row! Woot Woot! So, let's revisit the dragonfly. Have you ever just felt a special connection to something? I have friends who are drawn to cardinals, wolves, butterflies and so many more. I am a symbolism person. Always have been, and I suppose I always will be. There has always been an attraction when it comes to dragonflies. Their wings, like spun gossamer shining in the light. How fast they dart to and fro. How varied they are...and how random their appearances when you least expect them. So I did a little research and found the totem of the dragonfly to be representative of my life and my dreams. Symbolism of Dragonflies
As a creature of the wind, the dragonlfy totem represents change. It's iridescent wings are incredibly sensitive to the slightest breeze, and so we are reminded to heed where the proverbial wind blows - lest we run into stormy weather.
Dragonflies are also creatures of the water, and any creature whose habitat is in, or around water carries symbolism relative the the subconscious, or "dreaming" mind and thoughts.
This is because in the animal world, water is symbolic of the subconscious mind ("deeper mind," "dreaming mind") and relates to the thoughts we have in relaxed/meditative/sleeping/subconscious states.
Quick-list animal symbolism of the dragonfly:
Dragonflies carry messages that deal with deeper thought - and they ask that we pay attention to our deeper thoughts and desires.
Further symbolic insect meaning of dragonfly comes into play when we observe the dragonfly's mode of transportation as it skitters across the top of water surfaces. This implies that our deeper thoughts are surfacing and we must be mindful of the outcome we wish to have.
The dragonfly is a reminder that when our deeper thoughts rise to the surface we must pay attention - there are lessons to be learned, and we are also reminded that what we think is directly proportionate to what we "see on the surface." ...In short, our thoughts (even the deeper ones that we might not be as in-touch with as we are with our conscious thoughts) are responsible for what we see in our lives - in our physical surroundings.
The dragonfly gives us a very powerful meditation tool. Close your eyes, and focus on a thought - let it rise to the surface of your mind's ocean - see that thought float lightly up to the water's surface. Now upon the top of a smooth, calm glass-like surface - visualize that thought moving across that water - sliding across - smooth and fast.
This exercise is useful when we want to visualize positive outcomes in a situation. We see the thought of hope happily moving across an ocean of peace (peaceful mind) and skitting to a perfect outcome.
Lastly it should be noted that the Dragonfly lives a short life, and it knows it must live to the fullest with what it has. This lesson is huge for each of us. When you see a dragonfly, be aware of the gifts it has to offer by keeping its animal totem meanings in mind.
From Lin’s Domain:
Dragonfly: Illusion, the Power of Light
Dragonfly is the power of light. The dragonfly inhabits two realms: air and water and the influence of both these elements will be felt by Dragonfly people. They will be emotional and passionate during their early years (the influence of water) and more balanced with greater mental clarity and control in as they mature (the influence of air).
Dragonfly is the essence of the winds of change, the messages of wisdom and enlightenment; and the communication from the elemental world. Dragonfly medicine beckons you to seek out the parts of your habits which need changing.
Call on Dragonfly to guide you through the mists of illusion to the pathway of transformation. The number 2 is important to Dragonfly, so think in terms of two year periods when you begin a change. Dragonfly brings the light and color of transformation into your life.
From Animal Totem:
Dragonfly eggs are laid within their territory near the water. Once hatched, these nymphs will live nearly two years on the bottom of streams and ponds. As they reach adulthood an amazing thing occurs, they transform into dragonflies and ascend to the air. In the air, they travel with wings that sparkle with spectacular colors by reflecting and refracting light and other colors. No insect or bird can maneuver as well as a dragonfly. Flying up to 30 mph, they will twist, turn, move up and down, fly backwards, even change directions instantaneously and still will spot movement 40 feet away.
The power of Dragonfly lies in its ability to see around things by looking from different angles. Using its ability to transform colors and lights by reflecting and refracting them, Dragonfly shows us that life, like light, can bend, shift, and adapt in various ways, making life’s appearance never be what it appears to be. Dragonfly’s magic shows us to see through life’s illusions and find our true vision. It calls us to transform within our lives and reminds us to feel deeply so we will have the compassion necessary to help ourselves and others.So there you have it! We have to be adaptive, we have to transform, we have to be aware of what is around us. And clearly, when we listen to what we already have inside, we are capable of all these things. Utilizing the lifecycle of a dragonfly helped me come up with this theory of change management. I have used it in assessing processes in companies. I have seen it work...so why not harness these same tools for self-transformation?In it's simplest form, the image below recaps the four steps. After the jump, I'll tell you one more motivational story and then tomorrow We will start with Step 1: Illuminate.
So, I have told you all about my little dynamo Edie. Well the other night she sent me a message asking if I had signed up for the Warrior Dash yet. I know, I know...am I crazy? I promised her back in January that I would try and it was one of my goals. People you JUMP FIRE!!!!! And yes, that or fire walking are on my bucket list! Ok, you can call me crazy. Anyway, I told her I had not signed up yet. It is in October, but I will. In our conversation I told her that I didn't want to slow her down, because I knew I would walk it. She said her husband was going to run the obstacle course and then come back and take our pictures. She also assured me (as the website does) that if you can't complete an obstacle you can skip them although you can't be considered for the prizes. Seriously? Prizes? Completion to the best of my ability is all I want out of it! Period. So I said it may take me a long time...like 3 hours...and she said then it will be three hours, she wasn't going to leave my side. TEARS! Can I tell you, TEARS! What kind of faith, support and friendship is that? I started out as HER instructor and here she is flipping the script! She will never know what that kind of dedication to MY success means to me. But that is how she is, that is how passionate she is to helping others find their path to health and well-being. You have to like her FB page, Rhoads to Fitness to really feel how genuine, true and kind she is. So, do I need even more symbolism or signs to tell me I am on the right path? I'm greedy, I will take all I can get!! Guess who their official gym partner is? Anytime Fitness!!!! And where did I just join? Their local club!! I feel like I am currently surrounded by the most incredible swarm of dragonflies...and they are reflecting light and transformation like crazy. On the gossamer wings of the dragonfly, and all her sisters...transformation is a comin'. Be well.....LAPUA!
Well, well, well!!! So much for talking about my 'change management" system on January 23...and so much for life changing in the last six months....but that is for a bit later.
First, on the day of the birth of our nation, Happy Birthday America! And a heartfelt thank you to all those who have sacrificed to allow us the independence and freedoms we have every day! We all owe you everything! Including the freedom to live our lives and even write blogs!!
So, Independence Day, specifically for our independence as a nation, but clearly it can have an immediate and personal meaning. And that is what I am talking about today. As I look over this blog that I have tried to write for the past year and a half, three things become evident: 1) I'm not very consistent with posting...even when my intentions are there. 2) I haven't figured out what life's second half is all about yet. 3) Try as I might, I am always talking about trying to lose weight. I didn't want this to be another weight loss blog, but as I really think about it...that IS what my second half is all about. So I guess I need to embrace that fact, and use this blog to hold myself accountable for both the successes and failures of my journey. Do you remember the last blog entry? If not, refresh yourself here, as it explains soooo much! What has changed, I lost 30 lbs again...what hasn't? I gained them all back again! Sigh....it is always a roller coaster. Have I changed since the last time? No. Do I still look like the photos in my transformation folder, YES! Do I feel that rededicating myself to the process will be just another empty promise. God, I hope not! I feel like the boy who cried wolf of transformation declarations. IS this time going to be different, what am I doing different this time....what has made 'this time' feel any different than the past times. I just don't know. Armed with thorough nutrition info, knowing in all actuality what works for me, what will make this time different. I am getting old! I have chronic knee pain every day. EVERY DAY! It makes me want to cry, and some days I do. It is that bad. And I get a visual image in my brain how my life would be if I don't address this and do in fact, end up in a wheelchair, or losing a limb to the diabetes and that is really scaring me. I don't know how I would get around campus, how could I be an effective teacher, my mind blows! So, once again, something HAS to change. What about that little change management theory? Why not put it to work.Dragonfly Change Management. Four steps to realizing potential and affecting REAL change. 1. Illuminate. 2. Embrace. 3. Transform. 4. Balance. OK, so there are four steps. What do they mean? Dragonflies are the symbol of illumination and reflection. They are also very tenacious and adaptive. According to some sources they actually date back to prehistoric time, but have been able to adapt and change thus keeping their lineage alive. They start their lives in the water and transform to their flight state. All of these characteristics make the dragonfly the perfect symbol for real change. And I am going to put myself through Dragonfly Boot Camp, to come out the other side the person I SHOULD be, know I AM! As discussed in the last blog, I do not now, or have ever held to the philosophy that we are what we look like. And inasmuch as this is about weight loss, it isn't about weight loss. Rather it is about health gain. And those are two very different things. So how am I going to operationalize my own change management system that I have seen work for organizations? I will tell you tomorrow! BOOM! No lie this time, check back in and see!!But I want to talk about independence day today! MY independence day. And I claim, today, July 4, 2013 as MINE. And this claim comes with knees that are aching coming off a week where I went back to the gym! Why have I gone back to the gym? INSPIRATION!! ZUMBA (R) and the fact that it gets harder and harder to get along little doggie! I was invited by a friend to do a Flashmob at our local Relay for Life (R) event. A Zumba (R) flashmob. Really?! C'mon. But, I'm always up for a challenge. And hey, what bucket list is complete without flashmob checked off. (You know, I AM a fan of the bucket list. ;)) So I went to a practice and did the event. I also met an awesome person, the instructor. It wasn't that she was flashy, or brash, or loud or in your face...what she was was REAL. I am indebted to my other friend that invited me. Not only was she real, the gym she teaches out of seemed 'nice.' I'll leave it at that for the minute. After rehearsal she took everyone's information to keep us informed and to ensure we had the routine in video form to practice. She also asked if we would be interested in being put on her mailing list. I said sure. Simple enough. The flashmob was FUN! It was for a great cause, I limped back to my car still thinking how awesome it was.Fast forward a week or so. She had invited those attending to come to class. What could it hurt? I went. It was farther than my normal gym, but not as far as where my other friend teaches, and the timing worked with my schedule. I wasn't the best, I lost my place, I couldn't do all the fancy moves or hopping, but in my head I am a hot latina with a hip-hop vibe KILLING it! LOL No seriously, that is who I want to be, but I am a middle aged fat woman, smart enough to know her limits enough to push them when I need to and hold back when the body speaks. Not only was the gym nice, the people were incredible and friendly. I had gone to water zumba and aerobics at my old gym and still cannot tell you the names of any of the regulars except for one...they never offered their names, because they already had their cliques. Note to any younger readers: just because you grow up, cliques DO NOT disappear! You just gain better skills for navigating them.Guess what? I went back again. And this time left a gym I had been a member of for eight years. Better yet, I felt like I belonged. I was invited to participate with the Zumba (R) crew to do one of the towns 4th of July parade. Hmmmmm, 50 years old and I've always watched parades, never participated. (You heard it too, huh? Bucket list item!!!) So I agreed to do it. This morning I woke up about 4am so excited for this parade. We had to be there at 8am. At 5 I had my breakfast, a yummy dish I had just learned to make. At 6 I took an antihistamine for a bug bite and guess what? I FELL ASLEEP! My phone went off at 8:05 and I had a message from the instructor..."Come on girl where ya at?? Last load going in about 10 min:) " In a panic I texted back....I made it. Knees aching walking to our place, but I made it. (praying in my head that I could do this) We practiced adaptations of the routines and one of the youth cheer squads came and did it with us. [This is where I have a confession. They were behind us, and I heard laughing and giggling and I thought they were making fun-as this has been repeated throughout my life, so I sort of stopped a little bit, embarrassed. But in my head I was thinking regardless of my size, at least I am trying...and one day some of them may be out of shape and older...but they would see you could still have fun. OK, this was the inner demon dialogue alive and well and working overtime...] do you know WHY they were giggling? THEY were doing OUR routines!! The next thing you know, the whole squad ran to be with us. And there were other teams around watching and copying, and the Women's Marine group stopped to look as did many of the other groups.
I know, you don't care about all of this, but it is my way of saying TRY. If you think you can't do it try anyway!! The group is so supportive and the instructor is such a good person....like those real and good people you can't believe have crossed your path. That good. :) So....PARADE time. I was nervous of not being able to do all the steps but had told Jennifer (yep, that's her name) even if I just walked it, at least people would see someone out there trying. Man, that route was a challenge! And then all of a sudden there was a speed spurt in the parade route and all the other dancers ran after the truck bearing our sound system. OMG, this girl couldn't do it!! But one of the other 'dancers' (I presumed) stayed back with me. I said I needed to go over to the side of the road as to not hold anything up. She said you can if you want to, but you don't have to. I said I didn't want it looking bad on the club that one of the people couldn't keep up. She said not to think that way. And I said on the other hand, it shows that whatever condition you are in, you can still get out there and try. But my failure at that moment was outweighing the effort and I kept saying I'm sorry, I'm sorry. She said get that out of your head. You showed up, you are trying. She wasn't just another 'dancer' she was one of the owners of the gym!! She was, step for step, beside me to support me. I am not sure where you will ever find that! And that was my day....she pointed up ahead and said see that light, you can make it. A guy yelled from the curb, you can do it, almost there. Crazy that something so insignificant could be SO SIGNIFICANT.
But it was significant!!! And now, the bracelets they gave out at the parade will be just as significant. Looking at it today, MY INDEPENDENCE DAY and my journey ahead, I know my first goal is to lose 50 lbs. Let me break that 30 lb barrier. I need motivation, tomorrow you will find out more about my motivators and how I came to this plan, but for now, just know....this bracelet is NOT coming off my wrist until I meet my first goal. Lots of change ahead...but planned, managed change. Firm on foundation, surrounded by support. Dang, this time it really may be different! Be well.......LAPUA!
If you are interested, I will be addressing the title of this blog....way down there at the bottom :)*sigh* so I have a photo file that says "Transformation 2012." Yeah....all the pics look the same, at least to me. Started half-way through the year....and again I disappointed myself. I have to admit, although I hate to, that I am a self-sabotager! I am thoroughly schooled in setting goals, and pretty good at attaining them. I'm also pretty good at helping others find a path to their goals. But daily I think, how can I be a role model for achievement, when it is obvious that I can't overcome one area! Let me say, first off...your outside appearance or your weight DOES NOT DEFINE *WHO* you are. I believe we should accept and love everyone: regardless of age, creed, weight, height, political or religious stance or sexual orientation. With that said, I know I will have a longer life if I take care of myself. This post will be quite personal. Just as my journey is personal. And what I do may be completely wrong for someone else, all I know is what I find that works for me...what works for my body.I don't want another year to go by and still be the same person with the same health issues, the person who eats their way through stress. Hello, I'm Eva, I have been fat all of my life. My parents, as I have said, did an incredible job raising and instilling in three overweight girls that it is what you do and what you give that defines a persons character. I can also assure you that all those years I still devoured Seventeen and Vogue magazines with a 'what if' wonder lust. Growing up my mother would make our clothes and then I started designing and making my own. Stores were not like they are now. Plus size clothing just wasn't around when I was growing up to the extent and surely to the fashion that it is today. I remember, in the seventh grade, winning an award for academic performance and our pictures were going to be in the paper. A trip to Sear's and there was nothing in my size. We ended up shopping in the 'ladies' department (there was no such thing as a 'women's' department back then) and I ended up with two dresses. One- a horizontally striped lime green and orange number with a little jacket that was supposed to tie under your ample bosom. On me it just tied around a large midsection. The other dress was red and white number that would have made Bea Arthur proud in Maude. You know, straight column dress with a long jacket....yes people, YOU try wearing THAT in the seventh grade! But at the time I was so excited to buy a dress at a store! I won't regale you with all the other fashion choices or shall I say lack of choices I had growing up....but just know corduroys are the cruelest thing a fat kid can wear!!! (Picture getting up in class to turn in a test and the silence is broken by *shwish shwish shwish* of thighs rubbing together. It was sweet peace when the nap was finally worn out between your legs because your pants were FINALLY SILENT!)Here is another thing I know about "Life in the Fat Lane." There are always promises broken to your self. There is always another diet failure waiting. There is ALWAYS disappointment. This does not mean that my LIFE is a disappointment. It does not change the value of who I am, or how I can love or what I can do. But it does come with a sense of inherent failure that one can just not shake. It also comes with a revolving door of next times, and each 'next time' feeling different. Hell, I felt that 2012 was different....but I sit here typing in the same body, just older, as last year.So how do I self sabotage? I'll give you a couple of examples. I love soda. The bubbles make me happy! I also know it isn't good for you. I remember a Lent in the 90's when I decided to give up sodas. Do you know what I did? I drank a Zima (remember those!!!!) every night for dinner! Sometimes I'd pop a Jolly Rancher in them for flavor. Can you tell me how giving up a soda for an alcoholic beverage was in any way, shape or form, honoring Lent or the practice of sacrifice? I know. I remember when I was on Weight Watchers....I would exchange a meal for a package of Reese's Peanut Butter cups!!! Same point value...calories are calories-right? WTF!!!!!!!!!! That is a repetitive practice for me I might add. It doesn't matter what the diet....fat people are very good at the rationalization game. EXPERTS I would say!What is most assuredly evident, although poor eating is a primary cause, is the psychological reasons for obesity. I guess I write this blog as a free means of self therapy instead of paying someone. LOL There has to be a root cause. I think of this all the time. For me, I wouldn't know how to be a 'normal' person. I have overcompensated my entire life for my weight by working hard, doing more than was expected on projects and by laughing or joking my way through the pain. Deep-seeded is a huge fear that I would not know that person. Weight has caused me to be judged externally since I was a child. I was once asked by a person I was dating how I could let myself be fat when people are making fun of you all the time. I protected myself. I lived in my bubble and to this day can't even tell you of a time that I remember when someone 'made fun of me.' Yes, I was ALWAYS picked last for teams, but that was expected so I didn't care. When I think about weight loss I always say that I don't want to be tiny, I wouldn't know how. I just want to be a leaner, healthier version of who I am....the one in control.So where does that leave me? At 50 years of age in 2013? I need to start listening to my body! I have well documented through this blog about my diabetes. I lost 30 pounds within the first 2 months when I found out in 2011. It was actually the first time I consciously thought about the MAKE-UP of food instead of just the calories consumed. It was the first time that I realized that my body processes different things I eat differently. I also know that my obesity and poor habits and choices are what led me to that Type II Diabetes diagnoses. All controllable....and I lost all control. And I am still fighting for control every day.So what does my body say? Diets don't work. Deprivation doesn't work. Excuses don't work. INSPIRATION and HARD WORK WORK!Let's start with inspiration...my dear friend that I worked with for years and I went on Atkins a couple of years ago (NOTE: I am not advocating ANY eating plan. PERIOD. This is MY blog and I am simply relaying MY PERSONAL journey to discovering what works for MY BODY!). It dropped weight fast, but I had a problem with the excess of meat and lack of fruit....and counting out 5 Brussels sprouts was getting tedious. For me, it wasn't sustainable. Sustainability is the key for all life changes, I believe! She is a big meat eater, and whenever she feels the need to drop a few pounds, BOOM! Done. What I did learn through the experience was cooking really is a joy. And talking with her planning what we would eat or had made for dinner the night before was wonderful. At the time, we worked together, so we planned lunch together, I printed out all the lists of acceptable foods. I was much stricter than her, but I am twice her size, so I had to be. The best part about it was we were partners. It really emphasized that a good support system is critical. Just like in life!! <3 And being frugal, she has made me see the value in cooking at home versus out. Think about it, pizza delivery is expensive!!! I challenge you to order a pizza. Enjoy it. Now, take the money you spent on that delivery (including tip) and head to the grocery store for real unprocessed food. Hmmmmm, dinner for one night, or food for a week! EXACTLY!
When I was diagnosed I had to go to a nutrition class to learn about food and how it works to control or influence insulin levels. I was given, based on my body, how many carbs to eat and how they should be spaced out during the day. I know that for my glucose to be controlled I need to eat something every four hours. I also know I don't need to have the 12 oz ribeye...4 ounces is enough. I did lose weight, my glucose levels were under control, my doctor was AMAZED, I was both proud and happy. I had taken control of my life! It was around this time that I met a photographer that made me see Eva on the inside. It was transformational!! (If you are in doubt, read this!) My outsides DIDN'T define me! She has since become an inspiration and friend. She is fearless and willing to try anything in search of the body and person she wants to be. She wants to set a good example for her children and to find a way to health even suffering with chronic pain. She introduced me to primal....Atkins-esque, but healthier in the choice of fats and wider variety of food. Taking the cue from our primal or cave dwelling ancestors! If you can hunt it, or gather it, you can eat it. No processed. How can that not inspire you??? She has shown me that perseverance prevails and that you don't give up, you keep trying, and you take off your training wheels!!
I have incredible students that push me to be a better teacher. I know I put them through an ambiguous obstacle course....but I want them to think for themselves. I am constantly challenged on discovering new teaching and learning techniques. I want to give them experiential and transferable learning. I learn as much from them as they say they learn from me (though testing results are still out on that one....I'll get back to you ;)) On the last night of one such course I had a discussion about dreams and purpose with one such student. At that point and time the dream was to utilize her existing expertise with her business to degree to grow a spa. At that time I told her to make a vision board and start fleshing out what she really wanted. Fast forward....I no longer teach in that area so she friend requested me on Facebook. (I have a strict rule that no current or potential students will be my FB friends.) I have seen that her passion isn't all in the spa....but fitness and nutrition are her loves. She started a fan page and her motivation is OUTRAGEOUS!! (I also wrote about her in the last blog.) I really see her dreams coming true! It is amazing. She has been passing me recipes and touts clean eating. You KNOW I research all things. LOL In a nutshell....well at least my interpretation (you can get the real story here or here) you should make your own food, avoid processed foods, eat foods as close to their natural state as possible. I know, I oversimplified, but it makes sense. She's also my little need to exercise dynamo!! Her enthusiasm as she explores the next chapter in her life is inspiring!! And quite catchy I might add! And she is actually the inspiration for this blog today!! This was my Facebook status this morning....and her response....
So now I am armed with all of this information and inspiration...what to do? what do to? (My PhD has served me well in that I have devised a little change management process. I'll discuss it tomorrow :) This is what I did and what I will do! I decided several days ago when I recommitted myself to better eating....to a sustainable eating pattern, that I would no longer be a prisoner to numbers. I made the conscious decision. So when she told me to take measurements it struck a chord...and yes, the other night I had the tape measure in my hand and had once again written chest, waist, hips, r thigh....you get the picture, in my notebook. But I put it down. I will no longer let numbers rule my self-worth. Do I know how much I weigh at this very minute, OF COURSE I DO! But...weight, measurements, age, dress size, calories, year....will not rule me any longer. I will listen to my body.
What I know to be true for me. I am a bread and sweet treat whore. I also know that when I eat them my knees can become almost nonfunctional. I also know the more I eat them, the more I WANT THEM!!! Little demons! I know that when I eat plain and simple meat, fruits, vegetables and nuts, I not only lose weight but I feel better. Being an emotional eater, if I write down every thing I eat, it gives me control and accountability. I have never once gained weight while tracking my food...yet I get lazy, stop and put the weight back on! I know all the visual tricks for choosing proper serving size, and trust me, it ain't a family size of Stouffer's lasagna :) I also know that to maintain my glucose levels I need to eat throughout the day, as I said earlier, and to avoid an overnight spike I need a little something just before bedtime. My body responds positively to exercise!!! I love saying that...yet I often find myself not exercising :( I need to find, or better yet, make that priority. I love to cook...and my body loves what I cook....it doesn't pay me to eat out. If I cook, I know every last ingredient in my dish. When you eat out, you have no idea.
So....numbers are for statistics-not self-worth: they can't control me, they can't define me. So, I won't take my measurements, but I will release a little squeal when the pants become loose, or the dress falls of the shoulder...finally my journey is about health and happiness...I have so many inspirations....it's time to do the work! Be well.......LAPUA....don't forget to scatter kindness and sparkles!
I started this post a couple of months ago...and in hindsight I know why I didn't finish it! Obviously, I had more to learn about expectations in that time frame. Expectations are all around us!! And IN us! And what better day to reflect...than on this day of resolutions and high expectations for the coming year...this will be a long one :) grab a cup of coffee or tea, a soda, bowl of ice cream, bag of chips, carrots and hummus...you got the gist!
So, what prompted me to initially write this post? At the time it was because someone (who has known me for quite some time) commented to me after finding something out that "I may need to rethink what I think about you." Now, I think I am a very open person! I will discuss most anything and everything. I also believe that I am true to who I am-even when I am being a little more guarded in say...a work setting.
With that said...ask me something about myself, I will tell you. Tell me to keep a secret, I will. (I do, however, admit to a TERRIBLE weakness in keeping gifts secret! Therefore, I am forced to shop at the last minute, not see or speak to you at all, or I will be buying a second gift...having already gifted the original :/) I will expose as little or as much as you would like. So I was struck when I heard those words. And here, four months later, I still think of them everyday.
In anticipation of my big 5-0, I did something that I have wanted to do all of my life. I also considered all of the consequences. In essence...I was thinking about the EXPECTATIONS of OTHERS before I ever decided to commit to it! What did I do? I got a tattoo. I gave it so much thought I got a white one, so it is barely noticeable, with a picture and phrase that mean a lot to me. I did not go into this lightly. And yes, my father's words raced in my head "you'll have a tattoo over my dead body." OYE! I know they aren't for everyone. Some do not like them based on religious beliefs, some feel they are trashy, disgusting, deviant, gross, 'ruining your temple,' or just a sign of a hell-raising malcontent. The list could go on and on. I personally feel they are (well at least can be) beautiful expressions of who you are. And if you research them, people give a lot, and I mean a LOT of thought into the perfect tattoo. It took me years to decide just what I wanted.
So why did that comment strike me so hard, when I knew the perception of a generalized population about ink. I think because I knew this person, I hold them in such high regard, they know my heart and work ethic....yet a bit of ink on my arm could make them 'rethink' their entire opinion of me. It was like a dagger to my heart. The clincher is...I wouldn't trade it for the world. I will get more. I will be judged. I have expectations of negative reverberations. BUT, I value my job, my relationships. I won't get ink where it will be exposed during work hours. I wear 3/4 to long sleeves for work, so it is covered, this one day, I wore short...never again! So that is just the tattoo thing-what started this entire thought process.
What this means to me....we should always try to scatter kindness-ALWAYS, especially when we are tried! If you can pull off being kind when you are at the end of your tether...you have accomplished a great thing. That is when we shine. A dandelion launches dreams...who didn't blow on these as a child...and to this day I cannot resist...and I make a wish EVERY SINGLE TIME! Why the yin-yang? Represents a special friendship of mine and also reminds me to seek balance in all I do. I can go ALL IN...and it serves to say...BALANCE!!! I try ;) And yes, it does look raised. It is not. Everyone asks to feel it, just flat normal skin, with a reminder of the values that I hold precious: kindness (heart), dreams (goals) and balance (harmony). <3
Where else are we challenged with expectations? Everywhere!!! I recently bid farewell and good luck to many of the students that I have had the pleasure to instruct over the last two years. I can't help but think of their expectations. Graduation from college means jobs, promotions, higher pay grades-right? There is also the expectation of fear in not finding a job in this economy, or having to settle on something less than their dream job to make sure the bills are paid. Graduation comes with the expectation of free time that is no longer spent studying...and oddly enough, you quickly fill this time up with other endeavors and there is no free time at all. The one activity I wish for all of them, is increased time spent with their families!! It takes a lot to be an adult student. The sacrifices that are made by their spouses, partners and children are celebrated on graduation day. I went into their graduation ceremony with expectations of my own. This was the first one where I had taught so many of the cohorts. I knew I would cry...as graduations and weddings always make me cry-whether I have a vested interest or not. But I only teared up a couple of times. The pride I felt for each of their accomplishments made my cheeks hurt from smiles and my heart swell, but the tears didn't really fall. Well, there was that one moment ;) It just seems to me that even when we are so dead set on expectations, so sure the outcome....sometimes we are surprised.As an educator, you HAVE to set goals, expectations for your students. I like to set them high. I remember when I was in school....and it wasn't that long ago for me, there were certain professors that you just wanted to flat out make them proud of you, you did not want to disappoint them. My mind would go into overdrive on how to blow them away...in essence setting higher expectations for yourself than they did. I see that in some of my students. I am reminded that life is a circle....and what you give out, comes back.There are expectations in every aspect of life! To name a few:
Cornbread Salad and food in general: if you have ever seen this in it's mixed up form it looks like vomit! Plain and simple. But it is so delicious! I remember trying it for the first time. I didn't want to. I expected it to taste like it looks...but one bite, OH MY! Hard to stop eating it. I took it home and asked my sister to taste it. She said it looked disgusting and wouldn't try it. I went to get some a bit later and it was gone. She had decided to try it...and well, finished it off :) P.S. Click on the pink and you'll get one recipe for it! We don't use the pickles or jalapenos in it and we use prepared bottled ranch dressing and add diced fresh tomatoes. It can be served layered....but the mush of it all is really where it's at!! We always had to try a little bit of everything my mother made growing up. Did it make me fat? mmmm no, I just really enjoyed it! :) What it did do was open the doors to flavors and textures that delight and please the palate. My mother cooked like she had traveled the world and opened my sisters and my eyes to foreign lands. Pretty impressive for a girl that grew up in a very small, very small minded southern town. But the gift of food and entertaining is something we treasure to this day. When she threw a party, there was an expectation that the food would be spot on, the decorations above reproach and the hospitality would warm your soul. VERY BIG shoes to fill....but this is one of those things you try to emulate with all your heart! So, instead of snubbing my nose at everything-regardless of ingredients, what it looks like, I try it! And am so often blown away!! I just try to remember 3 little girls in the 70's trying raw grouper for the first time or fighting each other over the last raw oyster...looks can be deceiving!
Friendships: sometimes you expect so much out of a friend it can drain both you. If you accept friendship as the gift it is you are bountifully blessed! I have a friend that I worked with for 10 years. Every day we would see each other and I spend holidays with her family. When I graduated and started my new job, we saw each other less and less. I felt like my right arm was torn off. At times, the only interaction was to share funny quotes or pics on Facebook. On a lark I said, we should start up a FB fan page....but what should it be about. We didn't care if anyone 'liked' it, but it would at the least be a place for us to post things that we could both access. Immediately we knew the two most important things to us-our pets (we call them fur babies) and food!!! And with that Paws and Palates was born!! Well, we aren't racing to number 1 with a bullet....but our fan base has grown and grown. It has grown beyond our wildest dreams! And she is truly the yin to my yang! I'm a cat person, she a dog. She is a butter, cream laden comfort food cook (delicious btw) and I like exotic flavors and healthy fair. So we post for everyone!
She has also taught me another valuable lesson about friendship. I have always hung back in life, not wanting to intrude where I didn't belong. We all have friends, I am sure, that retreat when they go through things in life or are faced with certain challenges. She has led me to the understanding that it is ok to push-if not FORCE that door open. She has given me the confidence to be a true friend. No permission needed to be present...just be PRESENT!
And how about unexpected friendships? Those people that have been dropped into your life through one avenue or another whom you can't imagine life without now? So blessed am I to have these!!!
Jobs: Oh yeah....where we spend the bulk of our life! Sometimes we change jobs with the expectations that none of the issues at your current job will be present. And they might not, but we often forget that there will be other issues inherent in the new position that didn't exist in your former one. Work is challenging at best. Find something that you are passionate about, will there still be issues? Absolutely! But the good will tend to outweigh the bad....and the good days far surpass the bad ones!
Relationships: This is a biggie! The greatest stress in a relationship comes from incongruent expectations. That is why communication is the key. By sharing both expectations and expected outcomes as a couple you can face the challenges of the day! I admire people that are open and upfront from the start and begin to build their 'couple foundation' from the git go! It most certainly adds value as their love grows. Oh yeah, and honesty helps here too ;) To that point, and most of all, don't be so eager to be someone's everything that you lose everything YOU are. Love should be about growth, blending while retaining the originality that the person was attracted to in the first place.
Diet and Weight loss: siggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Where do I even begin with this one? I had a trainer once that asked me if I wasn't losing weight because I wasn't expecting to, and I didn't truly believe that I could do it. BAM!!!!!!!!!!!!! I still have no idea. LOL I have been very open about my struggle with weight. And I have to think deep down....will I always be this way? Why? I think in some respects, I can't even conceive of expectations of weight loss because it is not something that I have experienced to any successful degree. I, like millions of others, continue to lose and gain the requisite 30-60 pounds over and over. And I wonder, deep down in my psyche if I AM my weight. Truly, I believe it has made me who I am. When you aren't the thin pretty girl in life you have to come up with a tactic to 'make it.' I know I worked harder than others to compensate for being fat. So they would see what I could accomplish, not what size I was. The stereotypes of fat people being lazy and eating all the time....societal expectations that are very hard to overcome. You want me to work 8 hours? Ok, I'll work 12-see I'm not lazy. You want me to work through lunch or dinner-I can do that to, I don't have to eat....and then would joke I have plenty to live on as I would pat my stomach. See, I am not sure I would know how to survive as a 'normal' person. What I can tell you....regardless of weight- proper nutrition and exercise are critical....and not just to my critical mass to my longevity. My expectation is that my life will be shorter due to my parents. I am frightened to death of 54....the age I lost my mother. That number glows in my temporal lobe like a flashing neon Vegas sign! 4 years....FOUR years to save my life....so I expect to take on partners that are encouraging not discouraging. Ones that give me hope....and ones that makes ME see past my fat, not as a qualifier of WHO I AM, but a by-product of decisions. I have such a fireball!! Rhoads to Fitness is run by a former student. I had no idea of this passion of hers when I taught her. But daily I see her changing lives!!! (oh, by the by....this is when you know your life is good...when the teacher becomes the student) It makes me want to cry happy tears!Expectations of exercise are the scariest. What if I can't do this? What if I can't do that. I was trying to bug out of a challenge this month...but I TRIED and I DID IT!! And will continue to do it! I think of my first 5K, so I walked it! I still believed I could do it! My second I actually RAN at the end! I was so inspired by the person I did it with....and how she hung back-for me!! That when she took off running, I had to too! I can't tell you the joy! My next mountain...I have agreed to do the Warrior Dash. OH MY HEAVENS!!! Terrified! But my expectation is that I will finish! I will not be the first, I may be the last, but I will finish!! And along the way will mark many challenges off my list of 'things I have always wanted to do!" Diversity: because you perceive someone to be different than you, do NOT rob yourself of the experience to get to know them. Most likely, they will be different, but suspend your expectations of behavior long enough to hear their story, empathize, learn and love!Spontaneity: I am the least spontaneous person you will probably ever come across. I like plans. Period. The most spontaneous thing I have ever done (nope-not the tattoo ;)) Was making that call to RSP to fulfill another lifelong dream. If you have read my blog, you know the profound impact of that experience in realizing who I have become. And this is another case of when you open yourself up for experience you can walk away with a friendship you never expected and an enduring internal force to make positive change in the world. I am also forever grateful to another friend, whose spontaneous nature led me to some of the most enjoyable times in my life! I know if I move outside my comfort zone....stop expecting negative outcomes, there is a WORLD to be lived!! And a life to love!So, where does all of this leave us? And how does expectation even remotely correlate with kindness? On the day of resolutions be kind! We are surrounded by expectations. We set them so high sometimes there is no way to match them. Be kind enough to yourself and others to allow for flaws or missteps. Open yourself up to experience. If you are going to make promises....under promise and over deliver!! But make sure your 'under promise' is still spectacular!!! Set high expectations....but in manageable bites (this is where the grace and kindness come into play)!! Don't get discouraged! Can I do 100 lunges today? NO! But I can do 30 ;) What I do know....if you EXPECT to fail, you WILL! GO! Discover the world outside of this box! Expect great things for your life tempered with kindness!! I know I do! Be well.......LAPUA....don't forget to scatter kindness and sparkles!