Say WHAT??????

In the book, "The Four Agreements," the author lists making assumptions as one of the things we do to defeat ourselves and others. For a long time, I thought this only applied to my personal revelations, but, recently, I have noticed an alarming trend: Assuming you know what others are going through. This morning, on my daily beach walk, I was humming along happily, when I heard a voice on my left. "Consistence and persistence is key! You have to just keep working at it!" I turned to see a little old man smiling up at me with yellowed and crooked teeth. I nodded, somewhat confused as to what he was trying to encourage me about. I thought that maybe he has seen me walking every day for the past year and wanted to give me a verbal high five for losing the weight and getting into shape. He continued, "I gained 30 pounds last year and decided to start walking every day, and lost it soon after! You will get there too!" A moment went by and I realized he was ASSUMING that I had just started my walking regimen and wanted to lose weight!!!!!! Wow.  I didn't hear much else that he said, as I was speechless and hurt. As he happily bopped away, he was probably thinking to himself, "I just helped that girl! I'm such a great person!"  Meanwhile, in my world, the tears are starting to form behind my eyes. Here I was going along thinking that I was doing so well, and now it all crashed down on me. But wait......... I took a breath and realized that this man, as well intentioned as he thought he was, did not matter ONE BIT in my opinion of myself. In fact, as I watched him hobble away, I took note of the fact that he was older than dirt, and probably grew up in the era where being thin was a woman's only goal in life. It's not HIS fault that society drilled that into our heads back then. He was honestly trying to be nice, and let me tell you:  I will TAKE THAT!!! What others may or may not think of me is ever changing, depending on the perception. Just yesterday I was approached by a total stranger and told how beautiful I am. What's the difference between today and yesterday? NOTHING. It's simply perception. And MY perception is all that truly matters.


There are always going to be people who think you are fat, unattractive, unsuccessful, or whatever your sore spot about yourself is. But in the end, YOU are the one who has to look at yourself in the mirror, and YOU are the only one who's opinion matters. If you are confident in your assets, no one can dissuade you from that perception.

Please do not assume that you know what others are going through. It's likely that you do not. If you feel the need to offer someone encouragement, or help, perhaps phrasing it in the form of a question can be more proactive. "How long have you been walking?" would have helped to avoid the situation this morning. Offering unsolicited advice and "help" is generally not something I do, simply because I find that most often, it is unwelcome and end up being offensive. So check yourself next time you feel the "need" to offer some poor soul your help. You have no idea what they are really going through, and making assumptions is likely to hurt them much more than you could imagine.

Are you "in bloom?"

You may have heard the expression, "Bloom where you are planted." I love this saying, especially on days when I am feeling discouraged at my perceived "lack of (fill in the blank)."  The word that stands out to me in that sentence is LACK.  Do you focus on what you don't have, or do you validate yourself for what you have done, and how far you have come? We are all evolving, whether we like it or not, whether we are conscious of the process, or not.  This morning, I saw a rose bush with dozens of new buds, and it struck me how all these buds will open at different times, some may not ever open fully, others will be picked, and still others will have their entire growth cycle on the bush. At the end of the rose's growth cycle, it is the most open it will ever be, and then it starts to wither away. The bush sees the same sunshine, the same water, and the same weather conditions, but each bud is different, even if only slightly. How many of these will open all the way?


The evolution of humans also follows this pattern, yet we are constantly trying to force ourselves to be like everyone else, follow the path someone else wants for us, and generally just denying ourselves the beauty that is our uniqueness. We beat ourselves up for "blooming" more slowly, or diferently, than how we think we "should." If we really just accepted ourselves for where we are now, and who we are now, we would free oursleves to blossom in ways we never imagined!

Free yourself to bloom!

Beauty is the reward of patience


Are you wearing your unhappiness?

I live in a beautiful beach community, and I try to take advantage of the beach as often as I can.  Yesterday, having just recovered from the flu, I decided to go down and just breathe in the fresh air, taking as long of a walk as I felt I could enjoy.  As I walked along, just breathing and smiling at people, I noticed a group of women jogging towards me on the strand path.  Now, these women were very noticeable because, in this community, you Perfect Day for a beach walk

rarely see obese people.  I think this is a combination of simply "the LA mentality" in which women in particular are shamed into thinking that they have to be thin in order to be beautiful, but I choose to embrace the positive part of that mentality, which is that we live where it is sunny and 70 most of the year, and outside exercise is possible almost every day.  Additional impetus being, at any given time you could be asked to attend a pool or jacuzzi party and if you are not wearing a bikini, you may as well be sporting a burka for all the strange looks you will receive.  Your choices are to remain antisocial, or live somewhere else.  So, this group of significantly overweight women struggled towards me, some at a slow jog, some at a brisker walk, but all with the same expression:  misery.  The woman who was clearly their "leader" was 100 pounds soaking wet, and as they passed me, I heard her spouting a bunch of nutritional facts, using words like "bad" and "crap" to describe choices someone might make.  With her every peppy word, it seemed that the energy of the group spiraled down further.  As I continued down the path, I saw more of these women, who were the "stragglers", and finally, one, sitting on the side of the path, almost in tears, clearly not "having fun."  I almost stopped to ask her if she was ok, but I  did not want to add to her palpable humiliation.  I was overcome with sadness at the shame we inflict on others for simply using food as a coping tool in order to deal with the difficult issue of self hatred.  Their addiction is no worse than the drug user, the alcoholic, the sex addict, or the shopping addict, to name a few.

I have been reading Collette Baron-Reid's book, "Weight Loss for those who Feel too Much," and this has opened my eyes, not only to some of my issues, but to many others on the same path.  How are we helping food addicts by making them feel even worse about themselves?  The Biggest Loser is so painful for me to watch that I have yet to watch one entire episode.  Is our value really all in the number on the scale?  And, if we gain 5 pounds, we are "bad" and "in trouble."  This is only compounding the problem.  I am reasonably sure that if, instead of boot camps and fat free foods, we gave each other positive compliments, aka positive reinforcement, the tides would turn much more quickly. We can encourage others to be healthy and love themselves, and this, in turn, will help them to make different choices to care for their bodies.  I know many trainers who think

Make time for fun every day!

posting photoshopped images of "perfect" bodies is inspirational, but this is the opposite for most people.  This really makes me angry!  The message is:  if you can't be perfect, you may as well stay home and eat chips.  I saw an ad for "Plus size yoga" the other day....YES!  Great idea!  As a society, we have placed the emphasis on the wrong things for too long. Unhappiness makes you want to soothe yourself, and for many, food is that balm.  As a recovered anorexic, I can tell you that NOT eating comes from the same place.  It is all about self punishment and misery in that space.  Until we teach people to really love themselves, they way they are, we can not really help them to care for their bodies in a healthy way.

I am deeply saddened by the trainers and coaches who think they are helping people by reinforcing the guilt and shame pattern.  The fact is, this is so prevalent in today's society because fat is the last accepted prejudice.  It can be used as a cop out for many things, and it makes thinner people feel superior.  "At least I am not THAT fat!"  is something I have heard from others.  I encourage you to have compassion for those who are struggling, and offer loving support, instead of using it to make yourself feel better.  Perhaps you can learn something about yourself in the journey.  Fat is simply wearing your emotions on the outside.  Cancer is wearing them on the inside.  How about if we actually DEAL with our emotions?  That's a novel concept.

Blessings to your and yours today!

Confessions of a recovered anorexic

As long as I can remember, I have been aware of calories, and fat, and how much is "proper for a lady" to eat, and how much is NOT. I have also been aware of all the ways in which I could fail to attract the attention of a man, be it my round hips, my full breasts, or my muscular thighs. I grew up in the 70's and 80's, when, if you didn't look on the brink of starvation, you were undesirable. I learned to enjoy hunger, and became alarmingly anorexic. I ended up in the hospital, 97 pounds, near death, and I was very pleased with myself. I had done what I needed to do in order to be accepted by my peers and society. Then the therapy started, and I slowly became aware of the fact that I was actually destroying my health. I became obsessed with every health and diet fad that came out, determined that I would force my shapely body into the boy shape I so desperately wanted. I was convinced that THIS was the key to my happiness. For many years, I was thin to the point where people would ridicule me, yet, shockingly, I was not happy or fulfilled. As the years passed, I went through all of life's trials and gradually started to overcome my anorexic tendencies. When I became pregnant with my first child, I was concerned that my baby would be harmed if I did not eat exactly what I was supposed to, so a new obsession was born: being perfect nutritionally. This manifested in the way that I judged others for eating the "wrong" things, and, of course, I judged myself the most harshly. If I missed a day at the gym, I was depressed for a week.  If I ate a cookie, I would spiral into failure mode. As my child grew, it became clear that he was blessed with my curvy figure, and the cycle continued. I fed him what I believed to be the "perfect" diet, yet he still was chubby. Doctors visits would send me home in tears. I had failed my child as well as myself. When I became pregnant for the second time, I gave up. I ate everything in sight, and tested positive for gestational diabetes. When my second son was born, I was 200 pounds. I was miserable and depressed.

When Sam turned 2, I decided to start over. I started seeing a trainer, and he was kind and non-judgmental, and the weight dropped off. I lost 60 pounds and filed for divorce. I became interested in partying again, and the bars kept me from having to be alone at night, when the kids were with their dad. This phase was to last 2 years, and then, one day, I realized that I was on the fast track to nowhere, and I began to spend less and less time drinking, and more time with myself. Cooking and baking had always been a passion of mine, and I began to experiment with this again. As I rose up out of the ashes of my marriage, my old friend, obsession, resurfaced. I had kept most of the weight off, but it was creeping back up, and I felt it start to overtake me again. I spent the next year gathering information on every diet and nutritional fad I could, and, in the end, I had gained more weight. I spent more time at the gym, and obsessed over every calorie, and yet STILL I was heavy. I felt discouraged and painfully close to giving up again.

About this time, I had been attending meditation classes for a year or so, and I started to feel as if I was close to a big discovery. I suffered some painful losses through relationships, yet gained knowledge from each of them. One day, as I prowled the aisles of the local health food store, a thought stopped me in my tracks. "I am healthy, strong, and active. I take care of myself, I respect myself, and yet I am still not skinny. Maybe this is how I am supposed to look!" As I pondered over this thought for the next month or so, I slowly shifted my reality. I don't want people in my life that judge me for how I look. The most important thing is to love myself, and care for my body in a way that nurtures it. Food and exercise are about function, NOT looking good. What I eat should make me feel great, and fuel me for whatever I want to do, whether it be a walk on the beach, power yoga, snowboarding, or even just playing with my son. I do not want to live my life sitting on the couch, therefore I must fuel myself appropriately.

Food is not the enemy, and it is also not your friend. Food is fuel, pure and simple. If you find yourself looking for comfort, go for a walk, read a good book, or watch a movie with a snuggle buddy (my cat is great at snuggling:) Punishing ourselves with what is meant for fuel is the fastest way to destroy ourselves. In the end, what you eat is not nearly as important as how you feel about yourself, and what could be more important than the deep love and gratitude that comes from within? I welcome you to share my journey, and let us learn from each other. Namaste.

How high do you go?

I was explaining to my teenager the concept of a "pain threshold," and as I was telling him how, as newborn beings, we have nothing to compare our pain to, and so every little bit of discomfort is an occasion for crying. This is truly the epitome of "living in the moment". As we grow older, we experience more pain, and we realize it has an end, and we start to understand that certain types of pain are more uncomfortable than others. Emotional pain is also learned, manifesting early on as fear, usually of punishment or even physical pain. These emotional lessons cause us to make choices which are designed to avoid pain, and thus begins our lesson on denial and self deprecation. The pain threshold increases, and as we grow older, we start to understand that we can actually "check out" of this emotional option, using distractions such as alcohol, sex, drugs, and food. We block our pain and therefore we block our lessons. if you take pain medication for your physical pain, it can sometimes result in you re-injuring yourself, since you are blocking your nerve's communication with your brain, which is your warning from your body. In the same way, blocking your emotional pain can cause you to continue to repeat the same mistakes and therefore, never recover from that injury.

The last few days have been painful for me, and I have been tempted to create distractions for myself. But as I sat at home last night, more alone than I have been in a while, I found a place in myself which enjoyed that, and welcomed the pain as a teacher. Today I feel a little sad, but it is nothing I can't "handle." Relationships teach me a lot about myself, and when the other person is in more pain than I am, I have to reach inside myself and use the resources I have created from past pain. This is a gift, and one I use quite often. Creating the space to let this happen is key. Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Hot ... or Not???

I'd like to talk about senseless things for a minute. When I'm having a bad day, and complain to someone about it, and they say, "Come on, your life can't be that bad, you're hot!" I think this is a very ill informed person. Everyone is human, and everyone suffers from human interaction. For example, women don't tend to like me much. I'm not sure why, but it happens. So, every once in a while, I am the victim of someone's psychotic break. My neighbor, who is a woman, really hates me. One morning, when I was getting my son ready for school, she came over and decided to have a freak out on my front porch. The day before, I had called the cops on her kids, who were stadium blasting rap music into my bedroom window. She decided to scream at me about this. She proceeded to tell me that I should "move if I didn't like it". I told her that maybe THEY should move, if they wanted to be that loud. This, she did not like. She then put her hand through the screen, trying to punch me, and I closed the door and called the police. She stood in my front yard, screaming obscenities at me, for a good ten minutes. My son hadn't ever heard some of the words she used, and was asking me about it. When the police arrived, she denied everything, and they basically told me that I needed to videotape her next time. Otherwise, nothing they can do. It has been about 9 months since this incident, and I still get threatening phone calls from her, and she yells at me when I drive by. Her teenage daughter also likes to call me a whore when I drive by. I have the video camera ready, and next time I hope she doesn't really hurt me. So I ask you: How does me being hot help me in this situation? I actually think it may be part of the reason she hates me. She used to be a hot blonde woman, and now she is overweight and clearly unstable. I'm happy and she isn't. People hate others for being happy. Ever noticed that? It's a very strange phenomenon. Be miserable and unattractive, and you are ignored. Be happy and healthy, you are a reminder to others that they are not. How about if we just stop judging others and focus on our own issues? I don't think there is any shortage of those.