health

Last year, I really enjoyed sharing my random thoughts as I watched the state of the union speech so I decided to do it again.

I love the state of the union speech.  It is such a time capsule, capturing the political landscape and always full of interesting moments.  I am always curious what the President has to say, whether I agree with some or all or none of it is really irrelevant.  Well, other than the amount of wine I need to consume to keep my blood pressure stabilized.

Please keep in mind that this is my random train of thought.  There are summarizations of what was said as well as my own opinion and commentary and it may not be clear what’s what. There may even be some grammatical and spelling errors, I didn’t do much proofreading.

Take it for what it is and watch the speech yourself. I encourage you to create your own running commentary and share it with the group. That would be really cool.

Oh yeah, I am so not interested in being yelled at for my opinions.  That’s what they are, my opinions.  Feel free to share yours, but disrespect will not be tolerated.

So here we go.  “Mr. Speaker,  The President of The United States ” …

I guess we should first note that many democrats and republicans are sitting intermixed next to each other.  This seems to be in a statement of good will during this time of strife, with the shooting and all.  I think everyone realizes that more civility is needed and that the violent rhetoric was a little out of line.  I would think they would feel this way personally, even if they won’t say it out loud.  Of course, there is a group of republicans that are refusing to participate.

It makes me sad that some people refuse to see the value of working together toward best solutions for the common good.

Let us all take a moment to send good thought out to Sen. Giffords and her family.  Tragedy.

Wow, I teared up just looking at that little girls father.

I always love that the vice president and the speaker have to sit up there and try to keep a straight face the whole time.

Governing is a shared responsibility.  Please please please can we start to work together and stop all this insane fighting.

Funny, all the corporations are making money again, but people and small businesses are suffering and my house just lost another 15%.  Your right Mr. President, I would like you to work together to fix this.

This is a changing world.  Other countries are kicking our butts. It is time to come to terms with the fact that there is no going back. It is time to embrace change and move forward folks.

I am so tired of hearing about how great we are.  Stop fluffing everybody’s feathers and start telling me what you are going to do to fix this and how you are going to get bipartisan support for that.

Out educate, Out innovate and Out build the rest of the world.

Winning the future…

1st step.  Encourage innovation.

It doesn’t just change our lives it is how we make our living.  Invest in research.  biomedical, information technology and green energy.

It’s like a good rock band, we have to constantly reinvent ourselves.

Hmm, I like that.  Take the money we subsidise the oil companies and give that money to people doing research and building clean energy technology. 2035, 80% electricity from clean energy.

What kind doesn’t really matter, let’s work together to get it done.

2nd step.  Education

Over half the jobs require more than a college education, while over a quarter of kids aren’t even graduating from high school.

Calling out to parents to take responsibility for their kids education.  Make sure your child does their homework, give accolades to those who do well in academic ventures, not just sports and entertainment.   Set a good example and instill a love of learning in your kids.  Be encouraging and supportive.

Success in not a function of fame, but of hard work and discipline.

Expectations should be high in school.  Must reform our school systems not throw more money at a bad system.  Here Here!!!!

Get rid of no child left behind and replace it with a better program.  Yay!!!!

Reform is a bottom up process, not a top down.  We must empower each child to acheive.  Tell them that they are smart and can accomplish whatever they put their minds to and guess what?  They will.

Give teachers some respect, would you.  And, guess what?  Being a bad teacher isn’t going to cut it any more.

Become a teacher, you country needs you.  But how are you going to make sure that being a teacher doesn’t require having a second job?

Boehner looks annoyed.

The goal.  The highest percentage of college graduates in the world.

Illigal imigration.  Needs adressing.  Difficult debate.  Let’s have it.

Step 3. What is step three? I don’t know but it starts about here.

Infrastructure.   We got a D in the quality of our infrastructure.  Sad really.

Re-double the efforts of the last two years and put americans to work.  Pick projects based on the economy, not the politicians.  Good luck with that.

Hee Hee.  He made a funny.

Oh dude, wake up.  You almost got caught with your finger up your nose.

Rigging the tax code to benefit the few.  Must change it.

It disgusts me that there are so many loop holes that a few corporations pay no taxes while other pay through the nose.

Boehner is not being very successful controlling his grimace.

Regulation is not the problem.  Protecting people is necessary, but I agree that we shouldn’t put undo burden on business.  But no rules is simply not an option.  You can not avoid that some people are greedy and selfish and will exploit people to make a profit.

Is that booing over the health care law?  tacky.

If you have better ideas, bring it.  Let’s here em.

Disagreeing and pointing out flaws is not even close to coming up with solutions.  Help solve the problems and stop you bitching.

Like so many people have stated in the past.  Are you going to be part of the problem or part of solution.  Really it is that simple.  Nothing comes of all this negativity, it just doesn’t.

Finally.  Live within our means.

Freeze domestic annual spending for 5 years?  Let’s cut what we can do without, but not on the back of our most vulnerable citizens.

Let’s stop pretending that cutting annual spending alone will be enough.  It won’t.  Cut excessive spending anywhere we find it.

Did you hear that?  Repealing the health care bill will increase the deficit by more than 250 billion dollars.

Malpractice reform is back on the table.

strenthen Social Security without slashing benefits or putting it at the hands of the stock market.

Say by by to the tax cuts.

Simplify the tax code, best for everyone.  Good plan.  Don’t repeal or extend anything.  Reform the whole damn thing.

I love the scale of his vision.  Go big or go home.  Think bigger

More competent government, imagine that?

Hey, it’s Gary Locke.

Ooh, another funny.  Hee hee.

Wow, re-org the federal government.  Well now, that is a current concept.  I think I was re-orged six times during my five years at a software company.  Can’t say whether it was good strategy or not.

He will veto any bill with earmarks.  Look at the grin on McCains face.

The Iraq war is coming to an end.  Over 100,000 troops home so far.

A little rose colored on the Afghan war, I think.  Gonna start bringing the troops home next year though and that is good.   Enough war please.

Oh god, here comes the stand up sit down portion of our program.  There should be rules about standing ovations and applause.  Let the man speak.

Well hello Patty.  Looks like people are starting to get tired.  Me too.  That can’t be a good sign.

Wow, those old generals look pissed about gay people serving in the military.

Get over yourselves people.  Stop being threatened by things and people you don’t understand.  Different than you does not mean evil or scary, just different.  You might be surprised how much you can learn from someone who feels, speaks, dresses or lives differently than you.

Solar roofing shingles.  Now that’s cool.

We Do Big Things.  We are country of ordinary people who dare to dream.

Well, not left teary eyed with inspiration, but a good speech none the less.  Big ideas, big arguments, big reforms.  I like that.

I agree that the first half of the speech was better than the second half.

Watch the speech now!

Part 1:

Part 2:

So I got this email today touting the benefits of drinking tea. There are many benefits to drinking tea. They are very high in anti-oxidants which can help prevent and even help in fighting existing cancer cells in your body. There are also elements in tea that are reported to increase the fat burning ability of your body by increasing metabolism and helping your body burn fat.

This is all great stuff, but what kind of tea do you choose?

First, you should know that all true teas come from the same plant; Camellia sinensis. The difference in teas is simply in how the tea is processes. There are also herbal teas and others such as rooibos that are made from plants, fruits and flowers and contain no actual tea.

Types of teas include white, yellow, black, green, oolong and post-fermented. In China what we know as black tea is referred to as red tea, which is what rooibos tea is commonly called here. Post-fermented tea is what is called black tea in China. It’s all very confusing, right?

Anyway, let’s refer to things in the US vernacular for simplicity.

Black tea has the most caffeine of all the teas, but it is still about 40% of a regular cup of coffee. Drink it as dark as I do and maybe it’s even a greater difference. Black tea is high in polyphenols, a common antioxidant. There has also been research completed stating that consumption of black tea can have positive effects on cardiovascular health.

Green tea has earned quite a reputation for it’s health benefits and some even claim that you can lose weight by drinking green tea. There is really no scientific proof of these weight loss benefits, although I imagine (with no authority) that some people, given their personal circumstances, may lose a little weight by increasing their water intake and/or balancing some internal chemical imbalance due to the beneficial elements of the tea.

Green tea is very high in antioxidants and scientifically associated with (not proof) with many health benefits including hear health and fighting cancer and glucose stabilization as well as an increase in fat oxidation during exercise. Guess I might have a cup of tea before my next workout :)

The newcomer on the weight-loss hype scene is “Wu-Long Tea”. Let’s be very clear here. There is no difference between Wu-long and Oolong tea.

Do not be fooled and do not pay the unreal prices that companies are asking for this “special” tea. You can pick up a good quality organic oolong tea as a high quality grocery store or health food store for the same price as any other type of tea.

Oolong tea is the same at wu-long tea. don't be fooled or cheated.

Oolong tea has many of the same health benefits as green tea. Preliminary research is stating that oolong tea may have a more significant effect on weight loss by increasing metabolism, burning fat and blocking dietary fat absorption. Oolong tea has been showed to have be a less effective antioxidant than green tea.

Overall tea is great for you and green or oolong may be a good supplement during your weight loss efforts, but don’t for a minute think you can drink tea or even take tea extract pills and lose weight without diet and exercise. Let’s be real folks. And for god’s sake don’t spend a bunch of money on the marketing hype of “Wu-long” Tea. Just try out a couple of varieties of widely available and reasonably priced Oolong Tea.

As always, thank you for following my personal journey and good luck with your own.

References:
http://www.amazing-green-tea.com/oolong-tea-health-benefits.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tea – and links deeper

Because I am one of the bare all – no holds barred bloggers who believes that sharing my life honestly is the right thing to do for both me and my readers, I feel it is very important to applaud others who do the same.

Not only is Tasha a brave and amazing blogger, she speaks to a topic that is close to my heart and a message that I think it is important for you, my readers, to hear as well. She learned to listen to her body and do what was best for her, even when it bumped up against everything she believed in and thought was right and true in the world.

Read Her Story

Life is not black and white and you can not and should not believe everything you read and hear. I am always amazed how we can suspend the use of our perfectly healthy and functioning brains to feed our belief systems. One thing I have learned over the last couple of years of struggling with my own battle with depression, anxiety and a bunch of familial bullshit is that no matter how much you believe something to be true that is not always the case.

It is so important that we learn to trust ourselves. Our minds and bodies yearn to speak to us, to tell us what is right and true for us, but so often we ignore them. We ignore that we are tired or sad or not feeling well and all the little ailments that we attribute to our lives or getting older or whatever our excuses might be.  We push aside our uneasy feelings and that little nagging tug that something here is hinky.  In reality all these little things are our bodies ways of speaking to us, of telling us that something isn’t right and that we should take a good look at how we are living and what changes our hearts know we need to make.

Instead of listening to these warnings, more times than not we ignore them until they turn into monsters that come back and bite us, sometimes with devastating consequences.  My mind and body were screaming and I just blatently ignored it, shoved it down until my whole world exploded.  Not necessarly the best way to go about it.

Read how Tasha learned this very same lesson

Learning this important lesson comes to each of us in it’s own way.  For Tasha it was her Vegan-ism, as much a doctrine as a lifestyle choice in her mind.  For each of us it will always be something personal and most likely painful.  Facing our personal truth is certainly not an easy task, but one that faced with bravery and an open heart will forever make us and everyone we touch better for it.

There are many things that I could say about being vegan or how I feel about the importance of quality natural animal protein sources, but I think the bigger lesson here is that if you listen, your mind and body will tell you what you need.  And if you refuse to listen, it will just yell louder, believe me.

And just one more little rant.  Be very careful how you judge others and what you believe from so-called experts.  We each have our own beliefs and our own reasons for them.  Do your own research, and I mean real research – not just asking your friend or your favorite talk show host, and listen to your gut.  If someone seems all over the top about stuff, there is probably a reason for it that has absolutely nothing to do with you.   And if you disagree about something with someone, no matter how vehemently, remember to have some respect.  Being an asshole only hurts you in the long run.

This week we are celebrating being healthy and small victories. This thing with my thumb could have been so much worse and although it has kept me from being as hard core as my heart would like right now, I am thankful.

I will take my one pound and rejoice it. I am also looking forward to rocking it this cycle. I have three to go. That is plenty of time to do some serious damage.

Wow, I sound cheezy.

Anyway, new stats and even a new photo (eek!) have been posted on the Xtreme Fat Loss Page.

Despite my obstacles I am dedicated and feeling very positive about this program.

Joel Marion’s Xtreme Fat Loss Diet

Today’s email from Isabel De Los Rios and The Diet Solution touched on something that rings close to me and that I think is really important.  The mental and emotional side of losing weight.  Anyone who ignores this is only destined to fail.  Yes, you may lose some weight now, maybe even a lot of weight, but if you don’t feel that you deserve it, see yourself as a thin person who is happy and active and whole or if you continue with the negative talk, it is very likely you will gain all the weight back and more.

This is something I have really struggled with.  In The Gabriel Method Jon talks a lot about envisioning yourself as a thin happy person.   I have had such a hard time with this.  Not only could I not see myself thin, but I didn’t believe I could ever be thin again or even that I deserved to be.  This is the exact reason I took a break from actively trying to lose weight and concentrated on getting my head straight while continuing to improve my eating habits (nutrition and portion control) as well as learning to like exercising because it makes me feel good and not to punish myself for being overweight.

Isabel gets this too and the first chapter of The Diet Solution is dedicated to this.  Today she sent an email that talked directly to this part of the weight loss journey with some really good ideas for changing these patterns.

The strategy that touched me the most was that we should be talking to ourselves like we talk to our children.  Isn’t that so powerful?

We fill our children with love and support, we tell them they can do anything they put their minds to, that if they work hard and show passion they can achieve anything.  And when they are scared or nervous or feel insecure, we give them the best, most heartfelt pep talks.  We hold them close and tell them how proud we are of them and how we know that they are capable and brave.

But when we feel those same things, we turn on ourselves.  I would fill my head with doubt and fear, blame and anger.  I would tell myself how lazy and stupid I was for not being able to do it.  I would get angry at anyone who tried to encourage me or support me, because I didn’t really deserve it anyway.  Sound familiar?

Well, I’m done with that.  I deserve to accomplish anything in my life that I set my mind to.  I deserve to be happy and healthy and loved and supported.  I deserve these things just as much as my children do and I can see that thin, healthy, happy, fulfilled person now and I’m going after it.  And you can too.

Every day I am more and more impressed with Isabel.  I really encourage you to check out The Diet Solution.

This is the email she sent today in it’s entirety.  I hope it is ok that I shared it this way, I just felt it would be important for you to read.

Hey Karin,

I was remembering back several years ago when I used to do one on one client coaching, I had a great call with a client. It was actually her last coaching call with me and I wanted to be sure that I left her with all the “tools” she needed to maintain and continue her incredible weight loss success.

Me: “What do you think will be the most difficult challenge for you moving forward?”

I was expecting an answer like traveling, going out to dinner, maybe even cravings, but that was not the case.

Client: “Isabel, the absolute hardest thing for me is the mental part of losing weight. I see how successful I’ve been and I clearly see the results in the mirror, but I still find myself doing a lot of negative self talk. It’s almost like I know I’m going to blow it, just like I have so many other times.”

WOW! Talk about honesty. And I know she is not the only person who is going through the same thing. I can remember years ago when I first lost all of my weight, I would get compliments from people and I would always thing to myself, “Yeah, whatever, let’s see how long this really lasts.”

But there is a reason why the FIRST chapter in the Diet Solution Program Manual is about MENTAL PREPARATION because this is an ESSENTIAL first step. It doesn’t matter how good the information is, how easy I have made it for you, or how delicious the food is. If you’re going to talk yourself out of your own success all day, then you might as well just throw in the towel now (in this case, walk away from the computer and stop reading).

So how exactly did I overcome this common hurdle? Here are some strategies I use even today in my life that keep me focused, motivated and always working towards my goal.

1. I start each and every morning with a gratitude list. This is non-negotiable! It takes me no more than 3 minutes and it changes my spirits for the entire day. How’s setting aside 3-5 minutes for a joyous rest of the day? Worth it, right? I write “I am so grateful for…” and then just write, write and write. For me that list always includes my family, my health and my work. I wouldn’t start any day without this!

2. I go to sleep each night playing my personal mind movie in my head as I go to sleep. What is a personal mind movie? Basically, it’s you imagining yourself looking, feeling and doing whatever it is you would do if you achieved your health and weight loss goals. Imagine yourself in a particular outfit, at a party getting compliments, participating in some awesome athletic event. Athletes have actually used this strategy for decades with much success. This approach helps me to fall asleep happy and is much better than lying there thinking about all the things I have to do the next day or harping on stressful events. I sleep so much better at night like this!

3. Only talk to yourself as you would a small child (This one is my favorite and given to me by my best friend Jackie). Would you tell your children all day long that they were never going to achieve their goals, that they should stop trying or that they shouldn’t even try in the first place? No, I sure hope you wouldn’t. You would encourage them, give them hope, and tell them that anything is possible with hard work. Treat yourself, in your own mind, the way you would want to speak to your children or better yet, the way you would want others to speak to your children or speak to you.

Karin, keep your eye on the prize because the prize of the body you are dreaming about is within your reach! If I can do it, so can YOU! Tell yourself how awesome you are and how this time you are changing your life and there is no looking back.

Speaking of keeping your eye on the prize, I just got the most wonderful celebration email from my friend Joel Marion. He had set his goal to help as many people around the world achieve their own weight loss goals and getting his information out to every person that was ready to take his Xtreme weight loss challenge.

He has accomplished just that and is celebrating the Xtreme Fat Loss Diet system officially becoming the #1 Bestselling e-book on the internet right now!

To celebrate this monumental event in Joel’s life, he’s decided to keep the $30 OFF offer open for a couple more days.

If you haven’t secured your discounted copy, THIS IS THE TIME TO DO IT! (before Saturday).

The Xtreme Fat Loss Diet

I couldn’t be happier or more proud of him, and if you are one of the 20,000 people that has decided to take him up on his offer, I am proud of you too!

Take a look at Joel’s celebration page here:

The Xtreme Fat Loss Diet
And join me as we give Joel a big round of applause. Bravo…(clap, clap, clap).

Keep your eye on your own prize…and you will get there!

In health and happiness,

Isabel De Los Rios
Certified Nutritionist
Certified Exercise Specialist
Author of www.TheDietSolutionProgram.com

PS – If you enjoyed today’s newsletter, feel free to forward this email on to any of your friends, family, or co-workers that would also enjoy the information.

Have a really great day and remember to care for yourself, you deserve it.

Well, I made it through my first Extreme Fat Loss Diet fast day.   It wasn’t really as hard as I thought it was going to be.

The morning was easy as I am never really hungry until late in the morning anyway.

The tough part for me was the afternoon.  I get those crazy afternoon hunger pains anyway so I was going nutso for a couple of hours, but then it subsided and the evening was a breeze.  By they time I was sitting on the couch watching Lost with my husband I felt great actually, no hunger and a significant sense of calm.

I will say that feeding my kids dinner was tough.  I just wanted to snatch the food right off their plates.  And then I asked my husband to eat while I was at my swimming class so I wouldn’t have to watch him eat, but I walked in the door and he was putting the finishing touches on a chicken burger.  My mouth watered something fierce and I had to leave the room, but really no biggie.

The BCAA capsules that I purchased are the biggest pills I have ever seen, but surprisingly easy to swallow.  Taking them throughout the day ensured that I guzzled massive amounts of water and filled my belly, if only temporarily.

Some tips for getting through the day….

  1. Stay Busy.  Get out and about as much as you can. Tackle something consuming at work. If you are stuck at home like me, then find a project that needs to be done or a hobby you haven’t picked up in a while.  Also, use your workouts to your advantage, you have three of them today.
  2. Embrace the Hunger.  When the hunger hit it’s worse about mid afternoon I went looking for advice (well and really just another thing to keep me occupied.  Nothing like a targeted Internet search for info to kill some time).  The biggest thing that I found from both those fasting for health and religious purposes is to embrace the hunger, not fight it.  That also reminds me of what my therapist is telling me about negative thought, anxiety, depression or whatever your dealing with: “Acknowledge the feeling and then let it pass through you and out the other side”.  This is highly effective, but often easier said
  3. Drink Hot Liquids.  I had a cup of coffee (with xylitol to sweeten) mid afternoon and that made all the difference in the world.  Warm and satisfying a cup of tea or coffee can really do the trick.  It also gives you something with taste to sip on.
  4. Drink a Ton of Water.  I just kept the water coming all day.  I carried a big bottle around with me everywhere and guzzled several large glasses each time I took my BCAA supplements.
  5. Focus on the Results.  This is the biggie.  It is only one day and there are only five in the whole program.  Totally doable.  And just think about how great you are going to look and feel when you are done.

Get the Extreme Fat Loss Diet Now! – Last Day to get $30 off

The Extreme Fat Loss Diet is a short term fast fat loss plan.  To continue your healthy lifestyle and/or continue losing weight, you will need a long term nutritional plan.  My recommendation and the one I follow myself is Isabel De Los Rios’  The Diet Solution.  I have been following this plan for a month or so now and I feel great.   Sound research-based nutritional advice tailored to your personal metabolic type and an easy to follow portion controlled eating plan.  Brilliant.

Check out The Diet SolutionMake sure your speakers are on. This is an audio/video presentation.

Isabel is offering a free bonus to her members right now of a personal outline and coaching on how to follow the Extreme Fat Loss Diet in a healthy way that gels with her nutritional advice and eating plan.  Really cool, I know I can’t wait to get my hands on that.

So get both products now and commit to your weight loss goals today.

With New Years here and resolutions on everyone’s mind and such, I thought this might be a good time to share how I quit smoking.  Why I think that it is important to share how I quit smoking is that it was easy, really easy.   It has also been a while now, so I know for sure that it worked and I am never going back. I never even had a moment of withdrawl and when I put the last one out I never looked back.

This isn’t to say that I don’t think about smoking or see someone smoking and wish I could have one, because I do.  I almost see this as a plus.  I know so many people who quit that can’t stand to be around anyone who smokes or smell cigarettes at all.  I actually enjoy the smell of cigarettes, like the comfort of an old friend and I can happily stand and talk with people smoking.  And, even though it smells good and sounds like a great idea, I have no problems just saying “No thanks, I don’t smoke”.

This didn’t happen exactly overnight, but almost.  There was a time or two at the very beginning where I was out and drinking with friends where I caved and had a smoke.  But, I regretted it and it didn’t even really do anything for me and I had no problem never having another.

If you are still a smoker then you are probably thinking right now that I must have been a casual smoker or just be one of those people that can just turn it off.  This couldn’t be farther from the truth.

I became a smoker when I was fifteen years old.  This is not when I started experimenting or casualy smoking, this is when I became a smoker.  I would say that I smoked on average about 1/2 a pack a day when I started out and I peaked at about 1 1/2 packs a day, which I sustained for many years.  After college, I cut back down to a 1/2 pack a day and kept at that for many more years.   Overall, I was a smoker for close to 20 years.

I tried to quit many times and not once was successful for any significant period of time.  The only time I went more than a couple of weeks was when I was pregnant and that was only because it was for my child and not me.  I had a tremendous amount of shame associated with being a smoker and was really motivated to quit, but I also loved it and cherished the process and the time and the act of smoking.  I loved smoking and deep down I’m not sure I really wanted to quit, but I knew that I had to – for me and for my kids.  

But I had no idea how I was possibly going to make it happen.  I was scared that I would never be able to kick it for good and that every day for the rest of my life I would deal with wanting to have a smoke.

Then I heard about this book.  I had heard of people who had had success with it and then I read many of the gazillion reviews on Amazon and said why not try one more thing.  I really didn’t think it was going to work, nothing had before.

So I read it and then I read it again and that was it.  I was no longer a smoker.

Sounds crazy, I know.  But it works.

What book you ask?

The Easy Way to Stop Smoking by Allen Carr

This book helped me to quit smoking for good without withdrawal or regret.  I am so happy to be free of such a huge burden.

Do understand that there is no method here or new information.  Don’t look for the magic pill.  Just read the book and do what it says.  That’s it.

I encourage anyone who wants to quit smoking to read this book.  Just click on the link above and check out the amazon reviews and then judge for yourself.

I know that I have mentioned this maybe even several times in the past, but I just can’t get over how powerful it is when the same information comes at me from several unrelated sources.  This always confirms for me that I am on the right track.  Lately this phenomena is happening everywhere I look and so gives me confidence that although I sometimes feel like I am dangling from a hook, struggling to find solid ground as life zooms past me, everything is happening as it should and it helps me to trust myself and allow myself to be present to the changes happening in my life.

Funny, that word changes.  In the forum they teach us to differentiate between changes and transformations.  Change is something gradual that you must apply will power and constant attention to to make it happen.  Transformation is instant, more like an immediate shift that sends you in a new direction.  These are the more powerful mechanisms for making significant differences in our lives and I have seen this in several areas of my life and now finally with my health.

I first saw this in action when I quit smoking.  We had heard of this book (The Easy Way to Stop Smoking) that supposedly could help you quit smoking with little effort or withdrawals. Now, I had been a smoker for over 15 years and had quit and started countless times. My problem was that I liked smoking, no I loved smoking.   But, I hated being a smoker.   There is a very distinct difference there that I think most smokers can relate to.

So, we had heard stories of several people who had read this book and then simply stopped smoking forever. At this point what did I have to lose, so I gave it a try. Basically the book tells it like it is, separating you from your addiction and helping you to see how it is standing in the way and certainly not serving in any way at all. But the funny thing is that it is really more about the act of reading the book than even what the book says.   At the end they have this list of questions and if you can answer yes to any of them you need to start the book over.   It took reading the book twice to get through the list, but then I put down the cigarettes and haven’t had another since and it wasn’t even hard, like at all.    My best friend even looked at me the other night and said she can no longer even imagine me as a smoker.  Amazing.

Do you need to quit? Get the Book!

The point is that it was my first introduction to the instant transformation I am talking about. It wasn’t hard to quit like it had been the many other times I had tried. It was like something shifted and I just didn’t need it any more. Quite the transformation.

Back when I was depressed and having regular debilitating panic attacks my therapist would tell me to differentiate and identify the depression and anxiety as separate from myself. “That’s the depression talking”.   It was amazing how quickly I started to feel better once I started doing this. I kept telling myself that it was just anxiety and depression and that what it was saying was not true and that I could keep going even though I thought my heart would explode out of my chest and it eventually just disappeared.  In the moment that I realized that I wasn’t the awful person my depression told me I was, it just dissipated and I started feeling better and soon I was better.

At The Forum I learned to separate my stories from my actual experiences and found forgiveness and peace with my past.

Do you see a pattern here?

Well now it has reached my battle with my weight. I was noticing last week that my whole outlook was starting to change. But this didn’t happen slowly over time with a lot of will power.   Yes, I have been thinking a lot about it and have made some changes to my diet and have obviously been working on the emotional aspects, but I was feeling really frustrated that it didn’t seem how much I worked at it, I still wanted to the sweets and junk food and couldn’t keep myself from eating it.  And I still had no desire to work out at all.

I hit my peak of frustration as I scarfed down a brownie on the way to therapy last Monday.   Two bites and I was feeling nauseous, yet I still ate the whole damn thing.  What is going on?

So I was talking to my therapist about it and she taught me how to differentiate this as well.  There is was again.  She recommended stopping when I felt these cravings and looking at them from another angle, identifying the intensity of the craving by giving it a number 1-10.   Then if you decide the number is high enough and eat the craved food, then identify how much satisfaction you got from eating it by giving it a number 1-10.

During this therapy session, something just clicked and since then I have been following her advice,  which has unfortunately taken the joy out of several sweat treats I was really looking forward to, and yet again transformation has happened.  Not perfection or magical weight loss, but a totally different outlook that seemed like it came out of nowhere.

I have been almost jonesing for exercise and food has lost its power over me. I am even down to just one Diet Coke a day, a miracle in and of itself.

It is just a craving and separate from myself.   That craving has nothing to do with my body’s need for sustenance or nutrition or even something yummy to eat — it is emotional and completely separate.

I think this is part of the message the Jon Gabriel is trying to convey to us.   Just give your body what it needs and realize that you are emotionally separate from your need to eat and your body will start asking for what it needs and giving back what you want from it.

The real test will be how this plays out over the next couple of months.  Please let the weight loss finally come.   I create this possibility for myself and for all of you too.

Buy the Gabriel Method Book Now!

.

It has been an interesting couple of weeks since attending the forum.  I have been mourning a part of myself and learning to live in a world where that part me no longer exists.  Of course this is a good thing, but that certainly doesn’t mean it has been easy.

I have caught myself falling back into my depression routines which is pretty frustrating.  I am also noticing new layers or levels of issues to deal with.  This is also a good thing as these are the real issues, the rackets I have built up that were hidden beneath my tortured soul persona.  The good news is that now that I am past all the bullshit  I can concentrate on going after the stuff really getting in the way.  It is like all that anger just wrapped me in a blanket of safety and now I am fully exposed, left to look for and examine the real issues I was just hiding from before.

My therapist is thrilled and I am working on being thrilled, but right now I just feel a little let down.  See there, that’s a racket talking right there.

I have been finding it hard to write.  This post have been sitting in my draft posts in various stages of undone for about a week now.  I ended up having to write it by hand to break through the block and it hardly resembles what I meant to write when I started.  When I think about it, I wonder if much of my inspiration came from my angst and resentment and blame.  This is a new place to write from for me.  This is a new place to do everything from for me.

Although I see the future in a whole new brighter light from a place of knowing I am not only capable but also deserving, insecurity and fear are still rampant and restraining.

But alas,  life rolls along and time speeds past and there is much to be done.  School starts this week and a new stage of life beings for our family. Ada starts kindergarten on Thursday and Ian will be attending preschool two mornings a week starting next week.    This leads to many new challenges and some great opportunities as well.

I am not the most organized of people, another racket I run to avoid being responsible for my own life — See how those can get in the way?

So, this week I have set myself up to succeed and started a fresh school year with a fresh outlook.

Taking responsibility for my life means many things to me.  Much of the big stuff like the wall I put up between myself and others and how angry I was and generally nasty sometimes are gone – vanished like some sort of magic.  What’s left are those things that can make a huge difference in my day to day life.  These include being organized and responsible for remembering what forms need to be filled out, that there is a field trip tomorrow and I need to send snacks to school on Wednesday.  It also means taking responsibility for my health and my body and finally doing what it takes to be a healthy, confident, beautiful woman.

Maybe we can throw in figuring out what I want to be when I grow up as well, but that is the big scary monster in the room right now and a lot of baggage lays between me and that goal, although I have been having some thoughts about what it might look like and that is a surprisingly big step for me.   In the meantime I can concentrate on getting the things I do have under my control under control.

I have already made some big strides.  Today (well actually yesterday but it took me too long to edit this) I have eaten great, exercised, cleaned the house and spent quality time with the kids, while still managing to get some work done.  It is possible to be productive and get everything done.  It’s amazing how much time opens up when you stop worrying so much about how overwhelming it all is.

The challenge will be to keep at it for more than a couple of days.  This is another racket I run.  I have great intentions and a strong start, but the follow through tends to go by the wayside.  I have put many tools into place to assist me in overcoming this weakness and I will share them with you over the next couple of weeks as I discover the successes and failures.  I hope that maybe an idea will spark you to create a less overwhelming life for yourself as well.

Last week I spent three very long grueling days transforming my life.  It may seem a lot to ask to completely transform your life in three measly days, but it happened.  They said to commit to the process and it would happen, and it did.

I saw some amazing things.   I watched men open up and accept their vulnerabilities even though they were completely closed off when they arrived and women face their fears and insecurities head on with bravery and grace.  I have never been part of something so intimate with a group of 130 people, all of whom supported and surrounded each other with love through a very trying couple of days.

I went to the Landmark Forum really unsure of what it was I was supposed to gain from it.  A lot of people go to have breakthroughs in their relationships with parents, children, friends and/or spouses or with their health or business.  I needed all of those things and so didn’t enter with a specific goal in mind.  I just knew that my life wasn’t working the way it was and after seeing the change in a friend of mine who recently went through it, I knew I wanted some of whatever he was taking.

What I ended up learning is that all those areas of my life that needed changing were all tied up in the same underlying issues.  I needed to take responsibility for my own life.  I had blamed my parents for everything bad that had ever happened to me and even for my persistent unhappiness.  This impacted every area of my life and held me back from getting anything done.  I learned to differentiate between the actual events that happened and my interpretations and stories that I built up in my head as a result.

It’s not that bad things didn’t happen, they did.  But my parents were just doing the best they could with what they had to work with.  They had their own shit to deal with and their own demons haunting them.   But, the feelings of not being worthy and not being good enough were completely separate and only the stories that I had created.  This realization alone lifted 10 tons off me.  I didn’t have to let my stories control me any longer.

This was a lot easier said than done for me.   Let me just say before I go any further that I had a certain type of experience and everyone else there had their own experience.  Please don’t be scared off by the following information.  I am an extreme case, not everyone had the issues to deal with that I did or the built up emotions to clear.  Each experience is as different as the individual.

OK, here we go.  I started crying Friday morning and didn’t stop until late Saturday afternoon.  I kept apologizing and laughing with the people around me because I couldn’t get the tears to stop, they just ran in a steady stream down my face no matter what I did.  I would get a small break and then she would mention the word empowerment or opportunity and there they would go again.  I never dreamed it would be so difficult for me to grasp onto the possibility that I deserved to be a powerful person with unlimited possibilities.  My mind and body fought this process tooth and nail, yet I persevered.

But after speaking with my Mom on Saturday afternoon, I got up and shared this very powerful conversation with the group.  I was almost giddy and no longer crying.   By taking responsibility for my own life and releasing the anger and resentment, I had cleared up a ton of space in my life that was formerly filled with nothing but garbage.

I even came home with the full intention of calling my dad, who I haven’t spoken to in 17 years.  A lot of work finally got me to a point that I have forgiven him and realize that his actions can no longer have any impact on my life.  I even think I might want to have some sort of relationship with him, if that is possible.

So I woke up Sunday morning and got sick three times, then I dialed the phone with the full intention of speaking to him when he picked up the phone.  I was going to tell him that I am doing great and that I accept him for who he is and forgive him.  I was also going to take responsibility for the fact that I made some decisions I am not that proud of and didn’t treat my parents very well, but that all that is in the past I am hoping that we can start over and get to know each other.

Unfortunately, the phone was disconnected.  God, I was pissed.   All these years and all this pain and I finally get to this point in my life and he wasn’t there.   I didn’t need to puke any more, but was I mad.  I marched in there and got up and told what had happened.  Our leader Angie did an amazing job of bringing me down and reminding me that what happened was the phone was disconnected and that was it.  ” He wasn’t there” and “I have spent so much of my life wasting time getting to this moment” was all my stories.

For all I know, he got a cell phone or didn’t pay his phone bill.  I really don’t know anything about his situation, but I do know that I called and intended to talk to him and that means that I am officially “in the game” and she congratulated me on that.  She also mentioned that I needed to stop holding all my emotional stuff in my physical body and that I might be amazed what physical problems I have disappear now.  Hmm, haven’t I heard that somewhere before?

That was when it happened for me, my transformation.   I have spent my entire life completely wrapped up in my stories.  So much so that they appeared to be all there was.    I was terrified if I even let up for a second that I would just crumble into little pieces on the floor and there would be nothing left of me.  But that was just another story,  I am better than ever and still me, just a little more emotionally light.

When I got home on Sunday night, I was bigger than life.  I almost felt high, ready to conquer the world.  Just sitting with my husband caused him to panic a little.  It was just me with him, fully  myself and present and that is surely something he is not used and maybe has never even seen with me.

At the Landmark Forum, I created the possibility for my self and my life of being whole and present and responsible for my life and my actions.  In doing so, things started happening right away.  At dinner on Sunday night with my cohorts at the Forum, I was fully present and confident when speaking about my business, free of thoughts of not being good enough or worthy of success, and almost everyone at the table asked me for my information (definitely time to order business cards).  On the way home that night, I was telling the young woman I drove home about the experience and she jumped in with the information that her boss needed some advice on his website.   The following day, I responded to two inquiries for small websites and received an email from a designer friend of mine asking if I wanted to work on a project with her.

Even if none of these interactions turns into anything my outlook on my business has changed completely, and this wasn’t even something I was looking for out of attending this workshop.   I know now that I have something good to offer and that a potential client choosing to do business somewhere else doesn’t mean I’m a failure.  It just means they decided to go with somebody else.  I just have to put myself out there and be present and genuine in the moment.  And of course build kick ass websites.

This week I have been with my children fully and openly, I think for the first time ever.   I was so concerned with my own stuff that I don’t really think that I could be present to their lives.  I realized that they are not extensions or reflections of me or my parenting.  They are their own little beings and my job isn’t to mold them to force them to be a certain way, but to be with them and stand up for them and be present, I mean really present to their unfolding and growth.   This is a pretty powerful thing and has changed the way I will interact with my children forever.  The whole first day, Ada kept looking at me like an alien had taken over her mother.  The second day, she just hugged me and hugged me and hugged me.   The tears come just thinking about it.

Now, a week later, life has returned to somewhat normal and I sit comfortably in this warm pool of uncertainty, something that would have thrown me into a panic attack just a week ago.   Clearing up all this garbage from the past leaves a lot of clarity and even more empty space, something a little unnerving at first.   What happens next is yet to be seen, but I look forward to tomorrow and for now that is enough.

With all that said, there were a few things about the Landmark Forum that bothered me a bit.  They get really into selling your friends on the forum.  They do this in a fashion that makes you think that this is not what they are doing, but they are.  I think that the final night would have been a lot more meaningful and even a more powerful sales tool if they had concentrated more on what people got out of it and less on why your guests should sign up for it.

I knew this was coming, although it was more than I even thought it would be, and prepped my guests for it.  One of the issues I had was that I never asked for help or support and therefore made it virtually impossible for anyone to feel like they could support me in a meaningful way.  So, it was important for me to ask for my mom and friends to be there for me and for me it was nothing more than that.  Of course, I feel that they may get something out of taking the workshop, but they are grown ups and fully capable to discerning that for themselves.

I have read a lot of “cult” comments on the internet and people saying it was fun, but not life changing and people put off by the enthusiasm of the staff, but I too am a grown up and capable of thinking for myself and making my own decisions and my advice would be like with most things in life, you take what you need and leave what you don’t.  Like I mentioned at the beginning, there were all kinds of people there from high school students to stay at home moms, from teachers to CEOs, everyone there for there own reasons and getting only what they got from it.

I found it really interesting that a lot of the concepts were similar to ideas I have been getting from all different directions.   Lately it seems that everywhere I look, even in completely unrelated places, the same information is coming to me.   For me that means that I should be listening.

My experience was very intense and extremely rewarding.  I have a new outlook on life and a whole lot less crap to carry around with me.  All in all a good thing and I am looking forward to the advanced course in October.

Landmark Education