What if we could do this? How much more would our joy and pleasure increase. Worth watching and watching again another time to remind ourselves about how to treat those we love the most.
How I lost 25 lbs... and what I learned in the process.
If you’re a “just the facts” kind of person, I’ll give you the very, very short version, then I’ll explain the process a bit more.
Just the facts: I read a book (No Cheatin’ Just Eatin’ by Mary Jo Fay, an author that I know—I wasn’t looking for a weight loss book). The author shares her journey of yoyo weight. The key part of the weight loss process, according to Mary Jo’s trainers, is about the numbers: You have to eat fewer calories than you can burn. I tried to get into that but had a hard time calculating calories on my own so it didn’t go far. Then I saw a video (on another topic entirely) and the speaker mentioned his process of losing weight by using an app called “Lose It!” Know how many calories you need to eat. Keep track your calorie intake. There’s an app for that.
Bottom line: I was inspired. I had the tool (the app) to help me track what I was eating. So, in just over five months, I’ve lost 25 lbs.
More details, lessons and tips of my weight loss journey:
How I Gained the Weight
For most of my life I weighed about where I am now, since the weight loss. Two pregnancies changed my body. (Of course it was worth it and I’d do it again in a heartbeat!). Then I got the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis. Among other symptoms what was happening for me was daily, deep, dark, dramatic fatigue. I connected eating to energy: If I was weak, maybe I needed more nourishment. It didn’t help. Once I had the MS diagnosis, I was on medication that came in the form of daily injections. For years. Thousands of injections. I wanted to hold on to my extra fat because I thought maybe it would protect me a bit more from the needle. It was an irrational thought, but that’s where I was.
Healthy Food Choices Didn’t Fix It
I am always on the lookout for the next idea to get my energy and health to more vitality. You wouldn’t believe some of the things I tried—that’s for another place (There’s a book about life with MS in the works.) I began to experiment with changing the way I ate. The first thing I let go of was sugar. I had a dream that made it clear to me it would be in my guts’ best interest to let go of sugar. I did. Nothing changed in my weight, but I did feel better and free of needing sugary desserts.
It was years later that I went to check out a health retreat. My husband and I had dinner there and during the lecture portion of the presentation the speaker said that if there are any issues connected to autoimmune disorders, it’s a good idea to get off of dairy. That one sentence was all it took for me to get off of dairy. Talk about addictions. I found dairy harder to let go of than sugar. It took weeks for me to stop craving cheese. Yikes! I remembered talking to someone years ago who told me that if someone just stopped eating cheese they would lose weight. I was hopeful I might lose the extra pounds but nothing moved. Still, I did feel a degree better. The surprising benefit of giving up dairy was that a chronic bladder problem completely cleared up. That was significant feedback from my body.
A couple of years after that, I decided to experiment with gluten. There’s a longer story in there that lead me to that decision. The surprise there was that some issues with my skin cleared. Again, clear feedback from my body.
I was eating mostly healthy foods (yeah, well, the Doritos and potato chips were still companions—but not that much). My weight did not budge.
With the idea of counting calories being the key to weight loss, and the app loaded onto my phone, I began the journey.
Taking into account your level of activity, age, current weight, and how fast you want to lose weight—how much you want to lose per week—you get a daily calorie budget. Your budget is how many calories you can eat a day and be on track for losing weight. You can eat what ever you want. You get to spend your calories on the foods you chose.
It doesn’t take long into the process to reveal where your big calories are coming from. My breakfast every morning is apples and nut butter. It came clear to me that I had to measure the nut butter so I could keep track of the calories. Instead of an unlimited amount, I had a measured amount. I love salads and I also love tahini. Measure and know how many calories you’re taking in.
What I Learned in the Process
One of the surprising and happy things I learned along the way is that even if I went over my daily budget, I was still on track for losing the weight!
The Lose It! app asks you to click off when you have logged in all the foods you’ve eaten in a day. Then, they kindly give you the date that you’ll reach your goal if you keep it up. Sometimes for me the date was further into the future and sometimes closer. I was still on track though. It’s not about perfection; it’s about staying the course. This is a big metaphor in life. We’re never meant to be perfect, we’re meant to grow and learn and move forward, one baby step at a time.
The Effects of the Weight Loss
Because I’m tall, I actually don’t look that different to most people. Some of my clothes don’t fit any more. It took me a lifetime to put together a wardrobe that I feel good wearing and I felt like I finally got to a place of loving what I had and feeling like it was enough. Some of it can be altered, but not all of it. I learned to bless others by giving away what doesn’t work any more. Give yourself the gift of new clothes, new breath, and gentle acceptance of all of you.
A Word on Food Choices
If you’re here at my blog, you must know that I’m all about sharing ways to lift your spirits and your life. I mostly talk about mindset, letting go of the thoughts that bring you down, dancing with the thoughts that lift you up, taking action—baby steps—in the direction of your dreams. I’m not a dietician. Because of my own health issues, I’ve studied the effects of food on mood and health. What you eat affects you. A simple deficiency in vitamin D has been linked to depression. There is a lot of talk about what sugar will do in the body. It’s your life and as with so many ways of being, you get to chose what works for you and what doesn’t. The negative choices you make also have a pay off and getting in touch with that may just free you from beliefs that don’t work for you any longer.
Sharing my journey is just that—sharing what worked for me. I share it in case there is some little nugget here that will support another in a healing journey to release what’s no longer needed. There are people who need medical advice and that should be honored. (If you don’t trust your doctor, think about finding someone who you do trust.)
What ever your decisions, what ever you do, I invite you to be and do and journey in kindness and compassion for yourself. Weight loss, like everything else in life is a process, not a destination. Once I lost the weight my calorie budget increased to maintain. Wow, I felt like a rich woman. While I learned to eat and chose foods that would leave me satisfied, adding to my daily intake felt like such a luxury. I’m grateful of becoming aware of the tools. I’m grateful for my friends and family who patiently listened to my process my daily adventure. My blessing for you is to find what works for you, to take the next step and every step of your journey with joy, and also with kindness and compassion for yourself and those around you.
With love and many blessings!
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It’s no surprise to say that we live in a culture that idealizes youth and beauty, muscles and brawn. Having worked for major cosmetics companies and then in the film business in Hollywood, I got an up-front-close-up view of the beauty industry—and it is an industry—Forbes says it’s about $445 billion. If you don’t fit neatly into the photo-shopped mold (which is most of us), we get by being somewhat invisible or “average.” And even if you ever did fit into the mold, you get a rough awakening when your skin seems to betray you as it transforms into a soft crepe around your bones.
The trend of mermaid hair aside, maturing leads us to the idea that we are supposed to “grow old gracefully.” What does that mean exactly? Try to keep looking good “for your age?” Or does it encourage fading into the background of life with age? If you are aging (or hope to age someday) how about we give the concept a makeover and change our mindset as we do?
Here comes the moment of choice: We can lament what we have lost in our “youthful beauty,” something many women either misused or didn’t even notice or acknowledge when their in their youth, or, we can step into celebration mode and live the gift of time we have in this world to the fullest, in the truest beauty—the rich full beauty of the spirit you’ve spent decades developing and deepening.
Let’s get real. By the time a woman has reached her 50’s or older, we have all faced some kind of pain or loss that brought us to our knees (emotional or physical). No one gets a life that is pain free. So now what? What about living each day, not with fireworks, but with the shining, gentle spark that is you at your richest, fullest self?
How do you do this? First, it takes a decision. What brings you downright joy or deep peace? Don’t get romantic on me here, because there will always be boundaries to set, dishes to wash, and toilets to clean. Neither are we abandoning the service and gifts we give to the world. But if you haven’t taken the time to truly live in joy, the good news that you have a shot at it right now.
It’s not only for your own gratification. Consciously and purposefully living in joy is actually a profound level of service. We are—each one of us—the butterfly effect. When you create joy in your life, you bring the reality of joy and a world of possibility to those around you. What you bring to the table of life will influence others. Don’t underestimate the importance of the way you are in your corner of the world.
Here are some questions and ideas you can ask yourself as you embark each day on the journey of being joyful, of bringing celebration to the world:
Aging with joy that comes from the deepest, truest place within may be one of the most precious legacies we can leave for the generations women who are to follow in our footsteps. This is a satisfying lifetime work that brings the deepest level of real pleasure. Just start. No one is perfect. No one is “on” all the time, and that’s one of the beauties of living in gratitude and joy. It is gentle. We all have reasons and seasons to grieve, but don’t let that be an excuse to ignore the possibility and magnitude of joy. Perhaps the most direct route to joy is gratitude. It’s a gift you give yourself and a gift you give to the world. Step into your truest powers of gratitude and joy, and then live the song you are that ignites and shines into this world. Even when no one else is watching, even when no one else knows about it, you can make the choice to age gratefully and shine.
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Ignore the photos in the magazines and rejoice in the gift of aging. Your life has texture and you have increased wisdom. Take pleasure in who you are right now this very moment. Don't waste a moment in disappointment or negativity. Shine your beautiful light into the lives of those who love you and enjoy the reflection of love that returns to your beautiful self.
What ever hard stuff is happening in your life right now, it's not the whole story. The hard parts of life shape us and help us grow. There is also beauty and wonder, pleasure and delight. So, if you're in a challenging time, know that "This too shall pass." You have yet to meet someone who will be dear to you, you have yet to see a new sight that is magnificent, you have new songs to hear and new songs to sing.
You have much to look forward to, some of your best memories haven't happened yet!
When you have stuff going on in your life and you have to work out what to do, or what to say, or what you're feeling, how do you know what to do? It's really important that answers come from inside you. You can ask for advice. You can ask what other people have done in your situation. It can all be really helpful. That said, one of the best ways to discover what you really want and need is to write it out.
How do you do this?
Writing like this is a way to bring clarity to your dreams, and healing to your heart. It's really that powerful. So simple, safe, low cost, high impact. When you heal a little bit inside yourself, you've also healed the world a little bit, too.
With blessings for finding all the answers you need in the most perfect timing, Laya
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If you only knew how many women (and men!) need a good word and guidance about sexuality in marriage. Here's wonderful information with ideas about how you can make a difference in your marriage!!
Here is an actionable exercise; you can do it right now. Do this with your spouse or do it alone. It is simple. You can learn this goal setting technique in a few minutes; then take a few more minutes to take action!
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I try to put a little time into my garden each day, especially in the summer time. It's such a reflection for growing. I've learned some things from my garden that I can transfer to other areas of life. Maybe thinking about some of these will help you get through the some of the hard or discouraging stuff we all have to face.
1] You gotta plant things where they'll thrive. You have to know who you are and what kind of environment you'll thrive in. There are some general guidelines that hold true: we all need love and encouragement, the right balance of warmth, and also mental and spiritual inspiration. Make sure you surround yourself with people and ideas that lift you and bring out your best.
2] Not everything you plant will make it. Sometimes you plant something you think is hearty and strong, you nurture it and water it, and it still doesn't take. That's okay. The plants that don't make it can be recycled to the compost bin and then you can replant something else wonderful. When something doesn't work you don't give up on your garden. Some trees need to be cared for and watered carefully when they're young but will live the rest of their lives in strength and bearing fruit! Don't be discouraged by failure, try again until you find what works for you.
3] Everything has its season. Some veggies and fruits ripen in the summer and some, like citrus, in the winter. Fig trees bear fruit in the summer but the figs don't ripen all at once, they come a few more each day for their season. Irises have a short season. They bloom and they're done. Ice plants will give you new flowers all summer long. They're all good.They all contribute to the beauty of the garden. One summer I planted some flowers in the same sun, same patch of soil and they all got the same water but some bloomed really fast and others weeks later. Don't judge yourself by comparing your progress with others and don't judge yourself that you're not blooming fast enough.
4] Plant for all the seasons. If you plan your garden well, you'll have something to enjoy all year round. I learned this from watching a garden in a home we bought that a master gardener planted. Every few weeks something new bloomed or flourished or bore fruit. All of life's seasons have some gifts to offer, so look for the good.
5] A plant is itself and nothing else. A walnut grows into a walnut tree, and a tomato seed grows into a tomato. Don't try to be something you're not or put yourself down for being different. Your very self, your soul, is perfectly formed to be YOU. At the same time, it's okay to struggle as you break through to blossom and grow. Shine in who you are with all your talents, strengths, and heart's desires.
6] Each tree, flower, fruit or veggie gives! All plants give in one way or another just by being what they are meant to be and growing. They nourish our bodies or our senses in one way or another. They are all good. Simple or large, you live your highest purpose by sharing your gifts and talents in your world.
We all know that life has some really hard parts to it. Knowing that doesn't always make it much easier to bear the hard times. We still need reminders that we can make it through the hard stuff. Luckily for us all there are reminders all around. In the season of spring we see trees that have been dormant begin to sprout leaves. We have the bounty of beautiful produce and we know that those very plants that nourish us began as a seed in a dark and solitary place in the dirt. Every fruit was a blossoming flower that withered and died. We have to let go and let go again of what was beautiful in order to get the next fruits.
Sometimes just knowing this is enough to allow your mind to be still, to be at peace, to trust that the pain of today is the very thing that is sprouting us to become even more of our beautiful selves.
Don't stop seeking the tools and resources that will heal (body, mind, emotions, relationships, spirit). At the same time it's not always about what you're doing. Have faith that the Life Force that breaths the very breath of life through you, the same life force that ignites the electricity in your mind and body, the life force that pumps the fluid through your veins and connects you to this earth, has got your back!!
What looks like the hard parts of life today, are the seeds for some of the best in you. You are not alone.
Hugs and blessings!
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