Category Archives: Priorities

For What Will You Cast Your Vote

vote

It’s election day here in the USA. It has me thinking a lot about what a privilege it is to have the right and the opportunity to cast a vote. I get to express what I believe in and who I support by casting my vote.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what a vote is. Dictionary.com defines “vote” (verb; without an object) as, “to express or signify will or choice in a matter.”

In reality, we get a chance to vote multiple times every day by our words and our actions, thereby signifying what we value. When we purchase a particular item, we are, in essence, voting for that item and/or showing support for the vendor or manufacturer. We vote daily by how we spend our time. By spending an hour with a friend we are showing that we value that relationship over the other things that were vying for that time. We may profess to value health and fitness, and yet “vote” for delicious cookies and sitting on the couch instead. We vote every day by the words we say to each other and how we treat those we come in contact with. We “vote” or validate that person or their actions by how we act towards them.

This has me thinking about how I vote every day with my time, with my money, with my words. Are my “votes” in those areas accurately reflecting my core values? Could someone watch me throughout the course of the day and say, based on how I use my vote,

  • “I know that Teresa values the people in her life.”
  • “I know that Teresa values her health and fitness.”
  • “Teresa clearly believes in eating foods that nourish her body.”
  • “I can see that family is a priority to Teresa.”
  • “It is clear that Teresa loves Jesus.”
  • “It is clear that Teresa believes in being a good steward of her financial resources.”
  • “Teresa really values the talents she has been blessed with.”

I’m going to challenge myself to be more aware of what I’m voting for with my daily actions. I don’t think that my current actions clearly identify what my values are. Which makes me ask myself whether or not I have a clear and concise understanding of what my core values are and how they related to what I do every day.

These are all questions I hope to flesh out as we move forward.  Happy election day! May the odds be ever in your favor!

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B is for Baby Steps

B.  I had a lot of thoughts about B.  Namely things like B is for Bacon, and Butter, and Burgers, and Brownies, and Brown Sugar, and …. You get the picture. 🙂

And then I got a private facebook message from a dear friend.  This friend and her husband, like so many of us, have battled their weight and a myriad of related health issues as long as I’ve known them.  Things like diabetes, high blood pressure, etc. with the odd malady like rheumatoid arthritis thrown in there to add excitement (as if things weren’t difficult enough).  My friends’ husband’s blood sugars have been off the charts lately and she is beyond concerned about his health and is trying diligently to change those things she has some control over–like their family meals.  Here is a portion of her message from last night:

Girlfriend, I need some advice….How do you get your family on the same bandwagon as you? HaHa I know!!! I am just frustrated with the fam not wanting to change eating habits, especially (name of her cute husband has been removed to protect…well, me 🙂 ). I tried a different stir fry tonight with beef instead of chicken it turned out good. But while I was fixing it everyone was complaining. But then (cute hubby) wanted 2nds, uuggh!!!” and “I ask myself ..why does it take me to cry and throw a fit before they take me serious??? Just struggling tonight, I am probably not making any sense, oh well.”   

B is for BUMMER!  Sad for my friend.  And, I’m at a bit of a loss for suggestions that will be helpful.  That is why I am bringing this to you.  You see, I’m single.  I struggle with eating in social situations and sometimes it is a bit difficult to bring things up with my extended family, but I get nothing but support when I do.  They are even willing to try what I am doing on occasion.  It’s just not the same as trying to help an immediate family member(s).  I’m not responsible for fixing anyone’s meals but my own. I need your help!  Do you have some advice for my friend?

My advice would be this:  Baby Steps (B=Baby Steps).  I think many of us like our routines.  They are comfortable.  That is why they become routine.  And, when you get to the point that your blood sugar is out of control and your blood pressure is off the charts, it is quite possible that you (and when I say you, and also mean I) have taken up residency in the land of very bad habits.  One definition of habit that I recently read is “an acquired behavior pattern regularly followed until it has become almost involuntary.”  I think I would remove the word “almost.”

So many of my habits, especially those surrounding food and exercise are seemingly “involuntary.”  They have become entrenched in my everyday routines and I simply do them without much thought. Trying to flip those routines to include the opposite of what I have been doing is very overwhelming.  Especially when  I don’t feel well and I imagine that compounds when there is major push back from those with whom you live. (Side note rant:  I don’t say that as a means of excusing bad habits, just a simple statement of what is–an explanation if you will.  And in my book, the different between an excuse and an explanation is action.  If one talks about not feeling well and being overwhelmed and then does nothing it is an excuse.  If they explain that they don’t feel well and that they are overwhelmed and then they still take action–totally just an explanation of what is and what they need to overcome.  It’s like saying, “See this mountain? It is in my way and I need to get to the other side.  Here are the things I’m going to do to get over that mountain, and then doing those things.” If we weren’t trying to do something about it then maybe the excuse word would apply. But we are making our way up that mountain, so its totally just description of the terrain.”)   I have to be very deliberate about operating outside of those entrenched, seemingly involuntary habits.  And…there are many of them.  Trying to change more than one of them at a time is daunting.  And I can’t imagine how much more daunting it would be if I were trying to change the habit of my family all the while dealing with their resistance.

So, my dear friend, I think you are doing an amazing job.  From our recent conversations I see you trying to work more healthful food into your family’s diet.  I see the concern that you have for making things better for those you love and I applaud you.  I know that you don’t feel well and that makes it all the more difficult.  My heart breaks for your current dilemma.  However, I know that you are strong and resilient!  I believe with my whole heart that you can do this if you take it one step at a time.  I know that is hard when you see someone you love suffering. And you are scared!  And you realize that things need to change but you can’t find the right way to get the whole family to understand the importance of making these changes.   I know that you want to make 100% of the change at once so that you can see him progress and feel better.   I know you fear for his life.  But…make the changes one at a time so that they are sustainable and your family isn’t overwhelmed.  Be a good example in the things you are asking of them.  They will come around.  And who knows, once you have a succession of baby steps you may find yourself (and your family) speed walking or even running (metaphorically).  One of these days your family members will start to notice that they feel better and they will be on board with the new eating habits you are trying to instill. 

I wish I had something more concrete to offer you. I hope that my friends reading this post who have dealt with similar situations will chime in and offer you some useful advice.  I’m sure many of them have been where you are now.

I love you girl!

Inventory

I used to work in retail.  At least once per year the normal day-to-day activities of the store would  come  to a screeching halt, the doors would be locked, and everyone would start the counting.  It was important for the business to know what had been selling, what had not, and if the funds we had brought in matched the amount of product that was no longer in stock.  They have great computerized ways to handle this now.  I’m glad I had the opportunity to go through that process several times when I was  younger.  It really helped me to understand the importance of taking an inventory and matching that information up with sales to see what was working, what was not, and where to focus our efforts for improved sales in the future.

Our day-to-day lives are much like retail.  We need to stop every now and then and take an inventory.  What have we been doing?  What worked?  What didn’t work so well? Are there areas where we can improve?  What strategies can be implemented to help in the areas we are lacking? What will we order more of?  What can we remove from our inventory because it isn’t working?

As you may know, my weight has been a struggle for me for the past 25 years.  I’ve had moments of greatness where I’ve accomplished weight loss and felt like I had conquered the world.  I’ve had many many more moments where I’ve felt like a failure. Sad. Unworthy. Shame. Like a fraud.

I so badly want this time to be different.  My belief is that the best way to start is to take an inventory.  Here’s a start.

inventory

“I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”

Have you ever heard someone say, “I would give anything to _____.” (fill in the blank with whatever it may be….sing like Josh Groban, play ball like Michael Jordan, have the wealth of Dave Ramsey….you get the picture).

I’ve certainly said this.  I frequently say it about playing the piano.  I’ll listen to my nephew play the piano and think, “I would give anything to play the piano like him.”  But….would I really?

I took piano lessons.

I had the opportunity.

I didn’t practice when I should have. Or I did it begrudgingly. Or….

When the opportunity to choose between playing the piano or playing with my friends/playing sports my choice was anything but the piano.  My nephew practiced every single day! Sadly, when it comes to my health and weight loss, my mode of operation has been much more like that loveable but delusional character, Whimpy,  from the Popeye cartoon from whence my title came.  I’m usually more than willing to eat something I shouldn’t and pay the price of it later than I am to eat what I should and work hard (paying for it now) in order to reap the much better reward later.

In reality, I wasn’t willing to do what it would take to be a great piano player.  I had other priorities.  This line of thought was prompted when I was swimming with friends the other night.  We were discussing the recent gastric sleeve operation of one of the friends and the financial snags the other was having in arranging her surgery.  –Let me just state right here that there are lots of approaches for weight loss and healthy living and one of them is certainly to have surgery.  This is a judgment free zone, so no hating on people who have weight loss surgery.  We each have our own path.– Anyway….during the discussion the following question was posed to me, “If money wasn’t an issue (which it is for me) would you have the weight loss surgery?”

It did get me thinking.  I want to be healthy.  I want to be fit.  And let’s face it…I’d like wear a dress made with half the fabric of my current size without going half-naked 🙂  .

What am I willing to do to have that?  Track my food? (which I hate) Schedule exercise?

What am I willing to go without/sacrifice?  Money? Time? Comfort?

What am I willing to add?  You get the picture.

Am I willing to pay the price today to win on Tuesday, or would I rather eat than hamburger now and pay for it later? 🙂

If I’m not willing to do something different than what I’ve been doing then nothing will ever change.  At least not for the better.

So here are the questions of the day for each of us:

  • Are you really willing to give anything to ________ (fill in the blank)?
    • (mine is to be the athlete I know I was meant to be, to be healthy, to live a long, productive and happy life without disease
  • What does that look like for you (right here, right now—this may change over time)?
  • What are you willing to do/go without/sacrifice/add today  that will help you achieve that goal?