Posts Tagged ‘excess weight’
Like many reading this, I’ve been struggling to understand the high level of divisiveness that’s permeating our national mood as of late. It was only recently that I discovered an even greater lightning rod for inciting strong opinions and, in some cases, public outrage. And no, I’m not referring to how you may or may not have voted for in the last presidential election, but to my… (dare I admit having it so publicly?) man bun.
At the risk of sounding defensive, I feel compelled to share that growing my hair long enough to entertain having a man bun was never my intent. At least not originally. But after sporting a new style that my barber suggested, I found my hair getting longer and longer. I enjoyed the length when out, socially—but needed a way to keep it out of my face while working. Thus, my first attempt at man-bun-ding took place. And I have to say; it proved to be an effective method for not having to deal with long hair during the work day.
But never in my life would I have predicted that public reaction to said man bun would be so resolute and even vindictive—often from people I’d never met before. I also received a lot of flack from friends, many asking, “Why?”—as if I’d done something to purposely insult them.
Between you and me, it was never my intent to keep my man bun as part of my “look” for very long. But with every outcry I received over it, I felt more and more compelled to keep it around for a while. Not so much to upset people, but because I was fascinated with peoples’ overt reactions. It was as if the hair on my head, when tied up with a small band and curled into a bun (yes, much like the style sported by one Pebbles Flintstone) was being done to intentionally ruin their day.
The parallels to other life disagreements have not been lost on me. With the advent of social media, we’ve all become a little more courageous in regard to sharing our opinions loudly and proudly. But is doing so really “brave” when hiding behind a 140 word-count on Twitter or similar platforms offered by facebook and other online pulpits? What’s happened to “Live and let live?” Much less “Acceptance?”
I know that, for myself, when I don’t accept the circumstances of life, I can come undone, mentally. This often plays out in the confines of my head, hidden from public view—until someone shares an opinion I disagree with (often on TV), which can sometimes make me spin out of control. I then (mistakenly) believe I have the power to not only prove that my viewpoint is more right than someone else’s, but also to instantly change the opinion of the person who doesn’t share my point of view.
Of course, I acknowledge that political, religious and other strongly held beliefs are important to us (and carry much greater impact than whether or not someone likes my hairstyle). But does it really matter to anyone if I have a man bun or not? And does it really matter if someone has different beliefs than I do? Can’t we coexist in a peaceful manner and even draw some comfort from the fact that having different opinions, beliefs and ways of doing things can offer more flavor to everyday life?
While on the topic of hairstyles, I’d be remiss if I didn’t nod to the “perm” I had back when I graduated from college—the same time period during which I weighed over 450 pounds. As shared in my book Weightless: My Life as a Fat Man and How I Escaped, I was a virtual recluse during that part of my life. I was terrified of being judged for not being able to successfully take off the excess weight (no matter how often I’d tried to). And yet somehow I got the courage to venture out of my apartment to get a “perm” hairstyle. I marvel at this now. Because no matter how afraid of people I’d become or how convinced I was that my life was over, I must have had a little hope—symbolized by wanting to affect my looks the only way I could at that time (by getting a new hairstyle).
There may be one day when I look back on having a man bun and shudder. But perhaps it will represent a little bit of courage or—if nothing else—a great sense of humor. (That’ll be my story anyway.)
Looking back aside, I don’t expect my man bun to inspire world peace. In fact, just last week someone assured me that I was encouraging deviant behavior in the form of today’s version of the mullet. That may or may not be true. If so, I’d be the first to laugh. If there’s a way to be a goofball in this life, I’m usually the one to go there (often unintentionally, I assure you). But if having a man bun can remind me to show the same kind of compassion to others that I’d like to receive myself, then everyone wins.
Too often when working to lose excess weight and adopt a healthier lifestyle, we focus in on what we’re giving up instead of what we’re gaining. Yes, gaining.
Health. Happiness. Peace of mind. A longer life. The list of benefits is endless.
So instead of focusing in on the things you’re choosing to do without (temporarily!), focus on how it’s going to feel to be able to wear a favorite pair of jeans you haven’t been able to put on for a while. Or what it will be like to take a walk without panting excessively. Or how good you’re going to look at your high school reunion. Again, the list of benefits goes on and on.
When I was taking off over 250 pounds of excess weight, I kept a scrapbook full of magazine clippings that motivated me. Whether they were pictures of clothes I wanted to wear, people I wanted to meet or articles that reminded me why I was doing what I was doing, I could turn to these anytime I felt like I was suffering. In the pages of my scrapbook, I was reminded of the reasons I was choosing to get healthy and live life to the fullest. These days, you don’t even need a traditional scrapbook thanks to Pinterest. So why not start some motivation-filled Pinterest pages of your own?
Again, choose your focus. And focus on what excites you. Just as Rumi so wisely said, “Respond to every call that excites your spirit” — and your waistline!
Photo Source: Pinterest
I have to admit that one of the best therapies I’ve ever encountered is one that has never cost me a single cent. And good news—this free therapy is available to everyone reading this. One need only visit their nearest shopping mall and find the mall map. Then locate the portion of the display that says, “You are here.” Because guess what? You are here. Period.
Often, we linger in the past (at least mentally)—replaying past decisions, past circumstances and even past failures (or at least incidents that we classify as failures). But spending too much time looking into the rearview mirror can inhibit not only our present state, but also our state of mind.
It all comes down to clear thinking. And that often starts with accepting what was—along with accepting that there’s no going backwards and changing it. So to debate or belabor what happened is really a mute exercise.
Sounds simple, right? But many of us (myself included) spend too much time wondering why things happened the way they did… And why we responded or reacted certain ways (often wanting to change everything that’s already transpired—and, therefore, cannot be altered). Even though there’s no time machine that we know of, we often live life as if we’ve lost the keys to one—as if we might have the capability to un-do something or somehow make it right.
But no matter how many times we replay past events or decisions in our heads, they are never going to be undone. So the sooner we swallow hard and move on, the better. And yes, this theory can apply when we’re the (so-called) victims of circumstance as well.
Recently my spouse was laid off for no apparent reason (other than the new go-to word for being laid off, “rightsizing”)—despite being one of the company’s top performers. Boy, have I wrestled with this situation in my head… Wanting to know why it happened—or if there was someway we could have played things differently so that it wouldn’t have happened. But guess what? None of this mental clutter changes anything. Time to look for a new job. And any kind of “Woe is me” or refusal to let go (AKA “accept”) simply hurts our family and us. We are here. Like it or not.
And speaking of the “like it” part, you don’t necessarily have to like it. But still, you are here. You’re not anywhere but here. So no matter what you’re facing (whether a medical issue, breakup, job-related or financial issue or the 1,000th time you might be committing to losing some excess weight and getting healthier), the sooner you accept that you are here, the sooner you can take the first step into what can be the next great chapter of your life.
Again, I know this all sounds very simple. Some might suggest it’s even trite. But I promise that carrying around this mental reminder that the past is in the past and the future is in the future and that staying present offers us the clearest mindset (and, therefore, the clearest decision making capabilities) can be helpful. No matter what’s transpired… No matter what you’re facing… No matter how unfair… No matter if it was self-sabotage… Repeat after me: We. Are. Here.
And with a mental state of acceptance, here can be full of as many opportunities and possibilities as we allow it to be.
Longtime readers know that I’m always reminding people wanting to lose excess weight that getting enough sleep is one of the four tenants to lasting health (along with healthy eating, exercise and drinking enough water). But for many of us, getting a good night’s sleep is something that’s easier said (and/or dreamed about) than done. What seems like a 24-hour work cycle keeps us all on our toes night and day. And many of us end up robbing much-needed rest time in order to be able to accomplish everything we “need” to get done. But make no mistake, sleep is essential.
WebMD has this Sleep Checklist, shared above, that might prove beneficial to those of us wanting to improve our sleep habits (and time). Although I must point out that my loyal sidekick, Latte, does not agree with the third tip from the bottom. But as with any check- or idea-list, we can pick and choose the suggestions that resonate with us and ignore the rest. Even so, there are some good ideas here for catching more Zzzzs and improving our overall health. You can read more about WebMD’s Better Sleep Checklist by clicking here.
And to all? A good night!
Photo Source: WedMD
If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen this picture of a recent lunch that I prepared. It’s pretty simple… A tunafish sandwich made with organic mayonnaise and a little pepper. I served it on reasonably-sized wholegrain bread with sliced organic tomato and avocado. I mention organic and whole grain because I do my best to stick to the tenants of clean eating.
A lot of people who’ve put themselves on strict diets at this time of year are often surprised at the use of mayonnaise or even bread for this lunch. But the fact is, you can take off excess weight while enjoying delicious foods in reasonable portions. Too often, those of us with diet mentalities are nibbling on rice cakes and baby carrots (neither of which is probably in their most natural states, freshness- or additive-wise) and complaining that we’re miserable while doing so.
But guess what? The less miserable we are when eating healthy and getting rid of excess weight, the more likely we are to stick to the plan and not only take the excess weight off, but keep it off. That’s the key, right? We’ve all started diets at this time of year. We’ve all even lost weight at this time of year. But at a certain point we have to ask ourselves, why has this become an annual occurrence?
Why not make this the last time you begin a weight loss plan and, instead, think of it as clean, healthy eating (AKA a food plan you’re never going to have to go off of). And you don’t have to want to go off of it when you allow yourself the simple pleasures of tasty, wholesome, nutritious food. Add exercise, sleeping well and enough water to the mix and you can even enjoy the occasional food-related treats (even the richer ones, just the way “people who don’t have to diet” do).
Balance. Moderation. Satisfaction. Sounds so crazy, it just might work.