Not today Lizard Brain!

Not today Lizard Brain!

My lizard brain was on high alert this morning.

The lizard brain doesn’t think. It is the oldest most primitive part of the human brain. It’s concerned with nothing but survival, anger, and fear. Because of this it always, always looks for a way to maintain the status quo.

Change terrifies the lizard. Something dangerous could happen, people could laugh, I could fail, the lizard won’t allow that. It will try to make sure that I never take risks, never try anything new, any actions that could put me in danger physically, mentally, or emotionally.

The Lizard is the part of the human brain that says it’s safer to fail small than to risk failing big.

You see, I’ve started working out. It’s been three months now of slowly building strength, scheduling workouts, and actually showing up for them. My higher brain knows that the circumstances are different, I’ve found a great group of people online to support me, I have trainers that understand my limitations and help me challenge myself within them,

The Lizard Doesn’t Care

So she makes me afraid.

Lizard crawling out of a human brain - controlling his thoughts.
  • Afraid that I’ll fail because I want it so much.
  • Afraid that I won’t keep up with the other people in the class.
  • Afraid that I’ll hurt myself and end up back on the sofa

She jumps and growls every time I book a class. She wakes me up during the night with a million justifiable reasons for cancelling. Anything to prevent the change, prevent the pain of possibly failing.

Well, it’s not going to work—not today.

Today I got up, showed up, and sweated along with my friends.

My instructor modified the exercises that I needed modified, encouraged and corrected when I needed it. 30 minutes of core work (Oh, the sit-ups!) down before 10am on a Saturday.

Not Today – Lizard – Not Today!

Not Today Lizard Brain …. Not Today!

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Death by Comparison.

Today was hard. Damn hard.

For the third week in a row my scale moved up. I started in mid-April at 214 and have slowly inched up, despite my best efforts, to the 218 range.

I should be happy. That’s still amazing when I think that I started 2 years ago at 376. But I’m not…

And of course, as I write this, it’s Transformation Tuesday. The sacred day on weight loss surgery boards where people post their before and after pictures. It is really hard to see people starting their bariatric journeys at numbers that could well be my finish line. My surgery team think I’ve done wonderfully, and I have. I’m just not satisfied with their belief that I’m not going to lose any more. Even though a cowardly part of my heart wants to accept their words and give up.

I’ve worked damn hard for a very long time. Two years to get through the pre-qualifying process. A year since surgery. Three months since I started regular exercise classes. I’ve learned that I can do things that I never thought I could, I can do a wall plank and hold it for a full minute. I can do a 30 minute cardio class without dying. But can I let go of the number on that damn scale and accept that for me healthy may never start with a 1.

I don’t know. Today has been hard.


The Day the Ego Died.

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Ever have one of those ideas. You know the ones, they creep into the back of your head and ambush you while you aren’t looking. They’re never good ideas, but they feel like it at the time. Well, that was me today.

Since my weight-loss surgery in June 2018 I’ve been working slowly on improving my body, getting back some of the muscle tone and flexibility that the years have stolen. Part of this has been taking online fitness classes. I love them. But. Yes there is always a but…

But, I can’t keep up. I can’t even pretend to. Getting down on the floor to do yoga or core work is not possible. Most of the exercises that I do are modified so that I can do them either sitting down or leaning on a wall.

Enter PRIDE. That demonic little voice that says people are laughing at my attempts, resenting that they have to wait while the instructor explains the special way that I have to do each exercise. It’s not true. I know that. People don’t have time to worry about what I’m doing when they are sweating their own faces off, but pride doesn’t care.

So, on with the story… Tonight, because my pride thought I could – I got down and sat on the floor in my bedroom. I could get down and up again without help. I haven’t done it in 10 years, but I just knew I could.

Well, I couldn’t. So there I sat, in splendid isolation bawling on the floor of my bedroom. It took 20 minutes to finally chew down the ego, call for help and face the embarrassment of my husband and son finding me stuck on the floor. Between two full grown men, a stool, and my own efforts I finally got back on my feet. Ego bruised, body basically intact, and hopefully a bit smarter.

Maybe in six months I’ll try that again, that can be my medium term goal, to get from the floor to my feet without help.

For now. Excuse me while I head for the codeine and the ice packs.

Cheers!

The Holy Sh*t Moment.

I haven’t done book reviews on this page before. I tend to keep my literary thoughts to my other blog Delusions of Literacy. Check it out if you want to hear about my books, poems, and delusions. But this book belongs here.

The Holy Shit Moment by James Fell is a rare combination of good science and good writing. Fell weaves together a compelling story that unlocks the Aha! moment we’ve all been struggling for.

Yes, a lifetime of change takes a lifetime of effort, but it starts with one astonishing moment when something in your heart changes and the walls come down.

December 2015 was it for me. At that time I weighed 370lb and had been trying unsuccessfully to lose weight since my early teens. I was at the emergency department in the hospital and needed an MRI on an urgent basis. Outside my cubicle, I heard the doctors and nurses discussing how to manage my care. How to get me the tests I needed. When one of the nurses suggested calling the local large animal hospital to see if they could do the tests for me, a part of me died. Another, angrier part sat up and roared. That was the day I turned around.

It’s taken years of work and eventually surgical intervention, and it will take a lifetime of commitment, but that day I was re-made.

I don’t recommend self-help books. I find so many of them preachy and dogmatic. This one, though, is well worth a read. Buy link here!

I hope you find your Holy Shit Moment. It can and will change you.

That AHA Moment!

Today’s NSV (Non-Scale Victory) is brought to you by the amazing Christina Becket from Sassy Evolution (check them out).

I’ve been struggling with not having a ‘fullness’ trigger since surgery. A lot of people get a heavy feeling or even a stuffy nose when their new pouches are full. I don’t. This makes it really easy for me to over-eat.

I have always been taught to eat until I felt full. That won’t work now because my eyes are, quite literally, bigger than my stomach. So what do I do? Eat until Ms. Pickypouch rebels and I end up dumping? Or obsess about measuring and weighing every mouthful, worrying that I won’t get enough? Neither of these seem like a healthy mindset.

No. The problem is not my stomach, it’s my mind. If I eat what I need for fuel, my body will deal with it. If I’m eating for that ‘full’ sensation then I’ll never know when to stop. If my mind knew how to stop itself at ‘full’ I would never have needed bariatric surgery.

So here is what the new normal looks like for me:

  • I will plan my day so that I know my nutritional needs are covered.
  • I will eat what’s on my plan, allowing for occasional treat because I PLANNED IT.
  • I will stop eating because my body is fuelled enough to run.
  • I will remember that a car runs just as well on half a tank of gas, as long as you fill it up regularly!
Nourished and fueled does not mean full.

I Don’t Need to Smile.

A version of the grinning face showing smiling eyes. This emoji previously looked closer to the ...

I’m a 56 year old professional woman. I write words for a living and, I’m proud to say, I’m damn good at it. So why is it that I can’t type a message on Facebook, Twitter, or any type of messenger without sticking one of these supercilious bastards on the end?

A while ago, I read an article by syndicated columnist James Fell,and it started me on an obsessive hunt for the true meaning of emoji in my social media world.

I didn’t like what I found.

A study done by Rice University in 2012 showed that women are twice as likely to use emoticons than men of the same age and economic background. And that specifically they are more likely to use smile, laugh, and heart emoji.

This study didn’t delve into the why’s, but in thinking about how I use emoji I think I’ve learned something.

As a woman of a ‘certain age,’ I was raised in the era where a woman was encouraged to be pleasant, polite, basically unnoticeable. If by any chance you did draw attention to yourself in a negative way, you were taught to deflect.

We also learned quickly that you can get away with saying almost anything as long as you put a smile at the end. “Don’t you think you’re overreacting, Dear?” or “Should you be eating that?” or Oh, you’re seeing him? ”

Whether it’s trying to discourage an over persistent suitor, ask a boss for a raise, or even just get someone to stop for milk on the way home. We are conditioned to sugarcoat things. Make them smiley and we might get our way. People will like us more and being liked either physically, socially, or professionally is the only way a woman is taught to judge her value.

Sorry if I’m ranty tonight, blog-world. But this is where my head is. Damn it all.

It’s much harder to feel these things than it was just to stuff them down. Now that I don’t have the food to stuff all this emotion back down with I’m having to look at it in a new light.

And if it’s poop – I need to call it poop.

Merry Crashmass

Merry Crashmass

Christmas is over, and so soon will be the New Year festivities. So, in honour of me, and in recognition of my need to recuperate. I declare the last week of December 2018 to be Crashmass!

Crashmass is that week when the expectations of what Christmas should be run face first into the exhaustion caused by what Christmas really is.

Television teaches us that Christmas should be elegant, fun-filled, wrapped, sparkled and picture perfect. Well, that’s not my house. By the end of the season, my house is inhabited by a very cranky woman.

She is over-cooked, over-tired, and over-budget. She feels like she hasn’t done enough to make the season beautiful for her family, and at the same time bemoans her own inability to let it go and stop trying to keep up.

So, this year, I will celebrate Crashmass and remind my family of the Rites of the Retreating Goddess.

Here are the Hallowed Traditions of Crashmass!

  •  Paper plates, cups, cutlery will be used wherever possible.
  • Formal meals will not be cooked. There is a fridge -use it.
  • Reading time will be inviolate.
  • Leftover wine, chocolate or baked goods are all considered suitable offerings to the “Retreating Goddess.”

Only when energy levels have been restored, and the bitchy goddess has crawled back into her cave, will Crashmass be over and January commence.

So, from my cave to yours. Happy Crashmass. May your coffee be strong, your wine be red and your family happy with just being together.