Sowing and Reaping

When I look back on my life I see themes based on how I was feeling mentally and emotionally over time. It seems like there are periods of fear, anxiety, and depression but also times of emotional stability, providence, and abundance. I’ve learned to love and appreciate the ebb and flow of my time on earth. I am able to fully know joy because I’ve been fully intimate with fear and pain.

As time went on I learned more, became more open, and learned to ask for help. My fear of doing these things kept me in over my head, doubting myself, and difficult to be around. Self love is a learning curve and self care is too.

Twenty years ago I could best describe my life as flailing. In the ocean of life I wasn’t exactly drowning but more like doggie paddling for a very long time. My arms would get tired, I’d sink for a bit, flail for a while and get back to paddling. I was always one paycheck and 5 minutes ahead destruction.

The critical mistake I made was instead of asking for help, I’d try to maintain the charade that I had everything under control. I absolutely didn’t. When it all came crumbling down I remember a lot of people being surprised. I was only surprised it didn’t happen sooner.

I had a moment to reflect on that time at the Camp Berea Women’s Retreat in Hebron, NH,  this past September. Leaving a workshop I saw a woman I worked with years earlier. She recognized me instantly. We only had a second to talk as we were both on the move. I kept catching glimpses of her the rest of the weekend but I never got a moment with her.

On the final morning of the retreat, we were packing the van getting ready to drive several hours back to Rhode Island and I saw her again. She was with one of her friends also getting ready to leave. There were so many things I wanted to say but didn’t know if I could say them or if I should say them. I turned around to go to the van and it was like God Himself turned me back around. This was my moment and I had something to say.

I went over to say goodbye and then I told her this:

I knew you at the darkest time of my life and you were always so kind to me. I will never forget your kindness, it really was a shining spot when I needed it most.

As the words came from my mouth I was crying and then she was crying. She didn’t realize that she had a positive effect on me. She never knew how sad and overwhelmed I was and just how much I appreciated and needed her encouragement.

It reminded me of a quote that I love (that the internet has been attributed to everyone from ancient Greek scholars to Jar Jar Binks)

The true meaning of life is to plant seeds of trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.

Reflecting on my walk with Christ I can feel the true weight of that statement. For years I ran from God but in looking back I can see the seeds that people planted along the way. From my Godmother who first showed me the love of Christ to one of my neighbors years ago who never wavered in her faith despite my many questions and general disbelief. I was getting trees planted all around me!

Flash forward ten years later when my daughter asked my husband and me to attend church I didn’t realize that these seeds were going to get Living Water and ultimately led me to my old friend that God placed right in my path at a women’s retreat 20 years and 200 miles from when I saw her last. She, like the others, never knew she planted a seed of kindness and a seed of God’s love. Two decades later she got a moment in the shade.

You may think your words are falling on deaf ears, you may believe that you aren’t affecting change, you may even think you should stop because people aren’t hearing you. Never underestimate the power of planting a seed. You may even be blessed by a moment in the shade!

 

 

Farewell 2018

Thank you 2018. What a whirlwind year! Goals achieved, dreams realized, and relationships cultivated; tempered with loss of loved ones, physical health issues, and personal challenges. From the joy of publishing my book and speaking on the famous red dot of TEDx to the tragedy of losing my aunt, this has been a year.

What I’ll take from every joy and pain of 2018, is that life ebbs and flows moment by moment. We tend to trick ourselves into the newness of a year on January 1st but a new opportunity is born every second. Not just on January 1st, not on Monday morning, but every moment you’re alive is a chance to do better or be better. Don’t get sucked into the hype of a new year. Be present in moments. If you stumble, all is not lost! With the simple blink of an eye, by the grace of God, you can try again.

Thank you 2018. If you’re reading this then my heartfelt thanks to you! What a gift and pleasure to share this space with you all. I can’t wait to show you what’s planned for 2019!

God Bless!

Regina

Overwhelming Wellness and the Power of Words

I’ve seen a lot of posts lately from people overwhelmed by their health goals. I totally understand it because everywhere you look there’s a new thing to try that could potentially be better than before. Keto. Low Carb. South Beach. Atkins. They all seem remarkably similar.

What do you choose?

I’ve discovered that for me it was abandoning all of it. Diet is a dirty word with a limited time connotation. You do it “for a while” then when you try to just live your life after the “diet” is over you’ve likely gained the weight back and more.

There’s a lot of power in words like “diet” and even “cheat meal” carries some weight. This meal that you can take advantage of for another limited time that usually brings you only emotional relief and no real nutritional value.

Now, let’s look at “junk” foods. You know what they are: chocolate, sugar, high fats, and usually quite delicious. They are also the first things you remove when you’re on a “diet.” “Healthy” foods are usually things like vegetables and kale and often carry the weight of a necessary evil in a diet.

Are you seeing the power of these words? Have you noticed when you eat “junk” you feel like junk? Or a “cheat” meal makes you feel like you’re getting away with something? Don’t you always want most what you cannot have and it almost seems sweeter when you “get away with it?”

Imagine there are no “good” or “bad” foods. Is it possible that food is food? Can a cinnamon roll drenched in gooey icing have the same word as kale? Food really is food BUT cinnamon rolls are less nutrient dense than kale. Ultimately, that’s the difference.

We strive so hard to be “perfect” on our “diets”‘and we often are; yet during that window of time, we’re miserable. We count down the moments to chocolate and bread and we can’t enjoy where we are or what we’re doing.

When I speak at the hospital the most frequent question I get about food is: “Does this mean I can never have (insert what you love here) ever again?” I’m not the Food Police for adults. When I opted for surgical weight loss it was because my weight was completely out of control and I couldn’t manage on my own without outside help. When I took that step I also realized that moderation is not a strength of mine. With RNY Gastric Bypass could I eat chocolate again? I choose every second of every day what goes in my mouth. Will my stomach tolerate it? Most likely not. Could I eat it? Yes. Should I? No. What just happened there?

I took the item I wanted – chocolate – and I ran it through a couple of gates before the gateway of my mouth.

  • Do I want it? Absolutely!
  • Is it nutrient dense? Not at all.
  • Am I helping to maintain my fitness goals with this? No.
  • Is wanting it NOW more important than my long-term goals? No.
  • Why do I want the chocolate? Usually, an emotional response to something troubling me or it just looks darn good.
  • Do I eat it? No.

There is no diet, or cheat meal, or junk food. They are all opportunities. An opportunity to eat nutrient-dense foods that work toward reaching your health goals and less nutrient-dense foods that may hold you back from your goals especially if these decisions continue to outweigh your nutrient dense decisions.

There’s one other interesting caveat to the power of words and your food choices. Calories. I hear a lot of this as well: “I eat good, healthy foods and I continue to gain weight!”

A calorie (kcal) is the amount of heat energy it takes to raise the temperature of one kilogram of water by one degree Celsius (Wikipedia). By this logic, 10,000 calories of ice cream and 10,000 calories of kale are equal. How your body uses the kale and the ice cream will certainly vary and there’s an entire degree program for Bioenergetics that I do NOT have. The groundbreaking thought process here is that you can still have too much of a “good” thing because if you aren’t burning those calories then weight gain is inevitable.

So what do you do?

Try to find a way to make peace with your food. Don’t give it names of good or bad or junk that will subconsciously assign an emotion to what you’re eating. Pass your options through several gates and ultimately decide if it’s worth it for you. My experiences with bingeing food made me very aware that food felt great…. until it didn’t. Find a way to live your life well and if you get a moment of indulgent, less nutrient-dense food then let that be what it is – an option you made. Not a failure, mistake, or any other negative connotation. If it was a decision you wished you didn’t make, acknowledge it and remember the next time your making decisions.

Stop dieting and start living!

Also see: Take Ten Seconds.

FLASHBACK – The Parental Ambush

This is a Flashback Blog Post! Originally written on October 13, 2009, when Jeff and I were celebrating our One Year Dating Anniversary. As we are approaching 10 years of dating and 7 years of marriage I thought this is a great time to revisit this post. Enjoy!

 

Yesterday, Jeff and I celebrated our anniversary. It seemed impossible to believe that it was only a year ago that we decided to begin exclusively dating and taking our relationship to the next level.

Last year, it was a gorgeous October day and with the Columbus weekend in full swing, Jeff asked me to attend the Scituate Art Festival. I love art and I equally love festivals, but I was a bit leery on going to the festival. Jeff grew up in Scituate and I let him know that I would be uncomfortable seeing everyone he knows and his family at that point. It just seemed too soon.

Jeff assured me that even though Scituate is a small town that the festival is huge and that his family – even if they did decide to attend – we wouldn’t run into them.

“Seriously Regina, my Mother would go but my Dad’s had some health problems recently so they won’t go. Even when my Dad wasn’t having health issues he’s gone to the festival once in his entire life. I doubt my brother would show up and my sister is most likely working at the church with her family. Honestly, she may step away from the church and we MIGHT see her. So,  if there’s ANYONE that you MIGHT see from my family would be my sister. Let’s go, you’ll love it.”

We decide to go and the Art Festival is huge! Entire streets are closed to traffic and there are people everywhere. We are walking around and taking in the sites. Jeff’s daughter, Samantha, is with us and we are there 5 minutes when I hear Samantha say:

“Grandma!”

I swear I thought I turned white and that my heart hit the pavement and bounced into my throat. Sure enough, there is Jeff’s Mom and his Dad too. I shoot Jeff the look of you set me up. He returns with a look of shock and horror.  Jeff begins the introductions of his “friend” (me) to his family when more people come up to us. Hello Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister in Law, Nieces, Nephews… I was waiting to be introduced to a cousin twice removed!

It seemed like every immediate member of Jeff’s family was in attendance at the Art Festival that day. After shaking hands until I thought that I would turn blue we finally got to walk on our own through the festival. Before I could utter a word Jeff starts to talk.

“Baby, I swear to you I had no idea that they would be here. My father’s lived in Scituate his entire life and has only been here one time. My brother’s usually working… I didn’t mean this.”

“You ambushed me with your parents,” I replied.

“No, I really didn’t!”

I just look at him with a look that can only express that I doubted every single word.

“I swear,” he says.

After that little debacle, we walked around the Art Festival and I could only imagine what thoughts were going through his head and his mom’s as well. Turns out they had decided at the spur of the moment to hit the festival that day too. We laugh about it now since it took about 3 months and 2 conversations with his mother for me to believe that he really didn’t set me up. This year has been a terrific opportunity to get to know Jeff’s family and since the ambush, they’ve all been wonderful!

It was only fitting that this year we planned to meet his Mom and Dad at the Art Festival and we brought the children too and had a great time.

Happy Anniversary, Jeff! Thank you for 365 days of adventure, kindness, caring, support, and especially love.

UPDATE: It’s been 3651 days of adventure, kindness, caring, support, and most definitely LOVE! The phenomenon is that each year we get older we seem to get better and more in love. I will forever thank God for having you and your family in my life. What a beautiful pleasure to spend this time with you. <3 

Blind Trust

Trust. It’s one phenomenon that takes so much time to gain and only seconds to lose. Over time we learn to trust and if we’re of the forgiving kind we can even learn to trust someone again. There’s another type of trust and I find that this one may just be the hardest. We have to learn to trust ourselves. Trusting ourselves can extend to doing the right thing even when no one is watching or not betraying someone’s confidence. However, it can go much deeper than that and I find it most challenging during karate:

Trusting what you know and trusting yourself to do it.

Karate is skill and discipline honed over time. Everyday we learn a little more. When we line up in karate we line up in order of rank. Every person in front of you has trained as long or longer than you. When we practice our katas in a group and you see all these black belts and upper belts and they look amazing with crisp techniques and years of training and it’s easy to feel like you are just never going to get there. I look at their work and then look at my own and I still feel like I’m a tangle of limbs and anxiety. This is why Sensei tells us we are not qualified to judge ourselves. I rank that up there with trying to relax. Easier said than done, for sure.

We recently had another belt test. This time we were testing for our green belt. When it was our time to test, I made a mistake. I let all the anxiety of the day get to me and I lost my place for a second. I was over thinking again (apparently, it was a day that ends in Y). I recovered quickly and made it through but I was a little disappointed. I should know by now to trust myself. This thought was immediately confirmed by what happened next.

The next group was green/white stripe belts testing for their green/black stripe. I have to describe the room before I continue so you understand exactly what this is like. Around  the main dojo floor are ALL of the underbelt students testing that day. Then there are chairs around the dojo filled with parents, children, guests, and friends. On the sidelines are the black belts and advanced black belts watching and able to step in for partner work. Basically, there are a lot of people there and many eyes watching you and it can be unnerving. It’s like any potential mistake you would feel like it was being seen on a stadium jumbotron or in the center of Times Square.

When you test with your group you want to be uniform, look good, make your family proud, and cut through all the mental and physical chatter happening all around you. It’s not easy. When the green/white belts went they were a little distracted at first. Sensei then did something I don’t recall him doing in a belt test before. He asked them to do it again with their eyes closed. No outside intervention, no looking at anyone else, just trusting what you know. Then the most amazing thing happened.

When they started again I looked at Cheryl. She was directly in front of me and she was incredible to watch. It was like she came to life! She was completely in the zone. I honestly don’t know how anyone else did because I was completely drawn to what she was doing. Every move was deliberate, crisp, and powerful. There was something completely missing: fear. She showed absolutely no fear. With my eyes closed I’d probably freak out wondering if someone was going to knock into me, if I would trip over my own feet, and a million other potential evils but Cheryl just trusted herself to do what she knows, what she’s done, what she’s trained for the past three months. She completely trusted herself and her capabilities.

I’m constantly working on trying to get out of my own way, to relax more, and deepen my skills and understanding. This will come when I learn to trust that I know what I know. Cheryl really showed that trust and I was just blown away by it.

God and the Stupid Muffin

There is no doubt in my mind that God provides divine appointments. What some will consider serendipitous or lucky I believe has been put in place by the Creator.

Many know the story of my friend Kathy that I met at the NYC Marathon in 2016. The full story is in my book Food, Sweat, & Fears (no spoilers). There was also the day that I was feeling defeated after an 11 mile training run and my friend Jaime posted something on my Facebook wall that provided comfort and understanding when I needed it most. God places people where we need them, when we need them… especially when we had no idea we needed them!

This brings us to one day at Panera about 8 months after I had RNY Gastric Bypass. By this point I’d already lost 150lbs and I was doing well. I was out shopping and realized I hadn’t eaten in a while and there was a lot of fast food places and a Panera immediately around me. I decided Panera would be my best bet for fresh and healthy food choices. When I walked in the first thing I noticed is the large case filled with bakery items. Bagels, cookies, and breads of all kinds displayed lovingly. The line to order was long and as I waited and I couldn’t help staring at the display case.

Then I saw him. He was as beautiful as ever. Round with the tiniest hint of shimmer and flecked with raisins. This pumpkin muffin was positively calling my name. As the line winded down I was only closer to him. I think I broke out into a sweat.

Me: I don’t want you.

Pumpkin Muffin: Liar. You know you want me.

Me: I don’t. (I look away)

PM: Look at me and acknowledge you want me.

Me: (looking) Fine! I do want you.

PM: Then have me. I’m just one muffin!

Me: It’s NEVER one muffin AND I just had surgery! No! I could get dumping syndrome!

PM: (silence, just staring me down)

As much as I tried to ignore his obvious advances I was getting weak. Apparently, pumpkin muffins are like dogs… they can smell fear.

PM: Just try it and not everyone who has RNY gets dumping syndrome.

Now, the PM is making sense! I could try it. Maybe just take a tiny bite. How bad could that be? I don’t know anyone here! Who would know?

It’s just one stupid muffin.

I finally get to the front of the line and it’s shift change. Of course it is! I always get to places at the wrong time. If there’s a construction person ordering coffee for an entire job site I’m always behind them at the coffee shop. I’m frustrated and now I know I’m going to order that muffin! That will totally make this better.

IT’S JUST ONE STUPID MUFFIN!!

Just as I’m so looking forward to stuffing that muffin in my mouth and savoring every ounce of it – dumping syndrome be damned – a woman comes out to take my order.

Her: Hello! How are you?

I nearly passed out! The smiling woman ready to take my order is Mary Ellen, woman from my church who lives in our neighborhood! She knows me and I’m sure she knows that I had surgery! I couldn’t believe it! When did she start to work there? My heart was palpitating. Can I order the muffin like it’s for a friend? Maybe she doesn’t know what I can and can’t eat? Ugh! What should I do? I really want that stupid muffin!

When God speaks to me sometimes it’s the tiniest whisper in the wind and that gentle breeze of truth changes my heart. This verse was that whisper:

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Corinthians 10:31

This time, the whisper felt like a 2×4 to the head! Am I honoring God by trying to justify eating this muffin that has over half of my daily calories? I was one smile-from-a-friend away from sacrificing what I want most – my health – for what I want right now – one stupid muffin! After greeting her warmly I order my plan approved meal and went on my way. That was a seriously close call.

I thought of this divine appointment all the way home. I could see that God knew I was being tempted and placed Mary Ellen directly in my path.

In Greek mythology Sirens were bird-like women with beautiful voices who use their alluring sounds to entice sailors into destruction. The sailors would hear the song and follow it only to have their boats crash on the rocks. Food is my siren song that leaves my will and common sense crashing on the rocks. Food is absolutely everywhere and temptation never takes a sick day. I lose count of how often I think of food and how many times I have to say no to myself per day. I can’t think of how many times I pray for the strength to do the right thing. I’m just grateful to Jesus I have a place to take these temptations and anxieties!

I thought of this story today because I’ve been working on a project and praying for direction. I know what I’m trying to accomplish but I’ve been struggling on some key parts that have held up progress. Yesterday, my only plans were to go to church and meet up with Mary Ellen’s sister. Both of these events almost didn’t happen because I was sidelined by a horrible sinus infection for nearly a week.

Feeling better that morning, I made my way to church and kept my other appointment. These were both divinely ordained. In church, the Pastor’s sermon was directly related to what I was working on and I asked for his guidance on my project. We were both very much aligned with what I was sharing. It was exciting to know I was on the right path and had someone willing to keep me on the path.

When I met my new friend that afternoon it was a tremendous blessing. I’ve often spoken of the power of understanding and the joy that comes from a person who truly gets you. Our conversation will travel through my mind and soul for years to come. Turns out, she is also a person who could greatly influence my project and I had no idea the depth of her knowledge and skill. I didn’t need to know because God placed her squarely in my path on that day, at that time.

I’ve struggled for years with asking for help. I’ve definitely improved over time but sometimes I’ll end up hanging on to something way too long instead of just asking the question that could end the wait. As I reflected on the day this was the whisper over my heart:

7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. Matthew 7:7-8

And this time it really was a whisper.

Missed Opportunities

Many people say the same thing when they see my wedding pictures:

Wow! He really loves you!

Ugh.

As you’re looking at photos of my WEDDING I’d like to believe love would be obvious. It seems like they’re really saying:

Wow! He even loved you like that!

There’s a chapter in my book Food, Sweat, & Fears about the anxiety around my wedding day. Everyone wants to look their absolute best and I was no different. But the reality of the situation is that I was over 300lbs. My husband loves me for me and that is a profound blessing.

Jeff and I have a blast together. We always pray that every couple has the crazy, silly, and joyous moments we have when we’re together. He really is my best friend and the first person I can’t wait to tell good news, hug through challenging news, and to make our own news.

What if Jeff let my size stop him for continuing to see me?

What if he thought I was cool and all but he wasn’t attracted to me?

What if I let his love of country music and wearing cowboy hats stop me from getting to know him better?

I recently heard a story about a woman who was on a first date. She thought everything went well and they had a good time. At the end of the date he said something alarming.

You’re really pretty, funny and smart but I prefer my women under 100 pounds.

What?!

I understand there has to be a level of attraction but to say that she’s everything you’re looking for BUT her weight just won’t cut it.

I reminded me a conversation I heard many years ago. Two women I worked with were discussing their lives and how they’re in their early 30s and are still single and have no children. They were reflecting on some nice guys they dated in their twenties but thought they could do better. Those guys are now all married with families and the women are alone.

They keep seeking the bigger, better deal. More money. Better looking. Something that fit the thoughts and dreams of what a relationship should be. One woman even went so far as to say that there was a guy she really loved and had the best time with but he just wasn’t very cute. She regretted leaving him and as they connected over Facebook she was constantly seeing pictures of his wife and family. It was a daily reminder of all he could’ve given to her if she just accepted him as he was. She can see this clearly now.

I think these women learned the lesson that the man on the first date hasn’t yet learned: what really matters is what will sustain you over time. If she’s over 100lbs and under 100lbs will not matter when you lose a job… or a parent… or a child!

Jeff and I seen a lot together this past decade. The joys of weddings, high school and college graduations, and our parents anniversaries. We’ve also weathered many storms like losing so many people we love, the fierce and relentless battle of addictions, job loss, and more. We didn’t need a perfect weight, we needed our faith to be strong and to be together. We cling to God and each other and we will always sit in the peaceful eye of the storm. It’s not without pain, not without challenge, but it’s possible to handle together.

This is Relationship Math

You + Me = (Joys Multiplied) + (Sadness Divided)

Battling Perfection

Sometimes there’s something powerful when you see your behavior for what it really is and deciding to leap instead of continuing to look!

If you haven’t already feel free to like my Facebook page! There’s a lot new information coming that I can’t wait to share with you!

Thank you!

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Hard To Get Wrong

Remember the old joke about a man lost in New York City? He asks a New Yorker: How do you get to Carnegie Hall? The New Yorker answers: Practice, practice, practice.

Practice is the basis of excellence. Even if you were gifted with a talent, practice hones snd refines your skills. Karate is no exception to this at all. I learned a few months ago what I was doing wrong with my training and I saw the benefit of the switch I made last night at my Belt Test.

A few months back Sensei noticed that my last kata was my best kata. I was proud of myself for about 1.2 seconds. He followed his comment up telling me that my first kata should be my absolute best because I’ve done it the longest. He suggested I work on all of the kata from beginning and working up to my latest and if I make a mistake go back to the beginning. I started doing that during my practice at home.

In class a few weeks laterI discovered my next practice flaw. We were working on basics and Sensei said:

Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until it’s hard to get wrong!

That showed me something about myself. I’m a list maker and I like putting check marks on said list. Done. Complete. Move on.

Karate can seem like a activity where you can make a list and check things off as you go but in reality you can’t. In the beginning, you learn basics and patterns of movement. As time goes on you learn techniques to deepen your skill level. This process is continual.

Last night I tested for my Blue Belt with Black Stripe. This is my final Blue Belt. With the launch of my book, work, and moving I’ve had to practice in any corner of time I could find. I’ve done more practice in the shower, in front of the microwave, and in public places more than I care to admit! The joy was seeing how these microwave moments and my new understanding of practice came into full swing yesterday.

Belt testing usually begins with a workout. More like a You Feel Like You Might Die Session. Yesterday’s workout did. Not disappoint. As I’m typing this I feel like my thumbs are as sore as my abs! After the workout we generally take a break and then Sensei will call each group up to perform their kata and their kumite in front of the class starting with white belts. There are several belt ranks that would test before me so I was looking forward to kicking back and watching the show.

This. Did. Not. Happen!

Sensei called us back to our lines and we did each kata until it was our final kata. I was not remotely expecting that! I had about 2 seconds to ponder what was happening and we started! My anxiety was about to explode but then I remembered that this is just how my practice has been over the past few months and like most Saturday classes! You stay in the group until you’re way over your pay grade and you respectfully bow out. I had to just focus and do what I’ve been doing in the shower but do it in the dojo with scores of people watching… thankfully, with clothes on!

When I walked into the dojo at 44 years old with no clue or expectation of what the next 18 minutes looked like – let alone the next 18 months – I never expected this. The physical challenges, mental exhaustion, and trying to get to Carnegie Hall with all my practice! Another thing I never expected was to walk into a place and join with a group of other human beings searching for their own sense of health, challenge, and purpose. I also didn’t expect to love so much. Karate is a path that can feel like you are walking on your own but every step you take is on the hands of masters who went before you lifting you up and you’re. holding the hands of your peers steadying you on the way.

This was the hardest belt test by a country mile but the one I’m most proud of. I still have a ton to learn, techniques to deepen, and practice to do but I’m ready to continue down the path with the greatest friends a girl could ask for!

Terror, Typos, And Roundhouse Kicks

I’ve blogged for over a decade on various platforms so sharing parts of my life or general observations of the world around me isn’t new. I first got my stride writing on MySpace. Everyone had anonymity through embarrassing screen names which made what you were sharing have a layer of privacy. As the platforms shifted we lost that anonymity. Facebook literally put a face to our feelings and comments. Despite shedding that last layer of privacy, we continue to share. One would think after all these years of sharing that writing a book would be what comes naturally. One would be wrong.

When I started writing I wanted to be open and honest which were two things I’ve spent a lifetime NOT being about my weight. From lying about how much I was eating to how much I weighed, openness and honestly were not a part of my program. Diving into those feelings and emotions were terrifying but the more open I became the better I felt AND the more I realized that I was never alone in those feelings.

Writing was emotionally challenging. The rewrites were unreal. I struggled with sharing too much or too little. I struggled with sharing parts of other people’s stories that overlapped my own since I felt they weren’t mine to tell. Then I struggled with my anxiety.

Should I write this?

Will anyone understand?

What if it’s universally hated?

These thoughts are the devil and sometimes incredibly paralyzing. I’d write, then rewrite, then try again, and again… and again. Then I noticed that these changes and rewrites were really more about delaying progress than seeking perfection. Procrastinators are truly perfectionists with anxiety! I was starting to lose my nerve but I had many books already sold from the preorder so I knew I had to turn off the internal chatter and just do it!

It was then I discovered the intricacies and potentially issues with self publishing. There were formatting problems, platform delays, and shipping issues. With every delay my anxiety was rising because this process was only to take about 40 days from book completion took way longer than that. I wanted my first signing and book pick up to be at Higher Grounds Community Coffeehouse and I had to reschedule it 3 times waiting for my books to arrive. I made the decision to order my pre-ordered books and first round of books to have on hand – sight unseen. An enormous leap of faith for a perfectionist. Even doing this resulted in people ordering from the Amazon bookstore receiving their books before I received mine!

Last Thursday after months of delays and oddball issues my books arrived. In looking them over I noticed some typos and some formatting issues. Things I definitely should’ve caught but I was so concerned with the forest that I failed to see the trees. Amazon’s self publishing arm is very new and apparently still had some kinks to work out from the author end of things. What’s beautiful with self publishing is that the books are print on demand and easily updated. I’m working on this formatting issues and typos now. If you’ve ordered one of these original books thank you and I hope the typos aren’t too distracting from the story itself.

What I’m most proud of is that I did it. Knowing things weren’t completely perfect I still did it. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, once said:

“Done is better than perfect.”

For a person who obsesses over minute details, this is a challenging concept. Historically, I’d rather do nothing than something substandard! I’m discovering that karate is helping me immensely in this area.

When you watch a trained person do a karate move it looks effortless – almost simple. Yet, when you try to mimic the movement you become keenly aware that it is not simple. It’s really a million tiny moves working in perfect harmony! A roundhouse kick is a prime example of that for me. Looks pretty simple, right? You’ve seen it on TV and movies forever, right? Try it. Everyone from Bruce Lee to Steven Stegall to Patrick Swayze made it look easy. It’s not.

My kicks will only improve with the combination of time and training. Time alone will not do it. I could be enrolled in karate for 50 years but if I don’t practice I won’t improve. Training is also not enough. You can learn the basics of a kick in one session but you won’t master it that day. I really want to master it that day! REALLY!

I have to continually remind myself:

I will not master anything immediately.

Procrastination is the devils way of blocking your progress.

I have never been alone in my feelings of self-doubt, anxiety or fear and that sharing that – even imperfectly – is of great benefit to someone who needs it.

And done can really be better than perfect.

Sometimes.

To see Food, Sweat, & Fears on Amazon click Here