Archive | May 2018

Daily Bread (Week 6)

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We had a substitute facilitator this week – and we will have her for the next 3 weeks before our regular one comes back.  It was a little disorienting.  The substitute was fine, and is likely awesome, but the group, including me, acted out a bit.  We have bonded, and our regular facilitator is part of that bond.  She knows us.  We know her.  It felt a little like it did back (way back!) in high school when we had a substitute teacher.  This program, with its rigid rules about the meal replacements, doesn’t encourage much flexibility.  Any change is hard when we are trying to make such a big change in our lives.

We also talked about support systems and not so supportive folks, of who to tell we are doing this and who not to tell because they might be judgmental about our choice.  I have been extremely public about being in the program.  It doesn’t get much more public than posting about it on a blog and then sharing that blog on Facebook.  I have received only positive support, which has been very helpful.  My family and close friends have been particularly wonderful.

I gave up shame years ago, and believe that sharing this process may be helpful to others.  The one concern I have is that the friends that I have bonded with over the years around being fat might feel abandoned by me and might be afraid that I will start judging them.  It is hard to live in this world as a “person of size.”  We have shared tears, anger, and laughter over our common experiences.  They loved all of me and I loved all of them.  That won’t change, for me anyway.  I know the pain too well to judge anyone for their size.  We are all beautiful and worthy of love just the way we are.  I would not be doing this if I did not know that my health and my life are at risk.  I will do this and I will succeed, but it is a hard choice and not one I would recommend to anyone unless they have similarly powerful motivations.

L’Chaim

(My stats for last week – down 4.2 pounds, drank 7 gallons of water and exercised for a total of 370 minutes.  My total weight loss so far is 21.5 pounds.)

 

 

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Shrinking, Growing

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Am I shrinking

Or am I growing?

Both I think.

 

Outside I am changing

Slowly but surely

Reclaiming a shape

That will serve me better.

At least that’s the plan

 

The lavish blooms

Have faded

Winters have been hard.

Small seeds planted

Carefully

Might grow

To just the right size

 

Tend the ground

Tend your soul

Resurrection

Regeneration

Only takes

A miracle

Of mindfulness.

I believe

In miracles.

 

 

 

 

 

Intentions (for white people)

The road to hell may not be paved

But it is covered with the guano

Of our so-called good intentions

It’s a seagull shit so white

It covers the awareness

Of the pain we cause

By our fragility

 

If we slip and slide and blunder

And get bumps and bruises

On our egos

It is a small price to pay

So much smaller than the pain

Our ignorance has caused

 

Spirit give us the strength

To lean into the learning

May there be no rest

For the wicked

May there be healing

For the harm the “good” have done

Absolution will come later

If we can find together

A pathway to paradise

For all the hurting souls

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Bread (Week 5)

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How organized can one be?

This week we talked about organizing our lives so that we can make the changes we need to make, to stay on program, and to reach our goals.  We need to remember that the goals are not just numbers on a scale, but the deeper goals, the “why’s” that brought us to this point.  Mine are listed here. I keep referring to them when things get hard.

Since I am retired, being organized has been fairly easy for me.  There are not many things I have to do.  I don’t have small children I need to feed, and my wife Anne is completely capable of cooking her own meals.  I can keep a gallon jug of water in the fridge, and set out my meal replacements for each day on the kitchen counter.  I can exercise at home in my pool.  A challenge for me has been going out.  Because of the water I am drinking, I can’t make it through an hour church service without a bathroom break.   Maybe I need to slow down on the water on Sunday mornings before church, but that would require being more flexible.  Flexible seems hard as compulsively following the routine, a regimen really, is what has made this easier for me.  Can I do the Mountain play next week?  The hours in the sun, the hike to the bathrooms, and folks eating fancy picnics all around me, might be more of a challenge than I am up for right now.  We will see.

One of the ways I am “organizing my world” is by doing this blog.  Since I post it on Facebook as well as on my website, I have in some ways created a “community of accountability”.   Friends, family, and others know I am doing this.  As a minister, my community of accountability has been my colleagues and our professional organization which hold me in covenant to certain standards of ethical behavior.  I count on those good people for feedback, for help as I struggle with all kinds of issues, including how to be a decent ally in the holy work of dismantling white supremacy and other forms of oppression.

My group at Kaiser is also a community of accountability in this particular and very specific journey.

Community is so important.  Friends are so important.

It must be time to post a link to a video.  Music is also important.

The Beatles:

a little help from my friends (I get by)

 

L’Chaim

(My stats for last week – down 5.2 pounds, drank 7 gallons of water and exercised for a total of 270 minutes.  My total weight loss so far is 17.3 pounds.)

 

Daily Bread (Week 4 Day 5)

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It is a fragile balance, the likes of which I expressed in the soup.  A cortisone shot helped my knee and my potassium is back in the normal range based on a blood test this week.  My blood pressure is also now OK I think, based on the only vaguely accurate home tester we have.  But now my shoulder aches.  I injured it in a fall a couple of years ago, and I suspect the naproxen was easing that pain too.  Oh, and I have back pain as well.  Yes, I think it is OK to whine a bit. I am looking for a new normal, a better way of being, and of course the transition is difficult.  Things get out of balance, and I need to give my body (and my spirit) some time to adjust.  I survived a church luncheon this week while staying on program, but have been seriously fantasizing about a slice of Italian salami, a comfort food of mine since childhood.  Just one, to hold in my mouth and suck all the flavor out.  I don’t even have to swallow it.  So far, the fantasy is enough.

There is a difference between a fantasy and a dream.  A fantasy can be satisfying even if it stays in the imagination.  A dream is something we want to make real.  More peace, more justice, fewer murdered children, those are the dreams I want to realize.

There is also a difference between a desire and a want.  We’ll reflect on that more later maybe, but my quick thought is the difference is time frame, with desires being short term and immediate, whereas wanting is more longterm.

Don’t look any of those words up.  I am making up my own definitions as I go along. No worries if you have a different understanding.

L’Chaim

In the Soup

Pot-of-Soup

 

A good cook knows

It’s a delicate balance

Not too much salt

This spice not that one

Taste as you go

Try it and see what will happen

Consider carefully

As the broth bubbles

Blending the flavors

In mysterious ways

 

The complex chemistry

Of our bodies

Like soup

Responds in ways

Not always predicted.

Any change has an impact

Medications swim

In our bloodstreams

A riot of flavor

Reducing some risks

While creating others.

 

Add the spices slowly

Let them simmer.

Be wise.

 

 

 

 

 

Daily Bread (Week 4)

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This is a medically supervised program, which is a good thing because although I feel just fine, my lab results last week indicated my potassium level is now a bit high.  Balance is everything, right?  Potassium, one of the body’s electrolytes is problematic if it either too high or too low.  Medications can affect the level, and I am have been taking two that can cause the retention of potassium.   One is for blood pressure and the other is naproxen, which I take for knee pain.  Add that to a severely restricted calorie intake, one which contains the amount of potassium a non-medicated body needs, trouble was on its way “right here in river city.”  When I got the lab results, I did some research and stopped taking the naproxen.  I had already scheduled a cortisone shot for my knee (today) so what was a little pain for a few days if it could get my potassium level back down to the normal range?  Pain, however, can increase blood pressure, so when that was checked last night, it was way higher than my normal.  When one thing is out of balance, everything else is affected, something that is just true about life.   I’ll be checking my blood pressure more frequently and we are redoing the potassium blood test, but it was upsetting. Here I am trying to get healthier and some things are getting worse!  Is this justice?  Is this fair?

I know the answer to those questions, and the answer is, of course, “no.”

I am grateful for the doctors and the support of our weekly group, and I am trying to keep focused on the moon, not the nagging little fingers of stress at the ups and downs of this process.  If you don’t understand the moon/finger references, there is an old Buddhist story that I thought of today.  The teacher stood very still and pointed at the moon, but all of his students focused on the tip of his pointing finger.

 

Keep your gaze on the moon.

No matter the distractions

No matter how low the valleys

Or how high the mountains

We must climb

Bend your mind

Your heart your spirit

Toward the golden guide

That rises in the night

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L’Chaim!

(My stats for last week: down 4.4 pounds (total to date +12.1), drank 7 gallons of water, and exercised for 390 minutes – mainly swimming)

Daily Bread (Week 3 Day 5)

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Bread

Bread is made

From simple things

Flour, water, yeast,

A dash of salt.

Not so simple

Is the work involved

Mixing, kneading,

Forming into loaves

Adding patience

In good measure

A warm beginning

Then a trial by fire

Creating a strong crust

To keep from getting stale.

 

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I wonder at myself sometimes.  Choosing “Daily Bread” as a blogging title seems a rather strange choice at a time when I am not eating bread. Bread will also doubtless stay on the list of foods that I won’t ever eat daily, if at all.  “Give us our daily bread,” the prophet Jesus prayed, but he must have been talking about more than the bread that can feed the hungry.  He broke the bread and called us to a path that just might sustain our lives.  I don’t believe in transubstantiation, but I do believe in transformation.

Mix it up

Pound it on the table

Put it in a bowl to rise

Bake it in the oven

Create a miracle

Knowing

Miracles take work.

Trout

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A trout is at its best

Swimming upstream

The sun shining

On its rainbow scales

Around and over

Huge boulders

And the snags

Of fallen trees.

Strong trout

Brave trout

Let me swim with you

Carry me toward

The lake

Where we all

Will be reborn.

 

Daily Bread (Week 3)

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I woke up a little weepy this morning.  Change is hard, and knowing that those rocks we are trying to push uphill just want to roll back down over us, makes it all a little harder.  Little victories are the clue, placing small wedges under the rocks, keeping a steady pace, and taking the time to rest.  Good shoes for the journey can help too.  Traveling companions make the journey less lonely, and a friend can help you with your shoe laces.

Speaking of laces, we had another good group meeting last night, and the connections are deepening as the sharing becomes more personal.  We went around the room talking about our successes this last week and why we are doing this.  I was moved by many of the stories.  They resonated with many of my own struggles.  Personal stories always do that.  Empathy shimmers around a room and we are moved to laughter or tears.  The stories are all different as each individual is unique, but in broad strokes the pictures being painted are all the same.  This is even truer when a group has gathered around a common issue.

When it was my turn, I had a moment of befuddlement.  I had already shared in my head and also right here in my earlier post.  Writing is like that sometimes.  The words flow out and then they are gone into a deeper part of my being.

We also talked about goals, and the need to be specific about changing behaviors in order to reach a goal.  Deciding to “lose weight” doesn’t work as well as deciding to exercise “x” hours per week, or deciding how many calories to have tomorrow.  The calorie decisions are being made for me in this program, as long as I follow it.  The other stuff is up to me, as always and of course, with more than a little help from my friends.

The idea reminded me of the churches who say they want to “grow,” but are unwilling to change in order to meet that goal.  Change is hard, no matter the issue.  We need to acknowledge what we will lose as well as what we will gain.  Churches may need to give up some familiar practices (music, liturgy, gossip, and exclusive habits of all sorts) in order to welcome the seekers who will help reenergize them in fulfilling their mission. I am giving up the pleasure I have found in eating (and over-eating) delicious high calorie foods in order to live longer and better.  L’Chaim!

 

(My stats for last week: down 2.8 pounds, drank 7 gallons of water, and exercised for 375 minutes – mainly swimming)

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