Sunday, August 7, 2011

I Am Back, and the Universe is Talking to Me

I am so glad to be back after a very fun week at the coast. It was a great trip with lots of sand, sun, forests, campfires, seagulls, and time unplugged, but it is always so good to come home.

I went with an agenda: to quiet the external inputs I am constantly assaulted with in daily life and to just listen to my body, heart, and soul and just BE. There I was, without a scale, without a blog, a computer, a TV, a phone, a food scale, and for several days without even a mirror. Just me and my head and my body. Me and nature. Me and the Universe. I had no input from the outside except chatter from my kids and the sensations that go along with camping and the beach: the smell of pine trees and salt water and campfires; the sounds of the waves crashing and birds singing and kids laughing; the sight of sunsets and fallen trees and my pup racing across the beach with absolute joyful freedom. I became very much in touch with my inner and outer self on this trip, and the quiet led me to some new conclusions.

I went to the forest trail we always hike. It's a bit over a mile and a half up ragged, steep terrain to a lighthouse at the top of a cliff. The view is amazing. I blogged about it three years ago with pictures of the trail, and I have gone back to hike it again each year. It's not only a wonderful tradition but also a celebration of how far I have come and a great way to assess my fitness level. Well, my fitness level sucks. Don't get me wrong, the vacation was wonderful, but there were  two sad points (which led to new awareness) which I will mention here. One: you may remember one year ago I went and hiked this trail and it was very tiring to me. I blogged that even though I was much lighter in weight than the last time I hiked it, it was more difficult. I was not as energized and got winded frequently and in fact felt like I was completely spent when I got to the top. This time, last week, was even worse. Granted, the trail was muddier than usual, but we only got about a half mile in and I decided not to continue. My knees were hurting and I already felt exhausted and I turned around and went back down with 3 of my kids.

How did that feel? I felt defeated. I knew at that moment that my focus has GOT to change from weight loss to health and fitness. What good is a lighter, thinner body that does not even function as well as the heavier version? My goal is not to look good. It is to actually BE well. I have not been feeding my body right lately, and it shows. And I have not been moving nor exercising much at all. I am weak. I don't like it.

Sad point two: we were driving along the beautiful Oregon highway 101 beside the ocean just chatting away about inane things when traffic suddenly slowed. A heavy logging truck was pulled to the side of the road and a few cars were stopped. And there by the side of the road was a man, lying dead after the bicycle he was riding collided with said logging truck. It had happened only moments prior, and was, to me, just horrifying. There he was, face down on the pavement, so still, his torn pants fluttering gently in the ocean breeze. Just moments before, he was enjoying the forest and the air and the beauty of life. And now, in a split second, he was gone. It seems so wrong to me whenever I read or hear about a tragic death, that life goes on all around us while others grieve and mourn. It seemed so wrong that we drove past, just feet from his lifeless body while a few random people milled about, no one kneeling by his side or trying to revive him because there was no reviving to be done. It broke my heart for his family who was probably just living their life at that very moment and had no idea what had happened. It upset me for a long time and I prayed for his friends and family to have peace. It drove home to me how precious life is and how everything can change in a second.

The Universe seemed to speak to me as I hiked and walked and sat on the driftwood watching the waves roll in. Take care of yourself, it said. Stop fighting yourself.

More than a week before I left, I sent my monthly food order in to Medifast so I could have lots of portable options to bring with me on vacation: ready-to-drink shakes, puffs, bars, and the new BBQ and Pizza Bites. Several days later, I hadn't heard anything so I emailed again. I have had nothing but great, attentive support from Medifast in the 17 months I have been on their program, so I knew something was amiss. I waited. Still nothing. And so on Sunday we left and I took the portable Medifast food I had which was really not enough to get through a week, and by day 2 on vacation I was eating what everyone else was eating (burgers, bananas, the occasional smore over a campfire) and had abandoned the Medifast food altogether (the new Bites were just not cutting it) and trying to figure out what I was going to do when I got back. I kept getting the sense that I need to change direction. With no scales or mirrors or other fake weight-related feedback, all I had was reality, sore knees (from eating sugar), my obvious lack of fitness, fatigue, and the true desire to change my HEALTH, not my weight (although I believe that changing my health would naturally cause more weight loss as a side effect). But I figured I would come home to a big box of Medifast food... my order for the coming month... and would probably eat that until I figured out exactly what direction I am going. However, when I got home... no Medifast food. Nothing. No email response, no package, nada. Very uncharacteristic of my experience with them. I hope Renee (my contact at Medifast) is okay. I have to think all my emails to them are being sucked into some weird Internet black hole (aka spam folder) so maybe she will see this post and realize what happened. But regardless, it feels almost like another note from the Universe. Can't continue Medifast with no food. So a new plan it is. A fresh focus on health and fitness... a new direction. I will write more about that later since this post is already mega-long. You may notice I took down the "Weight By Month" feature that I have had in my sidebar for more than 4 years (yes, Happy Bloggiversary to me on August 4th!) and put it in the archives where you can still view it via the sidebar link. In its place will be a new, healthy eating/recipes blog Blogroll later this week. Expect to see lots of new things on my blog, with a return to eating foods based on my local Farmer's Market with lots of pictures and recipes for fresh produce, and perhaps a new exercise/biking log.

It is so good to be back! More later, with vacation pictures :)

*Medifast provided their products for my personal use for free over the past 17 months in return for my blogging about the experience. I was not compensated in any other way by Medifast for my always-honest reviews. Thank you Medifast, it's been real :)

29 comments:

Ali @ A Serendipitous Life said...

I love this, Lyn. I think this change will probably leave you feeling refreshed, healthier, and ready to take on the world. I love seeing your spark back. You commented on my other blog a few weeks ago (www.aserendipitouslifeblog.com) but I wanted to let you know my "healthy living" stuff is now going on over at priorfatgirl.com (other priorfatgirls - Ali)

You are an inspiration, and I'm so very glad to see YOU back, Lyn. I have decided to try weight watchers and eat as many whole foods as possible. Just a way to track my intake without counting calories....so far, so good!

Can't wait to see how this all works for you, Lyn.

Karen said...

Best of luck to you with your new plan on the road to health. Keep blogging and thank you for your posts.

My hope for you is that your path will connect you with a great counselor or counselor like person who will be your guide through the next steps. Someone to guide you through to your goals.

And my hope to myself is to try some more of your MF recipes. :) Thank you so much for your blog. It has helped immensely.

Safe travels for you and the fam and the pets. Karen

Megan said...

Excellent post. You are such a kind compassionate person. Looks like you're being kind and compassionate to yourself be getting strong and healthy.

Diana said...

I'm so glad you're back! I really missed you a lot. :)

Your vacation sounds wonderful, even with the two sad events. Although, I think the first one you mentioned isn't really sad, but it was an eye opener for you. Like you said, your focus has been on losing weight, with getting healthy out there somewhere, but not your #1 priority.

My thoughts are you need more exercise and less processed foods. I think MediFast served it's purpose, by showing you how to eat smaller meals more often, less sugar, more protein. But it's not a lifelong plan to eat processed foods. Even though MediFast is balanced and "good for you", you really need real, healthy foods, non-processed. I know you're a believer in this and it's how you started. You just need to get back to what you know is best for your body. I think your emails going unanswered is definitely a sign. :)

About the bike accident, that just breaks my heart. After my bike accident I've come to realize just how fragile our bodies really are and how in a split second you can lose it all. It has made me more conscious of what I'm doing, living in the minute, and to not take this life or my health for granted because you never know when it's going to be snatched away from you.

Thanks for your kind words, and I'm really glad you're back. It's like a good friend came back home. :)

Mandy said...

I love reading about your journey. It always gives me such insight into mine - thank you for that!

Awhile ago when you were trying to get off Medifast and into real foods, I wanted to tell you about this book I had just bought, but I wanted to try it out more before I recommended it. It's Body Confidence by Mark MacDonald. (I am not affiliated with it at all, btw.) I probably have every weight loss book/diet known to man, but this one really struck a chord with me. It is a very low-carb plan - which reminds me of your experience with Medifast - and it focuses on lots of vegetables and fruit, low sugar, and the right portions of protein, carbs and fats at each meal. The food is REAL and super easy to fix and easy to buy. I'm not hungry when I follow it, and I have energy to workout. I thought the portions were going to be too small at first - breakfast is 1/4 c. oatmeal, with a side of 3 egg whites and one egg, but it makes me completely full. He has six meals planned out for the day, clear up to 9:30pm, which I love, since I'm always hungry at bedtime. It's 1200 calories a day, and you get one off-plan meal per week. Sorry to go on so much about it, but it is changing the way I eat and I'm finally losing weight consistently, instead of being on that up and down roller coaster.

Anyway, just wanted to share that with you. Good luck on your new beginning - I'm excited to see where it takes you!

Leslie said...

I missed you and am glad you're back! Sounds like more layers of the old onion being peeled away, Lyn! I have the utmost confidence in you and your process. It occurs to me that I really feel like I've (we've - your readers) "witnessed" so many important and key parts of your journey through your blog. You have evolved tremendously over the 3 years I've read you and I look forward to the next phase!

Princess Dieter said...

Lovely to see you back, Lyn. Glad you are re-invigorated.

Personally, I'd take that as an omen to stop Medifast and begin your healthy eating/fitness renewal with real, fresh, honest foods. You're a good cook, a smart cookie, and you know that packaged foods are great stopgaps or aids for the worst parts of a journey or to get started, even, but for lifelong, it's not gonna cut it. Maybe this is the universe saying, "Eat what I made for you to eat, the way it's supposed to be eaten: real food, fresh, colors, flavors."

And yes, sugar is da debbil. I never felt better than when I gave that crap up, other than the occasional bit of dark choco. Sugar is banned from our home and hubby dropped to a too low weight just giving up sugary foods. Amazing how the body loves that one change.

Best to you as you embark on health/fitness in a new way, back from vacay, ready to move on.

Hurray!

GottaReason said...

Good decisions on the next phase. I think I chose to do Medifast with a "Take Shape for Life" coach for that very reason - she is telling me that transitioning into good real-food choices is the most difficult part for us skewed-eaters. I'm so glad she's going to walk me through that. I mean, witness what struggles you had with eating during a quasi-normal event: camping. Those kind of day to day decisions, along with the ones for exercising, are going to be crucial in our life-long triumph, right? For exercise (general fitness), I love Curves.

Ximena said...

Welcome back! I truly missed reading your blogs and enjoyed this one a lot. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I think this is a great decision Lyn. Perhaps Medifast thought you would be at goal by now, and thus be a great advertisement for them. I wondered how much longer they would continue to send you free food. You don't need them.

PaulaM

Anonymous said...

YOUR website and blog is what motivated me to join Medifast. Thank you for being such a great inspiration and I can't thank you enough for all of the tips and recipes you provided. I wish you the best of luck and again, want to THANK YOU for sharing your experience. You should be so proud of yourself!! Good luck to you!

Shelley said...

Welcome back. Sounds like you have had a lot to digest during your vacation...and now you have a new direction. I'm confident you'll go forward and continue your journey of self-discovery. And congrats on hitting your four-year blogiversary!

twiggy said...

Glad to have you back!

I know what you mean about fitness vs weight loss (so to speak). I have been hitting the gym HARD for the last few weeks (even sometimes twice a day) in an effort to get ready for an event that I am doing in September and it's really affecting my weight loss...meaning the number on the scale. Eating the foods I have been eating would normally show a nice, steady, encouraging drop on the scale every week if I wasn't working out so much. I have seen in the past that working out daily often leads to slow weight loss for me. Going 2-3 times a week gives me a faster loss.

But I can see in the mirror, I am changing. Even without the scale's help. I can see it in how my clothes fit, how my face looks, and how my waist is coming back. I can feel it in the way I get stronger and stronger. My workouts keep getting better. I can go faster and longer now. I have never in my life had the energy to go to the gym twice a day and lately I feel so energized, I can do cardio in the morning, go about my day, then do a little more cardio + weights in the evening.

I feel much better concentrating on fitness than I ever did when my focus was just on weight loss and I went to the gym "beacuse you have to."

Anonymous said...

If you haven't already, you must read this book. "Deep Nutrition", reviewed here by skwigg

http://skwigg.tripod.com/blog/

I ordered it and let me tell you, it has got my attention about what I am eating like no other book.

Beverly

Mandy said...

I prefer going the real food route myself (from the grocery store). It makes more sense long term.

I'm new here, so I don't know if you've tried SparkPeople.com. It's free and offers meal planning and other stuff using real food-like a whole foods approach.

I've tried them out before and am planning to get back into it for documenting my weight loss progress on my website. It might work for you too.

Great site btw. I'm glad I found it. I plan to use it as inspiration for my site :)Check me out and let me know if you have any tips for me! I would appreciate any guidance from a seasoned blogger!

ssm said...

Wow, those are some notes from the Universe--excited to see how the real foods route will go!

Karen said...

Welome back Lyn!!! I need to get a grip on my eating too so that I wlll FEEL BETTER!!! I know you will inspire me, and everyone else!!!

Deb Willbefree said...

:) We've both decided--several times--to focus on health rather than the number on the scale. Yet, that number shouts pretty lodly, doesn't it? I keep losing track of what is important with all of that noise.

May we both tune into the sounds of health!

Deb

Diandra said...

Try to figure out what you did back when you found it easier to hike that trail, and continue to do it. Did you ride your elliptical, do physio for your knees, ...?

Being healthy beats being thin every time.

Moosecat said...

Thank goodness you are off the Medifast and back to real food! I've been hoping for this for a looong time... :)

Allison said...

They are likely notes fromt he universe. But if you hadn't gotten this far, you wouldn't even recognize them. Good for you for being intune enough with your habits and body to know where to go next.
I've actually started Paleo and it's working well for me. I don't like eating preservatives and fake food (that's why I stopped medifast after a few weeks) and this seems smart for me. Not just for weight loss, but for me I need a no nonsense and no excuse way of getting healthier.

Sugar dreams said...

I'm new to your blog but I love the way you write... I've experienced a similar situation as you did with the cyclist and it was horrifying for sure and it upset me for days... I will be following your blog from now on so can't wait to see what new and exciting things you will come up with to get healthy!

Yvette said...

I know exactly what you mean by "what good is a thinner body if it doesn't function well?" So true! What good is it, if sleeping is all we want to do? Or our skin looks lifeless and saggy? Or our body organs are deteriorating from lack of water and nutrients? Weight loss is only pretty when we're healthy, glowing and rosy! Thanks for the reminder and a great post as usual! :)

Anonymous said...

Please keep us posted about your relationship with Medifast, because I'm sitting here angry with them on your behalf! IF Medifast (and again, I'm making assumptions) decided to terminate their support... dropping you without notice and leaving you sans food is a crude, unclassy way to treat a human being.

My ire continues to increase with the Medifast company in light of recent price hikes and the withdrawal of coupon codes. If I learn they have dropped you without warning or sufficient notice, my respect for the company will plummet further.

Keep us posted!

I loved this blog post, a good reminder to "unplug" from time to time and reduce the noise in order to hear ourselves think.

Lyn said...

Anonymous~

No, not at all. I just got an email from Medifast this morning apologizing for the mix up and offering to overnight me a month of food, but I declined. They have really been nothing but supportive, always trying to help me succeed, offering me extra meals, getting me a dietician to help through the rough spots. I honestly have nothing bad to say about Medifast (the program or the support I received). It was just an unfortunate mix up with the emails.

Taradharma said...

best of luck on your new eating plan....now it seems the work begins in terms of learning to eat 'normally' as opposed to a pre-packaged plan designed to lose weight. I always found that the real work begins once I've lost the weight -- maintenance is the real key here.

So sorry you had to witness that horror on the highway. Life is so fragile and can disappear in an instant. All the more reason to be healthy and happy with the life you have!

Cheers.

Biz said...

Glad you were able to unplug from the world! I plan on doing the exact same thing - I leave Friday for a long weekend with my Mom, don't plan to post on my blog or read anything while I am gone - can't wait!

Yep, thinner doesn't = healthy. I have friends who are sticks but can't run a block, so that makes me feel like a bad ass athlete! :D

Anonymous said...

I am so glad you are not going to do Medifast anymore. Our bodies operate better on food the way nature intended it. It is kinda scary not having that crutch to lean on but you can do this girl, you can!
Just focus on eating clean whole foods and really getting in a decent amount of exercise and you will soon feel like a new woman.

beerab said...

I did Medifast a few months, lost about 20 lbs on it, but then just got sick of eating the same thing everyday. I have my last month's supply that I am slowly whittling away at but overall I find I prefer to eat the food I cooked :) Don't get me wrong Medifast is awesome but it just wasn't for me for the long haul.