Posts Tagged ‘change’

newparadigmIt’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything and that’s mostly do to the self re-evaluations I’ve been up to.  I’ve finally slowed my role and I’m now interested in writing up what I’ve been working on and what I’ve been learning.  So the next few posts will be dedicated to this self discovery and experimentation.

Recently I read the book Natural Born Heroes by Christopher McDougall. This book tells two stories. One is a WWII story about how Cretan rebels and British officers kidnapped a Nazi General off of the, Nazi occupied, island of Crete. The second is an interlaced story about the importance of natural movements, like the ones the Cretans practiced and what made the kidnapping possible, and how modern exercise has lost it’s usefulness.

The books emphasizes the importance of the bodies ability to burn fat for fuel and in the later chapters I was fascinated by the idea of rewiring my body to burn fat instead of carbs as my main source of fuel.   The book and my curiosity led me to the Maffetone, 2-week carbohydrate intolerance, Test.

I’ve always stated that I NEED carbs. If I don’t get them my body feels weak and lethargic and I easily get low blood sugar and become a grouchy monster. So when I read that this TEST required me to drop carbs for 2 weeks I was skeptical, and I worried for my families sanity and safety. As I read more about the test and the method I became intrigued because the list of Carb intolerance symptoms were as follows:

Carbohydrate Intolerance Health Survey. (Some Common Signs and Symptoms):

  • Poor concentration or sleepiness after meals.
  • Increased intestinal gas or bloating after meals.
  • Frequently hungry.
  • Increasing abdominal fat or facial fat (especially cheeks).
  • Frequently fatigued or low energy.
  • Insomnia or sleep apnea.
  • Waist size increasing with age.
  • Fingers swollen/feeling “tight” after exercise.
  • Personal or family history of diabetes, kidney or gall stones, gout, high blood pressure, high cholesterol/low HDL, high triglycerides, heart disease, stroke, breast cancer.
  • Low meat, fish or egg intake.
  • Frequent cravings for sweets or caffeine.
  • Polycystic ovary (ovarian cysts) for women.

My first thought when reading this was, “whoa, wait!  This isn’t what I’m suppose to feel like after eating?” For me, these symptoms, were my normal relationship with food.  Well, with the exception of the cysts and part about diabetes and such.

I’ve never been one to play around with fad diets or extreme restrictions but I love the fact that Maffetone makes it very clear that the carbohydrate intolerance test is just that, A TEST! A person shouldn’t continue the restricted diet for more then 14 days and then after that each individual needs to pay attention to their body to create a healthy relationship with the level of carbs they can tolerate.  Maffetone also makes if very clear that the foods are restricted but a person should never let themselves be hungry.  If you’re hungry eat!

SIDE NOTE:  My mom is currently taking this test and she is having trouble letting go of our societies current model that one must be hungry and monitoring calories to be eating right and not over-indulging.

I’m all for experiential experiments so I chose a date and took the test. As of today, I finished the test and I’m in my first follow up week where I’m slowly adding carbs back into my diet.

 

Results:

OUTSTANDING!

With the exception of Day 2 (lightheaded when I would stand up) and day 3 (felt like I had lead weights in my shoes), where I was withdrawing from carbs I’ve felt amazing! Here is what I noticed:

  • I lost 5 total pounds in 2 weeks , some is water weight some is fat. I’m not a heavy person and I mostly carry vanity weight; the weight that is healthy but hides the great 6pack abs everyone wants.  I was pleasantly surprise at the change in my body composition
  • I’ve had a ton of energy that was and is consistent all day
  • No mood swings and no feelings of low blood sugar
  • No headaches, stomach cramps, or bloating
  • I was never hungry. I ate when I wanted and then didn’t think about food most of the day.

 

Downside for me:

  • Since the test removes processed foods completely there is a lot of cooking and cleanup. I’ve always been one that when I want food I want it now! My go to foods that are quick were gone (even my fruit snacks). I did find some quick foods though: cucumber, almonds, cashew, carrots, and cheese.
  • Can’t really eat out without breaking the test in some way.
  • A lot more shopping.   Fresh food means buying what you will eat within a few days
  • I wasn’t super creative with my meals so I got a bit bored with the foods and would stare at my sons cereal box longingly
  • One day I had crazy cravings for something sweet.  At one point I was eyeing my son’s Frosted Mini Wheats as if my life depended on eating them.  I held strong though.  If you have the option it’s helpful to clean out any food you can’t have.

 

What I’m learning:

That’s for next time…

 

If you are interesting in the idea of burning fat as fuel go to http://philmaffetone.com/what-is-the-maffetone-method/

There is a lot of information including fitness suggestions, recipes (for after the test) and the MAF TEST.

Or google “fat for fuel” and you will find a ton of triathlete sites that suggest this style.

I definitely recommend the test for anyone. The fact that it’s so short and simple (but not easy) to follow makes it a worthwhile reset for the body.

 

Unitl next time…

 

 

 

 

 

Work or play

Work? Play? … Yes!

For a good portion of my life, work and play have been on opposite ends of the spectrum. Either I was doing productive, necessary work or I was free and playing; but never were they combined. How could they be? In my mind they were opposites.

Which isn’t surprising since even the definitions for these words put them at odds.

Work:

  1. Activity involving mental or physical effort done in order to achieve a purpose or result.
  2. Mental or physical activity as a means of earning income; employment.

Play:

  1. Activity engaged in for enjoyment and recreation, esp. by children.
  2. The conducting of an athletic match or contest.

Now, however, the idea that work and play are opposites doesn’t fly for me. The change occurred when I had my son and he started going to a Montessori school at 7 months old.  My son was doing sitting work and block stacking work. At one point he spent months doing container work which involved opening and closing containers that have different types of tops. In Montessori the children are curious and they are driven by their enjoyment of exploration and discovery. It’s also very purposeful because this exploration is how children discover their world, and how they perfect skills such as motor coordination, executive functions, troubleshooting, personal responsibility, and socialization. Every activity they engage in is very much their work. This is where my personal definitions of work and play changed. I now see the words this way: Work has a purpose or result that is external in nature and play is about our inner passion and enjoyment.

So here is my question: When did we as a society decide that work should be divorced from enjoyment, curiosity, and personal expression?

 In David Elkind’s article “The Values of Outdoor Play” he postulates that the requirements for a full happy and productive life consist of 3 things: Play, Love and Work.

“Play, love, and work are the innate drives that power human thought and action throughout the life cycle. Play is the drive to transform the world to meet our personal needs. Love is the drive to express our desires, feelings, and emotions. Work is the drive to adapt to the demands of the physical and social world. “–David Elkind

He goes on to categorize activities from this perspective:

  • Love is something one undertakes of their own initiative.
  • Play encompasses personal expression of the activity
  • Work comprises the products produced that are both original and useful to all.

With this new information let us re-evaluate what it means to play and to work. Our priorities get confused when we separate the two. At some point we decided that earning money at a job is a high priority, but taking care of our physical body is optional. We started to see being busy, stressed and always on the move as success. While relaxation, enjoyment and mental calm we regard as unproductive. It’s time to turn our work into play and our play into work. Or stated slightly differently: Our work should be enjoyable and fulfilling and our play should be honored for how purposeful it truly is. Our play is of the highest importance for our well-being and creative spirit. Embrace it and activate your highest potential. No more Work vs. Play. Let’s make it Work + Play … + Love.

Combine them, embrace them and live a full, happy and productive life!

“You quit your Job? WOW! What a leap of faith. How did you find the courage to do it?”

A Leap of faith? Regarding my decision to quit a job? Really? All I did was leave one career working for someone else to another one working for me. Not really a leap of faith in my mind. It could be a leap of faith for some, but for me it was financially feasible, and planned a year in advance. I must admit that it’s weird to be dependent on my spouse for support while I figure out my new trade, but the weirdness isn’t really worthy of a leap. It feels more like stepping into a new pair of shoes.

So, now I’m thinking: what is a “leap of faith”? When have I made one? What did it feel like? And as I searched my past I realized I’ve made a couple, of what I would call, profound (capital L) Leaps.leap

The first was when I started dating a man 12yrs my senior, who smoked (I swore to myself I would never date a smoker), and who stated outright that he was a life long bachelor and that eventually I would see him for who he was and I would leave. But something inside of me said, “Stick around!”

I also took a leap when I quit my job at the Longmont Chamber of Commerce. It was a stable job that supported my lifestyle, but it started to change me into a person I didn’t like. My outlook on life became one of bitter resentment and that’s not how I wanted to live. So, I honored my sense of integrity and loyalty, and gave a full months notice. I left that job with little in my savings account and nothing to fall back on.

My most recent leap was when I joined the EGCM (Equine Gestalt Coaching Method developed by Melisa Pearce) program. It was a leap of faith for me because I didn’t go in with curiosity and an attitude of “maybe I’ll do this for a living and maybe it will be a new fun thing to do with the horses”. No, I found the program, did a bit of research and less then a month later I jumped in with one goal: To become a full time EGCM practitioner. No, if’s ands or buts about it! I was going to do the program in the 18 months, then quit my job and become an entrepreneur!

“The strongest force in the human personality is the need to stay consistent with how we define ourselves” – Anthony Robbins

But wait! Weren’t each of those actions a Leap of Faith? If Anthony Robbins is correct, and I think that he is, there is no way I could have made those changes and remain true to how I defined myself before each of them. I had to change my identity first. Changing my identity was the leap of faith! This realization brings clarity to the actions that were previously considered the leaps of faith. I can now see the old identity and the new one that replaced it, and below is a description of the shift that occurred in each case.

With the man I was dating I had to let go of my Damsel identity that was so cautious about my choice of dates. I had to step out of the identity of a girl that dated a specific, in the box, finished package type of guy, and I had to move to an entirely different identity. The name that I feel fits this new identity is Gambler. I became someone who was willing to be open to dating and growing and if need be moving on. After my identity changed I was able to let go of the man I envisioned being with (finished package guy) and instead follow what I felt was inside this man: character, integrity and a good heart. This new me could date this man believing that we could grow in the same direction even if our paths separated at some point.

Did I have to change my identity to date this man? No.

Would the relationship have worked if I hadn’t? Probably not, because I would have tried to change him into what I wanted him to be and I would have tried to mold him to fit my Damsel identity, to be what I envisioned: that finished, total package. Instead I was able to enjoy the man he was as I stepped fully into my new Identity of Gambler. By being open I found a friend, a lover and a husband, and he found the space to eventually change his own identity a few times as well. The shift in beliefs, values, and rules I now held changed all my future decisions. Now we have been together for 12yrs and married for 6yrs. Needless to say I’m not disappointed with the way that Leap turned out.

With my Chamber job I thought I was following freedom and independence, when in fact, I was living the Coward identity. I held on to the secure job and consistent paycheck regardless of the negative impact to my mind, body and spirit. I had to move from the Coward to a person of integrity who followed her personal truth. For me this new identity was that of the Seeker. I also realize that establishing my Gambler identity helped with this shift as it allowed me to trust taking a chance with change.

Could I have left the chamber if I hadn’t made the shift in identity? No way! That “security” person needed her apartment, needed income and a title, and would live with resentment to keep it.

Only when the Seeker took over and I became a person of truth and integrity did leaving the Chamber even become an option. That’s because my beliefs about myself and others had changed. The rules of the game were new and different. My beliefs changed regarding how someone is supposed to move through the world, and this allowed me to see roads and opportunities that I couldn’t see before.

This leap of faith worked out really well, too. After leaving my job at the Chamber I found a career in IT that sustained me (rather well, I might add), for 8 1/2yrs. Interestingly, I wouldn’t have landed the IT position had I not previously shifted my identity to the Seeker. During the interview for a secretary position, I told the VP who was interviewing me that I would have to leave if a better job came along. I did this knowing full well my comment would likely cost me the job I was interviewing for. But I had to be honest. Surprisingly, instead of hiring me for the secretary job, they called me back to interview for an IT helpdesk position that paid more and offered much better potential for growth. By taking the leap of faith and moving into a new identity, I ended up with what the old Coward identity always craved. For the last 8 1/2yrs I have had the freedom to grow as a professional and I have more independence then ever financially, emotionally and physically.

And most recently with EGCM, I changed from a Servant identity, which manifested itself as a life long employee, to the Magician, a person who has the vision and creative abilities to realize the work that I was always meant to do. Once again I don’t think I could have changed identities from Servant to Magician if I hadn’t already adopted the identities of the Seeker and the Gambler. The decisions since that shift have all been in line with these new identities.

So after examining my personal leaps – what did I learn? I learned that it’s not how dangerous or scary the life change is, but the mindset behind it (i.e. what beliefs, values and rules are informing the decisions), which was created by my definition of self. Quitting my job was not a leap of faith. In fact, I was only able to quit my job because I had already taken the leap. In my case it was moving from an identity of Damsel, Coward and Servant to an identity of Gambler, Seeker, and Magician.

The leap of faith is an act for sure, but more then that it’s the decision to become something new; to let go of an entire aspect of self and step fully into another one without ever looking back. Stepping up and deciding to be me was, and always has been, the leap of faith. Leaving my IT job was just the next step once I hit the other side.