Losing Weight: Inspiration + Discipline

(This is about my experience, and I know not everyone has the same experience. But there are people like me out there, and this is for them.)

I’ve been trying to lose weight for as long as I can remember, but it has been on and off as my weight fluctuates. I started gaining weight and actually became a little overweight on my last year in university and my first year working. Then I went to study Latin dance and lost weight and was my ideal weight for a couple of years until my heart was broken and I became depressed and resorted to stress eating. Then I had the opportunity to move to another country. When my husband and I first met he was so thin and I was overweight, but he liked me anyway. I tried to lose weight, and I did and was quite happy with how I looked in my wedding gown three years later. After 4 years I had a baby and since then I have not been successful in reaching my target weight. My son is now 8 years old.

Looking back, my recipe for losing weight back then was: inspiration/challenge and discipline. I was inspired to lose weight because I wanted to look nice for my then-boyfriend. I was challenged to lose weight after I realized I couldn’t wear the dress I liked because it wouldn’t fit me. There were times I was challenged to lose weight because a guy I liked, liked a girl who was so skinny! As an older person now I find those inspiration/challenges seemed really silly but they helped me lose weight! The point is we need something to inspire us or drive us to want to lose weight.

At this period in my life, my first and most important reason for wanting to lose weight is to be healthy. As my son is on the Autism Spectrum Disorder and has several delays in most skills yet growing taller and heavier everyday, I need to stay healthy to still be able to handle him even when he becomes taller than I in a couple of years. This is real and serious inspiration.

Next comes discipline. Discipline means exercise and diet. Those times I lost weight I was either going to dance lessons, dancing in front of the TV (there are lots of dance workout videos available) or running almost everyday. The important thing was I was physically active. Apart from exercise, I also went on a diet. Diet did not mean not eating, but reducing the portion. I have always believed in Aristotle’s idea of moderation in everything.

I put exercise and diet under discipline because these two indeed demand discipline. There were times when I became lazy or tempted to eat more than what I needed, and it took a lot of self-control to get myself to workout or say no to more food. Again, that inspiration/challenge helped me stick to discipline.

And as once again I am trying to lose weight, I am also trying to stick to my recipe of challenge + discipline. So far I have been doing well as I am not home yet (I always put on weight when I go home to the Philippines, where everything, especially eating, is more fun!! The real challenge will be spending the summer back home.)

Right now I have started shedding a couple of pounds, and I have to thank my husband who has also become health conscious when he reached 40. Like me, he realized how important it is for both of us to stay healthy for our son. Though he does not exercise as much as I do (I dance in front of the TV everyday) as he is always busy at work, we both try to eat healthy by eating more vegetables and fruits and less meat and bread/rice.

Like I said, so far so good. I hope you find your inspiration and add lots of discipline to achieve your goal.

Good luck!

T.

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Writer’s Block (Or, Where’s Bradley Cooper when you need him?)

People inspire me. What they say and how they behave are ideas that get me writing. When they leave or just disappear from my life, I will be inspired to write some more for a week or two, and then there will only be silence.

No amount of free writing will make me come up with something I’d be happy with.

I can write a rant about a number of things, but I feel I am too old to be making my rants public. I’m supposed to have better self-control and calm that go with age.

At the moment I have zero inspiration for any creative thinking. It is too bad that one’s spouse can’t be an inspiration. My husband is a wonderful person, my best friend number 1. A witty, sometimes very funny and intelligent man. But he is so real to me. So real. And I say that with love.

What gives me inspiration is having people around me who can call forth my imagination, and right now my brain’s a desert.

Where’s Bradley Cooper when you need him?

Bradley Cooper

There he is! Got this pic from this site. 

On writing and inspiration

For as long as I can remember I have always said to myself I could never be a Writer. But, I can always be an aspiring writer. My uni professor  had my story, a tale I wrote for his Creative Writing class, published, and it was then I started to hope to become a writer.

To hope to become a writer.

That was over twenty years ago, and I am still hoping. I have had a few of my short stories published in literary journals back home, but having them published does not make me a writer. How do I know I am not a writer? I still depend on inspiration to make me write.

Recently I watched a movie called The Words. I would never have heard of this movie here if not for my best friend #3 who knows I’m crazy about Bradley Cooper (I know I’m 42 and married and have a child, so what?) And he was right about me liking the movie because gorgeous Bradley Cooper plays a writer in this movie (a gorgeous writer!)Bradley-Cooper1

(photo source)

I keep digressing.

Although the movie is about making mistakes, trying to correct them and redeeming oneself, what moved me most was a couple of lines uttered, not by gorgeous Bradley Cooper, but by Jeremy Irons.

The old man (Jeremy Irons) spoke about that period when he wrote the novel, how he forgot to eat, how the words just flowed from nowhere, and he just kept on writing. He was inspired. The muse came to visit him, but never came back after that. That’s my favorite scene.

When I watched that scene, I felt like it was I telling the story. I experienced those same feelings over twenty years ago when I wrote my very first short story –a love story– at two o’clock in the morning. Earlier that evening I saw a scene from a romantic movie, the silhouette of a man and a woman standing on the beach, watching the sunset. That scene stayed with me even after I fell asleep. Then in the middle of the night, I woke up and felt the need to write something. And I did. My hand shook as I was writing, and I was writing so quickly as the words just kept coming, flowing, and I was afraid I would lose them if I failed to write them right away, like sands slipping through the fingers. When I finished I felt exhausted but at the same time relieved that it was over. That was the first time the muse came to me. And it never came again.

Last week I could not write anything. Or I could have, but I did not and still do not want to write about anything  depressingly  sad  and those were all I encountered last week: a friend getting divorced, a friend thinking of breaking up with his girlfriend, a young person I know passed away (RIP). When I told my husband I could not write anything, he just said “Don’t force yourself to write or you will just write something that says nothing.”

And he’s right. I cannot will myself to write. I always need something to make me write. I am not a writer.

But I can always be an aspiring writer.