Monday, June 12, 2006

Mental Ex-Lax

"You can tame arything, son, exceptin' the human tongue." - Penny Baxter in "The Yearling"

"Death and life are in the power of the tongue..." Proverbs 18:21

"A word is dead when it is said, some say. I say it just begins to live that day." - Emily Dickinson

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Do you ever wish you could take a mental laxative to rid your brain of negative thoughts and feelings that bring you down and "stop you up" - mentally, at least? Sometimes those thoughts constipate us physically, as well. They can keep us from trying new things or achieving new levels. But where do they come from? There are many sources, but the one I believe is probably the most prevalent is the human tongue.

As I mentioned in a previous post, several years ago I was on a program called ediets (for information, see Ediets looks at the issue of weight loss from a mental as well as a physical angle, and I will never forget one exercise I did while a member - one which may, in fact, have been the inspiration for something I'm going to share with you later on in this post. Participants were asked to make a written list of all the hurtful things others had said to them about their weight, and then submit them to a message board designed especially for that purpose. Folks, I was shocked at the level of cruelty some of those comments displayed - and I don't shock easily! It struck me yet again that while being overweight may be a taboo in our society (and yet, was ever a societal taboo so frequently broken!), criticism of the overweight is certainly not. Reading others lists actually brought me to tears at several points. Perhaps the worst of it, at least to me, was the fact that family members seemed to be the greatest offenders. Yet the purpose of making these lists was not to indulge in a mass self-pity fest - or even to give us an excuse to go after somebody with a gun that might stand up in court on the grounds of "temporary insanity." Far from it! It was to cleanse ourselves of these destructive comments by getting them out in the open before they were collected in one mass pile and burned.

Have you ever thought about what prompts these types of remarks in the first place? It may be low self-esteem - a need to bring someone else down in order to feel superior. In many cases, I believe it's simple thoughtlessness, a lack of imagination that would permit us to feel how our comments will make others feel. At other times, it's societal bias. In my own case, a close relative whom I'll identify within this blog simply as "M." insisted that it was concern for my health - even though not one of the comments I collected for my own list held the slightest reference to that subject!

What's really important are the aftereffects. Without repeating specifics, I have been offered money to lose weight (a dollar per pound. What do you think - a good deal?); been told, in essence, that my weight rendered me undateable; and had it strongly suggested that my excess pounds denoted "a lazy lifestyle" and might keep me from getting a job I wanted (this has never proved the case, by the way). When I rebutted that my friends told me I looked fine to them, I was told that there must be something wrong with them. Later, when a blind date never called me afterwards, it was because "most men are really turned off by fat."

Who was right? Am I correct in believing, years later, that the above opinions expressed far more about the speaker than myself?

Ultimately, we are the only ones who can answer such questions. But getting back to that ediets exercise, while I can't speak for the others who participated, I can tell you that I felt a definite sense of relief afterwards. And yet, I guess I'm just not that good at letting go, because sometimes phrases from my own list come back to me with twinges of the pain they once caused. It's times like those that made me think of the phrase "Mental Ex-Lax." Unfortunately, outside the realm of science fiction, I'm not aware of any pill that can actually perform a mental purging. But several weeks ago, while I was out for my evening walk, an idea occurred to me that fit right in with my "treading" theme, and I'd like to share it with you.

Are you ready? Good. Now, I want you to get out your walking shoes, some masking tape, and a pen. If you don't have any masking tape, just use any kind you can write on. Put a strip or two on the bottom of each shoe. Now write across that tape any destructive comments or thoughts that are mentally constipating you, whether they have to do with weight or some other topic. Use shorthand or other symbols or abbreviations if you have to in the interest of space. Then put on your shoes and go for a walk. That's right, WALK. And with every step you take, remember that you're treading on those hurful words, and that if you walk long and hard enough, you'll eventually rub them out. Put those words in their rightful place - under your feet! TREAD on them, STOMP on them; heck, DANCE on them. Do it as often as you need to. You'll kill two birds with one stone by getting more fit mentally as well as physically!

Hey - I'll do it if you will. Don't forget to let me know if it helps. I believe that, given enough time, it will.

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Time now to take a look at this week's "Tool of the Trade" from the list in my last post. This week's feature is a supplement called Slim, made by AmeriSciences. I was introduced to it by my doctor, who took it himself, along with his staff. Slim contains Serotain™, which, according to the AmeriSciences website, "provides 5HTP to help elevate mood, which in turn decreases appetite," and green tea, which "contains potent antioxidant compounds which improve the efficiency with which we burn fat." I have no idea what 5HTP is, and more than half the time I can't recall what an antioxidant is, either, but I can tell you that it works. The normal dosage is one tablet 30 minutes before each meal.

Slim is rather pricey - one bottle contains 90 capsules, which means a 30-day supply will cost you $75, which amounts to $900 per year. (I did the math so you wouldn't have to.) You might not need or want to take it for that long. Or you might feel that's not an unreasonable amount spread over a year's time, if it helps you with your weight loss goals. Whatever the case, I can honestly say that I have found it helpful, and you may, too. If so, just mosey on over to

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In closing, I've been blogging for five weeks now and some of you may be wondering, just how is she doing at this fitness gig? I haven't posted any stats yet, such as beginning weight, pounds lost or, heaven forbid, gained, decreasing measurements, etc. And frankly, it's easy to get sidetracked with product reviews, recommendations, quotations and stories. But the time comes when you have to ask, even if no one else has lately, "How am I really doing?" That's what I call getting down to the nitty gritty, folks. And it's what I'll be doing next week. So stay tuned!

-Treader Lucie-

1 comment:

Sean Perkey said...

Hello Lucie,

I wanted to thank you for your wonderful email. It's always nice to hear from folks who are going through similar life changes. I wanted to stop by your blog and ofer my support. I love what you're doing here. Your blog is very uplifting and quite informative. I'll have to make it a regular stop on my daily rounds. Maybe we could exchange links, if you like.

About the whole 'being open and honest about my weight', trus me it's not in my nature at all. First I had to admit to myself that I weighed that much. Then I had to test public reaction by telling a close friend. Then I had to come up with an idea for how to frame my blog in a way that would bring in enough traffic to keep me motivated to stick it out. I figured that the whole truth was the best way to pique curiosity. Trust me I'm still not completely comfortable with it. For instance I haven't told my father about the blog but all things come in time.

Ok, now I'm rambling!
Thank you again for your encouragement and I would like to offer mine to you. It's all about improving quality of life and I think "the juice is worth the squeeze" don't you?

Sean Perkey