Weight Loss Tip Booklet - 151 Simple Ideas

Ever have one of those times where you obsess over whether or not you took care of something at home? You know, like, “Did I lock the door?” or “Did I remember to shut off the oven?” You’re sure you did; at least it seems like you did. But the further you get from home, the less convinced you become. After awhile, the doubt burrows into you brain and you finally decide, “What the heck, I’ll turn around, go home, and check it out; ‘just to be safe.’” Of course, you were right in the first place. The stove WAS off. The door WAS locked. All was fine. You feel silly, relieved, frustrated, angry with yourself; (choose one or “all of the above”) but continue to your destination; ten minutes late but no longer encumbered by the phantom brain wave.

It doesn’t mean you’re ravaged by OCD if it happens every so often. I think it’s normal (at least I hope so), After all with so much on our minds, sometimes we don’t mentally check off the smaller events. That’s what happened to me yesterday.

The saga began as I mounted my bicycle to ride to yoga. With clear skies and a light breeze, it was weather made for a commute. I had allowed enough time so I could ride at a leisurely pace, admire the scenery, breathe deep the cool air, and be grateful for being alive. All was as it should be; at least until the gremlins got me.

It began with a random thought, “Did you close the garage door?”

Understand, I have never left the garage open when I’ve left my house so there’s no reason to assume I had done anything but that on this occasion. Yet, the more I tried to turn down the noise, the louder it became. With every crank of the pedals, the more I worried. Deciding I was ruining a perfectly good bike ride, I opted to return home and confirm the house was indeed secure.

To turn around, I pulled into a driveway but due to its narrow width, I couldn’t complete the action. I tried to put my feet down while straddling the frame, and waddle backwards to the street. Alas, due to the slope of the driveway, combined with my less-than-towering height, my feet couldn't reach the ground. The bicycle (with me attached of course) began rolling backwards; before I could extricate myself, I lost balance. Upon realizing gravity was going to win this battle, I stretched out my arms to cushion the blow, landing with a severe THUD next on the curb to a garbage can. My right hand took the brunt of the impact; shortly before my jaw bounced against the concrete and my ribs smashed against the tubular frame of the bike, leaving me in a tangle on the street.

As cars passed, I wondered if anyone would stop, or did they consider a middle-age guy laying in the sewer some sort of performance art or misplaced garbage?

“Look honey, isn’t that a man sprawled in the gutter next to a bicycle?”

“By Jove, I think you’re right!”

“Do you think we should see if he’s okay?”

“Why should we? It looks like the people in that house tried to throw him away, but missed the can. We don’t have time to pick up other people’s trash. However, you’d think they’d have more pride in the appearance of their property, don’t you?”

With a collective “harrumph,” and noses turned skyward, they would drive on. Whether or not that was the conversation, no one stopped.

I assessed the damage. My jaw and hand were already throbbing but I was obviously conscious. I could — with much pain — move my fingers and my mouth. My chest ached; yet I could breathe. The bike was fine; my mirror and light were askew; but simple to fix.

With no small amount of effort, I pulled myself to vertical; considered my options, and came to the thankful realization “on the grand scale of things,” it could have been worse. I was startled at how grateful I actually was, despite the pain.

Therein lies the lesson. Most of the time, “it could be worse” and someday “it will be worse.” But not right NOW — and that’s where I live, right now. I’m no Pollyanna; I understand “stuff happens” (and 24 hours later I am seriously considering a trip to my doctor to check on my hand), yet I was able to continue on with my plans and make it home just fine (albeit more slowly). There are people whose daily experiences are far worse than most of what happens to me in an entire lifetime. When I put it into that perspective, I am grateful. When I dramatically lay my forearm across my forehead, close my eyes, toss back my head, and lament, “woe is me,” it does feel worse.

As a dear friend reminded me, “When everything seems crazy, remember to breathe” (even if my ribs hurt).

Oh yes, I had locked the garage door.

The common, accepted portrayal of a happy, joking, and supportive family joyously celebrating around a food-laden Thanksgiving table is definitely not a universal reality.

Some families despise the ritual (and aren't too keen on one another either); yet they meet year-after-after out a sense of guilt or tradition, jabbing each other with passive-aggressive verbal stabs. Even within families that are indeed content overall, certain members of the clan might resent, or even dislike, one another. They hold grudges over past transgressions or historic bitterness stalks silently beneath a transparent veneer of tranquility.

I point out these realities not with intent of injecting an unpleasant aftertaste to Thanksgiving dinner, nor as some sort of post-apocalyptic view of the holidays. And to be honest, I also do not know percentages of "unhappy" versus "happy" families; maybe it's minuscule; possibly it's everyone but you and I. Yet it is true. Moreover, to focus on "how many" bypasses the greater issue: we cannot release these strains until we acknowledge they exist. Once there, we discharge them with a type of thanks.

"Thanks," you might ask with understandable confusion; "Why would one give thanks for an irritating collection of boorish relations with whom I'm forced to endure boring football games and overcooked turkey?"

In the traditional sense of "giving thanks," you wouldn't. However, when one expands the concept of thankfulness, we realize that gratitude and forgiveness are actually the same act. All that differs is the direction in which they are pointed.

Similarities abound. Each brings with it a sense of inner peace and happiness. The action in each is directed toward another person; yet its true purpose is to help us, not the recipient. Each releases an responsibility: whereby thanks releases me from obligation to you. Forgiveness un-tethers you from a perceived debt I feel you have to me. The results are identical; what differs is the grounds. We give thanks when we believe something is "positive," while forgiving what we consider "negative.

Of course, it's normal to feel someone is unworthy of forgiveness. In effect, I cannot forgive you because the pain you inflicted was so extreme, or because I was so violated, that I lost control over part of my life; in essence you took away a part of ME. How do I forgive such heinous acts while remaining true to my core beliefs?

The dilemma lies in equating forgiveness with approval of the behavior.

Forgiveness is actually about my feelings, not your actions. If I change the perspective from "what you did" to "how I feel about what you did," I reclaim control over my emotions and can begin to regain that which was taken. The only alternative is to continue to be a victim, experiencing the anguish on a regular basis - the torment not only extreme, but also constant and repeated.

Unfortunately many view forgiveness as a mark of weakness. The reality is it requires enormous strength to direct one's emotions. Said Ghandi, "The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong." Forgiving what your sister did long ago, or how your parents mistreated you is not easy. However holding long-standing grudges does zero to help heal the pain, and - can we be honest? - it's really not hurting them in the slightest.

It might be time to let go, even a little. And this holiday seems as good of a time as any to start the process.

About the author: Scott "Q" Marcus became a THINspirational speaker and autho after losing 70 pounds in 1994. He can be reached for coaching, consulting or presentations at www.scottqmarcus.com, scottq@scottqmarcus.com, or 707.442.6243. Find him at www.facebook.com/scottqmarcus or follow him @scottqmarcus. He is thankful you have read his column for the last five years.