Thursday, February 14, 2013


I've been thinking a lot lately about choices. In particular, I've been thinking about how we make our choices and what shapes our choices. So many of our decisions are based upon our life experiences and upbringing. The circumstances that surround us. But really, aren't those things really just excuses for not owning up to our choices?

Let me backtrack and share how I came around to this thinking. I've talked on here once or twice about my teaching experience. My last year pursuing that profession was totally horrible. The kids were not 'bad' even when they acted out in a truly horrible manner. They were products of their environment; a rough neighborhood, parents that were very young and an administration that decided that they didn't want me in their school simply because I was the wrong color.   Just recently, I started to think about those kids. They are not kids any longer. They are all in their early twenties (seriously I just dated myself didn't I?)   Maryland has a very easy to access judicial system website for cases that are public record.  I decided to pull out an old class list (I knew I had one in storage somewhere) and check their names.  It took me a while to find the paper I needed, but earlier this week I started looking.   Of the 33 students in my 4th grade classroom, 12 of them were free from having any accessible record within this state. (could be in different states and who knows what they did during their years as a minor..years I don't have access to).  There were traffic violations with at least 6 of those violators being driving on suspended licence.  I giggled at former student that had a case against him for failing to pay them metro fare and even the unrestrained unruly dog made me smile.  The paternity and child support cases made me sad because I realized that these kids were just following the footsteps of their parents...they were stuck in the cycle.  They had choices but they were not making the difficult choices and breaking free from vicious cycle that was pulling them down.  There were quite a few of my previous students that were picked up for theft....of which one of them was armed robbery.  There were a few drug charges.  But my jaw dropped two times.  TWO of my students, even though they are only in their very early 20's have been charged with Murder within this state and since adulthood.  (Murder in the first...both of them).    As bad as that year was...this breaks my heart.  Those kids HAD the world in front of them.....they could have made so much from themselves.  It was all their choice.  Those kids had choices in life to make....and so many of them have apparently made the wrong choices.   You can say 'product of their environment'....but that really IS a cop out.  They made those choices....the consequences have always been clear.  I know that they were clear...I was their teacher.  These kids told me back then that they were going to become prostitutes...we talked about consequences.  One of these kids told me that they were going to shoot me......consequences were discussed at that time too.  They KNEW the consequences....yet they STILL made negative choices that they will have to carry with them the rest of their lives.

So how does this relate to this blog and my weight loss????    Haven't I done the same thing?   I have always known that obesity kills.  I have always known that being obese would adversely affect my health.  I knew that my obesity WAS affecting me.  My cholesterol is high.  I have already blown out my knees.  Obesity has come knocking and started wreaking havoc on my body.  Yet I continued to make choices.  I tried to say "well, it's my upbringing...I come from a foodie family"  but guess what......that's an excuse!  I knew the consequences of eating.  Yet I still did it.  The choice has been mine since I was old enough to know better!  Choices.......we really do shape our lives with our choices......circumstances do not shape our lives.  It's how we personally react to those circumstances....the choices that we make that shape our lives. 

I've made the choice to be healthy and I'm not looking back.  There are no excuses.  I know that there will be days where I'm not totally on target, but it's by no ones fault by my own.  It is MY choice and no one elses.

This morning I woke up.  I didn't do much in terms of exercise yesterday and had planned to do the next day on my couch to 5 k training program.  I woke up and looked out the window to see the weather.  DRAT!  Snowy.  (as evidenced on the door of my car in the picture)  Not a whole lot of snow...just a dusting. But a dusting of snow and a nice little sheen of ice.  Ice is not something that I want to be running in.  Luckily for me, this was my 'come in late day' at work.  I didn't have to be here until noon.  I took Todd to the studio (still sharing a car...hopefully within the next week or so we will be back to being a two car family) and then went home and did a bit of stuff around the house until about 10 or so.  And then I headed off down the road.  And I did it.  Week three is complete!

I'm proud of me for FINALLY making the right choice.   As I've looked deep, I have realized that I really do like who I am.  The love affair with myself has begun again. Happy Valentines day to me!



Darcy Winters said...

Very thought provoking post today! My therapist once told me that I was like a leaf that got trapped by the current and kept banging up against the rocks. I could easily go down the 'stream,' but kept repeating the same actions over and over again knowing I would get the same results (consequences). I didn't understand what she meant then, but I do now.

Gwen said...

Good for you, Mary Fran!

Although I have learned that why we have over-eaten all these years isn't entirely our own fault. Our brains have been wired by the food and restaurant industry to react that way. It's all in Dr. Kessler's book, which I still highly recommend to everyone battling their weight.

That said, we can consciously work to overcome the 'conditioned hypereating.' It just takes knowledge of the science going on in our brains, and learning new ways to avoid the knee-jerk reactions chemically induced. :)

Unknown said...

I loved your story. It is so true! I used to be thin. In the last 10 years or so I have waffled back and forth. Now I have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and am closing in on diabetes. I have to force myself to exercise. I am working on it. That's why I started a blog. I felt like it my be extra motivation. I love reading your story. You are fantastic.


Anonymous said...

Great encouraging post MaryFran. You do many of those, and I always take something away to think about from them.