Tag Archives: self-awareness

Friends Along the Path and Chocolate Birthday Cake

WHAT? It’s one of my closest friend’s birthdays. And though I don’t really want to break my sugar fast, I know I am about to. I’ve been drinking only water and eating rather purely, and here comes the chocolate mousse cake. Damn. Before I have a chance to object it’s in front of me with a handy spoon lovingly provided. People are either on the path with you or they are unaware of what you are working on in your life. It’s okay either way. But when the cake arrived, I could’ve made a stand, I could’ve refused and told the story of my new blog to this group of close friends, but… They’re already a bit overwhelmed by my social output, so I ate the cake. It was delicious. And the next morning I hopped back on my fast. Easy.

I want to acknowledge a few friends who are instrumental in my growth and progress. These folks lovingly push me to be better, eat better, live better. We need our friends on the path. That’s part of what this blog is about. Connecting each other on the journey to wellness and health. Here are my top champions and supporters.

My Friends Along the Path

+++ Andrew Long

A 15-year friend and brother. Andrew really pushed me over the line on several of the courses of action that led to this blog in the first place. He’s always challenging my eating habits, fitness, and general life plan. In fact, a conversation I had with Andrew actually kicked my ass into action, and this version of FitbyTech was launched within hours.

I was talking about a post I’d written on another blog, where I described myself as a car. Andrew was quick to ask, “What kind of car did you pick?”

“I’m my current car, a classic 10-year old BMW with a little body damage.”

And his gestalt came immediately. “John, I want to challenge you, once more to take charge of your body image. What would your life be like if you lost 50 lbs?”

“Um…” And I launched this site within a few hours. I had actually purchased the domain a year and a half earlier, again on the push from Andrew about eating healthy.

[Contact Andrew @ Ultralifecoach.com]

+++ Sharron Watts

Sometimes a partner can see things about you that you can’t see about yourself. Sharron showed me how it felt to be truly appreciated and cared for. She provides love, support, food, and encouragement. And she has been one of my staunchest reflectors. We’re both on this food-to-health path and Sharron is the person who turned me on to the Whole 30 concept. She’s also a blogger who digs into her feelings and shares the hard truths. And Sharron has always been able to call me out when I’m not being authentic. “Um, I’m not sure I’m following you on that statement. Can you say it again?”

+++ Nancy Eldridge

Sometimes in life, when things are really hard we need people to touch and heal us. Nancy and I have known each other for 20+ years and she has provided body work for me in all those years. As someone who really knows my body better than anyone else, Nancy has always been able to intuitively dig into both the muscle and sinew as well as the heart of what was going on for me. Her constant support has involved questions about yoga, nutrition, pure water consumption, and years of “touch” healing. Massage is one of the most amazing things you can do for your body. Nancy has always been able to pierce me and nurture me at the same time. To this day I still get massages and I think, “Wow, that was the best massage I’ve ever had.” That is amazing. [email Nancy]

Even though this blog is “byTech” it’s really about friends and countrymen. Without the social connection, I don’t think I would be as motivated. Of course the writing is the thing that will heal and change my life. As I grow and understand more about what makes my body tick, I’ll gain better discipline about how I train, feed, and heal myself.

There are always more friends on the path ahead.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

image: morning train in nyc, a friend, creative commons usage

Losing My Voice, Losing the Path for a Minute

On Friday night, one of my front teeth veneers came off. If I were to show you a picture today, of my smile, you’d think I was sporting a hilarious bum costume. And when my son noticed it later in the evening, we laughed heartily. It is a funny look. Sad, but funny.

I knew what I was doing. I was giving myself a moment of relief by eating something sweet.

Of course the experience is not funny at all. I had this same tooth glued back on a few weeks ago for about $350 bucks. And at that time I was informed that this was a temporary fix until I had the money to go after the next restorative solution. Yuk.

And here we are. I’m still struggling to find new work, and I’ve now got a pirate’s smile that’s actually a bit painful. The sharp edges in my mouth are irritating when I talk. I tried the temporary fixative from the CVS, no go. And of course my real dentist doesn’t open until Monday. And that means pain and money. Always at the dentist, like a mantra, pain and money. Oh joy.

But there’s perhaps a deeper message in my accidental dismemberment. The facade and beauty thing is all wrapped up together. I’ve never been very proud of my smile. I work at it a bit, but I’m more comfortable with the sly, toothless, grin, rather than a full toothy smile. But it’s hard to speak without showing your teeth. And if there’s one indicator of economic status, the damaged or missing tooth would have to rank up there at the top of shameful displays.

So what am I to learn from this experience?

I cancelled my hopeful Match.com date for Saturday night. But as I was reviewing her profile it was a bit obvious that she was a stretch. I wanted a relationship, but I shouldn’t really compromise my standards. I was working a bit too hard to imagine her as a potential “match.”

Okay, so I’m taking the message to be a bit more introspective. Slow down a bit in the dating department and feel the feelings associated with being alone. This is part of the inspiration for this blog. Bring the focus back to me and my process. The relationship and dating will follow as I reset myself and my body on a new path.

So I’m not really able to smile at this point. And talking is sort of painful. What does that tell me? STFU.

Getting back to the basics of writing, self-reflection, and personal growth. If there was a message from the loss of my facade it is to tune in deeper to the messages of my body.

I was sad yesterday about my sorry condition. Sure, it was related to the tooth and how I had to alter my plans for recording some singing (missing teeth make strange sounds) and then drop my prospective date that I’d been working towards for a several weeks.

And I noticed my emotional dip and as I was putting a check in the bank I went into the frozen yoghurt shop next door. I knew what I was doing. I was giving myself a moment of relief by eating something sweet.

By paying attention to my experience, savoring the smaller portion, and giving myself a break, I was not breaking my program. My goal is awareness and honest appraisal.

It was the first conscious sugar I had consumed since Monday when I started this blog. And I made a note of my behavior. I knew what I was doing. I was medicating the sadness and frustration with some sugar. I gave myself permission to ease up on the program for a minute. AND I had about a 1/3 of a normal serving. I gave myself a dessert and made sure that I drastically restricted the portion. And just a few peanuts sprinkled on-top of the non-fat vanilla.

And I listened to myself. “It is okay. This is a journey not a contest. And occasionally I need to comfort myself. Today a little yoghurt isn’t going to make a huge difference in my program.”

It was a loss. I was determined a few hours earlier to go the month of October without any conscious sugar consumption. Oh well. This is a reset.

The point is to make changes in lifestyle and consciously becoming aware of the way I use food. By paying attention to my experience, savoring the smaller portion, and giving myself a break, I was not breaking my program. My goal is awareness and honest appraisal.

And this morning, I can reflect and get back on the horse.

“The rest of October without any conscious sugar consumption.”

Stay aware of what’s going on. Be gentle. Don’t beat yourself up. And get back on the horse the next day.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney

image: happy pirate, lenoid mamchenkov, creative commons usage