Taking the full measure of life


January 27th, 2008 · 8 Comments

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On the plane flying to and from our Seattle/Vancouver vacation, I worked on some of the exercises that my simplicity circle has undertaken from the book The Not-So-Big Life (by Sarah Susankah). In one of the early chapters of the book, Susankah has a long, rather exhaustive—and somewhat exhausting—list of questions about lifestyle which the reader is supposed to answer in writing. (I actually found it useful, in the end, that there were so many questions. I would answer a few easy ones and then get to a harder one—with my brain already geared up in that area of my life to pull out the real, honest answer.) One section of questions concerns exercise, and another concerns food habits. While I typed my answers on my laptop, I realized with a rush of appreciation just how vital the gluten-free, weight-loss/health/exercise, and food/recipe bloggers are to me; they—many of you—are my ever-present support system, with their/your writings always available for me to peruse.

On the days I’m eating lunch at my desk at work, I do my daily flip through some of the blogs I read to see what other people are up to and how they’re doing: to ‘listen’ through the web, to gain insight, and to offer support. Reading the weight-loss blogs while I’m eating helps keep me accountable about how much I’m consuming at that meal. Reading the gluten-free blogs and weight-loss/health/exercise blogs in general keeps me pumped up about foods I can make and reminds me that I am not at all alone in this learning curve we call life; I have people working beside me, and I have people to guide me. (When I imagine how it must have felt to have celiac disease twenty years ago—well, it seems like the world must have been a largely lonely place for people adjusting to celiac disease before the internet.) When I am struggling or I feel a strange (fortunately rare) urge to sabotage myself, all I have to do is flip through others’ blogs to see that it really is true that this too shall pass, and probably quickly, as long as I stick with taking care of myself. Reading others’ experiences with exercise has helped get and keep me motivated about my own path; for example, I remember feeling such extreme excitement when Kim (who had a similar weight to me then, though now she’s five pounds lighter than me!) finished her first 5k. I was so proud of her, and I knew from her experiences and others’ that I could get there, too. When I’m upset, or feeling down, or need inspiration, I’m fortunate to have people in my ‘real life’ who are there for me, certainly. But one of my greatest tools for keepin’ on keepin’ on is just to read a few blogposts and feel the sense of humanity that emanates through many of them. Bloggers—many of you—bare your true selves on the internet, just as I try to do, and it enriches my life.


When we got back from our vacation, I had missed eight days in the blogger world. A rare snowy day in Atlanta afforded me the opportunity to curl up under a quilt with a cup of hot tea (with honey and vanilla almond milk–mmmm) and flip through blogs to catch up. I thought it would take me a couple of hours. In the end, I had to take bits and pieces of three days to catch up on everyone’s writings, because I wanted to go back and read all the thought-provoking, insightful, tasty-looking, questioning, struggling, funny, exasperated, etc. posts that various bloggers I read had put up while I was gone. I wanted to understand the trials people were experiencing that had cropped up in the last eight days, and I wanted to congratulate them on successes. I wanted to re-engage with something that truly is a community–or, actually, a series of many overlapping communities, just like the real world.

The flip side is that blogging my own experiences also helps keep me accountable. Though I don’t write exhaustively about my moment-to-moment experiences, I always remind myself when I am writing to keep my writing true to my experiences. Knowing that I will be honest on here helps keep me more focused on taking care of myself than I would be otherwise. Being able to offer support and ideas to others through writing is a joy to me. And the support and advice I get from comments, emails, and even supportive, silent lurkers helps propel me along on this weight loss/health/exercise/gluten-free/allergen-free/self-care/foodie journey that I’m on. Ultimately, this is a path to greater self-knowledge and self-actualization. The time period starting from January 2007 through now (and still going) has been one of the most interesting times of my life in terms of personal growth, and each of you—along with many people who don’t read my blog at all—have played a role in that. This post is to say thank you for what you have offered me, to let you know that I hope I am offering you something equitable, and to tell you I look forward to going where we are headed, even—perhaps especially—if it is a journey that never ends.

Tags: gratitude · non-scale victories

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kim // Jan 27, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    I don’t know if it is possible to tell you how wow’d I was at your mention in this post!! πŸ™‚ You have been an ongoing inspiration to me. Because of you I have tried different foods and recipes that I would have NEVER considered before. You have made me think about how I grocery shop and even how I need to remember to forgive myself at times. THANK YOU for your support. You give so much to the rest of us bloggers!!!

  • 2 HotThickChick // Jan 28, 2008 at 8:28 am

    That felt like the writing equivalent of a hug. πŸ˜‰

    Your lifestyle change has been such an inspiration (and loved your re-cap last week!) and your comments have obviously been extremely helpful to me!

    It is amazing how much support, and great ideas can be exchanged via blogging.

  • 3 Annie // Jan 28, 2008 at 9:47 am

    I can only echo what Kim and HotThickChick said above. Your outlook on life and your journey thus far are an inspiration and I am truly glad that you are sharing all of it through this site. It has helped me immensely.

  • 4 Ginny // Jan 28, 2008 at 10:18 am

    Wow, thanks for visiting my blog. I would have never thought of blogging as a weight watching tool but I can really see your point. And congratulations on all the changes you’ve made in your life.
    I am working hard to change our family over to a more healthy life style and making some free time for me to start training for a 5k race in the next several years.
    I will be stopping by alot more often!
    Have a good day

  • 5 Les // Jan 28, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Sally, you are ever fabulous and a role model for the many of us who look to you for inspiration. You dare to follow your aspirations, and are greatly rewarded for your brave efforts. Thank you and bless you for being a bright place of hope.

  • 6 michelle // Jan 28, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    Sally, the ‘blogosphere’ really is an amazing community, isn’t it? You can touch people and their hearts halfway across the world, through your words and expressing small peices of yourself…and friendships form in the most unexpected ways and places. You already know I think you’re an incredible inspiration – so thank you, also, for being you and for sharing you with us. I can’t wait to see all the wonderful things that the future is going to continue to bring you.

  • 7 Beth // Jan 28, 2008 at 10:23 pm

    Thanks for visiting and your comment on my sculpture.
    Also, you are an inspiration to me as well, I think that you are amazing even though I only know you through blog. And I check your blog everyday. πŸ™‚
    Thank you for being so true to yourself and letting us see that.

  • 8 You Have My Word « Diet, Dessert and Dogs // Feb 2, 2008 at 11:21 am

    […] all kinds of approaches to eating, weight loss, and life in others’ blogs and found humor, new perspectives, and inspiration there.  As I continue to seek out the best of healthy and, at the same time, […]

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