Monthly Archives: October 2012

Have some self respect

In a previous  post I was writing about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs.  I want to talk about the upper level needs and how they fit into my situation and my weight loss battle.  The next level up from intimacy according to Maslow is the need for self esteem and feelings of accomplishment.  This is an area of my life that I have struggled with and I want to share part of my journey with you tonight.  Self esteem issues are often associated   with obesity, both before becoming obese and whilst obese.   This I found to be true.  These issues manifest themselves in many forms including over eating, under eating, self harm, cutting, depression and addiction issues to name a few  (if that is not enough already).

My life was kind of coasting along and then I had to make some decisions about family issues and all of a sudden I am a lot busier and my choices have become a lot less.  There has been a significant degree of sacrifice in those decisions.  Now I do not want or need anyone’s sympathy (or praise) for those decisions when it comes to my children I refuse to be a dead beat dad and they need my care and they have it.  I am happy to sacrifice for them it is right and proper.  Where I have fallen down in the past and still struggle sometimes is standing up for my own needs. For many years I have put my own physical and emotional needs below the needs of the other significant people in my circles, you ask why?  Well I didn’t think I was good enough!  It is as simple as that.  By this time tomorrow I will have completed all the work I need to in order to become a high school teacher of English and I feel damn good about that.  I feel great that I have lost weight, I feel good knowing that I am a good dad.I realised as I stood on the scales the other day and saw another pesky kilo had found residence that there were some issues in my life that I needed to deal with that were manifesting in some limited comfort eating.  The fact that my exercise levels had slipped to almost nothing was also not helpful.  You see the past 4 months have been very hard for me.  Continue reading


Maslow’s hierarchy of needs was a result of his research which focused on American  subjects, usually College (University) students.  There are many other models as well and today I want to write about one theat is indigenous to New Zealand.  … Continue reading


Oh Misery Oh Misery

Rain falling in my heart,

Cold, dark, dismal rain.

Soaking through the bindings

that bound it back together.

A quiet despair, that pervades and infiltrates every nook and cranny.

No hiding from this rain, no place to run or flee.

Sapping the warmth from my heart and reaching into my soul,

this rain.

Every where I turn there you are.

What is your name?

Rain falling on my heart, not the rain of spring and life,

No, not the warm gentle summer rain, not the rain of prayers and hope,

not black or grey, not hail or sleet but as cold as charity.

Purple rain falling on me, washing over me drowning my soul.

With you purple rain, you have your amigos; desolation, hopelessness, mediocrity, failure.

All along for the ride, come and see what fun we can have.

There you are, laid out on the bare, hard, ground,

spilling your life blood.

Quickly now while you’re down, slash a little more,

see if the beating will stop.

There’s  a lesson, for you, reckless, forgiving, and hopeful, we can fix that.

Have another dose of reality, have a look at your foolishness,

see them all standing around, “I told you so”.

Wont you learn?

Why do you bother?

A chorus of disdain and shrill laughter,

shrieking like a polar blast, uprooting and destroying.

Is there any fight in you? Will you get up again? Go another round?

Or is that the towel I see thrown in, bloodied and torn, rent asunder.

Just a useless piece of dirtied rag, fit only to be discarded,

burnt, destroyed turned into ashes.

Oh love you whore, your irresistible siren heart has shown your nature true.

No redemption in you for the shallow man.

What destruction have you unleashed this time?

With your flood of purple rain?

What will be left behind if you ever recede?

Anything worth keeping?

A lonely Friday night poem!


Oh Misery Oh Misery

Rain falling in my heart,

Cold, dark, dismal rain.

Soaking through the bindings

that bound it back together.

Continue reading

Cookies and Milk, not tonight! Healthy Mind Healthy Body continued.

Healthy Mind Healthy Body  (continued).

I am in the final two weeks of my graduate diploma and whilst sitting in lectures today I had another aha moment.  As I am learning to do I quickly sent myself a text so that I would not forget.  It was a simple, one word representation that I want to expand on for this post.  I wrote Maslow.  There may be some who recognise the name instantly but for the others I will give a potted history of the subject with some links for you to follow. Maslow devised a table of needs which essentially lists the things that we need in our life to reach the ultimate state of self actualisation.’s_hierarchy_of_needs.  Self actualisation is a desire to reach the state where you can achieve all that you are capable of.  It is a model that is based on looking at your absolute potential, it is not a deficit model.  It is a strength based model.   So you are probably wondering what the link is between Maslow, self actualisation, healthy mind healthy body and Million for a Million

On a personal level it has been a tough three months and I have been struggling to keep my eating under control.  I was thinking about my motivation and realised that it was at different levels on the hierarchy of needs.

My physiological needs, food, shelter, clothing etc are well looked after.  My safety needs are taken care of so it is the next levels that I need to look at.  As you can see by the image the next level is at the love and belonging level.  I am blessed to have an awesome family.  Fantastic children, grandchildren, siblings and a Dad whom I love and would gladly give my life for.  Yet there is a gap in my life.  I have a couple of close friends but the lack of that one person in my life for that day to day intimacy that I seek is a significant hole in my basket of needs that I seek to fulfil.  I realise that eating is a surrogate replacement for that hole.  Knowing why you eat is half the battle. dealing with it is another issue.

Now eating is a harsh mistress, if you are in a relationship with food you can be sure that it is going to leave you unfulfilled, unhealthy, sad and just as dependent as if you are in an unhealthy relationship.  My personal problem is I am impatient and having had a real unhealthy marriage for so long that I feel like I am wanting to replace that with something great as quickly as I can. I have set ideas about how that may llok but these are being challenged and in a good way.

As I re-evaluate how that may look in my world there has to be a degree of acceptance and coming to terms with my position as a single parent with two teenagers.  I could enter into a live in relationship but unless it meets all of my needs then I may recreate that which I had before and the honest answer is that will leave me in such a state that I will end up just as dead as I was when I was 139 kgs.  Maslows model talks of sexual intimacy, I however see intimacy at a much bigger and more complex level.  True intimacy is a meeting of heart, mind and body.  Take any one of those things out of the equation and then in my opinion you do not have intimacy.   I often wonder when we here about increasing rates of obesity, depression and many other negative social indicators about the links between these and our throwaway society with temporary relationships that have little real commitment.  I am not talking about marriage per se as a piece of paper is no guarantee of commitment at any time but something a lot deeper than that.

Anyway back to the eating, night time is a danger time for me.  Sleep and I are not good friends, an ongoing result of the trauma that I was exposed to in my former work as a child protection social worker, so when I awake I have found myself heading to the fridge for a glass of low fat milk and some cookies.   Now today I just signed up for this nifty new app on facebook called habit exchange, .  No more cookies with milk and I will exchange that milk for water as well.  No exchange for the cookies.   I do not need to eat at night end of story but a drink is essential for me, and I like it cold.  It highlights my ongoing need to reflect and establish some further learning around relationships, what I need, what I want, what is possible and then seeing if that can fit into my world.  If I don’t then I risk fulfilling my nightmare of living a mediocre life and making the same mistakes again.   In the words of James Blunt, I need reason to prevail and not choice.

Well for now that is enough, an assignment is calling me and I have got enough down on this blog to clear my head for right now.  I will address the other two levels of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs  in my next posts..  Take care and remember that a healthy mind is the place to start when you are looking for a healthy body.  Oh and by the way just to dispel any thoughts that I may be turning into a blimp again my latest Jeans are a fantastic pair of classic Levi 511 skinnys in a 36.  Not too bad when I was in a 53.  Just have to remember the successes!

Healthy Mind Healthy Body

As I mused on my  Million  for a Million blog of the things that came to my mind is that it may seem incongruous or even perhaps counter intuitive that a fashion designer is concerned about healthy lifestyles.  One of the criticisms that are often levelled at the fashion industry is that it is part of the problem when it comes to people with eating disorders.  One of the surprising things that I have come up against in my journey of losing weight has been people who undoubtedly are well meaning who have expressed concern about my weight.  Telling me things like I should not lose too much weight, expressing concern about the way I look.

I guess that there was a significant difference in the way that I looked, people who had not seen me in a couple of years did not recognise me.  This was hard for me to understand as I saw myself everyday as I have been on that journey but when I look at some of the old photos I understand that.   I want to sound a word of caution about body mass index, according to that I should weigh around 72 kgs.  Well that in my opinion is just not a reality.  My goal is for around 85 kilograms.

I can understand however how people can be obsessed about their weight.  I have a social conscience and at one stage I was quite concerned about being involved with the fashion industry, however my concerns about that were alleviated as I spent some time in and out of Annah’s stores and saw first hand the many different customers that came out of her stores.  These women were really happy with their purchases.  I recognise many of Annah’s styles as I attend different functions and I can say that Annah’s garments are truly fashioned to fit many different body shapes and sizes and that the women I have seen wearing Annah’s fashion all look gorgeous. before everyone thinks this is a sponsored advertisement I want to move onto to how this fits into my “Healthy Mind Healthy Body philosophy”.

I admit that when I get into a new size pair of trousers I feel great, I bought a pair of skinny chinos for myself at the same time as I bought some for my sons.  A huge achievement for me as I did not have to go to the plus size department, I went to an everyday fashion shop.  However that feeling had nothing on the thrill in my life that set me firmly on my pathway to a healthy mind.  I had started to lose weight and was relatively newly single and I met a woman.  This woman was tall and elegant, attractive and articulate, she was interested in me even though I was still more than 130 kilograms. She conveyed to me I had qualities that were worthwhile.  It took this affirmation of my humanity, obesity and all that encouraged me to continue on my journey towards health.  It started with an honest appraisal of what I looked like and telling the truth to myself about my weight, follow this link for more about the journey the if you wish.  I had people around me who gave me encouragement and who were positive and I constantly told myself the truth.  I faced my fears and moved onwards in my journey.

You see a healthy mind is the start but learning to accept who you are is really important.  If you have really had an honest look at yourself you will see there are areas that change needs to occur.  The key is to accept that and then do something about it.  My past informs me it no longer constrains me.  I have opportunities and challenges in front of me.  I am not sure if there is any difference between the two of these. I know that the last three months have been a very trying time and at intervals I see old habits sneaking back in.  I am actively combating these.

Surround yourself with positive people, think about what you can do not what you can’t   (thanks Tony Hope) and look the world in the eye hold your head high and just do it .  Take those first steps towards dealing with whatever it is that is holding you back from achieving your goals.  I still have daily struggles in my mind but believe me that is where the battle is lost and won in any endeavour that you take on.  It truly is in the mind and if your thinking is unhealthy then your goals will be unattainable.  We all doubt ourselves but unless you ask the question of yourself you will never find out the answer and end up living a grey mediocre life.  Well about here I would drop the f bomb but that is another area of my life that I am challenging, if I am to make it as a writer then invective should be contextual and appropriate so instead I will just point you towards a poem I wrote about being mediocre and you will see how I feel about that.

Bye for now


With Thanks to Will

If all the world is indeed a stage

and Men and Women are players

then is life a game?

Oh if that were only so

and we could start afresh everyday

with no change to the stakes.

No hurt no scars no regrets

Such life Utopic and yet myopic

No pain is no gain.

Without anything to gain

what is there to strive for,

Why breathe at all.

No scars means no adventures,

No close scrapes,

moments of madness,

exhilarating sighs of relief.

No thankfulness nor fear.

No regrets means nothing ventured,

No extraordinary life.

Fishing with a line that

has no hook is not fishing at all.

What are the questions in our lives

The things that need answers.

Where do we find these and whence the answers,

In the mirror we see, our eyes a pathway to truth

No reproach no sadness no regrets

A life worth living.