Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I've been wondering how possible it is to change just one aspect of a person's life without it affecting other areas of life, or more specifically REQUIRING that other areas to change to support the success of the first change (that probably sounds like nonsense, but believe me, in my exhausted and ill head it's crystal clear).

What I'm getting at is how almost everything in my life is changing, HAS to change, because of my decision to become strong and healthy. The process of this is interesting too. Lemme list a short timeline:

  • December 19, 2011: Just 3 days after the last semester ended, I was at a community center working out for about half an hour. I had planned it this way so that I could use the 4-week break to build exercise into my weekly schedule. I didn't change how I eat though and even went to dinner at Jack in the Box after the gym one night (I get the irony, don't worry).
  • January 8, 2012: Joined Club Fitness. I am frugal, have to be, and I never pay for something if can get if free elsewhere (which I can in this case), but I realized that if I'm going to be someplace a few hours a week, I need to make sure that it supports me, and a cramped, basement fitness center that limits how long I can use a machine does not.
  • January 13, 2012: worked out with an honest-to-goodness trainer for the first time in my life. I was shocked at how hard I was pushed, and just as shocked to see the reality of how out of shape I am. I signed up for four more sessions. I'm told that I need to start changing my diet and I'm excited about it.
  • January 15: I am tired and very crabby. I do my best to hide on the couch to avoid facing all the food I can no longer have. Everywhere I go I see food that I used to just pick up and enjoy, and my mind is in thinking overload because a) I stop and realize what I'm about to do, and b) I feel like crap because I don't know how I'm going to stop these terrible habits. Also, if I'm not eating, what will I do to fill my time? This is not a joke.
  • January 24: I weigh myself certain that I'll see a loss. Yes I've only recently changed my diet, but I've been exercising up to 5 times per week for a month, so surely something good has happened. I instantly break when the scale shows that I have not lost a single pound. What have I been doing all of this for? I know what I'm doing is good for my insides, but the only measure I have of that is the external number that shows up on the scale. I sink so fast that I don't even know I am until I've hit the bottom.
  • January 25: I wake up and decide that I'm going to fight off the negative feelings. I know this system works and I openly committed to it (which means that I knew there would be rough times but that I wouldn't use those times as excuses to give up on myself). With the help of several people who stepped in to encourage me, I was able to pull myself back up to ground level.
  • January 25 (cont.): I sign a contract committing to 50 more sessions with my trainer. I've seen the benefits of having a trainer, a good one, and I'm experiencing many of those now. I am pushed to do things I didn't think I could do while in such bad shape. After just two weeks of working out with him, I feel stronger and see that I am able to do more and with less of a struggle than I would have imagined. When he saw me crashing, he jumped in, grabbed my figurative hand, and pulled me up. He assured me that I was doing well and was right on track with this process. Because I trust his expertise, I decided to go with it. This is what I like about having a trainer!
  • January 29: Because I'm getting better and feeling better, there is an area of my life that now has a spotlight on it because it is so full of negativity. I recently discovered through therapy that there is a pattern to my depression, that this area is the cause of it. Everything else in my life has been worked through, there is nothing else to bring me down, except this one thing. I have thought for a while that this situation isn't working, and I finally admit that out loud. I take a stand for myself and make one of the most difficult decisions possible.
  • January 30: I'm bouncing off the walls, I want to dance, I want to work it all out on the treadmill. Instead I chill with a friend and then work it all out in the kitchen, cleaning and preparing food while gettin' down with some great music.
  • January 31: My life feels new, like a spring day after the rain stops. Everything and everyone comes out, the air is cool and smells fresh. I had no idea that I've been living beneath the surface of myself, but here I am.
I'm filled with so much excitement about the present and the future. I'm anxious for the future even though I have no clue what will be there. I only know that I am going to love it because, after decades of dealing with shit, I have broken everything down, I have screamed until it hurt to whisper, I have hurt myself in hopes of ending the pain, and I have felt the pain slice through me as I fought to push it out. I've just stepped out the other side and there are no words to describe how amazing it all is.

LL xoxo

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Jack Handy

Life is funny. Maybe not. I'm not sure cuz I'm still trying to figure it all out. I've spent the better part of 4 decades surviving the life I was born into and the circumstances that took place along the way. I'm not complaining, it just sets the stage for what is going on in my life now. I've learned to make excuses for why I don't stand up for myself, but doing so has kept me in less-than-desireable situations too many times and for too long. I've never held out for my dream man, I've almost always let the man choose me, and let me tell you, the men doing the choosing were just looking for someone to say yes. Whose fault is it? Mine? Theirs? I know what happened in my life to make feel unworthy of anything better, but what happened in theirs that led them to use power over certain women in order to feel good about themselves?

I count myself so lucky to see the truth of my life and the negative things that were ingrained in me, I just wish it had been easier to get to the point I'm at now. I've healed so much and I'm thrilled about my progress, but I'll always be sorry about the people I've hurt along the way. Interestingly, I've hurt people as my unhealthy self and I've hurt people in my choices to get better. *sigh* That was today.

Getting better is not easy and there's no quick fix, but I can't in good conscience be the person I was raised and conditioned to be. I refuse to spread more misery than I already have (people who are hurting can unintentionally hurt those around them while in the process of letting out grief), and I equally refuse to settle for the depressive state I so often find myself to be in.

This is the deep, dark secret of my life, that there has been a monster eating me alive. It's had many voices, but the worst was when it took on my voice. There's nothing worse than being witness to an internal fight over what you think you deserve and what you've been taught you deserve.

They say that people who lose weight change, and I can see how that's true. Folks can become full of themselves as they enjoy new experiences in slim bodies. That is something I never want to do. I will fall into the other category of people who change because they've figured out how to successfully let go of all the emotional crap. However, doing this means no longer taking people's BS. It means holding others responsible for their actions. It means letting go of people who, for their own sakes, need to see me fail. While I wish it didn't have to happen this way, I've reached a point where I'm not sad about letting certain people go. I did it last spring with my family, and then low-and-behold I lost 20 pounds. If that's not a sign . . .

I have fought other people my entire life, and I've even fought myself, but for the first time in my life I am fighting FOR myself . . . because I deserve it.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Blog Post 100 (shame it was a bad day)

My main reason for starting my Facebook page was to show folks the ups and downs of losing weight and getting healthy. I followed a great weight-loss blog last summer about a woman sharing her goals and effort to lose some weight, but then she disappeared for a few weeks. When she returned she admitted that things had not been going well and didn't want to blog about it. She wrote that any time there is a gap in someone's weight-loss blog you can be sure it's because the person has made bad choices that he/she doesn't want to share.

When I read that it bothered me because she was right, but the problem is that by only sharing your success, it can make it harder for others who need to be inspired. People committing to changing negative aspects of their lives need to see how other folks overcame challenges so that when they themselves face challenges they can say, "Well (insert blogger name here) said it was tough for the first week, so I just need to push through this time and it will get easier." This type of blogger honesty is also great for readers to learn tips on coping with the difficult times.

While it's not easy, this is why I've decided to be honest and share the bad as well as the good. Eating has been my strongest coping mechanism since I was 14-years-old. In case you don't already know how old I am, that's 26 years of perfecting a crutch that could be used at gatherings with other people or hidden alone in my house when no one could criticize. I recently shared with a friend how ingrained non-activity and eating are to people like myself, and that it's not just about making a bit of time to get to the gym or switching french fries for carrots, but I'll get into that on another day in another post.

The point is, losing weight and getting healthy is freakin' hard. Some days I'm all Jane Fonda excited about it, but other days it stops me in my tracks and brings me to tears, which brings me to today . . .

This was a terribly emotional day, mostly because the insanity of the semester is hitting me and I am terrified (yes, terrified) that it will get in the way of my efforts. I am in this physical shape because everything else has always come first, but I'm finally strong enough to stand up and fight for a better me. I think that's why the number on my scale upset me so much today--if there isn't any improvement now with all of this dedication, what hope can I have if my schedule forces me to work out less often? (Note: I have since heard from my trainer that my efforts are indeed paying off, but this is how I was feeling up until then.) This must be why I didn't enjoy my time at the fitness center Monday night. Funny how we sometimes feel something is wrong before we even understand the cause.

So once again, for the sake of honesty, let me tell you how I ended my day. I took a nap because I'm super tired and haven't gotten enough sleep the past few nights. This was O.K. because my body needed some rest. However, I didn't work out as I had planned. Actually, I didn't do anything tonight at all. I completely shut down--didn't work on my growin'-like-a-weed to-do list, and worst of all, I didn't eat anything for dinner. Not one single thing. I did not want to cook but because I'm feeling so anxious I didn't want to go anywhere near a restaurant, convenience store or a business that sells chips and ice cream. Yeah, it was that bad tonight.

Some would say I should have gone to the fitness center anyway because that's where I need to turn when feeling anxious. Others would say that I made the right choice to stay home for one night. All I know is that tomorrow is another day and I'm going to do everything I can to put this one behind me.

Monday, January 9, 2012

January 9, 2012

Over the past 3 weeks I have been making efforts to work out at fitness centers with the intention of making exercise a new habit. I am thrilled to report that it is now a habit! Physically I feel great and have tons of energy, and I no longer enjoy spending hours sitting on the couch watching T.V. and playing games on my laptop (both of which I'd do at the same time).

Why the successful change? Well, there are a few reasons actually:
  1. I always thought I didn't have time--this was partially true. My schedule changes every day and every week, and I'm one that needs structured times for exercise, such as in the morning before my first class. Seven years ago I attended day classes while my daughter was in school, but as she grew up she no longer needed me to drive her to school, and when I started grad school all my classes were in the evening. I've sort of been a wreck since then LOL Additionally, most nights I spend at least 2 hours sitting on the couch (oftentimes much more, like, up to seven hours), and as I started noticing this I realized that I could workout and STILL have time to relax and watch a movie.
  2. I had to Just Do It--every week and most days I would think to myself, "Tomorrow/next week I'm going to get up early and (fill in the blank)." Unfortunately I would sit on the couch at night and see that I had yet again failed to do what I had hoped I'd do. I told my fiance that I wanted to go to the gym and we did. I didn't push myself at all, my only priority was to simply go. The first time I used the treadmill I was only on for 13 minutes, but it was 13 more minutes than I had done the day before.
  3. Go even if I'm tired--I worked out 5 days last week (YAY!!) but two of the days I was really tired, so I just walked on the treadmill for 30 minutes. Again it was about getting there, not about being an exercise goddess!
  4. Life is about to change and I'm running out of time--I graduate, start a new career and get married in May, just 4 months from now. I want to enter this new phase of my life in a much healthier body. I want to have energy and I don't want to worry about whether or not I'll fit into seats at a meeting or be able to fit into a plane seat. I'm using May 9, my wedding date, as a marker, not for a specific goal but just as a light off in the distance that will be here very soon, and when it arrives I want to be my best self I can be.
Last night before going home, my fiance asked me what I wanted to do tonight and I told him that even though we had just worked out 2 days in a row, the idea of sitting at home was just boring. I really can't wait to go back!

The next step is to be just as serious about eating better. Just like with working out, I need to act more and think less about my choices. If I make a healthy soup I know that I'll eat it and love it, but if I think of all the familiar food choices that I'll be missing out on, I'll never change. Just like with exercise, I'll push myself even if I don't want to, and in the process I'll develop new eating habits and cravings. It'll be wonderful!!!

Right now I can picture the possibilities for the immediate future. I could easily lose 50 pounds by May 9 if I continue on this new path. While I'm not chasing numbers (doing so, setting specific weight goals, has never worked for me in the past), picturing how I'd feel with 50 fewer pounds to lug around gives me extra motivation to keep making excellent choices.

LL xoxo

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

New Year :-)

January 3, 2012. In 19.5 weeks I'll be married, but so much is going to happen before then. So much NEEDS to happen before then. Change is upon me, and while I welcome it, I'm also fighting it and I'm not sure why.

I'm having a very hard time letting go of my comfort foods. Even when I don't want them, I choose them. Even when my hunger is satisfied, I continue to eat. Eating is an activity, the main activity in my life. My fiance and I are always talking about what we want for dinner (a meal at home or dining out?). Regardless of my financial situation at any given moment, I always find ways to dine away from home. Get a large refund and we dine at nice restaurants. $30 in the bank until the next payday and we make a trip to QT for iced tea and snacks.

When I overcame PTSD a few years ago, there were a couple of weeks where I worried about having to stand on my own two feet. I had never used my emotions manipulatively, but when I'd have a bad day I would allow myself to retreat to my bed for a couple of days without feeling guilty. Once the PTSD was gone though, I wouldn't have a reason to sink; I'd be expected to face the difficulties like any other emotionally healthy person. Could I do that? Would I be able to do that?

I think that's where I am now, at least I think that's part of it. Eating is my refuge, my friend (although not a very good one I admit). So when I feel overwhelmed with an overloaded schedule, am I going to have to just push through it unguarded? Wouldn't that just leave me even more vulnerable?

I need to change how I eat because the negative side affects hinder my life, and it will only get worse with time. I have back problems that cause me to stop everything for days at a time. I don't sleep well, and therefore I'm tired all day. I'm afraid to go certain places because I may not fit into the seats. I won't plan a honeymoon that involves airplane travel because I may be forced to buy two seats. I'm honestly not two-seats big, but I don't fit comfortably into a seat. There's so much more to list but that's enough for now.

What I have been doing is making good choices whenever I can. I'm eating better (although not as often as I should) and I'm working out 1-3 day per week, even when I don't want to. I'm telling myself that this is how positive change has to happen sometimes--kicking and screaming until the changes settle in.

I've considered starting a food diary so that I can't ignore the choices I make. I did that several years ago and it really made a difference. Once I saw the amount of calories and fat I would eat in a day, it led me to make better choices the next day. It was almost like a game, a challenge to improve my numbers. I had never been interested in vitamins and minerals but that became part of the challenge.

I'm so tired today, but I've pushed myself to stay awake so that I go to bed at a decent hour and (hopefully) sleep better. I wanted to cancel an appointment I had today but I told myself, "Sometimes people don't feel well but they keep moving; the end of the day WILL come and a good night's rest WILL follow." I didn't eat well for lunch (skipped breakfast because I was too tired to get out of bed) but I'm making a pretty healthy dinner (save for the ground beef). I'm not hungry now so I'm not going to eat until later. After the fiance eats dinner we are going to the gym. I'm taking an iPad so I can watch The Biggest Loser while I walk on the treadmill--that will help keep me going.

So that's it, that's the update.