Just checking in! I am so glad it’s the weekend. I am enjoying it even more now that I have a pre-planned break from my 5 Day Streaks. I would just like to add for the record that a lot of what I do is experimentation. It’s like one giant experiment with me as the researcher as well as the test subject! I hope people realize when they read my blog that this is all happening in real time and so my thoughts and feelings are subject to change as time goes on. For example, last week I mentioned how I would never want to do a race in my life. That I did the 5K awhile back and that was enough for me. That I practically saw no point to doing anything more than that and while I was glad others were motivated by those types of things—it totally wasn’t for me.
Then in the past 12 days after getting back into slow jogging I suddenly started to feel differently. The slow jogging is making me feel hopeful again that I could probably get better at this. Becoming consistent and seeing improvements started making me think, “Hmmm…maybe I would want to try another 5K sometime” By this past Friday I was like “Maybe one day I will do a marathon too!” Seriously THAT is how quickly my mind can change. But it all goes back to emotions. Feeling hopeless, defeated, and unmotivated versus feeling empowered and hopeful again. I think it also has to do with feeling pressured that I SHOULD do something versus WANTING to do it on my own. So I hope that when people read my blog they realize that they are literally reading an unfolding story that spans 3 years of time. And over time things change depending what part of the journey I am on.
In so many ways, I actually feel like I am starting this journey all over again. It’s like I completed the first half and then took an intermission. I’m relieved that there turns out to be a second act after all. For awhile there I was beginning to think there wasn’t going to be! But now there is and I’m finding that I’m having to reinvent my plan. I am using a lot of the same concepts, tools and strategies that I used before. However, this time I’m having to shake it up and do things a bit differently. I think this proves that what works for one person may not work for another. And what works for us at one point in our life may not work later on. We have to constantly reassess and reevaluate to see what we need at each stage of the game.
When I first started out on the journey I think I only took one day for an exercise rest break. Now I am experimenting with the idea of taking the entire weekend off. It is just an experiment at this stage. There is definitely the possibility that taking two days off in a row could lead to me falling off track. I have a history of lacking motivation and once I get back to the couch I tend to not want to leave. I already know from last weekend that it makes Monday much harder to face. It definitely was tough for me to get back into it last Monday and that showed in the fact that it took an extra 7 minutes for me to go the same distance. On the other hand, I have a serious issue with things that I believe I have to do forever. Endlessly. With no break. I have a tendency to believe that I can withstand something so long as I can get a little relief here and there. But if I have to do it with absolutely no end in sight then I start to have a problem. Unless it’s lying on the couch and watching Netflix. Now THAT I could do forever with no problem :)))
We all have different personalities and it’s a good idea to identify our psychological thought patterns I think. I have a tendency to fall into several cognitive distortions. All or nothing thinking is popular with me. The idea that things have to be either THIS way or THAT way with no in-between. That leads to perfectionist thinking which then leads to me believing nothing is ever good enough. I am trying to combat that with doing small steps and refusing to accept that all or nothing idea. I am also trying to allow myself the weekend off in an effort to combat the idea that I have to do something 100% all the way or I’m a failure. I need to understand that I deserve kindness. That I am not doing these things to hurt myself or punish myself. They are all by CHOICE. If I want to take off the weekend, I can. And I do not need to feel guilty about it. I am after all in control here. And there is no deadline I have to reach. It is totally fine for me to choose to take off two days if I want to. Once again that very idea is challenging for me. It irritates my all or nothing thinking. Yet the all or nothing thinking is what leads me to give up so I want to work on more balance in that area.
I also have a problem with thinking things are going to last forever. I can literally work myself into a panic over that idea. For example, I have a headache. The headache lasts for awhile. It doesn’t go away after taking a Tylenol. Suddenly I start to think ,” What if the headache never goes away? What if it lasts forever? What if I have to live the rest of my life with this headache??” Yes I really think this way. And about a lot of things. Insignificant things. Like not being able to find my purse (even though I KNOW rationally that it is in the house somewhere) but instead I think “Oh my gosh. I can’t find my purse. That has my wallet in it and all my identification. And my ATM Card. And my checkbook. And all the kids military ID cards. And now I can’t find it. What if I can never find it?? What will I do then? How will I ever live through this???” And then two seconds later I find my purse underneath my sweater and everything is fine. But not before I worked myself into a panic. And just working yourself up like that causes everything in your body to be affected. Your blood pressure. Your breathing. Everything! This must sound weird to a lot of people. But seriously—this is my life. Can you see now why I used to carry a one pound bag of M and M’s in my purse everywhere I went? It’s either that or someone needs to shoot a sedative dart into me when I get like that!! But that is why I struggle often with food. It calms me down and when almost everything can work you into a frenzy it’s not easy!
This is an example of something minor. There are also times when other things are happening that truly are major issues. Like going through divorce, death of a loved one, adjusting to a move. All of those things have happened to me and all of those times I fall into the idea of “This feeling is going to last forever. I am ALWAYS going to feel this way. I will NEVER feel ok again. I cannot tolerate this feeling for the rest of my life!”
But that feeling doesn’t last forever. Going through a divorce is hard but you won’t always feel the way you felt at the height of it. The same is true of dealing with the loss of a loved one. It may still be very difficult but the intensity of that grief eases somewhat over time. It may not go away but it isn’t as intense as the day you got the phone call. The same is true with relocating. I cannot tell you how many times I have moved. Yet here I am in the same thought pattern again. We moved here less than 5 months ago and I have had a real struggle with the idea of “I will never adjust to this place” and then thinking “I am going to feel this way forever. I have ruined my life. ” blah blah blah.
Moving to a new place takes time. I can assure you that I pretty much hated every place I ever lived for the first 6 months. By the time we left I was devastated because I had grown to love each and every place. You bloom where you’re planted. You just do! And it takes TIME. But I have a serious issue with falling into the “FOREVER” tragic line of thinking. How will I ever tolerate this FOREVER???
I do this with exercise. Even when I literally am making myself do a TINY bit of exercise. Even when I tell myself that I could literally go outside in my pajamas and slippers if I had to and walk only 30 seconds as long as I do it. Even THEN I often go…
“But do I have to do this FOREVER??? Every day??? With NO BREAK??”
I just have issues with that. I always need to look forward to some break. I absolutely need some way to see a rest stop or I tend to believe I can’t keep going. So I would rather take two days off than feel overwhelmed and take two years off as a result. So here I am…..experimenting with full weekend breaks. To be honest, I felt a little strange not going for a walk today. Who knows…I may decide to do a few loops later on if I feel inspired but I won’t track it. I just don’t want to fall into this idea that I have to do it. I guess we will see come Monday how it goes. I managed to take off last weekend and I still got back in the game. It was tough but I managed. I feel pretty sure the same will happen this time.
As for my food update: Last week, I did a 5 day streak of my liquids in the morning. I didn’t have an exact time frame. I just called it one round of liquids. Coffee, Water Bottle, Atkins Shake. I allowed myself the freedom to do whatever I wanted the rest of the day. Of course, I always had in my mind that I was going to try to stay ‘on track’ with food but that is my general outlook anyway. It was somewhat difficult for me in the first part of the week to do the liquids in the morning. I did it every day but it was still hard at first. I had gotten in a habit of eating a full breakfast as soon as I woke up. For me that tends to not be a good thing. (Not wanting to get into the ‘breakfast debate’ here!) I just know that for me it ignites the hunger and sets me off the rest of the day if I start eating food that early. So it was tough. I will even tell you that on Monday after I completed my goal of liquids in the morning— I then went on to eat way more than usual. WAY MORE. I had feared that might happen. It’s the idea that goes off in your brain that because you were “GOOD” you now get to be “BAD”. Making myself follow the food plan for the morning but giving myself freedom the rest of the day made me go a little berserk. Like leaving the kids alone at home and returning to a house party. FREEDOM!
Once again, that’s the risk I run with experiments. And that is one of my pervasive problems with food. Too much freedom can be an issue. At the same time, I would like to get past this fear of food that I have. If there is any way possible that I could learn how to handle freedom within reason I would like to. For the past 3 years (since I really started this journey) I have been pretty much an extremist.
What me? An extremist?? (**Sarcasm**)
I found that for me avoiding food as much as possible was the way to go. Of course, I ate. I just only ate a limited amount of things and I had to virtually avoid all events where food was part of it. It really sucks. Sorry to say it that way but it does. I can’t honestly think of a more appropriate word.
Here’s a perfect example. Last weekend we took the kids to the Apple Festival. One of the primary things to do there was eat barbecue. If you go and you don’t eat the barbecue you feel like you might as well have just stayed home. And i like barbecue. LOVE IT. And of course I want the sauce which is full of sugar. Sugar is evil to me and I have issues with it. But after 3 years I am getting sick of always living in fear of food. I live in fear that I will get out of control if I allow myself something. And to be honest—I often do. I did gain back 60 pounds after all. So will I ever learn to handle it?? Can I ever just be one of those people that can stick to a food plan the majority of the time but still splurge at things like the Apple Festival or a holiday gathering?? “Normal” people can eat healthy 90% of the time and still eat pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving. I WANT TO BE THAT PERSON!! I’ve tried a thousand times to no avail. And I don’t know if I ever will attain this dream. But I still tend to try it out at times. Like last weekend when I ate the barbecue. I allowed myself to enjoy it too. Nothing tragic happened. It didn’t set me off on some crazy binge but I won’t lie. I am still thinking about barbecue. But that’s the risk I run when I experiment. At this stage of my journey, I want to find what I am willing to do for the rest of my life. I already know if I am totally miserable then I won’t stick to it.
So with food, I am still struggling. I do believe, though, that things will improve. Monday I stuck to my morning routine as planned. Then I spent the day having a party with my freedom. I probably gained 2 pounds as a result. Tuesday I still went a little nuts but not quite as much. By Wednesday the idea of that freedom wasn’t quite as exciting. I had a much better day. Thursday also went well. By Friday, I actually was feeling so much stronger that BY CHOICE I did liquids all day followed by a sensible dinner.
(Wait—Did I just sound like a Slim Fast commercial? UGH!! Too many years of diet programming…)
At any rate, that is what I did on Friday. I had no intention to do that but it came from within without a struggle. Internally I felt the desire and motivation to do it. I knew the whole day that at any point in time I could eat whatever I wanted. As I was allowing myself that freedom. But I felt fine not doing it. I hope I can continue on that path. There is just some entirely different psychological thing that happens in my mind when I do things by CHOICE instead of FORCE.
PHEW! That was a lot to take in right?? I think dealing with my psychological issues and thought patterns regarding food and exercise make it obvious why I have had so many problems with my weight over the course of my life. It is never simple for me. But with God’s help, I keep plodding forward. Trying to unravel the mystery that is me!!
On a totally different note—I walked down to get my coffee this morning and found this sign next to the Keurig!
I just love that!! It reminds me of a few things that are very important.
#1—Whether I ever achieve PERFECTION is not really what it’s about. Healthy is what I am going for. Balanced is what I’m after. So I can be the kind of Mom who can play with her kids and keep up with them.
#2—I am loved right now in this moment regardless of the fact that I could not fit my gigantic butt into the same pair of jeans I was wearing last year at this time.
#3–All of us deserve to have a “great, nice, good, awesome day” to quote Charlotte.
And so do YOU!!!! Have a wonderful Saturday!!