CHANAK   7,911
7,000-8,499 SparkPoints
CHANAK's Recent Blog Entries

A Stress-Less Life

Thursday, December 01, 2011

My employer, along with our insurance provider, gives access to a great program called "Take Charge, Live Well." One of the features of this program is an annual health-risk assessment which I make sure I do when it's offered. It asks a bunch of questions regarding lifestyle and physical health (including cholesterol levels, weight, sleep habits, average diet, and so on) and then not only paints a picture of your current health but also suggests ways in which it can be changed.

For me, weight has always been the focus, but this year stress jumped to the front burner as a concern. Long work hours, a long commute, volunteer work, and single parenting had me so stressed that I dreaded waking up. I just wanted to sleep the days away and give up some responsibility. I wasn't eating right, relying on fast food several nights a week in order to get my daughter fed, bathed, and in bed no more than two hours after arriving home. I rarely shopped for groceries, tending to run in and grab what I needed for a couple days, and I obviously didn't plan my meals. My house was a wreck; after my long days I just wanted to sit and relax in the, obviously, exercise didn't happen, either. And because I needed my alone time to decompress, I'd stay up far too late in order to enjoy some peace and quiet before my day started all over again. I also have a boyfriend and wanted to make time for him, so weekends were typically spent with him and his son as I tried desperately to inject some fun in my life.

After taking the health risk assessment I saw that something had to give. Over the course of the past 12 months my health went from a score of 76 (which is at the top of the good range) to the low 60s, almost poor. Stress was clearly at the root of all my health issues: poor diet, no exercise, poor sleep habits, dissatisfaction with my life. You name it, stress was causing it.

I bring this up because today SparkPeople is featuring a new calendar, 31 Days to Healthier Holidays. It focuses on healthy eating, rather than stress management, but it's still worthwhile to look at it and utilize it as a tool for stress relief. Here's the thing: stress is circular. Stress causes us to not eat well, to lose sleep, to become angry...and all of these things lead to more stress. They only way to combat it is to stop the cycle and, really, this can be done at any point on the circle. Change the stressor and you reduce the stress, which then changes other stressors. I'm getting a handle on my eating as one of my stress-reducers. My other tactic was to eliminate my volunteer work at my daughter's school. It pained me to walk away from that commitment but I realized that it was the primary reason I was miserable...not the work, but the commitment itself.

I've chosen to continue my work schedule as it stands, so four days per week I'll be at work for 9 hours. The fifth day - for my schedule that will be Friday - I'll work a half day, giving me time to do housework, meal planning, grocery shopping, and my other chores. This way my evenings can be spent relaxing without the stress of knowing that work at home is piling up.

I'm continuing to try to look at this process as a lifestyle change rather than a weight loss program. With luck, my weight will decrease as I change these other aspects of my life (stress is a known cause of weight gain, as well). But if I don't lose weight, or if it comes off slowly, I'll still have the satisfaction of knowing that I'm happy and well-balanced through and through.



Wednesday, November 30, 2011

As part of my push to do this right I've decided I need to be accountable. Ultimately I'm only accountable to myself, of course. But I believe that, this time, I need to be accountable to others around me, and I need to be vocal about it. I need to talk about what I'm doing, why I want to do it, why it's important, and why I deserve it. So today I committed to journaling my weight loss efforts for my employer's quarterly health and wellness newsletter.

This terrifies me, literally. But I read something the other day that resonated with me: given all of your options, with all other things being equal, choose the most difficult. For me, eating right is easy. Exercising is less easy but I can get in a groove and fall in love with working out. Putting myself out there, exposing myself - even my successes - is really, really scary. I can do it here on SP since we all have common goals and because I'm still anonymous here. Doing it in real life, with people I see several days a week and who might judge me...I'm petrified. But that's in part due to the shame I feel over my body's size. Despite knowing that there's no reason to feel ashamed, I do, and I feel worthless, too. By making my struggles public, by sharing my hard work, I'm saying, "Yeah, I'm fat. And I deserve better than to feel this way, and so does my body, and I want all of you to look at me and hear me and know that I know I'm worth this."

I have a month to prepare myself for the next newsletter article, but I'm starting my program now. I'm starting by eating right, and then I'll add exercise to the mix. I'm doing this because, for me, getting a handle on my eating is easier, and I need that small success. By January I'll have my plan in place and I'll be ready to share it with my coworkers. And I'll add 70 people to my support network. Who couldn't use more support?


One more day at a time

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

I've regained my weight. Again. And recently I found myself hating my body. Again. Then, the other day, I came across a blog via Facebook that's called "This Is Not a Diet. It's My Life." And it clicked. This is my life. How do I want to live it? How do I want to feel each day? Do I want to hate my body, or be angry with myself for not keeping the weight off? Do I want to turn to food when I'm down, only to feel worse after turning to food? Do I want to feel ashamed of my body, or to twist away from my boyfriend when he touches me so we won't feel the parts that lob over or jiggle or stick out? Obviously, the answer to all of these is "no." So how do I stop? I just...stop. I stop doing the things that make me miserable. I stop doing the things I can't live with or that I'd tell someone I care about to stop doing. I just stop. So today, I'm stopping. I'll backtrack, no doubt, since I have many, may years of hating my body rather than loving it. But I will stop. And I'll begin living my life as I want to go on. Starting now.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ASHESS85 11/29/2011 11:33AM

    Very positive thinking! With those goals...nothing can stop you! emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment

Working Through It

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I've been challenged lately to stick with my fitness program. My motivation has been non-existent, and that negative voice in my head is trying to undermine me. I'm working on pulling through, but it's been really, really tough.

This happens every time I get on a fitness program, by the way. I'll start off gangbusters, and then I just peter out. Then I start thinking about what a loser I am, how I can't do anything right, yada yada yada. And I regain the weight I lost. The end.

This time, though, something is different. Oh, I'm still struggling. I had chips and salsa and Oreo cookies for dinner last night. But each morning I'm waking up and still feeling as though I'm on my program. I still eat my same healthy breakfast and my same healthy lunch. When weather permits, I'm still going out and taking walks. And that voice? It's still fairly quiet.

It occurred to me as I fell into this familiar pattern of losing my motivation that I had a choice: I could let myself fail again or I could fight. I could stop following my program or I could try my best to muddle through. And it also occurred to me that if I can just get work through it this time and get to the other side, these challenging spells will never get the best of me again.

So I'm fighting with all my might to work through it. I haven't lost a pound in weeks; in fact, I've gained a couple. But I'm still fighting. And because I'm still fighting, I'm already a winner. My fight won't ever be over, but my opponent will never have the same strength over me. And (to continue this metaphor) the next time the fight won't be so hard, because I'll know that I've already beat it once. I'll never lose again.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SSCHULTZ59 5/19/2010 11:56PM

    You will succeed... you are on the right track.. stick with it..

Report Inappropriate Comment

  You are already a winner. Make sure you say that to yourself every day. It really is the fight (and working through it) that makes a difference and look at you go. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
JESSIEHESSIE 5/18/2010 6:46PM

I love quotes...I hope you do as well because I searched for some that might help you out!!
(1) “Edison failed 10, 000 times before he made the electric light. Do not be discouraged if you fail a few times.” ~Napoleon Hill~
(2) “Motivation will almost always beat mere talent.” ~Anonymous~
(3) “A champion needs a motivation above and beyond winning.” ~Pat Riley~
(4) Courage doesn't always roar. Sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying, "I will try again tomorrow.” ~Mary Ann radmacher~
(5) “You are the embodiment of the information you choose to accept and act upon. To change your circumstances you need to change your thinking and subsequent actions.” ~Adlin Sinclair~

number 1 is self explanatory- and I am sure Edison swore quite a bit and got down on himself somewhere in all of those tries!!
In regards to number 2 and 3, if you haven't seen it already I highly recommend watching the Blind Side. In essence, everyone just assumed that because Michael could play football well that he would. When he got onto the field they found out that in order to be motivated to play well his protective instinct had to be activated (he had to think of the team as his family). He didn't care that he possessed the raw talent and he didn't give a darn about winning. Perhaps you need to think about other motivations besides the drop in the scale? Make a vision collage. If you've already made one make a new one! Find pictures that represent more than just the weight loss aspect of a healthy lifestyle. If you haven't set goals set them-and not just ones revolving around pounds! If you've set them re-examine them and see if they need tweaking. If you aren't logging food and exercise every day do it every day for a month. Not only will this make it a habit but it will allow you to truly examine the caloric intake/outtake portion of your healthy lifestyle and tweak, adjust or completely re-do it.
You are doing the right thing by telling that negative inner voice to shut the heck up. You wouldn't talk to a friend that way so why should you allow yourself to talk to you like that?!
As number 4 implies, it takes courage to admit that you are on the wrong path and decide that you will pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again tomorrow. I know you are on the right path because you know you need to make changes and you are ready willing and able to do so.

and on the days you don't feel like eating healthy, thinking positive or exercising just remember the Nike commercial advice "JUST DO IT!" If you push through the tough times and just do it you will (re) establish good habits...and when that fails remember the "Friends" theme song "I'll be there for you". Any one of your spark friends on here, including me, will be here for you so use us! When you are feeling down on yourself send any one of us a message. Let us talk you through it!

You may have fallen down but I know you are the weight loss terminator- YOU'LL BE BACK!!!- emoticon emoticon emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
IBSHAUN 5/18/2010 5:52PM

    Keep going! Chalk up the oreos and chips & salsa to a day in the past - can't change it but you can change your choices today and tomorrow. Just remember what you are doing for yourself and even the hard days are worth it!

Report Inappropriate Comment
KANSASROSE67 5/18/2010 3:15PM

    Good blog! Just hang in will be so proud of yourself when you get through this low spot!

Report Inappropriate Comment
PWINCESSEMILY 5/18/2010 2:32PM

    I love your blog! You're so right!

And that's the difference when its a lifestyle change. Its forever. Even when you eat something you shouldn't it doesn't mean its game over. Its back to the healthy living as soon as you can.

As long as you keep pushing you will do it. You will lose the weight you want and then keep it off and be healthy and active.

Report Inappropriate Comment

Now THIS is what I'm talking about!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

It's been days since I felt really motivated. I've battled low self-esteem, nighttime eating, laziness and name it. Once I fall off the wagon it's tough to get back on, and lately I've felt like the wagon left me behind.

Yesterday, though, the sun was shining, both literally and metaphorically. I had a fantastic day - I even got off my behind and worked out! - and today promises to be more of the same.

I don't know what changed, though I'm pretty sure a good part of it is hormonal. Mid-cycle I tend to have more energy and a more positive outlook. But I also think I'm just fed-up. When the sun is shining and the air is fresh and light, I want to feel light right along with it. I get the urge to spring-clean my mind and body.

I'm also feeling positive about my slow progress. Any other time I would have lost considerably more weight by now. I started back on Spark People on February 21 and I've lost 9.8 pounds since then. But the thing is, by losing slowly, I know I'm more likely to keep it off. And I also know I'll have more opportunities to learn and grow if this process is slow and steady. Sure, it would be great to lose the weight quickly, but I'm cool with this.

Finally, I'm thrilled that, despite my lack of motivation, I'm still here. I'm still logging on every single day, reading blog posts, writing some of my own posts, and generally being active on SP. I'm not giving up, and now I know I WON'T give up.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SSCHULTZ59 5/19/2010 11:58PM

slow is a good thing that means you are working on lifestyle changes not dieting.. that is good.
you will get there.. hang in there. and when that sun is shining get outside and live.. it really helps with the low self esteem and down and outs.. i wish the sun would shine every day. emoticon

Report Inappropriate Comment
KANSASROSE67 5/6/2010 10:50PM

    I have to keep fighting not to be jealous of those who are losing weight a lot faster than I am. I always thought if I ever got series about losing weight and did the right things (which I'm now doing) that it would all fall into place and the weight would come off. I have lost only 5-7 pounds in 3 months. But I just keep telling myself that there is no deadline, really, and losing some is certainly better than gaining. And that's what would have happened if I hadn't made some changes.

I think you're doing great...keep it up!

Report Inappropriate Comment

    I remember when I first started, I made the mistake of comparing my weight loss progress with that of others. My weight loss seemed to be so slow. But as months went by, I realized I was losing and now, 10 months later, I am 4 pounds from my goal. SLOW AND STEADY is the way! Don't rush to get there because every road will get you to where you are going.
Weight loss is just like driving: You exponentially increase your chances for "crashing" the faster you go!!

Report Inappropriate Comment
CHAOTICMOM4 5/4/2010 1:09PM

    Your so close to the 10 pound mark, that's fantastic. I read your DVD reviews and so want to try the Yoga one that you loved so much now. My daughter loves to work out with me too, so maybe I'll try the childrens one you recommend.
Thank You!

Report Inappropriate Comment
PUPPETGIRLKY 5/4/2010 12:52PM

    This is only my 2nd day and the things you have said are the reasons that I didn't get started sooner. It seems something always got in my way. So I really know what you mean. I have tried everything and I have several health issues to deal with too that cause me to always give up:( But I feel like I am finally on the right track and I'm ready to get sparked!! Thank you for saying all you said because you spoke MY mind:) Don't give up!! You can do it too:)


Comment edited on: 5/4/2010 12:53:00 PM

Report Inappropriate Comment
PLATINUM755 5/4/2010 12:44PM

    emoticonon your weight loss so far...Keep up the good work and you will reach your goals.

Report Inappropriate Comment
DEBNICU 5/4/2010 12:36PM

Even though we want to see those results right now, sometimes slow and steady wins the race.
I know I didn't get her overnight and I now know I have to do this with one step at a time.
Keep on posting and getting the motivation to get back on that wagon.

Report Inappropriate Comment

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Last Page