Thursday, May 07, 2009
Wasn't planning to blog today. Didn't really have a topic in mind. Yet as I struggled to find homes for yet more stuff, I am struck by chasm between who I am and who I want to be, wondering how to get there. Sound familiar?
I read books and articles about voluntary simplicity, how couples can fit all their stuff into just a few suitcases. And here I am surrounded by stuff. Too much stuff. Too much weight.
And yet it's so hard to give it up. I have donated, I've filled another 5 boxes of stuff to donate or sell, and we have an entire downstairs and garage half full of yet more boxes.
Are these all walls I've built around myself? To keep the outside world out? Why would I want to keep the outside world out, anyway?
I remember when we were first married. We'd have the occasional party. Even when we first moved down to TX, every once in a while we'd invite people over. At some point, that stopped. I know my husband was ashamed of the state of our carpets . . . that didn't bother me so much -- that was something beyond my control, really, when you have sick animals that can't help but mess up your carpets, there isn't a lot you can do. I did the best I could.
Exactly when did the stuff take over? Was it the same time I began to struggle so with my weight?
Don't get me wrong; I'm not a hoarder. You could walk into our old home. Sure, there was clutter, but it wasn't as if there were piles to the ceiling you could barely squeeze your way past. But I know sometimes it's a short leap from pitying someone else for their problems til you own their problems yourself.
This isn't the first time I've pondered this question, either, but having your belongings in stacks & stacks around you really brings it home in a big way. I feel like it may take me months to dig out. I really want to eradicate the surface clutter, but in the meantime, every surface IS cluttered because there isn't places to put stuff yet. I know for sure that the answer to clutter doesn't lie in more closet space, either.
It can be so hard to part with stuff. In my heart I know that's exactly what it is, just stuff, but there's little doubt that a lot of it has sentimental meaning for me; many things bought on our travels. Some things no longer make me smile, and they're already in boxes for garage sale/whatever.
But many things, however useless other than to bring a smile to my face, are just so darn hard to part with. It doesn't help that I hate to clean and these things are dust-magnets. Do I deserve nice things if I can't keep them clean?
Which brings us to books. I've gotten rid of a lot of books over the past year, but there are still so many. Some have been with me since I was about 12 years old. Will I ever read the hobbit again? Shogun? Parting with books is like parting with old friends. Which doesn't stop me from going out and buying new friends, of course.
Of course old eating patterns, old thought patterns, etc. etc. are hard to let go, too. The idea of never having pepperoni again . . . I probably would have shuddered when I was in college. Now I would shudder to eat it -- it long since ceased to hold any attraction for me. Wish I could say the same of sweets and chocolate. And so on & on.
I have made progress this past week. There are only a few kitchen boxes left -- the few I don't want to deal with yet (pantry items, crystal, china, that sort of thing).
Most of the living room boxes, aside from the DVDs, are also gone. I've been hitting the bedroom today. Yes, I did finally find my jeans a couple of days ago, thank God, altho my everyday sneakers is still just one sneaker, and I'd really, really like to find the other one.
I don't have much of a point today. Just a bit depressed by the extent of my stuff, I guess, and yet having such a hard time letting it go. I can let some of it go, but I know that to live the life I truly want, I need to let more go; it isn't easy.
Wednesday, May 06, 2009
I came up with today's topic yesterday, but I was going to call it something about being patient with yourself. Then I finished "Secrets of a Former Fat Girl" (see yesterday's blog). She beat me to it!
Lisa, the author, talked about how life will throw you curveballs. That sometimes there will be things more important to occupy your time, and that you may not always be able to maintain all your healthy habits.
She gives the example of when she hurt her knee, and couldn't go running anymore. All she was allowed to do was cycle for 15 minutes a day. But she was totally committed to those 15 minutes a day, and faithful to them.
I can't quite exercise the way I'm used to yet. Oh, I could, actually, although it would be difficult, but there are other things that I need to be doing right now. However, I can be committed to walking the dogs twice a day. It's probably not enough to help me lose weight right now, but it's what I CAN do right now. Rather thank focus on what I'm not getting done, I have to focus on what I can get done.
I was being somewhat hard on myself for how long it's taking to unpack. They packed us up in 2 days, right, so why should it take 2 weeks (or much longer) to unpack? Well, it took 4 men, working 8 hours a day to pack us up. And they're professional packers; it's their job.
I'm only one person. I don't have 8 hours a day to devote to unpacking, not with dogs that need to be walked and meals that need to be cooked. Yes, I did cook our first "meal" last night: spaghetti & veggie meatballs. Ok, so it was basically warming stuff up, but I did have to wash up all the pots afterwards.
All I can do is what I can do. Some days, like today, when I seem to be thwarted at every turn -- basically getting totally lost even with a GPS -- where everything just takes twice as long as it really should -- I've got to give myself a break. So I don't get much unpacked today. I did pick up some (but not all) of the stuff I needed for both us and the animals, and it's a learning curve.
Applaud yourself for what you can do, and give yourself a break for the things that don't get done.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
I really didn't realize the similarities between moving and weight loss til I actually moved. I've been reading a book called "Secrets of a Former Fat Girl" -- see formerfatgirl.com/ .
In it, towards the end, the author (who happened to live in Austin for a long time & is a WW lifetime member, like me) talks about how in order to truly be a former fat girl, it's more mental than habit. That if we don't break out of our shells, our protective layer of fat, if you will, we'll always be doomed to be fat girls (or boys), instead of maintaining our former status.
She also says that it's like moving to a new neighborhood -- you've got to find your way around, you've got to find new places to shop, to eat, to have your hair done, etc. Just like we've got to form new habits: find healthier foods, exercise we can actually enjoy, and so on.
I definitely think she has a point. It's so easy to try to blend into the background, so scary to put yourself out there sometimes.
Funny, I really got to thinking about this as I'm researching ways to organize my kitchen. I did spend time organizing my kitchen in Austin -- trying to put the pots & pans near the stove, glasses near the dishwasher (unfortunately the dishes really didn't fit neatly near the dishwasher), and so on.
But because it was such a large kitchen, I didn't really have to think about what I used every day, what I used occasionally, and the things that only get used every 10 years or so (but are still really handy when you need them).
We donated some stuff before we left . . . the 12 qt pasta pot that came with the set that is way larger than I'll ever need, the pressure cooker that I haven't used since I lived in VT (unfortunately we found the piece that actually closes off the vent here -- why it wasn't with the pressure cooker, which will now be someone's really large pot, I'll never know).
I've already filled about 4-5 boxes with stuff for donations (not necessarily just kitchen stuff) or a garage sale. My computer desk will have to go, too, because it just doesn't fit here & I no longer run my own business (for now).
But now I have to really think about what really needs to be right in the kitchen . . . what could be in the dining room . . . what can live downstairs in the laundry room.
Just like I really have to think about what I put in my mouth, how large my portions are, and whether or not I've drunk enough water -- and am truly hungry or just thirsty.
I'm still not tracking my food. I plan to start up again next week, when hopefully the kitchen is cleared out enough so I can really start cooking again. I hope that we get the freezer set up this weekend, too, because I need more freezer space. I need to make catfood, but have nowhere to put it right now.
So for now, baby steps. Walking every day. Didn't get my 10,000 steps in yesterday, but I'm pretty sure I'm probably averaging that. Try to track just glasses of water & fruits & veggies.
Next week hopefully I'll be adding in some of my normal exercise in addition to my walking, and will start tracking points again.
Monday, May 04, 2009
I'll get to the title . . . eventually. First I need to kvetch a bit. My husband couldn't understand why I'd want to set up my own computer, probably because space is tight in this office and it requires moving things around, not to mention the actual setting up part.
It might be because my computer has all my bookmarks, or because it has my address book, or because it has all my saved emails and there are people I'd like to contact whose emails are locked within its hard drive (I hope!).
Or it could just be because his computer setup is wonky and difficult. It doesn't always work, and because I didn't set it up, it can be difficult to troubleshoot. Or maybe because right now our only phones besides our cell phones is Magick Jack (it's really cheap, but your computer has to be on), and if the computer ain't on, then no one can contact me. As if anyone would. Well, maybe he would. Or the Rent-a-Center people who are supposed to pick up the bed we rented today.
He complains that I'm complaining too much about the kitchen. Well, it's a problem, and I feel I should be able to comment about it without him taking it so personally. Hey, he wants home cooked meals already -- well, it's hard when the kitchen is so small that I have nowhere to put all my stuff and every conceivable surface is covered.
Ok, it isn't really tiny, but it is very significantly smaller than my previous kitchen, and it's just going to take me some time & he's going to have deal with it. Both the lack of space and the lack of home cooked meals and my comments.
I probably do comment just as often on what a nice neighborhood it is, because it is. We've upgraded for sure in that department. I swear I've already met more neighbors here than I did in my old neighborhood where I lived for 15 years. We were lucky there; we did have good immediate neighbors, but beyond them, we barely saw or knew anyone.
I've also said how much I love being able to close off the office when I take the dogs outside so that I don't have to worry about the cats getting out.
The kitchen is almost unpacked. Still a few more boxes to go. Ok, there's still the crystal & china that I'm not even touching for a while, but the bulk of it is at least out of boxes, and that's something. We're beginning to be able to almost move around again. I was getting a bit discouraged because it seemed like there was so many boxes left, but turned out quite a few of them didn't really have kitchen stuff in them.
I'd dearly love to do an exercise DVD today, but the only way I can do it is thru this computer (assuming it plays DVDs), and there isn't much room here. I also would really, really like to find out where my jeans disappeared to. I only took 2 pairs. I've been too tired to do laundry, altho I really need to. We found the new jeans, the ones that almost fit but are still just a little tight, but not the ones I am wearing now.
I have to really put the brakes on my husband, too. He wants to rush out and buy stuff; I want to buy some stuff, but for now, I want something really cheap -- that we can either repurpose somewhere or donate when we decide what we really want and are ready to get it. I don't want to rush into purchases we'll regret later -- we did that when we moved to Austin, and I really believe in learning from our mistakes.
He wants to fix my kitchen problem, I know, but I'm just going to have to put my foot down & decide what *I* want.
I want to talk a bit about goals, too, now that I'm done kvetching (felt good!). There's a reason baby steps can be so important. Sometimes when we get so focused on a big goal, you're really either at a loss or feeling let-down when you achieve that goal.
This move was a big goal. Not one of my choosing, but nevertheless, a big goal. And I got so focused on it, I felt that if I could just get it over with, then life would be good again.
Ever feel that way about your weight loss? If you could just get to your goal weight, then life would be great?
Well, I totally forgot about what a pain all the unpacking would be. It's been 17 years since we've done a major move like this, and we have so mch more now. It's going to take a long, long time to really feel settled. There's so much cleaning to be done, but who has time when there's all those boxes clamoring to be unpacked? We've got to get our NY driver's licenses. Register the cars. Fence in the yard. Figure out some way to erect a kennel for the cats. And we've got to do all that while unpacking, and still living our lives.
Weight loss is like that, too. You can't wait to start living until you get to your goal weight. Break it down into small chunks, reward yourself for every small goal, and remember that life goes on outside of your weight loss journey.
I find I'm totally missing my own baked goods, too. I didn't realize just how much I'd come to rely on them. I miss my home made waffles with PB; my cookies; my cupcakes; my scones. All those things are only occasional treats, but they're worked into pretty much every week, and I want them. I want them NOW.
I've been starving the last few days. Last night I had some frozen yogurt after dinner. Then some popcorn. Then some vegan "fudge". And finally some cereal. I was just plain hungry; I don't know why. Maybe all those days of not eating enough are catching up with me. Maybe I didn't lose weight because I didn't eat enough (wouldn't be the first time). Or maybe I'll have a gain this week (hope not!).
And finally to the fat lady. My parents couldn't wait; they came up to visit us yesterday, packing boxes and all. At least we'd cleared out enough room so that everyone could actually sit comfortably -- we have 2 couches instead of a couch and a love seat, and sometimes that really comes in handy (although it means the chaise doesn't fit into our living room anymore and neither of us is happy about that).
I was pretty surprised that my mom didn't say anything about my weight. She always notices. And hey, I'm 25 lbs lighter than the last time she saw me.
She did -- just as they were about to leave. Whew. At least someone finally noticed!
Saturday, May 02, 2009
Since I grew up just 90 miles south of Albany, it feels oddly like home here. The roads, the houses, the subdivisions . . . even some of the roads are actually the same routes as back home, and if I just headed south on them, eventually I'd get there.
There's a lot I do miss about Austin. Whole Foods, Central Market (can you tell I'm food driven?), my sushi loving lunch buddy, my WW meeting & more. But there are new things to discover here, too.
While the food stores are mostly uninspired, still, I'm finding more of what I want than I thought I would. Not everything, but I still have to do a lot more shopping. I think I'll end up shopping at multiple stores more often than I used to. There's a health food co-op here that we visited back in January. I have to ponder whether or not I want to join, but you can shop there without joining. They make awesome, healthy sandwiches. But there's a lot more there than just sandwiches. Even a knitting circle, apparently!
I did go to my WW meeting this morning. Basically I've stayed the same -- not a bad thing, athough I actually feel as though I've lost weight, frankly. My jeans feel looser. That may be just because it's so long since they were washed. Still, I haven't been tracking my food at all except in my head, have mostly been living off of take out and restaurant food -- and some fast food, which normally I never eat & don't really especially enjoy, but it has its places.
The only form of exercise I've managed for over a week is walking. I already know that just walking itself isn't enough for me to lose weight usually.
Still, the good news is that the WW center is very close to home. Maybe 10 minutes away -- closer than back in Austin, which will come in handy when winter arrives. Not to mention if I ever do get down to my goal weight, it would be SO convenient to work there (although I'd probably end up getting sent to some church out in Osh Kosh).
This neighborhood is very convenient to lots of things, and it's very walkable for the dogs. I suppose I'll get used to my tiny kitchen . . . eventually. I'll have to take some photos. If only I had a battery for my camera . . . or my computer set up (this is the computer my husband was using while he lived here before we arrived).
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