Wednesday, August 18, 2010
I am feeling dissatisfied today. Feels like I am just drifting from day to day, from week to week, from month to month etc, without seeing any significant changes in my life. Not that I'm unhappy--but I also don't feel like I am making progress in my life.
Although I lost a few pounds earlier in the year, and for a while was doing pretty well with exercising, I seem to have lost my momentum. I am prone to excess--I will embrace something new enthusiastically, spend a lot of time and energy on it, then sooner or later I become overwhelmed--it starts to take up too much time, other resonsibilities and activities demand my attention, whatever, and I slack off. And so, I never get a chance to firmly ingrain new habits and benefit from them.
So here I am, many months past the time I became active again on SparkPeople, just a few pounds less than where I started, not significantly more physically fit, and nowhere near my year's goal. I'm not sure what to do from here. Did I set my goals too high? Did I try to do too much at once? Should I perhaps set myself just one area that I need to improve rather than tackling everything at once? If so, what area should I work at?
There is not a day goes by that I don't think in some way about my poor food choices and lack of fitness. Some days I eat more intelligently, some days I exercise. The problem is, there is no consistency--and although one walk per week is better than none, by itself it does nothing to change my overall fitness level or number on the scale. One day of portion control and healthy food choices does not negate the entire bag of cheese puffs consumed the next.
Should I choose just one goal and pursue it for a week or two or three, and then add another, etc? Or should I choose one broad area such as nutrition or activity, and work exclusively at it and ignore the other? Should I choose one small goal for nutrtion and one for activity and add goals as I meet them? Should my goals be positive or negative? For example, would it be more effective to set a goal such as "do not eat chocolate for one week", or one like "eat three servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables every day this week"? Or both?
Obviously I need to do some thinking about this, and come up with a strategy, or I will just keep on drifting. Guess I have some work cut out for me...
Monday, April 26, 2010
No, not that word. The other one. Starts with "c". C-A-N-'-T.
It has occurred to me that I have used the word "can't" far too often. I "can't" go to the gym because I don't have time; I "can't" eat healthy because it's too expensive/time consuming/whatever; I "can't" do this or that particular activity because I'm too big/my joints hurt/I'm too old/the stars aren't aligned today/whatever. I'm not sure just how I've managed to come so far down this road, but it seems that I have become afraid to try--it's far easier to make excuses for why "I can't".
Over the past few months I've read lots of people's blogs and message board posts where they discussed how, despite large amounts of weight to lose, they went from being couch potatoes to dedicated runners, some even training for marathons. And although I admired their commitment and energy, there was always something that my mind could come up with that made their circumstances different and would explain why I couldn't do the same thing. Yet, I found myself covertly watching others at the gym as I walked on the treadmill and they ran, and I wondered--"could I possibly ever do THAT??" Having not even tried to run in years, I actually didn't believe I even knew how. Or that I would hurt myself in even trying. Or fall off the treadmill and humiliate myself.
Recently, I bought a membership to the fitness centre at my workplace. I work the night shift, and decided it would be a good use of my time to use the fitness centre for a workout during my break time. So there I was one night, all alone in the fitness centre. No one to watch me fall off the treadmill (on the down side, no one to help me up or call 911 for the ambulance either!) No one to watch my flab jiggle, or see me gasping for breath and think "what the heck does she think she is doing?". And instead of keeping up the brisk walk I had started, my hand reached over to the speed adjustment on the treadmill and increased it--and next thing you know, there I was, jogging. Me! Now, I didn't last long and I didn't go fast. I managed to jog for about 1 minute at a time and then had to slow down to a walk again, and my fastest speed was about 4.2 mph. I was elated!
Last night after dinner, I invited my 18-year-old daughter out for a walk around the block with me. As we started out, she commented on how I was walking at a brisker pace than usual. I said, "hey, maybe one of these days we'll be jogging instead of walking!" Her response--"okay, let's go!" Me--"I CAN'T jog on a full stomach!" Her--"just a light jog.." and off she trotted. And I followed. And guess what--I can. We did 20 minutes of alternating brisk walking with slow jogging. My knees hurt, and I was gasping and wheezing (note to self, use inhaler before exercise next time, and carry it with me). But, I did it. I CAN.
So that's one 4-letter word it's time to lose.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
One thing has always destroyed my efforts to lose weight--myself. Every "diet" I've ever been on, every "life style change" or whatever you want to call it--I start enthusiastically, I am gung-ho for a few weeks, or maybe even a few months, I see results, then I quit. Usually it's something specific that stops me in my tracks--maybe an illness so I can't get to the gym for a few days, or a vacation or busy period at work or at home that gets me out of that good routine that I got started. But for some reason, I have a hard time getting my good habits back after the initial interruption. And sometimes, after I've seen some success, I get complacent and gear down on my efforts--for some reason I think that if I've lost a few pounds I am done and I no longer need to follow the actions that caused me to lose those pounds in the first place. Dumb, huh? And me a university graduate.
So why am I my own worst enemy? I know that I have developed an unhealthy attitude toward food over the years, and gradually, without my even being aware of it, I developed some pretty odd perceptions about what/when/how much it is appropriate to eat. Combine that with a loathing for sports and physical activity that goes way back to childhood, and you have the explanation for the fact that today I am battling to lose 100 pounds.
I am an emotional eater, and I consider myself to have an eating disorder of sorts. Yet there are all sorts of aids out there to help me deal with it, and I still struggle.
What is it about me that makes it so hard? I've always been a glass-half-empty kind of gal--I've always felt that if I expect the worst I'm not disappointed when I get it, and then when things go better than expected I have reason to rejoice. I know that overall, people who are optimistic versus pessimistic tend to be healthier and happier. So, I work at trying to turn this tendency around--make a conscious effort to look at the bright side, count my blessings, think about how lucky I am in comparison to many of my fellow human creatures. It helps, but it's an effort sometimes.
Perhaps I am afraid of losing weight? Although I really don't know what I could possibly be afraid of. Seems a no-brainer to me--lose weight, be healthier, feel better, look better, move more easily and have less joint pain. What's to fear?
I think that part of me is just defiant--I say to the world, accept me as I am, or go ****** yourself. When I was a young teenager, I remember once my father patting me on the butt and with a critical glance saying "you better go easy on the potatoes, or you'll end up looking just like your mother". Now my parents had a dismal relationship and ultimately divorced, and he said this to me while he was standing right in front of her. Yes, she was overweight, and I was a bit on the chubby side. And my dad has always expressed disdain and contempt for those who have "let themselves go". So I was in a really uncomfortable situation there. I didn't say anything, but I felt awful--and I wanted to tell him, I would be proud to be just like my mother. To this day, when I visit my dad he usually comments on my weight. I wonder if some of my trouble with my weight isn't still an adolescent rebellion--just love me as I am, Dad, instead of worrying about how I look or comparing me with someone else. Can't you be proud of me for who I am rather than how much I weigh?
So maybe I need to say goodbye to this particular emotional baggage. I need to focus on me loving me for myself, and continuing my good efforts because I love me and want to honor my body and have it continue to serve me. I know that SparkPeople and the support I get here will continue to help me.
Friday, April 09, 2010
Well, I had a lovely vacation--off for almost 3 weeks total. Of course, the scheduling office was on the phone on my first day off, wanting me to pick up extra shifts. I soon set them straight, and after that they didn't bother me. We didn't go anywhere special while I was off, since we have continued with our bathroom renovations. I'm pleased to say it is almost done! All the contractor type work is complete, and we just have finishing touches of our own to do, like paint touch-ups and installing new light fixtures and towel bars and the like. I'm very pleased with the work. Had a bath in our new tub the other day and it was heaven!
I also spent a lot of time working on getting my house in order and some spring cleaning done. Hearing that, you would think that my house is now sparkling and beautiful; well, you would be wrong! I did manage to do a pretty decent job in the kitchen although I wasn't able to get the windows cleaned yet (weather didn't cooperate) and I still have some food cupboards to get in order. And of course the new bathrooms are in tip-top order. I am actually pretty pleased with myself, because I did manage to do a good job of decluttering and getting rid of stuff I no longer need or use. Now I am a pack rat from way back, so this is a huge accomplishment!
Over the next several weeks I plan to be doing the same thing in the rest of the house. Also, it will soon be time to start yard work and gardening. (I know in a lot of places these things are already well under way, but we had a sudden and vicious spring snow storm here yesterday, and it will be over a month yet when we are safe to be keeping plants outside--the average date of last frost in my area is around May 23.)
We also managed some fun times during my vacation; went to a play, had family and friends for Easter dinner, took in a movie, and spent some time just relaxing.
So it was back to work last night, and I am already disgusted with the whole job. It seems I can either be assigned to the short-term medical assessment unit and be in charge (and I dislike the whole unit and really dislike charge duty), or I can be assigned to my home unit and be short-staffed and in charge, or I can be assigned to our sister unit and not know what the heck I am doing. Either way, I don't get to work in the area that I chose to work in when I first started work on my unit, because the whole focus of the unit has changed since I started there. There are so many frustrations--working short staffed, working with a RN/LPN/NA staff mix many of us feel is getting unsafe, bouncing around from one unit to the other with no consideration for consistency of care or fairness in assignments, no control whatsoever over the work environment, and management from unit level right to the top of the organization that doesn't appear to value their employees or give a hoot whether they are satisfied or fulfilled by their jobs. I don't know if I've ever seen morale so low, and the worst part of it is, where people used to want to do something about it, apathy is taking over now and for a lot of us the main concern is just getting through the days, and why try to improve your work life because there's no point anyway? I feel like a mouse stuck in a complicated maze, where I know I have to get to a certain point, and whichever corner I turn I run into an insurmountable wall.
One could say, why not look for a new job? Well, we have one organization running health care services for the entire province. So no matter where I move, the employer and its goals/missions/priorities is the same. So--same crap, different pile. What's the point?
Thank God I only work half time. And although we will never be rich and won't be retiring to a luxurious lifestyle of travel and fun, we can manage on the income we have. I have always had the deepest admiration for those who manage to juggle full time jobs, plus home responsibilities, education, church and volunteer work, and parenting, often as single parents. I completely do not understand how they manage, let alone do a good job. I know I can't. I don't have the energy.
So my plan for now is, no more work hours than I have to do. I take pride in doing my job well, and am distressed when the circumstances of my position prevent me from doing so. I will be working my scheduled shifts and working darn hard, and with focus, integrity and commitment. I will treasure the moments when a patient's face lights up in a smile and they say "oh, I'm so glad it's you on tonight!", and when I see them progress from anxiety and pain to relaxation and comfort, and they tell me that I've made a difference in how their night went. That is why I became and remain a nurse.
But when the scheduling office is on the phone wanting me to pick up shifts here there and everywhere, I will be politely saying "no thank you". For now, I need some distance from my job, and I need to focus on me and my own health. I need to spend time getting my home space back up to my personal standards. And, I need to get back to my commitment to healthy eating and activity.
My personal revolution has begun!
Friday, March 12, 2010
Wow, I am so tired! Had two nights off, got called for work on the second one but didn't go in. They must think I am superwoman. Or more like, they don't think at all, just call, after all any body will do as long as they don't have to pay overtime. If I sound cynical, no wonder. I am frustrated with trying to do my own job, plus an ever-expanding number of things that shouldn't be my job. For example, tonight I was in charge and had to deal with three (!) sick calls for the day shift--in addition to caring for my full patient load. I had to redo the day nurses' patient assignments three times, and go to our sister unit next door to beg for a spare nurse--and yet they still are working short today. And we are already short staffed for tonight, so you can imagine how thrilled I am to be going back there tonight again. Well, three more nights, two off, then two on, and then I am on vacation till after Easter. Think I will turn off the phone!
The good thing is, after a few weeks of really not doing well on my healthy eating, I weighed myself at work and was encouraged to find that I haven't gained all my lost pounds to date back. According to the work scale, I am less than a pound over my last reading--although I sure feel fat! I always find when I first start to lose weight I notice where I am shrinking and start to feel "skinny", but then I get used to it and feel huge again. But although I feel enormous, the scale is still my friend. I wish I had behaved better and found it friendlier, but at this point I'll take what I can get.
I've started tracking my food again and actually did some exercise the last couple of days and started tracking it too. I've been leaving my unit during my break time and doing some brisk walking in the hospital hallways. I've had a few funny looks from the few other staff wandering around doing their business, but what the heck. I figure I should take the opportunities I find!
I hope some day I figure out how to balance this whole working for a living with the other stuff I need to do to keep living. Might be retired by then...
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