Friday, January 07, 2011
[Written a couple of days ago]
I make a schedule or a list of things to do. Depending on the unpredictability of my day and my mental or physical energy level, I have varying degrees of success completing activities I had every intention of doing.
This morning, I listened to my “First Things First” CD for the fourth time. This is what I heard, “What are the three or four things that are most important to you?” I stopped to actually think about the question this time. I surprised myself when I couldn’t answer the question easily. After several minutes of contemplation I came up with five things that are very important to me, including my health. Then, I paraphrase, “Are you spending the time needed to achieve the desired results for each item of importance?” Why, no, I’m not. And I always seem overly busy, too. Also, I feel like I constantly have to do some things I’d rather not and find that I face a lot of internal resistance, like I’m forcing myself to take some nasty medicine for my own good. How fun is that?
I hear, “You lead people; you manage things. How are you leading your life?” I’m not, really. I guess I’ve always tried to manage my life, but managing the tasks doesn’t seem to get me to where I’d like to go, perhaps partly or wholly because I don’t know where I’m going. Next (paraphrased), “The four human needs are to live, to love, to learn, and to leave a legacy. To live is to eat, sleep, have food on the table and clothes in the closet. This is basically the necessities of life. To love is relationships, including family and friends [and I’m going to include pets]. To learn is to improve skills, increase knowledge, think creatively, come up with solutions to problems, plan for the future, etc. To leave a legacy is to have meaning or purpose in life and includes the spiritual aspects of life.”
I think I’m starting to get this. If I focus on what is important, then plan each day to regularly make progress in or spend time with each thing of importance, then I will be filling my days with means to an end, and not just an endless list of tasks to be accomplished. If I focus on why I am doing each task, then I will likely want to do it, because it helps me to do what I need to do to achieve the desired results for each item of importance.
Then, specifically, there is my health and fitness…when I walk to work, I’m not just getting to work; I’m exercising my muscles and my cardiovascular system, which is a way for me to show myself that I respect and care about myself. It is self-love. So is getting to bed at a reasonable hour so that I can feel rested when I wake up each morning. So is planning for physical activities and healthful meals. So is being mentally gentle to myself by not being overly critical or negative (i.e., you shouldn’t have done that, you can’t do that, you didn’t do that very well).
Through December (starting after Thanksgiving really) I started falling back into my old, bad habits. But it's a new year now. This week I am doing a lot of thinking and life re-evaluation. I have started to fill my schedule with tasks and goals that support my desired outcomes in relation to my things of importance. For example:
(1) go to bed at a reasonable hour each night (10:30pm is my goal),
(2) get up earlier (and well-rested, see above) to have time to exercise before work,
(3) brush my cats' coats more often,
(4) reduce "treats" with my afternoon coffee and reduce sugar intake in general (this is extremely hard to do, but I know that I feel much better when I don't OD on sugar), and
(5) get evening grazing back under control by drinking more decaf tea and keeping my hands busy crocheting.
There's so much more that I want to do, especially feeling the renewed enthusiams, but I know I don't want to overdo it and become discouraged. Also, what I'm focusing on are challenging (if they weren't I'd already bo doing them!), so I want to focus my energy and those that are most important right now. So my plan is that once I've gotten to the habit stage, I'll add others. I know this is not going to be easy, but it is important to me. This may be a life-long journey, but I'm worth it.
Monday, January 03, 2011
From my previous Blog-O-Rama: "The average North American gains seven to twelve pounds over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays." I wasn't going to be one of those average Americans, but it turns out that I am, gaining 8 pounds during December. However, I know exactly why it happened and have a renewed enthusiasm for refocusing on my overall health. This new focus is a result of all the work I did and insight I gained since starting SparkPeople in March of 2010.
At the beginning of last year, I was feeling so hopeless and defeated. I was still unemployed after being laid off in June of 2009, I had gained so much weight that I was technically obese, my clothes no longer fit, I had difficulty breathing when I was seated. Overall, my health, both physical and mental, was not in a good place. Then something clicked and my outlook changed. I was able to get the tools and information I needed on SparkPeople. I dedicated myself to overcoming my emotional eating and to get fit. As it turned out, I lost 40 pounds and was feeling great. I was so pleased that changes were happening to my body, but also to my mental and emotional self. Each success fed other successes, which started momentum that felt unstoppable. Then, in August, I took a volunteer, full-time position...
I really believed that I could continue my progress towards better health while also working. I continued to exercise and eat healthfully. However, as I got more wrapped up in my "job" I found that I started to ascribe lower and lower priority to both my exercise and my food planning and tracking. I stopped losing weight, but, thankfully, I was able to maintain my weight loss from August through November, which included a week-long cruise, my birthday, and Thanksgiving.
Once December hit, I was feeling a lot of stress because of the holidays, the tight schedules, all the parties and availability of food. But mostly I was stressed because of choices that I need to make in my life, but I don't know what to do. I want to move forward, but don't have all the information I need to make informed decisions, so instead I stress in limbo. I try to tell myself to let it go, but easier said than done. Unfortunately, all of these stressors combined were too much for my new-found coping strategies and more often than not I found myself reverting back to my old emotional eating strategies, which soothed me, at least in the short term. Soothe, maybe, but cause 8 pounds of weight gain, definitely. I'm not happy about it, but, interestingly, I'm not beating myself up about it either. Boy, how far I've come in a year!
So now I start 2011. My renewed focus comes from a few books I read and a CD I listened to over the winter break. I still have the same stressors, but as I work to put things in perspective, these stressors seem to be less important in the grand scheme and, therefore, less stress-inducing. I've decided to commit myself to my health as a first priority instead of letting work get in the way. I've worked out a road map to get me going. I have the tools on SparkPeople to get me refocused.
More than any new year I can remember I feel like I really don't know what this year will hold. I'm afraid, but also curious and excited. I wonder what's waiting for me...
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Each of us is responsible for our lives. Not to say that everything that happens to us is within our control, but that we are responsible for how we choose to respond to the events or non-events in our lives. We are able to choose our response...we are response-able. This is not my idea, but of Steven Covey and his co-authors of "First Things First," of which I have a summary CD.
Covey explains that we are not our pasts or our futures. The memories of the past and the ideas or projections of the future may influence how we react in the present, but we choose how we react in any given moment. I am so bad at this. Most of the time it seems as though I am blown around like a oarless, rudderless boat on a stormy sea. But I'm starting to understand why this is so. I have not yet figured out what my mission or purpose in life is. I'm starting to think I do, but then life doesn't happen how I plan and I'm more confused than ever. However, I'm starting to see the wisdom of having a mission, even if it is not the ultimate one. In fact, it can be changed as life changes, or maybe as it is accomplished a new mission will emerge. But having a mission is like a steady spot on the horizon toward which I could steer.
Being response-able means not being a victim of circumstance. It also means being the actor in one's life, and not the acted-upon. Being kind to one's self no matter what is an example of choosing one's response. Each day holds so many moments to choose. At each opportunity today, as a start, I want to choose self-forgiveness.
Wednesday, December 01, 2010
Don't ask me what the title means...I have no idea...kind of like this blog ;).
Here's a shocking fact:
The average North American gains seven to twelve pounds over the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. (taken from "The Daily Extra" in my "Lawyers" daily calendar). Shocking statistic. I have no idea if it is true, but I'm adamant that I'm not going to be an average North American this year.
Here's a wonderful morsel for thought:
"Never explain. Your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe it anyway."--Elbert Hubbard. Thank you, Elbie. I think you are right (for the most part). For the little things, I should really stop apologizing. I need to learn to take up space in the world and feel comfortable doing it.
So about that 1000 roll-up challenge...my goal was to complete 1000 roll-ups by yesterday. I completed 244. A couple thoughts, though...that's 244 more than I would have done had I not accepted the challenge. Also, roll-ups are harder than crunches...I think I set my sights too high. For December, I'm going to see if I can do 1000 crunches, instead. Then, maybe I'll revisit the roll-ups in January. We'll see.
I also had planned to jog three times per week to improve my 5K time. I only went a couple times. I have really gotten off my schedule. This is something I am addressing...I need to figure out a new routine that is workable with all the new obligations in my life. In other words, I need to reassess my priorities and get things back into the proper perspective. Yeehaw!
About kitty...the vet and the animal specialist have no answer as to why my little kitty got so sick, but she's still taking antibiotics (just in case) and is back to her pink-gummed, spunky self. We are relieved that she's doing so much better and have to accept that we may never know exactly what happened to cause such a life-threatening condition. Very, very strange. But we are very thankful that she is still with us and seemingly doing fine.
I had a job interview yesterday for a position in the office where I'm doing volunteer work. I have no idea how it went. The interviewer was very nice, but very hard to read. I was told by a colleague that a lot of applications were received, but was also told that I should be a competitive candidate. Hmmm. Now, I'm waiting to hear about two jobs. Hopefully I'll hear by the end of the month and, with any luck, I'll have one or maybe even two job offers. Fingers crossed!
Onward and upward!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I just finished reading "The Amazing Adventures of Dietgirl" by Shauna Reid. It is a true story of a 350-lb woman who lost half her weight and found herself. I really enjoyed the book and related to a lot of her struggles. I wanted to share two excerpts.
1. "Weight loss isn't about willpower or motivation; it's just the cumulative effect of tiny actions over time. Putting down the chocolate bars, putting on the running shoes. You just have to keep picking yourself up when you fall, over and over again, for however long it takes." page 339.
I believe this to be true. However, I remember and forget it quite regularly. Healthful living is a choice made daily, through the accumulation of many moments. No willpower is required if thoughtfulness guides choices. Planning, and then doing, eliminates the need for motivation. Choose health often and the results will follow. Now if I could just remember this all the time...
2. "I used to worry I'd end up with floppy excess skin, but the leisurely pace of my weight loss has given things time to adjust." page 382.
I worry about this, too. I don't know if the author had good results because she's in her twenties and my results may be different; however, I find comfort in that sentence. Weight loss has slowed down, but I'm okay with that right now, especially if it allows my body to adjust.
I'm glad I read this book. It was encouraging and comforting, especially knowing that the weight-loss journey may have ups and downs, but ultimately the results are the sum total of individual choices. I can live with that.
I'd like to thank individually everyone who posts such positive and supportive comments on my Sparkpage and Blogs, but time is much tighter since I started volunteering full time. I wish Sparkpeople had a feature where the blog poster could post a comment and anyone who commented would be notified, but that feature doesn't exist. So for those who I have not thanked individually, please know that I do appreciate your support and I thank you!
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