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Careful what you wish for

Sunday, March 04, 2012

So, my last status update Feb. 29 was congratulating myself for finishing 29 consecutive days of yoga class. "Bring on the next challenge", I said, brimming with the enthusiasm and confidence that comes from meeting a goal.

March 1st while I was on vacation my boss resigned. Since I work in such a highly political environment, and for a number of other reasons having to do with the specifics of my work situation, I feel strongly that I can't stay without him. So, I have now out of no where plunged into the emotional turmoil that is job hunting. I haven't had to look for a job in 13 years. One thing led to another and I've prospered. But this last job was tough. I never really got the success out of it that I'd hoped for and over the last few months I've been talking openly and widely about my concerns and dissatisfaction. I was stunned and chagrined to find that people had opinions themselves on how I was doing and saw how I was struggling-- but it's so high profile a job I shouldn't have been surprised. But it was painful to see that anyway. Through these conversations I was beginning to see that I would have to set a new course, and I was afraid, deeply afraid, because my biggest fears always involve change. I really struggle with situations that are out of control -- not so much that I don't have them in control but that aren't in control at all that I can't see how they go. I

It's an interesting time to job hunt for me. Anything is possible. I don't have to stay in this town -- I'm a single mother and my youngest is graduating high school in a few weeks and headed off to college. Therefore, I have no strong ties here, which sort of leaves me sad in certain ways -- I've been here for 22 years -- but it is what it is.

So, if I was ready for a new challenge last week -- it looks like I got it. I'm nervous but I'm making some emotional decisions. First, I will not allow myself to succumb to fear and depression which is what often happens with me when I get overwhelmed. Instead, I'll pace myself and be generous with myself and let people help me. Often, when I go into stressful situations, I chose isolation. But I don't want to do that this time. I'll need help. And it's been interesting how many people have already reached out and offered support just in the last few days.

I also don't want to lose the ground I've gained in terms of my sense of well being that has come through the last several months of tuning into my body, daily exercise and making healthy choices. I'm not going to go back to the self destructive coping mechanisms that I often turned to in the past of smoking drinking overeating indulging. If anything, I want to strengthen my commitment to a healthy lifestyle which after 4 months doesn't actually feel like such a heavy burden of self-denial and willpower. I like myself and my life better because of the choices I've made and that has got to make this transition easier.

I know that there will be some tough days going forward but I can decide to be positive in meeting them. I will surround myself with cheerleaders and pick a strategy and stick with it. I will not let fear pull me into the emotional abyss as it has so many times. I will treat myself with respect. I will imagine myself doing well and feeling happy in my future, because ultimately, I'm going to have some kind of future anyway -- I may as well position myself to have the best possible future I can imagine.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 3/4/2012 8:31AM

    Your reflections and insights about the situation are very wise.
I understand your job has been very demanding and did not give you satisfaction.
Finding a new job is always stressful, but now you are strong, healthy and positive so you have the best chances to find a better job.

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CHUM48 3/4/2012 7:45AM

    Wow! Change is a good thing, sometimes difficult to get through! There is greatness for you on the other side, in every area of your life. You've made positive changes and you know your weakness and what to watch for.
You can do it!

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some ruminations

Sunday, February 19, 2012

As time winds down on the yoga challenge -- there's just 10 days left -- I'm considering what to do next.

I've had such a good experience with the daily yoga that I'm really considering continuing, for how long I don't know. Just showing up at anything everyday is a remarkable thing, but it's been more than that. I feel calmer in the storm. I feel gentler with myself. It doesn't hurt that literally everyone I saw for the first time on Friday told me I looked like a million dollars. "No, I didn't get a new hair style."

I'm also thinking that I need to get cardio in. One of the interesting things about the daily yoga is that is has sort of changed my relationship to my fat. Ha! I know that needs an explanation. Before, I thought of myself as a fat person -- a person who is fat. Now, there's been a shift and I literally see the fat on my body as this stuff that is in my way a dragging me down. I was in a pose the other night and all the fat from my rear and thigh was hanging there basically in my face and instead of freaking out over it, which is what I normally would do when confronted by the pile of adipose that is covering my otherwise shapely frame, was just curious about it. I didn't think I was UGLY or anything, I thought "wow, that is a lot of extra to be carrying around." For the first time in my life, I just want to be lighter -- not THINNER -- lighter. And it had nothing to do with the way I look! For me, that's a big breakthrough. I can admit here (and for the first time anywhere I think) that I never really cared about the health consequences of weight gain or loss or skipping meals or not eating nutritionally balanced meals. I honestly did all of any of it -- the crushing workouts the no dinner dinners --- even giving up alcohol in the first place -- all so I might have a shot at looking good in a pair of tight blue jeans. Seriously.

Well, whatever gets you there I guess. Giving up daily alcohol and cigarettes switching to daily exercise and a 10 pm bedtime has lead to a series of other changes that have amounted to a full scale life transformation that I have been trying to get to for years now. So, no folks, I did NOT get a new haircut.

Suffice it to say, I'm not as motivated by size 4 anymore.

I've been thinking about running this week. For decades I ran between 3 and 7 days a week and I loved it. But in recent years I just wanted to do something else. If I ran a few days it would actually be two workouts a day because yoga takes up 90 minutes. And I haven't even figured in weight training yet. But even if I did less (timewise) yoga that's still sorting out and suiting up twice a day. I do a dance class already once a week, so that's cardio. If I ran, I'd almost certainly have to do it in the morning before work. Right now I love my morning routine but honestly, if I stopped all my puttering and computer stuff and headed out the door for 30 minutes before my shower, it would not impact the relaxing morning routine I've developed. It might enhance it.

One thing that I haven't talked much about here is my relationship to food. I don't like the term "foodie" which I associate with people that treat food as a status symbol -- but I am a very serious cook. And a very serious eater. There's no junk food in my diet but there is butter and olive oil and meat and white flour and sugar in the good meals that I prepare for myself and others. Did I mention chocolate? Yes, I eat chocolate -- daily. Just chocolate in it's purest yummiest form. Like those people that drink their bourbon neat. I buy a pound of 65% cocoa chips from a local purveyor and eat a tablespoon of those after dinner every day over 10 minutes savoring every morsel. (Fortunately, I've never been a big "cheese" person. That would probably put me and my food and calorie budget right over the edge.)

Still however, not every meal I eat or prepare is some gourmet extravaganza. I'm beginning to realize that I need to think about more functional easy meals on a routine basis. Especially after a hard day at work and then the gym I just want to walk in the door and EAT something nutritious and prepared and ready in minutes. It's maybe one or two meals a week that I go all out -- and most days it's just doing my best to balance protein, veggies, starch that tastes pretty good like everyone else and trying to get something on the table before people drop over.

I do have a tendency to "cheat" with food. I taste. I snack on handfuls. I graze. And when I do it, It feels very transgressive -- emotionally it feels very much like a kid "stealing" a cookie from the cookie jar. If I look at what is plaguing my calorie goals though, it's that stuff. It feels like anxiety seems to motivate it. I don't really understand it.

Anyway, I know this is long and all over the place, but I thought I'd get down some of this running dialog in my head down in print. Thanks, if you read this far, for doing so!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TANYAP71 2/19/2012 12:17PM

    I always enjoy reading your thoughts!

I too love to cook. In the last year I have learned that clean and simple can be delicious. I still like to try new recipes and still go all-out on a regular basis but I have grown to appreciate the days I save time on prep and spend it to savoring a simple meal with the family.

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TEMPEST272002 2/19/2012 11:21AM

    I love yoga too. I feel so loose and open afterwards. Your shift in focus - from being thin to being healthy & fit is so important. Doing anything & everything to be skinny never seems to work in the long run. But creating a healthy, fit body will carry you through long-term.

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KRISZTA11 2/19/2012 11:14AM

    Ha! I'm so much with you on the morning "puttering and computer stuff" lol...
If I let myself drift about passively, it takes me 45-60 (!) minutes from getting up to start running. That is ridiculous - on days when I really have to be on time I can do it in 15 minutes.

And I eat dark chocolate daily too. Nothing fancy, just plain dark chocolate, 10-15 grams a day. In the evening, or after lunch if my lunch turns out to be on the smallish side.

Congrats to the yoga success!
I would like to see those progress pictures very much.

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30 Day Yogathon -- halfway point

Monday, February 13, 2012

I've been doing yoga occasionally for probably a decade. Never really got super committed to it, but enjoyed it when I did it. For me, I was always a runner first, then everything else fit in behind the daily run. I ran long distance for over 30 years and still love it. But it was just time for me to get out of old habits and into new things. So, I started doing more yoga along with all the other changes I was making in my life starting in November of last year. So that all that change would just be GIVING up things. It was also taking ON things.

At the yoga studio near my house they offer a 30 day yogathon twice a year in February and October. It intrigued me. It's a sweet little studio and really close to the house. I don't know. I think it appealed to the long distance runner in me. So, with only slightly more intention than a whim I signed up for February's yoga challenge. It's been almost two weeks now. So here's the report.

First, the most striking thing is the schedule. When you have committed to do something daily for any length of time well every obstacle that has ever stood in your way to working on a commitment shows up and you just can't let it stop you. So if you are tired, you go. If you are sore, you go. If you are in a bad mood, you go. If your son wants to have a certain dinner and you don't have all the ingredients you go and he eats something else because you don't have time to go to the store. If you left your cell phone on the desk at work, you go. If all you have energy for right now is curling up on the couch with the cat, you go. If your best friend from high school is in town, just for the day, you go. If you ever want to get in touch with your "excuse" side, sign up to do something daily. The excuse-o-meter will be pumping out ever more lame reasons why you can't do whatever it is and then you do it anyway.

So, aside from how I'm feeling physically, just blasting through excuses day after day after day has been pretty great. That might be the main skill building that's happening here. This is what your brain looks like on a steady diet of "Just do it!".

First of all, no disasters. Nothing has fallen through the cracks. My son is still alive. The cat eventually got fed. I managed to go to class when I was really tired and at the end of class, I was -- um -- really tired. Presumably, I would have continued to be really tired even if I hadn't gone to yoga class.

Otherwise, the physical stuff. Well, my skin looks incredible. I look like I get a 100 dollar facial every day or else I'm in love. (ha, I wish!) Have no idea why this is, but it's the first most noticeable thing. Second, I think that the little bit of meditation and concentration is helping me manage my stress level enormously. Third, I am much more aware of my body and what is happening with it even when I'm not in class. It's like I'm more IN my body all the time, which is very cool and may be the thing that keeps me really going after the challenge is over. It's like my life has another untapped dimension.

I'm not doing cardio right now, so my weight loss is slower -- and I'm slow to begin with there. But I feel fantastic. And my curves are less lumpy. I don't know, I'll take an "after" picture on day 29 and you guys can judge for yourself. It's hard to tell for me.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 2/14/2012 9:10AM

The yogathon sounds to be very good for you!!!
You are very right about the daily commitment thing : )))
I loved your blog and smiled a lot while reading it.

Comment edited on: 2/14/2012 9:11:02 AM

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February Goals

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

1. 30 day yoga challenge! So, I have committed to 30 days of yoga at my yoga studio down the street. I have to go to at least one class a day for the next 30 days. (Yes, I could do MORE than 1 class a day if I want.) Very excited. Nervous. Excited. Nervous. aahhhhh!

2. Track the hell out of my food, measure everything and stick to my food plan like white on rice. (I have figured out that little bits of snacking is my calorie downfall. I need to plan everything. I hate that, but I do.)

3. 8 glasses of Water. 8 hours of Sleep. Just like I've been doing since first week in November.

4. At least 3 days of cardio and as much as 6 depending on how I'm feeling and time available. I don't know how much time I'll have given the yoga commitment. So I'm committing to at least 3 days of cardio.

5. Weights. Since I couldn't make a decision about how much weight lifting to do, perhaps I'm not ready to make a commitment there. It may be my intuition telling me that I need to focus on these other commitments. (But I'd love to hear from Sparkers that do cardio, and yoga and weights and how they work it all in.)

6. Oh, forgot to mention that yesterday started the new semester of hip hop class. I did it last year at the dance company's studio near my house and I LOVED it. It's once a week and it makes me feel like JLo for about 10 minutes per hour, which are the ten minutes that I'm not falling on my ass and looking like a middle aged woman in hip hop class. (Don't tell my children, because they are mortified that I do this.)

I'm not going to have a weight loss goal this month. But I did buy a new scale that measures fat percentage and water.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KRISZTA11 2/1/2012 3:21AM

    One and half hour of yoga everyday is definitely a Challenge. : )
Add the hip hop class (that qualifies as cardio, doesn't it?),
and you are a very very active woman.

I hope you will have energy for the 3 cardio sessions and the weight lifting,
but don't be discouraged if you need to cut down a bit on those plans.

Tracking everything is a good plan too!
It helps in two ways: you will know what you eat and understand your metabolism better - but more importantly you will think twice before you eat a bit of this and a bit of that.

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tracking food

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Hey everybody. Love some ideas.

For my entire adult life, I've been conscious of my weight and on one level or another kept track of my food and calorie intake. It wasn't until I joined Sparkpeople in November that I started tracking consistently though and it was an eye opener, but not in the way I think it usually is in these parts. I almost always eat well below 2000 and usually below 1700, whether I'm "dieting" or not and no matter how active I am. When I tried to drop down to 1200 calories a day, I sort of freaked out. I found it super hard to do without rigorously planning every snack and every meal and avoiding nearly every social occasion on my calendar. I bumped it up to 1500 and that was a lot easier to manage, but then another interesting thing. When I bumped it up to 1500 I found I was a bit more compulsive about eating. It was easier to go from there back up to what my body seems to "want" to eat which is closer to 1700-1800 and I was getting a little obsessive about food.

I'm not losing much weight at all. Exercise is trimming me up inches wise and I'm pleased with my progress, but my BMI is still "overweight" and I'd feel a lot better training for this marathon in Oct. carrying less weight.

So, here's my quandary. I'm not convinced that calorie restriction is going to do me much good other than make me entirely neurotic about food -- and as you can see from some of my other posts, equanimity is pretty high on my personal priority list. However, I do have a genuine desire, that is not entirely vanity driven -- to lose this 20-25 lbs. I know now that I have a tricky metabolism. I gained the 20-25 pounds very slowly over 10 years, so I wasn't a big gainer ever either.

I was reading some posts from the Slow Loser contingent and there was a lot helpful there. Maybe, I lose at the ounces level rather than the pound level and since I am steadily losing, I should just keep at it and not expect to lose faster. Right now, my main quandary is whether I should continue tracking my food so any feedback on the upsides and downsides of this and secondly I'd love any sort of advice on deciding about calorie restriction for someone who eats a generally very healthy diet and is getting a little frustrated with my results.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOBYCARP 1/26/2012 4:54PM

    Tracking and planning is really not a big deal . . . now. It was a traumatic, grudging effort that allowed me to admit it was necessary half a year ago. It's okay to struggle with admitting that you really need to do something that's necessary. You're not the only person to go through this type of struggle.

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KRISZTA11 1/26/2012 4:52PM


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YCOOLIO 1/26/2012 2:51PM

    So, I've been really thinking this through since writing this and thanks for your feedback Kriszta.

As I considered what I should do here with regards to food tracking, I dug into my feelings and I made an interesting discovery. I want this weight loss thing to be easy, effortless and unconscious. I have feelings of RESENTMENT that it isn't those things. I have learned that when I feel resentment, it is always a signal that something larger is at stake than what at first appears to be the issue. What do I resent about tracking food? Planning meals? Having a weight loss goal?

I just had to get my head around this and here's what I discovered rolling around in there.

1. I resent that it's not easy to lose weight COMPARED to other people -- I guess these miscellaneous non-existent people for whom losing weight is very easy. I've never met them, and there seem to be none of them on Sparkpeople either, so, I don't know who these imaginary people are.

2. I resent that, in order to meet an important goal, I have to be mindful of something that I have to do so many times a day. At some level, I consider this level of mindfulness a nuisance. I guess that part of me that feels that way would rather be unconscious, I guess?

3. I resent growing older and having to take aging as a factor in goal setting. This might be the first time I've ever had to do that, so it's sort of an ego blow.

So, I think I've concluded that it will be better to get over my resentment, and plan my meals and track my calories and therefore be able to meet my goals, because in the end that is what is important here.

And tracking and planning actually, when you get right down to it, isn't really that big a deal.

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KRISZTA11 1/25/2012 8:11AM

    This is embarrassing really...
Your natural intake is about 1700-1800 and you maintain your weight on that range, right?
1200 is a bit too low and rather hard to keep,
1500 would be OK but the more calories tempt you to eat more.
What is your Spark People recommended range?

I totally understand being compulsive about eating at the higher calorie range...
I'm maintaining on 1800-2100 which is sometimes hard to fill with healthy food.
It gives me too much space to play around.
It tempts me to eat "normal" food (fat and carbs) and I'm over the range in a minute.
I dropped weight at 1500-1700 and lost slowly at 1700-1900.

If you maintain on 1700-1800, you must lose weight eventually either at 1500 or at 1200, unless you stop exercising. Or at anything between.
Do whichever is easier for you!

If you have a feeling that your weight loss is slower than it should be, then maybe it would be a good idea to visit your doctor and have your metabolism checked (thyroid gland for example).

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