Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I reread The Spark last week and it kind of helped to set me straight. After reading the book and looking over the goals I had initially set and then writing in my journal, I realized something. I was doing this entirely wrong. I thought I was following the advice of SparkPeople and doing everything right and for the right reasons, but I really wasn't.
For example, it is made clear that you need to start small, but I thought I was an exception to that rule for some reason. I thought, "10 minutes of exercise is below me, I can start at 30 and move even farther up." But just like SparkGuy's brother who did the same thing as I did, I fell into the trap of thinking that when it comes to exercise, it's all or nothing. I would think: 10 minutes is nowhere near as good as 30 minutes or an hour, so when life gets crazy and busy, I give it up all together. When in reality, something is always better than nothing.
In addition to this wrong mindset about fitness, I was also working towards superficial goals. I have it written down that I wanted to lose weight to feel better about getting dressed everyday and looking in the mirror, to look better in pictures, to not worry what I look like while I'm sitting down, to be able to share clothes with my friends, to be able to shop at "skinny" stores, to feel more comfortable in jeans, to be able to wear bikinis, and to have fewer stomach aches. The only substantial goal on that list I think is about reducing my stomach aches, and that's not even about who I am or what I want in life. Later on in my journal I began to talk about how I want to travel after I graduate and be a respected leader. I don't know why I didn't put that at the top of the list or why that wasn't made my primary motivation, because that is what I want. After going to school for the past 3 1/2 years, I've finally slowly figured out that I want to be a social worker. There is something very specific I want to do after I graduate in May: I want to participate in the Peace Corps' Masters International program where you go to grad school and do your time abroad at the same time. I'm applying to the University of Maryland School of Social Work, so I would do a year there, do my 2 years of Peace Corps, and then come back for another year of school, and I would get my MSW. The biggest roadblock to living abroad for 2 years, however, is my depression and my health. I have to learn to deal with my depression, preferably without pills so that I can live independently in an unfamiliar place and an uncomfortable circumstance. I have to be fit and at a healthy weight so that my body can be resilient to the different bacteria and diseases it will be exposed to. I think having this goal in mind will really help me to stay on track and really make this a lifestyle change.
I guess I didn't really know what "lifestyle change" meant exactly. It really means changing your relationship with food and looking at food differently. I just bought the SparkPeople Cookbook, and I recommend that for anyone with emotional eating issues. It's not about avoiding things at all costs and eating bland food. Food can taste good and be healthy and help you lose weight too. I wrote in my last blog that: "When I look back on the changes I made in my life, I kind of dread going back to it." That's because I was eating the same things everyday and was craving new and exciting foods. And you can have them, which is what will be different this time. I really want to thank Chef Meg for taking the time to not just throw a bunch of recipes together in a book, but also writing those first few chapters explaining why you can make this change and why you should do it and why you should want to do it. And she doesn't leave you in the dark about how to cook, which is something I am struggling with. But the book is so easy to use and perfectly laid out. I'm really glad I bought it.
I know I can do this. I know I am a strong person. Now that I know what I want and I am working towards something that is the reason for my existence, I will be able to stay on track. It was just not a concept that I grasped before. I was so oblivious; I even thought I was doing it right and for the right reasons. But I'm glad that stage happened, because I learned so much. If I knew what I wanted right from the start, I don't think I would have learned all I have learned about myself. I am a stronger, more competent person for it. I thank God for this opportunity not to start over, but to continue to pursue my journey to a healthier, better me.