So a few days ago, I mentioned genetics affecting my goals. I've been kind of sulky about that. I have a lot of factors against me from genetics. My whole family is overweight, so there's some deeply reinforced habits there. In addition, I have family history of diabetes on both sides of my family. Thyroid issues on my mom's side for every woman in the family. This bursitis nonsense on my mom's side. Heart disease on both sides. It's really easy to start making excuses and throw a big pity party.
Then I started thinking about my personal issues that have kept me from my goals. I realized that I've used my addictions as excuses/reasons/obstacles waaaay more times than medical issues have realistically complicated things.
First and foremost:
This is caffeine. We go way back. My parents started giving me coffee when I was in about 4th grade when we realized that it calmed me down. As time has gone on, we've come to the realization that this is effectively self-medicating ADD. My little brother and mother have ADD and have tried meds. After seeing my brother's childhood destroyed by those meds (they made him super aggressive, among other side effects), I refused to take any meds. When I don't have caffeine, I feel scatter-brained and really stressed out.
So, that's where my caffeine addiction started. I have been working on weening myself off of caffeine very slowly--or reducing it significantly. It takes a lot of work. About a year ago, I was working off of 6 shots of espresso a day. Then I went down to 5, then 4. As of last week, I'm down to 3 shots of espresso a day. This one drink (that I feel absolutely DEAD without) contributes about 150 calories to my total per day. It also can affect workouts because it aids dehydration.
I have used my coffee as a reason why I can't go on a diet before. I've used it as a reason to not go to the gym. I feel like I have this addiction under control for the most part, but I still allow it to structure my day. I can't feel happy until I have my coffee. I don't feel human.
Video games. I love PC games. Up until October of this past year, I was playing games for something resembling 6-10 hours per day. There were several days where that number went to something more like 16 hours. I love the challenge of playing games. I particularly liked the feeling of being valued because I was a girl who could play with the "big boys." If you've ever been around gamer boys, you'll understand that girls don't get a lot of respect. I've been in male-dominated environments for most of my life. I'm used to having to prove that I'm not held back by my uterus and hormones. That feeling of being respected/admired/valued really helped boost me up.
I've tried going on a diet several times in the past few years. I even had an online friend calling me to wake me up to go work out for a couple months. I had some great friends who legitimately wanted me to succeed. Playing the games were more important to me. I HAD to play all the time.
I haven't played any video games in over a month. I miss it. I really want to play. I got an email yesterday about game updates that look SO AWESOME. But right now, I have to keep my priorities straight. When I can fit gaming back into my schedule, I might. But this time, it's gaming that comes last, not my health.
I have been addicted to the internet since about 8th grade. I think this is based on a lot of deep psychological mess. When I was in 4th & 5th grade and my parents were having serious problems, my mom locked herself in the "office" and stayed online in chat rooms 24/7. She would tell us to go away, that she didn't want to see us. My parents got divorced and she left us with my dad. In 8th grade, I moved in with my mom because I had to choose the lesser of two evils: emotional abuse from my dad & watching physical abuse to my brother, or my irresponsible mother. As an 8th grader, I loved the idea of a house with no rules!
I spent the last quarter of my 8th grade year online for several hours per day. At the time, I played cards online. I loved playing Spades. I talked to lots of people, made lots of friends online. I think I may have been seeking the support and stability I was missing in my life there. I missed a lot of school that quarter because I would be online until 4am and sleep through school. In high school, I continued to stay online allll the time, but I actually made it to school 99% of the time. I had to talk to people. I had to be connected.
My junior year of high school, I found this online Harry Potter community. I loved it. I taught Arithmancy, I played trivia-based quidditch. I had "quidditch practice" like 4 nights a week. Looking back, it was a little ridiculous. I still know ENTIRELY too much Harry Potter trivia. But it was a place where I was awesome. Connected. Important. Relied upon. I needed it.
Even SparkPeople has turned into a "I MUST CHECK TO SEE IF ANYBODY HAS SAID ANYTHING EVERY 15 MINUTES!" compulsion. On the up side, that means I'm able to see a lot of motivational posts. I can relate to a lot of people's comments. But, it's still an addiction.
I think I have a tendency to get obsessed with things. Even now, after only 3 weeks of going to the gym, I feel horribly WRONG not going. Maybe that's a good thing. My knee doesn't agree, but at least it's a healthy obsession this time.
I have a lot of things to overcome before I can be healthy. But, I'd like to think I'm making a lot of progress in the right direction. In the past few months, I've made several changes for the better. I have to stay vigilant (and now that I'm thinking Harry Potter, I have to quote Mad-Eye. Grrr...) but I think I can do it.