Saturday, March 29, 2014

Rest up!

I hadn't posted much lately -- for lots of reasons. One, I wasn't sure I really had anything of importance to say. I wasn't sure that anyone really wanted to hear my story, my struggles, my failings, just my triumphs and successes. Part of me would think, "No, that's not right. People need to know that you can bounce back, that it's okay to have dark moments of the journey....." and then this other part of me would think, "But I *can't*!!!! You don't understand!!! I have to be 'on,' all day every day!"

Warped, huh?

Without going into laborious detail, there's a lot on my life plate that has very little to do with weight loss, with body image, etc. and yet ties into it on a very intimate level that only those of us who struggle mightily with it can begin to understand: how we can feel so put out by things that actually are not in our control so we work hard to control what we can -- but end up creating more stress when those plans don't necessarily work out to our benefit. And so it has been with me. Between my own things that really are not within my control and things I can control but either choose not to or feel that I cannot because of other reasons/excuses...... well, vicious cycle of emotional roller-coastering ensues here.

But hope is always present. Faith and courage are always beside me, even when their faces are shielded or blocked by doubts and cowardice. And love, love for myself, love from my friends and family, love and support from those dear to me, is always underneath, girding it all. It is love which binds my wounds and also applies the stinging mercurochrome when necessary.

Most of you know I'm definitely an introvert -- I can operate well in the world and be friendly and sometimes even outspoken, but the introversion/extroversion measurement has little to do with that, and more from where we derive our energy. I like people but I can only handle people situations for so long before I have to withdraw and recharge. I have to be alone, I have to ruminate, I have to allow things to be thought out thoroughly in my head. Make big decisions with ramifications on the fly? The very idea makes me almost apopolectic on a good day. When I'm really stressed, I get moody and very withdrawn and unable to think straight, let alone make the best possible decisions.

Finally, I spoke with a couple of friends who said, "Enough. Enough. You need to stop, you really need to care for yourself. NOW." So I am doing just that. I am taking real, active, concrete steps to do so. Part of it is that I have stopped swinging.

Now..... does that mean I have stopped fighting? Have I taken off the gloves, had Mick throw in the towel and conceded to Apollo Creed? NOT IN THE LEAST. Never!!!!!!!!!! I can assure you that I am never ever ever ever ever going back again (to mishmash Lindsey Buckingham and Taylor Swift; please forgive me). Been there, done that, ain't returning. Bought a ticket out. One way.

What it means is that it's in between rounds. I am sitting in the corner, I am catching my breath -- sweet precious breath -- and I am strategizing. I am trying to clear my head having been sucker-punched repeatedly over the last two years or so by a variety of things, all of which are things over which I had very little control but which I allowed to take up free space in my head. It means even Muhammad Ali took at least 60 seconds out every 3 minutes when he was in peak physical condition to rest. He knew his body needed to rest and regenerate. He knew he couldn't keep up if he didn't rest up.

I love this blog. I love sharing the journey with people. I have hated, hated, hated, feeling as if I have disappointed my readers (1) for not blogging as often as I should have and (2) for feeling as if you'd hate me if I didn't act "up" all the time... if I wasn't perfect. If you've never had that loop in your head say, "You just wait until they find out you are a fraud," then God bless you..... it's a negativity tapeloop that you NEVER want to have. And there are times it runs in my head more than you can guess.

But I'm still around. And I will post when I can and I will come out fighting and swinging for all I have in me..... and know that when I'm silent, it's because I'm in the corner, plannign the next thing and catching my breath for the next round.

One last thought for you:
Never ever regret your struggle. EVER. It has helped make you who you are.

Sunday, March 02, 2014

Do you deserve it?

Do you deserve to be happy?
Do you deserve to be healthy?
Do you deserve to be loved .... no, I mean, really loved by the one earthly person who can fill the gaping hole in your heart that is waiting to be filled with love that you give to yourself?

WHOA. Where did that come from?

Please, let me show you.....
(from Lissa Rankin, MD; blogger at owningpink.com 
and author of Mind Over Medicine)

Stop. Stop, really. Just read and read and re-read, and let it sink deeeeeeeeep into your soul. 

That was something where I saw it, read it, re-read it, and had to get up and walk off for a minute. It amazes me sometimes how easily we forget this -- we forget to take care of ourselves. We're taught that we always have to put others first. We are selfish if we dare to consider that we are worthy of our own time .... that the needs of our families, our community organizations, our churches, our extended families and friends always are far more important of our own .... that we are not allowed to say "I need some me time" or "I need space for myself." It's perfectly okay for our hubbies or sons or significant others to build a man-cave or have boys' night out .... but if we need a spa afternoon or girls night out, or want a "sewing room" (or anything for ourselves) it's a massive imposition.

No. No. A million times no.

It does not matter if you are married with 8 children and 14 grandchildren and surrounded by family and a slew of friends, or if you are single for life, no children, no spouse and looking at middle age as a double-barreled shotgun: You are the only one who can take care of you.

Your spouse cannot.
Your children cannot.
Your friends cannot.

It is you.

So when are you going to start filling that massive hole in your own heart with love for yourself instead of donuts or chocolate or that second helping of whatever? Or the leftover crumbs from your children's plate because you'd be thought of as a bad mother for "wasting food"?

Get your mother's voice out of your head, and a little more love for yourself in your heart. Don't force your kids to eat more than they want, and don't eat it for them to have a clean plate. After a while, your grocery list will self-adjust. 

Have you heard of the H.A.L.T. method? It's popular in many circles and do you know why? Because it works. It makes sense. Basically, HALT is this: a reminder to stop (hence, HALT - ha!) and ask yourself:
* Am I Hungry?
* Am I Angry?
* Am I Lonely?
* Am I Tired?
If any of those apply, don't make your decision .... ask yourself more questions. The most important will be "What do I really need?" If it's a food decision, and you are hungry -- and I mean true physical hunger -- then there's your answer. But if hunger is not the question, guess what? Food is not the answer! So then you go to the next..... you find which emotion is about to drive your behavior and address that need. And ONLY that need.

If you're hungry, eat (and again, true physical hunger). If you're angry, find out why and address it. If you're lonely (and this could include boredom), figure out something to do to address that need. If you're tired, maybe sleep or rest or self-care is just what you need. 

And think about the example you're setting for your daughters or the girls in your life..... you're telling them that it's okay to put yourself way down the list. The same time your lips are telling them that they matter, your actions are telling them that none of this is true. You should always put yourself near the bottom, that you don't deserve to love yourself and give your wounded soul the love it needs most.

Let's all think about that one for a while. Let's start a revolution in ourselves that say, "I matter. I matter enough to care for myself. I matter enough to need my time, my space, my own love. I matter. You do too."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Things that make you go BAM!

This wasn't a "hmm" moment. This was a complete "BAM! WHAMMY! HEY YOU!!!!" moment.

Oh, planning during the storm? Massive, epic FAIL. Then again, I worked a full 8 hours each day I was home. It did not let up! Yeah, no rest for the weary. I really was so exhausted at the end of each day that I pretty much took a nap after work. Yep, made it from the kitchen table to the recliner and {zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz}.

And how did that work for me? An even more epic FAIL. I don't even want to discuss how far from grace I fell. I'm a little angry at myself because I know better. I'm mortified because I should do better. But I am not going to beat myself up. Why? Because I had a revelation this weekend that is helping to crack open some things. 


I'm not sure why, since Christmas, I've been going in the opposite direction of where I want to go. I had been doing pretty well in December and yet so badly since then. I have no idea, really. The only two things that could have caused me any problems were my own illness in January (where I craved soup for days on end -- sodium BOOM!) and Padre's passing -- but while I miss my friend, it isn't the kind of thing that would send me into a tailspin.

So ... one of the things that occurred to me over the weekend was that while I consciously choose not to self-medicate with destructive things, I am apparently choosing to self-medicate with food. Again. I don't know what it is that I am attempting to mollify and soothe. I don't know why the smarter part of my brain -- the part that knows what to do and chooses wisely -- is hibernating. All I know is this feels primal and I'm choosing poorly.

Now. The time to change is now. The time to get my crap together is now. It is not tomorrow. It is not next week. It is now. Now. Yes, it's 9:30ish PM. There's still time. It's early yet. I've already got the gym bag packed and ready, and by the door. I have the gym clothes ready to put on in the morning (I just don't like sleeping in them; it's a me thing).

I can plan tomorrow, even if I can't plan the whole week. But I want to plan my week. I need to see things mapped out and on a page and in view. I need to keep the big picture in mind and yet keep my goals in sight too.

BAM! sometimes a knockout punch and landing on your back is what you need so you can see the light.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Some much-needed time...

Thank you, Mother Nature, Old Man Winter, God, and everyone else responsible for Snowmageddon-to-Come 2014. I think they're officially calling this one "Winter Storm Pax" (PAX? Have you been cooped up with your family for days? Think "The Shining"....)

Anyhow, if "Pax" is as bad as the predictions say it will be, I will be at home and working from here for a couple of days. That will also give me a precious 90 minutes to 2 hours a day back into my schedule that won't be spent on the road commuting... and which I can use for planning!

You see, in thinking about things over the last couple of days, I've realized I need to plan much more than my meals, my exercise, etc. I need a far better grip on my life in general. I'm tired of feeling tired. I'm tired of feeling that I've lost control of my own life. It is past time for me to reclaim myself, my time, my life, my health.

Notice that "my health" is last in line there -- I didn't do that by accident. I really believe that if I focus on the other things, on simply getting myself and my life back in order first, the health/weight issues will fall in line as they should, when they should. I cannot expect to tackle that issue outside the others. That's like asking me to run a race and handing me just a pair of shoes .... without a map of the race course, without any information about when and where, and without any training.

My first order of planning? Figuring out how to get better quality (and QUANTITY) of sleep, especially given that the Topamax and Xyzal make me sooooo sleepy almost immediately after I take it, and leave me still brain-fuzzy in the mornings. But fret not: I will figure this out.

Here's to a better 2014! Here's to reclaiming us.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Planning to succeed

I apologize for the lack of posts. The last couple of weeks have been .... strange. Yes, strange. Short of it is that I'm still trying to figure out the effects of my new medicines on me (still far too tired in the mornings but not fall-asleep-groggy). I also had to deal with a post-nasal thing, allergy-related, where the back of my throat was scratchy-yucky, and I'm just now, three weeks later, beginning to come out from that. The weather ... well, let's not even discuss. Suffice to say I was over winter by 12/22, and am so ready for spring to arrive that I can hardly wait.

We had some changes at work which resulted in me having to train a couple of people -- one to start and when she didn't work out, I had to do it again for someone else (who seems very eager and willing to learn and work). And worst of all, I also experienced the deep sadness of losing a very dear friend during this time frame, and it threw me for a loop. I have not been mentally back in the game until just recently.

All this to say that I am not in my normal groove and haven't been for several weeks. It shows on the scale, and I'm over it. The lack of planning, of having things slung at me and having to adjust and re-adjust on the fly, is not working for me. I don't mind being flexible but when it comes to this, I know that planning works. I know that being able to sit down, to see my budget, to see my freezer/pantry and what's in it, and to go with that and plan meals is a big help with weight loss. Otherwise -- for me, anyway -- I get very tempted by "sure, whatever" ... and either drift toward (1) really bad stuff (a/k/a "I don't care mode"); (2) good stuff via takeout (not really fiscally responsible); or (3) good frozen entrees or meals (not really all that great-tasting or truly "healthy" for my sodium thing).

So to help me, I bought a tool: a good old-fashioned, write-it-down 3-month tracker. Yes, I have the mobile WW app, and a couple of other ones as well. Yes, it's awfully convenient to just look up the points on my phone. But that gives me a handy excuse to say, "Oh, I won't eat the lunch I brought from home because I found out that (Restaurant X) has (Food Y) for only (Z PointsPlus), and yeah, I think I'll do that!" That's great in an emergency situation but it's not something I want to do each day. I want to think about what I'll take. I want to think about the energy it will give me, not just shoving food in because I've picked the lesser of all evils from the best of the alternatives.

A half-week in and I can already tell I need to really utilize it to the fullest. Why? Because I've been relying on my phone to get me through to the weekend when I could actually prepare things. So tonight, I'm planning out the rest of my week -- food-wise, if nothing else. The weather is still playing havoc so I am just going to have to FORCE myself to do workouts at home if I cannot make it to the gym. I may have to re-plan my life to fit evening workouts in now. I have to do what I have to do in order to be successful.

I have heard it a million times: "Failure to plan is planning to fail." I'm finding it to be true.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Momentary Flash of Insight

This past week in weight-loss: maintained. I was so thrilled I could have cried. Who knows about this week, but you know, I'm not even freaking out about it......

I had a yoga workshop today that was absolutely phenomenal. I'm working to create a variety of home practices for those times when attending as many classes as I'd like is limited (by time, money, my normal schedule, etc.). One of the things that Linda, our teacher, discussed was the concept that keeps getting hammered home of self-care..... that we cannot care for others until we care for ourselves. We further mentioned the idea of excuses .... of knowing what we have to do, and still coming up with every reason not to do them.

I have to admit my mind wandered for just the briefest of moments. I thought to a friend of mine who has made some ah-mayyyyyyy-zing strides this year in therapy and self-care, and I could almost hear her saying something along the lines of, "Excuses are for the times we just don't want to dig any deeper." If she were to say that, she would have a good point.

There are differences between explanations and excuses. Explanations are legitimate reasons for being unable to do something specific or at a specific time or place. Excuses are reasons to avoid doing it at all. For example, Linda said that people say, "I can't do yoga because I have a bad knee" to which she replied, "We can modify things -- the knee is only 3% of your body!" So at that point, when the issue is solved, has "unable" become "unwilling" or perhaps simply "not ready"? What do you do then?

Lately, my explanations have devolved into excuses. I've got to get myself back on track (again) post-haste, starting tomorrow. My morning workouts are not possible right now, not while I'm still adjusting to the meds, or while they are still leaving me rather lethargic in the mornings. So I have no alternative -- I have to workout in the evenings after work (no excuses!!) ... or if I cannot do evenings, I will have to find some alternative PERIOD. Workouts at home. Or force myself to leave sooner, be extra vigilant, etc. (which I really don't like because it puts other people at risk, not just myself).

For yoga? My easy excuse is "I have no place at home to really make into a sacred space." My answer is: create one. Just plain create one. Sit and plan and think and make it happen. Plan shorter routines for mornings so I can do cardio in the afternoons. Plan longer routines for days I can't do cardio or the gym at all.

So my momentary flash of insight is to delve a little deeper. Plan a little better. Find answers and modifications instead of excuses and cop-outs.

And just get going.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Getting back in gear....

2014 is starting out a bit like 2013: in a doctor's office. Up a bit at the scale. Only this time I have a few more answers.

I have a sixth sinus infection, just wrapped up the prednisone dosage, still working the antibiotics, have a new nighttime-only antihistamine, and Topamax (also bedtime only) for the headaches. Last night was my first dosage for that.... today was my first day and I can't wait until it actually begins to get into my system and build up. Because even on this lowest dosage, I have been ... groggy? out of it? yeah? most of the day.

But, back to the topic of the blog itself: so I was up 1.4 this week. Can I blame the polar vortex? the prednisone? my own laziness? Oh, wait.... Well yeah, that pretty much sums it up. No one to blame but me. But guess what, it's also up to me to get this off again. So two days in a row at the gym (so far) and plans to work out at home tomorrow after work. Sunday is supposed to be sunny again (hooray!) so Mr. Maddox will get a walk.

The new medications may mean an adjustment to my schedule. Right now, it's 10:30 PM and I'm very very sleepy. When I woke up this morning at 4:30 (having gone to sleep around 10:45), I was pretty slow moving for nearly an hour.... so it may mean that I have to switch my workouts to afternoons. Ideal for energy levels, but not for my "tolerance for large crowds" level, though I will say this past Thursday (yesterday) was very reasonable. I'll give things a couple of weeks to even themselves out and plan accordingly.

But plan I must. Plan meals. Plan exercise. Plan meditation. Plan my life better -- not just the goals but how I want to feel when I achieve them. I've been reading Danielle LaPorte, and one of the things she mentions is that it's not necessarily the goal itself we chase, but the feeling it engenders in us.

I get that..... I get it a lot. When I was in the weight loss process, it took me a long time to realize that the goal wasn't really as important as what I learned along the way and how it made me feel:

Empowered.
Worthy.
Capable.
Passionate.
Alive.

I could have lost five pounds and felt some degree of those things.
But I felt them much more as time went on.
I learned to look at the big picture ("so you're up 0.4, hey you've lost 156!")

These are the things I still want to feel every day as I continue to live this process.

How about you?