Monday, July 7, 2014

65 Days and Green with Envy

Social media is making me jealous.  I used to have a lot of friends who were curvy and fit like me.  Now they are all skinny and uber fit and I'm on the only curvy one left.  Sure, I have plenty of friends who are obese and inactive but I don't want to be lumped into that category. 

Two of my curvy friends starting taking Zumba classes.  I encouraged them because I love Zumba and it turned my life around 5 years ago.  So of course now they go non-stop and have lost tons of weight.  They know have their own clique of front row divas and know as many instructors as I do.  At least they could have lost weight by attending my classes.  No, that would have sucked more. Nevermind.    

A handful of other friends starting running.  I have been running road races for 20+ years.  It is my time to meditate and reflect.  Even though sometimes my body hates it, my brain is always in the mood to run.  I always recommend running to people because it's cheap; a pair of shoes and a sports bra and you're good to go.  Of course they all now do road races regularly and are much faster than I am. 

I know I should be happy for them but I feel like everything that defines me has been hijacked by other people.  So you've been doing something that I love for a short period of time and are better at it than me.  Awesome.  Please show me another picture of yourself in your bra top and your short shorts winning your age group.  I know.  It's childish.  

The reality is that they were all bigger than me and now they are all smaller than me and it pisses me off.  They were all more disciplined than I have every been about my diet and exercise and, as a result, they have seen amazing results.  I can't be jealous that they worked hard and got rewarded in the end.  But I am.  I am happy for them (to their faces) but my insides are boiling inside and with every happy post I just want to punch the computer screen.  

I know.  If I were happy with me I wouldn't be so jealous of them.  If I tried harder and was proud of my accomplishments I wouldn't waste so much time obsessing over theirs.  Believe me, I would never admit to being this shallow to outside of this blog.  I am pretty ashamed of myself. 

I'd like to believe that this will motivate me.  That the chance to one-up the people who accidentally one-upped me by getting their shit together will be the final piece to motivate me but I doubt it.  Somewhere within me is the motivation.  I just need to find it. And do squats instead of logging onto Facebook.  

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Learning Discipline

Yesterday I ate so much food that I threw up.  This has never happened to me before.  I've been sick from food poisoning, food allergies, stomach bugs and alcohol but never from stuffing myself.  

I have been very good about making healthier choices when I go out to eat and not giving in to all of my cravings.  If I'm stuck getting fast food when I'm traveling I get the burger or the fries, not both.  I pack healthy snacks into a cooler and keep them in my car so that between meals I won't be tempted by Dunkin Donuts and other highway evils.  I eat a lot less than I used to and notice that I get full quicker. But yesterday was a long day.  

After my second day out of town I was tired of having salad for lunch and steamed broccoli instead of french fries with dinner.  I wanted to get a refill on my drinks rather than just drinking my one lemonade and then water.  I had survived a rough stretch of days and I wanted to reward myself rather than deprive myself.  

So I went through the Dunkin Donuts drive thru and ordered a breakfast sandwich, a donut and a coolata.  I'll admit everything was pretty delicious but also painfully rich compared to what I've been eating.  Then when I got home we picked up Mexican food.  My husband asked me if I was hungry.  I wasn't but I liked the idea of a delicious quesadilla so I said yes.  I couldn't think of the last time I had a quesadilla from a restaurant.  The gluten free, low fat quesadillas that I make at home are good but not nearly as satisfying.    

Halfway through the quesadilla I felt full but I kept eating anyway.  After a couple more bites I felt a strong urge to throw up.  I ran to the bathroom and the quesadilla reappeared.  I am ashamed of myself for not listening to my body.  For rewarding myself with unhealthy food.  For lacking the discipline to make healthier choices. But I am also kind of proud of myself.  The old me could have eaten 2 quesadillas in one sitting without blinking an eye.  

Eating smaller portions and healthier food has changed my stomach.  I couldn't gorge myself if I tried.  My body just won't let me.  That in itself is proof of my progress (in a sort of backwards, way I know).  So this morning I'm drinking my high protein smoothie and heading off to yoga to recenter myself and get back on track.  

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Finding a Happy Diet Place

During the past few weeks I have gained back most of the weight that I lost this year.  It's hard not to beat myself up for this.  Yes, I could have made better food choices when I was on vacation.  Yes, it is unreasonable to expect to maintain my weight when I spend a week sick in bed after a week traveling.  Yes, some of the weight will come off once I get back into my routine.  Yes, there is still a lot that I need to work on.

I have been struggling with severe IBS since my late 20's.  I have had limited success with gluten and dairy free diets but I have not stuck to anything long term. I have made a lot of changes to my diet but I still have a long way to go.   If my digestive system were more predictable I would feel better over all.  All the science in the world shows that losing just a little weight will lead to improvements in almost every area of my life from sleep to physical endurance to joint pain and injury.  

I have tried different diet plans hoping to find a silver bullet that would fix everything with minimal effort from me.  The reality is that I have picked up great things from every plan that I have tried but haven't committed to real change.  The moment a couple pounds come off I get comfortable and slowly slip back into my old ways.  I have nothing bad to say about any of the diet plans.  If my mind were in the right place, any of them could have put me on the right path.

With Nutri System I learned portion control.  I didn't have to eat an entire burger to feel satisfied.  No one was going to gawk at me for taking half of my food home from a restaurant.  Eating mail order food for the rest of my life isn't realistic but having all my meals and snacks prepared ahead of time was huge for me.

Weight Watchers taught me that there was a price for the high calorie foods that I loved.  The point values made it clear that a 5 point splurge at lunch wasn't worth it if I didn't have enough points left for dinner.  No eating all the veggies you want isn't exactly exciting but it's easier to choke down those veggies if you're saving those points for a bowl of ice cream later.

The 3-1-2-1 diet taught me about eating foods in the right combination to feel satisfied and have better energy during the day.  It also made it easier to behave when I knew cheat days were coming every 2-3 days.  Not feeling sluggish after a meal or bloated during a workout should have been enough incentive to maintain this plan long term.  

I saw a nutritionist for a while who taught me about portion control and eating the right things to support my body after a hard workout.  I was making meals and serving my husband and I the same amount even though we are no where near the same height and weight.  I was also rewarding myself after a workout with a lot more calories than I had burned.

I saw a holistic doctor who reviewed my medical history and recommended that I try gluten or dairy free diets.  I learned that I have sensitivities to both.  Nothing as significant as someone with Celiac's disease but I have permanently replaced some of my staples with dairy and gluten free products.  I can still eat some of the foods that I love but when I overindulge I pay for it.

Yesterday I started The 21 day tummy from Reader's Digest.  I am trying to reduce my dependence on prescription medicine and supplements and have a healthier gut.  I am also trying to get down to a healthy weight and maintain that weight.

I planned all my meals and snacks for the week.  I went grocery shopping.  I separated all my meals and snacks into ziploc bags and rubber maid containers.   I know what I should order from restaurants.  I will not use work meetings and my weekend trip as excuses to binge eat.  I will have non-food rewards to celebrate my successes.  I will continue to employ time and stress management practices.  I don't think I will ever completely separate myself from emotional eating but I can get a better handle on things.  

A Month Later and Still Learning

Almost one month into the my rebirth and I'm starting to struggle a little.  After taking the planned 2 weeks off of fitness I came down with a bad case of bronchitis which resulted in another week off.  I was pretty angry at my body since it feels like I always get sick at the wrong time (like there is ever a right time to be sick).  But in reality my week in Europe wasn't much of a week off since I was walking constantly and cramming myself into tight airplane seats.  My body needed another week of rest and since I wasn't going to take it otherwise my immune system decided to give me a push.

I was a little disappointed in myself for not working on new choreography during my time off.  But, realistically, I wasn't well enough to get it done for a third of the time and I was on vacation for another third of the time.  I did manage to schedule new choreography into my first week back to work and felt like my energy in my classes was great as a result.  The combination of taking so much time off and feeling confident in my choreography was huge for me.  Yes my students missed me but they were still there when I got back.  I have stood in for instructors who were out for 6 weeks due to surgery/pregnancy.  When they came back their people hadn't forgotten them.  I'm not sure why I thought this would happen to me. It's all that negative self talk that I'm trying to stop doing.

I did attend a time organization seminar.  It was all about managing multiple priorities and dealing with stress.  It is a seminar that I selected that my employer paid for me to attend.  The contents of the seminar were perfect for someone like me who sets their own schedule and can easily get derailed.  Between work, fitness, hobbies and family I often get stressed out because I don't feel like I have time to get anything done.  The reality is that I have plenty of time.   I just don't know how to manage it properly.  This seminar was great for me.  It was the perfect reminder than I can dictate what I do for my job and that I need to do that more often.  

Sunday night I got the best night of sleep that I have had in months.  I had prepped my meals, organized my fitness bag and planned out my day.  I stretched and meditated.  I reflected in my journal.  I took melatonin and read a book with a clear head and fell asleep without struggle.  I slept through the night until my alarm when off and woke up feeling good for a change. 

Of course I didn't do this last night because I let my day get off track.  Last night I tossed and turned, sleeping for short periods of time but mostly staring at the ceiling and trying unsuccessfully to clear my mind.  Part of me wants to blame my husband for working late or a work project that I had to complete but the reality is that I knew about both of these things well in advance and should have planned my day around them.   I'd like to think that I have learned my lesson and will get back on it tonight...  

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

10 Days of Discovery

My husband and I just returned from a week long vacation in Europe.  I have studied Spanish since I was in elementary school but I am still very self conscious when I try to speak Spanish to other people.  During this vacation I spoke Spanish daily.  I tried to initiate all conversations with native speakers in Spanish.  A lot of people recognized that I was an American before I opened my mouth or a few words into my attempts at communication and started speaking to me in English (which I was grateful for).  But a lot of people didn't.  I was nervous at first but by the end of the week my confidence was up and my Spanish wasn't half bad.  

I would love it if I could speak Spanish on a regular basis.  I don't want to travel abroad frequently (I could really take it or leave it).  There are plenty of Spanish speakers in the US.  I just need to figure out what I can do to interact with other Spanish speakers on a regular basis. 

Before we left for vacation I worked harder than I have in months.  I went into the office and finished tasks that I had let pile up.  I took work home and completed projects that would be due shortly after I returned from vacation.  I took the initiative to organize tasks so that it would be harder for me to fall behind in the future.  I was able to complete all of this in 2-6 hours per work day.  I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and still had plenty of time left over.  I still need to work on how I manage this left over time but it felt great to be productive again without really having to try that hard. 

I have given myself 2 weeks off of teaching fitness.  I found substitute instructors to cover all of my classes so I could take the time to reset my class preparation routine.  When I first started teaching fitness I would work on routines for hours before presenting them to a class.  Even though no routine is ever perfect my preparation made me more relaxed and translated into me being a better teacher.   I want to walk into every class feeling confident that I'm going to be awesome.  I am lucky to have built a strong following among my class participants.  I want to make sure that I am always living up to my own reputation.  

Saturday, May 3, 2014

#100 Days of Me

All over social media people have been doing these 100 days of something.  They post a picture (or several) daily and describe how it relates to their goal.  I have seen 100 days of selfies to learn to love yourself, 100 days of running/working out to get into shape, 100 days of healthy eating and, my favorite, 100 days of happy. 

In 100 days of happy, people focus on one thing that they have done that day that has made them happy.  The goal being to focus on something positive even if you've had a really awful day.  At the end of the 100 days you have a better outlook on life and keep looking for those bright moments even after the 100 days.  
I'm not having a bad year but I am in a bit of a rut.  I don't really like my job any more but I don't know if there is a job out there that would make me just as happy and have all the same benefits.  I've heard a lot of entrepreneurs say that if you can't find the job you love you should create it.  That's easy to say when you don't have a mortgage to pay but there is definitely some truth in that. 

I have a flexible schedule.  My bosses keep very loose tabs on all of us.  I could do so much more with my job than I am now without anyone batting an eye.  Maybe 10 hours of my work week are defined outside of meetings.  What I do with those other 30 hours is totally up to me.  What I usually do is half-ass work that isn't a priority and dabble in several hobbies without any major commitment or focus to any one thing.  Being a fitness instructor is what I really spend most of my time on but, to be honest, I half-ass my prep for that sometimes too.  

So in my 100 days of me I'm going to try and find myself.  I'm going to do things that feed my soul and help me to be happy again.  Maybe this journey will show me what my dream job is.  Maybe I'll find enough joy outside of my professional career that it will balance what I don't like about my job.  Maybe I'll realize that the problem isn't the job, it's me.  

The fact that I'm even going on this journey shows how much healthier I am than I was not too long ago.  I am still a work in progress but I have done more this year to improve myself than I have in a long time.  I seem to trend towards the negative in this blog so I'm going to end by patting myself on the back and reveling in my accomplishments:

  1. I added strength training to my workout regiment and started paying more attention to what I eat.  I have lost 8 lbs and 12.5 inches since December and my BMI and Body fat percentage are on the decline.  Admittedly I have had some slip ups where 1-3 lbs of this weight back on after traveling but overall I am trending down and I know what to do to keep moving in the right direction. 
  2. My husband and I started going to a marriage counselor to learn to communicate with each other better and to deal with issues from our past that affect how we interact with each other and the world. 
  3.  I am wearing more fitted clothing to enjoy my body as it is now and stop focusing on all the parts that I don't like.  Am I learning what clothes to wear to accentuate the good (and camouflage the bad) and holding my head a little higher when I walk past a mirror.   

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Couples Therapy

I always viewed people who went to therapy as weak.  Well that's not completely true, people in my family who went to therapy.  Therapy seemed to enable my mom to keep hitting us and justified her not having a maternal bone in her body.  It didn't prevent my brother from being destructive and suicidal.  And it didn't make my father any less angry about having MS.  Sure I didn't cope with any of life's issues well myself but I coped better than they did and I didn't have the benefit of years of therapy. 

So imagine my surprise when I was the one who suggested that my husband and I go to couple's therapy.  After seeing so many of our friends go through divorce I didn't want us to be next.  We weren't in crisis.  There is no infidelity. There are just the same lingering issues that have been there for our entire relationship.  The problem is they aren't getting better and no matter how minor, issues that go unresolved turn into problems.  

We had our first therapy session yesterday and it went well.  In one hour we communicated better about things that we normal spin our wheels on for weeks.  There was no anger.  No resentment.  No fighting.  It was just a great space for us to be honest and talk about what we needed from each other and what we wanted from our relationship.  

Do I think we're weak for going to therapy?  No, not at all.  Am I ashamed that we're under 40 and already in therapy?  No, because I have no plans to be divorced before we hit our 10 year anniversary.  Maybe if a few of my friends had sought out therapy they would have found a way to make their relationship work.  I don't know.  Either way, I'm all in for weekly therapy and I'm feeling pretty strong about the whole thing.