Got Organization?

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Breakfast-at-Tiffany'sHolly Golightly: You know those days when you get the mean reds?
Paul Varjak: The mean reds. You mean like the blues?
Holly Golightly: No. The blues are because you’re getting fat, and maybe it’s been raining too long. You’re just sad, that’s all. The mean reds are horrible. Suddenly you’re afraid, and you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Do you ever get that feeling?

Last year, for me, was definitely fraught with the mean reds. Sometimes, I think, I just make up shit to be afraid of. And then it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. And then that snowballs into the mean reds. While I was able to make a few changes for the better – last year was still not my favorite. I hate that because I think that I should be filled with gratitude, love, empathy, and peace at every moment. I mean, we all should…right?! Maybe that’s what enlightenment is.

At any rate, I’m looking forward to 2013. This is a first, in a long time, for me. I am feeling the promise of new beginnings and fresh starts. There are things that I want to do – I made a kind of list, re: a vision board…to harness the power of unconscious desire and will. It’s something to give me focus and to remind me of what I really want to be doing. Something elseI’ve been thinking about is to theme my new year – using a word or two to evoke a mantra of sorts.

I think I’ve settled on “get organized” with the caveat that I can change it at any time. 🙂

I’ve been haunting the interwebs…stalking organization websites and finding some great resources. I’ve found a couple of good books on the subject and even picked up the new Real Simple – their January 2013 mag is titled, “A Year of Organized Living: life skills, strategies, and advice to make every day easier”.

I’m going to attempt to organize my life to make every day easier – to get closer to thinking of each day as my favorite. Because, not to over state the obvious, but – life really is too short and too precious to live it with the mean reds.

In Happier at Home, Gretchen Rubin has perfectly captured the feeling of the mean reds – the ‘why’ of my year. This passage resonated so strongly with me – it’s so spot on…I had to share. She writes, “I was tired of the persistent dissatisfaction of the shelf-by-shelf exercise. Nothing stayed done: I cleared a shelf, and a few weeks later, it was covered with another mess. I replaced one lightbulb, then another blub burned out. I resented having to get my hair cut again.

Even worse than these repeated, dreary tasks were my faults, which never seemed to improve. I made the same resolutions, month after month, and I kept backsliding on some of the most important ones, over and over. I was weary of myself – my broken promises to do better, my small-minded grudges, my wearisome fears, my narrow preoccupations.”

Yeah, I’m sick of it all too. But more than I’m sick of all that – I am convinced that I can make positive changes. Little by little things can get better.

2013newyearMy resolutions are more than just a list of the mundane – I can’t narrow it down to something like, “lose 30 pounds, exercise X per week, be perfect at work, write more blog posts…” – because, I’m really beginning to understand that that list is just a means to an end. It’s really more about crafting a life that is fulfilling most of the time.

I think I can get there – or, at least, closer to there by getting organized. I’m going to give it a shot – so meet me back here, a year from now and let’s see where we’ve both ended up.

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2012 was a good year…

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You know what? I *hate* it so much when I discover a cool new blog and then see that the last post written was months ago.

time-passes-quicklySubsequently, every time I write a post – which, I admit, is few and far between – I feel like I need to apologize for not having written anything for months. Maybe I’ll get my shit together next year! 😀  Here’s hoping!

Just to quickly catch up – at the end of June I got serious about losing weight and by October – just before Halloween – I hit my goal of losing 40 pounds. I was thrilled at my progress. Thrilled, I tells ya!

Then I went on a business trip and everything seemed to fall apart. Well, not really, but I’d say that I definitely fell back into some old habits. Those habits are so freaking ingrained. Argh.

The thing about me? I really like routine. I like knowing what to expect. While I don’t mind change I really can’t stand curveballs. I actually like change – I’ve brought on change often during this life – seems like about every 10 years I throw my life in the air just to see what shakes out and where I land.

But the past 6 weeks has been a slow return into a pit of anxiety and depression. And, of course, I turned to old habits of using food to self-medicate/comfort. I have put back on 6 pounds. Not horrible and not a reason to throw in the towel or run out to Kroger for a coconut cake!

Two weeks ago, though, at the very beginning of December, I bought a month membership to a yoga studio. I took 4 classes in 7 days and was LOVING it and feeling like I was getting back on track and then, for no good reason, the bottom fell out and I ended up not leaving the house for a week – which means, no yoga.

The one thing that seriously baffles me is how I can enjoy something so much and then completely let it go a week later. Maybe I should chalk it up to the self-hatred that comes as on the side of a big old plate of depression and anxiety.

Last week it really hit home that depression and anxiety, for me, has physical consequences – my immunity gets low and then colds and/or flu attach themselves to me. Bleh. It’s a one two punch. So I physically feel exhausted and drained with aches and pain. It’s truly a blue flu.

At any rate – it was so bad last week that it kind of shook me up and made me realize that I was at a crossroads. So now I am just trying to muscle through.

So this week – it’s one foot in front of the other…I’m just focusing on getting through each day.

There’s only two weeks left in 2012. I can’t believe how fast this year passed. Time really does speed up the older that you get.

2013 Vision Board

I have started reading Happier at Home by Gretchen Rubin (I didn’t begin at the beginning – I started at the chapter for January). I love the idea of giving my new year a one word (or phrase) theme. I’m coming up with quite the list of what my focus for 2013 could be:

  • simplify
  • balance
  • let go
  • dream big
  • organize

I know that next year is my year! I’m going to do something awesome…I just know it.

(I kind of feel like the little engine that could…”I think I can, I think I can”…)

The D word

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I’m doing a detox. I started it this morning.  

Quick Note: I know some folks are going to get their knickers in a twist because I’m doing a detox and others will because I’m not doing it the way they think I should. Oh well – I’m going to do what I want to do so no point in arguing about it. 🙂

At any rate – the whole “detox” lasts about 3 weeks – 21 days. It’s something I have cobbled together from various sources (shared below). The first three days is a shake up – literally – 4 juice drinks/shakes a day, plus tea, water and supplements.

This is an intense period – can’t work during these three days – so I am treating these three days as a kind of “retreat”. This includes: twice daily meditation, short walks outside (5 – 10 mins twice a day), massage, detox baths and gentle yoga twice a day. In between all that is resting, reading and just taking care.

After those three days – I will move into a 10 day period of eating a very modified “mediterranean diet” – leaving out hot/trigger foods for food sensitivities and intolerances (the usual suspects like wheat, processed sugars, etc.). During this time, I have to work so the days aren’t spa like but I will keep the twice daily meditation and either a short walk or short gentle yoga practice. I will definitely focus on getting to bed early and getting a good night’s rest.

By day 14, I’ll be ready to move into re-introducing certain foods, one at a time, so that I can assess how my body reacts. This is also a time to begin extending my yoga practice. Meditation and good night’s sleep is still a priority. This last week is a time for testing and creating a maintenance plan.

Even though I am using the d-word, it doesn’t feel like the stereotypical detox to me. I am going for an approach that offers support to my body in ways that I don’t usually try.

I have been coming to the understanding that stress and anxiety have actual physical symptoms for me. The cortisol that my body generates is so habitual and unrelenting that somewhere along the way it became my ‘normal’. The problem is that the cortisol leads to a nasty condition, systemic inflammation – so many of my pains and issues, I believe, are a symptom of the inflammation. It’s so persistent though – it’s really hard to reverse the condition without making some major changes. I know moderation is the key but I’m so far from moderate when it comes to food – I’m just finding my way along and hoping to get to where I want to be one day.

I always have a library of information at my fingertips – one book I’ve been reading is, The Hormone Diet by Natasha Turner. What sold me was the endorsement by Christiane Northrup – love her. So, anyway, I saw this lady on an episode of Dr. Oz and some of what she said made sense to me so I looked her up and liked what I saw. I am intrigued by hormones and how they can change us. But more than that, I am fascinated by the idea of balance and how we need to be balanced down to the cellular level. 

I think, since that convention at Disney World in October, I sort of lost my balance. And, not only did I fall into old habits of dealing with my stress and anxiety, but I fell back onto old stories. Stories that don’t really describe me any longer…they don’t hold water.

Sometimes we get so enmeshed in our stuff that we can’t see the way out of the morass. This detox is my way of waking up to the present – to reconnect with the now and to reset my attention and focus.

I’ll keep you posted on how it goes…

Such a great blog post by Bella that I wanted to share. I have my own being bullied story but will save it for another post.

Bella on the Beach

Today I came across three different items, all dealing with the F word – Fat.

As I was driving to work this morning, I had an ugly memory pop into my head. I have no idea why I started thinking about it, and as soon as it arrived in my thoughts, I wished it away. The one where a dermatologist I’d seen to treat skin tabs on my neck berated me for being “so fat that you could lose 50 pounds and no one would notice.” He told me that my skin tabs were the direct result of my obesity, and then went on to rant at me as he sadistically jolted me with electricity to burn off the skin tabs. It’s been almost 12 years since the incident, but recalling it instantly put me back in that office where I felt ashamed and angry and humiliated. In the moment…

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How I survived a slip up…

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I knew it was coming. It always does. Whenever I’ve tried to make a change in my life – there comes a time when I slip up and revert to the very habits I’ve been trying to forget. Those neural pathways have been so well traveled that as soon as I stop paying attention, I find myself barreling head long down that road often traveled.

It started the very day I hit 170. Had more wine than I should have…you know, to celebrate. Then on Sunday, even though I intended not to have wine with dinner…there was an open bottle and it’s good wine!!!…so easy for that voice to re-surface…as if she had never even left me. What a smooth talker — oh you deserve this!! You’ve worked so hard, one day won’t hurt.

But I forgot about the guilt. I forgot how it works on me. And I forgot about the fact that I’m actually addicted to that fantastic combination of sugar and fat that makes a delicious cookie.

So I fell off the wagon so hard yesterday that I actually made myself sick. I’m not used to eating a lot of sugar now. I had the worst case of indigestion (complete with gas and bloating – TMI, sorry!) and nausea – I was up most of the night. 

I got out of bed this morning, determined to put the slip up behind me. I gave myself a pep talk – “everyone slips – those who reach their goals just get up, brush themselves off, and start down that path again.” I am drinking lots of water today because I think I am dehydrated. And I got on the scale to see what the toll would be. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

There’s a book I’m reading called, The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do To Get More Of It, by Kelly McGonigal. It’s fascinating to me. I love reading about how our minds work. Why do we do what we do???

That guilt I alluded to before…it’s says vicious things and I often buy right into them. You may be familiar with that voice of guilt – but mainly it made me ask, “What the hell is wrong with me??? Why can’t I be focused and disciplined? I must not want this enough. I’m broken and will never be fixed…”

But McGonigal says this about that voice: “The What”-the-hell Effect: Why Guilt Doesn’t Work

“Welcome to one of the biggest threats to willpower worldwide: the “what-the-hell effect.”…describes a cycle of indulgence, regret, and greater indulgence. These researchers noticed that many dieters would feel so bad about any lapse – a piece of pizza, a bite of cake – that they felt as if their whole diet was blown. Instead of minimizing the harm by not taking another bite, they would say, “What the hell, I already blew my diet. I might as well eat the whole thing.”

Crucially, it’s not the first giving-in that guarantees the bigger relapse. It’s the feelings of shame, guilt, loss of control, and loss of hope that follow the first relapse. Once you’re stuck in the cycle, it can seem like there is no way out except to keep going. This leads to even bigger willpower failures and more misery as you then berate yourself (again) for giving in (again). But the thing you’re turning to for comfort can’t stop the cycle, because it only generates more feelings of guilt.”

She goes on to say that self-forgiveness is the antidote. And I would say that I agree. Because I’ve tried the self-criticism route and it doesn’t work. McGonegal says,

“Study after study shows that self-criticism is consistently associated with less motivation and worse self-control. It is also one of the single biggest predictors of depression, which drains both “I will” power and “I want” power. In contrast, self-compassion-being supportive and kind to yourself, especially in the face of stress and failure-is associated with more motivation and better self-control.”

So today, I am releasing the guilt because, afterall, slip ups happen. I was bound to have one at some point and will probably have more but the difference is that I won’t let a slip up spiral into a month, 6 months, 6 years, etc. I will show some self-compassion and forgive myself for the slip. I’m moving on…

 

Got Reward?

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The concept of rewarding oneself for reaching a goal is common advice among weight-loss experts. How many times have you heard or read somewhere that, when you are setting up your weight loss plan, you should incorporate multiple goals and rewards for achieving them?

To be honest, I never did that before. I mean, yeah, there’s lots of good ideas about how to reward oneself without spending lots of money (or any) but much of that stuff I already do for myself anyway. I don’t know, maybe all those diet experts think that if someone’s fat they don’t take care of themselves in non-food ways.

One that is always on the list is “pedicure” (either professionally or DIY))…I already do that once a month, need it or not. You know what I mean? Of course, there are probably people who would LOVE a pedicure as a reward but ideas like that don’t work for me because I either already do it or it isn’t enough to motivate me through a plateau.

However – there is at least one reward/motivation that works for me. It’s clothes. Yeah, I am that shallow. 😉

I’ve talked about this before on Facebook but I find it motivating to consider that I have so many more clothing options than just the stuff at Lane Bryant or plus size dept at Macy’s. Honestly, none of those plus size clothes ever fit me right. I always felt like I looked frumpy, dumpy and dowdy. But when considering clothes as a “reward” – to actually write down something like, “lose 10 pounds = a new blouse” or “reach goal = a pair of 7 for all mankind jeans” – I just didn’t do it…I guess because I didn’t think (at the time) that I “deserved” it.

Remember how I told you that I’m trying to do things differently? In and effort to carve out new neural pathways, this time, I embraced the concept of rewards. When I reached the halfway point I would get a new outfit and when I reach goal, those 7 jeans?, they are mine! (Yes, $200-$500 jeans are ridiculous but I have always wanted a pair and thought that if I rocked the hell out of them, I would never gain enough weight that I couldn’t put them on. 🙂  Right? Like I’d gain 10 pounds and subsequently toss those jeans into a give-away pile??? Never!)

I am actually over halfway to my goal. My goal is to lose 55 pounds (150 pounds). My highest weight, ever, was back in February of this year, when I hit 205. When I started this effort in mid June, I was at 199. As of yesterday, I was at 170 – twenty pounds to go. Time for my ‘half-way to goal’ reward.

So yesterday I went shopping. This is what I got:

These are similar to the shoes I picked up. For some reason, I can’t find a photo of the exact shoe. But, Jones of New York, fake leopard print shoe (yes, they are leather – sorry vegans! 😦 ). On trend and fairly comfy (at least as much as a pump can be) – I love them and think I can pair them with a lot of things. My partner thinks they are sexy!

I want an awesome pair of red pants (the shoes would look so good with the right pair of red pants) but I have yet to find any. I have tried on at least 3 different pair but either didn’t love the shade or the cut. So instead of red pants, I picked up a pair of jeans and crisp white button down shirt – both classic and wearable in so many ways. I didn’t want to spend too much on these pieces because they will be too big on me in a few months. I got both pieces at the gap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a couple of black leather jackets (I hope they still fit! Otherwise, I am going to look for a tailor to take one of them in.) I can wear with this outfit but I also have a good black cardigan and a couple of jean jackets too. I’d like to pick up a skinny belt to wear with the cardigan and white shirt — maybe a light, gauzy awesome scarf too?

But this is my reward to myself and believe me, I am going to be buying myself a spectacular pair of 7 jeans by the New Year!

Posture, Plateaus and Perspectives…oh my!

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Over the past few months I’ve begun to think that improving my posture has helped me to stay on track. I know that may sound outrageous but let me explain.

When I was 18, I lived in Fort Lauderdale and was a weight trainer at a health club called “Bodyworks”. I remember, vividly, having perfect posture. I felt like it contributed to my positive attitude and overall happiness.

I realized late last year that my posture was awful. After 30 years, my posture had given way to rounded shoulders and forward head tilt. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, look here. So this past June I began to try to be more conscious of my posture. Trying to correct my posture is kind of like meditating – I have to constantly and consciously bring my attention back to posture many, many times a day.

I try to stand up straight, pull my head back and, sometimes, even check my posture against a wall…but every time I do it, I feel better. I mean that I, physically, feel lighter, stronger, and more alive. By correcting my posture, my ribcage opens up, my lungs decompress, which allows me to take in more more oxygen. The crown of my head feels open which seems to qwell any anxiety I might be feeling.

I think cultivating a more positive attitude has keep me on track – it’s kept me from sabotaging my weightloss efforts. Even through a plateau…

And I have had at least two plateaus since mid-June. Pre “this-time” (instead of all the other times I tried to lose weight over the past 6+ years), I’d lose, like 3-5 pounds the first week and then over the next two weeks I would see the weight loss stop and I would get so frustrated and dejected that I’d just end up saying “screw it”. I’d start eating more and drinking more and moving less.

This is a photo of my MFP progress screen. I was hoping the resolution would be better but I think you can still see what my progress looked like over some 90+ days. I tried to weigh myself everyday – except for the second week in September when I was on the road. You can see that I had several plateaus – I had a long one in July (2 1/2 weeks) and just got over a long one (3 weeks).

But I find it really interesting to see this because there are lots and lots of spikes up (sometimes as much as 4-5 lbs). What’s great is that I learned a spike is almost always followed by a significant drop. But overall the trend is down. I can’t tell you how motivating this little screen is for me.

Sustaining that motivation/inspiration has been the key to my success. Because, to quote a lovely lady from the Facebook, this is not a diet, this is my life – the real trick is changing your perception of who you are. I do believe that thoughts become patterns and carve out actual neural pathways in our brains that keep us in that habitual mindset. I truly believe that it takes carving out new neural pathways to actually change our habits. So, for example, for the last 6 years I have been thinking of myself as getting old (i.e., a fumpy, middle-aged lady), and after many failures to take off the weight, I really began to believe that I would never be able to get into shape again. And besides, I had other things to deal with (life – work – family). After a while it just became my identity – to be that weak, middle-aged, out of shape and completely stressed out woman – it was an endless loop. I could not see my way out of it.

A few months ago, though, there was the tinest shift. I don’t know how to explain it or why it happened but I began to think that the only way I would ever be able to change my body would be to change my thinking. Oh yeah, I’ve posted that many times before – I’ve been saying, for years, “change your mind to change your life” but I guess I had become numb to it. But finally, there was a glimmer of comprehension and I thought, “I’ve got to approach this differently. I’ve got to begin seeing myself differently and I have to be open to trying strategies that I never would have considered before.”

These past 3 months – what I’ve been doing for myself – I should have begun years ago. But better late than never. I refuse to dwell on the past. We all come to our right path in good time. And sometimes there are other things that have to happen before we get there…before we find our map.

I am hopeful that I can stay the course – but I know, like everything else, there will be ups and downs and sometimes plateaus along the way. I’ll just pull my shoulders back, hold my head high and keep moving forward.

Progress, not perfection…

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I am not a fan of before pictures. I especially hate the idea of putting on a sport bra and tight running shorts and snapping a typical before photo. Talk about demoralizing. That’s just not a good look for me now and definitely wasn’t 30 pounds ago. I have a lot of candid photos that illustrate what I looked like before. I’m sorry to say, I don’t love any of them. But I’ve been asked for one, so I decided to include a few with this post. In no particular order – these are from the last 3-4 years. Most of these photos show me between 189 – 199 pounds. I am 5’3″.

I’ve managed to make some big changes over the past 10 weeks and I am pretty happy about what I’ve been able to accomplish. I feel like I’m becoming more motivated by success and the anticipation of physically changing (new clothes! doing things I couldn’t do very well before). I am excited because I finally feel like I’m getting back to myself.

Being able to let go of 30 pounds…it’s done more than allow me to wear a smaller size…it’s woken me up. I finally feel like I want to do more than just numb out on the sofa, in front of the TV, every night.

Since I gained the weight – over the past 6 years – once or twice a year, I would attempt to “get back on track” and lose it by exercising and “watching” what I ate. I would attempt to maintain a daily calorie intake of 1400-1500 and I would mainly eat whole foods. I would usually take off about 5-6 pounds within the first 2 weeks (mainly because I was bloated to begin with) and then everything would start to slow down – so that even though I was “being careful” about what I ate and even though I was walking for an hour 5-6 times a week, I’d only see a miniscule loss on the scale week after week and sometimes even a slight gain. Then I’d get frustrated or something stressful would happen or a celebration would be on my schedule and before I knew it, I’d be off track and stuck again, feeling like crap about myself and feeling helpless to change it.

Then in June, a quiet little thought came to me – just make some small changes, make it easy. Get a new perspective – try something different. Take it one step at a time.

A couple of people in the health and wellness community on Facebook and a few other people I knew in real life were inspiring me to try, one more time, to finally have the life I wanted – to gain a fresh perspective.

The first thing I did was to make a few small tweaks to my diet. Though I tend to eat mostly whole, organic foods it’s all the little extras that were killing my previous diet attempts. I’d do great for breakfast and lunch but then come home and have a glass or two of wine – always a 4 oz pour but two glasses is 250 calories – over a week – that’s 1000-1500 extra calories. Couple that with adding cream and sugar to my 3 cups of morning coffee (don’t freak – my coffee cups are small) – that comes out to 735 calories a week. Throw in a pat of butter throw on the steamed veggies, a few tablespoons of a high calorie dressing on a beautiful salad, a wedge of artisan bread dipped in basil olive oil, etc…and I’d be quickly over my daily calorie allotment. That realization alone made me look at my whole diet in a different way.

Next I decided to consult a body image specialist – I wrote about that here. Angie helped me to figure out the difference between what I want and what I need. She helped me to see that I really had to make the things I need in my life my top priority. After talking to her (and at her urging), I opened up and told my partner that I wanted to change a few things (like stop watching so much tv and try to eat healthier, etc). Though I was so resistent to having a conversation with my spouse – it turned out to be a great talk and helped me to feel supported, heard, accepted and loved.

In the mean time, I also had a talk with friend (a doctor) about all of this. She really helped me to see what conventional medicine had to offer me. I was going through a real physical change that needed to be treated. Dealing with all my stress and anxiety was something that I had to come to terms with. And I needed a practical plan to deal with my emotional eating. Often I felt so helpless against emotions that made me self-sabotage. It was all just a vicious cycle and I needed real help to break it.

One thing I did to motivate myself and to track my progress was to sign up with My Fitness Pal. I wanted to track my weight but this time I wanted to use the scale differently…I didn’t want tracking my weight to end up making me feel bad or knocking me off track. A lady online said that she tracked her weight daily and after a few years of doing it, she had come to see all the patterns – I thought that I should give that a shot. Amazingly, it has really worked for me. I have been motivated by seeing the actual number change but also by learning the patterns of my body. So that when I’ve seen a gain it hasn’t freaked me out because I know a big dip is coming up. It’s actually given me so much insight that I’d totally missed before.

At the end of June, in addition to tracking my weight, I began to track my calories on the MFP app too. I started out at 1400 calories per day. Surprisingly, I have learned a lot about myself and my eating habits by tracking my calories. I thought I was pretty good with portions but since tracking calories forced me to start weighing and measuring things – I discovered that I needed a portion size refresher. I began using smaller plates, bowls and utensils to fool my eye into thinking I was getting a lot of food (an appropriate portion size). That led me to realize that I can actually push away from the table feeling satisfied by smaller portions. I made the effort to make fantastically good food and to not deny my cravings – so if I wanted a grilled cheese sandwich, then I would make it so that it fit within my calorie budget AND was made in as healthy/clean a way possible or I would make some amazing brownies but only make half a batch, then immediately give most of it away – but I’d have the brownie and I would enjoy it.

Confession: I haven’t really been exercising – not consistently since probably June of last year. Normally, whenever I have wanted to take the extra weight off, I would start walking – but this time I have had a hard time doing it. It’s not that I don’t like walking – honestly, it’s my exercise of choice but I just haven’t wanted to do it. The only thing I’ve wanted to do is meditate (and that’s about as much exercise as sleeping is) and do some relaxation yoga (again, not much of a calore burner).

I know almost everyone out there would say that was a no no. On thing I’ve realized, I think all the times before – exercise played into my all or nothing mindset. If I missed 1 day (even a scheduled rest day), I would feel awful, like I was cheating or I wasn’t doing it right or I didn’t really want to lose weight enough. I felt like I was losing my motivation. So this time I thought I would only exercise when I wanted to and that I would do what I wanted to do – if it was 15 minutes of yoga, that was going to be fine by me.

Now, 30 pounds and 10 weeks later – this week, in fact, I had the realization that I am smaller, physically. And then immediately thought, “I can probably do yoga better!” I have always felt pretty bad at yoga because there are so many poses that I couldn’t comfortably do.

I know that I need to have an exercise regimen in place by the time I hit maintainence or this is all going to fall apart. So I have decided to start by taking a yoga class twice a week for the next couple of months. I need to start making exercise a priority. I do love it when I’m in the zone – cardio in the morning gives me a confidence and energy boost that I can’t get any other way. I want to be able to exercise without it fueling that all or nothing mindset and I’m hoping that by starting with yoga I will begin to enjoy movement without feeling clumsey and old and goofy.

There’s an embarrassing side of all this. I’d be lying if I said it’s been easy. Even now that voice, you know the one, is whispering,

 You haven’t lost that much. No one can really tell because you’d gotten so big. You are still fat. Why do you even bother? You’ll “fall off the wagon” before you reach your goal. You are never going to be able to maintain this new “lifestyle.”

I hate that voice. And I wonder if I will ever be able to forget it. Will those thoughts always come to me and poison my progress?

So what can I do about those thoughts? Should I handle it the way I do in meditation -just acknowledge that it’s a thought and then bring myself back to my breath. That seems the reasonable thing to do.

They say, “the best way to predict the future is to create it…”

D is for Doubt

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The owner of the FB page, The Fountain of Health for Plant Happy People wanted to do a little blog challenge. I decided to participate. Each day we are to write about something that begins with a letter of the alphabet.

Sorry for the delay! 🙂

Self-doubt creeps up on you, silent and stealthy. Then, before you know it, you’re doubting yourself and you stop dreaming of what you want to do. You fall into a rut. 

Oddly, all my life I have been a risk taker. Not an adrenalin junkie…it’s more like, even if I have never done something before it is not a deterrent – I will do it anyway. If I see something or think of something I want to do, generally, I don’t stop to think about whether I can actually do it or not, I just set about doing it. Sometimes with not so great results and sometimes with spectacular results. So being plagued with thoughts like, “I can’t do that because X,” doesn’t seem to fit.

But then, something as simple as losing weight – a math equation as simple as, “calories in < calories out = weight loss” – has eluded me for some time. Well, we all know it’s not that simple, right?! Because we tell ourselves these stories that really aren’t true. After awhile we start to believe them – that we are too lazy or not ambitious enough, or don’t have enough self-control/motivation/support.

The hard thing is recognizing what’s going on. Sometimes it’s hard to see that we are mired in self-doubt and negativity. It seems like there is no way out but, honestly, a shift in perspective shows the way. Try to believe in yourself. You have to believe that you can do it – maybe right now it’s not perfect, but you will get there. You have to believe that all the previous failed attempts don’t matter because this time, this time, it’s going to work.

What will you do when pigs fly? I will run a half marathon!

Every time I’ve gotten thrown off track the cause was rooted in self-doubt. Some little something made me think, “F@%k it – this is taking too long…it’s not worth it…nothing ever changes…blahblahbleepbloop.” 

How to get around the self-doubt demon? Change your self-talk. Tell yourself new stories. Stop calling yourself names. Give yourself pep talks and encouragement. If you must call yourself names, make them positive (I am woman! I am kind! I am courageous! I am strong!).

There is no way to actualization – actualization is the way.

It’s gonna be a bumpy ride…

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Chocolate binge from the movie “Chocolat”

Yesterday, I found myself in a curious place…it’s like I almost slipped into some old thinking but I was able to recognize what was going on pretty quickly.

Maybe it’s all the meditation…but in an instant, yesterday, I realized that I was telling myself an old story. The one where I am bored and cranky and decide that I “need a treat” and proceed to knock myself so far off the wagon that it could take months to catch up.

God I hate that place.

But this time I wasn’t falling for it. My rational side was just observant and noted, “Oh yeah, that’s that old way of thinking. We do things differently now.” No freaking out or emotional scenes – just that one little reminder – “oh yeah, we don’t do that anymore.”

So this morning I was thinking about it and realized that I was feeling anxious about falling off the wagon – I guess I still don’t trust myself to actually be on a path of health and wellness. What’s really frustrating and defeating is the little chorus at the back of my mind chanting, “it’s only 25 pounds – you aren’t the I BEAT FAT poster-child”…

But, there’s hope for me yet – I thought, just for today, pretend that you’re already at your goal weight. Now. What will you do?

So if I was at my goal weight and I had a thought like “I want to eat a whole cake and, damn it, I deserve it!!!!”, instead of running out and buying a cake, I observe the thought (like I’ve learned from my meditation practice) and know that it will pass and then I get on with my day sans cake binge.

It feels good to have that little win. It does give me hope that I have got this, regardless of the number on the scale.