Weighty Matters

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What I Can Do Better

We were involved in a Leadership and Management training program with our corporate coach on Friday.  The coach is an amazing, inspiring, fireball with fantastic suggestions.  I always leave one of these programs with information, techniques and tools that I can use not only at work, but also in my personal life.

Personal growth is important.  I think it’s not only good, but absolutely vital, to assess our own behavior and our very lives to see where we are, what we want, and how we can get to those goals.  The session on Friday opened with us taking a look at our own lives and seeing if we’re in balance or if we’re devoting too little time and attention to key areas.  She asked us to identify an area or two that we think we’d like to develop or grow in and then name some concrete things that we can to to achieve this.

I of course knew right away that I want to gear up and focus more on my recovery.  That was easy.  But in doing the exercise, I realized that the social part of my life is underperforming.  (Hah.  How corporate does that sound?)  Anyway, I’ve sort of gotten into a bit of a rut.  I’m a social person who isn’t living a very social lifestyle.  Most nights I come home from work, walk the dogs, eat, watch television, and go to bed.  I go to Tai Chi class one night a week and that’s sort of social, but it’s not the same thing as getting together with friends and doing something – even if it’s as simple as dinner out or dinner and a movie.  So, I’ve decided to reach out more often and connect with friends.  I’ll suggest outings and opportunities for us to get together.

I also think I need to pick a new “society-based” involvement and be active.  That will also get me out a little more and may broaden my circle of friends with whom to do things.

In terms to gearing up more on my recovery, I feel like I’m in a bit of a rut here too.  Although I’m doing well, I think I can do more — or at least do even better.  I’m sort of resistant to joining a gym, but I was recently inspired to talk with a friend who’s also had weight loss surgery.  She’s started working with a personal trainer and is gaining great benefits.  They aren’t just physical either.  I could see and feel her increased energy and lift to her spirit that making this effort achieves for her.

Today I went to a wellness fair put on by the local health food store.  There’s a new workout place in town that’s sort of a gym but not a traditional one.  The principal trainers hold X number of sessions each morning and each afternoon with training programs that work the various parts of the body and also include cardio.  Each session is 30 minutes, plus the warm-up and cool down, so it’s more like 45 minutes.  When I return from my vacation, I’m going to go in for an introductory session.  The trainer explained that she also has modified ways of doing certain exercises if a client has physical issues.  I talked about my knee and the fact that, while I can do squats, I can’t comfortably do a lunge.  No problem, she assured me.

Since having weight loss surgery, I’ve done an excellent job at regaining physical fitness.  Largely, I’ve done it on my own with my walking, bike riding, and in home exercise DVDs.  Zumba and water aerobics classes were great — when I could do them.  Tai Chi continues to be a wonderful part of my physical conditioning and stress release, and also brings me other benefits.  I just think that I’m at the point where I can do more and do it better — and it feels right to have some trained help guiding me in the effort – rather than one on the DVD.

On the emotional/mental aspect of my recovery, I am really feeling the lack of being able to speak and interact with others who also struggle with eating disorders and/or those who continue to work on issues and recovery after weight loss surgery.  I’ve whined a little about it here that we have no OA meetings in the Keys that I can attend.  The monthly bariatric patient support group with the hospital where I had the surgery would be great if it wasn’t almost 2 1/2 hours away and at night.

Last week I had a thought.  If there isn’t a support group or meeting currently nearby, why can’t I investigate beginning one?  I have some contacts with two of the three hospitals in the Keys.  One of those is affiliated with the hospital where I had surgery.  They no doubt have several other patients in our island chain.  Maybe they could host a support group once a month.  I won’t drive two and a half hours, but I’d go 45 minutes.  There’s another hospital much closer to my house.  Perhaps they’d like to host a general support group for eating disorders.  It never hurts to ask and suggest, right?

So, I’ve come up with some concrete things that I can do to enhance the areas of my life that need more attention and create some additional balance and recovery in my life.  I’m not doing bad, but I know I can do better.


Moans and Groans

I’m about to whine a titch, but I’ll preface it by saying that overall I’m still doing well with my food plan and workout regime.

Okay, now for the whine.  Two days ago, I was stressed at work and at home.  I’d brought a perfectly respectable, healthy selection of foods for my two snacks and lunch at work.  Unfortunately, I ate lunch way too fast.  For whatever reason, perfect lovely, raw baby carrots do one hell of a number on my stomach when I eat them too fast.  This made the deli turkey meat also feel like it was sticking in my stomach.  I felt like crap for the rest of the afternoon into the evening.

Yesterday, again for whatever reason, my whole body just felt off.  I think if I could have imbibed some magical that would instantaneously flush and cleanse every internal system I would have chugged it like Alice in Wonderland.  Instead, because my belly ached for hours at night, I bellyached to myself, to the dogs, to the empty room.  If a telemarketer had called, I probably would have bitched to them too.

I was that miserable.  Not so bad that I thought I needed emergency medical care or anything, but bad enough that I dissolved into one big old baby.

So, that’s the negative.  Now here’s the positive stuff I learned from the experience.  I am, indeed, capable of making adjustments for my own good when needed. I can change behavior.  Maybe I don’t do it all of the time, but I know that I can do it — and this is knowledge on which to build.

First of all, I stayed away from raw carrots for the next two days.  I also opted to replace lunch with a protein drink all together.   I had solid food in the form of one fruit snack and then dinner but I was super careful and slow in how I consumed these things.  Anything to help the digestive system so that I didn’t further irritate my stomach.

As a result, I feel much better tonight but I continue to baby myself more than I normally might.  I don’t consider this a bad thing.  I deserve to self-pamper, particularly when it sets me up for success.

I’m going to do a little more of it in a bit by soaking in a bathtub before bed.

Tomorrow is my official weigh-in day.  Even though I get on the scale every day, I count my overall success with my Friday morning weigh-ins.

I’m also psyching myself up to stay with the current program through the next several days.  One of my closest friends is coming into town for a visit.  I’m taking vacation time next week too.  I’m really looking forward to it, but don’t want to use it as an excuse to take a break from my effort.  I can still exercise every day.  I can make sure that I don’t go off of the rails with my eating too.  This is the friend that I traveled to both Alaska and Hawaii with.  She won’t mind if I choose to do a protein shake for breakfast some mornings, any more than I’ll mind that she doesn’t.  After all, she watched me drink protein shakes for the first four days of our Hawaiian cruise so that I was sure I’d make the weight limit for our zip lining adventure.

If I derail, it will be because I choose to deviate in my choices and behavior — not because of any pressure or influence from my friend.  So, I continue to tell myself now that a fun vacation time with a friend is no excuse to screw up my own effort.

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Sometimes a Not Great Notion

First off, I managed to eat slowly most of the time today. I’ve been rushing around in work and life trying to get a lot accomplished in the day. When in high gear all day, it’s hard to slow down for any thing. I did the best at breakfast because I remembered to focus on eating slowly right when I picked up the spoon for the first taste of yogurt.

By the time of my mid-morning snack, I’d already had two meetings and was running behind schedule. Unfortunately, I plowed through my pistachio nuts. At lunch, I began by eating quickly but caught myself. I stopped, took a deep breath, reminded myself about slow pacing and mindfulness, and then proceeded to finish the meal much less rapidly.

I was en route to somewhere for the mid-afternoon snack but concentrated on chewing and savoring the crisp texture and juicy sweetness of the apple. Dinner time, same thing as lunch. I started out eating fast but slowed myself down, concentrated, and finished out in a much better place. I pledge to practice this skill again tomorrow!

Today at some point, I had a realization. I know that the way that I eat with the healthier choices, the reduced portions and the pace, coupled with exercise and cultivating an overall dedication to wellness and fitness all add up to a major lifestyle change.

I’ve said it before — This is about changing my life and choosing health. It’s not about dieting. I really do know these things. Just sometimes, I act like I don’t and keep behaving like what I’m doing is a diet that’s going to end some day. That is not a great notion on so many levels. I catch myself waiting, or projecting to the day that I hit goal weight and begin the transition to maintenance. It’s like I think, “Oh, be strict and perfect now and then one day you’ll be able to eat whatever you want.” For me, that is not a positive, healthy mindset.
In fact, it feels like a potential set up to screw this all up royally at some point in the future.

The realization that I sometimes still think this way — even when other parts of me are crying bull pucky at me — shows that no matter how far I go and how great I progress, relapse lurks. Goal weight will eventually be achieved and I will adjust my food plan for maintenance mode. It will not, however, be license to eat eat eat.

Healthy food choices with appropriate eating and adequate exercise and physical fitness are my life. There is no end to this journey, at least while I am alive. I guess even though I know this, I need to remind myself from time to time.

I’m happy the realization hit me and shined a light on some of my own faulty thinking. I can’t adjust, grow and improve if I don’t know that I need to in some area. Awareness and a clear picture are so helpful.

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