Category Archives: Random Ramblings

Excuses, excuses.

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Okay, okay. I know: I haven’t posted in a long time. I have some really good excuses though!

Excuse #1: My laptop is dead. My son fried it. I’m writing this on my iPhone, which is incredibly inconvenient.

Excuse #2: He’s probably going to hate this, but my boyfriend is the second excuse. But it’s not what you think! I’m not saying that I’m too busy being utterly in love to write a blog post. Quite frankly, being single and looking for love was much more time consuming.

No, this is a different type of excuse. My boyfriend has this amazing way of making me feel beautiful. For the first time in my life, I feel physically desired and desirable. Which is totally unheard of for a woman with serious body image issues.

I’ve been deliriously happy these past four and a half months. I’ve also been ignoring taking care of myself. Truth be told, I have been enjoying having someone else take care of me…. Not so much in a literal way, but in an emotionally supportive kind of way. However, I will openly admit that I have ceased to take good care of myself.

I’ve been eating like crap. I haven’t been exercising. I’ve gained weight. How much, I’m not sure, as I’m loathe to step on the scale. All I know is that my fat clothes have started to get tight. My skin looks dull and worn. I’m tired most of the time. I feel physically gross.

The good news is that the back pain that had been plaguing me has improved. I no longer have crippling sciatica pain down my right leg.

The bad news? I have done nothing to work towards my goal. And I’m really mad at myself.

I’ve realized that I started this goal wanting to be thinner and healthier to find love. I truly thought that no one could possibly love me when I look like this. I was, thank the lord, completely wrong. But now I’m lacking the motivation that came from self-loathing.

Late this past summer, I had started eating clean. It felt great. I had more energy, my skin looked great, and I felt younger. Then, the stress of work hit. I have a very difficult group of kids in my class this year. At the end of the day, I am worn out, stressed and tired. More often than not, I stop somewhere for a coffee and a pastry of some sort. Or even just a chocolate bar.

That was the start of the downward decline. A cookie after work slowly became bad lunches, quick dinners and McDonald’s drive-thru for breakfast.

I have to turn things around. I know, from experience, if I try to do it all at once, I will fall flat on my face. Baby steps. They work.

My first baby step is to cut out the after school visit to Starbucks and Timmies. This I can do. I need to plan for being tired and worn out after work. That means packing a healthy, energizing snack for after school.

Today, I had an apple and a snack/cereal type bar in the car on the way home. The apple was a good choice. The bar? Not so much. I was rather proud of myself for bypassing Tim Hortons, but then promptly had a stack of Oreos when I got home.

Perhaps I also need to look at why I’m so tired at the end of the day. Yes, work is hard and exhausting. But am I properly fueling my body? Nope. I know I’m not staying hydrated. And I’m not eating in a way that will keep me energized.

Definitely something to think about. However, for the next week, I will focus on not stopping for sugary snacks on the way home.

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The truth we tell ourselves

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My friend Jodi commented tonight on how I hadn’t written a blog post in a while. It’s been over 2 1/2 months since I’ve written anything. In that time, I have really fallen off the wagon. I’ve stopped exercising (unless you count two or three sessions of my once-beloved 5am yoga as exercise), fallen back into terrible eating habits, and, honestly?, stopped trying.

It wasn’t intentional. It was very gradual. It all started when I started my new job teaching grade 2. To say I have a challenging class would be an understatement. Combine that with my relative lack of experience as a teacher, and my stress levels have been pretty high. And, true to form, I’ve reverted to sugary, fat-laden carbs to cope.

This weekend, I had a wake up call. Severe pain. My back is getting really bad again, and I have a pretty much constant pain in my leg from the nerves that are being pinched. The only time it doesn’t hurt is when I’ve been on my feet all day, teaching. I’ve been down this path before, and I know just how bad it can get. I can see that my self-neglect is having some very concrete, extremely painful consequences.

I’ve been mulling over this for a few days now. Asking myself some very pointed questions. Trying really hard to not beat myself up. I’m mad at myself for not sticking to all the great changes I had been making. I’m mad at myself for allowing myself to feel like crap. But mostly, I’m frustrated by the way I can’t seem to stick to the lifestyle changes I so desperately want to make.

I’m made a very important discovery: I’ve been lying to myself. When I started this blog, I had convinced myself that I was doing this for me. I did an excellent job of lying to everyone around me, and an even better job of lying to myself.

You see, if there is one thing that I wanted as badly as I want to be thin and healthy, it was love. Somewhere in my past, I learned to equate being loved with being thin. It became such a deeply ingrained message that it was a truth for me. I was truly convinced that no one would ever love me if I wasn’t thin. Hell, if I couldn’t look in the mirror and love what I saw, how could any man ever love me.

Y’know what? I was wrong.

So gloriously wrong. Entirely, completely wrong.

I was reading over my past entries, and recalled the conversation I had with my dearest girl friend this summer. She said, “Do you really hate your body that much that you cannot accept that a man may actually like you for you?” I remember answering quickly with an emphatic “yes!”

I am so SO SO glad I was wrong. I honestly thought that no man could ever love me and accept me for who I am. I have found the most amazing man who not only accepts me for who I am, he adores me, cherishes me, and loves me and (get this!!!!!) my body. Seriously. I couldn’t make this stuff up. I still have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming.

But, as amazing as it feels to be in love with and be loved by a great guy, I still struggle with body image. The thing is, I can see now that I’ve been lying to myself: someone can (and does!!) love me without being the perfect weight. I don’t need to lose weight to be loved. Wow.

So this is what I’ve been mulling over lately: for decades, my “truth” was that no one could ever love me if I wasn’t thin. That “truth” has been utterly blown out of the water and exposed for what it really is: a lie.

Yes, I will admit it. I started this blog because I wasn’t happy with my physical appearance or health, but it was all in relation to being loved. Now that I am loved (more than I ever dreamed possible!) I have a very difficult truth to face: I am worthy of being healthy. Believe it or not, I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this – it’s a complete shift in thinking.

I don’t need to lose weight to be loved, that has been proven in a way that absolutely blows my mind. Admittedly, I’m still trying to get used to it. Now, to wrap my head around the fact that I actually deserve to be healthy and feel vibrant, energetic and full of life.

Pick Yourself Up

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Well, I’m here. I’m back. I fell off the proverbial wagon, but here I am. In the past 4 or 5 days, I’ve had two close friends ask me how my progress is going, and I honestly told them what was going on in my life, and why I had fallen off the wagon. I faced my failure, and haven’t given up. And for that, I am proud of myself. I am learning, growing in my abilities and dedication to my goal, and discovering that I am truly not alone – which is astonishing! In the last few days, I’ve come to discover that I am not the only one who struggles with many of the issues I address in this blog. One of those issues is body image…

This past Saturday, I went out with a wonderful bunch of ladies for dinner. After dinner, we were walking down the street (in a very trendy neighbourhood in Vancouver) to grab a coffee. As we walked past a restaurant/bar with an outdoor patio, one of the ladies said to me, “Did you see him checking you out. His eyes went head to toe and back up again!” I laughed it off, and, honestly? didn’t really believe her.  Why would a man look at me like that?

The next day, I was talking to my friend Jenn, and we were talking about body image. I expressed my disbelief that someone would see a full-body picture of me and still be interested in dating. She said to me, “Do you really hate your body that much that you cannot accept that a man may actually like you for you?” I said, “Yes,” with a surety that I think kind of shocked her.

Later that evening, I chatted with a friend from high school, and brought up some of these issues. When she told me that she, too, had body image issues, frankly, I was shocked. I have always seen her as a beautiful woman with a great figure (of which, frankly, I’m somewhat jealous!).

It was then that I realized that pretty much everyone has some type of issue with their body. It doesn’t matter what shape you’re in, it’s easy to find something wrong with your body. Which is crazy, isn’t it? And, I think it speaks to unrealistic expectations placed on us by the media to look a certain way.

While I went for my walk today (my 2nd big long walk in as many days – yay me!) I was listening to some personal growth podcasts. There are a few things that really stuck with me….

A computer, without electricity is simply just a useless object. It doesn’t matter how fast the processors are, how many amazing programs are installed, and what operating system its running if there is no power to the unit. We are like that too – our bodies are simply an object. Our knowledge – everything we’ve learned – are like the programs installed in the computer. But our emotional/spiritual self, well, that’s the electricity that brings life to everything.

I really liked that metaphor. I have been focusing so much on my physical body lately, that I’ve forgotten that this body is not who I am.  When I identify myself primarily through my body (an “object” which, as I’ve already owned up to, don’t like all that much), it is damaging to my emotional well being. When I look in the mirror and don’t like what I see, I beat myself up, and make myself feel terrible.

But, I am SO much more than that! As a wise kindergarten teacher once said, “Karen is awesome.” (btw – JP: I don’t think I’ll ever forget that speech you gave on the last day of school!).  It still feels weird that people could look at  me and not see me the way I do, but I am beginning to understand that people do see me for who I am and not what I look like.

Don’t you think it’s time that I started seeing myself that way?

Not AWOL

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I’m here. Really I am.

Sort of.

I haven’t written in  a week. And, truth be told, I haven’t really been doing anything towards this goal in that time. Granted, I spent the entire week enjoying life with my 12 year old as his older brothers were away at summer camp. In an effort to focus on the positives: we did a lot of walking around; I bought a new bathing suit and actually wore it at the beach; we went to the sports court at the end of our block and hit around the tennis ball (and it was fun! I actually worked up a sweat); and I got to spend one on one time with an amazing kid 🙂

Now it’s time to get back into the swing of things.

Why is motivation so elusive for me? Why are some people more motivated than others? Why is it that I get on a roll, have a good week or two, then get derailed?

I actually know part of the answer to these questions, at least for me. Some of it has to do with my own health struggles. When I don’t take care of my health, when I’m not super diligent about it, at first, I feel fine. But slowly and surely, my health starts to deteriorate, and then all of a sudden, I’m not well again. Anyone who has struggled with mental health issues understands what this is like. (And, to be completely honest: at first, I didn’t want to bring this up, to talk about my depression and anxiety, but thanks to The Bloggess  and her courage to openly talk about her struggles of this sort, I have a bit more courage).

I am learning that I thrive on routines. When my life is somewhat scheduled, things go well. I take my medication when I’m supposed to; I exercise regularly (anyone remember 5am yoga? Yep, it’s gone now that I’m on break); I eat healthy (it’s easy to pack a salad the night before!); I do much, much better with my health.

Don’t get me wrong: I love the laid back pace of summer vacation. But the routines have gone straight out the window, and I feel a bit lost. I know part of that is I haven’t been taking my medication regularly, which is pretty important. However, I have recognized that this time, I haven’t completely stopped taking it because I feel better and don’t think I need it (I’ve learned that lesson the hard way!)… it’s just that my routine is completely gone.

Summer vacation is half over. I still have time to implement a good daily routine to see to self care, which includes eating right, tracking my food, exercising, taking my medication, and drinking lots of water.

See, I’m not dumb. I know that when I do those things, my over all health, including my mental health, is much, MUCH better. I feel more clear-headed, stronger, more focused and, well, more alive. I miss feeling that way. I don’t like the way I feel now.

Well, I suppose tomorrow is a new day.

That’s ok

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So the past 36 hours or so haven’t been the greatest. I’ve eaten too much, most of which has been junk. But, that’s ok. I’m not going to beat myself up about it. Today is a new day, and I’m being more careful with what I put in my body.

The last few days have been a bit on the emotional side. On Thursday night, we had a picnic in the park and a good friend joined me. It was a lovely evening, and I enjoyed myself thoroughly. Sure, I didn’t exactly eat the healthiest stuff, and I didn’t track my food that night, but spending time with my children and one of my dearest friends was just so darn good for the soul. I needed that. I also needed to give myself permission to not be perfect.

Yesterday, I messed up. I ate poorly, made terrible choices, and succumbed to a bit of emotional eating. But, it was just one day. I have forgiven myself, and put it in the past.  I also know that right now is that time when I am more likely to engage in mindless eating to appease that carb craving that visits every so often. I am trying to figure out how best to deal with this regular occurrence… allow myself to self-medicate with chocolate, knowing I can’t stop at one? Try desperately to avoid the craving, only to fall horribly later? Not quite sure what to do.

The Power of Words

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Words are incredibly powerful

This morning, I received a private message on Facebook from someone with whom I went to high school. She said she finds my posts motivational and they make her think twice while eating a bowl of ice cream. Her 40th is close to mine, and she wants to get in shape, too.

The funny thing is that this was one of the girls of whom I was so jealous of in high school! She was (and still is!) very pretty, and I remember wishing I looked more like her and her friends back then. (She probably has no idea I felt this way! lol)

When I was in high school, I was 5’9″ and weighed 160-170 lbs – by no means unhealthy. But so many of the girls around me were waif-like beauties. I had curves, and I hated them. I so wanted to look like the skinny girls at school. Having been called “fat,” “COW-en” and “jabba the **ut” in elementary school, I took those words to heart, and believed it to be true. Those words became my mindset. When I got to high school and I saw all the skinny girls getting boyfriends, my sense of self worth plummeted. (Turns out two boys I really, really liked were gay. They didn’t ignore me because I was fat. The ignored me because I wasn’t a boy!) I associated my lack of friends with my physical appearance. I was lonely, and I ate to fill the void.

To this day, I struggle with words. I am trying to overcome this. I am learning not to take things personally. I am learning to stop listening to the voices from my past.

But it’s not other people’s voices that are the problem. It’s my voice. It’s the words I tell myself. And, sadly, at times, I can be very hard on myself. Those voices we hear, “Oh, what’s one bowl of ice cream? I can exercise tomorrow,” “I’m too tired/busy/hot/cold/(enter excuse here) to exercise today” – we believe them. The more we say it, the more we believe it. The good news? We can change the messages we tell ourselves!

I know I tell myself a lot of negative things; even though, to the rest of the world, I seem like an upbeat, positive person, to myself, I am very pessimistic. In fact, I can be down right mean to myself. I struggle to treat myself with kind words.

I’ve written about Don Miguel Ruiz’s book “The Four Agreements” before. His first agreement is “Be Impeccable with your Words.” I am finding it easier to be impeccable with my exterior words – it’s actually quite easy to say nice things to others. It’s a lot harder to say nice things to ourselves.

I have found one solution that seems to be working, and it involves my trusty little iPhone. At times, I think this blog should be called “How to Lose Weight Using Just an iPhone” because I’m finding lots of great ways to use technology in this journey.

So, here’s what you do to use your iPhone to help you change the messages you tell yourself:

1. Go to the Calendar app, and hit the little “+” button in the top right hand corner.

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2. The “Add Event” Screen will appear. Under “title” write a positive affirmation. Remember to keep it short – if it’s too long, when the reminder pops up, you won’t see the whole thing.

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3. Set a time for the event – preferably some time when you’ll see it.

 

4. Click on repeat, and select “Every Day”

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5. Click on alert and select “At time of event”

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6. Add a note if you’d like.

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Now, every day at the same time, you’ll get a reminder filled with positive affirmations. I have one that pops up every day at 3:30, reminding me that I deserve to be healthy. This pops up on my way home from work, and is a great reminder to exercise when I get home.

The words we tell ourselves hold such power. Wars have been started over words. Words become beliefs. If we hear something enough, we believe it. The words I tell myself, my beliefs about who I am are the biggest obstacles in my path to success.

My struggle right now? Exercise. I have been fairly good at cutting back on mindless eating, not eating when I’m not hungry, avoiding emotional eating, and tracking my food. But creating a regular exercise routine? Hasn’t been happening. Perhaps this is because I don’t believe myself to be an athlete. Perhaps I don’t believe that I can actually do it. Those words need to change. I need to put together a regular exercise schedule and routine and stick to it.

And when I think about it – this is the biggest goal I have. This blog isn’t called “Thin by Forty”, it’s called “Fit by Forty.” Maybe I need to stop focusing on the actual weight loss and begin focusing on creating a healthy lifestyle based around fitness. I am going to examine how my beliefs about exercise and fitness are preventing me from achieving my goals.

To all my friends who have given me encouraging words, cheered me on and supported me since starting this blog, thank you. Your words truly are powerful and inspire me to persist towards my goals.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I think I can, I think I can…

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It’s day three in my contest with my friend. So far, I have tracked my food and exercise every day, although Tuesday I went over my daily calorie allowance. I’m not too upset by this because my dietician told me about the 80/20 rule: eating well 80% of the time, and allowing yourself times when you can splurge just a little. The important part is that I tracked what I splurged on.

Today, my sons and I went for a lovely hike by the ocean. It was a beautiful day and I got a great workout in while spending time with my boys. I am noticing that when I do exercise, I feel more in control of things. This is a good feeling 🙂

This past week, I have been feeling more motivated. Perhaps it’s because I’m doing a friendly competition. But, I also think it may be because I’ve been doing a lot of soul searching lately, revisiting my past. It hasn’t been easy – in fact, at times, it’s been downright painful. My counsellor even gave me permission to engage in emotional eating right now to help comfort and nurture myself during this period.

I’ve never truly climbed a mountain – not yet at least – but that’s what this feels like… finally facing the hurtful voices from my past. I have come to recognize that I still do listen to the voices that told me over and over that I am fat and no good. Slowly, I am learning that these voices aren’t my truth, and that I no longer have to listen to them. Slowly, I am learning that I am, indeed, beautiful and deserving of love, and that my self worth is not related to my physical appearance. These voices are my biggest obstacle to my success. If I keep listening to them, I’ll keep believing them, and their truth will become my truth. I don’t want that. I don’t want those voices telling me that I do not deserve to be beautiful, healthy, thin, fit, loved and loving…. I don’t want to keep hearing those voices. And I don’t have to, either.

There is a very good reason that those people who spoke those words are no longer in my life. I chose to leave those people. They are no longer part of my life. And, just as I chose to physically distance myself from those people, I can chose to stop hearing their voices.  I had the strength and power to physically leave, and I have the strength and power to stop hearing their words.

As I think about this, I realize that I have, of late, surrounded myself by some pretty amazing people. People who love me, believe in me, support me and cheer me on. Not one of my friends has told me that I am fat, ugly and don’t deserve love. In fact, I have recently had a friend tell me how awesome I am, and one tell me that I deserve to be happy and be loved. I can see now that I truly have a great group of people in my life. I no longer need to listen to the voices from my past because I’m filling my heart with voices from the present… and I have learned how to fill my present with some pretty amazing people.

I keep saying that the biggest part of this whole journey is a mental one.  I have to believe in myself. I have to see myself as capable and deserving of being fit and healthy. The last three days, I have made good progress towards this. I am especially proud of the way that my emotional and mindless eating has been minimal.

I’m really beginning to think that I can do this. I am beginning to believe that I can lead a life of health and fitness.