Sunday, October 09, 2011
Indulge me, I'm going to write about my mom's father. As a kid, I used to call him "mean", because I was a kid, and he was tough and gruff, and of a military kind of bearing. In fact, he had been to war, in WWII, and when he came home, he spent some of his hours and days and Summer weeks as a Boy Scout troop leader.
In high school, he was a track star. The family story is that he and grandma got engaged with a track medal as their pledge token. Of course, as a kid, the thought of grandma and grandpa *ever* having been young was... well... just not there. As I now look in the mirror or photographs and see thier features, it's a little more sensible to remember that they were once young, too.
One of my favorite memories of Grandpa is how active he was. I never thought I "was". Either you were or you weren't. On/off thinking, huh? On his 65th birthday, Grandpa celebrated, at Philmont Scout Ranch with a 60 mile hike.
Which brings me to the title line. The 2011 Ironman Triathlon in Kialua-Kona, Hawaii is about 15 minutes away from its cut-off, lights out. I got up to take my thyroid meds at the usual time, and turned on the streaming video. Now we are seeing the last athletes who will get the official timing/designation as "Ironman". They have swum 2.4 miles. They have biked 112 miles. And they have covered a full marathon 26.2 miles, on foot. They must finish by midnight... 81 year old just crossed the line. Lew Holliday just won his age division: he is an Ironman.
I contend that Grandpa would have loved this race. It is an extreme test of endurance and strength. I will probably never go that distance, myself... but never say never. The commitment to training, the investment in prep races, and the travel to exotic places. But I have a sprint distance one in my future... I can feel it in my bones.
Motivation rises, envisioning crossing a finish line with a grin... 80 year old just crossed the line with less than 10 minutes to the lights out! I can dream... and I can get fit and stay fit to the dreams!
76 year old Harriet Anderson finished with minutes to spare, the oldest female competitor. Go, woman, go!
Saturday, October 08, 2011
We are facing the beginning of a three day weekend off work. I am determined that *this* weekend is not going to be like *last* weekend. I have taken steps to adjust my attitude and examine my feelings, my priorities and motivation. This morning was my monthly maintenance consultation at the JC center and I had a good talk with my consultant (who is, by the way, the greatest... and about to get married next weekend - congrats and best wishes to her).
Armed with all of this, I feel confident that the weekend will be a good one. I went for a brief walk as I was early for my appointment, and I looked up at the sky. My camera is too poor to take a picture that would do it justice, but it could have been a book cover... the strata of clouds with the rising sun playing on them is an amazing sight.
When I got home I went outside and while the allergies are bugging me a bit, it felt good just to be outdoors. For this weekend, I give myself permission to live, and to enjoy life, moment by moment, with no expectations for performance or for pleasing others... mindfully, with gratitude.
Life's good... Spark on!
Friday, October 07, 2011
First off, Thursday was a decent day with the food. I didn't write it down, but I know the drill, and know what I ate, and it was all pretty routine stuff, so I know I'm in range. No "extras" or slipped ins... and I can do that when I am *not* in rebellion mode.
I consider that a blessing. Because it takes at least a certain amount of time to track, and it's more important to *do* than to write about. I took my break walks, because that's one point I refuse to give in on.
I ended up leaving work late. Not a good thing, usually, because lately it has been putting me in a foul mood, resentful. And we all know what emotional / compulsive eaters do with feelings. However, I came home to a ton of supportive comments on my last blog... and found some resolve for the evening hours in those. Thank you, Spark Friends!
This morning, I am pondering the resentment thing. When do I "eat" feelings? Don't know about you all, but I tend to "eat" instead of "speak" when I don't feel that speaking is "safe". So, mad at boss (i.e. not able to separate out the feelings enough to see the intellectual issues and reason / talk them through)? Hit the chips! Not good.
And since I'm "miss perfect goody two-shoes" I can't possibly ever hold feelings of "you're not holding up your end of the workload" toward my teammates, either.
So it must somehow all be my fault for not doing enough *myself*, right? (OK, chime in here... anybody else have this trap in their personality?)
It's not right to always blame the other fella. But it's also not right to always blame yourself.
Food, my drug of choice, has always been a friend, comforter, companion, to help me "avoid" thinking about the troubling emotions and how they conflict with the self-image I want to be me!
This isn't about the scale. The scale is just a symptom that appears when enough behavior drives it. This is about life. It's about behavior. It's about facing feelings, resolving feelings, and moving on, rather than displacing the feelings with food / exercise acting out.
Conversation in brain: "You overload me at work? I have to work late? So I won't get my workout in, and I might as well just eat." That is sick thinking.
Today, just for today... I choose to eat healthy, to plan for the good, to make sure I get those vital breaks with walking. Today I choose to speak my feelings, rather than eat them, if I can do so in a balanced, rational and kind way. And if I don't trust myself to speak that way, I will "take a break"; I will remember that "junk food" isn't going to make things better.
Every day is day 1. And life is good. Spark on!
Thursday, October 06, 2011
One of the major reasons I am not comfortable with compliments that surround weight loss success is "the big cycle". I've written about it before. It is the cycle of many things, I could give it a dozen names. "The myth of continuous improvement." "Burnout." "Trying to do too much." "Competing obsessions." "Project versus process mentality."
In any case, when I'm doing well, I'm doing well... and people say nice things, and I feel good, but I also feel scared. Because there is this little dark demon at the back of my brain that says, "You are going to let them down!" See him? There he is! And he's been talking to me big-time for the past month or so.
It starts with little slips. And small bumps up in the scale. It escalates into rebellious feelings and worse behavior. It culminates when something else shiny or scary takes my attention and he starts saying, "you don't care. You aren't worth it. You need a pick me up now! Come, dance with the chips and cheese and sugar and fat!"
I bring my tools to bear on it for a while, but eventually, it turns into a full-scale backwards slide. Right now I feel myself slip-sliding away. Only a part of me is fighting the fight. I could go into detail of the distractions and other things my brain wants to work on *instead of taking care of my body*... but I'm sure every reader could match it with a list of their own!
For now, I'm just saying... what usually happens when I get to this point in "the big cycle" is that I disappear for a while... sometimes a loooong while. I come back only when I get past the dark places and back to a place of hope. Because nobody wants to read their way through the "I don't give a ___!" phase. It's *not* an inspiring place to be.
On the other hand, it might help me to keep writing. If a morning pep talk gets me through even a good part of the day remembering I need to (and deserve to, and want to) take care of me... it's worth writing!
So... I had two bad days over the weekend. Then I had two days in which I behaved well. And last night, I had a panic-overloaded-rebellious episode again. I can only live one day at a time. This will be a true test of majority rules. I'm reminding myself of last year's holiday season: I told myself I knew I would have days with more celebratory eating, but I would try to have them limited, and more days of "normal" eating in between. I need to get into that mind set again: put "normal" as the goal. One... day... at a time!
Every day is day one.
Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Monday was a good recovery day. No "extra" exercise, stayed on the food plan, treated myself "gently" from a self-talk point of view, and began trotting out my bag of mental tools related to binge recovery:
1. As best I can, figure out the elements of "what am I missing" and "why am I missing it?"
2. Satisfy that "missing" thing.
3. Assess the goals, stated and unstated, that I have been pursuing.
4. Figure out if they are still relevant.
5. Adjust and move on!
Saturday's rebellion was a precursor to Sunday morning's. The entire rebellion started with the realization that I did not want to take the *time* to drive to Omaha and back for that 5K. This is a clue. My brother is fond of saying that time is the ultimate scarce resource. The longer I live the more I accept this. It is important to spend this scare resource on things that matter most to me.
So then we get into "why did this 5K not matter as much to me?" Truth to tell, I signed up for it late, mainly because I wanted to somehow demonstrate my support for the cause. Which is a good one. But it was one more race in an already full schedule. I just did a 5 mile one three weeks ago, and two weeks from now I was already signed on for another 5K. This one, tucked between? Just plain "too much".
What was I missing? Time to just "be". Time to indulge in some grief (yes, I watched a sappy movie Saturday morning and cried for a lot of this year's losses, including the one I wrote about earlier in the week). Time to not have to be somewhere and do something. I need this. And I need to recognize it's importance to myself, especially during a phase at work that is keeping me overtime more than "normal" and stressing me. Time to hang up the "competition" part of my nature.
The biggest error in all of this was overbooking myself. It's one I have made in the past. I doubt it's the last time I do it. I don't want it to unravel the life I envision for myself: one of dignity and order and harmony. I must pull in my horns and accept that for now, the "official" 5K's have to go. I'm not training properly for them (due to the overtime and exhaustion at the end of the day). I need to take better care of me in other ways right now.
In my heart of hearts, I want that dignified orderly life, to have my home be a refuge. I accept that, and will get back to the "one thing" goals, which have been sliding between the OT and the races. I shall nurture myself. Because I'm worth it.
I will not give up: Tracking my food and activity levels so I can maintain my healthy weight. Walking breaks at work to manage stress levels. Strength training to the evening TV shows, two or three times a week. Positive self-talk, every day, because I'm worth it.
I will give up, "for now": the scheduled races... not going to sign up for any more. I will decide closer to the race itself whether I will actually go and participate in the last one I have already signed on for.
I will re-assess, in a week or two, how this plan is going. Am I feeling less pressured by myself to do "too much"? Because having reactionary binges is *not* healthy! And healthy is the real goal.
Life's good. Spark on!
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