Jun 22, 2011

When you know you've screwed up

Some days you just know you've screwed something up.

Maybe it happens like this: you don't mean to, but you skip breakfast. Maybe you got too busy too quickly--or you didn't have any food you wanted to eat--or you had a big cup of coffee and it got you through your morning on only 35 calories of sweetener. For whatever reason, you are ravenous by 11AM, and you end up making a crap decision for lunch. You go to a buffet. You finish the first plate of food, and you think "geez, I didn't eat anything all morning, and I could still eat..." So you get another plate of food. Back in the day, this might have been business as usual, but since your body is used to eating just about the amount of food you actually need, when it gets too much you end up feeling like CRAP.

Now it's afternoon, your belly is bulging over your new skinny jeans, and you couldn't go for a run if a dog was biting you on the ass. You feel like a lump. In a desk chair. And you're falling asleep. Somewhere your day went terribly wrong, and you don't know where to go from here.

Well, this pretty much describes my day today, and I'm not proud of it. But I came here to write about it anyway--that was one of the choices I made in moving on with the rest of my day. Where do I go from here? Well, what can I do but move on. My decisions on this one day do not define me. I am defined by the decisions that I continue to make for the rest of my life.

I'm not even thinking about whether I'm going to "salvage" my day, or even "write off" my day, because this day is part of my life, just like every day is. I will make better decisions later today, and also tomorrow, and in the end the good decisions I made will outweigh the poor ones, and I will have had a great life. I believe this is all any of us can do.

Jun 17, 2011

"Please remind me that I like to have fun."

After a particularly fun evening the other night for my sister Sara's birthday, my brother-in-law CC said to us, in regards to next time we ask him to do something he might decide not to: "Hey guys, please remind me that I like to have fun." I love that he said that, and it reminds me so much of the way I feel about exercising.

Exercise is FUN. It's fun while you're doing it, and it's really fun when it's finished. When you're exercising, your heart is pumping, your body is moving, and you just feel physically and emotionally engaged. When it's done, you have a feeling of euphoria that can keep you pumped with energy and enthusiasm literally all day. In addition, you have a sense of "I did something good for myself today," which makes you feel like giving yourself a high five.

Exercise is NOT fun, however, before you do it. The idea of it is just off-putting. I have tried and tried to figure out why this is, because a good physical workout clearly triggers the pleasure-sensing parts of the brain, releases endorphins, and does all those things that are supposed to keep us wanting to do things... so why is it that looking forward to exercise just isn't fun?

Well, that I don't know. But what I do know is that we need to make ourselves remember that exercise is fun... that it's worthwhile, our bodies will thank us, and we'll actually feel MORE energized when it's done.

So, please remind me that I like to do exercise. Please remind me that I like to have fun. I'll remind you, too.

Jun 7, 2011

Make an Unusual Choice

Something’s been bothering me about my blog of late…it’s all about me. You guys probably noticed this a long time ago, but it has just dawned on me recently. As Eddie Izzard would say “God save the Queen? That is one saved fucking queen…” I am a saved queen myself. Although I have ups and downs (like anyone), I have done a pretty good job of keeping this 65 pounds off for some time now, and I don’t really need to be writing a blog that’s all about my own trials and tribulations.

So I want this blog to have a new direction: towards you! I want to use what little knowledge I’ve acquired to help you readers out there, to help you make changes in your own lives, and to love life a little more (and this change has been reflected in my new profile blurb on the right).

Of course, let’s be honest: there will still be plenty of whining and self-talk here, but now the whining and self-talk will be more geared to helping you. If you think that doesn’t sound like much of a change, you’re probably right.
But I’m going to do my best.

So, here’s my first attempt.

Make an Unusual Choice

I was out walking through the woods today (with a 70% chance of intermittent jogging), and I was thinking. To choose to change clothes at lunchtime, get my iPod loaded up, lace up my shoes, and go outside today was an unusual choice for me. I haven’t made that choice for even one day in the last month, but today I did. I can’t say for sure what made me make that choice, but I know telling several people I was going to do it made a big difference.

Life is just a series of choices. I’m pretty sure that’s a famous quote by someone. We make choices all day long, and they all lead to other choices. One day you make a choice that you later regret (like having 3 beers on a weeknight, for example, or eating half of an entire pizza). The next day, with that choice to go on, you make another choice that you end up regretting.

I have a suggestion: make an unusual choice! Do something you wouldn’t normally do. And if you want to change your life, make a lot of choices in a row that you wouldn’t normally make. My whole healthy journey started like this one day back in August 2009. I was so screwed up at that time, didn’t know how to make myself obedient to my own wishes… I decided that all I could do was make new choices. Here are a few that I remember making in that first 24 hours:

  • Chose to go to the grocery store at lunchtime, to buy healthy food to stock my office with, rather than going to McDonald’s.

  • Chose to go to a Pampered Chef party on a week night, leaving Bryan and the kids to fend for themselves for a few hours – this doesn’t sound like a healthy choice? Well, it taught me to practice taking time for myself when I need it.

  • Chose to accept an invitation to go to a garden and reap a lot of free veggies instead of stay home in the a/c and play a video game.

  • Chose to take a walk with my dog.

This is a challenge for you, Dear Reader! Go out today, make an unusual choice, and come back here and let me know how it made you feel. Do it just once, and see if it doesn’t lead to you wanting to do it again. 

Jun 2, 2011

A year between two avatar pics

I took a new avatar picture the other day, and when I went to save it I realized that I’d taken an avatar pic almost exactly a year previous. I have one named 052611, and another 052510. I decided to open up that older picture and see how I’ve changed.

Here’s the 2010 picture…

And the 2011 one…

They’re both taken in the same office, with the same WVU banner in the background… but a very different person is looking out at me.

First of all, I have new hair. My old hair was long and always pony-tailed. It’s short now though, and I don’t think I’ll ever go back. I love having short hair, and instead of being the same every single day, my hair pretty much reflects the way I’m feeling on any given day. I love that about it.

My glasses are also different, but only slightly. They’re almost exactly the same shape as before, but now I wear purple glasses; and when I’m not wearing those, I wear bright, multi-colored ones. I think this says that my old tastes are the same, but they’ve become brighter.

I’m showing my teeth in the new picture, and in the old one I wanted to appear… thoughtful, I think. I don’t care now though; I just smile my flat smile with those orthodontist-corrected teeth for the world to see.

My face appears almost exactly the same. I’ve lost only a little bit of weight between last year and this year, and my face has pretty much stabilized. It’s not the potato head it once was. When I look back at the potato head pictures of my past, I love but also feel a little bit sorry for that old, fatter me, but I’ve totally embraced this new me. This is the face I will grow old with.

But  most importantly, and probably most noticeably (other than the hair), I look more free. The lighting doesn’t hurt… but I think the lighting actually tells part of the story. I’m not hiding at all. In the first picture it looks like I’m in a cave getting my body “ready” to show the world. In the new picture, I’ve shown it—and the world is pretty much indifferent, just as they should be. My body and my face are mine; I’m the one that cares so much about them. I feel now like it doesn’t matter what other people think. I’m not putting on a show for them. I’m living my life, and I’m damn proud of who I am: the part of me that has always been, and also the part of me that is brand new.