Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Baby Steps

I’ve decided on two things.

The first is to try and make changes slowly. By this I mean that in making a commitment to myself to change one aspect, I don’t have to go balls out and change everything all at once, just that one aspect.

This relates nutritionally. I decided to stop eating refined carbs. Very good. Well done. And if I can really fulfill that commitment to myself, then I really will have done something good for myself. The problem is that the Perfectionist in my head wants to change everything else at the same time, which ultimately leads to me being overwhelmed and unhappy. In this case, I’m trying just to cut the refined sugars from my diet, but the Perfectionist sees an opening, and starts saying, “well, if you’re really trying to eat healthier, then you should start looking at your protein/carb ratios at the same time”.

There is some validity to this; right after being held in the sway of refined carbs, my next biggest nutritional pitfall is inadequate protein. But in trying to correct everything, there’s a lack of focus which for me leads to failure.

So this week I’m just going to focus on keeping my promise to myself of having no refined carbs. And if my macro nutrient ratios are out of wack (as they are today, with my whole grain cereal brekkie and my wild rice and fruit lunch, no real source of protein has made an appearance), really that’s okay. Once I get this part of it down, I can start learning the next trick, maybe next week or the week after.

The second is to forgive mistakes and claim the need for a do-over. It was almost 9:00 by the time I got home last night, and I was starving. While I was waiting for my supper to cook, a couple of friends stopped by. And with them they carried the remnants of their supper at Pizza Hut which they thoughtfully offered to share. I was able to push away the pizza without a second thought (not being much of a meat-eater), but snagged a fresh breadstick. I was halfway through before I remembered my promise to myself.

Here’s what I did wrong; I finished the breadstick (gasp! Hand to forehead). But here’s what I did right; rather than say to myself “ah well, you blew it anyway. May as well eat your face off tonight and then we can start again tomorrow” (because, you see, the Perfectionist is also a Defeatist), I said, “a four bite breadstick does not lose the battle”, and pushed away the rest of the plate to wait for my supper.

Two baby steps. And then two more. And then all of a sudden, I’m striding along, swingin’ my arms and whistling a tune as if I’ve done this forever.

Monday, June 25, 2007

A reaction and a promise

Ack!! Ugh!! And, why?!?!?!?

I have just experienced three mini-binges over the past three days. I call them “mini” because in the past a binge would involve hours of food consumption that would wind up in the realm of ridiculous or even disgusting. All were during times of boredom and emotional frailty, but pure emotions were not the trigger for the most part. They started with a minor but entirely innocuous indulgence of a processed starch.

Now, as I said I fought my urge to continue the binge spiral with various degrees of success, but I do feel that I was much more successful than I was a year ago. So that’s some progress. But I think it’s time to stand up and recognize another culprit; SIMPLE SUGARS!

Now, in reality, this goes hand-in-hand with my emotional eating; when I’m sad or upset all I want is simple carbs. However, by opening the door just a leetle bit, I’m apparently inviting an onslaught of cravings. Yesterday I was bored and moody and a bit lonely. A single slice of sourdough bread started my sugar roller coaster, and it was only removing myself from the house that ended it. Today I had a sensible serving of gelato while walking and chatting with a girlfriend, but right after it was done I was thinking about my next sugar fix. If my emotions were a bit better adjusted today, then maybe this wouldn’t be an issue, but given that I’m in a long term relationship with someone who sends me topsy-turvy, I can’t count on my own innate stability.

So now that I’ve assigned blame, what can I do to prevent this from happening again??? Well, I think we all know the answer to this, although we may not like it; cut out the refined carbs from my life.

So, there it be, ladies and gents. I am going to make a commitment for the next month (that’s right, until July 25th) that nothing containing sugar or refined flour shall entire my mouth. Sticky rice will be the sole exception, because I consider sushi one of the healthier choices when seeking a restaurant, and don’t see any reason to throw the baby out with the bath water).

Aside from that, I’ve decided to also renew my commitment to cardio exercise outside of football. This week, and for the next month, I’m committing myself to at least THREE cardio sessions outside of football. And finally, I’m going to recommit myself to exclusively using the stairs to reach my third floor office.

So, to reiterate, for the next month I will:
1. Let no simple carbs pass these lips.
2. Run (etc.) at least three times a week.
3. Use the stairs in my office building.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Up for the challenge

I am someone who likes to have goals and I have a tendency to make mini-challenges for myself all the time. This may have been something that I’ve always done (and I suspect that such is the case), but the first time that I specifically remember acknowledging this need was shortly after I graduated with my first degree.

I did my under-grad in Chemical Engineering. And because I like challenges, I took the option of having a course overload, which allowed me to work in an eight-month internship in the industry in which I thought I had some interest. So was busy. Very busy. And everything was broken into mini-challenges or goals in the form of papers and projects and exams (oh my!). So when I graduated and began working in the Real World, which consisted of a 37.5 hour work week (versus my 40 hour class schedule + 20 hours of assignment/project work + 15 hours at a part-time job), I had no idea what to do with myself.

I needed a challenge!!!

Some people roll their eyes at me for this innate need. Others have felt it necessary to try and have me “relax”. However, “relaxing” is done to make a person happy and satisfied, n’est pas?? Well, then, I find having mini-challenges “relaxing”. And please don’t have false expectations that my mini-challenges are in the order of building a canoe or epic novels. Think “mini”, people! While some have been on a larger scale (training for a half-marathon, and then later, a full-marathon), many have been significantly more humble (knitting a scarf, taking a 5-class course on the basics of pottery throwing). The key is not in the grandeur of the task, but in the task itself, in trying something or maybe achieving something. And the purpose is never for adoration or praise. At worst I’m looking for bragging rights that I gave it a go, and mostly I’m just interested in the experience.

So. That being said, I’m setting myself up for a mini-challenge (you had to know this was leading to something). And that is three and a half weeks of doing it right.

The background is that I am a tackle football player in a women’s rec league. We have an away game in 3 ½ weeks that’s in an area with be-you-tiful beaches. And I want to feel good about myself. I want to be without self-conscientiousness when I step on the sand in my bikini. I’m not looking for air-brushed, glossy perfection. I just want to feel good.

To work towards that, I plan on eschewing sugar and white starches for this period, and focusing instead of lots of fruits, vegs and lean protein. I also intend to return to my regime of weight training and adding cardio again (both of which have slipped considerably), and of course I’ll continue with football (which has been my saving grace when the strength training and cardio slipped).

Let’s begin, shall we?

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

What's in a name???

While I’ve written other blogs in the past, I was reluctant to return to them. The most recent was being written during a time of upheaval in my life, which in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case was also a time when I allowed the upheaval to upset my internal equilibrium. Because of this, I don’t feel like that past blog was a good reflection of the person that I normally am.

And so I’ve decided to begin anew. And in doing so I’ve decided to name this blog in such a way that it’s reflective of the person that I am, or at the very least, the person that I aspire to be. The previous blog was very much focused on weight loss, and although I know that that will be a subject that will be raised again many times, I also want to acknowledge the other aspects of myself.

So what’s in a name? In this case, I’ve always railed against being defined by others, and in general, people have difficulty pigeon-holing me. If someone is successful, it’s usually because they’ve had a very limited experience of me. Sometimes this sucks; some friends who are professionals of different types think I’m too artsy; other friends who are artists think I’m too pragmatic. Most of the time I embrace the concept. I rarely think of myself as not fitting in anywhere. Rather I think of myself as someone who can fit in where ever and who can find common ground with almost anyone.

I’m more and more starting to really like the person that I am, both inside and out. I still have lows and moments of insecurity, and I am still trying to lose the last 10 to 15 pounds and find the perfect pair of black heels and that one shade of eyeshadow that makes eyes look just dreamy. The difference is that now I recognize that life is pretty great even if my hair isn’t.