Changing the Narrative

The ongoing narrative in my head is mostly negative.  “I screwed that up.”  “I should have done that differently.”  “I’ll never be able to figure this out.”  “I don’t have time for myself.”  And so on.  In talking to my few friends, it seems that’s common for other women as well.  I wish I knew why that was.

It occurred to me the other day that negative self-talk does not have to be the default.  I have the power to change the default setting.  I can change the messages I tell myself.

I’ve been feeling extremely stuck in my life so I decided that’s a place to start.  My first new message is:

“I am not stuck. I have the ability to make change.  I can make new choices.”

I followed that up with a few general positive statements:

“I am confident.  I am competent.  I am smart.  I make good decisions.  I have the ability to figure things out.”

And then, a few goal-specific items:

“I have the ability to ride my horse.  My horse is not beyond me.”  And . . . “I have the ability to learn Spanish.  I will practice Spanish and the learning curve will be o.k.”

It might sound ridiculous but I literally repeat these statements to myself over and over and over . . . when I first get up in the morning, several times throughout the day, and when I get in bed at night.

I think its making a difference.  I’ve felt a bit more motivated, gotten a bit more accomplished, and well . . . I just feel better, like, more able to overcome obstacles.  The challenge is going to be making it stick.  I’m usually good at things for a day or two.  So, the fact that I’ve reached day 3 or 4 here is an accomplishment in itself.

Happiness is hard but I’m convinced that its worth it.

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Its Monday & the Laundry is Almost Done

I do laundry on Sundays.  For some reason, whether or not I actually get the laundry finished on Sunday speaks to how my week is going to go.  Last week, for example, the laundry stayed on my couch the entire week.  I’m not exactly sure why – I was just busy and distracted.  That also means that I didn’t eat particularly well, didn’t exercise and in general, just felt blah.

I was sick a couple of weeks ago and had come out of that determined to really and truly make changes to how I eat.  As it seems to go with all of my other “determinations”, it lasted a couple of days.  Ugh.

Here it is Monday yet again.  I just heard from my best friend in Vegas – she’s doing great with some new eating habits.  I’m really happy for her but it made me feel way, way terrible about myself.  Like, I almost started crying.  And I’m not really a crying person.

Ugh.

Instead of crying, I’m trying to take action.  I popped some garbanzo beans in the toaster oven to try roasting them again.  That was a gumdrop replacement snack but I didn’t get them quite roasted right last time.  I’ve surveyed the refrigerator and decided to make broccoli beef for dinner.  Its my daughter’s favorite, involves some veggies and I’ll make myself brown rice.

I’m also trying to remember that I’ve made some progress.  The gumdrops are still out of my car.  I’ve put ice cream in a bowl on the nights I’ve had some, rather than sitting down with the entire container.  I made an excellent new recipe – avocado edamame hummus and ate it with jicama.  I figured out how to make an omelet and had that for breakfast several times last week.

Despite this, I’m continuing to gain weight.  My blue work slacks are tight and they’ve never been tight before.  Its really, really hard for me to see the positive.

And, its only Monday and the laundry is almost done!  Its all through the washer and dryer and 50% folded!  Perhaps all is not lost for this week.

 

Towards Health – Day 1

O.k., as I talked about yesterday in my unfocused, rambling post (because that’s how I was feeling), I really need a plan to get healthier.  I live in a very food-centric, health-focused, outdoorsy place so it seems especially ridiculous that I’m struggling with this.

Yesterday, I took a very first baby step and took my dog on a short (very short – just over half a mile) walk.  After being sick for a couple of days, that was about all I could muster.  But I figured that some walking was better than no walking, right?

I need to remember that theory – that something is better than nothing.  I get stuck on the idea that a half mile walk is “stupid” and get upset at myself for not being able to walk more.  So then, I don’t do anything at all, which isn’t helpful and is just self-defeating.

Anyway, I also spent some time googling up high protein snacks.  Snacking is a big issue for me.  That, and the fact that I often don’t leave time for lunch in my schedule.  So I find myself without time for lunch and then eat some stupid, carb-laden, sugar snack instead.  Again, self-defeating.  So I have chickpeas roasting in the oven right now.

I changed breakfast this morning too.  My typical breakfast has been fruit and maybe some cheese.  By 9:30 I’m starving and so, what do I do??  Eat some stupid snack.  Like those gumdrops.  (Which have now left my car.)  This morning I had two scrambled eggs with some tomatoes and cheese.  10:00 came and I still wasn’t particularly hungry!  Amazing!

I struggled with whether or not to add the cheese to my eggs  – that’s where my conviction that I’m fat and resulting desire to eat less comes in.  But I think I need to focus on eating less of the wrong food, rather than just eating less in general . . . because clearly, that’s not working for me.

O.k., so I’m feeling pretty good today about having made a few small changes.  It really helps to write about it here.  It helps to think it through clearly and see it in black and white.  Next . . . I’ll think about exercise.  But for now, small steps.

Step 1 – Get Rid of the Gumdrops

I’ve been sick for the past couple of days.  And I did it to myself.  I know perfectly well that I’m hypoglycemic; if I don’t eat well (Protein!) and sort of frequently, I get sick.  Like, in bed, can’t function, throwing up, sick.  That’s how I spent all of yesterday.  Blech.

Part of the issue is that, at 5’4″ and 136 – 138 pounds, I’m 100% convinced that I’m fat.  You wouldn’t look at me and think “overweight” but that’s what I think when I look at myself.  So, I try to not eat a bunch.  I don’t “diet” exactly, I just try to not eat.  Except when it comes to sugar.

I love sugar.  I keep a container of really good gumdrops in each of my cars.  There’s almost always ice cream in the freezer.  And I eat it right out of the container – no need for a bowl!

So, the recipe for “sick” is not enough good food, too much sugar, too little water, and add in some stress.  I’m done.  My body literally does what I call a hard stop . . . all of a sudden, I get really hot, my vision gets blurry, my ears start to ring, and I know the next step is hitting the floor.

Its happened at work (they called 911) and it almost happened when I was out and about yesterday.  I managed to get home before hitting the floor.

So here I am, taking another day off of work, trying to rest and recover.  But I know what I really need is a plan to stop this from happening.  I know its multi-faceted – stress management, nutrition, exercise, self-image.  I know I need to eat more protein and less carbs.  I know I need to get rid of the gumdrops and stop buying ice cream.  I’ve know all these things for a long time; I just have such trouble putting them into practice for very long.

I need a plan.  Not quite sure where to get one.

 

Reset Day

The end of last week really fell apart.  All of my “living purposefully”, small goals, small steps, talk went right out the window.  I ended yesterday feeling miserable, depressed and like a total and complete failure.

Thankfully, for some reason, I woke up feeling much better this morning and am choosing to look at today as a reset day.  I’m choosing to focus on the fact that I did walk my dog three times last week, which included these lovely views:

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I managed three days with much, much less sugar.  Three days is better than zero days!  And I managed a few posts here on my blog.

When I actually type it out, last week doesn’t sound all that bad!

This morning I read this great post titled, “Mindset Changes Everything” by Dr. Andrea Dinardo:    https://wordpress.com/read/feeds/43836667/posts/1734422042.  Dr. Dinardo points out that obstacles can be learning opportunities.

Right.  Learning opportunities.  What obstacles did I face?  Why did my new mindset go awry?  What do I need to look out for to make more progress this week?  What went well that I can build on?

I don’t have all the answers yet.  I do know that this is hard!!  I also know that my mantra needs to be “I can” and “I will” instead of “I want to” or “I wish”.

I was going to end this post with the thought that I will make this week a “better” week than last.  I think that’s another mindset I need to switch . . . away from the concept of “better”.  Last week, I did the best I could.  Thinking that I need to make this week “better” somehow implies to me that last week wasn’t good.  But it was.  I did a lot of things well.  And, if I didn’t do everything perfectly, well, that’s o.k.

So how about this . . . I will continue to move forward this week.

 

 

My Hair Salon Depresses Me

I have to start by saying that I absolutely love my hairstylist.  She’s been cutting my hair for pretty much all of the 20 years I’ve lived here.  She’s the only one who has ever cut my kids’ hair.  I’ve never, ever hated my hair after she does it.  (O.k., there was one time when she gave me a new cut, we both looked at it, and said, “Ummm . . . No!!!”)

I like the other stylists in the salon (well, one of them talks too loud for me but that’s my personal issue).  I usually look forward to getting my hair cut but, in the end, my time there depresses me.

Its the conversations the other stylists and customers have!  They complain about their ex’s or gush about their new crush.  They complain about their bodies or talk about their new makeup.  They discuss whatever they’re watching on TV and complain about cramps and bloating.  They talk about their terrible teenagers.

Mostly, I sit there and feel terribly out of place.  Like I just can’t relate.  Don’t get me wrong . . . I love being a woman.  I love dressing nicely and putting on makeup.   I love getting my hair done.

But I’m happily married.  For the most part, I’m ok-ish with my body.  I mean, I think I need to lose 10 pounds but when I say that other women tell me that’s absurd.  I’m super sorry to say it but I’ve never had cramps or been bloated.  I had easy pregnancies.  I don’t watch much on TV (we gave up cable because no one in our family watched anything on it) and my teenagers are really amazing kids.

And why do women complain so much???

I don’t mind commiserating.  And I don’t mind listening.  But I just don’t feel like I can really contribute without coming off as snobby or like I have all the answers.  But I don’t!!!  I don’t think I’m snobby and I certainly don’t have all the answers.

Maybe part of it is that I’m fairly private so even if I did have cramps, I wouldn’t share it with the hair salon.

And again . . . the complaining!  Am I the only one who feels like so many women just sit around and bitch to each other.  I definitely believe there’s a need and a time and a place for that but can’t we get past that and encourage, support, and uplift each other rather than just agreeing that everything sucks??  O.k., so maybe everything does suck but what are we going to do about it??  And wouldn’t it be better if we did that together??

I just want to belong.  And I don’t have all the answers.  And I’m sorry you have cramps.

Living Purposefully . . . Is Hard!!!

A few days ago I wrote about my intent to live more purposefully.  I had a bunch of vague notions about what exactly that meant.  I’ve spent the past couple of days trying to put those vague notions into practice.

Its hard!!!!!

As a mom, wife, attorney, and wearer of many other hats, its incredibly easy to get swept up in work, household chores and running the kids here and there.

So I’ve decided to focus on a few things I can control.  (Because as much as I’d like to believe otherwise, I can’t control everything – at least, that’s what my therapist tells me.

1. Eat less sugar.  I’m a complete sugar addict.  While working on the Rose Parade float, I lived on these little gems:   20171230_195427.jpg  I literally ate 10 – 15 a day!  The frosting is my favorite part!!!  Now that I’m home, I’ve been plowing through candy and ice cream.  There’s a tub of gumdrops in my car.  But I can feel the ill effects of the sugar.  I’m tired, not focused, not sleeping well, and my face is breaking out.  Its time to once again seriously decrease my sugar intake!

2.  Eat better – this goes hand in hand with number 1.  Less sugar, more veggies, fruit and water.  I came back from Rose Parade float the heaviest I’ve been in quite awhile.  Ugh.

3.  Write more.  Writing is something I’ve wanted to do for a very, very long time.  I’m not sure I have a book in me but I can give myself 10 or 15 minutes several times a week to post something here.

O.k., normally I would go on and on with a huge list of other things I’m going to do.  Stopping at three is another thing I’m trying to do differently in my “live purposefully” quest.  I’m trying to slow down.  Focus on a few things at a time.  Not become overwhelmed, feel like I’m failing and then beat myself up.

I keep reminding myself to take baby steps and be patient.  And not give up just because its hard.  More than “I want to do this”; “I can do this.”