Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hard lessons, connections and the next four phases of my life.

I have recently realized that everything in my life is interconnected. This is not gospel, it is just my opinion. I have found that if I look- really look- I find patterns of how the same issues affect me show up again and again.

I have discussed my issues with my weight here before. This issue has gone back as far as I can remember. I can tell you that even in high school- I was curvy. Being a curvy girl in a sea of skinny girls can really mess with your head if you let it- and I did. I look now at a picture of me in 1983 and I want to go back and kick that little girl in the rear end. Back then I was under the impression that I had a weight problem. I was very, very self conscious of those curves and it made me a little crazy.
As an adult- I have let that struggle shape (no pun intended) my vision of myself for years. Diet, diet, diet, diet. If I could tell you how many I have started- and failed at- over the years even I would be amazed. I have allowed each failure to demoralize me and hold me back from other things too.

Speaking of "failures" there is my smoking. I have smoked for almost *cough* thirty *cough* years. I started smoking in high school. Over the years I have tried to quit so many times- not as many times as I have dieted but a good number of times over the years. Each time I tried to quit and failed- I allowed it to demoralize me- and send me running to the fridge. See the first connection?

Then there is my "exercise program". I have, in my possession at this moment, several exercise videos, two Wii fit games (regular and plus), the fitness on demand at my disposal and a slew of walking guides. I have started and stopped this over and over. Partially because of my Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia and the fear that doing something hard core would exacerbate my pain level. More- because I am so out of shape that I am embarrassed. Embarrassed because I couldn't run around the block without my lungs bursting. Embarrassed because the Wii fit tells me: "That's Obese!" when it does my measurements. Embarrassed because no matter how good my intentions- there are many nights that I get home that I am so tired that it is all I can do to take my dogs for their walk. Another connection- this time to both the weight issues and the smoking.

What I have learned by taking a hard look at this is that I have always approached these things with the same full on, jump in with both feet, go whole hog attitude that I do everything else. The more difficult lesson here is that I have learned that it just doesn't work for me. When I jump in and try to make too drastic a change- I set myself up for failure. I set myself up for that moment when I slip, then beat myself up and give up.  I have always thought that by jumping in full throttle that I would make it through anything. It's part of my "Tigger personality" which I discussed here .  I was wrong.  I was way wrong. 

The new lesson, the new approach here, is to start small.  I am starting with the smoking.  I have traded in my cigarettes for a "personal vaporizer" (also known as an e-cigarette).  Last week I was down from a just under a  pack a day to four cigarettes a day.  I haven't had any at all since Sunday night.  I have made concessions for the fact that I may slip.  I have a full pack of cigarettes, with the cellophane on, in my possession.  I am making a "game" or a "challenge" with myself to see just how long I can keep that cellophane intact.  Knowing that they are there, knowing that I *can* access them- rather than throwing everything away and telling myself I *can't* -actually helped me get through yesterday.  Of course- the biggest help was my little V4L- but even with that- I was at a lower nicotine level than I was comfortable with because I am waiting for a delivery of the right strength. 

While I am working on this portion of my changes I want to make to my life- I will be preparing for the next step.  I will be taking out all of my Weight Watcher's info, handbooks and cookbooks and relearning that lifestyle.  I am going back to the boards to read and learn.  I am going to pull out all of the cookbooks and see what recipes my honey will like so that I can begin to incorporating them in.  Most importantly- I am going to start planning and logging my meals so that when I am ready to begin making those changes- I am in the habit. 

For the third phase, I will begin incorporating a little exercise into my life.  It is horribly cold and icy out so walking longer is not an option at the moment.  Instead- in the spirit of moving slowly- I am going to begin by using my ON DEMAND for one session of yoga on Saturday mornings beginning this Saturday- the 20th.  As I get to phase two, I will add a second day.  Perhaps Thursday because I am *supposed* to go into work late on Thursdays and that way I won't feel rushed.  After phase two takes- and I am giving myself between 3 and 6 weeks for each phase- we should be creeping into spring and I can add longer walks into my routines.  I think Auggie would enjoy longer walks- and as long as the snow is gone- Harley will be pleased as well. 

Phase four is cutting back.  That means going through my "stuff" and downsizing it.  In preparation for this phase- I am going to immerse myself in the "Simplifying" reading.  I have books, magazines and websites at my disposal for this and all of them say that when you let go of "stuff" you feel free.  I am going to plan on what types of things I want to "freecycle", what I want to try to sell and what I want to just plain junk. I need to really look at all of our "stuff" with a critical eye and decide what really is important to me- and what is not.  I have two groups of things to start with.  First is photos.  I have bins of loose photos- many of them repetitive and inconsequential to where my life is now.  They will go.  The ones I want to keep will go into albums or frames and then be stored or hung.   Weeding through them will be a bit time consuming but when they are gone- I will be able to move on.  The second is my craft stuff.  I have- literally- 8 bins and storage containers full of craft items.  Many of these are from my pre-RA life.  It's time to let those go.  There is no need for me to take up the space in my home for things I can no longer use and I am sure that someone on Freecycle will want them. 

Planning, taking it slow, and moving logically.  I have faith that this will be the key to my long term success.  I am grateful to have realized this- even if it did take me many, many years to put the pieces of this puzzle together. 

3 comments:

Living It, Loving It said...

"Planning, taking it slow, and moving logically." That is the only way to go. With RA, I have learned the importantance of setting realtstic goals. Good luck.

Remicade Dream said...

Oh boy, can I relate. Especially the part about the Wii Fit - that little voice chirping "That's obese!" as it plays that awful music and makes your Mii fat - ugh! I FINALLY got to the point where I lost enough weight to make it say "That's overweight!" instead - but it still plays that music and makes me fat. I don't know why the Nintendo folks think this is motivating...


Anyway, I am trying to learn the same lesson as you right now. I have the same pattern of jumping in "whole hog" and beating myself up if I "fail". So I've listed some long-term goals and am trying to break them down into small, managable steps. Most of all, I am trying to be kind to myself and give myself permission to repeat little steps as many times as I need. It's really, really hard.

Good luck!

Jules said...

Good Luck to you as well! Slowing down and taking it in small, bite size portions, it hard. But it is worth it!