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. 


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!