Friday, March 22, 2013

Perfection Isn't Reality and Yet...

“Part of abandoning the all-or-nothing mentality is allowing yourself room for setbacks. We are bound to have lapses on the road to health and wellness, but it is critical that we learn how to handle small failures positively so that we can minimize their long-term destructive effects. One setback is one setback—it is not the end of the world, nor is it the end of your journey toward a better you.” -Jillian Michaels

My entire life, losing weight was centered around the idea of this image of perfection. Movie stars, magazines, television programs all told me what perfection was "supposed to be". Every spring break I was "supposed to" have a beach body for bikini season and the same for every summer. As someone who absolutely loathed bathing suites, and still does, all this did was make me angry. If I got invited to anything that involved a water activity, I immediately could feel my throat closing and my heart beating 90 miles an hour. I would start thinking of reasons why I couldn't attend. What can I say, kids are super judgmental and I was my own worst critic.

As an adult though I had an epiphany the other day: if I want to swim, go skiing, get in a hot tub, or head to the beach for a few days, I should buy a suite that fits and bask in all my imperfection. Seriously, who looks like Victoria Secret models aside from Victoria Secret models. NO ONE. Yes, there are women that are attractive and are at the gym every free second they have, but I can tell you that's not the majority. The majority of women are trying to get an hour in 3 or 4 times a week, if they're lucky. You know what?! That's okay. This idea of perfection or nothing is silly. Perfection is a social construct that isn't real.

Maybe I took one too many sociology classes but bear with me for a moment. Surely you've heard this concept that society tells us what pretty is or what we should look like. Whether you want it to or not, it does. We see, everywhere we look, what a woman is "supposed to be". We grow up believing that we have to reach this level of flawlessness that is created out in media world. I am so confused by this mostly because that ideal image isn't real. Hear that: IT ISN'T REAL.

There are so many of us that think that there's a magic pant size or a magic number on a scale that is going to send us into perfection-ville and all our problems will cease to exist. That isn't real either. There is NO magic and this idea that we have created solely in our minds of a perfect us isn't correct. Am I saying embrace the unhealthiness that is you? Love that you're 100lbs overweight and miserable? No. Most people I know are not happy being overweight and sedentary. Our bodies were made to move and to eat foods that weren't processed and reprocessed and reprocessed again. The importance here is to realize that if you're unhappy, for heaven sakes, do SOMETHING! Start walking. Make small changes. Instead of a hamburger, eat half a hamburger and order something besides fries. That's just one example of many.

I am an emotional eater and I know that because every time something stresses me out all I can think about is going somewhere to eat something I like to make myself feel better. Once I realized that about myself, I now have the power to change it. I just suffer through the pain, maybe say a prayer, cry, punch something, not someone, although that could be effective, and keep going

This journey is not easy. Let me repeat that: Trying to eat healthy and make the right decisions for a quality life is NOT EASY. If you choose to do it the right way, it will never be easy. If you're an emotional eater like me, it's a constant fight between emotion and logic. "I want to eat that cookie. I WANT that cookie! I'll feel better. Just a bite. Just let me lick it...No! Do you know how long you'll have to stay on the ellipical if you eat that?! That hover-round is calling your name. If you keep eating like this you'll have a grabbing stick in no time." And so it goes...

My main goal is to tell myself every day not to be an all or nothing person. I have a prayer that I was saying every day for a while, "God, help me not to be an all or nothing person. I need the middle ground right now." Simple but effective. There's nothing more freeing than having control of your emotions and knowing that you don't need to rely on a substance of any kind to get you through the day. It's freeing to know that perfection is not reality and that I don't tell myself that to just feel better BUT because that is TRUTH. My "perfection", my self-worth, is based on the goals I set for myself that are realistic, that I can meet and be proud to reach. Perfection is realizing there is no perfection.

27lbs. down. 55ish to go.    




Friday, March 1, 2013

Living Healthy, Testing Sanity

When I began this blog it was strictly meant to be about losing weight and getting healthy. After a short while, I got distracted apparently. My focus is now turned towards venting, chatting, rejoicing, etc. about the journey of truly trying to be healthy which includes not only making healthy eating choices and exercising but also forming good habits. Period.

I can tell you that the past almost 2 weeks have been interesting. I finally made the decision to allow, ask, beg my childhood friend, Val to help me. She is a nutrition consultant at my gym and for a long time I refused to believe I needed anyone's help. At 32, I have decided that as strong I as I want to be or think I am, I still need help sometimes. I need support and accountability. It makes all the changes bearable.

For the first 3 days she put me on a detox plan in which I was eating mostly lean meat and green veggies. (Hold your excitement.) It was simple enough except the first day, what I call the day of panic, I was angry, grouchy, and just all out hungry. I felt as though I was losing my sanity. People kept offering me food I couldn't eat and I kept saying no. All I really wanted to do was head to Jody's Bakery and eat cookies until I I was in a diabetic coma. The fat kid inside me was having some issues. Day 2 and 3 were much better though, and after 3 days of detox and 3 other days of a healthy eating plan, I had lost 4 lbs. There was some exercise thrown in there also. Overall, feeling like a crackhead without a fix was worth it.

Today is day 11. I don't know if I've lost any more weight since I refuse to weigh myself every day but I do know that I feel great, for the most part. I'm stressed out over preparing food. I like to cook...when I have time...which is never. I like to make my own food at home BUT when I get off work or I come home on a lunch break, I don't want to spend the entire time trying to get all my protein and veggies prepared and down the hatch before running back to work or heading to bed. Now, I know what you're thinking. Prepare, chop, slice, dice and freeze. I know all of that. I know what I NEED to do but getting it all planned and together is another story. I told myself that I would take Saturday or Sunday of this weekend and prepare a week of food but honestly just thinking of that wears me out. It's a lot of work to keep up this lifestyle. A lot of work.

The flip side of that, it's a LOT of work to stay uncomfortable, fat, and tired all of the time from not moving. It's a lot of work to have to carry 80 extra pounds around on a skeleton that didn't grow when the fat did. I love the way I feel when I'm working out and not eating crap but it certainly is not the easier path. The easier, quicker path is to eat at McDonald's and be done with thinking about it. Yep. Eat the "poop nuggets" as I call them and carry on. Side note: the ingredients in those nuggets looks like pink poop, hence poop nuggets. Not to mention, they have the same nutritional value. Easy isn't better. Easy is regret.

I've spent the better part of my life trying to build and maintain better habits. I do well for a while and then I'm back to the same destructive patterns. My question to myself and every one else is, if it feels a thousand times better to live a life eating what God intended us to eat and sweating and moving, again, like we were naturally made to do, why do we choose the easier road that only leads to diabetes, high cholesterol, cancer, heart attacks, and gargantuan amounts of low self worth? We waste our lives running after a schedule of events that doesn't include what should be most important, our health and our well-being. Through our actions we are creating a world of tv watching, glutinous, lazy, barbarians. We are teaching our kids that a cheeto, burger, oreo filled lunch is okay because it fits the schedule and momma "ain't gotta cook."

I can only worry about my habits and my future children's habits, if I have them. Saying that, there will never be a time when I won't try to encourage people to make better choices. I hope that my better choices, all my "no's" to girl scout cookies and trips out to eat at the local pizza joint, will not just be an annoyance for my friends and family, but an encouragement and a knowledge that better choices are out there and we owe it to ourselves to choose better.

Today my goal is to choose better. To go to the gym. And to try not to be bitter about it.

22 down. 60 to go.