That Was Then, This Is Now

Now halfway through my second term at Kung Fu class, I can look back over the past 6 months and say, ooh, I see some good changes!

Relationship with Food

Then: I used to literally be on a SEE FOOD diet.  I mean it.  I see food, I want it.  I see food, I eat it.  I see food, it calls to me.  By name.

Now: Since starting Kung Fu, I’ve managed to break my terrible habit of raiding the fridge around 10 pm for leftovers and eating surreptitiously with one ear listening for my husband’s footsteps coming down the stairs. My meal portions are still largish, but I am proud to say that I no longer eat after dinner.  It’s just ‘not something I do’.

Relationship with House

Then: My relationship with the disaster zone I call home has changed.  As soon as I saw the mess that faced me when I came home from work, I would roar at my husband and the kids: Why are there socks here? Why am I stepping on legos? Why is this pile of papers still here from 3 weeks ago? Why is there dust on this shelf? Why am I the only one who cares about cleanliness around here?!?!?

Now: After half a year of beginner kung fu and a little meditation, I can honestly say that my anger button has retreated slightly.  I still want to roar and on occasion I still do roar, but the thoughts that go through my head are more like: aw, dinner smells great, hey, the boys look so happy, ooh, the laundry is done! maybe I’ll do some organizing or cleaning this weekend.

Relationship with Saturday Morning

Then: Once upon a time, I dragged myself out of bed to get the boys to their Kung Fu class.  When I first started my class, I would wake up each Saturday wondering if I had a good enough excuse to skip class, but I really couldn’t because I had to get the boys to class and my commitment to their health was a priority.

Now: I eagerly look forward to the torture that our instructor wants to put us through. I do my best and I don’t compare myself to others in the class.  As a side note, we are getting new students every week, young, in shape and strong classmates.  They push me to be better.

Relationship with Class

Then: I was so embarrassed all the time, not being able to finish class without sitting out, not being as good as I knew I could be. The thoughts in my head were all about how badly I was holding back the class and how slow I was and how hard I was breathing when I should be in better shape…

Now?  My instructor called on me to lead one of the lines!  She reminds me that my stamina has improved. When she says “if you feel this is easy, push yourself” and I feel like I can, I lift higher, I jump higher, I hold longer, I go lower… And if I can’t, I just focus on getting myself through class in one piece!

Relationship with My Clothes

Then: Nothing looked good on me.  My 200+ pounds poked and rolled and flabbed no matter what I wore.  Even wearing all black couldn’t hide how out of shape I was.

Now: I have lost those first (last in first out?) 10 pounds over the past 6 months.  But more importantly, my clothes fit me better.  My goal is no longer about losing weight, but to feel good about walking into a room with a confident smile and whatever clothes I’m wearing.  I can wear shoes with higher heels without hurting at the end of the day. I can wear a skirt without feeling ashamed of my body. I can look forward to a time when I love the way I look.  Not there yet, but I’m on my journey there.

Relationship with Me

Then: I came last. Every. Single. Person. Came. Before. Me.

And now: I make sure I get my me time.  I make sure that I like myself.  I make sure that I speak to myself with a little kindness and respect.

Day 1 of 66

Being a practical, no-nonsense kind of gal, I always thought that you just said so and it would be made so.  You know, Captain Picard style.  “Make it so!” (I can even HEAR that fantastically deep sexy voice reverberating in my head.)  But failure after failure in making real change in a few specific areas have made me realize that I just can’t Captain Picard my way through the tough habits.

So today, I start Day 1 of 66 to truly change a terrible habit I developed after years and years of stress, couch-potatoing and pure feeling sorry for myself about all my work stress.  That’s it.  No more.  Done.

The problem is, I’ve started this journey many a times and the accountability only to myself thing just doesn’t work for me. If it was a matter of taking care of the kids, oh, that would happen.  If it was a matter of making sure that things at work ran smoothly, I would surely do it.  But if it were just about me, my health, my well-being and nothing else, somehow my willpower just wasn’t enough.

It’s pretty hard on the ego to think that a little bowl of cold fried rice (with mushrooms, which I don’t like) can overcome my intelligent, rational brain. So this is certainly something I’d like to figure out. AND the bigger problem is what I’m modelling for my children.  I’m the one who sets the standard for them: We do what is right, not what we want to do.  Why can’t I do this? For me?  And now… for them?

So, while I probably have to get some psychoanalytical help at some point in time to challenge the deep dark roots of my beliefs in myself and find the ah ha moment of why I keep undermining myself in this one area, for now, I’m launching my 66 days to change my one terrible, probably going to slowly kill me one day, but oh so comforting habit of raiding the fridge for yummy leftovers after dinner (you know like… mmm, cold pizza one night… oh, chicken pot pie – too good… and whoops, the boys’ lunch… and of course the ole I guess stale luncheon meat will do…), while watching TV.

There, I said it.  It’s out there.  It’s public.  There’s no turning back now.  And because replacing a habit is easier than just stopping cold turkey, my replacement habit is going to be drinking a nice hot mug of ginger tea or camomile tea or lemon water or… if I’m going to let myself be a little bad that night, I’ll put a teaspoonful of honey in it.

To make me honest, I’ve just invited a friend to join me and I’m publishing this post in 3… 2… 1… AAAARGH!  Wish me luck!!!!!!

(Note: it takes more than 21 days!  http://www.today.com/health/think-itll-take-21-days-make-your-resolution-habit-try-2D11826051)

Might as Well Face It – I’m Addicted to Food

“Experiments in animals and humans show that, for some people, the same reward and pleasure centers of the brain that are triggered by addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin are also activated by food, especially highly palatable foods. Highly palatable foods are foods rich in sugar, fat and salt. Like addictive drugs, highly palatable foods trigger feel-good brain chemicals such as dopamine. Once people experience pleasure associated with increased dopamine transmission in the brain‘s reward pathway from eating certain foods, they quickly feel the need to eat again.” (Source: WebMD)

Need I say more?

Okay, I will… If there is food in the house, I will eat it.  If I’m at a buffet, I will sit in a seat with no barriers to the food.  If I’m at a reception, I will stand by the food.  If there are leftovers, I will eat them off the plates of my kids.  If there is Halloween candy in my office, it will get eaten.  If I’m watching TV, I will eat a snack.  If I’ve just had dinner, I’ll have seconds…

At one point in time, I was able to say, okay, no more eating at night.  Fell off that wagon of course and now I know how a smoker trying to quit feels…

So. First step.  Own the problem.  Acknowledge it. I’m never going to be skinny.  I love to eat. This will always be challenge.  It may never come easy.  But it is what it is and I need to break the cycle.

Next step. Fill the vacuum.  Find my goal and move towards it.  I want to be healthy. I want to be strong. I want to feel good. I will.  I will get there. I can do it.

Status: Feet are now turned in the right direction.  I found something I love. Not quite on the path yet, haven’t made any progress yet, other than facing the right direction.  I’m not good at it yet.  No pressure to accomplish anything yet other than to focus on my goal. This is where I am. This is where I start.