Hello Friends!

How’s it going? I’m doing well. I’m about halfway finished with my Christmas shopping – most of the big stuff is bought and now I just have to take care of all the little things – teacher gifts, stocking stuffers, gifts for the mail carrier, etc. Its these little things that usually make me crazy because it feels like they never end. My plan is to take off work Friday and finish it all up – I’d really like to be able to just sit back and enjoy the rest of the holiday season. So, for right now, I’m feeling okay and not so much frazzled. We’ll see what the next week brings. 🙂

In continuing with my habits theme from my last post, I wanted to hit on those habits that I’d like to change once more. I’ve been thinking about what I need to do to and what steps I might need to take to change those habits and here’s what I’ve come up with:

1) Daily workouts. I finally cleared off the treadmill (it is in the garage and had gotten covered up during the Thanksgiving hurry-and-clean-the-house rush), so now I have no excuses not to use it. When I thought about how I wanted to incorporate my treadmill, the thought of making myself get on it for 30 minutes to an hour every day felt laborious and completely unfun (yes unfun is a word – I just declared it to be one. So there.) and who wants unfun in her life? Not me. So I changed my frame of mind to say that I will get on the treadmill for an undetermined amount of time and I’ll write it down after I’m finished. Maybe some days I’ll have ten minutes logged and some days I’ll have 45 minutes – who knows? I won’t feel the same way every single day so why would I be so rigid with my “rules”? If I’m making an effort, at this point that’s all that matters. And since I’m still going to Zumba twice a week, that makes 3 days per week that I will make an effort to get on the treadmill. I’m using baby steps here, people.

2) Eliminate grazing after work. I’m happy to say that I am getting so much better in this area, but yeah, I still have my hiccups. It just occurred to me today that maybe I need to reframe my phrasing of this habit. I have a reminder on my phone that comes every day as I’m driving home from work and it says NO GRAZING AFTER WORK!!. So guess what I’m thinking when I walk in the door? “No grazing after work, Jill! No GRAZING!!” Guess what happens when you tell yourself not to do something? You think about doing it! So I have changed the wording of that reminder to say “Find something productive or relaxing to do until dinner time!” This gives me permission to relax if I need to for a little while before fixing dinner or it reminds me that there is always a load of laundry begging for my attention – either way it keeps me out of the kitchen unnecessarily. The previous phrasing helped in the beginning, but I think I’m ready to go beyond what not to do.

3) Eliminate Emotional Eating Behaviors. I am actively working on this right now. You know what helps? Staying plugged in to the thoughts that keep me from eating my feelings. Daily reading of books, listening to podcasts, and going over notes I’ve made really helps me to stay focused on what I want and keeps me in check when I see unwanted behaviors emerge. Reminding myself every day of what I’ve learned is crucial because apparently I have a very short memory – if I go a few days without reading my materials then I start to slip back into old behaviors, so I have to be active in keeping all of this front and center in my brain. In talking with my favorite dietitian Amanda, we’ve both sort of determined that for me, it’s really not about the food. I can try to control the food all I want, but if I’m not dealing with my emotions (good or bad) then nothing will ever get solved and I’ll just be spinning my wheels forever. What I’m finding though, is that the more I lessen my grasp on that control, the easier it becomes to say no to the food my body doesn’t need or want. My desire is to one day have a take-it-or-leave-it attitude towards food; to see a plate of cookies and think “yeah those look really good and maybe I’ll have one in a little bit” instead of feeling the compulsion to have 2 or 3 every time I walk through the kitchen or feeling like I’m a failure at life because I ate a cookie at all.

In related news, it dawned on me that the reason I want to cry all the time now is because I’m not stuffing my feelings down with food as much lately. I can pretty much cry on demand now, which is pretty awesome because for a long time I couldn’t cry at all – and that sucks when you really need to just let it all out in a big dramatic gush of tears. So even though crying can be inconvenient at times, I just roll with it and let it happen. Sometimes a few tears are all I need and other times a gush is the only cure – either way, I’m good with it. I have to admit: all this learning and feeling and seeing the change happen is a very cool thing!

4) Finding things that I enjoy doing. Wow, this one is harder than I thought it would be. Ideally, I’d like to find something dual purpose – something fun that will also keep my body healthy. I haven’t really had time to actually try out different things – maybe when Christmas is over I’ll be able to dig in and search more thoroughly. Maybe I’ll also have the money to try some group exercise classes or even take a class at the local votech. I think I’ll defer this until after Christmas when I can really look seriously at what I want to do.

So that’s about it for now. Things are just kinda rolling along for me and I think I’m in a pretty good groove. I know I’ll continue to have bumps in the road but I’m learning that that’s just part of it. Slipping up is not a character flaw, it’s just part of establishing new habits and eventually my slip ups will be fewer and fewer. I just have to keep moving forward.