It all takes TEAK

Alice in Wonderland: White Rabbit - Who Killed...
Image by Brandon Christopher Warren via Flickr

Man, this working from the inside out stuff is hard! Dealing with the emotional is so much harder than dealing with the physical, but I find it to be much more rewarding. While working through Karly’s course, one sentence jumped out at me: “Trying to change ingrained habits takes time, effort, awareness and kindness.” Always the sucker for a good acronym, I came up with TEAK as a way to remind myself to remember these 4 points.

TIME – I’m not so good with the being patient and all. I want it fixed yesterday. I’m learning though, that taking the time, and taking my time, to process the things that I am learning will help my head absorb them more fully. Going slow, being in the present moment, being mindful and accepting of where I am on the path makes it easier to savor all the lessons I’m learning. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

EFFORT – Also, not so good with the effort. I want this to come easily to me because for the most part, everything else in my life has. Good grades in school, finding a husband, having kids, getting a job – all of these things have come easily to me with little effort on my part. That’s not to say I coast through life injury-free, but I’ve posted before about how someone has always been there to take care of things for me. This is something that I have to take care of myself and it’s a hard thing to learn to do at the age of 39. This is also another reason why taking things slow is helping me – I’m learning to put forth effort a step at a time, and I can see the value of the effort. This one is instantly gratifying.

AWARENESS – Sometimes I think I’m aware, but then later I realize I rush through things and miss a lot. Slowing down helps me become aware, being aware helps me slow down. It’s a win-win for me! Being aware of what I’m feeling when I head to the kitchen, being aware of how something actually tastes (instead of how I want it to taste), being aware of the anxiety of turning down food because it won’t solve my problem du jour – it helps me realize that I have buried my head in the sand in the past and ate to cover up a lot of stuff. This awareness makes me want to deal with the real deal instead of avoiding it.

KINDNESS – I’m about 50% with this one. I’m much MUCH better at being kind to myself than I was 3 or 4 years ago, but instead of beating myself up outright, now the abuse is much more subtle. I no longer call myself names, but there is still a sarcastic, disapproving tone to the voice in my head. For example, instead of saying “you stupid cow – you just ate a thousand calories of crap!!” the same situation might elicit this response: “way to go Jill, that was a brilliant move. Now you’ve ruined your appetite for dinner.” See the difference? Neither response is kind or compassionate. I’m working on taking to myself in the plural – “We ate too much. That’s okay though, because we can just skip our afternoon snack and then we’ll be hungry for dinner” – it’s a joint effort. And I just realized how completely crazy it sounds!! But it’s working, and anyway, I never claimed to NOT be crazy, so there!

TEAK. Putting them together this way also helps me remember that they all go together. It takes ALL of these things, not just a couple (for me, anyway) in order to heal my overeating, so I have to keep them all in mind while I go through this.

What do you all think of TEAK? Do you have a favorite acronym that you use to get you to your goals?

The Pear, she is my first born after all…

I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t stay away.  I miss the Ol’ Pear and dissecting my weight-loss life, so here I am, again, starting over, again. Just like Laura.

So here’s the deal…after several months of NOT thinking about weight loss, I’ve had some time to sort through and rethink my plan of action and I’ve decided to wipe the slate clean and start fresh.  I’m going back to school.  I am in kindergarten in the Eternal School of Weight Loss…someone pass me a crayon.

And you know, it’s not even so much about weight loss as it is about controlling my overeating.  That to me is more painful than not being able to fit into my jeans anymore. I hate the way I feel after I eat too much. I hate the way I feel when I overeat junk food. I hate the way my energy plummets after a bowl of ice cream. I hate that my thinking gets cloudy and I forget simple things. These are the things I want to change, not necessarily the number on the scale, but I know that changing the former will result in a change in the latter.

In my previous attempts, I got a New!Food! Plan! And I went into it, guns blazing (for a few weeks anyway), and then I fizzled out. The proverbial crash and burn, if you will. I’ve done that so many times I should have a stripe to wear on my sleeve for each attempt, like a sergeant.  Anyway, since now I know what doesn’t work, I’m going to try and do things differently – step by step, leading with the head and heart, slow and steady as she goes.  Following in the footsteps of Pubsgal, by doing the opposite of what I tried to do in the past.  In the past, I tried to follow points, or count calories, or abide by food lists – this time around I’m not so much focusing on how much I eat, right now I’m focusing on phasing out the junk food and switching it out for healthier fare.  Instead of forcing myself to do boring cardio routines 5 days per week, I’m starting slow with one yoga class. At the end of the month I plan to add a Zumba class to the mix, and when the weather decides it’s tired of being 105* every damn day, I’m going to start running again. Adding things in slowly, instead of cannon-balling right into the middle of a Fitness! Plan! – that’s my goal.

One thing I’m working on right now is a course over at First Ourselves called Heal Overeating: Untangled.  It’s a 12 week course and I’m on week 2 right now. So far I love it, but I’ve always identified with Karly (the author) so I’m not surprised that I’m getting a lot out of this course.  I have also read Eating Less, which is a fabulous book about well…eating less.  These two books are brain food for me – dealing with the mental and emotional aspects of weight loss – which is something I really need right now.  I highly recommend both resources.

As far as food goes, I’m trying to not restrict or deprive myself of any foods, but I’m not having a free-for-all binge every day either. I’ve just noticed recently how certain foods can bring me up or send me crashing into a carb coma. I know Miz talks a lot about “food as fuel” – using food as the fuel to keep her engine going. For me, though, I like to think of it as “food as energy” – Miz’s engine is already revved up and going – she just needs the fuel to keep going. My engine has a cold dead battery and needs food that will jumpstart the engine and get it running!  I have noticed that when I eat a lot of fruit and less junk (duh) I have a lot of energy the next day. When I eat pizza and ice cream, I am super sluggish the next day. So whatever I eat today will directly affect how I feel tomorrow, but I don’t always remember that when I’m staring down a slice of Key Lime Pie or when the extended family wants to get together for a Saturday night feast that runs a close second to Thanksgiving. And during the day, I eat really well –it’s those hours between 5 and 8pm that I feel like I have to fill up with food, and I’m not talking strawberries and cantaloupe. I’m working on this – it’s my stuck-point:  the point where I feel like I am really “stuck” in my weight loss attempts.

One thing that has helped me is in Karly’s course, where she talks about the four seasons of growth:

Summer – the season where things are growing like crazy. You are active and growing and doing and learning and it’s All Good All the Time!

Fall – the harvest. You are reaping the benefits of all that activity and growing. It might be smaller pants, lowered cholesterol, more compliments from friends and family, more muscle definition. This is the time when you see your hard work come to fruition.

Winter – a time of rest. Maybe you have been going hard at your attempts for a couple of years now and you just want to scale back for awhile and marinate in everything you’ve learned. You aren’t actively trying to lose or anything. You’re just tired and you need to rest.  Being in winter doesn’t mean you have given up, it’s just a time of reflection and hibernation.

Spring – this is the time of growth where you might have new ideas or new questions you want to explore. You are thinking about taking new directions; you’re planning; you’re excited about your future growth. You are ready to plant some new seeds!

I love the idea of this.  I think for me, I just came out of my winter phase and am heading into spring. I think I needed to take a break for awhile, and since I did, I’m ready to start exploring. I’m ready to try new things and I like the possibility of doing things differently.  Spring is a good place to be.   🙂

Wowza. This has turned into a longer post than I intended!  I guess I still have a lot to say about health and weight loss, so I’ll continue to blog here and when I have something that’s not weight related, I’ll blog over at Unfolded Laundry.  It’s two Jill’s for the price of one – woohooo!!

Can you identify with the Seasons of Growth? Which season do you think you are in right now?