My Call to Adventure

Happy Monday Everyone!

In yesterday’s post, I committed to re-launching my healthy journey. Like most others who have to dedicate themselves specifically to improving their health, I’ve made some bad calls lately and it’s time to rectify those. Before I get too far into this, though, I think it’s important to explain my Call to Adventure.

If you remember, the Call to Adventure is the first part of the Healthy Hero’s Journey. It’s that moment where you realize that a change is required for you to attain your individual health goals. For me, that moment occurred this past Saturday.

To explain Saturday, I have to first explain the last few months. Back in June, I developed a stress fracture in my pelvis, which rendered me non-weight-bearing for 11 weeks. During that entire time, I managed to keep my weight within about 5 pounds of where I was when the injury first occurred. I considered that to be a win, of sorts, considering how difficult that particular timeframe was. But since then, my weight has continued to climb steadily until yesterday morning, when I weighed in at 12 pounds higher than my pre-injury weight of 140 pounds.

Saturday wasn’t even about my weight though – mostly because one of the habits I’ve fallen off of is weighing in daily. No, Saturday was about my injury. I can’t even explain it, except to say that my family had just gone home after the holiday and I found myself sitting on the couch feeling sorry for myself because my leg (on the side my pelvis was injured on) had been bothering me. I didn’t do my normal physical therapy stretches and exercises on Thursday and Friday, because of the holiday, so my leg was bothering me more than normal.

I decided to head to the gym for some time on the treadmill. About 3 weeks ago, I was released to finally start using the treadmill. Not for anything crazy, mind you. I’m just allowed to work on speed walking – with my easy walk at a 3 and my speed walk at a 3.5. That still makes me laugh because 3.5 was my super easy walk before my injury!

At any rate, I was told to start off with 15 minutes of interval work on the treadmill then, after my first week, I was allowed to work my way up to 30 minutes. The problem is that I had a slight setback after that first week – with my muscles clenching and becoming too tight for me to do much at all – so that 30 minute goal has remained elusive. So Saturday, I set out to beat that.

Nine minutes into my walk, my muscles began to clench and strain again. I tried to push through it for a tiny bit but when everything started to feel “off” even with my easy walk, I knew I was done. I slapped the treadmill (ouch!) because I was so mad and, because I was alone in our apartment’s gym, I seriously contemplated throwing one of the workout room’s stability balls just because the bounce of the ball against the wall seemed like it’d be pretty darn satisfying.

But I didn’t. Instead, I went back home, had myself a small cry of frustration, and ate a leftover cinnamon roll from breakfast with my family. And then I had another cinnamon roll. And then, I made some chocolate chip cookies and ate those. And then I dove into some of the holiday candy we already have around the house. Seriously.

If that’s not stress eating, I don’t know what is. What I do know is that I only ate that way because my husband was at work. If he had been home I would have figured out a different way of working through my stress. Instead, I let myself indulge and then I cleaned up all the evidence of my transgression so that he’d never know or question it. And that is a major problem. I’ve always felt that unhealthy eating is an addiction, just as powerful as smoking or alcoholism and “hiding” my unhealthy eating or engaging in “secretive” unhealthy eating is always the first sign to me that I’ve slipped into a dark place.

My Call to Adventure

So that was my Call to Adventure moment. I’m not going to lie. I knew I was doing wrong even as I chomped down those chocolate chip cookies. But, right or wrong, I let myself have my sad, woe-is-me moment, and then I told myself that Sunday would be different.

And it was. Sunday (and so far today) all my food was either been healthy or at least healthily proportioned. In fact, yesterday I was under my calorie goal for the day, which is great! I did all my stretches and exercises, including finally hitting that elusive 30-minute goal on the treadmill. It wasn’t easy but I decided it was time and I just needed to push through until it was done. It’s a small triumph, but I know that a million small triumphs will eventually get me where I want to be. And, as frustrating as Saturday was, it’s nice to know that it was enough of a Call to Adventure to get me back on track so I can continue working toward my goals.

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Healthy and Happy

It’s almost impossible to explain how happy I am being healthy. Don’t get me wrong, there are certainly unhealthy foods and activities that also make me happy but when I’m eating healthy and staying active I just feel GOOD.

eating healthy, healthy food, healthy and happy

Not to mention it’s true what they say: The healthier you eat, the easier it is to eat healthy. I’ve slowly been making little tweaks to my food and I love all the healthy options I’m giving myself. The amount of temptations I’ve had in recent weeks has diminished greatly.

Looking back at my unhealthiest times, I find it interesting to explore the concept of happiness. I’ve truly thought I was happy while being unhealthy but that’s just not true.

What Unhealthy and “Happy” Means

We’re all unhealthy for many reasons, one of which is that we focus on the aspects of unhealthy habits that make us happy without any consideration for what the results of those indulgences are. Here are a few examples specific to me:

  • Makes me “happy:” A giant bowl of ice cream. Makes me unhappy: The upset stomach and uncomfortable night that giant ice cream bowl brings with it.

unhealthy food, ice cream, unhealthy habits

  • Makes me “happy:” Sitting on the couch on the weekend. Makes me unhappy: The lowered energy level and decreased metabolism too many of those lazy days brings with it.
  • Makes me “happy:” Eating more and more of the things I really enjoy. Makes me unhappy: The bloating, heavy, uncomfortable feeling that follows. Not to mention the lethargy that overeating carries with it.
  • Makes me “happy:” Mindlessly choosing my food based on what sounds good each day. Makes me unhappy: Seeing the scale increase and my clothes get tighter as a result of the extra calories this leads to.

Turning Unhappy into Happy

The nice thing about changing things up from unhealthy to healthy is that healthy habits can make you happy without the negative side effects. Oftentimes it just means small tweaks, like the following:

  • Instead of having a giant bowl of ice cream I now have a small cup. I still get a taste of the dessert I love without the stomachache and uncomfortable.
  • Instead of relishing my lazy weekends, I use them as an opportunity to do activities I enjoy that also get me moving, like hiking and rollerblading. If I’m having a truly lazy day I still try to get my steps in by moving around my apartment. That way I can stay in my pajamas! 😄

hiking, healthy habits, healthy and habit

  • Instead of overeating the foods I enjoy, I eat them slower. Eating slower allows me to still savor the food and it also helps me realize when I’m full so I don’t have the negative effects of overeating.
  • Instead of mindlessly choosing my food, I focus on finding healthy foods I truly enjoy. Eventually I hope to reach a point where choosing healthy is something I do mindlessly.

The nice thing about reaching a good place with my healthy habits is that there are also a lot of small, daily triumphs I get to celebrate. For example, yesterday I resisted donuts that were right in front of me and it was my third time in less than a week that I did so. It wasn’t even much of a challenge and that is just one more thing that makes me healthy and happy!

Healthy Bucket List Update

When I first started this blog, I outlined what I referred to as my Weight Loss Bucket List. Because I’m a total list person, this seemed like a reasonable way to keep myself somewhat on track. It worked for a little while – basically up to the point that I fell off track with everything else.

healthy bucket list, bucket list, weight loss bucket list

Since I’m refreshing everything else I figured it was time to refresh my list too and reclassify it as my Healthy Bucket List. I’m no longer focused on losing weight in a certain amount of time. Instead, my focus is on breaking my bad habits and adapting new healthy ones.

  • Complete the entire P90X program. – DONE
  • 400 Hours Challenge. At the beginning of 2015 my husband and I challenged each other to complete 400 hours of activity by the end of the year. Neither of us succeeded but I’m still leaving this one on the table.
  • Specific workout challenges – the ones that normally last for about 30 days. The ones I’m thinking about are:
  • Push ups
  • Sit ups
  • Squats
  • Lunges
  • Ride a century. Yep, that’s a 100 miles on a bike!
  • Learn to paddle board. I’ve recently moved to sunny Tampa Bay. It’s the perfect opportunity to learn something new that’s fun and physical at the same time!
  • 30-day HIIT workout.
  • Learn a martial art. I don’t know why, it’s just always sounded interesting.
  • Join a softball league. I’ve wanted to do this for years!
  • Boxing classes. Can you imagine a better stress reliever?
  • Complete the Insanity program. Yet another Beachbody program that I love and would like to finally complete.
  • Take up roller blading. This is another just-because item.
  • Try hip hop classes.
  • Complete every hiking trail in the Tampa area. There are way more than you may think!
  • Complete a full marathon. My husband will read this and say “Noooooooooo!” – mostly because he’s afraid he’ll be looped into it too. I honestly don’t know if I will ever get to this one but I haven’t decided for sure.
  • Compile a healthy food recipe book. I’ve always wanted to put together a recipe book because I love experimenting with food. Might as well make it healthy!

As before, I have a page dedicated to my Healthy Bucket List and I’ll continue to update it as I accomplish items and think of y items to add. I’m excited to get started again!

Balancing Act

I think it’s funny how often I’ve started my day with one blog topic in mind, only to switch gears by the end of the day. This morning I started a post about going into the 3rd week of my challenge strong-willed and steadfast.

But then TODAY happened. It was one of Those days (yes, with a capital T) where everything goes wrong and all you’re doing is putting out fires. Everything seemed to be working against me and as each little obstacle came up, I found myself thinking through a few things. The first is that there are a few common emotions that almost always want me to eat bad, primarily:

  • Anger
  • Stress
  • Frustration
  • Feeling overwhelmed

When these emotions rear up my first instinct is to either mindlessly snack or to indulge in comfort foods.

After such a frustrating day I came home and flopped on my couch, too tired and brain-dead to carry on a conversation with my husband. I did not work out this morning because I had to go into work early and I got home an hour and a half later than I had planned. To top it off, the same circumstances that required me to go in early also kept me from walking the stairs at work or walking at lunch.

Wallowing on the couch, I debated whether I should attempt an evening workout. We had plans tonight that began an hour and a half after I got home so any type of workout would require immediate action upon getting home, especially if eating dinner and showering were factored in.

As I wrestled with myself over what I should do, I contemplated the difference between being reasonable and making excuses. Most of my weight issues have been a result of making excuses. Today has been sooo difficult but a bowl of ice cream is sure to make it better! Sound familiar? I want to avoid making excuses and letting my emotions control my eating at all costs. On the other hand, I feel that being unreasonably strict during previous weight loss regiments is probably the main reason my past efforts have failed. Eventually I become so frustrated at depriving myself that I overindulge and fall off track.

balancing act, mindful eating, mindfulness

So where is the balance? How do you keep yourself from crossing that fine line from being reasonable to making excuses? How do you avoid letting your emotions control what you eat? I think the answer goes back to the mindfulness that I’ve been talking about recently. At the end of the day here is where I found myself on good vs “bad” decisions and what led to each one:

Good:

  • Cookie avoidance. Cookies were being passed around like crazy today at work but I steadfastly resisted every offer despite my normal inclination to seek solace in sweets.
  • A healthy lunch. Despite a frustrating start to the day and the necessity to eat lunch out, I remained good, opting for a soup/salad combo instead of fried chicken, which is one of my big comfort foods.
  • A normal dinner. By the time I got home, all I wanted was an easy-to-make, fattening, carb-heavy plate of deliciousness. I opted for what I call a “normal” dinner – something that’s not crazy bad but also not crazy good. This is how my typical dinners are right now because I’m not forcing myself to be super strict anyway.
  • Dessert avoidance. Dessert was an option while we were out tonight and even though it was calling my name I reverted back to my rule of not giving in unless my husband opts for dessert. He didn’t, so I didn’t.

“Bad”:

  • I ended up not working out. Since this is the first day I’ve missed a workout, I don’t feel too bad about it. I’m going to try for more activity time tomorrow to help make it up.

Overall, I’m still counting today as a win. I avoided more temptations than I gave into and I don’t feel like I was unreasonable with what I did do. Now, the key will be to not let those temptations take over too often!