Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Happiness out of Habit

I have been at my current job for a year and a half now. 
 During this time I've had the exact same work schedule. This is the longest period of time I have ever had a consistent work schedule. Before the start of my current job I worked multiple jobs, all hours of the day, or at one job with varying shifts.
What does this have to do with anything?
Everything. 

Having a consistent work schedule has allowed me to uncover all my habits and the emotions that go along with them. When I was working from 10am-7pm one day, then 5pm-2am the next, it was impossible to see the patterns of my emotional eating.

It was a normal payday Thursday, with nothing particularly special about it. The weather was mild, I had a few hours before I had to be at work, and there was nothing too crazy on my impending schedule. I found myself at the grocery store, buying a shit ton of groceries, and spending a shit ton of money. Then I found myself at the mall, wanting to buy clothes. Out of nowhere a light bulb illuminated my entire conscience. I realized that EVERY payday I find myself doing the same thing: buying food, going out to eat before work, and buying clothes or some other "thing" that I don't need. It got me wondering: what other habits do I have? And why do act in these patterns?

A motivational speaker once gave me the idea to use "Red Flags" as a means to pinpoint behaviors attached to emotions. Every time I slip, binge, or do anything out of impulse, I will mark a red flag so that I can associate emotions with their corresponding habits. They're right there on the side of my fridge, so I can't miss them. 


That's right- one of them says "ice cream for breakfast."  
I actually ate ice cream for breakfast. 

Habits are incredible things. And they are hard to break. With this consistent work schedule I am amazed at what all I have been able to uncover. They don't just appear out of nowhere!

•When I get stressed about money I spend more money!
•When I am feeling any sort of negative emotion, I eat. 
•When I get stressed at work, I reach into the candy drawer and eat. 
•When I am feeling down I skip my workouts. 
•When I am in a full-on emotional eating, not exercising, funky kind of mood, I let my house get dirty and neglect my chores. 

This made me delve deeper. 

When I am "on it," and in charge of my emotions, what habits follow suit?

•I'm saving money. 
•My house is tidy.
•I'm consistently taking Ziggy for long walks (well, you know they're not TOO long lol).
• I am at my CrossFit classes 3 times a week. 
•I'm running/walking on my dinner breaks. 
•I'm eating healthy and saying no to "bad" food. 

So what if I MAKE myself clean my house, take Ziggy for a long-ish walk, run on my dinner break? No matter how I feel? Will my emotions attach themselves to my actions the same way they do in reverse? 

I have told myself NO! a lot recently because I have been able to identify the emotions with their pending actions. It's incredible that a little consistency in my life has led me to these realizations. 

We binge eat because we are terrified to face the emotions we are feeling. 
What will happen to me if I let myself get engulfed by my sadness? Or my loneliness? Or my anger? 
It's scary to think about. 
But those emotions are ME. They are inside of ME. I can control them. Just like I can control the bag of chips that is OUTSIDE of me. 

I told a good friend of mine that I am really going to cut back on drinking. He asked why and I told him it's because of food. Further explanation: I eat crap food when I drink. I can deal with the 100 calories per glass of wine, but I can't deal with the 5,000 calorie binge that follows. His response? Well, you can control that! No. I can't. That's the problem. When I have had too much to drink, I want to go to Taco Bell at 2am. Since I have established a problem with the drinking + crap food habit, the next step is to eliminate the catalyst.

I also looked back into my memory file of what I do every time I want to really pipe down and get serious about losing weight. It's crazy!!! I literally do the SAME thing each time. I buy something shiny and new to give me motivation (a new journal, a new water bottle, a new sports bra, etc...), I spend a bazillion dollars at the Farmers' Market, vowing to eat clean all week, no cheating. I write inspirational notes and litter my condo and workspace with them....


It's time the break the habits and form new ones that will get me to my goal. 

I am a little bit nostalgic sometimes and I tend to take more pictures than anyone I know (in case you haven't noticed). Luckily I have been this way my whole life. That's ONE habit that definitely hasn't changed! I flipped through some old scrapbooks the other day to try and remember what my old habits were when I was truly healthy and happy. 


When was the last time I was truly healthy and happy? I'm not really sure, but I'm thinking it had to have been back when I was in high school! This is nothing too unusual, a lot of people were at their best shape at 18, and most people were pretty happy at that time in their lives. So what changed? What habits did I let go of over the years on my journey to unhappiness? And what did I replace them with?

 I played tennis for about 2 hours with a guy I work with a few weeks ago. It was HOT. And I was sweating more than I have in a long time. I was exhausted. I loved it. I remember feeling HAPPY. Truly happy. Tennis makes me happy. Why did I stop playing regularly? 


I went to dance class with some friends a few weeks ago. HAPPY. I had a blast! Genuine H-A-P-P-Y.
 I was a cheerleader growing up, and also in college. Why I did stop dancing?


The outdoors.
 I have made it a point to be on the water a lot this summer as part of my exercise plan (also because I miss the beach so much- rivers and lakes are the next best thing). It has made me very happy. Why did I stop exploring?

Pizza. Apparently pizza has always been a nemesis of mine. I found this note written by my stepfather when I was 5. So what's the answer to the riddle? Do I eat pizza because I'm fat? Or am I fat because I eat pizza?


Cooking. I have ALWAYS loved to be in the kitchen. This hasn't changed. 


So now that I have identified some actions that appear to make me happy, as well as the ones that tag along with unhappiness, what's the next step? 

Make happiness a habit. 

When I find myself letting my house get messy, clean it. Play tennis. Go to a dance class. Form happy habits. Get rid of the unhappy ones. Continue to identify emotions attached to negative actions. 

Make new habits easy to form. 
For example: I have been trying to replace late night snacks with a cup of hot tea. Something I NEVER would have done in the past. In fact, I didn't even know I liked hot tea until recently. I can put them away if I have company, but just for my benefit, the boxes are out there in the open in plain sight.


When I want to binge eat, or do something that impulsive, I must ask myself this question: "Isn't there something better for me to do?" This is in front of my fridge right now, waiting for me when I get home.


Habits. They're like leeches. Make sure only the good ones are lingering around.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Plus Size Shopping

If you've ever gone plus-size shopping you will totally relate to this post. 

Because it SUCKS. 

•You are constantly running into "plus size sections" of stores that look like this:



REALLY?? THIS is your plus size section? Two ugly ass shirts and 1 ugly ass pair of pants? Like, why did you even advertise that you carry plus size? Ugh.

•Next: You see a super cute seer sucker dress that comes in a large variety of sizes... except large sizes:


•You feel so ashamed about shopping in the "woman" section...


Once I overheard a lady say: "Oh, wrong section. I must not be a 'woman' because I'm not plus size!" She sounded so offended, as if she's not a 'woman' because she isn't overweight. I could see that. But I'm not sure what wording would be better. Big and Tall definitely wouldn't go over well. 

•And this: You have to pay 2, 3, sometimes 4 times the amount as regular sized clothing for the same styles:


I was in a friend's wedding not too long ago and I literally had to pay TWICE as much for my bridesmaid dress as the other girls. For "extra fabric." And you know they force you to buy them in a bigger size, so I had to pay even more money to have it taken in! It ended up costing $300 while the other girls only had to pay around $200. Total bullshit. AND it was hideous.

I love to shop and I love to be fashionable. I am constantly getting compliments on my attire, doting on the fact that I know "how to dress for my size." Well, I'm not sure what that means, but if it includes wearing mainly cotton dresses and leggings to cover up my wobbly bits... then yeah! I do that well :) 
I am seriously SO tired of wearing frikin cotton! I want to wear something with buttons, or silk, or a-line!! ANYTHING other than stretchy material. Oh, and JEANS!!! Every pair I have is stretchy. How about tucking a shirt in? That would be nice to do (thank you, fupa). And belts? Only if they're empire waist! I swear, when I finally get this weight off, you will NEVER see me in a damn cotton dress ever again (unless it's just really super cute :). I am so tired of pilfering through my closet for what I can wear, instead of what I want to wear. I own approximately 87 tanks to wear under shirts to cover up anything that might pop out, 2 of every color legging, and more peplum dresses than any one person should ever possess.
 
Cotton dress central:

 

 
 
 All that being said, I got so excited when I went to Macy's today. Michael Kors has a plus size line there! And it was all so cute!!


It was so refreshing to find real, fashionable clothes that didn't include elastic waistbands, empire waists, and an overload of ruffles. I even found this adorable cotton Ralph Lauren nautical dress that made me high-five myself. 


I know that clothes are just things and that there are so many more important things that I should be worried about. I don't have diabetes, or any life-threatening disease... but looking good makes me feel good. And feeling good puts me in a good mood. And being in a good mood helps me focus on my goals. 
 
I ended up not buying anything today because I had a BIG, Plus-Size thought: It's going to be SO much fun shopping for skinny clothes! Why waste money now on clothes that (hopefully) will not fit in 2 months? Clothes are a reward for me. I will not reward myself with clothes. I don't deserve them right now. For so long I've rewarded myself with food or the occasional glass (bottle) of wine, I have lost sight of some of the things that ALSO make me happy: new clothes, mini weekend trips, mani/pedis, facials, etc...
 
From now on, whenever I feel the need to splurge on something that tastes yummy as a "reward," I will find something else to treat myself with.

Craving, with a Twist

A co-worker brought me this lovely delicious Caramel Ribbon Crunch coffee today. 



 I enjoyed EVERY last sip. I was scared to look at the nutrition facts online, but I had to do it. Every single thing you put in your body counts. Even if you don't want to know! It was a tall, so the total calories were 390!!!! %#$#$%$#% I won't repeat the sugar. I got sick to my stomach when I looked at it. But, I drank it and now I must adjust the rest of my day. It was so good I wondered how I could modify it in the future. With nonfat milk and no whip cream it still packs a whopping 260 calories, but that's a lot better!

Most chain restaurants are posting their nutrition facts now. I know that when you eat out you are planning on splurging, but that doesn't mean you can't to it smartly! Look at the labels and find how you can modify while still satisfying your craving.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Food Baby

I have a big announcement...


I had a food baby today!

I don't know WHY I did it, but I ate pizza last night. Real life, cheesy, delivered... pizza.

I have been doing so well lately, too! I mean REALLY well. I played tennis Saturday morning for two hours (I won btw), went for a 4 mile hike Sunday morning, and I even split a piece of cake at a party Saturday night! I've exercised every single day for weeks, and I haven't been drinking any alcohol. I am so mad at myself! I have been beating myself up all day today. Actually, I beat myself up all night after I did it, too. 

How did it happen? I was at a friend's pool during the day and I was starving the whole time. While I was chilling at the pool I planned a nice healthy dinner for myself in my head- I was supposed to go to a friend's house for dinner. But the minute I got in my car my hunger dominated me. I was completely controlled by my craving for pizza. I ordered it before I even left my friend's pool! It was delivered within minutes of me getting home.

Want to know something? I didn't even enjoy it. It legitimately did not taste good at all. I was thinking to myself that my homemade pizzas tasted so much better! And I was full after far less than what I used to eat back in my consistent binge days. I ordered thin crust, which is something I once would have considered a travesty. Since pizza is a total weakness of mine, I have been reserving the real deal for when I go out to a good local pizza place. The delivery service I usually order from during pizza binge mode was totally sub par this time but yet I continued to eat it. 
It was greasy and I regretted every bite.

I was so mad at myself afterwards that I started to cry. Like a baby. The kind of cry that stops your nose up for a long time afterwards.
This morning I felt so bloated and lazy that I didn't even get up and go to my crossfit class. I just wanted to lay around all day. Which I did. I went to the pool and layed out for 2 hours. Hating every second of my bad decision the night before. As I was laying there I felt like a beached whale. I was seriously scared someone was going to yell: megalodon!!! He DOES exist! My stomach was so big, someone could have literally fit inside there. Like, a 27 pound baby. Ugh! I felt AWFUL!

I learned a lot from this pizza.
 I have changed. I am no longer the person I used to be. I am truly not the person who can eat a whole pizza without regret. 
I am no longer the person who can binge and move on. My feelings after a binge used to just get sucked back in and covered up.

For the first time ever, the aftereffects of this binge stayed with me. They didn't just get covered up and forgotten about. They were left sitting in my stomach kicking around, begging to be released.

After 24 hours of self-loathing, regret, guilt, and stomach pain (literally), I had the food baby (again, literally. but i won't go into those details).
All the labor pains of this food baby were building up to the birthing moment. That moment where I was able to realize that I no longer carry this "food" with me everywhere. I no longer feel the need to nurture my cravings and feed them.
I like the new me, and I honestly don't see myself ever going back to being a food baby mommy, constantly feeding it things that aren't conducive to my health.
Fly away little food baby! Run free! :) 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Running is a Mean Girl

Hey, remember back in the day when I said I hate running?

Well, I still hate it, but in a different way. I hate it because it makes me an outcast. I want to be the best at it, and I want to be in its cool little club. So, like most things in my life that aren't working in my favor, I must make some changes! 

 I feel like running hates me, no matter how hard I try to be its friend. So like the annoying non-plastic girl trying to fit in... I secretly hate it, but I want to be it.


I have done a few 5Ks and triathlons, and I loved all of them. I enjoy the thrill of racing with hundreds, all trying to break a PR. I have a 5K coming up next weekend and I really want to break my own PR. The quickest I  ever ran one in was 40-something. Maybe 46? So... please, running? Won't you be my friend?

 I have been running every night on my dinner break for weeks now.
Don't worry, I have the selfies to prove it:


NOT GETTING ANY BETTER AT IT.

I am the slowest runner in the history of America. I ran the whole 5K distance today before work and it took me 53 minutes!! WTF? I want to be in the cool running club so bad, with the cool outfits, and the cool shoes... but it hates me. I feel that no matter how much I do it, I don't get any faster/better.

Another reason running hates me: I feel like I'm a damn circus act when I'm doing it.
 I HATE running past people. Every single one of them ALWAYS has to flash me this "you go girl" smile. The one that just screams: "Hey! Fat girl running! That's amazing!!" That's not just in my head. I OBSERVE. 

The same people who flash me that smile (and some give me a thumbs up, too) don't pay ANY attention to the twig bitches running. ONLY me. It's like: oh, the skinny girls- this is their normal, they do this all the time (OBVS), but the FAT GIRL- clearly this is her first time running ever. Therefore, I MUST flash her an annoying "you go girl" smile. 


I have tried to be positive about this. I have even had thoughts that maybe seeing me run is the catalyst for someone ELSE to make a lifestyle change. Or maybe seeing me run was the little motivational boost some (I'm going to say it) little twig bitch needed that day to finish her run. I love helping people get healthy. It's what I do. These are things I should focus on. And hey, it's better than being made fun of, right?

All this is washed away by my pride when I get that stupid smile flashed my way. And if I see one more thumbs up I might scream. 

Running hates me. I will never fit in.


After my nightly run yesterday, a co-worker asked me: "Hey, did you just go walking!?  That's awesome!" 



First of all: No. No, I did not go "walking!?" I went running. But, I'm not going to be the overly defensive clown who corrects her. So I smiled and said: "yep! thanks!" 

Secondly: why is that so damn "awesome!?" People walk on their lunch/dinner breaks all the damn time. Since the beginning of time I'm pretty sure.

I know I'm being ridiculous, but I'm so tired of being the sore thumb of the running world. I want so badly to be able to run. Like, really run. I am paranoid that I'm going to blow a knee cap, or have a heat stroke, or die. In my crossfit workouts I have a running handicap of 8,000. It always slows me down. It's infuriating!!

I guess the only thing to do is to just. keep. going. And maybe if I keep telling running that I love it, it will love me back. Perhaps running has certain rules that I just don't know about yet. Should I wear pink on certain days? Run around in a santa costume? Who knows. 

To prove my love for running here is an instagram picture I made:


And here is a Pinterest picture:


Speaking of my run today... it nearly killed me. My dumbass decided to go run a 5K at 11:30am. IN AUGUST. And there is basically no shade on the trail. I felt fine during the run. Besides sweating profusely. Once I got back in the house I got these crazy goosebumps and I felt nauseous. I almost blacked out in the shower and I felt like I was going to faint. No amount of water was making me feel better.  I believe I was dehydrated. It was kind of scary. See?

 Running hates me. She is a mean girl.