Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thinking Zebras

I know I didn't let anyone know how the coaching call went, but that's because I wanted to be able to phrase it without cussing. In short? A total waste of my time. Enough so, that I'm thinking about backing out of all future calls even with the "deduction" off the health insurance premium they're bribing everyone with. My husband is refusing to do his altogether.

Out of my three "hot" areas where I was at risk, they ignored the stress, ignored the sleep, and focused on my weight. I know, you're shocked too, right? Anyway, while the "coach" stressed that she has a degree is physiology (or something like that) all she really said was eat less more more, that kind of annoying nonsense we all have heard a million times. She was very patronizing. I finally stopped playing nice and explained that I know EXACTLY what I need to do, I just haven't been making the choice to follow through and that's totally on me.

First she tried to target my exercise. I explained my six days a week regimen. She suggested I add running. I considered telling her where to shove that suggestion, but instead explained that I'd LOVE to go running, but I can't with the plantar fasciitis. I can't even add a walk, at all. She started giving me basic exercise advice and I broke in and explained I have a personal trainer certification. I got it. Exercise is not my problem.

So, the "coach" then asked what my problem was and why I was overweight. I told her it was portions. I'm not even eating the wrong things, I just eat too much. Period. She then proceeded to lecture me on learning what a portion size is. I KNOW WHAT A PORTION SIZE IS! I cut her off and repeated that I knew all that already, the problem isn't ignorance, it's personal choice. MY choices. MY FAULT.

She then basically implied that if I really did have all the knowledge, I wouldn't be fat in the first place.

This is where I then imagined things dropping from the ceiling and squashing her and her little headset flat.

In short, the coaching is useless, as I knew it would be. The extra bonus of a witch on the other end? Well that's just the cherry on top, don't you think? I don't think it's worth the discount, honestly. I think I'm going to bail.

I think the coaching situation was extra insulting because it was foisted on me by the insurance company, not offered, and it's interesting to think that if I was sitting here as an anorexic - full on dangerous eating disorder, that my insurance would think THAT was far better than being who I am now. I wouldn't have been "invited" to coaching and I would have gotten that premium discount right off the bat.

Things have been really stressing me out for no real reason this week. I think perhaps I mentioned the coaching because it all feels the same; unhappy. I won't elaborate, except to share this little tidbit that I found hilarious (and distressing) last night;

I had a weird symptom. No big deal, but I was bored so I thought I would google it. Five minutes later I had self-diagnosed myself with three terminal illnesses. I then sent myself to bed, and grounded myself from googling any mysterious symptoms no matter how benign or silly they may be.

WHY is the internet geared to show you the worst case scenario for any physical symptom you look up? I think you could google a stubbed toe and get several deadly results in the search's top ten. I know when you have something wrong, they say "Hear hoof beats? Think horses, not zebras" but it seems like online it's a zebra world gone mad!

Anyway. I think this all boils down to that I am over-stressed. I miss running. I don't like people being nasty to me on the phone when I was trying really hard to be nice from the start (I was snippy by the end though.) And I wish I just had everything going the right way. It's hard not to think zebras when your anxiety is way up over everything. Everything looks and sounds like a zebra then. It's Zebrapalooza!

Ah, well... I think the only solution is to try really hard to not see (and hear) zebras everywhere. Maybe I'll start trying to see unicorns instead!
Sunday, January 18, 2015

Little Miss Not-So-Independent

I'm sitting here this morning in my exercise gear... and a bathrobe. Today did not start as planned. You see I slept in (sort of) and then I got all ready to go exercise even though I'm a bit off my schedule, only to discover my dishwasher has decided it's too good to drain. Yep, it's above that whole draining-thing. *grumble*

So, instead of cracking out a workout on my bike, I got to parade around the kitchen in my spandex gear with the shop-vac and tools to try to figure this out. Normally, this wouldn't be quite so embarrassing, but my son had his buddies over for a sleep-over-video-game-magic-the-gathering-fest and they found the whole situation incredibly entertaining. 14 year old boys, what are you going to do?

It was somewhere around the moment where my hand was submerged in the disgusting drain and the shop-vac was in the other, while my husband belted out not at all helpful advice from my phone, that I realized that I don't like doing all of this on my own.

For the most part, I am little miss independent. I don't like asking for help (I feel guilty. I'm sure there's a diagnosis for that.) I like knowing I'm not helpless and can get things done that need doing. I don't want anyone to have to take care of me. But when you have a million things on your plate, asking for help sometimes becomes something that you have to do.

Being married means that I have a partner that has been helping me all along (without my asking, mostly.) My husband and I divide and conquer! I battle it out with the doctors and insurance companies while he arm wrestles with the bank and fixes things that break. I am the primary caregiver to our kids (by a lot) but he pitches in with stuff I don't want to attend (save me from another freakin' school showcase, I beg you!) Divide and conquer.

Well, he's not here anymore. He hasn't been since October, minus visits around Thanksgiving and Christmas, and you know what? Stuff breaks. LIKE, ALL THE DANG TIME! I don't remember things breaking this much when he was here. I asked him if there are maintenance things I missed or something? Nope. Things are just breaking. This would be a busy season for him, but it would be in his wheelhouse under his normal responsibilities. Instead, I had to add a new extension to my wheelhouse, and cover the bases my partner would.

For the record; I totally suck at wearing both hats. Or all 2,000 hats.

I wanted to climb through my phone and strangle my husband when he started belting out all these technical terms and "OH, don't worry about turning off the breaker. The odds of you getting electrocuted are pretty low. I'm sure you'll be fine..."

I mean, has he met me?! Odds of Kyra electrocuting herself compared with a normal person are 100:1. He KNOWS this!

Last weekend in the -20F cold, I was out in the garage learning how to fill up my daughter's car's tires with his monstrous and scary air compressor because we discovered the gas stations got rid of their air stations (can you believe that? It's the like world is plotting against me!) I learned to fill up the tires, and also that any attachment on the air-hose of the compressor can be fired like a bullet. Don't ask.

Anyway, the dishwasher seems to be working again but I don't trust it. I even got my workout in after, so yay me!

I guess all this whining is leading up to me simply saying that I'm having a rough time finding my groove with things, especially when I keep having to fill in for my partner in unusual (for me) spots. In between doing all of this, I'm still trying to keep up with my business.  My art is the part of my life that is still ME.

Got this one done on Monday! It felt good to start and finish something for a change.
"Barry" 3x3 inch acrylic on stretched canvas (available)

"Duo" 6x8 acrylic on canvas.
Which I gave to my son, because he said he loved it.

What I realize is that when I'm allowed to be me, and just keep up with what I used to keep up with, and I get my work done too, that I settle into bed satisfied at night and easily up in the morning. I feel independent even though I am not doing everyone's part in the family. I'm able to get everything done when it comes to my health - the right way. When I'm trying to fill other roles and do everything and not get to finish what I want to get done, I struggle with everything in my life. I struggle with food, exercise, my marriage, my relationships, my art, you name it. I start doubting everything. It's a bizarre tailspin, and it all starts with doubting myself.

I realize that in order to feel grounded, I need to be able to get everything done... and I can't do it all my self (DAGNABBIT!) I actually need people. I need help.

I feel like a total failure admitting that I need help. Do any of you have that problem? Where you feel like you need to be able to do EVERYTHING, and do it well, without breaking a sweat? I realize it's been a false sense of doing everything, because I was agreeable to dividing things up with my husband - so really I was only doing well in my own defined lines of stuff that needed doing. But for some reason, it mattered only that I had the ability to finish what I was needed to finish. Now, I feel as though I never get everything finished that I need to, and I'm constantly behind.

I don't think I like knowing that I need help. That I'm not Super Woman.

On the other hand, I do now know I can take out intruders with the air compressor and a few well chosen  pieces from the work bench. So, I suppose I'm gaining a few new skills through this new forced independence (I wonder where that fits in on my resume?)

So what about you? Are you independent to a fault? Rely a lot on others with good balance? Too much?
Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Tamping Down the Beast

Today, I finally filled out the online health form questionnaire for my husband's insurance. I didn't realize it was even time to do that, but fortunately my husband with his ever so relaxed but on-time thinking forwarded me the email last night and I saw I had only a few hours left to fill it out (when I could have done it all the way back in October.) So, I jumped on it this morning and finally got it submitted.

What's the point in filling out the form? Well, it used to score you a $100 gift card to use on whatever you liked, and I always used it as a reason to splurge on something from a fitness store for my own entertainment (that's how I ended up with a Fitbit for example. Which I don't use anymore. Er... anyway...) Now the rules have changed and it only gets you a "discount" of a few dollars off your monthly health insurance premium. Honestly, I kind of feel cheated. I was sort of looking forward to figuring out what new fitness trinket I could justify picking up with the money. I'm also wondering how it really applies to the health insurance premium anyway since it's basically all out of pocket unless someone loses a limb or head or something else vital (and then they only pay up to a certain percentage, so it's basically all out of your pocket whichever way you look at it.)

Still, money saved is still money saved, so I did it. And then, because it identified me as having three serious risk areas, it required me to set up phone coaching. If I don't complete four sessions on the phone with them, I lose out on that "contribution" even though I filled out their form. That was new.

So, because money is tight, I clicked on the option to set up the call and lucky me, it's tonight. It was at this point I became aware that I was grinding my teeth and actually seething.

I'm trying to approach this with a positive attitude. No, REALLY! I really am. I'm struggling a bit because I'm a bit offended and defensive about what I apparently need "coaching" on. My three risk areas? Oh, you'll love this:

  1. Stress
  2. Sleeping
  3. Weight
My response is:
  1. Bite me, you big bunch of jerks (his company, this is mostly aimed at), it's your fault I'm this friggin' stressed to begin with. We've been jerked around for over a year and finally "relocated" when it was too late to sell our house, so my husband is living in another state and I'm up in -19 degree weather by myself without any support as an acting single mother to two teenagers, trying to sell the house, run my business that's been cut off piece by piece because of this, and deal with all the extra curveballs that keep being thrown at me. So BITE.ME.
  2. I'm a night owl in an early bird's world. I don't even have my good mattress to sleep on because it's in the basement as the realtor instructed, and our awful queen bed with a 20 year old mattress is in my room. No gel toppers or anything else clever I could think of have completely relieved the nightmare that the bed really is. So, even if I COULD go to sleep when I want to (about 1-2AM, and I would normally sleep easily until 10AM) I doubt I would sleep well because of that alone. Never mind that I can't anyway - as per the whole night owl thing (I go to bed on time, but my body simply isn't ready. It's not insomnia, it's my internal clock. It's genetic.) So, I reiterate; BITE.ME.
  3. Weight. Yeah. I know. I KNOW. Who the heck doesn't know they need to lose weight?! I'm working on it. I have all the knowledge I could possibly need to know to lose weight, I even certified with NASM as a personal trainer. I have severe plantar fasciitis in my right foot which makes it almost impossible to even walk for more than 5 minutes, and while that doesn't excuse my weight at all, it does demoralize me quite a bit and adds to my current stress level. Still, bottom line: I should probably wire my jaw shut. Got it. 

...yeah. A wee bit defensive here. I'm trying to work through my issues so as not to verbally decapitate the poor soul who has been tasked with calling me this evening. There is a fine line between excuses and reasons, but it's also important to realize that there IS such a thing as a legitimate excuse. My stress is the way it is, not because it is of my own making, but because there simply isn't any other choice. Same with my sleep. My exercise is good, and it really only comes down to my weight and that's my food. 

I have ZERO excuses for my food behavior. I have been making bad choices and it has brought me to this point. There is no ducking that, justifying that, or getting around it. I know how to eat correctly, I know what needs to be done, and I know what happens when I don't do it. Frankly, I eat better than most people, period, but I eat TOO MUCH. So to get technical, it's about my portion sizes. Bulking it with veggies won't help because I already do that. I've said it before and I'll say it again: you CAN overeat on vegetables, I'm living proof. Am I JUST eating veggies with all my bad decisions? Of course not, but the excess is keeping my calories up even in-between. That's why I'm not gaining, but not losing either.

So, here I sit, trying to talk my inner beast back into its cage. I'll deliver the reasons for #1 and #2 as calmly and concisely, without emotion (unless provoked, and then all bets are off.) On #3, there's no way they could know about the knowledge I possess or even my current struggle with the plantar fasciitis, so I'll fill in those blanks and try to walk them through whatever it is they have to read through, and not be offended. I'm going to try really, really hard.

But deep down, I realize that a company - ANY company - that feels like I need to be forced or coerced into coaching "for my own good" just rankles. I know I have problems with authority, and I always have, so this situation just pinches my ego and my self-righteousness over this being my body. I think there is a big difference in offering the tools as help, and leveraging someone to use them. I think it's the difference in being treated like an equal verses a child. Heck, I might have even explored the resources there (doubtful there would have been anything I didn't already know or have, but being a fitness addict like I am, I would have snooped through it anyway), but having it presented like this just feels insulting. 

BUT! I have to box all that up, and try to behave myself on the call this evening. I have no idea what to expect, but I assume I should keep my duct tape handy to put over my own mouth.
Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Uuuuugly! ...and Cute?

It's true that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that is never more true than when it comes to clothing. I had to take my daughter to the mall this past weekend, as I had promised her we would go. She had her Christmas money to spend on the post-holiday sales, and just couldn't wait any longer! Actually, I give her a lot of credit for waiting as long as she did.

For me, shopping isn't much fun. It's not about my weight, it's something else. It's I was never a big shopper anyway when I was younger, but I did enjoy it when I had a mission (i.e. buy new jeans, find a birthday gift, etc.) Still, I feel that even that little bit of allure is gone for me.

Maybe I'm crazy, but 30 years ago were there this many racks of clothing? I just don't remember clothing stores or sections being so BIG! It seems the men's and children's clothing departments are still normal sized for the most part, but the women's clothing now spans much larger areas than I ever recall.

It made sense when stores evolved to have a different section for teens and juniors in addition to women's. Then the plus section was added, and that made total sense because it used to be that they just jammed in a few pieces that were bigger than the smaller ones and that was their idea of plus (never mind that the style was completely wrong for most plus figures.) But then they added misses, petites (I'm waiting for a tall section, but I doubt that will ever happen,) women's business, women's casual, women's whatever. They've started adding misses sub-sections as well as sub-sections for the plus, which means that clothing stores, for me, have just become completely overwhelming. About 20 minutes in a store, and I'm ready to go home.

Anyway, in order to pass the time and give myself a mission during the shopping excursion, we decided to have an Ugly Sweater Contest. This way, all those crammed clearance racks in all those departments we had to go through actually served a purpose for me and I didn't lose my mind. The goal? To find the most ugly, fugly, blecht sweater we could and beat the other person.

So, without further ado, Round ONE!

My first entry. Note the extra fuzzy hot pink fluff, pouch pocket, and that the gold trim actually glitters with metallic thread. As one of my friends put it "It looks like someone skinned a Sesame Street Character!"

My daughter's first entry. This isn't technically a sweater, but I decided to give her a pass because... well, we couldn't figure out if it was supposed to be a dress, jacket, shirt, or...? Tweed-like on the top, and 3 inch long hair all around the bottom, because every woman wants that hairy-butt look! 

Round Two:

My second entry. I don't feel this one is that bad, but it is a bit dizzying to look at, and it's orange. I really don't like orange, it's my least favorite color. More, they had it on a mannequin wearing neon BLUE pants. The 80's are really trying to wedge their way back in the door, aren't they?

My daughter's second entry. This one IS that bad. I think she won this round. Because... seriously.

Round Three:

My third entry. The closer you look, the worse it gets. No, your monitor isn't reading those color blurs wrong, they really bled them into each other like that like an over-exposed negative in a red darkroom light. ick.

My daughter's third entry. Again, hello 80's! I think I owned something like this when I was 12. Or had a rug like that. Or had a rug AND a shirt and pants like this. Possibly towels. 

Round Four:

My fourth entry. It's not a sweater... it's a sort of housecoat meets jacket meets old bedspread-thing, but we agreed we didn't like it. 

My daughter's fourth entry. I actually think it's kind of cute. I wouldn't wear it, but I could see my daughter in it and looking really nice, or it paired with a black pencil skirt for business... My daughter felt it was hideous.
Now, what I discovered posting these on facebook was that some people loved ones I hated, and so on (although most agreed with our assessments.) So, I leave room for someone being able to pull one off in an ensemble. I'm not one of those people, however (and I can only see Lady Gaga pulling off the hairy-butt entry.)

This was so much fun, we've decided to do it again when next we're at a mall. Someone suggested having a contest to put together the most horrifying outfit and taking a picture of ourselves in it, just one round. My daughter and I are both up for that! The trick is going to be not getting caught, as even taking pictures of the sweaters (and giggling) caused a few strange glances at us from store employees who then followed us around a bit to see what we were doing.

I'm proud to report that both my daughter and I stayed strict to our food plans and had a successful day on that front too. Once we finally got back home (an hour drive always feels longer trying to get home than to get to the mall), I broke into my Christmas gift from my husband:

It was a BIG set of teas for me to try! Of course, it's set up like a big chocolate box, but the upside is that the lack of calories makes this a fun treat instead of a guilty one!

They come wrapped up like this:

And the teabag (infuser) is pretty cool:
isn't it cute?

I also used my other Christmas present:

It's a big lantern from Bath & Bodyworks, that holds one of their three-wick large candles in it, and the snowflakes flicker. This is one of my favorite non-food treats because I love the smell of the candle (pumpkin pecan waffle is my favorite scent and since I don't actually like to eat that sort of thing, it doesn't trigger me) and the flickering snowflakes just make me happy!
Monday, January 5, 2015

The Good Boring

What tools do you use to keep yourself on track with your plan/lifestyle? What are your go-to's?

For me, one of the elements to my old Body for Life plan that I am bringing back are MRPs. That's a meal replacement shake (MRP, it seems like MRS would make more sense but whatever), and it was something that really helped me stay on the straight and narrow at my goal weight for so long. Why? Because it was chocolate, I didn't have to decide what to have, and it was high in protein. As someone who is very sensitive to blood sugar dips (I have bouts of hypoglycemia), these things were just awesome in keeping me cruising along without weirding out and diving head-first into a vat of ice cream. I never replaced an actual meal, just a snack with it, and at the most I might have two in a day. Normally though, I would just have one and it helped for the rest of the day because my brain said "OK, I've had chocolate, thank you!" (It's a sickness that I've learned to accept, so anyone trying to get me to give up chocolate would do well to save their breath.)

I know it seems silly that one little snack like that would be key to me staying on course, but it was. It wasn't the only key, but I realize now that it was a HUGE one. However, I started hearing all this discussion about how artificial sweeteners were so bad for us. That not eating real food was so bad for us. That drinking your calories, even if they're healthy, is so bad for us.

Basically, I started tweaking. I dropped the shake because of all those reasons... but you know what? I'm pretty sure the extra 40 lbs I'm toting around is a heck of a lot more awful for my health than aspartame in my MRP. If that MRP does the job, then it does, and everyone else can just stuff it. I tweaked other things too, because of things I had heard and wanting to be better... but the truth was that I was bored. THAT is the real danger to a healthy weight; boredom.

Weight LOSS is hard, so hard. Weight MAINTENANCE is even harder because it's boring, with no "I win!" on the scale anymore. (I didn't believe it until I got there, but it's true.) In my boredom of maintenance I ran a marathon (yay!) and tweaked my plan and gained a ton of weight back and forth for the next 10 years (BOO!)

Everyone wants to know what everyone else did to lose weight and/or maintain. Everyone wants a new answer, an exciting answer, a miracle answer, the next answer. I know I do! I want a way to make this easy! It is beyond stupid that as a human being with all the advantages of being born into a part of society with clean water, electricity, health care, and access to food, that one of my biggest struggles is over what I eat, when, and getting in enough activity. People are still hunting and gathering like days of old in the world, and I have a self-cooled box stuffed with perishables and cabinets full of even more stuff that makes hunting and gathering a 30-second endeavor. One of my big worries is when and how much am I going to be eating today, and not in the way of "Boy, I hope I'll be eating today" but instead in a "Boy I hope I don't eat too much today" manner.

Excess food is the very definition of a first world problem, and I have it. Most Americans do. It's bizarre, but knowing that doesn't change the reality... it just makes it frustrating. Then we tell ourselves we shouldn't be thinking about it, and then we think about it even more and about how we're not supposed to be thinking about it, and when the heck did thinking about not thinking about food become our national pastime? I know some people think it's football or baseball, but I don't think so. I think it's food.

So, we need our tools. We need to know what will get us through the day and make our health better. We need to know how to outsmart ourselves or simply cut the internal conversation off before it happens. All of that comes down to tools. I realize now that I took many of my tools away, and considering all of that I suppose it's not terribly surprising I floundered like I did. So, I'm adding them back, along with rules that I stuck to that worked before.

I'm bringing back my tools, setting it up strictly, and closing my ears to the chatter. If I reach old age and the end of my life at a healthy weight, then it doesn't matter how I got and stayed there as long as I didn't hurt anyone else. My definition of winning is being healthy and feeling good about and IN my body, not following every new rule that someone tries to pass off on a talk show or magazine as the better thing to be doing. Not that I did that, but a few did make it to my ears and for some reason I listened.

My biggest nemesis will be boredom, but I'm old enough now to have armed myself appropriately, and to know I need to find more in my life to focus on and redirect the problem. There are people who thrive on constantly changing the rules and if they didn't, they would gain their weight back. I'm not that sort of person. I have lots of excitement in other areas of my life, I even need it, but I need the structure and predictability when it comes to food. So my new rule is that if it works for me, it stays.

I know enough now that I'll have reached a major milestone if I'm healthy and bored. That's the goal; healthy and bored. Bored is NOT always a bad thing! Bored and healthy is a far better thing to strive for than entertained and unhealthy.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Plan(s)

I just finished wading through my business taxes, and it always makes me want to crawl right out of my skin. Ick. So, I thought I'd focus on my weight instead (one anxiety to another, great plan, right?)

In all seriousness, I'm looking forward to getting this show on the road. Am I on the road yet? No, but it was planned this way. My husband doesn't leave until Sunday, and my daughter is a part of things this time around. Essentially, the only person who doesn't need to lose weight in this family is my son (isn't that always the way of it? He keeps growing an inch when I'm not looking.)

My husband returned home this season weighing more than he ever has in his life. It was an awful moment for him when we were out and he had to pick up new business slacks in a size he had never worn before. He is not doing well with our household divided.

Additionally, due to some medication side effects coupled with personal choices, my daughter is in a similar boat. Being that she is 16 and driving, and has money from a summer job to spend at will, my influence over what she had access to in the house only counted for so much. Those choices have created an impact that she is willing to face now too.

So, over the vacation we have been putting together our plans for fixing this whole situation once and for all. The problem is that with three very different people in very different situations, this requires three different plans for attack. Really, that's how this should be anyway. Weight loss is not a one-size-fits-all prescription. It would be great if it was, but it isn't.

For my husband, we figured out a few things like putting a mini-fridge in his office at work for healthy snacks within reach. We figured out a food plan for him to follow (which isn't hard, we actually normally eat very healthy, he's just completely slid off the road on his own. It's similar to mine with a few tweaks that suit him and allow for him to stay on it.) Additionally, he wanted strength-bands and to take the P90X30 with him back to North Carolina so he can start that program there on his own. An extra bonus is that he and I are going to text each other and exercise at the same time each morning, and that extra contact should help with our relationship too and feeling more connected. He really needs that exercise, because I worry about his health with his stress level and not moving much in meetings all day. This is good for him on so many levels! Good for us! His goal is to lose 40 lbs = 25 to not be overweight anymore, 15 more to be at a comfortable weight.

For my daughter, as a cheerleader she is getting workouts six days a week. So, in her case it is absolutely about the food (and slightly a medication side effect, but that can be mitigated.) We have an agreement about food purchased outside of the house. We're still working on her plan today to find out which foods she'd like to keep, which she actually can, the right foods, portion sizes and timing. This is trickier because it's a learning curve for a teenager, but when we solve this problem, my hope is that this will help her for the rest of her life and hopefully she'll never be overweight again. This is really hard as a parent, as I'm terrified of watching her lose herself to the weight (as I did.) The only thing I can do is give her the tools and control what I can inside the household (i.e. what is IN the house to eat) for the little bit of time we have left with her under our roof (about a year and a half until college.) Her goal is to lose 25 lbs = 15 to not be overweight anymore, 10 more to be at a comfortable weight.

Then there is myself. I'm starting this at the same weight I was last year. Last year I got to 180, but never actually broke into the 170's again. I know why, and there's no sense in rehashing it. More, even though I am the same weight, I am bigger because I haven't been exercising due to injury issues. It's been a major problem. While that may be an excuse on the physical side, there is no excuse on the eating front. I'm not dealing with any side effects or whatnot, I've just been eating.  Interestingly, even with all the treats over the holiday season, my weight has only increased a pound. Yeah, it's one more I don't need, but it's pretty impressive considering the nightmare the season felt like in regards to food.

For me, I'm going back to Body For Life. I've said it before, but I've always done it with tweaks. You see, I lost all my weight and maintained it using that program for over a year and a half. It was only when I started messing with it that I messed myself up long-term. I'll write a bit on this later, but in short - if it worked, why did I start messing with it? Because I was worried about what I heard about eating this or that over the years? Seriously, I think weighing 40lbs more is a bigger danger to me than putting splenda on my oatmeal in the morning. So, in short, I am going back to what worked.  My goal is to lose 40 lbs = 20 to not be overweight anymore, another 20 to be at a comfortable weight.

We're all weighing in on Saturdays, we're eating NO junk food at all, minus planned ones that are allowed only one day a week. We're in this together even though our family is apart. I think that will help. I'm done with being over weight, feeling the aches and pains, and really ticked off that this is still an issue for me. I know that even if I were to magically solve all of this and never go above a size 6 for as long as I lived that I will still be marked by my weight.

This is part of my life, and I sincerely wish it wasn't. But the older I get, the more I realize that we're all marked by our health - no matter who we are. If we take control of our weight, we actually end up making our overall health better in the end. Someone who has never had to struggle with their weight is often more unprepared for needing to keep their body in tip-top shape for long-term health. That puts an overweight but actively changing their health type of person ahead of the curve! It's a mixed blessing, but it's the cards I've been dealt. Time to make a winning hand, I think!
Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Life Performance Evaluation

Today is the last day of 2014. Some people find it annoying to look back at their year and evaluate things, but I find it helpful. After all, if you have to do it at your job so you can find your strengths and weaknesses, why not your life too? New Year's resolutions are just areas to work on, as there would be in any job review. So, I made a little life performance review worksheet. (It's nothing fancy, but feel free to use it too!):

Blank Year Life Evaluation Sheet 

It's very rudimentary, because I just threw it together, but I think all the important parts are there!

Here is how I filled mine out:

Kyra's Review

Basically, my year kinda sucked and I let it. I worked hard not to grade myself as all "poor", as I am always want to do when faced with a self evaluation. But the truth is that I do have some strengths, like communication. Additionally, I've faced some hurdles this year that really hurt my overall performance, but I made it here. Intact.

Where I really feel I screwed up or I was overly challenged and let it get the better of me:

  • I'm ending this year weighing what I did last year (about 190lbs), but actually fatter than I was. My clothing doesn't fit. Some of this was due to injury with my ankle and then plantar fasciitis. The rest was all due to me making horrible choices.
  • My relationships are tough right now, with my children in the teenage years (and my daughter is really good at it), and my husband living in a different state. I didn't reach out to friends for much of anything, good or ill, and instead just pulled inward.  I'm here for my family, 110%. But that can be beyond exhausting, especially as a single parent. I'm doing as good as I can with things, but it's not good enough. My attitude is part of the problem.
  • Attitude and Enthusiasm. Yeah. So. Crap. My attitude started out ok, I think. I knew it was going to be a rough year. By the end of it, I feel worn thin. I feel angry and frustrated almost all of the time, and sometimes sad (I fall mostly in the frustrated range though.) It's purely a reaction to the stress in my life and not being one of those zen people who can just roll with it. And if there is one thing I have learned, it's that you cannot learn to be one of those people; you either are, or you are not. You can try to emulate some of those zen-like characteristics, and that can sometimes help, but in the end we are who we are. It's better to learn how to deal with who we are and exist healthily and happily like that, than to change who we are and try to live inauthentically.
  • Life on pause. I knew things were crazy when the year started and we didn't know if or when we would be moving. We had resumes in all over the country, we knew something big would come eventually at the current company, and then we went through the wishy-washy machine of corporate jackassery until a decision was finally made. This triggered my parents moving in with me, and then eventually down to NC ahead of us. This finally triggered us putting our house on the market, but too late to sell it (as is the season in Vermont) and having my husband relocate without my children and I. This was the reason I put a large chunk of my business on hold. My life on hold. This was hard, and in many ways simply unfair. Unfair or not, it is the way it is and it sucked.
What I did OK with? I survived. I am making it to 2015, and so are my children. We're looking at a year of major changes in 2015 with a guaranteed move. There is no more wishy-washy nonsense, which is an improvement. There are unknowns (like we still don't know what area we're going to live in, and we cannot figure that out without a contract on this house because of the laws in NC) but those are easier to deal with than being jerked around like we were for most of 2014.

Communication is my strength. I freely admit that, and it's something that has saved me when needing to be both parents to my children, figure out business dilemmas, and more. I would also venture to say that while I was put on pause frequently, I didn't do well with sitting still and I found alternative ways to branch out in a positive way. While I was knocked out of the Chase the Stars 5k series, I still made the effort to put it together in the first place. It was a GOOD idea, the right idea. I'm still glad I did it. More, on a professional level, even though I was infuriated that I was almost completely derailed from my normal business plan, I managed to test out new things and figure more things out than I had originally planned. As my business is a huge part of my personal life, this means I was a better person for it as well. Here is what I accomplished in my studio this year:

It's kind of cool working in a field where I can literally show what I did this year!
I could go on, but I won't. I think it's time to look forward. This does mean New Year's Resolutions, but in more of a "Opportunities for Development" sort of way. Isn't this what they're for anyway? So, here are my resolutions, goals, whatever you'd like to call them. I suppose they're really my plans.

  1. Fitness, weight, and health. I'm approaching this with a fresh attitude. I'll write more on this later, but I know that I will not be closing out next year over weight any longer. It's not a matter of trying, it just is, and it's something I really know deep in my bones now.
  2. Attitude, enthusiasm. I'm going to try. I cannot promise sunshine and daisies because I am simply not that kind of person. But I can try, and I will. This is going to be exceptionally important once I move so I don't create a false first impression of who I am to potential new friends.
  3. Career. This one, I have specific plans that don't involve having to have a physical base this year. Much as I would love to have a complete plan, I know that's simply not reasonable right now and would only serve to infuriate me when I once again have to put my business and career on hold for my husband's career, and my children's activities and whatever else. I'll make it as much of a priority as I reasonably can in this major transition that 2015 will be, and I will GROW in the ways I have planned (finishing out my Alice series I've been commissioned with, and starting some new ones like Red Riding Hood and expanding my new surreal Nyx series - the figures with the starry night in their hair, etc.)
I believe that three is enough. My health, my attitude, and my career - all while maintaining or improving my family life and leaving room for growth of relationships as the opportunities present themselves is the absolute BEST I can plan and hope for. I think it's reasonable, and that I've left enough room for the unexpected to allow myself to not fail, but bend with the flow when it comes from unexpected directions.

So that closes out 2014 for me, and opens up the door to welcome in 2015! How about you? How was your year? What are your plans going forward? I'd love to know!