Checking In

Let me start off by saying, this is a way for me to get it out, a way of journaling. By sharing it here I feel like I might help someone else know they aren’t alone in feeling the way that I do. I talked about this last night with my husband and he listened – but I really think he just doesn’t understand all the emotions (or lack there of) that I’m experiencing. So if you aren’t into reading about all my current woes then here’s your chance to bail.

When we started “stay home, stay safe” for COVID back in March, I thought it would be fine – temporary. I figured I was home most of the time anyway. How hard could it be. Then weeks turned into months and shit just kept getting weirder in the world. All of the things I enjoyed doing – grocery shopping, regular shopping, visiting state parks, geocaching- the list goes on, became an unpleasant experience. Grocery Shopping felt like the Hunger Games and only now feel slightly better. Shopping at Target or Walmart is depressing – shelves are bare and everyone looks sad. I haven’t even tried to go to one of my favorite places – IKEA – because I just don’t want to ruin it for myself. I just don’t find it to be an enjoyable experience anymore – now I only go to the store for purpose or necessity. State Parks are busy and limited capacity – when before some of my favorite places were near empty. I haven’t even gone to some of my favorite nearby places to visit for the same reason – not wanting to ruin the memory of it. I miss my summer trips to Newport, Salem and Mystic.

We’ve also had some crazy family stuff happen during all this and there’s all sorts of emotions that happen with that. I only mention them to add to “where I’m at”, but haven’t really shared much outside of my house. There are some things that are meant to stay in house. It’s just been… emotional.

I’ve been trying to keep my boys out of the general public during all of this too. I hate seeing them wearing masks. Yes, I know the importance for wearing a mask – so don’t come at me for that. That’s why I just keep them home as much as possible. I don’t take them out for errands if at all possible and we are keeping them home this fall to continue distance learning for this same reason. I think the mask wearing and social distancing will be more detrimental than keeping them home with me. I am hopeful it’s short term. Most of my friends are sending their kids back in person. I respect them for that. It’s a tough decision either way. I wish I could do it too, but I also think my anxiety would be in high gear all the time. Keeping them home with me if for my mental health too. Hopefully I won’t have to fight with them as much this time around to do the work!

So after all of that, I completely lost my mojo about a month ago. I took a week off from working out, that turned into two and now I’m pushing four. I’m sleeping late and can barely find the motivation to do the simple day to day stuff. Yesterday was the eye opener for me that I am on depression’s doorstep y’all. I’m about to knock to have her let me in to join in her misery. I’ve got all the classic signs. I know them well. I’ve travelled this road a few times, it’s been a while since my last visit and I’m really wanting to bypass this stay. By classic signs – for me – I mean – no joy in the things that used to make me happy, not working at my fun job (my Etsy shop) as much as I would like, feeling empty, stopping working out, getting up late, going to bed early, not wanting to socialize with friends as much, not wanting to leave the house, eating…a lot, but then not wanting to cook dinner. There’s some of the things I’ve noticed. There’s also a lot of negative self talk happening and constant jealousy of anyone experiencing success-in anything- I have no limits on that one. It’s an awful trait that I tend to have. Comparison to others is a toxic trail to take. I need to pull a u-turn and come back to home base on that. It makes me feel ugly and pulls me deeper into where I don’t want to be.

I’m hoping that by writing this and sharing what I’m trying to do will help me climb out and get back to “normal”. I want to workout (weirdo right?) because my awful body issues are also rearing too. I keep thinking – “if I lose 10, 20, blah blah pounds I’ll for sure feel better” – then I eat two snickers ice cream cones – yep that happened yesterday. Here’s the thing, my brain knows that working out provides endorphins. Those endorphins after 30/60 minutes of exercise can be similar to taking an antidepressant. It’s proven to work if you can get your depressed ass moving. BUT THAT’S THE STUPID CRAZY PART! You’re so deep in your head that you talk yourself out of getting those endorphins!

I committed myself to a 18.9 mile virtual race this month. That I told myself I would complete by the last day of September. That means I have to move at least the amount of time it takes me to complete those nearly 19 miles. If I walk for 15 minutes a day I’ll hit my goal. I have to do something to motivate myself because the idea of being uncomfortable in my skin isn’t quite enough right now.

At the same time I’ve been trying to eat a little better. But that’s truly laughable, because who eats right when they’re stressed and feeling miserable. I’m trying to track what I eat and I even signed up for a nutrition webinar in about a week. We’ll see how that goes.

If you’re still with me-thank you. I’d like (to try again) to update more regularly. I mean I pay for this freaking blog, you’d think I’d publish more. (Facepalm) My kids are heading back to school (in my office) on the 10th – so wish me luck. I need to find that “me” time quickly in order to manage having them here all day again. Just sitting in the office with me from 7:30 to 3 every day. At least the first two days are early release?

Be Optimistic and Realistic

disney-inspirational-life-quotes-Favim.com-956876“Don’t Worry, Be Happy”.  It’s a catchy tune, sure, but it’s not the best approach to success!  Overly optimistic thinking goes like this ” I went WAY over my calorie budget today, but I’ll get back on track tomorrow, somehow”.  While it’s helpful to assert good intentions (rather than beating yourself up) being vague about how you’ll recover isn’t helpful.  Thinking things will get better somehow, without having a plan to make it happen, can derail your weight loss efforts because we need to identify what needs to change and than set specific steps to change it.  So for instance the fix for going over your daily calorie budget could be to plan out your day for tomorrow. While most unhelpful thinking styles are negative (example beating yourself up) the don’t worry be happy style feels helpful and positive.  But it too can lead to feelings and actions or more often, inactions that undermine our journey.  Because it masquerades as something positive, this thinking style might demand a little practice and shift.

An example on how to manage this type of thinking was provided by the Weight Watchers Weekly on this subject.  It teaches you a way to “balance your thinking”.

  1. Identify your “don’t worry be happy” thought. (Example: I ate way more than I planned at my lunch date today. I’ll get back on track later.)
  2. Reality check it.  Ask yourself “what needs to happen to make this true?”  Use your answer to shift to a helpful thought that has one ot more back on track solutions. (example: If I make a plan, I will be able to get back on track later.  I could track what I ate.)
  3. Plan what you’ll do.  Choose one action from your ideas above that’s doable.  Make a specific plan for what you’ll do, when you’ll do it and who you’ll do it with (if anyone). (example: I’ll track what I ate at lunch during my 3pm break at my desk by myself.  That’ll help me see how many calories I’ve used and decide what to eat for dinner)

I’m a good one for this kind of thinking.  I am a big “don’t worry, be happy” thinker when it comes to my weight loss journey.  That’s why it’s ben so SLOW!  I’m always saying to myself “it’s ok tomorrow will be better” – spoiler alert- tomorrow is never better.  The action plan above is great and something I am going to give a try!

Scheduling Your Meals?

Planning when you’ll eat helps you manage hunger, avoid unplanned eating and make healthier choices.  


There’s a lot to be said for this.  If you have a scheduled healthy eating plan for the day, you’re definitely less likely to go off the rails and eat unplanned foods (and for most of us, that’s junk food- Am I right?).  A few years back i saw a nutritionist to help me in my weight loss efforts and that was the main sticking point to her whole program.  Eating breakfast as soon as you wake, then a snack a few hours later, then lunch, another snack, dinner and an optional snack in the evening if you needed something to tide you over until the morning.  Her schedule also included “food rules”, that I won’t go into all of them here, but one of them sticks with me today – which I still try to achieve (not nearly as much as I should) is no carbohydrates for dinner – proteins and veggies only.  Which makes sense if you really think about it.  Going to bed with a tummy full of carbs isn’t the best plan for weight loss.
Something that we rarely think about is there are two types of hunger:  Internal and External.  It’s vital for your weight loss efforts to be able to manage internal hunger, because when you’re internally hungry, you’ll eat just about anything and it raise your risk of external hunger.  the best way to manage internal hunger is to create an eating schedule that helps you from going long periods without eating.
So what’s internal and external hunger?  Here are some ways to recognize the differences:
What’s the trigger?
  • Internal – things inside your body.
  • External – outside forces, people, places, emotions, the sight of food, the smell of food.
Physical Sensations:
  • Internal – Growling stomach, slight lightheadedness and/or headache.
  • External – None
What you’ll eat:
  • Internal – Anything 
  • External – Specific food
Occurs:
  • Internal – Usually more than 4 hours after the last time you ate.
  • External – Usually less than 4 hours since you last ate.
Once you are able to recognize the difference between internal and external hunger, create and eating schedule to help you manage it.  Another good way to know, really quickly, if you are really hungry or if it’s your emotions (or any other from the list) – is what kind of food is going to satisfy you – will an apple fulfill your need for food or is it something super specific? (and for most it’s junk food)  
Scheduling your meals can also help in stopping yourself from overeating, because you are most likely planning your scheduled meals ahead of time.  When you meal plan you’re making better choices and creating a serving size for yourself.  You’re less likely to overeat when you’ve had something to “top off” your tummy all day long too.
Have you tried this?  Do you like it?  Any tips?

Escape Emotional Eating

Learn how to manage your feelings without food.

When you eat in response to an emotion, that is emotional eating.  It’s learned, not innate, response.  Think about it, have you ever felt the need for a big serving of pizza or your favorite comfort food?  I know I have.  I have so many triggers that send me right to food.  The biggest trigger for me is when I have an educational meeting for my son.  I have been attending these meetings for seven years and they never get easier.

I’m learning how to cope better when it comes to emotional eating.  I started attending Overeaters Anonymous meetings and I am currently working my way through the Twelve Steps, but every day is a new challenge.  Emotional eating can lead to ups and downs with your weight.  Especially if you feel guilty afterward – which then leads to more eating!  But when you learn to do something else in response to this emotion, you’re more likely to lose weight and maintain the loss.  Emotions are like waves.  They peak and then they subside.  At first, the food may feel comforting but ultimately eating isn’t helpful.  Accepting your emotions and finding a way to distract yourself from eating, can help you stay on track to reach your goals.

Some of the suggestions given in the Weight Watchers Weekly on this topic are to distract and engage.

  1. Call or text a friend.
  2. Dance to your favorite song.
  3. Clean out your closet or junk drawer.
  4. Read a magazine.
  5. Play a game on your phone. 
  6. Ride a bike or go for a walk.
  7. Toss a ball with your pet.
  8. Go on connect (or social media) for support.
  9. Watch your favorite TV show.
  10. Create your own idea _______________.
This is a tough one for so many people because most of us were brought up to comfort or reward ourselves with food.  Re-programming yourself is not an easy task.  It takes practice and a commitment to change.  It also takes support from those around you.  Which is sometimes the same people that have comforted you with food in the past.