Tag Archives: challenges

Getting My Priorities Straight…

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The last time I wrote, I shared with you about how I wanted to recapture my long-term goals by making some new short and mid-term goals.  I’ve been working on that and have been coming up with some great ways to create sunshine in my life!  I’m going to be sharing those with you in chunks. 

I’ve already been sharing my first priority, improving my physical health.  I’m addressing that in a few ways.  I’ve begun eating a whole foods, plant-based diet.  I’ve eliminated all diet soft drinks and teas.   I’m adding in exercise now too.  I’ll be walking at the local high school track and I’m finally signed up for my very first kettle bell class next Saturday morning!  (I’m VERY excited about this and I hope I love it as much as I think I will!)

My second goal is to simplify my life.  I’m pretty good about saying “No” to obligations that are going to stretch me to the limit.  I have a big need for improvement in several areas of my life though.  Afterall, I only have 24 hours in a day and I want that time to be spent the ways I choose, not how I have to spend it. 

So, my first step was to look at how I currently spend my time:   I work full-time,  plan, shop for and prepare our family’s meals, clean our home and drive to pick my daughter up from daycare, appointments and recreational activities.   I spend a great deal of time caring for my daughter’s physical, mental and emotional well-being.  I am our family’s housekeeper and laundress.  I spend time once or twice a month with a close group of friends.  We also entertain once every other week or so.  I quilt, sew and make handmade greeting cards.  I watch 3 shows/hours of TV most weeks.  I’ll also admit to spending A LOT of time on the internet, facebook, etc… 

Now, I’ll break it down further: 

I need to work as I provide health insurance for our family.  So that stays in the schedule. 

Our new food plan requires quite a bit of time be devoted to this, but it’s an investment in our family’s health, so I’m going to choose to spend whatever time I need to in order to make that happen.  How will I minimize the time invested?  I can  shop at fewer stores to minimize time spent shopping.  (Currently, I shop at 4 or 5 stores a week, sometimes more than once.)  I can cook larger meals so we can eat the same meal two times in a week or freeze meals ahead of time.  I could also try to prep more than one meal at a time, so less time is spent in the kitchen.  (I know myself well enough to know that this might be a problem though.  Once I get more than one thing going at once, it’s easy for me to get off track and spend a lot of time trying to figure out what in the heck I’m doing!  That wouldn’t save me any time, it might even cost me more time!) 

I will still need to drive to appointments and such.  (We live in a rural area, so I feel as if I’m always in the car.)  How do/will I try to minimize its impact on my schedule?  I I already streamline our outings, combining trips to the grocery store with trips to the park or the doctor’s office.  That way, I’m maximizing the gas mileage and time spent away from home. I’m not sure much can change in this area.

My daughter will still have many needs and desires.  Perhaps if I get her involved in what I’m doing more often, she won’t might not be pulling me in a different direction while I’m trying to accomplish a task. 

Unfortunately, I am still going to have to be our housekeeper and laundress.  I find keeping our cozy (less than 1,000 square feet!) house clean to be an overwhelming task, mostly because we have way too much stuff!  You’d never guess it by looking at our house lately, but I’m a firm believer of the philosophy “a place for everything and everything in its place”.  There just isn’t enough space for all the belongings we have accumulated.  I still have wedding gifts that, 10 years later, are still in boxes!  -Ridiculous!  This is the most obvious area that needs improvement.  Therefore, my goal is to attack this area first. 

Long term goal:  To have a home that is free of non-essential clutter, easy to clean and visually calming while still expressing our family’s personality.  Mid-term goal: To create a place for everything within our home.  Short-term goals:  This week:  Get rid of everything we don’t NEED via tag sale.   Next week: Touch up trim paint in the living room and master bedroom. First week of June: Purchase frames and hang pictures in living room, master bedroom and little one’s room.  The rest of June:  Create storage solutions for items we have. 

While this list is going to require some time and effort, it’s nothing that I can’t handle.  If I wanted to, I could have broken it down even further, explaining when and how I would go about getting rid of (ferretting totes out of the basement, sorting, pricing, setting up) those items.  And I may choose to do that for the creating storage solutions in June.  I’ve found that the key is just to break down each goal into managable chunks of activity, commit to it and then do it.  It’s amazing how easily overwhelming projects get tackled when I use this method.   It gives me immense satisfaction to complete each task, tick the box and move on to the next item. 

Okay, I’ve shared some of my goals for the next few weeks…  I’d love to hear what you’re working on!

Here’s To New Beginnings!

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Ahhhh!  I love the feel of a new beginning.  The earthy smell of a fresh Spring rain, the thrill of back-to-school shopping, the hope of a newly budding romance, the anticipation of a new birth…  <Sigh> Then there’s the chronic (for me) new beginning: a “diet”.  What makes me think that changing the way I eat will be any different than all those other times? 

I’ve probably joined Weight Watchers a dozen times (conservatively), T.O.P.S., Nutri-system and followed the Atkins diet a few times too.  Of course, there were the countless times I tried to just eat “healthy” without weighing, measuring or counting calories, carbs or fat.  I have also done much of the prep work for the bariatric program at our region’s leading (and most responsible) hospital before deciding it wasn’t for me.  Pairing any or all of these with group and individual therapy and a 12 step program has taught me a great deal about myself.  Probably the most important thing I’ve learned repeatedly over the years is that I’ve got a very unhealthy relationship with food.  Therefore, my health will not change unless my relationship with food changes.

Now, if you look at me, my obesity is obvious.   One doesn’t become overweight without having some sort of issue with food and/or laziness.  (I happen to be overly fond of  addicted to sugar.  Though surprisingly unlike all other women in my family, I don’t give a hoot about chocolate!)   What may not be so obvious is the pain that the weight hides.  That weight didn’t get there by “accident”.  It wasn’t a concious choice to get fat, per se,  just to disappear.  Food was a solution to a problem.

My weight gain came rapidly when I decided (subconsciously) that I wanted to hide my body, to make it unattractive to men.  Like too many women around the world, I was molested as a girl.  It was scary!  I didn’t want it to happen again.  So there was a purpose in gaining weight, even though I didn’t recognize it at the time.  Now any purpose driven person with 15 years of practice is bound to be pretty darn “good” at what they’re doing.  I was practically an expert!  One might think that it would be easy to change this behavior once the reason behind it was revealed.  Unfortunately, it’s not been simple or easy!   Patterns take a long time to change, especially when emotions are behind them.  We’re pretty complicated and amazingly resourceful creatures.  Gratefully, I have a fabulous woman who works with me to see those patterns and hear the voice I don’t always hear playing in the background, enabling me to make choices that will help me along my journey.   With her help and that of some really incredible women, I’ve been addressing those concerns.

The other factor in breaking down my destructive behavior patterns is the damage I’ve already caused my body.  My poor body…  After 28 years of compulsively overeating, the damage  is pretty extensive.  I’ve been insulin resistant since I was a teenager.  Not that anyone knew it at the time.  I fell victim to the endless rollercoaster of sugar highs and lows fueled by my addiction to sugar.  I didn’t understand the damage that was being done to my body.  I only saw the resulting  fat, which was depressing and led to more sugar consumption.  In return, this past fall, I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.   My knees aren’t completely shot yet, but as I age, it’s apparent that they’re on their way.  I’ve had lower back pain, bad posture and plantar fascitis due to my weight.  -And we won’t even get started on the stretch marks!  When I was younger, women used to tell me to, “lose weight now, while your skin will still bounce back”.  I never understood this, until I got to be about 36.  Now, it’s crystal clear! 

Taking a good hard look at the challenges I face isn’t something I like to do, but it’s a very necessary part of my life. Many in my family have chosen to bury their heads in denial instead of addressing issues as they arise.  Time has shown me if I don’t acknowledge them, they can never be overcome.  I will be doomed to repeat them.  So I must continually make the decision to take responsibility for my health.  This becomes a reality in a few ways:  Acknowledging my feelings and finding healthy ways to cope with those that make me uncomfortable.  Making a conscious effort to plan, shop for, prepare and then eat only foods that will nourish my body.  And exercising my body as it is today.  (Meaning that I need to stretch myself to try new things, letting go of the inabilities that I had yesterday, but not expecting myself to be capable of something I’m not ready for.) 

Curiously, I am not without hope!  God has designed this amazing human body of mine (and yours!) to endure.  It’s goal, in spite of the evil I might do to it, is to survive.  What an amazing thought!  According to Dr. Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr. , of the documentary Forks Over Knives and The China Study, at least some of the damage can be undone.  Cholesterol levels, blood sugar levels, blood pressure, etc…  all returning to within normal, healthy ranges when following his recommended plan of eating.  (See his book Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease: The Revolutionary, Scientifically Proven , Nutrition-Based Cure for details.)  I am also still relatively young, mobile and VERY willing to try my best.  And gratefully, I have a small community of fabulous people who love and support me in my quest for a healthy, sunshine filled life.  Without them, I would certainly give up.   I find that for me, accountability is crucial to accomplishment. 

What do you find helps you stay accountable to a large goal?