Archives for category: weight loss secrets

It’s morning. I’m tired. Of course, this is amplified in intensity because I definitely needed the sleep I definitely did not get. I sigh and choke down more coffee. It’s going to be a long damned day.

I take a deep breath, relax, and think back on my appointment yesterday. There’s a lot to unpack from that one, and I won’t be doing it (all) here (now). I smile back on one fairly cool win and good moment; I did not get lost getting home (last time I did). I was, um, fairly mistaken about where, in the context of the rest of the city, and, you know, maps, this location actually is, and so last time, when I chose to “just drive home”, I got turned around on a sequence of one way streets I’d forgotten about, and ended up quite lost. Not this time. I looked at a map. 😀 To be clear – I could have used my GPS, and considered doing so, but… rush hour. I don’t find it as uniformly helpful during rush hour. It knows the roads, it does not know people. So I GPSd the suggested route, looked it over carefully, and “just drove home”. It took precisely the amount longer that I’d expect for the greater distance. Win, indeed.

Therapy can be easy to the point of wondering why the hell I am there, or difficult to the point of wondering how the hell I’ve been accepted as an adult all these years. It’s a process. Like a lot of folks, there’s an additional emotional burden to bear in the midst of the cultural shitstorm that has become American politics and society. It’s particularly weighty for me as an individual; I already “have issues”. No lie. I have mental health concerns. I have been, even, fairly easily described as “mentally ill”. Am I now? Unknown. It’s not something that should have stigma, but it does. It’s a hard label to wear comfortably while also working full-time for a living doing something I’m respected for, living alone, managing my affairs on my own… all the adulting. I was able to take a break from therapy for about a year. No kidding, the current presidency on top of family “stuff” has pushed me back in. lol It’s okay. (I can laugh about that. Healthy.) There’s just more work to do; it’s just one more beginning.

I know, I know – asking for help when we’re ill (mentally, emotionally, cognitively, or physically) can be hard; it can feel like an admission of failure to adult properly. Don’t let that get in the way of getting help, though. Maybe you did fail to adult properly – but fucking wow is asking for help, particularly for our mental health needs, totally the absolute adult thing to do when help is what we need!! Go for it! You matter. Please. (And good luck)

I headed home with a plan, and a follow-up in three weeks.

I didn’t get enough sleep last night. Too much coffee? Too much therapy? No way to know, but definitely not enough sleep.

Another work day, then another, then a weekend… all filled with adulting. Fucking hell, I’m so tired…

…Well, back at it, I suppose. Can I get a new beginning over here, please? 😉

I’m sitting here rather numbly with my morning coffee. I sip it now and then. I’m not exactly groggy, but my brain hasn’t quite fired up yet, either. I’m in that limbo between engaging the world and sort of just… coasting.  I’m tired. My mind is foggy. I still have shit to do today that some portion of my consciousness really wants me to focus on, even though it is well before 5:00 am, and too early to actually do any of it. My acid reflux resents my morning coffee, today. My arthritis pain objects to being up, at all. I feel annoyed with myself, in a vague unsettled way. I feel the discontented, uncomfortable, frown on my face – I know the look; it’s on every toddler, ever, who was being directed to do something they don’t care to be doing. The frown before the tantrum. Fucking hell. This? This morning?

I have another irritated sip of coffee.

I really wanted to sleep in this morning. I would like to spend the day relaxing in the garden, or painting in the studio. Like most folks, I have to work for a living. One more day, then the weekend. I’m ready for it. I’m aware that my feeling of “too much to do” is more a matter of “anything to do that isn’t for/about me just at the moment”. It’s a feeling that signals failing myself on self-care, in some way.

I sip my coffee and think over my self-care of late, and find I’ve wandered into a quagmire of small oversights and compromises labeled “2018”. Well, shit. It’s not a real thing to “make up for it” – time has passed. We become what we practice, and when I fail myself on my self-care over time, I pay for it in mornings like this, and feelings of being burdened, overwhelmed, overworked, overtired… and I’m over it. lol 🙂

I take a deep breath, then another, and sit more comfortably. I clear my developing “to do list” and begin again – with me. What do I need to feel rested? To feel satisfied that urgent matters are handled? A very different list begins to take shape, and I start to see where my compromises have developed, and what they are costing me in wellness, in rest, and in accomplishments. Too much drama and craziness in a particular portion of my social network has taken a toll on my energy and my emotional resilience. I need to “reclaim my time” from the soul sucking vampires of OPD (Other People’s Drama) and media content. I could use a break, too, from “reruns”; content so familiar and well-loved that I lose time and bandwidth to it, without really watching/listening anymore. Distractions from… from what? Life? I don’t really want to be distracted from that. I begin to feel lighter and a bit more free, merely acknowledging the concerns. It feels good to “be heard” – and possibly especially by the woman in the mirror.

I think about a colleague who has grown dear to me over time. She’s “putting in the hours” – but I caught her crying at her desk, overwhelmed, and overworked. Her choice? Not if she is being obligated, or pressured, clearly – but perhaps it just hadn’t occurred to her that her actual life has value outside the office? She’s young. Committed. Earnest and passionate about her craft. On my way out, I rather sternly insist she call it a day and go home, get some rest, and remind her that life is not about what we do to earn the money to live it. Fuck, I’ve been there, though. You, too? Working harder than necessary, for less than the respect due, fully knowing it isn’t going to be valued – only expected, going forward. Fuck that bullshit. The contract says 40 hours. You get 40 of my fucking hours. I have my own life to live, and the time left over is already heavily compromised. Not enough work getting done in those 40 hours? Guess what that means? The job takes more people. Period. When we attempt to shore things up through pure human effort at the expense of our own wellness, we’re not actually fixing anything at all – and we won’t be appreciated for it, only exploited. 😉

Take care of that fragile vessel. I smile and sip my coffee. Self-care is a pretty big deal. I didn’t really “get it” until I was living alone; having to fully handle 100% of my self-care, myself, was a new thing – and I didn’t realize how much there was to do, or how much I was handing off to partners, to friends, to therapists, to strangers on buses… Self-awareness is an important starting point for really good self-care. When we yearn to “be heard”, it’s often that person in the mirror who is not listening. Getting past the guilt we so often feel when we do attempt to care for ourselves is probably the first real challenge in practicing good self-care. “Who am I to put work aside and leave the office “early” (after 10+ hours), when I could do more…?” Yes, well… there are unfortunately quite a few employers, and people, who count on us to abuse ourselves with our guilt and misplaced sense of obligation; it makes us so much easier to exploit for personal gain.

I make a frowny face as I finish my coffee, and remind myself to practice the same exceptional self-care I encourage my colleague to practice. I’m quite human. Feeling numb, tired, and a bit overwhelmed is a warning – failing to heed it, and really take care of myself, would be fairly stupid, at this point in my life. I make a plan to disconnect from the internet, social media, content reruns, and drama – and instead, spend the weekend “here for me”, at home and in the studio. In doing so, the things with some urgency that remain on my “to do list” seem rather less overwhelming, and more just a couple things I need to get done. It’s an improvement. It’s enough.

I’ll probably always be practicing; I need the practice. We become what we practice.

It’s time to begin again. 🙂

Effortless flow – something to aspire to, an amazing experience to experience… and not without effort at all. lol Practice. Whatever it is. Do your thing. Do it again. Do it more, and do it more often.

Dance? Keep on dancing. Music? Keep playing. Jugglers don’t become great without juggling. Artists don’t “find their voice” without continuing to make art. Writers who don’t write – aren’t writing, aren’t living their experience, aren’t sharing their words. Lovers? Yep. We still need practice to treat each other truly well, and to take love to a higher more connected place. These are all real examples. Each is also a metaphor.

We become what we practice – whatever that is.

Practice. It takes practice to be good at [you can fill this in, better than I can]. So, practice. You started out really good at it because it comes to you so naturally? Sweet! Practice won’t hurt anything; you love this! You’ll level up by doing it more. Do more of that which you love.

I’ll point this out, just in case you missed it; you get more skilled at whatever you practice. If you practice losing your shit regularly? If you practice being angry? If you practice self-loathing? Yeah, you get “better” at that too, of course. More skill. Less effort. We become what we practice – whatever it is. Our most chaotic and damaging characteristics also follow this principle. Just a thought – maybe practice different things than the things you don’t want to be.

Don’t let me get in the way. I’ll just finish this coffee, here, and then I’ll be over there – practicing.

 

It seems ages since the season last turned… Fall to Winter it was. An eternity it go, it seems now. I smile and sip my coffee, cold brew out of a can. My sleep was restless after foolishly sipping on a 3rd rather overly caffeinated coffee late into the afternoon yesterday. Mindlessness comes at a cost, every time. I woke with effort, groggily pulling myself from dreams that seemed more engaging than life.

For now, the day gets off to an early rather ordinary beginning for a Tuesday on a work day. Later I’ll come home, and there will be sufficient daylight for a bit of gardening, and maybe grilling something pleasant for dinner. It’s a short week, so either tonight or tomorrow will be mostly spent on housework, and getting shit together for the long weekend in the country. I smile, thinking ahead to the weekend.

A late autumn perspective. What will Spring reveal?

I open another can of coffee with a smile. Why does icy cold canned cold brew coffee taste like summertime?

Spring, already? I have plans. My intention is to camp a lot more this year. Hike a lot more. Disconnect a lot more. Having a place to go in the countryside, and the opportunity to enjoy the company of my Traveling Partner more along the way, just makes all of that seem so easy. 🙂

I’d been in the practice of hiking literally every weekend for quite a long while, then, moving into my own place sort of threw off my cadence a bit; there were other things to do, and all of them fell to me, daily. Adulting is busy work. No, I mean, seriously – it’s busywork. lol I ended up spending more time on other sorts of self-care entirely. Moving away from the park, last July, definitely changed the frequency of my hiking. First, the move itself, then… oh, right, my Traveling Partner moved down south, and I gained a car – and a commute that requires one. Then being sick, and the holidays, and more being sick, and then… What the hell? Why was that enough to stop me from hiking every weekend? Oh. Right. I spend of lot of those weekends driving down and back. LOL

Still – lots of great hikes down that way, and all of them are hikes I think I want to do. Time to research, plan, look over maps, and make it part of my experience when I’m down there. Spring is here. 🙂

Where will the journey take me?

Time to begin again.

Eat less or exercise? Personally, I have to do both. It’s non-negotiable. If I get less exercise, still keep my caloric intake well-managed (and low) and eat healthy food, I gain weight anyway. If I get plenty of exercise, but make poor nutritional choices, I also gain weight. If I eat a poor quality diet, don’t manage my calories closely, and also don’t get sufficient exercise, I not only gain weight, I gain a lot of weight, and I pack on the pounds fast. Some medications cause me to gain weight, too; that’s something I reliably find out the hard way. So… eat less or exercise? I don’t get to choose, I’ve got to do both. 🙂

There are quite a few things in life that we sometimes get snared viewing as a choice between options, when, actually, it’s a choice to change, or not to change; all the options involving change may be required to make change occur in the direction we’d specifically like to see. Real-life doesn’t tend to negotiate with our whims.

Emotion, and the skillful management and expression of strong emotion, specifically, has some things in common here, with a twist; incremental change over time is super slow, but our emotions jump to the head of any queue, lead every moment, and arrive to every party too early. So sure, it’s reasonable, and true, for someone mid-freak out to have the recognition and understanding that their experience is based on “irresistible” internal forces beyond their immediate control; strong emotion, particularly powerful emotions like rage, frustration, and sorrow, can erupt from within us, sweeping over us, taking away our sense of control, and eventually leading to regrettable words and actions. The “I’m sorry”s begin to pile up (if you are that decent sort who regrets treating others badly). So do the rationalizations (about hormones, childhoods, provocation, circumstances…).

It’s also quite true that our behavior is a choice. Yes, all of it. Yes, pretty much all the time, every time. The first time someone lashes out with an act of violence, they might get by with “I didn’t know” or an expression of astonishment that they could be provoked to that point, but second times? Third times? Times that occur after someone – anyone – has pointed out that’s not okay? Yeah, those are choices. Yielding to strong emotion and relinquishing control over behavior is a choice (unless maybe you are profoundly mentally ill and urgently in need of inpatient treatment). Well, if that’s also true, is everyone who ever treated a loved one poorly, or punched a wall, or lashed out with horrible words deeply mentally ill and urgently in need of treatment? Some of them probably are! Most of them likely are not. That they are choosing such behaviors is still a choice, and they could choose differently, and no you can’t “make them” change, and omg – if they decide to change themselves, that is a process that can be infernally slow, fraught will failures, and varying results.

…And before we can change ourselves through our willful choices in the direction of being our best selves, we actually need to 1. be aware that we would like to be other than we are, and 2. understand that change is possible, chosen, and must be practiced. It’s a lot to hold onto. It’s a lot of work. The practice has to come ahead of the need to be changed. It’s necessary both to feel, and to practice our best behavior under the stress of an “emotional load”. We’ve got to do both. It’s work that will have to be done in the face of real-time failures, disappointed frustrated loved ones, relationships that don’t make it through the process, friendships that end because it turns out some of them were invested in what is being changed. It’s work that is continuous and ongoing. Change is a verb – and you have choices.

Another school shooting. I read about it and can’t help but wonder where so many people have gotten the idea that their anger, disappointment, frustration, or any other emotional experience, entitles them to take a life – any life. Where did that come from? How long has this toxic seed been part of our culture? Did the shooter understand this is unacceptable behavior? If he did understand that, and chose to do it anyway, where did he get the idea that this is a course of action appropriate to his emotional experience? Why do so few people understand what poison their “righteous anger” actually is? Even otherwise good-hearted people can be drawn into making the most outrageously hateful statements about the value of another life (don’t read the comments on the internet, People, I’m just saying there’s an astonishing amount of rationalized hate out there), given the opportunity to frame that other human being as a bad guy of some kind. We most commonly succumb to hate due to a lack of empathy… I don’t know how to fix that for the world, or my nation. I’m still working on it for me – one practice at a time. Changing myself is within my control; I have choices.

Time to begin again.