I have a love/hate relationship with change. I'm forever rearranging the furniture, ogling new sheet sets, etc. About every three years I get the urge to rearrange my life - I start hunting for a new job, or switch up my hours, etc. I spend hours contemplating moving to another state, how that would change my life, and for the most part it's a good dream. :)
On the other hand, when I don't instigate change, or when change happens that I have no control over, I tend to fall apart, or at least stress/resist with all my might. Case in point: my air mattress died a few weeks ago and that practically sent me into a tailspin, because I couldn't find a full-size air mattress anywhere in town, I could only find a twin or queen-size. Just this small "change" stressed me out until I talked myself into realizing what a nit it was in the face of life.
It doesn't seem to matter what the "size" of the change is - some small changes have brought me much more pleasure/stress than some comparatively "big" changes.
On the other hand, some of the changes I've made have been excruciatingly painful at the time - can I just say it again? excruciating! - but they have also brought me the greatest rewards.
So class last week really got me thinking about what kind of changes I'd like to make in my life, and it made me think of all the changes I've already made. I have been saying it to myself a lot lately - I feel like who I am now and who I was even two years ago are two really different people. Lately I'm finding out new things about myself, or things that used to be true and aren't, anymore. I have tools now that I didn't have before, so even when I run into "new" issues or just rough spots in life, I know how to handle them better - most of the time. :)
So I had a little two part epiphany: first, if I had mostly resolved some issues that I've struggled with all my life, or at least gotten to the point where I had them mostly under control, then I could address some other issues that I've never even been able to think about touching before cuz I was always so consumed with other stuff. And... if I had overcome some of these big issues, I had proven that if I wanted to change something, if someone told me/showed me how - I could change it! It might take me awhile, but if I was really resolved to be in it for the long hall, well, then, I could change whatever it was about myself that wasn't doing me any good!
(Now, just a disclaimer: I am thinking about unhealthy habits, destructive thinking patterns, toxic relationships, etc... just in case anyone becomes concerned. :)).
Second, if I had the power to change something... i.e. if fear of failure wasn't a (huge) factor... what was I waiting for?
So after I got out of class, I went home and signed up for the Weight Watchers online program. It's something I've been thinking about doing for awhile, but I've just kind of never gotten around to mentally committing to it the way I need to. A few months ago, I tried the Weight Watchers for about a month - I didn't join, but I googled a bunch of information about it, found a free daily points calculator and a food point calculator, etc - and it worked really well for me. I like the emphasis on making a bunch of small changes instead of drastic changes (which again is change that isn't always comfortable, lol). I was actually kind of surprised how painfree some of the changes were - for instance, just choosing burger A over burger B at a fast food restaurant was sometimes a huge difference. I even kept some of the changes after I stopped being on the program. I knew if I could commit to it, it would work.
Also, there are a lot of things working for me right now - two of my fav bloggers (Jenny and Allie) are also doing the Weight Watchers program, so I know I'll be getting frequent inspiration/encouragement, and this class, if nothing else, means that I have to be able report on my progress. Or lack thereof. :)
So it's been one week now, and here are some things I've learned. Or, you might say, gained. :)
A couple of years ago, I realized I could do anything but not everything. It's a subtle difference but a really really important one. I was trying to do everything - be a full-time student, be the over-committed one at work, be involved in everything our church was sponsoring, be involved in extracurriculars, etc. And I was pretty much miserable and not enjoying any of it. And (I'm almost embarrassed to say it, because it's so stupidly obvious), I had no clue why I wasn't enjoying it. Eventually I realized that doing less would actually make me more happy - go figure. The first thing I committed to doing was to come home at least more times than not for dinner. I couldn't avoid taking any evening classes, but I did rearrange my schedule so that I was home at least four or five evenings a week. And that started a bunch of other changes - thinking in terms of balancing rest with activity. Now I think I've almost swung the other way - I enjoy a night out, but I also look forward to kicked-back evenings at home with a movie and an early night.
I think that "dieting" (I really hate to apply that term to what I'm doing here, because I'm trying to make changes that I'll use for the rest of my life, not just to drop X many pounds and then... what?) is going to be very similar. I can eat anything, but I can't eat everything. And recognizing that I'm not going to be any happier if I do eat everything.
I know that a lot of these extra pounds come from bad eating habits where I was trying to make up for something. Some of this was emotional - "I'm not happy, so I'll comfort myself with this food" - and some of it was physical - "I'm working overnights almost full-time and being a student full-time and I'm exhausted but sleep isn't an option, so I'll eat this because it makes me slightly less miserable." Also, when I was at work, I was working in a really fast-paced atmosphere where no one got meals anywhere near conventional mealtimes, and sometimes not at all and definitely not until we were absolutely starving, and if we were lucky enough to score a five or ten minute break where we could literally grab food and swallow it, we were focused on eating enough so that we wouldn't feel painfully hungry again until we had the option of eating.
So I think now half of my battle is going to be realizing that I don't need these habits anymore, either emotionally or physically. I'm lucky enough to be in a job where if I'm hungry, I can eat. There really isn't a time in my life right now where if I was hungry, I couldn't feed myself. On the emotional front, I think I've been realizing for awhile now that I don't need to eat to make myself feel better. I have better tools. I know how to identify what's bugging me and work through it. And, to be honest, after you've felt what it's like to really feel better, food just doesn't cut it anymore. A couple of times this past year I've found myself with an empty wrapper/plate/etc and thought, "What just happened here? I don't think I even enjoyed it. And, seriously, I don't even feel any better!!!"
Not to say that I'm not having cravings, because I am... and to be honest, for the most part I'm undulging these cravings. Because I'm not going to live without chocolate, ice cream, or carbs for life. I'm just going to eat them properly. (Actually, I'm being really persnickety about making sure I do eat some carbs, cuz I accidentally went without yesterday - I had fruit for breakfast and then a low-carb prepared meal for lunch - and by afternoon I was on the floor. Whereas today I made sure to work some carbs in and I'm way below my daily points AND I'm doing fine. Lesson learned.) So I've basically spent the last week telling myself, "You can have anything you want... you just can't have everything."
Actually, it's been kind of funny... the last two nights, I've had a dream where I was eating something "bad", something I kept thinking "I shouldn't be eating." Not sure what it was but I do know it had cookie crumbs and caramel. I woke up still tasting it and thinking I'd blown my points, and I realized two things:
I may not realize it yet, but I want a treat. A really luscious treat. And -
I'm going to blow it. At least when I blow it in my dreams I can work through it when I wake up before I do it in real life.
So I attacked it on two fronts. I went and bought a Smart Choice peanut butter cup sunday - 3 points, no damage done there, and it was really incredible. Sure enough, I hadn't realized I was feeling deprived until I started eating it and I was like, "I've been wanting this."
Second, the question is not, Am I going to mess up occasionally? It's gonna happen! The question is what I'm going to do right after. And now I'm so glad I had the "binge dream." Because the answer is - I'll deal, I'll get back on track. Probably it's not such a big deal as I think (thinking about my dream, I realized I've never used all my flex points and they could have easily covered even a really indulgent dessert).
So, this is my change right now. I'm excited. :)