Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Putting the Wheels back on my Wagon

 Change is HARD!

Special milestones like the start of a New Year is a time for honest reflections for most - myself included! The last couple years have been rough for me and on my birthday in August, another milestone passage where I tend to feel extra reflective, I realized I was not headed where I wanted to be and with my 50th birthday approaching next year I really needed to work harder at maintaining my health and wellness and stop putting myself 'last' in my life! 

The challenge of adapting healthier lifestyle habits when you've spent decades ignoring your health or letting poor health rule you is that CHANGE IS HARD and what we know and have known all our lives is EASIER to maintain than the hard work of change!

As a result even when you think you have got this it is very easy to slowly slip back into the bad habits that resulted in being overweight in the first place .... to let your hard earned 'change' slip away like there is a hole in your pocket so to speak! 

Back in 2016 I thought I had created a SMART wagon going here with my blog and lifestyle change goals .... I had set sustainable goals, I had measurable and attainable goals, I had a method of reflection built into my goals with the blog and I was confident when I started my  journey  of change 3 years ago that in time I would get where I was going.
I was doing amazing reaching those goals, my weight was coming off consistently and I was feeling amazing energy and momentum so much confidence and then slowly one small thoughtless, often subconscious, action at a time I stopped maintaining my wagon and the wheels just completely fell off and I started sliding back down the hill and with those choices my health and wellness slipped right back to struggling with both my overwhelming anxiety leaving me just so tired that my goal became making it through the day any way possible! 

So the reality is that even if your wagon is SMART if you yourself sabotage it, either subconsciously or consciously, it will not get you where you are going! So this time around I am changing the A in my anagram to being ACCOUNTABLE .... you need to hold yourself accountable to your goals and doing the maintenance to your wagon and ideally surround yourself with others who know your goals and will help to hold you accountable. People who will check in and who will, if necessary, kick you in the pants if you start to backslide on your goals!

So how did I so thoughtlessly derail my wagon in 2017?

Small Thoughtless Action #1 - Journal Justification

Using the justification excuse of 'I am so busy right now and I know what I am eating I do not have time to journal it I have it all in my head'. Life got busy - well busy in my head at least on reflecting I am not sure it was truly busy in that I did not have the actual 'time' but rather that my 'mind was so busy worrying about stuff' that I was loosing the 'energy' so to speak!. Which is an important distinction when reflecting about is one actually 'being too busy' or is one 'making one self FEEL busy when in reality one is doing nothing productive at all!

Cognitively I KNOW the importance of a written journal - I really do. I have mentored and counseled others on journal keeping. Writing a journal when done consistently and with honesty is a form of 'accountability' to yourself - with a food journal for example seeing in writing everything you put in your mouth makes you accountable to those choices - it is so much easier to subconsciously put crap in there if you can live in self denial of doing it - seeing it in writing though not so easy. Same goes with seeing your daily, weekly or monthly goals in writing and holding yourself accountable to working towards them - easy to 'ignore' them when they are in your mind! A written journal lets you see your successes right there in writing when they happened so you cannot later 'deny' them with your anxiety riddled stinking thinking if you suffer from that like I do and so forth trying to tell you you are failure and never accomplish anything so why bother trying. 

The importance of journal writing has so many benefits to health, wellness and positive mindfulness and yet it is often the first thing I self sabotage when life gets 'busy' on me! My blog included - creating this was supposed to be my biggest 'public accountability' to myself and I even let that slide! Something I am setting a goal to rectify this year with working on finding a better 'flow' for content and committing to updating it so bare with me!   

Small Thoughtless Action #2 - Bailing on Breakfast

I have never been a 'breakfast' eater. When I wake up in the morning I am often feeling nauseous which puts off wanting to eat plus I take thyroid medication that requires one hour before meal intake or two hours after and well it is always easiest for me to choose to do it the one hour before so I take it in the morning. Well than life gets busy and as a result unless I force myself to remember by either prepping it BEFORE life gets busy or setting alarms to remind me I will forget to have anything until I am feeling so low blood sugared that I will grab a 'poor choice' like a bunch of gluten free crackers or cookies or chips on the go - which further destabilizes my blood sugar and sends my body into craving more poor choices at the next meal! Again things I cognitively KNOW but yet let me self slip into doing! And when you make a poor choice with breakfast it becomes easier to make poor choices with other meals and before you know it your in denial that you just ate a bag of Doritos with salsa and sour cream and called it 'a balanced breakfast' cause you know it technically had a grain, protien and veggies! It also had 1200 calories and likely 4000mg of sodium but hey it was just this once - until it wasn't! 

Small Thoughtless Action #3 - Vetoed My Vitamins!

I have always struggled with a weak gag reflex since childhood - it makes swallowing pills a challenge for me which in turn makes it 'easy' to subconsciously 'forget' to take them because well when we do not like doing something we tend to find easy excuses NOT to even when we know that it is good for us!

So I am supposed to break my vitamins up into a few at each meal over course of day for best absorption in my body. Each evening before bed I would set up my little pill container with next days intake broken into containers for each of the 3 meals. So the morning would come I would 'forget' to take them with breakfast and than I would start with stinking thinking in my silly noodle of 'well you missed a meal so not point taking the other two meals today cause than this day will be off in the measurements I will start again tomorrow" and I would not take the other two meals that day. Well than that grew into stinking thinking of well you missed 2 days this week whats the point plus you are eating healthy and getting better variety of vitamins from diet so you do not need them as bad its ok we will start fresh with our goal of regularly taking these NEXT week' than it was well you missed two weeks this month we will start fresh 'next month' and than well they sat in the cupboard slowly expiring eventually out of sight out of mind!

Challenge is that while for many people a clean eating diet should be enough vitamins for them my body NEEDS vitamins to help with my anxiety (being low in vitamin B for example is common cause of heightened anxiety) as well as with my pain and auto immune challenges I need extra Vitamin D and Calcium and Magnesium cause my body does not absorb these same as others and so when I stop taking them all those issues start to battle with my body and my brain making it hard to make those 'harder choices of change'.

Disclaimer that while they are vital to my own health and wellness not everyone NEEDS to take vitamins - my suggest, like in anything health related, before beginning taking vitamins go see your DR and ask them to do a nutritional panel blood work - see what your body is LOW in and only take those vitamins you need cause otherwise you end up with really expensive urine!

Small Thoughtless Action #4 - Postponing due to Pain

Quote from here
All the research out there says that huge part of a healthy lifestyle is making sure you are 'moving more' and I know that this is true for me - being active and getting out and about around the right energy filled people 'recharges' me in so many ways and yet I allowed a combination of the stinking thinking of my anxiety and the chronic pain that I live with due past injuries that never healed well and auto immune disease challenges to, like the vitamins, slowly stop doing ANYTHING extra in regards to moving more than I had to over the past two years and slowly greatly reduced even bothering to go out to do things for 'fun' either finding excuses to cancel or postpone whenever possible ... basically my anxiety had once again turned me into a virtual shut in and because i had no other distractions my chronic pain was all I could feel and think about and it consumed me .... I put on a smile and faked it for work but come 5pm I was done and hide on the couch or in bed until next morning when I would get up and do my best to fake it until 5pm again. I would tell myself I was 'too busy' and did not have 'time' to do any of the things I used to love or that I will just rest today cause my pain is so high I will get to that tomorrow ... and well tomorrow turned into two years of unproductive phoning it in on my life as I slowly withdrew from all the things I used to love and enjoy.

Needless to say with my wagon wheels deraield my health and wellness journey was stalled! So on my last birthday I started working towards fixing my wheels and righting me wagon!

I went back to my Dr for a physical (turned out I had not been in over 5 years) and got new blood panel and adjustments to both my meds and suggested vitamin supplements. In September I joined the Epic Life Challenge for round 1 and am about to start round 2 next week! I have been back at the gym at least 3 times a week. I have started signing up for regular 'social engagements' outside the home and am not using anxiety related excuses to not go and I am restarting my blog!

Live Well, Laugh Often, Love Much
Be Totallyawake4-life

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