Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Week 42: Admission

When I was a kid and fretting about some situation, my dad would almost always tell me “If you know what the problem is, you can fix it.”  It was such a simple sentence, but the wisdom behind the words was vast and invaluable, especially for a kid who tended towards anxiety rather than rational thought.  I found if I focused more on the actual situation on hand rather than the possible outcomes, I was a lot less anxious.  And as the years went by I learned that knowing what the problem is sometimes includes admitting that you have a problem in the first place.   And as I write this, I find myself in such a position.  The time has come for an admission, painful as it may be, because it’s the only way I can think to even start fixing the problem.   

I addressed my food addiction early in this project, because realizing I had the addiction was a very important step in my journey.  Having that knowledge about myself enabled me to learn what my triggers were and what foods I should avoid. Of course, knowing that doesn't always mean I make the right choices.  A month ago I made a few wrong choices.  I fell off that proverbial wagon and have been struggling to climb back on and stay on ever since.  I could go on and on about how disappointed I am with my behavior and sudden weakness after a year and a half of solid success, but that’s not the point of this admission.

No, the point is the admission itself.  If I vocalize it, put it on record and share it, then the problem is real.  I can no longer pretend that it isn't happening.  Because I have been pretending that there isn't a problem and that I've got it all under control, even though the scales and my exercise records are telling a very different story.  I’m like Nero fiddling as Rome burns around him...if I just pretend everything is alright and don’t face the problem it will be fine, right?  Yeah, no.

I’m upset with myself, and ashamed that I wasted a whole month pretending everything was okay when it clearly wasn't.  The temptation to dwell on that is strong, because it’s what that negative voice in my head wants me to do, and it has been gleefully giving me the “I told you you couldn't do it! I told you so!” attitude for weeks now.  It has been a painful struggle, and I can’t quite seem to quiet that voice enough to find my equilibrium again.  It’s tiring, emotionally and physically, and there is a part of me that thinks giving up on this journey would be so much easier than continuing it.

But I’m still fighting, even as I write this.  A larger part of me wants to believe that this is just a long storm I’m going to have to weather, and that maybe right now I just need to dig in and refused to be moved and let the storm pass over me.  Once the sun comes back out the path I’m taking on this journey should be a little clearer, right?  And then I can journey forward once again.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Week 41: Gratitude

In an effort to battle the anxiety and depression of the previous week, this week I spent a lot of time looking for inspiration. I visited several of my favorite motivational-type blogs in the hopes that I would find something that would make me feel a little better and give me a more positive outlook on life. I wasn’t disappointed. There’s a lot of inspiration on the internet, if you know where to find it, but for some reason this week a lot of those sources seemed to be talking about the subject of gratitude and how it can really make a difference in both your attitude and how you live your life. According to one post, gratitude means “you appreciate from a very deep level what you have been given, what you have accomplished, what you have acquired, and where you are on your path at this very moment.” I’ve been thinking about that quote all week, and this morning I decided that perhaps I needed to take some time and focus on the things for which I am most thankful.

I’ve discovered that I have a lot to be grateful for.

Despite the fact that I’ve not lost much weight in the past couple of months, I’m grateful that I’ve lost as much as I have. A year and a half ago I was 100 pounds heavier than I am now. I'm grateful that I have managed to keep that weight off. I’m grateful that the lighter weight made it easier for me to run. I’m grateful that I found the courage to run a few 5Ks, and I’m grateful that I’m training to run more. A year and a half ago I couldn’t have done that--I’ve come a long way.

I’m grateful for my husband, who tells me on a regular basis how much he loves me and how beautiful I am, and persists when I try to argue otherwise on the latter. He supports me on this journey, even if it means he doesn’t get to see me for several mornings in a row because I’m at the gym doing serious time on a treadmill before I head into work. He holds me close when the anxiety overwhelms me and is there for me whenever I need him, no matter how grouchy or weepy I may be. I am grateful to have him by my side.

I’m grateful for that one vegan friend (you know who you are!) that even though we are separated by hundreds of miles manages to be there for me every single time I need her, regardless of what is going on in her own life. This person has all but held my hand on this journey, gifted me with the knowledge of her own experiences, and has believed in me even when I didn’t want to believe in myself. She is the one that urged me to take my dream of running a marathon and make it reality, and she has been invaluable in my journey from meat-eater to vegan. Words cannot come close to expressing how thankful I am for her help. The transition would have been scary without her and not nearly as smooth.

I have other close friends and family that constantly support me and help me on my way. Some do so with encouraging words and hugs. Others do so by giving me a kick in the ass when I need it. Some do both. All of them are helpful, and while I might be able to find my way on my own, it would be immeasurably harder without them. I am deeply grateful for their care and concern.

I’m grateful for the resources available on the internet. In my countless Google searches I’ve found everything from vegan tomato soup recipes to blog posts with invaluable information on running. Finding all of that information would have been much more time consuming without those resources!

And I could keep going here, but I do still need to take my walk this evening. But now that I’ve focused on that gratitude, I’m feeling better and am having a hard time remembering why I was depressed at all.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Week 40: Anxiety

Early this morning I realized that I was a day late with my week 40 post.  It didn't take long for my sarcastic inner voice to put in its two cents:

Slacker much?

I think I may have actually given a physical sneer in response.  Yeah, this week I have felt like I wasn't getting much done.  I've been dealing with a job search and all the anxiety (and sometimes apathy) that comes along with it.  I spent a lot of time holed up in my office at home, staring at the wall with a near constant litany of fear and doubts running through my head and a distinct inability to focus on anything else.  

It's extremely difficult for me when I get like this.  Venting is a great way to dispel some of the anxiety, but finding someone I trust to vent at is an entirely different matter.  I've discovered over the years that most people don't understand that when I'm venting anxiety I don't expect them to to fix my problems, or even understand why I'm so anxious.  I just need to get it out, to talk it through out loud.  What I don't need is an eye roll and an admonition to stop being a drama queen, or even worse, reminded that "everyone has problems".  I get that, I really do, but other people's problems do not negate my own, and vice versa.  And the simple fact is, once the anxiety wheel starts spinning in my head, it's almost impossible for me to slow it down unless I talk about what is bothering me.  

So what does this have to do with my fitness journey?  A lot, actually.  This past week I've not been focusing on the journey as much as I would have liked.  The scales mercilessly pointed that fact out to me this morning, and the weight gain has me worrying that I'm once again on that slippery slope that I've been on numerous times before.   I worry that I'm going to gain it all back.  Is this worry logical?  No, and I know that, but ask anyone that suffers from anxiety and they will tell you that there's nothing logical about it.

Fortunately, I do have friends that will listen, and I was able to connect with a couple of them early this morning and talk some of my worries out. It helped a great deal, and I think I am now at a point where I can focus on what needs to be done rather than worry about what may or may not happen.