Fragile Adulting

I wrote that post the other day about wanting to make some changes. And then I did nothing differently for about two weeks. Finally, last Monday, I told my Community Group that I really need some help getting healthy. I need the accountability that I used to get a WW meetings. And it was like a switch flipped. None of them have yet "held me accountable," since tonight is the first time I'll see them since I asked. But just knowing they can and will ask me has given me the last little nudge I needed to get moving.

I don't know why it's so hard for me to get mentally engaged with this kind of thing. I know people who set goals or make plans and then they just...do them. They...do the work. My brain doesn't work like that. I so dearly wish it did. It's funny, because I totally did that with school: "I'm going to take this class and get this grade and learn this thing to get into this class to get into a good college and yada yada yada." And I did and it was simple. Note I did not use the word "easy." But apparently, without the structure of school with measurable goals and quantifiable achievements, I just kind of flail around hopelessly.

Which is all very silly, because some of my goals are VERY quantifiable and measurable. I want to lose 100 pounds in the next 12-18 months. Quantifiable. Measurable. But not simple and definitely not easy. To do that, I have to get so many other things in place and in motion. But I've made some simple and some not-so-simple changes that I hope will help create the kind of environment where I can achieve some of my goals. It's all very new (less than one week, you'll remember) and fragile, but it's working so far and it all feels very adultish.

Elise's "Get Off Your Butt and DO Things" Lifestyle Change of Goals and Chicken (a lot of chicken)

  1. Bedtime is 9:30 pm
    • I've done this in the past and never stuck to it longer than a night or two, but getting up early to exercise has me tired enough to stick to it. So far, going strong.
  2. Respect the alarm clock - only one snooze allowed 
    • I'm a chronic snoozer. It's gotten pretty bad recently, bot the other day, I realized that I wasn't feeling any more rested with 40 or so more minutes of very interrupted sleep. So I'm only allowing myself one snooze. Then I'm up no matter what. 
  3. Out of bed by 6:00 am
    • I need to be to work at 8:00 am. The drive is about 10 minutes. This alarm gives me time for a 30-ish minute walk, a shower, breakfast, lunch and/or dinner prep, quiet time, and getting ready for work. When I type it all out like that, it looks exhausting and busy, but it's pretty relaxed. I've never thought of myself as a morning person (I don't hate morning, but I'm really more of a night owl), but this helps me get my mind and heart ready for what is likely to be a ridiculous/annoying/frustrating day at work.
  4. Walk 1.5-2.5 miles a day
    • I use an app called MapMyWalk. I've designed several routes around my neighborhood (varying-length loops). In the morning, I pick one and go. I'm challenging myself to go farther and faster every day, but I'm limited to 30-40 minutes. I start out in mostly dark, but it's almost always light by the time I get home. I had a plan for 20 miles in April, but then I sat on my butt for two weeks. I'm at 11.8, so it's unlikely. 
  5. Quiet time
    • My church is collectively reading through the New Testament, 12 verses at a time. There's an email with the scripture and a short devotional. I write some thoughts in a journal and pray a little. Honestly, this is something I have struggled to do my entire life. I just don't make time to read scripture like I should and I have about a MILLION journals that are blank after the first few pages. I do this first thing after my shower while eating breakfast. So far, this is working for me. I think this is making the most difference in how I deal with work shenanigans. 
  6. TV is for nights and weekends only - none after 9:00 pm
    • For me, this is the lynch pin. I had no idea how much time I was spending watching Internet TV. I realized it was a huge problem when I would turn on an episode of something while getting ready and would stay to finish it even if it made me a few minutes late for work. Now that I've banished TV to evenings and weekends, I have a lot more time. And I'm spending less of that time on my couch. Also, I've made sure my last episode ends before 9:00 pm. I use any time left over for reading, which was severely lacking in my life--I had no idea how much I missed.
  7. Meal plan - always have a plan for lunch
    • This one is two-fold: Budgetary and dietary. I eat the same breakfast every day; I have for over six months.So all of my bad food choices were coming at lunchtime. Always having a plan for lunch is the first step in making WW work for me. I've also been pretty ravenous lately (even before adding activity to my life), so I decided sandwiches and salads are not enough. Now I have a dinner plan every night that serves two--one for dinner and one for lunch the next day. I made the plan on Saturday and shopped for only what I would need for this week. My bill was much smaller than usual. Hopefully, I'll throw away a whole lot less food with this strategy. This also involves a lot of boneless, skinless chicken breast because it is cheap and low calorie. I am a not-so-inventive Disguiser of Chicken.
Honestly, so much of this looks like...responsible adulthood. Maybe these things have never been an issue for you, and it looks a little silly that I had to make these rules and list them out like this. For me, these changes are huge! Deep in my core, I am a very lazy, apathetic, gluttonous person. That sounds so ugly and down-on-myself, but hear me as I intend: without thoughtful intervention or dire, immediate consequences, I will almost always chose the thing that is worst for me, take too much of it, and let life just happen to me. That is my natural bent, but it's not who God created me to be and it is not who I want to be. So here's how I'm thoughtfully intervening. 


Character Limits Are My Kryptonite

I was trying to write a tweet today, and I couldn't fit it all into 140 characters and get my point across. I know, no one is surprised by my inability to be brief. It's nothing earth-shattering or ground-breaking, but it might come off as one of those tone-deaf "I am so profound, look at me in my leather armchair near mahogany bookshelves faux-refurbished industrial swivel chair in my chevron-bedecked living room pondering life and using my Voice to impart to you my secret wisdomous thoughts" blog posts that I kind of hate. Or something.

Growing up, my family was very free and liberal with the phrase "I love you." Not in a careless way. We truly, 100% loved each other (even when we hated each other). No matter what was going on, no matter how we behaved, no matter the occasion, we said "I love you." Sometimes, we would say it when someone LEFT THE ROOM. They were coming right back! We knew they were coming right back! And yet, we still made sure they knew it before they left our presence. It's how we say good bye on the phone: "Love you, bye!" We are a very loving family that is not afraid to show it.

This is not to say that our home was paradise or that we never fought. Sister and I shared a room until I was 12, so you can imagine the carnage. We fought like cats and dogs; we BRUISED each other frequently. There was the normal amount of raised voices and tempers and frustrations that any family has. But we never, for one second, doubted our love for one another. A lot of this comes from our faith, which is at its essence built on love. If we truly believe what we say we do, how can we act in any other manner?

Anyway, my point is not to brag about my family, although I do think they are incredible people and I'm so grateful to have been raised in a home like this. My point is, even with never going a day without hearing and saying that phrase, I was fully an adult before I became comfortable with saying it to anyone I was not related to. Maybe this is common? I'm not trying to pull the Special Snowflake card here, I swear. But I remember most of my friends saying "I love you" to boyfriends at an age younger than one would expect someone to HAVE a boyfriend, let a lone be in love (and we can argue about whether they even KNEW what love was at that age at some other time). So maybe this comes from me never having been in a romantic relationship. I've never been in love, so I've never said "I love you" in that way. I don't know.

What I do know is that, despite coming from a loving home and despite growing up in a faith defined by love, I was...embarrassed? hesitant...UNCOMFORTABLE...with telling my friends I loved them. I have no idea why. I maybe thought they would judge me? Like that word was too big and too potent to attach to a normal friendship? Maybe it was a fear that they didn't feel the same way and then we're both left in that awkward space where there's pressure to say it anyway and there's unintended rejection if it isn't said. Maybe I believed, erroneously, that that phrase is only for blood-relatives and romantic love (that would be the dumbest rule ever, if it were true).

And now, nearly 600 words later, I'll tell you that that information? Just ground work for the thought I was trying to tweet earlier. So now you can see why I couldn't fit my idea into 140 characters. THIS is that thought: One of the greatest joys, one of the best discoveries, of my adulthood so far is realizing that I CAN say "I love you" to people who are not related to me and also that I have people in my life to whom I WANT to say it and who willingly say it BACK.

Like I said, probably not earth-shattering. Probably, most of you do this without thinking. But the magic of the Internet is those "me, too!" moments, so I thought maybe I'm not the only one. I have struggled for much of my life (again, despite the loving family and my faith) with feelings of inadequacy and fear of rejection and the expectation that people do not actually want me around. Typing it out like that, it sounds so WOE IS ME, but it's not like that. It's just this stupid, insidious, ugly thought that creeps into my thoughts when I'm in a group of people or spending time in someone else's home: "They don't actually like me or want me here. They're just putting up with me. It's an obligation to them. I'd better leave before I make it awkward for them to ask me to go." Ugh. Not pretty. And not true for most situations.

So the fact that I have people in my life who are not biologically programmed to love me, people who are not only willing to spend time with me, but are willing to say out loud that they LOVE me? That's pretty much the best thing ever. I still hesitate infinitesimally before I say it sometimes. Or I allow them to say it first, just to be sure. I'm still pretty awkward with it (although I would submit that there is very little with which I am NOT awkward). But it's become so common that I almost take it for granted. That's what hit me today. How normal and average and unremarkable it seemed to me when my friend said it right before she hung up the phone yesterday. Because it actually isn't--it's really rather extraordinary. I hope you this in your life, too.


How Does One Sneeze at 25 Pounds?

If you follow me on Twitter, you know that work is a little crazy right now. More than a little crazy. Stabby, Ragey, and Resentful, to name a few of the lesser-known dwarves (spell check is telling me "dwarfs" is the correct term here and I'm just not sure I can live in a world where that's true). Hard to believe though it may be, I have once again found myself in an untenable boss/employee relationship, and at this point it's basically an Internet meme. But lamer and without cats. That's not even what this post is about.

Since 40 hours or more of my week are so frustrating and sideways, I've been allowing the rest of my life to get frustrating and sideways, too. I haven't been eating well, which means weight gain and spending too much money eating out. I haven't been resting well (intentionally taking time to do things that fill me up like reading my Bible, going for walks, or a dozen other beneficial things) and have instead been allowing myself to get mindlessly television-drunk to avoid dealing with my emotions. I've been skipping out on my Tuesday night church thing because I just don't want to do anything after another awful day at work. Recently, I've even been skipping church on Sunday, using my Christianese excuse of "sabbathing" which basically just means I wanted to sleep in, and I've experienced a noticeable decline in my attitude, perspective, and ability to deal with the misbehavior of others. Huh, stop spending time worshiping the One who gives me grace and I am suddenly unable to extend grace to others. Weird...

Anyway, I've had enough. I refuse to let this one area of my life infect the others. And I refuse to let another boss or job have this much power over me. It's going to take more energy and more deliberate planning, but I need to take control where I can find it and start living life on my own terms. Oh, good Lord, I sound like a cheesy self-help book. Next thing you know, I'm going to be talking about pampering my inner goddess and waking up to the existential power of the glowing temple of the pool of inner light within my subconscious MIND or something. Geez. Mostly, I just want to stop feeling like I hate everything.

So. I'm back at WeightWatchers. I know, same song, different verse. But so far, it's the only thing I've tried that has given me any kind of success. As you might remember, I was posting regularish updates last summer about my weight loss. Then this day happened, and I just kind of fell off the wagon. I have lots of excuses, most of which bear the names of national holidays at which we eat copious amounts of food, but it doesn't really matter. One of the major reasons I picked up and moved across the country was that I needed to change some patterns in my life (huh, another song on repeat), including my weight. Now here it is, over a year later, and I'm about 25 pounds lighter than when I got here. Twenty-five pounds is nothing to sneeze at, to be sure, but it's far from my goal. I have almost 100 pounds to lose yet, so a few weeks ago, I restarted tracking my food. I'm still not going to meetings, because that leader kind of ruined it for me for now. But if you look at the proverbial weight loss wagon, you'll see me, uh...teetering on the back edge. But I'm IN and that's what counts for now.

I don't know that I'll be posting weekly updates or not. You all saw how well I maintained that last time. Plus, who really cares? I mean, *I* do, obviously. And I'm sure that some or most of you are kind and compassionate human beings who are happy to cheer someone on as they do something good for themselves. But who really wants to read the statistics of my scale every week? Probably no one but me, and that's perfectly fine. I lost about 5 pounds in the first week (no expectations of continuing at that pace, but it was a nice surprise on Friday morning), so it's going well so far. I also have a goal to walk 20 miles in April. I'm at about 4 so far, so we'll see. But I wrote it in the bullet journal, so it's bound to happen.