When you embark on a journey like mine you set some goals, targets you want to hit. This helps your sense of accomplishment and keeps you on the straight and narrow. I like to set small goals as well as the ultimate goal so I can celebrate a little along the way. I reward myself with a new book or a pedicure and then go onto the next goal.
Then there are those things that happen along the way that weren’t part of your goals, but are milestones none-the-less. Such is the case with the moods in my household. My husband and I have more energy so we aren’t so rushed or frustrated with the demands on our time. My body has self-regulated the hormone levels so I am way less moody and better able to handle stress in my life.
One of the big differences was with our kids, they are not following the program, but as we focus on not having processed foods and sugar in our house we have noticed that both of them have changed. Our son has more energy, he has always been a perky early riser but he is playing outside more and wanting to get up a do things. My daughter has had significant mood swings since she was little, this was a bit of a concerns as she was approaching her tweens, but we have seen that improve too. She is less likely to overreact and she has more control over her responses.
None of this was part of the picture that I had when I started this journey, but it has made a significant improvement in our family life and how we interact with each other. I think that we forget sometimes how what we put into our body doesn’t just impact us physically, but mentally as well. Not to say that everything is rainbows and unicorn poop in our house, but the changes were an unexpected blessing.
I have passed the honeymoon stage with my journey…you know what I am talking about. Where you are juggling all the balls and things are going well. The weight is coming off and you are feeling great, people start to notice that something about you is changing and give you lots of encouraging comments…yeah, that part is over.
I am in the trenches now…I am a little bored with the routine of my food and life has decided to throw some curve balls that have demanded that I deal with them… and not by stuffing a super-sized burger and fries in my face. I see this as a Battle of Attrition and I will not break. For those of you who are wondering…what!?!?!? A Battle of Attrition is a battle where the sole purpose is to break the will of the enemy. There are lots of examples from history…but I think you get the idea.
The hardest part about this journey has been the changing of my habits…what I do on a daily basis, how I respond to crisis and tweaking my daily routine to have it all work together seamlessly. Some days I coast and it is all good, some days I feel like I am battling my demons on an hourly basis…and my sword arm is getting a little tired.
Let me be clear, I am not battling my body…we are on good terms…I am battling those deeply ingrained responses that created my unhealthiness to begin with. Stuffing my emotions, eating my feelings, giving into my urges to hide from conflict, allowing others to determine my self-worth, trying to please everyone and ending up not making any happy..including myself. Those are the things that I overcome…the eating was just a symptom.
I so miss when I don’t get a chance to blog…I know that my audience is small, but you have been very gracious in your encouragement. It just makes me more determined to dig in and continue the fight.
This past week I was able to watch my daughter at her Track and Field day. I loved that day as a kid because it was a break from the routine of school…but I really sucked at the sports aspect. I wasn’t sure what to expect as leading up to this year they have had mini days…mostly for practice, but she was with the big kids now. A couple of things happened, I realized that my daughter is talented in so many more areas then I give her credit for and I learned a couple things about determination and encouragement.
I love my kid’s school, the staff are amazing and it has a really great school culture. This was on prominent display last Friday. As I am watching the events all the students are cheering each other on, celebrating successes and supporting those who were are a little less gifted in the area of sport. I got a little weepy as they just kept cheering, and it wasn’t just one class…this happened everywhere! Don’t tell the kids that there was learning going on…but you could see the empathy, sportsmanship and encouragement flowing out of these kids and those are things that are incredibly hard to teach.
I have to a admit to being nervous for my daughter as it was her turn at high jump…especially when she knocked the bar down during the first go around. This was one event that she really wanted me there for, but I kinda figured she had inherited my athletic prowess…which is minimal on a good day. She just shook it off and managed to tie for first in her class…she was determined to carry on, even after that first attempt didn’t go her way. I was so proud of her and her resiliency or as we call it in my house …stick-to-itness
Here is my take away… and it is even more true in life then it was in that gym on Friday. No matter the circumstance, like trying to be healthy or completing you education or mending relationships…always encourage others to strive for their best. The second thing I was reminded of was even if your first attempt doesn’t go your way, get back up and go again…you never know the heights you will reach until you try.
I am sure that you have all had a season in your life where you feel that you just keep getting knocked around. Nothing huge happens, but things just aren’t going your way. Kind of the way that things have been at our house the last few weeks and why I have been absent from my blog. Nothing earth-shattering or horrible, just those things that cause irritation and inconvenience and maybe make it a touch harder to shut your brain off at night. I did get some awesome news about a promotion at work, which while great, also made it difficult to shut down at night.
Normally in my previous narrative this is where I would completely fall off the wagon in terms of eating right…we would order pizza because it was easier-don’t forget the wings and cheesy bread and maybe a second pizza for left overs or “hey potatoes are veggies so chips and dip it is!” That didn’t happen, thank goodness, but I did encounter that thing that all people trying to lose weight hate…THE PLATEAU.
The scale was staying stubbornly the same and even my inches where not falling off at their usual pace. This happened for about 3 weeks and it was discouraging. I think that stress may have played a factor and since I have the almost super-human ability to obsess over how everything is going to work out…you could say I was feeling a little overwhelmed. I wanted to hide and be a slug for a while…but my life continued on and that was just not an option.
This past Monday I woke up and decided that the narrative needed to change. The weather was sunny (after what seemed like a month of rain) and we are truly blessed to have everything we need. My husband and I work well together to figure out schedules and how we can make things work, so I wasn’t in this alone. I got moving a little more intentionally and made sure I was following the eating program to a “T”…and what do you know, my plateau broke…I am down another 2 pounds.
Sometimes I think we need that plateau so our body can reset to the changes that we are making, or maybe it is a little sign to make some adjustments to what we are doing. Things are always going to get in your way…like the pesky “check engine” light that came on in the car this morning…but we are more than what happens to us in a day, it is really about how we respond to life that defines us.
The winds of change are blowing pretty strong in our household. My hubby is always on the move, we are doing some renos and I have just been given a promotion at work. All good things, but that doesn’t stop us from feeling overwhelmed, tired and just worn out. I have lots more energy then I use to…so I tend to think that this is more an emotional or mental fatigue.
I need to remind myself that in amidst my work ethic and striving to be the best at what I do there needs to be time for rest. Not necessarily sleeping, but taking time to centre my self and refocus on my priorities. This is a good thing and it an important part of living healthy.
I recently got a Fitbit and it tracks pretty much everything…most was what I had imagined, but it did reveal that I am not getting as much sleep as I though I was. If you would have asked me before the tracking, I would have said about 7-8 hours a night…but the tracking revealed that I was often getting less than 6 hours a night…big difference. It has helped me to be more intentional about getting rest and not feeling bad when I take a break.
So, my encouragement to you is that you set some time aside for resting, it actually might make you more productive.
Have you ever had one of those days where nothing seems to go right? That was me on Thursday…hubby was down sick, really sick…so I was not only worried about him but I was attempting to pick up the slack. He is a superstar and gets the kids off to school and picks them up most days. I had work, at work, that I wanted to get accomplished and just as I was getting going I locked the keys in the car at Costco…plus it was going to rain…very soon.
In my old life I would have called CAA and then soothed my frustration with life with a poutine. Thankfully, I called CAA and instead took a walk around the parking lot fervently hoping the rain would hold off until my car got unlocked.
It was a perfect example of how my relationship with food is changing into a much healthier one. I thought about binge eating for about 10 or 20 seconds…but it just didn’t have the draw for me that it once had. My day totally got derailed and frankly Friday wasn’t much better in terms of planned work getting accomplished…but it was a test of my growth that I passed…and I could feel good about.
Hubby is doing much better and things were mostly back on track by Sunday evening so it was a short-lived, mild storm, but it does give me hope that I can weather the bigger tests confidently too.
I had a wonderful Easter weekend, spent lots of time with family and really enjoyed the holiday. I was talking to one of my cousins about the changes that I have been making in my life and I had a revelation…this has made my marriage stronger.
Now before all the rumours get started…we were in a very good place to start with, but this whole process has drawn us closer together. My husband has always told me that I am beautiful…even when I was at my heaviest, so that really wasn’t between us. But I did keep a lot of my feeling about eating and even some of the binge eating I was doing, from him. I don’t think that it was creating problems, but I can tell you that it is a wall that no longer exists.
We talk about food choices, what we eat and when. We openly talk about weight and measurements and our goals for the eating program. What before was shrouded in shame for me has become a connection point for us. He is my biggest cheerleader and I am his. We hold each other accountable, but in the best possible way. I feel closer to him, because that last little part of me that I was holding back-because I was ashamed and felt guilty-is visible to him.
I am not even sure when the shift happened, maybe it was part of a process, but I see it everyday. Sure I enjoy the physical changes that we see as we continue on, but the closer emotional connection is something that is even better, and frankly unexpected.
Not every couple will have a spouse’s eating habits shrouded in shame…but they might have something else…so I want to encourage open communication, it has brought us an unexpected blessing.
So this past week was a rough one for me. We were silly busy at our house and my schedule was thrown out of wack. I developed skin irritations and my heartburn returned….what was going on? I hadn’t strayed from my eating program and these were issues that had disappeared after my first few weeks. I was bewildered as to why these things were coming back into play.
That was when one of the most important factors in my success thus far came into play…my support network came to the rescue. I belong to a closed Facebook page of others who are following the same eating program…there are those that are just starting out and those that have finished with the weight loss program and are maintaining their healthy lives…it is a treasure trove of knowledge, support and love.
I did some trouble shooting and what I came to discover, after some self-reflection, is that my schedule had been thrown off, I wasn’t getting as much sleep as I should and I needed to also focus on getting protein. I would have never known to make these adjustments or that what I was going through was part of the process…it all leads to me being ultimately successful.
I love that fact that my hubby is doing this journey with me, but without the support of my coaches and my online buddies I couldn’t be doing what I am doing.
I use to be afraid of my scale…when I wasn’t sure it was broken. It never seemed to go the way that I wanted it to…and if it did, that success never lasted for long. Things have changed…now I am obsessed with stepping on it because when I do it always seems to be going down, we have a new relationship.
The issue being that our relationship will be short lived. I am conscientiously making the choice to not weigh myself during my journey. I needed to at the beginning, as a sort of security blanket that I really was doing it, really was taking the weight off…but I don’t need it anymore.
I have grown confident in my body’s signals and in the way I relate to food…it is for nourishment, not comfort that I eat. I will still be able to track my progress through my measurements and how my clothes fit, but I am able to unburden myself from my fear of the the scale.
I didn’t come up with this all by myself, my eating program actually says to track this way. I am losing fat, but I am also gaining muscle so the actual weight gone is skewed. I have a website that explains all aspects of my weight lose program, plus it includes pictures of me when I started and me after 12 weeks…feel free to check it out www.fyf4good.com/nicolebrouwer
So when I began my journey to health I had been tracking my food for almost 5 years…sometimes more stringently then others. I needed to tame my body into control because it wasn’t. I would scoff at those who suggested that I simply listen to my body and stop when I was full. When I was emotional and wanting to eat or upset and wanting to eat or angry and wanting to eat…those cravings were real. My body could not be trusted…we were in a battle of wills! I was determined to “have some self-control” and my body was determined to remain in the patterns it had followed for years.
I continued this practice on my new eating program despite being assured that I wouldn’t need to. One of the mantras is “Don’t over eat, don’t under eat…eat until you are full and then stop” I didn’t know how to do this if I wasn’t tracking everything going into my mouth. I didn’t trust my body’s signals or my ability to stop.
I din’t track while on was on a recent vacation…had to stop “cold Turkey”. I decided that I would get back to it once I was again in my routine…but I had fallen out of practice and I din’t feel compelled to anymore…I realized that I felt in control and that I was trusting my body to send the right signals!!! This is a huge moment and accomplishment for me, the trust that my body is doing what it is suppose to do!
I now understand that holding on so tight to previous behaviours was holding me back…causing me to fall into old habits. With this new understanding, comes a great freedom. Plus my body and I are back on speaking terms…no longer engaged in battle, but working together for a better future.