Stress is a bitch. A cold, hard bitch – which is also a great song, but I digress.
Some years back I had a moment of realization that I had gotten fat. I stepped out of the shower, dried off, caught a look at myself in the mirror and shouted down the hall to Mr. Muse, “Holy Shit! When did I get fat!?”
It’s okay; you can laugh – I do. But, the fact was that I was fat, my joints hurt, I was eating crap, drinking too many adult beverages, and ice cream was on the menu every night. Hey, it happens to a lot of people.
But, that moment of epiphany about my unhealthy state caused me to get my ass in gear and lose weight, change my eating habits, and do a better job taking care of my body.
I had lost 70 pounds and I kept it off for many years. I was proud of my ability to maintain all I’d achieved.
Of course, Life happens, and the last few years found my stress levels rising. The quote about knowing thyself comes to mind; and I know that I’m a stress eater and drinker.
So, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about things I do that are habitual. I’d kept up working out a few times a week, but the eating habits had gone back to their old ways. Potato chips and ice cream. Adult beverages – far too many. All things chocolate. Gaining weight is kind of sneaky. You see it’s happening but you still think everything is fine and then one day you put on your tailored pants and think, “Damn, I have to suck in to button these!”
The lack of discipline all coincided with my most recent physical exam where the number on the scale stared back at me, and I knew Life had not been kind, and it was time to, once again, get my ass in gear. I’m in my 40’s now, and the body just doesn’t bounce back like it would in the teens and 20’s.
Mr. Muse and I noticed that less-than-healthy choices were making more frequent appearances in the shopping cart and we were both in need of revisiting those old, new habits. We began to allow our home bar to dwindle. I continued mindfulness meditation via the Headspace app (seriously, it has worked wonders on my stress and anxiety). We started our weekend hikes again and stopped buying ice cream.
I also started tracking food and fitness. It was the key to losing all the weight I’d lost before, and it will be the key again.
Have you found yourself in a situation where good habits you’d formed were pushed aside for bad ones?
The story of my life. Up and down, up and down. Now in my 50’s, it’s not going down so much.
I’m glad that the number on the scale isn’t as high as it was that day I saw myself in the mirror. It was a long road to lose that 70#, but seeing it back up is frustrating and sad at the same time. I think it’s because I know I’m the only one to blame and I’m also the only one who can do anything about it.
I also know it’ll be hard work. But, I did it once before, I can do it again. There will be no miracle shedding of this 20# in 4 months time either – that’s not terribly healthy (or sustainable). Also, I use a program where I see how many calories I’m allowed to eat to lose the weight and I’m ALWAYS eating ALL the calories! LOL But, who wants to feel hungry OR deprived? Not me.
I must say this rang a few bells with me. If I don’t keep a very close eye on the scales my weight moves up without the slightest invitation which I always think is rude of it. It certainly gets more difficult as you get older as you say. Well done on rediscovering the discipline and lets hope I do the same
lol I always have something my previous doctor told me, “You’re in your 30’s now. Your metabolism has taken a shitter.” How very frank of her! But, it cracked me up then, and it cracks me up now. But, oh MY how age certainly plays a part!
The self-discipline is coming along. The first couple days were difficult as I knew they would be, but each day makes it a little easier.
Good luck to you, Sir!
I definitely experience this and been thinking about that a lot lately.
Over the past couple years, I notice specific circumstances where I am happiest and healthiest. And that happiness reflects in that I don’t consume the things that I normally do in the day to day. Artificial sweeteners is a good example. When I go camping with bestie, I don’t use it. I don’t really use anything in tea, for instance. I’m completely content with just having it, notably while I’m just being me out in nature around positive soul. It’s so nourishing to body and soul.
But once I come back home and get back into the swing of stress at all my jobs, I go back to using artificial sweeteners to make everything super sweet. Or I rush off for things that are super salty (there was a big kettle chip month like maybe December, January I swear I kept their stock price up).
You inspired me to take regular outdoor walks even in the middle of winter, so maintaining that connection with nature has been very healing for me. That helps a lot. And I’m also keeping a food journal, not to count calories (that’s a bad idea for someone like me who bounces about with eating disorders). But to see how I feel energetically and spiritually after I consume stuff. Those two things help me to not go off the deep end for too long. Because, for instance, I don’t like feeling “foggy” or “heavy.” So, things that make me feel that way, I choose less often (still allow myself from time to time, just not for lunch and dinner 6 days/week no kidding).
Anyway, I’m thinking about these things a lot lately, especially since I celebrated another birthday a little over a week ago. How many times am I going to choose to not be happy? For how many years will I continue this ping pong? How long will I not choose the things that nourish and balance me? Time is precious. So are body and soul.
Thank you for writing this post and prompting me to return to this important inquiry. ❤ Always grateful for what you share.
I’m glad it resonated with you!
I’ve been lucky that I haven’t had any eating disorders – so tracking calories (I also track potassium since too low or too high can cause my arrhythmia to go off) is easy for me. Plus, I am a data junkie, but truly it helps me to see what I’m fueling my tank with on a given day.
Stressful days? Salty, fatty, sugary goodness. Days where I’m calm and handle any stress well? I’m practically an angel when it comes to my choices.
But, I’ve also learned that if I have hot rice cereal with jam – I’m ready to eat my arm an hour later. Oatmeal with some brown sugar and chopped walnuts? Fine till lunch time.
So just knowing what I eat and when I eat it and how my body reacts to it is also helpful. I like hot rice cereal, but if I want it, I better get some fat in that meal, too, so I don’t eat everything I come across the rest of the day.
And I’m glad I inspired you to get outside even in the chilly months! There is no bad weather, only bad clothing. 😉
What I want to know is why is it so hard eat good stuff and easy to eat bad. Example: been out it was late didn’t want to cook a meal so the choice was a sweet kale salad mix from Costco that’s supposed to contain 7 super foods – ready to go in the bag – even comes with the dressing or a frozen pepperoni pizza. Which did I pick…..the pizza. It even took longer than the salad to put on the table.
Worse thing for me is the sugar….especially if it’s chocolate. When I was younger there weren’t many problems I couldn’t make fade away for a while with a 2 pound bag of MM’s and a quart of milk. Last night I had what I call my cardiologist nightmare – a bowl of chocolate moose tracks ice cream with dark chocolate syrup sprinkled with peanut MM’s. Mentioning my cardio doc – last month he mentioned 180 pounds would be nice. I’m 66 and weigh 245 – maybe the last time I peeked between my toes and saw 180 I was probably 35. I have noticed those BMI charts are missing from my doctors exam rooms. I miss them. I always said I was just too short for my weight.
How do you do it? How do you really change? Where is that switch that turns you around?
My daughter says for me the epiphany will be when I’m laying on the floor and through my blurry pain filled vision I see some big ole paramedic rip open my shirt, slap two greased paddles onto my chest and holler – clear and if I hear what he says next I’ll probably change my ways.
Hmm, I can’t really pinpoint my epiphany other than that day looking in the mirror. At my heaviest, I was 235#. Nobody believed I weighed that much – I got down to 165#, and have gained back 20. Still, people don’t believe I weigh what I do – I guess I distribute it well?
But, here’s the thing – I don’t “diet”. I don’t do cleanses, I don’t eat “paleo”, I don’t eat “clean”. When Mr. Muse and I both lost our “half a person” (we lost 140# combined), we made some simple changes – the biggest was eating only a suggested serving size of something. Then we just stopped buying our kryptonite foods like potato chips and ice cream other than for special occasions or getting only a single serving of that item.
Damn! I should write a post about all this, hmm?
Tune in tomorrow for more. 😀