Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Haters gonna hate

 Full disclosure...I don't actually think I have any haters (that I know of anyway). I just really like saying, "Haters gonna hate." For your enjoyment (and my own), please gaze upon this picture:

 While there are no actual haters, I do get weird looks or eye rolls every now and then concerning the changes I have made in my life. For example, I made an admittedly super-cheesy motivational poster to put on my wall. My sister could not stop cracking up about it. But you know what? That's okay, because as cheesy as that poster might be, it works for me and that is what's important. Another example would be food situations. Sometimes my orders at restaurants have to be really specific in order to get what I need. I felt really high-maintenance and self-conscious at first about this. I've made my peace with it now. I'm polite when I order and I leave good tips, so if the waiter wants to think I'm high-maintenance, that's his problem. There have also been situations where I choose to stay away from higher-calorie foods, and sometimes get comments about how I have to loosen up and eat that stuff. I guess peer pressure doesn't go away after high school! The truth is that sometimes I do eat higher-calorie foods, but when I do, it is because I planned for it and because I want to do that, not because someone else told me I should. I've found that usually when people try to pressure you to do unhealthy things like that, it is because they are on some level trying to justify their own unhealthy behaviors (hey, I took 2 whole psychology courses in college, so I totally know what I am talking about lol).

Anyway, the thing is, 6 months ago I could not have written the above paragraph (well, I guess I could have physically written it, but I wouldn't have meant it). I've been a people-pleaser my whole life. I have always cared way too much about what people thought of me. I would sometimes give so much of myself to everyone else so that they would be happy and like me, that there was very little left to make myself happy. I think maybe whether I admitted or not, I equated putting my happiness first as being selfish. If someone were to disapprove of something I was doing (like the situations above), I would pretty much automatically think that I was wrong and should change what I was doing.

Does this mean I think I'm always right now? As much as I wish I were always right, I know that I'm not. But there is a difference between taking others' opinions into consideration, and just taking their opinion as absolute fact. My opinion matters too. There is also a difference between helping other people out because it is just a nice thing to do, and helping people out to the exclusion of your own needs because you should and so that they will think highly of you. I know that sometimes my needs come first, even if other people disagree. Not all the time, but not none of the time either. Sometimes people will disagree with what I am doing to change my life, and that's okay. It doesn't mean I have to change my behavior to suit them. It doesn't mean we are enemies. It just means we have a difference of opinion. I can't change how other people act. I can only change how I react to their behavior (wow, that sounded kind of smart). In the end, I am the only one who has to look in the mirror and be okay with myself (because it would be really creepy if other people were looking over my shoulder at me in the mirror). For the first time in a long time, I am putting myself first and making healthy changes. And while it feels great to have so many people cheering me on, the truth is that even if there were no one cheering me on, I would still know that what I am doing is the right thing. For me, that is really something to celebrate.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

I used to think I was indecisive, but now I'm not so sure

Whew, I got myself back on track this week! I lost 4.6 lbs, which is great, but even if the number had not been so good, I would have felt good about the effort I put in this week (well, honestly I probably would have been a little irritated too if the number hadn't been good). I wouldn't say that I was really that much off track before, maybe that I just had one wheel off the track. But that one wheel made me feel very off balance and uncomfortable. I think I just felt like it was important for me to be rock solid in my routines as we head into the holiday season, a.k.a. Temptation Hell. It is good to know that my past unhealthy behaviors are what make me feel uncomfortable now, instead of my new healthy habits.

Anyway, I wanted to write about something that I still struggle with sometimes, and that struggle has been highlighted somewhat by the holiday season. I struggle with the balance between cutting myself some slack and keeping myself accountable. .It's hard to be decisive about it. There are no hard and fast rules to use here, and a million decisions to make every day, each one different. The holiday season has really brought to light this daily fight, because now there are a million temptations around. It's easy to decide that I will not go crazy eating and not exercise, and it's easy to say that I will let myself eat what I want on Christmas Day. But what about all the decisions that lie between? For example, I have a Christmas party this Sunday that I'm sure will be packed with goodies. Should I only eat one thing? Can I let myself have two things? Just where is the line between cutting myself some slack and making excuses to pig out? Sometimes that line is very blurry. Sometimes it seems easier to just not give in to any temptation at all, rather than to have to agonize about the right amount of temptation to give into. But at the same time, I know that this is my life now and it is not practical to go through life never having any treats. That would make me very grumpy indeed.

Another example would be my workouts last week. I felt super guilty about not working out 2 days in a row when I was out of town for my grandmother's funeral. Even though I know it probably would have made me feel better, I just wasn't in the mood to try to run in the freezing cold (I admit that I am spoiled by the gym) during that sad time. But I still don't know if I should give myself a pass for that. Was it okay to cut myself a little slack then, or should I accept no excuses from myself? It's hard to know. I think my smarter side believes that it was okay to do that, as long as I got right back to my routine when I got home, which I did. The truth is that sometimes that weight loss cannot be your number one priority, and that was one of those times.  There is always a little voice in the back of my head telling me the reasonable and true answer, but sometimes that voice gets drowned out by all the other thoughts going on in there. I always will have to guard against extreme behavior by listening to that little voice, because if I'm not careful I could revert back to either extreme slothdom (actual word? not sure), or driving myself relentlessly. That's why my blog title is so appropriate, because when I take away all the calorie counting and workouts and scales, I am left with the one thing that it all boils down to: finding the space in between all or nothing.