mental health

Emotional Detox

Recently I listened to this guided meditation and found myself relaxing just listening to it. I enjoy guided meditations a lot. While I’m not religious, I do follow a path that I believe in and meditation is a big part of that. It’s been way too long since I participated in my faith. I realized it was lacking in my life by the amount of stress I was experiencing.

While I am pretty open and honest on this blog, there are a lot of things I don’t address. I have to be vague once again, and I apologize, but I’ve been feeling an intense level of dissatisfaction with my current profession. I’ve thought about going back to school for a long time, completely changing my focus and direction, but I haven’t figured out what to change to….thus, no school yet.

I firmly believe that emotional health is just as important, if not more important than, physical health. How many of us have struggled with depression or anxiety and not FELT motivated to workout? {Raises Hand} Been there. I was there for a long time. I was depressed that I’d “always” be fat and nothing would ever change. It was a vicious cycle.

Depressed over weight –> eat to feel better –> beat self up for bingeing –> feel depressed. 

What I found was that exercising and eating healthy DID help and DID change things. I suddenly had more energy, more optimism, more happy feelings. Endorphins are an amazing thing. But what happens when those exercise endorphins don’t work as well anymore?

Spring Cleaning for the Soul

Spring is coming soon (thankfully) and with spring comes the “Cleaning” that I routinely want to do. I want to clean my house and get rid of STUFF. I want to clean my life and discard what doesn’t work anymore. I have clothes in my closet that don’t even fit me anymore, socks with holes in them, and people in my life who feed into the negative toxicity that I’ve been feeling lately.

Unresolved issues don’t go away and FOOD is not the answer. All too often I used food as a band-aid for hurt feelings or anger that I didn’t want to address when I did have the power to change my situation. That needs to change. It may be something I always struggle with, but I am conscious and aware of it and actively trying to change the patterns.

How Am I Doing It?

Keeping trigger foods out of the house so I don’t turn to comfort eating/bingeing in times of stress.

Look for things outside of what is causing me stress/unhappiness to make me happy. Sure I can’t necessarily change a current situation but I can look somewhere else for something that will make me happy.

Live in the moment. This one is really difficult for me because I’m a planner and I tend to think about the future instead of living in the moment.

Focus on fixing what I CAN fix. I am in control of what I eat, how much I exercise and how I spend my down time. If my environment is feeling overwhelming and cluttered, I can clean it. If my mind is feeling  cluttered with “nonsense” I can try unplugging; no TV, no computer, internet break. I’m already plotting a mini weekend where I disappear without some of those things for a mental break!

What about you? What are your thoughts on this?

The Challenge is Always There

The struggle with food never really ends. Even after losing a tremendous amount of weight and keeping it off for three years, there are still moments when the challenge presents itself again. I’m fortunate in that it doesn’t happen often and I usually get a handle on it pretty quickly so that it isn’t an issue. I feel like I’ve changed a lot in the last few years and my relationship with food is much healthier.

Everyone has a normal amount of stress and anxiety in their lives. Maybe they suffer from depression from time to time or maybe the stressful cycles are seasonal. I definitely suffer from stress and anxiety but having a healthy exercise routine keeps that at bay. And when things “get tough” occasionally, there’s nothing like a really good sweat session to get it all out. I don’t turn to food as much to put a salve on those feelings. The exercise gives me a boost of endorphins and happy feelings, and it releases whatever stress and anxiety was clogging my brain up.

Unfortunately, when something out of the “norm” in terms of stress pops up, it’s easy to get derailed. Recently I had one of those “derailing” moments. Michael went to Costco and I’d already eaten a very satisfying dinner. I didn’t even WANT to eat candy but I did. Michael recently bought a 6 pound bag of Gummy Bears at Costco. I don’t even LIKE Gummy Bears but those suckers are in the house taunting me. Same with a freakin’ Costco bag of M&M’s (which I do like).

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I stood at the kitchen counter and instead of measuring out serving sizes, I stuck my hand in the bag and poured the M&M’s into my mouth. I probably ate 2 servings. Did I track them? Nope. Did I measure? Nope. That was as close as I’ve gotten to my old days of “bingeing” and it wasn’t pretty. Did I enjoy the M&M’s? Not at all. Did I feel bad after I ate them? Yes.

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And I did go swimming. And I avoided the candy at work, only ate one serving of those stupid Gummy Bears and tried not to beat myself up about the misstep.

I realized that too much of my life has been obligations lately. This is not to say that I haven’t had fun. I’ve loved snowshoeing with Michael, celebrating the holidays and of course the recent buzz my little story received. I still love working out, despite the fact that this time of year it’s more annoying trying to get a machine in the gym. But once in awhile exercising feels like a chore or obligation. When the fun has been taken out of it, it’s time to think of something different to do. Exercise can’t ALWAYS be the solution.

It’s important to find a balance in life and when the scales are not balanced it starts to show the effects. Stress eating, exhaustion, sickness, depression, lots of things can happen as a result of not taking care of ourselves. My counselor gave me a list of “Adult Pleasant Event List” and suggested I try doing some of these things to find a balance in my life. I’m going to skip #115 “Eating gooey, fattening foods” and try to incorporate some of the other things into my life. For example:

  • Take a class (I’m already signed up for a manual photography class next month and I’m thinking of taking this class)
  • Walks in the woods (perfect for practicing with my new camera)
  • Playing with animals (Fat Kitty needs lots of play time if he’s going to lose some weight)
  • Going to Museums (I bought a Groupon for one so I will be doing it soon!)
  • Sitting in a sidewalk cafe
  • Discussing books (I’m thinking about starting a book club)
  • Going to the beach (I only live 90 minutes from the Oregon Coast, day trips are fun)
  • Practicing yoga (desperately needed)

I like my list. I like planning things. I like making lists even better. Maybe this will give me some focus so that food is not where I turn when times get tough.

Not only that, I think it’s time to ask Michael to hide HIS treats away from where I will find them. My food issues do not mean he can’t have the treats he likes, but my hope is that he can enjoy them without involving me. 🙂

I wanted to share what was going on in my life with my readers. Yes I have a good relationship with food and exercise but I am not perfect and I still struggle sometimes.

QUESTION: How do you find a balance in your life?