All or Nothing Versus Confident Choices in the Middle

One thing I really struggle with is being all in or all out. So, either I’m restricting, usually an unsustainable extreme, or I’m rebelling against “the system.” The system in this case is ANY restricting. In that sense, I feel like I’m either in recovery or relapsing. And when I’m in a recovery phase, I’m ON, all on. Or when I’m off, I’m a full blown messy messy mess.

The interesting thing is when I’m restricting, no matter how extreme it is, I haven’t lost weight in years. I think it’s been close to ten years since I’ve lost weight. And for a long time after I realized I had orthorexia, I REFUSED to go on any type of diet or restrict in any way. I expected to find some sort of level off where I wouldn’t want to keep eating “bad things.” But I just never got there. Eventually I realized I was gaining weight with no sign of “normalizing” so I decided maybe I needed to try different things: intermittent fasting, keto, dairy-free, gluten-free, etc. Essentially I kept thinking SOMETHING was causing me to over-eat. If restricting wasn’t the problem, then what was? Was it dairy making me always hungry? Was it simply that I should eat less often?

I think, ultimately, my extreme personality around food is the root of the problem. While it can afford me the focus to do some extreme diets, keto, paleo, fasting (even longer fasts – I fasted for over 20 days once!), autoimmune diet, Whole 30, etc., the ability to be so extreme means when I’m off my brain is like, “SWEET FREEDOM!” And no matter the length of the freedom, it’s never long enough to settle into any sort of healthy eating pattern. I’m always kind of thinking, “Next week I’ll do better. So for this meal I’ll eat….” And consistently make a “final meal” choice for every single meal. Often thinking, “Next week I won’t eat pizza/dairy/gluten/pasta/high calorie/high carb/fried foods/fast food anymore. So I definitely need it today!” I suppose my brain isn’t unlike the person who’s agreed to an intervention but wants to get high one last time. I was ALWAYS having a “last time.” I had good intentions but there wasn’t enough follow through because my path after my “last time” would eventually get too extreme to maintain, too.

So what do I want for myself? How does my best future look?

  1. I can order fries at lunch and enjoy them. But likewise can order a side of broccoli or an interesting vegetable-based side dish to give it a try. I don’t love all vegetables, but there are plenty I like. And plenty I’d like to try in different ways.
  2. I don’t NEED to have the most indulgent item today. It will be there tomorrow. There will always be more pizza, more fries, more onion rings.
  3. Likewise, if I go out to try a local restaurant, I don’t need to ONLY look at the grilled chicken or vegetables as a side. Maybe when there are two sides, I try the two most interesting sides, not the “may as well this last time” sides.
  4. It’s OK to make choices to be healthier. But it’s also OK to not see a vegetable side I like and order the potatoes or rice, which I also love. There’s a Mediterranean restaurant near my work that, bless their hearts, CANNOT make a good side of vegetables. They are over-done and too mushy. So I shouldn’t order their vegetables and force myself to eat them. But there’s another restaurant that has delicious steamed broccoli with parmesan cheese. So why am I passing on that?
  5. I don’t necessarily ever over-eat, binge or eat like the world is coming to an end. I just often choose the heaviest meal and sides. Even if I’m not stuffed to the gills, my choices in general are enough to tip me up on the calorie scale and keep gaining weight. If I eat out five times in a week, that can be OK. I don’t have to choose the most indulgent meal every single time. But I also don’t have to choose the lightest, “best” choice every single time. Maybe today I have grilled chicken with a side of fries and broccoli. And tomorrow I have pasta with vegetables. And the next day a sandwich with some soup. I don’t always have to have the pasta with fries and a creamy soup.

I can tell right now there’s a lot more to explore on this topic. But I definitely think the all in or all out is a HUGE part of my issue. I’m either being restrictive and obsessive or I’m rebelling against being restrictive and obsessive. I’m realizing now that the restrictive and obsessive part is NOT healthy, when I thought it was before. So not being perfectly restrictive and obsessive is actually NOT the goal. The goal is to make some smart choices, and smart choices can include some not “perfect” choices.

And even marking foods as good, perfect, smart, indulgent, etc., is confusing for me. Even trying to say, “These are good for my goals and these are for pleasure” turns into a black and white thing for me. If I add a bun to a burger or a slice of cheese, does that make the whole meal a “poor” choice? Does eating just a burger, bunless, no cheese make it smart? The truth is it’s a combination of things I enjoy, things I know will help sustain my energy and keep me full, a variety of foods and textures, and flavors and foods that I WANT to eat.

So often, eating healthy means denying myself things I actually like. Learning to not force myself to eat food has been a first step. It’s also OK to order a food and not like it and not eat it. Or to cook a food, and not like it and not eat it. I don’t want to be intentionally wasteful, but it’s OK to try and not like new things. Or to admit I want things like pizza and fries. Or mashed potatoes and cheese. But also realize I like broccoli, cauliflower, broth-based soups, onions, grilled lean meats, salads and strawberries.

I also struggle with judging myself and others based on food choices. When I’m “on” I judge people for not following my plan. Or when I’m off, I judge people for being strict with their diet. No one’s worth is determined by what they do or don’t eat, including mine. I know when I’m judging, I’m actually looking at myself. And I know when I get triggered by others around me talking about “healthy food” or “crap food” that I’m worried far, far, far too much about what others thing (or convincing them my choices are OK).

This is my journey, with foods I get to choose, with a lifetime I get to live with. I want to find a variety of foods I like, and movement I enjoy. I don’t need to find a diet to define my path forward. I also don’t even need to be diagnosed with an issue. I know some of my issues – I’ll keep working through those one issue at a time. Lean into the discomfort I feel with my choices, the noise coming from others, or even the prevalent “diet voice” that’s all around me. I don’t need to avoid these things. I just need to find and be confident in my path. A path that’s not all in/perfect or all out/rebellious.

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Orthorexia and OCD

I’ve recently signed up to work with a health and wellness coach. The program was sold as a way to approach life-long changes to diet and exercise. Figure out what works for you for the long-term. Their approach is intended to help you figure out the things you love doing, a way of eating that works with how you WANT to eat, and personalizing what does and doesn’t work for you. For example, there is an almost limitless list of ways to workout. Not just running and lifting weights. Their program has proven results of helping people find their way to gymnastics, hiking, biking, and very specific strength training programs. All through being flexible and adapting.

Their success stories for food are less thorough. Most people seem to just figure out that they don’t NEED the food they were eating. Maybe they were self-soothing with food, or using it as a distraction or mindlessly eating or eating through depression. And somehow working with a coach and adding in movement helped them eat differently to support their weight loss/body changes.

The problem is, it’s not that simple with eating issues. In theory, to lose weight, you just eat less, right? The problem with obsessive thoughts is there is never enough LESS. Or never a precise enough, perfect enough way. For example, I often think, “OK, I’ve been eating out ten times a week. Next week, I’ll only eat out eight times.” Only problem is every single one of those eight times is suddenly heavy with shame, guilt and hopelessness. The week before when I was eating mindlessly, probably accurately, eating after shutting down EVERY emotion involved (it’s all or nothing, so NOTHING is easy, ALL is impossible, and in between is maddening) was easy. So why is eliminating one or two meals so hard? And why do I get comfort from saying, “Fuck it, I don’t care?” For some reason, the letting go of caring is super freeing. I have to assume it’s similar to going a week without drinking when you’re trying to stop, then saying, “Fuck it” and having a drink.

Only I don’t want to be insensitive comparing it to that. But I have a friend who’s sober who said that’s how it would often go for him. So maybe I can fairly say me saying, “Fuck it” is similar to how he’d feel when he’d say the same about drinking. And he had total freedom those first few days and drinks. For him, it would spiral completely out of control after awhile. Sometimes he’d do OK for a few days or weeks, but eventually he was hiding his drinking, or drinking the entire weekend, from the time he got up until the time he’d finally pass out.

For me, I’d never go into full on binge mode. I’d just feel like I was free-falling from that first bite of that first “Fuck it!” meal until I’d have to buy the next pants size, see a picture of myself, or somehow would be reminded of MY shame.

One really annoying thing pop culture does, that I believe I’ve written at least once about here, is make binge eating “cute” for skinny women. It’s a personality schtick. It’s funny and adorable. But ONLY for thin women. It’s “gross” for heavy women. And I would sometimes be the thin, carefree woman when I started. Maybe. Sometimes I wasn’t, but I still got the same emotional freedom feeling when I’d go from restrictive to not restricting. So  not only was there freedom in not tracking, but there’s also freedom in eating whatever I want, and freedom in not being the stick in the mud who has a diet to follow, and having the extra free time and carefree spirit to eat and drink anything I like. It’s intoxicating. Plus, being free of the OBSESSIVE thoughts involved in a restricting diet is maybe one of the best feelings I’ve ever had.

So I can see why I often resort back. It’s my “happy place.” Are the results happy-making? No. But often the “drug” we seek doesn’t make us happy. It just makes us happy for a moment. So when I walk into a restaurant and don’t have to look for calories on the menu or have had to look at their nutrition guide beforehand, or even said no to a dinner invite because I CAN’T do those things. Or maybe I go, have done all of these rituals to make me feel in control, and often times, sadly, superior to my dinner guests, I’m still faced with challenges. Maybe it’s the chips and salsa or bread that comes free with every meal. Or the friends having a margarita. Or eyeballing something smothered in cheese.

It’s often far-easier to avoid those social situations. Then it’s easier to avoid ALL social situations. Then it’s easier to not eat in front of anyone, ever. Then it’s easier to stop talking about it with anyone. Then it’s easier to not answer phone calls, texts, emails or other ways people reach out to you. Because it’s safer and easier to be at home, alone, doing what I NEED to do to make sure I stay healthy.

Just this past week I was reading about orthorexia with a goal of finding an at home, self-guided treatment program. I’m far enough away from orthorexia now, I can identify those obsessive thoughts or actions. Maybe at first I validate them. But eventually I see them happening, and make myself step back. I can feel my tendencies keeping me away from family and friends. Maybe I want to skip a family gathering because I can’t eat their food. Or I don’t go out for drinks with friends because I know I’ll feel pressured to drink and the truth is, I feel pretty shitty after drinking these days. The drinking itself makes me crazy hungry, and the next day, even if I don’t get DRUNK, I feel lethargic, my anxiety ticks up and I often feel symptoms of depression. I don’t even enjoy drinking anymore, but also struggle to talk to friends about not wanting to drink because of this. Friends who do drink feel defensive, and it’s easier to just have two or three drinks. Unfortunately, that can trigger me being more controlling and obsessive the next day.

Anyway, all I want is to take slow, deliberate steps toward a healthier mindset. Once I saw orthorexia and OCD are tied together, I had to be honest with myself about some of my other obsessive tendencies. People tend to think you’re only OCD if you turn a light switch on and off or open and shut a door a bunch of times. But the truth is, I do a lot of more subtle things. I do a lot of “checking.” And have strange anxiety triggers around forgetting things. Even things that aren’t part of my life – I might have a “OH MY GOD WHAT HAVE I DONE?!?!” moment from forgetting children I don’t have. Yes, I have no children. Never taken care of children with a boyfriend or anything. But I constantly think I’ve forgotten them. I also do the same thing with work and school stuff. I’ll have these really intense anxiety moments where I have to “check” or do stupid rituals to reassure myself I’m not destroying my life. I also obsessively check my garage door. And my stove. And my curling iron. I also have some obessive routines around things like yard work. Or even sex (I have an irrational fear of STDs, so getting checked annually is never reassuring enough even if I go three years without a partner, I still think the STD test was administered wrong, but I’m aware enough to not bring that up with the doctor).

So, what’s this mean? Well, first, most of my checking and routines have come along or gotten worse since my mid to late twenties. Which I believe is when a mental illness often presents itself. And I’m definitely not in a debilitating state. I’m aware when I’m being a little crazy with “checking” and have even implemented some mindfulness routines to help me be more realistic about it, and also a lot more present. Being present sometimes helps you remind yourself you’ve already done that, so don’t do it again.

I also have obsessive thoughts with perfectionism that I’ve been working on for the past five or so years. I didn’t realize how many of those thoughts could be rooted in OCD, and these thoughts have been more pervasive my entire life. I do many mindful things to help me overcome. First, realizing my perfectionism was related more to others than to me. For example, I wanted to be perfect so someone else wouldn’t judge me, or dislike me, or think I wasn’t trying hard enough. I’m very lucky to have a boss who can help me (I’m aware enough to ask for help!) when I’m too far in the weeds and lost sight of the purpose. Getting unhooked from perfectionism in school and work has been life changing. I still get anchored sometimes, but realize no one expects me to be perfect and won’t abandon me, fire me, fail me, mock me, or even judge me if I’m not perfect all the time. In fact, I think people like imperfect me more than attempted perfect me.

For some reason I’d never tied either of these things to my eating, or approach to eating. So my next step is going to be to attach some mindfulness to food. I’m not sure what it will look like. Probably talking through obsessive or perfectionist thoughts as I notice them. Often I have to get too far in and feel panicked or anxiety before I realize what I’ve been doing. Maybe unwinding some of that can cut it off sooner. Or any sort of ritual I’m doing. I’ve already been working on NOT turning down social events because I can’t control or count the food. I’ve also given up ALL fad or restrictive dieting. Well, short of counting calories and having a goal, though I’m not sure if that’s healthy or not – my “goal” is fairly high – 2,000 calories, so I’m not super-restrictive, and try to NEVER starve myself. If I’m hungry and need to go over 2,000, I do. But I try to make “strategic” choices so I can come in under 2,000 most days. I’m not sure whether this approach is healthy, or if it’s still feeding into my orthorexia. As I often start doing sort of a loose approach, estimating calories, rounding up or down, etc. Then I start measuring more closely, and keeping track more specifically. Then I’ll often start trying to PLAN meals, rather than following my hunger cues. For example, if I really want a sandwich for dinner but I’ve planned to have soup and salad. as I get deeper in, I’ll deny myself the sandwich. Often siting bread in my head as a food to avoid, or feeling ashamed I can’t stick to a plan, or thinking I could shave 50 or 100 calories off the meal, and I’d lose weight faster, or that I’d be getting in more vegetables and therefore be healthier. So it can definitely be from a good place and very quickly shift to not as good.

I also really, really, really want to toy with NOT counting, but also not being flying off the side of a cliff free-falling with food. For example, when I stop counting, I often go on a bender. Eat what I want, especially choices I’ve been limiting. Fried foods, creamy pastas, cheesy anything. I want to get to a place where even if I’m not recording it, I choose a salad because it tastes good. Or choose a vegetable as a side to my steak, rather than fries. Not because  I NEED to to stay in plan, but because I enjoy those foods and don’t need to make the choice to eat the thing I have been telling myself not to. And even after months or years of this behavior, still choosing the fries because, well, I like fries, but also, I should since I’m not tracking and no one will have proof of it. It’s like I’m secret-eating, even if it’s out in the open.

Some things I’ve already been working on:

  1. Being more present and mindful to limit some of my “checking.” I’ll let myself check once, and make myself be truly present in that moment, especially if I’ll be away for a long time. If I’m leaving for fifteen or thirty minutes, I’ll even make myself NOT check because I won’t be gone long and that’s helped with being present for the other checking.
  2. All of the perfectionist stuff. I’ve worked on self-esteem, and truly seeing what happens if something isn’t perfect. Usually nothing. If something goes wrong, I live in that moment. I ask  myself if I was truly careless (usually I wasn’t), and if the outcome resulted in something really dire (often it didn’t). I still see the benefit of caring about the details and wanting to do my best, but I’ve made such progress in this area.
  3. Realizing I don’t want to be black and white with food anymore. I want to be gray. I want to want to eat the foods I enjoy when I’m watching what I eat, when I don’t HAVE to make those choices. Likewise, even if I am watching what I eat, I want to occasionally have pizza, tacos, cheese dip, ice cream, fries, etc. I’m trying to get used to the gray area. Part of being a perfectionist and a little obsessive is thinking there’s only one right way. But a mentor at work encouraged me to figure out how to live in the gray. And now I want to do this with food. Realizing black and white isn’t working, healthy or even productive is a good first step. Now I want to force myself to be gray as much as I can!

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Everything-Free

After taking a food intolerance test, I cut gluten and wheat/dairy out of my diet. Along with coconut, mushrooms, peanuts, shellfish, and being aware of yeast, peas, pepper and sesame seeds. It’s hard to be perfect. But I feel so much better, it’s worth trying. I’ve found there are good cheese alternatives, and avocados are a good cheese alternative. I’ve found it freeing to no longer avoid rice, bananas and nightshades. I’ve also really started eating more fish, and not avoiding ANY type of meat (beef, pro, chicken, turkey, etc., all on the table). My energy was fantastic, then I got sick, and it has waned a bit, but I’m still working out.

I also found Aldi not only has some great gluten-fee options (though many include eggs, sesame seeds, pea protein or yeast, all foods I try to avoid), they’re good options occasionally. Though, honestly, the gluten free cinnamon raisin bread this past week? That was more than occasional. And so good. I never knew gluten-free could be so good! They also had some vegan cheese shreds that were good with some gluten-free pizza crusts. They also have some gluten free chicken nuggets. I know, I’m not six. But I do like chicken nuggets.

I’ve found a bun-less, cheese-less burger is right up my alley. Add some avocado and some fries? I don’t even feel like I’m limiting. I also love fish, brown rice and any type of veggies. Or roasted potatoes? What a treat! I love bananas and strawberries with a bit of granola. And it’s strangely indulgent to have JUST an orange for a snack. Or a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast. I’ve found fantastic cracker alternatives I can spread some nut-based cheese spread on. And I’m pretty pleased.

Weight hasn’t exactly been falling off, but I’m lifting weights a few times a week (plus cardio!) and I can see my body changing. My measurements at the first of the year showed losses across my body. I feel stronger and my endurance is improving. I wish my energy would go up and be stable. But with being sick, and hormones, that may never be perfect.

I have a doctors appointment this month and am hopeful she will do panels on me to ensure none of my numbers are out of whack. I take iron, B12 and Vitamin D regularly. I also went on a banana and potatoes bender those first few weeks, which makes me think my potassium might have been low. So I’m interested to see how that goes, and feel hopeful for the future.

This Is Not A Diet

I don’t know why the phrase, “This is not a diet” drives me so crazy. ESPECIALLY when it’s a group of people trying to eat the exact same way. Simply, a diet is what you eat. That can be restricted for health, weight loss or other reasons. But even if it’s not, what you eat is your diet. Also, collectively, what a community eats is their diet. So when you’re in a. Group of people eating keto, paleo, or even low-cal, that is still your diet. Diet isn’t a bad word. And saying, “This isn’t a diet, this is a lifestyle” doesn’t change how restrictive many of these ways of eating to lose weight are. And the restrictiveness is often the reason a different way of eating is temporary. It’s not because someone called it a diet.

And the truth of the matter is, most people change what they eat, their diet, because of health or weight reasons. And, often, the dramatic changes many claim you MUST make make it hard for that change to be worth it in the long term. I’m in a Facebook group for a workout plan I bought. I’ve never subscribed to what is, for me,a VERY restrictive diet/lifestyle/list of allowed foods and number of calories. It’s way too restrictive for me to last. So, call it what you want, I know it will be temporary. So I don’t bother. (That said, many people can simply not eat to lose weight. I’m not one of them. And if that works, good for you!)

Today a woman asked if something she was eating was allowed on this diet. Another patronizing member corrected her, told her this isn’t a diet, then proceeded to say, “This isn’t allowed on this way of life.” Sorry, call it what you want, if this whole group is (allegedly)’eating from the same plan, that is our diet. And telling someone they shouldn’t call it a diet because that feels too restrictive, but then tell them they can’t eat what they’re eating? You are lost.

Instead, why don’t we all just tinker around with food, testing, etc., until we find what works for us. Then mind our own business about it? She could have just said, “if you feel good eating that, eat it.” Which in the long run would be more productive.

My diet consists of whatever I want to eat that makes me feel good. Right now, I’m experimenting with no wheat, dairy, mushrooms, coconut and pineapple because a test I took suggested my body may not like them. In six months I might find something works better. But the days of blanket restricting foods, food groups or other dramatic sweeping changes with no specific reason other than it worked for someone else are gone. But, that said, what I eat is my diet. And some days my diet works better for my health and energy than others.

Society’s Reinforcement vs Happiness

A week or so ago, I saw an article posted on social media about a couple who spent a few years really buckled down to paid off their home and traveled in their RV. They used that home and three other rental properties as income streams to finance the traveling. It was hardly revolutionary. I clicked on the comments thinking I’d see others who had similarly focused for several years and now were reaping the rewards of freedom from a corporate job, or some sort of middle,ground. My personal goal is to get to a point where I can work part time, but a part time job that still offers health insurance.

Instead, almost all I found in the comments were bitter people proclaiming, “No kids. Of course. Rich get richer.” It was interesting because last I checked, people aren’t require to have children (or get married). Although as a child, I assumed I’d get married and have children, I NEVER felt like either were a requirement as I got older and, quite frankly, realized I didn’t want children. I would maybe be drawn to help a teenager in foster care get started as an independent adult. But I’ve never wanted a bunch of babies, toddlers, preteens, etc., filling up my house. It never sounded like my perfect scenario. In fact, the older I got, even marriage sounded like a compromise I wasn’t willing to make. So many men I met wanted a wife who is submissive, does all of the housework (basically his maid and housekeeper). I know not all men are that way, but even if that’s off the table, my life has always been happier with more freedom. I have never once considered settling for any guy just to get married.

So, the question is, are these people being victims, but happy with where they are. Or bitter because they didn’t go for the life they really want?

We only get one go around at this life. We should be doing the things that we are passionate about, with ultimate goals that make us happy. Not that conform, please others, or get us things we don’t really want or need.

New Year, New Inspiration

I love New Years, months, even Mondays. OK, I don’t like Mondays. I have a soul. But as far as motivation goes, there’s something about staring fresh on the first day of the week, month and especially year. And for anyone out there looking to do more of something, less of something, start something, quit something, or anything else, good luck? I hope the new year is the push you need to make the change!

One of my pet peeves are negativity spreaders around the first of the year. All year long, these same people judge others for not having motivation to make changes. Then this day comes around, and they shit all over the shared inspiration. If you’re this hater, stop. Please. Everyone is on a path of self-improvement. We all have ways we could be better. Better to ourself, better to one another, better to the earth. Mostly, we could all be better to ourself. And when we are better to ourself, we are generally better to those around us.

This year, I have been lucky enough to make some changes and be inspired prior to the start of the year, so I don’t have a lit to change tomorrow. However, I do have a lot to keep up. Everything I’ve changed in the past several weeks still needs time to set into a habit. And I want to see physical progress. So, what are my goals?

  • Workout 250 times. This is about five times a week. And admittedly a stretch. When this past year, there were weeks and weeks in a row I had no energy to workout at all. What I did learn this past year: when I can’t workout hard, a walk is a good, respectable workout.
  • Meditate 250 times. Same pace, and also a stretch. These meditations can be 10 minutes. The goal is to keep my mental wellbeing at the top of my list, next to physical. What I’ve learned over the past year: the more I meditate, the better I deal with everyday stress.
  • Stick to eliminated diet through March. From there, I can consider adding back foods as a test, or if I’m not feeling well, maybe try eliminating some of the lower ranked items. For now, I’ve eliminated a decent amount of foods and feel leaps better. I know compliance with this restrictive diet won’t be 100%. It is almost impossible to join someone at their house for dinner without being high maintenance, or enjoy a dinner party even I throw, without having some deviance. But I am hopeful over time, I’ll feel less and less inclined to “cheat” on special occasions. For now, my goal is to stick to the diet 100% of the time when I can control it. Which is at least 80% of the time, if not more.
  • Get in a size 12. This is my vanity goal, and lowest priority. Though I know the three above will improve my health, I’d love to lose inches while I get healthier. To track this goal, I’m going to keep measurements.

That’s it! It seems like a lot, but all it comes down to is tracking workouts, meditations and measurements. I’m already used to tracking workouts so I’ll add a red star on days I meditate. I’m also tinkering around with the Habit app. And being honest with myself and organized enough to not take the easy route on eating. I’m not quitting carbs or eating paleo or giving up all eating out or anything else extreme like I’ve done in the past. And unlike all of those diets, I actually feel better eating this way. For the first time. I hope the years of fatigue will make eating better easier. I actually like working out, and see results fro, meditating. So this s like the past six years of experimentation are coming together!

I am truly excited for 2018, and hope anyone else, even if you’re like me and have tried and not quite succeeded in the recent past, will join me in harnessing the new year motivation and inspiration! May as well start now, because then we will be started!

The Addiction to the Process

I was watching an older Intervention episode last night where the addict said she also finds she’s addicted to the process of getting high: acquiring the drugs, preparing them, tying up her arm, shooting up, etc., and I felt like that was really observant and self-aware. And I started to wonder what processes I’m addicted to. I have found there’s a process for me to get ready to workout. Some days I can jump right in. Others, I have to research my videos, select just the right one, find the right clothes, etc.

Now I’m NOT comparing exercise to the true addiction of heroin. But I do think part of what I love is getting everything setup. The anticipation of the workout is exciting, too. I spent a few hours today poring through workout attire, and bought some new tops, bottoms, sports bras and even heavy cover ups if I ever get back into running or walk during these colder months. Sometimes not having everything just so stops me from starting that workout, or even simply going for a walk. This way, clothes are always there.

I’ve also tried to spend some time sorting my workout DVDs so I know what kinds they are, length, and even will start rating them. As I posted yesterday, I wrote a workout rotation to hopefully cut down on so,e of the exercise choice issues I’ve had. Now some additional workout clothes and sorted out dressers will stop me from hunting for the right clothes, or not working out because I haven’t done laundry. I did the same thing with additional socks last year. Just having more socks increased the frequency of my walks.

I’ve also found there’s something exciting about reading about or discussing workouts with others that gets and keeps me motivated. In the early 2000s, when I was most motivated working out, I was on a very active workout board. Now with Facebook, it’s much harder to be anonymous, and I miss the ability to be more open, so I connect less. But that full circle is part of what makes working out fun for me. When I talk to other friends about the workouts I love (mostly The Firm and a few Cathe), my IRL friends recommend workouts at the Y or other video workouts that are more trendy.

But I’ve found simply talking a little here, even into a void, is very motivating for me. It’s part of the process, and the process can me as much fun as the high of doing.

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