June 23, 2012

Hundred Day Challenge

Secret: I'm pretty scared about moving back to Chicago.

I love the city - it feels like home for me - but I still find myself a bit nervous thinking about my return.

The biggest source of my anxiety right now is the uncertainty. Moving to California was nerve-wrecking in a different way: I had no idea about the town I would be moving to, but I had a job and an apartment and I figured the rest would fall into place soon enough. Chicago poses the opposite problem right now: I have an apartment in a good location and with a few roommates (which I am grateful for, both in terms of less rent but also, more people around - after my year in solitude, I think this will be very good). But there's still a great deal of instability; namely, I have a part-time job lined up, but not in my field. There was one full-time job posted a month or so ago, and a good friend of mine disclosed to me the other day that she'd just left her third interview for the position - I never even got a rejection letter. I'm scared about not being able to pay my bills, or getting hurt or sick since I will no longer have insurance, or having to quit the Ragnar team. Luckily, I saved up enough this year to have a good buffer - between that and the part time article writing job, I know I have at least a few months to a year before the situation is critical.

The job, finances ... this will all work itself out. My main goal, in the meantime, is to not eat that stress. Which brings me to anxiety source #2: I'm terrified about getting back to Chicago and still being in a bad place health-wise.

If I were maintaining my weight due to an inexplicable plateau, that would be one thing. But I know why the scale has hardly left the 190s since moving here: I've all but entirely relapsed into my old addiction, using food to soothe emotional hurt, trying to feed emotional hunger with something other than love and support. I've put on the bravest face I could, and it's been increasingly difficult lately to hide the fact that I feel so completely broken. I believe that a lot of this is situational, that the stress of the year and the stress of my second move in ten months and the stress of a few family issues is wearing me down. Still, I find myself concerned that it isn't.

I'm nervous about getting to Chicago and still bingeing. And I'm especially nervous because so many of the people I love are there, and I'm scared of enabling them. Of continuing to slip, and pulling them down with me.

It was certainly something I talked about with Claire in San Francisco - she has struggled this year too, especially while working through physical therapy for an injured back. And she assured me that she wouldn't let it happen, that she isn't afraid to remove harmful elements (people included) from her life. Still, I worry. And I worry about Matt, who has been doing incredibly well lately - I don't want to derail his progress by skipping runs or eating poorly. We're running a half at the end of July, we need to stay focused on our goals.

And I not only have the half, but my full marathon in October. And I want to look and feel my best that day, and every day leading up to it.

So, I'm making a challenge for myself, and I'm inviting whoever would like to participate to join in.

There are exactly one hundred days between my arrival in Chicago (June 29) and the marathon (October 7).

My goal for the hundred days is to be binge-free.

I want to make sure that I am focused and healthy, especially in the three months or so leading up to the race. When I initially started getting healthy, I did everything in my power to stop the binges, and weight loss followed. It was as if the weight loss was just a side effect, a pleasant result of taking control of my addiction and investing in my physical and mental health.

I'm ready to get back to that happiness, to that feeling of satisfaction. I am ready to get serious, and to get back on the path to recovery.

For anyone else who'd like to participate, I challenge you to commit to something for one hundred days. It could be no binges. It could be going vegetarian. It could be writing down something you're grateful for every day (I will be doing that as well!). It could be logging a certain number of workouts, of miles, of steps. Anything! Just find something you'd like to try, and give it one hundred days.

I am going to do a special Hundred Day Challenge post every ten days with updates on the goal. I look forward to sharing my progress with you all - the accountability of public challenges like this has helped me so much in the past.

What about you? What would you like to challenge yourself to do for one hundred days?


Ashley said...

I can certainly understand your stress and anxiety about moving back to Chicago even though you know that's where you want to be. Like you said, the job situation will most certainly work itself out. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you!

The 100 day challenge is something I definitely want to do. I have a few things in mind for it, but I'm not sure which one I would want to focus on; there are so many! Good luck to you! Even though you may be all but getting back to your bad habits, I'm still continually inspired by you and your journey. Thank you for sharing your successes and struggles here. I feel a lot less alone on this sometimes harrowing path to health.

Anonymous said...

It sounds like you have a strong support circle in Chicago of people who love and care about you - instead of you enabling and pulling them down with you, it's much more likely that they will inspire you and keep you on a healthy path.

The slide back into binging is soul-destroying. I've been there recently and and hated it - I hated the weight gain, the reasons I was eating and my inability to stop. So I'd love to join you on the 100 day binge free challenge.

Bon chance!

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

I have my HALF marathon on October 7th, so I'll be running with you! And I need to stop this crazy train of mine. I think the stress of the month along with knowing I'm going to be on camera in one day makes me do the opposite of what I should be doing. I feel like a fake! I will join you on your 100 day binge-free challenge Mary.

A said...

Hi there. I have enough challenges (good ones ;-) going so I am not going to join in to the 100 day challenge, but I wanted to chime in and offer support.

Two things struck me about your post...1) your incredible honesty and introspection. It is impressive and worthy of note. and 2) The fact that you think you will have a negative effect on your friends. What might be the chances that it will be the reverse? That they will have a positive effect on you? That Matt will help you want to run and not even think of skipping? That your roommates will be a positive source of accountability and friendship that you are able to heal and be even stronger?

I am not trying to negate what you are feeling...it is certainly real. I just see the incredible possibilities too!

Bariatric Blogger said...

I can see how you're nervous about going home. Any of us would feel the same way! I think having a challenge for you to focus on will help you stay on track. You have the power to do this and you will succeed at it. Just keep focus. Look what you've already accomplished! You can do it.

I'm going to join your 100 day challenge. I've had a hard time tracking lately, starting off the day doing well but by the end of the day, or I'm out and something is hard to track (restaurant food) I give up. My weight loss has slowed down this month with a total loss of 2 pounds for june :( So I think a tracking challenge through the summer and beyond will see me back losing again!

Thanks a lot Mary! And good luck!

Kami said...

I've been reading your blog for about a year now, but haven't really commented yet. I like the idea of a 100 day challenge. I would like to challenge myself to stick to my eating plan and not binge. Since I'm a teacher, it is easy enough to do now in the summertime. The challenge will be when I go back to work in the fall. All it takes is a little bit of stress or some goodies in the lounge to get derailed. I also have a weight loss blog, so I would like to do weekly updates on my progress in this challenge. Good luck to all that participate in the challenge!

Sarah said...

I'll join you! For 100 days, I will:

-Not binge
-Eat a lower-carb, lower-sugar diet
-Exercise at least four days per week

mysticgypsy128 said...

I bought the Supreme 90 Challenge (kind of like p90x, but with less equipment and MUCH cheaper - $4 at Big Lots!!) so I would like to get through that. The ten extra days will help, too, since I'm probably not going to be able to get through a whole session at first, I haven't worked out in a whole month, due to a foot injury.

This is just what I needed, was someone else to whom I will feel accountable. :)

Jill Walker said...

I'll join you, Mary! Accountability is really important to me, and I've been having a lot of trouble lately with slipping on my accountability to myself. My blogs and my food journal have suffered, and of course, that has in turn led to me slipping off my plan.

For my 100 day challenge, I will blog every other day, and journal every day. I know if I do that, the weight loss is bound to follow, because I won't cheat if I know I have to write it down!!

Good luck...I know you'll do awesome when you get back home! :)

Anonymous said...

I've been reading your blog for quite a while, but I have never left a comment. Which is really lame of me, since I always wonder why I have so many views on my blog, but so few comments. Anyway, I just wanted to tell you that I am very inspired by you! I love your honesty and the fact that you just keep on going, and and keep keeping it real. I really think you are going to do great in Chicago! You had a bright future ahead and so many positives to look forward to! I love your challenge, and I am going to join in. My goal is to log my food and exercise in to myfitnesspal.com for 100 days! Thanks for your challenge and have a fabulous night!

Camille said...

Plus...my 100 day challenge..no sweets!

Reeseleese said...

Love the 100 day challenge, I'm going to track whatever I eat on myfitnesspal.com.

Maggie said...

I so enjoy reading your blog! You are an inspiration to me.

Water has been my downfall the last couple of months. I tend to grab coffee or diet coke and run on caffeine all day/night.

For my 100 day challenge I am going to drink at least 64 ounces of water daily.

Today is day 1 and I'm halfway there!

Smile Bunches!

marisol said...

Any type of change bring anxiety due to the unknown. But you are a strong woman & you deserve to be & feel happy. I will cheer you on with your 100 day challenge.

For me, I will challenge myself to drink at least 80oz of water every day. I struggle with that a lot.

Gigi said...

I am going to join your challenge not to binge for 100 days. I need this so badly. I am doing my second full marathon in January, but have to get control of myself. I did a half on Saturday and have another half scheduled for the end of Aug. Thanks for putting this out there. I really want to get healthy and stop losing to my demons.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mary! I love the idea of the 100 day challenge. Like we've talked about before, not only do these challenges help us in our daily lives, but they foster a sense of community for all of us participating.

For the 100 days I want to:

Play piano at least 3x a week.

Complete 30 days of the 30 Day Shred.

Work out 5 days a week.

Thanks for the incentive to get started. And best of luck with your move!

Jen said...

Thanks for the invite to be part of the one hundred day challenge, Mary. I just made a big change in my life - I moved across the country. :) It's turning out to be exactly what I hoped it would be, and it is entirely up to me to keep running with it! I've tripped a couple times since the move. I just gave in on that first shopping trip...so binge-free will be one goal. Even more important to me though, I am going to draft some resolutions related to acceptance and commitment for the challenge. This is something I've wanted to do for years now!