March 25, 2014

Living well (Giveaway)

I finally found a few minutes to post an update here. I don't even know if these are free minutes, but I am overlooking the pile of work on my desk to spend a few moments blogging. I am loving teaching this French culture class, but it is a ton of work. I've taught three-hour-long classes before, but they were intensive grammar courses taught over a few weeks in the summer. The good thing is that it's such fascinating material that the work doesn't feel challenging, just time consuming.

The big problem with the course and with my prep work for it is that I don't have any free time. I barely have time to do what I need to do, let alone what I want. So going to the gym has fallen by the wayside. Next week we have two days with no classes, plus two days where I give exams, and then a day off the week after that - I hope to use that time to get ahead on my lesson planning so I can free up an hour or so on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays and get at least a little workout in.

I feel lousy when I don't work out. Part of that is the snowball effect: I don't have free time to work out because I am overwhelmed at work, and that leads to poor food choices - excess snacking, choosing quick and easy dinners over healthy but more time consuming meals.

I had a really good talk with Matt the other night, about what it's going to take for me to get back on track. I keep analyzing what I did the first time I lost the weight, searching and scrutinizing, trying to find clues to get myself back on the right track, trying to figure out how to be successful again. It's finally really clicking with me that it wasn't what I ate, or how hard or how often I worked out. Well, yes it was. That was incredibly important. But the biggest factor in my being able to lose 150 pounds was the fact that I was ready.

In summer 2010, the school where I received my graduate degree offered me a full-time job for the fall. I would stay living where I had been for the past two years. The faculty and staff would be the ones I had previously worked with. I already knew what to expect from the university's students. The courses I would be teaching were ones that I had already taught before - so not only was I familiar with the material, but I already had teaching materials created. The only thing new about the job was my title, changing from Teaching Assistant to Lecturer.

When work wasn't a source of stress, when I was able to find more free time here and there ... I was able to move myself and my health off the back burner. I could finally focus on myself instead of devoting so much energy to creating materials or figuring out how to be the best at my job.

When I moved to California, I struggled with weight loss, fluctuating up and down within ten pounds for the better part of a year. It was so hard to be in a new place, at a new job, in new relationships, and also find time to be entirely healthy.

Then I moved back to Chicago, and even though I had lived there before, it was an entirely new experience. No full-time job. No stability. And on top of it all, a baby on the way.

Finally, good news. I had a full-time job again. But it was nearly a thousand miles away, and I had a newborn. Then we got married. Then my boss quit, one of my classes was canceled, and I found my schedule turned upside down again.

When I was talking about this all to Matt the other day, it finally made sense to me. I haven't been able to commit myself to losing weight again like I did in 2010-11 because I haven't really committed to anything. Everything has been in transition. Everything has been dynamic, changing so often that I can't get my mind or body settled on what needs to happen, let alone what I would like to have happen.

Providing that my contract is renewed for the Fall semester (and at the moment, I have no reason to doubt that it will be), this will be the first time in years that there is some consistency in my life. We will still be living in this town. The faculty and staff will be the ones I worked with this year. I will already know what to expect from the university's students. And the courses I will be teaching are ones that I have taught before and, again, for which I already have teaching materials and lecture notes created.

I am setting myself up for a mental breakdown if I keep pressuring myself about weight loss this semester. With everything on my figurative plate, I just can't commit to giving 100% the way I would like to. I've been reading blogs and I'm feeling inspired, even if my actions don't always reflect that. I will continue to try the best that I can, with maintenance as a goal. And come summer, then fall, I will be ready to give my all.

I just, I find myself so depressed these days, thinking that I am a failure because I can't be everything, I can't do everything, I can't achieve everything. I wouldn't ask my friends or family to be this unreasonable, so I don't know why I demand it of myself.

I've had this thought in my mind, an idea that Kara posted on her blog a few days ago. She said:
If I ever reach old age, I want to be able to know that I didn't spend my entire life being miserable, going from diet to diet.
What honesty! I want this to be a long-term goal of mine. I so desperately want to someday focus on my life as it is, and not be so completely consumed by my negative attitude about my weight. I don't want to waste my years, or even my days and my hours, with negativity.

I got a little journal the other day, and so far, I really enjoy it. It's called Living Well, One Line a Day: A 5-Year Reflection Book. Each page is dedicated to a day of the year, and has five small spaces (maybe four or five lines each) with a box at the beginning for filling in the year. I've been writing down my weight for the day, as well as what is on my mind at the time.

What I would like to see that as time goes by, my weight will decrease (how good it will be to be able to say "look where I was last year!"), but also, my outlook will improve. I want to see myself become more positive, more stable, more capable of handling changes with grace. Within the next five years, I presume we will move again (I like the university where I am for now, but am not certain that I will be staying here long-term). I want to fully embrace the stability while I have it, I want to take the fullest advantage of it, so that when we relocate, I don't go completely off the wall like I did with my past few moves.

So, today, I would like to give a copy of this journal to a reader. I will announce a winner after the 1st. To enter, please use the Rafflecopter tool - entries are earned with a comment on this blog post (or if you "Like" a small loss on Facebook - new or old Likes, it's all good!). For the comment, let me know: what's on your five year plan? What are your long term healthy living goals?

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!


Sassy said...

healthy living goals: I want to be comfortable maintaing my weight and living an active lifestyle.
5 years: stable living situation; healthy, growing marriage.

Andreia said...

My five year plan is to be a healthy mom. What does that mean to me? I want to be healthy enough for a second pregnancy, healthy to have fun and play with my daughter, healthy to teach her by example and to love herself. As for long term goals, I want to reach a point where I don't obsess about my weight every damn day! I want to eat to be nourished, not to count calories.

Angela said...

This is why I love your blog. Self introspection is an amazing thing. I think your revelations about why the 2nd time weight loss has been a struggle are really interesting and could apply in many of our lives. Its always easiest to put ourselves on the back burner while we deal with the stress of our everyday lives!

That book looks super fun and would be neat to see a year later where my head was at. So lets see, my main goals are: Make it to one-derland (100lbs down - 40 to go!) and try living overseas for an extended period of time.

Tessa said...

Hey Mary! That journal looks really awesome. Also, I love your new background!

Anonymous said...

My 5-year plan is pretty simple: pay off all debt other than my student loans, and build up a good cushion in my savings. Hopefully having some extra money handy will mean more trips to see family and a vacation or two that's about just relaxing :-)

Also, I usually see your posts in my Feedly, but I popped over for the giveaway - that journal sounds like a nice thing to do, and a good way to encourage yourself to stop and reflect/smell the roses. I love the new blog background and tabs! Since I blog too, I know that those things are always a ton of work, but it really looks good!

Kelly said...

I've been struggling for almost a year with an additional 50 pounds regained. I'm miserable. But I'm working my way back in. This journal looks awesome.

Kristie said...

I would love to lose the last 40 pounds im working on and maintain this loss, and feel healthy enough to have children.

Jo Anna said...

Regaining good health for me and my kids.

Jen said...

Hi Mary! Thanks for offering the giveaway! In five years, I want to be in a position to work part-time instead of full-time.

Frickin' Fabulous at 40 said...

My 5 year plan? Haven't thought about it! It's hard to believe in 5 years I'll be the mother of a 22 and 20 year old and married for 23 years. The plan is to not be so worried about money and my weight.I want to enjoy life, spend good times with family and friends and look forward to retirement with Charlie.

Anonymous said...

A five year plan. I see myself begin done with diets. I'm reading "Health at Every Weight" and it's full of science that proves dieting doesn't work. I want to focus my time and energy on things besides weight loss, which has been my main focus in life for many, many years.

Amy said...

I really enjoyed this post! I love those aha moments when you realize how truly hard you are on yourself, and kind of snap out of it.

I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about how I treat myself and how much negativity I give inwardly when I'm always trying to exude positivity everywhere else.

I started spending time again focusing on gratitude and REALLY challenging myself to write about how grateful I am for my body and really writing about what I love about myself, and not feeling like I shouldn't be giving love to myself.

I spent a lot of time journalling about my children... and how I would really like to change the pattern for the next generation. I think about how if I have a daughter it would break my heart if she felt the way I feel about myself about herself. I think about if I had a son, I would never want him to think of women being valued by their body. And right now, I worry that if I had children I would teach them those values because I still have a lot of repairing to do.

So right now, my focus is on repairing myself so that when we have babies, we are going to be teaching them about love for themselves and I'll be walking the talk. I feel like I got there a couple years ago, and lost touch along the way.

Five year plan... I feel like we're on the edge of a big transition in our lives. In five years we'll be entering in the marriage, making babies world and become parents, so I imagine it's going to be quite the roller coaster!

One Tick to Be Sick said...

My long term healthy living goal consists of just getting back to what others consider (somewhat) healthy.

As someone who has suffered from a chronic illness for about half of my life now, and who had to drop out of college with one! semester left, it's imperative that I work with the doctors available to me to find the best diet, the best medicine to get me into remission, and the best support so that I can at least have a social life again.

I love journaling, and my major in college was actually Creative Writing. So I would say something on my five year plan would be to journal every day, get back into writing, and possibly try to publish a book.

Unknown said...

Ok, Let's see first thing, In July very excited to welcome our first Grandson " Carter" into our lives. My Daughter and husband live about 1,000 miles away, but it will be a good excuse to visit. Nearly 2 years ago had a Heart Attack,so keeping up with my heart health diet and getting off some of these meds. Downsizing our home and lives, so we can just get up and travel around if we wanted to.5 year plan to get use to our ever changing body and Middle age is here.

Unknown said...

I tried leaving a comment on the rafflecopter link but it wouldn't let me :(

My 5 year plan is to be married to my BF (of 6 years), have a body I am proud of, not be counting calories obsessively, own a house, have a job that has to do with food/health/fitness, be a certified personal trainer....the list goes on and on. So many goals that seem unacheivable!

My health living long term goals are to continue working on having a better relationship with food & not be "afraid" of carbs. To stop obsessing over my not-very-flat-at-all stomach and to continue to work hard at the gym (still waiting to see some sort of results...been waiting since Nov 1st!!! Grrr)

I love your blog, and this morning I was wondering where you had been since I hadn't read anything in what seemed like a long time, and then the email popped up that there was a new post. Yay :) Keep writing, I love it!

Unknown said...

My 5 year old goal is to still be alive and well enough to watch my kids grow. I have a lot of health issues so that is a goal I have set for myself. Entry as Misty Lunceford

Anonymous said...

On my 5-year plan is getting healthy and staying healthy to be the best me and best mom!

sweeps9854 said...

The biggest thing in my five year plan is establishing a career at a job that doesn't make me miserable!

Kami said...

I can relate to how you feel with the transitions and difficultly staying on track with eating and working out. Although most things are stable in my life now, I find it hard to make time to cook and work out with working full time and going to graduate school. I do feel motivated to try again, but it is hard for me between gaining so much weight back and being drained from work and school.

I haven’t really had the time to think out a five year plan. I know I would like to have my master’s degree in counseling and possibly switch careers from teaching to counseling. Maybe I would even have my own private practice. I would love to be at a healthy weight and possibly have one or two kids by then as well.

My healthy living goals are to get within a healthy weight range and to become more active and fit. I would like to stop eating processed foods and sugar as well.

Unknown said...

My goal is to get back on track with losing weight and start exercising again! I lost 85 pounds and gained it all back. My knees hurt and so do my legs! I want to lose this weight (again) and keep it off this time!

Me said...

In 5 years, I would still like to fit into the suit I wore in 2002 that still fits today. While this might sound like vanity and pride talking, it has been studied that staying within 10 pounds of your 18 year old weight (provided it was within healthy limits) is linked with better health!

Unknown said...

1. Find a new job so I can be home with my 3 children more
2. Try to be a great supportive so my husband can finish dental school.
3.Find a new career that I am passionate about.

1.Be happy with my current weight.
2. Reach different goals with fitness, like running a marathon, lifting weights,or joining a new gym class.
3. Have my family have better nutrition habits.

Bethie boops said...

I still have no idea where I want to be in 5 years. I can say that next year I want to be more actively engaged with being out. The last year with a newborn and immigrating has made weightloss virtually impossible. But being active and outside will do a world of good to my soul and body.

amanda q said...

In 5 years, I will be celebrating my 15th wedding anniversary. I'm (already) planning a family trip to Hawaii. My kids will be 10 and 11. Hard to even imagine! I want us to be as close as we are now; happy kids who enjoy school; a healthy husband and a healthy me!

Unknown said...

In 5 years I will be approaching my 40th birthday I really hope that I can have some of this weight off by then. I should finished my degree and hopefully finished up with law school. Wow. My kids would be 12 & 8. I'd love to go to a trip with my family by then.

Debby said...

Right now, my 5 year goal plan is to get settled into a new city. I have a new job, but it pays less than previously, and I'm looking to buy a house. Mostly because it will be cheaper than renting, although I do love the idea of having a place of my own. Just wish I had more money to buy that place. Health wise, I would like to lose weight, and just become healthier overall. I want to have better eating habits, and better consistency with logging things. And I'd like to travel!! Somewhere new :)

Sarah Catherine said...

In five years, I'd like to be more settled in my career and personal life but never lose the drive to excel. Sometimes that takes getting out of my comfort zone.

Sarah Catherine said...

In five years I'd like to be a little more settled in my work and personal life but never lose my drive to excel. That requires getting out of my comfort zone sometimes!

Jessica said...

My five year plan is pretty simple. Live happy.

Unknown said...

In 5 years I would like to be living a full and healthy life. I have spent most of my life being miserable and so unhealthy. I don't want that anymore.

Melissa @ Faster In Water said...

In 5 years I would love to be in a great place mentally and physically where I don't pressure myself to do xyz, but truly workout and eat well because it is the way my body works best!

Unknown said...

My five year plan is to first finally marry my fiance. To let go of the past and move forward. Then to lose 50 pounds that I've packed on the in past few years, I've got great support to accomplish all these goals and more.

Denise said...

Where are you?