January 13, 2016

Back to work

My Spring semester started Monday, and immediately it felt like there hadn't been a break at all. Not that I was tired - I worked hard over the break to make sure I wasn't overwhelmed these first two weeks like I usually am. But rather, it just doesn't feel like there were several weeks between the final exams and this new start of classes. (Probably because I was on campus working most days. The semester ends but the work doesn't.)

This is going to be one of my toughest semesters so far. Usually I teach several sections of the same course, so I do mostly general prep and then customize the experience for each class. But this semester, I have all different courses - and two more courses than my contract says I should carry. (I need the money, though, so I'm volunteering for everything I can.) So I made sure I spent time over break getting as much done in advance - I usually like to be a few steps ahead of the game anyway, but having five different courses means I'm going to need to be even more hyper-organized this semester than usual.

Plus life stuff. Plus weight loss stuff. If I can survive the first half of 2016, I'm pretty sure I can handle anything.

My schedule this semester is ... I don't know. I can't tell if I'm going to love it or hate it. I have a very long and packed schedule on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, and I have no classes at all on Tuesdays or Thursdays.

Pro: I can use those off days to do grading without student interruption, schedule meetings, do committee work, get some exercise.
Con: I can't get to the gym Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays.

And - maybe it was just because it was the first day, but Monday, I struggled to get my water in. And that has this ripple effect throughout my whole routine. It's really crazy what a huge difference drinking at least 96 oz. of water a day has for me.

I'm proud that even after the difficult Monday, I got up Tuesday and got right back to work. I didn't let one tough day lead to a binge cycle like I have done so often in the past. And I learned from it - I made sure to prioritize water because the not-enough-water-give-me-all-the-food on Monday night had been such a challenge.

Baby steps in the right direction are still progress. All forward motion counts.

I'm trying to figure out how to work activity into my busy days - a double challenge since the long days are exhausting. Poor Noah - Monday, he snuggled right up after dinner and fell asleep in my arms. It's a long day for a little guy - and my second job hasn't even started yet (I also teach an online class via Skype from my home office late Monday nights, and I have a babysitter come in case he wakes up while I am teaching).

One thing I looked into was an under-desk elliptical - I don't have the room/capability for a standing desk or treadmill desk at work, so I was trying to figure out what I could do. I've seen a few blogs where people said they were going to try them - any recommendations? I know it wouldn't be the same workout I would get at the gym, but any activity would be better than none, right?

I also have my tried-and-true Richard Simmons DVDs and the Wii Fit (though I've been having trouble getting the balance board to work - even with brand new batteries, it won't stay connected. I think it may need to be replaced). The hard part for me is just mustering up the energy after early mornings and long days. We're out the door at 6:45 a.m. on school days; my Monday night class meets 9-11:30 p.m. (it's for a different university; the school is in a different time zone, so it's not that crazy late for them). So maybe Mondays will be complete rest days and the other days, I'll do my best?

It's so hard when you're losing weight not to compare your journey to other people's experiences, and for me, I'm finding that I struggle not only with that, but with comparing my current journey to my past one. This is what worked then, this is how I did things then - it works with some things, but others, it is discouraging. My work schedule then was teaching 12 credits (three 4-credit courses) a semester. Here/now, my contract is 15 credits a semester - and this semester I have one 5-credit and four 3-credit courses - plus the 4-credit night class. Then, I would go right to the gym after work - now, I go right to the daycare to get my kiddo, who's had just as long of a day, and who's ready for some mama love and some dinner.

I keep trying to remind myself: you are doing the best you can for the situation you're in right now. I struggle with feeling like I am not doing enough, but at the same time, I know I am doing the best that I can and I'm seeing results without feeling deprived (neither starving nor exhausted). It's probably going to be slower than my first time around, and that's a difficult fact to accept. I'm trying to look at it with five more years of maturity and life experience: I lost the weight fast the first time, but I didn't keep it off. This time, losses will be hard-earned, the long-term result may not arrive as quickly as I want. But hopefully, in this extra time, I'll be learning more about how to succeed at long-term maintenance, and I'll make peace with some of the demons that I wrestled all the way back to over 300 pounds.


Amy said...

I think that's a lot to manage and you need to be kind to yourself. How can you feel good about Monday's. It's a rest day! Yes you're relosing same "numbers" but those are different pounds. They might come off differently because they were gained differently. You have learned and grown SO much since your first time through this. You have a son. You work somewhere else. You live somewhere else. It's ALL DIFFERENT. The only thing that's the exact same is that you've seen this number before, but even that is an illusion, because they aren't the same pounds.

Be kind to yourself. Feel great about the effort your making, the choices you're making. Guilt is half the battle.

Joanna said...

I think you have experienced so much progress and success in the art of living and managing and succeeding. At one point long ago, I read your whole blog. Your approach this time is going to be forever. Last time, it seemed to me that you worked and worked out and nothing else. Not much of a life. Love up that little boy of yours and enjoy the little moments because you are doing exceptionally well.

Kara said...

You are amazing. I'll keep you in my thoughts and prayers while you navigate this tricky time.

Alicia said...

I was just talking with one of my friends about working mothers. She is one and I am not. I am always in awe of women who can have children and hold down a full time job. I can barely take care of myself and work, never mind balancing that with care of another human being. Anything that you can do to take care of yourself is amazing. It sounds like you are doing a great job with a difficult situation!

Rae said...

Thanks for the timely post. I keep trying to figure out how to keep my previous running schedule. I was promoted 6 months ago and it's just a busy busy year. I think you are right. What worked for me 4 years ago just isn't the best for me or my family right now and I need to adjust and make a different plan instead of trying to fir this in, feeling like I'm failing. Kudos to you and welcome back to writing the blog. Love the honesty and introspection. It gives voice to so many others.

Losing The Rolls said...

Mary, I believe in you. You do have a busy semester ahead of you, but just take one day at a time and do your best. Be kind to yourself and also proud of yourself. You are a single mom doing what it takes to make a better life for you and your son.