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eden_fire

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  1. Positives From Yesterday - Made myself a big 'ol veggie omelette for breakfast and DIDN'T put cheese in it! - Ordered my chai latte half-sweet and stuck to a small size. - Spent the whole day (literally, the whole day) doing food prep...soup, stew, baked egg cups, salmon, fruit, veggies...you name it! - Salad for dinner (didn't add nuts to it either). - Avoided snacking on the couch after dinner (even though Jon was sitting there with his Bits 'n Bites snack mix). Areas To Improve - Shared half a gluten-free muffin at breakfast with Jon. - Had a double vodka-soda with dinner. - Grazed a bit while I was doing food-prep. My intention for this week is to carry this momentum forward into the work days ahead!
  2. So all my decisions yesterday weren't perfect, but I made an effort, and I think that's what I have to start evaluating myself on. Rather than looking at the whole day as one unit of measure, I asked myself at the end of it, "Did I make more healthy choices than unhealthy ones?" And when I wrote it all down (seeing things on a page seems to help cement it in my mind), I concluded that I had. Positive - Had one hard boiled egg at breakfast instead of two. - Measured out my 1 tbsp of nut butter instead of just eyeballing it. - Went to the gym! (This was huge...I literally felt an emotional weight lift off my shoulders one minute into my treadmill run.) - Shared a Fit Kitchen meal with the husband, post-gym (instead of eating a full one myself). - Consciously portioned out a smaller amount of soup at dinner. - Had half a grilled cheese instead of a whole one at dinner. - Did NOT snack on the couch while watching TV in the evening! (This is also a big deal for me...especially when Jon was sitting beside me munching on a bag of Doritos...) Areas To Improve - Bought the protein peanut butter "cookie dough" from Fit Kitchen and ate both servings (there were two servings in the container). - Dinner was a bit cheese-heavy. - Had 3 oz of rum with pineapple Perrier at dinner. There were a couple times yesterday where I really had to stuff down those feelings of, "Relax! Indulge! It's the weekend!" when they would rise up. Especially after dinner, with the snacking on the couch. But I knew that because dinner wasn't the healthiest, so I had to offset that somehow. I feel good about yesterday (okay, maybe not GOOD, but I don't feel BAD), but the real test will be if I can maintain this way of thinking for more than just a few days!
  3. Let me start off by saying that I apologize in advance if I say anything out of line here...but I've been doing a lot of soul-searching lately to try to find a way to reprogram my black-and-white brain when it comes to pursuing nutrition and fitness, and I find the best way for me to sort through the mess in my head is to talk (or write) it out. Of all the online communities that I follow on the topic of overall health and life improvement, this group is where I feel the most welcome. And maybe in the process of being open and honest about my struggles, someone else might be able to relate or have some good advice. I'm stuck in a bit of a guilt/shame spiral when it comes to food (it happens from time to time) and I'm having a really hard time getting out of this one. It's a vicious cycle...I set rules for myself, I break the rules in a moment of weakness, I beat myself up about being a failure, and then - because I'm feeling so crappy about myself - I eat something sugary to feel better, and then I feel even worse. Around and around we go! There is no middle ground for me, and I either feel like a thin wire stretched tight and trying not to snap, or completely out of control. I feel like my brain is programmed to view the world in terms of extremes...good or bad, pass or fail, order or chaos...and everything has to fit into these neat little dichotomous boxes. I KNOW, logically, that the world doesn't work this way. But knowing and feeling are two different things entirely, and the part of me that governs my actions and behaviors is illogical. I think it stems from the anxiety I've dealt with since I was a kid - the antidote to that anxiety has always been routine and order. So when I'm unhappy about something (like my health), I create a system of rules to fix it. But the problem is that I can't keep up the act for long. And when I slip up, I do so spectacularly! And then I figure, "Well, since all is lost, I may as well go down today in a blaze of glory!" I know my situation isn't unique...lots of people struggle with this, right? But there's so little helpful information out there on how to reprogram this way of thinking. It's all vague stuff like, "Be gentle with yourself," and "Focus on progress, not perfection!" Gee, thanks. That's sooooooooo helpful. As if I'm supposed to just mind-over-matter my way out of this. One of the big issues for me is that the unit of measure that I use to judge myself is "days". I will say, "No sugar today." And then, if someone brings homemade treats into the office and I have one, the whole day is now a write-off. I have a really hard time not slashing the other three tires on the car when I get a flat one, as the saying goes. It doesn't seem to matter to my black-and-white brain if the rest of the decisions I make in the day are positive, because I HAVE FAILED. But this is a miserable way to live. It's exhausting to always be beating myself up about my short-comings! I've wasted so many years of my life being unhappy, that if I don't do something different, I fear that I'll wake up on my 40th birthday in exactly the same headspace. I need to find the middle ground...I need to find a way to retrain my brain. So, fellow over-thinkers and all-or-nothing types, please bear with me while I work through some of this stuff and let me know if you've got any advice!
  4. Our office is celebrating Chinese New Year tomorrow, so there was a big basket of fortune cookies in the kitchen this morning.Apparently, fortune cookies have 3g of sugar each! I had no idea...they're so bland, I never would have guessed. But the fortune in my cookie said, "You are the symbol of strength," so that made me smile. Darn right. LOL Decent workout at the gym last night. I've only got about an hour to spend there after work before I head home, so lately I've been trying to add a bit more structure to my workouts. I figure that if I can do a couple arm/shoulder exercises, a leg exercise or two, and a few sets of core moves, that's better than nothing. It's what I tell my husband all the time after all - "Even a crappy workout is better than no workout at all!" Strength training is still a little uncomfortable for me though, since I've always been a Treadmill Queen. I can figure out free weights and stuff, but most of the machines are still a mystery to me. I go to the YMCA by my house because I find that crowd is really mixed in terms of experience levels and age, so it's a little less intimidating than a hardcore gym would be. I put my headphones on and keep to myself, but most people will smile if I accidentally make eye contact with them. (My social anxiety probably makes me come off as such a standoffish b*tch. Which I'm not. Honestly!) Speaking of anxiety though, mine is sky-high at the moment. I've got so much going on in the next couple days and I'm fretting about all of it. There's a concert that my husband bought tickets to tomorrow, but it's in another city and I financially can't afford to take the time off. My sister-in-law is coming for a visit this weekend she's a chore to deal with. I've got a birthday party Friday night that I have to figure out an appetizer for. My house needs cleaning. I promised my husband I'd make him gluten-free snickerdoodle muffins for Valentine's Day this evening. And I'm trying to figure out what to do about my year-end corporate accounting situation. *deep breath* Just gotta focus on what I can control...
  5. I've been a lurker for a while, but I think it's time that I opened up with my own personal battles and I think this is probably the best non-judgmental space to do that! Basically, the past five years of my life have been spent in huge upheaval and it threw me into a bit of a mental tailspin. I've only just started to realize how bad I let things get, and how distorted my perception of self and surroundings has become. My 33rd birthday is coming up next weekend, and I don't want to spend another day of my life feeling like a victim to all the chaos. Oh man, where do I even start?! I guess I can start at the beginning of the chain reaction, with my husband's accident - he was rollerblading without a helmet, crashed, and wound up with six different skull fractures, damage to the ligaments in his neck, and a severe concussion (his third). There was a long recovery to follow, during which he always complained about feeling a bit "off" but the doctors dismissed as vertigo. Then he got food poisoning...and never recovered. He just kept getting sicker and sicker. Again, the doctor told him to take some Immodium and shake it off. But his body wasn't absorbing the calories in the food he was eating anymore - it just went right through him. After almost having him die on me once, I now had to watch him starve right in front of me while the doctors wrung their hands. It was terrifying. So they tested him for Celiac disease, and he came back with the genetic marker for it. "Cut out gluten and you'll feel better," the doctors told him. So in the middle of all this, we gave ourselves a crash-course in going gluten-free, but it didn't help. He kept losing weight and was in a significant amount of pain. Finally, after a trip to the E.R. because there was blood coming out of an orifice that blood shouldn't be coming out of, one doctor finally gave him the time of day and did a CT scan of his abdomen. His entire digestive system was inflamed. "You need to go see a GI doctor," they told him. "The wait time in Calgary for a referral is six months." I looked them square in the eye and said, "He won't live that long. He needs to see someone f*cking tomorrow." So they got him in, did a colonoscopy, diagnosed him with Crohn's disease and put him on steroids and other heavy duty medications. Crisis averted. I wish I could say that things improved after that point, but shortly thereafter, I was laid off from my job. Being the type of person who lives for my work, this made me question my entire self-worth. The economy was terrible at that time too - it wasn't just me out of work, but thousands of other people as well. So I would apply to job posting after job posting, with barely a sniff at an interview. It was incredibly demoralizing. My confidence tanked, my hair started falling out more than normal, my nails were breaking, I kept dropping things, I felt like crying all the time, and my energy and libido were non-existent. Oh yeah...and I put on weight. For someone who has always been able to maintain her weight (plus or minus a pound or two in either direction) regardless of what I ate or how much I exercised, this was terrifying to me. I felt out of control. I felt like this was the beginning of middle-age spread or perhaps something more serious, so I had my doctor test me for everything under the sun but every single test came back negative. I saw two different dietitians, one who tried to get me to focus on "mindful and meditative" eating, and another who told me that I had a "near-perfect" diet (it's not) and that perhaps I should add some carbs back in (huh?!). Finally, my doctor said, "I think you're having delayed reaction to all the stress you've been through recently. The only thing left for me to test is your cortisol levels, but I can pretty much guarantee that they'll be sky-high, and unless you're showing signs of adrenal failure, there's nothing I can give you." She basically told me to find a therapist and join a gym. At first I was furious - "Seriously?! HOW many years of medical school, all the scientific advances in the world, and you can't fix me?!" So yeah, it took me a while to warm up to the idea of talking to someone and exercising. But here I am! Okay, I'll cut to the chase a bit. Through talking to a good therapist, I've come to the realization that: a. I struggle with anxiety and mood-swings. (Courtesy of the mental health issues on my dad's side...) b. I am a dichotomous thinker. (Thanks, mom and cult-ish religious upbringing...) c. Yeah, I'm getting older, life is changing, and I'm probably not dealing with it well. (emotionally or physically...) d. I have an eating disorder of some sort. (Some hybrid combination of binge-ED, body-dysmorphia, sugar-addiction, orthorexia, and plain ol' food-obsession. It's messed up.) Through exercise, I've come to realize that: a. Nothing dispels my anxiety better than running on the treadmill with some good tunes on my headphones. b. Even though the scale tends to creep up a bit when I'm working out consistently, I look better and feel more confident. c. The more I workout, the more perpetually hungry I am. ALL. THE. TIME. Seriously. Ravenous. d. I am stronger than I think. (I can do three sets of eight "real" push-ups now! That's 24 freaking push-ups!) The past couple days have been tough, and that's kind of why I decided to write this. I figure, "Surely I'm not the only one with struggles like this." Also, I know that writing helps me work through my emotions and process them rather than bottling them up. For a few years now, I've indulged the victim mentality that comes with keeping it together for a while and then finally falling apart. It's weird, it's like I gave myself permission to be broken, and then let myself sulk about it for too long and I got stuck. I don't want this state of mind to be my ever-present companion for the rest of my adult life, and I know that "mindset" is one of the most important Nerd Fitness tenets of knowledge. Until I master that, I know I'm not going to have any success in feeling better and losing weight, and it's high time I explore the connections behind the things that might be making my anxiety worse and habituating the things that lessen it's effect on me.
  6. Five days in, and I’m still committed, despite the fact that every seemed to be working against me yesterday. I got a late start leaving for work in the morning, so I didn’t have time to pack a workout bag for the gym. I also didn’t have time to pack a lunch, so I went to the coffee shop and had a sub-par sandwich that left me feeling unsatisfied and wanting something more. When I got home after work, I couldn’t go for a bike ride or rollerblade outside because it was cold and kind of snow-raining (snraining?), so I convinced myself to go jump rope and do some bodyweight stuff in the basement. Then I realized that my shuffle battery was dead, so I had no music. And yet, I powered through the day anyway, and I’m pretty proud of myself for doing so. There’s something very empowering about facing adversity (okay, maybe not adversity, but definitely inconvenience!) and sticking to your resolve. My quads were pleasantly burning from the lunges! Yesterday was a bit of a late night though, because the Oilers were playing the first game in the second round of the playoffs, and all these California games start at 8:30pm. Which means they don’t finish up until 11:30…and that’s assuming there’s no overtime! But I knew that this would be a problem going into the 4-week challenge, so I gave myself permission to stay up a bit later those nights. To say I’m tired this morning though, is a gross understatement. I’ve continued to avoid sweets, junk food, and liquid calories. What’s surprised me the most so far is that it’s the liquid calories that I miss the most. The afternoon lattes, the end of the day wind-down drinks with dinner….I guess I didn’t realize how much those keep me going! This morning is my Day 2 of I.F. for the first week. It’s not even 9:30 am yet, and my stomach is growling noisily. I share an office with another person, and I’m kind of self-conscious about it. I know he can hear it and is probably thinking, “Oh, just eat something already!” It’s kind of awkward! I keep chugging water to drown it out.
  7. Hi Marika, Have you thought about making your goals quantifiable? Some people find it helpful to add some accountability to their good intentions. You've done it with the stretching, but maybe it might be good to say, "I'm going to chose healthier snacks 80% of the time," or, "I'm going to substitute fruit for candy every other day," or something like that. You're definitely on the right track with incorporating healthy habits to replace unhealthy ones though! Time management is one that I need to work on too. :-) Good luck!
  8. Resolving to stick to serving sizes, even when you eat something that's "not so clean" is a strength that I wish I had! Usually, if I get a taste of something it's like the flood gates open and I must eat ALL....THE.....BAD......FOOD! It's usually easier for me to just not start in the first place. Also, I like that you set a financial goal too! Good luck!
  9. Hi Martina! Great quest choices. Don't let your fear of looking stupid hold you back! I'm a treadmill runner because I have bad knees (they can't take the pavement). You won't go flying off the back unless you stop! Just focus on the rhythm of your footfalls, and try not to look around too much. That's when I find I get a little wobbly, when I start watching other people beside me. Good luck!
  10. Thanks for the warm welcome, all! I really enjoy group challenges like this - it's so much easier to stick to your guns when you have the moral support of a community with a similar mindset. I even dragged myself to the gym yesterday when I didn't think I mentally had the energy, and once I was there, I even went so far as to add some more weight to my squats! I can definitely feel it in my legs today though. The weather here in Calgary is supposed to be miserable all week, so I won't be able to get outside, but the husband and I went for a long hike with the dog in the park this past Sunday. I woke up with a headache this morning, unfortunately though...probably just the lack of sugar. This morning, I'm fasting until lunch, and I packed myself a homemade taco salad to look forward to. I think that's the key to IF...make sure that lunch is amazing! LOL I think my intent was to pick three overarching objectives, and then make smart goals to support the objectives. That way, if I achieve the objectives, it's not quite so important if I'm not 100% in one of the areas. At least, that's how I see it! I'm one of those "all-or-nothing" types, where if I don't achieve absolute perfection, I give up entirely. So in an effort to keep the end result in mind, I'm trying to be a bit flexible with how I get there along the way.
  11. I set three objectives for this 4-week challenge. They are: 1. Fit into my summer work clothes again. 2. Exercise consistently. 3. Get more sleep. And because I know that in order be successful, you have to make SMART goals, I've broken it down a bit further. 1a. Cut out liquid calories (with the exception of the cream that I put in my morning coffee). 1b. Avoid sweets and junk food. 1c. Intermittent fasting, 2 days per week for the first week, 3 days per week for the second week, 4 days per week for the third week, and 5 days per week for the fourth week. 2a. Exercise every second day (don't miss two days in a row!). 2b. Incorporate resistance training into my workouts. 2c. Get outside and do something fun on the weekends. 3a. Stick to a bedtime routine, even on the weekends (except for when my team is in a playoff game that night). 3b. Lights out by 10:45pm during week one, and then by 15 minutes earlier every week after that. 3c. Cut back on caffeine (my morning coffee is still allowed, but I've cut the beans to 50/50, regular and decaf). I did start this yesterday, but didn't work up the nerve to post it until today. I couldn't figure out why everyone was posting their topic titles in the third person...is that a thing? Am I doing it wrong by not?! LOL
  12. Yup, sugar has this effect on most people, I think. Our brains are hard-wired to seek it out and the feelings of pleasure and energy that we get from consuming it serve to further reinforce it's addictive qualities. And the more you eat, the more you crave. It's easy to start each day with good intentions, but those good intentions don't stand a chance when temptation arises. It's like all the reasons that once seemed so iron-clad and indisputable for cutting back on sugar evaporate in an instant, as if our brains have found a way to rationalize giving in. Of course, the food industry isn't helping things at all either....sugar, in some form or another, is in practically EVERYTHING. I wish I had some great tips for you, but I don't really. Cutting back on sugar is one of the most difficult dietary changes you'll make. Some people have to go cold-turkey, others (like myself) find more success by slowly weaning themselves off it. Learning about the effect sugar has on your body, physiologically speaking, is helpful because when you understand the harm that you're doing to your body and the glycemic load of certain foods, it can be easier to say no. Reading books on diabetes changed the way I look at sugar. My only suggestion would be to share your goals to cut back on sugar with those well-meaning people that are unintentionally undermining your efforts. Go public in your circle of friends and family with your new way of eating and ask them for their support!
  13. Also being a woman in her 30's, I know how frustrating it can be to feel like you're fighting a losing battle against time and a slowing metabolism. Sometimes it seems like no matter what we do, our bodies are determined to defy our best efforts. My suggestion would be to see a doctor and rule out possible medical issues first...thyroid, PCOS, that sort of thing. Have you seen a doctor to rule out any autoimmune issues, such as Crohns, Celiac Disease, or Colitis? I ask because "stomach issues" tend to run in my husband's family, and they've all been diagnosed with at least one of the above. If it is an autoimmune issue, you might need medication to get things under control. That being said, diet plays a HUGE role in managing all of these, so if you've found foods that you can safely eat, stick with what works, and focus on moving more! Everything that I've read recommends strength training and building muscle as the antidote to a slowing metabolism for women our age.
  14. I know exactly what you mean about exercise having a positive effect on mental health. There's nothing that dispels my anxiety quite like getting up and just getting moving.
  15. Hey all - I finally joined this forum because I found myself coming back to the Nerd Fitness website often and find the vibe here to be very un-pretentious and a little bit dorky, which is exactly my style. I think there will probably be a lot of culture references that I don't pick up on right away though, so go easy on my if I ask a dumb question!
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