Saturday, December 10, 2011

"I get so emotional, baby..." -Whitney Houston

I'm guessing it will come as no surprise to you that I've been less-than-on-my-game, lately. The biggest hint may be my complete absence from writing this blog. It's not that I don't think of topics, or feel like I have anything to say. It's because I don't want to be a depressing downer. And I feel like that is exactly what my entries would be. Downers.

I made an agreement with myself when I started this blog that I would be honest. Through the good, the bad, the ugly, the stretch marks, the entertaining, the depressing, the chaffing....I'd be honest about what I wrote about. And I want to stick to that commitment. But for the last few months, I haven't felt like I've had a lot of wins - so I didn't think any of it was worth sharing. But a few days ago it finally dawned on me. All of that "life" crap that I was sure had nothing to do with my attempts at getting health, are right smack dab in the middle of the issue.

Hi. My name is Natalie, and I'm an emotional eater.

There. I've finally said it. I finally SEE it. I never really realized just how much what's going on in my life affects - both positively and negatively - my ability to focus on getting healthy. And getting healthy - for me at least - requires focus. Getting health is a thousand different choices and thoughts a day. And for the past few (5) months, I haven't been making good ones for myself. I've come to the painful realization that my whole goal of "getting healthy" isn't as limited (eating and exercise) as I'd originally thought. It also includes money and family and friends and bills and contentment and self-esteem and time and self-worth - and all the stress that bag of crap produces. I made my own flow-chart to demonstrate my discoveries, but it wouldn't open on my computer. (for anyone that knows about my limited skills with graphics, you'll know what a loss this is that mine can't be used =)) Luckily, I was able to locate the one below. It sums up beautifully what it appears to have taken me 36.67 years to finally understand.

And the last 5 months have been a minefield of triggers, and I've been earning a solid F- for my ability to deal with them in a healthy manner. The stress causers: looking for a job/looking for an apartment/adjusting to my new expenses/unexpected bills/my car breaking down. And what is stress? A damn emotion. Some people respond to stress by "forgetting to eat". I, on the other hand, only want to eat crap. And although the "crap" has changed because of my new budget - and I can't afford to eat fast food constantly - the truth of the matter is that junk food is cheaper than veggies. And the other truth: it tastes better. But what you can't see when you're in the middle of this emotional eating frenzy, is that you're just causing more of the same problem. Eating crap, when what you really want to do is become a more healthy person, just causes more....are you with me people...have any guesses??  Negative emotions.

Stress/sadness/loneliness/etc --> making poor eating choices --> sitting on my couch when I should be working out --> guilt (EMOTION) over not working out --> more unhealthy choices --> back to the beginning.

Looking back on it, it is so damn clear. But at the time....I couldn't see that. Or more likely - I wasn't willing to admit it. Truth bomb: this never-ending emotional eating circle doesn't give a shit if you're stressing about money, or family, or friends, or relationships - it's just glad you're focused on something else, to keep you on the loop.

So now that I see it (finally) - what am I going to do about it?

I'm going to start with my finances. I have been so focused on not digging myself back into the financial hole I was in through the spring of 2010, that I don't really allow myself to see the whole picture. Looking around, I'm not really spending money on unnecessary things - but instead of justifying that I can get a bag of chips for $1.19, I need to put that toward healthier choices. I've had a few sites forwarded to me with cheap/healthy options, and I'll be studying them intently. This is also good for you guys - because I'll send links to delicious things. Although I don't go out much now - I will be doing even less of it in the future. Probably not a really negative, since when I'm stress to the hilt, I'm no treasure to have around anyway. Also - winter is a time of hibernation for me, so I'm more than OK with this decision. Hopefully my friends will like me a little better when I return to the scene - hopefully a little more stress-free and a little healthier. My family has to love me anyway...right?

Next up: Food. Cooking healthy meals (other than Baked Ziti...because let's face it - you can only have that for so long before you completely lose interest. Variety is the spice of life, right?) on the weekends, so I have lunches and dinners (and no excuses) for the upcoming week. There is so much information available these days, I really have no damn excuse to just do it - - and I know I'll have the time! And I'm off booze. The last time I remember feeling fully in control of my life, I wasn't cocktailing. And drinking at your house, by yourself, isn't probably a great thing for a person with a dependent personality to do.

Finally: Exercise. So much easier to do when I'm eating well. And I honestly don't hate exercise - it just seems like time I don't have when I'm busy spending every spare second in my own head worrying about things I don't really have any control of anyway. I'm going to focus on cardio - for which there are machines right here in my building. And then strength exercises I can do right in my own apartment. I have this great nautilus machine - it's called my own ass! I have enough body weight to provide plenty of resistance for a while. Who knows - maybe one day I'll be able to hold a plank for more than .5 seconds, and do a real push-up? Maybe. Once I get that financial piece sorted out, I'll get myself into a cheaper gym and a weight routine. If anyone wants to come visit with me on the treadmills, there's room! Let me know when you want to schedule our first gym-date!

That's my plan. Or at least what I think will help ease some of the emotional burden that's currently causing me to be disgusted with myself. I know I can do so much better than I have been, and I also see that I'm lucky. I finally realized what I was doing before I gained all of the weight back that I'd lost. Yes - I gained about 15 pounds back - - and I'm not particularly happy about that - - but I caught it. I didn't allow myself to gain 140 pounds, again. And honestly - I feel like I need to cut myself some damn slack! I think you have to do that sometimes, or you're guaranteed to fail - and turn right back into the financially destroyed fatty that you most fear!

So there it is. The truth about where I've been. The hope for where I'm going. Thank you for reading my nonsensical ramblings. Thank you for supporting me. Thank you for being there. I appreciate all of you, and I'll show you that by being better. Being better for myself, and for you guys.

Do you have any budget-friendly meal tips or sites? PLEASE share them! I can't imagine I'm the only one that would benefit!

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