Friday, December 17, 2010

Holiday Survivial Guide (it's a looooooong one)

I can't believe Christmas is in just one week, peoples! Where has the time gone? I hate to admit this, I really do, but I lean a little bit more than I'd like toward the bah humbug side of the fence. I think this is because I do not do holidays well...actually, to be more specific, I do not do stress well, and I find holidays extremely stressful. Overall, we actually have a pretty laid back holiday - we don't do a lot of partying or entertaining, just family and close friends. But what kills me is my perfectionist gene: I always want everything to be perfect for the kids, and I always feel like I come up short. It's always been bad, but it's been even worse since I've been a Single Mama, and all the responsibility falls on me.

So, the past week has been really difficult. I've felt myself starting to slip. I haven't been journaling what I eat. I haven't been eating great. I haven't been exercising as obsessively as I was there for awhile. I feel like I'm starting to circle the drain a little, and it's time to throw out the grappling hook and Get. A. Grip. I need to take a pause and get my strategies and coping mechanisms back in focus. I need to be more accountable, and y'all can feel free to help hold me accountable, too! I will get through this holiday...the question is, will I get through it lighter or heavier? At this point I'd be thrilled to maintain! Here's what I need to do:

Bite it, write it. I've gotten really bad about this. Part of it is just me "forgetting" - I am at that stage where the novelty of it has worn off and frankly it's kind of a PITA now - and part of it is me not wanting to record my mis-steps (if you don't record that third brownie, do the calories really count?). I've switched from my iPhone app to Spark People for journaling my food and exercise, so please feel free to check up on me and give me some hell if necessary! (Want me to return the favor? Email me your dets!) One of these days maybe I'll pretty up my page over there, but in the mean time I think I got it set up so others can see my nutrition & fitness trackers. 

Snack healthy. I have gotten really bad about this, too, as I mentioned in this post. It occurred to me the other day that...duh! I quit smoking! While I was very conscious about it and did not go off the deep end with my eating when I quit, it has affected me since I tend to be a boredom eater and now I can't relieve boredom by having a cigarette. But another, unexpected side effect struck me the other day: I used to go out at lunch time so I could smoke, and a lot of days I would go to the grocery store or WalMart (usually to buy more cigarettes), but while I was there I would pick up some healthy snacks. I was never short of good snacks at work. Well, now that I don't "have" to go out to smoke, I don't like to go out! I don't usually have things to bring from home because when I keep things at home, the three little munchsters eat them! Hence, I need to be more conscious about making at least a weekly snack run at work so the fridge there is filled with healthy snacks, and I need to create a diversion to use at home when I feel a snack attack coming on. Maybe I will buy myself a jump rope, and whenever I feel the need to snack, I will go out to the garage and jump for a few minutes - two birds, one stone. SCORE!

Fail to plan, plan to fail. I need to STOP doing this! I need to get back to planning weekly meals so I am not caught unprepared at lunch or dinner time. We've had pizza twice in a week because I have had my head up my butt (fa la la la la). That is not good - you know it's bad when the kids get tired of pizza! Part of this is a by-product of working out at the gym - I threw that big ball up in the air and it's affected my ability to juggle other things, but that is really no excuse. I have a ton of healthy crock pot recipes, and I've been saying for awhile I wanted to pre-cook a few things on the weekend so there is always something easy to grab for the nights dinner has to be quick. School is delayed 2 hours again tomorrow, so after my morning workout, I will sit down and make menus and grocery lists for the next few weeks. I think it would even help to log them in my food journal ahead of time so I can always see where I stand (and stand to, gain...if I cheat!).

Eat more. Huh? Sounds crazy, but this is another problem I've been facing. I've been trying to stay within my "recommended" calorie range despite the fact that some days I am burning close to or upwards of 1000 calories. It was a little easier on my iPhone app to see where I stood for the day because food and activity calories were all lumped together, but not so on Spark People. I realized one day last week that maybe part of the reason I was feeling so tired and blah was because I needed to compensate for all that exercise by eating a little more...can you see where I'm going with this? The "eating a little more" got a little out of hand. I think along with planning meals, I need to plan my exercise as well, and know ahead of time when I will need to eat more calories - and then do it in a healthy way. 

Indulge, not over-indulge. I could never have gotten this far in my journey if I had denied myself some of the foods I really love. I would drown in tears if I thought I could never enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie or prime rib again! The key is learning to indulge once in awhile - to build excitement and anticipation over a splurge, and then savor it and enjoy it. Ever notice how when you set no limits, you eat and eat without truly enjoying what you are eating, sometimes to the point of feeling sick? But when you plan an indulgence and look forward to it all week, then you eat slowly and deliberately, enjoying every single bite? I would much rather have one truly decadent slice of cheesecake once a month than a pile of crappy processed snacks every other day. Based on Tuesday's working-from-home animal-cracker-binge, I need to be more conscious of allowing myself the occasional calorie-worthy indulgence instead of filling my days over-indulging on crap snacks because I'm feeling deprived. (I mean really, animal crackers? They are barely a step above cardboard and paste!)

If necessary, take a break. I don't mean to stop altogether what I've been doing, because I feel like I've been really successful to this point, and I am thrilled with my progress. I have known for awhile that sooner or later I was going to hit a plateau, and I am right at the weight I might have expected it to happen (I am just a few pounds away from my original goal weight, before I decided to push myself). Logically speaking, I don't think there is anything wrong with taking a break from all the obsessing that goes along with trying to lose weight - it really becomes all encompassing, as it needs to be, since it is a lifestyle change and not a "diet." By definition, it affects all areas of your life, but it can get to be exhausting. I think a little break from trying so hard to lose, lose, lose, and concentrating on maintaining for a little while is probably good for both body and mind. Like I said, makes perfect logical sense...the problem is getting the brain to let go of the obsession for awhile and relax! I do think that since I know the next few weeks are going to be pretty stressful, it would take some of the stress off me to relax a little and let myself be ok with maintaining while I truly enjoy being with family and friends for the holidays. Of course, that doesn't mean I will stop doing all of the above!

Well, these are my strategies for surviving the next few weeks. What are you going to do to get through the holidays with sanity and goals intact?

Today I am grateful for:
  • Google
  • Jenni-o turkey hot dogs - I know they fit my definition of processed crap, but sometimes a hot dog just hits the spot
  • Heat Miser & Snow Miser
  • discount gas cards
  • the first day of winter next Tuesday - then the days start getting longer again!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like you've identified a lot of areas for improvement, and you have some great ideas for moving forward with your healthiness journey. I would warn you to not stress or over-think everything too much! I know when I think about every single detail of this life I want to live, I sometimes fall into the "all-or-nothing" thinking. What works for me is to go back to my 2 simple rules -

    1. Eat healthy
    2. Be active

    Good luck, I know you're going to be successful this holiday season!!

    P.S. Welcome to the blogroll. Excited to follow your journey!!