Tag Archives: stress

the end of a busy week

It has been a busy week with a lot of little stress points. The result has been a lack of focus. My head is not quite in the right space and I have been a little relaxed about snacks.

I did not have the time till this morning when I got up early to go running to work out why my focus had faded. Once I started looking at the week I realised what had been going on, and that I have done very well despite all the varied stress.

– I had some sort of mild virus on Monday night. The symptoms (muscle soreness, tiredness, headache, back ache) only lasted for about 8 hours but it meant that things I was going to do needed to be put off.
– Our boy is transitioning from a cot to a bed and the novelty has worn off. Tuesday night he had a lot of trouble getting to sleep and then getting back to sleep through the night which meant that we did not sleep well.
– I was not able to get up early on Wednesday to go running and I missed it.
– My mum went in for emergency dental surgery on Wednesday. She is ok now, feeling better than she was. But I was worried and Dad did not call when he said he would so I spent Thursday morning quite distracted.
– I called the agent managing my unit and said I had decided to put it on the market. – Thursday night we were out at a friends place and I had more snacks than I usually would because I was still tired.
– And last night I was just hungry. I am not sure why (although I suspect hormones). So, I had some nuts, some more nuts and a hard boiled egg. And went to bed early.

So, lots of things on top of a busy work week and general home life. This is where having planned the meals for the week has really helped me. Last night we got home and dinner was easy and fast.

Today there is more to to. I decided not to go for the morning walk around the lake so I could do some cleaning. To get my run in I got up at 6 and did it early. It was a good run as well. My man and our boy have left and the house is quiet. I have done the meal plan and shopping list for the next week. I am about to put on another load of washing and start the cleaning. But it was nice to take 10 minutes out and reflect on last week and get my focus back. And to realise that even with everying going on, I did not overeat for comfort or stress relief. I ate a little more than normal on three evenings but it was not in excess.

Next week will also be busy and will have different stress points. That is ok. I know if I take the quiet time when I get it I will get through.

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January Review – Febuary Commitment

There were some great things in January and some less than ideal things. And I am frustrated that I am recording a weight gain for the month rather than a weight loss. But to not report the gain would be a bad sign… it would mean that I was continuing in denial rather than facing up to my poor decisions.

In January I had committed to eating well, doing my Up and Running workouts 3 times a week and reading one book about self acceptance and thinking about it.

I did my Up and Running Workouts consistently. I am now doing a series called Bridge to 10K which builds on the 5K course by providing workouts that are challenging but aimed at the 5K distance, improving stamina and time. The longest workout in terms of distance I did was 7.3km which took 57 minutes and I ran about 40 minutes of that time. They are hard and more challenging than I would devise on my own but I trust Julia Jones, the running coach who devised them and so I would argue with myself to push through to the end of the workout. And that sense of satisfaction when I am done is amazing.

I read Karen Anderson’s book called ‘After (the before and after)’ about her journey towards self acceptance on her weight loss journey. It was listening to Karen talk to Shauna Reid and Carla Birnberg on the Two Fit Chicks and a Microphone podcast last year that inspired me to look at my own issues around self acceptance. The book was not quite what I was looking for but was a good place for me to start. I started building a personal affirmation which reflects where I am now that I can use in a meditative way. I thought about different aspects of myself, especially those that are the negative voices in my head and how I can talk to those aspects of me and not let them hold me back. But these things did not become habit and I realise while writing that I have not thought of them in the last 2 weeks or so… the two weeks which coincide with my poor eating choices.

So why did my eating go off the rails? It did, obviously as I had started losing weight and now I have ended up with a net gain for the month. There are many reasons
– pushed myself too hard with exercise and did not eat enough which meant that I got really hungry and overate to compensate
– then I dropped the exercise a little (back to my 3 workouts a week) but still did not manage to balance energy in with the exercise
– stress about money and using food to avoid dealing with the money issues
– going to decaf coffee. I decided I wanted to reduce my caffeine intake. I was having two large (mug sized) espresso coffees a day plus 2 mugs of black tea. Over two weeks I transitioned to decaf coffee and kept the black tea. But I realised on the weekend that I am not reaching for sweet things to give myself a mental boost – especially at work. I need to find another way to manage less caffeine.
– feeling very virtuous after the first two weeks because I did so well, especially at a lunch with friends where I chose to leave 2 slices of pizza on my plate. The old feelings of entitlement came back with a vengence that night and I had chocolate.
– work has been really busy. It is not stressful like my last job but I am so busy and focussed on the tasks at hand that reaching for an extra snack helps get me through.
– I stopped tracking food, I stopped weighing myself on the scales every couple days, I stopped saying my affirmations which remind me of the big picture.

I need to think about all these things, the lessons I can learn, the ways I can manage stress and work pressures better. I hope that in learning I can start making better choices.

So today I got on the scales and that third number is back. Weight this morning was 100.3kg.

Fact. Information. Move on.
(I will try not to beat myself up for too long)

So, that was January. I made some really good progress in terms of exercise and building tools to help me on the journey. I stuck to my eating plan for the first two weeks but it was not enough for the intensity of exercise. And the last two weeks contained alot of poor food choices. I am not back where I started because my consistency with running has improved and I have some tools that I can pick up again.

February…

One of the things I ate in January was chocolate, too much chocolate. When I eat chocolate I want more chocolate. Maybe not immediately but the next day and the next day. It triggers bad eating habits for me and they cycle in a negative way. I need it to stop. February will be the month of no chocolate.

I will take steps toward selling my unit which will lead to sorting out my money a little better.

I will continue with 3 Up and Running Workouts a week but will not run on other days. I need to find a balance with exercise and food and running 5 days in a row upsets that balance.

I will track food and aim for 9000kJ a day. I will report my weight every week on Monday; I like that extra bit of accountability. I will aim for a loss of 3kg in the month.

I will work on my affirmation again and I will say it every morning when I get up. I will reread After and think some more.

I will keep going. There is no end to the journey, there are many small steps. There is today, there is far off. There is continuing.

Cheers

Last day of work today. Things got a little haywire mid last week, then mum was here on the weekend and today… well, I did not find it easy . Things will return to normal programming soon – particularly with exercise and food tracking. And blog posting.

But not today.

And now I have two weeks holiday so things might not return to routine quite that quickly, but the exercise and food tracking start tomorrow.

Tonight I raise my glass of warm cider and cheers friends and colleagues who made my work more interesting, challenging and fun in the last decade. Thank you.

Third Trimester Wrap

I thought I would have a look at the last 13 weeks today so that I don’t forget in all the excitement of the 40 weeks.

The last 14 weeks have been difficult. Work stress has resulted in some uncontrolled binging. I have had 4 gains in this time. But overall I have lost 9kg and I am happy with that.

Each time things went badly and I started using food as comfort or to suppress my stress, I did have some awareness that it was happening. I remember thinking things like this ‘things are hard, so hard, it is ok to stop and use any way you have right now to manage. but come tomorrow, there will be exercise and better eating. this is a way to manage today but not a way to manage long term. so for today and today only, it is ok to use food for comfort and food to forget’. And then I ate and felt the relief that came with that. And then I felt physically uncomfortable from overeating and I tried to remember that ill feeling for next time. It took 3 or 4 days after a binge to get back to feeling right again. The loss of that time frustrated me and I tried to remember that as well. The awareness of what was going on is a big step forward for me. It helped me limit my comfort eating and get back on track. So, I am glad that I have been able to learn a little about myself in this area.

I also know that I managed so well through this time because I had been exercising consistently leading up to it and I kept exercising through it. I don’t want to think about how difficult it would have been without having the exercise to keep me mostly sane. Having exercise challenges was a wonderful thing to have in place 🙂 And walking buddies 🙂

Apart from those times of really high stress, I did ok foodwise. There were also some social occasions I did really well at and some I did badly at. But I learnt through them, too. I did not cook as many new things but I did get the soupmaker and I am still having soup every day for lunch.

Exercisewise, I started jogging more in my walks and signed up for the Up and Running 5K course. In the week ending 18 August I was proud to be jogging for 2 minute stretches. Now I am halfway through the course and can jog 14 minutes! Amazing!!! Looking back, I have not done much resistance training. Maybe I should think about my routine and where I can make it fit because I think it is important. But I have exercised between 4 and 6 hours every week, usually getting in just over 5 hours. Exercise helps me feel strong and powerful.

I have noticed my shape changing alot in the last 6 weeks. I am enjoying my waist and I watch the muscles move in my legs. I can feel my hips and my pelvis. And I like feeling my ribs. I love my collarbones!!! This is my body and it is starting to look good 😀 I am also starting to wear clothes that cling to my curves.

People comment regularly now on my weightloss. And I talk about it alot. I am humbled that people look at me and are inspired to make changes to their own lives. That also helps remind me that what I have done is actually unusual and I am proud of what I have done.

There has been alot of good things in the past 13 weeks; good learning, good exercise and food, amazing support. I am happy.

Monday check-in

Some things from today:
I started tracking food again, today. While I am over on my kJ target, at least I am tracking.

I went for an hour long walk with my man, the toddler and the puppy. The toddler is not going to accept riding in the pram for much longer. I enjoyed the walk.

I did not weigh in this morning. I am ok with that.

Overeating makes me feel sick. Oneday, I hope to remember this before I overeat, rather than later.

I am here, I am mostly managing. I will not give up much ground on this journey with this diversion. I have come too far and worked too hard.

Work stress

My stress levels at work are such that I am having trouble making decisions. I spoke to one of the OH&S people and I am getting support now. The stress/anxiety is impacting life outside work; at the shops this morning I almost had a panic attack. I had to choose between similar things and I couldn’t. There were so many people and so much noise. I started panicking. I kept going by pulling my focus in so narrowly that I only thought of one thing at a time. And I did some breathing exercises. I got to the car and cried because of the relief that I could go home.

Things are changing at work. I will be moving positions very soon and I have an appt with a psychologist on Friday. I think I will go to my own doctor early in the week for sick leave. I am almost through the worst of it.

Until I am, I am not going to worry to much about my eating. I will try to exercise every day. I will try to eat a balanced healthy diet. But I won’t be posting stats or focussing on weight loss. I just need to get through this time.

stress management list

I am a list girl. I like making lists and having action plans that I can call on when my mind stalls in indecision. I am working on a list of stress management options.

– tea: the process of making a pot of tea is a ritual that is soothing. Get the teapot, rinse it out, select the tea of choice, put the tea leaves in the infuser, boil the kettle, light the tea light candle that sits under the teapot, pour the water over the leaves and watch the tea infusing. Even at work, without the glass teapot, I still have two or three different kinds of loose leaf tea. And I think I might get a teapot just for work because it will help me manage stress during the day. And then there is the drinking of the tea! Making tea gives me a chance to take a break when I stop and take time for the whole process.

– exercise: exercise that is physically draining can get me quickly to a place where my conscious mind steps back and my unconscious mind takes over, it is all about one foot in front of another, breathing, checking the path ahead, breathing and expending the excess energy. At the moment I use power walking to get me to this place, I think jogging and running will also do it. And walking/jogging outside in the fresh air with the sun is an important factor for me, too. But regualar exercise has also helped me…

– journaling: when I am working through an issue, it helps me to write about it. I can vent my frustration, disappointment, anger in a safe place. Sometimes what I write is private, sometimes I make it available to friends or publically, depending on the situation that I am working through.

– talking: for the same reasons as journaling, talking about what is going on helps me manage stress. But I need to pick my person to talk to. And I usually don’t start talking until I have high stress levels or I have already put some thought into what is going on.

– relaxing baths: for the same reason as tea and exercise, taking a bath is about taking time out from what ever else is going on.

– crocheting: I like to crochet, it gives me things to do with my hands (which is not eating) and I can make something at the same time. And it is an activity which allows my conscious mind to step back and the routine take over.

– change of activity: at work if there is something getting to me about a particular activity/task, one way to manage is to put is aside and focus on something else. That means I can do little bits of the stressful task but keep my stress levels from not getting too high.

At work I have the following options: tea, change of activity/task and exercise (during my lunch break). I try to take a good lunch break every day and 3 of my 4 lunch breaks I go walking. This helps with the ongoing stressful environment. When I need to manage the stress of an immediate situation, I will go walking on my own and really push myself hard to help clear my head.

Hmmm… there are 3 different strategies I use: process, time out and general ongoing maintenance. That is really interesting – I hadn’t realised it till I started writing. For flare ups I need to take a break from it and allow the energy to dissipate. When I am living with a stressful ongoing situation/environment and my stress baseline is raised above normal I need to manage the underlying stress levels by processing the issue with journaling and talking. And then there is the general ongoing maintenance of healthy heating, getting enough sleep and regular exercise which helps me keep my stress baseline low.

I like this. I can use this! I have ways of managing different kinds of stress. It gives me options. I have some ideas for flare ups which require immediate action. I have some ideas for situational or ongoing stress which require processing. I will keep thinking about other ways I can manage my stress. And the only place food features is in the day to day and that is about healthy eating.