Sunday, November 02, 2014
I really enjoy reading the blogs on here, and I often find myself relating to the various issues addressed; I think the emotional tone of the blogs is often more compelling for me than necessarily weight loss strategies or tips, although I have learned a whole lot of those on here, too.
I am currently grappling with a sort of "Oh Wow" kind of insight that I have gained from reading blogs on here, as well as years and years of talking with women friends and colleagues and basically just existing in the world.
Many women are very, very self-sacrificing, and really put other people's needs before their own. Those tendencies add to weight issues, depression, hyper tension, anxiety, stress, etc.
I don't think I am one of those women. I am pretty good about putting my own needs right out there.
I am not a monster; I love my family and friends and often do very thoughtful things for them. But that is really motivated by me, too. I feel better when I can bring you the metaphorical chicken soup; otherwise I feel helpless and impotent.
I love my children, and have certainly "sacrificed" for them; lets face it, if I did not have kids and we were DINKS (dual income, no kids) we would be quite well off. But I have and continue to get great joy from the kids, and I feel proud of them, and feel some sort of reflected glory when they do well. My husband and I made a commitment that we would do everything in our power to get them through their bachelor's degrees with no student debt; we were lucky enough to be able to do that. In turn, I expect them to pick out a nice nursing home for me some day! :)
Similarly with the volunteer work I do, or my job, or how I spend my free time; while I do things (sometimes) that are for the greater good, it is because I get joy from that; I do not live like a hermit, giving everything I earn to charity except some very basic stipend to live on. I live a very nice, comfortable lifestyle. We don't have a huge house, because we chose that. I work in the public sector, and could have made more in the private sector, because I chose that, and I get both some financial rewards (public pension) and other rewards (less hours, less stress) than when I was in private practice. Plus, I like my work and get rewarded by my community for doing what I do. I enjoy the boards I sit on and the volunteer activities I do.
So how does this insight into my own motivation play into my struggle with health and food right now? Well, I think I have been very easy on myself over the years. I ate what I wanted because it tasted good, or was easy, or both. I used food as a stress reliever and a reward and an entertainment (yes, I eat when I am bored) and a mood regulator. I also stopped moving around! Gradually getting more and more sedentary, because it was....easy! And because I can entertain myself quite nicely without moving. I like to read, watch tv, visit with friends, eat, go hear live music, go to festivals, etc. My husband and I will happily "binge watch" a tv series; I love to cook, I love to sit in my backyard at night with a a glass of wine. When my daughter comes home for a visit we will spend all of one day in sweats and watch tv and gab away. All of these things bring me joy...even writing about them makes me happy.
What is not on that list? I have never been a person who could honestly say I love any type of exercise. When I first met my husband he was hiking the White Mountains; real hiking where you carry a bedroll and freeze dried food and pitch a tent on the trail. I explained to him that it was most definitely not my idea of a good time to strap some heavy pack to my back and walk uphill for a few days, all while not showering, and that if that is what he was looking for he should find another girl. I have never been a runner; I have no eye hand coordination and have never liked tennis, soccer, baseball, etc. I have occasionally enjoyed an aerobics class, but let that slide, too, when life got busy and my knees got sore. Notice I did NOT give up sitting around watching tv, so it is simply not true that it was because I did not have time for it, I just didn't like it enough to prioritize it.
I do like to walk, and I love to dance.
So....here is (I guess) where I am. Recognizing my natural inclinations toward inertia, I need to learn to like movement more. For the first time, I am making myself SAD by not moving and eating like a toddler, because it is impacting on my ability to do the stuff I want to do! I am slowly, very slowly, learning to like healthier foods, and I am moving more. And I have to push myself a little more! I know that I can make excuses...and I know when I am doing it. At work a young lawyer I work with told me the other day that I seem to have a good sense of when people are lying to me....part of that is the cynicism that comes with age and part of that is having developed a bulls&%$ meter....time to start applying some of that rigorous demand for the truth to myself.
And, I do love to: be with my husband and family, be with my friends, travel to fun places, walk in the woods, dance, and engage in my world. I love to wear pretty clothes and cute boots! I can be quite vain, and like to look nice! So applying my real motivation to change anything, to do anything, I need to remember that making these changes now is in my enlightened self interest! In the most basic and selfish of ways, it will make me happy if I lose weight and gain strength and enjoy better health.