Sometimes I wonder if I set myself up to continually fail when it comes to my personal goals? It’s a wonder if I last a week in doing what I say I’m going to do? I’m not like that in my work habits or in activities that involve others.
D says I give too much to work and have no time or energy left for anything – including him. That could very well be true. And I don’t see the workload easing up. I do know that I only work about 45 hours a week – and commute another 7 or so. That’s nothing compared to others’ work weeks and commutes. I think his point is that when I start working – I can pretty much work for 8 hours straight with just biology breaks. He’s right there. And my #1 biology break is food. Looking for relief?
I came home from work early on Thursday. I had a terrific scare in the office – my near peripheral vision went kaleidoscoping heat-waving crazy. I couldn’t focus on the spreadsheet in front of me. My distance vision seemed to be OK so I drove home, where D met me. He’s a former Army medic so he checked me over and he decided an emergency room visit was not necessary. I took it easy the rest of the afternoon and took eye breaks in my work.
Research indicates this may have been an ocular migraine. They come on fast and they resolve fairly quickly. What brings them on? Yep – stress.
So, each and every time I think go myself “I need to manage my stress better” I feel my body tightening. Then I come up with grandiose plans:
- Get up at 5 AM everyday to journal
- Get up at 5AM everyday to work out
- Remember to take breathing breaks though out the day
- Eat healthy
- Get up and walk
OK – the first two are the grandiose plans. And they are so not gonna happen. Breathing breaks – I set reminders and then ignore them. Eat healthy – the fried dumplings are so much more enticing. Get up and walk – same thing as the breathing breaks: I ignore the reminders. Stress grows.
What do I really want right now? I want to get back to feeling healthy and loving. This post addresses the feeling healthy part. And yes is supports all three of my core desired feelings: intensely feminine, light, connected.
OK -so when it comes to being healthy (i.e., not being obese), eating the right amount of healthy foods is key. I know this. I choose to continually ignore it. If I don’t have lunch packed (leftovers are rarely healthy), I run downstairs to the cafeteria and ignore the salad bar for the hot bar, which is loaded with Asian dishes, usually prepared pretty well. I almost always make the wrong long term choice.
There’s part of me that says the solution is to eliminate choice. Barack Obama does it in his wardrobe – he wears only black or gray suits. But you know, life is not without choice and decisions. If I eliminate food choice – I’ll probably stick with my plan for 2 or 3 days and then break. My head KNOWS there’s choice. And my head knows that I’m not going to be satisfied with a salad more than 2 days in a row. And the goal is broken and guilt floods the neuro-pathways and I’m hitting the vending machine for relief. It doesn’t work.
I actually think the very best – and this is a big demanding goal – is to learn to embrace my preferred food choices without guilt. And from there – learn to give myself a break with choice.
I’ve mentioned the Donut Whisperer and eating on the Pleasure Scale. It’s all well and good. Leave three bites (of everything that’s on the plate) and stop eating when pleasure dips below 6 (out of 10). In my mind, I really like the concept – as it addresses portion size and paying attention. Oops – paying attention. That’s a biggie foe me and quite difficult to do since I do not take a lunch hour so I can avoid my commute being 10 hours a week instead of 7. BUT…
Here’s the give myself a break point I’ve been leading up to. What would happen if I planned and prepared healthy breakfasts (I need to avoid sugar in the mornings as eating sweets for breakfasts sets up a day of sweet craving) and lunches that are appropriately portioned. I don’t need to worry about remembering to leaving three bites. And I don’t worry about the pleasure scale (unless its screaming at me that I can’t eat another bite). I set up a simple boundary for work eating: If I don’t bring it from home, or it’s not a planned (at least the day before) meal or snack, I don’t eat it. (No noshing in the break room, etc) That takes care of the work day. What about dinner?
D is the primary cook. He believes in cooking with real foods, including cream, sour cream, butter and cheese. He doesn’t believe eating seafood when we live 5 hours away from a coast is sustainable and he believes most of our interior fisheries are overfished. We don’t eat fish. Chickens are raised to be way to big and they have no flavor. We don’t eat chicken. And he doesn’t like turkey. We eat beef and pork, cheese and eggs. And rice, potatoes, sweet potatoes (yum), butter beans and English peas. Yep – leafy green veggies are missing from that picture. But – what D prepares is almost always delicious and satisfying. What if I make dinner my Donut Whispering experience? I leave three bites of everything – including the beer or wine?
I think this may be a great “give myself a break” plan for me. Most of my overeating is during the day at the office. My work life makes it hard to get away from my desk so I can be mindful while I eat. Instead of trying to change that – I embrace it and plan for it. And when I do have the opportunity to be mindful, I embrace that wholeheartedly.
We’re all busy. How do you give yourself a break?