Random rumination: Are my goals too demanding?

Adding to this - Accepting futility is so liberating!

Adding to this – Accepting futility is so liberating!

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?


About Maura

an erstwhile former weight management blogger writing about life without diet should's and should not's filter.
This entry was posted in Core Desired Feelings and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Random rumination: Are my goals too demanding?

  1. ProjectME says:

    Maura, I love this plan! When I read that, I thought, “she can SO do this!” This dinner experience has been a toughie for you for the entire time I’ve known you – this is a great way to approach this. And still manage your choices the rest of the time. You always have my support, you know that. But I REALLY support this!

    ps did you send me a comment somewhere? I saw an alert, but went to my notifications and nothing was there. Maybe I’m losing it, which is entirely possible. 🙂

    • Maura says:

      Becky, thanks. You know, D doesn’t even realize that the dinners have been contributory to my weight gain. He blames it all my inability to stay away from the break room, stop eating when I’ve had just enough, and not indulge in little bites of everything. And we won’t even talk about his thoughts on exercise. But he’s my husband – I chose him, I love him and I need to embrace dinner with him in the healthiest way possible. I think this is it.

      I didn’t send another message on your blog – but I did get your email. Thank you! I suck at email correspondence, but it’s good to know I can contact you outside the blog world. Thank you. My email is maurastoolbox at g mail dot com.

      Thanks again!

  2. Zazamataz says:

    How would you feel if I lifted your entire post and claimed I wrote it? I mean, with the exception of the husband who cooks dinner, I could have written it. I particularly connect to the elaborate, doomed to failure plans and goals. Do you know that Richard Simmons tells a story of when he quit eating for an entire year. No food at all. I imagine myself doing this. It’s totally crazy and completely unhealthy but I think how it would not require any thought, it would not force me to make any eating decisions, none of this not eating when I’m not hungry. Perhaps I’d even eventually lose my hunger. And it’s impossible. I would never do it. I like to think I have more sense than that but I think it’s more that I don’t have that kind of self control.

    I like the idea of giving yourself a break. Planning and healthy portions are the key, I know they are. I keep resisting them but I know that they are what works. Working with your life as it is and not expecting to make crazy changes works. When I met with a nutritionist after I was diagnosed with diabetes, what she did was ask me about what I already ate and then worked a plan around that. It makes so much more sense than trying to live on tofu and arugula.

    Keep talking to us. I also think that works.

    • Maura says:

      Ha, Zazzy! Sure lift it, claim it even. 🙂 One of the things I like about the amateur blog world is that we can read others’ thoughts and realize we are not alone.

      You know, I did a liquid diet (Optifast) and existed on shakes for about 6 months (I allowed myself to eat food on Christmas Day). I lost 70 lbs. Decision was removed. It was easy, actually. I’ve learned that removing decision may make losing weight easier – but it, like most diet plans, does not help one sustain a healthy weight whilst living a normal life. A life that is full of food decisions each and every day. Instead – learn to live with making generally good decisions about food.

      And yes – I need a break. I think my plan helps me give myself one.

      As always, thanks for the comment!

  3. Snoskred says:

    I’ve had plenty of those ocular migraines. What I’m about to say is what I have learned – this is all my own experiences and as always, your mileage may vary. 🙂 But maybe this might be useful for you.

    I have learned how to cut these migraines off as soon as the kaleidoscopes start to appear – if I let them go, I will have 3-4 hours of kaleidoscope cannot see anything at all, plus about 45-60 minutes after the kaleidoscopes, I will get a truly evil migraine as in go lie in a darkened room with a cold flannel on my forehead and the only painkiller that will even touch it is a morphine shot, plus I have to take something for nausea. Obviously, I want to avoid that!

    So here is what I do. 🙂 This plan was suggested to me by my doctor after having too many of these migraines, and the next time it happened, it worked, and it has ever since. Like magic. 🙂

    When the kaleidoscope appears, the moment I notice it, I will take 2x paracetamol (acetaminophen) *and* 2x ibuprofen with a cup of hot tea or coffee. The caffeine helps the drugs to work faster, so do not omit that if you are going to give this a try.

    My doctor said it is fine to take both paracetamol and ibuprofen together and strongly recommended the caffeine, so of course it might be worth asking your own doctor before trying this and especially if you have issues with your stomach as ibuprofen or aspirin can cause trouble there.

    I have also done the same but with 2x paracetamol and 2x aspirin when I ran out of ibuprofen one time, and that worked. I prefer liquid paracetamol and ibuprofen tablets as they work super fast for me. The faster the drugs absorb, the sooner the kaleidoscopes go away.

    I know from hard experience that 2x any one painkiller is absolutely useless for me in this situation. I also know that the drugs with codeine added are overkill and not necessary to solve this for me as long as I can intervene with the para/ibu combination right away.

    I have been suffering these for about 5 years now, every two or three months I get one, though there was one bad patch of one every 2 weeks or so. We have not been able to pinpoint a cause – though stress could certainly be a factor, I have still had them when not under any stress. I’m not so worried about the cause as long as the intervention works for me.

    Some other important points I have learned over the years –

    – if those drugs do work for you, then make sure you have a set of them in your handbag, and a backup set, in case you forget to replenish the first set.

    – if you are on the go, for the caffeine you could try Kopiko coffee lollies. Some companies sell a paracetamol with caffeine in it.

    – Never, EVER, no matter what, never drive with the kaleidoscopes. Even if you think you can see ok long distance, you really can’t be certain the kaleidoscope will remain in that same place, or that you will not suddenly get other competing ones in that same eye.. I have had 3 different kaleidoscopes going in one eye, which all onset 5-10 minutes later than the first one before. They disappeared in the order they arrived, all within a few minutes.

    – Whatever you were trying to do – for me it might be typing a document or a spreadsheet, reading an ebook or watching tv, stop trying to do that until the kaleidoscope goes away, because all that will happen is you get frustrated trying to work around it and that usually does not help.

    – Instead of trying to push through and keep working, if you have taken the drugs I find if I close my eyes and place a cold flannel on them, this does help the kaleidoscope to go away sooner than without a cold flannel. You will be back working in a fairly short time, and you’ll be able to do things a lot quicker without the kaleidoscopes.

    Wow, long comment, but I hope maybe it helps, it took me several years of having to call the dr out for a morphine shot to get to this happy solution. 🙂

    • Maura says:

      Wow, Snoskred – thanks for all the info. I was very fortunate that my eyes didn’t get worse before I got home (the vision was actually clearing some before I got in the car) and I was fortunate that the headache wasn’t too terrible. But it was terrible enough that I took 8 Tylenol in about an 8 hour period. I’ll definitely keep Tylenol and Advil in my purse from now on. And if this happens again – I’m going to the doctor – just to be sure I have self-diagnosed correctly and that I can learn how to manage the episodes and hopefully learn how to avoid them.

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