Start Gung Ho
Forget your “why”
Start binge eating
Health issue rises…
Rinse and repeat
Anyone familiar with this cycle for weight loss/improving health style?
I thought so.
Back on September 12th I was diagnosed with Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome…like Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, just in the ankle. I’d been dealing with pretty excruciating nerve pain in my foot.
So, I joined Weight Watchers, committed to 90 meetings in 90 days (today is Day 55, meeting 57), changed my eating, and started walking.
I’m not exactly sure when I started walking, but, I haven’t missed a day since then. I worked my way up from just under a mile at a time to over two miles at a time.
Throughout that time, the nerve pain never went away, but it diminished and walking got much easier…until day before yesterday. I logged a cumulative six miles in one day. I pushed again yesterday and logged 2.6 miles.
The pain came back with a vengeance…and I’m feeling frustrated by my self-sabotage and discouraged by my continued overeating.
In the past, this would have been the point at which I gave up. Not this time.
Why? What’s different now?
This time I have the WW community. Yesterday, I walked in the door of the studio and I was greeted by name by one of the “Wellness Guides” (formerly, receptionist). One of the Guides is also a coach in other workshops (meetings) I’ve attended. She always asks what number I’m on and tells me what an inspiration I am. She “brags” to other members about what I’m doing as a way to motivate and encourage them. The Coach for that meeting is very focused on the members giving ourselves credit and props for showing up and engaging.
There’s also the online community who has been following along on Instagram and FB, where I share more of the day to day details of this journey I’m on. Plus, my fellow bloggers who are also encouraging me.
There’s my faith community where we go broader and deeper into all our lives and journeys. Several of them are also following my journey on FB & IG.
These three communities are encouraging and supporting me. I’m holding myself accountable to them. And, if I’m being honest, the praise and approval is motivating me, as well. Is that shallow and less “evolved” than one should be at 49? Probably. But, it is what it is…another thing for me and my therapist to discuss.
Another thing that’s different is that I’m one of my “whys.” I finally feel like I deserve to take the time I need and give myself the attention and consideration I should to make taking care of me one of my priorities.
Walking is part of my daily self-care routine. It helps my mental health. However, I don’t have to walk six miles in a day. I need activity every day, but one mile, approximately 20 minutes is sufficient. When I walk, I need to walk enough to raise my heart rate but, I don’t have to push myself like I’m in a race. I need to reframe why I’m walking. It’s helping me lose weight, but, it’s purpose is to improve and maintain mental and physical health through daily activity.
I need to remember that the ultimate goal isn’t the weight loss. It’s mental and physical health and wellness so I can sustain and maintain consistent functionality in taking care of my responsibilities, my relationships, and become self-sufficient.
Happy is a feeling and feelings are fleeting. Happiness is a state of being and takes work.
The experience of Happiness is more challenging for some more than others and may seem impossible to achieve.
That’s because Happiness isn’t a goal or destination, but a byproduct, a side effect of the combination of our genetics, circumstances, beliefs, attitudes, and actions.
For many of us coming from lives filled with trauma and/or mental illness it will look different than it does for neurotypical people. We have to work through the trauma and confront ourselves to heal and grow. These are our prerequisites to Happiness.
There is no set formula for experiencing it. However, common and necessary elements include self-care (nutrition, activity, personal hygiene, etc.), engagement in healthy community, gratitude, service, and passionate purpose.
Pain, loss, grief, and other feelings and experiences, often considered “negative,” may suppress Happiness and cause us to lose it. But, what is lost can be found again. The negative doesn’t necessarily negate the ability to experience Happiness.
Of course, I could be way off and this is hypomania talking…but, I don’t think so.
Today was the first of seven of these workshops I’ll be attending this week on my “90 meetings in 90 Days” journey. (I owe you a post to explain that. Tomorrow. Maybe.) Today’s discussion was interesting. I’m looking forward to see how it gets addressed in the other workshops.
The weekly handout suggested that being happy makes the healthy activities we do in our lives more possible and increases the experience of those things. It also acknowledged that partaking of those activities increases happiness.
The workshop’s Coach listed a formula that determines one’s happiness level:
+10% Life Circumstances
+40% Attitude, Thoughts, & Actions
My immediate reaction was to scoff at the Life Circumstances percentage. I mean, although it hasn’t been as painful and difficult as other people’s, it’s been generously peppered with a lot of trauma. Consequently, I have PTSD. Plus, I experience Depression, Bipolar 2 Disorder, fibromyalgia, and am parenting a child with regularly tells me things like she wishes I would kill myself or that I had been born dead.
Yeah. Happiness is HARD. That’s a LOT of genetics and life circumstances.
I spend a lot of time fighting tears, dealing with bureaucracy, and managing conflict. I’m skeptical that Happiness is a state of being that’s more than occasionally possible for me.
I think Acceptance and Contentedness are much more doable. I think there can be moments of happiness. I think we have to be emotionally and mentally healthy and functional to be able to experience even those moments of happiness. I simply don’t believe that Happiness is achievable as a permanent state.
All that being said, I have my own formula:
+A supportive community
+Choosing to be in positive environments
I mentioned in yesterday’s post that I joined WW (formerly Weight Watchers) mid-September this year. I have a laundry list (Why “laundry”? Wouldn’t “shopping” make more sense? I think so, too). Correction, shopping list of whys. Not the least of which is Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome, a rare disorder of the ankle, similar to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Here’s the complete list:
• Family – I have two adult children (32 & 25), three grandchildren (4,3, & 1), and a nearly 10 year old on the higher functioning end of the autism spectrum and who experiences ADHD.
• PhysicalHealth – Fibromyalgia, Hypothyroidism, Type 2 Diabetes, Sleep Apnea, High Cholesterol, and Tarsal Tunnel Syndrome.
I’ve spent nearly five years of hard work to reach this point. I had been a toxic person in a toxic relationship. I had severely broken relationships with my two adult children. I was so overwhelmed and depressed I was barely functional. I was so consumed with self-loathing that I hid from the world, making myself sicker and sicker, consuming all the food and media I could numb out on.
Now, I’m working on staying centered in the here and now, continuing to heal, grow, and build relationships with my children, engaging with the world and people around me, and learning how to treat myself with the care, compassion, and love I have and want to have for each person I encounter.
It’s past time for me to become the best version of myself.