Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Sleep Deprived

I'm not much of a sleeper.  Well, I take that back...when I do sleep, I sleep very deep and very soundly for about an average of 5 hours per night.   According to the experts that is not enough.  There is evidence that in order to maintain good health, the average adult needs 8-9 hours of sleep a night.  In addition there are studies that show that getting sufficient sleep is integral to weight loss. 

My own experience is conflicted in this case.  While I don't get the number of hours of sleep that I'm supposed to, I always feel rested when I wake up.  I've always been an early riser, usually getting up between 6-7 a.m., even if I go to bed at 1 or 2 a.m.  In fact I would say that is it often a struggle for me to stay in bed and go back to sleep.  Once I'm up, I'm up.  On the other hand, I do sometimes think that what I feel as hunger is actually me being tired.  I have become so disconnected from my physical self that I misread what my body is telling me.  Wait, this is the aha moment of my journey.  I finally figured out that what I am feeling is often anger, sadness, stress, tiredness and a plethora of other feelings, but I'm feeding it like it's hunger. Food is my comfort. 

I'm telling you honestly that broccoli is not comfort food.  Mac and Cheese is, or pizza or any number of unhealthy choices, those are comfortable.  So now I have realized that in addition to not eating when I'm actually hungry, I am eating the absolute wrong foods to feed every other emotion that I am not feeling.

So, how to solve this issue.  It's not rocket science.  It's a matter of taking stock when you go to grab something to eat.  Am I eating because I'm hungry?  Pretty simple huh?  Ha!!  The issue for me is that I have to admit that I'm feeling something else and that it's so overwhelming to me that I don't want to feel it.  Not easy at all.  The big one for me is stress.  Anytime that something at work is stressing me out I immediately go to the cafeteria and find some big muffin or Cinnamon roll and eat it as quick as I can.  Or I used to.  In order to be successful, that coping skill and behavior has to change.  BTW, nothing makes me feel better than a big ice cream cone. 

So, back to sleep....no pun intended.  If I'm sleep deprived or angry or sad or stressed I will be more susceptible to making bad food choices.  So it is necessary that in addition to taking stock of why I am eating I am also trying to ensure that I sleep more so that I'm well rested.  I'm taking steps to reduce my stress level.  I might take a walk around the block at work when things get really thermal nuclear, or exercise, play with my dog, talk to a friend.  When I'm angry I go work out on my heavy bag.  It's great exercise and I get to punch whoever is pissing me off the most at the moment, if only in my imagination.  When I take care to do all these things in addition to my eating plan and exercise regimen it ensures more success in my endeavor.

Thanks for listening. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Sick of being a lard ass

How the hell did this happen?  How did I not notice?  In what year did I start avoiding the mirror?  When did I enter the denial stage?  When did I become so disconnected? When did I get so fat? 

Ever ask yourself those questions?  It happened to me just recently.  Now don't get me wrong I knew that I was gaining weight because I had to buy bigger clothes, I couldn't participate in the same activities I used to and I did venture onto a scale every once in a while.  But I was not in contact with my physical body.  I was purposely ignoring it and what it was telling me.  Total and utter disassociation.  Finally I have reaped the rewards of that denial and I am 120 pounds overweight. 

I can use all sorts of excuses about why this happened.  I was extremely stressed at work and I tend to eat my stress.  I don't want to deal with emotion so I eat it instead.  All the usual suspects.  But just like any other issue, like a big fat greasy doughnut it rolled away from me. 

In February I realized I could continue to wallow in my excuses or I could get off my robust gluteas maximus  and finally reconnect with my body and what it had become and work at getting it where I need it to be.  I say need because I need it to be more healthy, to be able to lead a more positive life and to feel better about myself.  I need to lose weight for my body, but also for my spirit, mind and emotional health. 

So what to do. 

I had a couple of friends who gave me some direction.  They gave me access to an eating plan that works for them and I started it.  In three weeks time I lost 20 pounds.  I went on vacation and lost 5 more.  Something I had never managed to do in all of my 48 years.  When I returned from vacation I continued on the plan and have so far dropped another 5 pounds.

I'm under no illusion that I will continue to lose weight this fast.  I will at some point plateau and the weight will come off slower and that's when the real test will begin.  To keep my frustration level down and to continue to treat my body well, exercise and eat good whole healthy food and not resort to feel good momentary satisfaction.   I've also made up my mind to blog about my experience because I know that it will help me and it might inspire some others out there who may want to make some life changes. 

This isn't going to be easy.  It's not going to be quick.  I didn't gain this weight overnight (thou sometimes it feels like I woke up one morning and went "hey, what happened"?)  and I can't lose it overnight.  I'm not dieting.  I'm choosing a different lifestyle and making better food and exercise choices.  I know, I've heard those statements before and rolled my eyes just like you just did.  But it's true folks. 

For those of you who are interested in my progress you are welcome to follow along.  For those that are not, please ignore at your leisure.  For those that have questions, please feel free to ask.  At some point I will be posting my plan and exercise regimen and put you in touch with my life coach who has helped me make these decisions and continues to provide sage advice and direction on how to proceed.  I will also be posting pictures in the next few days so that those of you who are interested will be able to follow along.

For those of you asking why make this a public event?  Simple, incentive.  It will make me work harder and stay on track.  That's the kind of personality I have.

Wish me luck and thanks for listening.