Losing It For The Family

Losing It For The Family

Thursday, July 31, 2014

My Prison

Monday, when I was push mowing my front yard, I started to do some thinking. I was really enjoying the day, the weather, the activity I was engaging in. Then my thoughts turned to the fact that I just don't seek this out enough. If I am being honest, apart from what I HAVE to go do, I spend the vast majority of my time in what I am now dubbing "my prison cell." The living room and kitchen are separated by a wall in my house. So within a 20 square foot area, I have my recliner and my refrigerator. I spend a lot of time in my recliner, usually with my nose buried in my iPad. The most common reason I get up out of my recliner? To go to the refrigerator to get food, or if I am feeling feisty, I walk all the way to the pantry in the utility room to get food. Heck I rarely get out of the recliner when I am playing with the kids in the house. That thing has a magnet and my butt is metal is seems like!

So I am adding a new goal to my get at least half hour of strenuous activity 5 days a week. I will also avoid my "prison cell" at least until 8 o'clock at night. I haven't decided for sure how I will avoid it. If nothing else I could go sit on the deck. Heck that may work because every time I walk out there, I see something I need to be doing. Here is to Project Prison Break!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Face It, Then Defeat It

I think I have talked about this before. I at one time had a small bout of anxiety, if you can call anxiety small. I mean I had weird things going on. Like I would feel like I was having a heart attack anytime I was about to walk into a Wal Mart. Seriously. It was Wal Mart specific. Being honest, I probably turned around at the doors and went home like 10 times. And if I did go in, I was always feeling like I was fixing to die. But one day, I faced that fear. I said hey, how ridiculous is this? You know what, despite my feeling that I am going to die the whole time, have I ever actually died? Huh, it doesn't appear so. I'm standing here talking to myself ain't I? (but that is a whole different issue... haha). And literally from that day forward, any time I had anxiety, I would ask myself, how ridiculous is this?

I won't pretend that I don't have the beginnings of anxiety attacks anymore, but they don't control my life. I don't stop what I am doing and run away. I just recognize it for what it is, and go on. Another thing that helped, I had to admit that I had anxiety. As in I told people about it. I OWNED it. Too often, issues or situations own us because we are too scared to face them or to even admit to others that we have them. I am a proud man and didn't want anybody to know I had a weakness. But the minute I found the courage to talk to my friends about it, I gained power over it. Then I began to make it a bit of a joke, and I gained even more power over it.

What of it you say? I think the thing that I am facing now that has me paralyzed is my fear of failing AGAIN. Sure I have shown a handful of times how great I am at losing weight. But that isn't the end goal is it? The end goal is keeping it off. And I have shown a handful of times I cannot. Kinda cancels out the successes in my mind. But you know what, screw that. I might fail again. It is cliche I know, but the true measure of success isn't whether you fell, but did you get back up, dust off and try again. I am afraid of failing. There I said it. I have achieved so much in the last few years, that I feel like failing anything would prove me a fraud. No more. I am going to pick myself up, dust myself off, and get back on that horse until it is broke!

My last post, I made it a point to say that I needed to pick a point to start working on. I chose activity. Yes I am only two days in, but so far, it has been successful. Monday, I came home and push mowed my front yard for about 45 minutes after supper. Tuesday, I came home and after supper, Lauren and I went for a walk around the block twice. That is a little over a mile and it took about 20 minutes. After that, I got the weed sprayer out and hit the front yard. After that, I helped Lauren practice her serve for volleyball and then we worked on her passing. All told, I exceeded my 30 minute goal by about 30 minutes!! And that is all well and good, but the thing I took away from it was a sense of pride in succeeding TODAY!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Pick A Starting Point

One of my favorite jobs before my current profession was as a set up guy. My job was to get the tooling out for a new work order, apply it to the proper base machine, and set it up so that the part it was fixing to run was in dimension and met quality control standards. For whatever reason, while in a production run, the part would go out of specifications or some defect would pop up, and so my next duty was to go figure out why that was happening. Often times I had an idea when the operator came to tell me what was happening, but sometimes I had no idea. On the occasions I had no idea, my approach was to try adjusting things I thought may have caused it. But when that was also ineffective, I had a different approach. I just started somewhere. I made an adjustment, any adjustment, and looked to see if it made any difference one way or the the other. I just picked a spot and began to apply change.

I am starting to realize that my problem is much bigger than I ever thought. What sucks about that is that unpacking all that has led to 3 days of me being even worse than ever eating/exercising/attitude wise. Today, I pick a spot. My first spot is that at least 5 days a week, I am going to exercise. Whatever that may be. I may walk, I may go life weights, I may hop the treadmill or stationary bike. But I will at least exercise.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

The "Can't Win" Paradox

I am suddenly beginning to become acutely aware of a lot of things. My wife went on a camping trip with the Girl Scout troop she is the co-leader of last night, so after I got the kids to bed, I had a few minutes to think and unfortunately over eat too. The weird thing thing is, while i was overeating, I was actually completely conscious of it. Like I was analyzing the action while doing it. Always when I get off in binge mode, it is almost animalistic. I just dive into it, it is instinctual. Then afterwards, I become human Shane again and then begin to analyze it. But last night I was cognizant of the fact I was doing it. I took a few minutes after finally regaining my composure to think about it some more. And I realized something odd.

We all know that if you are an addicted eater, you have a Jekyll and Hyde nature. On the one hand, you have that part of you that is good, and wants to do the right thing and eat well. On the other, you have that part of you that wants to give in, do the easy and fun thing! But here is something I realized about myself last night. It doesn't matter which one of those guys wins, I have feelings of failure when ever I eat anything after 4 or 5 o'clock. It could be 20 almonds, or a half of a cheesecake. If I eat anything after supper, and sometimes even supper does it, I feel guilty. I can eat completely healthy all day, and completely healthy at supper, and completely healthy in any snack after supper, and still I feel like a failure for eating anything. I literally can't win if I am jekyll and can't win if I am Hyde!! The worst part is, I don't know how to fix that. These last 3 days of blogging have led me to believe I need a therapist!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Maybe Your Will Isn't Always Your Own?

I come from rough beginnings. I had a heck of a life growing up. But despite all the sorrows of my youth, I seem to have always been able to transcend the situation. I seem to have always been able to say "eh, that happened. Now on to living the rest of my life." And quite frankly, I consider myself a tough guy. But now I am starting to wonder. I have never put much stock in the whole "I am a mess because of my past" theory. And I still am not ready to buy into the idea that you cannot function because of it. But I will come off my notion enough to say that your past may be able to effect you in some ways. Not to delve into details, but I have been adopted twice, I was passed around a lot as a child, and in some stops I was abused or neglected. I never let that stop me from being somewhat productive as a member in society. I was an overcomer. But now I am starting to believe that despite being a go getter and hard charger, some of the stuff I have seemingly let slide off my back has come home to roost.

I had an epiphany as I told you yesterday. I feel guilty about the fact I made it. I kept thinking about that yesterday. And I discovered I may also feel unworthy of a life that has suddenly become much less tumultuous. I have a wife that loves me, a step daughter that tolerates me. I am working at my dream job, I don't cringe every time I have to spend money now. The foster children we have had made me smile to be able to help someone. My church life and spiritual health are better than they have ever been in my whole entire life! But somewhere along the way, did I buy into the idea that I am not worthy of anything good? I mean I clawed and scratched and spent hours and days and months and years aiming for where I am today, how can I convince myself I don't deserve it? It was earned, not given.

Is it true? Could my will not be my own? Can what others have thought of me in the past really attach so strongly that I can't be happy for my achievement? That as Sean said, I can't be ok with the idea that I may be exceptional? A funny story. After I read Sean's comments, I made a conscious effort to say to myself "I may be exceptional. I did something not many do" and I kid you not when I said that it literally caused a physical response when I let myself think it. My chest tightened even thinking it. In fact, it just tightened when I typed it. How on earth can I begrudge myself my achievement?

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Manufactured Stress

I am a worker. I love to accomplish. Sometimes it occurs to me that I love to accomplish a little too much. If you see me, it is a very good chance that I am thinking about what all I need to be doing. It fills my head. It also stresses me out if I feel I need to be doing something, and I am not making progress towards it. I for real cannot think of the last time (outside of vacation) that I was just sitting around thinking about nothing. Just enjoying the moment. I never just enjoy the moment I don't think. Well unless I am on vacation out of town. For some reason, I can stop thinking then. That may explain why I am such a big vacation fan.

So this morning, I tried to take a few minutes of quiet reflection. I tried to not even think about what today held, what all things I needed to do before the day is out, or how I would manage to get it all done. And though it was short lived, I had a really happy thought. I happened to be facing the wall my Associate's Degree and my Bachelor's Degree are on. And for a fleeting moment, it occurred to me. Where I am today was a long and hard road. I started school shortly after starting to date, and eventually marry Kathy and became a step dad to Lauren. I worked all through undergrad full time, and went to school at night. That was a heck of a 4 years, but I then followed that up with 2 1/2 years of 3-5 times a week minimum driving 50 miles one way minimum to go to law school. I had to swallow my pride and let Kathy and mom support me while I was in law school. I then took 2 months to study for a test that literally would make my life so much easier, or potentially destroy the last 7 years. I passed the bar and immediately had a job that pays well, has amazing benefits, and that I LOVE!! It occurred to me how awesome all that is. And for the most part, I have glazed over that. I have never really stopped and appreciated it. Why? As soon as I started working, my goal was to hurry up and be just as smart as the other attorneys who have been here from 10 to 20 years longer than I have. I didn't bask in the moment really, I just set a new goal and started hard charging. And I am not as good as them and it bothers me. I manufactured my own stress. I am aware than none of the other attorneys believe I should be just as good as them 3 months into doing this job. But in my head, I am a drag on the office. So I have to drive myself, and each time I have to ask a question or I make a mistake, it sits hard on me. I can't just move on. I would love to, but I can't.

Now make no mistake, I have learned a lot, I have done a lot of things right in this new job. And I recognize that things I sucked at 2 months ago I am much better at today. But I just gloss over accomplishments and set new sights. I am perpetually stressing myself. So now I have a new goal. Not a weight loss goal, but a life goal that may help my weight loss goal. Stop trying to speed forward. Better yet. Just stop. Stop and look at what I have already done. And don't minimize it. I have had probably 100 people tell me how impressed they are with my drive and determination and ability to finish what I started. Without fail, I brush off the compliment and tell them it really isnt that big of a deal. But you know what. It is. And I am not going to convince myself anymore that I need to be completely humble. Dadgummit, it is pretty cool that I am where I am. I did work hard and I will stop feeling guilty that I made it. Holy crap. That just literally came to me. I feel guilty I made it when I have known so many other people who deserve it just as much as I do, but they didn't make it. That thought just floored me. Did I recognize that I felt guilty but bury it? See, this is one of the benefits of writing/blogging. That literally just came out because I had a forum to just dump my thoughts, raw and sometimes unknown. I think I am going to set aside some time this weekend to explore that epiphany. Is that something that has been keeping me from launching again? Do I feel like my life is better than I deserve now?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Flexible Rigidity

A few days ago, I set some goals for myself. Easy, reachable goals. Things that are doable. No seconds, no finishing the kids plates, and no snacking after supper. The first two have been no problem. The last one, I struggle with every day. The thing is I wind up getting something pretty much every night. Now my mind set is usually take no prisoners. Set the goal, do exactly that. And if I am fudging on it, I get down on myself (see my I want to be fast and PERFECT post from before.) So the last 3 days I have been snacking after supper. And as always, I get down on myself. And that invariably leads to the one thing I don't need. More snacking. I seriously have this logic loop. I already messed up, may as well do it big. I seriously think that. I consider myself mildly intelligent, so how do I fall for that self-sabotaging thinking?

So instead of rigidity proper, I decided to find some solution, some something that will keep me from de-railing if I snack after supper. I will make it a regimented event. I will do two things to insure that the snack is not a de-railing situation. First, I am going to fill this house with low calorie high nutrition snacks. Fruit, vegetables, yogurt, etc. Second, I am setting a schedule. If I am home, and I am craving a snack, then I will have a snack at 8 o'clock. The snack must be something that I can confidently say is not junk food. and it must be less than 200 calories.

Bridges are built with some wobble in them because otherwise they would fall from the stress if they were solid. I am building my bridge back to a healthy weight. I will need to remember to be flexible to be safe.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

I Want To Be Fast and Perfect

It is part of my DNA I guess. My whole life I want to be fast and I want to be perfect at everything I do. The wanting to be fast was further enhanced by my life in factory work. Of course whatever kinds of job you have in an industrial setting, the key is speed and quality both. So with 15-18 years under my belt in that kind of setting, I have a hard time understanding that you don't always have to do 100 mph. Also, you won't ever be perfect. It is ok to shoot for it, but be realistic when you don't get there.

One of the hardest adjustments for me in my new career is that I don't have to race a clock to make sure I get all my hours in because that is how I get maximum compensation. So I still occassionally find myself trying to rush across town after dropping off the kids to get to the office before 8. Now I am coming to grips with that is not necessary. I am on salary, and except for maybe 2 days a week, I have no need to be here that early.

The other adjustment for me has been I am now the end of the line. Whatever I am doing better be right, because nobody checks my work anymore. So rather than racing through typing a document up, I have had to learn to go slow, and learn to use crazy methods like reading it backwards for typos or mistakes. So lately I am more methodical in drafting things. With that has come the luxury of my mind not racing so fast. Even with all that, the facts are I do still make typos. I do still get something wrong. Not as often, but still. Another thing I learned...... so do the others. I have used some old documents as go by's when I am typing stuff up. I find that the other guys made typos too. We by nature are not perfect.

I know,you are wondering what the heck does that have to do with the price of tea in China? It says this about me. I can change, I can become better at those things. And that is what I need most to be successful in this new bid. Moment of truth telling. I was so good all day yesterday. But for some reason, I was sitting around last night, and the girls were out shopping and my boy was in bed. I decided to do a little binge. I fought it off for a bit, but eventually habit won. And in the old days, i would beat the hell out of my self mentally and emotionally. Now, my attitude is that was yesterday. I have to let that go and move forward. I wasn't perfect YESTERDAY. But I do get another chance today.

Also, I have made it ok to not feel like a slacker because I didn't run 3 miles everyday this week. If I get 3 in, so be it. If I get no organized exercise in, but I have mowed, and I have been out messing with kids in the back yard, or even went to a boardwalk and walked all day, still counting it. This is how it is now. No insanity here.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


I have been doing a lot of thinking lately. I keep going over and over in my head the fact that I had reached where I wanted to get to, but then didn't protect it. How the heck does one do that? It drives me crazy.

So having thought about it too much, I decided to let that go. Move forward with getting there again. Of course, having had amazing success in losing 100 pounds in just a few months, my instinct is, let's do that again! I obviously know how to make it happen right? Well as we have all heard a million times, the definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over, expecting different results. I have always been able to lose weight easily and quickly, but I have never been able to keep it off. I always go back to poor eating HABITS. Habits, as in behaviors. Bad habits are not born over night, and changing them will not be a permanent fix if you attempt to do it over night.

So having reached that conclusion, my next question was ok, but this overeating thing, surely it is born of some emotional need right? I mean, it just isn't my fault!! To that I say that perhaps. Perhaps in a former life, where I was in a dead end job, I had no family, I knew I was meant for something bigger than standing on a factory floor all day, sometimes 7 days a week. Perhaps when I didn't have a close relationship with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Perhaps before I went to 4 years of undergrad, finished law school, passed the bar, and got my dream job working in the prosecutor's office. Perhaps when I was constantly struggling to make ends meet, keep my family solvent, and wishing like crazy we had just enough money to take even a weekend trip to somewhere besides this state. Perhaps there was a huge hole I was trying to fill with food. But at this point in my life, I am better emotionally, professionally, and spiritually than I have ever been! And yet, I eat and eat and eat. At this point I can't really see that emotional eating is my problem. So I have narrowed it down to two problems. I eat out of habit, and dang it, I just like to eat!! If I am being honest, after my current meal, I am often thinking about what will the next meal be.

Previously, I was all about the numbers. How many calories am I eating? How many did I burn? What is my weight this week? It became a job or a project. As we all know, when you work too hard at a job or finish a project, you burn out or congratulate yourself on a job well done. I seriously remember that when I hit the Onederland mark, when I saw that 199, I breathed a sigh of relief. I had DONE IT. As in I was done. I had spent so much emotional energy chasing a NUMBER. I now realize, I needed to be chasing an change in behavior. I know, it seems that the behavior should have logically followed. But clearly, it didn't have time to take in the few months it took me to reach the goal NUMBER.

So now, my plan is this. I am not going to be fascinated by numbers anymore. From now on, the day starts with goals with regard to my behaviors. Yesterday, I had three goals when I started the day. I will not have seconds, I will not finish the kids plates, and I will not snack after supper(and if I am being honest yet again, snacking means eating continuously after supper). Not a single one of those are hard goals. And I made every single one of them. I ended the day with a sense of accomplishment. I began this day with a sense of resolve. I will keep those same goals for the next 3 weeks. I think that is sufficient time for them to become newer habits, replacing old habits.