Bringing home the bacon, frying it in a pan, and helping someone else feel like they’re a man is recipe for cardiopulmonary disease. Don’t believe the hype.
I would say I fell off the wagon. Falling off the wagon implies, however, that this absence from the blogosphere was a happenstance, a misstep, an error. And that would be a lie. I didn’t fall off the wagon. I got off at the last stop. Because the ride had gotten bumpy and my bottom was sore and my head was weary. To be fare this blog wasn’t the only thing that got dropped. I also dropped
- Elimination of all transfats (fried chickens did come home to rest…on my thighs)
- No calls for alcohol (too many days without end resulted in a deep seated need for refreshment of the adult variety)
- Curbing my enthusiasm for all things chip, chocolate and gooey-fied (there have been cookies WITH ice cream)
I took a trip to Overload City with a brief layover in This Is Impossible Town. I got off the wagon in There Are Worst Things Than Death By Fried Chicken Township and am currently leaving But Ice Cream Really Should Be My Middle Name Village.
I work. I’m a mother. I try to be a good citizen and volunteer. And I come from a big family which translates into great celebrations at least once monthly. Plus I work in education. So cupcakes float past my desk on barrages of candy coated wishes daily in honor of this one’s birthday or that one’s honor roll or ‘because my mother said it would be nice’.
In mid May, after berating myself once again for not making time to exercise, I decided enough was enough and in true workaholic Capricorn style I decided to do a time audit on myself. Here’s a look at the self talk that lead to this wondrous decision:
Self: You’ll never lose this weight sitting on your butt.
Me: I’m too tired to exercise.
Self: Why are you so tired all the time? What’s wrong with you?
Me: Nothing’s wrong with me I just have long days.
Self: Well you better get that body moving or all the weight you lost is going to come back on double. Where will that leave you?
Me: Stop picking on me.
Self: You better do better. And pronto.
So to get me off my back I decided to load this time management app onto my smart phone. I thought I’ll go one week with charting my time and then I’ll be able to see where I can either fit exercise into my day or eliminate something and replace it with at least a 30 minute walk. There weren’t even enough icons and units on the damn app to represent all that I do in a given day! By the end of week one I determined that in one day, I spend
- 12 hours working (my full time gig + part time job + volunteering),
- 12 hours caring for the offspring (feeding, transporting, entertaining, disciplining, tickling, cuddling and reading to),
- 12 hours driving (to work, from work, to school, from school, to family, from family, to store…),
- 12 hours cleaning (washing clothes, washing dishes, putting things aways, picking up after the dog, wiping down things, picking things up, sweeping, wondering how to get that applesauce off my ceiling),
- 1 hour eating
- 6 hours sleeping
- 1 hour watching television
That means my average day as a working mother is 56 hours long.
And I have help. I have an entire village called a supportive family and a great educational community to which my son and I belong. I love my job(s). I get frustrated and weary because results don’t come as quick as I’d like but I love my job(s). I also can’t imagine taking another second from my son, who is hilarious, in order to do something that won’t involve him during a day where he spends at least 8 hours away from me learning. So exercise, my friend, I just couldn’t fit you in.
And I actually like to exercise. It makes me feel powerful and all the tension from the day just melts away with every step or pose (yoga) that I take. I even like those perky little annoying women on workout videos. But the longer my days got the least time I had to go for a walk with my kid and dog in tow (although my dog turned 11 this May and he’s not so much into walking further than from the couch to under the dining room table).
Then it was time for my annuals (physical check ups) and once you get over the 40 hump you got to take all kinds of tests. I mean there was the dentist, the internist, the gynecologist and then because of the wonder that is my genetic make up a whole plethora of specialty examinations (God, it’s good to have health insurance). So I started stressing out because my doctors had already threatened me (read scared me shitless) at my last annual because my health was in a shambles. I knew I had lost weight but I was sure my cholesterol was still high or they were gonna find something. So the tension from worrying about my health plus the complete imbalance of my regular life plus no time to exercise left me in a state of mind that was a mingle of defeatism matched up with just let me make it through the night.
And it was in that place that I realized, “If I’m going to lose I have to let go.”
I have to let go of the pressure I put on myself to be everything everyday to everybody.
I have to let go of the self talk that binds me to things I no longer need.
I have to let go of smothering my emotions because they don’t feel right or comfortable.
I have to let go of being angry with people who really haven’t given me a second thought.
I have to let go of needing everything to be in its place and needing a place for everything.
I have to let go of being the perfect mother and recognize that mothering perfectly is a matter of loving fully.
I have to let go of giving things when all is requested is me.
I have to let go of agendas and schedules and double booking because I think I can be in more than one place at a time.
I have to let go of multitasking and realize its just a mask for feeling if I’m not enough then…
I have to let go.
Surrender has never been easy for me. By nature I am a control freak. I like labels. I like order. I like predictability. When you surrender. When you release the idea that you are not in control, that there is a possibility that something outside of you, something greater is ordering your steps…well it’s scary getting there…but once there you achieve a peace that no chocolate can provide. In that peace there is freedom and a self love you previously only read about in books.
I know that weight loss for me will maximize my health outcomes. I know that a fitter body will mean a fuller life. I’m not a big fan of overeating. So I don’t do it. When I’m full I will walk away from the table. And as good as they smell I can only partake of fried foods and drippy gooey sweets but so much.
This week I will focus on me.
This week I will re-read The Best Life Diet.
This week I will practice letting go.
This week I will drink water (64 oz a day in fact).
This week I will love me more than I did the week before.