Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Me= no good at time management

That statement is not completely true. I'm great a time management in my job. Just no good at "me" management. Perhaps this is what this blog is about- a lesson in fallibility. And I am nothing if not fallible.

On the weight front I'm doing well. I'm now 168.6lbs, 27.4lbs lighter than when I recommitted to WW in January and 80lbs lighter when I weighed in January 2005 at 248.6lbs. 80lbs- that's a journey.

The longer I do this and the easier it becomes to maintain rather than lose, I question where this journey is going to end. My impulse is to ask myself, "What should my goal weight be?" But, as I recently read in WW magazine, "shoulds" often lead to self-blame and stress. I'm familiar with that pattern.

At my job: "I should work a 60-hour week...and like it" or "I should do this requested training- even though it's on my only weekend off" or "I shouldn't barter for a 4-day work week even though I'm not getting paid the work I do"

At home: "I should clean the dishes before bed. Even though I cooked dinner...which my roommate enjoyed but hasn't lifted a finger for days to clean-up" or "I should take the dog out now, but I have to work on my bills and balance my chequebook. And it's already 9pm (because I left work late again)"

With WW: "I should go for a run. I have a headache and haven't eaten, but I should" or "I shouldn't eat this brownie. I've exercised and have weekly points left, but really if I were a better person I wouldn't."

Yes. Stress. And a negative Nellie outlook. A co-worker commented yesterday on my sun-kissed smiles and laughter at work. "I like this laughter. I loved the way you were right before your vacation. Happy and funny." Subtext: usually I'm not smiling and laughing at work. Case in point: today. I tried to stick my ground and not add to my already 10-hour Wednesday and 13-hour Thursday schedule this week. A contracted evaluator wanted to set up a "last minute" meeting for this week or next (I'm booked through September already). I've had multiple conversations with this evaluator's boss that I can't do last minute, but that's beside the point. I tried to compromise and threw out times...she didn't bite. And just as I was about to give up my day-off, she caved.

And I felt like a bitch. Because I hadn't caved. I should've caved. I should've realised how hard her job was and changed around all my meetings to fit her schedule. I should not have gotten pissed off. I should not have let my employee see me negatively standing my ground. Aka- being queen "my schedule is worse than yours."

This caused me naught but stress and anxiety for at least two hours. And shame. And guilt. I felt my body change: my heartbeat quickened, my face flushed. I wanted to scream. Then cry. And it made me think about weight loss.

I was standing my ground to protect my already overbooked schedule and preserve my sanity. I was working on compromise but was protective of my little "me time". My "me time" is set-up to help with this work-life balance piece. The piece that recognizes that I am important and need time to sleep, or blog, or make-out with my fiancee. The piece that needs time to grocery shop and read a book. Write creatively. Write- period. Listen to music. Get away. The piece of time where I get to relax. Forget work. Lessen stress.

And in trying to protect this time I increased my stress load for the day. Research indicates that stress is linked to increased cortisol production and higher incidence of weight gain. And with weight gain comes negative health outcomes. Whether I understand the research, I know that with stress comes a need to de-stress and to a recovering bulimic that often equals food. Or, on a good day, exercise. But the bad days, the food-bingeing days, lead to weight gain. And that leads to more stress, to food, to weight gain, etc. I have more "okay let's exercise to reduce this stress" days. Hell, this June, I trained an competed in a 7.5miler (and was a solid finisher in the pack). But still, stress is there. And sometimes it's connected to chocolate or chips n' salsa. So, is my job making me fat?

Well no. I'm losing weight. But it's not making it easier. And, most of all, my work "shoulds" and stresses are making me think more deeply about this weight goal question.

The article I read suggested that if we replace the "should" with "want"or "need" then stress levels and self-blame decrease. "I want my goal weight to be...." or "I need my goal weight to be..." According to WW, my goal weight needs to be under 150lbs. That's been my lowest adult weight- reached only in high school after months of fasting and exercising. I was a size 6-8 and looked hot. I don't want to be that person again. This "need" still feels a little stressful. But does that mean I don't want to be that weight again?

I want a weight that's easy to maintain. That I'm proud of. That I feel sexy at. I don't want to stress about weight maintenance. I want to enjoy food and drink like the foodie I am. And still be healthy. I want to end this journey. I want to be successful. I want to look hot on my wedding day next May- and be able to breathe in that corset. I want to wear a size medium in Victoria's Secret bikini panties.

So what goal weight do I want to be? I don't know yet- at least not the number. But perhaps when I start to wonder about the "shoulds" and even the "needs" to be regarding a goal weight, I can revisit these wants to gain perspective. My goal weight may end up being 150lbs...or not. I guess we'll see along the way.