Tag Archives: eating healthy

Reviewing, Releasing, and Resetting My Goals – Month One

I declare my misery over.
I am in the process of creating a new song of myself.

Oh, I’ve been putting off my “weigh-in” a bit to see if I can get a few pounds lighter before I report in. That’s silly. I’m not really tied to that outcome, but I am still emotionally connected to it as some measure of success. I mean, if you’re here on this journey with me, you want to see success, right? I know I do. But I’ve got a different spin I’m trying on myself, let’s see if I can unpack my first month of self-awareness.

Some wins right away.

  • Zero Halloween candy. Not even a taste. And it’ wasn’t a challenge once I set my mind back on track.
  • Heading into November, my birth month, and thanksgiving, and I know I’m on track to have my best Holiday season ever, because I’m still attacking my sugar intake with a vengeance.
  • Only two bloated moments in the entire month – both times I ate pizza, too much pizza btw.
  • Both times I slipped into a sugar/dessert coma I make a conscious choice to do so, and to observe myself in the process and the hours afterwards.
  • My attitude is shifting away from my cravings and emotional hunger, towards a positive refactoring of what I eat and when I eat it.
  • My energy has been solid all week. I’m learning how to regulate my pre-workout food so that I don’t “need” a sugary sports drink. (Yes, even evaporated cane sugar, is sugar.)
  • I have not bashed myself or my body for where we are on the path towards a healthier me. NOT ONCE.

It’s the last observation that I think is the most important discovery. I learned early in my life, that my weight gave me power. As a 7-year-old Texas football player, I was also just under the weight limits for our tiny-player league. With that extra advantage I was a freight train when they handed me the ball. I experienced success as an athlete very early, and a lot of it had to do with my fantastic body. I was not concerned about my “fat” body, an neither was the coach who walked me around spitting and trying to pee before the weigh-ins. To him I was a winning season.

I am turning this new process of discovery in to a winning season for myself. I am where I am, and I am getting more loving and more fit at the same time. Get it? It’s very hard for any of us to truly love our bodies. Even the amazingly fit are struggling with body image issues as well. If we could release the body image hurt inside us, we’d probably be a lot happier. Like yoga, releasing and uncoiling all those years of damaging self talk, and societal “thin” pressure, has wreaked havoc on our own internal monologues.  We are awful to ourselves. I’m stopping that completely. Done!

So even in my attempts to become more fit, more healthy, I am also accepting the challenge to being more loving towards my love handles. More accepting of all of this process. I have wins, I have slips, I am human. But I am happy with my steps back towards my goals, and every time I return to this blog, I am reaffirming my love of myself. By taking better care of our bodies we are giving ourselves the message that we love ourself. (Powerful, yet a bit woo woo, right?)

Let me look at a few of the areas where I missed, if only for examination, and not chastisement.

  • I had pizza with my kids twice. I could’ve given them pizza and had something else.
  • I still had my usual medium popcorn at three movies. No butter and water to drink, but I have a little info on what’s in movie popcorn…
  • A few times I let my hunger (aka blood sugar drop) get too fierce and I’ve made poorer choices than I would’ve had I been more aware of myself.
  • I jumped on the scale, two weeks in, expecting, hoping, praying for some continuation of my first 5 days of weight loss. (I’m still hesitating on my weigh-in, right now.)
  • I’ve had some late-night snack runs, and even while I was eating only tamari-salted almonds and honeycrisp apples, I know I was giving in to some craving, rather than listening for hunger.
  • I let my laziness con me into eating a sugar filled “organic” cereal when I ran out of my uber-healthy cereal.
  • I’m happy with me, but I’m dreading weighing myself.

Today is the start of the second lap on my renewed fitness and wellness program. I’m happy and content with what I’ve learned and where I’m heading. Two big holidays are right ahead, and I feel empowered rather than restricted by my choices away from sugar and stuffing myself.

As I love myself a bit more, I’m able to see how caring for my fitness is part of that relationship. The relationship between body and mind may be the core that I am strengthening in this process. Sure, we need to do core exercises too, but for me, the emotional healing is harder to address than the physical. We can all eat better and exercise more, and we can all make ourselves miserable.

I declare my misery over. I am in the process of creating a new song of myself. I am singing my own praises and basking in the glow of every success. And even the missed opportunities have lessons, maybe lessons that are rooted in deep and unconscious memories.

Here’s to a happy start for November, my birth month, where I typically get a surge of energy and clearer focus for the next year to come. This is MY month, baby, I’m here to take it.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney
@fitbytech

fitbytech-murray-hendrix

Bill Murray is a hero of self-acceptance, and my most memorable “brush with greatness.” And Jimi Hendrix and I share Nov. as our birth month. Let’s be more musical and loving towards ourselves and others.
–bill murray promo photo, creative commons usage

An Animal Hunger

Today I noticed an interesting feeling. I was depositing a check at the bank, the same bank I was at last Saturday when my life was falling apart. And there was the same Yoghurt shop and the same temptation. But I had a different reaction today.

I was finished with my deposit and as I was walking out of the bank I noticed how hungry I was. And this hunger was sort of interesting. It was like the opposite of bloating. I was sort of like a lean animal in look of a meal. And I noticed my craving to have some yoghurt, but my body and my hunger was for something more substantial. I wondered to myself, maybe this is genuine hunger rather than a craving.

I’m going to look at what’s going on in my animal body and my emotional body before I make a decision one way or another.

Something else was pretty interesting as well. I liked the lean feeling I had in my stomach. I was hungry, I could tell I was hungry, and in turning away from the frozen treat, I was turning towards the hunger and the real craving for food, the healthier the better. And I imagined this good feeling, this lean feeling, could also be something a person could become addicted to. Like, instead of craving yogurt you crave the empty feeling of being hungry. Again, like an animal in the hunt for a meal.

How much of our daily eating is due to a craving or unhealthy imbalance of nutrition, and how much of it is habit. I have been in the habit of eating poorly. I like the feeling of my body eating well. And tonight as I ate a lean meat and vegetables only dinner, I liked how I was feeling. I even liked how I was thinking.

Sure, I’d like the occasional sweet. But for the rest of October, anytime I make that choice I’m going to look at what’s going on in my animal body and my emotional body before I make a decision one way or another.

Take the next step,

John McElhenney
@fitbytech

image: eat healthy, creative commons usage

Inspiration: I found this post on JLo a bit inspirational about her “veggie” diet and how it made her feel.

“I was so used to just eating the way I grew up.”
JLo’s Abs on Huffington Post

Starting with the Body I Have Now

It’s easy for me to see the last area of mastery in my life is diet and fitness. The two are inextricably tied together. I have had various levels of fitness in my life. From my ultrafit moment as a teenage swimmer in high school. To my obese periods, usually marked by a hard depression.

I am fat. Most of the time I don’t feel fat. But a picture or a step on the scale tends to sober my happiness and positive body image up a bit.

Today I’ve got most of the emotional issues under management, but it’s the diet, eating right, part of the equation that I’m setting off to learn more about and to use as the final frontier between me and unlocking the me I know I can be. I’m not aiming for my swimming body, but I’m clear that I am carrying 30 or so pounds (50?) of unnecessary weight. And while I’m “comfortable with myself” at this moment, I am aware that I’m not at a level of fitness that would make me very attractive to myself. If I was a woman, I wouldn’t date me. ACK. That’s kind of a bummer. And I’m thinking most of the relationships I’d like to have are with women who are quite a bit more fit than I am.

And I don’t think fitness and diet can be attacked separately. I have been upping my activity and my workouts methodically over the last two years. And while I’m pretty regular at 5-days a week, I’m also at one of the heaviest periods of my adult life. What? What gives?

Let’s see. I’m exercising but I’m still eating poorly. I’m still going for the gut-killing late night snacks. And my choices, at this point, are awful. So how can I clean up my snacks, address my imbalances metabolically, and even up the quality and quantity of my exercise to reach a fitness level that I know I’m capable of. If I could coordinate my efforts, and combine some of the technologies and software programs available for free, maybe I could unlock the last chapter in my lifelong struggle to maintain a healthy fitness level.

Often what we feel is not the reality of the situation. I feel happy and fulfilled and attractive.

I am out of balance right now in one main area of my life. Fitness. I am fat. Most of the time I don’t feel fat. But a picture or a step on the scale tends to sober my happiness and positive body image up a bit. I’m heavy. I occasionally feel bloated. A few of my pants, that I wore comfortably a few years ago are too tight to button up. DAMN. I guess the hunt is on.

For the most part I am emotionally happy. I’d like to be in a relationship, but that’s partially unfulfilled due to my lack of attention and perhaps, I’d hate to admit it, due to my fatness and not my fitness. I don’t think I’m fat. Isn’t that funny? I don’t feel unhealthy. In fact, emotionally I’m as healthy as I’ve ever been in my life. BUT, that’s not the point.

Often what we feel is not the reality of the situation. I feel happy and fulfilled and attractive. And there are plenty of women who would find me attractive right at this very moment. But given a preference, I’d prefer a woman of a certain fitness. Not uber-fit, but active. And while I’d say I’m very active, I’m also not within that range of fitness that I would find within my levels of attractiveness.

Let’s change that.

John McElhenney
@fitbytech