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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Getting "Unstuck"

So, after reading my sister’s blog lately (see Baby Steps to Normal in my blog list on the bottom right of my page), I am trying to implement some sort of system to get me on a better track.  Maybe if I get on a better track in some practical things (like housework and personal grooming, etc.), it will get me on a better track in the weight loss area.
I started a simple “To Do List” on Tuesday night.  I made a checklist of things I wanted to get done that evening and the next morning and evening.  Ginger’s situation is different because she doesn’t work outside of the home (although she does do some bookkeeping work for a client – not sure if there is more than one now, as well as for her husband’s remodeling business).  My work keeps me out of my home anywhere from 9-15 hours a day.  The 15 hours a day doesn’t happen that often, but it does happen, especially if we are preparing for a big hearing or my boss is going to be out of town, etc.  Most days are somewhere around 10 hours, even if part of that is taken in a lunch or commuting.  I am away from home.
I also have my physical issues to deal with.  I can only stay on my feet so long at a time.  But I have known that I could do more than I have been; I just wasn’t motivated enough to do it.  And yet there is always this cloud hanging over me, and the clutter in my mind because of all these “undone” tasks.  Anytime I have had success in this area on an ongoing basis, it has had to be very intentional.  I, like Ginger, enjoy checking things off of a list, and I do better to make detailed steps.  Instead of “clean the bathroom,” it is “clean the toilet,” “scrub the bathtub,” “clean the sink and vanity,” etc., etc.  Typically, for me, a room is not going to get all the way cleaned (or maintained) in one day, except some weekends.  That may change if I truly get in a maintenance mode instead of always trying to catch up.
My goal is go to bed with things tidy and put away, and for them to be tidy when I leave for work.  That needs to include any work I do in the kitchen.  Making my meal(s) and leaving the kitchen clean needs to be part of my routine.  As unusual as it may seem to some of you, it has not been “routine” for me.  Even cooking has not been “routine.”  If I come home tired, sometimes cooking a meal just doesn’t happen.  I snack on things like nuts and fruit (or chips or something, if I am not following the “rules”).  The plan is for other maintenance chores to be spread out through the week.  I may vacuum one day, dust another, clean a toilet one night, wipe down the sink and vanity on another.  Bigger, more taxing chores are going to be saved for the weekend, for the most part.  If I can maintain the everyday things, I will have more energy to do those on the weekend.  I am also asking for more help from my daughter.  As I continue, a LOT more help.
My lists, so far, have been a little bit ambitious.  I am including things like brushing my teeth an extra time every day, using my water pick twice daily, and personal grooming things I could be better about (I will spare the TMI).  I am also in the phase of having to do extra to get started.  Although the apartment hasn’t been “horrible” (might seem that way for some of you, lol), it is taking more effort to get it to where it is just maintenance.  One problem is, we have too much stuff.  I have equipment for when my grandson is over or I keep him overnight, but not a good place to put it.  To top it off, I am planning on moving at the end of the year (more about that tomorrow, perhaps), and I am doing some chores related to that (purging, packing things I can do without until then, etc.).  There is a lot of clutter for lack of anywhere to put it.  I am considering getting a storage unit to put stuff in as we are packing up.  I am getting most of the things done on my list, but there are usually one or two pesky things left that I have to make up the next time, which pushes something else to the next time, etc.  Or, in some cases, doesn’t get done as often.  That’s all okay.  The list is a way to stay focused and to remind me to keep moving.  It doesn’t matter if I don’t get it all done.  I already wasn’t getting it all done.
I also have it on my list, for work nights/days, to get to bed at a certain time, get up at a certain time, and leave for work at a certain time.  Just trying to get some consistency going.  I am about 10-15 minutes “late” about half the time.  Nobody cares because I work so many hours and my boss does not get here that early, but I don’t like the feeling of being late.  I prefer to get there at 9:00 (my regular hours are 9:00-6:00 because my boss is not an early-morning person).  This morning I blew off the leaving at a certain time.  I decided it was more important to me to get a couple of other things checked off the list.  I had broken a jar while emptying the dishwasher earlier this morning, which caused me to have to do something extra that was not on my list.
Anyway, I am definitely much busier at home the last two nights.  On nights I have to work late (which I do not usually know beforehand), I will just have to not do certain things, or push them to the next day.  I cannot control that.
Staying busier is keeping me from eating as much.  I don’t think about wanting a snack when I am focused on getting my tasks checked off the list.  I am not eating the perfect types of food all the time, but at least the amount I am eating is more in control.
Three or four months ago I bought the stuff to make my grain-free granola (recipe from the Wheat Belly recipe book).  For some reason, I kept procrastinating making it.  Probably about 6 weeks ago, I was trying to motivate myself to do it, so I began combining some ingredients in a bowl.  The recipe calls for a combination of nuts and seeds, unsweetened coconut, etc.  I poured a couple of the types of seeds into the bowl and left it for “next time.”  I let it sit for days or even a couple of weeks and then added another couple of types of nuts.  I kept doing that, but kept putting off finishing it up, which involves making a kind of paste from ground up raisins, coconut milk and coconut oil, then mixing it all up and spreading it on sheet pans and baking it.  That’s the part that takes the most time and energy, and requires me to be on my feet.  I had it on my list to finish that granola Tuesday night, but that is probably the one thing I did not check off of Tuesday’s list.  So I was determined to get it done last night and finally did.  I ended up making a double batch since I didn’t want to have to do it again for a while.
For some reason, making myself cook much has been one of the hardest things lately.  And after cooking, there is the requirement to clean up.  It is partly because it requires me to be on my feet more and that hurts.  Pain levels have definitely been up the past months, probably because my weight has been up.  So it is all a vicious circle.  I need to cook to be able to eat like I need to, to lose weight, but cooking makes me hurt and so I don’t want to do it and therefore don’t eat in a way that is best for me, which makes me gain weight.  I hope I can get myself on a better track.  I plan to enlist my daughter’s help – she wants to be eating better too, and that is how we were doing it for a while.  Even if she didn’t do the actual cooking all the time, she did prep work and cleaning, which makes a huge difference.  Because every time you cook, there is mess to be cleaned up.
Anyway, I am determined to get “unstuck” in some areas.  I want to talk about another area I am trying to get “unstuck,” but that will wait until tomorrow.  It involves an honest conversation I had with someone.  But this post is long enough.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Learning From My Sister

My sister started a blog and I have been reading it some today, and that reminded me I am not posting.  (Check hers out -- I have it listed in my blog list --  I am learning a lot of things about my sister I did not fully know, and that's a good thing.

I also recognize some struggles in what she writes about as some of my own.  Like hating to talk on the phone.  That's a big one for me.  She talks about it as an anxiety, and you know, I have never thought about it being an anxiety -- just a quirk in my personality.  But it really is an anxiety.  I have to fight it because I have to make phone calls as part of my job.  I have to admit, if I can send an e-mail and get the job done, that's what I do!  But phone calls are necessary sometimes.  And I often have to work myself up to make certain ones.  I even hate checking voicemails.  Ugh.

I am very much of a home body and I suppose that is an anxiety too.  I don't know why.  Once I get there, as in a social situation, I do fine.  I am not shy.  It's just making myself get out of the house.  I think part of it is that home is the place (especially if I am home alone) that I feel no pressure to live up to someone else's expectations.  I say that -- sometimes I will be at home and I will tell myself (critically) that I need to do such and such -- and I find myself actually saying to myself, "I want to go home."  So home, in my mind, is the place where there is no criticism.  I often feel "watched" and "judged" as falling short.  The problem is, the majority of the criticism comes from me toward myself.  Definitely something to work on.

Since I have a full-time job, with quite a bit of overtime, at times, I really don't have the luxury of indulging my desire to be a complete home body.  But I have great difficulty in making myself do anything I do not absolutely have to do, and I am not being very successful with that a lot of the time right now.

I do think the thyroid support supplement I wrote about in my last post is helping.  I find myself wanting to get up and clean and get things done around the house.  I am still struggling A LOT with my eating right now, though.  I am trying to do things to break the pattern to see if I can get back on track.  It is way past time.  I have gained weight and it is taking its toll on my back and knees.

My physical issues are also a big part of my not wanting to get out.  It takes so much more effort dealing with pain all day, every day.  Most times getting through my work days are all I have it in me to do.  I do manage to spend time with my kids at least every couple of weeks.  Have to see my sweet grandbaby.  I don't want to miss anything in his growing up.  I want to be the "Nana" to him that I never really had.  And I want to be present and close to my kids.  It's very important.  They have an absent father and that affects them, even as grown adults.  I want to be present in their lives -- not just in seeing them, but emotionally and spiritually.

Today I found a journal that one of my kids had kept about 10 years ago.  (For privacy, I won't say which one.)  I did not read much of it, because I felt that would be intruding to read it without their permission.  I was involved in a task of cleaning out and purging stuff.  I leafed through it to tear out "junk pages" where the book had been used to write other things down, and saw some statements here and there throughout the journal.  I never knew the extent to which this child struggled with the situation with my kids' father.  This child talked about the desire for having that father figure in their life and struggled a lot in trying to forgive, etc.  It got me to thinking about my own father.  I was not close to my father.  He was always there in the physical sense, but I did not feel he was there for me emotionally, etc.  I did not feel approved of and a lot of the confidence a girl needs, I think, comes from the father approving of her.  I didn't think about it much as a child/teenager (and I do not write this to be in any way critical of him; he had a much tougher childhood than I did, I am quite certain).  But I have realized in more recent years there is hole there that I wished my father had filled.  I have never really had a man in my life that I have felt truly loved and supported by or had unconditional approval from.  Certainly not my husband.  Quite the opposite, in fact.  I think if I had felt those things from my father, I would have saved myself a lot of grief in my marriage.  But I also try to turn it around and make sure I am who I need to be with my kids.  I want to be present for them not just physically, but emotionally and spiritually, etc.  I can be a hider, so that takes a little more effort for me.  That is something I want to watch for and work on in the future.

Well, that was a lot of this and that.  Just thoughts going through my head today.  I want to start being more intentional with my schedule (as my sister talks about in her blog).  I have some goals there for the coming days.  Blogging more often is part of that.

Over and out..