Sunday, June 5, 2011

Anxiety Disorder, Ulcerative Proctitis, Being Shy, and Me

Here's my report for the past two weeks... and then some.

The week of May 23rd, I got in 360 minutes of working out, which is my weekly goal, so that was definitely good. I also did pretty well with staying in my calorie range.

This past week, however, was basically shot. Tuesday morning, I put in an 80-minute workout. The next morning, I woke up feeling the same way he did. Neither of us have had fevers or upset stomachs or anything but, all week long, we’ve both been super congested, coughing, sneezing, felt completely drained, and, without going into further detail, spent more time in the bathroom than usual. Yeah, we must’ve caught somethin’ from somewhere. Anyways, the only workout I got in this week were those 80 minutes on Tuesday morning. =/ :: sigh :: Tomorrow, come hell or high water, I HAVE to workout. I've let my body rest all week; it's time to get back with it, even if it means working out at a super low-intensity.

Although I am a bit frustrated, I haven't stressed about it or let it get to me. Y'see, worrying, stressing, or feeling anxious (and especially about things that I shouldn’t be) are all things I’ve gotten very good at throughout my life. There have been certain times in my life when worrying/stressing/anxiety have been at a peak and have been a regular (and excessive) habit of mine; unfortunately, the past three years have been one of those times.

In addition to this, I firmly believe that my extreme shyness comes from these not-so-great habits; I’ve notice that the times in my life when my worrying, stress, and anxiety are at their peak are also the times in my life when I’ve been the least outgoing and social. Thus, having my worrying, stress, and anxiety peak again over the past few years has been quite unfortunate, seeing as I moved into a new ward a little over two years ago. I haven’t been to a single ward activity. Whose fault is that? Mine. Have I wanted to go? Yes. :: shakes head :: Doesn’t make sense, right?

Well, a few years ago, I found out that I was diagnosed with Anxiety Disorder when I was a little girl. My parents hadn’t kept it from me; they just thought I’d known all along. This discovery came as no surprise to me. I’m not on medication for it; in fact, I haven’t seen a doctor about it at all. (There are days when I wonder if I should though). But discovering this fact about myself has helped me put many things in my life into better perspective and, in a way, has helped me learn how to deal with my excessive worrying and stressing in better ways as I've learned more about Anxiety Disorder.

I’ve come to discover (particularly through my own experience being diagnosed with Ulcerative Proctitis three years ago) that knowing, trying to understand, and accepting our problem, along with educating ourselves about that particular problem, is just as important and just as crucial as getting the right medications/treatment/professional help. Those things all sound the same, right? I mean, duh, you have to know what the problem is before the doctor can prescribe medication for you and you have to accept that you do have that problem before you can be willing to start taking medication for it, right? Not necessarily. Seeing doctors so you can try to figure out what’s wrong with you and then just taking medications so you can get better is, in my opinion, very different from making an effort to become “acquainted” with what your body and/or mind is going through so you can know how to better cope with it and take care of yourself.

It sucked when I was diagnosed with Proctitis. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for it. In fact, doctors haven’t quite been able to figure out exactly what causes it. With me, it obviously had gotten to a point where I was forced to seek out medical help to find out what was wrong. And, now that I know what's wrong, I need to be sure I take medication when I’m having an “attack” so my disease doesn’t grow worse and spread further.

The fortunate side to all of this is that Proctitis IS manageable and it can be controlled (to a certain point), but I have to make the effort to educate myself about it and how it affects my body, and then apply and incorporate into my life those things that I learn. And, let me tell ya, it’s a constant learning experience.

Ignorance is never bliss. Yes, I absolutely wish I didn’t have the anxiety/stress problems that I do. Yes, I definitely wish I didn’t have Proctitis. But you know what? I have them and there’s nothing I can do to change that. What I can change (and what I do have control over), however, is how much I know and learn about them and what I do as a result of having that information.

Do I just sit there and feel sorry for myself and have constant “pity parties”? No. …Okay okay, some days I do. But I’ve learned each time that feeling sorry for myself and having “pity parties” don’t solve anything and don’t make anything better. In fact, they make things much worse.

I’ve also learned that these things are definitely apart of who I am and they do affect who I am, but they don’t define who I am and they don’t control who I am. …At least, as long as I don’t let them. =)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The last two weeks and food choices

The past two weeks have gone pretty well. The week of May 9th, I did three 100-minute workouts and one 80-minute workout. Last week, the week of May 16th, I did three 100-minute workouts. Yeah, I kinda slacked-off a bit. I should’ve gotten a workout in on Saturday, but I went grocery shopping and then came home and I was cleaning and getting things done around the house, so I counted that as a bit of a workout. A total cop-out, right? I definitely know it wasn’t the same as a real workout. That’s okay; I just resolve to do better and be more diligent this week and that’s all I can do. =)

I’ve been doing much better with switching up my workouts. One day, I might do all cardio; another day, I might do half-cardio and half-strength-training; another day, I might do a lot of cardio with some strength-training. I've found that I work-up more of a sweat on the days that I incorporate strength-training, as opposed to the days that I do cardio only, so I pretty much incorporate strength-training into the majority of my workouts each week.

I took my measurements this morning, after my first 100-minute workout for this week (which I did to the tune of Jillian Michaels’ Banish Fat Boost Metabolism DVD). It’s been a little over three weeks since I last took my measurements (April 29th); I’ve lost 1 inch around my waist (from 27.75 to 26.75), 1 inch around my hips/butt (from 39.25 to 38.25), and 1-1/2 inches around each thigh (from 25.5 to 24). Not too bad.

I still haven't weighed myself; I wanna avoid the scale right now and fully rely on other measurements to help me determine if I’m making any progress or not. I would recommend this to ANYONE. =)

One of the biggest things I’m trying to focus on right now is eating better. I’ve done pretty well with staying in my daily caloric range and making good food choices, but I know there’s always room for improvement and that I can always be trying to do better.

I allow myself one “blow it” day per week, but I’m wondering now if I should skip it and be super strict with my calories and maybe have a “blow it” day only every other week (or maybe even just once a month). OR if I should just be sure to be more strict with how many calories I can “blow it” with on my weekly “blow it” day. I don’t know… If anyone has any feedback on this, I’m open to it!

I also REALLY need work on doing better on the weekends. I’ve started trying to do a Saturday workout instead of taking the whole weekend off, and I tend to do better with staying within my daily calorie range on the Saturdays that I do workout, which also usually means that I have more motivation and willpower to make it through Sunday without blowing it. However, on the Saturdays that I don’t workout, I tend to lack discipline and willpower, and I usually end up going over my calories a bit, which usually continues on through Sunday. =/ :: sigh :: I REALLY need to fix this problem.

Incorporating more fruits and veggies into my diet will help me immensely, not just with getting the nutrients that my body needs to be strong and healthy but also with helping me more easily stay within my daily calorie range. Being smart about how I “spend” my calories each day is crucial. And when it comes to fruits and veggies, for the most part, I’m spending less while getting more. It’s kinda like going to the grocery store and finding out they’re selling a pack of 10 rolls of paper towels for $18 and a pack of 20 rolls of paper towels for $10. Which are you gonna buy? …No-brainer, right? It should be the same way when we choose what we eat, but many of us, myself definitely included, lack the willpower to constantly and consistently choose the right things every single day. This willpower and motivation doesn’t come overnight; it takes time for the willpower to make better food choies to develop from a thought-out and planned action into a natural habit. This is why it’s so important for me to surround myself with healthy food choices and be smarter about what I buy at the grocery store and bring into my home. Allowing yourself to experience temptation so that you can be strong and learn to withstand it is great and all, but especially when you’re starting out and haven’t quite gained that natural willpower yet, you need to completely avoid temptation as much as possible. Once making good food choices is developed into a habit, then it’ll be easier to experience and withstand temptation. I’ve been asking my mom and a few friends for suggestions on great low-calorie meals and snacks, and I’m open to more suggestions! =)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Weeks 1-5 of "Operation: Make Changes, Not Excuses"

So I just finished week 5 of "Operation: Make Changes, Not Excuses" and things are going quite well. I'm making progress, which is obviously very motivational and encouraging.

As far as the workouts are concerned, I'm gonna share what I've done differently in different areas during the past 5 weeks, just to show some simple comparisons:

Total number of minutes of working out per week:

Week 1: 280 (4 sessions, 70 minutes per session)
Week 2: 280 (4 sessions, 70 minutes per session)
Week 3: 300 (4 sessions, 75 minutes per session)
Week 4: 400 (5 sessions, 80 minutes per session)
Week 5: 360 (4 sessions, 2 80-minute session and 2 100-minute sessions)

Workout DVDs used:

Week 1: Last Chance Workout (4 sessions)
Week 2: Last Chance Workout (4 sessions)
Week 3: Last Chance Workout (4 sessions)
Week 4: Last Chance Workout (4 sessions), Jillian Michaels' Banish Fat Boost Metabolism (1 session)
Week 5: Jillian Michaels' Banish Fat Boost Metabolism (1 session), Totally Fit with Mel B. (1 session), Jillian Michaels' 30-Day Shred (1 session), Jillian Michaels' Last Chance Workout (1 session)


Week 1: 5-pounders only
Week 2: Mostly 5-pounders, little bit with 8-pounders
Week 3: Mostly 8-pounders, little bit with 5-pounders
Week 4: 8-pounders only
Week 5: Mostly 8-pounders, some with 10-pounders

Not bad, eh? Yeah, I wish I would've done more variety as far as my workouts were concerned to start off with, but I really wanted to be careful and ease myself into a full-blown workout regimen.

A little over a week ago, I weighed myself and took my measurements for the first time in about a month. I'd only lost about three pounds. Yeah, I was a bit disappointed, but when I took my measurements, I found that I'd lost 2.25 inches around my waist (27.75 inches), I lost 1.75 inches around my hips/butt (39.25 inches), and I lost two inches around each thigh (about 25.5 inches around each one).

As far as daily calorie intake, I've done pretty well with sticking to 1200-1300 calories on days that I don't workout and 1500-1600 calories on days that I do workout. I have blown it here and there, but I'm doing better and learning.

This is all supposed to be a learning experience and not a rushed process. I'm taking one day at a time and trying to do the best that I can. If I make mistakes, then I try to not be too hard on myself and not beat myself up about it; I learn from the mistakes I make and then move on. Every day is a new day, right? =)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Making Changes, Not Excuses

Over the past two-and-a-half years, I've done nothing but make excuses. I'm done with making excuses.

I'm not just talking about making excuses for not exercising and not eating right; I'm talking about making excuses in all other aspects of my life as well. In my opinion, all other aspects of my life are greatly affected by how I take care of my body and how I take care of my body can be greatly affected by all other aspects of my life. Everything just works together and goes hand-in-hand in making me who I am and in helping me determine how I will live my life and the choices I will make.

But the thing is, it's all about choices. I can choose to let how I take care of my body affect all other aspects of my life, and I can choose to let all other aspects of my life affect how I take care of my body. This is where the whole "priorities" thing comes in. And that's where I failed about two-and-a-half years ago. Not only did exercising and eating right fall off the priority list, but so did everything else. I basically had no priority list; all I had were my own weaknesses and excuses. Those were my "priorities". Those were the things that I let determine how I lived my life and the choices I made. What a sad, sad way to live.

Those weaknesses, fears, and excuses that I chose to allow to control how I lived and control the choices I made were things like lack of self-confidence, my increased weight, pride, laziness, insecurity, inability to adjust well to change, fear, self-pity. These are all great excuses, right? But that's all they are. Excuses. And excuses are merely pathetic justifications for personal weaknesses which could be overcome if I made the choice to overcome them.

I am making that choice now. No more excuses. I need to throw all of my excuses out the window and face my weaknesses and fears head-on. Unless I do this, I will NEVER overcome these things and become stronger.

Some days, I wish the weight would just come off overnight. Some days, I wish I could just be done with it and working on maintaining rather than having to focus on losing. But if I could just lose it overnight, then I wouldn't have this experience of having to work and make sacrifices to lose the weight. I wouldn't learn anything. I wouldn't have this opportunity for growth and progression.

I'm so grateful for this experience, and I plan to take it and run with it. ...Literally.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Note that started it all...

The following is a Facebook note I posted on Saturday, April 2nd:

My mom posted a note last night (which I included at the end of this note) and it is exactly what I needed to read right now.

Ever since my surgery a month ago, I've put on most of the weight that I had lost during the couple of months prior. I've been tellin' myself for the past few days that, starting next Monday, I HAVE to get my butt back into gear, with both exercising and watching my daily calorie intake.

Around the beginning of 2009, I started putting on weight and it continued until I was 20+ pounds heavier than I've ever been in my entire life. 148 pounds is just NOT acceptable anymore, especially for a girl of my short height and young age.

I'm sick of being embarrassed about going places because of how insecure I feel about the way I look. I'm sick of not wanting to see old friends because I'm embarrassed about how different I look now. I'm sick of looking at pictures of myself from the past two years and wondering why I let myself get like this. I'm sick of looking at pictures of myself from between high school through 2008 and wishing I still looked that way. I'm sick of not wanting to go to church activities because I'm so unhappy with the way I look. I'm sick of not feeling the healthiest I could be feeling right now because, well, I'm not the healthiest I could be right now.

Most of all, I'm sick of wishing for that 123-pound body I had two years ago. It's time to get it back; it's time to work hard to get it back and to not give up. It's time to get the toned muscle back, the slimmer body back, and, most importantly, the healthier body back. I know I can do it; I just need to get it done.

I know I have the inner strength, the motivation, the determination, the willpower, the good reasons, and the ability to do it, but I'm gonna HAVE to push aside the laziness, the excuses, the insecurity, the procrastination, and the frustration in order to do it.

Anyways, here's the note I read, which my mom posted last night, that inspired me to put these feelings and frustrations that I've been having out there:

"After much contemplation, I have decided to go public with my journey. It's about becoming healthy. Losing weight will be a by-product of that journey, not the goal. I'm tired of being the fat exercise instructor. Hypocrisy has never been my thing, so at one point I even decided to quit teaching. But now I realize I should change the fat part, not the instructor part. My problem is not with my ability to exercise. I love exercise. My idea of a dream vacation is to go on a fitness cruise, where I could take as many classes in a day as I could breathe through. My problem is with food. Unlike other addictions, a person cannot live without food. I can't just move to a new town or find new friends who don't use food. I have to learn the art of control, which is ironic because I'm a pretty organized, controlled person otherwise. So, as I begin this journey, like any other kind of addict, I have to have no secrets. I begin personal training next week and will be posting my weight every week.In doing this, I have 2 goals: to become healthy again AND to maybe help someone else who is struggling in this same way."

P.S. - I love my mom. I'm pretty sure she's gonna write a book one day. =)