By all blog appearances, it would seem that I dropped from the face of the planet, yes?
I've been trying to figure out some things in my life, and the black hole of cyberspace was not the ally I needed. I can't seem to shake the journalling bug though, scribbling notes in a little notebook. There is something deeply satisfying in taking a pen to paper at the end of the day...technology be damned. I kept diaries as a young girl...I did not write in them every day, but every so often I had a fevered emotional purge as the words spilled from my pen. This is not a new form of release for me.
Digitally, I've published my inner monologue in one form or another since 2002. I belonged to a fitness forum then. I met many wonderful women there, and I am still in contact with many of them. They were the return embrace I needed when I was in North Carolina (away from my family) and trying to find my identity during weight loss.
You see, right or wrong, the harsh reality is that people treat an overweight person differently than a fit person. I was struggling then to hold onto that strand of "me" that made me who I was. I was afraid that I would become less authentic, much like I felt others treated me when my appearance started to fit a cultural norm. I did not trust my instincts...I did not believe anything that anyone said, either.
Obviously I made it through that period of my life...a little worse for wear, but in solid possession of my knowledge of self.
I am facing a similar complex now. A year on 24/7 Fentanyl, OxyContin, and Zanaflex left me with a nearly defeating weight gain...I've seen numbers on the scale that I swore I would never see again. I've been feeling like I failed myself, I broke an oath. Feeling sorry for myself, I developed a self-sabotaging victim mentality and all progress halted.
I accept my share of the blame for the pockets of lost time since April when I finally rid myself of the worst of the daily prescription narcotics. Back in the early 2000s when people asked how I lost so much weight, I would say, "Persistence." My redemption cannot be a half-hearted, part-time job. That doesn't work...what's sick is that I know it doesn't work. I've known it for nearly half my life now.
There are always roadblocks when focusing on calorie intake and expenditure. For me, it's physical as much as it is mental, but I need to remind myself that the end justifies the means. I needed a way to make exercise a regular part of my routine.
The end of the day doesn't work for me. My best hours are in the morning...which is why I start work earlier than most. And with that, I would like to share some of the notes I captured on what I cheekily named The Laura Project.
October 19, 2015: Day One
So, today's the day. Today I start to build a habit—a healthy one for once.
When I lost weight the first time, everybody asked the expected, "How did you do it?" At the time, I would reply, "Everyone knows how to lose weight. If you want it badly enough, sacrifice—focus, persistence— seems easy."
I still believe in that answer.
With all my project management and lean methodology training, my problem solving efficiency is without compare...except when it comes to myself it seems. At the end of the workday, I am physically and mentally spent. I cannot seem to muster the energy for regular evening exercise even though that would fit into my schedule best.
The answer, of course, is to exercise in the morning. Another old Laura addage—man, I used to be smart. I should write a self-help book for myself (for the next time I fall), right?
All self-mocking aside, morning truly is the best time to build any routine. There is nothing to alter the storyline in the beginning...no tangents to entertain or schedule changes to swallow.
It helps that I am a morning person, I suppose.
I have struggled with morning exercise. I need pain medication in my system before I can even move around and get dressed for my day. So straight from alarm clock to exercise mat?
(In case me of the future reads this with utter confusion, that's a How I Met Your Mother reference. That's was the show with Doogie Howser all grown up...you remember.)
So here's where the problem compounds. When I start doing the math, I feel dispirited.
I need at least 30-45 minutes for the pain medication to take effect. Since I cannot perform high impact exercise anymore, I need to make sure I exercise for longer periods of time...an hour is a good number, so let's go with that. After that's done, I need to cool down, rehydrate, and I'll be near-homicidal until I get something to eat. Let's time block that at 30 minutes. Then, I'll need to shower, blow out my hair, apply makeup—oh yes, and get dressed—that's another 45 minutes. All that has to happen before I leave for work at 6:30 in the morning.
In case you lost count, I need to be out of bed a minimum of THREE hours before I leave for work if I am going to fit in exercise...to be concise, I need to roll out of bed no later than 3:30 in the morning. Even as a morning person, that feels a teensy bit early. If I woke up at 3:30 before this nonsense (and I have), I would curse insomnia and stew about my lack of sleep until I get up at 4:30 (or 5:00 if I'm feeling lazy).
How did that go again? "If you want it badly enough, sacrifice—focus, persistence— seems easy."
So, I am on a quest to make a habit out of getting up at 3:30 to workout. One good habit leads to another, then another, then...you get it. If I'm getting up that early, you'd better believe I'm journaling my food to make sure I don't out-eat my exercise...to make sure the missed sleep was not in vain.
They say it takes 21 days to make a habit...here's where I begin.
The alarm went off this morning, and I wasn't sure what to do at first. I hit snooze so it would quiet down enough for me to think.
It all started coming back to me...and my excited energy grew. I started chatting at my half-asleep husband like the irritating morning person that I am until I realized that getting up at 3-something was my deal, not his.
I climbed out of bed and started my day as planned...game on.
20 more days until this feels normal.
A couple days later, I changed the alarm to 3:15 to give myself a little cushion. Today marks 21 days. I'm down nine pounds.