If you're anything like me there are foods that you subconsciously associate with good memories and feelings... and these are foods that you turn to in times of stress or emotional turmoil even though we know it isn't the best choice. Maybe its cookies, or pizza or chips but everyone I know I would say they've done it at some point or another so I would say this is a common enough human issue. We comfort eat, and its often foods that are high in carbohydrates and sugar when you think back on it. Today was one of the time for me. I regret allowing myself to do so but I'm not going to beat myself up about it either. I'm acknowledging the emotions that caused it so that next time I can find a healthier way to cope with those emotions should they come up again which I think is a much more effective use of my energy personally.
So, what happened? It's a bit of a long story that involved days of letting myself get emotionally run down to the point that my decision making ability wasn't up to where it needed to be essentially and I gave into the temptation of easy carbs. What did I learn? Take breaks when I need them instead of forcing myself to push through... I've done this my whole life and its time that I stop and acknowledge that I have limits and need to respect them. So, if you want to read the long version, here it goes:
I've been spending a lot of time going through boxes over the last few weeks as I unpack items that have been in storage for years while I didn't have my own place. This weekend it was time to go through the boxes I had stored in my guest and office closets as well as the garage as I had most of the weekend free of obligations. Thursday evening was lovely- I went through boxes from my childhood, discovered photos of my family from years ago, sorted through stuffed animals and trinkets I had collected over my younger years. There were moments of intermittent pain as memories surfaced of my mother's parents who both passed over the last year or so but the painful moments were brief and were far outweighed by the happy memories of summers and Christmases with family and friends.
And then came Friday night. I started out by putting together my brand new whiteboard for my office so that I could begin teaching again online. It was fun and even the dogs were having fun playing in the packaging. I figured that I'd finish up the guest room closet and then still have time to get through most of the office as well since I'm a night owl. The first boxes I opened were wedding memories and the next were boxes of our time in Korea. I had avoided those boxes like the plague for the first year after I came back to Texas and they had been in storage after that while I house-hunted for the next few years so opening them back to back wasn't a great choice but I thought it would be easier after all this time. I wasn't expecting the rush of memories and pain that those memories would elicit. Always logically minded I decided it needed to get done so I may as well finish the job and pushed though sorting the items: photos of our courtship, letters received from a beau in boot camp, a Valentine's Day gift card, photos with mutual friends and ones with family members, even some of his things that had been mixed in with my own because that's what happens when you're married... mostly good memories (I had taken care of the more negatively charged items in a previous purge) that dredged up pain that literally gave me palpations and drained. I should have stopped and waited to go through those boxes another day when the emotion hit me like a brick wall rather than go it alone and all at once but instead I finished as much of the task as I could. I ended up with a pile of items that will go to his parents to do with as they please, a pile for the trash and a few things that I simply wasn't ready to part with. Memories of happy times before the pain that I couldn't yet let go of despite the years that had passed and the hurt he caused me. Once everything was sorted, I did reach out to a friend but not the ones that would have been able to help me sort through the emotions in my head and heart the best and I ended up caught up in my own head for most of the night reliving a life long gone. I ended up watching a movie to try to move away from those memories with thoughts of finishing everything else today and fell asleep on the couch before waking around dawn to move to bed.
Today came, as it always does, and due to the late night movie session I had a really late start to my day but I finished up the little there was to do in the garage and went baby shower shopping- always a fun adventure. I didn't realize that I was avoiding the last of the boxes until I literally had done everything else but sort through them for most of the day. Wrapped presents for my nieces, two baby shower gifts, reorganized the guest bathroom, did the laundry, vacuumed, you name it. It was time to finish the office eventually though so I did, that's just who I am... if there is a job that needs doing I'll wrap myself in as much strength as I can muster and get it done. It needs doing after all and who else will do it? It was easier than I expected as most of it ended up just being paperwork- taxes, business documentation from when I was a dance teacher, lesson plans for my Kindergarten classroom, simple things with either little emotional attachement or good memories. Then there were high school photos which were fun sorting through- graduation, homecoming, choir parties, all kinds of fun. Occasionally a photo with my ex would crop up as we had dated in high school but we attended different schools so they were fewer than I would have anticipated... until wedding photos and family trips post marriage started coming up in the stack. Everyone was so happy and there were dear faces that I will likely never see again amongst the photos. To be honest it sucked, bad, and I had to lay aside the photos for a while but I finished the sorting and thought I had put the issue to bed. Not so much.
Refusing to just deal with the emotions and pushing them away caused me to make poor choices when it came to a very belated dinner where I was both hungry and hurting. I understood the why as I made the decision but didn't really care at the moment. Eating bad food didn't help the issue of course so I still had to deal with the emotional aftermath of three days of walking down memory lane afterwards. I have started that process already and will likely be continuing to do so for a while yet. But I'm doing it, I'm not tucking it away again to deal with at another time that never comes.
Why share this failure? Why show the world the cracks in the facade that is the me I've rebuilt the last few years? Because failure happens and that's ok. It isn't the end of the world to make a poor choice and you can come back from it 99.9% of the time without lasting harm. It may take me an extra couple of days to get to my goal weight now but in the scheme of things its not a big deal. I'll still make it there in the end and I'll be a happier person in the end due to the self-care of working on the emotional why's rather than self-torment over failure to stick to an eating plan.
We need to stop pretending that they're perfect 100% of the time and show our imperfections. We can help each other and build each other up rather than forcing everyone to feel a need to hide what is really happening inside themselves. Its the imperfections that make us the beautiful creatures that we are. They show where we've grown, strengthened weaknesses, where people have touched our lives- for good or bad... they show beauty and strength and trust in the person that you are sharing those imperfections with. Share your lives, be bravely imperfect rather than showing the world perfection... perfect is a lie.
Until next time, be amazingly imperfect,
Part of taking care of my health is making sure to take time to de-stress, refresh and do all the small tasks required for me to feel my best. Thinking on that this evening while meal prepping caused me to decide to add another goal to my “Health & Wellness” section. It’s simple: “Make, and take, time for your health.”
This will encompass lifestyle things I have been meaning to do or have neglected to do in the past. Some of those things:
1. Use a mask at least once a week for relaxation and better skin.
2. Use moisturizer daily to help with skin elasticity and wrinkle prevention.
3. Give dry brushing a try for better lymphatic system function.
4. Drink more water!
5. Stretch at least 3 times per week.
... and etc. The sub-goals will change as I try things that may or may not work for me but I wanted an official goal out there that meant I wouldn’t start taking my routines for granted or settle into bad habits. With that said... time for a mask, dry brushing and stretching before bed!
Until next time,
Since I work so far from home I take a lot of things with me on a daily basis that many people wouldn't necessarily take with them. I need my meals with me for the day as well as clothes to go for my lunchtime walk, medical items and schoolbooks to study on work breaks or while waiting for people to arrive at an after work activity I participate in. I think the best when I am not overly fatigued so I am not always at my best come evening for studying and therefore like to fit in a little whenever I can. If you meal prep for strength gains and go to the gym before or after work you might end up packing similar to this. You might also pack like this if you have a lot of food allergies or are trying to save money by meal prepping and live a very active lifestyle where you are out of the house for the majority of the day and evening. When I pack for a workday I usually end up packing at least half of my daily meals (depending on the day possibly all of my meals) in a lunchbox, at least one schoolbook, notebook, pens and a highlighter, workout clothes, jogging shoes, medical supplies, toiletries and chargers for my electronics. I don't take my laptop as it won't fit in my bag. I normally pack my bag the evening before so that everything is ready and I just have to grab my lunchbox out of the fridge, toss in the icepacks and head out. Depending on the meal plan for the week I may scramble some eggs fresh while I am getting ready for work.
You can see that my scrambled eggs container is empty in the photo above. I also have a container of nuts that isn't always in my bag, depending on the week's plan and the day, pictured here.
So... starting in the kitchen:
I have my lunch/meal-box here. For this day I have a container of soup, a chicken thigh with zucchini, an egg muffin and sausage piece, a large salad, fresh veggies, an apple, nuts, seeds, a protein bar, and salad dressing. The nuts, seeds and protein bar will stay at work for the duration of the week for those times that I stay late at work (or run off without my eggs... it has happened people... my brain these days!). Most of the time I don't get through even half of what is pictured on the nuts and seeds front but I prefer to be prepared. That brings this day's meal plan to:
Breakfast: eggs and sausage piece
Snack: egg muffin and an apple
Lunch: soup and fresh veggies with homemade salad dressing
Dinner: chicken thigh with salad and zucchini
For the Office (for the week): mixed nuts, seeds, and a protein bar (organic, no extra junk added)
I have three small bags that fit inside the front compartments of my backpack.
Everything fits inside one bag this way (barely) and I don't have to worry about lugging around multiple bags... which I can't really do all that well. On the side pockets I put my water bottle and my green smoothie. If I decide to bring tea then I can carry that pretty easily- I don't put bottles, even hard bottles like the ones I use, inside after an issue I had with an exploding smoothie...
When it comes to after work activities I don't pack them into this bag as they don't fit and there really is no reason to do so. I pack for the week's activities on the weekend like so:
This bag was a gift and is wonderful for what it is- a laptop backpack- but it doesn't really do everything that I need it to do so I have been looking at getting a meal management backpack such as the Isopack or Expedition 500. I will likely still use this bag if I don't need to pack meals as I think it is really well made and has a ton of storage areas. One of the things that I need it to do is hold the rest of my medical odds and ends so that I can stop carrying a purse on workdays... I can't really leave them in the car as the heat can cause issues with them and replacing them can get quite expensive. There has been a lot of review watching and reading, comparison shopping, and debate on which bag I will get but I think I am just about ready to make a purchase. Since it is a larger purchase I will be cutting back in some other areas for a while on my budget to pay for it but I think it will be worth it in the end. Once I make my final decision and use the bag for a while I will do a review of the new backpack. Feel free to put any comments in the bottom if you already own a meal management backpack that you own and love/hate... I'm always open to more information when making a larger purchase like this! The two that I am currently spending most of my focus on are below: