Saturday, April 21, 2012

Trying to Live Better

I'm trying, I mean TRYING, to eat healthier and be more active. I'm striving to be better. It's not easy. The hardest thing for me is that I have a sweet tooth that just won't quit. I also have to dig really deep for motivation. I'm kind of laid back and I quickly get accustomed to not being able to breathe when my pants are buttoned. Pretty soon it's just what I'm used to and I hardly care anymore.

But I want to be healthier. I'm 37 and I want to be energetic and young for my age, not older than I actually am. I have some health issues and I don't want to accept that they're just going to get worse. My kids are young and there's a lot I want to do in my life. Stuff that requires energy and motivation and vitality and being healthy. I don't want to constantly be looking for shirts that cover my tummy and hide my back fat. That seriously gets old. During the past year I've gained quite a bit of weight so I don't have a whole lot of options in my closet at the moment.

I have written a lot about this subject, in one context or another. The difference the last couple months is that Chris has started having the same inclinations as me. He wants to be healthier too, and it's a lot easier having a partner so we can encourage each other and support each other. Together we've jumped on the vegetarian bandwagon. I'd say we've been about 95% successful with that. I have never been a huge meat eater, and becoming vegetarian has been far easier than I thought it would. I think I'll stick with it. I'm not dreaming about steak or anything, and I'm just as happy  having a veggie burger or chick'n breast as I would be having the real thing. We've been trying to increase our vegetable intake, and I can assure everyone that I've never eaten so many vegetables in my life. I never used to like vegetables, with few exceptions, but my tastes are changing and I now don't mind most vegetables. I'm putting veggies in my smoothies to get more in my diet. When I grocery shop, I buy very little crap that I know I would love to consume in one sitting (Turtle Chex Mix, anyone?).

The frustrating thing to me is that, to be honest, I don't eat that much. I do love my sweets, but I have hugely cut back on my sugar consumption. I went for quite awhile hardly exercising at all, so I get that I had a decrease in physical activity and that contributed to me gaining weight. But I started back up again a couple months ago, and combined with the going vegetarian and a decrease in eating sweets and snacking, I had hoped that would make a difference. Unfortunately, it has not. Losing weight is extremely difficult for me. Like losing 5 pounds takes Herculean effort. And I don't want to lose 5 pounds, I want to lose 20 pounds. I'm not sure that is even possible. But it's obvious that I need to kick up my efforts by a lot. I need to eat even more veggies and cut back even more on the sweets, treats, and snacks.

I don't believe in dieting because I think it's inevitable to eventually go back to previous eating habits if the goal is to only temporarily change. And that's when the weight comes right back. I also can't go hungry. I'm not simply being a wimp. Going without food for too long makes me very ill, like can't drag myself out of bed sick. I get terrible headaches that interfere with my ability to function and severe nausea. I get like this from other stuff too, like not getting enough sleep, not drinking enough water, certain smells, long exposure to bright and/or flashing lights, and running myself ragged. It's all about keeping myself in balance, and I'm beginning to realize that one thing I have to do is eat every couple hours if I want to avoid feeling like I'm at death's door. So a starvation diet is not happening for me. Instead of dieting, I need to focus on changes to my diet that I will stick with long term. Which is what I've been babbling on about.

I also need to kick my work outs into overdrive. I'm being gradual because my body doesn't like being thrown into sudden turmoil and the results can be quite unpleasant. I have a goal of running a 5K by September, and I think I have convinced Chris that we should start on the Couch to 5K program. If anyone has done this, I would love to have your input. He seems to be on board. The next step is making it a priority to find the time to work toward this goal on a daily basis. I'm hoping that having something to train for will help me.

The weight is not the most important thing to me. I want to look good and not be overly self-conscious constantly, but it's more important for me to feel good and to be healthy. I want to jump on the trampoline and chase after my kids at the play ground and give my girls a wagon ride around the block without feeling like my lungs are on fire. I want to be at low risk for heart attack and stroke and diabetes. I want to feel energetic.

So. Here I go. I'm going to keep trying.

What is your favorite kind of exercise? I love to do my hula hoop because I can read while I'm doing it. I also like to walk but not so much by myself. But I would love to have more ideas!

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