So…at the end of 2013, I was pretty sluggish and tired. I was so happy and grateful for all the work it afforded me, but when I looked back, believe how proud and disappointed I was with myself all at the same time.
On December 31st, after a night of lots of drinking, eating and tasteless debauchery, I got on the scale…I weighed 129.5 pounds. Knowing where I was two years ago, at 117, I couldn’t believe it…how did that happen? How did I LET it happen. Granted, I was physically in pain (from working, training clients and over-exercising) and exhausted, but damn…
I knew that this was all anxiety induced…I didn’t sleep well the night before, which causes over production ghrelin, the hormone that increases our desire for food and under production of insulin and leptin, how the body burns our fuel…perfect right? I overbooked myself constantly; I had no time or energy to do anything productive, so I would just make a little something to eat and watch Netflix, which caused more anxiety; “I should be doing something right now instead of this”, binge eating…more anxiety…more eating, too tired to really get a strong workout in, because I had gone out the night before and drank too much, which disrupts sleep patterns and causes acid reflux; I would toss and turn until about 2am or 4am, depending when I got home in the first place…
It was a vicious cycle, which I finally saw, and I knew I didn’t want to do it anymore.
What a waste of time all this anxiety was! So, on New Year’s Eve, I decided to really think about how I could reverse this issue. Instead of making a ton of resolutions for 2014, I decided to give myself a focus word: SIMPLIFY, which gave way to my one resolution…DISCIPLINE.
I had the entire month of January basically free from any acting/theatre obligations, so I chose to give myself a whole month to understand what the f-ing source of my anxiety was coming from. And I realized something very profound…
The source for a lot of things came from this deeply rooted pity-party I had going on for years. It was this constant undercurrent for all the wasted time, money and calories in my existence for the past 2 years….eww.
True, I had a hard couple of years, so I relished it. This proverbial pity party was the inner voice at work, telling me, “You worked so hard today…after all you’ve been through in your life recently, you deserve it.” I believed this voice so much, because I was really scared about what my life could become if I worked harder at it; could I really be more successful? What would happen If I was more responsible with my time and didn’t concern myself with what others would think of me if I didn’t show up here or there.
These “well-deserved splurges” ended up becoming the norm, which didn’t just include eating. I would go out and drink…alot. I would buy things that I thought would make me feel better; gadgets and clothes particularly. I would occasionally catch myself in the act in disbelief. Looking back, I would know when I caught myself, because I would start an exercise challenge or “cleanse” to show all my friends and peeps that I was on top of my game…gosh, and all the books I would read thinking they would solve my my binge-eating; because that was the problem.
The only thing I learned from those books of value is this: It’s not the food that’s your enemy, it’s you. I kept thinking that my will-power was the enemy, which made me feel being healthy and living a healthy lifestyle was unhealthy…what?? Food, and our desire to restrict it, is merely a distraction to the real problem. There is something inside you that causes the issues, and until you can let go of restrictive eating, you won’t be able to grab on to what’s causing the anxiety. Binge eating is a behavior brought on by an anxiety-induced trigger, after all.
So then, I realized what was causing me all the anxiety was all the crap I was trying to do that I didn’t want to do. I took a cue from Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project, a book I read a few years ago. She asked some very simple questions of herself before she embarked on her own happiness journey:
1. What makes you feel good? What gives you energy? Joy? Fun?
2. What makes you feel bad? What brings you anger, guilt, boredom, dread?
3. What makes you feel right? What values do you want your life to reflect?
I wrote out tons of things, the first things that came into my head, in no sequential order, but there were certain ones that really stuck out.
For Question 1: Fitness, Being healthy, new recipes, simple foods, art, performing for the joy of it; staying out of the politics/drama, knowing about the world, Training others, learning about how I can be a better trainer, learning about exercise science and nutrition and being able to devote time to it, cooking, sushi, my real friends; the ones that value my presence, NPR, good theatre, running, Interval training, reading what I like not what people tell me I should like, writing, being outside, being creative, wine, movies, music, popcorn, true rest, real time to enjoy my relationships
For Question 2: Excess of anything; eating/drinking/materials/expenses, closed-mindedness, traffic, procrastination, no self-motivation, disorganization, feeling unsure about my next step, fear, being irresponsible with my time/talents/money, saying something tacky or that makes me seem uneducated, living above ones means, lack of sleep, lack of time management
For Question 3: Having a focused sense of self and direction, simplicity, health and fitness, sharing my time and talents, love for my family and friends, a quiet spirit and true sense of peace, contentment in the little moments/things in life, having more with less, being talented, A partner to share life, that I matter without having to try too hard, measuring success the way I see fit; not society
These spoke volumes to me. And I decided to take the time to explore these things the rest of this year.
So, I started January out with a few behavior changes!
I didn’t buy wine or alcohol for my home; that cut my drinking to only once or twice a week.
I started making a Paleo-friendly smoothies in the morning; that upped my energy and staying power with higher protein and greens in the mornings.
I decided to not eat after 7:00pm, so I could have a true fast through the night and really need calories in the morning.
I brushed AND FLOSSED my teeth twice a day and I made sure I went to bed by 11:30 pm, which prevented late weeknights of needless eating and drinking (and money spending).
The first week I implemented these changes, I lost 5 pounds. I actually took care of myself, which means I mattered in my own head; how profound. It was all I needed to continue with these changes, while taking on new ones!
I Purged; got rid of years worth of things I kept for no reason whatsoever…I guess they made me feel safe; who knows? I couldn’t believe how much stuff I managed to accumulate, and half of it I hadn’t looked at in 3 years! And as I lessened my material load, my anxiety started to subside even more and my need for simplicity grew.
Now that the end of January approaches, I see the fruits of my labor already. I sleep better, I am more organized, my spending has decreased, I am 12 pounds lighter, I love working out for myself and training my clients, and I have a focus that I never had before. I want to be a better daughter, sibling, girlfriend and friend to those who want me there.
I decided I will focus on one goal to accomplish something that will empower the simple, clean life I want to lead, each month; much like Rubin’s Happiness Project, but with my own twist. So, I made a second blog to chronicle that journey…Follow Completely Made Over, and maybe we can do this together!
So, 2014 is a big year for me…what will it do for you?