Setting Goals Each Week

Hi all. I have normally been posting each day, but figured I would give myself a break over the weekend. I also gave myself a break from walking. Believe it or not, I actually didn’t want to take a break from walking, but it Fen kept telling me to rest so I finally did.. and I felt much better come Monday morning.

I’ve decided to set myself some goals and every few weeks I may add to it. I don’t want to overwhelm myself, so I am going to set very small goals. I will primarily focus on the fitness routine each week and setting goals for that, but will also add some goals here and there for other parts of my life, namely food.

I am going to try a new fitness routine and see how it works for me. Each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday I will go for my 3-3.5 mile loop and will walk most of it. Each week I will try to run a portion of it, a very small portion to start with, and will gradually increase the distance so that I start walking less and running more. I have sustained back and knee issues in the past and don’t want to try and advance too quickly. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays I will be doing an hour of yoga instead. Each day of the week I walk the dog 2-3 times per day, so that still gets me up and moving, but on Sundays I will take a break from everything.

Fen and I talked briefly about eventually buying a gym membership. I want to get into cycling and maybe some weight lifting after time, but that can all happen down the road. I am not too concerned about it right now.

Yesterday morning I walked with Fen to work and back, covering 3.5 miles, and running about 0.25 miles. Now.. I recognize that running 0.25 miles is nothing for some, but it’s a huge accomplishment for me. Last week I was able to run about a neighborhood block before I felt exhausted. Today it was much further. So this week I will be sticking with that running distance and next week I will push it a little further.

As for a dietary goal, this week I have challenged myself to drink about 6-7 glasses of water a day. I think for my height and body weight I should be consuming closer to 7 glasses, but I would be happy with 6 to start off with. I think on average I only drink about 4-5 which is clearly not enough. To help me accomplish this I will be using a tracker that is built into my FitBit app on my phone. I failed miserably at this yesterday, only clocking about the same 4-5 glasses, but plan to improve on it today.

I am not sure how long it will take me to start drinking 6-7 glasses of water each day without having to remind myself, and I do not plan to put any pressure on myself to complete this goal in the next week.

It’s all about baby steps. Little tiny steps in the right direction. And for the first time in a long time I think my health and fitness are definitely moving in the right direction 🙂

It’s Been Over A Week!

It dawned on me last night that this blog has now been up for over a week. It’s only been about a week, but so much has changed it seems. Here’s a recap:

I have had two (small) binges during the week, one yesterday and one on Thursday (or was it Wednesday..?). I have discovered that when I go for long walks in the morning I start to crave sugar in the afternoon and find myself snacking uncontrollably. I have had to force myself to stop each time, but it was still a challenge.. though not as difficult. As for overeating, I’ve only done it a few times (maybe 3-4?) this past week, which is remarkable, because it’s usually during every meal.

I’ve discovered that by a) exercising for a good hour in the morning, b) not overeating, and c) working hard to control the binges, I have started to recognize some of my hunger cues and am starting to remember again what true hunger feels like. I have also improved a bit on being able to differentiate between being hungry and actually being thirsty. As for drinking water…. I still need some major improvement in that department. I am trying. I think part of my problem is I am cold 24/7 here in the winter (think of it as a damp cold with all the humidity we get from being on the coast) and the last thing I want to do is drink a glass of cold anything. Perhaps I should start drinking lots of tea again. I was on a bit of a tea kick last year around the holidays and loved it! Especially having green tea in the afternoons.

I’ve started wearing my FitBit again (if you are on there add me as a friend and we can compete in challenges with each other 🙂 ) during the day to track my steps and I have also been wearing it at night to monitor my sleep. I’ve forgotten how much I enjoyed using that device. Maybe later this year I will buy myself the wristband. I have the FitBit One that clips onto your waistband and I swear it’s going to pop out one day and I will lose it forever. I like using the FitBit though because it also tracks the number of floors you climb each day (which is great, because I live on a hill, surrounded by hills) and also reports back the number of calories you’ve burned each day. I don’t focus too hard on that number, but use it to guide me when I select meals each day.

Though I have been going for some long walks in the morning (~3 miles, ~1 hour), I have also tried to switch them into intervals of walking and running. The first day I tried this was Thursday and I did pretty good. I actually just went for two small sprints and my legs felt a little tired, but nothing too bad. On Friday I tried switching between walking and running and ended up having to stop because my shins started to hurt again. I am not sure if it was the running that did it or the running down a hill that did it. I am going to let my legs rest for a couple days and then try the intervals one more time on a flat (maybe softer.. so less impact?) surface and see how I do. I have to remember to be patient with myself though. That’s often the hardest part for me.

Earlier in the week I forgot to mention that I won a book in a contest on GoodReads! It’s called New Life, No Instructions: A Memoir and is written by Gail Caldwell. I am excited to read this book, because I think it will give me some insight and hope into new beginnings in life, especially those that come unexpectedly, with little warning, and no instructions. For those who know me personally, you’ll probably know what I’m referring to.

If you like reading books (or could live in a library like me), you should check on The FirstReads Giveaway Contests on GoodReads 🙂 Each morning I scroll through the newly listed contests and enter contests for the books that interest me the most. I also stay active on the website and use it to update my progress as I read books and keep track of previously read books. Ever so often I (sometimes a couple times a month or twice a week.. depending) I will win books. I always say it’s how I “support my (reading) habit”, otherwise I would go broke in a bookstore in under thirty minutes flat. The only catch is if you do win a book, it is highly requested (and recommended) that when you are finished you provide an honest review on the site 🙂

Finally, this week I finished reading A Life Apart by L. Y. Marlow. It was one of the books my sister sent me for Christmas and I absolutely loved it! It was one of those books that grabs your attention from the beginning and keeps it through the entire book. I also started reading Black Canyon by Jeremy Bates and hope to have that finished by mid week next week. Although I didn’t win the contest for Black Canyon, I did win a separate contest held by the author in which he was kind enough to send me an electronic copy of his book 🙂

Stereotypes (and Misunderstandings) of Eating Disorders

The last week or so I have spent some time thinking about some of the stereotypes and perhaps misunderstandings that surround eating disorders. I think part of these thoughts have arisen from my own issues in admitting to others that I have an eating disorder.

First, let me say that it’s extremely weird to say that out loud, or even in my own head. It’s weird to think that I have an eating disorder, or to even type it here. Although I have never been officially diagnosed, nor have I ever sought diagnosis, I do exhibit all predefined symptoms of Binge Eating Disorder except for purging. Regardless, whether I have a clinical diagnosis or not, I do know from my own patterned behavior that my eating is disordered.

I remember the first time I thought to myself, “I might actually have an eating disorder”, I paused in reflection, only to look in the mirror and think to myself how absurd that sounds because I am not underweight, I am overweight. I suppose I always assumed that having an eating disorder meant you were malnourished and underweight, but I recognize now that isn’t always the case. In fact, in recent years a variety of different eating disorders have been newly recognized, to include Orthorexia and Avoidant/Restrictive Food Intake Disorder (ARFID.

This long-held assumption made it difficult for me to tell others about my issues and extremely difficult for me to even admit it publicly, through this blog, because I figured no one would believe me or take me seriously.

In talking to others about my experience and eating disorders in general, I also started to realize that some people tend to forget that even though it is an eating disorder it is still associated with mental health. In my case, food has become an addiction and a vice. I am addicted to it, because I use it to make me feel better about different things in my life. I am also addicted (in a different way, I think… and that will have to be addressed in a separate post) to certain foods, namely those high in sugar.

Addiction to food is a tricky thing. If one is addicted to cigarettes, the ultimate goal is to quit smoking them. If you are addicted to alcohol or drugs, the ultimate goal is to quit using those substances. We can’t quit eating food though. It is a necessity. And I often find myself wishing I didn’t have to eat or think about or deal with food, because it would make things so much easier to manage. So instead of quitting the substance I am addicted to, I instead will have to find a way to live with it in some capacity that is healthy and not damaging to me.. and that is what I need to figure out how to do.

When Did I Stop Loving (Plain) Water?

My fiancé has poked fun at me for a while now over my recent love addiction to sparkling water. I wasn’t always a fan of sparkling water and actually found it quite repulsive for the longest time. My mom drinks a lot of it though and last summer she had me try some one day when we were out and about and I was thirsty (I should add this was during the time she helped me move to New Mexico (long story, will eventually talk about that)). I remember curling my lip in disgust as I unscrewed the cap and took a swig. Much to my surprise though it actually.. tasted.. really good! It was a bottle of Arrowhead sparkling water flavored with lemon juice. From that moment, I was hooked. So I began drinking some here and there and soon started drinking 4+ of their 32oz bottles every single day, until my stomach turned sour one afternoon (I think due to all the carbonation). After that I stuck to about a bottle a day and thus began a period during which I consumed a decent amount of both sparkling and regular (or as the fiancé calls it, “REAL” water). My job at the time wasn’t exactly labor intensive, but I would still work up a bit of a sweat and I found myself chugging bottled water in addition to the sparkling water.

After I moved (back) to Oregon, I.. well, I stopped drinking water. In general. I gave up the sparkling water to save on grocery bills for the time being (yes, I can drink that much and spending $60-$120 a month on sparkling water is a bit much, don’t you think?) but haven’t really been consuming water at all.

My level of water consumption has fluctuated throughout my life based on the types of jobs I have had or how active I am each day.. but this is the least that I have consumed, on average each day, in a very long time. I don’t really know why. I often wonder if it is somehow tied to my overconsumption of food and sweet foods. Perhaps I eat so much that I don’t feel the need to drink water between meals? Or perhaps because it is so unbelievably humid here my body doesn’t become as thirsty as it normally does? I have to remind myself too that once you are actually feeling thirst you have passed into the realm of dehydration. So does that mean I am never dehydrated? I’m not sure that’s actually true, considering I have felt worse on days that I drink hardly any water at all.

I have toyed with the idea of downloading an app to my phone that will remind me to drink water throughout the day. I did this a couple years ago and the app drove me crazy over time, but it also got me into the habit of regularly drinking water throughout the day and I realized that over time I started to feel better.

The other benefit to this is that water can help me feel full. My fiancé keeps reminding me of this and it’s not the first time I have heard it.