Untethered Soul and the voice in your head

by Christine on July 22nd, 2016

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition, General Information

I recently was given the book “Untethered Soul” by Michael Singer. I’m only a few chapters into it, and I’ll likely talk about it again on this blog. At the very beginning of the book, the author talks about the incessant, chattering voice in your head. The voice in your head that comments on everything—especially on yourself. The voice expresses judgement constantly, and it can change its opinions at the drop of a hat. That voice is utterly unreliable. You’ve caught it blatantly lying. It’s not nice.

untetheredcover

That voice is your head narrates the world around you. It says, “wow, that sun is really bright.” Did you really need the voice to tell you that? You looked at the sky and already noticed the bright sun—did the voice need to state the obvious? No. Singer claims that the voice’s attempt to narrate the world is actually your psyche’s attempt to place some control over your environment. Because, fundamentally, humans feel uncomfortable when they aren’t in control of their lives and environments.

Singer says:

“If you want to be happy, you have to let go of the part of you that wants to create melodrama. This is the part that thinks there’s a reason not to be happy. You have to transcend the personal, and as you do, you will naturally awaken to the higher aspects of your being. In the end, enjoying life’s experiences is the only rational thing to do. You’re sitting on a planet spinning around in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Go ahead, take a look at reality. You’re floating in empty space in a universe that goes on forever. If you have to be here, at least be happy and enjoy the experience….There’s always going to be something that can bother you, if you let it.”

 To me, this has a direct relationship to the voice in my head that narrates what I think about my body. “You’re fat. You’re ugly,” the voice in my head tells me a hundred times a day. “You WANT to swim on a hot day, but you better not get in a bathing suit in public. You’ll make someone sick. If you want to swim, you should find a private place to go instead of the water park.” My voice also says, “You fatty, if you eat THIS instead of THAT, you’ll lose weight.” Or it will say, “If you weren’t so weak-willed, you never would have gotten fat in the first place.” And so on.

I have a very active inner voice, and it’s never nice to me.

I haven’t quite gotten far enough in the book to figure out how Singer thinks you can ignore that voice in your head or transform its voice. He does assert that learning to turn it off, to embrace the present moment, and learn to bear reality as it really is—our actual experience of life right now, not just our narrated version—is crucial to finding happiness. This is a very Buddhist way of thinking, of course, to embrace the present moment. He cautions not to let your inner voice define who you are, since we have already decided that your inner voice is a lying, manipulative, awful voice.

“To attain true inner freedom, you must be able to objectively watch your problems instead of being lost in them… Once you’ve made the commitment to free yourself of the scared person inside, you will notice that there is a clear decision point at which your growth takes place.” 

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Wow, I’m eating wayyyy too much.

by Christine on July 21st, 2016

filed under Christine's Life Updates, Diet, Food, Nutrition

binge-eating

Okay, I’ve been faithfully tracking my food intake (journaling) for the past week….and the results aren’t pretty. Boy, I should have started to do this a long time ago so I could have been aware that my eating is out of control.

Day 1: 1816 calories consumed, no exercise.

Day 2: 1471 calories consumed, no exercise

Day 3: 1652 calories consumed: ran a 5K at the gym (45 minutes)

Day 4: 2196 calories consumed: golfed for 6 hours at a golf outing

Day 5: 2615 calories consumed: hiking for 7 hours up two mountains

Day 6: 1390 calories consumed: No exercise

 

Wow, did you see that? Every single day I am eating well over my goal of 800-1000 calories per day, and two days I ate over 2,000 calories worth of food! Holy moses!!! No wonder I’m packing on the pounds!

If I look at the information further, I see some general trends:

  • I eat a lot more on days when I exercise. I’m hungry.
  • I’m doing ok eating every few hours, but my portion sizes are much too big. I need to start whittling these down.
  • I’m drinking too many calories. Alcohol. That needs to stop. Over 2,000 of the calories those six days came from alcohol. That’s just silly.
  • My food choices have largely been pretty healthy. Lots of fruits and veggies and healthy protein.
  • I did spectacularly drinking water while at work (and hiking). Less spectacular at home. Noted: drinking lots of water isn’t doing shit to curb my appetite.
  • I did well planning out snacks and meals every few hours. The problem is that those snacks or meals were too high in calories/too large in size.

So: Smaller portion sizes is going to be key here, as well as cutting way back (preferably stopping) the alcohol consumption. This means breaking out the scale and measuring cups, and making sure that my mini-meals are of a reasonable size. That’s my task for Week 2.  I am going to try to start photographing my meals also, for additional accountability. I don’t think I’m going to be able to whittle my calories down to 800 calories by next week, but if I can get them in the area of 1000-1100 calories, that will be some progress.

Tips for myself for cutting back on food/hunger:

  • Quit the alcohol.
  • Quit the sugar. (I really did better with this, this past week though)
  • Eat protein shakes as snacks.
  • Measure and weigh food.
  • Keep some fresh veggies on hand for snacks. (carrots are mostly lower cal than fruits)
  • Leave food on your plate, or cut part of your food off to throw away.
  • Cut back on high-calorie fatty foods. I’m a sucker for caprese salads. The tomato is awesome, but cut back on the mozzarella. More tomato, less cheese. (But…not “no cheese.”)
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Adirondack Hiking Weekend

by Christine on July 20th, 2016

filed under General Information

This past weekend I went for a hike with a friend. We did two peaks (the one was only 0.6 miles in addition to what we were already doing): Porter and Cascade Mountains.  They are 4,059 and 4,098 feet tall, respectively. In total, I think the hike was about 6.2 miles and we took 7 hours to do it. (That includes plenty of time at the top of each peak to relax, eat lunch, take pictures, etc.) Today, my quads are very sore. It was a killer workout but wow, do I love hiking!

I know I “burned” a billion calories while hiking, but afterwards I was sooooo hungry and I ate way more than I should have. (And, drank more wine than I should have, too.) I need to get the eating under control.


Hike4  Hike5  Hike1  Hike2  Hike6

Hike3

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Training for Ragnar

by Christine on July 18th, 2016

filed under General Information

Howdy blogland!

So last post I explained that I’ve gained a sad amount of weight since losing my gastric band. Well, one of the things that didn’t factor into my weight gain was a lack of activity. I’ve been very active and continue to be active! Sure, when I had my ACL surgery last May, it slowed me down a little, but only a little. I continue to be very active.

Jogging

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: exercise doesn’t impact weight loss at all.

Let me repeat that. More exercise doesn’t mean more weight loss. And if you overeat, you can’t counteract it by doing more exercise. Weight loss and exercise are not related activities.

(I often forget that the exercise correlation to weight loss is just a myth. It’s helpful for me to repeat it.)

If you want to lose weight, you need to fix your eating. Period. Which I haven’t done.

Exercise is awesome though, so don’t get me wrong. I’m a big advocate of exercise! It helps with your energy and mood. Strength training tones your muscles (so that they work more efficiently). And let’s be honest: an active life is a HAPPY life.

Exercise doesn’t mean shit when it comes to weight loss, though.

So. Anyway.

I’m training for a Ragnar race in the Adirondacks that will be happening September 2016. The Ragnar race is a 196.2 mile running race that goes through mountainous territory. It starts in Saratoga Springs, NY and goes to Lake Placid, NY. It’s a relay-style race that you run in a team consisting of 12 people. In total, each person needs to run three “short” legs of the race. My legs are in the medium of the pack in terms of distance and difficulty. I’ll be running a total of about 15 miles over the course of the 36 hours.

I finished a C25K program recently, and even though I can reach a 5k, I have to stop frequently and walk. I am very frustrated at the moment because I don’t feel like I am making much progress on the running front. Plus, I need to be able to run further than 3.2 miles by September. I need to continue getting better at this, and I’m not. I’m stuck, and I feel frustrated.

I am trying to run 3-4 times per week, and soon I’ll start trying to tackle different landscapes to run in. (Right now I’ve been running around my neighborhood, which is pretty flat.)

If any of you readers are runners and want to offer up some advice to me regarding leg cramps, maintaining my breath, and acquiring distance, I am all ears!

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Trip to Switzerland and Italy

by Christine on July 14th, 2016

filed under General Information

A few weeks ago, hubby and I went on a fabulous trip to Switzerland and Italy. We loved Switzerland (Lauterbrunnen) and felt a little “meh” about Italy (Cinque Terre). At both places we stayed in apartments with full kitchens, so we were able to pick healthy foods up at the grocery store and cook at home. In Italy I indulged in delicious caprese (tomato + mozerella salads) every day! Yum!  The highlight of my trip, other than traveling with my awesome in-law family, was paragliding in Switzerland. Wow, what an experience!

Trip1  Trip2

Trip3

As you can see from these photos, I have gained quite a bit of weight since losing my gastric band. I’ve gained 45 pounds so far, actually, and when I see these photos I cringe.

Furthermore, this past weekend I went through my many tubs of clothing stored in my basement. I sorted through them so I have one tub per clothing size: A Size 2/4 tub; a Size 6 tub; a Size 8 tub; a Size 10 tub; a Size 12 tub. Right now I’m wearing a size 14. I’ve gone up five clothing sizes in the past two years, since losing my band, which is about right: I find I go up/down a clothing size every 10 pounds. Wow! That’s a lot of clothes to buy every few weeks! It was hard not to cry while going through that much-needed task.

So how did I get here? Well, a few things, really:

  • I lost my gastric band, and the magic of it.
  • My dad died, and I indulged in some emotional eating.
  • I started to gain weight, which was another loss, which I fueled by emotional eating. Much sadness happening.
  • I tore my ACL in my left knee, which was a long recuperation process and required me to be more sedentary than I was previously. Other health challenges include continuing to deal with post-lyme syndrome and chronic fatigue syndrome and a low-acting thyroid.
  • I was very active socially, and I allowed myself to indulge in eating out every night, and glasses of wine with every meal.
  • I got lazy, and forgot that maintaining my weight was a priority.

Now, I need to remind myself of a little perspective: I had lost over 100 pounds with my gastric band. I may have gained 45 back, but I’m still down over 50 pounds from my starting weight. I lose sight of this very quickly. And I DO believe I can lose the 45 pounds I have gained, if I just figure out the right magic to make it happen. I am not doomed. (Repeat to self, many times.)

At the moment, I’m kind of at a place in life where I feel depressed and frantic about my weight, but I am working on putting together a gameplan to get back on track. This week I am starting to track my food intake, and wow, it’s a real eye-openers! Identifying where I am going off track is going to be helpful in putting together a plan for getting back on target.

I also plan on reviewing some old posts on this blog. I tried to be faithful about talking about what I was eating and how much/how often I was eating. I hope to use this blog to put together a gameplan again.

Expect more posts from me in the weeks to come!

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