Trying to be SMART

The spectrum of reasons for disordered eating is a wide one, and I’m trying to work on developing a clearer sense of self so I can determine more or less where I personally fit within that spectrum. After all, it’s hard to fix a problem until you’ve identified it at the root, right?

My weight hasn’t really changed in about three weeks, which would indicate that I’m getting hung up somehow. But, instead of having a knee-jerk reaction and creating a list of extreme and impractical things I’m going to try and do to move the needle like I’ve done before, I want to take a more cognitive approach to the situation and try to learn from my past so I can make adjustments that will orient me to toward success.

Reflecting on the last three weeks, this is what I see about myself:

  • I’m satisfied (happy, even) with my figure and with the way my clothes fit me in the 150s.
    • That “satisfied” feeling gives me a false sense of security, and I become less careful about what/when I eat. So, for example, I might just graze from the snack table at a dance event or settle for a burger with friends after work instead of making the effort to seek out a healthier meal.
    • I use the feeling of being content with the way I look in clothes as an excuse to not think about how I will feel in a bathing suit in a couple months. It’s sort of like just picking up around the house when what it really needs is a good, deep cleaning. It might look ok on the surface, but the job isn’t finished—there’s still grime that needs to be scrubbed away.
  • I’m busy pretty much all day, every day.
    • I allow this “busy-ness” to become an excuse for why I don’t have time to get in an intentional, meaningful workout.
    • I don’t eat with any kind of consistency and with very little preparation.
    • I sometimes don’t eat until very late (which probably affects my metabolism).
  • I have come to rely heavily on the “hi-low” system.
    • When I get on the scale and see 157, I give myself permission to not eat as carefully that day, whether I consciously mean to or not. When I get on the scale and see 160 or 161, I do the opposite. I eat less and avoid sodium as if it were a poison.
  • I have commitment issues.
    • Sometimes I change my plans for the evening two or three times before they’re final. My weekends rarely are set in stone, and if someone comes to me on a day when I actually have brought my lunch and asks if I’d like to go out… you guessed it, I’m going.
    • When I feel like I’m not making good enough progress, I overcompensate by coming with a bunch of ideas to make it better; then I get overwhelmed and don’t follow through on any of them.

At work, we use the concept of creating SMART Goals to help set our course for the coming business year, and since I’m already in that frame of mind, I figured hey, why not apply it to my healthiness journey as well?

SMART Goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Based. I’m going to start with some short-term goals just to get used to the idea of adhering to them. Here’s what I’ve got:

  1. Complete five 30-60 minute workouts (dancing doesn’t count) by March 10.
  2. Prepare and bring a lunch to work every day, March 1-9.
  3. Reach 156 by March 10, with no weighing from now until then (the purpose of this goal is to    break myself of the habit of “going easy” or “going hard” on myself based on the number I see in the morning. Ultimately, I want to make healthy choices regardless of what the scale says.)

What I’m learning now, and what so many of you already know, is that there is always, always room for improvement. I haven’t got this all figured out, but it is exciting to step back and realize that I’m never really “stuck.” I can always look back at my mistakes and find a way to be better moving forward.

I really do want to reach that 135 mark, and I hope that setting some SMART Goals will help me move in that direction.

You can follow me on Twitter @PFG_Elle

Expanding the PriorFatGirl Family

Many of you have asked.
And now, it’s time.

We are ready to expand the PriorFatGirl Family! Want to learn more? Check it out:

  • Self-Nomination Deadline: Submit your self-nomination prior to FRIDAY, MARCH 9th, 2012 at 10pm CT. {See how to self-nominate & rules of self-nomination below)
  • Self-Nomination Review: Jen, a priorfatgirl, will select the top choices based on multiple criteria – those selected will move onto the 2nd round. {See nomination review criteria below.}
  • PriorFatGirl Reader Voting: During the week of March 26th, Jen, a priorfatgirl, will post the top choices and will allow for priorfatgirl readers to vote on who the next priorfatgirl will be.

How to Self-Nominate:

Send a 700-1,000 word email to jen@priorfatgirl.com describing why you want to join the PriorFatGirl family. Also include a link to your blog (will not be shared during first round) and a photo of yourself. Feel free to expand on any combination of the below suggestions:

- your physical & mental healthiness goals.
- what healthiness means to you.
- how you plan to change your life, not just your diet.
- what you’ve learned from blogging & other healthiness bloggers.
- anything else about your journey you feel relevant.

Do not go over 1,000 words — Jen, a priorfatgirl has a short attention span!

Rules of Self Nomination

These are rules, not guidelines. Blogging guidelines (as in, suggestions) will be provided to the selected priorfatgirl. To self-nominate:

You must be somewhat close to the beginning of your journey: The purpose of PriorFatGirl is to take readers with you as you fight toward your goal. We already have someone fighting to maintain (that’s Jen!) Notice I’m not clarifying you have to have a ton of weight to lose – that isn’t the point. It’s more about fighting toward your healthiness goal, whatever that is to you.

You must have an active blog: Don’t roll your eyes – blogging is tough. Fighting through your healthiness life is tougher. Doing them together, at the same time is redonkulously hard.  An active blog, for self-nomination purposes, means more than 1x per week. Your blog does not have to be health focused – it is more so to show that you know what you are getting yourself into. {Your personal blog will not be shared in first round and only will be shared after your approval.}

You must not rely on quick fix diets, pills or any other fad idea: You know the drill. Being healthy is forever. Eating a bowl of cereal for breakfast and lunch is not. Nor is some crazy infomercial idea. To nominate yourself, you agree to fight through not only the physical barriers of being healthy, but the mental without the help of a quick fix. You also agree that you will fight to figure out what healthy means to you. If something doesn’t work, try, try again.

You are willing to fight…publicly: Your personal life will still be your personal life – you can set your own boundaries on what you share but being a part of the PriorFatGirl family means allowing yourself to be vulnerable to growth. There IS a way to share that you are dealing with external stresses and how it effects your healthiness journey without airing your dirty laundry.

Additional terms: Priorfatgirl does not edit or scrutinize posts. A blog is personal journal for individual use. That said, the PriorFatGirl brand and what it stands for should be held in high regard. Additional guidelines will be provided during each additional stage of the process.

Self-Nomination Review:

During this process, Jen, a priorfatgirl, will review applications and select which applications move onto the 2nd round. Applications will be reviewed on multiple criteria which includes but is not limited to:

Trueness to yourself: I’m looking for someone who can be honest with themselves. Someone who can look herself in the mirror and acknowledge they are the only one who can do this…and then go do it. It is easy to talk the talk but a priorfatgirl is someone who can walk the walk.

Writing/Communication Style: While each priorfatgirl should have their own individual writing style, it is important that they can genuinely articulate their experience. Grammar and spelling does not have to be perfect but it should be fluid and interesting to the reader. This means being able to convey humor, sadness, frustration, excitement and anything else that helps the general flow of story.

Appreciate where you’ve been, where you are and where you are going: Everyone starts somewhere. This is not about finding someone who has the most weight to lose — this is so much more than that. This is about someone who can truly appreciate their own healthiness journey for what it truly is – a learning process. This is about someone who can truly appreciate each step of the learning process and can embrace life lessons.

Anything else I feel appropriate: There is no “mold” a priorfatgirl will fit. Because this is such an individual journey, applications will be selected on a variety of other selection criteria including their previous blogging journey and fight among others.

PriorFatGirl Reader Voting:

The week of March 26th, the selected self-nominations will be shared — it will be up to the PriorFatGirl readers to select who will become the next PriorFatGirl! Additional voting instructions will be announced at that time. This is not a popularity contest — this is life. Begging for votes is not encouraged.

So, what are you waiting for? This is open to all bloggin’ friends, in ANY country. Let the self-nominations begin!

I know what to do.

Thank you all for your comments yesterday, even those who took the tough-love, no sugar-coating included approach.

Here’s the thing: I don’t meant this to sound snotty but I don’t need you telling me what to do because the truth is, I already know. {Stick with me, hear me out.}Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate your comments. But I’d be fooling myself (and you) if I sat here and whined “boo hoo, I don’t know why I’m gaining weight. Please, someone help me!” The truth is, I already know what to do. The hard part is that this all boils down to ME. This is MY journey, MY blog and MY healthiness. It also means MY responsibility and MY blunder when I “screw up”. But I don’t think I “screwed-up.” This is my life, not some blogged story. I am fighting for my life. I gained weight. Yep. I did. It happens. But it isn’t the end of the world. It’s my life, it’s me I see when I look in the mirror. I am not perfect, I’ve never claimed to be perfect, nor have I ever wanted to be.

I am learning.
I am growing.
I am developing.
I am making mistakes.
And I am fighting.

Ah, to implement a plan or not to?

I loved Weight Watchers, I loved the meetings but I struggled when I found out I only paid for the on-line version, not the weekly meetings. The whole point in my joining was for the weekly accountability, the meetings. The fundamental concept of Weight Watchers is tracking and support/accountability. I know where my faults are, it is in my eating. My workouts have been consistent and on target:

You see that? I have 2.5 weeks of documented workouts under my belt and the month before that, 4-5 times each week of undocumented workouts.

If I’m getting my workouts in and being active, then it has to be my eating. Now I’m not runnin’ around eating fast food. And for as much as ya’ll think I eat out a lot, I really don’t. It’s only about once a week (twice if you count going out during for lunch, which is normally Subway.) It’s not my eating out – it is my grazing. My snacking. My constant little of this, little of that. All of this and that adds up.

I can tell you right now I’m not going to implement a serious plan or follow a rigid program. That has never been me. I’m never going to eat only chicken breasts, broccoli and brown rice. I cannot tell you right now what I’m going to do for the next four months because the truth is, I just need to do it. I already move, just need to eat less. It’s the easiest thing to write but the hardest thing to do consistently, time over time when the disordered eating is so engrained in me. 26 years of eating… four-ish years of trying to undo it.

I need to track.

Diligently. Attentively. Consistently. Honestly.

I’m still seeing my therapist and have been for awhile now but this takes time. We’ve been working on some deep-rooted issues I’ve had for a long time, the issues that seem to be so unconscious to me, I barely even recognize them. Only until I work through them can my eating issues be sorted out which could take years. That’s the hard part about being healthy is that it isn’t “cured” over night.

I loved your comments yesterday but the truth was, even before I hit publish, I already knew what I needed to do. I’m appreciative of your support but this is on me – I’m the only one that can do this. I’ve been here before. And I’m not giving up.

Computers and Communities

Still no computer.

Like most things, I didn’t realize how much I valued my little computer until I didn’t have it around anymore. I’m not totally disconnected from Al Gore’s Internet (a phrase coined by my friend that sends me into a fit of giggles every time I hear it) thanks to my iPhone, but it’s just not the same. Hopefully I’ll have the MacBook back sooner than later. And now I should probably move on lest you think you’ve stumbled across an infomercial for Apple…

The last few weeks have brought with them an onslaught of change.

I moved out of my apartment and into a house with three other people. After living alone for two years, this should be interesting. And good. I think solitude has dulled my abilities to share and compromise, and already they are being sharpened again.

I went through a program at church to find a new community group. You may have heard it called a lot of other things—cell group, small group, home group, Bible study—it’s all the same idea. It’s just a group of people who meet every week to do life together and encourage one another in our walk with Christ.

The group of girls that I’ve ended up with is remarkably refreshing. I always feel intimidated about these things. In fact, I think most people do because for whatever reason, we think people we meet at church are going to be perfect and that it’s going to be a shameful experience when they discover how messed up we are. I say “we.” But I mean “me.” I have a quick temper. I’m overly critical of myself and others. I speak without thinking first. And those are just the ones I’m willing to share on the blog… there are only about a hundred other faults I have that are way worse. So yeah, I had some anxiety going in on this thing.

But the nerves settled when the walls started crumbling and we (this group of girls) started sharing about our lives. One girl struggles with Bulimia. Another spent time in jail after getting a DUI. Another has issues with co-dependency that have led her and kept her in toxic relationships throughout the years. Another girl grew up in an extremely legalistic environment and just thought God was a mean dictator for most of her life. Another girl came from a Buddhist background.

We couldn’t be more different, and yet, we’re all pretty much the same. What started as stilted conversation based on ice-breakers and a list of get-to-know me questions ended in the exchange of phone numbers and e-mail addresses and conversations about how impossible it is to meet a good man and where to find the best deals on shoes south of Highway 635 in Dallas. Ah, yes. Girls. We’re all the same inside. But mostly, we’re all the same outside too. Imperfect. Totally flawed. And accepted by each other in spite of it. I guess what I love about those girls is the same thing I love about my dance friends: the sense of community and shared interests.

And then, of course, there’s the dating thing.

Sometimes I just feel annoyed with the whole business and want to walk away from it. So many rules. So many feelings.

But then those butterflies start bouncing around and I remember… “Oh yeah, this is supposed to a fun thing.”

More on that when I get my computer back.

You can follow me on Twitter @PFG_Elle