Procrastination in full effect.

I’m doing it right now by writing this post.  I have a million things to get done this week, I’m in the middle of packing for a huge move to Boston.  I’m transitioning to a new job as well, so in addition to filling out new paperwork before my start date, I’m working to complete any additional paperwork that was left from the previous job.  I’ve been organizing paperwork needed to get my personal stuff (car registration, insurance, etc) prepared for the move to another state.  Wowza.  It’s not optimal to have so much on my plate,  It’s SO EASY to justify putting off things you don’t enjoy doing.  However, I am aware that procrastination is not a simple issue, and this is no exception.  There are multiple factors at play here.

One influence is the emotional issues that come up when you’re packing up your home.  Not only am I moving, but I’m also getting divorced.  (I apologize if anyone reading who knows me, didn’t know this, it hasn’t been something I was keen on advertising.)  These are two of the most stressful life events that a person can deal with in their lifetime, both are within the top 5.  No matter what the circumstances of a divorce, no matter who initiated or how caring you try to be to each other, there is still an emotional minefield to trudge through.  Needless to say, deciding who gets what stuff out of the home we created together, or sorting through happy and sad memories, isn’t high on my “I would love to do this” list right now.

Another factor is how easy it is to put off unpleasant tasks if you don’t have structure or a dedicated work space.  I had a few clients last week, but I’ve been off since Friday, and while I have had spurts of productivity, not having a schedule really impedes my ability to get things done.  I’ve also never had a really awesome work space in the home.  My desk chair was always amazingly uncomfortable for me.  I’m sitting here on the sofa, typing with my laptop, curled up with a heating pad and cup of tea, and wondering why I can’t seem to focus on the typing to get the work done.  Tumblr, Facebook, Twitter, and Google are all just a single click away, beckoning every time my mind wanders from the task at hand…and oh, how easy it is to get sucked in and realize that an hour has passed with doing nothing on social media.

The last issue that keeps sapping my will to sit and type, is the fact that it actually hurts to sit for long periods.  I’m still dealing with the aftermath of an SI joint issue that started over the summer.  While it’s mostly better, I get a distinct burning sensation in my left butt cheek (that’s a technical term, folks) if I’ve been sitting too long and need to get up and move around, do some yoga, etc.  And then you can imagine that dirty dishes or towels needing to be folded are more noticeable when you’re up and about moving around the house.  Somehow, in those moments, it seems so much more desirable to do those daily chore activities than to sit back down and type boring client related material.

I definitely need defined space to be able to focus, I just can’t get as much done typing from bed or sitting on the floor.  I need a tidy desk and mostly tidy room.  I prefer earplugs or mellow music to block out some of the distractions.  In my new job, I’m going to have a computer and private office.  I’m not going to need to take my work home with me unless I want to (which I don’t, at all…).  I have a feeling it’s going to be glorious.

Food, food, food…

I’ve been thinking a lot about food lately, but this isn’t new for me.  I’ve been involuntarily thinking and talking about what I eat since my Celiac diagnosis in 2012.  In addition to my usual gluten free nonsense, I spent the majority of the past year making some form of dietary modification and/or weighing & tracking everything I ate.  While it hasn’t always been easy, the time investment was worthwhile overall.

Here’s where I started:

fat Kat

I topped out at around 170 lbs, and I’m a little less than 5’6″.  Not obese, but definitely not an awesome size for my frame. Going gluten free without replacing too many processed snack foods prompted a 12 lb weight loss over the course of a year.

The first major dietary shift was to low carbohydrate.  For anyone who hasn’t done low carb, it can be a pain in the ass.  To do low carb most effectively, you have to calculate your optimal carb to protein to fat ratios based on your weight, height, and speed of desired weight loss.  Then you proceed to weigh and track everything you eat…and I mean EVERYTHING.  There’s no standard size for a piece of fruit or a particular veggie, so calculating carbs by weight is best.  This level of accuracy ensures that you achieve the right balance and don’t accidentally knock yourself out of your optimal weight loss range.

Tracking aside, the hardest part for me was that I actually enjoy fruit and vegetables, most of which were off limits.  I found I’m sensitive to the lowest carb veggies (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, etc, because they are also high FODMAPs) and can only eat them in moderation (I won’t get into the symptoms!).  I quickly tired of salads with certain toppings and dressings only.  I tired of the overly rich dairy and meats that were needed to make sure I got my fat and protein quotas right.  I don’t like artificial sweeteners, which were my only option for treats during this phase.

Even with all the downsides, there were a number of positives.  I felt my blood sugar levels stabilize within a few days, and I no longer experienced that afternoon slump around 3 pm.  I still needed significant amounts of coffee to keep plugging along, but I was evened out much more than I had been.  Since I didn’t enjoy artificial sweeteners to begin with, I gradually phased them out and now I don’t take honey or sugar in my coffee and tea. All together, I lost about 25 lbs from April to September without exercising…at all.  I continued on in my sloth-like habits and the pounds just came off.

I was so burnt out on tracking and measuring that I took a break in October. I already weighed a lot less, but I still had lingering health issues I wanted to tackle.  Enter Auto Immune Protocol (AIP).  I will get into more about this in another post, but the basics concept is to reduce systemic inflammation and heal your body, through eating a modified and strict paleo type diet for weeks or months, before attempting to find trigger foods through reintroductions.  So far, so good.  I have less headaches, more energy with less coffee, and I haven’t reacted to the few foods I’ve reintroduced so far.

Here’s a more recent picture after the bulk of the weight loss:

skinny kat

I’m finally maintaining at a much healthier 130 lbs.  Now what?!  Here’s what I’ve learned and what I need to keep working on:

  •  I’m coming to the realization that I need to stay vigilant about portion control.  There are some days I KNOW I’m not actually as hungry as the amount of food I’ve eaten would indicate.  I have not been tracking anything on AIP because of a knee jerk reaction to the whole low carb ordeal.  It wouldn’t be as difficult with AIP, so I’m probably going to start.
  •  I need to stay very aware of my sugar intake.  I have a wicked sweet tooth, and just the tiniest bit of sugar on a regular basis makes me crave sweets like you wouldn’t believe.  I’ve been eating minimal amounts of processed anything for almost a year and I STILL get huge cravings in the grocery check out line.
  • I need to exercise and make it count.  I do some yoga, but it’s minimal exertion and I definitely don’t sweat most days.  Now that my SI joint isn’t quite so much of a pain in the butt (get it?!!!!), I need to ramp it up with some cardio and weights.

So with moving in less than two weeks, I look forward to establishing new daily routines for eating and exercising around the new job and new living situation!

2015 is here, let’s do this…

Well, we are coming out of the first month of the new year, giving us enough time to settle into the thought that it’s now 2015.  New blog for the new year…blogspot version will be discontinued, but I wasn’t using it much anyway.  I’d like to start the year documenting the changes in my life.  2015 has no where to go but up, considering the challenges of the last few years.  I felt so OVER everything, speaking of financially, emotionally, and physically.  My equilibrium emotionally tends toward happiness and joy naturally, and I was beginning to notice a constant feeling of flat, annoyed, and sometimes angry.  I knew that I needed to make some major changes in my life and simply coming to that realization had brought back some of the spark.

I spent the last half of 2014 shaking things up.  I spent a significant amount of time and energy on sewing costumes and planning for Comic Con NYC in October.  I attended with my sister, who was also a huge part of planning along with our mom.  Parts of preparing and attending were fun, but the experience was layered with financial worries, health issues, and personal struggles.  Even so, it was one of the first big things I had done just for fun in a long time.

I went on a low carb diet early in the year in attempt to lose excess weight gained before my Celiac diagnosis.  I succeeded in losing over 30 lbs.  While prepping for Comic Con over the summer, I came down with Hand, Foot, & Mouth disease.  Fun, but I wasn’t out of the woods yet.  My SI joint decided that it wanted to act up for no apparent reason.  Chiropractic care became a regular part of my life, causing more financial strain, but was definitely a necessary part of my physical healing.  I’m currently experimenting with the AIP diet to reduce systemic inflammation and things are going well so far.

The biggest change is the most difficult.  During the last six months of 2014, I gradually came to the realization that my husband and I had grown apart to a significant degree.  After lots of arguing, a brief stint in couple’s therapy, and tons of discussion, he began to see what I had realized sooner than him…we probably weren’t the best for each other in a romantic relationship.  There were significant personality differences that no amount of discussion or therapy was going to make us feel good about.  I am thankful I married the man I did, because overall we have been maintaining a friendship and attempting to engage in the process in a caring way.  This doesn’t mean it’s easy for either of us, but we are living by the concept that neither of us is, or wants to be, an asshole to the other.

The dark cloud over my head is beginning to move away.  I’m feeling hopeful for the future, and this time when I say it, I’m not just trying to convince myself of the feeling.  Good things are in the works.