Looking For Motivation

Two winters ago, I gained 7 pounds due to less activity and too many goodies. By the summer I had lost a few of them, but this winter I gained them all back with an extra three for good measure. That’s 10 pounds extra of Holly that I wish I didn’t have. And yet…I can’t seem to care that much.

All of my pants still fit, but most are much more snug than they should be, thus giving me that lovely extra-large muffin top. I cover my squishiness up as best as I can with layers of turtlenecks and sweaters. Winter in Maine is good for some things! And even with all of that, I can’t seem to get my butt on the treadmill or outside more than I do. I’m only running 6-9 miles a week and attempting to do a smidge of weight lifting a few times a week, too. You might be saying, “Hey! That’s great! At least you’re doing that much.” But it’s not really great. It’s not enough, especially since I’m eating anything I want and not giving a damn. Yes, I am moving, but I’m only one step away from Couch Potato Kingdom.

There was a time when I would faithfully work out 6-7 times a week, even though it stressed me out to do so. I justified it by saying the physical activity did me more good in the long run. But now, just the thought of trying to squeeze 6-7 workouts in a week, makes me want to cry. I give myself Wednesdays off so I can volunteer at my son’s school library in the morning and I give myself Fridays off so I can go to my mom’s in the morning and fill her pill container and check her blood sugar and just make sure all is well.

So what are my excuses the other days? I’ll squeeze in a 20-30 minute workout most mornings, but honestly, I have no excuse for not running on the weekend. I have the time but I’m just so apathetic. I have no doubt that part of my apathy stems from my mother’s illness, my father’s newly discovered memory loss and even our lost vacation. But I can’t keep going on like this because I know my physical health will suffer and my mental health is already deteriorating. The winter affects my mood anyway, so the lack of exercise makes me feel even sadder than usual. I tend to fix that sadness with more reading and chocolate and wine. And that, my friends, is asking for trouble. (Except for the extra reading. That’s always good, no matter how you look at it.)

My friend, Aymie, lost 50 pounds last year and ran over 500 miles. She looks fantastic and you can tell she feels great, too. My friend, Moriah, is on a journey to lose weight and to get healthy. She’s lost 14 pounds so far, and although I know it’s been tough, she’s doing it and I’m so damn proud of her. And yet why can’t these women motivate me to get my ass off the couch? I’ve been inspired by these women and others in the past, so why not now?

Maybe I need a goal. Something to shoot for. Use a website like stickk like I have before? Cover my Facebook feed with memes of encouragement?

Maybe I just need to hold on until spring when the temps are warmer and we’ll see the sun more. Although I think the zipper on my jeans probably can’t wait that long. I really need to find something now to make me care about my level of fitness.

What do you do to help with the winter blues or with the inactive times in your life? Is there something that helps you get up and go? What motivates you to take care of yourself?

As usual, any and all suggestions welcome, my friends!

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Pierre wasn’t completely wrong

During the past month, I’ve found myself saying “I don’t care” quite a lot. Whether it’s to my husbanPierresyrupd when he tells me he doesn’t want to eat chicken for dinner or to my friend who complains about how much her husband spends on booze, the words “I don’t care” have started to flow freely from my mouth and I rather enjoy it.

I’m sure every single one of you have thought the same words in response to a variety of your family’s or friends’ dilemmas. Maybe it’s a lost toy your child is pining for (and you know it’s buried in their closet) or your co-worker is griping about being back to work after a long vacation, and all you want to do is yell, “I DON’T CARE!” But you don’t. Because you shouldn’t or because the time and effort it would take to smooth things over after a big blowout would be massive and you’d never be able to get that time back. So instead you bite your tongue and either give a bit of advice, “Sweetie, maybe try cleaning out your room,” or you nod and pretend empathy and say, “I know how you feel.”

But it’s those times when your loved ones tell you all that is going well for them, and you want so desperately to be happy for them, and yet all you feel is irritation and anger and envy. You want to scream, “I DON’T CARE!” You want to say, “Fuck your sex life, your love life, your vacations, your time off with your kid, your youth, and you. Just FUCK YOU!”

That’s when you take a deep breath and you don’t say any of those things. That’s when you don’t pretend to be happy for them, but you find real joy somewhere deep inside that part of you that really does want happiness for your beautiful friends and family. You dig that little bit of yourself out and shine it up and show those people how much you love them and are happy they’re not as miserable as you are. Misery may love company, but Misery is a real party pooper when Happiness is trying to have a good time. So you suck it up, put a genuine smile on your face, clap your hands (it always helps me be a little more cheerful) and hug your loved one. If you get a little teary, it’s ok. They won’t know if those tears are of joy or sadness, so it won’t matter.

The odd thing is that it’s very easy for me to feel happy for people I’ve never met. Those folks that win the lottery? Although I would have loved to win it myself, I am typically overjoyed for those that do win it. Think about it. How freakin’ extraordinary for something like that to happen! Or hell, when people win prizes on game shows I get excited for them, too. Maybe it’s because these things are like little happy endings only found in fiction, and since they’re strangers they seem more like characters in a book. I don’t know what happens to any of these people after the spotlight fades, nor do I want to know. They’d probably kill the image of the happy ending and I’d have to hate them for it.

But maybe it’s just when I’m feeling shitty about my own life that others’ lives look so great and I can’t help but whine and think, “Why can’t that be me?” Yet I know the grass is not necessarily greener. I know that sometimes that grass is really astroturf and although those Facebook photos make it look great, it’s really a bunch of chemicals that will probably give everyone in the neighborhood cancer.

I don’t want to be like this and I’m really not *always* this bitchy. But I am human. And sometimes it’s tough being a good person, especially when going through a difficult time. I do try to be happy for others and feel empathy for those that need it.  So if you tell me something wonderful or even something horrible that’s happened to you, I may give you a look that could be interpreted as my best Grumpy Cat imgrumpycatpression. Just give me a minute to find that little nugget of joy or compassion I know I have for you.

Unless I tell you that I don’t care.

Then I really don’t.

Apathy causes weight gain

pierre

This is Maurice Sendak’s Pierre. If you haven’t read this children’s book, go to your local library right now and check it out. It’s a study of how one could get eaten by a lion if one remains apathetic. Seriously. It could happen.

It’s a fact. If you don’t give a shit about anything, what’s to stop you from eating 6 peanut butter cookies at one sitting, or a handful of your kid’s Halloween candy (behind his back)? Not a damn thing.

I’ve gained 5 pounds over the past few weeks, due to my Pierre-like attitude (“I don’t care!”). I haven’t run in several weeks and have only walked a few times, and that was because I could watch Netflix on my Kindle while I walked the treadmill. I’ve only been able to wear my “fat” pants and put aside anything remotely form-fitting. I feel very squishy and doughy, yet I still can’t get my ass out of bed early enough to at least *try* to exercise.

In a way, being apathetic has been a bit liberating. I’ve eaten anything I’ve wanted and haven’t had a smidge of guilt.  Chocolate candies and mellow crème pumpkins in the afternoon? Of course! Cookies and handfuls of chocolate chips in the evening? You bet! It’s been a gluttonous ride nearly every afternoon and evening, and when morning comes I roll out of bed, sip coffee and give the finger to my exercise regiment. I dig through my closet to find anything that hides my protruding belly. I stare at myself in the full-length mirror. Then with a halfhearted shrug of my shoulders and roll of my eyes, I’m off to work.

Thankfully, though, the numbers on the scale and a visit from an old friend, may have finally snapped me out of my indifference.  My weight is typically at 165. I like this number. It makes me happy. I feel good and slim at this weight, but not weak. Over the past few weeks, I still weighed myself on most days, and I watched the numbers fluctuate and slowly rise.  Normally if I see my weight get to 168, I’d start to reign it in–watch what I ate more carefully and make sure I exercised every day.  But this past month? I didn’t do anything. I just kept eating and only moving when necessary.  Until that 170 popped up on the scale.  I saw it yesterday. I raised my eyebrows at the scale, ate well all day, then inhaled 7 cookies before I went to bed. Well, it almost worked!

But today, a friend was visiting from out of town.  A really good friend whom I’ve missed terribly. This was my one chance to see her, which meant I needed to get out of my routine and stop hiding in my home and go see her and a few of our friends. If you read my post a few months back, you know that this isn’t easy for me right now. I haven’t wanted to leave my house or be around anyone.

Yet this isn’t just anyone. These are my dear, dear friends that I’ve known for over 25 years. They’re family, or even better than family. But for a few minutes this morning, I didn’t think I’d see them. Something fell through at work and I thought I’d have to skip seeing them. And for those few minutes, I was a bit relieved. I’d have no obligations tonight, just going home and making sure my son got a shower. Nothing else.

Thankfully my boss stepped up and told me I needed to go. She was right. I did need to go. I’m so, so happy I did. Those 90 minutes rejuvenated me to the point where I didn’t even have dessert. Well…that’s not true. I did lick my friend’s whoopie pie wrapper (and no, that is *not* a sexual innuendo) and I might have eaten the rest of the gingerbread man’s body parts that were left in the cookie jar at home. But that’s all! No handfuls of chocolate chips. No Halloween candy.

And tomorrow, no flipping the bird to my treadmill. I might have to fire up the ol’ Kindle to get me on it, but hopefully this is a new beginning. I don’t want to be like Pierre anymore. I want to be that self-obsessed wench I once was. She can be annoying sometimes, I know, but I kind of like her. She has passion. And in my book, passion outweighs apathy every day of the week. But in this case, “outweighs” is a good thing. 😉