Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Wake Up and Live

It's a beautiful morning outside. The sun is shining, birds singing (yes, really!) and it is a perfectly gorgeous summery/fallish day. Where are you? Are you outside enjoying whatever decent weather you have, letting the sunshine fill you up, or are you inside being a hermit? I am reminded of this post I wrote nearly a year ago when I realized I was sitting inside with no energy, letting life pass me by. I had an epiphany back then, that sometimes, instead of waiting for motivation, we have to just take action. And that applies not only to getting outside, getting things done, and enjoying life... it also applies to weight loss.

Lately I have found myself exhibiting "hibernation behavior" again. Eating more, moving less, shutting myself off from the outside world. This is really not healthy, emotionally or otherwise. And I noticed that when I start behaving this way, a LOT of things in my life start falling apart... not just my eating habits.

A decade ago, I had an experience I wrote about once before where my house was perpetually a mess, I was morbidly obese, and a friend came over to visit. She was an older lady, the kind with am impeccable home with nary a speck of dust and tons of fragile nicknacks set about on glass top tables. Her eyes kept darting about my living room, which was strewn with monster trucks, legos, race cars, play doh, and baskets of clean laundry. It hadn't been vacuumed in some time. She finally asked me if I needed a vacuum because she had a spare she could give me. UGHH! How embarrassing! I love her, I know she meant well. But I always remembered how absolutely horrid I felt that I was so fat/tired/out of it that my house was in such a state of disarray. Granted, I had 4 small children and was newly divorced from my first husband, but still.

Fast forward to now. I have lost a ton of weight, gained a lot of energy, and have been very proud of the way I have been keeping my house. I'd been mopping the whole house every weekend, vacuuming several times a week, and keeping things in order. Well, it seems like when my *life* starts "falling apart", everything else falls apart too: my eating plan, my to-do list, my self-care, and my housework. I just got off a week of being sick, and hadn't picked up as much as usual. Guess who shows up yesterday after ten years? Yep, that friend.

The knock came and I stepped over a pile of clean towels that was in the middle of the floor (my son needed the basket). I walked around the stacks of blocks and dress-up clothes my daughter was playing with, and maneuvered between the doll house and the lacing beads to get to the door. When I saw her, I thought "YAY! My friend is here" and "oh CRAP! the house is a wreck!" She came in. Her eyes darted around the room. I moved 4 Care Bears and a xylophone off the couch so she could sit. And I thought, geez, how did it get like this again??

We had a good visit. And actually although it was rather cluttered, the living room was *clean.* I just vacuumed 2 days ago. I did mop all the floors this weekend. But eh, the toys got away from me. Okay back to my point... when I am disordered in my eating, it shows everywhere. My house is messier. I forgot to pay an important bill and now I am screwed over it. I have a huge stack of paperwork to do. There is a "fix it" list of home repairs I need to have done that is a mile long. I haven't shaved my legs in weeks, and my poor feet have been suffering from neglect as well (they are in sore need of some lotion and polish!) I haven't been flossing my teeth as often as I should. Why does this self-neglect coincide with bad eating? I know I am not the only one, because I have heard people confess that when they "start their diet" they get up that morning and shave their legs for the first time in ages. What's up with that?

Disorder spreads from within. You can see it on your counters, on your floors, on your body. What is in your mind becomes your reality. So how to change this?

Change the input to change the output. Get outside and let some sunshine and *life* back into your soul. Visit some friends. Laugh a little. Give yourself the nutritious food you deserve. Take the time to take care of yourself. I gave myself a little pedicure last night after the kids were in bed, and today I feel a lot better about myself. My dinner the other night was a lovely piece of fresh wild salmon with roasted baby sweet potatoes and a salad. It felt great. And today I am catching up on the rest of the housework. Yesterday, I bought myself two "how to fix it" books, with lots of illustrations and simple directions, so I can start fixing things in my house MYSELF. This will give me a lot more confidence, independence, and happiness.

Don't be a hermit and don't let the change of seasons turn you into a bear. Get outside today, and spend some time thinking about what parts of your life need some order to them. Then, don't wait for motivation. Just pry yourself up, and do it.

Life won't wait! Enjoy it today.


Tina said...

I just wanted to say THANK YOU for your inspiration. I'm a lurker who has read your blog from the beginning. Your honesty has forced me to dig deep and be really be honest with myself. You have done an amazing job and should be very proud! My first step of my "attitude adjustment" was to clean everything so I hear you on the disorder!

Karyn said...

I recognise myself in this post... I have, for years, avoided being outside. This year, I spent more time outside - a little gardening (very little) but mostly just enjoying the fresh air and sunshine. Is that because I have a more positive outlook on life in general now that I have some control over my eating habits? I don't see how the two things can NOT be linked.

Liza said...

This post was extremely powerful and I loved it! And it is all so true. I generally feel much better about myself and my life when I am taking care of myself and doing the right things. It all does follow suit, either good or bad. Thank you for writing this, I needed to be reminded of it!

Linda said...

I could have written this, and I wish I had. Good on you!

Isn't it funny how so many people lead parallel lives? You describe my situation! I know things are a shambles when my house becomes an embarassment. It's one of many things I'm working on.

Like me, though, the outside of the house looks pretty good - neat, nicely decked out with flowers, yard in good shape. But come inside and YIKES! I'm good at covering up what the inside is like.

It's not a coincidence either.

elife said...

I can sooo relate to this. Up until I got on my healthy plan, my place had tons of piles of clutter. My closets were a nightmare, piles of black clothing on the floors. It was only clean because of a bi-weekly maid, but to prep for her I'd through piles of clutter into my closets. And I am single, I can't even imagine how crazy things would be with a bunch of kids! Now, my closets all have bare floors, everything has a place, it is a major difference.

But I want to know - what did your friend say when she saw how great you look???

Lyn said...

elife ~ my friend did eyeball me and smile, but she is an older lady who probably would not comment on someone's weight or looks regardless. I was thinking about it myself today, how she didn't say anything, but I also think people are used to everyone regaining their weight too, so maybe they don't comment until you're closer to goal.

I do get comments from other friends though :)

new*me said...

Yes! I have recently realized when you take care of your "real" house, the rest just follows. We got outside for 2 hrs yesterday and it's amazing how the sun and air create such a spirit of joy inside! It is easy to get stuck in the 4 walls when you are a stay at home mom!

MargieAnne said...

Ha! do I ever know what you are talking about. I now find it takes a week or two of good food to get my body out of a slump and do things. Although after couple of days I am feeling the energy come back and begin planning and doing stuff in a small way. For me it has a lot to do with sugar & carbohydrate overload.

Hope today is another day in the sun.

ryry the adventurous said...

Omg, I am totally there with you. My bedroom was literally piles of clean clothes (which were folded and SITTING ON THE FLOOR because I was too lazy to put them away. I'd been in a big sweatshirt and pijamas all weekend. Granted, in Minnesota, cold comes early, and it's been fall since exactly September 1st on the dot... everyone around me is going into hybernation mode. And me with my eating as well. CRAVING pastas and warm foods like stew. Thankfully, I have been eating low-carb pastas with lots of veggies and low-fat turkey-veggie chili instead of worse things... but I haven't been exercising and I feel like my muscles are totally atrophying. Atrophiing? Atrophicating? You know what I mean.

Great post Lyn, as always. Glad to see your spirits are up and you're back in the thick of it. :)

Anonymous said...


You touch on so many of the things I always thought only happened to me. Since I've lost weight it's so much easier for me to clean my apartment and take good care of my feet! It was an olympic event for me to vacuum at 272 pounds.

I bought a Ped Egg and my feet have never looked better!

Hope things are turning around for you and getting better.


Heather T said...

THANK YOU so much for your post today! It was SO motivating/inspiring. I see myself BIG TIME in the things that have happened and are going on. My 'changing' point was reaching my highest weight ever. So I used our move as my big push to change my life for the better. So far 2 months and still going strong! Again THANKS for your awesome post!

Anonymous said...

Just what I needed to read today...I'm off to do some house work and then a walk in the sunshine instead of watching the TV.
This may just be the moment I've been waiting for to change my life.

MJ x

Joy's Journey in Weightloss said...

So, so, so true in my life! If I am not centered, nothing works well. You are on to something!

HollyALP said...

Fantastic blog! I could definitely relate. I just recently decided to tackle the mess inside my house last week. I spent three days straight doing nothing much other than cleaning. I can't believe what a difference a clean house has made for me. When I wake up in the mornings now I make my bed just to get things going in the right direction. I think its working!

Hide those cookies said...

So true and so well said. I'm always taken by surprise by how "all or nothing" I can be in self-care and in fulfilling my responsibilities. I didn't realize that anyone else was like that, though. Thanks for sharing!

Stephanie said...

I totally know what you mean about this connection. I kind of think of it all as one big self-care issue - if I am not taking care of myself (eating well, working out, washing face at night, drinking water, etc) nothing comes together very well at all. I am my own worst enemy so when I am in a down cycle (bad eating, no exercise, no water - you get the point), it is ALL BAD. I wish I could find a middle ground. Working on it. Thanks for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

OMG...everything you said is SO true. When my eating is in chaos, my life is in chaos. I am so ready to be in control of myself and my life again!

I am on "official" Day 4 of my healthy living now and already feeling less chaotic. I have faced seeing my doctor and am facing health tests I don't want to have done. I am being a 54 year old adult, eating what is good for me and not what I want to eat like a 3 year old.

Every day of success builds on itself. May we all have hundreds of success ahead of us!

Karen in Tennessee

Ceres said...

Thanks for the inspiring post. It's easy to forget to smell the flowers as life goes on, I guess...