Interconnection, and Doing the Work

“Pull a thread here and you’ll find it’s attached to the rest of the world.” -Nadeem Aslam, The Wasted Vigil

Ok, so this round of Whole30 has not been as dedicated as our first round in May.  While I would say that 90% of my choices have been “on plan,” an abundance of traveling, food out of the house, and general summer temptation has meant that the other 10% of my choices have not been Whole30 approved.  Things like a glass of wine and few bites of ice cream at Tanglewood, BBQ ribs (I’m sure with sugar in their rub) and a whisky after Aimee and laurel completed their Warrior Dash, some cheese and a noncompliant dressing on an otherwise compliant salad while dining out… I’m ok with these choices.  Having the experience of going “all the way” with Whole30 in May has definitely shown me that there are both benefits and drawbacks to my less than strict choices lately.  On the negative side, I’m seeing the side effects of some of my choices (my weight loss is not as consistent, though still steady, and my joint pain sees some flareups after triggery choices such as dairy and alcohol).  But these negatives are far outweighed by the general feeling of joy I have while enjoying- consciously, in small portions- the foods that I know I will not choose to live without together.  The huge benefit of Whole30 is that has shown me that 1) I can deliberately make these choices (as opposed to being stuck in a victim mentality, oh i could never give up X) and 2) this is about how I want to live and feel the rest of my life.

It’s been wonderful to see the huge changes to my family, as well.  Everyone is feeling better physically and has lost weight over the past couple of weeks- Micah has even seen a number he hasn’t since he left the service!  We have all agreed that we want to continue eating this way indefinitely, as long as we can use 10% of our choices for the sugary, alcoholy, cheesy things we truly enjoy.

This week I reached a significant milestone- I hit 50 lbs down from my highest historical weight, which I hit a few years ago.  I’m 35 lbs down since the beginning of January this year, and I’m on the verge of hitting one of my big goals (staying at 189.9 or lower 3 days in a row) as well as hitting a new range on the BMI chart.  I am confident that with continued conscious eating and movement I will see these goals achieved in the near future.

I still have a long way to go- at least another 50 lbs, if not more- but it’s been good to breathe into and appreciate where I am and how far I have come.  A friend at work who saw my 50 lbs lost post on Facebook invited me to come pick up a 50 lbs bag of rolled oats in our stockroom at work.  He helped me pick it up, and I walked around with it a bit, and then I got all teary.  It was heavy, and awkward, and made my back and knees hurt, and my breathing get more labored. I don’t want to go back there.  It also made me think- how might I feel another 50 lbs from now?  It’s a thrilling thought, if not a bit intimidating.

In terms of movement, I haven’t been hitting it as hard as I would like to be over the past couple of months, though I have been moving every single day at least that one mindful mile.  Today is day 208 of the year, and I have run 57 miles, and walked 233.  It feels awesome to know that “taking it slow/easy” now still is a LOT more movement than in my past.

One of the reasons that my exercise has taken a backseat lately is that I’ve been doing a lot of inner emotional work, and the energy and time that has taken has affected my drive for exercise.  However, I feel like I’ve reached some resolutions with the things I was working through, or at least am seeing positive movement, and so I think it is a perfect time to recommit to stepping it up.  I know that the nutrition is important and has a huge effect on my results, but exercise is also an essential component to keep me feeling well mentally, emotionally, and physically.

Starting tomorrow I will be getting up every morning to complete at least 20 minutes of movement in the morning, and at least 10 minutes of meditation. The meditation is key to keeping my impulse control in bounds.  It increases my ability to choose my responses rather than just to react to things as they come (especially my emotions).  The movement might be running or walking or yoga or biking, but it needs to happen.  Right now, in addition to the mile, I am working on creating the time and space I need to focus on my needs, and I know that being in the habit of making sure some of that happens first thing in the morning is essential.  I started working on it last week, and it led to some great movement time both by myself in nature, and connection time with family.

One other thing I’m going to focus on is continuing to write more- it may not always be blogging, but may be journaling or other writing outlets.  I’ve also been talking to my trusted people more about how I am feeling, what I am going through, and in general getting my brain in conscious mode rather than autopilot.  It can be exhuasting, yes, but I also know it is essential to my success and health.  Until I have healthier autopilot habits, having that check and balance, and externalizing those processes, is really beneficial to me.

I’m working hard, and I’m seeing some of the rewards of that work.  As I continue on this journey, I’m truly seeing the wisdom in Aslam’s quote: “Pull a thread here and you’ll find it’s attached to the rest of the world.” All aspects of my world and journey are interconnected, and the more I figure out ways to shore up the positives of those connections, the better I will be.

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