Sticking with this exercise was actually more helpful than I thought it would be. I realized that I’m not really eating more than a normal amount of calories in a given week, but it’s very unbalanced in the day to day. When I’m on the wagon and eating healthy, I’m only eating about 1000 calories a day, which IS WAY TOO LOW for my height. I’m about 5’7′ and should be eating about 1800 calories a day to just stay alive. It helps make sense of my habits a lot more because I wasn’t understanding why some days I would binge on cookies and sugar. It was literally because my body felt like it was starving and was trying to make up the difference.
Also, I have way more emotional eating than I would like to admit in public. After a long day at work I would go straight for the wine and chocolate. One of my friends brought it to my attention that I tend to not allow myself to have fun with things. If I’m playing music or watching a movie, most of the time I’ll start to feel guilty and angry that I should be doing something more important like blogging or trying to pay off my student loans more quickly. I think the reason why I tend to eat so much sugar is that it’s one of the few ways I actually let myself have a good time. I realized that I tend to connect down time or relaxing with eating desserts. Even though I consciously know I shouldn’t be doing that over the years it’s become a habit for how I deal with stress. My job has been so stressful in the past couple of weeks so it makes sense that I’ve been craving a release from that pressure.
I’d really like to redirect the pattern though because it’s not healthy or helpful for the goals I’d like to accomplish. This week I want to try and exercise instead of going straight for the sugar. I’m signing up for the gym tomorrow and I’m going to go straight there after work. I’ll have to pack a bag the night before so I don’t have a reason to avoid it. I don’t want to turn it into another huge battle I have with myself though. If there’s a day where I’m super exhausted I’m not going to feel bad about it either. It just means that my body needs a break and I’ll go the next day. One rule that I keep hearing in the fitness community is to “never skip 2 days in a row” so I’m trying to apply that principle. Some days your body really does need a break, but if it’s 2 days or more then you’re less and less likely to stay on track.
It’s weird that I actually like working out, but almost never do it because I feel like I shouldn’t. It’s part of this battle I fight with myself that I don’t deserve to accomplish the goals that I want. Even though I want to lose weight and get healthier, the stupid negative voice in my head tells me that it’s selfish and superficial to want these things so then I never do anything about it. Most of my friends were skinny in high school and they were even more miserable about their bodies than I was being 50 pounds heavier so I assumed that it didn’t matter either way what size I was because I would still be unhappy about it.
My friend has been trying to get me to see that being unhappy really is a choice. When I went to Mexico to help build houses, one of the things I remember the most was how happy the children were running around the village and playing games with each other. If you’ve never been to the West Coast, the dirt is different than the rest of the country. It’s thin and sandy so as the children were running around they were naturally kicking up dust clouds. They were filthy because it was the end of the day and they must have been playing around for hours. I remember being so amazed by that since I had never seen kids look so happy especially when all they were doing was playing around with dirt.
Kids in the United States have piles of toys and then they complain that there’s nothing to do. I’ve worked with kids a lot in the US and it’s always the worst part of the job to hear them be so jaded with life at such a young age. Yet when you go to a poorer country, they’re ecstatic to be alive because there’s no expectation that they deserve awesome toys every day. They’re happy and eager to make the best out of the day.
The same thing really applies to adults in the US. New York City is amazing. You can literally find a club for any hobby you can imagine. If you’re into restoring old timey clocks you can do a quick search and find 3 different meetups within the next month. If you want West Nigerian food at 4 in the morning, there’s probably at least one place in Harlem that will deliver. Maybe you’ll have to take a cab there, but if you really want it there’s always an option.
I’m not saying that I’m above other people in this aspect either. About half the time I’m just as miserable as everyone else here whether it’s because the subway is delayed and I have to wait an extra 5 minutes or I spent too much money on shoes and it’s a pain to carry it home. Yes, that was how I spent my afternoon yesterday.
My point is that complaining about being overweight or unhappy is a part of a choice that you make every day and I don’t like either option so I’m choosing to fix it while I’m still young and the habits aren’t as deeply ingrained as they could be. It’s probably not going to be easy, but I think it will be worth it. One day I’d like to be so happy that I’m not bothered by the small things.
The first step is to cut out the stupid stuff that I know isn’t working and try to replace it with things that would make me happier. I created this blog to get started with the ideas I’ve had in the back of my mind for years and never had the bravery to pursue. The point isn’t to become a fitness fanatic overnight. It’s more to see if I can start living a happier life in the way that I would really like it to be. There’s no pressure on this challenge. If I hate going to the gym then I’m going to stop and try something else so I’ll see how it goes and then report back in another two weeks!