Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Workouts, Food, & Emotions

The last few months have been busy and emotional.

It’s increasingly getting more difficult for me to be so far away from my aging parents who both have serious health conditions. I finally understand the gravity of my decision to move across the globe more than 20 years ago. While I love where I live and feel at home in California in many ways, it’s hard to be so far away from those I love and who need me more now than ever before.

As I mentioned before, the kid is also getting much more of his own life and is involved in sports and afterschool activities most afternoons/evenings. While I love his enthusiasm for sports, especially soccer, our new schedule makes getting my own workouts in very difficult as we used to go to the gym as a family most late afternoons.

Working on numerous freelance projects at once and teaching in more than one place also leave me often a bit frazzled these days. To get all my work done before I have to pick up the kid from school, I get up at 4 a.m., which leaves me exhausted by dinner time.

I wrote before about the fact that I am an emotional eater, and while I have made huge progress from where I was a couple years ago, I still have to monitor myself very carefully when things get stressful. Over the years, I have talked to many people about emotional eating, and many have said that they do fine when life is going well, but they run into trouble when things get tough. That’s certainly true for me.

It’s just all too easy to grab a (healthy) snack and eat way too much of it. It’s also easy to eat to calm myself down and not because I am truly hungry. When I’m overwhelmed, I notice that I don’t appreciate and notice the food like I do when I am calm.

So here is my plan to get things back to where I want them to be in terms of food & exercise:
  • Continue to plan & prep meals – Last week I planned our meals and grocery shopped, but I didn’t prep anything on Sunday, and it threw me off all week.
  • Only eat at the table – Unfortunately, I have been grabbing more and more food while working on my laptop lately. This has to stop.
  • Always notice & appreciate the food before eating it – This includes putting more effort into presentation again. Making things look pretty doesn’t have to be time consuming (just add some herbs, use nicer plates, fun napkins…), but it can help me slow down.
  • Be creative when it comes to workout times and types – get back to short, intense workouts. I’ve been also trying out lunch time workouts, which will work once in a while.
  • Take walking breaks whenever possible – my mind will thank me because I always feel a lot calmer after a walk. I think I’ll make it a goal to go for a walk every day. It can be short, but I need to give my body and mind a break ever day.
Questions: How is your eating & exercising going? What’s your favorite meal at the moment? What’s your favorite exercise at the moment?
 
Be well,
Andrea

25 comments:

  1. It is so tough to be away from family, especially as we get older and our family does as well. I also tend to eat emotionally -- not more food, but poorer choices. I think your list is great, especially the part about appreciating food (and part of that is sitting down at meals and doing nothing else but spending time with family). And the walking breaks are key! Still, I do try to make rules more like guidelines, and I try not to feel guilty when I stray (hard to do!). Our lives have a lot of pressure already -- no need to add more! :)

    Best of luck, Andrea! You are superwoman! :)

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    1. Yes, viewing "rules" as guidelines is good! You are right, there is no need to add more pressure... :)

      Oh, and I wish I were superwoman... :)

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  2. Hugs, Andrea. It is so tough. Family is so important and that's the #1 thing I love about our new home in Michigan...so close to both of our parents. And by so close I mean 90 minutes and 3 hours, which is so, so doable. Thinking of you!

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    1. Thanks, Nicole! And I'm glad you moved closer!

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  3. These are great goals Andrea! Coincidentally, I just posted mine today too. I was less specific about food since I plan to post about that next week (I got metabolically typed and it's a whole blog post to discuss!).

    Right now I'm upping the strength training and taking daily 3 mile hikes with my dog!

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    1. Dogs and little kids in strollers are great walking/hiking motivators! :)

      I look forward to the metabolic typing post!

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  4. Sounds like you are making really healthy decisions and it's great that you are so aware of this and can come up with a plan!

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    1. Yes, I do try to be more aware and take action these days...

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  5. I'm sorry you've been so stressed, especially when it comes to family :( I know firsthand how hard it is to be away from family, but I can't imagine how much more difficult it becomes when you throw health problems in the mix :(

    I think you're doing a great job of balancing it all. Big hugs!

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    1. I think the big/significant life moments are especially hard when you are away. You want to share the joy with everyone and also be able to be there when they need you.

      I'm sure you want to share your amazing little man more and just drop in for a visit or meet for coffee... Especially that first year when you still can grab some coffee/tea and SIT down somewhere... ;) Yes, I'm now telling you to drink your coffee while you can... :)

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  6. Sometimes it's hard to find a balance when life gets busy in so many ways. But I'm sure you will fit it in once.

    I live at a 30 minute drive from my Mom and even that I find sometimes too far. I have said to R. that I won't move further away from her as long as she is still around. I want to be able to get to her as soon as possible when necessary.

    My eating is going pretty good. I actually don't think too much about it and realized last week that I hardly snack anymore after dinner.
    I love all my exercises, the variety in my workouts keeps it fun for me.

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    1. Great things are going well, Fran! I always admire your great variety of workouts! Sounds you have found what works for our.

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  7. It is not selfish to put yourself first. If you aren't rested, healthy, calm, and centered you will not be able to be the Mom and wife that you want to be. I recognize that frazzled person you are describing. I was that person when my own children were growing up and I know how many times I ignored my own needs for work and my family. I'm paying for it now. I also recognize the adult child who feels a need to be there for ailing parents. It is so painful! Do what you can and know that your parents would never want you to suffer on their account. I am now that aging parent myself and I would never want my children to give up anything in their lives for me and I know my own parents didn't expect it of me. I'm sure you are the best daughter, Mom, and wife ever! Celebrate the wonderful person you are and take the best care of You! You deserve it.

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  8. I am sure it's difficult to be so far away from your family. I really can't imagine how you feel, as I've always lived so close to mine. It sounds like you had a great plan in place, I am just like you and I'm an emotional eater/stress eater. The last week I've been on vacation getting married and I was ONE BIG BALL of stress, mixed with relaxation, and I was super unhealthy for the entire week. Now it's hard to get back into the groove. VERY hard. I need to write out a plan, similar to yours.
    Good luck Andrea.

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    1. Congratulations again! The photos of your wedding are beautiful! But I can imagine that things got stressful... Good luck getting back into the groove!

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  9. I can relate to living far away from aging parents. I have been on the phone every day this week with my mom as she just had surgery. It's difficult to be so far away.

    I too am an emotional eater and I have to really stay aware of when I give into using food for comfort. With my foot issues going on that has been happening more often and to make things worse I can't exercise like I want to.

    Tracking my food using My Fitness Pal helps me stay on track. As far as the exercise I am doing what I can given how my foot feels each day.

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    1. Hope your foot feels better! I know how much you like to walk/hike, and foot issues can be so frustrating and missed walks really can affect how you feel.

      Glad my Fitness Pal is working for you! I started using an app on my phone a few months ago. I liked it but then totally forgot about it...

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    2. Hope your mom is doing well!

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  10. I am an equal opportunity emotional eater - happy, sad, tired, mad - it doesn't seem to matter!

    I have come a long way, I've learned to keep certain trigger foods out of my house (like pretzels, those are like crack and I can eat a whole bag while watching t.v.)

    I need to step up my strength training because I know cardio isn't going to reshape my body.

    Love your goals Andrea!

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    1. Yes, strength training does make a big difference. Love that there are visible results... :)

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  11. Hi Andrea!! Thank you for your comment on my blog! I am easing back into the blogging world after some time away.

    I am so sorry you're dealing with such an emotional time. I'm sure it is very difficult with aging parents so far away. My dad has recently been have some health problems, and he's only 2 hours away, so I can only imagine how difficult it must be.

    Great goals. Sending much love. And I have to catch up on so many blogs....I need to look through yours and catch up on some photos of your little guy. I'm sure he is getting so big!!

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    1. Thanks, Angie!

      Your little boy is adorable!

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  12. Oh Andrea, I hear you. While my family doesn't live as far away as yours I've been realizing what my decision to move to CA meant more than ever. It must been even harder for you with an ocean in between. ((hugs)) I can also relate to the emotional eating. I've been there. I'm very impressed that you get up at 4 am. Wow. There are some things I'd love to write but just can't seem to find the discipline to go to bed early so I can get up. I admire you for that.

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    1. I think it's almost impossible to realize what moving far away will mean in the long run until we get older...

      And getting up at 4 is good and bad as I can't sleep in anymore, ever... :)

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