Today is my 40th birthday and I can't think of a better day to start getting serious about my health and emotional eating issues. Turning 40 and moving into the second half of my life (perhaps more than 1/2 - my mother's side of the family has a tendency to hang around until their 90's and even beyond
) makes me think of what I've accomplished so far and what I want to accomplish, not just in terms of health, but in terms of professional and other personal goals.
I cannot say that my life has been a waste so far but I know that I have not lived up to my full potential the last 40 years. I went through the whole psychological cycle of blame and resentment and figuring out why this was several years ago when family tragedy occurred (won't go into that right now...) I still hold on to a lot of anger and rage, especially now when I'm still dealing with it. Again, I won't go into it, but let's say that my goal for 40 is forgiveness. It's easy to lay blame on everyone and even myself, but what's the point of that? Where does blame get you? Absolutely nowhere! If there's one thing I've learned in the past 40 years it's that dwelling on the past and what I could have done and who is responsible for my not doing it is a waste. I have to get beyond that and take the information I do have and figure out how I want to grow with it.
Still, it's very frustrating to feel as if you have no space of your own. Right now I'm in a situation where I was told that a new apartment I would move into would be mostly done but that turned out to be a lie. In fact, I have workers banging in the background just as I write - a little "detail" I wasn't told about. What hurts the most is that all these lies and deceit came from a family member that I was fool enough to trust. Suffice it to say he has major personality disorders and I knew that going in but I didn't want to prepare myself for what might happen.
Anyway, I don't want to dwell on it!
What have I accomplished in the last 40 years? Believe it or not, I used to have a "goals notebook" where I wrote out what I wanted to accomplish and a plan to get there. It never seemed as if it was more than just writing down but now that I look back on it, I can't say I didn't accomplish a few things. In my 30's when I made a career change from administrative assistant to teacher, I knew I wanted to accomplish 2 things with my teaching - to teach adult learners and to teach online full time. It's amazing to think that I accomplished those 2 goals and this is my career right now. I am very very lucky in this economy to have work and to even be asked to take on extra work and I feel like my students have given me a LOT - they've forced me to think about other people than myself, to discover a side in me that wants to help others achieve their goals, and they've given me validation that I am not just faking it - that I have something to teach others and to give others.
I am also a creative writer and although I can't say I've accomplished the goal of being a "published" writer yet, I am taking the steps to get there by writing every day. Despite my hectic schedule, this is something I am very conscious of making time for. I have a long way to go but considering that a few months ago I wasn't writing at all because of a lot of personal issues and time management issues, I consider that a great stride forward.
My health goals is where I've stumbled in a major way. I've always been overweight and always have had binge eating issues. I thought I conquered them 5 years ago when I went on a low carb diet and lost 30 pounds and got to 123 pounds. I wasn't a vegan then or even a vegetarian and was eating a lot of meat. When I got to my goal, I decided to become a vegetarian again and after reading several books on veganism (like John Robbin's "Diet For A New America"), I decided to try going vegan. I also had other personal issues going on and all of that caused me to go back into the binge-diet cycle and of course gain the 30 pounds back. I was pretty much stabilized at 153 and then tragedy struck again and I had to make an emergency flight abroad to stay with my parents. That was in Oct 2009 and I ended up staying until December. Then back to the States but then was a huge move from Texas to San Francisco and amidst all of this stress and pressure, I ate like mad (and not always vegan...) I stepped on the scale this morning and I wasn't surprised by the results - 170 pounds. This is close to the highest I have ever been.
But the thing that scares me is that I know that at 40, all the damage you do from eating crap in the years past start to catch up with you and I have a family history of diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. I have been very lucky so far in that I haven't had any problems, although it would not surprise me to find out I am pre-diabetic, since my out-of-control eating frequently involves 80% sweet foods. But I do not want to press my luck. One goal I wanted for myself when moving to San Francisco was to start living a balanced lifestyle - one that would involve healthy eating, exercise (although I've been pretty good about that), and leaving time for leisure activities and not just working all the time.
So this is my start. I am not starting with MWLP because I'm afraid right now it will seem like too many restrictions and I don't want to risk getting myself into a "McDougall is another "diet is DIE with a T" mentality. I still feel like I need things like bread and rice cakes. So I'm doing the free program that this site offers, which seems great to me. Later on, I might switch to MWLP.