Catching Zzz’s and the Fourth Meal!

One of the things I neglected to post about yesterday was that among the things Cassie spoke about on Saturday was how crucial sleep is for each and every one of us. Especially for weight loss. As many of you know I work some pretty crazy hours, right? I get up at 0300 in the morning M-F and work 0400-1400 (meaning I am in the office at 0345, because I start on time, knowing what is going on and if my relief is on time I finish at 1400, rarely do I get my feet out the door of the office before 1415) this means I spend 10+ hours a day at work. How much time does this leave for the rest of my “life” In short, not much. I used to work nights, and I kept a crazy schedule, sleeping when everyone else in the world was awake… I used to have sleep apnea and slept, and even napped with my CPAP on. It didn’t take long for me to realize just how crucial sleep was in my life. Being behind the wheel for my job as a driver meant i could be putting others at risk if I was drowsy.

Did you know that sleep helps your immune system? Yep! Your body works to restore your body when you rest. Think about it, it makes so much sense right? All day long it has so many things to do to keep you functioning that when you finally sleep and rest it can take care of itself. So sleeping, and taking care of yourself, is truly letting your body take care of itself!

Sleep also regulates Leptin and Ghrelin which are the two hormones that regulate hunger and satiety. Cassie spoke about a common phenomenon that gave me a chuckle as I used to see it all the time when I worked nights. I call it the bar closing munchies. The longer you are awake the hungrier you get, and the less satisfied you are. Have you driven past a McDonalds at about 2:30 in the morning? Have you ever seen the line that extends around the building? Is everyone on the planet SO HUNGRY they can’t go home and make something, and they are never small orders… it is always several burgers, multiple orders of fries, junk garbage and crap. (no offence) You eat the food you would normally eat, plus extra, because you just aren’t satisfied. That’s the leptin and ghrelin being disrupted by being tired!
This is why I believe TacoBell has cornered the market on the “Fourth Meal” Cheap carb laden food that will carb bomb you into sleep. If you believe that it is the tryptophan in the turkey at thanksgiving dinner that makes you pass out, you would be mistaken. It is the stuffing, the potatoes, the rolls, the starchy corn, the ticking time bomb of carbohydrates sending your body into shock, nap needing mode. That “fourth meal” at TacoBell will do the same thing, fill your stomach up enough to make you “full” send you crashing out to sleep just long enough to wake up in the morning wondering why you did that to yourself.
I know when I am up late I find myself starting to get hungry, I look at the clock, often times it truly has been 8 hours or so since I last ate and my body might actually be telling me it is in need of something as time has slipped away from me. Other times, I have been consistent, had enough to sustain me and I can tell myself it is time for bed and I don’t need anything else. It is okay to be hungry.
Sleep helps the brain, it helps the body. Adults should be getting 7-9 hours of sleep a night, how much do you get? I have a bedtime… yes a 30-something adult with a bedtime. It sounds superlame right? My phone goes into Do Not Disturb mode at 1700 (5pm) meaning you can’t reach me by phone unless it’s an emergency. This is the time I get into bed. Yes it seems excessive, but I am one of those, I need a drink of water, oh I have to pee again people.
I get somewhere around 8-9 hours of sleep a night. I need it, my job is high-stress and super demanding on my brain. I can tell when I am not getting enough sleep because it starts to effect my work. I occasionally slack on getting my sleep and I pay for it for the next day or two. It’s usually the second day that is the kicker.
Being consistent with my sleep is the key. I vary a bit with my sleep on the weekends, staying up a bit later on Friday, but still getting 8-9 hours. It is just something I find valuable to me.
How about you? Is the only time you get the proper amount of sleep when you are sick? Do you think this might be an issue? Do you have a bedtime?

One Breath, For My Roots

The second person to speak at #OBOS was Philly D, who I had never met before, mostly because my schedule has never allowed me Friday nights to go hang out with all the cool kids at hot yoga.  Happily that is changing and I will soon head off to my first Hot Yoga class in the near future!  Anyway, Phil had me in tears for most of his discussion.  He shared some very personal stories about his sister and some volunteer work that he does at a Children’s hospital with cancer patients.  A boy who communicates only by RAWR-ing because he thinks he is actually a dinosaur… because they are strong… I can relate. #rawr.

Do you know what the difference between being and doing is?  So many of us say I want to be BE healthy.  The dictionary defines being as something that exists.  That is something that I did for SO MANY YEARS in my life… I existed.  If you look back on this blog you see me talk about feeling like I was watching life pass me by because it was.  However doing is defined as action, performance, and execution.  I don’t know about you all but I sure want to be doing not being.

Remember the human doing project at Mall of America last year… they had him DOING… so think about that… to be healthy you have to DO.  There is a local health insurance company here that has a DO campaign and they truly have hit the nail on the head.  To be healthy you have to DO.

I am sure you are sitting there going so what Kris… we all know we have to workout, so Phil said go do Yoga right?  He owns a studio this is what he wants you to do right?  No.  It is hard to explain exactly what he was talking about in general or specific terms if you have never had that moment that wakes you up from that dark place, so forgive the bulleted nature of this.  I am going to try to not weep as I think about how much impact his words had on my heart.

Phil’s wish for each of us is that we can learn to be more awake in our lives, that we can me more aware of what is in front and around us.  In order to Rise Up and meet life, you must first wake up to your surroundings.  You must tune into yourself, make deliberate choices about your breathing, and movements, feel your body, feel your breath.

As you move through this life and become more aware of things you will know when something feels wrong, and when something feels wrong you will learn that you need to step up and stand up for others.  As you rise up you will see things that are unfair and unjust and you cannot ignore them.  They will not change unless someone speaks up.

As you rise up you must reach out and down to others, this is part of why Jen (@PriorFatGirl) shares her story, and a very big part of why I am so open and honest on my blog about my struggles.  When you reach out to others you let them know that there is hope, help and strength.

Be what you love in life, and use what you love to make a difference because it isn’t actually the length of your life that makes the biggest impact it is the width.  The more people you reach, and they in turn reach creates waves and ripples that will effect more people than you ever intended.

He also spoke about how important it is to be aware of your word choices, which was also something Mary spoke about.  The words you choose to define yourself, your life your goals and the things in your mind can really set yourself up for success or for failure.  Do you remember my Can’ts Won’ts and Don’ts post? Go back and read it… I felt like they both took a page right from my blog and were telling me to go back and read my words… Kris make sure you are picking your words correctly.

After hearing both Mary and Phil speak about how can’t and and won’t and don’t are so often confused I really felt like I had a grasp on something strong.  I know when I first had that moment of clarity about those three words back in August it really was something amazing.  It really becomes a more about DOING what you have to do and less about what you want.  I can’t cook healthy meals for my family is actually I don’t because my family won’t eat them.  Well guess what you CAN because you make those decisions.  I can’t workout because I don’t have time is really I don’t workout because I would rather watch tv, and I won’t give up that addiction to finding out what happens on that next episode of Lost (okay, I am out of touch but so what!) You get it right?

Who has control of your life?  Do you have control?  Who did you give the control to?  Are you ready to take it back?  Only you can!

One Breath, Because It’s Hard!

Let’s be honest, my head is still swimming, or moreover my heart is still in overwhelm from Saturday.  The #OBOS events always hit me right in the chest.  I think it is because I let myself be vulnerable, because it is a necessary part of getting to the root of why I became 400+ pounds.  I think it is also crucial to helping others along the way.  So that being said, once again the topics covered hit right a bit too close to home, which of course were just what I needed.

Jen started out the morning having us close our eyes and raise our hands if we had felt recently that our journey was overwhelming or hard etc.  With my eyes closed, (but wanting to peek to know for sure) she assure us that we all had our hands raised.  I always secretly don’t want to raise my hand just to be “That Asshole”.  The point of the exercise isn’t about raising your hand anyway, it is about knowing that we are all there together, and I get that.  We all struggle, whether it is with motivation, or finding time to *whatever*.

Mary took over the conference just after that, and the topic she first brought up was, “Is being healthy hard?” Well, yeah! Duh! If it was easy there wouldn’t be the multi billion dollar pharmaceutical industry that exists, and the search for the magic-cure-all pill wouldn’t be happening.

This made me think about how we define healthy though.  Is healthy, the right weight, is it being fit, is it being off medications, is it fitting nicely in a box, or a certain definition?  It isn’t the same for everyone.  So it becomes very important for you to define your health your own way, and plan your goals and strategies the right way.

Mary started speaking about how sometimes our ideas and situations change, and that sometime the changes we make that are intended to be lasting changes aren’t always lasting changes.  For example, I joined the YWCA, it was awesome when I started out.  Since my new job started however it is not as convenient for me to work out there.  The hours are less convenient and I started using that as an excuse.  So my change to working out several days a week was no longer a part of my life.  This change didn’t last. Do I view this as a failure?  No Way!  This is a setback.

See, life is fluid, this is why all those checklists in magazines and 10-step’s to the perfect life type things don’t work out for any kind of long-term success.  You have to be prepared to be flexible and change your plans as life throws you a curveball.

Mary touched on a lot of things that I have come to on my own, but I have this problem… see I, like many of you I imagine, have these amazing moments of clarity and then they just pass, and I forget, or think perhaps they aren’t as great as I think they are.

Some examples of this are, Keeping an eye on “Your Bottom” line.  This is mostly about maintaining weight, but also pertains to when you are stuck in a plateau.  If you get comfortable in a place you become complacent.  Think oh it’s okay I am staying within these 2-lbs so it isn’t a big deal.  My lifestyle is changing and I am not.

I JUST went through this, I started my new job, and I wasn’t going to the gym because I was just plain exhausted, but I was eating the same.  The scale creeps around, and before you know it things are headed in a bad direction FAST.  You always need to be pushing the envelope, not necessarily to lose weight, but keep your eyes on the prize at all times.

Remember setbacks are going to happen, this is a part of life! They happen to everyone! Everyone falls, get back up, keep moving forward. You need to be prepared for this.  Remember everything takes practice which means that everything that you are doing is practice! So be prepared with a backup plan, know what tools you like, and what tools in your arsenal work best for you and use them.  Also be on the lookout for new things to try.

Did you read that…

Everyone falls, get back up. Keep moving forward. Falling is not failure. Failure is giving up, not getting up.

These words are a gift to you.  Let them sink in.  You need to remember them.

Another important thing to remember is that it is important when trying to do anything, whether it is lose weight or run a marathon, that you have to be doing it for the right reasons.  The right reason for me isn’t the right reason for you, and if you aren’t doing it for the right reasons you aren’t going to find lasting success.  That class reunion that you want to look awesome for, what happens when you go, and no one cares that you lost all that weight from when you were 15?  What happens after you break up with that girlfriend that had been making you go to the gym or train for that 5k?  Was the reason that you wanted whatever it was yours or theirs?  You can’t do it for someone else, you can only do it for yourself.  Looking back on my life, I WISH someone could have stopped me before I got to the point in my life where I knew I was going to die.

There were so many dark days in my life where I was so miserable, depressed, in so much pain, and I thought I was at rock bottom, and I just kept going down.  There are also so many people in my life who I see, and I want to push to rock bottom so that I can help build them back up, and make them want to save their own lives.  Sadly all I can do is offer a hand up when the time is right and hope that I can inspire them by doing what I need to and want to for my own reasons.  I got a taste of what I like to call the good life and I know what I want now.

Nike says “there is no finish line.” Which I totally agree with.  When it comes to things like living a healthy active life there will ALWAYS be something to do, try or achieve, however this brings up a great point… when there is no finish something is not a race which means it is perfectly acceptable to go at your own pace!  While at times I feel as thought I am sprinting towards my own goals, there are other times where I feel as thought I am sitting still on the track and lately I feel as thought I have turned around and am headed in the wrong direction altogether I need to be reminded that this isn’t a race.  The path I am on may have a loop or two but if I keep moving forward I will make progress.  Baby steps are still steps, I just need to keep making them.

One super alarming statistic that I heard during the event was that if you do not act on a new idea or concept within 48 hours there is a 50% chance that you will NEVER act on it.  This wasn’t surprising, as much as alarming… and I suppose it is very true.  This is why it was SO IMPORTANT that I act on switching my gym before I just decide to keep sitting around of going and using the hours as an excuse to not go!  When I first joined the gym in 2009 it was also an ACT NOW moment.  I drove past, and thought… I should probably check that out sometime… pulled a U-turn and headed back.  Enough waiting… if life has tought me nothing more it is that time is precious and it shouldn’t be wasted.  If you want something you MUST go after it… and don’t wait!

There was a bit of talk about setting goals, and knowing what goals actually are.  I personally really like the idea of setting up “S.M.A.R.T.” Goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely)  and I think that is what Mary was trying to get at in her discussion about pushing for deeper goals that allow you to form strategies with them. For example, I want to be healthy is an extremely vague goal.  However I want to get off of my blood pressure medicine by losing 15 pounds is a much more specific measurable goal.  With those things you can then formulate a plan of attack with diet and exercise.  Make lists of a few things to try, keep trying, and you will make progress on these goals and before you know it your goals become a reality!

Sometimes you have to learn to accept that your lifestyle isn’t going to match what your goals are, and something has to change.  Each situation you are in presents an opportunity for you to learn something.  You always have the opportunity to take something away from a situation, and it is your job to figure out what you are going to take away from it.  Sometimes it is very easy to spot what you are taking away from an interaction or situation.  Every interaction with a person or people can teardown or create a new level to your relationship, so be sure that you are doing all you can be, be present in that moment to foster what you want from that relationship, and this includes the relationship you have with yourself.  Don’t treat yourself poorly!

You need to acknowledge your feeling, learn to see them, feel them and lost of all how important it is to accept them.  It is perfectly okay and acceptable to feel sadness, or frustration, even regret is an acceptable emotion, everything you feel is okay as long as you let yourself feel it!  You know what is not okay?  Letting yourself eat these feelings,

One Breath, One Post

So for most of my long time readers you know how my life has been since, well since I moved here.  I worked some crazy hours.  Not that my hours now would, could or should be described as normal, but they are more normal than they were.  I have weekends off, and I sleep during the nighttime hours… mostly.

Saturday outings were almost always things that I missed, opportunities that I wanted to take, and would often pass on, with one exception.  When I saw a random tweet from @PriorFatGirl I knew destiny had taken a hand in my life.  I started following her blog, and twitter, reading back, learning.  Last year I asked to have someone cover my Saturday shift for a few hours and would pull an amazingly long few days (2pm Friday until 4am Sunday) to have the opportunity to meet some amazing people.  Happily I got some sleep during that time and slept after only being up for 30-some-odd hours.  That is neither here nor there.  That was one of the first ventures into meeting people from the blog community here in Minneapolis.

It has been an amazing life changer.  Shortly after that conference/get together/whatever is when I started blogging again publicly thanks to Jen.  There have been several One Step One Breath get togethers since that one, some formal, some just coffee and chat sessions, and I have not missed a single one.  I rearranged my schedule to make them possible, never sleeping before them due to my work schedule.  Well things have changes now and yesterday I had the opportunity to go to one without the added stress of thinking about the people who had to take over work for me.

I am so grateful for the people who I get to see at these events.  My brief encounters with my old friends, and chance encounters with new people are just so enriching to my life.  I foster so many friendships in such a short time I am so thankful to Jen for reaching out to all of us and giving us a safe space in which to share our struggles and feelings.

So really… I know why you are all here… You want to know what was covered right? You know Jen was there, after all it was her event, and Mary, from over at Fit This, Girl! was also there to speak.  Elle She has an amazing story to tell as well.  We also got to meet Philly D! Who is a yogi, and owner of the Moksha Yoga Studio that is the ever popular Friday night hang out for so many of my friends! The rest of the speakers were US! Believe it or not I count everyone that attends these events as a speaker! From Ann who spoke a bit about how to dress for outdoor running to Liz who was talking about some Weight Watchers things.
What you take away from these events is more than the two pages of notes that I have scribbled down (which I will get to don’t worry!). You take away emotion, you take away a little less, “Aloneliness” knowing that you were in a room where every single other person there has at some point crossed or will cross a similar struggle that you have.
So if you shared your story, or took part in listening to mine yesterday thank you.  We are all learning and growing together, and I hope that you took something away from the event that is exactly what you were looking for.

So what did I take away from the event… Stay Tuned! 🙂