I want to do something different tonight, something other than the usual rundown of my day and how it was kind of shitty, kind of weird and how I mostly ate well but kind of got trapped by an inadvertent trip to the diner (inadvertent and ill-advised and unintentional and frustrating but managed) and how I’m just sort of emotionally floating towards this time. This magical alone time. This dream time where all is fair.
I want to do something different, but having taken a little nap and a little trip through my own negativism, I know something else: I have to first do the administrative tasks.
A commenter (which: HI!) mentioned that struggle between knowing and doing. That eternal battle between the part of us that knows the benefits and costs of not tackling the exercise or putting together something healthy for the meal in front of us. I have a whole year documented of not being able to string together a huge push towards losing weight despite having so many instances and days and issues that should have made it a no-brainer. What is working for me right now is working in smaller and smaller frames, starting with nothing further out than the next 24 hours. For one day, I can take 15-20 minutes after I get home from work and click on SparkPeople and do what it says with the strength training. I can spend 15 minutes cooking some pasta and heating up some vegetables and adding this imperfect sauce that probably is too sweet, but I like and while I cook and eat I can check my email and dance around and get up enough energy to do this strength training. That’s 30 minutes (adding incorrectly, of course) , I say I decide this in the morning and promptly forget it while I’m eating my breakfast. But then again at lunch, I take a breath and think, okay, lunch, I’ve got something good in the freezer here at work, I’ll make that and track it really quick and okay, tonight, I’ve got this other good thing to eat, um, about the right calories to fill up the rest of the day (it’ll take about 30 minutes to make and eat and I’ll check my emails and do my exercise, not so bad.) Then I go back to work after my pretty good lunch and when I get hungry again, I have my 100 calorie snack bar and remind myself about the evenings tasks and that they won’t take long and maybe this is working and life is pretty okay. And I forget it until I get in the door.
Then I kind of get excited to just check it off my list since I’ve been thinking it about all day. So food’s cooking and I’m checking my very important spam mail and I’m saying okay, I need to post on lustrata, need to eat and track, do whatever exercise is called for, get 15 minutes of cleaning done and then I’m off the clock. I don’t have to do the exercise perfectly or get everything tracked to the last grain of rice, but for the past week (god knows if this will continue, but I hope it does), I just consider it work assigned to me.
I don’t put it off, I don’t let myself feel like work is done until I’ve checked off these boxes and know where I am for tomorrow. So often, I throw plates in front of myself so I have to wear myself out making things okay to start. I’m trying really hard to just clear the way so I just have to eat what I have and work out how it says and there isn’t creative energy that has to be spent on getting out of it. It’s sort of a deal with myself that this is a process of getting myself together and organized so that there can be more fun and less pressure. That the problem is avoidance feels incredibly good, addictively so, but with every addiction, you give things up to get that safe feeling.
If I whine and wheedle and cave and retreat to my bed, it doesn’t matter that the exercise would have been refreshing or the food would have cleared my head and made me want to write. I’ll never know. If I do it, quickly, with the same energy I’d put into a task at work for my boss, then I can always climb into bed if I need to. There’s time for that. Though 99% of the time, having done it, I don’t feel like hiding anymore.
So this is my advice to myself and to those who I am deeply unqualified to advise. Don’t think about how hard it is. Think about how easy it is. How you’re going to have another day of having done it to mark off your calendar. Fight any negative, self-sabotaging doubt of doing it. Do it in small chunks along with other things that you find fun/addictive, do it until stops being easy and keep a record of it. Do it as soon as you schedule yourself time to do it. If you put it off, when you realize this, look at the clock and give yourself five minutes to gear up. Set a timer on the computer (onlineclock.net) and when it goes off, do it if only for the novelty. Do it to prove that smartmouth voice inside that says I knew you wouldn’t work out today, you’re ridiculous when you’re earnest dead wrong.
You’re marvelous and you’re more than a workout, calorie-counting, fitness wannabe, but until you give yourself that self-maintenance time, I find that there’s no time for anything except being in bed wondering where the time’s gone and why I feel like shit.