I have had a super rough time with my health the past MANY years. Last year I felt like I made some headway then started teaching again and everything fell apart. I have been trying to utilize the Balance 365 program (off and on) since 2017. I even joined coaching in January thinking it would change things in a positive way.
There have been some positive things such as determining my core values and wellness vision, making new friends, and figuring out what I need. But I have decided to move on from the coaching program and try something new.
The downside (for ME, not for everyone) is that I over-complicated EVERYTHING. I never figured out what habit to focus on. Not once. I would start then falter almost immediately, second guess myself, sabotage myself, and I actually ended up gaining 15 pounds since I started.
I hated to admit that the program just isn’t going to work for me. I am friends with one of the founders, and I love the idea of the program (and it works for a lot of people). I just need more structure, and I need to deal with some deeper issues.
Addressing Addiction (Again)
Something else that I decided recently is that despite the fact that the program will tell you that you can’t be addicted to food or sugar or anything like that, I have found it to be true for me. I have also done more research and found many evidence-based articles to prove that it is a thing. Also, the addiction experts in rehab told us often that an addict can get addicted to many things. It’s how our brains are wired. I treated some specific foods and definitely soda and kombucha like I treated alcohol. I couldn’t stop. I tried everything. I couldn’t cut back. I tried everything. When I would have these certain drinks and food I would have temporary relief from stress and anxiety (like when I was drinking alcohol). I ended up feeling terrible including trying not to fall asleep all the time, being irritable and grumpy with those around me, having zero energy, and just feeling a general ickiness 24/7. Like I said, I also gained 15 pounds in a few months. I input a normal day of eating this past year into My Fitness Pal, and I was having way too many calories every day. I couldn’t stop.
What foods/drinks was I bingeing on? I would drink Coke Zero/Diet Coke all day. All day. Then I would come home and drink kombucha all evening. I rarely drank water. I would have some combination of king sized candy bars, powdered sugar donuts, chips, fried pies, cookies, etc every day. Often I would have 3-4 of these per day. I would also eat out way too much. Between eating out and gas station foods, I was spending WAY too much money as well which affects our family. It has truly been a big problem. I began to be embarrassed by it. I still couldn’t stop.
But I mainly show the healthy meals that I eat on social media. Which does happen. But the other definitely overshadow the healthy meals. This is a reminder that what people do behind the scenes doesn’t always match up with what we share online. One of my core values is authenticity, so here I am being honest.
My Plan Moving Forward
I have made some plans to address all of these things moving forward in a way that works with my brain.
First of all, I’m addressing the addiction. I attend an online OA meeting and in person AA meeting. I have started working with my sponsor again, and I’m working the 12 steps. I’m trying to get to the depths of *why*. Some things are definitely standing out big time. I’m looking forward to the process, but it won’t be easy. I’m grateful for amazing people that God brought into my life to work through this.
I have decided to abstain from soda, kombucha (has a tiny percent of alcohol), and the foods that I mentioned above that are trigger foods for me. There are a few other things that I’m thinking about cutting out such as some other processed foods. They just don’t make me feel good.
I have been against cutting anything out for a long time, but I need to. I haven’t even wanted these things much since I cut them out. If I consider them off limits like alcohol (and for the same reasons), I find it to be easier. I actually feel freedom in this. I was a slave to those foods and drinks. If you’re not an addict, you won’t understand. And that’s okay.
Yesterday I spent some time processing through my Core Values and my Wellness Vision and I realized that I have not been living in alignment with these. I also spent some time thinking through the times that I felt my best. It included eating mostly whole foods and being super active. The time that I felt my absolute best was when I was running 3-4 miles several times a week and doing a bit of light strength training. I also tracked my food for quite a while.
I have decided that to align with my values, vision, and goals, I’m going to track my food again for a while. I want to see what is going on with my eating and where I could make some changes. I’m also going to eat to fuel the activity that I want to be doing. I will be eating mostly whole foods again. Maybe some ice-cream and cookies here and there. But not daily by any means. I have also started drinking mostly water. I’m pretty dehydrated from years of not drinking much water + I’m taking a medicine that has dry mouth as a side effect, so it’s going to take some time.
I won’t be tracking forever… probably just during the summer and maybe a month or so into the fall. I am making full effort to have healthy habits before school starts. I have to in order to be the teacher that I want to be. I look back at this past year and see some good things, but I also see areas where I need to make big changes. I know that’s normal, especially since I hadn’t been in the classroom for 6 years. I loved it, though, and loved my students. I was just exhausted ALL of the time. I was never not exhausted.
So, these are the main changes: 12 step work + tracking food (and making better choices… I know how) + moving my body (I am running a virtual 5k in the fall). It’s going to be a process, but I’m here for it.
Just like with anything, one day at a time. This is going to be imperfect and that’s okay. I’m going to be working towards consistency.