Friday, March 4, 2011

Crazy Life

I had a conversation with my bosses wife this week. The topic of conversation was how we had in past periods of our lives avoided dealing with issues by filling our lives with work and other stuff. In general my issues were strongly related to my inability to develop boundaries. I have talked about this problem before but this week I have done some more thinking about it and, I think, clarified things for myself a little more.

One of the boundary issues I had was that I did not recognize or set boundaries of behaviors with others before they had crossed too far into my unacceptable territory. The result of this was that I would provide those closest to me with no indication that I was really bugged until I blew up. In my professional life or with friends or extended family I would go to upset and cry past this tolerance thresh-hold.

Another was that in order to avoid dealing with things i was uncomfortable with I filled my life with work and activities so that I did not think about how I felt. In all of this avoidance I did some other avoiding. I did not consciously attend to taking care of myself.

This included my eating and drinking. While I was avoiding looking at my life and boundaries I excused my fly by drive by's through McDonalds as a necessary reward for the crazy life I was living through work. I rewarded the end of a long day's work and child-caring or afternoon or even morning with a constant stream of 'rewards'. They might be a diet coke, a candy bar, a cake a cookie, ice cream, fries etc.

I never rewarded myself with time or exercise or just a break from it. Perhaps this is linked to my lack of awareness of the boundary line? I don't think I even knew where that line was. I knew when it had been crossed but I did not (and maybe still don't) know where the line needed to be in order to prevent the cross over problem. I wonder now..if that is the same problem I am just now thinking through with my eating.

Yes I am at goal. Yes I have obviously done some changing in my eating habits. Yes I can now recognize that I have boundary issues. but I am not sure that knowledge has yet transferred over into my eating. The band has done its job. It physically restricted my ability to shove food down before I think. It has forced me to eliminate some of the foods that contributed to my obesity (including that McDonalds crap). This bounce back up the scale however has either caused or coincided with this recognition that I have not completely licked my boundary issues yet.

I chose a very good time to quit my last job and take a small part time employment break from the crazy work life I had the opportunity (or was forced to) take a look at what my life has become. Did I really need to work so hard all of the time? Sure I always considered that I was doing good work and that the people I touched were impacted by my presence. Was this really true? They are coping just fine without me. Someone easily took my place. No one ever emailed with a question or need. So..why? why did I feel the need to work day and night, weekday and weekend? I can only conclude that it was my doing and my avoidance of other stuff.

Last Spring and Summer impacted this pathway to health a lot. I increased my exercise, starting eating more cleanly by growing and cooking wholesome foods. I had plenty of time to make sure this got done. Now that I have picked up this second job I feel myself slipping back into my old ways. I am working more and more evenings. I am working on Sunday night. My one clear 'me' day was Friday. I have not taken a 'me' day in months as I am spending parts of it running to meetings or from school to school picking up paperwork. A consequence of this slipping back into old habits has been accompanied by compulsions to eat McDonalds but starbucks pastries and protein boxes or fish and chips and 'treats' such as ice cream and candy from machines. I no longer have 'time' for exercise.

I have obviously failed to notice a boundary line again. The line between the time I need to keep myself healthy and the line where I fall back into the whole mess of problems I had that contributed to my pathway to obesity in the first place. I am not the only person who works more than one job. I am not the only person who does what I do even. They cope...I really need to figure out what my boundary lines are so that I can continue on with this healthful pathway and not allow myself to be derailed back into my old life.


Something About Kellie said...

A few points you made definately stood out to me - boundaries are a funny thing, we always know when they are crossed but never seem to know when we are approaching them...


Miss Vickie "The Queen Bee" said...

Tina, I just started a career in real estate. The first week I was in the office, I missed all of my workouts at the gym. Not acceptable. I told the broker about it and he said to schedule my life in my day planner first, and then schedule appointments around that. Sometimes I feel guilty about it, but I have worked too hard to lose this weight and get off of my anti depressants to not make time for just me. Remember that you are just as important as everyone else. Take care of you first.

CeeJay said...

The key here is that you are recognizing that and trying to change it. We will constantly be works in progress so don't get too down about it. You are doing a good bit of mental work today and that's awesome!

Jen from Oregon said...

boundaries? What's that? Never heard of them before. :) It is a hard thing to change for sure.
See you in a few hours!

Rachel said...

Tina, this post struck home for me. After I had kids I gained 40 lbs...and lot of it was the way I dealt with my life's craziness. I would reward myself constantly with little food milestones too to soothe myself during the course of a crazy week. And the boundaries at work...My inability to create and verbalize and enforce boundaries definitely lead me to some unhealthy situations...For some reason the band has helped me in that I can't reward myself constantly without feeling sick so I have to "deal"...this is a great post...I could have written it myself...