Thursday, August 1, 2013

What it's like at the end of the tunnel

So many people told me there was a light at the end of the tunnel. The thing was,  I was so used to being in the tunnel, I was used to it. It wasn't until a few days ago when I found myself "accidentally" dieting and being conscious of getting more movement into my daily routine did I realize I was finally in that light at the end of the tunnel.

The boyfriend and I recently celebrated being together for a year. The exact date is really unknown since I began staying with him only a few days after L.'s father and I agreed a divorce would be best. It started out as a gesture of friendship. I was uncomfortable at "home" and he and I worked the same shift and we were fond of each other's company. I had my grieving period, and it was a rather weird transition into a relationship from there.

I kept a lot of emotions to myself. I was able to rationalize myself down off temporary emotional cliffs. But every so often, something would set me off. And that's when the boyfriend would hold me. He wouldn't tell me everything would be alright; instead, he told me "things aren't always going to seem as bad." It was exactly what I wanted to hear. I was exactly what I NEEDED to hear.

Attempting to be hipsters with our glasses, PBRs and Instagram.
All of which we, actually, somewhat enjoy. But not ironically.

Now, a year later, the divorce is final after a long, arduous bout with the legalities of everything, a lot of hurtful things hurled back and forth, court date after court date and, finally, getting to the point where we can have civil, even amusing conversations with one another. L. is a year older and she is used to the routine of seeing Mommy half the week and Daddy for the other half. I might not be, her father may not be. But she seems to have adjusted better than either of us.

A year later and I noticed I had time to pursue new priorities. For a year, it was, "I'm not even going to think about dieting or exercise. It's selfish. I need to think about L." Or "I need to focus on the divorce" or "I never have a moment to myself, and when I do, I am exhausted. So I don't have time to do anything that could possibly benefit my body." And, of course the worst, "I don't deserve to have a good body. Who am I trying to impress?" I know they are technically excuses, according to any motivational poster or Pinterest quote graphic, but to me, they were things I knew I would get back to one day, but it was not going to be within that year of such transition.

Who was I trying to impress anyway? I just didn't want to. I had other things on my mind.
How about that? Impressed yet?

But now, as I mentioned on my previous post, Simple Mom, take me away, I felt overwhelmed the majority of the time. My anxiety was through the roof. Once I was able to get a hold on that, certain other things began to fall into place.

Like I mentioned before, I "accidentally" found myself dieting. I was reading a lot about GMOs, eating organically, all the toxins in foods nowadays. And, while I will never preach what anyone else should or shouldn't eat, something clicked inside of me that said, "Hey, why am I putting this junk in my body?" I'll never go fully organic and my fridge is still stocked with products containing ingredients I can't pronounce, but I did decide to be more conscious about my foods. And there had to be some way of doing so without spending a ton of money.

So I went to Trader Joe's before work instead of the regular grocery store for frozen dinners to take to work. Fun fact: I ended spending less than I would have at the supermarket!

Somehow putting better food into my body was making me anxious again. Not in an overwhelmed way, but in a "I am SO on my game! Holy crap! I'm on a natural high!" My endorphins seemed to be running wild in my system and I would be shaking from being organized, eating better for less money and, basically, pardon the phrase, getting my sh*t together for what seemed like the first time in a long time!

But, I had to get that energy out so I could concentrate. I was getting restless too easily. I would get to the hour before deadline and need to be doing something physical. My leg would start bouncing up and down and I couldn't control it. Something I hadn't thought of popped into my head.

A few years ago, when I was pregnant with L., I decided to participate in NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. (I finished, by the way, but the novel was written for L.'s eyes only. And, honestly, it was such an accomplishment, I haven't looked at in since.) Prior to that, I decided to get in the spirit by reading "Novelist's Boot Camp" by Todd A. Stone, a former assistant professor at West Point. In the book, because of his military training, Stone suggested pushups as a way to alleviate writer's block. I can't quite remember what physically happens, but it used to exhaust my arms and somehow focus my brain to one specific task.

When I remembered this knowledge, I went to the bathroom (I'm the only female who works my shift, so it's all mine) and did some wall pushups. I got to about 15 and walked back to my desk. My arms were tingly from using muscles I normally don't. Well, unless you count carrying my 27-pound cat, aptly named Little Man, around.



When I got back to my desk, I was able to concentrate. I was able to focus. And I finished my work on time and efficiently. I realized that night I needed more physical activity, even if it was a few measly wall pushups every day. The few times the boyfriend and I went hiking before it got to New England Gross July-weather, I felt great that day and the following day. In fact, I usually feel great after exercising. I just hate, Hate, HATE the actual process of it. It's not fun to me. I don't like challenging myself. I don't like challenging others. I wish I could just run like others do, but it's boring and I've never had much stamina.

I enjoy the occasional yoga, especially Rodney Yee's Yoga Now set I bought one year that I always end up going to as my default indoor workout. And whenever my friends invite me to Sunday free yoga classes in Westport at Lululemon, I've had a lot of fun (and promptly poured brunch mimosas into my aching body to relieve it). But it never became a habit-forming thing.

However, apparently the body needs movement. Well, at least MY body decided to let me know this.

So, this brings me to now. Underside of my hair still damp, salty taste on my lips and tongue from sweat, and soreness starting to set in after finishing a yoga/pilates DVD I found at a consignment shop for $4. I'm not even going to link to it on Amazon because it really wasn't that great. It was a workout, for sure, but it was not, despite its description, a beginner's workout. And poses weren't shown as modified for those just starting.

But I moved today. I do at least 20 wall pushups a day now. I've even tried to combat one bad habit for one good habit by making myself to 20 pushups every time I gossip or complain -- a habit I seem to do at work more than I'd like. I even make myself try desk pushups when I'm working later than every one else.

I've gotten into doing lunges, bench pushups, step-kicks while taking L. to the playground. I even plie while pushing L. on the swing. I don't really care about the looks I get from other parents. I'm working out. People working out don't look stupid. They just don't. Now THAT should be a motivational poster.