Sunday, January 26, 2014

Who I am vs. who I am in my head

I keep slamming up against a reality that differs greatly from how I see myself internally. I have frequently professed a love for life-long learning. I have spent time finding places to learn what I need to make my job easier, but have yet to spend any real time doing the actual learning. 
I'm going through a healthy eating program for my company's Vitality program. The program talks about self-image, and how uncomfortable it is to perform against your self image. According to the program, self image is made up of one's thoughts, beliefs, pictures, and emotions. Google defines it as "the idea one has of one's abilities, appearance, and personality." I've based my self image in part on high intelligence, the ability to pick things up quickly, and a strong work ethic. 

I've struggled with this image of myself since moving to the PD department. The last few weeks I've been frustrated and stumped time and again by problems at work. I've had to ask more than once how to do the same something, and at least once I was sure I was right even after having it demonstrated I was wrong. Because work is uncomfortable and intimidating, I find myself spending more and more time on the internet instead of my cards. None of these things sync well with my self-image.
I also see myself as someone who eats healthy, who exercises regularly, yet I can't understand why the combination does not result in a healthy body weight. I'm guessing the "ignore and deny" part of cognitive dissonance is in play here. I ignore the hundreds and hundreds of calories I consume in the evenings, when I'm eating because I'm tired and depressed rather than hungry. I might be eating "healthy" almonds and pistachios, but it doesn't matter how healthy when the number of calories regularly exceeds my daily needs.

Exercise has a similar dissonance. I do work out almost daily. Running is difficult right now for several reasons, so I rarely work up a sweat in the hour or so I'm on the treadmill. I lift or row, but again rarely to a point that makes me sweat. Then I wonder why I'm not seeing any benefits.
It's been said awareness of a problem is the first step toward solving said problem. So now I'm aware. While I don't like to think I have no control over my eating habits, I also know trying to control them simply causes me to implode and make things worse. The best approach I've found is to not have my trigger foods in the house. Couple that with a solid plan for portion control, and the odds are stacked more in my favor.
Regarding exercise, I'm adding intervals into every workout. They may be sprint intervals on the treadmill, if it's a day I can actually run. They may be lifting, or jump rope, or rowing. The deal is at least 10 hard pressed sets of whatever, with limited and timed rest in between. I need to get my heart rate up, then keep it up for a sustained period.

Another thing I'm working toward is joining a Crossfit gym. I originally joined my current gym for motivation purposes. I tend not to work out once I get home, and I tend to work harder when someone is there pushing me. I was excited with the list of available classes. Kickboxing. Zumba. Yoga. Unfortunately, the classes 1) are not at a time I can attend, or 2) are not good for my physical issues, or 3) cost extra. Kickboxing does not incorporate stretching, and consists of too much time on the balls of my feet. It took me almost 2 weeks to recover from one class! Zumba, TRX, and now Crossfit classes all cost extra, from $5 to $25 per class. I'm better off joining a Crossfit gym with access to coaches, trainers, and the type of classes I want to take, all for the same kind of money. Also, Crossfit offers the type of community I miss from my Tae Kwon Do days. My current gym has no community. People (myself included) come in, put their headphones on, and get their swole on without so much as a nod or smile hello.

Working out the financing for Crossfit is going to be a challenge. I have other financial goals I refuse to let slide. If I understand the website correctly, it's month to month with no contract. I believe I can manage this, depending on how often I can donate plasma. I should be able to pay for the month when I have the money, then go my current gym when I don't. My current gym is paid up through November, and I'll still use it the days it's the closer gym. Worst case, I can learn the lifts at the Crossfit gym, then do the Crossfit.com WOD at my current gym until I can get back to the Crossfit gym.

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