Friday, April 20, 2012

Becoming a "Plan B" Kinda Person

Dear Diary...

I'm back on my laptop this morning.  Not sure why, all of a sudden, my laptop internet started working again - but I'm guessing it's because it really wanted me to write this morning's post.  There's no other logical explanation - so we're going with my logic today.  That may be scary or good...guess we'll have to wait and see.

So, I've been doing some thinking.  Again, could be scary or good - depending on the outcome.  Sometimes my mind wanders in a thousand different directions, often unable to keep up with the thoughts and ideas that are going on.  That, my friends, is how stress happens.  I start thinking about something - innocently...a quick blip in my brain.  Then, I start dwelling on it.  I start manifesting more ideas or problems or make believe scenarios - that after thinking about them for so long, they start to become more and more real.  The thoughts, ideas, fears, scenarios all rewind and replay over and over - building more and more each time - until my head is ready to explode.  Along with my emotions.

That's how I end up in situations of binge eating and not exercising.  My brain gets so tangled up in the stress that the parts of the brain that is supposed to be watching how much I eat curls up in the fetal position, the part of the brain that is supposed to help me exercise is exhausted from the brain power going on, and the part of the brain that's supposed to keep me calm and collected looks me in the eyes and screams "ARE YOU FREAKIN' KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?"  Not a good place for my poor brain to be in.

So, I said to myself: Self, how can we organize some of this stress?  How can we take my mind to a place that can handle the continued thoughts and scenarios and ideas that are all jumbled up in a big, heaping pile of mess?  And you know what Self said?  It's time to organize, my dear, and get some plans in place.  It's time to consider Plan Bs and Cs and even Ds and Es if we have to.

What a fantastic idea!  Self really surprises me sometimes.  Who'd have known she was so smart?

So, just like I do when I'm trying to organize my ever filling office - it's time to organizing my ever filling mind.  It's time to start making some organization sheets, back-up plans, to-do lists.  Whatever I can do to somehow organize the stress cesspool that is my head.

What does that mean?  Well, I'm going to take the things that stress me out the most and make some back-up plans.  I'm stressing right now about finding a job.  That leads to stressing about the weight I'm gaining because I'm eating from the stress from the job hunt.  That leads to stressing about not working out and burning off the excess calories I'm mindlessly consuming.  One thing leads to another.  I need to start making some alternate routes.  How can I get from point A to point B with a few optional routes?

It's time to fire up a Brain GPS.  Ew, I like that.  A Brain GPS - sounds fancy, doesn't it?

So - let's start with the job hunt.

Plan A - I find a teaching job in the next few weeks - all is well.
Plan B - I find a teaching job in the next few months - stress level will increase significantly between now and then.
Plan C - I don't find a teaching job this year, and I do what I'm doing for another year and hope that things work out next year - stress will be through the roof until my mind has settled on the fact that I'm not getting a teaching job for another year, which will be sometime in September or October.

Plan A sets my mind in to "calm" mode.  No need for alternate directions there - but B and C?  Yeah, they're going to be more tricky.  So, I have to align up other stress plans to help.

Food consumption...

Plan A - Go back to eating no carbs for a while, and really buckle down on eating clean.
Plan B - Limit my carb intake, focus on eating more fruits and veggies and less complex carbs, focus more on logging my food so that I'm more mindful about how much I'm eating each day.
Plan C - Give myself a day each week where I can stress eat whatever my heart desires.  Just one day where I can extinguish a few stress flames - and not completely expose my body to continual abuse and weight gain.

Now - you see how each of those worked?  As the stress gets higher from the first set of plans - I line up the second set of plans.  Plan A goes with Plan A, Plan B goes with Plan B, and so on.  They don't have to all align, either.  Right now, while my stress level is high, I may just opt for Plan C all the way through...until Plan A or B kicks in.  They are interchangeable.  I gave myself some wiggle room.

I know what you may be thinking - giving myself a day each week to eat whatever I want could be dangerous.  But is it really any more dangerous than what I'm doing now?  I'm mindlessly eating every single day.  The weight is going up and up at record pace.  If I limit myself to only one day to drown my sorrows - my bad eating is cut by 600%.  Yeah, I so did the math on this.  It's a lot better, believe me.

Last up.  Exercise...

Plan A - Go to the gym 4-5 days a week.
Plan B - Go to the gym 2-3 times a week, and go for a long walk or jog on the weekends
Plan C - Go to the gym 1-2 times a week for some strength training, but focus the rest of the week on walking and yoga.  Even if it's only walking for 15-30 minutes each day.

Again, the exercise gets a lot less vigorous with the increase of stress.  I know that's the complete opposite of what it should be.  The more stressed I get, the more exercise I should be doing.  I know that, but my body and brain don't necessarily agree.  The more stress I add to my plate, the less I want to work out.  It's plain and simple.  So, if I focus more on exercise that is less demanding, and more stress relieving, maybe...and I said body will start to crave more - once it realizes how awesome it feels after the work-out. 

Right now, despite it being so early in the "job-hunting" stage, I'm probably going to go with Plan C for the next few weeks.  It makes sense to me.  I'm stressed out.  I'm going to focus on eating well Monday - Friday while I'm at work.  Then, Saturday will be my "free day".  It's the day that carries the highest likelihood that I'll eat out with my family or snack because I'm at home.  Sunday will be a day where I really pull out the destress exercise by going for a long walk.  At least 4 miles.  Then, maybe some yoga outside.  Sounds very calming, doesn't it?  Let's not think about the allergies - they're back to manageable state... I'm good to go.

Also, yesterday evening I went to the library.  The first time in years - but I picked up a book.  It's called The Writing Diet.  I have absolutely no idea how helpful it will be - but it totally got my interest.  The author claims to help people lose weight by writing.  Well, I love to write - so I'm going to see what she has to say.  Can't hurt, right?

So, there you have it.  This is what I'm going to try - now.  Hopefully it will work.  Something has to, right?  I got a really nice email yesterday that really brought all this on.  It's from a person that's really pulling for me to get a job.  She's been there with words of encouragement and support for the past couple of weeks that have really helped.  Yesterday, the message was simple.  It said:  Breathe!  And it was like BLAM, my mind starting racing with everything I've said today.  I do need to breathe.  I need to refocus, recharge, and rejuvenate.

I'm going to breathe.  I'm going to remain as calm as I can.  And I sure would appreciate you all sending me some positive ju-ju and energy vibes.  It's going to be a long summer - especially if I don't find a job - so I'm going to need all the support I can get.

Tomorrow, Hubby is whisking me away to the one place in the world that makes all my stress immediately dissipate on site.  The place where I can recharge and refocus.  It's a quaint, artsy town called Eureka Springs.  He knows what I need - that's fo'sure!

Till next time. ;)



  1. Great job sorting your stressers and finding how to cope :)

  2. Ah......I so do this!! I have a stressful event in my head and then I play a movie out in my head of how it's going to work out. And I always plays out worst case scenario in my head, which is stupid, because that just leads to more and more uncontrollable stress. I have to always remind myself not to play movies in my head. Reality is usually never as bad as the nightmares I conjure up in my head.

    The job hunt is incredibly stressful, I feel for ya on that one. But there is little you can control about that besides what you already are doing. So try to find some stress relief in that. Eventually, your time will come. In the mean time, every year you work in your current position, you gain experience and knowledge. That will one day work out in your future.

    Even though it feels all out of control, you absolutely have the power when it comes to diet and exercise. Embrace that and make it work for you. Feeling better about those two issues will make you feel better about the job search.

    I am so pulling for you!! Enjoy the weekend with your family.


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