Hello Beloved Reader!
Lately I’ve been thinking about what I should share with you in this blog, and the topic I keep coming back to is momentum. The past few weeks I’ve been lacking the momentum I had over the previous few months. I can attribute it to a number of things in my life but the truth is, what has caused the lack of momentum doesn’t really matter. Anything I mention to you, my blog family, will feel like excuses. And any list of contributing factors I could tell you about doesn’t change the fact that the momentum which was driving my blog and my emails to my subscriber list drained away recently.
Yep, drained away. Even though the weather outside was beautiful the past few weekends when I normally would be sitting on my front porch writing to you. Even though I reminded myself how good it feels to encourage you. Even though I feel I should be honest with you about my own personal struggles with the hope that my experiences might help you with your own struggles. None of that mattered.
I simply couldn’t push past my own fear that this whole blogging idea was a mistake. And the only thing I felt the past 3 weekends has been exhaustion. I haven’t felt like going out to do anything with my family. None of the normal activities I like to do to nourish myself over the weekend, such as relaxing with a good self-help book or going for a walk brought enjoyment. I’ve been napping during the afternoon on Saturdays and Sundays and while this is nice once in a while, it’s not how I choose to spend each weekend.
Time is precious. Time is not to be wasted. There’s a difference between doing things that are fun or relaxing to take care of yourself and doing nothing but recuperating on the weekends. Lately I’ve been doing the latter. However, I want to spend my free time with those I love and doing things I love, not just getting through a work week to collapse and recover, only to repeat the cycle the next week.
So I’ve been thinking a lot about the momentum I lost and how good it felt when I had it.
Here’s some background for those of you who don’t know me personally…
I had a gastric bypass in August 2016 and to date have lost 140 lbs. before and after surgery. One month after surgery I became very ill due to a stricture between my new stomach pouch and my re-sected intestines. It took 3 weeks in and out of the hospital to discover the problem, and another multi-day hospital admission to insert a PICC line so I could receive IV nutrition for 16-hours a day for a month. During that month, I underwent 4 upper endoscopys to stretch out the new tube going from my stomach pouch to my intestines to make it big enough to allow food and water to flow through. It wasn’t until April or May of 2017 that my body FINALLY got back to where it should be in terms of healing after the stricture and where I had hoped my energy level would be after significant weight loss.
During my weight-loss surgery ordeal, I was able to keep forward my momentum going by celebrating any new thing I couldn’t do when I was very sick. At the height of my illness, just keeping a couple of sips of water down was a victory. Having the energy to load the dishwasher became a joy. Being able to take a shower without having to sit down was a success. And I don’t want to ever take those things for granted because I don’t want to go back to being unable to do the simplest of things for myself and my family.
Now that my physical body is in pretty good shape (I still want to lose another 30-35 lbs to get rid of a few problem areas), experiencing the lack of energy I’ve had the past 3 weeks has been even more terrifying than it was when I was morbidly obese. After all, my expectation has been that I would have so much more energy when I’m not carrying around an extra person’s worth of weight. So my question to myself has become, “What habits do I need to look at in my life which might be contributing to my exhaustion and lack of momentum?”
Sleep. Now that I have a job where I have to be at work between 7 am-7:30 am Monday-Friday, it’s critical that I get in bed by 9 pm. I have to get up around 5:15-5:30 am in order to get ready and do the commute to work. Most nights I am asleep between 9 pm-9:30 pm. Some nights I wake up in the middle of the night and some nights I don’t. Before going to bed during the work week I use the Insight Timer app to meditate or listen to soothing music to help me rest better.
Exercise. I hate to admit I don’t exercise like I did before I started my new job in July. However, I do walk a lot at work, including going up and down the stairs instead of taking the elevator. I usually meet my step count goals on work days. I’m moving a lot throughout the day, which is probably better than spending 15 minutes on a stationary bike and 30 minutes on the treadmill at Planet Fitness. My goal is to get back to taking a 30-minute walk both weekend days when I’m not at work and maybe doing some stretching or weight-bearing exercises at home at least 3 work days during the week because I really need to tone up under all this loose skin!
Food. Here’s where I have discovered I’m falling short and it seems to have the most impact on my momentum and energy. I have a bunch of food allergies, so I can’t eat dairy, eggs, wheat, peanuts, beef, and a number of other foods. And due to the gastric bypass, I can’t eat lots of food at one sitting. However, of the foods I can still eat, some of them are energy-draining. I’m finding I feel significant exhaustion after I eat potatoes. Lately I’ve been craving Lay’s Dill Pickle potato chips, hash brown patties, and tater tots. All starchy, simple carbs, which turn to sugar. And all tend to make my joints hurt as well as make me want to go to sleep.
Another thing I’ve been craving that causes my joints to hurt and makes me sleepy is sugar. I’m sure my body craves it for the short energy burst I get since I tend to want it when I’m tired and dragging, but I definitely feel worse after the sugar crash. And once again, my joints tend to hurt when I eat sugar, especially the joints in my hands.
Since I have a dairy allergy, I can no longer use my beloved half and half in my coffee. I’ve found a soy-based coffee creamer that I’ve gotten used to, but I’m wondering if the soy is also causing some exhaustion and joint pain. During the 2 months at my new job, I’ve developed a habit of drinking coffee on the way to work and having iced coffee on my way home, and both use the soy creamer. And no, I will not drink coffee without creamer. And no, “non-dairy” creamer isn’t an option for me because they actually have dairy proteins in them, which cause an allergic reaction for me.
In my case, I do think my food choices are one of the biggest culprits for my lack of energy and in turn, contributing to my lack of momentum toward my goals and dreams. When I was first diagnosed with food allergies, I was extremely upset and hated to make the necessary dietary changes to stop feeling physically miserable. Now I’m grateful for those allergies because they have caused me to pay much more attention to how the foods I eat make me feel. That’s how I know which foods are the suspects contributing to my exhaustion and joint pain.
When I stop and ask myself if I still have the gifts and talents I had when I felt compelled to start this blog, the answer is YES! When I think about having a successful blog where I can help others, I still feel happy. When I dream about the possibilities I have with this blog, my life coaching business, and online courses I want to create for others, it still excites me. So I haven’t lost my calling and my desire to help others through these avenues.
So the only thing that has changed is my energy level. And that can be fixed with some effort and attention.
Your Gentle Nudge: What things in your life are sapping your energy? Are there things causing your momentum in any area of your life to slow down or completely stall? What changes can you make in your physical and mental daily routine to help you get that momentum going?
Leave your answers in the comments section under this blog post or email them to me at WriteChristine@YourGentleNudge.com. I can’t wait to hear from you!
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