Not Holding ‘Traditional’ Employment, Losing Weight, and Changes

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It’s been at least two and half years since I last held a traditional job of any kind.  No doubt some would argue that since I have a good amount of intelligence, I have no reason not to be doing some kind of job.  I’m sure that some look upon me with disdain because I’m on Disability Insurance for a condition that they don’t understand, let alone acknowledge it’s existence.  At this point in my life and development I don’t hold this against anyone.  I’ve come to accept, without any degree of resentment, that some aren’t going to grasp why I decided to opt out of traditional employment.

I absolutely intend to go back into the workforce at some point in the future.  But, at this point and time in my life, I believe it far more important for myself to lose weight and get back into good health before I rejoin the workforce. As of this writing, I have lost at least 60 pounds since the middle of March 2014.  I still have a long way to go before I hit my final health and weight goal.  With my body build being what it is (short legs, short arms, large body, very thick bones, and more muscled than average) I doubt I’ll be able to finish a marathon even when I make final goal.  But I can certainly be healthy even with the natural framework I have.  I think that anyone can if they make the efforts to be more conscious about what they eat, what they do for exercise, and know themselves well enough to plan around their strengths and weaknesses.

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Sadly, when I worked I wasn’t able to lose weight.  This was even with doing jobs like janitorial and factory work where I had to keep moving at all times.  Whatever I burned off from these jobs I consumed back from the course of not tracking what I ate.  I wasn’t conscious about what I ate.  Since I usually came hold tired and worn out, as a result of carrying so much weight and working physical jobs, I made no efforts to exercise when I wasn’t at my place of employment.  And thus a vicious cycle of unhealthiness, fatigue from work, and depression plus anxiety from being out of shape enough I couldn’t do what I wanted in my hours away from the job was going on during the years I held even part time employment.  Serious changes were needed to break this cycle.

After I left my last paying job, I set out to attempt to get healthier.  I read many books on dieting, exercise, nutrition, motivation, and mental health.  I also decided to take a very long and completely honest assessment of my strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies.  I liked much of what I was able to uncover (my intelligence, my ability for keeping accurate records, attention to details, ability to adapt quickly, ability to learn quickly, etc.).  I also didn’t like much of what I found about my drawbacks (tend to be discouraged in the day to day work, often not keeping attention on the larger picture, tendencies to distraction, tendencies to attempt too many projects at once, tendency to get discouraged when not able to see progress, etc.).  I decided rather than trying to improve my deficits, I would instead develop my natural strengths enough to negate my weaknesses.

I decided I wanted to lose weight in the summer of 2013.  I didn’t seriously start losing weight and getting healthier until April 2014.  That is when I started tracking everything I ate.  Just as vital, I tracked all exercises I did.  I wanted to not only know what was going in my body,  I was also interested in what I was doing too.  Over a period of a few weeks, I noticed my activity was increasing while my consumption was decreasing.  Stretch that over several months, my consumption is still decreasing and my activity is not only increasing, but is getting easier to do.  I’m embarrassed to admit this, but on the day I decided without a doubt I was going to get to a set goal weight, in my case 225 pounds, on or before a set date in time, this date was March 17, 2019.  I picked March 17, 2019 only because it was exactly five years from the date when I decided I was ready to set out on the long journey to good health.

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By March 2014, I had done an inventory of my strengths, weaknesses, and motivations.  I also had a working knowledge of several different types of diet programs (such as Weight Watchers, South Beach, Paleo-Diets, Glycemic Index Diets, etc.).  I had stated, and written down, my intentions of losing weight and getting healthy by stating an exact weight I wanted to be at and gave myself a set time period to do this work.  I knew I enjoyed walking, whether it’s in a park or in the old downtown of my hometown.  So walking became a major element in my exercise program.  I also decided I would track what I ate and what exercises I did every day.  If this sounds like a lot of work, it is a lot of work.  It took almost fifteen years to get as unhealthy as I was.  I wasn’t going to get back to good health rushing into a program without doing some planning.  No one builds anything that lasts, it doesn’t matter if it’s a dog house or the new World Trade Center building in New York, without sitting down and making some plans.  Taking the time to evaluate what you have to work with and making plans accordingly is the key to any undertaking, not just getting into good health.

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Author: alifeofmentalillness

I write about my experiences with mental illness and life in general. I am also currently under going 'lifestyle changes' (I hate the term 'dieting' as it's sounds so temporary) and have lost 70 pounds since spring 2014. I've put my poetry and novel writing on lower priority since I started losing weight and blogging more seriously.

8 thoughts on “Not Holding ‘Traditional’ Employment, Losing Weight, and Changes”

  1. I’m glad you are a planner and actually write out your plans, food intake and exercise. I think putting it in writing keeps one on track and honest about what they are really doing. You are responsible to your own self! Your weight loss, better physical and mental health is your current job. Carry on and keep up the good work.

  2. Wow….Congrats!!! Losing 60 pounds- and turning things around like you’re doing- is not easy….I know from experience. Thank you for the post….I enjoyed reading it and got some inspiration.

  3. Good for you! Have you thought about going paleo, it has helped a lot of people with health conditions and to lose the pounds. A lot of people have had auto immune conditions go into remission, and there are cheap ways to eat paleo and you can do it gradually or just following some of the principles or little by little. Good luck!

    1. While I have adopted some of the basic principles of the paleo diet, I still find it a bit tough to completely give up on bread just yet. Other than cutting back on the bread, I don’t eat ‘diet’ foods, very few things with artificial sweetners, and I eat quite a lot of vegetables and fruits. I don’t usually buy certified organic but do try to keep fruits and vegetables as local and fresh as possible. Fortunately my hometown has some pretty good farmers’ markets in the summers and falls, but none during the winters. I eat almost no canned and highly processed meats. I don’t eat beans, besides green beans, too often.

      Though I’m not convinced that paleo can ‘cure’ mental health issues by itself, I have noticed I feel physically better on days when I more closely adhere to the basics as opposed to days I load up on the grains. At this point, I’ll accept the physical health benefits of eating far fewer processed foods than I was this time one year ago. I guess I was doing the basics of paleo for a long time and didn’t even know.

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