Reaping the Benefits of a little bit of Willpower

It’s been a good week.

I feel in control. I’ve been keeping my goals. And I’m happy.

It’s getting easier to do the things I need to do, and I’m learning that it makes such a difference in my relationships and my general quality of life.

But I also know how quickly I can fall back into bad habits.

I’m hoping if I can keep reminding myself that the small things really make a difference, that I’ll keep doing them-even when I don’t feel like it.

willpower

I’ve been reading a book called “The Willpower Instinct” by  Kelly McGonigal-and it’s really been helping to put things into perspective, and to learn a little more about why I do the self destructive things that I do.

I rarely spend my time reading books from the “self help” category. I’m much more inclined to lose myself in a zombie or apocalypse novel-but this one has some information that really makes sense for me.

The first step of the course is just to pay attention.

I’m noticing how often I’m prone to go through life just doing the things I need to do, reacting to impulses without really thinking about the long term consequences or how I will feel about my decisions after the fact.

I’m also learning that will-power is something that I have the power to improve, if I put the work into it.

This week I decided to just give myself a few small goals, and I’m noticing that it’s making me more aware of all the choices I make throughout the day.

For instance… this week I set myself the lofty goal of going on a short walk during my lunch break. This week has been cold and some days, my instinct was to just lay down and close my eyes.

But every day, I’ve put on my tennis shoes, put Stevie Ticks on a leash, and headed out with the promise that if I feel like coming home after ten minutes-I will.

Every day after ten minutes, I felt like walking longer.

I’ve also been consciously trying to bring my attention back to what I’m doing, which is not something I’m used to.

I’m no master at it yet, but I find that even a few times a day- consciously bringing my attention to the stores I’m passing or the lyrics of the song I’m listening to, is helping me to stay present all day long. I think yoga is helping a lot with that.

In 90 minutes of a bikram yoga class, you have no choice but to really think about the position your body is in and keeping your breath even. I can tell that it’s giving me strength, both physically and mentally. It’s teaching me that I can do things that are difficult. That the difficult or uncomfortable feeling will only last for a few minutes-and afterword-the feeling of accomplishment is greater than the feeling of refraining from doing something that is difficult.

I know I’m waxing a bit philosophical and getting all healthy-mind guru on you, but I’m actually really excited about the change I feel.

The other thing I’ve taken away from this book and this week, is that while making and keeping goals is important in the long run, it’s also important to take it a easy on myself.

I know that sounds contradictory, but Science proves that willpower is a muscle and it takes energy, a lot of energy to make it work.

The more you exercise the will power to eat healthy or exercise or not spend money, the more likely you are to impulsively buy a lottery ticket or eat a whole cake.

It takes time to strengthen the muscle, and it’s important to cut yourself a little slack. Plus, giving yourself a little (or medium) slice of cake, will make you much less likely to binge later-plus you learn to enjoy it for what it is.

Today, make the goal of enjoying the little things. Be present in your actions. Do one thing that you don’t necessarily want to do, but that will benefit you in the long run.

 

 

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Around Austin: Once – Now Playing at the Bass Concert Hall

I’ve always been a fan of the “musical” as an artform.

I grew up watching “The Sound of Music” and “Bye Bye Birdie” over and over and over and over (and over) again.

I can still, to this day, recite every single line of “Little Shop of Horrors,” verbatim… and I once almost got kicked out of a Broadway production of it for singing along.

Musicals are one of the reasons I got into theater camp when I was 9.

My first time acting on stage was in a children’s production of The Wiz. It was followed by The Music Man; Oklahoma; Lil Abner; The Sound of Music; Joseph and His Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat; Grease; and Oliver.

If it wasn’t for the fact that I can’t sing worth a dime, I’m pretty sure I would have stopped at nothing to end up on a Broadway stage or die trying.

Luckily (only for me), not being able to sing has never stopped me from belting out 525,600 Minutes in my car or shower.

Still, even as an adult; I catch myself smiling uncontrollably when watching Moulin Rouge or Into the Woods.

It’s the only time I feel I can really let go of reality and completly lose myself in a world where music is the main for of communicating thoughts and feelings. I mean, can you imagine how amazing life would be if that was real life?

Anyway, last night I got a chance to see the Broadway version of “Once” live at the Bass Concert Hall.


carissa once

If you do not know what I’m speaking of, listen to this song.


More importantly, go out and see this movie right now. RIGHT NOW.


Oh my goodness. I cannot even put into words how happy this experience made me.

For any of you who have seen the movie and loved it, the live show was even better.

I really enjoyed the movie for it’s simplicity and for the way it made my heart ache. The stage version added just enough movement and production to make it even more interesting, while still managing to stay true to the simplicity of the story portrayed in the movie.


I could go on all day about how handsome the lead actor, Stuart Ward is; or how I am seriously thinking about putting a recording of him singing in my pillow so that he can cuddle me to sleep every night.

I mean… Just kidding.

heidi once 1

In short, if you or your significant other love musicals, love, heartache, singing, live music, or pleasurable experiences in general, you should go see this for yourself.

It’s showing here in Austin tonight through March 3rd and tickets are available at the Bass Performance Hall Website!

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Gratitude And The MS 150

I can’t tell you how much I appreciate all of your support in response to my post yesterday. I’ve been struggling a lot lately in regards to how much I should share with the fear that people will look at me as a failure, but I really do feel better now that that’s off my chest.

I kind of fear that admitting I am still struggling with an eating disorder completely negates all the hard work I did to lose 130 lbs. My instinct is to yell to the world that “I DO KNOW HOW TO EAT HEALTHY” and “I LOST WEIGHT THE HEALTHY WAY,” but the truth is- I don’t know anymore.

I think my eating disorder has manifested itself in so many ways over the years, I didn’t always recognize when it guiding or controlling my actions. It’s a cunning little bitch like that.

It makes it hard to know when I’m simply being healthy, or whether I’m obsessing. What I want to feel now is normal. I want to be able to eat without obsessing about the way the food feels in my body. I want to be able to eat when I’m hungry, and not just when I can’t “not eat” anymore.

I’ll get there.

I am doing my best not to ONLY talk about my struggles, but it really does help me to get it out there, so I might be doing that a little more from now on.

 

matt bike

 

In other news, I’m super duper proud of my boyfriend Matt. He’s spent the last few months training hard and conditioning to ride in the MS 150.

He will be riding his bike for ONE HUNDRED AND FIFTY MILES from Houston to Austin.

That sounds insane, right?

I tried to run for four miles the other day and thought my legs were going to fall off. I don’t even like to drive my car to Houston because it takes too long and I get tired.

Anyway, I’m really proud of him for all his hard work and for really committing to something. I can see the physical changes he’s endured, and more than that I’m excited to see how much he’s really growing passionate about riding.

It’s also for a really cool cause.

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling, disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Millions of people are affected by MS and the challenges of living with its unpredictable symptoms, which range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are moving us closer to a world free of MS.

In order to ride in the MS 150, he does need to raise a little money.

Since Matt hates asking people for help more than I hate rotoscope animation, I want to try to help him out. If you have a few dollars that you can spare, please visit his page and support him in his goal to raise $500!

You can also visit their website to find out more about the event and the cause!

I know he’ll appreciate it, and I will to!

Regardless of whether or not you can help, I really appreciate your support in reading this and for being you!

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National Eating Disorder Awareness Week: My Renunciation

re·nun·ci·a·tion

rəˌnənsēˈāSH(ə)n/
noun
 
  1. the formal rejection of something, typically a belief, claim, or course of action.

    First of all, I want to explain something. I’ve decided to use this space as a place where I’m going to write as I try to figure some shit out.

    I’ve recently has some sort of weird-life revelation, although I’m not sure if that is really the way to describe it.

    I guess over the last few weeks, something happened that made me really look at my life differently.  To see myself in an entirely different light.

    Maybe “something” didn’t just suddenly happen. Maybe it’s been gradual. Maybe all these years of therapy; and group therapy; and yoga; and meditation; and journaling; and improv have finally decided to come together and pay-off. I can’t remember if I woke up one morning and felt different, or if it’s something that’s been growing in my mind and suddenly decided to procreate and all the conditions were right for make that seed flourish and it was finally time to bloom.

    Regardless, it happened.

    I’ve felt this way a few times in my life before.

    The first time was when I finally decided to give up a fear, and try my hand at improv. My whole life I wanted to be on stage and make people laugh, but I was too insecure. Until I wasn’t. Until the desire to try something so bad beat out my fear to try.

    I had it again when I packed up as much as I could fit in my car and moved from Dallas to Austin. I knew I couldn’t do it anymore. I was self-destructive and depressed. My eating disorder had come back by way of bulimia and I was drinking at every opportunity that I could. I had a job that was just a job. A social life that was just going to happy hour every afternoon and drinking myself until I was no longer there. And I just lost the first person I thought really loved me and went into a deep depression about some difficult life-decisions I was forced to make.

    I chose to leave. I wanted better for myself and I knew I couldn’t achieve it there. I applied to one job, that of a radio producer of a show that I thought was hilarious. I was persistent. I felt like some part of me had awakened and had finally started making choices that would be good for me. I got the job and started performing regularly again. It felt amazing.

    The most recent time I had the jarring desire to change was when I quit drinking.  It was over a year and a half ago but I had toyed with the idea of quitting drinking for at least four years. It even crossed my mind a time or two in college when I had woken up in a random person’s apartment without knowing how, or who, or why. Somewhere deep within my very confusing brain, I’ve probably always known that drinking wasn’t for me.

    The year leading up to my sobriety, I started to slowly pay attention to that voice. I made deals with myself about trying to have better control. I knew that it was affecting my relationships and started to realize that it could have the ability to destroy so much more.

    So I finally really wanted to stop.

    The  last year or so, I’ve come to terms with a lot of things about myself. I started to realize that I make all of my decisions based on my emotions; I have little self-control; I react poorly in stressful situations; I have so much negativity about myself and I don’t cut myself enough slack.

    And also that I am still very much in the throes of an eating disorder.

    I’ve also started to realize the impact of these behaviors. As with alcohol, they are affecting my physical and mental health and have the ability to hurt my loved ones. They make me a dishonest person.

    My eating disorder has made me lie on countless occasions. It’s made me spend money I don’t have on food that won’t even be used to nourish or give me energy.

    Because of the damage I know that it can do to my physical body, it’s caused me appointment after appointment to various therapists and doctors and specialists trying to find something to cure me, a reason to give myself that will make me quit. It made me wish that something would be wrong with me so that I could finally let this go.

    It has caused stress to people I care about. Either because of my erratic emotions or because they know that I have a problem and are genuinely worried about my well-being. It’s cost my loved ones in worry and money. My parents would spend every dime they have on sending me to the right therapy that would make me better, and some months they do.

    My eating disorder makes my boyfriend and I fight. It makes me withdrawal and come up with excuses not to go out with my friends.

    It makes me self-centered, yet un-self aware of how much damage I am causing. It makes me judge. It makes me bitter. It makes me lonely. It makes me not care.

    My eating disorder is a trickster. It has come to me in many different forms and tries to convince me that it knows and wants what is best for me. It is a liar.

    I’m finally realizing that I don’t want this anymore. Or rather that I’m finally ready to do something about it once and for all.
    It might be the 108th time I’ve officially tried, but it feels different now. In the past, I was trying because I needed to.

    This is the first time I actually think I can.

    I’m ready for renunciation. I’m ready to start doing some things differently. I’m finally ready to let go of the behaviors that I’ve allowed to control me time and again.   I’m ready to do something good for myself. And I’m confident I will.

    NEDAwareness_2015_Shareable_Diet

    Feb 22nd-Feb 28th 2015 marks National Eating Disorder Awareness Week.
    The goal of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (#NEDAwareness Week) is to put the spotlight on the seriousness of eating disorders and to improve public understanding of their causes, triggers and treatments. By increasing awareness and access to resources, we can encourage early detection and intervention, which can improve the likelihood of full recovery for millions.

    If you or someone you love is suffering, please know that you are not alone. Find someone to talk to or find support and resources  available online or in your community. There are many helpful resources on the NEDA site . I’ve also found the Recovery Warriors podcast and website extremely helpful when I needed inspiration or to not feel so alone.
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