Walnut Room this way

Walnut Room this way

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

HALTing to start

I had lunch with my friend and colleague Pete last Friday.  It is always helpful for me to talk with Pete, as he is very adept at tuning in, and his philosophy and way of questioning is so supportive, yet right on target.  He helps me see the meaning in issues with which I am dealing.  I have been on quite the downer since Christmas--occasional times of joy and clarity, but for the most part, either despondent, angry, or just not caring in general.  I have likened it to having the motivation of a gnat.  Mainly all I think I have done is eat, sleep, and flit around annoying people.

I shared with him the HALT that one of my long-time friends back in Texas told me: When you think you are depressed, HALT.  Never get too Hungry, too Angry, too Lonely, too Tired.  She also added an S: too Sick.  I knew I had been way too sick, since the second week in January--which made me too tired.  While I was not particularly lonely, I had isolated myself a lot of late.  Not eating appropriately in a balanced and healthy way often left me too hungry at certain times, while satiated and miserable at others.  As we were talking, I said I knew I needed to start taking better care of myself, but sometimes I just have to sit on the pity pot until I am ready to get off and get on with it.  Pete said, "It sounds like you are HALTing, before you get ready to start."

For some reason, that just hit a connection for me; I do prepare myself for changes by overindulgence at times, avoidance at times, and certainly, by sitting on the pity pot, moaning about having to do something to make the change in the first place.  I did not get to this point of needing these changes in my life style without my own cooperation, after all.  So, Friday night, I had a short discussion with Rando about some decisions I had made, that I intended to begin in 2 days: Sunday morning.  I said I did not like my behavior, nor the tension it was causing between us, nor how I was feeling.  I asked him to just "indulge" me on the pity pot for Friday night and Saturday.  He started to make a suggestion, and I raised my hand, and said, "All I really need is for you to indulge me for two more days--and then I will be ready for a change."  I did not want him to tell me what I "should" do, when I had already decided what I "would" do.  He said okay, and for the rest of the night and Saturday, we had a pleasant and peaceful weekend.

So, now it is Wednesday, and the third day of "the change."  I have lost 7 pounds (Oh, if it were only that easy all the time, but I know the first 20 come pretty easily for me; it's after that I face the real challenge.)  I am feeling better, have slept really well the last 3 nights, and waked at my used-to-be normal time of about 7, ready to get up and feeling good.  I have been productive in terms of work accomplished and in particular, a tremendous amount on the research that I did yesterday.  I spent the entire day except for the time to feed the dogs and run to the pharmacy in front of my computer, working.  

I dealt with some demons yesterday on the eating, to be sure.  I drank a lot of water, and had a tea break twice.  I am sticking to the formula that I know works for me: protein, whole grains, dairy, and lots of veggies.  I am having yogurt (the Greek style with no sugar, but so creamy and smooth) twice a day.  I am off sugar except for the kind that occurs naturally in fruit--no processed sugar, no white flour.  When I was in Belize, I noted immediately how much better I felt and slept, and Kim said it was because they don't use preservatives in their food, and no hormones in the meat and milk, so you are not getting those toxins in your system.  While I cannot control that totally here, I do buy meat that has no hormones or antibiotics (at least, per the label) and only fresh fruits and vegetables.  Switching to Greek style yogurt cuts out the sugar--and it actually is a better tasting yogurt, with the natural live bacteria that is good for you.

I was thinking about St. Paul, Alaska, where I was last summer, and how good I felt there--emotionally, and physically.  While I did not always eat in the healthiest manner (given the limitations of the one company store and its general lack of fresh fruits and vegetables or meat), it was not junk food.  I just ate a lot of pasta, cheese, and beans, supplemented on occasion just after the barge came in with fresh fruits and vegetables.  I think I had chicken once, and other than that, it was a pretty meatless 5 weeks.  

I remember the day one day walking down the hall with a co-worker and she said, "It is so nice to work with someone who is happy and in a good mood all the time."  I realized when she said that, what a really "good mood" I had been in since there, even with all the work and the distance from family and friends.

I should take a look back at Rules from Turkey Neck Man:  moderation, nurturing your body with good food,  meaningful work, time to play, and good friends.  Sometimes HALTing is a good way to get going.  


Alaska Steve said...

Great post, it really struck a chord with me. I also "prepare for change", but had never realized it.

Great advice and best wishes on your journey to wellness - cheers!

Suzassippi said...

Thanks, Steve. It has been a remarkable week. Sometimes I need to remember that you can't always be on a mountaintop--there are valleys in between, and they are just as incredible if I let myself see them.