COMING CLEAN: The Season of Celebration…and Stress

Last year was a blur. Most of it sped by, particularly the summer months, when I can’t even tell you what I did. Really. I went to Los Angeles twice for work — that was great. Visited the cabin a few times. Maybe had a barbecue or two with family and friends. But the entire… Read more »

Last year was a blur. Most of it sped by, particularly the summer months, when I can’t even tell you what I did. Really. I went to Los Angeles twice for work — that was great. Visited the cabin a few times. Maybe had a barbecue or two with family and friends. But the entire season went so quickly I couldn’t tell you dates unless I referenced them on my Facebook Timeline. I didn’t even notice it at the time, but as I was designing our Christmas cards this year and sorting through our collection of pictures in iPhoto, I realized how quickly 2011 went.

After balancing a full social calendar in the summer, I like to slow down come fall. For us, that didn’t happen: September marked my 30th birthday, our five-year wedding anniversary, and Ladybird’s 7th birthday. And then come the holidays, and before we know it, it’s already 2012.

woman in front of red maple tree

The fall was a season of landmarks for us, but not always good, as we found ourselves in the midst of intensifying pet drama: Toward the end of the month, a stray kitten wandered into our yard at night and we ended up fostering her for several weeks while we searched for her owner. (With no luck, we advertised for a new home and found one through my co-worker’s friend.) And right before the holidays, the tension between our dogs came to a breaking point and we ended up re-homing Ladybird with a wonderful woman in Milwaukee who was familiar with her unique breed. The stress and sadness of this was difficult to bear, and I think it’s important to discuss here — especially given the impact of stress on weight gain as I’ve been working so hard to get in shape — so I’ll address that a bit later when I’m ready.

With all these challenges, it would have been very easy for me to go wildly off-track, eating every cookie and cake in sight and ignoring all the work I put in with my trainer, Shane Kinney. And there were times, I will admit — times that, thankfully, I can count on one hand — where I did resort to crying at the kitchen counter while eating a cream cheese puff. A momentary lapse of self-hatred ensued. And instead of going to the gym to exercise and work it off, I’d feel so bad I’d crawl up in a ball and take a nap.

But those instances, as I said, occurred only a handful of times. Because, recently, I’ve taken a different approach to my stress and food plans and life balance. In late August, I started working with life coach Lauren Zander of The Handel Group. Brilliant and honest, Lauren has been holding me accountable. She’s given me a new perspective, and her insights into my barriers have been enlightening. In the past, it’s been so easy for me to get lost in the stress and drama, but I’ve been using the Handel Group’s techniques to gain clarity as I headed into the holiday season and new year.

It all starts with two words: The Brat. And I’ve got a big one. I’ll tell you all about her in my next post.

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