Wednesday, March 1, 2017

A Fitbit and Netflix: Finding My Balance

Melted cheese on apple pie. Peanut butter and melted cheese on a BLT. Grilled cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwich. A cold leftover brat to top a salad. 

Yes, I'm obviously a Cheesehead from Wisconsin, and yes, I enjoy all of the above. These might sound like some odd combinations, but in all reality when they are put together they are me at least. 

It got me to thinking about a combination that I never would have put together to help me bounce back from some stress and depression: my Fitbit and Netflix. One helps promote a healthy lifestyle, and the other promotes you planting your rear on your couch for an undetermined amount of time. For me, it worked. 

I'll spare you the gory background details because that is a whole blog on it's own, but just to give you an idea of what sent me spiraling and then magnetized me to my couch here it is in a nutshell. We have one daughter dealing with some mental health issues, and the other one is reeling from the stress of it at home. Then my husband came home from work with news that was a sucker punch (not literally) that sent me into a massive case of "ugly crying," an emotional meltdown and the sudden desire.... eat my feelings.

I'll eat that, and that, and THAT and oh, yes, that too! 
Talk about emotional eating, I ROCKED it that night I had my meltdown. Supper was something gourmet: macaroni and cheese. Before supper was even made I had grabbed a bag of cheesy Bugles and I ate them like they were going out of distribution or something. They tasted phenomenal at that point in time. Extra cheese on my mac and cheese? A fatty brat? Don't mind if I do. Throw it on there! Later that night I know for a fact I was plopped on the couch with a gargantuan bowl of Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Ice Cream. (Unlike the Bugles, this truly is around for a limited time at Kwik Trip and, so one has to make hay while the sun shines, right!?!?)

Sometimes "you gotta do what you gotta do," but I quickly realized that my plunge into emotional eating couldn't be a long-term adventure. While I love food, I knew this couldn't be the route I took.

At this point my newly purchased Fitbit became my lifeline away from my emotional journey into the abyss of nacho Doritos, dark chocolate and anything else around that was solidly carb quite possibly a childhood favorite of mine like a bowl of buttered noodles with parmesan cheese. That is my happy place, and at any given point in time I would gladly have jumped right into a giant bowl of it.

So, enough of the food and onto the Fitbit. For the lack of a better word, I have a quirk when it comes to things like a Fitbit. It may sound weird, but I can't "lie" to it because I'm pretty sure it will know I'm not telling the truth.  I'm not saying I'm a chronic liar by nature, but if I don't enter the accurate info into the Fitbit I feel like I cheated or failed myself. Seriously. It's kind of like when I'm on a treadmill if I push the button to quit my workout early I "gave up" on myself. Ridiculous, I know, but in the end that quirk with the Fitbit kept my emotional eating to a minimum. I'm pretty conscious of my calorie intake, my activities logged and my steps taken each day. Thanks to my Fitbit the Doritos consumption was minimal and my workout motivation was maintained.

Another benefit is that shortly before all this happened I challenged myself to run/walk 350 miles to my parents' house in Wisconsin. Because I had posted that on social media, I now can't NOT do it. I can't give up on this challenge. I can't be a quitter. Therefore, I keep moving. And when I move and get exercise I feel better all around.

And then I found the couch....
Not only did life affect me physically, but emotionally as well. When I was feeling my lowest, I literally lost all mental capacity at night. Once the last meltdown from one of our girls had subsided and they were finally in bed, I found that my mind was either running amok analyzing the events that had just unfolded or I was blank. I had lost all motivation to do anything. At this point I had already decided to take a step away from my business to focus on my family, so what previously had consumed my nights was gone.

Here is where Netflix jumped into the picture. I love reading, but honestly some nights I felt so numb I was too tired to read. That is why binge-watching Netflix was so awesome. It required no thought and no motivation. It was an escape that took no mental awareness. It distracted me from the thoughts and worries of the day. I'm embarrassed to admit how many hours I've spent in the past few weeks on my couch, but in a way that was therapeutic as well.

What I realize was while my body needed to keep moving, my mind needed to stop running for awhile. I realize binge watching Netflix involved my body not moving, so my statement seems contradictory, but that is why this crazy combination worked. I'd continuously move my body throughout the day, but at night my mind rested.

I'm crawling back...
I'm finally starting to feel a bit more like myself. There are other facets (my family and my faith) that were positive parts to recovering from my stress (and some depression) that I'm sure I'll write about soon enough. Those topics are a bit more serious of nature, so it was fun to think about the crazy combination that kept me above water.

Simply put...I found the proper balance.

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