Monday, January 02, 2012

What worked in 2011: Learning to slow down and take care of myself

My husband and I have an annual New Years Eve tradition; we each list our top “ten” memories/successes of the year then read them to each other over a glass of wine. This year I struggled to come up with ten memorable items. 2011 was a year filled with melancholy moments including a friend being diagnosed with melanoma then lymphoma, my 25 year old future nephew in-law had to be rushed to the emergency room with a pulmonary embolism, my husband rolled his vehicle on black ice in March (thankfully he was okay), I had bronchitis for three weeks in July, even one of my dogs was so sick he had to be taken to the vet.

This not being a typical year is what worked for me:

I got a prescription for bifocal contacts:
I have had to wear reading glasses in addition to contacts for at least five years now. The problem was I was constantly misplacing my reading glasses, breaking them, forgetting them or was too lazy to search for them in my purse. I couldn’t read prices at the store, coupon expiration dates, menu items at restaurants or actually see the photos my friends showed me on their iPhones without them. When my “new” optometrist recommended I try bifocal contacts I consented. The decision to switch to Air Optix multifocal contact lenses was the smartest thing I did all year and I am not being paid to write this. I now have perfect vision which is important for an accountant (mistaking 3’s for 8’s doesn’t work well in my profession).

I lost weight:
I have been talking about losing that extra ten pounds for at least five years with no success. Last spring after realizing both the dress I purchased for a wedding and the outfit I bought for a bridal shower were a little too snug I decided it was time to get serious about losing weight. I asked a friend who had lost weight what had worked for her. She had joined Weight Watchers and gave me suggestions which I followed. I changed my breakfast to low sugar oatmeal, my snacks to fruit and 90 cal granola bars. I moved my salad from lunch to before dinner and began eating Healthy Choice meals for lunch. I also switched my workouts to a high-intensity boot camp class. It all worked and I ended up losing eight pounds. Enough weight to fit into some of my old clothes and to feel much better.

I learned to say no:
After too many sleepless nights (perimenopause), I started considering what is important to me; spending time with friends, going to the gym after work, actually using my vacation time and getting a good night’s sleep. To do this I had to start saying no to extra projects, volunteer work and excessive entertaining.

For 2012:
I want to maintain my weight loss. As Betty White wrote in her memoir If You Ask Me: (And of Course You Won't), it is much harder to lose ten pounds than one or two. She recommends weighing yourself every day and if the scale begins to tip up cut back on what you eat for a day or two. I have been practicing this throughout the holidays and so far so good.

I want to continue discovering who I am. Hey I turn 50 this year it is about time. I had another bad week at work then was strongly encouraged to go in on Saturday (its year end). While sitting in my office miserable, I decided it is time I get serious about figuring out what I want to do with the rest of my life.

If you enjoyed this post you may also like:
Know your limits and learn to say no
Drinking buddies are not real friends
That dress looks great on you
Weekend Wisdom


  1. I'm sorry you had such a difficult 2011. I know you and I have been struggling professionally. Let's make a pact to make sure we stick to our guns on a healthier and happier work/life balance. Life is too short to remain unhappy!

    Good luck with your 2012 goals!

  2. Michele:
    Life is too short to remain unhappy! I am so with you on this one. I've signed the pact. Lets do it.

  3. I totally understand your enthusiasm for bifocal contacts--I just got them 2 weeks ago and it's only a slight exaggeration to say they have changed my life.

    Good for you on the weight-creep. I'm at about the point you were this spring--tossing 5 of them this year would make me very happy.

  4. Can't comment on the lens' - I just let people think I'm illiterate and I ask them to read for me - seriously, I do!

    But both the weight loss and just saying "no" get my votes big time. Congrats on the progress.

    I do hope some wonderful job comes your way. You have too much savvy to be stuck where you are not appreciated. Now that your antenna are out, perhaps that will help. And, maybe more importantly, Michelle can be your support just like the folks in WW have been your support in losing those 8 pounds. It all helps. xo

  5. Syd,
    Glad to hear you made the change to bifocal contacts. I think you have to experience them for yourself to understand my excitement.

    Good luck with the weight loss. I know how hard losing five pounds can be.

  6. Webb,
    I used to ask people to read for me and the 16 year old cashiers at the grocery store did look at me like I was illiterate.

    My new job conundrum is that I don’t want to work as an accounting manager anymore. I want to do something entirely different, but still need to pay my bills. I do think Michelle is in a similar situation. Perhaps we should brainstorm together.

    Thanks for the advice.