Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Work makes me unhealthy

I have made a discovery about my life and how work applies to me.  Remember, as you read this, that every theory does not apply to every person and that we all have our own circumstances.  As this is my blog I think it only fair that the circumstances that I discuss apply! :)

A couple of weeks ago I had my last day at my job.  I had worked there for about six years, and in that time the company had boomed, and then as the housing bubble burst, the company slowly deflated with it.  My boss did his best to keep things going, and is actually still out there, trying to survive, but in order to do so he had to lay people off.  We went from 10 employees and the owner to the owner, myself in the office, our salesman who worked out of a model home, and our superintendent, who worked in the field.  Unfortunately, about a month or so ago we were told that was two employees more than could be kept on the payroll, so the salesman and I were laid off.

I worked for the last four weeks doing everything I could to get the office organized in such a manner that one person could get as much done as possible, and then....then I said goodbye.

Now, you may be wondering to yourself, "Um, Lys?  What does this have to do with health and body image?  That IS what this blog is supposed to be about, right?"

Let me answer that for you.  You see, as I have lived through my first couple of weeks as an Unemployed But Looking Person (UBLP), I have discovered that work made me unhealthy. 

I shall explain further for you. 

While it is a precept of the Health at Every Size mentality that weight is just a number and that we shouldn't really pay attention to the scale, it is a habit that I haven't been able to break yet.  I still weigh myself most mornings.  Part of it is curiosity, wondering if making the changes I've made will actually have an effect on my weight as well as my health, or whether I really am going to remain at this weight no matter what I do.  Part of it is TLV (The Little Voice as discussed in previous blog posts such as this one) which persists in arguing that H@ES is wishful thinking on my part, and that it is obvious that no matter how hard activists push, fat will never be acceptable in our society today.

So, yeah, still working on that part of things.  But the point of this minor digression is that I have been watching my weight for the past two weeks as it has steadily dropped.  Actually, it has dropped by almost 10 pounds without any conscious effort on my part to lose weight.

If you think about it, this makes sense.  I still spend more time sitting than is probably best for me as I spend time every day on the computer doing job searches, researching a possible small business start-up that I have in mind, and just generally puttering about on Facebook and other time-wasting sites.  But even with that, I am more physically active than I have been when I was working.  I am getting things done around the house, things like laundry and cleaning, things that require lifting and stretching and bending and just general movement-type activity.

Also, my eating habits are falling into a normal-for-me pattern, which is really not compatible with working a job.  I seem to prefer two meals per day over three, depending on what I'm working on, or if I'm having a more active day I prefer five or six snacks over regular meals.  My snacks are healthier because I can get healthy, whole foods out of my fridge or cupboard, and I don't have to try and figure out what I'm going to want 12 hours in advance only to find out that I guessed wrong.  I don't have to worry about portability, so things like granola bars, energy bars, and so on aren't the staple of my snacking.  Instead, I can grab some cheese and a handful of grapes, or some smoked almonds, or a single cookie depending on what it is I want RIGHT THEN.

I know that I could take most of those to work too, but the problem is that I either tend to take several choices, only to eat them all, or I don't take enough and I end up being starving when I get home and so I overeat at dinner time.

In addition to moving more just while getting things done, it is easier for me to make movement an active choice in my life too.  When I'm home with just the cats to see me, I can put on some music and just shimmy around the living room for ten or fifteen minutes.  I can put the dance game into the game console and just play.  I can go out for a walk around my neighborhood for 10 minutes and not worry about getting back to my desk if I decide to stroll for a bit longer.

I find all of this to be so very ironic.  I am finding my health through being laid off.  I am looking for work, though I hope to actually be able to get my own business off the ground if I can, rather than having to go work for someone else again.  Should I end up taking a job somewhere, instead of doing my own thing, though, I'm going to HAVE to figure out how to keep these changes going even within the restrictions of the workplace.  I like how I'm feeling.  I like how I'm sleeping at night.  I LIKE the freedom to be myself that I'm experiencing right now.  That shouldn't have to go away just because I go in to a job every day. 

So that will be an additional goal.  I need to find a job, and I NEED to find a way to keep that job from pushing me back into old habits while allowing myself to continue to grow into these new habits and an even healthier me.  Because the last thing that I want to return to is allowing work to make me unhealthier again.  That is a choice that I refuse to make any more.

1 comment:

  1. I've often wondered about this phenomenon myself. I notice that I eat less and overall better when I'm home for the day. At work I get bored and antsy and head for the vending machine, or eat Every.Single.Little.Snack that I pack for myself. When I'm home I'm doing so many other things that I don't feel a need to eat.


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