(The above is why we're probably not going to be invited to any more gingerbread house decorating parties next Christmas. Or ever. It summed up this season really well for me, though.)
Hiatus over. See? Told you I'd be back.
So this is why December sucked: I spent my birthday having my elderly cat put to sleep. I'd had Rascal for almost my entire adult life; it's hard for me to think of a time when he hasn't been around. He was my buddy when I lived alone and was desperately lonely; I'd come home from a shitty day at work, hear him howling before I'd even turned the key in my apartment door, and think "Well, someone missed me." And even though he'd been declining for a while and I knew his time with us was growing short -- and that given the various illnesses he had, I got far more time with him than I had any right to expect -- his death still broke my heart. This wasn't like the last time one of our cats died; Rascal had a good long life and we have no regrets about any of the medical decisions we made for him. But it still left me completely gutted. We came back from the vet and sprawled on the sofa and watched the first Harry Potter movie (the most innocuous thing either one of us could think of) and drank hot chocolate and cried.
(I think that since my 39th birthday was so shitty, I get to be 38 for another year. That seems only fair, right?)
That pretty much knocked every last bit of joy out of the holiday season for me. After that, I was just going through the motions. Neither one of us was in the holiday spirit at all. If you're generally on my snail-mail Christmas card list and didn't hear from us this year, I apologize; we meant well, but we just didn't get to them.
If it weren't for my husband I probably wouldn't have gone to the gym at all for the rest of the month; I just couldn't care less. I had very little energy, and no inclination to spend what little energy I had exercising. And my eating went completely to hell, too.
2007 had its occasional high points but was, on the whole, a rotten year, and I guess I'm not surprised that I really struggled with my eating and exercise habits. I'm afraid I've still got some real work to do when it comes to the whole "Not abusing food when things get bad" issue. I always will, it seems.
But that's over. It's 2008 now. Time for me to get back on the stick. When things already kind of suck, letting my eating and exercise go to hell until my clothes start pinching only makes things worse.
As far as I'm concerned, this year is a totally new start. I'm going to try to think as if the last three years didn't happen and this year's effort is an entirely new one. For reasons I can't quite articulate, I feel like I've been coasting on the previous weight loss for too long. It's as if I assumed that the good habits I developed would just kick back in eventually without any actual effort on my part, and that's Not Good.
I've already blown all my old plans and stats out of Spark People and started my tracking there anew. And I'm going to try to restart by doing exactly what I did in the beginning: going slowly, instead of trying to make too many radical changes at once. I need to remember to keep doing the small things that add up: Taking the stairs more often (I'd been slacking on this a lot since my company's move to the Hellmouth earlier this year). Measuring my portion sizes with actual measuring cups instead of my eyes, which were starting to become very unreliable judges. Entering my food into SparkPeople. I hate, hate, HATE doing that, but it really does help keep my eyes open about what I'm eating.
And I bought myself a little gift for the new year, suspecting I might need it: an "All is forgiven; move on" rubber bracelet from Our Lady of Weight Loss. No more beating myself up for whatever I failed to do last year.
My husband and I went for a nice long trail walk today. It was brisk and windy out, but the walk felt great. A very good start for a new year.