New job and what happens when I go 'off track'

When I go off track it's normally the result of an emotional trigger. If I feel like I can't keep going with my day, or I feel like I can just about keep going but when I get home I'm going to need some serious 'me' time, then I start thinking about food, wine, watching iplayer or a dvd, you know the drill, so far pretty similar to a lot of people I guess.

So, what actually happens for me? I've mentioned on other posts that I've finally got a proper job (yay), after several months of jobhunting, interviews, various let-downs, lots of stress and various unproductive time-consuming processes. So, last week I went to an interview, by the end of the week I had a job offer (woop), this week I met the agency to sort out the contract, then on Monday I'll have my first day. There have been a few emotional triggers relating to this, such as to do with the job contract, my new working schedule, and worrying about how I'll fit in at the new smart office. Pretty universal worries I imagine...

I'm particularly worried about a clash between my new work schedule and a doctor's appointment (gynae) I've had booked for a while but don't think I need anymore, but I want to speak to my GP before cancelling it. So yesterday I contacted my GP surgery but they can't book me an appointment to see my GP around my new shifts until after the date of the gynae appointment (3 weeks away). The fact I couldn't resolve this stressed me out and led to a fairly typical 'off track' moment for me:

There was an event for my housing co-op that I was meant to be going to last night but didn't feel like going to. I asked my friend if she was going and as she was I decided to go too, seemed a good idea to get out and have a good time rather than stay in on my own. Guess what at the event there was loads of free wine, nice food etc. I had a good time, but definitely drank too much (I'm a lightweight these days, and it's also not good for my stomach). I also ate too much, a usual side effect of drinking too much... This morning I paid the price with a hangover (now gone, thankfully) and no run. This is how I go 'off-track' - I ate and drank too much last night, only slightly too much in most people's books I'm sure, but then today I'm paying the price, and I won't achieve my exercise goals for the week.

I realise this sounds pretty minor in terms of how 'off track' a person might go, but I really feel like there's a slippery slope back to weight gain and unhealthy eating, drinking etc, and I'm in danger of starting that descent at any moment. Is this a normal level of fear for someone who's maintaining? Rationally, I feel like it surely can't be that likely that after all this hard work something will just switch and I'll go back to how I was before. But I think now I'll be getting out in the 'real world' a lot more, as a result of this new job, I'll be exposed to more triggers, more pressure, and more potential challenges to my new healthy routines, so maybe there's a bit of truth in there. I think I need to be on alert!

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  • I can really sympathise with your situation Ruth. Until last week I was unemployed and thought that was the worst possible thing, but then when I found out I got a job there were a million new stresses!

    The past year has probably been the most stressful of my life and there have been times when I have turned to food but I have definitely learnt that the most important thing is to give yourself a talking to and pick yourself up again.

    You are a very strong member of this group and I don't doubt that you will succeed in your new job AND keep focused on your health. Don't let little relapses bother you, by the sounds of it last night did you the world of good!

  • Hey Rachel, glad it's not just me. I feel so ungrateful to be getting stressed after finally achieving what I've been trying to get for ages - a job! Have you started your new job yet, if so how's it going? I'm worrying about so many things, like what should I take for lunch on Monday, what should I wear, etc.

    Yes last night was good. Feel so foolish for letting myself get drunk and overeat and know I wouldn't have been as bad if I hadn't gone into the evening feeling so stressed. But there was dancing and I cycled there and back, so maybe I fulfilled some of my exercise goals in a way :)

  • Hi Ruth, firstly , go to your gyny appointment...Thats important. Your employer will understand...it's a one off. If you went to the Drs you could have ended up with two anyway. Secondly...I know what you mean about the slippery slope. I'm going away in a few weeks time....how will I cope with the changes and extra time on my hands? Iwe feel so good in this space, but the inside us saboteur is often hiding in the wings....

    So pleased to hear about your new job....I bet your an absolute committed person to work with. You really are amazing on this forum. Thank you!

  • Hi PP, I've just written a letter to my Dr, hoping to bypass the surgery's receptionists that way. I think if I don't hear anything I'll postpone the gynae appointment and keep trying to book an appointment, might have to just see a different GP, but it always feel like you have to start from scratch explaining things if you see different docs all the time. Contract for new job means I wouldn't get paid for taking time out for appointments etc. I need to earn all the money I can and also make a good impression in my first few months so am very reluctant to take time out for an apointment I may not need.

    Good luck for your hol - is this your first time away while on the plan? I've found it good to still try to follow the same eating patterns, the same size portions, same times for snacks etc, same amount of walking etc. This way you feel in control still. Hope you will be able to relax and enjoy the time away :)

  • Ruth, as long as you know your ok about your health, I'll stop nagging! As for the hols, no, I have a hectic and socially hectic life. But alcohol is not taking much of a role now ...hence shedding the pounds...that's my trigger! Have a super week 😉

  • Hi Ruth, I know what you mean about triggers - I had the house to myself for about 10 minutes yesterday and my first thought was "oh, what can I eat?" I had a sugar free sweet :)

    Now you are maintaining you are going to have times when you have a bit of a blow out and shouldn't you? If you feel you went a bit far then you can adjust you food intake for the following week. But be kind to yourself, enjoy life after all this is why you worked so hard!

    You know how this old weight game works now and what you need to do so don't let it stress you out.

    Congratulations on getting a new job. Always a scary time but the new slimmer you will look great in your new office wear and this will help you confidence :)

  • Thanks Sueper. Glad you avoided the urge to go mad in the kitchen. I'm like that when I have evenings on my own when my bf isn't around, much more likely to start thinking about wine, choc etc. Good to start being able to spot these triggers ahead of them happening. I think I really underestimated how many triggers will be involved with the new job. In the past I used to pick up a bottle of wine on my way home from work almost on a daily basis, there will be so many triggers like this. But you're right I'm armed with knowledge now how the weight loss (and maintaining) game works, things should be different.

    Hope you're having a good week since you came back from your hols, and also nipping all those triggers in the bud too :)

  • Just realised how Bridget Jones my life sounds, pretty pathetic! Need to not do any mid-week drinking in 1st week of new job, could be disastrous! Will write it a hundred times now.

  • I'm still sticking with my Friday treat night - this makes a huge difference. So how about the wine on Friday night to celebrate your first week :)

    I guess it's the same as giving up smoking - you have to find another way to manage your stress - I'm really not sure what that is other than an internal (eternal) battle.

    Enjoy your writing Bridge ;)

  • Hi 🙋!

    Congratulations on the new job!

    You have my sympathy, but I know you will be fine!!!

    Plan you meals ahead of time for the first few days, and build in some little treats.

    Just remember, you are in control of your destiny... You have made many big changes for the better in your life. This is just the next step!

    Good luck!

    🍀

  • Thanks for the lucky clover :) I'll need it! I think building in treats is a great plan. Maybe I'll plan exactly what I'm doing/eating on Monday eve after my first day, hopefully if I get off to a good start the rest will follow smoothly :)

  • Hi Ruth

    Firstly congrats on your new job, well done!

    Also sounds like you had fun last night, we are all more than capable of eating and drinking too much especially when it's free 😄

    I think it's normal to feel how you do, I sometimes think what if I just completely go off track and go back to my old ways.. And put on all the weight I have lost again 😖😖 not easy when there is always temptation around.

    Don't beat yourself up about not doing your run today.. Think of all the positive things you have achieved so far. I know you maintained but just think it's better than a gain.

    I hope you get your appointment issue sorted.. And remember we all slip off track sometimes we are only human. Have a good weekend xx

  • Hi Emma-x, thank you. Those thoughts are alarming aren't they, what if we just stopped and all the weight went back on again. It's one thing to battle against all the temptations, lack of motivation etc to lose the weight in the first place, but making sure it doesn't go back on again is another mental battle altogether. I think we just need to stay determined forever :)

  • Good luck with the new job Ruth. You sound as though you have enough self knowledge to avoid that slippery slope.

    Please do make sure you rearrange your gynae appointment, rather than cancelling it. If I remember correctly, you mentioned possible endometriosis. It really is a good idea to get this checked out properly. It is possible that your change in diet may have improved your symptoms, if you have got it.

  • Hi Penel, you do remember right. I think my symptoms have definitely improved, and feel like my gp can confirm that rather than going back to see the gynae. But am going to see if I can maybe postpone the appt/ rearrange it for outside work hours. In meantime have written my gp a letter to try and get advice/appointment that way. Thanks for remembering, I've mentioned the endometriosis in relation to my wheat free/dairy free diet, really appreciate knowing you're also managing your own dietary triggers etc too. Hope things are going well. I'm so far avoiding that slippery slope, am very much on alert.

  • Very pleased to hear your symptoms have improved. I suffered badly from endo several years ago, a hysterectomy cured it, although for some people it doesn't. Hadn't got a clue about the effects of wheat/ gluten /dairy back then unfortunately.

    There is an Endo site on HU if you need it. Hope everything keeps going well for you.

  • Thanks Penel. I have a friend who had it, had surgery but not as invasive as yours. What you had sounds very involved, sorry to hear you suffered so much with it, sounds like it was pretty bad to have needed a hysterectomy. I suppose that explains why the gynae doc was so assertive with me about cutting out wheat/cheese etc. I spoke to my friend when the doc suggested investigative surgery (which is what the Nov appointment was originally booked to decide). After changing my diet, it seems like my symptoms are more general stomach related than endo-related, as her symptoms didn't particularly improve when she made similar diet changes. But I don't think I understand it well enough to completely rule it out without further advice. I'm wondering if my symptoms are just reduced because of changing my diet, but the endo may still be there. I've looked at the forum for this on HU but not felt that it was necessarily relevant to me if I've just got vague symptoms. But I might pop in if I think of any more questions.

  • I'm really pleased to hear that gynae docs are advocating a change in diet. From the literature it seems that it helps in about 50% of cases. The endo could indeed still be there.

    Endo can also be linked to coeliac disease, or non-coeliac gluten sensitivity, so possibly something to watch out for.

    Good luck for Monday!

  • Hi Ruth, I hope you had fun!!

    I think it is a good strategy to anticipate about how the change to a new job might act engender new stresses and might trigger bad eating and drinking habits. It happens to people all the time, the reason it probably won't happen to you is because you are alert, very self aware and already making plans.

    Once you settle in it is also possible the job might actually in some way we cant guess at help you towards making even more healthy changes... for example - when I changed a lot of things about my work earlier this year I suddenly found my self with an office next to a gym and a daily commute of six miles with a bike track the entire way.

    I hope you figure out your appointments and the priorities - it is your call. If you do need the time off work then maybe don't tell them why.... Just say you had promised to do something and want if possible to honour the comittment.

  • Thanks Gonti, that's good to know you found that changing your job became a positive influence in those ways. I'm looking out for those positives. At the very least this job is not too much of a commute. Under an hour by tube, and potentially cyclable as long as I can dress appropriately and not arrive too dishevelled. Thinking of cycling 2 out of the 5 days a week and seeing how that goes. Also thinking about getting back into reading novels for my commuting days. Have selected a nice paperback to start from Monday :)

  • Hi Ruth, congrats on the new job, that's great news (yeah) :-)

    From what I have read in your post it sounds as though you are just letting your hair down in the last few days leading up to the start of your new job and it's a natural response to the fear of the unknown and feeling as though this is your last bit of freedom before you start and I think it's important for you to recognise that.

    If you have had your doctors appointment booked prior to starting your new job I don't see why any reasonable employer would not let you keep this appointment or check to see if you can have a telephone appointment with the GP to discuss matters over the phone, I know this may not be ideal but it's something to consider.

    I feel you have a lot going on right now and are about to make to some big changes to your routine which is triggering some emotions & fears, some which stand out to me are -

    worrying about how I'll fit in at the new smart office

    I won't achieve my exercise goals for the week.

    I'll be getting out in the 'real world' a lot more, as a result of this new job, I'll be exposed to more triggers, more pressure, and more potential challenges to my new healthy routines

    Every emotion you are feeling is natural Ruth and you somehow need to learn to accept them. How we deal with our emotions and fears is going to be key. What I would suggest is embrace the changes, plan everyday breakfast, lunch & dinner. Prepare your dinners in advance so it is ready to switch on when you return home and have your workout planned so you know exactly which days you will be running on and pretty soon it will become routine.

    I am pretty methodical when it comes to routine and I don't like it when I forget to do something or if I haven't achieved my exercise goals for the day. It's on days like this plan B has to come into place and real fast. I say to myself, how can I fix this what can I do. There's always a way to fix things and it all comes back to being in control of your mind/controlling your thoughts.

    Believe in yourself and your abilities to succeed on your new path, you will do great in your new position I am sure of that :-)

    Good luck and I hope you enjoy it

    Trafford1 x

  • Thank you so much Trafford1, really thoughtful and spot on reply. I'm definitely hoping to get a routine in place, thinking which days will be run days etc. I've got a frozen dinner ready for Mon eve and lunch ingredients are in the fridge ready to put together on Monday morning. Also just calming myself down and telling myself this is normal. Very much aspire to being more tight with my routine, maybe this job will force that to happen! Hope your weekend is going okay :)

  • As I was reading further I could feel the slippery slope you mentioned.

    It doesn't much for us to start to slide if we have a few bad things in a row and I certainly know about that - as you know!

    Lately I have been forcing myself to wall off those bad days in my brain. I imagine constructing a bing wall in front of the bad day and resolve not to feel disappointed or upset about my excesses and it seemed to work. I just tell myself its done, we all make mistakes and then just go on about my day.

    Imagining that big brick wall around that day also seems to stop it leaking into the next day and making me eat badly again.

    In the end it's all in our heads really isn't it? :) Our bodies don't need the wine or food but our brains convince us we do.

    P.S. Before I answer I read one of your previous comments which said you felt you were being quite negative in this post. I don't think you were just stuff that happens and sometimes throw us off balance is all :)

  • Thanks Dave, hope your brick walls are proving pretty weather proof, nothing leaking through from your bad yesterdays into your steady todays. Guess what last night I was on the wine again, had one glass, then a second, poured a third, then it sat there, looking at me, it was past 11pm and I poured it back in the bottle. So maybe putting things back inside their bottle works too. Firmly tighten the lid, stick them back in the fridge and get back on with what you're meant to be doing :)

  • Hi Ruth

    Glad to hear you have found a job, I know it's been a struggle for you. But you are right that the new routine will place a lot of stress on your routine - first because of its schedule and how that impacts on when you exercise and how you eat - and second because of any stresses that come from doing the work, fitting in etc. If you can build a plan to manage the first set of problems, you will be in a better position to handle the second set. Good luck.

  • Thank you Coddfish, good to see you over on this side :) I think both feed into each other, at the moment both those aspects are just so unknown and in fact slightly terrifying. Once I know what the stresses involved in this job are going to be, hopefully I can prepare for them better and free up my brain to plan my eating/exercising routine better too :)

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