Monday, September 30, 2013

Staying On Track.

Today, I am sitting here with a massive stomach ache, dreading the fact that I am going to have to sit through work while I writhe in pain-- and I realized the topic for today's discussion.

Let me set the scene for you, I've been doing a fairly good job of staying on top of my nutrition and exercise goals.  Sure, I've indulged my sweet tooth a little more often than I should.  But in the end, it hasn't affected my weight or my body much.  That is, until this week.  My stomach has been punishing me for getting cocky.  In the beginning of this journey, I started an eating schedule:

Breakfast before the gym, a small snack after, lunch before work, snack at work, dinner at work, snack before heading home.  And LOTS of water.

For months I followed this regimen, and paired it with a 4-5 workouts at the gym each week, and at least 4 walks a week.  It was a good plan.  It jump started my metabolism, and kept it going-- that way if a caramel, or a cookie, or a bowl of ice cream snuck in... it was no big deal, my metabolism had it covered.

But then, something happened.  Over the past month, I've been skimping on breakfast, sporadically skipping the gym, eating a mega lunch, and skipping the rest of my meals for the day.  My metabolism has slowed down, my energy levels are low or non-existent, and I'm starting to bloat from all the extra sugar and salt I've been eating.

So what happened?  How did I get here?

I basically duct taped my will power's mouth shut, and tied it to a chair so I didn't have to hear it nagging me when I went for my 5th cookie of the day.  Despite my prattling on about visual encouragement, cheat days, and making my own meals and snacks to avoid temptation-- I threw caution to the wind, and basically had a "fuck it" few weeks.

Now, I'm paying for it.  And I'm starting to remember why I had those rules to begin with.  It's been nearly a year since my stomach hurt so bad because I've been filling my body with crap.  It's been nearly a year since I chose to stay in my nice warm bed instead of hopping out, throwing some workout clothes on and shaking my "thang" in Zumba, and it's been nearly a year since my pants fit weird and I felt bloated.  All of these are great accomplishments-- and great reminders of why I'm doing what I'm doing.

So, how do I get back into it?

It's a difficult time of year for me.  Halloween Candy, Pumpkin Pies, Christmas Cookies, Fudge, Thanksgiving Dinner, Comfort Foods, Hot Chocolate, Halloween Oreos, etc.

I'm not going to deny myself small indulgences, because that backfired last time.  But I think it's important to pick and choose what I will and won't let myself have.  A slice of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving Dinner... Yes.  A random, left over doughnut sitting on the counter at work, just because it looks good... No.  Through the course of this journey, I've realized that I can't deny myself foods I enjoy.  But I also can't allow myself to eat an entire bag of Halloween Oreos just because they taste so delicious.

I need to ignore the little voices that tell me just one is ok.  They come in the form of friends, family, co-workers, and that little voice in my head that tells me what I want to hear-- even if it's not the best advice.  They say things like, "Just have one.  You're allowed a cheat day."  "Oh one won't kill you."  But it will.  I mean, it won't kill me literally-- but it will kill all of my hard work.  Why you may ask?  One will turn into five, which will turn into 10.  I know myself better than you do, and I don't need your encouragement breaking down my will power.

I realize I can't stop people from saying these things.  But I can stop myself from allowing those words to convince me to give up my goals.

Portion control and I need to make amends.  We were best friends in the beginning.  Everything was happy and sunny, and I felt good.  Then, I flipped portion control the bird one too many times-- and it took off.  I don't blame it, really.  I was kind of a cocky SOB.  Lately, though, I've been really struggling without my friend.  And it's time to get the girls back together.  Make meals that are the right portions, measure my snacks so I'm eating the correct amount, pay attention to the nutrition facts on the back of my food, and start writing it all down again.  I don't think calorie counting is necessarily the best-- but I do think writing down what you eat, and being aware of how much you've had helps keep things in perspective when you want that extra large piece of cake at the end of the day.

And finally, I need to re-ignite my fitness flame.  It went out in mid-August-- and has never come raging back.  I was pumped to go to the gym before, and now it seems like a hassle.  It's not so much the gym itself, as it is my drive to do the work.  I really do enjoy working out, it's fun and productive, and it makes me feel great.  However, I feel lethargic, bloated, and all around gross... and that makes me want to stay in bed and hide from the world on most days.  I know it will take sometime to get my body back to feeling good-- but I need to push myself to get up and go to the gym/put in that workout tape and sweat most days.  Otherwise, all the hard work I've done to lose 43 pounds this year, have been for nothing.

In my opinion, getting back on track is harder than staying focused.  Once you've had a taste of lazy, it can almost always be hard to want to leave it.  At least, in my world.  But as I sit here, writhing in pain from my bad choices this weekend, I feel lucky.  Not that my stomach is cramping so bad that it's making me hunch over at random times....

But more so that though this nearly five year process, I've learned to be in tune with my body.  I realize that for the majority of that time, I've ignored what it needed... but I'm glad that I've started listening now.  I'm glad I can realize when enough is enough-- and I've let myself slip too much.

So for the next three months, as hard as it will be, I'm making a pact with myself to work on the four things I listed above.  My end goal will be to lose the remaining seven pounds, in the 50 pounds I wanted to lose this year.  If I lose any more, that would be a bonus!

Have you ever let yourself get away from your goals?  How did you get back on track?  What do you think of my ideas for getting myself back on track?  Is there anything I missed, that you think I should work on?  I'd love to hear from you, leave your feedback below in the comments section.

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