Since my weight loss became noticeable and the compliments started coming, I’ve often been asked the question, “How are you doing it?” My answer is always some variation of, “Well, basically, I cook all my own meals and go to the gym at least 4 times a week.” I guess that is basically how I’ve been doing it, but man, there’s so much more than that going on.
This is on my mind right now because after what ended up being a 5-week hiatus, I’m finally getting back on track. I’m surprised how much I forgot about how rocky the start to this whole weight-loss deal was! I wouldn’t say it’s exactly like starting over; my mentality is nowhere near as fragile as it was at the beginning, I understand things now that I hadn’t yet learned then, my improved fitness level at this stage allows me to do more now than then, etc. There are some big similarities, though, as I re-establish my routine. That’s such a simple sentence, but the word “routine” hides a very complex list of crap.
In my most recent post before this one, I whined about feeling depleted and not feeling rested after nights of low-quality sleep. I feel less energetic getting in only 4 miles per day than I did when I was consistently hitting 8 or 9, which included daily movements and grueling work-outs. That’s not counterintuitive; being more physically active creates a higher sustained level of energy and contributes to sounder sleeping. A steady metabolic rate from a constant flow of nutrients (and WATER!) has the same effects. For the first time in a long time, I woke up this morning feeling as if I had slept the night before. I got restorative, quality sleep. AND I WANT MORE. So I gotta move.
Staying on top of the consumption part of this became so mechanized for me that I started taking for granted how much work it was to reach that point. Training myself to ignore pangs of hunger while my body was adjusting to the 5 small meals per day I take in was a real challenge. When I was finally conditioned to that pattern, I never felt hungry. No, really: I never felt hungry. Even in the few periods of this weight-loss experience when I was imperfect with my intake, I never strayed from the good eating habits with portions and timing that I set up early on. The last several weeks, I was waaaaaaaaaaaaaaay off. I ate when and what I could, not when and what I should. It sent my metabolism into a tailspin and pretty much deprogrammed it. Getting back on track with the regular feeding times (like an animal — because my life is a zoo!) has again proven challenging, just as it was at the very beginning. Feeling hungry sucks! Fortunately, I have the knowledge that I succeeded at this once before, and therefore I know I will get to the other side again. Note: it would be much easier if pumpkin-spice-yogurt-covered pretzels didn’t exist.
I crapped out on the gym two days ago after writing that I planned to go that evening, but I did go last night. Admittedly, it wasn’t the high-intensity cardio work-out I needed, but I did resume my arm weights. Surprisingly, it wasn’t like before when I missed 2 weeks of gym time and had major soreness after my first time back, but I do feel it today in a way I haven’t for quite some time. I kind of like it, though. It means it’s working.
Elephanting (I would have said “Weight” here, but why destroy a good alliteration pattern?)
Instead of punking out and not submitting my weight for the third round of the Transformer Diet Bet I’m currently in, I bit the bullet and owned up to my miss this time. I have dug myself into a pretty big hole with the last month of recklessness, but with a lot of hard work, I still have a chance to come back and win round 4. Regardless of whether I regain my footing in time to win this round, the next round, or the final round, I will make damn sure I win the overall bet. There’s the many pounds of damage to undo, plus the ground I would have had to cover anyway. It’s going to be tough — especially with Thanksgiving and time spent at my parents’ (read: away from the gym again) thrown into the middle of this — but I have to find a way to rise to this. I’m even considering joining another Diet Bet for extra support and motivation, but I haven’t fully jumped on my own bandwagon of belief that I can actually LOSE weight over the holidays. Decisions, decisions….
This is a moment where I’m really glad I have this blog to reread. It was never as simple as cooking everything for myself and getting to the gym regularly. It was planning nutritious meals, finding the time to cook and apportion all of them in advance, separating my professional and personal stresses from my mission, putting myself first, getting support through writing on here and interacting on Diet Bet, consecrating time to work out, pushing myself through tough workouts and celebrating myself for making it, knowing when to up the weights I’m lifting or increase the speed I’m running, learning to resist the parade of sugar and carbs sitting in the open at work all day, scheduling and sticking to meal times, diverting money to replace my wardrobe, ensuring I got enough sleep, and learning to accept the praise and validations of others for all my hard work. There is no scenario in the world where it would be acceptable to rattle off that entire list to someone who asked me what I’m doing to lose weight, but let’s get real for a minute: it’s all of the above and more. I’m spelling all of that out in recognition of all the effort it takes to really make this machine operate on all cylinders. It’s never as easy as it sounds.
That’s a little bit why I’m cutting myself some slack here. My recent stumble sucks, yeah, and it was very humbling. I’m frustrated with myself, and disappointed that it caused me to lose a round of my DB, and even a little nervous about the situation I’ve put myself in. However, this is NOT a defeat, and it’s not insurmountable. Self care is still the priority, and that means not making me my own enemy.
All this to say, my work is cut out for me. Time to test the ol’ mettle. I think it’ll stand up. After all, the girl responsible for this
is also responsible for this.