Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Time to Smell the Roses

I have a confession, devoted blog followers. This whole healthy lifestyle thing is really a lot of work for me. I know for some people it's something that just comes naturally. Maybe they were brought up eating clean and having exercise be a part of their everyday routine. I was not one of these people. And so it is something that I work at (literally) every moment of every day. I mean, I created this blog as part of that. To hold myself accountable for actually doing the work.

And, honestly, I'm beat. I sometimes feel like I'm running (again, literally) uphill. A really steep hill. With potholes. I sometimes feel like I spend so much time counting calories and planning workouts that I'm missing something else. Maybe even something more important.

"But what could be more important than my health?" I ask myself.

Where does one draw the line between enjoying life and giving one's self a break and staying committed.

Like today.

This week has been a bit of a nightmare. Our property taxes skyrocketed, the IRS lost the amendment that I sent in as part of last year's taxes and now I owe them a butt load of money, I'm trying to plan a wedding (kinda sorta), my work is wonderfully hectic and I haven't had a good night's sleep in at least 3 weeks (think awful back pain and lots of tossing and turning). I've pretty much been crying for the past two days and I don't even know why. All I wanted to do tonight was sit on the couch and watch a movie, maybe take a bath, read a book. And I started to do just that. But then this god awful guilt kicked spoke up. "You skipped your workout on Monday," it said. "If you skip today too, then you'll have to workout Saturday AND Sunday to meet your goal."

"But I'm exhausted!" my real self said. "I have had such a long week and I even lost two pounds this week. I deserve this night off."

"If you take tonight off, those two pounds will be right back on your ass next week," it continued. "You can take days off when you're 20 pounds lighter. Or dead."
It went back and forth like this for a bit until eventually my real self agreed with my guilt that I would, in fact, feel much better after I went for a run.

And so I draaaaaagged my butt of the couch and put on both of my sports bras (yes, I have to wear two and yes, it is a HUGE pain in the ass) and laced up my sneakers for a run.
I let my real self catch a break and I only ran two and a half miles instead of three. "Big deal," said my real self.

And half an hour later, I'm sitting on my back patio (WHEN did it get so NICE outside!?) drinking some water and watching the cats roll around and chase bugs. Turns out, I didn't miss anything more important, except maybe the last few minutes of "What Not to Wear."

I feel better that I went for a run. But I don't know when I'll ever give myself a break. I want to lose these last 20 pounds SO BAD. And not just lose them, KEEP them off (which, as we all know, is the toughest part).
I know that in order for this all to work, I need to make it a part of my lifestyle and I have. But not inasmuch as it doesn't require thought or planning or effort. And that worries me a little. Am I always going to have to work THIS hard?
Will it ever get easier?

Ahhhh, life's persistent questions.

Even as I type, I'm sitting here planning what to eat for dinner, and then breakfast and then lunch tomorrow, all while doing quick caloric adding in my head.

I know it's important. But I only get a few short months with blooming roses in my backyard. I really should worry a little less about calories and a little more about taking a few minutes to enjoy the gorgeous utopia of a vacant South Philadelphia lot...


jilly said...

Lady, you need to calm down.

You're obsessing and stressing yourself out over what? 20 lbs? What does 20lbs do? Do you win something? 20 lbs never looks like what you think it'll look like. 50lbs didn't look like what I thought it would. I know you wanna look hot in your wedding dress, but you already do. Plus Spanx takes 10lbs off, so you'd be halfway there ;)

It sounds like you just need to refocus. You're a smart woman. You know what's good for you to eat and you know what's bad and you know what's too much. So, why obsess about calories to this extent? Besides all the stress you're putting yourself through is only going to make your body hold on to your weight. If you do want to keep yourself in a tight calorie range, why don't you try a meal plan? Plan your menu out for the week on Sundays or whenever you go shopping. That'll get rid of a lot of the continuous stress and disordered behavior.

I went on a diet for while that was really strict in it's variety and portioning. I couldn't eat anything that wasn't measured or weighed or within a certain time frame of when I last ate. It really stressed me out and created a lot of disordered behavior. Once I realized the problem (I was freaking out because I ate too much apple? You know, because apples cause to gain like 40lbs)and was able to back away. It's made my life easier and I've actually lost weight a little quicker.

As for exercise, I tend to think of my gym time as time to get away from it all. I have the best workouts when i have a lot of crap going on. When you start freaking out about the irs or wedding or any of that stuff, just put it down, put on your sneakers and run. Don't think about money, don't think about "what am I gonna do?" just focus on the sound of your breathing. Turn your brain off. If you start thinking about, just push yourself harder. One of my trainers says that if I'm able to have a coherent thought, I'm not pushing myself hard enough. It's rough, but I helps and it puts me in a different mindset to tackle other challenges.

I step down from my soapbox now.

Sarah Pearce said...

^What she said.^

I was there this morning. I was down in the dumps after getting news I have to take a five-day furlough in June. The kids were slow getting ready, so I wasn't hitting the gym at the time I like to get there.
I overate last weekend, and I haven't been particularly careful this week (including the extra chocolate I ate after getting the furlough news late last night).
I went anyway, but gave myself an out. If child care was overcrowded and Lucy got upset, I would just go for a quick jog later.
It wasn't crowded, and I worked at about 60-70 percent for most of the workout, 80 percent for the rest of it.
I weighed myself and was surprised that I hadn't gained any weight this week (thanks, new muscles, for the metabolism).
On this side of the workout, I'm so happy. I realized I can probably take my furlough days when my parents are at the beach. I can have a for-really-real vacation, with the kids, and some books, on the beach.
Also, today is my anniversary, and since I haven't gained any weight, I won't feel too guilty to enjoy some wine.
I'm right there with you. There are days you just don't want to exercise, but you always feel better when you do. (I also feel like working out somehow makes time expand.)
Have you figured out any low-cal treats that work for you? I have a mocha and a bowl of 94 percent fat-free popcorn nearly every day. Chocolate + salty crunch = happiness.

Anonymous said...

I so can relate! I have been trying so hard to watch everything that I eat and make sure that I exercise every day and some days I just don't feel like it. But every time I cut myself some slack the weight creeps on. How eating 1/2lbs of something makes you gain 3lbs makes no sense to me.
I have found that allowing myself small treats every day helps curb that feeling of always being diligent.
So hang in there and enjoy life not just muddle though!