Shaky beginnings, bright future

Saturday, December 24, 2011

So, yesterday began my new SparkDiet, but it failed miserably. But today was better!
I must mention that the night before then my fiance's family and I went to a Portuguese restaurant and I was extremely proud of myself for ordering grilled shrimp instead of one of a dozen very fatty foods. So there's a compliment before a criticism.
Yesterday we had friends over that we haven't seen in months, and I was doing so well - really! I had been very light on the snacky appetizer of pita chips and cheese and we cooked a nutritious dinner of roast chicken with sweet potatoes and green beans. Then we started playing a board game (Carcassone - so much fun!) and the chips and cheese came back on the table. You guessed it - no thanks, well if you insist, I'll just have one, I'll just have another, oh my where did all the chips go?!
If I had been able to pull myself out right then and there I would have come out okay, but I was in a diet nosedive. We had a coffee cake (because I thought I didn't like coffee cake) and our guests had brought a pie. So here comes dessert and not only am I trying the coffee cake and finding that I like it, but I'm saying yes to a big piece of pie too, AND agreeing to a mug of hot chocolate! 700 calories - wham! Part of me knew that I was making awful choices, but morbid curiosity compelled me to say yes just so I'd see how bad the damage was later when I entered the foods.
Yikes! After putting it all in, I said in a stereotypical repair mechanic's voice, "Well, there's yer problem!" Nothing like starting a diet with a calorie surplus. Sigh.
But tomorrow's always a new day, so I made sure today was much better. While I'd like to - in fact I need to - make running regular, I decided that no amount of wind or cold was going to prevent me from running three miles today. And I did! 3 miles in approximately 31:30. For fun I switched up my playlist and I was very happy to find that most of Flogging Molly's "Float" provides an appropriate running beat.
I think that I should match overeating one day with increasing exercise the next. I know that for some people, including my younger self, it would be punishment. But now my tendency is to say, "I messed up yesterday, so who cares about today?" So adding (or ensuring) exercise is me definitively saying "NO!" to my one error. Keep a mistake a mistake, don't make it into a landslide!

Speaking of which, I really need to figure out my workout schedule. I think that I would like to run three times a week and strength train three times as well, and fit in Zumba and other fitness classes where I can.
I have morning ambulance duty on Mondays and Thursdays and I think it would be productive to work out at the gym near the station instead of sitting around waiting for a call at home. I'll do just strength training then so that I won't be very sweaty or out of breath. So Mondays and Thursdays, the "middle" day is Saturday - it would be nice to start the weekend with an uninterrupted hour in the gym. I believe they open at 7, I'll have to check.
Now, I have an internship all day on Tuesdays, so that makes it difficult to work around. I can do Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays for a run. 3 miles is easy for me, but I want to get to 10K soon, so I need to research how best to prepare for longer distance events. I presume that running 6 miles three times a week is not as effective as, say, 6 miles slow + 4.5 miles regular + 3 miles fast. But this schedule is the short of thing that gets obliterated in the face of commitments, and I'd really like to have a full-time job! So I'll have to think about how best to schedule my time in a sustainable manner.
I do need to get back to strength training, though. I love the endorphin of cardio, but it really benefits me to lift weights as it's fairly easy for me to gain muscle. There's no limit to the benefits of having more muscle, particularly as an EMS person (those stretchers don't lift themselves!).

I took some before photos today. Eee. I was going to share, but I couldn't bring myself to until I had some after photos up next to them. The strange thing is that I don't look much worse than my after photos from a few months ago. I really, really, really hope that not trying to lose weight for several months reset my set point. If I lost 15% of my body weight like I did last time I'd be several pounds beyond my goal. Even 10% would be happily accepted.
And if I could get to 20% I would be less than I've ever weighed as an adult. I've always been comfortable with the idea that I'm stronger and thus heavier than other people my age, sex, and height; but whenever I begin a new diet program I always wonder, is this the start of me losing more weight than I absolutely "have" to? (I currently inhabit the "overweight" BMI and my goal weight is at the upper limit of "healthy".) What would happen if I became a single-digit dress size? Would I be miserable and hungry? Or would I realize how much weight I had put on my joints and be a much more efficient running machine? Would I be able to wear short skirts and high heels?
It's always a push and pull with one's body type and what on earth an "ideal" weight is. I'm certain this time around, though, that my old fear of never being thin enough is unfounded. Looking at my after photos proves that I am happy at whatever weight I am when I act healthfully!

Another thing I am sure about now is that every day of the rest of my life is a move towards or away from health. Not every cookie or glass of wine is a "mark" of course, but there's no way around making a choice every single day. If that means I'm always going to be the person bringing a fresh vegetable platter to parties, or going to bed early so I can make my morning run, so be it. I'm going to be a person no matter what, so why not be a healthy one?
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.