Sunday, June 10, 2012
Warning: Embarrassing Confession To Follow
Some of you will remember that I started my healthy eating journey before I started with exercise or running. Once I had my food under control, I slowly began to introduce activity and somehow landed on running as my primary means of working out. To kickstart my health, I went on the South Beach Diet Phase 1. It was a really great time for my body, as I kicked all those sugar and carb cravings to the curb and lost almost 10 lbs in 2 weeks time. To my surprise, it wasn't just water weight. After I finished with the strict Phase 1 and decided not to transition to Phase 2, but to go with a somewhat less strict diet (basically, the SparkPeople diet - just doing my best to eat healthfully and stay within my daily calorie ranges), I kept the initial 10 lbs. off. And I've kept it off to this day.
On the Spark Diet, I lost another 5 lbs or so...bringing me to a total weight loss of 21 lbs. I was able to stick with pretty healthy choices and wasn't indulging in sweets or excessive portions.
But I went on vacation this past week. For the first half of the week, I didn't have much control over my diet because we were at a retreat center, which was stocked with food for us. We had to work with what we were given and, truthfully, there was a lot of convenience food and pre-frozen stuff. But...I did manage to work in as many veggies as I could and had a pretty great salad every day while we were there.
The rest of the week was tougher for me, being home. It was a slow decline. Started with a few extra snacks here and there...with the thought, "Just a little treat. I NEVER eat these anymore and I'm still controlling my portion. It's just one little extra." It staggers me to watch myself and see how QUICKLY I can just come undone when I allow a small indiscretion here and a small indiscretion there. Suddenly, I'm going through an entire day with an attitude of "whatever".
Please understand...I'm not one that thinks there are "good foods" and "bad foods". I do believe that everything is fine in moderation and that deprivation is not a good strategy for lifelong health. But each of us is different and, if we say we want to be healthy, we need to be honest with ourselves and KNOW ourselves...what our triggers are and how they might affect us overall and for the long haul. Some people might not need to be so strict with their food choices, because if they eat a small bag of chips, it's no problem. They'll just jump back into healthy choices, no problem. But I haven't been able to get to this point yet. So, I have learned that I NEED some rigid boundaries. If I am going to get what I ultimately WANT...which is a healthier, leaner and stronger body...I will need to take measures that might seem drastic to some.
The truth is...my weight loss has stalled - for the past couple of weeks (and not just stalled, the number is slowly creeping up...it could be just water weight, but knowing my diet habits this past week...I am not so sure). This is frustrating for me because I've been working so hard. And, while I completely understand the idea of a non-scale victory and don't base my total worth on the number on the scale, let's not kid ourselves. ONE of my goals here is to lose weight. And if it isn't happening for a significant amount of time, even as I am supposedly doing the things that I should be doing for weight loss, perhaps I need to re-evaluate my plan.
As I don't believe it would be wise to violate my rest days (I'm already running 4 days a week and I already have a good half marathon training program in place that includes cross-training on the off days), that only leaves one variable. My diet.
And seeing as the first go around with South Beach Phase 1 was so helpful, I think it could benefit me to revert back to that for a week or two. Nothing permanent...the author of South Beach would tell you himself that this strict of a diet is not sustainable over the longterm or advisable (the body DOES need carbohydrates...and a runner's body surely needs them!)
I'm basically looking for a healthy eating re-boot here. Another attempt to flush out the sugar that I've let slowly infiltrate my diet over time and to re-train my focus on vegetables and lean proteins. Because I did not have running as part of my equation the first time around, I consulted with a certified personal trainer that I go to church with to make sure this would be OK for my body. She informed me that, if I am eating plenty of vegetables, they will give me the carbohydrate levels I need to perform the runs that are on my schedule for the next two weeks. So, I got the thumbs up from her...which was definitely a big deal to me. Peace of mind.
We've all heard the car analogy, right? You take care of your car and give it good fuel, just as you take care of your body by fueling it with good things. I consider this a pit stop...an oil change to flush out the bad and clean everything up a bit.
How about you? What types of re-boots have you had to perform in your health journey? What has worked? What did not work?