Staying motivated while feeling down
Sunday, February 17, 2013
It's been a long time since I've posted. As part of my plan to get fit, my goal has been to post at least one entry a week, but that hasn't worked out so far. I've wanted to post. There have been a lot of things I have wanted to say, but by the time I sit down at the end of the day to do this I find I can't focus. There's been a lot going on. Besides working out and trying to get fit, I've started thinking about grad school again and have been applying for promotions at my job, so that I can save more money for grad school. But rather than try to remember all the things I've wanted to write about over the last few weeks I want to start with what is going on now, and how I'm feeling.
This weekend I've been feeling kind of low. First of all, I'm overwhelmed by grad school stuff, not just the things I need to do, but also the decisions I need to make, and the reality that there is the possibility I will have to move away from boyfriend (with whom I live). Then there's the fact that I'm wondering if I'm really making any progress. I've done my 5 workouts for this week, but, other than wearing my fitbit, I haven't really tracked anything, and while my eating hasn't been the worse ever, it certainly hasn't been the best. Then, the week before, I missed a couple of workouts, and had a weekend where I ate a lot of junk food because I went up to Bethlehem to visit a friend. Originally, I had planned for it, and was still supposed to fit in my 5 workouts. But it was a busy week, and on top of that, the weather messed up my plans and I ended up having to drive up a day early. I actually made myself proud though that weekend, because I threw in an extra workout that Sunday. Instead of just doing my strength training that day, I also went to the gym and ran on the elliptical for a half hour. After missing 3 workouts and going 4 straight days without exercising I felt like a needed to workout extra long, and not just because I felt in some way I was making up for missing workouts, but also because my body needed to move. I felt great afterwards, and had every intention of making the best of this week. But as I already said, this week did not go as well as I had hoped it would.
Then I went and made it worse by weighing myself on Thursday. I know I'm not supposed to weigh myself until the end of these 4 weeks, but I couldn't help it. My curiosity got the best of me. I was hoping to at least see that I hadn't gained any weight, but actually found that I gained back 3 of the 8 pounds I had lost, which bummed me out. I lost 8lbs in the first 5 weeks, and here I am halfway through month 2 and not making nearly as much progress. And I know logically that I shouldn't let this get me down. There are any number of reasons why I weighed 3lbs more than the last time I weighed myself. Even though I always weigh myself first thing in the morning, and always under the same conditions, I know that weight can fluctuate 2 or more pounds daily for various reasons. I also know that I'm getting stronger (I can tell from my workouts), and muscle weighs more than fat. But, emotionally, it made me feel like I was failing all over again. And even working out yesterday (strength training) didn't make feel better. Everything, grad school and my weight, bore down on me and I felt depressed, despite the hope that an endorphin boost would help me feel better.
But here's the thing: Whether or not that 3lbs really did come back, was a fluke, or is newly developed muscle, I can't stop and I can't let it get me down. I realized that today while I was on the elliptical. Today I upped the resistance, and after a few minutes it occurred to me that I really am getting stronger. And, sure maybe I can't tell right now that my body has changed, but 6 months from now, or even 2 or 3 months from now, I will be able see a difference. Maybe my weight won't change that much in the next several weeks, or several months, but if I keep going I will be stronger, and I will be more fit. Right now I'm trying to build strength and endurance, and prepare my body to try a walk/run program in the spring so that I can learn to run, and that in and of itself will be an accomplishment.
Of course, I know that this is a long process, and like I wrote in an earlier blog entry, I've finally accepted that it will take awhile to reach my goals, but while knowing that is sometimes comforting, it isn't always. We need those moments where we become aware of how much we've improved. It's hard to stay motivated and keep moving towards a goal, when you feel like you're standing still and can't foresee the end. That's why I love my fitbit, and this site, because it helps me find other ways of tracking my progress. Like today for example, I got a trophy for doing 1000 fitness minutes this month. Of course, this is in part because my sparkpeople account is linked to my fitbit (and counts my daily steps towards my fitness minutes), but that's still great. That's more than I did in December for sure, and probably even January. And while I can rarely manage to take 10,000 steps in a day because I work in a bank, most of my days consist of more than 5000 steps now. When I first got the fitbit I had lots of days where I never hit that 5000 steps mark.
I guess the moral of this story is to keep working, don't give up and keeping using the tools I have available to me because they keep me motivated.