Saturday, March 16, 2013
Saturday mornings are on a tight schedule right now. I get up, do laundry, do a long walk for cardio and steps, and have lunch before heading out to my volunteer job Saturday afternoon. The laundry is what makes the schedule tight, as I need to get it all out of the drier before my daughter uses the laundry facilities while I'm off doing taxes.
This morning, I thought I'd try a short run instead of a walk. I reasoned that with the leg injury from Sunday, I wasn't going to plunge back into a long run tomorrow anyway. If I just ran a bit over 3 miles, I could keep the 10 miles per week streak alive. And if I ran just a little over 3 miles, I might be okay running again tomorrow, even if it is two days in a row.
Well . . . a lot of that was Mr. Testosterone talking. The light jogging in the hallway this morning should have put that plan to rest, but Mr. Testosterone talked me into trying. The weather was cold for mid-March, but okay for running; it was 28° F when I made the decision, but rose to 30° by the time I went out the door. The Weather Channel web site reported ENE wind at 11 mph, so I wore my warmer running tights and heavier compression shirt under a midlayer jacket. In the back of my mind, I thought I might need to slow to a walk and I'd rather be a shade warm on the run than suffer unduly on a walk back.
So I got out to do the warmup. The thigh that I injured last Sunday felt just about the same during warmup as it did during last Sunday's warmup. So I turned around, went back inside, changed into my walking shoes, got a coat, and went for a walk instead.
It's a small disappointment to not run, but it would be a much bigger disappointment to aggravate that same thigh again. I'll see if I'm up to running tomorrow, but it won't be a long run. I'm thinking between 3 and 4 miles, even if the leg feels totally normal when I start. And I suspect the leg won't be back up to totally normal tomorrow.
It occurs to me that moderation is an important principle in exercise as well as in nutrition. We see a lot of messages that we should get more exercise. These messages are much like the messages that we should eat more fruits and vegetables. They are valid for the *average* American, but there comes a time when moving further in the direction of more fruits & veggies or more exercise will be too much and create other problems.
Recognizing where that point is can be challenging. There isn't any bright line test that is valid for everyone.
So I walked today, and thought about what moderate exercise should look like for me. I'd like to be able to run 4 days a week again, but until the bad foot is 100% holding that to 3 days would be prudent. And the past two weeks have convinced me that I can't add mileage very quickly. I seem to have been okay at 15 miles a week, but long runs over 9 miles created issues. I have between now and April 28 to try to find a run/walk interval mix that I can build to 13.1 miles; but the first test drive of that will be no earlier than 8 days from now.
Meanwhile, I've been wrestling with moderation on the nutrition side. I've trimmed calories from my range because of the reduced running, and it's been a struggle to eat down to the revised range. This is a surprise, because the "revised" range is a range I lived with very well for several months. I think I'll get there; but I need to re-train my thinking that had adapted to a more generous calorie range for running. Today has felt good, but it's the first day since I trimmed to this level on Monday that I haven't struggled to keep the calories down where they need to be.
Ugly truth: I eat for more reasons than hunger. I eat for stress, and for boredom. Almost a year and a a half of using the SP nutrition tracker as a maintenance tool has got me to fit the boredom and stress eating into the ranges, and to eat healthier stuff for the stress and boredom; but it hasn't eliminated the emotional eating.
The actual health issues from overeating haven't been terribly severe for me, but I can see behavioral issues that are similar to those that self-identified overeaters talk about. I may be different from such Sparkers only because I was blessed with a fast metabolism. And while that fast metabolism makes it easier to lose weight, and easier to fit indulgences into what I eat for maintenance, it doesn't allow me to eat whenever I feel like it. Not even if what I'm eating is healthier stuff than I would have chosed pre-Spark.
Moderation. Awareness. Measurement. Tracking and changing behaviors to keep the tracked activities (eating and exercise) at a level that supports good health. That's what I learned when I joined SP, and that's how I lost the weight in the first place. And I still need to do this to maintain the weight loss.
Usually, the nutrition side stays under control easily for me. This week, it was a bit of a challenge. So I write this pep talk to remind myself of why I track. I write to remind myself of *why* I need to eat less. Understanding why, emotionally as well as intellectually, helps me to do what I need to do.
And what I need to do right now is practice moderation in both eating and exercise. This can be done. I can do this. I just need to remember what I want, and make my actions support my priorities.