Into the Wild...
Tuesday, July 02, 2013
It would almost be easier to lose weight if I wasn't a social animal. I'm finding that the real area I need to ensure I have my defenses up for, is when I'm out with friends and family. This past weekend was a holiday weekend up here in Canada, and my in-laws have a massive trailer-house up north in our cottage-country. My wife and the kids went up on Friday, and I joined them on the Saturday. I went up pretty stoked, having done a weigh in and seeing that I was down from 250 lbs to 245 lbs. Another five pounds of fat that I'll never have to see again. It was super nice to get away for a few days, but I instantly came face to face with the inherent difficulties of a holiday weekend, and eating meals with a group like that. I was really more a passenger during mealtimes, as I had no say in what was being made. It was either tasty foods where there was ample amount of extra food that was constantly being pushed around for seconds and thirds, or it was simply fatty foods, loaded with calories for really nothing that would fill my tummy up. It was strange to suddenly find myself extremely aware of what was on the table, and even more strange to find how naturally I turned to my spark people calorie counter to find out rough numbers for what was before me. Using these numbers, I would always try to maximize the lower calorie items, and just have a small taste of the high calorie items. This would allow me to feel full, but also enjoy what was on the table. I'm pretty proud of myself, to be honest, that although my calorie count was above-average compared to the last month, it was still well within my recommended range. Highly fatty foods are the serious killer I'm learning. Things even as simple as a delicious butter croissant. It's practically nothing in terms of size and it's ability to fill me up, but it takes up so many calories. Anyways, I'm glad I was able to say "no thanks, I'm full" when seconds and thirds were being enjoyed. I've got goals, and I aim to achieve them. Giving into temptation will only serve to slow my progress, and I plan to keep momentum in my favor.
Upon coming home last night, I was excited to hit the gym and put in a good workout. I take the weekends off, doing Mon/Wed/Fri workouts, so it's really important that I not miss my Monday workout. So I was saddened yesterday, but not surprised after pulling into the parking lot, to find the YMCA closed for Canada Day. Instantly my mind came up with a thousand excuses that all sounded alot like "Oh well, you tried, you're doing really good, so one day off is no big deal". I instantly replied to my weaker self (who for a long time I had let run things), I said "I'll have none of that, we'll simply improvise!" In my late teens, when I first lost all my weight, I had no gym membership, just my room for sit-ups and push-ups, and the open road for running. At my current weight, the thought of running out in the open, for all to see, has been a discouraging one, so this was actually a big moment for me. I put on my runners, mapped out a 2.5 mile route, checked my clock for a starting time, and off I went! I ran it in about 40 minutes, compared to 30 minutes on the treadmill, but my route was relatively hilly, which posed a good workout for my legs. I had to stop about 12 minutes in, but I think it was because I was running at too fast a pace compared to the even 5.3mph I've been running on the treadmill. My heart pounded so hard that it felt like it was going to jump out of my throat, so I chose caution - seeing as I hadn't had that kind of a feeling while at the gym this past month. I walked for about five or six minutes, but once the feeling was gone, I quickened my pace, and managed to do the rest of the run without stopping once. I always finish my runs with a thirty-second sprint - something I've done since highschool - and it was a sweet feeling to arrive home at full strength, feeling pretty great. Exhausted, but great. Once inside, I marked the time and got down for my sit-ups and push-ups. At my peak, around 19 years old, I was doing 300 crunches each night, and close on 50 push-ups. I didn't do that last night, lol. But I was happy to feel strength in my muscles as I did my 50 sit-ups and 15 push-ups, and that was encouragement enough. As a side note, my abs feel shredded today, which tells me perhaps I should forgo my knee lifts on the captains chair at the gym, and hit the floor instead.
So, a pretty successful weekend by my measures. Did good in regards to my calories, and managed to stay dedicated to my health by running outdoors for the first time in maybe six years. Once upon a time I might have reasoned that I should reward myself with a chocolate eclair, or something along those lines, but now I reason with myself that the real reward is by NOT eating that garbage. If we put our health first, and derive real tangible joy from losing weight and looking healthy, then the real rewards we can give ourselves (as strange as it seems) are nice long workouts, and eating well. Or, as in the case of my ten pounds lost, a new pair of shoes! :-D
Member Comments About This Blog Post
Well at the risk of sounding like a broken record on all your blog posts I'm just going to say again how inspirational and great it is to read your blog. Keep up the good work and keep writing, it helps a lot.
1582 days ago
@Glazed-Donut I think the best thing to say for temptation is that it's completely natural, and that we shouldn't let giving into ever stop us from knowing that we can achieve our health goals. For me, giving into food temptations this past year has been so off the charts that I'm simply trying to re-organize my brain to disassociate those temptations as rewards for good behavior. Instead, I'm putting more value in other things as rewards, like my new shoes, and I'm thinking about getting a heart-rate monitor to mark my next ten pound loss. Things like that. Then for treats and what not, I simply work them into days where I've been really good with my calories and have a good amount of extra allowance to afford them. You're 100% right that we shouldn't just deprive ourselves of a treat now and then though, as long as we're working toward our goals we should still enjoy the yummy things in life. :-D
@KAT Exactly! It starts with a glass of wine or a beer, and then the finger foods come out, and then the meal, and then desserts, etc... it's all we can do to just say that our weight-loss and goals are more important then that wheel of baked brie. Again though, like the lovely Glazed-Donut said, it's really about moderation and the frequency of those kinds of events, and that's the self-control I'm trying to build right now for sure. As for the part of me that makes excuses, that's who I'm starting to refer to as my dark passenger - total Dexter rip-off, though minus the serial killer part. :-D
@Teachfirst Thanks so much for your kind words. Even as I was running, passing by other much fitter people on my path, I had to battle my self-esteem and tell myself that these people are probably more proud of me that I'm actually trying to be active, as opposed to looking down on me for being overweight. I know when I was super super fit, I never once looked at an overweight person in the gym and thought anything other than "good for them, taking care of themselves".
@Healthy-Spark Your comment made me smile huge! Thanks so much for the encouraging words. Yeah, when I use the captain's chair, I make sure to keep resistance on my abs by not letting my legs drop down all the way, which makes that bounce back effect and lowers the intensity by a huge margin. After feeling the difference in my abs from the floor crunches, I think maybe I'm simply not doing enough of the knee raises to provide the same measure of workout. I'm going to experiment. :-D I'll try doing them slower overall as well. I've done some leg raises also, which are super hard. I want to get better at those over the next year, as I feel like a pro-star when I do them! :-D
@KClark You're a rockstar to me, and you're so right about looking forward to workouts. The best is when I go feeling like I probably won't have the energy to do much, and then just keep pushing and motivating myself, and end up having the best workout of the week. It's such a bizarre high to leave feeling like I really accomplished something. I hope you enjoy your time up north, and running through memory lane! I think about my routes I used to run in highschool alot, and one of my goals in the next year is to find some new ones in my current neighborhood.
Sorry for the long comment, I just value you all so much and wanted to take some time to respond to each of you! :-D
1598 days ago
So awesome! I'm going up north to see family in a few weeks, and while it isn't the first time I've done it since moving away, I'm still anxious about it and keeping myself on track for that week. But I am excited to re-visit my old running routes, so that is some pre-motivation that I have now that I hope lasts!
I love how much we can look forward to workouts rather than food the farther our journeys take us! Keep up the great work!
1598 days ago
Okay you totally rock. I love everything about this blog -- from the great food choices and strategy to get through the holiday weekend eating parade, and the response to your gym being closed and improvising with an outdoor run followed by body weight exercises. Woohoo! Good for you!
that's funny about the captain chair knee lifts -- I see a lot of people at my gym whiz through those things with a big bounce at the bottom to swing back up (my technique when I first started) -- so now I go very slowly for each repetition -- UGH. It's a good muscle shredding though. I also recently discovered "iron crosses" -- those are killer for me, but I try to add them after I go running.
Kudos to you on all of your success!
1599 days ago
YES! YES! YES! Though we all travel different paths, we all face similar challenges! Family functions are tough for me, too, and I avoided going outside to walk (never mind RUN) for a long, long time because of my embarrassment. When we're truly able to put our health first, make it a priority, and not care what others thing - it's such a defining moment. CONGRATS on getting out there today! I'm running a 5k tomorrow and you're reminding me where I started. Feeling very inspired...thank you!
1599 days ago
I hope you're giving yourself a major pat on the back!
Social events can definitely be really challenging and tend to be when I do my worst. When I get together with girl friends and have a glass of wine or two, I'm SO much more likely to eat something junky. It seems like you did a great job staying goal-focused and continuing with tracking and being mindful of calories despite some roadblocks AND that you managed to practice moderation by having small amounts of unhealthy foods. That's a great sign of this being a lifestyle for you!
Ditto for not allowing the part of you who makes excuses to control your decisions. That's another really hard lesson to learn that it seems like you've completely mastered!
1599 days ago
Awesome - way to go for staying in control, thats a tough situations.. all social gatherings are hard, but I find family is worse.
No matter where I go - a weekend away with the family, a camping trip with friends, any road-trip anywhere I plan ahead. I prep myself healthy snacks in serving sizes, pre-cook meals and if its a group situation I will even offer to cook dinner one night, that way I can choose a healthier option and family & friends enjoy the fact I'm cooking the meal so dont get too many complaints! haha
I used to be so consumed with what everyone would think of my pre-packed menu I would get seriously anxious over it... not anymore.. couldnt care less, i do me, they can do them.. if they dont like it... so be it, I control me and deserve legit nutrition! (-:
I feel that giving into temptation (in moderation and infrequently) is healthy and as long as we dont veer off the path too much it wont effect the consistency of your normal routine.
I think you did an awesome job considering the situation. PROPS - your mindset is on RAWK!!! Have a great rest of the week!!
1599 days ago
1599 days ago
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.
More Blogs by GREGGWEISBROD