Desperately seeking.............

Friday, July 10, 2009

This is a cross post from a blog on another forum, but I thought I'd post here to share since some of this issues seem to be affecting others around here.

I've been stewing over this issue for some time now and decided it was time to blog and try to get some of this out.

For those in maintenance and recommitting the title may be meaningful for you too. I've had several other friends in a variety of forums touch on this issue in one way or another, so I know I'm not alone, nor is this unique.

For those of you not familiar, I'm what is now considered a veteran MFer. I hit my goal, or happy weight about in the fall of '07. I maintained within my goal range for close to year and then little by little the scale crept up. I'm now roughly 15-20 lbs above my happy weight and am slowly working my way down again.

So what happened? I got a bit cocky about my success and allowed myself to slip into old bad habits. Now I'm not a junk food person. My vice is carbs and sweets - bread, pasta, and portion control. I love fruit, but will overdo it. And ...of course there's the biggest problem - stress, comfort, emotional eating. Yes my life is chaotic (work, kids, home, husband's business etc) and it has been a stressful year and I've fallen back in to the habit of eating my way through it.

Now factor in the running. In the past year I've completed my first 1/2 marathon - and 3 more subsequently, my 3rd 5K, my 1st 10K and my first marathon. So you'd think with all of this running (I was up to 30-35 miles a week during my marathon training period) I wouldn't be gaining. Wrong. I was telling myself that with all of the calories I was burning running, I could eat more. Well running consumes roughly 100 calories per mile, so 1 5 mile run - 500 calories - well that doesn't justify the extra bread, bowl of ice cream or cookies.

So I after the marathon last month I gave myself some time to recover. My foot had a pretty bad blister and it took almost two weeks to completely heal over. Once recovered I restarted 5&1 and within a short time I could tell the plan was working.

I'm staying off the scale because I need to relearn to listen to my body and not obsess over numbers. I'm a very type A person and will overanalyze anything. I need to relearn hunger, real hunger and how much better I feel when I don't over eat..

But after some time off, I missed running. So I decided to restart slowly. 3 miles. Yikes, boy that was rough. I really had to fight to get through it. I just felt so fatigued. Well being on 5&1 my glycogen stores were pretty low, and just can't fuel the running. I tried a couple more times - same thing. Then I tried having an extra bar before a run - much better - now I could get back to 5 miles.

Which brings me to the balance issue and my problem. While I was in losing mode I was very focused on my eating habits. Not exercising. Now running is a priority for me. Not only do I feel better doing it, but it helps my asthma, a lot, and has proven to be the best stress reliever for me - which I need. I'm hoping to join a group of friends for the SF marathon at the end of july (we're running the half). and need to get back to my long runs.

So balancing the need to lose - the need to fuel the running has not been easy. Balancing healthy eating against obsessing is another challenge. I wish I could just relax about food, but I can't. As soon as I do, I overdo it. Where's the happy middle ground? I don't know. I'm still searching.

In the meantime it's one day at a time. Slowly my clothes are getting more comfortable again, and I'm working my way back into a regular running routine. I do find I have to add extra food before a run to get me through it (NOTE: I don't recommend this - stick to the plan as intended for best results).

My goal these days isn't just about the scale - it's balance. With food, with running, with life in general. Living in a state of constant chaos and stress is not good and doesn't promote balance. I can't change all of it, but I can change some of it. So I'll work with that.

And for those you wondering, yes the next curve ball has come (see previous blog for reference) and it is in the form of hiring a lawyer (the third one this year) and filing for due process against my school district for my son. But I've got a pretty good feeling that we'll score on this one - maybe even get a home run.

And with that.. one of my songs of the moment (see link)
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Thanks for sharing...I feel like I could have written this, too.
    I have had the same issues since finishing my marathon, and I also thought I could eat more, when I increased my running.
    But, you have a great perspective on it....finding that balance without stressing over the numbers.
    3752 days ago
    Suzanne, you are right that many of us share this problem. I too got cocky with my food choices while training for half marathons. Now I'm struggling to cut all those calories because I'm not able to burn them with my usual cardio choices.

    Happy you are working to find that balance. Have a blast in San Fran. Give all the girls a great big hug before the race. I will be with you all in spirit!!!

    3753 days ago
    I've been maintaining my weight loss for 5 months now and I would agree that maintaining is as hard if not harder than losing the weight. That said - I was always more focused on food than exercise. I lost most of my weight without doing anything more than walking and occasionally riding the elliptical. It was only for the last 5 lbs. or so (and after 6 months on SP) that I gave strength training a try.

    Now I've got a pretty good routine going... tracking nutrition and fitness... staying within my calories... and not stressing if I'm over my calorie range one day - just sticking closer to the minimum the next.

    I tried not tracking for 4 days last month while I was at camp with my dd and discovered that I am not quite ready to abandon the nutrition tracker. I gained a couple of lbs. in those 4 days (poor camp food choices)... and didn't have a good gauge of how much I was eating. Once I went back to tracking, they fell right off.

    It sure is a process. Good for you for getting back on the wagon and taking it one day at a time. You did it once - you can do it again!!
    3753 days ago
    Suzanne...I could have written this blog myself!!! There is a reason we are going to be bunking together in San Fran...we'll get this figured out!!! See you soon!!!
    3754 days ago
    I agree that maintenance is probably tougher than losing the weight. You sort of lose that key thing to focus on. I have a hard time with the whole balance issue too. I LIKE to eat, and I also love to exercise, but sometimes life just gets in the way and throw the whole thing off kilter. I guess you have it right when you just start over and try to re prioritize again. It is certainly an ongoing process.
    3754 days ago
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