putting breaks into perspective
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
I'm examining my past few months of sparking history and realizing some patterns that are holding me back.
The biggest problem? I tend to do good work for a period of time, and garner results, but then take a "break." It's not always intentional, and the breaks often are no more than a couple of days. (Sometimes as long as a week.)
Usually a "break" starts with a bad day or week. Often they're triggered by events beyond my control - - a cancelled babysitter; a looming deadline; social events; travel. Sometimes they are a result of me falling back on old, negative habits in response to unexpected stress. Sometimes they are a result of poor planning for a foreseeable situation that could have been handled better.
I've used the excuse that these "breaks" don't really set me back. And it's true, I rarely actually GAIN weight while I'm slacking off. And even on my worst days off, I still don't even come close to the types of eating I used to consider normal.
I'm not entirely convinced that taking some time off, once in a while, is a terrible idea. So far, I haven't had a problem bouncing right back at the appropriate time. And it DOES feel mentally refreshing to relax the grip on the reins once in a while.
STILL, I have to acknowledge that these "breaks" do have negative consequences. While my days (or weeks) of time off from my hardest-working, healthiest, best me aren't causing the scale to move upward again, they ARE slowing my progress down considerably. If I could just stay consistent for 6 weeks at a time instead of 3, I'd be losing an extra couple pounds a month. I'd be reaching my goals and seeing the consistent progress that I so crave.
So what will I ultimately choose to do? It's not realistic (for me) to make this a lifestyle change without planning for occasional failure... In fact, I refuse to think of these breaks as failures, they are natural parts of a lifestyle pattern that just need to be brought into better balance.
Some ways to challenge myself to do better:
- I give myself one weekend day to go over my calorie target (by just a little, say, one treat). I think I'll continue to do this, but try to appreciate it more. And try to stay faithful to the nutrition tracker even on weekends - - it is such a vital tool for me.
- I'm going to start using the "spark streaks" tool to better track how long I can go in between "breaks."
- I'm going to try to redefine "break" in my mind... maybe I'll take time off from the nutrition tracker, but not from regular exercise. (Or vice versa.) But try to eliminate those "dead" weeks where I'm really not doing the right thing on any front.
- I'm going to take some helpful advice and post some signs in key places at home (handy, since I work from home) to remind me to stay strong when unexpected crises crop up. (Or simply when I need a little reminder to stay strong!)
- I'm going to plan far better for future travel. My workout clothes are coming with so I have no excuse not to exercise. Regular exercise feels great, and should be a part of my life whether I'm home or away... plus, it curbs my appetite and gives me better focus on my goals throughout the day.