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The benefits of taking a break. (and) Why don't I feel succesful?

Monday, November 05, 2012

It's been a while since I've had time to write a blog so instead of writing two blogs, I thought I would do a two-part blog.

First, many of you may know from my last blog that I had not been able to go to the gym for about two weeks because I had to give up my membership for financial reasons. I was very nervous about that and tried really hard to still exercise. I don't have any videos or equipment at home so I had to rely on good ol' walking. It doesn't burn nearly as many calories as other exercises but it was all I had. I chose routes with hills to keep it challenging. I'm not physically at a point where I can jog yet.

I only was able to go about four times one week and three times the next so my calories burned and energy exerted was definitely lower than the past few months. I was afraid of getting lazy or getting out of the habit of working out hard and going to the gym.

I finally was able to return to the gym Thursday and I was DREADING it. I thought it was going to be so hard getting back into it after being gone since two Sundays before that. Guess what? I rocked it!!!!! I did a 12:30-minute mile on the elliptical. My fastest time before that was 15:20. Then I moved to the treadmill and I was faster and it didn't even feel like I was trying. I even jogged a bit.

I was so happy and now know that taking that time off probably gave my body a much needed rest. Second, walking those hills increased my physical strength and muscles that I had not been using by doing most of my workouts in the gym. I realize taking a break or taking it easy is scary but I think maybe sometimes we need to do it to get stronger physically and mentally.

I've decided I'm going to put more walking into my cardio routine instead of all elliptical. I love the elliptical because it burns a lot of calories but I didn't realize I had sort of hit a plateau and wasn't progressing as much as I could. It also inspired me to sign up for my first 5k in years. I'll be doing it on the day that is a glutton's dream...Thanksgiving!

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I figured it would give me motivation to keep working hard leading into the holiday season and it will remind me of my goals on a day that is traditionally about eating like a pig.

With that said, this is the second half of my blog. I don't know if I've hit a slump or a bump in the road or I'm depressed but I don't feel good about myself or anything I'm doing right now. Two things have made me feel bad. First, I finally bought a new scale and it turns out my old scale was about 10 pounds off. I'm so depressed about this. I mean I've lost weight. My clothes are fitting me baggy and I've lost inches but I feel like I've had very little progress for very much effort. I don't know if my scale was right to start or went wacky along the way. So maybe I've lost 40 pounds or maybe it's only 30. I know that doesn't seem like a big deal but for me there was something mentally about reaching that 40-pound mark. I almost feel like my effort this last month didn't even count.

Second, this financial stress in my life is getting me down. I'm seriously at the end of my rope. I thought things would finally be better with this check but once all the bills were paid and necessities were handled, I'm broke. I'm so sick of it and I feel like I'm doing a terrible job as a parent. How can I celebrate or be proud of anything when I can't even provide for my family?

It's also really hard to restock fresh fruit and veggies in my house when there is no money left in the bank until payday. I made a stew on Saturday so that will get me through the beginning of the week and I have things to cook but there is no way I will have fresh produce for the next two weeks. It's so incredibly frustrating. It throws everything off and I feel closest I have since starting this journey to just throwing in the towel. Mostly it's because it feels hopeless and no matter what I try, it's not changing. I see my life in the same frickin' mess it was in June.

I guess I'm just having a hard time seeing how far I've come or if I've even progressed at all. Some days I still feel as stressed, sad, isolated, worried and fat as I did when I started this in June. What's the point of all this hard work if nothing changes? Why don't I feel any success?
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I can completly identify with the financial problems. There are days that I can't do anything else but crunch the numbers in my head. Keep searching there is an answer somewhere. Be it the way you live, the way you handle your money or just simply your mind set.

    I understand how the pounds lost is such a huge motivator, but maybe it would help you to measure other ways. Inches lost.

    Chin up, there are always going to be highs and lows. That's just life. You may even hate that I'm spewing this at you, because I know there are times when I don't want to hear anything other than "life just sucks" And it does. But not everything about life sucks. Find a way to take your mind off the financial. I know it's tough. Just as that physical break did a ton of good. A mental one will tooo.

    Keep going.
    2287 days ago
    What ever you do, DO NOT give in now! I know how hard you must have worked to get to where you are now! DO NOT throw it all away! Life sucks and is not fair! You can get through this and will be stronger when you do!

    It is AWESOME that after 2 weeks you have gotten stronger and faster. What you are doing is working. Do not short yourself on your progress!

    emoticon emoticon I know you can do it!
    2298 days ago
    I am very proud of how far you've come, whatever the scales say you are so much healthier and overally happier. I know you will not give up because you are a strong woman :) You will get through this slump and come out stronger than ever!

    I can't wait to do that 5K with you on thanksgiving. we will rock it emoticon
    2298 days ago
    Don't pay too close attention to the scale! Progress is progress. The fact is, you are still lighter today than you were a few months ago. Don't let the stupid scale discourage you.

    Are you familiar w/this website? She has some healthy recipes, especially for main dishes. I hope your financial situation improves soon.
    2299 days ago
    I wish your financial situation would improve.It is hard to do things nowadays. Everyone is struggling to make ends meet. The important thing is to keep working at it.
    You have gained strength and speed.Keep doing your walks, Incorporate arms or eventually a small weight set and keep at it.
    That is a good idea to do a 5K on Thanksgiving. Will keep you from being too bad and over eating. I don't know what we plan on doing.
    Do not think like that ,all of your efforts count. That is why it is called effort. Think of the physical activity you do towards your goal as effort given . scale is secondary and will move eventually.
    Just try to stay within serving portions. It is still doable.
    2299 days ago
    Money problems suck big time!! I do know the feeling. We just seem to get ahead and boom something else happens! We are pretty much broke too and the people wanting our money keeps happening and happening! All because of medical co pays and deductibles over the past 2 years! What I do to keep myself from going crazy and it might sound cliche' but it works, one day at a time, don't worry about it. Even if you have $5 in your pocket it can buy you something to put on the table. The important thing is the exercise and it seems you are wanting to keep up with that. Throwing in the towel will only make you feel worse and you don't want that do you? You are not a failure, you are still going-if you give up, then you will have failed. We aren't quitters right?!
    Taking a rest is not a bad thing, the body needs that once a week at least. Your body will only start losing what you have accomplished after a couple weeks (per articles I have read)-so even when we get sick with the flu or something else, we don't have to worry about our workouts, just get back at it when you are well.
    I don't go to a gym, probably would have lost more weight by now if I had. But losing slowly is the best way to make sure to keep it on later! It is healthier for you! Hang in there, just read your first part of your blog here, when you get down again...very inspiring! Take care and thanks for stopping by my page with the nice note! emoticon emoticon
    2299 days ago

    Comment edited on: 11/6/2012 3:28:35 PM
    I know how stressful it is when money is so tight - especially when you expected to be at a different place by now. It CAN be depressing. But give yourself credit where credit is due. Your family has a roof over their heads. Even if they aren't eating fresh vegetables, they're eating. A lot of how they face the challenges in their lives comes from watching how you tackle yours. And you're MEETING your challenges.

    I know it's easy to focus on how much different we'd like things to be. Have a plan for making that happen. But also give yourself a pat on your back for where you are today, because you ARE making progress!
    2299 days ago
    Good luck, honey - tough times call for tough mindedness. Did you know about the free workout videos here on Spark People? They'll give you good workouts when you can't afford the gym. Sounds like taking the break really helped your stamina & speed.

    NonScale victories can be more valid than the scales - as you saw with the new scale. Don't let the scale get you down! You made tremendous progress with more than 30 (maybe 40) pounds lost, looser clothes, better overall fitness. Stay the course! emoticon
    2299 days ago
    How frustrating that your scale was off! I can see why that would bug you!
    Sorry for your financial troubles too. When money is tight I turn to soup. It is filling and cheap! Do you know how to cook legumes? Many young cooks don't know how to do this simple process, but let me tell you...they really stretch your budget. Raw carrots and apples are pretty inexpensive this time of year. Kale is a good choice for soups. Very filling stuff that kale is! Also I often buy the tired marked down produce. Often it just needs to be peeled.
    I'm sure you are providing for your family love and a full belly, maybe not your favoirite foods but you are a good mother for trying to make yourself healthy so that you can care for them.
    Hang in there!
    2300 days ago
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