Moving Forward

So, yesterday was Wednesday. (I know, aren’t you glad you have me around to bring you the late-breaking news?) It should have been weigh-in day for me, but I didn’t weigh myself. For one, I was sick and spent most of the day lying around, and two, I knew it wouldn’t be a number I’d want to see. The truth is, I let my 4 pound weight loss from last week boost my confidence, but it didn’t boost my self-control. Lame, huh? I didn’t track anything over the weekend, and that’s a sure sign that I’m not being mindful of my eating.

The only thing I did do well last week was exercise. I rocked my workouts, and on Saturday I ran my longest distance since October 2012: 4 miles! I even got up early and was out running before 7 a.m. on a Saturday, which is unheard of for me. And the best part is I loved every minute of it. I told myself I would take it slow and walk if I had to, but I was completing 4 miles. No excuses. So even though I wanted to throw in the towel around mile 3 and was wishing with every step that I lived in a flat neighborhood, I just kept running. I let myself enjoy the morning and soaked in the sun peeking over the horizon, the breeze tickling my face, and the stillness of the neighborhood. It was, dare I say, fun!

Post-run victory glow.

Post-run victory glow.

The victory of that run was so exciting, and yet I feel like my lack of discipline with my eating spoiled it somewhat. I feel frustrated that I can’t get everything right at the same time and frustrated that I’m already having setbacks after just 2 weeks of trying to lose weight. But the good news? Tomorrow is a new day and a new month, and I haven’t messed those up yet. I will face the scale tomorrow and move forward.

One pound at a time, one day at a time, one choice at a time.

30 Day Streak: Week One Update

I’ve officially completed 7 out of 30 days in my challenge. I am happy to say they’ve gone well. Surprisingly (at least to me), the hardest part of my challenge has been avoiding soda. I didn’t really consider myself addicted to soda, but after doing this for only 7 days, I definitely was addicted. I have craved it so much, every day. I keep hoping that after a while I won’t want it as much, and that by the end of the 30 days I won’t even care about having a Coke. For that nonchalant attitude to occur, however, a whole lot of mental change is going to have to take place in the next 23 days!

Here’s a breakdown of my exercise over the last week:

Monday: One hour of dancing with Just Dance 2014 on the Wii
Tuesday: 10 minutes of a kickboxing DVD
Wednesday: 30 minutes at the gym (treadmill, rowing machine, stair master)
Thursday: 10 minute YouTube video from SparkPeople
Friday: 10 minutes of a walking DVD
Saturday: 32 minutes at the gym (treadmill, rowing machine, elliptical)
Sunday: 30 minutes walking/running with Charlotte in the stroller, 40 minutes of walking DVD (4.7 miles total)

Total for the week: 222 minutes

That is by FAR the most exercise I have gotten in a week in probably a year! I am really proud of myself, and even though I only did the 10 minute minimum on 3 of the days, I made up for it on the other days.

As far as sweets are concerned, I stayed true to my goal and only had some over the weekend. However, I am now revising my goal to say that I will only have ONE sweet per day on the weekend. Not limiting the amount of sweets for the weekend led me to go a little bit off the deep end with the sweets, so I am going to be smarter about that in the future.

Overall I consider it a successful week and am looking forward to keeping my streak alive this coming week!

Just Do Something

Yesterday was one of THOSE days. I apparently left my brain at home that morning because I acted like an airhead on more than one occasion, and a bunch of little things at work added up to make one frustrating day. I came home feeling tired and defeated. Then I made dinner, which was poppyseed chicken that I had taken out of the freezer. I was so proud for having a meal stashed away that I could just whip out and put in the oven, but then I ended up cooking it too long, and it tasted dry and unsatisfying. That means that of course after dinner, I wanted something else. So I had a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream, and that wasn’t satisfying either. Instead of distracting myself with something besides food (like, I don’t know, PRAYER), I just finished off the container (there was probably about 2 scoops left in there, so 3 scoops in all). Then I sat there feeling weak and pathetic. I had planned to do a quick 2 mile workout using an oldie but goodie fitness DVD, but after eating all that ice cream, I just felt gross. The thought crossed my mind: “I’ve already blown it today, so why bother?”

WHY do I think this way? I am sure anyone else who has tried to lose weight has experienced similar moments (please tell me I am not alone in this!). If I don’t follow my plan to the letter, then the temptation to abandon it altogether is strong. If I don’t have time for a solid 45- or 60-minute workout, then I often skip exercising altogether because I can’t do as much as I would like. I tell myself it has to be all or nothing, and when I can’t do it all, far too often I choose to do nothing.

Of course, this whole mindset is ridiculous! As I’ve written before, I wouldn’t do this in other areas of my life. If I overslept for work, I wouldn’t just miss the whole day. If I failed a test, I certainly wouldn’t quit going to class (well, except for that one time in college when I dropped Advanced Spanish Literature, but I digress). I realized last night that the problem is perfectionism. I set these lofty, often impossible expectations for myself, and if I don’t think I can perfectly meet them, then I stop trying. Even though I know I know I KNOW I will never be perfect, I still insist on having this perfectionist mentality. The reality, however, is that I am just setting myself up for failure because perfection is not attainable. I will lose that contest every time.

So I’m changing the rules. Instead of trying to be perfect, I am just going to do something. Last night I may have overeaten, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t redeem the evening by also exercising. So even though it was 8:30, I pulled out that DVD, and I did 25 minutes of “power walking.” No, it wasn’t an hour. No, it probably didn’t even come close to burning the amount of calories needed to make up for that ice cream. But it was better than nothing, and I will take something over nothing any day.

The wonderful thing about each day that we are given is that we don’t have to end it in failure. By God’s grace, we can find redemption, whether that’s in the form of a quick run around the block, or an apology to your spouse or friend, or a much-needed phone call with a loved one.

What about you? Do you struggle with perfectionism, and if so, how do you combat it?

Missing: My Running Mojo

Once upon a time, I was a runner.

After years of living a sedentary lifestyle, in 2008 I started exercising, and in 2009, I began running, something I never thought I would do. I started with the Couch to 5k program, ran in my first 5k race, and I was hooked. While I didn’t always love the act of running itself (let’s face it, it’s HARD), I loved how I felt after finishing a run, and I loved the calorie burn that running provided. From the beginning of my running journey, however, I struggled to gain momentum and find my groove. I would run very consistently for months then either get burned out or get bored. I got in a rut of only running short distances, which prompted me to train for a half marathon that I then decided not to run. After that experience, I took a couple months off from running, and just as I was getting back into a routine, I got pregnant. I ran sporadically for the first trimester and even a little bit in the second before deciding to stick to walking, as running just felt uncomfortable.

After I had Charlotte, I couldn’t WAIT to get back into running but struggled to find time to workout when Charlotte was a newborn (and for months after that).  I did finally manage to finish Couch to 5k again and ran a 4miler on my 30th birthday that October, but then my running fell off until the new year, when I decided to try yet again to complete a half marathon. Training for a half the second time around was really a wonderful experience. I enjoyed my runs a lot more and felt confident and ready to meet my goal. I finally crossed that half marathon finish line in March 2012 and felt on top of the world. Still, after the race I floundered a bit since I had no real goal to reach for, and my running was rather inconsistent through the summer months. I still managed to run a few races, though, and when fall rolled around, I started to find my running groove again. I set a new 5k PR and came within SECONDS of finishing in under 30 minutes, and a few days after that I ran 4 miles for the first time in months. I was looking forward to the cooler months ahead and thinking about running the Andrew Jackson Half again and maybe even running another half in the latter part of 2013.

Then I got diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, and my running came to a complete halt. For weeks I was so sick that running was impossible and yet I couldn’t wait to get back to it. Then, slowly, I started to regain my energy. I was discouraged by the thought of having to start all over with my running and discouraged by the fact that my doctor strongly advised against my doing any more half marathons, but I rang in the new year by running a mile without stopping. I thought I was back on track.

The truth is, though, that the run on January 1 is the only mile I have run nonstop since the year began. Last week I could barely run for four minutes straight on the treadmill. I am so frustrated that I have lost all my endurance, and while I know part of it couldn’t be helped because I was sick for a solid two months, if I had been more consistent with my running after that first mile, I wouldn’t have lost all of my running base. I truly am back at the beginning again. I don’t want to go through Couch to 5k for what seems like the 100th time, but I think I need to. I just can’t go out and run a 5k tomorrow, and that kills me.

Not only have I lost my endurance, I have also lost my speed. Before I got sick, I was finally getting faster at races and getting so close to meeting my goal of a sub-30:00 5k, and now I am back to running a 12-minute mile.  There is nothing wrong with a 12:00 minute mile except for the fact that I have been there and done that and am ready to move on.

I can’t move on, though, if I don’t get up and MOVE. It’s time to stop whining and start running! I may be starting over, but at least I know that I can do this because I’ve done it before. I will get my mojo back!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I better get to bed so I can get up and hit the treadmill. 🙂