Wednesday, September 30, 2009

a question of getting back on track.

I got asked a couple of questions in the comments yesterday that I thought I'd answer in a separate post. Sorry it got so long!

Mizfit asked how my pedicure lasted so long. Hahaha, I have no idea! I'm totally new to the world of pedicures. I did go to a place that was kind of expensive (the pedicure was $50) so maybe there's actual value in going to the better places instead of the bargain places? Other than that, I have no idea. I plan to go to the same place again this time, so I'll ask them if they have a secret ingredient they use.

Now. Sam Made asked if, in the time I've lost this weight, I've ever fallen off the program, and if so, how I got myself back on track.

The truth is, I haven't ever really 'fallen' off the program, but there were two times when I consciously decided I was going to go off for a short period. One was the week we were in Vegas, and the other was my birthday weekend.

One thing I will say is that I find it infinitely harder to get back on track than it is to simply stay on track. That's what I tell myself every time I'm tempted to go off the program, and I think it's what’s kept me in line this past year. So when I'm tempted to, say, get take-out, I remind myself that it's not JUST this one meal and this one lump of calories. It's about the fact that I'm weakening my resistance muscle, it's about the fact that I'm priming my tastebuds for greasy, salty and fatty foods, it's about the fact that I'm going to feel bloated and lazy for the rest of the day, etc. Which is not to say that I NEVER get take-out, because I totally do, but I do it with that awareness, and I try not to let it get to be too regular of an occurrence.

Okay, so all that said, what if you just do find yourself off track? I admit that after my birthday, I really struggled to come back to the program. I had planned to be right back on track on the Sunday following my birthday, but in reality, I spent the whole next week just sort of hovering somewhere on the wrong side of that track. I worried. I worried a LOT, to be honest. I kept thinking, "What if this just keeps spiralling? Why can't I just say NO to these foods???"

So I took a deep breath and reminded myself that it wasn't ME. It was just my physiology. If that makes sense. That I really had weakened my resistance muscle. That I really had primed my tastebuds. That I was really only suffering the natural reaction to spending four days eating nothing but cupcakes, champagne cocktails, and greasy Chinese food. I'm not sure why but I always find blaming it on my body to be an easier way of dealing with things. Because then it's not a fatal character flaw in my own SELF, it's just a natural physical reaction. And that seems like something I'm more capable of controlling, rather than something that's an integrated part of my personality. You know? I'M not a greedy pig, but my tastebuds want me to be.

Okay! So what did I do to actually come back to the program? Here are a few things I can think of!

1. Keep tracking. This is my numbero uno. I even track when I'm totally off program.

2.Pull out all the stops, food-wise. Prepare all the healthy meals and snacks you love the most. Make being on program FUN again. I know everyone has at least a couple meals where you eat them and think "Seriously, if all healthy food tasted this amazing I would NOT have a weight problem!" And go nuts on all the fruit you want.

3. On the flip side of that, don't buy TOO many fun treats, because even if they're good for you, you may end up eating too many.

4. Drink a LOT of water, coffee/tea, and carbonated (sugar-free) beverages. They'll keep your mouth, hands, and mind occupied, and they'll keep your stomach full.

5. No alcohol during the week. This may not be an issue for some people, but having a couple glasses of wine every night after work is such an easy habit for me to get into, and it really throws me off track, especially because it always seems to lead to extra pita with hummus.

6. Enlist the people you live with to help you. I don't normally tell Shaun what he can and can't bring into the house, but when I'm really struggling, I tell him. And I ask him not to leave cookies lying around and not to open a bottle of wine and not to bring home fast food. Just for that one week, just till I can get myself back on track.

7. “OH WELL”. If there’s any secret I have, it's that phrase. I use it ALL THE TIME. Whenever I don't want to workout, I say, "Oh well!" and I go anyway. Whenever I really want to inhale a bag of chips, I say, "Oh well!" and I walk away. The truth is, we do stuff all the time that we don't particularly want to do (like, oh, get up and go to work every day), but we just look at it as a part of life. I want to have a nice apartment and clothes and food and DVDs, so I go to work, whether I particularly want to that day or not. Sooooo ... I want to lose weight and wear smaller pants and be able to run and do things without keeling over, and so I watch what I eat and I go to the gym, whether I particularly want to that day or not. And railing about how 'unfair' it is that I have to do this all this hard stuff is about as useful and productive as railing about why I wasn’t born rich. Which is to say, not useful at all.

So I guess that's it! I hope some of this will be helpful to someone, or at least will be helpful to ME next time I find myself struggling.