Tuesday, March 5, 2013

In retrospect, I probably should have seen this coming...

After a busy/chaotic/traumatizing fall season, followed by a really nice Christmas, followed by two nasty colds/awful weather/a reasonably fun mardi gras season, I was feeling pretty awful last week.

My body basically hit rock bottom, to the point that I think it was calling out for help.

I soon realized that I had gained about 10 lbs overnight - we're talking about 4-6 weeks. I had completely lost my athleticism and had no strength OR conditioning, and, what really spoke to me, was that my stomach for about 3 days was in a state of pain, bloat, etc. etc. (and it wasn't that time of the month).  I was simply uncomfortable, at a level beyond the typical, my clothes don't fit as well as they did before, way.

So, I made changes gradually: I tried to cure the stomach issues first, because it was actually really disruptive and made my daily life rather miserable.  I ate less junk, more healthy food, more fruit in particular, and was able to resolve those issues in a few days.

Then, on Saturday, I went to the gym and did a tough 1 mile.  I had gone a few times in 2013 (including in the last few weeks), but those two weeks I was essentially in bed really changed the game for me - I was starting from square one with the running.  [It almost feels better to tell myself that I'm recovering from an injury and because of that I can expect to have challenges in building up my conditioning].  In fact, after the 1 mile, Curtis and I went to a Chili Cook-off in town, and after that, I could barely stay awake I was so tired and worn out from the activity.  It was BAD.

To make matters worse, this is probably the worst allergy season on record for me.  I'm known to have a bad week where I'm out of commission, but I literally have laryngitis this week from my allergies. So I basically have to live in a bubble and with each walk to the gym, pray that I don't inhale TOO many particles that my immune system will attack.  But enough complaining ...

This week I'm trying to work my way back to both a weight-loss diet AND an exercise program, but to be honest, I'm having trouble staying motivated on the former.  But the stomach issues have at least convinced me to eat whole, healthy foods, even if I end up eating more of them than I should.  I'll start tackling that issue for real on Saturday after my weigh-in.

I think the biggest issue for me now is the mindset with the food.  It's something that will, sadly, always be there with me.  I have three ways of eating:

  1. Eating with an eye towards losing weight (counting, weighing, measuring, restricting, etc);
  2. Eating with an eye toward being healthy, but not to lose weight, ideally to maintain (but have a little fun in the process); and
  3. Eating with an eye towards being self-destructive, which naturally results in gaining weight quickly

Obviously, the fact that I am not 300 pounds indicates that #3 is not a state I'm in very often.  But it is the demon that raises its ugly head every once in awhile, and it presented itself this past month.  #2 is the ideal, and probably the state that I'm in most of the time, and is a happy place.  #1 is what I should be doing now, since it's a truth that I'm overweight and have a significant amount of weight to lose to no longer be overweight. (Although lets be honest, what amount of weight is NOT significant?)

There are a few things I can be happy about today.  I did not gain all of the weight back that I lost last year.  The weight I lost I was actually able to keep off for about 6-8 months before this recent slip. And, most importantly, I emerged from this setback with an understanding of why it happened in the first place, and am grateful that I hit rock bottom last week and not 2 months from now.

I, like many other people, am not good at handling "unstructured time."  The more regimented my life is, the better I am in all aspects of it.  And both my work life and personal life these last 2 months has been the epitome of "unstructured."  After the flurry of August-December, when I was planning my life in 1-2 week increments, I literally entered 2013 with no short term life events to plan and prepare for.  Mardi Gras could have been that motivation, but frankly, it just wasn't.  I still don't have any short term life events to plan for.  But now that I know that, I can try to work around that to create some structure and facilitate a return to the healthy lifestyle that I had taken for granted this time last year.

I have a short term, 10 week goal.  I'm still working on the reward for if I'm successful.  But I took a giant step in the right direction this week and for that, my body and mind already feel better.

(It also doesn't hurt that this period of time on the Gulf Coast/legal calendar contains the least amount of imbibing*, thank goodness for that! ;-) ).

*For those of you not familiar with the Gulf Coast and/or legal "imbibing" calendar - here's how I see it: 
Mid-February: Mardi Gras 
May-June: Summer Clerks are in town
July-August: it's just really hot
September-February: Football season/Holiday season
February - May: (relatively) dry season. 

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