Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Maintaing Through the Holidays

I'm going to be honest.  I have a really bad body image.  I'm not really sure where it came from, but it is definitely there.  Despite the fact that most people tell me how great I look, I just figure that they're being nice.  Don't get me wrong, I understand I am not obese or even fat for that matter, but I see my body as flawed and I tend to focus on the negative rather than the positive.

At the end of my first marathon yet all I see is flaws
When I started working out in January of 2008, my only intention was to lose weight.  I just wanted to look good.   I did lose weight through eating right and working out, but eventually my attitude about weight loss started to evolve.  I started working out for other reasons besides trying to be skinny.  I started working out to be a good example for my kids.  I worked hard at the gym to be a better runner.  I lifted weights to help improve my triathlon times.  I realized that losing weight was secondary to everything I was doing.

Then, I started putting weight on.  I kind of developed this mentality that I could eat what I wanted because I worked out so hard and ran so many miles.  That wasn't true.  You really can't outrun a bad diet.  Period! I would say that I yo-yo'd for awhile, but this spring I was definitely on the wrong end of that yo-yo "diet".

On the "heavy" side (above and below)

So in March I buckled down with my eating and started tracking all my calories.  I didn't restrict ANYTHING at all from my diet.  I just ate less of the things I really liked to eat.  You know what?  It paid off and I lost about 10 pounds.  It took me awhile, but I felt like my food and working out was finally balanced.

Happy Me! 
Finally, I was training for a marathon and eating the appropriate amount of calories, all while enjoying the foods I love.  Life was making sense and I actually, for once in my life, started having a better body image.  This isn't to say that I thought my body was perfect, but it was a body I could actually be proud of.  I could fit easily into a size 4 pair of jeans and I was getting stronger every day at CrossFit.  I was noticing changes in my body, that dare I say, I liked.

Wearing my "tell tale" jeans.  Meaning they tell me if I'm "fat" or not
Then suddenly about three weeks ago, I started slipping into my old way of thinking.  I can eat XYZ because I've earned it from working out.  Or I can eat a cheeseburger anytime I want because I'm working out 5 days a week.   Well you know what happened right?  I started feeling really badly about myself.   I actually have no idea how much I weigh (I don't have a scale in the house), but I can tell things are becoming a little bit more snug (even if they do fit).

Present Day
I've been down this road before and I've ignored the warning signs.  I even thought about just saying "forget it" and do whatever I want since the holiday season is upon us.  Then I realized the Holiday season will extend for the next 6 weeks and even if I only gained a pound a week for 6 weeks that 6 pounds of unwanted fat.  That's not fitting into my jeans.  That's not feeling good about myself.  That takes me to January of 2013 (5 years after this journey began) and I'd be just about right back where I started.

So here I am a week before Thanksgiving and I'm vowing to buckle down again.  It started Monday and even though I didn't make ALL perfect choices, I made better choices than I had the day before...  and the day before that... and the day before that.  And you know what?  Today was better than Monday (and easier) and tomorrow will hopefully be better too.

What I've learned in five years is to listen to your body when it speaks to you (and listen to your jeans too).  I'm going to do the best I can when I can.  I'm going to enjoy all the special things the holidays have to offer, but I'm not going to allow it to take me on a downward spiral that last from now until the New Year.  What are YOU going to do?


Renee Crider said...

Good for you! I'm just starting to make the connection in myself between feeling crappy/eating crappy and vice versa. Working on making those better choices, especially going into the holiday season!!!

Amanda Danae said...

Because I run so much, it's easy to just eat what I want, but I feel crappy. My husband and I really want to start a very clean eating diet in the new year, but in the meantime, we eat a lot of non-processed foods and Fruits and veggies. Makes me feel great! :)

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