I have a confession. Normally, when I have a confession, I would then say something funny like “This summer I had a contest with my 2 awesome co-workers to see who could poop the most every day.” That’s true. Did happen. Was announced to all staff and students. We’re awesome like that. However, this may be slightly less gross for those of you who hate to talk about poop.
By the time I arrived back in Phoenix on Monday morning, I was feeling less than great about how my body looked, and physically I just felt off from not eating well. You see, I started the summer with the best of intentions. I was as careful as possible about what went into my body, tried to choose foods to fuel my training, as well as sustain me dancing for 6-7 hours a day. It was tough. The food was less than stellar, with choices for dinner sometimes being pizza, fried chicken, or the salad bar for the 6th night in a row. I bought lots of snacks to try to tide me over, which quickly transitioned into too much food too often, and way too many times thinking “Well, I ran this morning, and then danced ALL DAY. I can eat 2 desserts.” Also, there was a lot of justifying the mass quantity of vegan desserts I consumed as “healthy”. Two of my friends I spent the most time with are vegan, and we were so close to all sorts of vegan bakeries. The problem is, substituting earth balance or vegetable oil for butter and using refined carbs does not equal healthy. I know that. I get it. Mostly, I just wanted dessert.
All this being said, I was not shocked to get home, step on the scale (yeah….no scale = “I probably weigh the same. I’m dancing ALL THE TIME”), and discover that I had definitely gained weight. Not an obscene amount. Nothing any of you would probably notice. Roughly 5-6 lbs from where I generally maintain. So, no, 5-6 lbs is not a huge deal, but 2 more months of those habits, and an other 5-6 would be more lik 11-12, and you see where that leads. In no time at all, I could easily be right back where I started in 2008.
Again, it’s not the end of the world, but I definitely feel motivated to make a change, and refocus. The truth is, if weight were merely determined by exercise, I would have a SMOKIN’ body by now. I love working out, and being active. I do it to be healthy, yes, but also because I genuinely enjoy all those cool endorphins. It’s like our bodies own cooler version of mood altering drugs. Thanks for that body! Food, on the other hand; food is tricky. I do genuinely enjoy eating good, healthy, nutritious meals that fuel my body. I really like healthy foods, and I don’t often crave things like cheeseburgers and french fries. However, part of the problem is that I do REALLY like food. I have a tough time with portion control (always have), and I also REALLY love dessert. Those of you that want to snack on potato chips: I don’t understand you. I want to snack on fro yo. Always and forever.
I’m trying to break the mentality of “I worked out this much, so I can eat this much”. It doesn’t really work like that. In fact, I feel like the more active I am, the MORE careful I need to be about my food choices. That may seem like an oxymoron, but the truth is when I significantly increase my activity, I am hungrier, and I do need to eat more, but that means more opportunities to choose less than awesome types of food, and overeat.
I’ve read a lot of blogs that said they gained weight training for their first marathon. I assured myself that wouldn’t be me, but when I started focusing more on my training, I made the decision to stop focusing on weight loss, even though the truth is, that is still the eventual goal for me. I let myself gradually slide back into eating habits that I haven’t seen in quite a while. Don’t get me wrong, I still ate moderately healthy, but not to the best I am capable of, and it shows. On the scale. In the way my body feels. It’s not “water weight”.
So, I’m refocusing. I went to TJ’s excited (although when am I not excited about grocery shopping?), and stocked up on tons of produce, and spent entirely too much time stalking ingredient lists. Steve was thrilled to sit there watching me label read for hours after our red eye, let me tell you. He’s a lucky man. It was nice for me though. I used to only look at calories, and I am actually trying to do just the opposite now. Sure, that cookie may have the same amount (or even less) of calories as a banana with almond butter, but it has no nutritional value, and an ingredient list a mile long. I promised myself I would give up the calorie counting, and other than checking it out just to be aware, I have. I check in to see if one thing may have significantly less than the alternative, but that’s it. This time, I looked at the ingredients, and the protein, fiber, and added sugars. I have a whole fridge full of awesomeness, and just yesterday I noticed a big change in the way my body felt, and my energy level.
It’s easy to forget how great healthy eating feels. Does that sound cliche enough? But, seriously, it does. It feels awesome, and I feel better about myself already, and that’s the part of this that really counts. And I have no doubt that I will fairly quickly get back to my normal weight, but until then, here are some pictures of me looking cute this summer to remind myself that I don’t look like I gained 50 lbs, even if, at moments, I kina feel that way.
Okay, I feel better now. Something about those two (and the Poop Contest) never fails to lift my spirits. Onward.