It’s been a challenging year. Work has been off the charts busy and stressful. And totally rewarding. And frustrating. And awesome. And did I mention stressful? And even though I’ve worked out at LEAST 5 days a week consistently, I have been feeling like utter crap. I look back when those Facebook memories pop up and see a leaner me, a fitter me.
I am probably 10lbs heavier than I was in those photos. And it’s not about the number, I SEE it. I FEEL it. And I’ve been TRYING. Like I said, I have been consistent with my workouts. For the three months leading up to our big Canada 150 event in July, I was super strict on a keto-type plan. Everyone I know has lost piles of weight doing keto, and even if I’m not 100% confident on the science behind it or its long-term effects, I figured I would lose too. So what happened? NOTHING. Not one pound, not one inch. The only thing it served to do was to give me something to control, at a time when things were fairly out of control in all other areas of my life. Maybe I didn’t eat a high enough percentage of fat, but short of drinking coconut oil, I just couldn’t have any more.
Those Facebook memories messed with my head. I was leaner when I was running, but I was spending all my time running and I DON’T. LIKE. RUNNING. I was eating more of the food I liked. I didn’t see the food choices I made immediately appear on my gut the next morning.
I hit several rock bottoms and several times I picked myself up, dusted myself off and said “Okay, fresh start.” And then I’d falter. Or what I was doing would have no effect. It was frustrating, but I kept repeating the cycle. And then you know what finally happened?
I got mad.
I got pissed. I was angry that it’s so HARD. I was mad as hell that it’s so hard to lose weight and feel better. I was resentful. WHY is it so hard for some and so easy for others? Why is it so hard for ME? These were the thoughts that started to plague me. I was doing what I thought were the right things, so WHY wasn’t it working? Why the hell should I even BOTHER?
So I started to rebel. I started to have a few things I wanted. I went to a conference in Ottawa and had dessert three different times, including at two lunches. Including one particularly oversized Nanaimo bar. I normally have a banquet rule that I will only eat the dessert if it’s cheesecake, but despite the total lack of cheesecake, I still indulged. I ate bread. At all the meals.
This is where you probably expect me to say “And you know what happened? Nothing.” And come forth with some inspiring message about having the things you love in moderation because it won’t have that big an impact.
Um, no. Here’s what happened: I felt AWFUL. In three days I felt worse than I had all year. I felt thicker. I felt gross. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely do believe in moderation and balance, but I had tipped the proverbial scales. I had gone too far.
So THEN here’s what happened. I decided I didn’t want to feel like that anymore. And being mad about it, resenting that it’s harder for me than someone else, wasn’t going to make me feel BETTER. I came home from that conference and made a meal plan for the following week. I committed to decreasing my carbs and eating as clean as possible. Eliminating sugar where I could. And I immediately felt better mentally, and within two days could already feel the difference physically.
The following week we had a big luncheon event to go to. This was going to be the big test of my newfound motivation. Full turkeys at every table, family-style side dishes in vast quantities, and lots and lots of wine. So I made a plan. NO wine, which was helped by our work’s alcohol policy. Lots of turkey and vegetables, very little potato or stuffing – just a taste. And no dessert. I shared my plan with my team, giving myself extra accountability but also pre-emptively explaining to avoid any questions later. And sure enough, one of my colleagues said “Oh, why are you doing that NOW? Why don’t you wait until the new year?”
It was like a match was lit inside me. My motivation flared up and I said “Because I don’t want to WAIT to feel better. I want to feel better now. I don’t want to feel worse before I feel better.”
That’s it. THAT right there is the ticket. I don’t want to wait to feel better. I don’t want to wait til January 1st. I love myself enough to make the changes NOW. I go back to that conversation in my mind more than once a day, using it as a guiding light when I am faced with a food choice. I want to feel better now. The workouts have never been an issue, it’s ALL about the food. The fact is, I need to curb my carbs and eat clean to feel good, and that’s what I’m going to do. And treats will come, but once in a while, not daily.
I went from mad, resentful and just plain pissed to motivated and accepting. I am okay with the fact that it feels like it’s harder for me than someone else. I am certainly not alone in that. But I know I I have to do for ME to feel better. So that is what I will do.
Here’s a video I posted on my Facebook page about taking action when the motivation hits: